Monday, March 24, 2003

Morris dancing? Break dancing? Not even a nice minuet?

This is the Apache helicopter the Iraqis are claiming was shot down by an elderly farmer with a rifle. It wasn’t, of course.

Somebody talk to whoever writes the news crawls for CNN about their use of metaphor. When they said that the US blasted Al Jazeera for showing that footage, I wasn’t quite sure what had happened. 2 minutes later, they had Michael Moore blasting Bush in his Oscar speech for a film about the American gun culture, which is an irony Moore would appreciate, an infinitely subtler irony than his speech contained, I’m afraid.

If you watch the Academy Awards on tape, you can cut it down to its essential 12½ minutes. Actually, Steve Martin was pretty good again. I notice they took no risk of having a lot of black people win again: the best actress category was mostly inhabited by albinos (Nicole Kidman, Renée Zelwegger, Julianne Moore). Fortunately Denzel stood behind Nicole as she accepted, or you wouldn’t have been able to see her at all, which would have been no bad thing.

You like me, you really like me: speaking of acceptance speeches, Saddam gives another one. Did I mention that the US government keeps one of his old mistresses on the payroll specifically to distinguish between Saddam and his doubles?

Much of the fighting yesterday was in towns the Pentagon had already declared liberated, against Iraqi units it had already declared had surrendered. Oh, and led by a dictator the US claimed to have killed last week.

Say, whatever happened to the Iraqi government(s) in exile?

In the continuing battle against the evil French, Montana’s state pension fund is selling off its French shares. An article in the Guardian asks whatever happened to vilifying the Germans, and notes that the Bushies stopped attacking Germany--you’ll remember Rummy lumping them in with Libya and Cuba--after a visit to DC at the end of February by the opposition leader, who told them to knock it off because they were just making Schröder more popular.

George Monbiot suggests that the US POWs being subjected to vicious and inhumane photography by the Iraqis are just lucky they’re not prisoners of the Americans, reminding us not only of Guantanamo, but what happened to POWs in Afghanistan.

A cute Israeli story: we know they aren’t distributing gas masks to Palestinians, but there’s also a problem with foreign workers, most of whose employers retain their passports, which you have to show to get (buy; they’re not free) a gas mask. So the employers are extorting them, and so far 240,000, 80% of the foreign workers, are unprotected.

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