Tuesday, April 29, 2003

An enlarged prostitute

Heard a story on NPR that hasn’t made the papers: the US, working through a private company, has bought up voter registration information in a number of Latin American countries, including Mexico, Nicaragua and Colombia. Which aren’t supposed to be sold in the first place. The INS and Justice now hold lists that include addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.

I’ve really got to get one of those tv’s with closed captioning. Last week ABC News’s closed captioning said that Alan Greenspan was in the hospital for an enlarged prostitute. I understand that’s a problem with older men, and can be very painful.

To combat SARS, the respiratory illness so dangerous that it is both serious *and* acute, Beijing has closed all schools, libraries and most hospitals. So just like California under the next budget, then. Also theaters, movies, karoake. So just like the Taliban, then.

As of this writing, it is not clear whether anyone in the crowd of Falluja protesters actually fired at the school taken over by US soldiers (what is it with all the occupations of kiddie parks and schools, anyway?). I’ve seen reports which say there are bullet holes in the school, and reports which say there are none. Quite possibly shots were only fired into the air, in the moronic but traditional custom of celebrating Saddam’s birthday (have a happy, Saddam!). What is clear is that there are scores of bullet holes in buildings opposite the school, because US soldiers fired on a crowd consisting largely of children and teenagers, with machine-guns. 15 dead by the latest count, countless wounded. The American version would be strengthened if a single soldier had a single bullet wound, but nope. They are pulling out of the school, though.

Similarly, the US is going to pull its bases out of Saudi Arabia and use Qatar instead, which leaves the burning question, do even the Qataris know how to pronounce Qatar, or do they just pretend to cough every time they have to say the name of their country aloud? Anyway, it took a year and a half after 9/11, but Osama bin Laden has finally won the most important of his goals, getting US troops away from the holy sites. Obviously the plan was pretty darned subtle.

“Jerry Springer--The Opera,” premieres in London.

The Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to S Carolina’s dangerous licensing laws for abortion clinics, including full access by the government to patient records, and requiring the presence of a member of the clergy. I mean, how could that last possibly be constitutional? Who is the government to say who is or who is not a member of the clergy? The mere requirement amounts to saying that some people are closer to God, if there were a God, than others, which besides going against the principles of half the major religions, including Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, entails government licensing of the clergy. The state of SC said the clergy requirement was “sensible” because “the fact that to many female believers, the potential impact of the abortion transcends secular psychology and may well have ramifications for her ‘immortal soul.’” Oh, ok, because until I saw that I was thinking it was none of the state’s business.

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