Sunday, June 29, 2003

If you have to go through this

The Republicans, or Bill Frist at least, come out in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. Evidently this thing has been around for a while and is being considered by a House sub-committee without my ever having heard of it. Actually it goes rather beyond that, since I read the draft as possibly banning anything that recognizes the existence of non-marital relationships--health benefits for domestic partners, statutory visitation rights at hospitals, etc etc. This is the draft: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any state under state or federal law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

A first in Scotland: a mother and daughter jointly convicted for murder, of a man who made offensive remarks at a party (I can’t find out what remarks). The mother’s sister was also a murderer, in a different case, and committed suicide in prison two years ago. Here’s the good bit: the daughter, 16 at the time of the crime, 17 now, said “I am doing no more murders if you have to go through this. I should have learnt from my Auntie Frances, she did eight years for murder.”

There is a worry (in Britain at least) about possible declining numbers of insects, as well as birds. To measure this scientifically, someone has invented the splatometer, which is attached to a bit of a car windshield.

Prince Charles tries to deduct his polo expenses from his taxes.

Hamas starts a cease-fire and Israel starts pulling out of Gaza. The Telegraph has a good phrase for this (which they apply only to the first, but what the hell): “tactical morality.” The Israeli foreign minister says the ceasefire is a “ticking bomb” designed to “maintain the infrastructure of terror.” Israeli officials sure do claim to hear a lot of ticking lately, don’t they? I think it’s a guilty-conscience, Tell-Tale Heart kind of thing.

Click here for a list of the 43 countries that have signed agreements with the US mutually exempting each other’s war criminals from extradition to the International Court. Includes Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Timor, El Salvador, India, Nicaragua...

Roy Hattersley in the Guardian, writing about the pre-war claims about Iraq, applies to Blair an old line about Gladstone that could easily be applied to Bush, that not only is he hiding a card up his sleeve, but behaving as if God put it there.

Another Guardian columnist notes that Britain (and I think the US) complained last week about the house arrest in Burma of Aung San Suu Kyi, while Tariq Aziz and a bunch of other Iraqi leaders are being held incommunicado by the US.

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