Sunday, June 15, 2003

Spartan Scorpion

A Californian convicted for participating in a kidnapping when he was 14 (and shooting at, but not hitting, cops), has been sentenced to life without parole, the youngest such sentence, or sentences, since he got 5 life sentences plus 121 years. The judge rejected the idea that this was excessive.

I have sometimes joked about genetically modified products leading to glowing in the dark. But they’re actually creating GM fish that glow in the dark, and that’s just cool.

The British government’s investigation concludes that the Iraqi mobile labs were indeed intended not to produce bioweapons but hydrogen for balloons (as I reported, but here’s the confirmation if you need one).

An article by Philip Knightley on the US military’s targeting of journalists (which reminds me that his book on the history of war reporting has been waiting for me to get to it for several years). A quote I’d missed: a US admiral who said that Al-Jazeera in Kabul was a legitimate target because it had “repeatedly been the location of significant al-Qaeda activity”--meaning interviews of Taliban officials, meaning normal journalism. Knightley concludes that the Pentagon is determined that no one report from the enemy side, and a few (seventeen) salutary deaths among journalists will encourage that.

From the Daily Telegraph: “Greek authorities have banned the sale of lollipops in the shape of the enormous penis on an ancient clay figure found in Larissa in the heart of the country.”

After the two massacres in Fallujah, you’d really think the US Army would just cut its losses and get out, but today they mounted another operation, oddly title Operation Spartan Scorpion, involving pointless arrests and kicking in doors. Almost more insulting is that the Americans still think after all the killing and abuse, they can win hearts and minds. Operation Spartan Scorpion was immediately followed by--wait for it--Operation Friends and Neighbors (maybe they thought that “Operation Fuzzy Puppy” would be a bit much), in which troops delivered food to teachers, put ceiling fans in schools and built soccer fields. A captain is quoted as saying that it’s been difficult to switch from "killing everything we saw to being nice". Tell me about it.

Woody Allen is appearing in a promotional video urging Americans to travel to France and put all that unpleasantness behind us. In the video he reminds us of some other past unpleasantness by saying “I will not have to freedom-kiss my wife when all I want to do is French kiss her.”

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