Wednesday, July 30, 2003

And don't forget to put a condom on that log

In the same issue of Ha’aretz, two stories: 1) Tel Aviv will give to homosexual couples the same discounts at sports and other municipal facilities as married couples (also straight unmarried but domiciled couples, and married people not recognized by the Orthodox; not exactly civil unions, but a step in the right direction). 2) The Knesset is voting this week on preventing Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens from getting citizenship or residency status. It’s now official: better gay than Palestinian.

Also in Ha’aretz, a cute story on Israel’s efforts to talk Iraqi Jews (all 34 of them) into moving to Israel. They netted 6 old men. It’s now official: better an old Iraqi than Palestinian.

Another Robert Fisk story (he’s really on a roll lately. By the way, although the Indy charges, many of his stories make it into New Zealand and other papers within a couple of days, so is an option) wonders about the fate of 200,000+ Iraqi refugees in Iran, that is, whether the US will let them back in, worried that they have been radicalized by their stay in refugee camps in the Islamic Republic. Of course, these are the same people who are refugees precisely because they responded to Bush the Elder’s call for them to rise up in 1991. There are also 300,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan, and tens of thousands each in Germany, Britain, Holland, etc etc., not to mention 800,000 Kurds displaced by Saddam and their homes given to Arabs. There are also refugees in Iraq--Kurds from Turkey and Iran, 80,000 Palestinians who are not quite as welcome in Israel as the six old Jews.

Bush is still pushing the Iraq/Al Qaida connection claim, saying that the US must sort through “literally miles of documents” to ascertain the truth about that and weapons, and we’ve only been there 90 days, and we’re not very fast readers.

Also at the press conference, Bush’s 9th (compared to Clinton’s 33 by this stage, and Bush I’s 61): “I didn't expect Thomas Jefferson to emerge in Iraq in a 90-day period.” A less than diplomatic remark on the same day the puppet “governing council” picked a leader, for one month anyway. (They decided on a 9-man rotating presidency. And I do mean “man.” Don’t know if Chalabi is one of the 9.)

And on homosexuality: “I am mindful that we're all sinners, and I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor’s eye when they've got a log in their own. ....That does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on issues such as marriage”. 1) He just called homosexuals sinners, 2) A log in the eye? Someone really needs to sit him down with an episode of “Queer Like Me,” cuz I’m pretty sure that’s not where the “log” goes. 3) Somebody like me? What the hell does that mean?

The LA Times has a story about the man who toppled Gray Davis, Daryl Issa, and discovers that nearly every claim he has ever made about himself is a lie, including some pretty petty stuff. My favorite is his claim that he was in President Nixon’s security detail when he went to the 1971 World Series (which he didn’t). This guy is a sitting US Congresscritter.

Davis said the politically unthinkable: “I'll own up to my mistakes. I haven’t done everything perfect.” Grammar, to name one.

The CIA finally returned the looted Stasi files to Germany. And hey guess what, the current head of the neo-Communist party, if I may coin a phrase, was an informant.

Saw a new noodle restaurant in Berkeley today. It’s called Slurp.

Article on Guatemala. And today, the Constitutional Court put Ríos Montt’s unconstitutional candidacy back on track.

The US has started paying blood money in Iraq to families of those it kills ($500 for wounds, $1,500 for death), as is the local custom, although I don’t think Saddam did it. Or possibly they’re just doing this in Fallujah.

Did you know the occupying authorities fired a tv director for broadcasting “incitements”?

A good article on the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan.

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