Tuesday, July 22, 2003


Bush: “The desire by the North Koreans to convince the world that they’re in the process of developing a nuclear arsenal is nothing new.” Oh sure, *now* he gets sceptical about foreign nuclear programs. I mean, the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud, right? Do you think his failure to engage with the NK problem is because he hasn’t personalized it? He always refers to NK rather than Kim Jong Il. Kim didn’t “try to kill my dad.”

Although I guess Shrub got his revenge for that one today.

Treasury Secretary John Snow says that the killings of Saddam’s sons will be good for the US economy. And the killing of Qusay’s 14-year old son will be darned good for stock prices, too.

Robert Fisk notes that the American unit in charge of the operation, Task Force 20, was the same one that supposedly killed these very same people, and their father, when it attacked a convoy near the Syrian border earlier this month. Fisk also wonders whether the two sons would really have been together. And he questions the American assumption that killing the Husseins would end all resistance to the occupation. Indeed, “many Iraqis were reluctant to support the resistance for fear that an end to American occupation would mean the return of the ghastly old dictator. If he and his sons are dead, the chances are that the opposition to the American-led occupation will grow rather than diminish - on the grounds that with Saddam gone, Iraqis will have nothing to lose by fighting the Americans.”

Just as the US recruited Hitler’s spies because of their knowledge of the USSR, the NYT says today that they’re recruiting Saddam’s spies because of their knowledge of Iran and Syria. And that Chalabi is doing the same, presumably in order to discredit his political opponents as dupes of Iran.

Congress is dealing with a bill to allow re-importation into the US of drugs produced by US drug companies for the export market and sold at much lower prices. What’s fun about the debate is that all these Congresscritters who took money from Big Pharma are having to claim that the drugs their bosses are peddling abroad are unsafe. The NYT story on this says that they’re teaming up with anti-abortion groups to warn that RU-486 might become affordable under this bill.

From the Harper’s weekly review: “The Department of Homeland Security announced that Microsoft was chosen as its exclusive supplier of desktop and server software; shortly thereafter Microsoft acknowledged a critical security flaw that permits hackers to take over computers running the latest version of its Windows operating system.”

Has anyone linked those stories about teenagers not being able to find summer jobs with the 25-40% tuition increases at public colleges and universities? The latter is, of course, class warfare at its finest.

Israeli transport minister Avigdor Lieberman has offered to provide buses to transport any released Palestinian prisoners to a place "whence they will not return," specifically the Dead Sea, where they would be drowned.

After Ambassador Joseph Wilson went public about his investigation in Niger of the uranium claim, the Bushies, who had asked him to go in the first place, decided to smear him, personally, and his mission. Ari Fleischer, for example, sneered that all he’d done was heard the Nigerien government deny the allegation, which is of course what they’d do; no reporter asked Ari what then was the point of sending him in the first place. Since then, they have leaked to the press that Wilson’s wife is a CIA officer. This is a felony. If you or I revealed the name of a CIA employee, we’d go to jail.

Be Careful What You Wish For: the prospective Museum for Contraception and Abortion (in Austria) is asking for people to contribute exhibits, old condoms and such.

Something I hadn’t heard: when the civil unions law passed in Vermont, the U of Vermont immediately ceased offering health benefits to gay employees’ domestic partners unless they registered. That was in this moderately thought-provoking article on why gay marriage isn’t enough, in the Voice.

At Buckingham Palace, a 17-year old streaker, yards away from the queen, shouting “Wahey,” was tackled by a Beefeater. There’s a sentence you don’t get to write every day. Lembit Opik, the Liberal Democrat MP, who was also at the party but who missed the incident, said: “I feel he showed a naked loyalty to the Queen. I applaud him.”

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