Thursday, August 14, 2003

Fair and balanced

In a sting operation, an arms dealer is arrested for selling surface-to-air missiles to an undercover FBI agent. Thank god he was caught, because I’d hate to see what happened if the FBI ever acquired missiles.

A British court bans a man from using the word “Paki” in public. The ban is for life and he is threatened with 5 years in prison.

Norway has a line to get into prison. After sentencing for anything below rape & murder, the wait can now be 5 years long.

An even more liberal (?) policy may be found in Argentina, where prison officials let inmates out to commit crimes, pocketing a share, of course.

The Times had a story about a less liberal policy in 1821: a 17-year old was publicly hanged in Bristol, his body given to the anatomists, as was the tradition of the time (I’m resisting my academic training to insert a footnote at this point), and the results bound in Mr. Horwood’s own skin. The book is now owned by the Bristol Record Office, which has put it on display as an exhibit in the National Archive Awareness Month.

The latest controversy in Jamaica is over a statue of two emancipated slaves, a man and woman. Naked. The Daily Gleaner has suggested that people "find it possible to elevate their eyes to the expression of spiritual yearning and hope" in the faces of the figures, but most have found themselves staring at the male figure’s enormous penis. A right-wing radio talkshow host, after attacking the statue as “depraved,” was accused by callers of “neo-colonialist penis envy,” which would have been the subject line of this email if I weren’t worried about spam filters. A picture is to be found here.

Diana Mosley died, to the great surprise of those of us who didn’t know she was still alive (just bought her biography earlier this year, too; hadn’t gotten around to it). That’ll either mean something to you, or it won’t.

The Post says that The Arnold is associated with US English, the group founded by famous napper S.I. Hayakawa to make English the official language. I guess that’s not sillier than any other aspect of California politics lately.

Texas state senate Republicans have decided to fine the fugitive Dems $1,000 to $5,000 per day.

NATO has started peacekeeping in Afghanistan, which should be an easy job since there is so little actual peace to keep. But it is NATO’s first operation outside Europe, and while its intervention in Kosovo broke its own charter as well as international law (good article here),
NATO is now the world’s policeman, with no limits, and without discussion even within NATO countries, let alone with anyone asking the world if it wants a policeman, much less this one.

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