Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The chocolate makers (I hope that's not a reference to what French soldiers do when someone points a gun at them)

A psychiatrist, Oliver James (author of They F*** You Up - How to Survive Family Life) (having just watched Jeopardy, I feel obligated to point out that the title is a quote from a Philip Larkin poem, or rather to point out that I know that the title is a quote from a Philip Larkin poem), analyzes GeeDubya’s psyche and his upbringing. Highlights: George almost crashing a Cessna in what the James thinks was a suicide attempt rather than stupidity. Like the drunk driving incidents we know about, he brought a passenger along. His parents playing golf the day after the funeral of his sister. George writing an essay about the death of his sister at Andover and getting a failing grade. James declares Boy George an authoritarian personality.

Hounded by the press, Cruz Bustamante disavows any intention of having California secede from the union as part of a separate Chicano nation. Personally I was hoping to become a colony of Spain again. Well, it looked cool in the Zorro movies. (Later): a Village Voice reporter, in a piece on the recall that’s fun in the way New Yorkers writing about California so often is, hears talk radio guys on KFI say “Bustamante is going to be running as the first governor of the northernmost province of Mexico. That's really what he's doing here...”

More Labor Day environmental news: the EPA will allow land polluted by PCBs to be sold. And the EPA can’t possibly monitor that land to see if anyone actually cleans it up, so caveat emptor. They claim it’s not a new rule but a new interpretation of existing law (ya know, interpreting it to mean the exact opposite), so they snuck it through without public comment or announcement--it’s already in effect. And (from Paul Krugman’s column today) a deal between the Feds and the energy companies who manipulated energy prices in Calif., in which they pay almost nothing back.

On Labor Day, with everyone noting the 700,000 jobs this economy has shed since last Labor Day, Bush creates one job: an assistance secretary of commerce for manufacturing. 699,999 to go.

On McNeil-Lehrer today, talking about education reforms, a deputy secretary of education, who says that all 50 states think they don’t need reform, but he knows better than all of them, because “the data tells us” otherwise.

You do understand that I was complaining about a grammatical error, don’t you?

Speaking of bad grammar, and a terrible slogan, a sign seen in a NY Times photo: “Yes, I Wanna...Vote for Arianna!!” Bad rhyme, “wanna” and at least one exclamation mark too many.

By an odd coincidence, I’ve just run into that Philip Larkin poem a second time in a single day, in a review of a tv drama about him. And during my 10 days as a Person With Parkinson’s, I read a history article that mentioned the physician after whom the disease was later named, James Parkinson (named by the French doctor Jean-Martin Charcot, who liked photographing hysterical women).

That woman in Nigeria sentenced to death by stoning for having a baby out of wedlock is appealing her sentence. Her lawyers are arguing that under Islamic law a baby can gestate for 5 years, so it was actually conceived while her husband was still alive.

The presidential mendacity index.

John Kerry, who is running hard on his war record although he claims the war was wrong, says that half the American’s who died were there because a president refused to admit he was wrong. He doesn’t say why the other half died, or which 3 presidents he presumably thinks were right.

Israel wants a moratorium on UN resolutions critical of Israel, without also attacking Palestinian terrorism. First, gosh isn’t that pessimistic; they’re demanding condemnation of events that haven’t even occurred yet and may never occur. Second, Palestinian terrorist groups aren’t members of the UN, Israel is; parallelism is not appropriate. Actually, Israel is evidently claiming that a moratorium on one-sided resolutions is part of the “roadmap,” which calls for an end to incitement. In case they hadn’t made it clear enough in the past, Israel considers any critics to be inciting violence against Israelis.

Tomorrow Paul Hill will be executed for assassinating an abortion doctor and the guy standing next to the abortion doctor. He says he expects a great reward in heaven. Too bad that’s not where he’ll be going, then.

Jessica Lynch has signed a deal in which she will be paid $1 million to write about events she does not remember. Some day GeeDubya will get at least that much to write his memoirs, although mos of his 20s and 30s are lost in an alcoholic and cocaine-induced haze.

Incidentally, how is it that Paul Bremer was on vacation during that car bomb last Friday? Don’t you have to be on a job more than 3 months before you get a vacation? The Proconsul’s Union no. 17 must have a really good contract.

In another of its many moves to end the conflict in Chechnya, Russia announced an amnesty, which expired Sept. 1, a complete fiasco. Only 150 Chechens took advantage (and they may not have been fighting on the side of their country but Russia’s), outnumbered by the number of Russian soldiers, 220+, who have requested amnesty for kidnapping, torture, etc etc.

The World Medical Association will meet in a couple of weeks, and there are proposals, supported by American pharmaceutical companies and of course the US government, to water down the ethics rules relating to experimental drug trials. Currently, participants are supposed to get medical care after the trial is over. They want to change that so they can perform trials in poor countries and then dump their subjects afterwards onto the tender mercies of the health system of, say, Malawi. Also, and I’m slightly unclear about this, they want to be able to use a placebo, even where effective drugs exist, even if this means that people in the placebo group die. You’ll recall a couple of years ago an American company asked the FDA to let it use placebos in testing drugs to increase the breathing capacity of premature babies, tests which would have killed some babies if it hadn’t been exposed in time.

State Dept spokesmoron Richard Boucher refers to Germany, France, Belgium & Luxembourg, who are considering a joint military command outside of NATO, as “the chocolate makers.”

No comments:

Post a Comment