Thursday, October 16, 2003

The enemy is a guy named Satan

Sometimes, great minds think alike. And then, at other times, Thomas Friedman thinks like me. His column today (Thur.) also talks about Bushies being afraid of speaking before non-picked audiences. I didn’t know that even the Heritage Foundation wasn’t allowed to ask Cheney any questions.

On the same page, Maureen Dowd says of Rep George Nethercutt’s comment that reconstruction in Iraq “is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day” puts the casual back in casualty.

Also giving with the happy talk, the Commerce Secretary visits Iraq and calls for investors to ignore the violence. See if you can detect any sarcasm in this NYT story (excerpted): “At a heavily guarded warehouse at the Baghdad airport, which ordinary Iraqis cannot enter without American permission, Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans said on Wednesday that violence in Iraq is isolated and that foreign investors should seize opportunities here. .... Mr. Evans said, "You have to look beyond these isolated incidents that are occurring." Asked what advice he would give potential investors, he said, "Tell 'em to come here like I did."” They would, but they can’t afford to have a whole army protecting them.

The Texas Court of Appeals says that a motorist giving another motorist the finger is not illegal. There was an actual jury trial in this case.

Cute Michael Kinsley piece on Bush’s news habits.

The British report on GM test crops says that they lead to the disappearance of wildlife. Especially butterflies. And flowers. In part from the extra-strength pesticides, in part from the lack of seeds for animals to eat. And Monsanto is pulling out of Europe, which pleases the Europeans no end.

The right-wing Daily Telegraph denounces the fear-mongers, under the contradictory but no doubt irresistible headline “Frankenstein Knows Best.”

At an Islamic conference, Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad said: “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today they rule this world by proxy.” “(Jews) invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy, so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong; so that they can enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.”

The Chinese have put a man into space, and I can’t think of a good tasteless joke about it. It was supposed to be good for Chinese stature and pride, and was up until the minute a tv interviewer asked him to confirm the old chestnut about the Great Wall being the only man-made thing that can be seen from space. No, actually it can’t.

I mentioned William Boykin yesterday, the guy at the Pentagon you don’t want showing up on your doorstep to talk about Jesus. Rumsfeld says he has a right to speak his mind. Whether he has a right to speak it to a religious group while wearing a military uniform--a detail I didn’t have yesterday--is another matter. We do know that 500 soldiers stationed in Iraq were given the right to speak their commanding officer’s mind. Boykin said that Muslims worship an idol, and not “a real god.” Even without this, why would you put him in charge with the operations to capture Saddam, Osama, etc, when what Rummy calls his “outstanding record” is one of being in charge of failed operations: rescuing the hostages in Iran in 1980, the raid on Somalia in 1993, the search for Pablo Escobar... Incidentally, 2 days ago I joked that Scalia was recusing himself from the pledge of allegiance case because he thinks he is god. So evidently does Boykin, who said that god chose Bush to be president.

Tanzania has banned imports of used underwear.

“Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories" quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used.” I give the URL because when I read that I thought it was a joke.

There are riots in Azerbaijan over the fraudulent election letting Aliyev’s son succeed him. That could never happen here. The riots, I mean, not the fraudulent election letting one leader’s son succeed him.

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