Friday, October 31, 2003

A hatched-again Christian

I hope you are all making the best of Protection from Pornography Week.

From the Independent: “A British version of a reality television show featuring 44 dwarfs competing against an elephant in a tug-of-war contest has been pulled before broadcast after protests by Dame Judi Dench and animal rights activists.”

More great British tv: “A group of reality show contestants are taking legal action against Sky after being tricked into seducing a woman who turned out to be a transsexual.”

I forgot to mention something about Michael Howard: he is Jewish (his father changed his name from Hecht). His son converted to Christianity at Eton and likes to try to convert Jews. One writer suggests that this is the reason the Tory party is so anxious not to let its bigoted members have a vote. When first looking for a parliamentary seat, Howard was turned down by 40 constituency parties. Here’s the right-wing Daily Mail: “Michael Howard would like to be seen as the very model of... the proper English gentleman... [who] loves the countryside and stands for those very Anglo-Saxon virtues of fair play and decency... his enemies would complain that he is a chilly, calculating, heartless, ruthless, ambitious, calculating political machine, bent on passing himself off as something he isn't.” They said the exact same things about Disraeli, who wasn’t Jewish but his father was, 150 years ago.

Former Italian PM Andreotti’s conviction for ordering the murder of a journalist is overturn. Honestly, I have no idea if he was guilty. With the Italian justice system, it’s anyone’s guess.

From the Times: “President Putin summoned 14 investment bankers to the Kremlin last night in a desperate bid to assure them Russia was still a safe place to do business.” Of course when Putin summons people, they tend to arrive tied up and with hoods over their heads.

Lemmings do not commit mass suicide. A Disney documentary in 1958 faked footage.

And FDR may not have had polio, but rather Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Ted Costa, the guy who brought us the goober recall, now wants to change the way redistricting is done, and hey he wants it done in 2006, 6 years early.

The Center for Public Integrity has issued a report which says that the companies getting the big contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan are all big campaign donors and employ former officials. Just as the cynical among you suspected, of course. Indeed, just as anyone with two brain cells to rub together suspected. But I have to ask if this tells us something special about these companies, or if American business is just hopelessly mired in cronyism and corruption. One way to tell would have been to compare these companies with the ones that didn’t win contracts, but of course these were mostly no-bid contracts.

In a new move to intimidate, the US government is prosecuting Greenpeace, as an organization, for the action of 2 members who boarded a ship to protest mahogany imports. They are using a nineteenth century law about unauthorized boarding of ships, enacted to prevent boarding-house owners jumping onto ships as they arrived to get clients. Greenpeace’s director may not (for once) be exaggerating: “The government's action is unprecedented - prosecuting an entire organisation for the expressive activities of its supporters.”

Putin’s law against election commentary in the press is overturned by the courts.

Billmon notes that the pro-war semi-neo-libs like Tom Friedman have been writing columns saying that Iraq is not Vietnam. Of course it isn’t: it’s a dry heat.

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