Thursday, October 30, 2003

Prancing around the aircraft carrier

Yet another lovely Bush judicial nominee, Claude Allen for the 4th Circuit. On a non-personal level, Bush has screwed with procedure by picking someone from Virginia for what should be a Maryland seat. On a personal level, let’s just say Allen is a black man who worked for Jesse Helms in his campaign against Governor Jim Hunt, who Allen said was vulnerable because his campaign could be “linked with queers.” He says he meant no offense to the queers. Allen is now deputy sec of Health & Human Services, where he pushes for sex ed. classes that only advocate abstinence until marriage, and he doesn’t mean gay marriage. Under Clinton, 4 black nominees to the 4th circuit were blocked by the R’s. Previously, Allen was the top health official in Virginia, where he fought extending health coverage for uninsured youth to abortion in cases of rape & incest, which was required by federal law.

IDS out. Only 2 other Conservative party leaders have never been allowed even to run in a general election (Neville Chamberlain, Austen Chamberlain).

The key description of the Tory Party leader-in-waiting Michael Howard is Anne Widdecombe’s that he has “something of the night” about him--the BBC Newsnight presenter last night referred to his “Transylvanian ancestors” in alluding to this, hopelessly confusing the people he was questioning. There may not even be a leadership contest, as all the decent candidates are too old or were pressured not to run (IDS was elected under a new system that gave much of the decision to the scariest people on earth, the card-carrying members of the Tory party; by having a coronation rather than an election, the Tory MPs are trying to deprive the membership of a vote). Howard, previously seen playing the John Ashcroft role as home secretary, has the advantage of never having had sex with a man, and never having suggested that the EU wasn’t the whore of Babylon. As I suggested, he is a place-holder who will never be prime minister. Not only are the Tories now unelectable, but so is Howard.

Maybe the alleged experts will just shut up. Earlier this week all the talk was that Iraqi rebels were targeting civilians now, because it was easier. Today they blew up a tank.

The Afghan opium industry has restored itself to pre-Taliban levels. Hurrah.

Wesley Clark on Bush’s claim about the banner: “I guess that next thing we are going to hear is that the sailors told him to wear the flight suit and prance around on the aircraft carrier.”

At his press conference, Bush refused to answer a question about whether he could promise there would fewer American troops in Iraq in one year, on the grounds that it was a “trick question.” Incidentally, the other thing Michael Howard is famous for is evading and refusing to answer a question in an interview with Jeremy Paxman, despite being asked it 14 times in a row.

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