Monday, December 22, 2003

Harassing a wild burro on federal lands

It’s like waiting for a bus. I haven’t had a good subject line in days, and then 3 come at the same time.

To elaborate on Joshua Marshall’s take on Libya, there was no “break-through” last week: Libya’s been trying to get back on our good side for years. Bush pushed on an open door in order to declare yet another victory for the Bush Doctrine. Of course (and this is my elaboration), only a rabid right-wing Republican could have done it, Nixon going to China and all that. Imagine the reaction if Clinton had done what Bush did.

Tom Ridge says if we don’t see our grandmothers for Christmas, the terrorists win. Yeah, but what if your grandmother is a terrorist, huh, huh, huh?

Speaking of terrorists, the NYT has a headline, “Israeli Forces Arrest a Senior Hamas Official in the West Bank.” The fact that they also shot a 5-year old boy dead is not mentioned in the headline, nor in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth paragraphs. Callous, much?

They do have a good article on workplace deaths, which you’ll be surprised to hear OSHA never bothers to prosecute, including where employers had previously been cited for safety violations that later resulted in death. Such cases used to be called “willful” violations, but OSHA now usually calls them “unclassified,” precisely to prevent the possibility of anyone going to prison for it. As it is, killing a worker is a misdemeanor under federal law, with a maximum sentence of 6 months, half that for harassing a wild burro on federal lands (well, that’s what is says in the article. I’m assuming that’s not sexual harassment). For the 2,197 deaths the Time tracked over 20 years, employers paid $106m in fines (compared to the $750m paid by WorldCom for misleading investors, obviously a much more serious crime), and were sentenced to under 30 years, most of which were for a single case in which 25 workers died.

Another headline from the German cannibal trial: “Cannibal Rejected Victims Who Were 'Too Fat'”.

A researcher claims that Joan of Arc was actually a put-up job, actually the illegitimate daughter of a previous king, induced to pretend to be a peasant as a symbol of God’s support for the French cause. He also thinks another woman, a condemned witch, was burned in her place and that she lived to her late 50s in prison.

A Guardian writer asks why the US is trying so hard to get Iraq’s debt forgiven and trying so hard not to get the debt rung up by Argentina’s dictators forgiven.

If you’d prefer to read total nonsense on the subject, there was Safire’s piece in today’s NYT, in which he said that France and Germany were forgiving billions of dollars owed to them in exchange for access to a few million in contracts.

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