Thursday, January 29, 2004

Biological changes over time

I don’t know if anyone here is really interested in a dissection of the Hutton Report (but I am, which is the important thing), which is being treated as Holy Writ across the pond for no reason that I can see, but below is a link to one that explains why it is a whitewash. Actually, I think the report is so one-sided that its reputation can’t last long, I hope, because I’d hate to see the damage to the BBC that could arise. Best bit: The term "sexed up", as Lord Hutton explained yesterday, with wonderfully understated, under-sexed distaste, is "a slang expression, the meaning of which lacks clarity in the context of the dossier". Hutton blames the BBC for only using one source in its story that the government knew its claim that Iraq’s WMDs could be launched in 45 minutes was false. Guess how many sources the government had for making that claim? (Later:) spoke too soon. The British public, according to 2 polls, think Hutton was a whitewash.

Astonishing half sentence in a WaPo report: “Although the drug industry's practice of suppressing data unfavorable to its products is legal...” The article, which suggests that antidepressants don’t work on children (because the drug companies did tests on children but didn’t report them), is an eye-opener on the drug industry in general.

The Senate 86-9 votes to let companies under-fund their pensions.

And House Republicans are planning to hold up bankruptcy help for farmers, tying it to their awful bankruptcy bill and a provision allowing abortion protesters to get out of paying their fines through bankruptcy.

A new, rather well-paid profession in Denmark: substitutes for rich people sent to prison. Evidently when you show up to prison in Denmark, you don’t have to show a photo id.

AP story: “Statue of Yoda Worth $20,000 Is Stolen.” Folks, there exists a $20,000 statute...of Yoda.

Bushies are responding to David Kay and the absence of WMDs by calling for more time to investigate, and patience. But want the 9/11 commission to wrap it up, pronto, with no extensions. If there were an opposition party in this country, that little contradiction could be used quite effectively. Hell, if there were an opposition party in this country (or an independent-minded media), the Bushies couldn’t get away with uttering blatant inconsistencies like that.

The Daily Show had clips of every losing candidate in NH claiming some sort of victory, including 5th place Joe Lieberman saying he was in a 3-way tie for 3rd place. Jon Stewart asked when the primaries became the Special Olympics. And there’s a good parody of this (“when I was growing up, we didn't have a lot of money for things like tracking polls and negative advertising”) at Slate.

Speaking of spin, Governor Ahnuuuuuld says that the court decision that he illegally loaned his campaign $4.5m is “fantastic news.”

The 11th Circuit allows Florida to ban gays from adopting. Jeb Bush, one of whose brothers is an alcoholic with a history of driving drunk with minors in the car, and another of whose brothers frequents prostitutes and fathered a child with a woman while both were married to other people, welcomed the decision: “The decision validates Florida's conclusion that it is in the best interest of adopted children, many of whom come from troubled and unstable backgrounds, to be placed in a home anchored both by a father and a mother.” Well, actually single people can adopt in Florida. If they’re straight. This law was pushed in the ‘70s by Anita Bryant, another parent of the year.

Not surprisingly, Bush is reneging on his promise-related program activity to increase AIDS spending in the 3rd World.

We are moving towards elections here. I received a newspaper today entitled Contra Costa Voter, with the headline “Uilkema in Clear Lead for County Board of Supervisors.” Oddly this newspaper is funded entirely by, well I think you can guess. Who does this sort of thing fool?

Another initiative on the March ballot is to change the budget process, including not paying legislators and the governor, excuse me, governator, their salaries when the budget is late.

The US has quietly emptied out the juvenile wing of Stalag Guantanamo, having determined that the 3 under-aged inmates “no longer posed a threat to our nation.” Funny, it’s when they hit puberty that teenagers usually become a threat.

Speaking of biological changes over time, Georgia’s new Republican schools superintendent plans to replace references to “evolution” in school science standards with “biological changes over time.” The superintendent described the new curriculum as “world-class,” but did not say whether she considers that world to be flat.

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