Friday, January 09, 2004

Doodles of mass destruction

On the absence of WMDs in Iraq, if you need to read more.

Here is how close they were--this is all the evidence there is, from the very pen of a top Iraqi engineer:

Tasmania, Australia, where homosexuality was illegal until 1997, has granted full legal rights for same-sex partners.

The US released some Iraqi prisoners today. They’d promised 100 but actually let out 60. Actually, they put them in trucks, then raced them right past their waiting relatives and dumped them under a bridge a mile away, in a childish attempt to keep them away from the world press.

(Later:) evidently those were entirely different prisoners. They will only release the others if they are vouched for by local leaders, who are no doubt still trying to figure out how much to charge for this service.

The last surviving American wounded (by mustard gas) veteran of World War I dies at 108. He said the secret to long life is to keep breathing. 108 years and that was the best he could come up with.

While continuing to keep Palestinians in refugee camps, Israel will take the last Falasha from Ethiopia, deciding that they are in fact Jews after all, although they haven’t actually been Jews since the 19th century. Since that was a convert-or-die situation, Israel figures it doesn’t count, and anyway they need people to scrub their toilets who don’t want to kill them. Israel, losing the demographic battle, has decided to purchase these people from the Ethiopian government. And I use the term advisedly, although both governments are keeping the precise payment secret.

The Palestinian PM says that if Sharon goes through with his threat to impose a unilateral solution, Palestine will give up on the two-state solution and go for a single state, demanding equal rights for Palestinians within Israel. Touché, Mr. Qureia, touché!

Next week Bush will announce plans for a manned station on the Moon, and then on to Mars, where he hopes to find Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, possibly ray guns. For some reason, Bush is referring to the Mars mission as “regime change”...

5 of the candidates removed their name from the ballot for the District of Columbia primary (which is Tuesday). Why?

Tony Blair will refuse to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Britain. The timing of this announcement could have been better: the episode of The Simpsons Blair was in has just aired over there. So Blair was willing to meet Homer Simpson but not the Dalai Lama. Which would be my preference, too, but then I’m not the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Not yet, anyway.

The US program to shoot down planes involved in smuggling drugs, resumed after that little incident with the planeload carrying a condescension of missionaries (that’s the plural: school of fish, pride of lions, condescension of missionaries) shot down over Peru, scored another win. Which they succeeded in covering up for 4 months (no word in the NYT story on how it leaked out now). In September the Colombians forced down a plane and then strafed it. There were no drugs on the plane. They did not have or require American approval, and the Americans told them there was no proof the plane was smuggling drugs, but the Colombian military couldn’t have done it without information provided by the Americans.

According to the Guardian, this is the latest Bush plan for Iraq: Rather than direct elections, the US wants "caucuses" of handpicked "notables" in each of the 18 provinces to choose a transitional national assembly, which would then appoint a government.

A Tennessee appeals court upholds a judge who banned a divorced father from "taking the child around or otherwise exposing the child to his gay lover(s) and/or his gay lifestyle," although it did find that that order wasn’t so specific that the judge could then throw the father in jail (as he did, in Sept 2002; why didn’t we hear about this?) for simply telling his son that he was gay. The court doesn’t actually say it would have been wrong to ban that too. It would be nice to know the kid’s age.

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