Tuesday, January 13, 2004

No president has ever done more for what now?

George W. Bush to the New Yorker: “No President has ever done more for human rights than I have.” I don’t know the context, but Chimp Boy is now officially the most self-deluded person on the planet.

The Supreme Court has decided to allow the government to keep the names and other details of Guantanamo detainees secret. Can you say “un-person”? Of course last week the government grounded a flight because it mistook a 75-year old Chinese woman for an Arab terrorist, so for all we know all the Guantanamo detainees are 75-year old Chinese women.

The TSA--which already has separate screening lines at some airports for 1st-class passengers, who may pay airlines more money for better service, but why should that affect a government service?--is planning to offer faster screening to passengers who allow the government access to their personal information. Which do you think Americans are most willing to give up, their convenience or their privacy? Me too.

Contra Costa county’s electoral politics continue to be dominated by Measure L, to zone out Wal-Mart. Today’s mailer says that old people benefit from lower drug prices at Wal-Mart, working parents benefit from doing all their shopping at one place at low prices, and these evil, heartless people want to take that away from them, and possible tie them to the railroad tracks. I must be one of the evil, heartless people, because I’ll be sending back their postage-paid envelope empty, forcing them to raise prices for their poor, elderly customers. Bwaa ha ha [evil laughter]. There is a questionnaire. Sample question: What do you think is the most important problem facing CC County? Education, crime, property taxes, jobs, growth, big box stores, other.

A judge ordered a woman convicted of vehicular homicide to place flowers on her victim’s grave and carry his picture in her wallet for 5 years. She is not happy: the victim’s mother is insisting that it be a picture of him taken after his death, in his coffin.

CON MAN OF THE WEEK: A decade ago, three British college students had to go on the run to escape an IRA hit squad. Actually, the MI5 agent who told them they’d been targeted was really a car salesman (a darned good one, I’m sure), who took hundreds of thousands of pounds off them while they hid out for years.

In our continuing World War I vet death watch: the last (British, at least) survivor of the Battle of Jutland is dead at 103.

The King of Swaziland, presiding over a poor country with the second-highest HIV rate in the world (39%!!!), decides that what the country really needs is for each of his 11 wives to get her own palace.

I feel like I should say something about Haiti, whose parliament just went out of existence, but I really haven’t been following it. When Aristide was deposed a decade ago, the choice between democracy and military dictatorship wasn’t a hard one, whatever my misgivings about the tiny turbulent priest, but now?

The US cover-up/apology for the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty continues. (Link no longer works)

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