Sunday, March 14, 2004

Kind of folklore

Oh sure, I could say that Vladimir Putin was the president of Freedonia and you people wouldn’t blink twice, but show an unfamiliarity with a Muppet character...

The right-wing Spanish government loses the election badly. I’m still unclear (everyone is, really) how that happened. Was Aznar punished for his role in a deeply unpopular war in Iraq, and if so, was that because of the war itself or the Al Qaida response this week? Or was it because Aznar lied, and withheld evidence, to misattribute the bombings to ETA instead? All good reasons, of course, and that’s without going into the People’s Party’s domestic record, but I think we’d like to know here in the US whether it was the war or the lying. Turnout was 74%, up from 65% in 2000. The new PM’s grandfather was a Republican army officer killed during the Civil War.

On the other hand Russia today buried whatever remnants of democracy it had. It will be interesting to see how high the “none of the above” vote was. Turnout easily reached the 50% mark, thanks to giveaways of free haircuts, grocery discounts, movie tickets, vacation raffles, concerts, etc etc. Boy, I voted this month and all I got was a slightly sickly feeling.

I read a NY Times profile of John Kerry, from 1971. I’m not clear exactly what his story today is on how he joined up, but then he said in as many words that he was trying to stay away from being shot at. Which is why he joined the Navy, Vietnam not being a particularly naval sort of war up to that point. Unfortunately for him, 2 weeks before he got there, they decided to start sending the swift-boats he’d trained for up rivers (instead of patrolling safely off-shore), just to prove that there was nowhere Americans couldn’t go. And thus the 3 war wounds, which gave him the prerogative of asking to be sent home, which he did. There’s not much hint of the buddy-buddy, band of brothers, war nostalgia he’s exhibiting these days.

Jimmy Breslin reports on the massive engineering project of making sure that George Bush’s shoes never touch dirt.

Secretary of War Rumsfeld today says that it’s “kind of folklore” that anyone in the Bush admin said that Saddam was an immediate threat. Bloggers, start your google engines!

He also said that Bush ordered Powell and he not to get involved in the election campaign. That was on CBS. On Fox, Powell got involved in the election campaign.

Evidently the Republican candidate for Senate for Illinois used to be married to Star Trek Voyager’s 7 of 9. And there’s something in the child-custody court papers he doesn’t want made public.

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