Saturday, June 26, 2004

Nothing contrived in what he said

You can’t judge by the Bay Area, but Fahrenheit 9/11 may be quite the little phenomenon. I didn’t expect a long line for the 4:30 show, but there it was, with the 7:00 already sold out, and this mind you at just 1 of the 3 theaters within a 5-mile radius showing it on 4 screens. I felt like I was on line for a Star Wars movie.

The movie is fun, intellectually lightweight, sure, but great fun, although Moore has some problems in the second half dealing with the war itself. None of it will be new to you; hell, every quote he uses from Bush was one I’d used myself (and, indeed, the Daily Show). The film is like an illustrated pointillist version of a blog. In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure how many of the points he touches on very briefly will be lost on the uninitiated. But the fun to be had at Shrub’s expense is endless, and every piece of footage is a gem. This is actually another of the film’s problems: Moore (legitimately) takes strong and yes sometimes unfair positions on many things, but in the end can’t decide if Bush is evil or a clown. Then again, neither can I.

Speaking of evil clowns, this article neatly sums up the Bush failure to properly handle North Korea.

Disease has hit South American cocoa crops. There could be a...world chocolate shortage. Oh dear god no.

The US bombs Fallujah heavily, again. And Yowie Allawi makes another speech about how he will defeat the insurgents. The Indy notes that to attend while he makes these defiant speeches, one must first pass through 4 checkpoints entirely manned by Americans, with no Iraqi officials anywhere to be seen. The Indy seems to imply that Allawi’s complete lack of troops somehow deflates his boasts about defeating his enemies.

Governor Terminator has not backed down on his cruel imposition of single-ply toilet paper on state employees (he himself uses a twig to wipe between his singularly muscular buttocks and sees anything else as girly)(ok, I made that up, but for a minute you believed me, didn’t you?), but has had to back down from his plan to let animal shelters kill strays in less than the current statutory 6 days, to save money (3 days, including days when the shelter is closed, was his plan). However, strays will now be allocated to girly-man state employees to wipe their singularly flabby buttocks. I have just grossed myself out.

The Nation’s Naomi Klein says that the US office which overseas reconstruction spending in Iraq has hired the incredibly scummy British mercenary firm Aegis to protect the office’s employees from “assassination, kidnapping, injury and embarrassment.” Klein says the latter is impossible, since these people have no shame, having stolen $184m from drinking water projects to use for the new US embassy, which is already in a fucking palace so what more do they need, 3-ply toilet paper? Klein suggests that the reason almost none of the allocated money has actually been spent is to give Negroponte $15b worth of leverage to make the “sovereign” Iraqi government dance to his tune (his tune, judging from his time in Honduras, is whatever music death squads play when they shoot at people’s feet to make them “dance”). She notes that insurance for the foreign contractors costs up to 30% of payroll, for obvious reasons, plus security at 25% of total spending, and say 20% lost to corruption.... And latest Halliburton story: when their $85,000 trucks get a flat tire, they abandon them rather than, say, carry spare tires.

The same article coins a brilliant term to use instead of the obviously inaccurate “handover”: underhand. In fact, go read it now.

Cheney says about Fuckgate (he won’t admit, or deny, having used the word), “I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue.” In other words, Leahy can go have a frank exchange of views himself. Cheney as usual misses the fucking point: he doesn’t just need to apologize to the senior Senator from Vermont, he needs to apologize to the Senate.

The White House’s response to Fuckgate: Shit happens.

Alan Simpson’s response: Cheney’s obscenity “comes from the gut” (well, Cheney was certainly speaking out of some part of his gastro-intestinal tract....) and “there was nothing contrived in what he said.”

Saudis including Crown Prince Abdullah are blaming the recent bombings on Zionists rather than (or possibly in addition to?) Al Qaida.

Times story: “A LOTION made from human breast milk is a highly effective treatment for warts, Swedish doctors have discovered.” The story does not explain how they happen to have discovered that. A breast pump connected to a water pistol at the office Christmas party would be my guess, knowing Swedish doctors.

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