Monday, September 13, 2004


A word about the latest US bombing of Fallujah: you don’t get to call it “precision bombing” unless you’re admitting that you intended to blow up that ambulance.

David Corn describes Colin Powell as “a boxer who has taken one too many dives.”

The World's Shortest Blog, which uses the same template I do, which is slightly disconcerting to me, offers a bounty to whoever publicly asks Chimpy how many times he’s been arrested.

I knew if I procrastinated long enough about doing the research to write again about Tom Coburn, R candidate for Senate in Oklahoma and loon, someone would do it for me. In addition to the homophobia (Bush appointed him to the AIDS commission), Schindler’s List, death penalty for abortion doctors and whatnot, Salon has discovered that he once sterilized a young woman without her consent, and illegally charged Medicare for the procedure.

Putin looks at Chechen insurrection and decides that the appropriate response is to destroy what little regional autonomy and democracy remains, and take more power into his own ice-cold hands. The 89 regional governors, currently elected, would be appointed, by him. And Duma elections would be entirely by proportional representation (currently it’s chosen half by PR, half by first-past-the-post), but with the same 7% threshold for a party to enter the Duma, making it in practice less democratic, and of course more pliable. Under Putin’s plan, voters would choose from among parties, not individual candidates, a system in place only in Israel and I think Japan (and remember that many Russian mafia types have bought their way onto party lists in order to get parliamentary immunity from prosecution). Putin is playing on a mythical conspiracy to break up Russia, the answer to which is “unity,” by which he means dictatorship. Or the terrorists win.

And he wants “a single organisation capable of not only dealing with terror attacks but also working to avert them, destroy criminals in their hideouts, and if necessary, abroad.” The Guardian suggests that this is a version of the American Department of Homeland Security; I’d suggest a comparison closer to home, f’r instance the KGB or the Okhranka.

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