Monday, January 03, 2005

Poppy and Bubba to the rescue


George Monbiot makes the obvious point that the US spends much more on killing foreigners than it does helping them after natural disaster, but adds a less obvious one: “For Bush and Blair, the tsunami relief operation and the Iraq war are both episodes in the same narrative of salvation. The civilised world rides out to rescue foreigners from their darkness.”

Which helped me realize what was bothering me about this picture on the White House website today, of Shrub roping in his father (“message: I care”) and Bill Clinton (“aren’t you the guys who made snide comments about feeling people’s pain just last week?”) to help him recover after his first fumbling reactions to the tsunami: a big-ass painting of Teddy Roosevelt, in uniform, bringing freedom to the benighted heathens of Cuba.




The British Freedom of Information Act went into effect today, and lots of old files were opened, including one showing the 18-year (1963-81) campaign by civil servants to get softer, but more expensive, toilet paper. An epidemiologist “concluded that, for reasons that might not be appropriately described in a newspaper without risk of offence, hard paper was less hygienic than soft.”

Idiot of the day (from the Daily Telegraph):
A 33-year-old Italian was in serious condition in hospital after he was run over when he laid down on a pedestrian crossing following an argument with his girlfriend. The man had refused to get into the car his girlfriend was driving and was hit by a vehicle travelling in the other direction in Wohlen, Switzerland, police said.

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