Thursday, May 12, 2005

I am asking that all our friends around the world reject incitement to violence by those who would mischaracterize our intentions

Adding to your slang vocabulary, just a little service I perform here: it seems that in Britain, gangs film themselves beating people up and this is called “happy slapping.” Also, Tony Blair today complained about yobs and hoodies. Hoodies are sweatshirt jackets with hoods, but possibly also the people who wear them.

A small bit of journalistic malpractice at the NYT. I was going to pass on to you a short piece that appeared in the print version about a Seminole County, Fla. Republican party chairman who sued a woman because he “said his campaign to head the state party was sabotaged by a letter falsely accusing him of having been married six times. The right number, he said, is five.” But when I went looking for it, I found that to create that cute little story, the NYT had edited out the detail that she also accused him (falsely, according to the judge) of abusing one of those wives.

It will be fun to watch George Galloway, MP take on Norm Coleman, who has revived the charge that Galloway was bribed by Saddam Hussein with oil-for-food money. This was not what I meant last week when I warned against identifying too closely with Gorgeous George, since I have no idea if it’s true or not, or whether the new evidence is as obviously manufactured as the last was. Galloway says his first words will be that it’s too bad they were only willing to hear from him after declaring his guilt. Perhaps his second words should be to challenge Coleman to take it outside — where Coleman doesn’t have the protection against libel suits he does inside the Senate.

Another 3 Afghans died in the rioting over the alleged Koran-flushing incident, making 7 so far, and those are government figures so you know it’s much higher. Condi Rice made a statement today said that the US military is investigating, which I know reassures me no end, and condemned actions that might have happened: “Disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States. We honor the sacred books of all the world’s great religions.” Human beings of all the world’s great religions, that’s another matter. Also, what’s the threshold for a “great” religion? Do we honor Dianetics, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Tao of Pooh? She concluded with this sentence, whose precise meaning is a little hard to unpack: “I am asking that all our friends around the world reject incitement to violence by those who would mischaracterize our intentions.” Fortunately, that appeal is addressed to all our friends around the world, so only Tony Blair has to decipher it, after he’s done ridding Britain of the scourge of hoodies.

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