Thursday, May 11, 2006


I mentioned that the racist British National Party did well in local elections in Barking. One of its newly elected councillors, Richard Barnbrook, turns out to have directed a student film, “HMS Discovery: A Love Story,” which is said to involve those great traditions of the Royal Navy: rum, sodomy and the lash. Barnbrook says, “It was an art film, end of story. It was not a bloody porn film.”

The NSA may be on to something: when the Justice Dept ethics office wanted to investigate the warrantless domestic wiretapping program, it simply turned down their application for the security clearances necessary to do so (after stalling them for 4 months; Justice delayed, then Justice denied). Because it’s hard to be outraged at a cover-up that’s so absurdly funny. For future cover-ups, they should recruit staff writers for The Onion or The Daily Show.

And then of course Justice simply cancelled its plans to have an investigation. Wimps.

Let no one say the Iraqi parliament isn’t dealing with the important issues, like cell-phone ringtones (another Onion-worthy story).

Must-read London Times on how Iraqi militias are imposing their men as administrators of hospitals, schools, private businesses, etc.

When HUD first responded to the reports that Secretary Alphonso Jackson mentioned in a speech having turned down a HUD contract because the applicant had said privately that he disliked George Bush by saying that it hadn’t really happened, it was “anecdotal.” Okay, I thought, someone in HUD just doesn’t know what the word anecdotal means. Possibly they meant allegorical. Or asinine. Then Jackson himself used the word, so I dunno. But it really doesn’t matter that much whether it was true: the point of telling the “anecdote” wasn’t about personal politics but to make clear that prospective HUD contractors are expected to make campaign contributions to the Republican party. “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?” I don’t really know what’s going on at HUD, but no one was paying much attention to the department during the reign of corruption of Samuel Pierce, Reagan’s HUD secretary – or “Mr. Mayor,” as he was called by Ronald Reagan, who assumed that any black man allowed near him must be an urban mayor.

The White House plans to spend $6.1b to update the presidential helicopter (and buy 23 of them, sounds like) so that there is more interior room, it can survive a crash at 15 G, and most importantly, “The fold-down stair spares the president from ducking during photogenic entrances and exits.” (via J-Walk)

The Pentagon wants to issue different sets of interrogation rules for POWs than for “unlawful combatants.” According to the LAT, DOD says “The United States needs greater flexibility when interrogating people who refuse to fight by the rules.” They refuse to fight by the rules, we are flexible.

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