Thursday, October 05, 2006

Seeing, almost literally, what the other person means

The Daily Kos informs us that Republicans are closing ranks around Denny Hastert. Insert your own fat joke here (I’m feeling lazy).

Although Putin terrified Georgia into returning the four spies, he gave nothing in return, continuing to attempt to strangle its economy through road and postal blockades. And in Russia, schools are expelling Georgians and the police are persecuting Georgian-owned businesses (claiming the Georgians send money home to be used to buy weapons), work permits are being denied, and Putin keeps talking ominously about how Georgia is threatening and blackmailing Russia. Of course this is all about domestic politics, a cynical attempt to unite Russians around nationalism and a rather ridiculous sense of victimization by an ethnic scapegoat. The Jews (how many are left in Russia, anyway?) must be feeling relieved it ain’t them this time.

I’m still feeling lazy, so make up your own clever segue from Putin, whose soul Bush read by looking into his eyes, to Jack Straw, the former British home & foreign minister, who has taken to asking Muslim women who visit his constituency office to remove their veils, which he says is important “so that you can - almost literally - see what the other person means, and not just hear what they say.” The London Times continues, – see if you can spot the ironical part: “He later told BBC Radio Lancashire that this ‘needs to be discussed because in our society, we are able to relate, particularly to strangers, by being able to read their faces, and if you can’t read people’s faces, that does provide some separation’.” Straw wrote about that in a column not available online in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph (update: the Guardian has it), whose news article about the column features this picture, which I include so that you can almost literally see what he means.

A recent (March 2006) no-fly list includes Saddam Hussein, Bolivian President Evo Morales, and 14 of the 9/11 hijackers.

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