Friday, February 27, 2004

How many?

Question: How many multinational corporations could engage in systematic and ongoing sexual abuse of children, cover up that abuse for decades, and remain in business once these practices were revealed?

Answer: At least one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

But is it murder?

The Telegraph reports that smoking 'kills up to 5,000 fetuses a year'.

I wonder when conservatives will start to push to make smoking while pregnant a crime. I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

So wrong

This is so wrong. The French national assembly has voted overwhelmingly to ban head scarves and skullcaps in public schools. The justification for this fascist law is that "the ban would help to keep classes from dividing up into 'militant religious communities.'"

This beggars the imagination. Do the French really think that everyone won't know who the Muslim and Jewish kids are even if they aren't wearing headscarves and skull caps?

And wouldn't banning Jews and Muslims from public school entirely would be even more effective? But, oh, you'll still have Jews and Muslims flaunting their religous regalia in other public areas. How long before France decides it needs a final solution to the Muslim and Jewish problem?

There is no difference between forcing a Muslim woman to not wear a headscarf and forcing a Jew to wear a yellow star. It's not about separation, it's about individual freedom. When the government gets into the business of deciding what people may and may not wear it takes its first steps towards fascism. When it makes those decisions based on items of clothing associated with religious and ethnic groups it takes its first step towards Nazism.

On a related note, immigration officials in Maine have begun raiding ethnic supermarkets looking for illegal aliens. Local officials have begun advising all non-citizens to carry their immigration documents at all times. No, I am not making this up. It is true. In the United States we now have people living in fear of government officials stopping them on the street and demanding to see their papers. Of course, citizens who have dark skins or accents should probably also carry their passports with them at all times to avoid being mistaken for an alien without documentation. How long before no one but whites will be able to walk American streets without fear of being hauled away? And how long after that before no one will be able to do so any more, and "the home of the free" will just be an abstract memory?

If this sounds alarmist you should go read some histories of Berlin in the early thirties.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Someone needs to get a life

I am shocked (but not at all surprised) that someone is suing Janet Jackson::

Knoxville native Terri Carlin filed a proposed class action lawsuit in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday, charging the accused with causing her and 'millions of others' to 'suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury.' The suit reportedly seeks billions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

There is staggering irony that this is happening at the same time that France is about to ban the wearing of head scarves in public schools. I am not that familiar with Islamic culture but I am given to understand that Muslim women cover their heads for exactly the same reason that women from Western cultures cover their breasts (except on the Cote D'azure). Demanding that a Muslim women go bare-headed is tantamount to demanding that a Western woman go bare-chested.

But, of course, no one dares admit this because it highlights how utterly arbitrary all of these social norms are, and defuses that heady feeling of moral righteousness (to say nothing of the potential for profit) that comes from being a member of a majority that can impose its will on everyone else.

Hm, I am feeling pretty outraged, angry and embarrassed, and I'm about to suffer serious injury from this insurmoutable urge I feel to beat my head against a wall. I wonder if I can sue Terri Carlin for damages.

I see right through you

Josh Marshall has figured it out:

Besides tax cuts and parceling out pork to favored constituencies, there's very little this White House does in domestic policy that isn't for short-term political gain, regardless of the consequences.

Now let's hope the rest of the American electorate does the same before November 7. I wouldn't bet my life savings on it.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Life immitates art

It took almost twenty years for the real world to become like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, but only two years for Minority Report to morph from fiction to fact :

In a new twist, President Bush suggested today that Saddam Hussein's intent to surreptitiously acquire weapons of mass destruction was sufficient grounds for the Iraq war that ousted the dictator from power.

Ronstradamus prognosticates

I would like to note for the record that this post was written before the Super Bowl.


There must be a pony in here somewhere

Rummy says WOMDs may still be found in Iraq.

You gotta give him this: the man's an optimist.

Then there's this:

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, and other Democrats on the committee reminded Rumsfeld that in September 2002 he said "we know" where weapons of mass destruction are stored in Iraq.

Explaining that remark, Rumsfeld told the panel that he was referring to suspected weapons sites, but he acknowledged that he had made it sound like he was talking about actual weapons.

The remark "probably turned out not to be what one would have preferred, in retrospect," he said.

It was actually clear at the time that the Administration could not possibly have known where the weapons were. Remember, there were still UN weapons inspectors on the ground at the time. If the Administration really knew where the weapons were they could have cemented the case for war by simply giving this information to the UN. That they didn't proves that they didn't know. Furthermore, it proves that they knew they didn't know, which means they lied through their teeth when they said they did know.

The credibility of our nation has been irrecoverably undermined. Who is going to believe us the next time we cry Wolf of Mass Destruction?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Better late than never

Someone close to the Bush administration has finally figured it out: "'If you cannot rely on good, accurate intelligence that is credible to the American people and to others abroad, you certainly cannot have a policy of pre-emption,'" says David Kay. Too bad it took a year (to say nothing of over 500 dead American soldiers and God only knows how many Iraqi civilian lives -- last estimate I heard was 'over 10,000'.)