Wednesday, May 19, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Land of $1,000 Omelets.

Do the Wrist-Slap! It's America's hottest new dance craze. The latest incarnation of the Wrist-Slap is the sentence handed down to Army Spc. Jeremy Sivits, who took the photos in the Abu Ghraib prison that have caused such a brouhaha. His sentence: One year in military prison and a bad-conduct discharge. I wonder what they'll give to the guy who beat someone to death: 18 months and the loss of his Blockbuster Video privileges?

An "Exit Strategy" Worthy of Bush Ariel Sharon, as we all know, has this goofy plan to leave the Gaza Strip in exchange for a big chunk of the West Bank. Although that plan was rejected by his own party, he is still going forward with it. Part of the plan is to have a "show of force" in Gaza before pulling out so it won't look like the terrorists have won a military victory. Today, we see what that "show of force" entails: At least 10 Palestinian demonstrators, some of them children, shot dead by Israeli troops. So much for leaving Gaza.

Purple Rain, Purple Rain Tony Blair, the hugely unpopular Prime Minister of Great Britain, was pelted by protesters with some kind of projectile that contained a purple powder that stained Blair's suit and splattered onto some other Labour hacks. Wonderfully, this took place during Prime Minister's questions in the House of Commons. Even more wonderfully, the "assailants" were guests of a member of the House of Lords. An angry Liberal Democrat MP said: "No one should believe they will win any friends in any party by doing something like this." Hey, they've already won some friends at the MLWL.

At Last: The Harry Potter-Hamas Connection Exposed! If you read only one article about the nutty Protestant influence in George Bush's administration today, make it this one. The Village Voice obtained a bunch of secret memos detailing White House meetings with members of the Apostolic Congress, a Pentecostal sect that opposes any "two-state" solution in Israel. There are many jaw-dropping revelations in this story. The most damaging is the revelation that Elliott Abrams, the sinister Iran-Contra figure who is now in charge of formulating Middle East policy for the government, regularly consults with this whacko group to make sure the administration's policy conforms with their doomsday fantasies (in fact, the administration sought their approval before endorsing Sharon's plan to leave Gaza). The most hilarious is the account of the Apostolic Congress' top staffer in Israel, who believes that when she moved into a sublet that had a Harry Potter book, it sent a "hair-raising spirit of fear" to attack her. "At this time I am associating it with witchcraft," she notes soberly. Yes. It is 2004, and the people who run the United States are asking for policy advice from a woman who believes that a witch put a book in her house so that a ghost could attack her.

You Weren't Using that Right to Vote, Were You? The run-up to the Biggest Election Fraud in US History continues apace, as a key Ohio county is preparing to give Republican-run Diebold a no-bid contract to supply them with touchscreen voting machines, despite objections from Democratic politicians that the machines are unreliable and do not produce a paper trail. Also, in the state where I live, no-bid contracts are illegal and the governor could actually go to jail because of them. Watch for Bush to win big in this county.

-Consider Arms