Wednesday, June 23, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Now With 100% More Computer Trouble!

Celine Would Have Had to Flee the Country France, land where you can't a scarf on your head, is set to follow its ban on racist insults by making sexist or homophobic comments punishable by up to a year in prison. While I certainly carry no brief for racists, sexists, or homophobes, isn't this a little silly coming from a country that has the word "Liberty" stamped on its coinage?

No Leg to Stand On The US government has dropped its attempt to get a UN resolution extending the current exemption that prohibits American soldiers from being charged with international war crimes. The American argument was that so many countries hated us they would seek to prosecute our soldiers on petty political grounds, when no real crimes had been committed: apparently something called "Abu Ghraib" was a factor in the abandonment of this strategy.

Torture Memo #A Billion: What a Bunch of Assholes We Are Another day, another release of a damaging administration memo showing that high-level approval had been conferred on interrogation tactics that would get any cop in the country thrown in jail. The weirdest part about this is the epistemological discussion we've all been having since this happened about the definition of "torture": Orwell would be grimly satisfied. Did you ever in your life think you'd be seeing headlines on CNN that said "What is Torture?" and be forced to come up with a counter argument to people who claim that it's only torture when there's organ failure? We are doomed.

Thank You For Being a Friend Jody Watley once opined in song, "Friends! Won't be around. Friends! Will let you down. I'm talkin' 'bout your friends." Indeed, our friend Pakistan has let us down. In all the furious debate over the Bush administration's baffling insistence that Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda is a finding by the 9/11 commission that no one has challenged so far: Pakistan was strikingly close to both Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, funding and training both groups and perhaps having knowledge about their upcoming operations. So, when does the bombing of Peshawar start?

Too Tired to Think of a "Moon" Pun The fallout over the crowning of self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon by a member of Congress at the Dirksen Senate building continues. Now everyone involved, including the coronator, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Illinois) is backpedaling, each giving a variation of (1) I wasn't there (2) I was only there for a little bit (3) It's not what it looks like. These defenses are perhaps hardest for Davis, who donned white gloves to put a bewjewelled crown on the head of convicted felon Moon, who then announced that the spirits of Hitler and Stalin had informed him he was the messiah. Davis' defense, so far, has been to insist that all this is perfectly normal: “I see people crowned. I go to parades quite a bit...[and see] the queen of the homecoming parade, queen of the festival," he said, although he felt it necessary to add "I'm not involved in any cult activity." Forcing congressmen to say stuff like that, and like "I don't support Rev. Moon's claim that he is the Messiah," (said by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland) is what makes this story so much fun. Next mystery: Which senator sponsored Moon's use of the Dirksen building?

-Consider Arms