Wednesday, March 16, 2005
SATs to be re-done 1994. Will have an essay, more emphasis on reading skills, do math as straight calculation instead of multiple choice. Essay is optional. Will permit calculators. Reading & writing to be more important than test-taking. Minorities killed the mandatory essay
CA Sup Court says the non-conflicting parts of conflicting initiatives will not be enacted, it’s all or nothing. Invalidated a campaign reform law passed Jun88 that got fewer votes than the one invalidated a few weeks ago. Why bother vote? Insurance hasn’t gone down, etc.
Br spent thousands to fly 5 ministers back from all over the world to defeat a Lords-originated measure on... dog registration.
Bush’s people say he’s really not about to move from sanctions to military strike, despite the ambiguity of “I’ve had it...” Bush says he’s not preparing America for war. Of course, if Saddam’s use of hostages is worse than Hitler, why isn’t Bush preparing for war?
Amnesty Int. says Saudi Arabia torturing 100s of Yemenis as punishment for Yemen’s support of Iraq. Our allies...
The Crime Bill I’ve been bitching about has been gutted -- no racial-justice-in-death-penalty, no 32 new capital crimes, no ban on assault weapons. Guess which one Atty Gen Thornburgh annoyed about
Thatcher lost her last ally from the old days. Sir Geoffrey Howe (deputy PM these days) has resigned over Eur monetary policy. The Sun wants everyone at noon to face France and yell, “Up yours, Delors.”
SA still continuing w/a $28b privatization of RR, airline, roads, post office. An NYT op-ed comments that privatization is an entirely different policy in a non-democracy
SA to link release of pol prisoners to ANC honoring abandonment of armed struggle
R’s using intimidatory & misleading “ballot security” campaigns in NC, TX. Lying about eligibility requirements, etc
The Admin to use a loophole, really a drafting error, in a law, to borrow up to $18.8b for S&L bailout w/out Congressional authorization. Of the assets taken over, has spent most of it, so is not to go beyond working capital
Fed appeals court strikes down gov’s policy of giving nuclear plants operating licenses before a plant is built
Erich Honecker blames Soviets for conspiring to bring collapse of Communist E Eur govs
Iraq offers to release all hostages @ promise of no attack.
A Brazilian judge orders a US nuclear sub out of its waters
India’s gov is falling over a mosque being turned back into a Hindu temple (where Rama was born). It lost a supporting party when had its leader arrested over it. Now Janata Dal has split
One Haitian candidate for Dec. 16 elections is Roger Lafontant, ex-head of Tontons Macoute, who should have been arrested when he returned from exile July. His party claims to have discovered an internat plot to dismantle the Haitian army, place country under foreign supervision, etc. He is disqualified as a Duvalierist, but will he be stopped? The army has appealed the warrant for his arrest, though it’s supposed to be neutral
Ex-Justice Powell says he may have made a mistake voting to support anti-sodomy laws. The case has been cited in >100 state & fed decisions against right to privacy in gay rights, drug testing, seat belts, etc
Sup Court lets stand a decision forcing army to accept re-enlistment of a gay man whom they knew was gay when he’d re-enlisted before, which is the basis of the decision
Fund raising gap: Congressional incumbents had $120m, their challengers $6m. Of 406 running for re-election, 178 challenged by people w/under $25,000
RRs autobio is out. Says refusing to go to Bitburg would have been same as W Ger leaders refusing to go to Arlington
Defense to call up the reserves
Chain of command worked out. For military ops in Saudi Arabia, joint Saudi-US command. In Iraq or Kuwait, US alone
Meir Kahane assassinated in NY
A NJ judge says Jesse Helms’ “ballot security” mailings to intimidate minorities may violate his 1982 order against the R Party on such things. These are the ones that threaten jail & lie about residency requirements
Baker met China’s foreign minister over Iraq -- ban on high-level contacts?
Kuwait democracy: the Nat Ass was suspended 1986. Late 1989, after Emir refused petitions of 30,000 for its revival, former MPs began traditional assemblies, which forcibly dispersed w/barricades, dogs, tear gas, stun grenades, water cannons. Jan90 beat a former MP & former VP of University. A Feb90 US State Dept report seemed to blame human rights abuses on concern about Iranian-inspired subversion (explaining crackdown on Shiites). Of 1.9m subjects, under 800,000 citizens, 62,000 w/franchise. Have to prove residence before 1920. Parties are banned. Any organiz, inc unions, can be banned. Had pre-publication censorship, only 2 new papers were allowed after 1963 & only 1 allowed to change from weekly to daily. When elections Jun90 for a toothless advisory body 1/3 appointed & boycotted by opposition, participation figures went up questionably in last hour. This comes from a Nation article 11/5/90, rejected by New Republic as aiding & comforting the enemy
RR says of Bitburg that he was told the SS storm troops had been executed for being kind to inmates
Marion Barry loses for seat in City Council, badly
-Jesse Jackson wins as shadow senator of DC
India: V.P. Singh (name, not title) lost vote of confidence
TV networks (inc CNN) stopped the race to dec elections early, pooled projections
Lowell Weicker governor of CT as an ind.
Also an Ind in Alaska
D’s presidentials didn’t do well. Cuomo re-elected only w/53% against laughable opposition. Bradley barely won, despite outspending opponent 24X
Gen. Duggan, Air Force Chief of Staff fired for talking about bombing Iraq, will actually be kept on until Jan. 1, so his pension will be $17,000 more
There are 100,000 Hmong in US, ½ on welfare. In CA, welfare was subcontracted to the Lao Family Community, which it turns out was extorting money for Gen. Vang Pao’s resistance organiz (ex of CIA fame)
Ollie North sometimes cost candidates more than he raised for them
Bernie Sanders, the Socialist, elected to House from VT as Ind.
Many think that Thatcher is finished. She has engineered a change in party rules giving challengers a week from now to dec themselves & beat her. She’s been covering up with threats to Iraq; who made her spokesman?
Most money spent to best effect: Clayton Williams spent $8m of own money ($4.40/vote) & failed to become governor of Texas. Perhaps this is because of his comment that raped women should lie back & enjoy it, admission he’d gone a-whoring in Mexico & not paid taxes 1986. Demo. Ann Richards won. There was a 15% gender gap for each of them
Though 96% of House & all but 1 of Senate re-elected, those re-elected w/under 60% was twice as high as 1988 (102).
-D’s up to 56 in Senate. Added 8 in House, to 267-167
Jim Hightower voted out as Texas Ag Commissioner
Newt Gingrich re-elected by a handful of votes, perhaps for opposing Bush on budget?
-Jesse Helms re-elected. Slime will out. Got 53%
-Strom Thurmond, 87, reelected
-In Mass., such a disaster all incumbents in trouble, R Wm Weld beat John Silber, a fascist D who did for Boston U what Hayakawa did for CalState SF.
-The 1 Senator who lost, Rudy Boschwitz, Minn., sent out a more-Jewish-than-thou letter about his competitor, who did a Roger & Me, getting contradictory stories about Senator’s whereabouts
-In governor races, 28 D, 19 R, 2 ind
Abortion restriction failed Oregon. Nevada put right to abortion in state const
Iraq is importing tons of medicine it doesn’t need, possibly for chemical & bio weapons
About 36% of eligible voted, about 33% CA
Environmental initiatives failed everywhere, esp here.
Allan Cranston will not run again 1992. That means 2 Sen. elections 1992
Colo. set limits of 8 yrs for elected state officers, 12 for Congress & Senate, which is probably unconst, but could hurt Pat Schroeder
CA also passed term limits, 12 yrs & that’s it, for state leg. And cut operating budget 40%, so they’ll be new & w/out help (52%)
Alaska made possession of a small amount of marijuana illegal
R’s elected 1 black to Congress, the 1st since 1934. No blacks at all in Senate
US managed to scuttle specific targets for carbon dioxide at global warning conf
Lawton Chiles beat Fla’s incumbent R governor Bob Martinez, after limiting campaign contribs to $100.
Bush revives “no new taxes”
Bill Bennett is declaring victory in the war on drugs, and going home
SF passed a domestic partners act by 54%, & put 2 lesbians in as supervisors, one gay on school board
Pete Wilson governor of CA (49% v. 46% DiFi), completely w/out coattails. D’s are Lt Gov, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Sec State, Treasurer & maybe atty gen
-On initiatives, CA voters remarkably negative, even voting down most bonds. Also voted down alcohol tax increase, Big Green and its evil twin, forest protect & its evil twin. Supported term limits (see above). And to use inmates in priv business (supported by tax credits, yet). All v. parsimonious
There has been a secret guerilla organiz in Italy, set up by US in the 1950s to resist any communist takeover
US taped talks of Noriega w/his lawyer, CNN aired it. US says Noriega should have told them in advance not to monitor those calls, but there are 7 of them, and they were transcribed. Prison officials gave them to State, which gave them to Panama, which gave them CNN.
The troop buildup is to increase troops in Iraq to 430,000, sending ½ of those in Eur
The Lebanese gov, finally in control of much of Lebanon, will not get the “security zone,” says Israel
Dutch Reformed Church finally rejects apartheid & regrets role in forming it
Gandhi refuses to form gov, preferring to allow at his will the leader of a dissident faction of Janata Dal to do so
Bush pocket vetoed a bill to block drug comps getting windfall profits through monopolies on orphan drugs
New Irish President is a woman, the 1st contested election for it in 17 yrs. Lawyer for legalized divorce & contraception
Contras have been taking over towns & taking hostages, claiming they didn’t get the aid & land they were promised in turn for disarming. If they’re disarmed, how are they taking over towns?
M.L. King plagiarized much of his doctoral dissertation & other academic papers.
Israel may allow in 1 envoy from UN, if he promises not to investigate anything. Trying to hold off convening of Geneva Conv to discuss Palestinians. Israel claims Gaza & W bank are not covered by Geneva, as Egypt & Jordan didn’t have valid claims to them
Israel promoted the police officer in charge of the Mosque massacre last mo.
Panamanian Prez Endara is/was sec-gen of a bank that laundered $ for Colombian drug cartel, which US has known since 1984. The bank in turn has loaned $ to a Spanish hotel magnate linked to drug barons, laundered to buy & refurbish a luxury hotel in Panama awaiting gov approval of tax breaks.
US is keeping from El Salvador videotapes of a US military adviser suggesting a conspiracy to kill those Jesuits -- and that US knew in advance
Village Voice on Temple Mount massacre: videotapes show that stones not thrown until after shooting started & Jewish worshippers gone. Of the 22 Israeli injuries, 10 were cops & others fell down while running, inhaled gas or hit by stone any time that day.
India’s new PM controls 60 members of 544
Congressional R’s want special session on the Gulf. Bush & D’s say it’s not necessary. It is pointed out that Bush sending more troops explicitly to shift to offensive stance, w/out saying why.
A Hong Kong judge ordered 111 VN boat people, who were detained & their boat destroyed on way to Japan, to be released after 1½ yrs. Gov immediately re-arrested
Demonstrations have forced SA to retreat from privatization
Geoffrey Howe’s resignation speech attacks Thatcher’s view on Eur v. strongly indeed. Heseltine now looks likely to run against Thatcher
And is doing so.
Gorby tried to lift price limits on luxury goods. Russia will ignore
Anti-Soviet guerilla networks set up W Eur 1950s in case of invasion have survived in W Ger, Fr, It, Belg, Neth. Belg had arms caches until 2 mos ago & had exercises until 1-2 yrs ago. In Italy, possibly connected to early 1970s terrorist attacks
Israel has sentenced 2 W Bank, 1 Gaza leader for 6-12 mos w/out presenting their “solid proof and tremendous evidence” against them
SA inquiry fails to determine whether military operated death squads. The unit has refused to provide records, mysteriously lost, to the commission. Spent $1,000 to send a baboon fetus to Desmund Tutu
NY police arrested a dope dealer & legaliz. advocate after an extensive investigation. He had an 800 number -- 800-WANT-POT
3 detectives who fixed evidence in the 1974 Guilford bombings, the convictions of which overturned last yr, arrested
A nationalist elected Georgia president. Said any secession would take 5 yrs
Baker, bringing the argument on Iraq “down to the level of the average American citizen,” says it is to protect jobs
CNN says the FBI stole materials from its investigation into misconduct in Noriega case, seizing materials improperly, removed (bribe?) by a hotel employee. Meanwhile, CNN has stopped playing tapes pending legal outcome -- already lost in Fed Appeals Court. Prior restraint.
Sen. voted June for $25m humanitarian aid directly to Baltic states, but House killed it
Iraq has invited Internat Atomic Energy Agency to inspect that its enriched uranium has not been made into a nuke. (There is some talk of striking before Iraq builds up nuke or chemical arsenal)
Fed scientists have stopped testing effects of abortion pill RU 486 on serious medical conditions because of uncertainty about supplies. The Nat Right to Life Cmte thinks such research is merely an attempt to bring the drug into the country for abortion
Slovenia’s gov proposed referendum around New Yrs on secession. Serbia imposed tariffs on Slovenia, Croatia & foreign goods. 3 weeks ago, Slovenia responded
On the Eur guerilla network, Italy’s was operated w/in NATO, abetted by agreement between US & It’s secret services. 622 Its. have belonged. Also in W Ger, Fr, Belg, Neth, Greece, Luxembourg, Br, Norway, Portugal, Sp, Austria, Turkey, Denmark, Sw, Switz. Greece abolish its 1985, Mitterrand at some pt
New Peruvian Prez Fujimori wants free family planning
The Christopher Andrew-Oleg Gordievsky book on the KGB says Finland’s 25-yr president Urho Kekkonen was an agent, as a way of keeping ind
Elections in state of Mexico. Though in 1988, voted 2-1 for Cardenas, PRI claims now to have won all seats & almost all municipalities. New electoral law increases PRI seats on Electoral Council, outlaws opposition alliances (joint candidacies), forbids alternative vote totals & illegalizes protest against vote counts
Shamir has taken in a relig party, increasing majority by 4 to 66/120, promising to ban pork, Sat. pub. transport, limit abortion, ban “lewd” advertising
Kuwaitis have snuck out list of all Kuwaitis
On Iraq, NYT: “What if they gave a war and no protest mvmt came?” Cockburn & Ellsberg, Gitlin, Jesse Jackson & Chomsky have more or less supported military action, at least defense of Saudis
Iraq will send 250,000 more troops to Kuwait region. Where does he get them from? Also talking about releasing all hostages by March if peace remaining
Feb90 Sup Court ruled that gov for 16 yrs has been denying Soc Sec to children w/medical disabilities wrongly. Gov since has yet to issue new standards but will insist on narrow interpretation. No denials have been reversed. 283,000 claims denied May83-Feb90
Mitterrand seems not to be supporting his PM Rocard, who may lose a censure vote today. There have been huge demos at high school students, & a nasty Soc Sec tax hitting poor & elderly. 284 of 577 voted censure, inc PCF
Wm Bennett did indeed leave job of drug czar for a more important post -- R Party Chair
Supp Court 7-2 (Marshall & O’Connor) let stand prior restraint on CNN broadcasting the Noriega tapes
Ch. CP People’s Daily wants to restore use of “comrade”
Bush pocket-vetoed mandatory sanctions on nations & comps promoting spread of chemical or bio. weapons
Thatcher got 204 votes, Heseltine 152, enough to force a 2nd ballot
45 D Congressmen filed suit to prevent Bush going to war w/out Congress
Iraq to let out Ger hostages
-Death penalty for wheat hoarding
US-Soviet conventional agreement to limit NATO & Warsaw to 20,000 tanks, 20,000 artillery pieces, 30,000 armored fighting vehicles, etc. NATO making 1/10 of cuts. Baltic States showed up at summit, were barred
FDA claims it accidentally banned researchers from importing RU-486 Jan90
Cuomo calls for negotiations w/Iraq
Former Bulgarian leader Todor Zhivkov will be tried for misappropriation of funds & abuse of power
Burma sentenced 2 opposition leaders to 10 yrs.
Thatcher resigns. And will double military presence in Gulf. Does a lame duck have that right?
Army to halt retirement & extend pers of enlistment (isn’t that sort of a draft?)
Czech.’s clergy was ordained underground & many are married & some deacons are ♀
Douglas Hurd & John Major will run against Heseltine. Seems many MPs would have crossed over to Heseltine on 2nd ballot. Cabinet told her to go.
Miami Beach votes to require police to report drug arrests to employers
Coup attempt fails Transkei
Bush is “tired of the status quo” in Gulf. That’s the other US guiding principle -- instant gratification
Switz. & Bulg. will abolish their guerilla resistance groups
Heseltine endorsed by Geoffrey Howe & Nigel Lawson
The reason D. Party gave nothing to the guy who almost beat Gingrich was that he broke the pact not to talk about the Congressional pay raise
Pan-Africanist Congress talking about alliance w/ANC
US wants UN to give Iraq a Jan. 1 deadline to get out of Kuwait or face force
Helmut Schmidt says his successor in SPD, Lafontaine will lose Dec. elections & deserve it
Hussein claimed (to relatives of hostages) that Iraqis have died from boycott
Polish presidential elections inconclusive. Walesa got 40%, an emigre 23%, PM Mazowieski 18%. He has now resigned. Tyminski, who has been in Canada & US for 20 yrs & came in #2. Seems an indication of weakness of Polish democracy. He says he’s not interested in politics but in building the economy
Thatcher backs Chancellor John Major
Sup Court let stand a ban on begging in NYC subway
Moral/legal questions if mother wants to put baby up for adoption, could a father who wanted it block it?
According to State Dept, ban on high-level contacts w/China is still policy. Ch. foreign minister arrives this week
John Major won leadership fight. Actually not be enough but other 2 conceded
Bush admin refuses to explain its Gulf policy to Congress before UN votes
Seems any one can get Iraq to release hostages just by going there. This week: Muhammed Ali.
Thatcher claims she’ll be a “good back-seat driver” for Major
CIA is predicting Yugoslavia will break up
Major got 185 votes, Heseltine 131, Hurd 56
Soviet military has been told to use force to defend military installations, monuments & servicemen from republics. Can take over power, water & food if local authorities cut off
-Latvia was threatening the power shut-off. Pissed about parade rehearsals for Revo Day
Gorby says only a minority of “loudmouths” oppose his new union treaty, this inc leaders of 6 republics
Former chairs of Joint Chiefs David Jones & Wm. Crowe argued against premature war w/Iraq. Jones says the increase in deployment may force such a war
Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria’s 35-year ruler, says he wouldn’t be a communist if he had it to do again
PLO envoy to Br, on position on Iraq: “We have been brought to believe that conflicts should be resolved through negotiation, dialogue and persuasion... So now we apply those same principles to the gulf crisis and from the very first day... we were targeted as if we had taken sides.”
UN approved Jan. 15 deadline 12-2 (Ch. abstaining) for Iraq to leave Kuwait. Iraq called it an act of war, which it is
-Quayle is against patience.
James Webb, ex-head of Navy, also says 400,000 troops too many. Richard Perle wants war now.
-Crowe wonders why we think our soldiers can stand up to hostile fire but doubt they can wait patiently
Hong Kong leg. refused to lower voting age to 18, est ind election commission or absentee voting or use of names of parties on ballot. Gov opposed these, which might have made it more difficult for Ch. to break self-rule
Brazil & Argentina renounced nuke weapons
Br & Syria restore dipl relations
Israel finally to pay for immigrants itself, w/another 5% in income tax, 2% sales
Ban on CNN broadcasting the Noriega tapes lifted
US black expectancy has fallen to 69.2 (whites 75.6)
John Major to keep Douglas Hurd as foreign sec, bring in Heseltine as environment minister (to deal w/poll tax) and generally keep Thatcher team intact, but all shuffled into new jobs. No women in cabinet for 1st time since 1967 (?)
Demo. House leaders Foley & Michel suggest Bush not call special session on Iraq since he might lose
-Bush offers to meet Iraq foreign minister or send Baker to Iraq
-On sending kids to die, Bush: “It’s only the president who should be asked to make the decision.” Says “I can’t consult with 535 strong-willed individuals.”
1 yr after leg for an ind CIA inspector-gen, there finally is one. DCI can deny his office info on grounds of nat security but must then inform Congress. Confirmation hearings must have been secret -- I sure never heard a word.
Bulgaria’s “socialist” gov has collapsed
Poland restricting Romanian (largely gypsy) immigrants
Bush pocket-vetoes the $30b intelligence budget. It is unclear how they are to legally spend money until Jan., but spend it they will. He disliked requirement to tell Congress of requests for foreign or priv help in covert ops. It would deter foreign govs telling us stuff, he says. Also dislikes the clarification of need to inform Congress of covert ops “in timely fashion” as a few days
Ill. Sup Court strikes down Chicago school plan that gave parents control of schools, saying everyone else had demo. rights as well
Bush, meeting w/Ch. foreign minister, to reduce differences w/Ch. I think that means Bush wants to shoot some students too. Ch. taking advantage to file charges against student leaders.
Bush on Iraq: “the status quo ante will not be enough”