Thursday, February 02, 2006
Ukrainian President Kuchma wants a referendum on whether the people trust him or Parl. Parl refuses the idea
Headline: “Space Shuttle Is Grounded By Lovesick Woodpeckers.”
Turkey pissed at Greece for ratifying Law of the Sea Treaty, which would allow (not require) it to double territorial waters to 12 mi., much of the Aegean
Pete Wilson exec order to kill all the affirmative action he can legally get away w/killing, reduce goals, abolish advisory cmtes
Serbs shoot down a US fighter, the result of having wimped out of destroying SAM missiles moved in last Dec.
-Serbs release 120 UN hostages, carefully saying it is on Milosevic’s orders. And take 61 more.
A judge removes a 15-yr old deaf girl from 2 parents who failed to learn sign
Clinton u-turns on Bosnia after a full 3 days. Will probably not send US troops, only to help a stranded NATO force, not just to reconfigure.
-Bosnian Serb Gen. Mladic says no more hostage releases or info on the downed US pilot unless NATO renounces air strikes forever. Meanwhile, shelling in Sarajevo killed 4. Actually, no jets have flown since the plane was shot down
Nicaraguan Pres. Violeta Chamorro in const fight w/Nat Ass which passed const changes transferring taxes to leg, banned draft & guaranteed prop. rights & banned Prez running for re-election or being succeeded by a relative (her son-in-law). She refused to promulgate the amends, Nat Ass did so and added 5 new Sup Court justices, which Chamorro refuses to acknowledge
US Rep Jack Metcalf (Wash.) ran on tough-on-crime platform. Hired prisoners to call voters & ask them to vote for him.
Willie Brown, who somehow hung on as speaker of CA Ass. after D’s lost majority, now chooses a Rep woman as his successor winning w/all D. votes & her own. She is known for a motorcycle helmet law Willie will urn for mayor of SF
Sup Court 8-1 says that time spent in halfway houses or treatment ordered as part of bail agreement, even if it is 24-hr confinement, does not count towards fed sentences
SA Sup Court abolishes death penalty. This is the 1st major ruling of the new body DeKlerk & the Nats are not happy
Serbs release 108 UN troops, still hold 149. Bosnian Serb tv says they were assured of no more NATO air strikes.
-Pentagon said it had gotten electronic transmissions from the downed pilot’s beacon – esp brilliant to announce while Serbs looking for more hostages
-Clinton’s current position should be esp reassuring to NATO allies – if they are trapped, he will help them if Jesse Helms gives permission, says Thomas Friedman
Japan expresses, well, not an apology, more like reflection/remorse, for WW2, but recalling a context of aggression & colonialism. This was a major pt of contention w/in the coalition. Ex-foreign min Watanabe said Korea “harmoniously” agreed to be occupied 1910
Br high court allows military to exclude gays
-Labour just out in support of gays in military
Justice Dept gets Philip Morris to stop putting ads in ball parks w/contracts to ensure television
Clinton Admin opposes flag burning amend, though Clinton tried to get a state one in Arkansas. Passes out of House Judiciary Cmte on party lines – the 3rd const amend it has passed this yr (balanced budget term limits). Note the use of the religious word “desecration,” to be defined by the states, as is “flag” (although Rep Jack Reed, D-RI, help up a catalog and argued that if underwear was a flag in one state, it should be a flag in all states.
Australian MP announces his plan for a republic by 2001, the centennial of the Union, but wants Parl to pick the president. Referendum to come
Leak from Br Scott Report says Tory leaders, esp then Foreign Min Wm Waldegrave, misled Parl on arms sales to Iraq
House on largely partisan vote defeats a repeal of War Powers Act 217-201 (172 D’s & 44 R’s against repeal, 178 R’s + 23 D’s for). Clinton showed no pub support because of fears Bosnia would make him look like a war-monger. Right.
Sen. passes the terrorism bill 91-8 w/all nasty provisions intact inc expedited deportations, limiting death row prisoners to 1 appeal in 1 yr, allow State Dept deny visas to “terrorist” groups, stop citizens contributing to what Clinton calls terrorist groups, put terrorism under RICO
Clinton vetoes his 1st bill, a recission of the existing budget. He talked about pork, rather than strongly defending the environmental, welfare, etc programs, just ed.
Argentina wants to buy Falklands from its inhabitants, paying upwards of $100,000 per person to vote to transfer sovereignty
Clinton welcomes Barbara Jordan’s Fed advisory panel on immigration’s report to cut immigration by 1/3, eliminate preferences for siblings & adult children, cut refugees in ½, and intro a nat i.d.
The downed US pilot in Bosnia is rescued
In a foreign aid bill Clinton will veto, House 318-99 approved amend to end arms embargo against Bosnia. It would slash foreign aid, exc to Israel, force US to recognize Tibet as a state
NJ to force welfare recipients into HMOs
Admin refuses to join the case against Colorado’s anti-gay measure
Police depts in Orange Cty & Florida (until Fla. Sup Court stopped it) manufacturer & sell crack cocaine in reverse strings of buyers
And SA Const Court bans whipping for children. There were 36,000 1992
White House rejects Bosnian plea to lift arms embargo – Clinton would veto a bill to do what he promised to do before the election
Br & Ch agree on a final court for Hong Kong after ind, replacing the Privy Council. But it could not deal w/“acts of state,” vague enough for Ch. to make it mean anything
Russia & Ukraine come to agreement, again, over the Black Sea Fleet. They split it, Russia buys up to 82%
In Br, a man is sentenced to life for raping another man. Until last yr, the max charge was indecent assault, max 10 yrs
Prince Charles takes sons fox hunting
In 1789, at 22, Andrew Jackson swore allegiance to Spain. He did business in Natchez (now part of Mississippi).
1994 elections the better-off ($50,000+) voter turn-out up to 60.1% (59.2 1990), those under $5,000 down to 19.9% from 32.3%, $5-10,000 from 30.9 to 23.3%. Whites 46.9% (about same), blacks 37% (39.2 1990, 43.2 1988).
Military to cut back on treatment of AIDS. Claim military medicine is intended to promote a state of readiness, so prevention is more important than therapy. This is 3 weeks after a House cmte passed Robert Dornan’s proposal to discharge troops w/HIV
Hispanic workers at INS sue it for discrim
The Chilean secret police chief still not serving his sentence for Letelier assassination now living in army barracks
America’s new hero: Scott O’Grady, who lived on bugs awaiting rescue after being shot down by Serbs. Bosnian response: hey, that was our lunch!
Sup Court 5-4 disallowed a Fed court plan making Missouri pay for magnet schools & salary increases for teachers in black districts. The lower court had reasoned that there were not enough whites to desegregate the district, so they should be tempted in voluntarily. Justice Thomas is “amazed” “that the courts are so willing to assume that anything that is predominantly black must be inferior.” The theory that “segregation injures blacks because blacks, when left on their own, cannot achieve” is based on “a theory of black inferiority.” Separate but equal lives. Court also rejected the lower court basing continuing need for plan on low test scores
And by same 5-4, Sup Court says fed affirmative action programs must be “narrowly tailored” for a “compelling governmental interest,” which evidently doesn’t inc expanding opportunity. Scalia & Thomas would have ruled that affirm. action can never be justified. Thomas says there is a moral & const equivalence between laws to subjugate & those to make equal
Berlusconi wins referenda on tv ownership, 57% voting against limiting anyone to 1 station. He used his monopoly of priv tv heavily to advertise against, an indication of why it was needed. Even seems to have won a referendum on limiting commercial breaks during films. More bizarre than voting on commercials is voting for them
Fr: Nat Front of Le Pen does very well in muni elections, coming 1st in Nice, Toulon & others
Fr planning to resume nuclear tests in Sept. & stop forever May96. Mitterrand stopped them 1992
On little notice, Clinton gives his detailed long-term budget plan to the nation on tv in a 5-minute speech. By 2005, the budget would be balanced. Being Clinton, his opening position is a major concession. Defense (and ed.) not to be cut, but discretionary spending to be cut 20%. Medicare will be reduced through elimination of fraud, waste & abuse, intro of HMOs. Will still have tax cuts & child tax credits
Br gov admits a comp sent arms to Iran because gov too stupid to notice. Minister Jonathan Aitken was on the board of the comp
Clinton announces new post of liaison to gays & lesbians – a straight woman, of course. When gay officials came to Exec Office Building to meet officials, the guards were wearing rubber gloves
Serbs releasing more UN, but will retain 15
-As new rapid-reaction force of 10,000 to go to Bosnia, UN still thinking about what to do w/them & US wants delay
Japan est a priv contrib fund for WW2 “comfort women”
Muslim loonies get an Egyptian court to annul the marriage fo a professor of Arabic lit. at U Cairo for being an apostate. She did not want annulment.
Hubble Space Telescope discover Kuiper Belt, a comet belt that encompasses Pluto’s orbit
Clinton budget speech (Republican Lite) interpreted by many D’s in Congress as Clinton betraying the party for his own career. Their own attacks on R’s have centered on defending Medicare, but Clinton offers $124b reduction by 2010
Bosnian Army (now 90+% Muslim, by the way) massing near Sarajevo. US wants them not to, continuing policy of tacitly supporting the Serb siege of Sarajevo.
-Yug. computers maintaining Bosnian Serb air defenses, which shot down the F-16, but US Defense Sec finds no evidence of illicit supplies we all know damned well are going from Yug to the Bosnian Serbs
Sen. 84-16 votes to censor the Internet, putting penalties on explicit or “filthy” material & harassing communication of the sort allowed in letters. Oh, the fines are for material on a computer network accessible to minors.
Sup Court 8-1 allows a judge to take into account in sentencing evidence of other drug crimes not yet charged, & still have another trial on those charges. O’Connor says it is not double jeopardy, because taking evidence into account to increase a sentence is not a punishment. And no one said anything about reducing the orig sentence if not convicted at 2nd trial, either.
Uzbekistan’s referendum on extending presidential rule to 2000 March 26 approved by 99.6% of the 99.3% who voted. “No” meant going into booth, “yes” meant dropping an unmarked paper in a box
Tony Blair’s wife, a barrister, once asked a court to send a poll tax defaulter to jail. Tony tried to get the Ind on Sunday to drop the story
Nation of Islam hired as guards by a Dallas mall stripped & flogged 4 boys
Chechen forces take a town in s. Russia, Budyonnovsk, taking many hostages
Bosnians trying to lift siege of Sarajevo, citing Serb seizure of heavy weapons from UN, stopping the UN airlift, cutting off all utilities.
-91 supposedly released UN officials are still surrounded. Serbs put new conditions on release of hostages – release of 4 Serb POWs. It should say something that these are the only Serbs I know of ever captured by UN
-Bosnian Serb assembly votes to unite w/Croatian Serbs
-Dole & Gingrich now will allow est of new UN rapid deployment force, as long as US doesn’t have to send troops or money
-Greek PM asked for understanding of Serbs fighting for their religion. Fr Prez Chirac: “Don’t talk to me of wars of religion. These people have no faith and know no law. They are terrorists.”
Nicaraguan Prez Chamorro accepts the const amends cutting her power
Sp military secret service intercepted mobile phones of businessmen, politicians & king.
House votes for more military spending than Pentagon wanted, esp in Star Wars & Stealth. While cutting from funds to help Russia dismantle nukes – but of course, you need the missiles to justify the missile defenses
House Judiciary Cmte reverses itself, deletes a ban on cop-killer bullets. One of the R’s who changed his vote is a former cop. Some don’t want to turn decisions on what is a bullet capable of penetrating bulletproof vests to the evil Janet Reno (Waco, gun controller)
Russian Defense Min Grachev says the only way to deal w/the hostage situation is force.
Lech Walesa fails to disassociate from anti-Semitic remarks by a Cath priest while he was in congregation
Angola offers Jonas Savimbi one of the 2 VPships
Rep. Christopher Cox of CA, author of the bill to make it harder for investors to sue for misconduct, has himself been sued for fraud.
Russian priv sector 62% of official GDP 1994, higher than Italy
Fr muni elections: Nat Front mayors in Toulon, Orange, Marignagne (suburb of Marseilles). Raymond Barre mayor of Lyons, Giscard loses for Clermont-Ferrand
All UN hostages in Bosnia are released. And all the UN had to do was give up all bombing, give the heavy weapons collection sites back to the Serbs & give up on protecting Sarajevo from heavy artillery (7 old people dead on a water line yesterday), and gave back 4 Serb POWs, caught in UN uniforms at an incident where 2 Fr peacekeepers killed. The UN claims the release was just an amazing coincidence, that they’d completed an investigation & had no basis (!) to detain them
House bans abortions at US military hospitals abroad
Speaking of giving in to hostage-takers, Russia dec cease-fire in Chechnya & negotiations. This after 2 attempts to storm the building wall in Budyonnovsk, attempts no one is taking responsibility for, Yeltsin claiming he had, gov saying the local troops just did it. Russians are finally upset, because this happened in actual Russia – normal Russians don’t share the leadership’s concept of Russia one and indivisible. The Chechens had planned to go all the way to Moscow, but the local Russian militia had demanded too large a bribe. Parl voted unan. to recall Yeltsin from the G-7 Conf in Canada.
-The hostages are really pissed about the soldiers’ attacks, which killed 100+. PM Chernomyrden negotiated cease-fire on TV, distancing himself, to put it mildly, from Yeltsin’s intransigence.
Yeltsin’s contrib from Canada was a temper tantrum & a lie that Didayev had asked for asylum in Turkey
-The Chechens are on their way home w/150 human shields. Released in Chechnya.
Walesa defends the anti-Semite priest & no other presidential candidates condemn the remarks. The priest clarifies by saying Jews do some good things, like banking & finance.
Last yr, a Treasury Dept report said RTC did enough to recover assets of failed S&Ls in Texas ($36m of $2b), but the review failed to examine any case files. And Treasury refused to allow those who worked on the whitewash to testify
Peru passes amnesty on military for human rights abuses
Sup Court unan. allows Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade to ban gay groups, saying the parade is an expression rather than a public accommodation
Sup Court 5-4 sets new standard for suits by prisoners about conditions & treatments. Unclear what this standard actually is, since no examples are given, but largely overturns the notion of a “liberty interest,” wherein if law allows for time off for good behaviour, say a 14th Amend interest, exists. But now this will be limited to actions imposing atypical & significant hardship
John Adams: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy... in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music.”
Russian parl votes no confidence in the gov, 241-72. This has no immediate effect. Russian police are detaining Chechen grocers & peddlers in Moscow. PM Chernomyrden says revenge will be cruel for the hostage-takers
Shell drops plan to sink an old oil platform in the N. Atlantic off Scotland, under pressure from Ger, Denmark & Greenpeace. Br gov says they shouldn’t have given in
House Appropriations Subcmte on Interior votes to cut Interior 13%, ban spending on adding species to Endangered list & generally cutting the scientific branches to eliminate the info behind environmental decisions
Pinochet finally allows the secret service head to be arrested
CIA reports that Ch. has recently sold missile components to Iran & Pakistan. This requires sanctions
Sup Court 5-4 allows Florida to ban lawyers soliciting accident victims for 30 dys
Walesa finally condemns anti-Semitism after 10 days, but not the priest who blamed Jews for Nazism, communism & WW2. Ex-CP candidate, his enemies say, had a Jewish father
Head of UN in Yugoslavia reassures Serbs that the rapid reaction force will not do anything more than did previous peacekeepers. $600m?
Russians demand Chechens hand over the head of the hostage-takers, & Chechens agree (yeah right). Head of military aimed at Chechnya threatened to end the cease-fire if not.
Dole had threatened not to bring Surgeon-Gen candidate Henry Foster to a vote at all. Finally did, w/ltd debate & to be killed after 2 fast votes on cloture, which failed 57-43. Real purpose: stop Phil Gramm leading a filibuster & taking spotlight. This nonsense has been called the 1st Repub. primary.
-Since 1968, only 24 nominees have required a cloture, but 22 were later confirmed, the 2 being Abe Fortas & Sam Brown (delegate to CSCE last yr). D’s never filibustered Bork, John Tower, Thomas....
Because of Fr decision to resume nuclear testing, Australians are boycotting Fr products...
John Major makes the only bold move of his career, calling a completely unexpected snap leadership election. He may have a popularity rating below that of lark’s vomit, but he thinks he may have a chance of winning a vote in a party even less popular than he is, ½ of whom may well lose their jobs at the next election. This is how he responds to proof in the local council elections of April & May that the Tories represent noone – by pretending the problem is that Thatcher is sniping at him & backbenchers aren’t supporting him enough. Tony Blair is playing that game by talking up Tory disunity instead of the insult of Major’s facing this forum rather than the nation. Just to make it fair, challengers have 7 days to come forward, and 5 more dys before the ballot. One suspects there was a plot afoot for another coup like that against Thatcher, where her Cabinet told her to go. In this format, no one w/in the Cabinet (Heseltine) will dare come forth. Too quick for a discussion of principles, which is just how Major wants it, and why he’s facing just MPs, who can’t now worry about the principles that divide them when their careers are at stake. Also, Major knows this electorate; who knows what the balance will be in a reduced post-97 (96? 95?) Tory Parl Party? Evidently, Eurosceptic MPs had a petition for a leadership challenge in Nov. (but what candidate?) (Norman Lamont, evidently)
Douglas Hurd, Foreign Minister, retires. Interesting timing. He is not planning to run. Could be sop to right
AMA wants mandatory ratings for lyrics on records
Fr, which publicly talking about not giving in to terrorism held secret talks w/Serbs while the hostages were held. The Br commander of UN forces there refused to attend. This explains why there was such a complete surrender, Fr’s specialty. This week Yeltsin said Chirac told him there would be no more air strikes. Fr denies it.
Yeltsin demands Parl vote no confidence again. A 2nd would trigger dismissal of either the gov or the Parl. Guess which Yeltsin would do. He said Parl “would sign its own death warrant.” Given his history, that probably means literally
Hong Kong repeals colonial laws it is afraid of having enforced by Ch, allowing censorship & detention (laws mostly never used). Will restrict power of police to seize materials from reporters
A senior Air Force safety officer goes public after being shunted aside, says Air Force hushes up facts in plane crashes. 10-20% of Air Force planes crash. 5 of the 59 Stealth 117A. My favorite is 2 pilots & a navigator in one plane taking off clothes & oxygen masks to moon another fighter, passed out & crashed. And a pilot let his wife try to fly. She couldn’t. Few are ever held responsible, inc an acquittal this week for 2 helicopters shot down over Iraq by US fighters, 26 dead.
137 of 185 UN members are not up to date in budget dues. US is $1.18b in arrears. SA owes from 1974-94.
BR: Sec for Wales John Redwood to run against Major, as a Eurosceptic. Fancy a Tory Sec for Wales fighting centralization. As in 1990, if Major can be prevented getting plurality + 15% on 1st ballot, the 2nd is fair game & he is screwed. The ballot is secret.
Clinton begins tv ads – already. Stressing crime (against assault weapons, for death penalty).
Egyptian Prez Mubarak escapes assassination in Ethiopia
1st round Haitian elections badly administered
Sup Court 6-3 votes to allow drug testing of school children in athletic programs. Scalia writes they are already held to higher standards (academic qualifs & such) & lower privacy expectations (showering in groups). Only 2 previous cases on drug testing, for railroad crews after accidents & Customs employees promoted to sensitive jobs – neither group as random & w/out suspicions as this. Clinton’s appointments on wrong side.
Phil Gramm 1984 & 1990 lied about D. opponents, connecting them to gay groups, claiming an all-male strip show raised money. 1984 tv ads showed his family, but son’s faces hidden by cap brims & wife seen from back, to disguise Asinanness. Mr Balance-the-budget was one of 3 congresscritters of both houses not to have sponsored a bill to cut spending in an 18-mo period. As a D. (elected 1978) on Budget Cmte, passed D. plans to David Stockman. 1984 he massively violated election financing rules (money above the limit & from corps). Part of his fine was supposed to go to charity, so he gave it to his sons’ priv schools. His travel expenses, for vacations really, are unusually expensive. 1990 tried to get Senate not to embargo agric aid to Iraq – First City Bancorp of Houston had $50m loan out to Iraq – & $25,000 to Gramm’s reelection campaign. 1992 Dallas developer & banker Jerry Stiles (cost to taxpayers c.$200m, convicted for conspiracy, bank bribery, etc) gave Gramm an interest-free loan to fly a construction crew to MD to work on his vacation home, w/out an estimate or contract. And Stiles only billed him $64,433 of the $117,000. Gramm pushed leg for him. Gramm pushed regulators to give Stiles’s S&Ls aid & waivers from rules. The Sen. Ethics Cmte cleared him w/out calling witnesses or checking facts, just taking Gramm & Stiles’ word for it
Sen. trying to eliminate requirement for manufacturers to disclose how much they pollute
UN censors a book commemorating its 50th anniversary, deleting references to countries abstaining from voting for Univ Dec of Human Rights, & violators, and a quote from Dalai Lama which UN says was a criticism of China, and was actually a statement about freedom & equal rights
House Appropriations Cmte votes to retain subsidy to tobacco growers
House votes 312 (inc 93 D’s) to 120 (inc 12 R’s) for Amend on flag desecration
Justice says its it won’t charge Sen. Packwood for forcing lobbyists to offer jobs to his wife
US-Japan trade deal to open car dealerships to US cars, buy US car parts, etc. But w/out the numerical goals US wanted & Japanese called managed trade. US illegally threatened sanctions (illegal under internat treaties).
John Major will only face John Redwood in 1st round. It is expected there will be a 2nd, in which Heseltine & Portillo will participate. They both have rented offices (reporters followed telephone men & found them).
Fr has royally pissed off Tahiti & all of Austalasia for intending to restart nuclear testing. Tried to stop Rainbow Warrior II docking in Tahiti, but demos forced gov to back off
Fr will not abolish passport controls w/in EU as planned
House task force on immigration set up by Gingrich proposes requiring hospital ERs to report illegals, denying fed ed. funds. And a Const amend ending automatic citizenship for everyone born in US
Clinton pledges $15m, later $95m, for rapid reaction force for Bosnia, to be diverted from existing funds. Dole & Gingrich pissed, since they wanted to veto it.
Sup Court 5-4 says U. of Virginia must subsidize a student relig mag on same basis as other student pubs. Kennedy says otherwise is to “silence the expression of selected viewpts.” It may not be broad enough a ruling to open the door completely. To keep O’Connor on board, distinctive elements of this case were emphasized: money not dir from state but from student activity fees (if the fees are mandatory, this is a distinction w/out a difference); money goes to printers rather than the groups (anyone can create a shell).
Sup Court 7-2 says KKK has right to erect a cross in an Ohio park that operates as a pub forum. This was an establishment case because of the cross, rather than a free speech case.
Sup Court 6-3 upholds Endangered Species Act applying to protection of habitats on priv land
CA Sup Court 6-1 said country clubs that reg do business w/non-members can’t discriminate
Egypt blames Sudan for the attempted assassination of Mubarak. There have been military clashes
Norman Tebbitt comes out for Redwood against Major. Major says he will brook no different after the election
Sup Court 5-4 says race can’t be a “predominant factor” in drawing Congressional districts, declaring GA’s 11th district unconst. Will hear more districts next term. The new standard did not apply to CA, where 1992 redistricting plan was allowed to stand. Kennedy’s majority op claimed assigning voterse on basis of race made racist assumptions that they think about, fails to treat people as indivs. Ginsburg’s dissent suggests districting inevitably assembles people in groups, says this invites litigation whenever someone can argue that other factors were less considered than race. This is the only group whose interests are now not allowed to be taken into account.
-Though redistricting sent many more blacks to Congress, it also increased R’s from South. In GA, which had 9 D Reps, 1 R in 1970s, now 8 R’s to 3 D’s, all the R’s white, all D’s black. Since the black districts are locks, turnout is also down, affecting other state, local, nat races
Before the 2nd no confidence vote tomorrow, Yeltsin accepts resignations of ministers of Interior, Security & Nationalities for the Chechen hostage thing, but not Defense Min Grachev. Also governor of Stavropol resign. PM Chernomyrdin comments that this is 1st time the Russian state put the life of its citizens above pol expediency. Of course, that was after 2 failed attempts to storm the hospital
Colonialism as privatization: Bolivia sells state electric comp to 3 US comps, which are required to invest in capitalization
Ger votes to send 1,500 troops & planes to Bosnia but not ground troops