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Saturday, January 11, 2003

Scandal Darkens Sharon's Ballot Prospects "Last month, the election results were so predictable as to be boring," Hemi Shalev, a longtime critic of Mr. Sharon, wrote in Maariv. Now, he added, "instead of gliding elegantly back into the prime minister's bureau, Sharon must fight for his life."
Sharon dawdling on West Bank Security Wall costing him votes "The one focus of strong popular support in the poll was the enterprise of building a fence roughly along the old 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank to keep Palestinians out. The measure was backed by 68 percent of respondents."

Like Australians in their SUVs, the Israelis just want to party like it's 1999 behind their 100 m wall, which many complain is not tall enough.
Chicago Tribune | EPA softens protection of wetlands "In the Great Lakes region, millions of acres of wetlands--including glacial kettle holes, coastal swales, northern peat bogs and wetlands created by rainwater in shallow depressions--could be left unprotected if state or local governments decide not to step in and assume the jurisdiction abandoned by the federal government Friday.

Who else detects Cheney's hand in this? I think opening up wetlands to every 2 bit developer is one fight Cheney & Co could lose.
Owls in Roman Mythology "The Roman Army was warned of impending disaster by an Owl before its defeat at Charrhea, on the plains between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers."

I saw an Owl last night. Then I discovered on this site it wasn't an owl, but a Night Jar.

Lots of interesting lore here about the wonderful Owl, one of the most mythic animals for humans.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Q At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.
MR. FLEISCHER: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel.
Q My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends --
Q They're not attacking you.
MR. FLEISCHER: -- from a country --
Q Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?
MR. FLEISCHER: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then.
Q Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge?
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war.
Q Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are no
CNN.com - Nuclear chief: No 'smoking gun' in Iraq - Jan. 6, 2003 Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said inspectors have found no proof that Iraq lied about nuclear weapons in its declaration on weapons of mass destruction presented to the United Nations.
Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/05/2003 | War's toll: 158,000 Iraqis and a researcher's position A senior researcher at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, Daponte was the Census Bureau demographer who postulated in 1991 that 158,000 Iraqi men, women and children died during and shortly after the Persian Gulf war. In return, she was reprimanded by her government, and saw her report rewritten and her career sidetracked.
The Chris Matthews Show: Transcripts Howard, did the Republicans have this thing completely knocked in this town? Is George Bush completely in control of Washington right now?
Mr. HOWARD FINEMAN (Chief Political Correspondent, Newsweek): Well, the interesting thing, Chris, is he's not just in control of the political apparatus, he's in control of the press, he's in control of the sort of social atmosphere of the city in a way that I haven't seen in quite some time.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

NEWS.com.au | 'Hidden army' of jobless (January 05, 2003) The ABS uses the International Labor Organisation standard which says that you are "employed" if you were paid to do just one hour's work in the week before the statistician asked you the question. The US has a much more realistic notion of what constitutes someone who has a job.
NEWS.com.au | Brothel float adds spark (January 05, 2003) It is expected to hit the market in March, in what is billed as the first sharemarket float of a bordello anywhere in the world.

See my comments on porno, above. This is big business, so they hope.
The Australian: Greg Sheridan: That petroleum emotionalism [January 02, 2003] In one of his most shallow columns ever, Greg Sheridan declares his undying admiration for Iran Contra co-conspirator and Deputy US Secretary of State. This is a hoot:

"Armitage, by the way, can hardly be attacked by Manne as morally inferior. When given the task of evacuating the South Vietnamese navy at the end of the Vietnam War, he helped nearly 30,000 people escape with him to the Philippines in a magnificent flotilla of freedom."

It's as if Sheridan thinks the reader can't use Google to remind themselves of Mr Armitage's many alleged questionable dealings - CIA Saigon Station Chief, one of the architects of the "Air America" war in Laos and Sydney's notorious Air America linked Nugen Hand Merchant Bank, through to his up-to-his-balls involvement in the Iran Contra deal, training the Shah of Iran's secret police, his personal connections to Vietnamese organised crime figures (written about by Jack Anderson in the late 80s) etc. etc.

Our Australian media is not only lazy, but ethically contemptible.

News A power company plans to build a 1,000m-high (3,280ft) solar tower in the outback of Australia that would dwarf the world's tallest structures. The tower, as wide as a football pitch and set in the centre of a glass dish 4 miles across, would cost A$1bn (£350m) to build as part of a global drive to use more renewable energy.

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