April 15, 2008

It takes two to make one
Lord, it sounds like fun to me

Billy Name, Warhol with Baby Ruth

* From Harper's May 2008:

-- Number of U.S. presidential elections so far in which the two major-party nominees were both sitting Senators: 0

-- Percentage, in a recent study, by which the average weight gain of rats eating saccharin exceeded that of rats eating sugar: 25

-- Changes that a story in a British newspaper is a reprinted or rewritten press release: 3 in 5

-- Current annual deficit of the International Monetary Fund: $140,000,000

-- Length, in miles, of Beijing's newest airport terminal: 2

-- Amount that a businessman in the United Arab Emirates paid this year for the nation's license plate number "1": $14,000,000

-- Ratio of the estimated number of fake doctors practicing in Delhi, India, to the number of real ones: 1:1

* Bush ok's torture meetings:

"President Bush says he was aware that his top aides met in the White House basement to micromanage the application of waterboarding and other widely-condemned interrogation techniques. And he says it was no big deal.

"'I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved,' Bush told ABC News' Martha Raddatz on Friday. 'I don't know what's new about that; I'm not so sure what's so startling about that.'

"It's true that it has been widely assumed and occasionally reported that the CIA's use of brutal interrogation techniques could be traced back to the White House on a general level. But it was most definitely new last week when ABC News reported that a group of Bush's top aides, including Vice President Cheney, took part in meetings where they explicitly discussed and approved -- literally blow by blow -- tactics such as waterboarding. And while Bush has previously defended these tactics -- vaguely, and insisting against all evidence that they did not amount to torture -- he had not, until now, acknowledged that he personally OK'd them beforehand.

"If you consider what the government did to be torture, which is a crime according to U.S. and international law, Bush's statement shifts his role from being an accessory after the fact to being part of a conspiracy to commit."

* Happy Birthday: William Burrough's Junky is 55.

* "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it." -- Malcolm X


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