Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just so, just so

It's Saturday night in the Little Town, and I've spent all day setting up my new toy, a laptop (running Ubuntu 7.10, aka Gutsy Gibbon, and loving it), though I think I'll never get used to this flat keypad. But I've little time or mental energy left, so just a short entry or two today.

Oh, today's post title is something that characters in Jack Vance tales often remark.

Our Allies

  • Saudi Arabia: a young woman who was gang-raped had her day in court--and was sentenced to a whipping of 90 lashes. After all, she was out in a car with a male not a member of her family. Well, she and her lawyer thought that a bit unfair, and appealed. Sure enough, the tribunal changed her sentence: now it's six months in prison and 200 lashes. The act of appealing apparently pissed off the judges.

  • Japan: the nation has sent out its whaling fleet on their annual cruise to gather some whales for scientific study: the Japanese never outgrow their scientific curiosity about whales, so much so that this year they're going to be slaughtering--sorry, collecting--a full thousand. And that includes some humpbacks, a species some think still rather endangered. Of course, as a byproduct of their intense scientific examinations, they'll be selling off all thousand corpses' meat to their whale-meat industry, but scientific curiosity must be served. That their highly profitable whale-meat industry couldn't survive if the government didn't flog the stuff off on a mostly unwilling public (as by putting it in school lunches) is immaterial, as are the huge financial contributions that industry makes to leading politicians there.

  • Britain (called by some Great): in the face of the recent vastly jumped up alarms and warnings from the IPCC about the need to do very big things about global warming right now, Britain is responding by altering the budget of its environmental agency: a cut of at least 300 million pounds. Hey, it's only a planet: use it up, they'll make more.

Brother, Brother

The Inspector-General of the State Department is Howard Krongard; one of the members of the "Advisory Board" of the Blackwater company was, till very recently (as in "when people noticed"), Alvin Krongard. The State Department oversees--to the extent anyone does--Blackwater. Yes, they are brothers: just one of those amusing little coincidences life throws up from time to time.

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