Thursday, March 04, 2004

From BBC News:

Nigeria has pulled back from an earlier press statement that it had discussed acquiring nuclear power from Pakistan.
The reference to nuclear weapons was a "typographical error," said a defence ministry spokesman.
The original defence ministry statement, issued late on Wednesday night, quoted chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff General Muhammad Aziz Khan as saying that Pakistan "is working out the dynamics of how they can assist Nigeria's armed forces to strengthen its military capability and to acquire nuclear power."

That is quite the typo. Nigeria will certainly want to keep a lid on this one, as we all know what happens to oil-rich nations that seem to want WMDs...


From the New York Times:

Germany's highest court today overturned the verdict against the only person convicted of involvement in the Sept. 11 terror attacks and ordered a retrial.

The man, Mounir el-Motassadeq, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in February 2003 after being found guilty of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder and of playing a crucial logistical role for the members of the Qaeda cell in Hamburg that produced three of the Sept. 11 pilots.

His lawyers had asked the court to overturn the verdict, arguing that he was denied a fair trial because the United States refused to allow testimony by Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who is believed to have been a member of the cell and central to the Sept. 11 plot.

How much more evidence do we need of the unseriousness of the Bush administration when it comes to actually combating the "terror" about which they go on and on (most recently in their spate of campaign ads which repeatedly exploit 9-11)? Bush can only spare one hour to speak with a couple of members of the 9-11 commission, and the Bush administration can't be bothered to help convict someone actually involved in the attack.



Wednesday, March 03, 2004


I am truly amazed at the sudden groundswell of support for gay marriage. In two days, I will be travelling to San Francisco to participate in the (heterosexual) marriage of my partner's brother, and while there I intend to go down to city hall and offer up moral support.

But, honestly, I am dumbfounded by this turn of events; if you had suggested to me a few months ago that county clerks from California, to New Mexico, to New York, to Oregon, would suddenly begin enforcing the equal protection clause, I would have scoffed. But here it is. It is happening, and I expect the conservatives in power now view the situation with glee, as it can only serve to mobilize the "cultural conservative" base which has supported them for so long.

However, I think the Republicans have overplayed their hands on this, as on so many, things. Pushing for a Constitutional amendment simply illustrates how extreme they are, how far they are willing to go in debasing American democracy to further partisan ends. As if their regressive tax cuts aren't enough, showing their commitment to capitalism to be far more fundamental than any commitment to democracy, now they have to enact a theocratic move to esconce their version of marriage in the Constitution.

The government, let it be said, has no place dealing in the "sacred." This is why amendments regarding the "desecration" of the flag are absurd, and this is why amendments regarding the "sanctity" of marriage are equally misguided.