Roll on 2004, and it still bemuses me that the mostr important aspects of news stories still only deem a single paragraph right at the end of the piece. From this BBC article BA flight to Washington cancelled:
"In December six Air France flights from Paris to Los Angeles were grounded, at the request of the US.
The French government now believes the FBI had wrongly identified six passengers as potential terrorists, partly because of mistakes translating Arabic names."
Fuckers. Fuck them all. A police state is one thing. A paranoid police state is another. And for the naively despondent, of course it happens one step at a time. How the situation this time next year compares should be interesting...
Other stuff... The Pope says something useful, re-advocating the role of the UN, and reform of a NWO. It also makes a note about one of his right-hand man's "pity and compassion" for Saddam Hussein, which came up on the Cypherpunks ML recently. It now occurs to me that this may not, indeed, be mutually exclusive to an attitude of apt punishment, which some seem to argue. It does, in fact, bear a resemblance to the positon posited by Lao-Tsu:
"The best soldier is not soldierly,
The best fighter is not ferocious."
The principles that should be applied to those fighting a battle, i.e. those of regretful necessity, and appropriate skill and respect, should also be applied to all aspects of war, rather than simply the bloodletting. In "our" capture of Saddam, there is nothing wrong with being both piteous, yet aptly severe. Unfortunately, the event has been surrounded by an atmosphere of indulgent mockery and arrogant bravado, spoiling any chance of "decency" that could have been held.
Meanwhile.. some interesting twists in the "hamster wheel of consumerism", as Will Self refers to it. Consumers now owe a total of £52.92bn on credit cards, which is just under 900 quid per person, assuming that a). we're using the smaller American billions, and b). every man woman and child has a credit card. What's interesting is that repayments are up, although it looks like this is being added to the cost of houses instead. Still makes more sense to me to just cut out the crap that you don't need.
Anyway, lots of other intersting stuff I've been thinking about over the Christmas period. Will hopefully write some of it up soon...