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August 21, 2003
Lunch break

There's no other word for it but macabre.

In a case of Disneyland meets the killing fields, Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism is drawing up grandiose plans to upgrade the final stronghold of the Khmer Rouge into a million-dollar theme park.

They're planning surreal little touches to add to the experience, too.

Tour guides will be selected from among former members of the genocidal regime who are not currently awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.

Khmer Rouge. Theme park. Does. Not. Compute.

Here at home, and naturally completely unrelated, there's a report that the GOP is trying to expand Ashcroft's authority.

As Attorney General John D. Ashcroft begins a barnstorming tour of the country to shore up support for existing anti-terrorism laws, Senate Republicans are discussing legislation that would expand the Justice Department's powers to investigate terrorists and drug criminals.

I'm just saying. Is this stupid government department about a "war on terrorism" or is it not? Because I just can't get behind dropping another few billion dollars into the sinkhole of our "war on drugs."

I don't think calling it, "narcoterrorism" really makes it terrorism, either.

I'd really rather not see Ashcroft & Co. giving a blank mandate to, "go after bad guys" for reasons I'm sure you all understand.

(The new bill is called the "Victory Act" and I predict the self-congratulating title will get these guys into the same kind of trouble Bush is getting into for declaring victory and the end of "major combat" long before combat in Iraq was at an end or, indeed, victory was secured.)

Among other things, it's a pretty stupid bill.

The proposal, which totals 56 pages in one July 30 version, also targets alleged "interstate currency couriers" by making it a crime to carry more than $10,000 cash in a vehicle in connection with illegal activity.

Okay, so it's going to be, you know, entirely legal to carry $10k around for illegal purposes? Who thinks this stuff up, anyhow?

"The Victory Act represents a major expansion of federal surveillance, asset forfeiture and other powers under the guise of linking the war on drugs to the war on terrorism," said Tim Edgar, legislative counsel for the ACLU. "It does not address the intelligence problems that led to the September 11th attacks, continuing a failed policy of simply granting more power to the government instead of ensuring the government uses its existing powers effectively."

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of cheap sleight of hand tricks (Look! Iraqi terrorists! Ooops. We bad.) from this Administration. Let's hope the moderate Republicans and the Democrats find their spines before this one gets passed.

This is probably the most annoying article I've read in the past year. Just when Wolff gets to the interesting part of his subject, he stops writing. (Via Cursor.)

Posted by AnneZook at 02:27 PM


Comments

"There was a little current of fear at the sudden recognition that testosterone could fuel politics. It was a shock, apparently, that we might be this close to real feelings. That politics could actually be personal."Damn personal. If there's anything that we can learn from the "right's" criticism is that this whole "abstract-disconnected-ivory-tower distance-from-reality" stereotype needs to be toned quite a bit down - at least at this point in reality. What's happening is not just an interesting side bit anymore with no likely impact on our immediate lives. Economy, law, freedoms, death, education. . . They are reaching for the gold ring here. In any event, thanks for the pointer to the article.

Posted by: John at August 21, 2003 04:43 PM

That was the part of the article that fascinated me, as well. I remain entirely frustrated that the author stopped at what seemed to me to be the beginning of the important material.

Posted by: Anne at August 24, 2003 12:40 PM