February 24th, 2003


Carnival in Venice.

An article on how Carnival is driving the people of Venice batty... and a loverly gallery of pictures from this year's Carnival.

"If I have to fight past another group of glitter-painted Japanese tourists giggling at each other and taking pictures in masks, I think I'll kill somebody."

Well, yes, that can be annoying, but the biggest problem is that the Venetians have been priced out of their own traditions. The answer, I suspect, is to allow masks (and masked balls) for seven months a year like they used to, with some time and events reserved just for Venetians and their ultra-ultra special guests. The other six-plus months, masked Venetians can pursue masked foriegners and do lewd, rude, and abusive things to them to take out their frustrations, and then ask money for it. Sort of like the Venetian equivalent of Parisian mimes...


Saddam's missiles

Somewhat frustrating news out of Baghdad today... Saddam, in an interview with CBS news, indicated that he was convinced he will be attacked irregardless of what happens and doesn't want to destroy his Al-Samoud II missiles, as he doesn't feel their range is over 150 kilometers. He also desires a debate with Bush -- a debate which obviously isn't going to happen. Portions of the interview will air Tuesday on The Early Show and the CBS Evening News, and on a special edition of 60 Minutes II on Wednesday night.

UN resolution specifically says all ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts should be destroyed, but what was never made clear in the resolution was whether that meant 150 kilometers in range with or without the warhead and missile guidance system. As a result, we may be looking at the longest 30 kilometers in history, in that they may define whether the UN supports inspections or supports war.

Obviously, at some point Iraqi scientists were tasked to create a missile that would function just within the limit of what is acceptable according to the UN. The problem, of course, is that you cannot create missiles that travel armed up to ~140 km without also creating a missile capable of going over the 150 km limit without a payload. If Iraq's intent was to clearly violate limits, why didn't they build SCUD-B missiles such as they used to have, with a range of up to 300 km?

It looks unlikely that Hans Blix is going to budge on this issue, so basically, Iraq needs to dump a major, deployed missile system on the verge of being invaded... or else he will be invaded.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.