And now the most scintillating two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
The United Nations Conference on Disarmament, which the United Nations proudly calls the world's sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, has now begun its annual deliberations. Last year, the body was unable to agree on what it calls a "program of work," marking the fourth year in a row it couldn't agree on what to do. The group is apparently hoping to do better this year. Under its rules, the presidency will rotate among members’ countries. This year, that will mean that for four weeks each this year, the United Nation's conference on disarmament will be presided over by Iran and Iraq.
Meanwhile, there's a new report that British police found more than a few weapons at that Mosque in London the other day. The Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia, says detectives from Scotland Yard and British intelligence also found chemical warfare protection suits in the Finsbury Park Mosque, which is well known for its use by radical Islamists clerics who preach holy war against the United States and Britain. The newspaper says authorities feared disclosing the discovery of the suits would cause panic.
Mad at the Media
Janeane Garofalo, the standup comic and actress, has been making the rounds of TV talk shows to argue against war with Iraq, but she's not happy about it. She tells the Washington Post that the only reasons the shows book her is "so they can marginalize the movement. It's much easier to toss it off as some bizarre, unintelligent special interest group." Garofalo, who is working with the group “Win without War," says, “I'm being treated like a child and that's how I think the American people are being treated by their media." The media, she says, "have an interest in war, have an interest in profiting from war."
The U.S. Department of Education has given the OK for $55,000 worth of student loans for three individuals to attend Y'Hica Institute for the Visual Arts in London. The problem is that the three students are all fictitious and so is the Y'Hica Institute. The bogus school was created by General Accounting Office, an agency of Congress, to test the Education Department's screening process for loans to students at foreign schools. One of the fake students who applied for a loan was even named Susan M. Collins, the name of the Republican U.S. Senator from Maine who asked for the investigation. An Education Department spokesman said officials "did not completely follow" the proper procedures in certifying the school and approving the loans.