Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rapid fire (06/25/08)

A fairly busy news day. Here are the highlights:

US Supreme Court rejects death penalty for child rape 5:4 -- you have to read Sam Alito's dissenting opinion, it really is to laugh. But the court has drawn the line: It won't allow a death sentence where there was no death committed in the first place. That doesn't go far enough -- it should be banned all together -- but it clears up some confusion from an earlier 1977 ruling which dealt with adult rape. The fact it was so close proves just how important the next President and his appointments will be. Few want far lefties on the bench but America needs a move back to the centre if the Constitution is to be restored.

Queen Elizabeth II strips Robert Mugabe of his knighthood. I didn't even know he had one! But the rebuke is a welcome one from someone who doesn't get involved quite as much as she ought to at times. We're still waiting for Ratzinger to excommunicate Mugabe from the Roman Catholic Church, however. On the other hand, the churches are about the only sanctuaries left and the "war veterans" are looking for any excuse at all to get rid of their enemies. Don't forget, ZANU-PF has a Politburo so it's Communist in everything but name -- and we know how the Vatican is supposed to feel about the Commies. (Funny they didn't have a similar reaction when San Marino had an elected communist government after World War II. Oh well.) Someone, please save Zimbabwe from itself.

US Fed keeps its key interest rate -- the one banks charge each other -- at 2%, and signals it's keeping an eye on inflation. Markets respond by dumping the greenback and buying up even more Euros on word the ECB will raise its rates at its next board meeting in July. Meanwhile, oil shows no signs of slowing its price growth, even though I heard so many analysts on CNBC and Bloomberg say it's bound to drop to $65 at some point. That might cause some problems for Alberta and Newfoundland which budgeted this year on oil at a mean of $83.

Student meets teacher, as Turkey's Cinderella run is stopped by Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2008. Score 3-2. For all their efficiency, you'd have thought the Swiss would have remembered to have backup generators for their broadcasting centre -- the world feed was cut three times during the game and the best action in the second half was gone.

And finally, another Cabinet shuffle in Canada. Big effing yawn. More of following the "path of inner decay for the sake of outward appearances," to borrow a good line from Vaclav Havel. The bad news is that Diane Finley is still in the inner circle. That won't make the tobacco farmers or Six Nations any happier.

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