My pal Alan Rogowsky suggests The Paper Boy web site. Did you know Miami has a Finnish newspaper? The Paper Boy looks like a good research tool.

And then Alan passed on this anonymous analysis that’s been ricocheting round the Net:

‘Killing Bin Laden will only create a martyr. Holding him prisoner will inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release. Therefore, I suggest we do neither. Let the Special Forces, Seals or whatever, covertly capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons quickly perform a complete sex change operation. Then we return her to Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban.’

I like it.

Speaking of sex changes – or at least changes when it comes to sex – I just came back from the Empire State Pride Agenda dinner, 1200 snappily turned out gays and lesbians assembled to hear Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani express what by now appears to be their very genuine support for equal rights for gays and lesbians. Pataki has come a long way in six years; and Giuliani, as has been widely reported, has been living as the guest of a gay couple, long-time friends of his, since being kicked out of Gracie Mansion.

And suddenly there is an openly gay ambassador to Rumania. When did that happen? Just breezed through the Senate, apparently. Secretary of State Colin Powell swore in Ambassador Michael Guest on September 19 and acknowledged his partner, Alex Nevarez, who will be accompanying the Ambassador to Rumania, in the audience. If Jesse Helms is fuming, we haven’t heard about it. Good for the Bush administration. (You will recall that the first-ever openly gay American ambassador was James Hormel, whose posting to Luxemburg was nixed by the Republican Senate, and then effected anyway – to howls of fury – by President Clinton.)

Finally, as several of us have been advocating in this space ‘bombing them with butter’ at the same time as we do everything we can to destroy the terrorists (or spirit them off for sex changes), it was heartening to see the announcement today of very much that sort of approach – $320 million in aid for the Afghani people, at the same time as we pursue the terrorists with what one assumes will be deadly force. And the Bush administration has done a fine job of gathering support from around the globe, so this isn’t them against us, but, rather, them against virtually everybody. So far, so good.

Has all this turned me into a Dick Armey / Tom DeLay Republican? Or even a George W. / Dick Cheney Republican? No, no, no, no, no. Resoundingly not. Up until this crisis, it seemed to me they had done just about everything wrong. In many instances, terribly, perhaps even callously, wrong. Going forward, the plan to stimulate the economy by cutting the capital gains and corporate tax rates is equally misguided. (We could wisely have a zero percent rate on capital gains, if it were narrowly targeted only to purchases of newly issued stock and bonds, not trading profits. But that has not been proposed.)

But let’s give credit – enthusiastically – where it is due. And on the hugely important issue of the war on terrorism, as well as the tiny but meaningful issue of gay ambassadors, the Bush administration deserves our applause.


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