Does the 'W' stand for 'Whale'?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2003

George W Bush is a very surprising man. Just as you get used to regarding him as the spawn of Satan, his administration does something that makes you want to jump up and cheer.

Not so long ago Bush visited sub-Saharan Africa. I dont know the details of what he promised and did, but AngieJ, the Detroit teacher and Harry/Hermione fandom diva whose opinion on Black issues I greatly respect – and who I would have expected to be a natural Democrat – was sufficiently impressed to say she'll vote Bush. I nearly fell off my chair when I read that.

Now the Bush administration has threatened Iceland with a trade boycott over its resumption of whaling. The Independent reports a State Department spokesman as saying “it is within the power of the US President to ban the importation of goods from any country deemed to be in breach of an international conservation agreement”.

Who would have expected that? This is the same administration that dismisses the environment as unimportant when oil is at stake, and which trashed the Kyoto Agreement.

What do you do when someone whose instincts, personal philosophy and politics you intensely dislike and distrust starts doing things of which you strongly approve? It's perverse to condemn them on a knee-jerk reaction. It's equally foolish to become an unquestioning cheerleader for them. I guess you take a line of cautious welcome, not expecting too much for the future but being encouraged by what you have just seen happen.

Interestingly, AngieJ isn't over-impressed with Howard Dean, the Democrat Presidential-wannabe who Jenny Miller speaks well of. Dean is building an impressive grass-roots campaign on the internet and is saying a lot of things I like to hear. He seems the most radical Democratic candidate I've seen in a while, although I've seen reports that suggest he kept his radical instincts heavily in check as governor of Vermont. He is, if you like, the Bloggers' candidate. I've even seen Dean avatars appearing on LiveJournal posts.

Watch him – he may not be well-known now, but he will be soon.

On the subject of whales, and Jenny Miller, she has a link from an Australian newspaper of a whale farting. With photo. One of the scientists caught in the fall-out is quoted as saying: “We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly … it does stink.”

So not only are whales intelligent, they also fart too. What more do they have to do before people accept they are too evolved to be hunted? Sit in front of the TV and drink beer while watching football?

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.