Saturday, April 24, 2004

Back in the Real World

There’s been some news going on out there while I’ve been absorbed in the world of theatre.

  • The War Room at Salon.com (sbscription or free Day Pass required) has a couple of interesting notes, including the fact that while the Vatican has been dragging its feet to do much about pedophile priests, they’re quick to basically excommunicate any pro-choice practicing Catholic politician…i.e. John Kerry, although he is not mentioned by name.
  • The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reveals that some companies did business with Iraq during the 1990’s including – tada – Halliburton.

    Halliburton, which has won business in the Gulf country since the war, did tens of millions of dollars of business with Iraq in the late 1990s, when it was still led by the current U.S. vice president, Dick Cheney. Much of that business was done through French units. Halliburton won more than $30 million worth of deals with Mr. Hussein’s Iraq in the 1990s, U.N. documents show.

    The largest part came when Mr. Cheney led the company from 1996 to 2000. Mr. Cheney said during the 2000 election campaign that Halliburton had a policy against trading with Iraq. The Halliburton contracts mentioned in the U.N. documents involved units and joint ventures that came with the purchase of Dresser Inc. in 1998. Those units were sold from December 1999 to April 2001. ‘Contracts were initiated prior to the merger,’ a spokeswoman for Halliburton said.

    But at least one French unit, Dresser-Rand SA, part of a joint venture in which Halliburton had a 51% stake, registered $6 million of oil spare-parts sales with the U.N. oil-for-food program between 1998 and 2000, after Halliburton acquired Dresser, U.N. documents show. Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co., the French unit of another joint venture, signed about $25 million of Iraqi contracts at a time when Halliburton owned 49%, documents show.

  • And just to show you that the FCC is really on the job, they are considering fining a Miami station for placing a prank phone call to Fidel Castro. The reason for the fine? They didn’t notify Castro that they were going to make the call and put him on the air. So let me get this straight: the government is looking out for the privacy rights of a dictator, but it won’t let prisoners held for two years at Gitmo see a lawyer. Well, it’s nice to see that Absurdism is still alive and well even outside of the theatre.