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Only in the United States of America [25 Jan 2006|06:57pm]

My eye was caught by Parade's annual list of the The World's 10 Worst Dictators (22 January 2006). It gives me a nasty feeling to see this information presented ala David Letterman, with each dictator having their headshot, age, time in power, last year's rank, and list of atrocities proudly displayed, all in this rather cheap newspaper-insert magazine.

The top ten are, from worst to worst, Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), Kim Jong-il (North Korea), Than Shwe (Burma / Myanmar), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan), Hu Jintao (China), King Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenistan), Seyed Ali Khamane'i (Iran), and Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea).

There is a note that two on last year's list (al-Qaddafi and Musharraf) slipped off the list --- "not because their conduct has improved but because other dictators have gotten worse".

Anyway, right underneath the description of Nguema's atrocities ("...torture is the 'normal means of investigation' in Equatorial Guinea. There is no freedom of speech, and there are no bookstores or newsstands...most of his people live on less than $1 a day."), there is this announcement:

If You Purchased Invisible or Transparent Tape,
A Class Settlement May Affect Your Rights.

It directs people to http://www.InvisibleTapeSettlement.com.

Oh, what a sick, charmed life we lead.

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