1. Portland, you've got cryptosporidium! But instead of spending the money to clean up the drinking water, the city is getting lawyered-up to sue the EPA.
2. There was a healthcare conference in Salem and Oregon's representatives were hoping to glean a few ideas and perhaps even solutions from the out-of-towners. Alas, the out-of-towners had the same notion as it became evident that no one knew what to do about the healthcare crisis nationwide. (It boils down to: sick people are good for business. Sick people with no money are bad for business.)
3. Two Portland environmental activists are in huge trouble with the Feds. One of them, Darren Thurston was arrested last week in NW. Turns out Thurston is actually Canadian (And the Administration was just looking for a reason to attack Canada!) , so now this becomes an international incident. Hopefully proceedings will drag on until the nation (this one - not Canada) comes to its senses.
4. The Admin , given what amounts to a choice between a military spending bill with provisions preventing torture and no spending bill but plenty of torture, went with the former... .wheeewph!
5. There is a showdown vote in the House today on extending the USA Patriot Act (Still haven't found time to read it? Don't worry. Neither has anyone in Congress.). The White House and its allies would rather let the 16 temporary provisions expire completely than give opponents more time to add more restrictions on the FBI's ability to comb through peoples' records. (Scary, huh?)
6. On Wednesday, during a Fox (!!!!!!?) TV interview Bush said he believed Tom DeLay was innocent of the charges brought against him. Scott McClelland called the apparent inconsistency a "presidential prerogative".
7. The New York Times under a gag-order from the White House (but then, what order from the White House does not make one gag?) sat on a story about warrantless domestic spying. Seems the NSA eavesdropped on thousands of people over the past three years.
8. New York's transit union called a "selective" strike against private bus lines today, thus avoiding the commuter nightmare that loomed. But what about the workers' 'looming nightmare' of pay and benefit cuts?
9. Another partner of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in Miami yesterday (Traditionally, in Florida, felony charges are not an obstacle in a person's promising political career.)
10. A massive ice storm hit the South. Freezing rain across Georgia and the Carolinas shut the lights off for 450 thousand people.
11. Live interview with Rolf Skar of the Siskiyou Project on the victory in Congress this week when changes to mining laws were dropped from the Federal Budget package. What this means is that the Siskiyou Project has managed to head off a gigantic drive to privatize (steal) public land.
12. Leftist front-runner in the election this Sunday in Bolivia, Eva Morales has this to say about his party: It is a nightmare for the United States." Morales is a n Aymara Indian and if he wins, he will be the first indigenous head of state that Bolivia has ever had..
13. FSRN: Cuba is hosting peace talks between the Colombian government and the second largest guerrilla group operating in the country.
14. Iraqi police captured and mistakenly released militant leader Abu Musab-al-Zarqawi last year. (What really happened: the US caught him and then accidentally released him but that would play badly with the American public. It would make the US military look like a bunch of doofuses. So they simply rephrased the facts, making the Iraqi police the culprit. You can bet your ass that if Zarqawi's captors had not bungled it, the Americans would have taken full credit.)
15. Exit polls in Iraq indicate that the dominant Shiite Islamist Bloc is ahead.
16. Canada (see #3 above) is really pushing it this week: Now PM Paul Martin is warning the US that he (And by 'he', we are to infer that Martin actually means Canada.) "will not be dictated to" by the US (Unlike say for example, Britain.)
17. FSRN: South Korean farmer protested at the WTO ministerial.
18. This year is the warmest year ever. In fact 8 of the 10 warmest since 1860 have occurred within the last decade.
19. There was a massive explosion at a Russian nuclear power plant... ... .
20. But Moscow was too busy worrying about the gigantic river of Chinese benze from the chemical spill in Songhua last week.