1. It's been raining and raining and we all know what that means: poo in the Willamette River. (That's nothing! Wait til you get to the story about the packet of ham.)
2. Pete Sorenson wants to help Oregon's community colleges by eliminating the corporate kicker tax. The other good thing Sorenson is doing? Opposing Kulongoski.
3. Portland's Southeast precinct accidentally sold about 10 thousand square feet of its own parking structure. The precinct commander asked (rhetorically) "How did that happen? Someone had to go out with a can of spray paint and mark off the chunk of building that had been rendered off-limits.
4. The avalanche of lawsuits has begun! The first of many in connection with the theft of sensitive medical records from the vehicle of a Providence Health System Supervisor. (But what were the documents doing in an employee's car? Oh, that was for security reasons.)
5. The mass starvation deaths of seabirds - Murres - off the Olympic Penninsula may be due in part to unusual weather patterns along the West Coast. (The Murres were probably so depressed about the direction the environment is going they simply stopped eating as a form of protest. Despair can have a dampening effect on the appetite... )
6. Daniel Donato, the OSU grad student who was rash enough to tell the world that the best way to restore forests after a fire is to leave them alone. His paper was published in Science and his university tried to get the notable journal to pull the paper. Seems that some of thee teachers at OSU's Forestry School have ties to the logging industry.
7. Thousands of Hurricane survivors in Georgia will have to start paying their own hotel bills or leave after missing a deadline to register for additional federal funds. Now it's up to the hotel operators to decide the fate of their hapless guests. (Despair can have a dampening effect on the will to arrange shelter for oneself. Just ask the Murres - if you can find any... )
8. Teflon causes cancer, so stop licking the pan.
9. American's don't save enough money to save their own economy. (The evangelicals are expecting the Rapture and the rest of us are expecting ecological doom, so why bother saving? (actually, I rather like the idea of this Rapture business: think what a great place the world would be with all of those people whisked off to The Universe Next Door... ))
10. Abramoff and his skuzzy partner Adam Kidan might have to explain to the Broward county State attorney why Gus Bouli seller of SunCruz Casinos was murdered after expressing dissatisfaction after Abramoff stiffed him on a $23 million dollar payment. Abramoff tried to cover his ass with phony wire transfers (And as anyone foolish enough to try it knows, phony wire transfers cover less than a thong. Remember this is South Florida here... )
11. Alito got confirmed just in time for Bush's State of the Union address. (Apparently we have a regime founded entirely on strange co-incidences: 9/11, the rise of the religious right, Iran's decisions to sell oil in Euros and the threat of sanctions...
12. The stop loss policy used by the Army to keep U-S soldiers and reservists in the military has been used on more than 50 thousand troops since the War That Wasn't began.
13. Cindy Sheehan got arrested at the State of the Union speech for wearing an anti-war t-shirt. (Those in the audience equipped with hi-tech X-ray specs got an eyeful of phony wire transfers covering a lot of asses.)
14. Factory farms get to pollute all they want because it's good for business and because Bush said they could.
15. A Republican Congresswoman from Florida has submitted a bill (Co-sponsored by the odious Tom Lantos of California) that would ban support for the Palestinian authority, restrictions on travel and the withholding of funds from the U-N. (Israel, already nuked-up, and the beneficiary of billions of dollars in aid from the US, of course will continue to be encouraged to behave at the spoiled bully, provoking discord in a discordant region.)
16. Israel has frozen this month's transfer of $45 million dollars in tax rebates and customs payments to the Palestinian Authority while it "reviews" its option following the Hamas victory. (But don't complain: that would be "anti-Semitic")
17. A report shows that corruption in healthcare systems remains a global problem in rich and poor countries alike (Try this: the world over, your life is only worth as much as you're prepared to pay to save it. Human nature has arranged that the poor merely clog up the machinery as global markets roll over them.)
18. The U-S voted at the U-N to dismiss two international organizations' applications for speaking rights at the Economic and Social council. The move brings America in line with similar regime where human rights generally get short shrift: China, Sudan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe...
19. Iraqi police have found the bodies of 11 young men all blindfolded and shot in the head.
20. U-S forces took time off from protecting the world from terrorism and shot up the Canadian ambassador's car. (Apparently, they hadn't got word that Canada had elected a new right-wing leader and thus was no longer on our shit-list.)
21. Hugo Chavez says the U-S is spying on his government. I say, Chavez is not being paranoid; He's merely stating the facts.
22. A majority of Nigeria's 36 state governors have given their backing to moves to change the constitution: specifically they want to change the bit about tw0-term limits for elected officials. (See? They have co-incidences in African nations just like we do here in the USofA.)
23. And the prize for the most disturbing news story in weeks: Children created to provide "spare parts" for siblings should be monitored to ensure their wellbeing. The Human Genetics Commission warns that "it may be tempting to view the children as spare parts banks." ("Tempting"? That's "tempting"? What kind of inhuman monster would find it "tempting" to harvest a kidney here, a lung there, maybe a face?)
24. Putin wants tighter control on NGOs operating in Russia. (Putin also wants to be a totalitarian dictator... ..but these days, who doesn't?)
25. The whole Arab world is boycotting Danish products. Apparently, some moron cartoonist drew pictures of the Prophet Mohammed. First off; that is wrong. You are not allowed to make images of the Prophet Mohammed. And secondly; you for damn sure are not allowed to picture the Prophet wearing a turban that looks like a bomb. Okay. Are we all clear on this?
26. And if you are in the market for the latest in exotic weaponry, India is The Place To Be. Big trade faire going on.
27. A day after a collision with a freighter in the English Channel, a tanker carrying 110 thousand tones of phosphoric acid has sunk.
28. And back on dry (but odd) land in Britain, a fellow was arrested during an investigation as to how dog poo came to be listed on a packet of ham. (Oh pull yourself together. You didn't think it was ham, nothing else, plain ham in there?)