1. US Magistrate Thomas Coffin denied bail to Kevin Tubbs, environmental activist and inmate. Tubbs family and friends had raised $550 thousand dollars to post bail but Coffin thinks Tubbs is a "flight risk". This because Kevin told an informant that he knew how to sneak over the border into Canada (Well how hard could that possibly be? It's thousands of miles long, it's remote - mostly - and wow, is it ever cold in February.)
2. The Bush Admin wants to cut the program that compensates rural counties where logging has been restricted. The Admin also wants to sell off some forest service land that it considers "unnecessary." ("Unnecessary"? "unnecessary" to what? Wildlife, clean air, clean water? "Unnecessary" to who? Developers? Loggers? Twits on ATV's?)
3. ONS: Tax season again. But when isn't it? Middle to low income people can get free help with their forms - and Lawd knows they'll need it since they are carrying the greater burden of what is left of social programs nationwide. Need money for schools? Don't look to the Big Boys; they only pay the $10 corporate minimum.
4. Bush wants Oregon to be a nanotech center of the universe (Any time the Admin wants to give you anything, be very suspicious, is my advice). Nanotech plus bird flu; how else are you going to get people to voluntarily submit to have tracking devises injected into their bloodstreams?
5. OR: Portland has delayed a public forum on whether PGE rates are too high.(Truth we can do now - lies take a little longer)
6. LA police chief Bill Bratton has come up with a new way to deprive TV viewers the pleasure of watching car chases on telly. High-speed adhesive darts. You fire these things at a fleeing suspect and the miniature GPS receiver inside allows police to track the vehicle. (Note to criminals: Abandon the car with the dart and steal another one. Quick!)
7. FSRN: Alberto Gonzales was questioned by enraged yet oddly ineffective Democrats and alarmed Republicans yesterday. Seems that a few people in Washington are starting to get cold feet about this slow motion coup d'etat that has been set in motion.
8. Today was the funeral of Coretta Scott King. (I heard an early report that Bush had originally planned not to attend. It aired on NPR just once around 5:00 am and that was it... )
9. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is looking to other nations for help in rebuilding the city. (How about a big fat loan from the World Bank? How's a little "restructuring" sound?)
10. For the first time in more than 20 years, the US nuclear weapons scientists have been let out of their cages. Several new weapons are on the drawing board - but not for long, once the boys and girls in the white lab coats get to work.
11. At a time when the military is rather short of fresh faces, the Pentagon is selectively applying its policy regarding gays in the armed forces. Seems that even if one is a terrific fighter and gay, once the gay half of the equation is established, that's it for the fighting.
12. FSRN: Bush sent a $2.8 trillion dollar budget to Congress - virtually all of the money going for war and more war. That and tax cuts. But don't worry because once he gets finished cutting social service programs for the neediest, the oldest and the youngest Americans, there will be plenty of money left over to pay for a strange new world of weaponry.
13. Today is presidential election day in Haiti and so far the violence has failed to materialize (or at least attract attention from the press)
14. The Director General of the WTO says he wants to forge ahead with "trade liberalization". What he means is that wealthy nations can't wait to get their hands on what's left of the world's natural resources, expanding sources of dirt-cheap labor and markets for weapons.
15. The deputy editor of a Chinese newspaper has died of liver and kidney failure after he was beaten by police. Apparently Wu Xiangu published an article about police graft and did not live to regret it.
16. Amnesty International is still calling for the closure of Guantanamo. (I am wondering how much longer we can afford to "call". When do we go there and shut the place down without "calling" first?)
17. The relatives of the people who drowned in the Red Sea when a ferry (which apparently on fire) went down. Grieving family members and friends rioted, breaking into the offices of the el Salam in the port city of Safaga. (As opposed to "calling" for an explanation?)
18. Iran isn't calling any more either.
19. Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he intends to hold on to all of Israel's major settlement blocs and the smaller ones on the border with Jordan. It's a first - even for Israel. Olmert specified he was going to keep a steel grip on Ariel, Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumin in the West Bank. (as opposed to "calling" for the illegal settlements to remain in Israel's grip?)
20. Across the Muslim world today riots continue. (How many times do they have to tell the West, "The cartoons are not funny. They are insulting.') NATO forces are on the way to Afghanistan to help 'calm' people's fury over what are unquestionably very offensive - though crude - drawings. 'Calm' is it? I suppose when one is riddled with bullets, rubber or otherwise, one calms down in a brisk, orderly manner... .
21. Beijing is not happy about Negroponte referring to her as a potential military threat. (It seems these days the Administration just can't do anything right. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea this business of handing the keys to the world over to a bunch of drug-addled MBA's and crusading psychopaths... )
22. Get your sketch pad out and start sharpening those pencils! A newspaper in Teheran is holding a cartoon contest. The theme? The Lighter Side of the Holocaust.
23. In Kenya where drought has slammed the life out of an already dry land, tribal conflicts are coalescing into a battle for water. Food and drink may be in short supply, but Africa is flooded with guns and weapons dealers are only too happy to keep the river of iron flowing into Sub-Sahara Africa...