12/14/06 Get This
1. The EPA in its magnificent wisdom has opted not to set limits on toxic mercury released into the air by existing cement kilns. That includes one in Eastern Oregon that is the largest source of airborne mercury in the state. EPA officials say the benefits of imposing limits on existing plants "is not worth the cost."
2. Ron Wyden has from time to time managed to piss off both Labor and Business leaders. But at least he's got them to agree on his plan for universal healthcare. And yes, it is too good to be true. The 'Healthy Americans Act' still leaves healthcare in the hands of private insurance companies.
3. Sit On It And Rotate: Portland's mean-spirited 'sit/lie' ordinance is itself about to be evicted from the downtown area. The Portland City Council voted unanimously to create a homeless day center, public loos, and more benches, not to mention a sidewalk-obstruction law that doesn't require a tape measure for street cops to enforce.
4. Mayor Potter's Chief of Staff has resigned.
5. A Grand Jury has indicted Emily Boyles' 'Aide de Camp', Vladimir Golovan. Mirabile dictu, Golovan managed to round up 950 of the 1,000 signatures Emily needed to get her hands on all that public campaign money.
6. Southern Discomfort: Southern Oregon, lumber mills are laying off workers, (Mainly because the housing market is also heading South... )
7. A new study finds that planting forests in temperate regions may not yield any benefit for the global climate catastrophe, and may in fact contribute to warming (Take a look at some of the sources for this study... ). By contrast, tree planted in tropical rainforests could indeed help slow global warming, scientists conveniently found.
8. The War On Truth: The Army prosecutor in Ehren Watada's court martial trial has subpoenaed Truthout Executive Director Marc Ash, reporter Sari Gelzer and contributors Dahr Jamail and Sarah Olson.. The Army claims that Watada made disparaging statements about the legality of the war during an interview with Truthout. (Which unfortunately for all concerned, are true... )
9. Tell Laura: A court has upheld Bush's new anti-terror law, agreeing that Guantanamo inmates cannot challenge their imprisonment. The specific case was that of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver. (This could be bad news for Laura, once the war crimes charges start rolling in... )
10. Wake Up And Smell the Polonium: Democratic Senator Tim Johnson is in critical condition after a sudden, inexplicable flare-up of a pre-existing condition, which required neurosurgery. If he is unable to continue in office, it means that Democrats will lose their fragile 51-49 margin in the new Senate.
11. ICEed: After rounding up 1200 people that it claimed were "illegal immigrants" - some of them were US citizens - and disappearing several hundred of them, US Immigration says that now it's really going to crack down on the Undocumented...
12. In Texas, a critical run-off election is over and - even with Republican redistricting in effect - the Democrat Ciro Rodriguez beat GOP incumbent Henry Bonilla.
13. The Cure Is Worse Than The Cause. Six members of the military are suing to prevent the Pentagon from forcing troops to submit to anthrax vaccine that many claim is unsafe and often provokes spooky side effects.
14. Patrick Leahy, incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee has promised to combat Bush's war-time trampling of American rights.
15. Boy Will Be Boys Dept: The Army has dropped the death penalty option yesterday as a possible sentence for a soldier charged with the infamous rape and murder of a girl and her family that happened last March in Mahmoudiya. Now Private First class Jesse Spielman faces a maximum sentence of life without parole.
16. Stratified: The Bush administration is clamping down on scientists at the US Geological Survey. The USGS is the latest agency subjected to controls on research that might go against official policy.
17. Wall Street if getting clod feet over global warming. But not because of the human misery it is causing and will increasingly cause: No. The moneymen are worried because they don't know how much it is going to cost.
18. Just In Time For Christmas! A Christian video game - brought to you by the makers of the 'Left Behind' merchandise line - is set in New York after millions of Christians have been 'raptured away'. Players are charged with recruiting and converting an army that will engage in physical and spiritual warfare with The Antichrist and His Evil Followers (That would be the average New Yorkers who are just trying to get back to the office without spilling the five dollar coffee on the two dollar bagel). Where does one purchase this steaming pile? Why, Wal-Mart, of course... .
19. In Baghdad, bomb blasts killed 15 people and Bush is still making his way through all 160 pages of the ISG's report. (Only one word of which George really needs to understand and that word is 'Leave!'). Bush says he is also listening to various advisors. (I can imagine the advise: "Wait till Tim Johnson is out of the picture and we regain control of the Senate")
20. Bush has scolded Syria, despite a chorus of voices telling him to "Use your words, George. Don't hit the other kids and take their toys... "
21. Gunmen in Khan Yunis killed a Hamas official. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh cut short an official trip abroad and Israel closed the only border crossing from Egypt, effectively preventing Haniyeh from returning to Gaza. Fatah and Hamas militants are at one another's throats again today. (This really is all about money and resources. As Palestinians run out of everything essential to life, they are turning on one another. Who could blame them?)
22. Israel has dropped BBC World in favor of al-Jazeera. Israel thinks that the BBC is biased toward the Palestinians... .
23. A new study finds that four out of five Russian political leaders and state administrators have either been or still are members of state security services. Which just goes to show that there has been a huge expansion of KGB-FSB influence in The Bear's business and politics lately. (Look deep into Vladimir Putin's eyes: You are getting very drowsy... )
24. And finally a ray of light! The San bushmen of the Kalahari have won the right to return to their ancestral land (Which is no doubt open to mineral exploration even as I write this... .)