12/15/06 Get This
1. It's about time: Portland Blvd. Is now Rosa Parks Blvd. (But I can't help noticing that streets named after civil rights icons are invariably in poor neighborhoods... .).
2. Salem's air is so clean that it's okay to dirty it up again. The State DEQ is all set to relax ozone level restrictions.
3. Last night winds on the Oregon Coast were gusting to 100 mph. (And people had to be told not to go out and stand on the beach to watch the big waves. People have to literally be locked out of dangerous mountain roads in order to prevent them from endangering their own lives. People have to be physically restrained from climbing Mt. Hood in the middle of winter... What's wrong with Americans? Have we become so infantilized that we are no longer up to the responsibility of self-preservation?)
4. The Democrats are finally getting a shot at controlling the cost of college - without inviting the banks to the banquet...
5. Union Suit: New Jersey has legalized gay unions but not same-sex marriage (Thus preserving the holy sanctity of weddings in New Jersey... ..).
6. Told You So Dept: A Southern California Company that builds fences is in trouble with Immigration - you can probably see where this is going - for hiring undocumented workers to build The Border Fence.
7. The US Forest Service has eliminated formal environmental impact statements from the process for writing overall management plans that are required every 15 years. Now, with this new policy on the books, forest plan revisions will now take 2 to 3 years instead of five. Bad news for environmentalist who have been forced to resort to the courts over and over again in order to slow the destruction of the last wilderness places.
8. The Arctic will be gone in 40 years.
9. And so will frankincense.
10. Meanwhile, Back In Court: Chelsea Gerlach and Stanislas Meyerhof have already admitted to helping set fire to a Vail Colorado ski resort. This week they plead guilty to federal arson charges. The action has been described as part of an Earth Liberation Front campaign. (Let's remember that we are talking about a property crime. And let's remember that the loss of environmental quality will in the end doom thousands if not millions of people to the prison of civilization... )
11. British Medical Journal research shows that animal trials are only marginally effective in reflecting human response to drugs.
12. In Nevada, Senator Bob Beers ( Picture the campaign signs: Vote For Beers) wants the state legislature to consider letting teachers carry guns in classrooms. The idea is to control violence in schools. ( "Solve this quadratic equation Right Now, or I'll shoot.").
13. The ACLU said this week that it was handed a Grand Jury subpoena from the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan. The reason? Last November the civil rights organization received an unsolicited document and refused to comply with a prosecutor's demand to turn over the document.. The ACLU says this document was no threat to national security but might prove "mildly embarrassing" to the government (In the same way that Bush is "mildly embarrassing" to the American people?)
14. Top Rahman: Omar Abdel-Rahman, aka The Blind Sheik, aka Lynn Stewart's client, is seriously ill. The feds are seriously worried that if Rahman dies in prison he will be a solid gold martyr and his demise will trigger waves of terrorist activity.
15. The Army is considering ways it can speed up the creation of two combat brigades while shifting personnel and equipment from other military units. Under the plan, the new brigades could be formed next year and be ready to go to Iraq by 2008 (Wait wait wait: Iraq? 2008? Iran?)
16. And on the 'Extended Warranty' form of government, in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe "is backing a plan to extend his presidency by two years until 2010" (Love it! Mugabe's "backing a plan", and who pray tell, came up with this plan he's backing?) Before Mugabe's presidency some 28 years ago, the nation had one of Africa's strongest economies. Now... ...
17. The Democratic Republic of Congo has just held its own elections. The result: Joseph Kabila!
18. In Somali, hundreds of civilians are fleeing their homes around Baidoa, which is theoretically under the control of the Union of Islamic Courts movement and rival forces have got the town surrounded on three sides. It's only a matter of time... .
19. Hamas has taken control of the Gaza Strip's border crossing with Egypt in a ferocious gun battle with Fatah-allied guards after Israel blocked Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh from reentering the Palestinian territories with money to help the Palestinian people who are slowly starving to death.
20. Iranians have begun to vote in two elections. Wheee! This is going to be the first test of public support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since he came to power. Voters will elect new local councils and The Assembly of Experts. Reformists are hoping for a comeback following defeats by conservatives in recent years.
21. In Britain, a major criminal investigation into alleged corruption by an arms manufacturer because Tony Blair says it would endanger national security ("Good boy, Tony. Sit! Stay.)
22. Cloudy with a chance of polonium: Chess whiz, Gary Kasparov says he is going ahead with an anti-Putin protest scheduled for tomorrow - weather permitting... .
23. The Spanish parliament has begun debating a law that would grant reparations to the victims of Generalissimo Francisco Franco's dictatorship. Spain is deeply divided on the legislation. Amazingly, there are relatives of Franco's still in the Spanish government. An estimated 30 thousand people were murdered during Franco's regime and many are still buried in mass graves.
24. A $27 million dollar Creationism museum is going up just outside Cincinnati. It's called Answers In Genesis and everyone who works on it has to sign on to a belief in thee strictest possible interpretation of the Bible, which is, in point of fact, no interpretation at all but a literal reading of The Book.
25. A rare tiger deep in the Sumatran jungle has mangled the surveillance camera that was supposed to be keeping an eye on it.