03/20/07 Get This
1. Yesterday's protests, although smaller and somewhat less festive and more to the point, drew crowds of thousands to Terry Shrunk Plaza in downtown Portland. One just has to ponder the impact of the demonstration on the people incarcerated across the street. They must have heard us... At the WTO action in Seattle when everyone showed up outside the jail to show support for the hundreds of 'political prisoners' being held there, those inside could hear us...
2. In Washington, the State Public Disclosure Commission says the King County GOP should be investigated by the State AG for multiple - and flagrant - violations of campaign finance laws. (This would probably not be the sort of "voter fraud" the White House was so keen to look into last week... or would it?)
3. Separated At Birth?: Lawmakers in Salem are disentangling the proposed overhaul of the infamous $10 dollar corporate minimum tax from the Rainy Day Fund. Business wants to hang onto its customary massive windfall while at the same time maintaining its "compassionate capitalist" image...
4. Labor Pains: The Oregon Legislature is having contractions over a bill that would provide paid - but not very well - leave for family members giving birth to more family members or attending to the needs of existing family members. This while employers wring their ring-encrusted grippers and wail about the diminished means the law will mean for them...
5. An Oregon Death row inmate says that he deserves a new trial because of the piss-poor job his lawyers did of defending him, and if that isn't enough, then take a look at lethal injection: Veterinarians say that the method used would not be acceptable for use in putting a dog down.
6. Washington consumers can sign up for a free state prescription drug card that is designed to save customers an average of 20 percent on brand-name drugs and 60 percent on generic ones. (For all the other ones, check with those guys on the corner for 'Daily Specials'... )
7. Bush wants us all to be patient while he finishes getting his war on. (It turns out that being a "War President" isn't nearly as much fun as being, oh, say a "Brush-cutting President" or a "Bass-catching President"... )
8. A federal appeals court has ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the Mercs-R-Us firm, Blackwater USA, can proceed in North Carolina's state courts. It's a major blow to one of the most infamous war profiteers operating in Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans and points beyond. Blackwater argued that it was merely "performing a classic military function... with authorization from the Office of the Secretary of Defense".
9. Bush's Justice Department dumped a mountain of documents on the steps of the House last night, hoping perhaps, to bury the truth in the truth... Much of the pile contains fascinating email discussions regarding the revenge dismissals of US Attorneys.
10. The New York City detectives who shot Sean Bell were formally charged with reckless manslaughter yesterday, and in response, recklessly plead Not Guilty.
11. It's Getting Hot In Here: The Council on Environmental Quality broke it down for Congress yesterday: The Bush administration ran a systematic campaign to play down the dangers of climate change. It demanded hundred of politically motivated changes to scientific reports and muzzled pre-eminent experts on global warming.
12. Al Gore is training one thousand people to get the word out about global warming. Oregon's Secretary of State, Bill Bradbury was the lone elected official among the teachers, retired military officer, a former Miss America and a country music singer who signed on.
13. The CEO of Qwest appears to be an all-time, world-class insider-trading criminal. (Push one for fraud charges. Press two for conspiracy charges. Press three if want more information on racketeering. For direction to Club Fed, please stay on the line and a prosecutor will be with you in just a minute... .)
14. This Is 'News'? Dept.: White college students are racists.
15. Federal legislators suddenly awoke from their collective stupor and realized what they had done when they reauthorized the USA Patriot Act last year. What they saw was worse than the worst nightmares they had suffered while dozing. Thanks to Alberto Gonzales - who may finally have done something good for his country - lawmakers are attempting to remove a little item that no one actually read. It's the one that says that US Attorneys can be fired and replaced without Senate confirmation. And there's plenty more to work with when they get that one straightened out... .
16. Heading Off PR Disaster: Saddam Hussein's former deputy was hanged this morning - but not before he was carefully weighed and measured in order to avoid any further nasty mishaps... like accidental decapitation... .
17. Hamas' Evil Twin carried out its first attacks against Israel since the rickety November truce in the Gaza Strip. (You'd be bad-tempered too if your house was occupied by people who had killed your relatives and stolen your olive groves and aquifers then given you a tent and a bucket... .)
18. A huge explosion in a Russian mine has killed over a hundred people - and that's just the official estimate...
19. Zimbabwe has threatened to toss out Western ambassador so that Robert Mugabe can consummate his deification with diplomacy getting in the way...
20. Build A Better Bug Trap And The World Will... . Scientists have figured out how to make a genetically modified mosquito that cannot pass on malaria. (We have had Bad Chemistry Backlash before, but this plan is riddled with panoply of horrifying unintended results...
21. 'Regrets, I've Had A Few': The man who slammed a sledgehammer into the statue of Saddam Hussein four years ago has this to say: "I really regret bringing down the statue. The Americans are worse than the dictatorship. Every day is worse than the previous day."