Get This: Renominator! While the nation watched its economy tank this week, Bush was renominating Steven Bradbury as Assistant Attorney General.
1. How Low Can They Go: The State has new "poverty guidelines" for the Oregon Health Plan's antithesis of Russian Roulette. (Though chances are Oregon's poor would get better healthcare in Russia - with or without the Plan.). One lottery, two thousand people, thirty days - You call that a 'health plan'?
2. The America War Machine: At last! What the World has been waiting for: A product that markets itself by forcing consumers to buy it whether they want it or not... Over the last four years, a local war protestor has been re-directing her federal taxes toward charities while she waits for Congress to legalize her status as a Conscientious Objector.
3. It all boils down to "reasonable belief" vs. "probable cause." Or, put another way, "life or death" as in the case of James Perez. Recall that Perez was shot by Officer Jason Sery during a routine traffic stop. Now, a federal appeals court says the city of Portland's policy on the use of deadly force and police training are constitutional, but a lawsuit over the bureau's interpretation of the policy can go ahead. Here's the thing: We still don't have clear guidelines on racism and law enforcement. (Sery was recently hired by the Beaverton police department. Guess they were short one homicidal cop and needed to 'up-armor'... )
4. Portland school pundits are tossing around t he idea of "overhauling" the city's ten high school campuses.
5. Oh Tannenbaum! Yesterday environmental activists blockaded the NW Natural Gas building with Christmas trees. All in good fun in the endless game of 'Block That LNG' game. (How about a 'Salmon Run' in which people dress up as fish and run across one of Portland's many bridges, spawn, have a cigarette, and run back... Well, it's a thought... )
6. Two days after the story about Bush's military minions refusing to back off with the anti-al-Qaeda submarine sonar program... a baby gray whale washed up dead - doubtless to the horror of whale-watching tourists - on the beach at Seaside. Researchers are researching the cause of death. What more do the researchers need to research?
7. The Future Is Garbage: Edison Carder pulled off a fab edition of Our Backyard'. This week's program was about a successful garbage mining enterprise. This company has developed technology that generates power from landfill. (Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'junk bonds')
8. The EPA accurately predicted something! Well done, EPA! What it predicted was that it would lose a lawsuit filed by California if the agency turned down the State's request to toughen vehicle emissions standards.
9. Kucinich is going to introduce Articles of Impeachment against Bush on January 28th. Mark those calendars now! That's the day Bush gives his State of the Union Speech (It ought to be a short one this year. The rest of the world is on the verge of canceling America's free ride ticket any minute now.)
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: Ever notice how just as Democrats are about to move forward on contempt of Congress citations for upper echelon Bush officials; just as the Dems are about to block Bush's appointment of Steven 'I heart Torture' Bradbury as Assistant AG; just as Dick Cheney is about to give the USA Patriot Act a huge Balco-type shot in the backside... Along comes one of those Big Bad news stories that erases Americans' short-term memories. And the envelope please: It's the economy, Stupid!
11. As I said, Cheney is "prodding" Congress (Stop laughing) to extend and broaden the Protect America Act (From what? Al-Qaeda-manned subs off the coast of California?)
12. The economy still has the whole world mesmerized like the proverbial waltz of Snake and Mongoose.
13. Walk Like an Egyptian: Egyptian authorities are slowly making a show of controlling the Rafah Crossing. Jubilant Palestinians continue to cascade back and forth through the opening blasted in the wall this past weekend. (Meanwhile, back at Rancho United Nations, the US and Israel are the only nations that do not find Israel guilty of Crimes Against Humanity for the Siege of Gaza... )
14. In Iraq, a massive explosion in Mosul killed seventeen people and wounded gawd-knows how many other people. (Americans' response? "Iraq? That's soooo 2007.")
15. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting his nation's former mortal enemy, Iraq. No Iranian leader has been to Baghdad since the Revolution (Theirs. Not ours. It just seems that long a time... )
16. Scarlett Letter! In Britain a Whitehall spin doctor name of John Scarlett (What? You didn't know they had them there as well?) turns out to have played a serious role in creating the famous dossier on Iraq's imaginary weapons of mass destruction (The weapons were imaginary. The destruction part, that was real.). This of course is the document that Bush quoted from in his speech wherein he happened to mention to a cowed and gullible American public that Iraq had these alleged weapons and could deliver them within 45 minutes (Or your Money back? I know pizza places that need at least an hour to find Troutdale... ) So anyway, Bush administration Lie Number 4 hundred and something appears to have been concocted in the basement of Buckingham Palace by a couple of bored Corgis.
17. The Amazon Jungle is on its way to that big sawmill in the sky.
18. Mexican soldiers who had previously been thought to be fighting the US War on Drugs, apparently were raping, torturing, killing and pillaging their way across Mexico looking for drugs (Would a little Rockn'Roll hurt ya? C'mon... ) But Felipe Calderone put a stop to it and turned the drug trade... whoops! 'Drug war'. That's what I was saying, The Drug War... The Drug War is back in the hands of those paragons of Peace Justice and The Mexican Way, the Federales.
19. Beijing is evicting the "undesirables", beggars, venders, hawkers, squeegiemen from the city's streets on the eve of the 08 Olympics. (Beijing should hire Rudy Giuliani: He's clearly The Man for the Job.)
20. And finally, The Bird is on the wing: Amid all this whirlwind of horror, Bird flu is stalking west Bengal.