Saturday, January 3, 2009

Headlines - Saturday

Who says they don't know how to party in Provo?
No New Year's resolutions this year
To quote Vince Vaughn from the movie Dodgeball:
I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don't have one, then you are never disappointed. And I got to tell you it feels phenomenal.
None of this would be happening if it weren't for all those pesky environmental regulations 

The first samples of drinking water downstream of the spill in Tennessee have been analyzed. You can read it here, but let me share some of the results below:

Arsenic - 35 to 300 times higher than drinking water criteria. 3 to 10 times higher than max TN aquatic life criteria.

Barium - 2 to 4 times higher than drinking water criteria.

Cadmium - 0.25 to 3 times higher than drinking water criteria. 4 to 7 times higher than max TN aquatic life criteria.

Chromium - 3.5 times higher than max drinking water criteria.

Copper - 7 to 70 times higher than the max TN aquatic life criteria.

Mercury - 5 to 8 times higher than max drinking water limit. 7 to 12 times higher than the max TN aquatic life criteria.

Something tells me arsenic will be the least of the good folks of Eastern Tennessee's worries over the next several decades.

Here's a video of the spill.
The good news is that some towns, strapped for cash, are mixing "non-toxic" ash left over from coal-fired power plants with rock salt for ice removal.
For what it's worth...
An early contender for wingnuttiest remark of 2009
Marty Peretz just blurted out the following:

Arabic is a language easily taken to exaggeration and hyperbole. The easy use of the word genocide is an instance of this Arab habit. There is no genocide in Sudan but there is in the Strip. Sorry, I had it in reverse. This lying also extends to details that can be quickly checked by reporters who don't. Would you not think that, with the hysteria about starvation, you'd see some bloated bellies on the TV? Instead, you see healthy children and strong young men in the rituals of resistance.

And sneakers. You have to look closely at the sneakers, seemingly new and, of course, costly.

Yes. We must look at their sneakers.

Now if, in fact, the aid that Peretz lists is actually in place, this is objectively a good thing, but I have no way of verifying it. Other reports would seem to suggest that things are far worse than Peretz would let on.

But what stands out is the shoe remark. That is not something that would be uttered by someone with a clear and rational perspective, and is instead the kind of gibberish you would expect from people suffering from the fevered irrationality of pure hatred. Especially in light of reports like this:

Eight Palestinians were killed on Friday, including five children in the ongoing Israeli intensive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip for the seventh consecutive day, doctors and witnesses said.

Palestinian witnesses and medics said that in the most recent Israeli airstrikes carried out on Friday afternoon on a house east of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, three children were killed and eight civilians wounded.

I wonder what kind of shoes they were wearing, because if they were new and costly, they probably had it coming.


Good news for the war on drugs! 

"This government has lost the capacity to govern because a shadow government has taken over," said Ashraf Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister. He quit that job in 2004, he said, because the state had been taken over by drug traffickers. "The narco-mafia state is now completely consolidated," he said.

Bush's puppet government in Afghanistan, headed by Hamid Karzai, is one of the most corrupt governments on the face of the planet.

Everything is for sale. You cannot do anything in Afghanistan without paying off somebody. As a result, the government officials, whose bribe income is ten times or more what their official pay is, all live in luxurious houses.

Corruption is a cancer that destroys trust and good will. The corruption of the Karzai government gives the Taliban an opportunity, one that I have no doubt that they are seizing upon. If we are going to have a shot at keeping the Taliban from controlling the entire country (they have de facto control of much of it now), the Karzai government must be scourged of corruption.

Heckuva job, George. We can add this to the heap of problems crafted by you and your posse of crack terrorist fighting, freedom spreading cronies.


Yesterday in Iraq: 35 Iraqis killed; 123 wounded.
For no apparent reason, someone dumped thousands, and we mean thousands of shoes on Miami's Palmetto Expressway, causing massive backups during the morning rush hour.

Road workers equipped with shovels, front end loaders and trucks worked throughout the morning to clean up the mess, but no source for the footwear flotsam has been determined. Police are looking for a charity to take the shoes.


Fashion and Chanel icon Karl Lagerfield has defended wearing fur as nothing more than "killing those beasts who would kill us if they could." Finally, someone who is willing to tell the truth about those human hunting chinchillas and rabbits and their plan for world domination.
From a passage in an Associated Press story yesterday about the postponed trial of Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at Dubya during a press conference in Baghdad:

. . . in the most telling sign of the changes that are sweeping over Iraq, Tuesday's second anniversary of Saddam Hussein's hanging went by almost unnoticed — a near-forgotten footnote in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 4,200 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

The anniversary was not even marked in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, where the insurgency quickly took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Returning to the article's main topic, the AP scribe (Patrick Quinn) then writes:

The trial of al-Zeidi was to begin Wednesday on charges of assaulting a foreign leader, which his defense team said carried a maximum sentence of 15 years. . . .

Last week, [Iraqi prime minister Nouri] al-Maliki sought to undermine the journalist's popularity by saying he had confessed that the mastermind of the attack was a militant known for slitting his victims' throats.

Al-Maliki said that in a letter of apology to him, al-Zeidi wrote that a known militant had induced him to throw the shoes. The alleged instigator has never been identified and neither al-Maliki nor any of his officials have provided a further explanation. The letter was not made public.

The journalist's family denied the claim and alleged that al-Zeidi was tortured into writing the letter.

Guess it's clear why there's no reason to commemorate the death of Saddam.  His body may be out of power, but his spirit is thriving nicely.


Supporting Our Troops: Once More, With Feeling

The NYT has an article on the Army's efforts to deal with violence by soldiers returning from Iraq - apparently, there have been nine murders by soldiers back from Iraq in Fort Carson alone, and rape and domestic violence are also up. Here's a sample:

"The latest killing was in October, when the police say Robert H. Marko, an infantryman, raped and killed Judilianna Lawrence, a developmentally disabled teenager he had met online. Specialist Marko believed that on his 21st birthday he would become the "Black Raptor" -- half-man, half-dinosaur, a confidential Army document shows. The Army evaluated him three times for mental health problems but cleared him for combat each time."

And speaking of the military, a new poll in the Military Times says that six out of 10 active-duty service members say they are uncertain or pessimistic about their new commander in chief. Some expressed concern about his lack of military service and experience.

I guess they prefer an AWOL idiot that lied them into war. 


Pope Ratzinger's boys in Connecticut are being charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), just like a bust of an organized crime family. This is a first use of the law in the state to address the criminal activity of members of the Catholic clergy.

Lock them up and throw away the key.


This is rich

Politico: Many emasculated elephants in the GOP herd will begin the Age of Obama by fleeing D.C. prior to the inauguration. 

If only they would just stay gone.


A bus matron who was supposed to be assisting a young man with cerebral palsy, Ed Wynn Rivera, abandoned him on the bus, still strapped to his seat, while it was parked in the depot…for seventeen hours. She had a good excuse, though.

Hockaday admitted to knowing that Rivera was still on the bus when it was locked up on one of the coldest nights of the year. Her rationale for leaving? She apparently didn't want to be late for church.


Bridges are falling down, schools are failing, libraries are closing, and roads and sewer systems are out of date. But some want taxpayer money to build football stadiums instead.

With the state and federal governments looking for ways to jump-start the economy, a New Jersey businessman has an ambitious public works project he says will create more than 5,500 jobs and provide $500 million or more to local contractors.

The businessman is Zygi Wilf, principal owner of the Minnesota Vikings.

The project: a $954 million, state-of-the-art stadium for his football team in downtown Minneapolis -- to be constructed using more than $635 million in public money. -


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, performing Shaft.


Check out the scroll at the bottom of the screen, where Fox News was posting Happy New Year text messages from its viewers.

Stay classy, Fox.


Paul Krugman, ripping the modern GOP to shreds.


Shortly after Bush issued a pardon to real estate scammer Isaac Toussie, media reports revealed that his father, Robert Toussie, was a major Republican party donor. In response, Bush took the unprecedented step of revoking Toussie's pardon, citing "information that has subsequently come to light."

Despite the fact that Toussie's pardon bypassed the Dept of Justice, the White House insisted that neither WH counsel Fred Fielding nor Bush was aware that Toussie's father was a significant Republican donor at the time of the pardon. 


Itching for yet another war, chickenhawk John Bolton takes to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to urge Obama to start the process of "regime change" in Iran.


Oregon is among a growing number of states exploring ways to tax drivers based on the number of miles they drive instead of how much gas they use, even going so far as to install GPS monitoring devices in 300 vehicles. 

Since heavier vehicles cause more road damage and get less MPG, I think taxes should be based on vehicle weight. But no one is asking me.


Bush's response to the crisis in Gaza: let Obama deal with it. 

Do we have to wait until January 20th?


Jesus has appeared on toast again. Hurry and get your bid in.  


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