Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nowhere Is Safe

Not even Canada:
The first woman soldier to flee the U.S. military for Canada to avoid the Iraq war said Wednesday that Canadian authorities have ordered that she be deported this month along with her husband and their children.

Kimberly Rivera said her requests to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds were rejected. The family must leave Canada by Jan. 27 unless the order is reversed.


The lower house of Canada's Parliament passed a nonbinding motion in June urging that U.S. military deserters be allowed to stay in Canada, but the Conservative Party government ignored the vote.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Happy Birthday!

100 years of The Progressive.


Shafting the Unions

This is an egregious abuse of governmental authority during times of extreme economic hardship:
A little-noticed provision buried in the Bush Administration's $13.4 billion loan package to General Motors will prohibit the United Auto Workers from launching a strike as long as the company receives funds from the federal government.

Not only that, but a strike would give the federal government the power to call in their loan -- putting the loan in default and forcing GM into bankruptcy. The government now has the power to force a bankruptcy if “any labor union or collective bargaining unit shall engage in a strike or other work stoppage.”


Calling Out the FDA

I hope Obama will address this issue. In fact, I hope he works very hard to undo all the politicization that Bush has imposed on myriad government agencies:
In an unusually blunt letter, a group of federal scientists is complaining to the Obama transition team of widespread managerial misconduct in a division of the Food and Drug Administration.

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the scientific review process for medical devices at the FDA has been corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk," said the letter, dated Wednesday and written on the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health letterhead.


In their letter the FDA dissidents alleged that agency managers use intimidation to squelch scientific debate, leading to the approval of medical devices whose effectiveness is questionable and which may not be entirely safe.

"Managers with incompatible, discordant and irrelevant scientific and clinical expertise in devices...have ignored serious safety and effectiveness concerns of FDA experts," the letter said. "Managers have ordered, intimidated and coerced FDA experts to modify scientific evaluations, conclusions and recommendations in violation of the laws, rules and regulations, and to accept clinical and technical data that is not scientifically valid."


A Win

The Freedom of Information Act trumps Bush's paranoid obsession with secrecy:
A federal judge has turned down the Bush administration's latest attempt to keep secret the identities of White House visitors.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth (LAM-birth) brushed aside the government's argument that revealing Secret Service logs would impede the president's ability to perform his constitutional duties.

The court said that the likelihood of harm is not great enough to justify curtailing the public disclosure goals of the Freedom of Information Act.



Blagojevich takes another hit:
The Illinois House has voted to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich, an unprecedented step in state history.


Friday Spookfish Blogging

A Pacific fish uses mirrors as well as lenses to help it see in the murky ocean depths, scientists have revealed.

The brownsnout spookfish has been known for 120 years, but no live specimen had ever been captured.

Last year, one was caught off Tonga, by scientists from Tuebingen University, Germany.

Tests confirmed the fish is the first vertebrate known to have developed mirrors to focus light into its eyes, the team reports in Current Biology.



As Clinton began, so Bush ends:
The nation's unemployment rate bolted to 7.2 percent in December, the highest level in 16 years, as nervous employers slashed 524,000 jobs, capping one of the worst years in modern history for American workers.


Poor Christians

So very abused and maligned.

A tremendously amusing list of ways Christians have been oppressed in the past year.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Domestic Terrorism

Be careful, Seattle:
Seattle police say they are taking seriously threats of ricin attacks on 11 gay bars in the city.

The threats were made in letters received by the bars on Tuesday and have been turned over to police. Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger received a 12th letter saying it should be “prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals.”

Seattle police forensics investigators are examining the letters and the FBI and Homeland Security have been notified.


Real Family Values

Pay attention, conservative Christians.

Young gay people whose parents or guardians responded negatively when they revealed their sexual orientation were more likely to attempt suicide, experience severe depression and use drugs than those whose families accepted the news, according to a new study.



Yet another bad sign:

Electronic unemployment filing systems have crashed in at least three states in recent days amid an unprecedented crush of thousands of newly jobless Americans seeking benefits, and other states were adjusting their systems to avoid being next.

About 4.5 million Americans are collecting jobless benefits, a 26-year high, so the Web sites and phone systems now commonly used to file for benefits are being tested like never before.

Even those that are holding up under the strain are in many cases leaving filers on the line for hours, or kissing them off with an "all circuits are busy" message. Agencies have been scrambling to hire hundreds more workers to handle the calls.

Well, there are some job opportunities, I suppose.


What a Shame

I'm sure the Senate will suffer from the absence of this blowhard:

Chris Matthews, the host of the MSNBC program “Hardball,” told his staff on Wednesday night that he would not run for the Senate in 2010 from Pennsylvania.

For much of the last year, Mr. Matthews had been considering entering the Senate race as a Democrat in his home state at the same time he was renegotiating his contract with NBC News.


Election-Year Hangover

Paying today for yesterday's sins:

The McCain campaign volunteer who falsely claimed a Barack Obama supporter carved the letter "B" into her face with a knife entered a probation program this morning.

Ashley Todd, 21, of College Station, Texas, had her initial interview with a probation program for first-time offenders today after she was formally arraigned on the charge of filing a false police report.

She told police Oct. 24 that she was mugged in Bloomfield by a man who then became enraged at the John McCain bumper sticker on her car and came back to leave an Obama-themed mark. Ms. Todd's story began to unravel when investigators noticed the "B" was backwards, as if she had cut herself using a mirror.

But by then, the tale had attracted national attention after a photo of Ms. Todd's scarred face was sent to The Drudge Report Web site. In the midst of a heated campaign season, the assault became an Internet and cable news sensation.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Home Again

Once again, Oshkosh clutches me to its icy bosom.

Or something like that.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Back to the Frozen Wastes

The airline gods willing, I'll be back in Oshkosh in about 24 hours.

Wish me luck!


Monday, January 05, 2009

Bush's Legacy

Is anyone else a bit concerned as to the outcome?
With President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats considering a massive spending package aimed at pulling the nation out of recession, the national debt is projected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, an unprecedented increase that could test the world's appetite for financing U.S. government spending.


All Hail

Senator Franken
A Minnesota board on Monday certified results showing Democrat Al Franken winning the state's U.S. Senate recount over Republican Norm Coleman, whose lawyer promised a legal challenge that probably will keep the race in limbo for months.