Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

2010 and all that goes with it!


May we continue our move to a more humanitarian view of the world, a more progressive and inclusive attitude towards politics, a more scientific agenda to deal with rapid climate change.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Underpant bombers and crotch terrorists

Can only be defeated by the boring work of intelligence and police work, not by gazillion dollar jets and hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

Robert Scheer:
Preventing terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland has nothing to do with occupying vast tracts of land or winning the hearts and minds of backward villagers whom we falsely depict as surrogates of an evil empire, as we did in Vietnam and are now doing in Afghanistan. What is needed is smart police work to catch these highly mobile fanatics, and that begins with actually reading and then acting on the readily available intelligence data. It requires detectives with brains and not generals with firepower.

The ballooning of the defense budget after 9/11 has proved a great boondoggle for the military-industrial complex, which suddenly found an excuse to build weapons and deploy conventional forces against a superpower enemy that no longer exists. But our stealth fighters and bombers designed to defeat Soviet defenses that were never built are a poor match against a terrorist’s stealth underwear.

Food Monopolies

A Credo petition:
For years, the Department of Justice has blindly looked the other way while merger after merger has consolidated market share and power in the food and agricultural markets into the hands of only a few giant multinational corporations.

Today only a handful of companies control our food supply:
  • 1 company (Monsanto) controls the seeds of 93% of soybeans and 80% of the corn grown in the U.S.2
  • 4 companies (Tyson, Cargill, Swift & National Beef Packing Co.) control 83% of the beef packing industry
  • 4 companies (Smithfield, Tyson, Swift & Cargill) control 66% of the pork packing industry

It's time to send a message to Washington and Wall Street, that the rights of farmers, citizens and consumers matter more than maintaining the already bloated bottom line of vertically integrated companies.

Sign here today to encourage the DOJ and USDA to enforce antitrust legislation, restore competition in agriculture and give farmers a chance.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finally addressing the taser problem

And the twitchy trigger fingers of the police:


A federal appeals court on Monday issued one of the most comprehensive rulings yet limiting police use of Tasers against low-level offenders who seem to pose little threat and may be mentally ill.

In a case out of San Diego County, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals criticized an officer who, without warning, shot an emotionally troubled man with a Taser when he was unarmed, yards away, and neither fleeing nor advancing on the officer.

Sold as a nonlethal alternative to guns, Tasers deliver an electrical jolt meant to subdue a subject. The stun guns have become a common and increasingly controversial tool used by law enforcement.

There have been at least nine Taser-related fatalities in the Sacramento region, including the death earlier this month of Paul Martinez Jr., an inmate shot with a stun gun while allegedly resisting officers at the Roseville jail.

As lawsuits have proliferated against police and Taser International, which manufactures the weaons, the nation's appellate courts have been trying to define what constitutes appropriate Taser use.

The water profiteers grab for California water

State bond lets firms profit from water:
Private companies could own, operate and profit from reservoirs and other water-storage projects built with billions in taxpayer dollars under a little-noticed provision of the $11.1 billion water bond that was approved by the Legislature and goes before California voters next year.

Lawmakers barely discussed the provision while considering the bond, and water experts who were asked about it by The Chronicle said they knew little about it or why it was a necessary part of the plan to overhaul the state's water system.

The bond bill's author, state Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, and other backers of the proposal said the provision provides the state with flexibility for how water storage projects can be financed.

Critics, however, said it opens the door to the privatization of the state's most precious resource as California's population grows and water becomes more scarce. California historically has retained control of publicly financed water projects. Privatization could allow companies to profit by selling back to the public a resource that is essentially the lifeblood of the state economy, or using it for their own profit-making interests like agriculture.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blog sprinkles


The pope attack! I'm not laughing. Honest. Really...

Bryan of Why Now? explains how to deal with terrorism.

Think Progress: Mary Matalin claims President Bush ‘inherited’ the September 11th terror attacks. Just wondering....Mary, are you really buffing Georgie's legacy all by yourself or did someone encourage you to do so?

Just wondering... but if the Catholics bishops can demand that no federal money is ever used for abortions because they are evil, why can't we demand that no federal money is ever used for war because it is evil?

Via JJ of the Unrepentant Old Hippie, a final solution to the Muslim 'problem'. And another cracked pot is heard from.

Why are we letting Israel block aid to Gaza?

Republicans want to repeal
the just voted for Health Care bill! Or something!

: ABC: Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by Bush in 2007.

The Jokerization of media figures.

Mustang Bobby
wants to know whether you will say Twenty ten or Two thousand ten...

I wouldn't do that.... Hal...

GPS leads couple astray ... stuck into snow for three days.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hoekstra's feeble attempt to blame Obama

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly explains:

Let's be clear. First, the Obama administration's record on counter-terrorism is very impressive. Second, Pete Hoekstra's record on national security issues is so ridiculous, it's hard not to point and laugh. And third, Hoekstra's attempts to exploit an attack that failed is almost certainly motivated by an effort to impress right-wing primary voters in advance of his gubernatorial campaign, making his attacks against the president cheap and disgusting.

What an embarrassment.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just a few legos under the tree would be welcome...


'Twas the night before Christmas


Does anyone else find this as funny as I do?

At the CPAC page, my red emphasis:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

From CPAC and Our More Than 100 Cosponsors and Exhibitors

Click here to register online for CPAC 2010!

Invited Speakers Include:
Amb. John Bolton*, Andrew Breitbart*, Herman Cain*, Ann Coulter*, Hon. Newt Gingrich, Doug Hoffman*, Hon. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, David Keene*, Wayne LaPierre*, Mark Levin*, Rush Limbaugh, Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell, Hon. Sarah Palin (Invited, Not Confirmed), Rep. Ron Paul, Gov. Tim Pawlenty*, Hon. Mitt Romney*, Marco Rubio*, and many more!

I guess if she gets an offer that pays more.....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What America is all about

Explosions and boobs.


Update 12/24: Pygalgia found reference to a study that could save your life!
Frankfurt, Germany, December 6 -- A rather bizarre study carried out by German researchers suggests that staring at women's breasts is good for men's health and increases their life expectancy.
Actually I think it would shorten one's life...

For the east coast

From sunny Southern California.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Santa

Send jobs.

How to listen to a Congresswoman?

From here.

Looking back at 2009

Failblogs top ten fails:

2009 in pictures Some are horrific, some breathtakingly beautiful, some sad. All in all, a good representation of 2009.

List of failed banks
to date.

The ever growing list of endangered species.

List of banned books
for '08 to '09... which includes the teen vampire Twilight series by Meyers. Not for being crap, but for being too sexual. You gotta be kidding me....

Ranking the most dangerous US cities of 2009.

Washington Post's: The List: What's In and Out for 2009

And just for these economic times: The 2009 list of billionaires.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To be or not to be

That really is the question.

Bush and his AIDS project in Africa

That everyone touts as a wonderful thing, just remember this:

Under President George W. Bush , the United States withdrew from its decades-long role as a global leader in supporting family planning, driven by a conservative ideology that favored abstinence and shied away from providing contraceptive devices in developing countries, even to married women.

Bush's mammoth global anti-AIDS initiative, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, poured billions of dollars into Africa but prohibited groups from spending any of it on family planning services or counseling programs, whose budgets flat-lined.

The restrictions flew in the face of research by international aid agencies, the U.N. World Health Organization and the U.S. government's own experts, all of whom touted contraception as a crucial method of preventing births of babies being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The Bush program is widely hailed as a success, having supplied lifesaving anti-retroviral drugs to more than 2 million HIV patients worldwide.

However, researchers, Africa experts and veteran U.S. health officials now think that PEPFAR also contributed to Africa's epidemic population growth by undermining efforts to help women in some of the world's poorest countries exercise greater control over their fertility.

AIDS went up with Bush's abstinence program.

And he cut programs:
BUSH LIED ABOUT THE AIDS FUNDING HIS ADMINISTRATION IS PROVIDING, AS WELL AS ITS TIMING "Mr. Bush's other foreign aid initiative, announced in his State of the Union address, is $10 billion in new money to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean over five years. But his budget falls short of that promise. He is proposing only a $550 million increase over the global AIDS money in this year's spending bill now in Congress. Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would be an effective channel for the aid, there is no excuse for the initiative's leisurely start. Mr. Bush's 2004 budget for the Global Fund, $200 million, actually cuts in half what Congress is likely to do in 2003. Mr. Bush has also found part of the money for his AIDS programs by cutting nearly $500 million from child health, including vaccine programs. Child survival is the biggest loser in the foreign aid budget — a scandalous way to finance AIDS initiatives. With the budget dominated by defense spending and huge tax cuts for the wealthy, the White House should not be forcing the babies of Africa to pay for their parents' AIDS drugs." 2.17.03
So while the Bush Legacy buffers search for something ... ANYTHING... that Georgie did while president that was good, this was not as gloriously wonderful as they would have you believe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monsanto, getting between your food and you.

Making sure it will be making money when we are starving.
ST. LOUIS — Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s business practices reveal how the world's biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found.

With Monsanto's patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts.

Declining competition in the seed business could lead to price hikes that ripple out to every family's dinner table. That's because the corn flakes you had for breakfast, soda you drank at lunch and beef stew you ate for dinner likely were produced from crops grown with Monsanto's patented genes.
Other articles and posts on the wonderful world of Monsanto: food and milk mafia trying to control farmers and dairies, trying to control living genetic material, frankenfoods, cause of suicides, anti-trust investigations.

Although not all internet rumors are true.

But, I'm sorry, anyone who develops a 'Terminator Gene' to force farmers to continually buy seeds from Monsanto, and thinks this is a good idea is inherently evil.


Why America is Fat
Created by Online Education

Click to go to site.

And hilariously, when I posted this, Google had an ad for Francis Bacon ...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fuzzy math


Because Canadians are dangerous

We must beat them up at the border. That'll teach'em!

We can't get the trebuchet lined up correctly!

Right-wing activists demand that Rep. Periello move office to make protesting him easier.

More jobs, please

Paul Krugman of the New York Times:
But there’s also, I believe, a question of priorities. The Fed sprang into action when faced with the prospect of wrecked banks; it doesn’t seem equally concerned about the prospect of wrecked lives.

And that is what we’re talking about here. The kind of sustained high unemployment envisaged in the Fed’s own forecasts is a recipe for immense human suffering — millions of families losing their savings and their homes, millions of young Americans never getting their working lives properly started because there are no jobs available when they graduate. If we don’t get unemployment down soon, we’ll be paying the price for a generation.

So it’s time for the Fed to lose that complacency, shrug off that fatalism and start lending a hand to job creation.
Why do banksters get a hand and the economic engine of the country ... the middle class ... gets the finger?

Lack of water = lack of fish = lack of jobs= lack of food

The effects of drought bring disaster on so many levels:
The once free-flowing Manaquiri River, which runs through the state of Amazonas in northwest Brazil, is in the fight of its life against a spell of dry weather - and it appears to be losing the battle.

Thousands of dead fish are rotting on the river banks and hundreds more float on its surface, turning the area into a toxic cesspool.

Vultures circle overhead, picking away at the rotting carcasses. Even an alligator - one of the fiercest reptiles of the Amazon - floats belly up in the river.

Local fishermen say it has not rained in more than 25 days, leaving the large surrounding rivers in recession. This has in turn choked off the tributaries that provide fresh water to the Manaquiri.

With no fresh water coming in, oxygen levels in the river have dropped, leaving the fish to suffocate to death.

"One week the river water levels dropped, the next week all the fish died," Bruno dos Santos, a fisherman, told Al Jazeera.

"In five days all the fish were dead. We have nothing left, only this ugly water."
There will be more of these stories in the future.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Swear not by the moon...

the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb...


Click for fantastic detail.

We're all gonna diiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee......

Weird lights over Norway

Halo cloud
over Russia

Meteor over Utah:

Update 12/10: New giant virus discovered!!

Update: Mahakal in comments links to the report:
Russia confirms failed missile launch
And this:

Ssshh... we really know space aliens are involved!

What do you think, Sherlock?

Iranian nuclear scientist goes missing in Saudi Arabia:

CAIRO, Egypt — An award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this year to perform a religious pilgrimage. He never returned.

Shahram Amiri's mysterious disappearance is turning into a Middle Eastern whodunit involving nuclear secrets and political intrigue, with a new round of accusations emerging this week and the U.S. government still refusing to comment.

There are two big questions: Was Amiri spirited away by Saudi-backed American covert agents? Or did the scientist seize the chance to defect to the West, offering sensitive information in exchange for asylum?

Finger-pointing in Amiri's case has heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are bitter rivals for regional dominance and self-proclaimed guardians of Islam's two main sects. Iran claimed earlier this week that Saudi Arabia conspired with U.S. agents to abduct Amiri in June and transfer him to the U.S., presumably for interrogations about Iran's controversial nuclear program.


So when we all boil, we boil together?
I always knew vegetables were out to kill me!
Being from Southern California and in a relentless drought, this headline struck me as painfully obvious:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Why do we do this to our children?

Sitting with Santa for a photo.

I see years of therapy.....

Update: Ina of Unbound Confine has a story.

Update: More with a bunny!

Update: Agi of Guys from Area 51 tells me in comments to not forget the Krampus. Talk about nightmares....

Monday, December 07, 2009

Blog sprinkles


Twenty years ago the slaughter of female engineering students in Canada:

For me, that’s been the experience of living a normal life. Too many women in different times and places have been prevented from living anything I’d consider resembling a normal life, and 14 women engineering students in 1989 were prevented from living their lives at all. It’s not ideological to observe that it was due to a young man’s anger and frustration at feminism (plus the easy availability of an automatic weapon) that women were slaughtered on December 6, 1989. It’s not the fault of feminist “ideology” that other women have pointed out that violence against women is almost uniquely carried out by angry and frustrated men; it’s not ideological to draw incredibly obvious parallels between December 6 and violence against women in homes and around the world.

Sometimes it just takes several years of personal and collective experience, while paying attention to history, to accept these hard facts.

As for myself, I finally learned to credit feminism with allowing me to live a normal life. And yes, I am a feminist, for as long as it will take.

(h/t to JJ of Unrepentant Old Hippie)

War is a game... And some say we will play it forever:

As the US discovered in Iraq, it's easier to get into a war than get out – and to a significant degree, Washington, like the hapless Dubs, is now held hostage in Afghanistan. At the same time, the US is here because it wants to be. Believing it will just up and leave any time soon is plain wishful thinking.

Iraq and Afghanistan are America's sudoku wars. Put simply, by occupying blank or vacated spaces, Washington gets a handle on the nextdoor squares. It's a geostrategic numbers game. Thus what follows, in logical sequence, are Pakistan and Iran. In this continuing gambit to "shape the security environment", as US planners say, Afghanistan is an irreplaceable asset.

Pakistan will look after itself, even if that means hanging the US out to dry.

Oops... I was going to buy some on this list. I must be a bad mom because I still will....

Naked mole rats! They will save the world!

Steve Benen tries to untangle Michael Steele's circular logic:

Steele's piece then turns its attention to killing health care reform, which he says would "increase our health care premiums" (the opposite is true), "raise taxes on small businesses and the middle class" (the opposite is true), and would cost too much (in reality, reform lowers the deficit and is arguably the most ambitious cost-cutting bill ever considered by Congress).

The RNC chairman adds, "If our economy is still struggling next year, shouldn't we invest that trillion bucks into creating jobs?"

This is simply baffling. In one paragraph, Steele insists government investment hasn't and can't create jobs. In another paragraph, in the same piece, Steele thinks we can improve the economy by spending $1 trillion on job creation?

Steele goes on to argue that health care reform might be bad for the economy. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming, but to bolster his case, the RNC head points to ... nothing in particular. He just asserts that reform "could be a burden on our economy and put a strain on American job makers."

Got that? There will be a test.

Best review EVER of New Moon and Twilight.

Explaining how to avoid internet scams to your less than savvy friends and relatives.

thrown at Sarah Palin missed...

The top ten

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Yes, the top ten conservative idiots with ten Palinistic items thrown in!

China can buy all the ads it wants

China turns to Madison Avenue for an image makeover
How about fixing your product safety first? How about actually removing toxins and pollution from your food? How about realizing if you are going to return capitalism to the pre-FDA days of The Jungle, customers will justifiably shun your products.

Educate the Chinese people that meeting quota does not mean going cheap, being indifferent to consequences. It does mean respecting consumers, human life.

Buying a bunch of ads won't do anything to change this list I've been keeping:
The Chinese are insulted we do not want to buy their chickens for our markets? Ignoring the whole thing about Avian (bird) flu, can we just look back for a moment and ponder just why we have cold feet about their food....

My post from November 2008:
Chinese melamine and other toxins have been in our food for years
The rampant use of chemical additives in animal feed can be traced to 1999. According to Gao Yinxiang, the research and development of high-protein feed additives was a hot field among scientists about 10 years ago due to shortage of animal fodder in the country at the time.

From that time, it's hard to define the exact role that scientists played in the evolution of the melamine scandal. Yet scientists certainly contributed to it by developing unsafe protein alternatives. Many Chinese are now calling on scientists to examine their conscience before making profits at the expense of public safety.

The CAS may not have invented melamine additives. However, it still owes the public an explanation as to why it developed - and continues to develop - feed supplements that food experts say are dangerous for human health.

The melamine saga and the reactions from relevant parties, including scientists, the government and the related companies, shows a system that continues to shirk responsibility rather than taking efforts to avoid similar incidents happening again.

Without effective supervision and sound accountability, China's food scares are far from over.
It's not just animal feed. Earlier quote in the article: (my bold)
But scientists say warnings signs were apparent as early as last year when melamine in Chinese-made pet food killed house pets across the United States.

"You can't separate the food supplies of animals, pets and people," Marion Nestle, a public health professor at New York University and author of the recent book Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, told the Washington Post. "That's an enormous warning sign that if something wasn't done immediately to clean up the food safety problem, this would leak into the human food supply."

China has used the Kjeldahl Nitrogen Determination Method to measure protein level in food, meaning the content of protein is determined by the level of nitrogen. It is an open secret in China that melamine is added to milk and animal feed to artificially boost nitrogen levels. It was not until recently, after the exposure of the tainted-milk scandal, that China make it compulsory to test the content of melamine in foodstuffs.
So what does long exposure to melamine do to humans? Kidney stones? Autism? Alzheimer's? What exactly have the Chinese been putting in its products, making our farm animals eat, making us eat?

And why should we trust anything the Chinese government promises us? They get caught repeatedly after vowing not to contaminate their products.

Just a reminder:

China saying no to inspections and destroying evidence.

Rat poison.

Wheat, corn, and rice gluten.

Pesticide-laden pea pods, drug-laced catfish, filthy plums and crawfish contaminated with salmonella. Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical. Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

Excessive antibiotic and pesticide use.

What melamine is.

Poisoned chickens.

Poisoned farm fish

The toothpaste with diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in engine coolants.


Highly toxic puffer fish sold as monk fish.

Fake blood protein.

Lead in toys: Thomas the Tank Engine, baby bibs, cub scout badges, wooden blocks.

Waste water forced into pigs going to market

Poisoned water.

Poisoned medicinal syrup.

750,000 people in China are dying prematurely every year due to high levels of air pollution and poor water quality.

Formaldehyde in candy, in baby clothing

Wild mice used for meat.

Defective tires.

Use of illegal drift nets.

Coma-inducing date rape drug in toys.

Asbestos in toys.

Fake kosher food.

Insecticide-tainted dumplings.

More than 40 percent of drinking water in rural China is unfit for drinking.

Babies being poisoned by milk and milk powder.

Poisoned chocolate

Tom Legg of Daai Tou Laam:
But don't expect the Chinese government to really get serious about product safety. How many product safety scares have there been in the last few years? From fake baby formula to tainted fish to fake soy sauce to tainted bean curd sheet to a bridge that collapsed because there was no steel reinforcing-bar used.

If the CCP wants to product their people from eating hormone-laden pork, then that is their prerogative. If they instead want to ban products from the US as a tit-for-tat over negative press coverage of Chinese product safety issues, it shows the Chinese government is childish and easily manipulated by foreign powers. Like a recalled Chinese toy, press the right buttons and watch the CCP leaders dance. Watch the CCP spokesperson trotted out to blame it all on the US media. (This of course is the same lap dog US media that willingly served up the story on Mattel as model Chinese operator days before the first toy recall.)

Did you really expect the CCP to clean up their own house? The folks who trashed Premier Wen's Green GDP? The folks whose tactics to combat corruption hearken back to the Ming Dynasty with the substitution of video games for the study of Confucian classics? We aren't talking about leaders with a great ability to look in the mirror and see the problems staring back at themselves.

But to really clean house would come at too steep a price for many cadres and their cronies. So the CCP's option is to keep letting Chinese die at home and face negative press abroad and hope that enough exports keep getting out to keep the currency flow positive and enough skim from IPOs and LCs to keep investment bankers like former Goldman Sachs man US Treasury Secretary Paulson happy, so that their grip on power in Beijing is kept firm.
Trader Joe's is taking some of the Chinese food products off its shelves.

And finally... after how many years of complaints, and poisonings and deaths, the FDA acts:

Federal health officials on Thursday ordered dozens of imported foods from China held at the border as possible health risks. Most are ethnic treats, including snacks, drinks and chocolates.

It's unusual for the Food and Drug Administration to put such a broad hold on goods from an entire country, not just a few rogue manufacturers. The order, which covers products made with milk, is a precaution to keep out foods contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, which can cause serious kidney problems.

crossposted at American Street
A few months later I posted this, December 2008:
Nope. Chinese businesses haven't learned yet.

Will they stop when we stop buying their products?
Hong Kong food safety authorities said late Tuesday that for the fourth time in less than two months they had found a batch of Chinese eggs contaminated with illegal levels of melamine, the industrial chemical that has sickened hundreds of thousands of children. The agency said the tainted eggs were imported from a company based in Jilin Province in northern China and were being sold to bakeries in Hong Kong.
You'd think the government would take massive steps to fix this problem immediately, right? Right?

Yet again in December of 2008:
How many babies need to die or become ill before China finally stops Putting melamine into our food?

Brussels, Belgium (AHN) - Soy-based imports from China intended for babies and young children will no longer be allowed throughout the 27-member European Union. The European Commission banned on Wednesday the entry of all foods that are soy-based after the discovery of melamine in a soybean meal in China.

Aside from the prohibition, the EC also required laboratory testing for all soy-related foods and shipments or baking powder. The tested food must contain less than 2.5 milligrams of melamine per kilogram to be allowed entry into the EU. The ban is expected to be in force by the end of this week.

And it's not just China who seems to be indifferent to causing death:
At least 34 babies have died in Nigeria after being administered with a locally made teething mixture.

Six more child deaths were recorded on Wednesday, on top of 28 reported last month in three locations after being given "My Pikin", a teething syrup contaminated with diethylene glycol, which is blamed for causing kidney failure.
And in January of 2009:
That certain piquant flavor...Is in everything:

Melamine-contaminated pet food killed thousands of dogs and cats in the United States two years ago. Melamine-contaminated infant formula recently killed six babies in China, and made hundreds of thousands of children there ill.

Now melamine has been found in some chocolate, cookies and infant formula in the U.S.!

Yet our own Food and Drug Administration says it’s OK to have a certain amount of the chemical in infant formula, even though the agency previously said it couldn’t determine a safe level for melamine. What are we supposed to believe?

Tell Congress you’re fed up with the FDA’s lax regulation of our food and drug supply. Strong leadership, more safety testing, better inspection of imports, and tough enforcement are needed to make sure no American families suffer the tragic consequences of eating contaminated food.

Now that we have an administration that hears us, sign the petition.
Are they thinking we will ignore this and eat chickens raised or processed in China? Are they kidding? There is utterly NO LEARNING CURVE illustrated here AT ALL.

Besides, I'm sure I've had my quota of melamine for life, thanks.

Update: Don't forget about the toxic drywall.
Add to this list as of 12/26/2009 flammable Christmas lights and extension cords.

Update January 12th, 2010: cadmium in children's jewelry.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

How many of them will be ours?

Tomorrow 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Things we can be grateful for

That Obama's administration has actually done.

Now if this guy had a Muslim name....

As David Neiwert points out, he'd be all over the news. But because he's just a homegrown white domestic terrorist, we can ignore him.

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – Following a pipe bomb explosion Monday night, police and federal law enforcement officials are trying to figure why a Center Avenue man turned his apartment into a bomb factory.

Police said no charges have been filed against Mark Campano, 56. Police found 30 completed pipe bombs in his apartment along with components to make more, plus 17 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Campano is in an Akron hospital with injuries received when one of the bombs exploded.

Thank god no one got hurt by this idiot.... except him.

Climate change email scandal!!1!

Leaked emails expose the fact that scientists were complaining about bad scientific processes and how much work they had to do and stuff:
Climate change is real and man-made. Period, end of story. But recently, some emails have leaked that conclusively prove that climate scientists... are really pissed off that a well-funded industry exists that subverts and denies their work.

A "hacker" obtained a bunch of emails from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia and posted them to some website, and for some reason Matt Drudge and the right-wing media have decided that these emails are proof of a massive conspiracy to make up global warming, for fun. The emails are mostly scientists complaining about political pressures and people they dislike and things that make their job—and their job is attempting to reconstruct climates of hundreds or millions of years ago based on fucking ice floes and tree rings—harder.

Maybe if people actually READ the emails before commenting on them..... um... be right back....

Update: Scientific American and Mother Jones have replies.

Update 12/1: Via Mahakal in comments, Will Bunch of Attytood has a good overview.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

May this strike fear into the Bush administration

War crimes are always prosecutable.
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – John Demjanjuk, an 89-year-old former Nazi camp guard, is due to stand trial on Monday on charges of helping to force 27,900 Jews into gas chambers in 1943.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

There are no dentists in foxholes

They've developed a gum that will brush your teeth for you while you are in the war zone:

With the help of a gum chomping machine and years of careful chemistry, University of Kentucky researchers have developed a chewing gum that can help replace toothpaste and a toothbrush, thus improving the health of soldiers in the field as well as children in poor countries.

Seriously. Gum.

In what is known around the UK College of Pharmacy by the ever-so-catchy title of "the military gum project," an antimicrobial, known as KSL, is infused in chewing gum. KSL is anti-adhesive and abrasive agent that disrupts and helps dissolve plaque.

As every toothpaste commercial has told us for years, fighting plaque is key to good dental health.

Since World War I, thousands of American soldiers have suffered from the extreme form of gingivitis that can result in painful ulcers, infection and bleeding gums. You've probably heard it called "trench mouth."

Now if they could only get something to floss for you....



Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog sprinkles


  • Rumpus over nuclear warheads in Pakistan:
Nuclear fallout rocks Pakistan
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

ISLAMABAD - Sharp differences between Pakistani leaders over safeguarding the country's nuclear arsenal are placing increasing pressure on the embattled administration of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Zardari is already seriously at odds with the military establishment over dealing with the Taliban-led insurgency and there is a strong likelihood that his government will face a make-or-break test within weeks in the form of mass street protests.

Pakistan has reacted strongly to an article in The New Yorker by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh on November 16, "Defending the arsenal", in which he claimed that Pakistan was discussing "understandings" with the US that could even see specialists take sophisticated nuclear triggers out of the country to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

It's obvious that the world needs this:

The Brits are asking the hard questions

In the Chilcot inquiry:
The inquiry will consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and the aftermath. The inquiry committee members are Sir John Chilcot (chairman), Sir Lawrence Freedman, Sir Martin Gilbert, Sir Roderic Lyne and Baroness Usha Prashar
And whether it was justified.

Do you think we could do the same thing?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Watch the US go down the tubes

As we lose job after job...

h/t to Bryan of Why Now?

If this is how you feel


Read Phila of Bouphonia's Friday hope posting.


Because we are so desperate for soldiers?

Army Sends Mom to Afghanistan, Infant to Protective Services

A reminder of who we had in the White House

During the Bush administration:


Glenn Greenwald
Jonathan Schwarz notes that in 2005, Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Lithuania and visited a museum in Vilnius which once housed a KGB prison, where the Soviets tortured prisoners. That museum exhibits "solitary confinement rooms which were used to break down the prisoners and make them confess." Shockingly, "the walls are padded and soundproofed, made to absorb the cries and shouts for help," as it was the site of barbaric acts like this:

Prisoners either had to stand in ice-cold water or to balance on a small platform. Every time they got tired they fell down into the water.

After his visit, Rumsfeld released an "Open Letter to the People of Vilnius," in which he solemnly observed that "the museum was a stark reminder of the importance of preserving our liberty at all costs." Schwarz asks: "Did Rumsfeld Tour KGB Torture Museum to Pick Up Useful Tips?"

I wouldn't doubt it. Remember, they went down to Guantanamo to watch. And Rumsfeld complained that standing wasn't torture:
Forced Standing: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day," Donald Rumsfeld wrote in a 2002 interrogation memo. "Why is standing limited to four hours?" Rumsfeld would probably feel a little differently about this if he had to stand in place for 8-10 hours, which can cause ankle swelling, bruising, and excruciating pain.

House Finance Committee actually did something!

The Washington establishment suffers a serious defeat
By Glenn Greenwald
Something quite amazing happened yesterday in Congress: the House Finance Committee -- in a truly bipartisan and even trans-ideological vote -- defied the banking industry, the Federal Reserve, the Democratic leadership, and mainstream Beltway opinion in order to pass an amendment, sponsored by GOP Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, mandating a genuine and probing audit of the Fed. The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim has the best account of what took place, noting:
In an unprecedented defeat for the Federal Reserve, an amendment to audit the multi-trillion dollar institution was approved by the House Finance Committee with an overwhelming and bipartisan 43-26 vote on Thursday afternoon despite harried last-minute lobbying from top Fed officials and the surprise opposition of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had previously been a supporter.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Twittering into history: 5 Famous Last Status Updates

The Ten Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade

Slate's: The Going Rogue Index, TPM's Sarah, Plain And Lying

Strange Crocs of the Sahara has some fantastic dinosaur era animation. Also: Dung helps reveal why mammoths died out

Pirates!: Increased Violence on the High Seas

And this: College Students Arrested For Refusing To Pay Tip

To those who want to control a woman's right to choose

Because they have problems with women in general and sex specifically... some have had enough:

Catholics for Choice, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Network, the Religious Coalition on Reproductive Choice, and the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing represent more than ten thousand religious leaders and tens of thousands of people of faith who believe that abortion must be safe, legal, and accessible. We come together to condemn the passage of the Stupak amendment, which if passed by the Senate will effectively deny coverage for abortion services to women covered by the new federal health care plan. We are appalled that religious leaders intervened to impose their specific religious doctrine into health care reform, not recognizing that women must have the right to apply or reject the principles of their own faith in making the decision as to whether or not abortion is appropriate in their specific circumstances. Further, we decry those who sought to use abortion as a way to scuttle much needed health care reform. We call on the President and the United States Senate to ensure that the final bill that passes does not include any specific prohibition on the use of federal funds for reproductive health care services. We pray for a renewed commitment to relational and reproductive justice for all.
Natasha Chart of Open Left talks about a pregnancy that could have killed her. And how the doctor said she would do nothing. And then links to a list of things that can go wrong in a pregnancy.

Fuzz on fuzz attack

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The reason why the Republicans are afraid of Gitmo prisoners...

Is because we'll finally find out that most of 'the worst of the worst' detainees have been a bunch of Afghani farmers, foot soldiers of the Taliban, or confused impressionable teenagers along with a few hardened criminals.

We'll find out these scary terrorists are nothing to be afraid of and that all this time... for eight long years... the real terrorists were in the White House.

Bryan of Why Now? explains the US prison system to those poor terrified Republicans.

Feeding an alien encroaching into your territory?

Obviously the animal world is liberal!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bush's legacy

More American households had difficulty putting enough food on the table in 2008

In 2008, 85 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year, but 14.6 percent of households were food insecure at least some time during that year, up from 11.1 percent in 2007.

This is the highest recorded prevalence rate of food insecurity since 1995 when the first national food security survey was conducted.

Teabaggery: The gift that keeps on giving

(pic from the archives, just for memory's sake:)


The top ten conservative idiots.

To hell with diplomacy and careful deliberation

We need a manly manish man of a president man to do stuff in a manly way!

(sarcasm rich, yes.)

Support our soldiers

Right now, in a disgraceful move, Sen. Tom Coburn is single-handedly holding up some very important veteran legislation. Sen. Coburn is trying to block S. 1963, “The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009.” While this is a legal move, we think it is morally wrong for Sen. Coburn to hold up any veterans benefits during a time when our men and women in uniform are giving so much to our country.
Sign the petition and send Coburn a message.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Worth a rerun?


Sarah Palin rides in to the rescue!

Obama is daring to think the detainees in Guantanamo are actually human beings. Palin shoots off her six shooters:
If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang ‘em high.
God, this sounds so familiar....
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes, amid indications that the suspected terrorist may be bottled up in a rugged Afghan canyon. The president, in an Oval Office meeting with Thailand's prime minister, would not predict the timing of bin Laden's capture but said he doesn't care how the suspect is brought to justice. "I don't care, dead or alive — either way," Bush said. "It doesn't matter to me."
Or this:
"Bring 'em on," President Bush declared, when asked about guerrilla attacks on US troops in Iraq.
Because acting tough is always better than actually being tough and making tough decisions.

*edited for clarity and because if I didn't correct it, the grammar police would kick down my door.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thank you, sirs, for your service to our nation

The antigay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., routinely disrupts military funerals, holding bright-colored signs that read "God Hates Fags" and "God Hates America."

The presence of the Patriot Guard, however, seems to deter such intrusions. At the funeral of Merced, Calif., Army Pfc. Lukas Hopper last Saturday, the Patriot Guard Riders were there at the Hopper family's request — and the protesters were nowhere to be seen.

In solemn silence, the slightly grisly veterans stood in rigid formation bearing American and Army flags. They joined the 45-minute procession from Merced to Catheys Valley Cemetery.

Their flags, their bikes and most of all their daunting presence was the first thing a passerby may have noticed. By mourners, they were probably hardly noticed at all.

Born out of protests that threatened to disrupt the 2005 funeral of 19-year-old Carrie French, and later that summer, the funeral of Edward Myers, both killed in Iraq, the Patriot Guard Riders banded together to ensure that fallen heroes are honored with respect and dignity.

Since its formation, the Patriot Guard Riders has grown into a national organization with a membership of more than 170,000, including members in Merced and Mariposa counties.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hope springs eternal

Because of Phila of Bouphonia's hope post.

And the promise of comfort in warm places....


Friday Kittens in a box

Kittens-Coca Cola Box - video powered by Metacafe

Brought up from the archives because it makes me laugh.

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” Les Brown


Water on the Moon.

Re-burka-ing women

Read the headlines and then wonder which century we're in:

Catholic Church Powering Their Way Into Politics
The most disturbing element of the Stupak amendment fight is the outsized influence of the Catholic Church, particularly the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, who insistently lobbied on the health care bill as it wrapped up in the House.
And this:
Republicans Are Shocked The Public Is Mad At Them For Voting Against Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment
And this:
Stupak: It's All the Liberals' Fault!

Forcible rape only, no date rape, no marital rape, no Roman-Polanski style rape. Presumably because a girl or woman in any non-forcible rape situation would have been "asking for it" anyway. Which leads to another question--how in the hell would that be enforcable? A woman would have to provide a police report with her insurance claim? Bart Stupak isn't only a misogynist, he's a piss poor legislator.
Have a coathanger sent to the 'pro-choice' Democrats who voted for Stupak's stupid amendment.

Update: Chris Matthews' bizarre thoughts on abortion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Glub glub blub berbble bubble....

The Greenland ice sheet is losing its mass faster than in previous years and making an increasing contribution to sea level rise, a study has confirmed.

Published in the journal Science, it has also given scientists a clearer view of why the sheet is shrinking.

The team used weather data, satellite readings and models of ice sheet behaviour to analyse the annual loss of 273 thousand million tonnes of ice.

Melting of the entire sheet would raise sea levels globally by about 7m (20ft).


Another analysis of satellite data, published in September, showed that of 111 fast-moving Greenland glaciers studied, 81 were thinning at twice the rate of the slow-moving ice beside them.

This indicates that the glaciers are accelerating and taking more ice into the surrounding sea.

Melting on the ice sheet's surface acts as a feedback mechanism, Dr van den Broeke explained, because the liquid water absorbs more and reflects less of the incoming solar radiation - resulting in a heating of the ice.

"Over the last 10 years, it's quite simple; warming over Greenland has caused the melting to increase, and that's set off this albedo feedback process," he told BBC News.

Attack of the fuzz

Red panda cubs: