Bush pledges to save Pacific species – Puts salmonella on Endangered list

Citing declines in numbers and ongoing threats from pollution and overharvesting, President Bush today placed three species of Pacific salmonella on the federal list of Endangered Species.

Bush announced he has issued a directive instructing the Department of Interior to list the Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmonella as Endangered.

“Salmonella has ecological, business and recreational importance,” Bush told the parts counter clerk at Capitol Hill Bikes in Washington’s Georgetown district.

“We can’t allow salmonella to be wiped out. Rest assured there is going to be action on this. I call on coastal states to work with federal officials on a recovery plan. Now, can I get a set of Ritchey Speedmaxes?

Bush said he decided it was time to act on salmonella during his recent farewell tour of Europe.

“Everywhere we stayed, my security detail reported to me that there was no salmonella on the menu. That shocked me, as no one could have predicted the plight of the salmonella could get this bad,” said Bush.

The president said advisors had told him about the connection between tomatoes and salmonella. “If the experts say so, then we need to do something about tomatoes too. Maybe we need to to stop planting tomato trees too close to the ocean, all options are on the table,” he said.

Bush went on to say that a salmonella recovery plan will likely mean studies to remove dams from the Columbia and Snake rivers will be put on hold. “Dams keep the tomatoes from floating down river, to the ocean,” Bush said.

In campaign news, apparent GOP nominee John Sidney McCain III told the editorial board of the Comcast Subscriber Newsletter that Americans should think of unemployment as a way to avoid commuting and skyrocketing gas prices.

Henry Berlusconi VIII?

Pope says communion is only for pure of heartThe divorced and remarried Silvio Berlusconi is challenging the Catholic church ban on divorced people taking communion. Apparently the Pope says communion is only for pure of heart, which oddly rules that divorcees, regardless of the reason, are impure but boy bugger priests are okay.

I can’t say I’m really with Silvio on this one, if only because I don’t recognize Catholicism as a religion. But Silvio must have read up some history during his time in opposition, perhaps he is going to start a breakaway like Henry VIII of England.

Perhaps Berlusconi can see the commercial angle that drives the Popes various enterprises. He might even have an eye on the real estate riches he could get his hands on. He certainly wouldn’t do it simply for a Eucharist.

Whatever really inspired Henry VIII the alternative church he created still rejects divorcees and covers up boy buggers among the ranks of their priests. Allowing priests to marry didn’t stop that tradition flowing into the Anglican Church.

Fat chance of bragging

Australia, the land of surf, sun and exercise, has overtaken the United States as the world’s most obese nation. A new report, Australia’s Future Fat Bomb, says 26 per cent of adults are now obese.

The report says that over 49% of adults have a body mass index over 25, making them overweight or obese. This comes on top recent concerns about our growing number of overweight pets not to mention children.

So here it is, pretty much mid winter downunder, and I’m sitting here in a light sports top and cotton slacks, with the doors and windows open. Ok, I’m sitting, but I’ve had my walk and will probably have another today. What can all these fatsos be thinking?

It’s not like we need to shovel food in to create that extra layer of warming fat; not like we are condemned to simply be stuck indoors all day, everyday. We have a climate that encourages activity and light, healthy eating.

Of all developed countries Australia seems to have the fewest real excuses to lapse into the obesity habit. It is a sad report.

iNews Friday, Innovative Shorter Version – 6/20/2008

Headline:  Bush leaves on high note after Europe farewell tour
Translation: Oh, and I suppose he’ll be wanting a Welcome Home party

Headline:  Wang Will Be on Crutches for Six Weeks
Translation: Another argument against circumcision

Headline:  Airlines issue ticket waivers for Midwest flood areas
Translation: In the event of a water landing there will be complimentary adult beverages

Headline:  Bush – flood victims are loved by “higher being”
Translation: Bush names G.O.D. to head F.E.M.A.

Headline:  Obama “has September 10 mentality”
Translation: McCain has 1953 mentality

Pride: In the name of love

I’m not a cryer. Today though, I’m making an exception. It’s been an amazing week here in San Francisco. Gay couples in California are free to legally marry. Our City Hall is filled with happy couples finally tying the knot. The San Francisco Chronicle has even published a gallery of photos from the ongoing ceremonies. And I find myself moved. Really moved. Love has prevailed. Over hatred, and prejudice, and even over fear.

I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the newlyweds across California. I’ve never been so proud of my City, my State and my fellow citizens. I wish you all a long, and happy life.

It’s A Privilege and a Duty

My political awareness began with the Watergate hearings. My life as a political adult began a year before I could vote in 1980 when Reagan was elected. My bitterness at not being able to cast my ballot against that jackass has become the core of my politics. I’m not just a liberal but somewhere to the left of Fidel Castro, and I want to see those smug sons-o-bitches in the GOP thrown out of the halls of Congress. I want to see them get crushed in a landslide that will have us replacing McGovern with McCain—the greatest defeat in American history.

That level of anger has sustained me for 25 years of solid citizenship. No matter how trivial, I have never missed an election…well, at least until this last year. But before you go saying “Kvatch, you? Didn’t vote?” Let me explain…

I live here in California, the land of political trivia, where every election is stuffed with ballot measures. Whole forests die so that we can print voting guides, and many of these nonsensical initiatives are crafted so that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never divine their real intent. We vote on them, and then…vote on ’em again. Don’t like the outcome? Bring it back with different wording next year.

So, three weeks ago, I got fed up and skipped our little exercise in direct democracy. But you know…I really shouldn’t have. Because the plain fact is that nobody came to my house, put a gun to my head and said, “Vote!” Or, “Don’t vote!” “Vote for McCain or we kill your dog!” “Vote for Obama or we throw you in jail!” And it’s exactly this—the fact that in places like Zimbabwe opposition campaigners are murdered by the ruling party and whole villages are terrorized into voting for Mugabe—that should really drive home how monumentally easy we have it.

So get off your dead asses. Get into the streets in Denver and Minneapolis and face down the cops who want to cordon off dissenters. Bring your cameras, cell phones, and video recorders to the polling place and make sure nobody gets intimidated into not voting. Do it because you can. Do it for people who can’t. Agitate and VOTE because it’s a privilege and a duty. (Unless you support McCain, of course. Then it’s OK if you stay home.)

Global Blogging Arrests Triple

American bloggers have it pretty easy compared to the perils that freedom-loving bloggers in more repressive countries face. The number of blogging arrests world-wide tripled last year. Egypt, Iran and China account for more than half of all blogging arrests.

Jane Novak at Armies of Liberation blogs regularly about the case of online journalist Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani, who received a six-year jail sentence from the Yemeni government last week. Her reporting has really pissed off the Yemeni government, and they have banned her blog in that country.

Al-Khaiwani (pictured), a pro-democracy journalist and activist was convicted by a Yemeni court for conspiring with anti-government rebels, a ridiculous charge that Novak and others have soundly refuted.

Frontline Defenders has more on al-Khaiwani:

Charges of insulting the president and “demoralising the military” as well as allegations that he had links with an al-Houthi terrorist cell had been brought against Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani based on articles written about the Sa’ada war in Yemen.

The newspaper for which Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani works has been closed and his website has been blocked. His family have also been subject to physical abuse and threats. In 2004, he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for supporting Hussain Badr al-Din al-Huthi, a cleric from the Zaidi community. On 20 June 2007, he was arrested at his home for allegedly having ties with an al-Houthi terrorist cell. According to reports, these accusations were fabricated. Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani has previously reported on human rights violations against the Zaidi community and those suspected of having links to al-Houthi. On 27 August 2007, after having been released, Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani was abducted and tortured by a gang of armed men. His family have also been subject to physical abuse and threats.

(more)

In Singapore on Monday a U.S. citizen named Gopalan Nair was charged with insulting a judge because he wrote on his blog that the judge was “prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders”. Nair faces one year in prison and a fine.

The whole NSA wiretapping deal is a pisser, and the Bush administration are horrendous by American standards, but imagine the sentences some American bloggers would face if we had to answer to the Singaporean government.

Five foot nothing in Vancouver.

Vancouver CSI has been stymied again, after the fifth detached foot washed up on a southern BC beach since last August. The previous four were right feet, this week’s specimen is a left foot.
Five feet have been discovered over the last six months in the Gulf Islands.
One was found at Valdes Island in the Georgia Strait. Two other right feet were found at Gabriola Island and Jedidiah Island. The fourth foot was found on Kirkland Island near the mouth of the Fraser River in Richmond, just south of Vancouver; all right feet. A fifth foot, this one a left one, washed up on an island in the mouth of B.C.’s Fraser River this week.

One newspaper reported that; “It’s the latest step in a bizarre case that has the RCMP fielding media calls from around the world and the public talking about how ocean currents move…” However it is evident the RCMP haven’t yet taken the right steps to solving the mystery.

“Some believe they belong to plane crash victims. Others say they may be those of suicide victims or fishermen gone overboard. Still others fear they are the dumped remains of biker gang murders, even though there is no evidence the feet were sawed off.” I say, I told you not to free Willie.

McCain-Lieberman

Marcia and Henry Lieberman
are pleased to announce the political marriage of their son

Joseph Isadore Lieberman
to
John Sidney “Jermaine” McCain III

The bride is divorced from the Democratic Party and has joint custody of a Senate seat he has with Connecticut.

The groom, son of John S. McCain, Jr. and Roberta Wright McCain, is a former member of the 1980s supergroup The Keating 5, delighting millions of fans with his on-stage “brothers” Marlon, Tito, Jackie, and Alan Cranston. McCain and the group enjoyed a string of hit investigations at the state and federal levels before disbanding in 1991. He is now in politics.

The couple will divide their time among the big electoral vote states.

The ceremony will take place at

City Hall
San Francisco, CA
June 16, 2008 at 3 p.m.

A fundraiser will follow. No host bar.

 

The couple is registered at UBS and AIPAC

Love Is More Powerful Than War

If ever one needed a demonstration that the old adage, “Make love, not war…” is as relevant today as it ever was, just look at the projected economic benefits of gay marriage to the California economy. UCLA projects that over the next 3 years 50,000 of the state’s same sex couples will marry, along with as many as 68,000 couples from elsewhere in the US, and the best part? This wedding rush will pump a whopping $684M into the economy while creating 2200 jobs. $64M of this windfall will go to the state in the form of tax revenue and $9M to the counties for license fees.

Talk about your economic stimulus! Every state with leaders even half as smart as California’s should be rushing to approve same sex marriages…NOW! Hell, the federal government should hop on board. Imagine what the 1,000,000 gay marriages could do for the US economy. Are you listening McCain? Want to fund Bush’s war for another couple of weeks? Then get with the family-values plan!

In related news: One of the two counties that have decided to halt all marriages rather than be forced to perform gay marriages, Butte Co. in north central California, is currently burning to ground in summer wildfires.