1. Grow Your Own: Yet another produce recall. This time it’s chopped onions from Trader Joes. Chop your own too, come to think of it…
2. Have You Hugged Your Blastocyst Today? Oregon’s bill to explore public funding for stem cell research was ‘aborted’ this week. (And please don’t call it ‘embryonic’ stem cell research. They aren’t ‘embryos’; They are blastocysts.
3. Mark Your Calendar Now: Oregon voters will decide in May 2008 whether police agencies should have more power to seize and sell property tied to illegal activity and use the money to help pay for investigations. (Keep in mind that it is not unheard of for property seized by the police – especially fun stuff like pool tables and ATVs often ends up on the property of police officers….)
4. Is That A Pistol in Your Genes, or Are You Having A Seizure…The Oregon Supreme Court ruled yesterday that collecting DNA samples from convicted felons to build a profiling data base does not violate constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. (The good news: Your DNA is unlikely to wind up in a cop’s garage. The bad news is that although the ruling may not violate any search and seizure laws, it nonetheless leads to some very dark corners of American jurisprudence.)
5. Legislators voted to more than double the amount of money that Oregon spends annually on student aid…..
6. And not a moment too soon either. It is to be devoutly hoped that the next generation will be smart enough to figure out that ethanol is a burn in every sense of the word. It takes a lot of gas to make ethanol and ethanol is grown by agribusiness thus enriching Monsanto, Cargill et al. and about all it really fuels are investors on Wall Street. (And did I mention that it’s a dead give-away to the genetic engineers?)
7. Busy week for the Oregon Senate. Yesterday legislators signed off on an array of tax credits that add up to an estimated more than $22 million dollars in tax credits. That’s $22 million that the State won’t be getting over the next two years. But that’s Okay: We can hold an Ethanol Sale. (Or better still, a hemp sale…)
8. Umatilla had to briefly stop incinerating chemical weapons this week, but the facility is fit as a fiddle and ready to incinerate once again.
9. Republican and Democrats alike want to see – actually to hear – hundred of low power FM stations in urban areas across the US. (And right before a presidential election….How convenient…)
10. Hedging Their Bets: In Washington, Pacific Power & Light got a rate hike. Not the massive one the company wanted, but it’s still a significant boost in customers’ bills and a significant coup for hedge fund wizard, Warren Buffett and Friends…(That was just Washington. Bend over, Oregon: Here comes Warren…)
11. Washington fish are full of PCBs and even worse carcinogens. You know that you are in much worse trouble than you think when the government bothers to expose part of the real story…
12. Other toxic contamination in Washington: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is visiting Seattle next week. Check Seattle indymedia and make your travel plans accordingly! (It’s “free and open to the public.” And it’s sponsored by a fun bunch of wacky ‘Intelligent Designers’….Who must have forgotten to sharpen their pencils when they came up with Gonzales….)
13. The Bush administration is whispering about the possible closure of Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. But that doesn’t mean that the prisoners will be brought stateside and given fair trials. In a far more likely scenario, they will be extraordinarily rendered out of sight and out of mind to place from which they are even less likely to return.
14. The Ashcroft, Comey imbroglio simmers away. In any other country – hell, in any other US administration – this would be constant front page stunner, the very lifeblood of government-at-the-highest-level scandal. But in the shadow of the last few years, it has become just one more chapter in a sordid saga of corruption and felonious behavior.
15. Bush’s approval rating is somewhere around 26 percent.
16. House Democrats are ginning up to hand the White House another piece of legislation heading straight for the presidential veto bin. Congress voted yesterday to rescind a ban on providing funding for abortions to people in poor countries. (Self-control, people! It builds character…)
17. Breast feeding: It saves lives but loses money.
18. Vice (And how!) President Dick ‘Dick’ Cheney wants to abolish the government office charged with safeguarding national security. (Translation: Cheney doesn’t want the public or even legislators to see what he has been up to, Lo, these seven long years…)
19. Surprise Me: a new report says that New Orleans levees are in no better shape now than they were before Katrina. (But hold steady there, citizens: Mayor Ray Nagin is going to appeal to foreign governments for the aid that was not forthcoming from the American junta.)
20. The Senate has voted to require average fuel economy of 35 miles per gallon for new cars, pickups and SUVs by 2020…When, no doubt, what little gas left in the world will cost $35 dollars a gallon.
21. Members of Congress are trying to shut down the School of the Americas…Again. Like cancer, the School will simply morph into another acronym and possibly decamp for less transparent shores. (I hear Guantanamo may be available…)
22. If you think the average Iraqi is having a really bad day, imagine what it must be like to be an Iraqi orphan chained to a pipe while slowly starving to death. Yes…That’s why American troops are welcomed with flowers and open arms wherever they go…
23. Life…It’s a Beach: What’s scarier than waking up in bed with Dick Cheney, weirder that getting hit by lightning or giant hail, deadlier than a shark attack?….C’mon, guess….Sand castles! Yes, every year holidaymakers take their very lives in their buckets when they go to the beach…