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--Barry Asmus

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Radiation! Parasites! Dirty Political Tricks! Racism! It's World News!

  • In "Really?  Why?" news, Admiral Mike Mullin said that in order for US troops to remain in Iraq as advisors beyond the year-end deadline for withdraw, they would require legal immunity.  Iraqi officials have, so far, rejected the idea.
  • TEPCO has reported that, as of yesterday, Geiger counters have registered their highest possible reading at the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors.  The readings exceed 10 sieverts per hour, a level described as "fatal to humans".  To quote a not-particularly-comforting statement from Al Jazeera's reporter Aela Callan, "Authorities are working on the theory that it has come from those initial hydrogen explosions that we've seen at the plant in the days after the earthquake and tsunami.  It is now looking more likely that this area has been this radioactive since the earthquake and tsunami but no one realized until now."[1]
  • Speaking at a summer camp for the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described the current US budget in harsh terms:  "They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy.  They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar."
United States
  • The Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate adding most forms of preventative care services for women to the list of services that must be covered by insurance companies without a co-pay, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The additions go into effect beginning in August 2012.
  • The compromise debt bill passed the House of Representatives last night, despite whining and complaining[2] from both sides of the aisle.  It is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate at noon today and, if proposed, should be signed into law "shortly thereafter".
  • In "Pinto redux" news, Ford has recalled 1.2 million F-series pick-up trucks out of concern that road salt can corrode the straps holding the fuel tanks to the vehicle, allowing them to fall off and start fires.  All of the trucks, which are probably beloved of director Michael Bay, were built between 1997 and 2004.
  • In "genuinely amazing typo" news, Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin sent what can only be described as falsified mailers to registered Democrats in two Republican-held districts going through recall votes.  The mailers encourage the recipients to fill out an absentee ballot application and mail it in by August 11 (two days after the election in those districts) to an address that is owned by Wisconsin Family Action (another conservative group).  AFP Wisconsin director Matt Seaholm insists the date was a typo, that the group is not trying to mislead voters, and makes no comment about the incorrect address.[3]
  • In "terrifyingly and deliberately out of context" news, WBBM Chicago has been slammed by journalist and civil rights leaders for taking an African-American 4-year-old boy's statement out of context.  The video clip shows a freelance photographer working for WBBM asking the boy about a shooting in his neighborhood.  The boy stated "I'm not scared of nothing."  The photographer then asks "When you get older are you going to stay away from all these guns?"  The boy says "no" and the clip ends.  Sounds pretty horrible, right?  But the unaired portion of the clip then shows the photographer ask "You are?  Why do you want to do that?", to which the boy replies "I'm going to be the police!", putting an entirely different spin on the situation.[4]
[1]  I feel better now.  Don't you?
[2]  "Waaaah!  It doesn't do everything I want, and it does do things they want!  Waaaah!  Do not want!"
[3]  Presumably another typo.  Right?  What other possible explanation could there be?
[4]  A spin that lacks certain... implications.

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