After 20 years of platitudes on Earth Day, what we
really need is Suicide Awareness Month.
Pause: Saddam's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz's show trial is scheduled for next week. He is accused of involvement in the execution of dozens of citizens in 1992. Does Mr. Bush, or Cheney, ever wonder what the charges might be at his trial?
Surged: General Petraeus and his sidekick LTG Odierno have been selected to head up Central Command. They will be supervising Bush's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.
What If When: Methane hydrates frozen in the Arctic ocean floor have started to thaw and release methane "on a fairly notable scale". Methane is far more potent than CO2 at warming the earth. It is possible, maybe probable, that the frozen hydrates will vent massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. The result would be a sudden and catastrophic acceleration of global warming. Scientists had warned that such a thing could happen. Now it seems likely that it will.
Body Count: Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling party, says "I don't think we have reached the stage for an embargo " on arms shipments to Zimbabwe. They've barely begun killing each other.
Acknowledgment: Dr. Peggy Whitson, Commander of Expedition 16 to the International Space station, returned, somewhat bumpily, to earth holding the record for total time in space for any US Astronaut - 377 days. Brag on her to your daughter.
Tattle Trails: Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists say they have been pressured by superiors to skew their findings so as not to clash with the Republican platform, the Bible, or coal industry profits.
Cautious Math: We've seen several headlines to the effect that Brazil has found three huge oilfields that will save us from both peak oil and dependency on the Middle East. Take a deep breath, relax. It will take about 10 years to bring this production on line. We don't have ten years. And total recoverable oil is 33 billion barrels. Today the world uses 32 billion barrels a year.
Chorus: Credit Suisse joins Prof. Shiller in the dire prediction department. It sees 6.5 million houses in foreclosure in the US by 2012, with prices falling at least 25%. (Schiller says over 30%)
Anchors Aweigh! Bond insurer Ambac now finds some questionable Bear Stearns AAA mortgage packaging, where they are experiencing "at least" 82% of collateral loss. Out of 100 loans, people have walked away from 82 of them.
Outsourcing: Herr Chertoff's Down Home folks insist that airlines collect digital fingerprints of all foreigners leaving the country. The value of this is vague, but the cost will be $3.5 billion over the next 10 years, assuming both the airlines and the government last that long.
Wasted Time and Money: All the whiz bang new equipment on the ambulances and the extra training for EMS crews so they can provide advanced life support is not cost effective. And not needed. Trauma victims who received "basic" life support en route to the hospital had an 81.8% survival rate, compared to 81.1% for those getting the higher priced spread.
Mission Accomplished: Republicans again used the threat of a filibuster to block an attempt by the Worker's Party to overturn The Business Court's ruling and make it possible for workers to sue employers for blatant pay discrimination. After all, it mainly affects female workers.