Thursday, March 22, 2007

Random News & Views Roundup

- Springtime Subpoena Fest! Better than a hot dog-eating contest by a country mile.

- Albertans slacking on environmental actions:

Fifty-seven per cent of Quebecers polled said they are promoting better behaviour toward the environment, while only 36 per cent of Albertans said they are doing the same.

Well, why bother? All of that pollution coming out of the oilsands projects is going to kill us anyway. /snark

- Did you know that today is World Water Day? This year's theme is water scarcity.

- With all of the political sparring in Canada lately over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, one thing I haven't heard an opinion about from our prime minister (unlike, say the Netherlands foreign minister and representatives of the US and UK) is what he has to say about Italy cutting a deal with the Afghan government to free 5 jailed Taliban commanders in exchange for one of its citizens.

- By the way, if our prime minister doesn't care about the fate of detainees in Afghanistan (and they are not all confirmed members of the Taliban), then why does he even bother with the Geneva Conventions or agreements to protect their rights? His attitude endangers our troops. Period. Did he even notice the fallout from the Abu Ghraib scandal? Disrespect human rights and you place soldiers' lives in even more peril.

- From the "why did Gates say that?" file:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates cautioned on Thursday the Army would face problems without emergency funds but insisted U.S. forces could fight a third war despite being stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan.

- Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is scheduled to vote on tougher Iran sanctions on Saturday.

- College Republican groups in the US are holding blatantly racist anti-immigrant events:

This week, Boise State University College Republicans have joined the list of College Republicans who have held anti-immigrant "games" by creating a despicable ad to promote a conservative speaker on campus. The ad advertises a food stamp drawing and a free meal at a "Mexican restaurant" for students who "climb through the hole in the fence" and submit illegal identification. This recent derogatory stunt comes on the heels of national news reports that confirm the rise in hate groups who are feeding off of anti-immigrant sentiments. Sadly, while these activities continue on America's campuses and while Republican presidential candidates use harsh words on immigration for political gain, the national Republican Party has remained quietly on the sidelines.

It has been three weeks since Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Hispanic Caucus Chair Ramona Martinez sent a letter to RNC General Chairman Mel Martinez regarding the despicable conduct of College Republicans. The Republican Chairman has yet to respond.

Sick, sick people.

- LA's Vicious War on the Homeless:

On the morning of February 8, a white hospital van stopped a few feet from a curb in Los Angeles' skid row area. According to witnesses, a man wearing a soiled hospital gown fell through the doors, and the van, later connected with Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, drove away.

The man, a paraplegic, began crawling down the street, a bag of his belongings clutched in his teeth and a colostomy bag dragging behind him. Other homeless people helped the disoriented man into a nearby park, just before police called an ambulance.

This horrible scene came just three months after the city attorney's office filed an indictment against Kaiser Permanente for dumping a 63-year-old patient on the streets of skid row in her socks and a hospital gown last year, an incident that was captured on videotape.

Patient dumping has become so widespread there's a bill in the California State Senate to criminalize the practice.

But these practices go deeper than a few isolated incidents. They are part of a system of abuse against LA's poor and homeless population.

- John Bolton: neocon warmongering monster:

Former US United Nations Ambassador John Bolton told the BBC today that he was “damned proud” of how the U.S. intentionally blocked efforts to achieve a ceasefire last summer when Israel was bombing Beirut and many other locales in Lebanon.

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