raw milk must make people stupid

by twit

Thank you, Associated Press, this about made my head explode:

“Raw milk is like a magic food for children,” said Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates consumption of whole, natural foods.

because I don’t care if it has “health benefits” if it also is a serious health risk. Especially to kids.

More than 1,000 people, including two who died, got sick from raw milk or cheese made from raw milk from 1998 to 2005, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

even the FDA has got this one spelled out pretty clearly, although it is basic fucking germ theory, so it isn’t exactly asking a whole hell of a lot.

who needs to search for an appropriate metaphor when our tax dollars have written that giving a kid raw milk is like giving a kid a loaded gun with a bullet loaded at random:

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Top Ten Things About to Fall Down

by twit

Thank you Popular Mechanics, for this lovely roundup of “The 10 Pieces of U.S. Infrastructure We Must Fix Now” and apparently, are doing not much, if anything, about…

Chicago’s Circle Interchange

going nowhere”

Brooklyn Bridge

Repairs aren’t due to start until 2010″

Industrial Canal Lock in New Orleans

Construction is expected to take 12 years”

Atlanta Water System

Municipal lines running beneath the streets lose massive volumes of waterA similar situation is found throughout the country.”

Seattle Viaduct

still no decision” hmm… sounds familiar

Herbert Hoover Dike

a 1-in-6 chance that [it] will fail” The Army Corps of Engineers has been working on improvements, but funding is limited”

Idaho’s Dover Bridge

an outrageously low “sufficiency rating” of 2 out of 100 in the National Bridge Inventory.” but the Seattle Viaduct gets a 9… which means “basically intolerable,” apparently…

Wolf Creek Dam

despite the ongoing construction work, the danger of collapse hasn’t been significantly reduced, and probably won’t be for years”

Sacramento River Levees

Ongoing efforts to investigate and repair the levees have been met with opposition from local officials”

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport

among the worst in terms of near-misses on the runway”

More fun:

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1,700,352…1,700,353…1,700,354 and …S**T!! One…two…three…

by loadz

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – Technology problems will force the government to count all of the nation’s 300 million residents the old-fashioned way in the 2010 census — with paper and pencil.

Photobucket

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez was scheduled to tell a House subcommittee Thursday that the government will scrap plans to use handheld computers to collect information from the millions of Americans who don’t return census forms mailed out by the government.

The change will add as much as $3 billion to the cost of the constitutionally mandated count, pushing the overall cost to more than $14 billion.

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Alas! Poor Justice, I knew her well

by lestro

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:4Un2XAOy2DPNlM:http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/fish_BushHussein_crop_300.jpg

The politicization of the Department of Justice has really been the ugliest thing this administration has done. And these fuckers have been up to no good since Day One.

But the literal corruption of Justice really is the most despicable.

Maybe it is because the president and his cronies have been treating the Justice Department like their own lawyers and legal loophole finders and torture apologists for years, but it’s fairly obvious something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Which is why we can’t even let this little “restructuring” effort go without it being fully checked out.

Asked about the recent dismantling of a high-profile unit in the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles that specialized in public corruption cases, an office spokesman provided what some saw as a curious justification:

Eliminating the public integrity and environmental crimes section, spokesman Thom Mrozek said, would actually enhance the effort to prosecute such cases.

The Bush Administration going after people that look at public corruption and environmental crimes? Check.

Bizarre doublespeak explanation? Check.

Red Flag.

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our tax dollars at work

by twit

The Raw Story reports on March 28, 2008:

“The 22-year-old Florida man who allegedly provided old, substandard Chinese-manufactured ammunition to troops in Afghanistan as part of a nearly $300 million Pentagon contract also started a private company that specialized in selling foreign munitions to civilian gun enthusiasts, according to public documents”

aaaand:

“The company’s Web site was taken down after RAW STORY began asking questions.”

But they were able to find at least one naughty picture from the now-defunct site:

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our surge can beat up your surge

by lestro

With all the talk about the great effectiveness of “the surge” in Iraq, one little important bit of evidence is always left out when discussing the reduction in violence: the Mahdi Army’s decision to lay low since last summer.

However, this week Moktada al-Sadr – a guy who went from a terrorist who needed to be killed into a political leader we deal with – decided to reassert himself:

Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who commands the Mahdi Army and initially called for a suspension of his militia’s activities in August, called on Monday called for a nationwide civil disobedience campaign, beginning in Baghdad, in response to what his followers say is an unwarranted crackdown.

and what happened?  all hell broke loose.

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nuclear fuses? what nuclear fuses?

by lestro

oh! you mean the ones we didn’t even know we lost?

“The U.S. Air Force mistakenly shipped fuses that are used in nuclear weapons to Taiwan in 2006, believing the crates contained helicopter batteries, officials at the Pentagon announced this morning.

The error — undetected by the United States until last week, despite repeated inquiries by Taiwan — raises questions about how carefully the Pentagon safeguards its weapons systems.”

I am at a complete loss on this one. Yet not surprised. Goooooo Romper Room!

and this is obviously a lie:

“There are multiple players, there are multiple parties involved,” said Ryan Henry, principal undersecretary of defense policy. “We’ll do a thorough investigation, and those who are found responsible will be held accountable.”

No one has EVER been held responsible for ANYTHING in the Bush administration. With the possible exception of Brownie, who was doing a heckuva job until a scape goat was needed.

But luckily, the US moved quickly when it realized its mistake, right?

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romper room airlines

by twit

is proud to bring you this understatement of the day:

“This is an agency or department that is critical for the U.S. long-term security needs,” [Former Rep. Tim] Roemer [D-Indiana] said. “So the basic building blocks, the front line of defense are air marshals. If you’re not providing that safety for our people on a pretty basic program seven years after 9/11, we’ve got a lot of work to do at the department, and probably Congress has a lot more work to do on its oversight.”

about the TSA:

Of the 28,000 commercial airline flights that take to the skies on an average day in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are protected by on-board, armed federal air marshals, a nationwide CNN investigation has found.

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a romper room round-up

by twit

There are moments of history reported in the news about our government, particularly with regard to national security issues, that around here may get referred to on occasion as the “romper room.” For example…

Romper Room of the Day via Wonkette and Star-Tribune.com:

The Shitting Bandit apparently just wandered in through an unlocked door in, let’s repeat that, the Minnesota Homeland Security building. He was captured on film by surveillance cameras…

aaannd:

St. Paul police say it’s unlikely that a man who entered a Minnesota government office building Sunday and defecated in several rooms will be caught.

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‘Black is the new president, bitch’

by twit

and other morning cartoons…

“Bitch may be the new black but black is the new president, bitch” The Tracey Morgan SNL sketch can be seen at NBC and commercial-free at the Raw Story.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/Rejected_screenshot.gifREJECTED is one of the more demented cartoons the twit has seen in a loooong time.

In the spring of 1999, the Family Learning Channel commissioned Don Hertzfeldt to produce promotional segments for their network.

via twit’s neighbors

live from the romper room via Boing Boing: “1 in 300 US Residents are terrorists”

dolphins strike back, for now… Due to the legal restrictions on the use of marine-mammal slaughtering sonar, the Navy currently can’t use it at all, because dolphins travel in the wake of their ships.

http://www.fuh2.com/images/5969-1.jpgit’s like an instinct or something

Fuck You and Your H2 is “a site dedicated to pictures of people flipping off Hummers.”

via kottke.org

whoops the Raw Story reports that “[a]n Air National Guard jet mistakenly dropped a 22-pound non-explosive, practice bomb on an apartment complex, damaging the foundation but no one was injured, police said Friday.”

but women belong in the kitchen… what’s this about not being able to take the heat? Pro-Clinton bloggers abandon their perch on the nets because they can’t reconcile “she’s electable” with the torrent of opposition. The twit thinks that it is one thing to dodge trolls, and another to dodge the crappiness of one’s own ideas…

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44484000/jpg/_44484602_googleslide.jpgever wonder what exactly is wrong with Google? well, the twit has a theory anyway… something within the BBC report that

“Google assured the more cynical members of the press that the slide is used every day.”

Vanilla Ice is attacked by bees and the twit laughs and laughs

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whatever the President says must be true

by lestro

the subhead says it all. From the Washington Post:

Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush’s Behest
EPA Scrambles To Justify Action

The EPA should never have to “scramble” to “justify” something. If they do, that probably means that it is a bad move that the EPA shouldn’t have supported but had to because of the politicization of every goddamn agency in Washington.

This is yet another example of how this administration has forgotten that they are supposed to be there doing the people’s business and not that of their buddies. Kind of like the AG forgetting he’s the country’s lawyer, not the president’s.

The EPA officials are supposed to be scientists, not politicians and their findings are supposed to based on fact, not on campaign contributions or ideology.

ITMFA. I mean, come on:

EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA’s scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and on Tuesday ordered the agency to increase the limit, according to the documents.

“It is unprecedented and an unlawful act of political interference for the president personally to override a decision that the Clean Air Act leaves exclusively to EPA’s expert scientific judgment,” said John Walke, clean-air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The president’s order prompted a scramble by administration officials to rewrite the regulations to avoid a conflict with past EPA statements on the harm caused by ozone.

Solicitor General Paul D. Clement warned administration officials late Tuesday night that the rules contradicted the EPA’s past submissions to the Supreme Court, according to sources familiar with the conversation. As a consequence, administration lawyers hustled to craft new legal justifications for the weakened standard.

craft new legal justifications”? that’s fucking ridiculous. what that means, in basic english is “either make up the rules as we go along or change the rules to fit our needs.” and that’s no way to run a country.

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Incompetence We Trust

by twit

http://justintrawick.com/journal/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/Simpsons_3EyeFish.jpgThe Associated Press is on fire this week, releasing several reports on American food safety and water quality that highlight horrific, decades-long failures of the EPA, FDA and the Agriculture Department to protect public health and safety.

We’ve learned this past week that the light in the fridge has been broken for some time, it’s just been hard to tell with the food glowing in the dark. We’ve also learned that in order to calm down about that alarming discovery, we should simply drink a nice glass of tap water, because there are plenty of pharmaceutical goodies in there that could help.

Today, in the second of a three-part series, the Associated Press is looking at “Mutated Fish Swimming In Tainted Water,” hooray.

It’s going to take a lot of tap water to take the edge off the twit’s keen anticipation for the third installment in this series…

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Thanks Boomers, now you’ve poisoned us all

by lestro

Thank you Baby Boomers. Thank you for your total lack of foresight and inability to recognize the consequences of everything you have done. You guys did a great job of making the world great for you and leaving it a total wreck for everyone who comes after you.

This morning’s report that millions of Americans are drinking water polluted with multiple pharmaceuticals reminded me of the movie “Idiocracy,” where all the crops die because the idiots in charge decide that if water is good, Brawndo (a gatorade-like substance) would be better and start using it to irrigate their crops.

It’s kind of like that, only slower and real:

“A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.”

But wait, it gets better:

“And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife…”

I’m no expert, but isn’t “persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals” ostensibly what killed Heath Ledger?

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but will it give us superpowers?

by twit

It looks like there has been “widespread contamination” of the American food supply over the past 30 years, with arsenic, toxic heavy metals, PCBs, you name the nastiness and it may have found its way into milk, corn, beef, basically anything raised on a farm that has accepted the government’s idea of cheap fertilizer.

On March 6, 2008, the Associated Press reports on an ongoing “30-year government policy that encourages farmers to spread millions of tons of sewage sludge over thousands of acres each year as an alternative to commercial fertilizers.”

Why are we spreading sewage sludge instead of commercial fertilizers? “Giving it away to farmers is cheaper than burning or burying it, and the government’s policy has been to encourage the former.”

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/58/WonderWomanV5.jpg/180px-WonderWomanV5.jpg

Also, the government has been claiming that the sewage sludge is safe to use. However, in a recent lawsuit, a judge found “along with using the questionable data, “senior EPA officials took extraordinary steps to quash scientific dissent, and any questioning of EPA’s biosolids program,” and that the sewage plant in the case “was sending out hundreds of truckloads of sludge daily with dangerously high levels of cadmium, molybdenum and chlordane.”

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morning cartoons

by twit

this can’t be real… yet…

http://www.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/tattoodisplay.jpg

Jim Mielke’s wireless blood-fueled display is a true merging of technology and body art. At the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition, the engineer demonstrated a subcutaneously implanted touch-screen that operates as a cell phone display, with the potential for 3G video calls that are visible just underneath the skin.

The basis of the 2×4-inch “Digital Tattoo Interface” is a Bluetooth device made of thin, flexible silicon and silicone. It´s inserted through a small incision as a tightly rolled tube, and then it unfurls beneath the skin to align between skin and muscle. Through the same incision, two small tubes on the device are attached to an artery and a vein to allow the blood to flow to a coin-sized blood fuel cell that converts glucose and oxygen to electricity. After blood flows in from the artery to the fuel cell, it flows out again through the vein.

this can’t be real… still…

63%

That’s the number of 18-25 year olds who say that humans and other living things evolved over time; only 33% say all living creatures have existed in their present form since the beginning of time

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change you can replicate perfectly

by twit

… is probably what Xerox ™ would like Hillary’s endorsement of Obama to mean.

it was an endorsement, right? it sure sounds like one.

and I realize Queen Clinton is hard up for cash these days, but corporate sponsorship?

Is there anything she won’t do for pity or money?

the twit’s not holding her breath.

(UPDATED!)Spy satellite update: It’s raining metal, hallelujah!

by lestro

FEB. 21 UPDATE AND VIDEO BELOW!

Well, by now we all know that a US spy satellite is getting closer and closer to landing on our heads, but never fear, the Bush Administration is all over it.

Despite initial statements that it could not be shot down, it looks like either tonight or tomorrow a Navy ship will be firing off a couple of missile in an attempt to shoot this bad boy out of the sky, weather permitting:

The officer said that three Navy warships were in position in the Pacific Ocean to launch the interceptors, and that radar and other tracking equipment, both in space and on the ground, were being monitored at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, and at a space command headquarters in Colorado Springs.

The operation is being controlled from the Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Neb., with additional monitoring of information transmitted from the interceptor managed by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.

Visually speaking, via reuters:

Apparently despite circling the earth every 90 seconds or so, once the order is given, the Navy will have a window of “tens of seconds” in order to hit this thing, which weighs 5,000 pounds (including 1,000 pounds of toxic rocket fuel) and is the size of a school bus.

But not to worry, just in case they miss, FEMA is on top of it:

A United States satellite is falling back to earth and could potentially impact almost anywhere on the planet…

Perhaps trusting this to folks who couldn’t even feed flood victims in New Orleans is a bad idea, but no matter.

I am not worried though. I have seen the Simpsons episode where Bart discovers a comet aimed directly for Springfield. The military tries to shoot it down, but misses, destroying the only bridge out of town. Luckily, Homer’s prediction proves right and one can only assume we are destined for a similar result:

Homer: What’s everyone so worked up about? So there’s a comet – big deal. It’ll burn up in our atmosphere and whatever’s left will be no bigger than a chihuahua’s head.

Bart: Wow, Dad, maybe you’re right.

Homer: Of course I’m right. If I’m not, may we all be horribly crushed from above somehow.

Beyond all that, there better be footage of this. I want multiple angles, high def footage I can download and watch over and over again. Hell, if they run it live, i’ll even get up in the middle of the night to see this…

UPDATE:

At approximately 10:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday night, the Navy shot down the offending satellite in an explosion one paper described as “like the death star.” The military is also “80 – 90 percent confiden[t] the fuel tank was destroyed,” which was the part they were aiming for as it contained the toxic bits. From the New York Times:

“Completing a mission in which an interceptor designed for missile defense was used for the first time to attack a satellite, the Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the missile hit the satellite as it traveled at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the Pentagon said in its official announcement.

“A network of land-, air-, sea- and spaced-based sensors confirms that the U.S. military intercepted a nonfunctioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite which was in its final orbits before entering the Earth’s atmosphere,” the statement said.”

USA! USA! USA!

The military will also continue to monitor the debris as it falls through the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour, but the rest of it is expected to burn up to chunks no bigger than the aforementioned chihuahuas head.

The best news of all of this, however is that there is footage and you know, it does look a little like the Death Star explosion from the original Star Wars, though not as cool as the re-released Star Wars

just sayin’

by twit

An agency charged with responsibility for anticipating the behavior of travelers for security purposes, that happens to be subject to voluminous complaints about the ways it implements these responsibilities, failed to anticipate that if people are given a public forum to complain, they most certainly will…

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US predicts 30-minute warning for satellite crash landing

by twit

LATEST UPDATE: Feb. 20, 2008: Lestro reports on new information about the plans to shoot the satellite down, including video of the satellite being shot down.

UPDATE: Via Reuters on Feb 15, 2008:

Ambassador Christina Rocca said that if efforts fail to strike the satellite with a missile while it is still in space, it was expected to make an “uncontrolled re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere on or about March 6″.

UPDATE: From MSNBC on Feb 14, 2008:

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon, under orders from President Bush, is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March, the White House said Thursday.

U.S. officials said that the option preferred by the administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth’s atmosphere.

… The military will have to choose a time and a location that will avoid to the greatest degree any damage to other satellites in the sky. Also, there is the possibility that large pieces could remain, and either stay in orbit where they can collide with other satellites or possibly fall to Earth.

… officials won’t have much detail on where or when it will crash until it begins to move through the atmosphere and break up.

Basically, if you see something like this in the sky during early March:

http://i.newsvine.com/_vine/images/ap/nws/50607ef3-9198-407e-9d3c-ad3388868d1d.jpg
(image via Newsvine)

You have about a half-hour to take cover.

Whether effective cover would be available if the US can’t destroy the fuel tank in advance of the crash seems like a reasonable question, at least based on this report from Boing Boing on Feb 14, 2008:

It contains 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel, which “could turn into a toxic gas capable of causing deaths and injuries if it crashed in a populated area.”

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local news from the romper room

by twit

From Boing Boing on January 9, 2008:

“A five-year-old boy was taken into custody and thoroughly searched at Sea-Tac because his name is similar to a possible terrorist alias. As the Consumerist reports, “When his mother went to pick him up and hug him and comfort him during the proceedings, she was told not to touch him because he was a national security risk. They also had to frisk her again to make sure the little Dillinger hadn’t passed anything dangerous weapons or materials to his mother when she hugged him.”

romper room news hour

by twit

From Boing Boing on January 10, 2008:

“Telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau’s repeated failures to pay phone bills on time.”

the romper room at sea

by twit

From Think Progress January 11, 2008:

The Navy Times reports:

In recent years, American ships operating in the Middle East have had to contend with a mysterious but profane voice widely known as the “Filipino Monkey,” likely more than one person, who listens in on ship-to-ship radio traffic and then jumps on the net shouting insults and epithets.

Rick Hoffman, a retired captain who commanded the cruiser Hue City and spent many of his 17 years at sea in the Gulf was subject to the renegade radio talker repeatedly, often without pause during the so-called “Tanker Wars” of the late 1980s.

“For 25 years there’s been this mythical guy out there who, hour after hour, shouts obscenities and threats,” he said. “He could be tied up pierside somewhere or he could be on the bridge of a merchant ship.” […]

“He used to go all night long. The guy is crazy,” he said. “But who knows how many Filipino Monkeys there are? Could it have been a spurious transmission? Absolutely.”

when it’s the romper room, that’s how

by twit

“How do you not notice when 308,000 barrels of oil go missing?”

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2008/01/oil-crisis-as-b.html

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