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Roundup: Dinosaur Corsage Edition

August 31st, 2007 · No Comments · Activism, Advertising, Comics, Culture, Doctor Who, Energy, Film, Foreign Policy, Health, Healthcare Crisis, History, Human Rights, Law, LGBT, Media, Nature, News, Peace, Pets, Politics, Roundup, Science, TV

orchid corsage

  • Scary stuff: There’s a lot of buzz and speculation that starting just after Labor Day, the Bush administration is going to be rolling out a major PR campaign to pave the way for war with Iran. See here and here for starters. Grand Moff Texan at DKos says the Bushies will be using the same tired arguments they used to justify war with Iraq, i.e., the nuclear threat, and building false links to September 11. And of course they’ll gloss over all sorts of irrelevant details like: How would the US pay for such a war? Where would the troops come from, when National Guard and Reserve troops are already pinned down in Iraq? Are they planning a draft? (Maybe planning to stick the next president with a situation where a draft is unavoidable, so someone else gets the blame?) And how can the US “finish the job” in Iraq (not to mention Afghanistan) with its attention diverted to Iran?
  • Fascinating piece in the LA Times on how Karl Rove has used reverse psychology in his campaigns. For example, according to the story, during the 2004 primary season Rove had his team attack John Kerry so Democrats would rally around him — because the Democrat the Republicans really feared was, you guessed it, John Edwards. Republican strategist Matthew Dowd is quoted as saying: “So we started attacking John Kerry a lot in the end of January because we were very worried about John Edwards. And we knew that if we focused on John Kerry, Democratic primary voters would sort of coalesce [around Kerry].” Via This Modern World.
  • The natural Bush response to the recent mining disaster: remove restrictions on unsafe mining! (It’s like arguing that the best response to a deadly fire should be to enourage more people to play with matches.) Devilstower writes, “In a move that demonstrates more boundless gall than the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration used the increase in underground mine deaths that has occurred on their watch, as a reason to remove restrictions on mountaintop removal mining … Under the pretense of safety, they’re out to expand the very kind of mining that led to the greatest coal mining disaster of the last fifty years, a disaster that killed 125 people who weren’t even in the mine.”
  • Robert Fisk on the forgotten first holocaust of the 20th century.
  • The Independent has an interesting profile of Bertrand Delanoë, the popular, openly gay mayor of Paris, who has recently succeeded in bringing pedal power to the streets of Paris. “His popularity has been boosted in recent weeks by the immense success of a cheap, self-service bicycle scheme, which has transformed Paris into a kind of Gallic Amsterdam … His Vélib scheme, which has put a rank of self-service, cheap bikes on almost every street corner, is a classic Delanoë operation. The cost to bike-users is minimal for short hires. The cost to the tax-payer is zero. The service is subsidised by the J C Decaux street amenities company in return for scores of new advertising sites in the capital.”
  • THE PINK SECTION: Iowa judge Robert B. Hanson strikes down state law banning gay marriage. And delivers this wonderfully clear and sensible statement: “This court has yet to hear any convincing argument as to how excluding same-sex couples from getting married promotes responsible reproduction in general or by different-sex couples in particular. So far as this court can tell (the law) operates only to harm same-sex couples and their children.” Yep, that’s pretty much the deal.
  • On a related note, it turns out civil unions aren’t a new invention — they go back at least 600 years. “For example, in late medieval France, the term affrèrement — roughly translated as brotherment — was used to refer to a certain type of legal contract, which also existed elsewhere in Mediterranean Europe. These documents provided the foundation for non-nuclear households of many types and shared many characteristics with marriage contracts.” Click through for much more historical context than I can cram into one bullet point.
  • THE GREEN SECTION: As the anti-bottled water movement builds momentum, a Slate writer has reviewed various reusable water bottles to see which are most practical and efficient. There’s some great follow-up discussion with the author of the article on the WaPo site, touching on various aspects of the bottled water issue.

  • Now we know what dinosaurs wore to their proms! “Ancient pollen plucked from the back of a fossilised bee suggests orchids may first have bloomed beneath the feet of the dinosaurs. Tests indicate that the plants first arose between 76m and 84m years ago, meaning they are much older than many scientists previously believed.”
  • Silence=Death: A multinational energy company called RWE is planning to destroy lakes near Oxfordshire in the UK by filling them in with 60,000 tons of waste material from its power plant. Now a retired physicist turned activist who was trying to save the lakes has been bullied into silence by a high court injunction on behalf of the power company.
  • One of the rare birds of prey that are being reintroduced to Ireland, in an effort to restore their populations, has already been shot and killed.
  • Itchmo has a post about the weirdly arbitrary local laws that limit how many pets people can own.
  • TEEVEE: “Ziggy Tardis”? British tabloid The Sun claims Bowie will appear in Doctor Who. The NME isn’t buying it, but has some fun with the idea anyway. And BBC News has a denial from Bowie, calling it “absolute tish and tosh,” which sounds like it would be the most British vodka cocktail ever.
  • Good for Tammy Lynn Michaels. I’ve always thought she’s amazingly talented (she was always one of the best things about Popular, the supposedly-for-high-school-kids show that was in reality targeted at the comedic sensibilities of gay men over a certain age, and which not enough of the right people discovered in time to watch).
  • HEALTH: The American Cancer society announces that it will be using its entire $15 million advertising budget for the coming year to focus on the US health insurance crisis. “One features images of uninsured cancer patients, appearing hollow and fearful. ‘This is what a health care crisis looks like to the American Cancer Society,’ the narrator begins. ‘We’re making progress, but it’s not enough if people don’t have access to the care that could save their lives.’ ” The linked article also notes that, “A 2003 study estimated that one of every 10 cancer patients was uninsured.”
  • Newly released White House emails reveal how former Surgeon General Richard Carmona was pressured to politicize his office to promote the Bush agenda. Carmona had previously testified to Congress that “he was ordered to say Bush’s name three times in every page when making speeches and said he has told not to speak out about certain types of controversial research, including stem cell research.”
  • COMICS: Tom the Dancing Bug: U.S. recalls thousands of bombs after discovering they may be harmful to children.
  • Tom Toles: What’s in Bush’s box.
  • Tom Tomorrow’s rude awakening.
  • Candorville: Laugh Track hits the unemployment office.
  • Not sure if Bob Geiger is going to keep doing his Saturday cartoon roundup, since apparently he’s going to take a break from blogging for a while. At any rate, here’s one more installment to enjoy.

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