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News Roundup: “An Exceptionally Heavy
Spaghetti Crop”

March 31st, 2007 · 3 Comments · Activism, Apple, Business, Climate Change, Comedy, Culture, Factory Farming, Feminism, Film, Food, Health, HIV/AIDS, iTunes, LGBT, Media, Music, News, Politics, Science, Tech, TV, Video

SpaghettiHere’s a little smorgasbord of items I wanted to blog this past week, and didn’t get the chance to. Because unlike spaghetti, time to blog doesn’t grow on trees!

  • John Nichols of The Nation asks whether we’re nearing an “Impeachment Moment,” noting that the I-word is finally being discussed — if not exactly embraced — on TV news and talk shows. Via Booman Tribune.
  • After more than two decades of dormancy, lawmakers are launching a new drive to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. My fervent wish is for Phyllis Schlafley to see this amendment pass before she dies. It would mean so much to her.
  • A major breakthrough on animal welfare at Burger King:

    In what animal welfare advocates are describing as a “historic advance,” Burger King, the world’s second-largest hamburger chain, said this week that it would begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that did not confine their animals in cages and crates.

    … more news like that, please.

  • Salon posted an expose this week revealing the Bush Administration’s secret plan to gut the Endangered Species act:

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is maneuvering to fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, its strategy laid out in an internal 117-page draft proposal obtained by Salon … “The proposed changes fundamentally gut the intent of the Endangered Species Act,” says Jan Hasselman, a Seattle attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental law firm, who helped Salon interpret the proposal.

  • A hotel in South Carolina refused to rent a room to a couple because they’re gay.
  • The World Health Organization and UNAIDS are recommending circumcision for males as a protection against the AIDS pandemic in Africa: “The health officials said that male circumcision is the most potent scientifically proven protection in years against the AIDS epidemic; one study predicts that circumcision could avert up to 2 million infections over the next decade.”
  • The BBC site has a look at the legendary “spaghetti tree” story from 1957 — the first, and possibly best ever, televised April fool’s gag. There’s even a video excerpt! My favorite part is hearing the announcer say, in his dignified BBC intonation, that the mild winter “has resulted in an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop.” The article also includes a laundry list of other great April Fool’s gags, which I’ll resist the temptation to quote from here. But go read it! There’s also a Wikipedia article with some other fun details here.
  • This is odd: new findings show that when sons are born to women who eat a lot of beef during their pregnancy, the sons wind up with a lowered sperm count and an elevated risk of fertility problems.

    The problem may be due to anabolic steroids used in the United States to fatten the cattle, Shanna Swan of the University of Rochester Medical Center reported in the journal Human Reproduction. It could also be due to pesticides and other environmental contaminants, she said.

    In other words, it all goes right back to those two little words: factory farming.

  • San Francisco bans plastic shopping bags.
  • Mike Stark of Calling All Wingnuts tackles a professional global warming denier in a public forum. Guess who lost the argument. Go read the transcript, it’s just brilliant the way Mike took this guy down. Via Crooks and Liars.
  • Aaron Sorkin is writing the script to a musical based on The Flaming Lips’ 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. If this story hadn’t come out while it was still March, I’d suspect it of being an April Fools gag. I don’t know why, it just has that quality of something you’d think up on the train on the way to work. Via savage young Neo-Futurist Bilal Dardai, who provides a sample of how he thinks the script might read.
  • Also, while on the EW site, I saw the headline “Gervais, Kinnear team for romantic comedy.” I wonder if I’m the only person who saw that headline and briefly pictured the two of them making out. Followed by Ricky G doing his disco freakout dance from The Office.
  • Apple introduces “Complete My Album” feature. FINALLY. I’ve been wanting them to do this, like, for-EV-er. Oh, and pay attention to this part:

    For a limited period of 90 days, Apple said it will make the “Complete My Album” offer retroactive to users who purchased tracks dating back to the launch of the iTunes Store four years ago.

  • Marc Almond returns to recording with “Stardom Road,” his first album since the motorcycle crash that nearly killed him in 2004.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    What’s Schlafly even sticking around for? Her son’s already had his coming out party…

    37 towns in Vermont, I think, passed measures approving impeachment of Bush. Support is growing, and even his own party doesn’t like him anymore. But Cheney as President is unthinkable (and it seems impossible to get him or Rove thrown in jail–they could run over old ladies drunk and still walk free).

    I remember seeing the Spaghetti Tree clip a few years ago. What a hoot!

  • Ocelopotamus

    I sympathize with your fears of a Cheney presidency, but I don’t think there’s any danger of it (except to the extent that he’s already been president all this time). I think any impeachment that would remove Bush from office would be accompanied by impeachment for Cheney, and in fact Cheney would be removed first. There’s precedent for this: it happened with Spiro Agnew in the Nixon administration. For more on that, see this DKos diary, which does a good job of explaining why impeaching GWB won’t lead to either a Cheney or a Pelosi presidency:

  • Aaron

    That’s a GREAT article. Sadly, it also touches on why Dick won’t get dinged: while Agnew had no real supporters, Cheney’s got the entire war machine in his pocket, and they have lots of money. That’s why the war won’t end anytime soon.

    I’m often wrong, however, and I earnestly pray that I am this time, too.