Thursday, November 20, 2003

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Cockroaches to have Buddhist funeral

Newsreel


Insomnia?


My cat won't let me sleep. For some reason, I am taking this opportunity to post on some articles I've come across that are in no way related, yet I felt for some reason deserved space on this here blog.

Some people are way too attached to their "pets"


First, people in Thailand have been taking cockroaches as pets. Because of these creepy-crawlies' ability to spread disease and pestilence, the Thai government is confiscating and burning these pets. Out of deference to their owners, however, the roaches will have
a Buddhist funeral.

Rush Limbaugh, big fat idiot


Rush Limbaugh has returned to his radio show from rehab, and something like 94% of his regular audience will return with him, despite the rank hypocrisy with which his rants are now saddled. His pompous, indignant self-righteousness is no longer derived from a strong moral center, or even a facade of one, but the dittoheads remain.

Wonky Stuff about Trade Policy


Frighteningly, the US dollar's value is dropping against the Euro. I won't go into everything this means, but it's not entirely good nor is it entirely bad. It could mean bad things for trade, it could mean good things. As long as we're engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war with the EU and possibly China, it's not helping us get money from foreign sources. (We are really bad at tea parties. Tell you what that means when I finish my book.)

In a related issue, members of Congress are still trying to create a package of tax cuts for business that replace the export subsidies recently deemed in violation of WTO policies. Steel tariffs imposed by President Bush, ostensibly to shield our steel industry from international competition deemed unfair by our steel industry, but perhaps at least partially a ploy for swing state votes in 2004, need to be repealed quickly, else we will face $6 billion in sanctions from the EU and others for this and other transgressions. Our export subsidies, currently totaling $55 billion, is somehow mutating into $128 billion in business tax cuts. Surprisingly, some Republicans have begun complaining that it rewards corporations that take jobs overseas too much, and needs some requirements for this tied to it before the ballooning tax package expands any further. Supposedly, the package also closes many loopholes in the corporate tax structure, so the total cost of the bill is only $60 billion over 10 years. Unfortunately, it kowtows to multinational corporations, cutting their taxes significantly.

Wonky stuff about Energy Policy


The new energy bill, written largely in secret by the Bush Administration, is woefully lacking in any structured long-term commitment to funding renewable, clean energy technologies. Instead, it loosens clean air and water regulations on traditional energy produces, gives tax incentives to producers of nuclear, coal and natural gas power. It proposes an inventory of offshore drilling sites from FL to CA, opens exploration on a natural gas field in Alaska, and generally just authorizes and encourages digging shit up. Additionally, it gives a big boost to ethanol production, which does not help reduce ozone emissions unless it is a significant proportion of the gas/ethanol mix. To a lot of people, this energy policy looks to be crafted based on the financial desires of a few companies and as a vote-getter in corn states. This is a wholly reprehensible way to develop a policy, especially one with such far-reaching consequences.

Health and Welfare


I want to take the flu shot advice that Ben so graciously volunteered, but only seniors rate a clinic. If anyone knows of one that will give one to young healthy people, please tell me.

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