Friday Mashup (10/23/09)

  • I happened to come across the following highlighted story at the Fix Noise site…

    Fox_Funny_1
    Oh mah gawd, I thought to myself; I’d better click on this story and read it right away!

    And after I did, I found this (with the very different headline of “Google CEO: Vast Web Changes Coming Within Five Years”).

    And just to make sure, I searched the story for “government” and “screw” and found nothing.

    So just to reiterate, Fox “News” ran a story with an imaginary quote from the story subject in the headline.

    And they actually have the gall to whine when they’re not treated like a reasonably serious news organization (more here – unless they were really trying to criticize this but were too lazy and/or cowardly to do it any other way).

  • Pitts_3885523_200X150

  • And in another somewhat shocking development, I came across the following item from The Hill by none other than U.S. Congressional District PA-16’s very own waste of space, Pancake Joe Pitts himself…

    There is one thing that people across the ideological spectrum can agree on when it comes to the issue of energy—the United States needs to produce far more clean energy from a source that does not rely on the whims of tyrants in far off parts of the world.

    Fortunately, there is a technology out there that produces clean, emission free energy without the need for raw materials imported from unstable countries. Our green energy future is a nuclear future.

    I believe that we need to provide for a regulatory process that will encourage an increase in the production of this clean, alternative energy.

    I don’t think we should charge headlong into developing nuclear reactors as a means of lessening our oil dependency, but I grudgingly admit that nukes should be part of the picture (of course, it doesn’t hurt that Limerick, the site of an existing reactor, is in nearby PA-06, but I guess Jim Gerlach, that district’s rep, is too busy trying to run for governor to sign onto this also).

    However, as I read the text of Pitts’ bill, I came across a little item of concern (the very last section, actually)…

    The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 shall not be used to arbitrarily prevent uranium mining from taking place on Federal lands. The Federal Government shall not collect additional leasing fees, beyond that which are currently applicable, to mine uranium on Federal lands. Any fees collected in association with commercial uranium mining on Federal lands that should be applied for remediation purposes, shall only be applied to the remediation of sites that incurred damage as a result of commercial nuclear activities. Such fees shall not be applied to the remediation of any sites that incurred damage as a result of Government or Government-sponsored activities.

    So basically, Pitts is proposing that the Act not be enforced to “prevent uranium mining,” huh?

    This story from last July tells us the following…

    WASHINGTON – The Interior Department announced Monday it is temporarily barring the filing of new mining claims, including for uranium, on nearly 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.

    The land is being set aside for two years so the department can study whether it should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity, according to a notice published in the Federal Register online. The notice covers 633,547 acres under the control of the Bureau of Land Management and 360,002 acres in Kaibab National Forest.

    The announcement comes ahead of Tuesday’s congressional hearing on a bill to set aside more than 1 million acres of federal lands north and south of the canyon. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, and environmental groups had been looking to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for temporary protections at the Grand Canyon while the legislation is pending.

    The Interior Department under President George W. Bush was unresponsive to efforts to ban new uranium mining claims. The House Natural Resources Committee invoked a little-used rule to stop any new claims for up to three years, but Interior officials refused to recognize the action and continued to authorize additional mining claims.

    Former Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Rob Arnberger said he would welcome any protection that (Interior Secretary Ken) Salazar offers, but permanent withdrawal is the goal.

    “Are we prepared to allow the landscape to be torn up adjacent to the park, to threaten the hydrological and the natural resources of that park?” Arnberger said. “My answer to that is no. Don’t open it up to exploration.”

    So, if Pitts wants to advocate for more nukes, that’s his right. However, don’t try to play these cowardly and environmentally destructive games in the meantime.

    Given al of this, I guess I shouldn’t complain so much when Pitts regularly votes No, since that’s usually not as detrimental as episodes such as this, when he actually decides to do something but ends up flirting with catastrophe for his (and our) trouble.

  • Malcolm

  • Finally, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm opined as follows from here…

    Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, who recently taught Americans the federally-approved way to sneeze this season, was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

    She was trying to explain widespread delays in the delivery of the H1N1 vaccine across the country.

    Basically, of course, she said it wasn’t the Obama administration’s fault, that as soon as the vaccines come in, they’re being shipped out immediately by the many thousands of doses.

    You know how everyone talks about Americans not making things anymore, that so many manufacturing jobs, for instance, have been shipped overseas?

    Well, Sebelius was essentially saying the same goes for flu-vaccine-making.

    Four of the world’s five makers are foreign. And we all think we know what that means.

    Huh?

    Members of Congress could have been exploring this subject last winter when their latest automatic pay raises took effect.

    Instead, Wednesday they expressed shock and dismay at the situation now that it’s October and thousands are already falling ill with the H1N1 virus…

    Also, Purdue University researchers reported the late deliveries may not matter because by the end of this year 63% of Americans will be infected anyway. So, too many doses, too late.

    Well, this wasn’t helped one bit by the following, as noted here last April…

    Famously, Maine Senator Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: “Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill? No, we should not.

    Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate’s version of the stimulus measure.

    And as noted here by Dana Milbank at the WaPo (experiencing a welcome moment of clarity, describing how a certain furry red muppet was called upon to make the case for flu preparedness)…

    This reliance on (PR stunts) rather than medicine is not the fault of the Obama administration, which has done about the best it could with limited tools. It’s the result of years of failure to build adequate vaccine-manufacturing capacity in the United States. Too little work on new vaccine technologies means producers of flu shots still rely on the ancient method of making inoculations with chicken eggs. And the anemic public health system will almost surely buckle this fall as flu sufferers flood emergency rooms.

    If there’s any good news, it’s that the government may be jolted into building an adequate vaccine and public health infrastructure before a more severe pandemic comes along with the potential to kill millions of Americans instead of mere thousands. In the meantime, the best the feds can do is try to slow the spread of the germs until the vaccines arrive…

    And just remember which political party favors delay and obstruction on health care reform as you read this, including fighting the creation of the infrastructure Milbank is talking about.

    Which is nothing to sneeze at, if you will, as the number of flu cases rise across this country (it’s a shame that there’s no similar vaccine to stifle pundit idiocy, or else Malcolm would require multiple injections).

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