Sunday, September 28, 2008

An Early Christmas Present from Former President Reagan

Former President Ronald Reagan, for whom airports, highways, and warships are named, turned out to be a great gift giver. Just look at the advertisement at right, in which Reagan is depicted as sending Chesterfield cigarettes to all of his friends for Christmas.

Bush's War Against Human Health

The Bush White House scored another victory in its war against human health and the environment by preventing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing drinking water standards for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns, and young children.

Perchlorate has contaminated the groundwater and drinking water in 35 states and has contaminated 153 public water systems. EPA had planned to regulate the chemical by issuing drinking water standards. But EPA's preliminary regulatory determination was gutted by White House officials, under pressure from the Pentagon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Changing Water into Wine in the Aftermath of Ike

Pennsylvania had a lot of wind damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ike. Some people are still without power after 2 days, and some will be without power for up to a week. And some residents are without potable water. Thankfully, Midland, Beaver County, is addressing this potential problem by changing the water into wine. In the photo at right, Richard Bennett takes water from a water buffalo and changes it into a cheap Carlo Rossi Chablis. A water department official said it would be at least 24 hours until testing could be complete to determine whether the wine could safely be turned back into water. The Midland system also supplies Industry, Ohioville and Shippingport (also known as "Shippenport", according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Little Commute to the Target Range

Middle school teacher Jim Litz suffered some bruising and a big scratch on his back after he struck a bear while riding his bicycle to school, according to an article published by the Missoulian and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers.

Litz said he was traveling a
bout 25 mph Monday morning when he came upon a rise and spotted a black bear about 10 feet in front of him. He didn't have time to stop and T-boned the bruin.

He tumbled over the handlebars, his helmet hit the bear's back and the two went cartwheeling down the road.

“I didn't have time to respond. I never even hit my brakes,” Litz said.

He tumbled over his handlebars, planting his helmeted head on the bruin's back, and man and beast went cartwheeling down the road.

The bear rolled over Litz's head, and its mass cracked his helmet. As the duo toppled over one another, the bear clawed at Litz's cycling jacket, scratching his flesh from shoulder to buttocks before scampering up a hill above the road, where it stopped and whined.

Litz's wife drove by shortly after the crash and took her husband to the hospital. He hoped to be able to return to teaching science at Target Range Middle School on Friday.

Target Range Middle School? Wonder how much the National Rifle Association paid for naming rights to that place?

Sarah Palin is reportedly planning an NRA sponsored trip this weekend to hunt down and field dress the bear. "It'll be one more step to declaring victory in the war on terror," Palin explained.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Brothers Grimm From Philadelphia

Two brothers who ran a funeral home and crematorium admitted Tuesday that they sold corpses to a company that trafficked stolen body parts, a macabre scheme that left families aghast and unclear about the fate of their loved ones, according to an Associated Press article published by CNN.

Louis and Gerald Garzone allowed at least 244 corpses to be carved up without families' permission and without medical tests, prosecutors said. Skin, bones, tendons and other parts -- some of them diseased -- were then sold around the country for dental implants, knee and hip replacements, and other procedures.

Some bodies were only torsos by the time the hacking was done, said Assistant District Attorney Evangelia Manos.

The mastermind of the scheme, Michael Mastromarino, of New Jersey-based Biomedical Tissue Services, took bodies from funeral homes in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Among the corpses plundered was that of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke.

In Philadelphia, he paid the Garzones and their partner, James McCafferty, more than $245,000 for at least 244 cadavers between February 2004 and October 2005, prosecutors said.

The tissue plundered from a single body often fetched about $4,000, and Mastromarino made millions from the scheme, prosecutors said.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Goings On at the Alaska Governor's Mansion

Oopsie! It turns out that Bristol Palin, 17-year-old daughter of Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is 5 months pregnant.

People being human,these things happen, of course, but we wonder about the following conversation under the Northern Lights at the Alaska Governor's Mansion:

Sarah Palin: Where you going, honey?
Bristol Palin: Just checking out the aurora, Mom. It's really intense tonight.