Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Friday, October 03, 2003
Further
evidence that dork culture has taken over the mainstream. Thank you Chris Carter.
"(CNN) -- Nearly 50 years since an alleged UFO was sighted at Roswell, New Mexico, a new CNN/Time poll released Sunday shows that 80 percent of Americans think the government is hiding knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life forms. "

posted by Rachel 10/03/2003
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Gaaaaugh

posted by Rachel 10/03/2003
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Wow. Did you roll your eyes at the "Arnold admired Hitler!" headlines? (Official proof that BBS culture has infected the nattering class.)
"We get it. We see the skeletons tumbling out of the closets. We have seen your dirty laundry hanging on the line. We know. Everyone has the bones and soiled underwear. Everyone. And one person's dirty boxers is another's buried hooker.

Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Moonies, Commies, whatever you are, put down your pens and pencils and microphones and secret spy cameras. Put down the microfiche copies of twenty year old New Yorkers.

And you, all of you election followers, all of you future and past voters and all of you media watchers. Why? Why do you care? What does it matter? When are you going to start asking the important questions instead of asking for bedroom secrets and compromising photographs?

Somebody please tell me what all these blathering, screaming children stand for. I know who they are against. I know who they hate and who they deride and I know exactly what their opponents have done in the past to make their current reputations suspect.

But I don't know one god damned thing you people stand for. I don't know what you want to do about education and taxes and crime and frankly, I don't care if you stuck a dildo up Hitler's ass in a past life or if your cleaning lady services you every weekend or if you were once a member of the Crips or Bloods. Just tell me about now. And don't tell about your opponent. Tell me about you. What are you going to do for me besides frustrate and bore me with bawdy tales of your enemy's back office schemes? What are you going to do about homeland security besides bitch about it? What are you going to do about the Mid East besides complain about what's not being done?

You're on my time here, folks. Unless you are going to say something about your platform, just shut up and stop playing Encyclopedia Brown with your opponent's background. Otherwise I'm going to stick my fingers in my ears and shout LALALALA I can't hear you until I find a candidate -from any party - who is willing to say something of substance.

Election Day can't come and go soon enough."

posted by Rachel 10/03/2003
. . .
Are you
kidding?!?
"Talks on Capitol Hill to Regulate Tobacco Industry Break Down
WASHINGTON — Talks in Congress to regulate the tobacco industry (search) broke down Wednesday along partisan lines, making it highly unlikely that new restrictions would be imposed on the cigarette industry anytime soon.

Lawmakers had been close to passing legislation that not only would have ended unpopular tobacco subsidies, but also would have allowed government control over tobacco products for the first time.

But Democrats said late Wednesday that regulations that would have handed the Food and Drug Administration (search) oversight of cigarettes were not strong enough.

"Unfortunately, the proposed legislation which Republicans put forth today falls far short of the strong FDA authority which is needed to effectively do the job," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., the leading Democrat on the health committee. "A weak bill is worse than no bill at all because it would give the public a false impression that their health was being protected."
...........
House aides had said that similar FDA legislation would likely have remained in final legislation written when negotiators from both chambers met in conference. That way, the bill would have had a better chance of passing in the House, but would also have satisfied lawmakers who wish to see greater regulation of tobacco products.

But when Senate Democrats saw Gregg's final proposal, they said that the provision that allowed only Congress to ban cigarettes was so vaguely written it could have prevented the FDA from requiring changes to make cigarettes safer.

"The vague language was a loophole that could prevent FDA from taking any steps to reduce the harm caused by tobacco," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

"We’re not willing to support FDA regulations that are too weak," said Allison Dobson, spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, before the final legislation was offered. "I think there are a lot of senators who feel strongly that this shouldn’t be a sham."

Mark Berlind, a lawyer for Philip Morris parent company Altria, rejected the criticisms. He said health groups wanted the FDA to be able to ban tobacco products, something that was in a previous bill sponsored by Kennedy.

"We're disappointed that these talks broke down over a last-minute insistence that FDA be able to ban all cigarettes for adults," Berlind said.

Jacob Sullum, editor of Reason magazine, added that the public health lobby is "never satisfied." He said that he thinks the latest attempt to regulate tobacco is just another boondoggle for government.

"This is more than [the public health lobby] dreamed of years ago, but they are still not happy," Sullum said, referring to the 1998 tobacco settlement with the states in which the cigarette makers were forced to pay hundreds of billions of dollars for state programs as well as comply with new marketing and promotion standards.

Other areas of disagreement include how far states should be able to go in setting their own restrictions on the industry and whether tobacco companies can be sued for failing to adequately warn people about smoking hazards.

This latest effort by lawmakers to regulate the tobacco industry was the most serious in years. Whereas a buyout of tobacco-growers was an unpopular suggestion five years ago, it had recently been embraced by farmers and lawmakers alike as the only solution to their ongoing financial woes.

Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest cigarette maker and a major campaign contributor, had also recently reversed its previous position and endorsed FDA regulation, even though would be getting hit twice in the pocketbook -- once for the buyout, another with the oversight fees.

Smaller companies like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc., say they will be financially ruined by both the buyout and the oversight measures.

Smaller cigarette makers will likely be squeezed by the new rules, said Sullum, who added, "The cost will be passed on to consumers."

But lawmakers say the move was necessary to help the ailing farming community as well as provide regulations aimed to protect the public health.

The FDA asserted authority over cigarettes in 1996, but the Supreme Court later ruled that only Congress can give the FDA that power."
I can't even fucking believe they're trying to make a move on tobacco. For Christ's sake! Leave adults alone.

posted by Rachel 10/03/2003
. . .
Why I hate the UN part 9,800,064:
"The United Nations broke its own anti-torture convention by allowing a Zimbabwean police officer accused of torture to leave its peace force in Kosovo and return to Zimbabwe where he will probably not face investigation.

Henry Dowa, a Zimbawe chief inspector, was named by several victims as having directed their torture, which included prolonged beatings on the soles of their feet and electric shocks causing convulsions. The victims' allegations were backed by medical examinations.

Human rights groups urged the UN to arrest Chief Insp Dowa and put him on trial for torture. The UN declined, citing a lack of funds, and sent him back to Zimbabwe.

There had been plans to get Mr Dowa extradited to stand trial in Britain where some of his alleged victims now live.

Redress, the London organisation which works for justice for survivors of torture, claimed that the UN had managed to break its own treaty by allowing Mr Dowa to evade arrest.

The group said yesterday it was unlikely Mr Dowa would be "held accountable for his alleged crimes, as torture is endemic and part of the Zanu-PF government's strategy to stay in power".

Last week Mr Dowa was seen driving a police Land Rover in Harare.

"What is the UN doing? By sending him back here they are allowing him to torture another day. If the UN does not help us, who is going to protect us from known torturers?" a Zimbabwean journalist said."
Well it's only Africa. The UN seems to grant a pass on any atrocities comitted on that continent. Who expects the UN to enforce their own rules? After all, if there's no chance to make the US look bad, why bother?

posted by Rachel 10/03/2003
. . .
That ain't good.

posted by Rachel 10/03/2003
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