Framing the Dialogue

News Briefs – Volume XXII

News briefs are a collection of interesting news stories…

Brief 1: What are the REAL chances of meaningful tort reform in the United States when one of the men responsible for that task files a lawsuit. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is suing the company that runs the cafeteria at the Longworth House Office Building. The suit claims that his veggie sandwich “contained dangerous substances, namely an olive pit, that a consumer would not reasonably expect to find in the final product served.” So when you get something with olives it is not reasonable to possibly find a pit once in a while? Since when is an olive pit a “dangerous substance?” Kucinich is only asking for $150,000 to cover his “permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures,” and he also wants compensation for his pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment. I can imagine the heartfelt testimony as Kucinich describes his crippling fear of olives and not even being able to stand the sight of Popeye’s girlfriend.  Perhaps it would have been more fitting if the dangerous substance had been a nut.

Brief 2:  In yet another example of why elected officials should be only part-time.  A New York City lawmaker,  Senator Carl Kruger (D), wants to ban talking and walking at least if you are on your cell phone, ipod, ipad, or other device while walking in New York because “We have people who are literally dying in the street.”  The crisis propelling this to the forefront was the tragic death of a young man who was run over by a truck while walking and listening to his iPod.  The proposal, if passed, would impose a $100 fine for infractions.  I have been to the Big Apple and wonder what will crazy people do in NYC if they cannot walk and talk?

Brief 3:  Perhaps if Senator Kruger (D) had been successful in his quest to ban text-walking another life would have been spared.  It seems that a suicide bomber’s plot to blow up some innocent people ended happily as she was walking toward her target.  The Daily Telegraph reported that “sources believe a message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her at a safe house.”  Okay so she wasn’t walking, but I needed a segue.  Perhaps some well-meaning legislator will take up the cause banning spam text messages.  [BTW – I don’t think she had a happy new year]

Brief 4:  I just don’t know how many times that I’ll get to use this picture; it is perhaps the gift that keeps on giving.  BHO’s Venezuelan dictator buddy is at it again as he disses America’s handling of affairs in the Middle East, “Now you are seeing comments from Washington and some European nations. As president Gaddafi said to me, it’s shameful, it makes you kind of sick to see the meddling of the U.S., wanting to take control.”  If I may imagine perhaps the next thought not spoken, “Why doesn’t Barry just keep hands off like he did in Iran?  Everything worked out fine there.  He should just go golfing or party.”

Brief 5:  In yet another brash attempt at a cheap segue, it seems that early on in the Middle East crisis, BHO did party.  This excerpt from a report by Keith Koffler says so much,

“The Washington A-List was out in force Saturday night at the farewell party for senior adviser David Axelrod, with a roster of guests featuring Cabinet secretaries, big shot journos and – President Obama.  As revolution threatened to sweep Egypt and possibly other allies – with the horrifying prospect of Islamism replacing reliable friends – the president was on view partying with the IN crowd. 

The skepticism beyond the Beltway about whether Washington is just one big Love-In certainly gets fed by the sight – as conveyed by the press pool report – of reporters like ABC’s Jake Tapper, NBC’s Chuck Todd, National Journal’s Major Garrett, and John Harwood of CNBC and the New York Times emerging from a bash with the president that was held to toast his chief political fixer and leading spinmeister.

I understand why reporters would do this – other than the admittedly pathetic notion that, gosh, it’s fun to party with the president of the United States! It is pretty good for building sources and getting inside dope. But man, it ain’t easy smacking the White House with tough stories all the time if you’re getting invited to their exclusive parties, now is it?”

Brief 6:  The Donald (Trump) has been making some noise about the Chinese, often referring to them as the enemy.  This is strong language for the real estate mogul, reality television star, and potential 2012 presidential candidate.  Perhaps this brief lends some credence to Mr. Trump’s assertions.  In a headline that not many folks would read,

U.S. control of ‘rare earth’ minerals slipping

The Chinese have seemed to gain control of deposits and stockpilesof tungsten, antimony, molybdenum, tin, indium, germanium, gallium, tantalum and zirconium.  All sound Latin to you perhaps, but most electronic devices won’t work without them.  Oh and America’s Defense Department needs them for its weapons.  I am sure that the Chinese will share them with us.

Brief 7:  This a continuation rather than a “related” story in the “rare earth” tales.  It seems that the Chinese are looking to purchase quantities of ore from the only rare earth mine in the United States.  We shouldn’t worry even though China seems to be holding on to their minerals for local manufacturers.  Here is a puzzle to solve.  If you need rare earths and the only place to get them is from China and you can only get them from China if you manufacture in China where will the investments (i.e. jobs) go?  As a not-so-little preview it was reported that;

 “In 2010, China sharply reduced export quotas for rare earths and briefly embargoed shipments to Japan.  Japanese firms, which are major importers of rare earths, scurried to find other producers, and rare-earth prices skyrocketed by as much as 700 percent.”

Tell me if you still think Trump is off base.

Brief 8:  Perhaps this is no laughing matter it just seems like more government and elected officials with too much time on their hands.  In perhaps a favorite tactic, the City of Pittsburgh is going to put together a “task force” to look at a serious pollution issue.  If you are thinking smog, water pollution, erosion, air pollution you’d be on the right track regarding serious issues, but you would be wrong.  The City is looking at light and noise pollution.  City Councilman Bruce Kraus, co-chair of the task force, stated that “we would like to develop something that calls for better education, opposed to punishment for noncompliance.”  Perhaps they can reuse some old educational efforts. 

  • Just say no to noise
  • Give a hoot please don’t toot
  • When the lights go down in the city…YEAH (may be costly royalty to Journey)
  • Light kills, choose life
  • Pittsburgh brings good things to dark
  • Have it your way just turn out the lights and be quiet

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