Category Archives: 03_litbrit

Let’s Give Tom Toles A Great Big Hand*

Ha! Via the Washington Post.

(H/T oddjob)
*thanks, darkblack

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Impeachment Matters Even More

Nearly two weeks ago, I took a deep breath and wrote out my thoughts on impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Some of my readers agreed, though equally many–particularly some who read the crossposted essay at Ezra’s–were opposed to initiating impeachment proceedings for a number of reasons, some more logical than others.

Nonetheless, I am more convinced than ever that Congress must begin impeachment proceedings immediately. I’ll discuss the rationale for this a bit later, but let me first put this out there:

We must impeach the President and Vice President of the United States, and we must begin proceedings to do so immediately, not just for the purpose of exacting a punitive remedy, but also toward enacting a vitally important preventive measure–one that may be the only available means by which to protect the country from the impending imposition of martial law at home as well as the declaration of war against Iran and possibly other countries in the Middle East.
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Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment: On Michael Chertoff’s Gut

“Once, we thought we were tiptoeing along a Grand Canyon of possible and actual freedoms and civil liberties destroyed, as part of some kind of nauseating but ultimately necessary and intricately designed plan to stop future 9/11s or even future Glasgow car bombers who wind up having to get out and push their failed weapons.

Now it turns out we are risking all of our rights and protections — and risking the anger and hatred of the rest of the world — for the sake of Michael Chertoff’s gut.”

Keith knocks another one out of the park. Transcript here.

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Attack of the Phallic Thingies: Come Together, Right Now…

There must be something in the air these days–Republican sex scandals (two right here in Florida!) have been piling up willy-nilly, one on top of the other, and architects worldwide are designing buildings and facilities that remind us rather vividly how great it is to be a member of the human race. Or something.

Blame fellow Shakesville contributor Wolfrum and our boss Melissa–they started this whole Thingie thing with a pair of stories about the naughty parking posts of Keiser, Oregon.

And Thingies went rapidly downstream from there.
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Attack of the Phallic Thingies: The Big Wet One

Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Hydropolis Underwater Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

Currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis is the world’s first luxury underwater hotel. It will include three elements: the land station, where guests will be welcomed, the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel, and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex. It is one of the largest contemporary construction projects in the world, covering an area of 260 hectares, about the size of London’s Hyde Park.

“Hydropolis is not a project; it’s a passion,” enthuses Joachim Hauser, the developer and designer of the hotel.

The estimated cost of the hotel is £300 million, and it’s set to open in December 2007. Come one, come all!

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Import Alert: Check Your Toothpaste Label. Again.

This latest batch of toothpaste cheap, antifreeze-laden gunk, which is turning up on store shelves around Massachusetts, obviously fell outside that famous 1% (the portion of imports that actually does get inspected):

Inspectors from Boston and 11 other Massachusetts cities and towns have confiscated about 160 tubes of toothpaste that may contain a chemical used in antifreeze, part of a widening national campaign to eliminate tainted products made abroad.[…]

In Massachusetts, investigators from local agencies found suspect toothpaste in Amherst, Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Dedham, Lawrence, Lowell, Malden, Somerville, Sturbridge, Wellesley, and West Springfield. Because authorities are relying on 351 cities and towns to gather the information, there was no immediate sense of how many stores have been surveyed, (Department of Public Health spokesman) Lyons said.

State and federal food and health investigators urged consumers to avoid products falling into these categories:

Those labeled “made in China.” The US Food and Drug Administration has identified brands made in China, including Cooldent, Dr. Cool, Everfresh, Superdent, and Oral Bright.

Packages that appear to be Colgate, but are actually counterfeits from South Africa. Colgate officials have said that their company does not import toothpaste from South Africa and that tubes labeled as coming from there are fakes. The warning from health authorities does not apply to Colgate toothpaste made in the United States.

The FDA has repeatedly stated that diethylene glycol does not belong in toothpaste, even in small concentrations.

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Food Safety Issues, Toxic Toys, And A Regulatory System In Disarray

It’s time for our government to face facts: we have a serious problem with imported food and other goods coming to the United States from China. And it’s time for our government to bring some real muscle (read: money) into the regulatory agencies–specifically, the FDA and the USDA–who are tasked with protecting American consumers from dangerous products. That we are currently inspecting only 1% of imports is nothing short of pathetic. That our most vulnerable citizens are also the most likely to be affected by dangerous products should put the fear of God into some of those pious, vote-seeking suits, many of whom who can undoubtedly recite the Beatitudes by heart without a trace of irony in their voices when they get to the Blessed are the poor; blessed are the hungry; blessed are the meek bits. Because the most vulnerable (and least politically valuable) among us are also those who are hit the hardest: lower-income families who buy non-brand toothpaste at discount stores, for example, and children of all backgrounds innocently playing with lead-tainted toys because they have no reason to think that adults in a foreign land somewhere would deliberately put their health in jeopardy. And, of course, animals.

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No Responsible Sex, Please–We’re American TeeVee

condom ad

The hypocrisy–it burns. American network television has the ability to enlighten and educate countless millions through PSA’s (public service announcements) and commercial advertising promoting condoms. Yet sanctimonious, look-the-other-way attitudes prevail over here, and condom advertising remains one of those experiences you’re more likely to have in foreign lands. I wish this was a function of our country’s blissful freedom from serious problems like HIV and other STD’s. Hardly. I wish this meant that America was not, in fact, a country besieged with so many unwanted pregnancies that it held the dubious honor of having one of the highest abortion rates in the developed world.

What it is, however, is yet more evidence of a different serious problem–one that ironically seems more prevalent in America than elsewhere these days, which is to say, powerful right-wing religious groups controlling what the masses can and cannot see. To wit: another condom commercial–one that sounds rather funny in an eye-rolling kind of way–has been rejected by two of America’s largest TV networks (my emphasis).

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Sunday Grace

The face of woman in Western art, in her many incarnations. An offering of beauty, the transient and eternal alike–at once, in fact–unwrapped and presented with a videographer’s gentle flourish and Yo-Yo Ma’s poignant cello.

Via the brilliant Lord Whimsy, who notes:

An absolute joy to watch. The sequence sometimes gives the impression that the eternal face behind it all is actually flirting with you.

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Food Safety This Wednesday: Chinese Leaders Vow To Toughen Regulations And Improve Inspection System

It remains to be seen whether the Chinese government is responding as gravely concerned leaders, forward-looking and justifiably worried businessmen, or public relations pros throwing down the expected comfort words, muffling fires (or attempting to) before they rage out of control. Perhaps they’re acting in all three capacities–judge for yourself:

SHANGHAI, June 6 — Responding to growing international concerns about tainted food and counterfeit drugs, China said late Tuesday that it was overhauling its food and drug safety regulations and would introduce nationwide inspections.

The announcement, from the State Council, the nation’s highest administrative body, is the strongest signal yet that Beijing is moving to crack down on the sale of dangerous food and medicine and also trying to calm fears that some of its exports pose health problems.

The move follows a series of embarrassing episodes this year involving China’s export of contaminated pet food ingredients and toothpaste. The shipments of tainted pet food ingredients set off one of the largest pet food recalls in United States history.

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Bush Photo Ops: Now On Summer Markdown

Getting one’s photograph taken with the President of the United States used to be something only the well-connected and/or wildly wealthy could (or would) do. But hey, times are tough, and these days, your very own POTUS-‘n-Me photo is more affordable than ever:

Yesterday, Bush headlined a fundraiser for the New Jersey state GOP, where donors could pay $5,000 to pose for a photo with the Commander in Chief. Expensive photo op, right? Well, that’s actually cheaper that what donors paid just a year ago for a grip and grin with Bush. Last summer, GOP officials around the country charged at least $10,000 a pop for presidential photo op, a bargain compared to the $25,000-a-flash Bush commanded during some Republican National Committee fund-raisers back in 2000 and 2004.

Prices slashed to a fifth of Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail! I wonder what it costs to keep Spurious George out of the picture?

[via HuffPo]

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Import Alert: Put Down That ToothAntifreeze Paste!

Taking a hiatus from my hiatus, I’m popping into the blogosphere for a moment to urge everyone to look closely at his toothpaste tube this morning: if there is any mention of it having been imported from China–or if it’s one of the brands specifically mentioned by the FDA in their latest warning–you’re strongly advised to avoid using it, as it may contain diethylene glycol (also known as antifreeze):

Consumers were advised yesterday to discard all toothpaste made in China after federal health officials said they found Chinese-made toothpaste containing a poison used in some antifreeze in three locations: Miami, the Port of Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.

Although there are no reports of anyone being harmed by the toothpaste, the Food and Drug Administration warned that the Chinese products had a “low but meaningful risk of toxicity and injury” to children and people with kidney or liver disease.

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Food Safety This Friday: Imported Monkfish That Are Really Puffer Fish Predictably Contain Deadly Neurotoxin

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This morning, after my daily reading of food safety news (well, as much of a reading as I could stomach, at least), I shook my head for the umpteenth time and wondered aloud, What next?

You’d think I would have learned by now. Anyway, I’ve highlighted the extra-disturbing parts for those who are in a hurry. Here, read:

WASHINGTON — A frozen product labeled monkfish distributed in three states is being recalled after two Chicago area people became ill after eating it, the importer announced Thursday.

Hong Chang Corporation of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., said it is recalling the product labeled as monkfish because it may contain tetrodotoxin, a potent toxin.

While the frozen fish imported from China was labeled monkfish, the company said it is concerned that it may be pufferfish because this toxin is usually associated with certain types of pufferfish.

Eating foods containing tetrodotoxin can result in life-threatening illness or death and the toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing.

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A Question Congress Should Be Asking

“So, Ms. Goodling, which is it–Caymans or Bahamas?”

litbrit

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Food Safety Briefing: Restrictions on Imported Food Urged; Trade Ambassador Pressured; A Florida Family Reels; From Whence Cometh Garlic?

U.S. Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, in letters to President Bush and the head of the FDA Monday, called for a crackdown on exporters sending adulterated and otherwise toxic or dangerous food, medicines, and ingredients into the United States:

WASHINGTON – The United States should yank away the “welcome” sign for many Chinese food and medicine ingredients, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., told President Bush and the head of the Food and Drug Administration in letters he sent Monday.

Recent animal deaths have been blamed on pet food containing an ingredient imported from China that was contaminated with melamine, a plastic precursor used as a fertilizer. Feed tainted with the same imported ingredient was sent to 38 Hoosier poultry operations.

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It’s Time For America To Legislate Mandatory Country Of Origin Labels

Yesterday’s New York Times brought some gruesome news: the toxic Chinese fake-glycerin (diethylene glycol, also known as antifreeze) that I wrote about earlier this month has turned up in Panama–in toothpaste.

Diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been found in 6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, and customs officials there said yesterday that the product appeared to have originated in China.

“Our preliminary information is that it came from China, but we don’t know that with certainty yet,” said Daniel Delgado Diamante, Panama’s director of customs. “We are still checking all the possible imports to see if there could be other shipments.”

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Nightmare At The Dream House, Revisited

[A little over a year ago, shortly after Melissa invited me to join the crew at Shakespeare’s Sister–which you now know as Shakesville–I started my own little blogging effort and called it The Last Duchess (now it’s simply litbrit). This was one of the first pieces I wrote, back when the number of readers visiting my place could be counted on two hands, tops. Within a few months, I was forced to press my toes into service, and by the end of the year, the math was getting to be well beyond my capabilities (as in, numbers higher than 20). Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post Nightmare again, as a way of introducing myself and my chaotic crazyquilt of a life to the many new readers and friends whose acquaintance we’ve been fortunate to make in recent months. Now you’ll know where I’m coming from and to whom I’m referring when I mention Sons One, Two, and Three, as well as why I sometimes call myself Deborah, Duchess of Testosteronia.]

I think I’ll write about the difficulty of raising enlightened, non-biased children in a troubled, chauvinistic world. Let’s see. Hmmmm…

We progressive, open-minded parents like to think we’re doing our best to raise like-minded children. There are lots of ways one can reinforce such positive values as intellectual curiosity, kindness, patience, and tolerance in the wee buggers who routinely drive one to lock oneself in the only bathroom in the house, stare at one’s exhausted countenance in the mirror, and begin sobbing uncontrollably, all the while blaming said progeny for the deep furrow between one’s eyes, the near-complete loss of one’s voice…

Allow me to start again.

After having awakened from the medically-induced coma and gathered my thoughts well enough to ask the attendants in the room to Please undo the straps—I promise I’ll remain calm, using only non-vulgar words arranged in the sanest syntax I could muster, I took a look around me and sighed.

They were still here. All three of them.

It was at then that my inner and outer feminists got together and agreed: You can still change the world for women, even though you’ve gone and added three more men to it.

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Quote Of The Day

“Because I’m eighty-three years old. The lying bastards! On the package Brown & Williamson promised to kill me. Instead, their cigarettes didn’t work. Now I’m forced to suffer leaders with names like Bush and Dick and, up until recently, Colon.”

— the late Kurt Vonnegut, in a Rolling Stone interview last August, on why he considered suing Big Tobacco.

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Chinese Government: Says Don’t Worry, Eat Happy, Keep Importing And Bans Litbrit

The government of the People’s Republic of China–the same folks who have blocked their citizens’ access to my blog, as well as Shakesville, HorsesAss, and an enormous number of American websites–claim they have conducted their investigations and found that the practice of melamine-adulteration was limited to a couple of individual companies. Therefore, they state, Americans can once again have confidence in the safety of China’s exported food and ingredients.

The FDA is apparently buying it, so to speak, despite reports from actual Chinese farmers and individuals who’ve admitted that melamine-spiking of animal feed and grains is commonplace and has been going on since the early 1990’s, when the previous method of cheating–urea-spiking–was exposed by lab tests.

SHANGHAI, China — China says further checks on food exporters have turned up no sign of a chemical blamed in the pet deaths in North America, and urged U.S. authorities not to take additional measures against Chinese producers.

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UAE: No Melamine In Food, Please, And No Food On Melamine, Either.

Health officials in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) are issuing a novel melamine warning to their citizens today: Don’t eat or drink from it. Apparently, consuming substances that are stored in or served on plates, cups, and bowls made from the hard, formadlehyde-produced polymer may be hazardous to one’s health:

Dubai: Beware of eating on cheap melamine dining plates as they contain a substance harmful to health, the Dubai Municipality has warned.

“We have issued an official circular banning import and sale of some cheap melamine plate and cups containing urea formaldehyde, which is hazardous to health,” said Salah Amiri, director of Municipality’s Dubai Central Laboratory.

He said the civic body has also launched a campaign to confiscate melamine tableware, which contain urea formaldehyde and do not comply with the UAE standards and specifications.

He said that urea formaldehyde, which is commonly used for making casings for electrical appliances and also used as insulation material, is an acidic foaming agent and is not suitable for public health. It can harm human digestive system in addition to creating problems in the respiratory system.

Also at litbrit.

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