Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday morning quick hits

Survivors pulled from wreckage in China after being trapped for a week 164 hours after the magnitude 7.9 (some reports say 8.0) quake rocked southwest China, a 56-year-old man was pulled from a manganese mine where he had been trapped, and almost simultaneously a 61 year old woman was being rescued from the rubble of a collapsed dormitory. The man was uninjured but suffering from dehydration, hypoxia and renal insufficiency, and the woman had a couple of broken bones, but both were expected to make full physical recoveries.

This is why you should never deign to rig justice Military lawyers representing Khalid Sheik Mohamed and four of his alleged co-conspirators are arguing that charges against their clients should be dropped because the case is now tainted, after the tribunals' legal adviser, Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, meddled in the the case inappropriately. Hartmann was previously removed from the Hamdan case for not merely lacking neutrality but for actively interfering in the case. It sounds like it's time that Hartmann be "asked" to retire, or at least removed from the tribunals process. If he won't retire, let him finish out his career running the JAG office at Minot. And Congress? No more stars for this bastard, either.

As food prices climb, food stamp recipients feel the pinch
The poor among us who rely on food stamps for their basic sustenance needs are struggling to make ends meet as food prices spiral up but the amount of monthly benefit does not track with food prices. The benefit amount adjusts once per year, in October, then remains static until the next year. People are feeling the pinch so acutely, and are so hungry by the end of the month that stores in low income areas that serve disadvantaged people have started opening at midnight on the first of the month, so people who haven't had a real meal in several days are able to buy food as soon as their Department of Agriculture cards reload automatically on the first of the month. Dennis Kladis, who owns One Stop Food & Liquors on Chicago's south side started opening his store at midnight once a month several months ago in order to give desperate families a chance to buy food as soon as possible. "I'm telling you, by the end of the month they're just dying to get back to the first," said Kladis. "Obviously, they are struggling to get through the month."

Fossella won't run for re-election
Two people close to the beleaguered congressman who was arrested three weeks ago for driving under the influence say the only republican in New York Cities congressional delegation will announce on Tuesday that he has decided not to seek a seventh term. It's too bad Vito couldn't keep his Id in check, because the district he represents is solidly republican and pigs will be kosher before the NY 13 elects a Democrat, but then I said something similar about the LA 06 and MS 01, too, soooo... I say it's too bad he couldn't keep his fly zipped because he has been a very effective voice for the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, and when people started getting sick after working at the scene, he started pressing the congress to help them with medical care. Since the odds of a Democrat taking the seat are slim and none, I almost wish he wasn't going anywhere, because being an effective voice for the victims of that tragedy goes a long ways, no matter where on the political spectrum that voice falls.

As South Africa succumbs to xenophobia, immigrants become targets of violence for poor South Africans who take out their frustrations and insecurities on poor immigrants who migrate to the country seeking a better life. At least 22 people had been killed by Monday in the unrelenting mayhem, the police said, but the number of fatalities is only part of the story. Thousands of immigrants have been scattered from their tumbledown homes. They now crowd the police stations and community centers of Johannesburg, some with the few possessions they could carry before mobs ransacked their hovels, most with nothing but the clothes they wore as they escaped...“They came at night, trying to kill us, with people pointing out, ‘this one is a foreigner and this one is not,’ ” said Charles Mannyike, 28, an immigrant from Mozambique. “It was a very cruel and ugly hatred.”

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