Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Fun and games with statistics! Consider this: the average unemployment rate in this decade, just above 5 percent, has been lower than in any decade since the 1960s. Yet the percentage of prime-age men (those 25 to 54 years old) who are not working has been higher than in any decade since World War II. In January, almost 13 percent of prime-age men did not hold a job, up from 11 percent in 1998, 11 percent in 1988, 9 percent in 1978 and just 6 percent in 1968. In other words - while the unemployment rate is falling, so is the employment rate. Get your head around that one.

John "Four more years! Four more wars!" McCain collected the endorsement of the Worst. President. Ever. today. Isn't that swell? He said today that he wants to appear with the president-popularity as often as the president's schedule will allow. (This idiot keeps a schedule? What's on it besides his daily workout?) A new ABC poll shows McCain losing to both Obama and Clinton. VoteVets puts the lie to his claim that he has unequivocal military support in short order.

The Vintage Dairy Biogas Project went on line Tuesday in California's inland empire. It is the brainchild of life-long California dairyman David Albers. The project derives natural gas from cow manure, and is projected to provide the gas to heat 1200 homes.

Something for the fans of weird science Researchers have discovered a hybernating fish in the Antarctic. The cod Notothenia coriiceps goes into a dormant state to conserve energy in the long and brutal southern winter.

The inimitable Bob Somerby just cuts to the chase. Maureen Dowd is a lunatic and Ruth Marcus is the biggest Idiot in the Village. Yes, yes, we knew these things already. I just like repeating it.

How's that free market working out for ya? Maybe not so well if you are hospitalized with a heart condition or coagulation disorder and receiving heparin therapy. Counterfeit heparin has been linked to at least 19 deaths in the United States. In each instance the constituent compounds came from China.

A speedbump on the fast track to media consolidation a bipartisan group of Senators led by Byron Dorgan of North Dakota has offered a "resolution of disapproval" to stop regulators from easing media-ownership rules in the nation's 20 largest cities that would allow for vertical consolidation of news outlets. "When nearly half of the people in this country are told that in their cities and towns the media will get the green light to consolidate, they will not be happy," said Dorgan in a release. "The proposal would also create a greatly relaxed approval process for newspapers to buy TV stations in any U.S. media market and spur a new wave of media consolidation in both large and small media markets."

A collection of human rights and aid organizations has declared that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worse than at any time since the Israeli occupation started in 1967. The report, Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion, is highly critical of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, calling it illegal collective punishment, and pointing out that if fails to increase security in the region.

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