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nellie On December - 12 - 2009

Anders_Zorn_-_Emma_Zorn_läsandeGovernment employees are off for the weekend, so it’s time to check out what they were up to last week.

Thanks to C-SPAN and mainstream news, we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in Congress. But legislation isn’t the only game in town. So here are a few of the low-drama activities carried out by the Executive Branch. The Un(der)reported News Weekend Edition presents a few stories from our executive agencies for some perspective on this administration’s projects and priorities.


USDA to Sponsor Web-Based Nutrition Gaming Contest in Support of the President’s Open Government Initiative
“The Innovations for Healthy Kids Challenge highlights the Obama Administration’s commitment to combating childhood obesity and improving the nutritional health of America’s youth,” said Vilsack. “We are excited to spur innovation by making it easier for high-tech companies and individuals to identify collaborative, entrepreneurial opportunities. Those who participate in this challenge will be important partners in helping our kids make smarter choices about the foods they eat.”

Families Can See Off, Greet Troops at Airport Gates
“TSA permits the airlines to offer a gate pass to family members of arriving or departing U.S. servicemembers,” Greg Soule said. “So, family members who want to accompany a … servicemember being deployed to the boarding gate, or greet them [as they return] from deployment at the arrival gate may receive passes to enter the secure area of the airport.”

Spouse Describes Impact of Post-traumatic Stress
The major left in February 2005, and the soldiers did their mission, Sheri said. “Although Jeff says to this day, ‘I don’t know what that mission was, other than riding around and getting blown up and shot at.’ This really wore on him a lot while deployed, she said.

U.S., Russia Make Progress on Nuclear Reduction Agreement
Negotiations have proceeded quietly in Switzerland under tight secrecy, according to reports. But an administration official this week said the two sides are making progress on reaching an agreement.

DOE Launches New Website to Bring Energy Technology Information to the Public
“This information platform will allow people across the globe to benefit from the Department of Energy’s clean energy data and technical resources,” said Secretary Chu. “The true potential of this tool will grow with the public’s participation – as they add new data and share their expertise – to ensure that all communities have access to the information they need to broadly deploy the clean energy resources of the future.”

Medicare Expands List of Covered Preventive Services to Include HIV Screening Tests
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced its final decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including women who are pregnant and Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service. The decision is effective immediately.

Secretary Napolitano Announces the Creation of New Center to Ensure the Safety of Imported Goods
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the creation of the Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC)—a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility designed to streamline and enhance federal efforts to address import safety issues.

HUD Secretary announces disaster assistance for Louisiana storm victims
This is KATRINA aid, for crying out loud — my comment. I wish the press would do its job in keeping up with the continued plight of Katrina victims. Here’s one article about the new policy from Texas, of all places: More housing to become available

Largest Environmental Bankruptcy in U.S. History Will Result in Payment of $1.79 Billion Towards Environmental Cleanup & Restoration
As a result of the largest environmental bankruptcy in U.S. history, $1.79 billion has been paid to fund environmental cleanup and restoration under a bankruptcy reorganization of American Smelting and Refining Company LLC (ASARCO), the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture announced today.

Member of the Cherokee Nation Pleads Guilty to Selling Bear Gall Bladders
The conviction arose from a three-year undercover anti-poaching investigation, called Operation Botanical, into the unlawful collection, purchase, sale and transportation of ginseng and bear parts within and along the southern Appalachians.

United States Transfers One Guantanamo Bay Detainee to Kuwait
Fouad Mahmoud al-Rabiah, a Kuwaiti national, has been transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the control of the government of Kuwait.

U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Launches Five-Year Strategy Annexes
The annex on “PEPFAR and the Global Context of HIV” considers America’s commitment to HIV/AIDS in the broader global context. In the coming years, PEPFAR will work with partner country governments, bilateral partners, multilateral partners, and others to mount a true global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Salazar Announces $46.5 Million in Grants to States and Territories for Historic Preservation
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the National Park Service is awarding $46.5 million in historic preservation grants to 59 states and U.S. territories.

ASARCO Settlement Provides $194 Million for Federal, State and Tribal Wildlife and Habitat Resource Restoration
“Through this historic settlement, the American public is compensated for the damage and loss of natural resources resulting from ASARCO’s past mining, smelting and refining operations,” Secretary Salazar said. “Were it not for this agreement, these injured resources would either remain impaired for future generations or require taxpayer expenditures to achieve environmental restoration.”

Secretary Salazar Announces Initiative to Protect Grand Canyon Resources While Meeting Water Needs
The Department of the Interior will undertake an important experimental initiative to improve the management of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River as it flows through Grand Canyon National Park, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today during the Colorado River Water Users Association conference.

New Science Estimates Carbon Storage Potential of U.S. Lands
The first phase of a groundbreaking national assessment estimates that U.S. forests and soils could remove additional quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as a means to mitigate climate change.

Categories: News & Politics

74 Responses so far.

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  1. bitohistory says:

    Who would the GOP like to mute in their party?

    “But among GOP

  2. kesmarn says:

    Gosh, folks, I just realized I seem to have hit the proverbial wall and am going to have to call it a day. (Been up since early--for me--this morning.)
    Gotta reserve just a little time to read more of the amazing Depression-era sociological studies that our library has in stock. There are several books on Southern culture, folk legends, and customs and they’re absolutely fascinating. They shed some light on what makes folk tick in the South even down to the present day. Did you know that there were people in Appalachia in the late 1920s who had never seen the American flag, never met a black person and never heard the Our Father? They were in “hollers” that were cut off almost entirely from the outside world. So very interesting…and out of print now for the most part.

    So--good night for now--gonna read a bit and then crash!

  3. kesmarn says:

    Don’t know if any of you just caught the story on Max Cleland, the triple amputee Viet Nam vet, on ABC Nightly News.

    If anyone actually needed one more reason to hold the Repubs in contempt, this story certainly provided it. You all probably remember how dirty the campaign was for Cleland’s Senate seat, with the RW calling him--in effect--unpatriotic. Cleland lost that race. And now he’s reporting, in a new book, that the loss threw him into a tremendous clinical depression that lasted two and a half years. He says that the depression was worse than his Viet Nam injuries.

    He’s doing better now. Barack Obama gave him charge of a department that deals with war memorials and such.

    Do you suppose the right wingers who produced, financed and showed all those lying attack ads ever lose a moment’s sleep over having nearly ruined a gallant man’s life?

    • PepeLepew says:

      I don’t think those people sleep. They just go into a state of torpor.

    • Kalima says:

      I doubt they will lose sleep about anything that doesn’t directly affect them. I bet Bush slept like a log while soldiers and civilians were dying in Iraq every hour of the day. Remember, in their rewritten Bible, everything they do is approved by him.

    • javaz says:

      The Rove Team smeared John McCain in the 2000 campaign.
      They circulated whispered stories about his temper and that he was unstable, and there were the nasty whispered rumors about his black child.

      It still amazes me that McCain conveniently overlooked all that and sold his soul for BushCO in 2004.

      • kesmarn says:

        Yes, I remember at one point in 2000, McCain snapped at Bush during a debate: “Stop lying about my record!” It was one of the few (maybe only) times that anyone publicly called out Bush on his lying--and to his face.

        But once Bush was the candidate--they closed ranks (McCain included) and “all was forgiven.” The solidarity of the Repubs isn’t admirable (since they collectively turn a blind eye to evil), but it is consistent. Meanwhile, the impatient wing of the Dem party is crying about feeling “let down” already…less than a year into Obama’s first term. We could learn a thing or two about that “stand by your man” philosophy they know so well.

      • Kalima says:

        Good afternoon javaz, I sent a reply this morning.

    • KevenSeven says:

      Loose sleep?

      They are gloating to this day.

      Keyrist, do I detest Rethugs.

      • kesmarn says:

        Well, they didn’t hesitate to Willie Horton Dukakis and to Swift Boat Kerry, so I guess there’s not much reason to think they’d spare Cleland the same treatment. Just make sure you hide your moon bears when they’re in the neighborhood…

        • AdLib says:

          What seems to be lost on many swing voters is that if a party and a candidate are willing to act like monsters to win an election, what do you think they’re capable of if they make it into office?

          Instead, the weak minded accept the obscene attacks as legit, like it’s a game and someone is worthy of losing if they can’t beat back lies and slander.

          Some responsibility has to fall on those voters who don’t reject these tactics while complaining about how they want bipartisanship.

          • kesmarn says:

            This is going to sound strange, but I’m beginning to wonder if we aren’t living through the “high-schoolization” of America.
            You know--law of the jungle? survival of the meanest? The Columbine generation seems to be taking over the tone of political conversation…at least on the right. (And at that “other place?”)

            • bitohistory says:

              K’esmarn, Politics have always been ebb and flow. However, in my short life have I ever seeen it get so mean, STOOOOPID and raciest against one person. Even during JFK and civil rights do I remember such ignorant vile objection to what will is best for the nation.
              Quiz me this: Why do so many people object to the Dem’s proposals when the they are backed by major corporations that are motivated by profit?
              (Gawd, that was a muddy statement, sorry )

            • bitohistory says:

              Good night, k’esmarn. bundle up tight. Wind and snow off the lake can be brutal.
              bito.

            • kesmarn says:

              b’ito, you are so right! It’s uglier now than I can remember it ever having been. Obama is a wise man, and I think he went into this knowing what would be thrown his way. It’s folks like me who are taken aback, I think. I naively thought we had evolved beyond the blatant racism that has emerged in some quarters.

              Might have to save your question for tomorrow, when I’m thinking a bit clearer! All of a sudden I’m feeling that powerful magnetic pull from the “memory foam” pillow. (If only the foam really would help my memory!)

          • KevenSeven says:

            Kerry and his campaign were perfect pussies. Utter pussies. He deserved to lose, being such a spineless wimp.

            Obama was lucky that he was up against an old geezer who has still some modicum of self-respect. Not much, to be sure, but more than Bush.

            • kesmarn says:

              And his luck held when the person on the ticket who WAS the really ballsy pit-bull--S’arah-- was, fortunately, so mind-numbingly, jaw-droppingly stupid that she lost credibility early on.

  4. Kalima says:

    The extraction of bile from caged Moon Bears has long been a thing of interest for me. It is still being done in China and Korea, where it is processed and sold as medication for anything from a stomach upset to a cure for hangovers at very high prices. It is appalling and should be stopped.

    http://www.sharonbowles.org.uk/pages/MoonBears.html

    Good evening/afternoon everyone, just woke up.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      This is such a sickening practice. It brings to mind the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer:
      “”In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka”

      • Kalima says:

        Hi wts, I agree with him, am disgusted that it still goes on and that there is a demand for it here in Asia.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Me too. As a species, we REALLY need to evolve past the point where we overlook the suffering we inflict on animals throughout their whole lives for the sake of the temporary, and dubious, relief that their suffering provides us with.

    • bitohistory says:

      Good morning, kalima, hope all is well and wish you a “good” day. My apologies, I neglected to watch your sunrise today.

      If those bloody SOB’s want some bitter bile, I will gladly give them some! That practice is so wrong in so many ways, it baffles my brain and senses. That practice is sad-sick.
      GRRRRRRRRRRR!

      • Kalima says:

        Good afternoon bito, you didn’t miss much with our sunrise, it’s rather cold and dull today with cold winds.

        It is totally wrong, barbaric in fact, but the older Asian generation think nothing of it.

    • kesmarn says:

      Good morning/evening, K’alima!

      I had never heard of this practice before today. Lord! You have to wonder about the diabolically creative ingenuity that humans bring to torturing animals and each other! What possesses them? Calling the people who do this sort of thing “animals” is an insult to animals.

      • Kalima says:

        As you say kesmarn, it is diabolical and I wish that more people were made aware of it. I have joined in to sign petitions and forward emails to my friends around the world who in turn have passed it on to people they know. The agony these animals go through every day is heartbreaking, the love they show after rescue and rehabilitation is worth a thousand words..

        I watched a documentary a few years ago about their living conditions, the look on their faces as the bile was extracted, it kept me sleepless for many days.

        Here is another link with pictures and explanations about the plight of these bear, not pretty but eye opening.

        http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/bear.html

        • kesmarn says:

          So sad, Kalima. Makes you almost wish that there could be some sort of “discovery” made that this bile was hazardous, toxic, whatever, so the market would vanish!

          • Kalima says:

            It is very popular in Asia, that is the problem. Several years ago I found some upstairs in a plastic ziplock, I asked hubby about it because it resembled something we could go to jail for possessing. He explained that someone had brought it back as a gift from a trip to China, when I showed him pictures of the moon bears, he threw it away. It’s like everything else, if there is demand, then there is supply. People here have to be educated about these things or they are not aware or even concerned about how these “medications” are harvested.

            In the meantime there are concerned groups like the ones in the links, who care and continue with their rescue efforts as they try to enlighten the rest of us.

  5. javaz says:

    One of the things that has always raised my blood pressure is that FEMA money went to building the Saints a new stadium, while people were left homeless.

    That’s really good news about the Glen Canyon Dam, but the dam itself is still controversial --

    http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/utah_today/glencanyondamcontroversy.html

    And finally the DHS is taking steps to ensure safety of imported goods.
    After the lead in paint for children’s toys, the tainted dog and cat food that killed several pets, unsafe food for people, etc, it’s about time.

    • bitohistory says:

      J’avaz, good day to you, kid.

      The DHS story will be turned around by the multinational corporations and the RW as “it will cost to much…. Too much regulation.”
      Story in :5…4…3….

  6. bitohistory says:

    Not to to take away from your fine post nellie but this is too good to pass up for me. the whole ACORN thing PO’s me!! How can the government hire groups involved in torture and murder (allegedly) like Blackwater and CACI and get away without so much as a slap on their bottom while the the Congress admonishes ACORN for people “less-advantaged”?? GRRRRR.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/71911-judge-stops-acorn-funding-ban
    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/12/judge-rules-acorn-funding/

    • PepeLepew says:

      I think ACORN is the biggest red nut in history.

      OT, but if you turn on ESPN right now for the Montana-Appalachian State football game, you will see an amazing snowstorm.

    • kesmarn says:

      b’ito and all, good evening! Just got back home after a looong day (and it’s only 6 p.m.)

      I have become a huge fan of Alan Greyson from Florida. The guy is utterly fearless. It’s such a breath of fresh air to hear someone just say what he thinks without calculating the cost of every phrase. I’m glad he went to bat for ACORN.

      I knew very little about ACORN until the Repubs made so much noise about them.

      Then I sent ’em a contribution.

    • javaz says:

      Hey, b’ito.

      I don’t understand the ACORN thing, but the judge’s ruling will cause the Republicans to chant “activist judge” again.

      Here’s one that disturbs me -- not sure if this is appropriate for Nellie’s wonderful compilation --

      http://rawstory.com/2009/12/retailer-peddles-deaththreats/

      Time to boycott Disney?

      • AdLib says:

        Maybe a bunch of people should create t-shirts at Zazzle that criticize Zazzle. Like:

        “My parents went to Zazzle and all I got was a racist t-shirt.”

        • bitohistory says:

          AdLib, I worked at, not for, at the Mouse House for many years. (in FL) I got to know and see many of their employees. Surprise, surprise the vast majority of them had a “pink”
          complexion.” I had to deal with many of the middle management and the “imaginerrers.”
          Never did I see a person of color! I like both yours and K’ersmans clever thoughts. But we need a T-Shirt that does not use their bloody name. (need to go into sourcewatch.org and see who owns Zazzle)

          • PepeLepew says:

            Many years ago, I had a girlfriend who worked for Disney Stores and she swore up and down that they literally refused to hire blacks and Hispanics. Literally. I didn’t totally believe her, because I didn’t think you still actually get away with that in the 1980s, but she was adamant.

        • kesmarn says:

          …or put out the urban legend that Zazzle executive bile is good for what ails you…

      • bitohistory says:

        AHHHH!! J’avaz, can I just go to my room and take heavy drugs? Can I “just pay the fine and go home?”
        That link you posted has come close to breaking this ole’ stinkers spirit. That and Moon bears in cages are pushing me close to never going on- line again!!!
        another GRRRRRRRRRRR for me today!!!

        • Kalima says:

          Sorry bito that wasn’t my intention but the moon bears sprung to mind with nellie’s story about the bear gall bladders being sold illegally.

          I’ll try to find something more uplifting for the next time, I promise.

          How about this, one of my favourite singers.


          Or this.


          • bitohistory says:

            kalima, thank you!! I needed that respite.
            OK, let me get this straight. A German- Svensk-Welsh Brit-Japanese woman, can send me music that fits my soul from tomorrow? You are a treasure! Now, go hug and kiss your husband or I will take a tramp steamer and steal you!!

            • Kalima says:

              In case I miss you again bito, good night, hope you rest well tonight. I have to start cooking lunch now, it’s Sunday here.

            • Kalima says:

              I’m on it, the pasta sauce is almost ready and my oldest is already thinking about plate licking, two plates for her today.

              Hubby won’t be back until 2, he likes to run, don’t know where to though.

            • bitohistory says:

              Kalima, you best get on that Sunday lunch/dinner cooking. Hubby will be home soon and the kitties are waiting for you to drop something on the kitchen floor. Poor furry kids. It is almost noon, they’re starving!

            • Kalima says:

              LOL, you missed Estonian from the list, my errant father since I was 2.

              Hubby’s at his gym, a Sunday ritual.

              Glad you liked the music. :)

          • kesmarn says:

            K’alima what’s the full name of the second singer? Do you know? The guy who did the intro called her “Randy.” I hadn’t heard of her, but her voice is remarkable.

            • Kalima says:

              Both videos are sung by Randy Crawford, she is one of the most underrated singers I know. I saw her in concert here 4 times, she’s simply wonderful but most of her best songs have been removed from youtube, what a drag.

              The guy is Joe Sample, a great musician, they got together for her new album this year I think it was or maybe last years, the years fly by.

            • Kalima says:

              This was the album but her earlier solo work was great too.

              http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-Randy-Crawford/dp/B000MGUZKM

            • kesmarn says:

              Another new bit of knowledge from you, K’alima! Thanks yet again!

          • bitohistory says:

            No, Kalima, just some days I should just read a novel and give my brain cells, those that are still left, a break. Penance for being a news junkie most of my life. I need a life!
            😆

            • Kalima says:

              Evolving from someone who didn’t want a computer until March 07 and not even then, to turning it on 5 minutes after I wake up to read my latest news emails, I can understand this.

              I’m hoping that reading will be an option again, if they can do something with my left eye next year, I’ve missed it a lot.

  7. Hopeington says:

    Good job Nellie…particularly moved by the returning soldiers story.
    So much more than the war goes on. These men and their families are in serious need of our support.
    This article is the tipping point for me, I’ve been wanting to do something, since I’m supporting President Obama’s surge, I feel I should do something more than just talk. Vets and returning soldiers are the over looked part of the senseless wars we are involved with and volunteering is the only thing I can think to do.
    We’ve got a lot of old vets in my town, many of them homeless.. I’ll get back to you on that..
    Also glad they’re getting some money to LA for disaster relief…

    off topic alert…
    but it’s Saturday, this news is bouncing around in my brain like a little ping pong ball, I’m off to the hospital to visit my son and yes, do some work. I might be under employed, but at least I’m employed!!! I do most of my work for a business called Made in Santa Cruz. Here’s is a shameless link to a web site I just put together for myself.
    http://www.abagahope.etsy.com

    • bitohistory says:

      Hope, suggestion on your collar cooler/warmer item. Have you tried a company called Choose Hope? http://www.choosehope.com/

      They sell items for cancer patients going through tratments
      They seem to be a good group and donate to cancer programs. I do not believe that they sell any thing like those, and from first hand knowledge, chemo will make you both hot and cold.(me, mostly cold-in AZ!!)
      Just a thought.

  8. PepeLepew says:

    That ASARCO settlement is big in Montana.

    • bitohistory says:

      Pepe, the ASARCO thing is also a big thing in the Tucson area. The Union workers here are both pissed and worried that the company is going back into the hands of GroupoMexo.
      They them poorly their last go around and drove it into bankruptcy. Groupo are intent on busting the Union here,in Texas and new Mexico. Worried about this development. I am glad that they will have to finally do some clean-up.
      UNION! YES!!

  9. bitohistory says:

    Gawd, nellie, you are productive!! Another very informative post, another day of homework.
    Nel, my brain can only hold so much. 😉


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