The Rundown

I've been sick in bed all day, so now that I've risen from the dead, I present a random rundown of today's happenings:

Imams spur cartoon violence: Nat Hentoff writes that the most egregious cartoons featuring Mohammed——"Muhammad as a demonic pedophile; Muhammad with a pig snout; a Muslim at prayer raped by a dog"—wasn't among the 12 that ran in the Danish newspaper. "Imams in Denmark toured the Middle East with these additional cartoons... to show, they said, the degree of hatred in Denmark of Muslims," which is why cartoons that ran in September are sparking worldwide riots in February.

Worth a veto? Bush has never used his veto powers, but he's threatened to take the maiden voyage by blocking emergency legislation that would prevent a company headquartered in the United Arab Emirates from taking over port security duties at key American ports. Politicians of both parties, from Michael Bloomberg and Bill Frist to New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Peter King, have expressed alarm at allowing port security to be run by a company based in Dubai, the "logistical hub" (and major source of financing) of the 9/11 hijackers. A little investigation couldn't hurt, but why's Bush so adamant? Could the White House's ties to the company have something to do with it?

A lightbulb moment: A bright idea via WorldChanging: a Long Island science teacher is leading his class in providing every kid in America with a compact fluorescent light bulb. If they succeed, they'll help us save $2.3 billion in energy costs. Who can fork over the dough needed? Why, Oprah, of course (and those who watch her). Send her a letter requesting her show features "Mr. Luna's Bright Idea."

TNT-eating fungi? From NewScientist: "When explosives are used for mining or demolition, some may fail to detonate and get lost in the rubble. [Inventor Robert] Riggs reckons the remedy could be to mix pellets of dormant fungal spores in with the explosive charge before inserting the wick into the explosive package. The dry spores lie dormant while the explosives are in storage and, if the charge detonates as intended, will get blown to smithereens. But if the explosive fails to detonate, water from the air should migrate down the wick and into the charge. The spores should then germinate and devour the charge, rendering it harmless."

The O'Reilly Faker: In a longstanding feud with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof challenged O'Reilly to demonstrate his "traditional values" by assessing the horror in Darfur first hand so he could use his "talents for an important cause." Through his readers, Kristof has raised over $725,000 for the trip. But O'Reilly calls Kristof's efforts a "gimmick" and says he won't go: "I do three hours of daily news analysis on TV and radio. There's no way I can go to Africa."

Heretofore unsung: Two funny things about the new Scooter Libby Defense Trust website. 1. In the banner, Libby uses a quote from Dick Cheney to vouch for his competence and talent. 2. The site heaps praise on the Indicted One thusly: "Since September 11, 2001, Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been one of the unsung heroes in fighting the war on terror..."

At least Cheney didn't shoot you? Or did he? Make your own, customized CNN story on Cheney's hunting mishap at igotshotbydickcheney.com. (Via Siva, who also got shot by Cheney.)

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