Bits and Pieces – July 9, 2010


An occasional compendium of news bits

Potentially good news. The online edition of the Wall Street Journal is reporting that scientists have discovered three antibodies that neutralize 91% of HIV strains. Could a real and effective vaccine be on the way? Let’s hope this helps.

Something’s rotten in the State of Arizona. So they passed that immigration law because someone said crime’s gone out of control. Yes, the feds should do something about it. How do you do that, though, when the ones who complain the loudest block the efforts? Regardless, it seems, though, that Arizona got it wrong. Pesky pundit Al Hunt had the nerve to say that crime in Arizona has actually gone…down! From Politifact: Mr. Hunt was criticizing (!) Sen. John McCain’s policy shift from 2007. McCain had said, “The violence is incredibly high. The human smuggling and drug cartels are at a level of violence where 25,000 — 23,000 Mexican citizens have been murdered in the last few years, 5,000 already this year. There’s a level of violence which has increased to a significant degree, which makes the situation far different than it was in 2007.” Turns out Hunt is correct and McCain is…whatever. Details, oh those details do get in the way. And while we’re on the subject…

Obama asleep? Arizona Senators McCain and Kyl complain that President Obama is lax in enforcing deportations. Not so. In fact, there’s a trend. Check it out. Now, I’m not saying the deportations themselves are right or wrong, only that McCain and Kyl are either lying or misinformed. Or craven. You decide.

The oil spill isn’t confined to the Gulf. It’s onshore, too. But not in the way we might have thought. From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, word of a report released by the Alliance for Justice. It details the financial interests of the three judges on the Fifth Circuit panel scheduled to hear the Obama Administration’s appeal of the decision lifting the temporary ban on new deep water drilling. Petroleum seeps into everything.

Health Care Reform on the Web. The reform law signed by the president required go live by July 1, 2010 and it did. If you’re unemployed and uninsured and living in California, it offers no real help. Oh, right. The rest of the law takes eons to go into effect. But it sure looks real nifty.

Cooking the books? The National Journal is reporting that the RNC has been neglecting to acknowledge debts owed to a number of vendors and these total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Over the past 3 or 4 months, maybe longer, the staff has been directed to hold off on reporting some debts, to roll them over to the next month, so the month that they’re in will look better on the FEC report,” said one source involved in the budget process. “It eventually catches up with you.”

WWSD. What Would Sharron Do? Sharron Angle, reputed nut job running for senate in Nevada has said that if the system doesn’t produce the results we want, we might have to resort to “Second Amendment remedies.” Over at Jack and Jill Politics, they have an interesting take on that. Given that the system didn’t produce results acceptable to large numbers of Americans in the trial of Oscar Grant’s killer, does that mean those Americans ought to employ those same Second Amendment remedies?

Virginia is for Lovers. Remember that tourism slogan from some years ago? Well, it’s just not true. According to an opinion recently not posted on the web site of Virginia’s amazing and recently elected attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, a marriage that takes place outside of Virginia is not valid in Virginia even if the couple has a valid Virginia marriage license and the marriage is performed by someone authorized by Virginia to do so. The opinion was issued in response from a county clerk who had a question about a couple married in neighboring Maryland. To be clear, this is NOT same-sex marriage. As it happens, my brother and his wife were lawfully married 20 years ago in a church in Washington, DC, and have apparently been living in sin in Virginia ever since. This Cuccinelli is the same guy who, in the finest John Ashcroft tradition, redesigned the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, adding a modesty panel, before distributing it as lapel pins to his staff. This guy’s a real piece of work joke. It would be funny if he weren’t an elected official in a position of authority.

Be careful what you wish for. Beware prophets promising doom. Or Doomsday. Pastor Rocco Leo of Agape Ministries, along with two of his associates, is being sued in Adelaide (Australia) by two former church members who had handed over all their money to the church because they had been led to believe that Doomsday was approaching. Only one problem. The date came and went. The sun came up. The sun went down. Just another day in Southern Australia. Yawn.

10 Million and Counting. Lady GaGa crossed the 10 million Facebook friend mark recently. On Tuesday she was up to 10,996,842 while the previous champ, President Obama, was at 9,967,630, still a  somewhat respectable number. I’d be jealous if I cared.

The most-viewed video on YouTube – at more than 241,000,000 views. Rock on.