News Appetizers! Cheaper and more delicious than the entrees you’ll get elsewhere.

Whoooo, what a week. We are incorporating these news-bits into our weekly schedule, so look for roundups on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And since today is Monday, let’s just jump right in.

In Syria, violence continues, and there was a vote on constitutional “reform.” The gist of the reform is that it will open up presidential elections to more than just the one ruling party, but parties have to be approved by the government, which smells to me like a, “Hey, we’re reforming, stop rebelling!” kind of thing. Ooh, President Assad thinks that this reform will make Syria a beacon of democracy. (CNN) (BBC) (NPR) (NYT)

Should we build the Keystone XL Pipeline or not? It would get oil from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico. Pros: reduce “foreign dependency on oil” (and by foreign, apparently Canada doesn’t count), price of gas is reduced, jobs are created. Cons: Canadian oil is really thick and would have to be diluted and nobody knows with what, and also maybe we should be concentrating on other forms of energy. Short-term gain of not having to have oil dictate where we throw our macho around in the world? Or long-term gain of a focus on clean energy? I know what I vote for (hint: the second option). (NPR)

Robotic bees! One step closer to the downfall of humans when the robots decide to take over. (NPR)

In Columbia, the FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) has decided to let go of its government prisoners and said it will stop kidnapping civilians. Nobody knows if it will let go of its current civilian prisoners. I just heard the This American Life about this situation, and it is heart-breaking. The FARC hasn’t said whether it will stop political kidnappings. (CNN) (BBC) (NPR) (This American Life)

Oh hey, look. If you are a young woman or a member of an ethnic minority (bonus points if you are both!), it takes longer for your cancer to get diagnosed. Awesome. This is in England; I’m sure that everything is super equitable in America. (BBC)

Thousands of Chinese people apparently “inundated” President Obama’s Google+ page, which almost makes me sad that I deleted my account a mere hour before reading this. Almost. (BBC)

Related: The White House is looking at privacy rights, and companies like Google and Facebook have signed on to try to not be assholes. This link tells you how to clear out your browsing history from Google, and then opt out of being traced, or delete your account altogether. (BBC)

The trial against BP has been pushed back a week, while settlements are discussed. I hope BP pays one gatrillion dollars, and then agrees to go to jail. And clean my toilets. (CNN) (BBC) (NYT)

More protests in Moscow against Putin. Elections are coming up next week, and Putin is almost certain to win. Still, the fact that people are protesting him is a pretty big deal, especially given that it’s really, really cold in Moscow right now. (NYT)

Any NASCAR fans out there? Rain has delayed the Daytona 500 from its starting time, which has never happened before. I hope this convinces some NASCAR fans that climate change is real and problematic. (Huffington Post)

Ooh ooh ooh! It looks like they are figuring out how to make “unlimited” human eggs; using stem cells in adult women, scientists were able to produce eggs. This could have huge implications for female fertility, and that whole “biological clock” thing could eventually just be discarded. I am taking huge liberties with the possible implications, but I like to dream big. (BBC)

In Afghanistan, at least one person has died and several Afghans and Americans were injured as people protested the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base, which everyone swears was a mistake. I hate everything about this situation. I hate that books were burned. I hate that the books were burned because they apparently had inscriptions in them that facilitated extremist thought. I hate that the burning of a book leads to violence. (CNN) (NPR)

A Canadian passenger train derailed in Ontario, killing at least three, and leaving many trapped. Be careful out there, travelers. (BBC) (NYT)

In Egypt, 46 foreigners (including 16 Americans) are on trial for their pro-democracy workthey allegedly received illegal money from foreign funds. I just – I just want things to be okay in Egypt. I want the reforms to be awesome and for life to be good. Sigh. (BBC) (NPR)

Oh, great. A car-bombing in Nigeria killed three people at a church. (BBC)

Image courtesy

Breaking: I have a huge crush on Hillary Clinton. “I was asked whether the comments in the primary campaign, some of which have been quite inflammatory, represented America,” she said, adding that they did not necessarily. “I represent America.” (CNN)

Super Tuesday is tomorrow, and it promises to be super. All signs point to a close race between Santorum and Romney, with Gingrich looking past Super Tuesday (because he doesn’t think he can win these states), and Ron Paul being ignored by the media again. “The media is in a conspiracy to silence the only candidate that makes any sense,” said a Ron Paul fanboy that I know. Seriously, though, whoever wins Michigan is going to be in pretty good shape. I personally hope it goes to Santa Claus, who wears red and supports industry but is not evil. (CNN, with a healthy dose of my own unsubstantiated thoughts)

In case you are wondering (I KNOW YOU ARE), Santorum still doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, and still feels bad for the poor, poor persecuted Christians. (NYT)

Nelson Mandela was in the hospital with abdominal problems, but he’s out now and in good health. He’s 93; here’s hoping he’s got another 20 years in him. (CNN)

Important: This article tells you how to fake a good night’s sleep. Mostly, it involves light, food, water, and a nice slow cup of coffee. Related: anybody have any light, food, water, and a nice slow cup of coffee I can borrow? (CNN)

Similarly important: you don’t have to get eight hours of sleep in a row. Eight hours not in a row is fine! Now somebody tell my kid. (BBC)

That’s it! Consider yourselves informed, and ready for the next course.

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I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

49 thoughts on “News Appetizers! Cheaper and more delicious than the entrees you’ll get elsewhere.”

  1. I was awake half the night and was watching CNN. They showed a clip of Rick Santorum talking (coughoutofhisasscough) something about minorities being the only ones receiving public assistance. It made my eyes bug out of my head. Of course, I can’t find it now, but here is something similar, b/c good ol’ Rick is always saying something offensive.

    Please note the only black person in the room is the boom mic operator. I do wish he would’ve “accidentally” hit Santorum on the head with the mic.

  2. As a Canadian, it felt weird to hear about that train derailment.

    I used to take the GO train a lot, and I always felt safe. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any trains derailing in all the time I took it.

    Sad story.

    Actually, all of these are pretty sad stories.

    The news is so draining sometimes.

  3. Koran burning stories make me tired. So tired. I heard about this latest burning scandal on NPR last week, and I just sat in my car and sighed. I sigh so I don’t cry. American’s being assholes just for the sake of ashholery. Sure let’s keep a terrorist from being made by completely insulting his/her faith in the most horrible way possible. Yeah, that’ll work.

    1. The part about it that makes me the most – annoyed?  Upset?  Irritated?  is that everyone is like “oh, it was inadvertent.”  Like book burning is a regular thing and those just happened to get mixed up in the wrong batch.  That doesn’t happen, right?  I’m glad that at least Obama has apologized and said it was wrong, but seriously – why is it just portrayed as an administrative oops?

      1. Totally!  This wasn’t someone burning something out of ignorance.   It couldn’t have been.  I mean, it was obviously an ignorant and insensitive act, but to say that they just didn’t know makes zero sense.  And then for Gingrich to come out and say that we shouldn’t have apologized . . . yuck

      2. Absolutely. It’s almost more insulting that they said oops! We didn’t mean to throw that book into a fire. ‘Yes, you did. And you got caught, you Islamaphobic ass.

        ETA: I’d almost argue the ones responsible wanted it to make the news. Trolls. All of them. Horrible people who find it humorous to screw with the faith of others.

      3. Books do get burned regularly on bases. All refuse gets burned, and sometimes people want to get rid of books; make of that what you will. (To me, that fact is only relevant to the rote occurence here, not what intent was present, nor its reception.)

          1. I suspect it was done and then talked about primarily to blow off steam, as it were. I would be surprised if anyone involved wanted it to go fully public. But, pure conjecture.

            There is some chance it was more or less unavoidable, short of hauling the books to another country to dispose of them of there. I really have no idea.

            I would not be surprised if religious materials were incinerated in a more hushed manner on a fairly regular basis. I would hazard a guess it’s more likely than not.

  4. The Michigan primary coverage has been interesting to watch. I know some (hmmm, influential isn’t quite the right word; maybe political insider-y?) people who are pushing Democrats to get out and vote for Santorum or Paul. It’s an open primary, you don’t have to be registered as a Republican to vote. The push has gotten big enough that there’s even an article on it here:

      1. I completely agree! Every time one of my friends posts about it on Facebook, I get concerned that this will backfire, and all the crazy racist people will still vote Republican and we’ll get a President Santorum. Don’t underestimate the stupidity of the general public. Hell, I have a family member who works on the line for a car company that received a bailout, is a member of a union, and recently went on an on about his great profit sharing check this year – and he is a hard-core Republican.

        1. I know people that are Conservatives. But when pressed far enough, they don’t actually hold these beliefs.

          It’s something that I’ve come across often enough that makes me really wonder about how  convincing Conservative ideology can be.

  5. I… I like NASCAR… But a lot of the fans are awful. I grant you this. But not all. I was reading an article a while back written by a dad who was all kinds of conflicted about his daughter idolizing Danica Patrick because of the terrible Go Daddy commercials. On one hand, a female driver, finally! On the other hand, the Go Daddy commercials. It’s wasn’t a super feminist piece by any measure, but it  was acknowledging the problem from a source I would not have expected.

    1. I’m not a NASCAR fan, but I grew up in NC and went to races when I was little (the demolition derby was by far my favorite attraction), and now live in Charlotte, home of RACIN’! (Seriously, we have a NASCAR Hall of Fame/museum that was recently built here.) The tourism and industry is a source of income for the area. There are teams that are built/are owned around here, which create/maintain jobs, and I can’t knock that. The racing industry has been hit just as hard by the recession as everything else.

  6. Sleep fascinates me, and one of my favourite books on the subject is Counting Sheep by Paul Martin. The cancer referral article though, it wasn’t young women and ethnic minorities, it was the young, women and ethnic minorities. Cancer in young people has come up again with (though I’m not sure why) fresh debate on the age at which women get their smear tests. In Scotland (andI think Wales and NI, too) it’s age 20, but in England it’s 25, I think. Similarly, I know they’re trying to do more to raise awareness of the cancers young men can get, too.


      1. Persephone just ate my reply. Hmn.

        I find that rather surprising, I expected (though what foundation I had for that, I have no idea) Ireland to have a lower age. Are there campaigns where you are, like there are in England to have the age lowered?

      1. You can have them before that age if a doctor thinks it’s required but the routine ones don’t start until 20 or 25 (depending on where you are). The moves are to bring the age down, but there are schools of thought that changes under the age of 25 are ‘natural’ and so on, problem is there are a lot of under 25s who end up with cancer. Another reason I’m rather grateful to be in Scotland, as my check-ups began when I was 20 and did pick up changes.

      2. Yep, cervical screening (distinct from testing if you have symptoms – not intending to be patronising at all but that’s not always clear in media coverage) starts at 25. I’m not totally au fait with the stats – I’d have to go searching to pull up exact ones – but there are real risks associated with overtreatment that can outweight the benefit. This debate is being played out in mammography screening as well – in the US I think the recommended screening age is 40 (?) but in the Rep. of Ireland it’s 50.

      3. I’m really rather shocked that other countries aren’t ahead of the U.S. on this topic, considering that the statistic is something like 75% of those who are sexually active have the HPV virus, (I know I just said “virus virus”.) which can lead to cervical cancer. Gardisil protects against certain strains of the virus, but there is much controversy about young women and girls getting the inoculation.

        I was “too old” when it came out (I’m 37 now), so I’m pretty much screwed (no pun intended) if I have a strain that causes warts and/or cervical cancer. I’ve had abnormal pap smears, but then gone back three months later, and they were fine. This has happened a few times in my adult life. B/c of lack of insurance, I haven’t been to the gynecologist in several years, so I’m afraid of what might be a-brewing down under. I realize that’s such denial. Note to self: get thee to the health department post-haste.

      1. I don’t know if these types of incidents are more common now than when I was a kid (70s and 80s) or if we just hear about them more now. We’ve had two major shootings here within the past 5 years – one was the department store/mall shooting that made national headlines and then we had another last year where a principal and vice principal were both shot, the VP later passed away from the injuries. That’s two shootings in five years in one city.

        I just…I don’t even know.

        1. I think they are more common now.  I think kids have easier access to guns, and I think cyber-bullying means bullying is ever-present, and I think that kids who have heard about it happening are more likely to fantasize about doing it.

  7. I suspect that the Ron Paul Media Conspiracy is funded by the Ron Paul campaign managers. The fewer chances he has to be a jackass on television, the more his supporters can continue thinking he’s really a good guy and all reports to the contrary have been made up by jealous liberals.

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