Friday, May 19, 2006

Little Cigars, Iraq, No Coattails, Warbucks and Chestnut Trees.

In the race to the bottom, the tobacco industry is gaining ground on the petroleum industry.

They are marketing "little cigars", they're just cigarettes with brown paper. By doing this, they save a ton on taxes. And they can sell them cheaper and in different flavors. Not that they're trying to get your kids to smoke or anything.

Forty states have asked the U.S. Treasury Department to bar tobacco companies
from marketing products they say are identical to cigarettes as "little cigars,"
a designation the states say lets the firms evade taxes and target younger

Attorneys general from the 40 states, including Maryland, want the
department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to reverse decades-old
rules that permit products the size, shape and weight of cigarettes, but have
brown rather than white wrappers, to be labeled as little cigars.

Things are getting crazier and crazier in Iraq. Shiite killing Sunni, Shiite killing Shiite, everybody killing Americans. Iraq's supposed to name a new government Monday, U.S. officials say they hope it will bring calm and stability. They're smoking the good stuff.

It's so bad in Iraq right now that their national taekwondo team has been kidnapped and held for ransom. 50 troops killed so far this month. Meanwhile the War President stays the course.

BAGHDAD, May 18 -- President Jalal Talabani convened an emergency meeting
Thursday to discuss the southern port of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city and
the heart of a growing, lethal power struggle among some of the Shiite Muslim
religious parties that lead Iraq's governing coalition.

Violence in the south Thursday included a bombing at the home of Basra's
police chief. In Najaf, another major city in the Shiite-dominated region, the
head of local militias loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was
shot dead by police allied with a rival Shiite party.

Republicans show they have a firm grasp of the obvious. They're saying now that Bush won't be much help this election. But don't count them out because, anyone making statements like, "We're not panicked yet because we think we have a plan.", must be a bunch of winners.

"He might come back—who knows?—but we've got to do this on our own. In fact,
it's irrelevant if he comes back. He probably will, he's got 2 ½ years — but we
don't," said a key GOP official. As a result, Republican officials said, the GOP
leadership will step up its plans to tackle issues that are important back home,
such as high gas prices, expensive college tuition, and medical care

They should "tackle" those issues, they created them.

Donald Rumsfeld is asking for $65 billion. He needs it for his pet project. You remember it, the war that would pay for itself?

With war bills to pay, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is calling on
Congress to pass President Bush's request for an extra $65 billion to cover
costs in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.
Of the money approved so far, the research service estimates that $261 billion
was for Iraq and $77 billion for Afghanistan and worldwide operations against
terrorism, with most of the rest for improving security at U.S. military bases.

And finally, some actual good news.

They've discovered a stand of American chestnut trees in Georgia. American chestnut trees were thought to have been pretty much wiped out in the early 1900's. Hence, the good news.

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) -- A stand of American chestnut trees that somehow escaped a
blight that killed off nearly all their kind in the early 1900s has been
discovered along a hiking trail not far from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's
Little White House at Warm

The find has stirred excitement among those working to restore the
American chestnut, and raised hopes that scientists might be able to use the
pollen to breed hardier chestnut trees.

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)