The Vermont Cynic


Air Force spy plane used for wildfiresThe U.S. Air Force launched one of its remote-controlled Global Hawk spy planes last week to examine the behavior of California wildfires. It was the first time one of the planes has been used for domestic surveillance purposes.Lynne Spears to pen parenting bookLynne Spears, mother of Britney, will write a book on what it was like to raise a pop princess. Although a manuscript has not been finalized, the book’s publisher said the book will focus purely on the author’s skills as a mother.FEMA criticized for false news briefingLast Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who was harshly criticized for its response following Hurricane Katrina, held a briefing on its response to California wildfires, but no reporters showed up. The agency called the briefing 15 minutes before it happened, and FEMA employees asked questions, acting as reporters.Crude oil reaches new record priceLast Friday, the price of crude oil rose above $90, a new record in the U.S, and 44 percent higher than one year ago. Soaring prices are due to an unexpected shortage in domestic supply, coupled with continued unrest in the Middle East.Senate extends tax ban for Internet useThe U.S. Senate passed a bill last Thursday that extends a moratorium on the taxation of Internet use for seven years. The legislation was a compromise between senators advocating for an indefinite ban, and for the ban to be ended.Watson steps down after racy remarksJames Watson, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, resigned from his position as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory last week. His resignation followed a remark that, overall, people of African descent are not as intelligent as people of European descent.Golden Gate Bridge to remain ad-freeThe Golden Gate Bridge board of directors decided unanimously against corporate sponsorship of the San Francisco Bay span last week. A major sponsorship would have provided $3 to $4 million for bridge restorations, and allowed corporate logos to be mounted on the bridge and surrounding property.Apple places limits on iPhone salesApple recently enacted a two-per-person limit, and no longer accepts cash for the immensely popular iPhone. The new measures are part of an effort to discourage the resale of iPhones by unauthorized dealers.House persists on child health billThe U.S. House of Representatives passed a new billion that would provide 10 million more children with health insurance. The president vetoed similar legislation last week, and promised to veto again should the bill reach his desk.One more week of daylight savingsDaylight savings time now ends one week later than in years past. The shift was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. According to U.S. Congressional delegates, 100,000 barrels of oil are saved for every extra day the time change is delayed.Humanity at risk, U.N. study saysA United Nations report issued last week states that a failure to respond to global environmental issues is putting humanity at risk. The study found that on average, each person uses three times as many resources than the planet can supply.Astronauts expand Int’l Space StationAstronauts added the newest room to the International Space Station last week. The room increases living space on the station by 17 percent. It is the first addition to the station in six years.White House guts CDC testimonyThe White House made substantial changes to a written testimony from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be given to a Senate committee on the health risks associated with climate change. Administration officials said last week that nearly half of the material was cut from the original document.Governors fight to save water in SERepublican governors of Alabama, Florida and Georgia have appealed the Federal government to slow the water flow from the drying Lake Lanier, which supplies about 2.8 million people with drinking water. Outflow from the lake falls over federally-owned dams and is crucial to the survival of endangered species downstream.All information collected from The New York Times

National / International News

¥British Troops Seized By Iranian Forces

Fifteen British naval troops were seized by Iranian forces while conducting an inspection in the Persian Gulf. The incident added to the tension between Iran and the U.S. concerning a nuclear program in Iran and the country’s possible aid to insurgents in Iraq. Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair said the seizure was “unjustified and wrong” and that it took place in Iraqi waters.

¥ House Votes to Set Date for Iraq Withdrawal

Passing the House by a vote of 218 to 212, the legislation was approved as part of a $124 billion emergency war spending request from the White House meant to pay for the military’s operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next six month 2006.

¥ “No Impact” Lifestyle Experiment Hopes to Make impact

Colin Beaven and his wife Michelle Conlin are four months into a year long environmental lifestyle experiment, which they refer to as “No Impact,” involving only eating and purchasing local organic food, producing no trash (except compost) and not using paper (even that of the toilet variation) or carbon fueled, citing his sentiment that members of the team were not impartial.

¥ U.S. Attorneys’ Firings Under Fire

The Senate Judiciary Committee requested and obtained five subpoenas including one for Karl Rove to testify under oath in the investigation concerning the firing of eight federal prosecutors last year.

¥ Dogg Denied Visa

Snoop Dogg, who has European tour dates set to begin Tuesday with Sean “Diddy” Combs, was denied a visa to enter Britain. Dogg was arrested last year for a disturbance at Heathrow airport in London and earlier this month by Stockholm police for suspected narcotics use.

¥ Edward’s Wife’s Cancer Returns

On Thursday, March 22, the N.C. Democrat and presidential hopeful John Edwards, announced that his wife’s cancer has returned but that his presidential bid shall non the less continue. Elizabeth Edwards is currently diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, meaning the cancer has progressed beyond her breast, in her case, to her bones.

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