THE TICKER – Gas price spikes :: Will Abramoff skip? :: Quarter mil for outing

  • Gasoline prices at record high: Retail gas prices hit another record high over the past three weeks, mirroring a rapid increase in the cost of crude oil, according to a nationwide survey released Sunday.The average price for all three grades rose nearly 20 cents to $2.53 in the three weeks ending Aug. 12, while crude oil price futures rose about $8.21.
  • Feds feared Abramoff would skip bail: The Justice Department played hardball last week with former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, in part because of concerns he might flee to Israel. Hours before Abramoff was indicted on fraud charges in Miami last Thursday, FBI agents tried to arrest him at his Maryland home. But he’d already left for Los Angeles. Agents tracked him down on his cell phone and ordered him to surrender to the local FBI office. When Abramoff did, later that day, he was handcuffed, thrown into jail, then released last Friday on a $2.2 million bond.
  • Gay man wins $270 mil after being outed : Robert Hernandez, age 45, was awarded $270 million from Univision Radio because he was outed on a radio show – in San Francicso!! Hernandez said the outing left him so “devastated” that he couldn’t work.

Asia Growing Alarmed as West Buys Up World’s Bird Flu Vaccine

In a classic case of First World kicks Third World’s collective butt, Western nations are racing to stock up on Tamiflu, the only drug thought to be capable of stopping an epidemic of deadly avian flu, according to Inter-Press Service.

Led by the United States, the developed world is using its financial muscle to acquire global stocks of the most potent anti-flu medicine available. The U.S. enough doses of Tamiflu to treat more than 2 million people, and reportedly is trying to buy more from the producer, Swiss manufacturer Roche. Britain, France and Norway are reported to have ordered enough Tamiflu to treat 20 percent to 40 percent of their respective populations.

Thailand, by contrast, has secured barely 22,000 Tamiflu doses.

Southeast Asia is the epicentre of ongoing outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of the deadly bird flu virus, and health and gobernment officials there criticized the West’s run on the vaccine especially, they say, since neither the U.S. nor Europe have suffered from bird flu the way that Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia have.

The World Health Organization currently has a stockpile that could treat about 125,000 patients. WHO’s approach tis to have a centralized supply of vaccine that could be flown to a major outbreak to contain the spread of the virus through mass vaccinations. The Geneva-based health body plans to increase its global stockpile of Tamiflu to about a million doses.

Since avian flu began spreading across Southeast Asia, nearly 60 people have died of the disease — 40 in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand, four in Cambodia and three in Indonesia. WHO has received reports of 112 cases of human infection, indicating a nearly 50 percent fatality rate for H5N1 flu.

Two previous global pandemics have been caused by influenza viruses. The one in 1918 that resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide was attributed to a flu strain that jumped from birds to humans.

Repugs Out to Co-Opt the Environmental Argument

This is not satire — sadly.

There is a group out there, a very scary group. No, we’re not talking about jihadists, insurgents or Republican governors, we’re talking about a thing called Republicans for Environmental Protection, or REP America.

They have a philosophy:

We are Republicans. We share a deep concern for the environment. We know that a healthy environment and a sound economy are both essential to our nation’s prosperity. We believe that by working together, we can preserve both our environment and our economy for current and future generations of Americans.

They have an answer for the obvious question of how they can be a conservative and an environmentalist:

We remind skeptics that nothing is more conservative than conservation. True conservatives should safeguard the resources on which the health, recreation, and economic prosperity of present and future Americans depend. There is nothing conservative, and certainly nothing wise, in squandering our wildlife, wilderness, wetlands, and other natural treasures.

They have a list of great conservative conservationists: Teddy Roosevelt (national parks), Barry Goldwater (Arizona cowboy), Richard Nixon (signed the Clean Air Act).

Aristocrat Bush on War Dead: ‘I Have to Go on With My Life’

“It’s important for me to go on with my life.”

– President Bush, explaining why his vacation is more important than a war mother’s grief

Despite his strange, mangled Texas accent, President George W. Bush is, first and foremost, a pampered East Coast blueblood. As such, nothing can change the key operative dynamic in his life: The world revolves around him. It always has, and always will.

Nothing sums this up better than his reaction to the pleas from the mother of a soldier who died in the war Mr. Bush launched for no other reason than his personal, aristocratic whim:

Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush [second home].

“But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there’s somebody who has got something to say to the president, that’s part of the job,” Bush said on the ranch. “And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But, I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”

This from a man who has never experienced an honestly “thoughtful” or “sensitive” moment in his life. What an asshole.

WHO, CDC Issue Travel Warnings Over Bird Flu

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report on 5 Aug. 2005, the Ministry of Health in Viet Nam has reported an additional 3 human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection: one in the northern province of Ha Tay, one in the southern province of Tra Vinh, and one in Ho Chi Minh City, also in the south. The patients from Tra Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City died. These newly confirmed cases in Viet Nam bring the total reported there since mid-December 2004 to 63 cases, 20 of which have been fatal.

During December 2003 to Aug. 5, 2005, a total of 112 human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) were reported in Viet Nam (90), Thailand (17), Cambodia (4) and Indonesia (1), resulting in 57 deaths.

Most cases of H5N1 infection in humans are thought to have occurred from direct contact with infected poultry. Therefore, care should be taken to avoid contact, when feasible, with live, well-appearing, sick or dead poultry and any surfaces that may have been contaminated by poultry or poultry feces or secretions. To date, there has been no evidence of sustained person-to-person spread of influenza A (H5N1) virus.

To reduce the risk of infection, travelers visiting areas where outbreaks of H5N1 infection among poultry or human cases of H5N1 infection have been reported should observe the following measures to help avoid illness.

Texas Sites Vying for W’s Presidential Liberry

PR Humor – August 15, 2005 – The collection of items that will go into the George W. Bush Presidential Liberry can easily fit into two Office Depot file boxes, which is where the items are stored now, in a closet just off the Oval Office.

And yet no less than eight public organizations in Texas are vying for the honor of being the repository of the contents of the boxes.

The inventory of the contents is classified “Double Super Secret,” but a source who has seen the boxes, and who spoke to Pensito Review on the condition of anonymity, described them as “old and sort of yellowed,” and “wrapped up tight in duct tape.”