This Week in the Mercury


Friday, July 25, 2014

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 9:28 AM

The West Bank could be going the way of Gaza, first with restiveness among horrified Palestinians watching the warfare Israel's waging against their kin, and then with a handful of shootings at the hands of soldiers and settlers. Unless, maybe, who knows, Secretary of State John Kerry can persuade both sides to bite on a weeklong cease-fire, the first step in a two-step "stop bombing Palestinian civilians, even if you honestly think each and every one is standing in front of a Hamas militant" plan.

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All the bodies are gone. But debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 remains scattered across the easternmost reaches of Ukraine, largely undisturbed. Despite all the political back-and-forth, no one has officially begun a painstaking investigation of what led to the crash.

Adding to the uncertainty, Ukraine's parliament adjourned for two weeks without accepting the resignation of its prime minister and his cabinet—meaning no one knows who's really in charge of what right now. Except everyone (or just the US) still suspects its the Russians. An American diplomat says Russia's been firing its own artillery at Ukraine government fighters, from its own territory, to help pro-Russian separatists. Maybe hopefully, Russia's oligarchs, normally happy to let Vladimir Putin do their dirty work, are starting to think this war stuff is bad for business.

"Black children represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment," according to a federal study, "but make up 48 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension."

The mystery of the creepy dolls has been solved! It wasn't some pervert leaving porcelain dolls who resembled actual children on the doorsteps of Orange County homes. It was a nice grandmother who went to church with all the families. She made them herself and was trying to be sweet.

SUVs are far from dead. In fact, a surge in their sales is the only thing keeping General Motors alive right now.

Iraq's new partial conquerors, ISIS, continue making themselves disturbingly at home. The extreme Sunni Islamists are blowing up centuries-old holy sites revered by rival sects and faiths, in the name of purging blasphemy. And women in their conquered cities must wear the longest and heaviest veils and coverings possible. "This is not a restriction on her freedom but to prevent her from falling into humiliation and vulgarity." (Weird how they sound just like certain Republican lawmakers...)

A journalist working in Iran for the Washington Post, legally and with official permission, has been seized by the government. So was his wife, who's also a journalist, and two photographers. It's not clear why.

China takes its plague outbreak threats incredibly seriously. A entire large town of tens of thousands of people was quarantined for days, after a single report of plague, while health officials waited to see if the disease spread. It did not.

If violent crime is down, does it still make sense for police to keep swarming around so-called quality of life crimes that arguably fed all that violence—making more arrests than ever? Eric Garner, the Staten Island father who died in what looked like a police chokehold this month, had been accused only of selling loose cigarettes when police contact turned deadly.

A near miracle treatment for hepatitis C, a liver disease and cancer precursor prevalent among the poor and often passed through drug needles, could cost as much as $84,000 per patient. That's so expensive that Medicaid could go broke if everyone who needs the drug receives it. In Oregon, treatment could cost $360 million total, the story says—just $17 million shy of what the state spends on all other prescription drugs.

"IF ED WANTS TO MAKE A FOOL OF HIMSELF, IT'S OKAY WITH ME."

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