Monday, July 02, 2007

Puebla, Mexico: Sources say 200 million cubic meters of toxic sludge lie at the bottom of Valsequillo reservoir

Note: Beeeeg problems with I wrote this post just a bit after 9:00 this morning and couldn't get it online until late this evening. I don't know what's wrong with Blogger but I'll continue to try to fight my way through it.
Sources inside the Puebla state government have told Mark in Mexico that more than 200 million cubic meters of toxic sludge lie at the bottom of the Valsequillo reservoir. Not even Merlin the Magician could clean up this mess.

Abracadabra . . .
Abracadabra . . .
. . . bloody hell!

These sources, who must remain anonymous due to concerns for life and limb, further explain that the Puebla state government began looking at cleaning up the lake as long as two years ago. This would indicate that the explosive reports in Reforma did not take state officials by surprise. Well, maybe Reforma's reports did, but the information contained therein did not. In fact, say my sources, the state government has been well aware of the poisonous nature of the lake for a long time.

The problems, say my sources, are that the government doesn't want to spend the money to clean up the problem. What's a few extra fingers and toes and a few more dwarfs running around? Especially when the governor himself is a dwarf.

What's worse, these sources tell me, is that the state government doesn't seem to understand that the root causes of the contamination, untreated municipal and industrial waste water as well as residual runoff water, must first be cleaned up before any lake cleanup can be attempted. Otherwise, it's all a huge waste of time and money. The lake cannot be cleaned up until its water sources are cleaned.

My sources say that waster water which is currently being dumped into the Valsequillo reservoir is receiving only rudimentary treatment, if any at all. I'm trying to get more details on "rudimentary" and will provide them when I have them. My translation of my sources' information is as follows:
Basically the problem is money, or lack of it. The state doesn't want to allocate the funds necessary to even start the project.

. . . there is a solution, although a long term one.

We must start treating our wastewater to an acceptable level . . . the wastewater plant we have now was built and is operated by a foreign company that is raping Puebla with the interest payments while performing the most rudimentary of treatment, if any at all.

The 2 rivers leading to Valsequillo must be cleaned. Then we can deal with the lake.
Foreign company? Interest payments? Hmmm. I wonder how many millions of pesos were/are pocketed in this transaction?

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mexico City: AMLO blames the mafia for his defeat and subsequent disappearance.

The Mafia Stole the Presidency From Us.

That is the title of Andrés Manuel López Obrador's (AMLO's) new book which he is now shilling wherever and whenever he can. He has morphed from legitimate presidential candidate to clown to cheap huckster, all in less than a year. And his rapidly dwindling support base shows it.

AMLO must-a sleep wid duh fishes-a.
Give-a this one to-a Phil Calderone.
The book's brief introduction starts out, unfortunately, like this:
"Sólo le han quitado una pluma a nuestro gallo",

which, when translated exactly as it is intended, means,

"Only one feather was yanked out of our cock."
Now, before you start spitting out your coffee, or whatever, the word "cock" must be taken to mean "fighting cock", as in rooster -- male chicken. However, the word "gallo", in the sense that AMLO meant it, is translated accurately to the King's English as, er, cock. Sorry.

Bodyguard with AMLO's huge cock, sans one feather.
Note to self: No more posting after sixth Cuba Libre.

The book's publisher is supposedly Random House Mondadori, although a search of their site does not reveal any such title nor any such author. At least I couldn't find it. Try it yourself and good luck with the Salon de Autores (authors list). It took me four hours to figure out how that particular search tool worked and then when I finally got there, AMLO wasn't. In fact, the only newly published offering by Random House Mondadori was a book about the PAN, the party of notorious mafia hit man, Felipe "Phil" Calderone.

In the article linked in the first paragraph above, Reforma is mentioned as having conducted a poll in which 31 percent of AMLO's former supporters say they would not vote for him again. Among the comments of those polled:
"He should have ended this whole circus long ago."
Here is the report in Reforma if you can get it open. I'll translate it for you. Explanatory notes and snarky comments are in parentheses:
In the year since the presidential election, one third of the voters who helped Andrés Manuel López Obrador say that today they would not vote for that candidate and almost one half who voted for Roberto Madrazo (PRI dinosaur and criminal-in-chief) share the same sentiments. In the case of Felipe Calderón (who won the election), about one in ten of his voters say they wouldn't vote for him again.

So indicates a national telephone poll conducted by Grupo Reforma in order to learn today's opinions of the citizenry almost one full year since the July 2, 2006 presidential election. The study was conducted on the 23rd of June and included 850 adults from across the country. The poll has a margin of error of 3.4%.

The poll reveals that 36% of those interviewed believe that the 2006 election was fraudulent, a percentage that has remained constant since a similar poll question was presented last July, shortly after the election. This belief is most common among older voters (who have faithfully voted PRI for 77 years and watched as their country was sold down the river) and is less shared by those of a younger age (who have now seen the PRI get its collective butt kicked in two consecutive presidential elections).

In contrast, a majority of 54% believe that no fraud occurred and 52% believe that no vote-by-vote recount was ever necessary, as the Coalition for the Common Good (AMLO's mafia) demanded.

The poll revealed that citizen participation in the IFE (Federal Election Board) is viewed favorably by 60% of the poll's respondents and 45% view Luis Carlos Ugalde, the president of the IFE executive board, favorably.

However, 67% of those polled consider it necessary to replace the entire IFE executive board before the 2009 elections (not a presidential election cycle). Only 25% of those polled think the same executive board should continue in office and oversee the next election cycle.
So AMLO claims that the mafia robbed him of the election. I might go along with that, but only in the sense that AMLO's mafia got out-mafia-ed by Phil Calderone's mafia. In truth, the real mafia, that of the PRI's Roberto Madrazo, got badly skunked and, according to Reforma's opinion poll, is continuing to fade.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: China "guarantees" quality of exported poisons.

Do NOT put anything "Made in China" in any bodily orifice.

That would include ear, eye, nose and throat as well as any of the unmentionable orifices. I would also caution against applying anything "Made in China (Hecho in China) to the skin, scalp or nails or your vehicle's rims as well as avoiding feeding any of it to your pets.

In the face of rising world suspicion of the poisonous substances that Chinese manufacturers are packing into various foods, medicines and cosmetics being exported, Chinese spokesman for the Commerce Ministry, Wang Xinpei (pronounced: Wang Xinpei), declared,
It can be said that the quality of China's exports all are guaranteed.

Guaranteed to what?
China shuts 180 food plants for tainted ingredients

Deaths of thousands of dogs and cats in North America blamed on Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine.

Lassie after 30 day diet of melamine and anti-freeze

U.S. authorities have turned away or recalled toxic fish, juice containing unsafe color additives and popular toy trains decorated with lead paint.

Chinese-made toothpaste also has been banned by numerous countries in North and South America and Asia for containing diethylene glycol (anti-freeze), the same chemical that killed people in Panama last year when it turned up in cough syrup.
900,000 tubes have turned up in the USA in places including correctional facilities and some hospitals, not just at discount stores.

You'll wonder where the yellow went when
you brush your teeth with Peking-o-Dent.

Beijing police raided a village where plastic pipes had been forced down pigs' throats and villagers had pumped each 220-pound pig with 44 pounds of wastewater (raw sewage).
Stamps on their ears indicated that they already had been through quarantine and inspection.

Dinnertime already? No thanks. I'll pass.

China's former top drug regulator has been sentenced to death.

Refused by the FDA in April because they were "filthy":
salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili and sesame oil
dried apple
dried peach
dried pear
dried round bean curd
dried mushroom
frozen bay scallops
frozen Pacific cod
frozen seafood mix
fermented bean curd


foods rejected because they were contaminated with pesticides:
frozen eel
frozen red raspberry crumble

Frozen catfish was stopped because it was laced with banned antibiotics.

Scallops and sardines were turned away because they were coated with putrefying bacteria.

China has also attempted to export hundreds of thousands of pounds of chickens and poultry products to the U.S., even though it is not yet certified to do so. Chinese exporters disguise the meat by labeling crates "dried lily flower" or "prune slices" or "vegetables."

China, the leading exporter of seafood to the U.S., is raising most of its fish products in water contaminated with raw sewage and compensating by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are banned by the Food and Drug Administration.

Deadly fake medicines, including tablets made with yellow road paint and unhygienic pregnancy testing kits.

Heart pills coated with furniture polish.

Cigarettes containing sand and cadmium, and with 75 per cent more tar and a quarter more nicotine than rules permit.

Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.

Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption.

Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer.

Swordfish rejected as "poisonous."

Portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, resulting in 60 reports of cuts, bruises and abrasions;

Swimming pool ladders that break, resulting in 127 reports of injuries, including leg lacerations requiring up to 21 stitches, five reports of bone fractures, two back injuries, two reports of torn ligaments and eight sprained ankles;

Faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, getting skulls cracked and hospitalizations;

Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children's fingers in openings, resulting in burns;

Oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, burns and smoke inhalation injuries;

Exploding air pumps that have resulted in 13 lacerations including six facial injuries and one to the eye;

Bargain-priced oil-filled electric heaters, selling for less than $50, that burn down homes;

Notebook computer batteries that burn up computers, cause other property damage and burn users;

Circular saws with faulty blade guards that result in cutting users, not wood.

1,500 table lamps recalled because of faulty light sockets that posed the risk of electrical shocks and fire hazards.

1500 emergency lights that look just like other emergency lights but whose circuit board malfunctions, preventing illumination during emergencies.

1700 heated massaging recliners recalled due to overheating and burn hazards.

2,700 $12 pine cone candles had to be recalled when it was determined the exterior coating, not just the wick, caught fire.

180,000 pieces of glassware were ordered recalled because the items broke for no apparent reason, sometimes cutting the hands of those holding them.

Kitchen stools collapsed even under the weight of small children.

40,000 cribs had to be recalled when it was discovered directions instructed consumers to assemble them in ways that would result in the baby falling out and becoming entrapped. Additionally, locking pins on the side of the crib could pop off and cause a choking hazard.

450,000 infant car seat carriers manufactured in China had to be recalled when it was determined infants were falling out because of a faulty design. The Evenflo Co., which imported the carriers from China, received 679 reports of the handle on the car seat releasing for no reason, resulting in 160 injuries to children, including a skull fracture, two concussions and cuts and bruises.

Books for young children have been found to contain plastic squeaker toys that have become lodged in babies' throats and metal clips that break off, potentially injuring kids.

137 reports of infants mouthing, chewing and sometimes choking on tiny pieces of its soft blocks tower toys imported from China. At least 32 infants were found gagging on the pieces and 49 choked on the plastic covering. In all, 40,000 had to be recalled.

Monkfish that turned out to be toxic pufferfish.

Samplings of Chinese imported fish between October and May repeatedly found traces of the antibiotics nitrofuran and fluoroquinolone, as well as the antifungals malachite green and gentian violet. Of particular concern are the fluoroquinolones, a family of widely used human antibiotics that the FDA forbids in seafood in part to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to these important drugs.

Tilapia fillets tainted by salmonella.

An unidentified fish mislabeled as catfish. (unidentified? Jeebus!)

1.2 million Lasko Products Inc. ceramic heaters that pose a fire hazard.

2,300 Schylling Associates Inc. toy barbecues, because of the danger of laceration from sharp edges.

450,000 light-truck radial tires manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. in Hangzhou, China, and sold under the names Westlake, Compass, Telluride and YKS, because the treads might separate due to missing gum strips -- two known dead so far.

China made all of the 24 types of toys recalled this year for safety problems. All of them. 100%.

Toxic waste from China and other countries is being imported and used as a raw ingredient by some Australian fertiliser manufacturers and distributors. The wastes - from steelworks, electric-arc furnaces and zinc smelters - are being made into products that have shown heavy-metal levels up to 110,000 times higher than those which prompt NSW consumer warnings. "The trouble is that the Chinese are giving testing certificates on the products. But they are just lies, that's the nicest thing I can say. If we made that material we would be able to survive too, but we would poison everybody. It is madness. They are turning farms into waste dumps. And for some of this stuff, if you contaminate your ground with it, you might render it impossible to ever farm clean vegetables again."
Well, if these are examples of popular Chinese dogs, (Chinese crested hairless), the Chinese probably don't see anything wrong with eating pork force fed with raw sewage or brushing their teeth with Prestone-laced Peking-o-Dent.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
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by Mexican indigenous artists.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Washington, D.C.: "Fairness Doctrine" sinks faster than the Titanic

Man! That was fast.

There has been a lot of chatter on the net for the past couple of weeks about Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein et al mumbling about bringing back the "Fairness Doctrine" in a blatant attempt to silence conservative talk radio. Specifically, they want to muzzle Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, the three biggest players in the game.

The attempt by Air America to take on the conservative talkers with a liberal talk radio network ended, ignominiously, as we all know, in bankruptcy court, accompanied by various and sundry financial scandals. So, the big government, nanny-staters represented by San Fransisco's Pelosi and Feinstein have begun to bitch and whine about legislating the highly popular conservative radio hosts out of business.

Not so fast, said Rep. Mike Pence (R - Ind.) as he co-sponsored a bill today in the House, along with Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), which forbids the FCC from using public money to re-invoke the thoroughly discredited "Fairness Doctrine". The vote on the measure was a razor thin 309-115. That would be roughly the same margin of victory as the combined Sitting Bull/Crazy Horse and Red Cloud vs Custer and Fetterman ("I'll ride through the entire Sioux nation.") contests.

The event was not without humor, however. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said, hilariously,
We ought to let right-wing talk radio go on as they do now,” he said. “Rush and Sean are just about as important in the scheme of things as Paris Hilton, and I would hate to see them gain an ounce of credibility by being forced by a government agency or anybody else to moderate their views enough that they might become modestly influential or respected.
Rush Limbaugh has, weekly, as in every single week of the year, 22-24 million listeners. That's more people listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show in one week than have listened to Rep. Obey in his entire life or might possibly hear a word or two from Obey if he were to live (and talk) for another thousand years. Hannity has a weekly audience of about 14 million and Savage is enjoyed by about 8 million people each week.

That's just shy of 50 million people per week who listen to the top three talk radio hosts in all the United States of America. Throw in Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and many, many others and the numbers give the liberals chronic, incurable and, hopefully, terminal heartburn. The fact that these guys are all conservatives is not the point at all, at least to other conservatives as well as free speech advocates as well as Democratic legislators who would like to see (or hear) them stifled but are scared sh*tless (shitless) to publicly vote that way.

This reminds me of a line from that great character actor Chill Wills in a movie whose title I have long ago forgotten. He was engaged in a poker game when the card count seemed a little, er, off:
I don't want to get all picky over the rules or anything, but six aces? Sheeesh! That's a lotta aces.

Chill Wills
50 million listeners a week?
Sheesh! That's a lotta voters.

The spineless, quivering Democrats in the House would have given their eyeteeth to see (or hear) conservative talk radio silenced forever, but, 50 million listeners a week? Sheesh! That's a lotta voters.

Fairness Doctrine Disclosure: I ran into Chill Wills about 30 years ago in the Atlanta Hartsfield airport at a cigarette machine. He had deposited his money and couldn't get a pack of fags out of it. Between the two of us, we began rocking the machine back and forth on its legs until the pack of coffin nails finally fell out. He smoked Winstons, as I recall, and died of cancer (type unspecified) at the age of 75 years in 1978.

Lots more comment:
The Captain live-blogged the sinking.
Boss Hog Cernig, via someone calling themselves Shamanic, whines in a backhanded sort of way. Typical of gutless lefties.
Betsy is far from gutless.
Radio Equalizer says, "It's a blowout.", all things being Equal, of course.
Robbie at Urban Grounds says that Senator Kerry's dream just went down the YouTube.
Michelle Malkin pooh-poohs Obey's and Kucinich's pooh-poohing.
Dan Reihl votes -- SHOCK!! - -American
Jammie Wearing Fool: Be vigilant, forever.
SeeDubya cuts through the bu**shit (bullshit)

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: Best telemarketer prank, ever.

I realize that telemarketers are not a big annoyance in Mexico. For one thing, the ones that do exist haven't learned how to get a hook into a victim. The phone call is usually acompanied by some type of canned music which you hear as soon as you answer the phone. This affords you the opportunity to slam the handset back onto the receiver before the telemarketer can get on the line. Another habit of telemarketers here is to have a recorded voice tell you, "Un momento, por favor," which also gives you the crucial .005 milli-second necessary to hammer said reciver with said handset. In fact, I have never yet actually found myself talking to a telemarketer in Mexico.

It's different in the USA, however. Telemarketers there have evolved over time and have this telemarketing annoyance down to an infuriatingly fine science.

This is how one very clever fellow handles them. Listen and enjoy.

via FARK.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
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by Mexican indigenous artists.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Berlin, Germany: Now this is hard ball politics!

So ya wanna play hardball? The Poles know how to play hardball. The conservative Polish news magazine Wprost took a vicious shot at Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling her the "Stepmother of Europe" and publishing a doctored photo that depicts her suckling Poland's twin leaders, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and President Lech Kaczynski. As you can see from the photo, little is left to one's imagination.

Politics, Polish style.

I'm trying to imagine one or more US news magazines engaging in the same type of bare knuckled political commentary. Hillary Clinton . . . never mind. It's simply too awful to contemplate.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: State Sec'y of Tourism says, "Guelaguetza is ready!"

Beatriz Rodríguez
Ready for what?

Oaxaca State Secretary of Tourism Beatriz Rodríguez says that "Everything is ready for the festivities to take place." Uh-huh.

In a press conference in Mexico City, Ms. Rodríguez admitted that the success of the festival depended on the ongoing negotiations between the state officials and Sección 22 representatives (the teachers that seldom attend classes, preferring instead to march in the streets and camp out in the zócalo) who are demanding the return to their control more than 100 schools where the kids' parents have thrown them out as well as with APPO representatives who are demanding that all their thugs and criminals be released from jail. The Secretary also said that she was much more concerned with word-of-mouth recommendations from tourists than she was with official US State Department travel warnings (which advise avoiding the state like the plague until at least next October 19).

Secretary Rodríguez also took a shot at the federal government for some 50 million pesos which was supposedly promised to the state for "promotions" and was not forthcoming. She said that the state had poured some 60 million pesos into the effort but the federal government must now fulfill its promises. The fact that the state of Oaxaca is a black hole of anti-matter into which untold billions of pesos have disappeared without a trace over the decades of PRI rule was not mentioned. At least not by the Secretary.

What you have to do here is read between the lines just a bit as I have done parenthetically. Secretary Rodríguez said,
These negotiations are important. I understand that they are making adcances and are going well. In the case of the teachers (Sección 22) they have already agreed to rezonification (massive pay raises totaling billions of pesos) which was an demand since a year ago. (This was agreed to by the federal government last October, so this issue has been moot for, uh, almost 8 months.)

Today in Oaxaca there is a symbolic encampment (in the zócalo) and pressure like that of last year does not exist. But everything is ready for the Guelaguetza festival start (as is APPO which will try to force its cancelation as they did last year). There is total security (except for the downtown where there is not a policeman in sight within 4 blocks all around the zócalo. I found 6 Preventive Police officers hiding in the Juarez market 2 blocks south of the zócalo yesterday. This is, however, an improvement over last year when there were no cops anywhere within 10 blocks of the zócalo). Hotel occupancy is growing. I don't want to say that Oaxaca is better than ever, but it is improving gradually.
Then she made this astonishing statement:
The word-of-mouth warnings by people who came here and experienced the conflict (last year) hit us harder than any official warning by the United States because 80 percent of the visitors come here without first consulting the internet (in other words, through rank ignorance of what's going on here). In any case, word-of-mouth and news reports forced our hotel occupancy rates down to 18% last December instead of the historical average of 80% (and if people had been following the ongoing disaster on the internet, occupancy would have been about 0%). Today we are at about 30-35% since February and a complete recovery is predicted to take two more years (depending, of course, on Sección 22, APPO and a river of federal funds being swallowed up by Oaxacan anti-matter).
Here is a description of the "symbolic encampment" downtown as of yesterday at high noon:
APPO and Sección 22 have control of the south side of the zócalo.
They are sleeping under the portico of the former government palace, now a museum which is, of course, closed to the public.
They had 2 cars with loudspeakers atop pulled up to the band shell in the zócalo itself where no vehicles are allowed, supposedly.
They have control of the north side of the zócalo as well, with tarps attached to the east side of the hotel, blocking the hotel entrance as well as the travel agency there.
They have taken over the entirety of the Alemeda which is the plaza in front of the cathedral.
Illegal street merchants have moved back into the zócalo and the Alemeda, with illegal pirated DVD's being the most popular items on display.
Along the row of restaurants on the west side, beginning at the northwest corner of the zócalo nearest the Alemeda, there were 2 tables of about 50 occupied -- 4%.
At both the soutwest and southeast corner restaurants, about 1 in three tables had customers -- 33%.
There was not another single table occupied in the several restaurants along the east side of the zócalo to the Italian Coffee on the northeast corner, where 2 gringo capitalist pigs occupied one table -- 2%.
The big hotel restaurant along the north side had 4 people sitting at one table -- 2%.

Quite symbolic if you ask me -- and even if you don't.

What Secretary Rodríguez is really saying is that her office has made its Guelaguetza preparations and if the festival fails and buses are burned and tourists chased off and unarmed traffic cops tarrred and feathered and banks robbed and business people assaulted and blood runs in the streets, as is all likely, it ain't her fault.

Which is quite true, by the way.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

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