Wednesday Rundown

  • U.S. plans to test more thoroughly for BSE (mad cow disease), but ignores recommendations that might help to prevent it. Now 500,000 cattle will be tested instead of 40,000, which was the USDA’s previous plan—but cattle will continue to be fed chicken and ruminant remains, as well as “high risk cattle tissue,” i.e., cow brains. Go figure. (NewScientist, March 15)
  • “Britain’s ability to cope with a major terrorist strike was called into question today, as the commissioner of the Metropolitan police warned that such an attack was “inevitable” despite the best efforts of the security services.” (Guardian, March 16)
  • So we all know that, for instance, natural disasters increase a country’s GDP, right? That the economic muscle required to recover from an earthquake, for instance, makes the GDP look like it’s growing. But did you know that the Enron scandal also contributed to the GDP to the tune of $1 billion or so? A good story on the absurdity that is the GDP. (Alternet, March 16)
  • “‘He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people’s possessions,’ said Mary Smith, whose family found damaged walls, broken furnishings and a chandelier destroyed after Bush left the house. A bill sent to collect the damages went unpaid, the family said.” (Birminham News, February 28, via Atrios)
  • Tom Tomorrow prints a very interesting e-mail from someone who’s maybe a little better positioned to comment on the Spanish tragedy than American news pundits. Namely, someone who lives there. It’s long, but very interesting. (This Modern World, March 16)