Alcatraz invasions, the plastic bag backlash, psalm 1040, more

At Amateur Bullfights in Colombia, Alcohol and Blood Flow Freely
“ ‘I recognize that one cannot avoid the comparison with the Roman Colosseum,’ said Inis Amador, a lawyer who helped revive Sincelejo’s corralejas in the late 1990s. They were discontinued in 1980, when more than 200 people died after a wooden arena collapsed, crushing spectators gathered under the stands.

“ ‘But why do some cultures race automobiles or climb Himalayan mountains or box each other to a pulp?’ Mr. Amador, 54, said. ‘This is about the ecstasy of escaping death. It is part of us as human beings.’ “

Disputed Alcatraz invasion flag on block
“In the past week, as word has spread among American Indians about the auction of the flag, Nall has been called both a peace activist and an opportunist. Her flag has been deemed insignificant by some and a historical artifact by others. The occupation’s key organizers do not seem to remember her or the flag, yet most agree that Old Glory’s Helper should be preserved.”

Navajos target EPA in power plant suit
“Some Navajos and environmentalists argue that Desert Rock would harm the environment and residents’ health. But DPA and Sithe have touted it as one of the cleanest coal-burning plants in the country and a much-needed source of jobs and revenue for the Navajo Nation.

“Tribal officials have said that a delay in construction means a delay in the economic benefits the tribe expects to see from Desert Rock — including millions of dollars in lease payments, taxes and coal royalties.”

Hancock explores regional jail
“The county has been without a jail since the old jail in Bay St. Louis was heavily damaged in the hurricane. County officials have been unsuccessful in negotiating with FEMA for enough reimbursement to rebuild the damaged jail.”

Gazans Stream Into Egypt As Border Wall Is Breached
“Jubilant Gazans flooded unhindered into Egypt, then hauled back purchases ranging from cigarettes and diesel fuel to goats, cows and camels. Other Palestinians walked for miles along Egyptian roads until their enthusiasm subsided and they sank, exhausted, onto curbs to rest.

“ ‘We were not able to go out!’ Amial Tarazi, a 28-year-old office worker in Gaza City, said after clambering over broken stubs of the border wall in heels and a dress. She stepped into Egypt alongside two co-workers who had scaled the rubble in jackets and ties.

“ ‘We don’t care about buying anything,’ Tarazi said. ‘We just wanted to see Egypt. We just wanted to get out.’ “

Retailers join the plastic bag backlash
“On Jan. 15, Tom Coleman of Milwaukee walked through the produce aisle at a Pick ‘n Save in Glendale and put apples into a plastic bag.

“ ‘I don’t use paper,’ he said, ‘and I get angry if I have to use it.’ “

America’s Promise Alliance Announces the 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People
“ ‘The 100 Best competition is more important than ever because its become harder for cities and towns to focus on the needs of their children with all the challenges facing them and we see the impact of this in our dismal high school graduation rates,’ said Marguerite Kondracke, president and CEO, Americas Promise Alliance. ‘These communities rose above and through their actions, remind us that there are cities and towns that are going the extra mile everyday to make sure young people reach their potential. On behalf of the Alliance, I congratulate these communities and call on others to follow their lead.’ “

Psalm 1040: Prof urges a fairer tax
“Hamill’s scholarship has been attracting national attention, most recently with a profile in The New York Times. Her reliance on the Bible as a potential guide to tax policy is a logical extension of arguments made frequently by social conservatives that government shouldn’t sanction activities prohibited by Scripture.

“Hamill’s own state of Alabama, she said, is one of the worst violators, along with five others: Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas.”

Braman sues Miami, county over downtown megaplan
“Luxury auto dealer Norman Braman fired the first legal volley Wednesday against the $3 billion city-county plan to remake downtown Miami with a stadium a tunnel, and parks while bolstering the troubled finances of the performing arts center.

“Braman filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, seeking to nullify key pieces of the deal that would be made possible by an expansion and extension of the city’s Omni and Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency districts.

“ ‘The main issue — and this has been the issue from the outset — is that this is being done without a vote of the taxpayers,’ Braman said. ‘I just think it’s wrong.’”

A rush to refinance
“When the Fed cut a key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point Tuesday, it had no direct effect on fixed mortgages. But it got consumers’ attention. That, coupled with the lower mortgage rates, which have been driven down by their connection to 10-year Treasury bonds, sent homeowners on the hunt for deals.”

Tags: environment