Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 21, 2009



Have you been moonlighting for Popular Mechanics, Sam?

WTC7 has no explanation. No other steel structured building is known to have collapsed from a fire. This includes buildings which have burned for three days, and were down to their skeletons. Then, within one day there are three?

The architect for the Twin Towers explicitly said that they were designed to withstand a strike by a Boeing 707. Whether he was right or not I can not say, but such an occurrence was not an unlikely scenario. The Empire State building had been hit by a B-25 in 1945. Not just the architect, but also the city architectural approval group knew that this was a possibility

Jet fuel may sound highly explosive, but it is basically kerosene. A low energy fuel which produces a maximum flame of about 1800F. Further, almost all the fuel is in the wings which were shorn off at impact. This is what produced the large visual fireballs. Little fuel actually made it into the WTC. The fire was fed by what is normally found in offices -- paper, cloth, plastic and wood contributing to a relatively cool but smoky blaze.

The fires may have burned for almost an hour, but the heating was not evenly distributed during that period of time. Hotter at first, then cooling off rapidly as the relatively low temperature fuel burned off.

If it was in fact a weakness resulting form the strike and fire, then the weakest area would have been localized around the strike zone and its fires. The fall of the upper portions of the building would have been occurred with the top falling over in the direction of the strike location rather than straight down.

I believe that too many can not even begin to fathom the possibility of their government being a part of such an atrocity. So for them, any other explanation, no matter how impossible, is "less impossible" than a US false flag operation against US citizens. - m

WTC 7 was the first time a collapsing skyscraper ever landed on a somewhat smaller structure - one of the towers caused a big gash in WTC 7 and damaged it structurally, which the demolition claims overlook. All three towers were observed bulging and leaning before they fell, which is not controlled demolition. Disproving the demolition theories doesn't get Cheney and Bush off the hook for complicity, especially how at the very least they allowed an attack focused on bringing down the towers to proceed and their administration interfered with FBI agents' efforts to stop it, along with tracking by the "DIA" of the hijackers in the two years before 9/11. It's likely the perpetrators were trying to topple one tower onto the other, the reported goal of the attackers in 1993, but fortunately the towers stayed up long enough for most people below the impacts to escape.


If only 12 million citizens have been arrested for pot possession, then law enforcement needs to get busy. Some 150 million Americans have smoked pot, so the police need to get busy and arrest the other 138 million they have missed so far. Actually, they should just arrest everybody. After all there would only be a one in two chance of arresting an innocent person. That seems like a justifiable error rate when the nation needs to purge itself of the evil weed.


Condoms are more fun than cap and trade.


And 200,000 Americans a year who do have insurance die from stupid medical mistakes. Who are the biggest losers here?

The biggest losers are still the ones who die because they never even have the possibility of decent care due to lack of insurance. The people who die from stupid medical mistakes chose the wrong doctor. Those without insurance can't afford to see one at all. - FoE


This is the best news I've heard in a long time. I guess the Senate forgot to ask the all the right questions.


The Netherlands is the only place in the world weed is 100% legal, and guess where you'll find this country? On every top ten list of the best places to live in the world. It is home to some of the world's happiest, healthiest, and most financially secure people in this world. The only negative health effects known due to smoking weed is short-term memory loss (quite obviously) and increased problems with people who already have pre-existing conditions like heart, liver, and immune problems. The people want what they want. We will keep toking no matter what the laws are, so why not make it legal and stimulate our shit economy and lower the use of hardcore drugs? - One Love


This is not about properly regulating Yoga training. Regulation as it exists today does not provide quality control. This is about money. SCHEV currently requires that any proprietary school that provides job skill certification training grossing anywhere from $1 to $50,000. per year pay an annual "fee" of $500. This means that any training school, not just Yoga teacher-training schools, has to pay the State of Virginia at least $500 every year, even if it grosses only $400. In addition, schools have to pay for a surety bond and they have to complete financial forms that probably require the help of an accountant--an additional expense. This is an undue hardship on a number of small schools, not just Yoga schools.

At the other end of the spectrum, schools that make a lot of money do very well when it comes to the annual recertification fees. The fee for a school that grosses anywhere over $150,000 is $2500. So if a school grosses fifteen million dollars annually, it only has to pay $2500 annually. So rich schools, in effect, get a huge discount and pay a nominal fee, while very small schools have to pay a much higher percentage of their gross income.

In Virginia, the issue is really about making money by exploiting well-intentioned and responsible small schools and programs--to the point of damaging them--rather than protecting consumers and students.


The point about our priggish emphasis on propriety while our culture falls apart is well taken. This is oh so obvious in corporate America. The rules for employee behavior in a typical large corporation are draconian. Telling a slightly off-color joke can easily get an employee instantly dismissed and walked to the door. Such behavior is considered completely unacceptable and demands extreme punishment. Yet our television and films are filled with vulgarity and crassness, and any criticism of that is ignored, since it supposedly represents the true nature of human interaction in our modern culture. Talk about cognitive dissonance!

Anyone who ever worked in a corporation knows how oppressive they are. It is like living in a totalitarian society. In fact they are totalitarian entities . Everything is under surveillance.


Between a flawed bill and no bill it's not even close. This is a crisis. When people are hungry you don't argue over fast food vs. no food. The comparison is not far fetched.

Over the last week I learned that good friends are stuck with an exorbitant COBRA because the husband has a pre-existing condition. The COBRA runs out soon and they don't know what they are going to do.

My brother told me that he has to stay with his physically demanding occupation despite two hip replacements because his wife has a pre-existing condition and he is unlikely to be able to get insurance for her if he tries to do something else.

The day of Obama's speech I learned that the son in law of a friend needed radiation treatment for a thyroid condition. He was carrying enough radiation to affect small kids through apartment walls, for several days. Yet the hospital had to send him home because the insurance company won't cover the hospita; stays that used to be standard.

Before that I visited another friend who was in a car wrecxk and broke her neck, an arm and a leg. She was in a halo and barely able to function. Yet the insurance company refused to cover her convalescence care because they said it wasn't necessary. She should be thinking about getting well but now she has to worry about going broke.

There are thousands of examples like that in the nation right now. My guess is that most people who think it's okay to wait until pressure builds for a better bill, are not among them.

Yes Obama dropped the ball when he went off on his cost containment jag instead of talking about insurance.

And yes the insurance companies are throwing their weight around. Look how much money and investment they control. Surprise.

But as I said, people are really hurting. Even if there is no "public option" (and what a lame phrase with which to frame a debate), some new rules for the insurance industry really would help. And even with them this issue is not going to go away. - jr


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The argument that a flawed bill is better than more delay is itself flawed. We have the example of the terrible Medicare prescription drug bill as an excellent reference point. That bill was only passed because of AARP deciding it was more interested in making money selling insurance than in serving the interests of its members. Part of their argument was that a flawed bill right now is better than nothing, and the problems can be addressed later. Well here we are years later and the problems are not addressed and each year the private companies that offer Medicare prescription policies have dramatically raised their rates while the draconian "gap" that forces those with really large prescription bills to come up with over $3000 out of pocket near the end of the year remains and no discussion is under way to correct the problem.

Now the big insurance and pharmaceuticals are working in the same way to hypnotize us into accepting something that will make them richer while essentially doing nothing helpful for the poorest of us. All it will really do is force people who may not need health insurance to get it, thereby enriching the corporations. We must reject this absurd notion. The health bill must be a good one and it must include an option that allows anyone who cannot afford private insurance to use Medicare.

September 22, 2009 1:10 PM  

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