Trivia 1O

It is my pleasure to offer a few facts and trivia for your consideration.

Severance pay received by Viacom CEO Frank Biondi after he was fired by the company in 1996 - $15,000,000
Severance pay Biondi received last year after he was fired by Universal Pictures - $30,000,000
Severance pay that employees (many with over twenty years of loyal work) of Levi Strauss will receive when the company moves its manufacturing plants to Asia - $0.00

Estimated chances that a U.S. child diagnosed with leukemia will be in remission five years later - 4 in 5.
Estimated chance that an Iraqi child diagnosed with leukemia will live that long - 0
Rank of U.S. among countries that bought the most oil from Iraq in 1998 - 1

Rank of the U.S. among industrialized democracies with the highest rate of sexual infidelity - 1
Number of GOP House members who voted for 1996's Defense of Marriage Act who have since been exposed as adulterers - 4
Number of consecutive years that Colorado state legislators have voted down a bill banning female genital mutilation - 3 (1)

Another reason that I find Republicans so sadly funny was revealed in Roll Call, the newspaper for Capital Hill. It seems that Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana brings his own utensils (scissors, comb, electric shaver) to the Capital barber shop. He has also stopped ordering soup in restaurants and stopped going to the House gym at about the same time that his colleague, Barney Frank, revealed that he is gay. This is another magnificent example of the truly tragic level of stupidity that hails itself as this nation's "leaders". As Burton cannot bring himself to reveal the very obvious reason for his odd and eccentric acts, I'll do it for him. His baseless but distressing fear of AIDS (obvious in every vote he has ever offered when AIDS or sexual issues were at stake) shows how very, very little factual information these sorry people have on an issue that they must consider and which effects the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. How pitiful!

Red harvester ants found in the soil around the Hanford nuclear power facility in Hanford, Washington were recently discovered to be radioactive. Flies and gnats swarming around ordinary garbage near the plant were found to be radioactive, as well, and local officials are fearful that even the mice, insects and vegetation such as tumbleweeds may also be spreading the contamination to the surrounding towns. This little item goes well with the fact that, last year, 47% of all American nuclear power plants were found to have "serious security lapses". Basically, these items show that the dangers of nuclear power don't stop with the obvious peril of a meltdown but extends to the spread of radioactivity throughout the environment by exposure of flora and fauna. This doesn't even address the very real probability that even more nuclear waste will suddenly be found to be missing from the plants and disposal agencies. Finally, hundreds of tons of this radioactive waste is shipped by rail throughout the nation, passing through nearly every large metropolitan area served by rail. It won't be long, gentle readers, before an accident happens and the potential death toll could go into the millions. (2)

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