It’s an open thread! Pleeeeease feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread…

Bookworm BobSo below is what my cartoon sockpuppet Bookworm Bob & I have been looking at so far this week.

San Francisco Chronicle‘s U.S. take on detained journalists hypocritical:

While demanding that North Korea release two Bay Area reporters sentenced to prison, the United States has detained a Reuters cameraman without charges in Iraq since September – one of numerous foreign journalists jailed while covering U.S. military actions.

In the world community, where Washington periodically assails other nations’ press crackdowns, the U.S. Jailhouse Windowdetentions have opened the government to accusations of promoting a double standard.

Since 2001, the United States has jailed 13 foreign reporters in Afghanistan and Iraq for at least several weeks as suspected terrorists or insurgents, and many others for shorter periods, said the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization of media representatives. None has been charged or given a trial to confront the evidence against them, the group said.

Neither the committee nor other critics say the U.S. treatment of the foreign journalists has affected its ability to negotiate with North Korea for the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the Current TV reporters captured on March 17 and later sentenced to 12 years in prison…

According to the article, Reuters cameraman Ibrahim Jassam was arrested at his family’s home south of Baghdad in September, and is still being held in custody.

Our government, which does business in we, the people‘s name, certainly appears to be hypocritical about detaining reporters in we, the people‘s name.

Los Angeles Times‘ piece on a Snowball fights in New Orleans:

I drive alongside the grassy slope of the Mississippi River levee and turn east at Magazine Street, traveling past Audubon Zoo toward downtown. It’s a narrow, bumpy street shaded by giant oaks, their roots upending great chunks of sidewalk. But nobody seems to mind. This is New Orleans.

I’m on a quest to find the best snowball in a city filled with stands. Don’t mistake a snowball for a snow cone. The former is soft like powder snow, the latter crunchy like hard pack. Fluffy snowballs are served with a straw and a spoon and brim with vividly flavored syrups with names such as wedding cake, hurricane and nectar. Each stand has dozens to choose from. Another difference: With a snow cone, you can suck the flavor right out of the mouthful of ice. Not so with a snowball. The flavor and snow become one indivisible creation…

Best Homer Simpson impression I can muster: Mmm. Delicious fluffy snowballs.

San Francisco Chronicle‘s Oakland’s Parking Rage Buries Budget Feats:

Over the past year, Oakland’s city councillors slashed the size of city government, cut 350 city employees, sliced their own budgets by 20 percent, took 10 percent pay cuts and persuaded powerful city unions to swallow up to 10 percent wage concessions as they reduced budget gaps of $144 million.

And they’ve saved services residents cherish, leaving all libraries open at least five days a week, shuttering no major programs and even, with the help of the mayor, increasing the number of cops to a historic high in one of the most violent cities in America – leading to a 13 percent decline in the city’s most serious crimes.

Yet, the figures provoking citizen outrage are 50 cents and 2 hours. They represent the increase in hourly parking meter rates to $2 and the extended time, now until 8 p.m., that meters are enforced.

Council members had some 35 public meetings on the now-$400 million budget, but they’ve found themselves taken aback that the complexity of the budget process has gotten buried in protests over parking…

Yeah. Parking fees are often just one more thing I can’t afford — I get the anger.

Crooks & Liars‘s Real Time New Rules: We’ve let this ‘Birther’ garbage gather for too long:

Incredible, the absolute wingnuttery of Birther nonsense.

Silverton, Oregon Mayor Stu RasmussenHopefully the last story in this series: KGW‘s Transgender Silverton mayor reprimanded for dressing too racy:

SILVERTON, Ore. – The city council voted 4-3 Monday evening to reprimand transgender mayor Stu Rasmussen for violating the dress code for city leaders.

A citizen earlier filed a complaint that the mayor’s choice of a short skirt and halter top at a children’s event was too racy. At the time, Rasmussen defended the choice as appropriate for the hot and humid conditions.

…”I’ve always liked you Stu, but I think you’re wrong on this issue,” Ralph Amstutze said at the meeting…

• Weiner story of the day: Brattleboro Reformer‘s Police warn about hot dogs in cars:

In the midst of these dog days of summer, Brattleboro Police are spreading the word that pet owners need to be careful to consider the comfort and safety of their furry companions, especially in the car.

Dogs can quickly overheat, said Lt. Jeremy Evans, and a parked car can become a dangerous place for pets.

“The inside of a car gets really, really hot, even on days when you don’t think it’s that hot,” Evans said. “Even a short amount of time can be dangerous for any animal.”

Because dogs’ only methods for cooling off are panting and sweating through their paws, they can succumb to high temperatures in very short periods of time, according the Humane Society of the United States official Web site.

Evans said the No. 1 way to ensure the safety of a pet is to not leave the animal in the car. Period…

A different kind of hot dog issue, for sure.

So anywho…It’s an open thread! What are you reading or thinking about today?