Saturday morning headlines: From snow to bombs

Snow-pocalypse, Snowmageddon, call it what you will – The Twin Cities got everything from snow to sleet to rain over the Christmas holiday. Highlights included cancellation of all Greyhound bus routes on New Year’s Eve, as well as delays and some cancellations of airline flights, snow emergencies across the metro, and record-setting snow measurements. Today – falling temps and rising winds. Snow emergency continues in Minneapolis, so watch where you park. Paul Douglas advises:

A friendly word to the wise: try to get out and push that slushy, sloppy concoction off your driveway or sidewalk (slowly, carefully – this is VERY heavy, wet snow with a high water content, what some doctors euphemistically call “heart attack snow.”) The reason? If you don’t get out there fairly soon it may become a cement-like, semi-permanent part of your yard.

For more snow, snow emergency, snow shoveling info, see What you need to know about snow in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota Lutherans have their first Hmong pastor – Nengyia Her ordained in the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and installed as pastor of Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in north Minneapolis. (Star Tribune)

American Indians, First Nations in Canada, and aboriginal Australians
have have been hit harder by swine flu than other populations. Possible reasons: poverty, overcrowded housing, higher incidences of asthma and diabetes, lack of access to health care. (NPR)

A Nigerian man failed to damage a Delta/Northwest flight to Detroit on Chdristmas Day  – though he tried to set off an incendiary device and apparently wanted to commit a major act of terrorism. His failed attempt succeeded in landing him in the hospital with second-degree burns to his legs, where he had taped explosive powder. He was overpowered by passengers after his failed attempt resulted in a firecracker-like popping noise and some smoke. According to the New York Times, “Although Mutallab is said to have told officials that he was directed by al-Qaida, the counterterrorism official expressed caution about that claim. ‘It may have been aspirational,’ the [federal counterterrorism] official said.”

Christmas doesn’t stop the wars. In Iraq, bombs killed 23 people on December 24, mostly Shia Muslims celebrating the holy day of Ashura (BBC). In Afghanistan, suicide bombers took eight lives in Kandahar (BBC). And the United States assisted Yemen in airstrikes targeting Al Qaida meetings (NPR), killing at least 30 people.

Paul Krugman responds to center and left objections to the Senate health care bill, with numbers showing that it will provide major relief to middle and lower-income families buying individual policies. Krugman: “Guys, this is a major program to aid lower- and lower-middle-income families. How is that not a big progressive victory?” Maybe because subsidizing private insurance coverage still means feeding the fat cat insurers?

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