Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lead and Hilary

I discovered a funny thing yesterday. People complain about how dangerous lead is to children and all the howling about Chinese toys full of lead, we're not too careful about how we enforce it. In MA, under the Department of Public Health's Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Regulation (105 CMR 460.00), "dangerous levels of lead" for the category of stuff that includes children's toys are defined as "equal to or more than 5,000 parts per million (ppm) or equal to or more than 0.5% by dry weight, as measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry [i.e. certified laboratory testing]."

The Mass DEP's reportable concentrations and risk assessment standards for soil at residential properties, parks, schools, etc. are both 300 ppm-- if you have more than that, you're required to perform a cleanup.

The upshot of this, which I hashed out with Mass DEP and DPH staff, is that you can have sixteen times much lead in a child's toy as would be allowed in soil contaminated by hazardous waste.


Oh, just to clear up another thing that's been bugging me the last couple of days. Hilary Clinton, despite her widely-bellowed claims, did *not* win the popular vote. I defer to RealClearPolitics here, for their table of tallies. Do the math.

Without the IA, NV, ME, WA caucuses and without the Michigan primary, Barack ended up with 33,916 more votes than Hillary Clinton.

With the IA, NV, ME, WA caucuses and without Michigan, Barack ended up with 144,138 more votes than Hillary Clinton.

Barack won by every standard there is. That's it.

More to the point, Barack won by the rules and procedures established by the Democratic Party, and that included not campaigning or having his name on the ballot in Florida and Michigan after those states' primaries broke the rules despite being warned in advance, and were decertified. Hilary didn't campaign, but she did get her name on the ballot. Strictly speaking, by party rules, none of the votes in Florida and Michigan should be counted, a decision initially supported by the Clinton camp until they realized they needed those illegitimate results in order to stave off defeat and started screeching about how every vote must be counted. If the people in Michigan and Florida want to complain to anyone, they should tear their state governments a new one for ruining things for them.

One of the more annoying things I noted about the Clinton campaign was the way they continually glossed over contests they didn't win, although that eventually backed them into a corner when they got to Pennsylvania-- claiming "he doesn't have a chance if he can't win Pennsylvania" just doesn't work, either mathematically or in the court of common sense. The blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who founded DailyKos, described her whole plan as the "insult forty states" strategy. I thought it was pretty accurate-- she gambled everything on a big win in the big left-leaning states and didn't bother to plan for a long game anywhere else; she essentially wrote off everything she didn't think was important, and boy did that come back to f*ck her in the ass.

Hell, Al Gore didn't make this much of a fuss after the Supreme Court declared W the winner in Florida and thus Presidunce, even though Gore had 543,816 more popular votes than Georgie Porgie.

And John McCain? Four words for you. "George. Bush's. Third. Term."

He's complaining that Obama's 'naive' and accusing him of repeating things that aren't true?

Cue the McCain greatest hits, Al....

"I believe... that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators." (March 20, 2003)

"Saddam Hussein is on a crash course to construct a nuclear weapon." (October 10, 2002)

"This conflict is... going to be relatively short." (March 23, 2003)

"I would argue that the next three to six months will be critical." (September 10, 2003)

"I think the initial phases of [the war] were so spectacularly successful that it took us all by surprise." (October 31, 2003)

"Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war." (August 30, 2004)

"We will probably see significant progress in the next six months to a year." (December 4, 2005)

"We can know fairly well [whether the surge is working] in a few months." (February 4, 2007)

Plus the guy needs Lieberman to remind him of the difference between Sunni and Shi'a, and which one Iran is run by....Forty-odd years of government service and this is the best he can do? Newer model, please.

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