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Volume 14, Issue 25 ~ June 22 - June 28, 2006

Way Downstream

In Annapolis, Howard Ernst’s Blue Crab Project identifying Bay-friendly challengers this election cycle got a boost when Baysider cartoonist Jim Toomey, who puts out the syndicated strip Sherman’s Lagoon about a dim-witted white shark, produced a fine crab logo to match Ernst’s fine project…

In Virginia, that suds-like foam on the James River appearing almost daily now is somewhat of a mystery. Experts believe that it may be caused by phosphorous, a pollutant that is showing up in vastly higher concentrations than just a few years ago. One thing for sure: It ain’t the sign of a healthy waterway…

In Washington, Maryland GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest sounded for a moment last week that he was ready to join colleagues calling for a date-certain withdrawal from Iraq. “Let us have a powerful sense of urgency to end the war successfully,” said Gilchrest, a marine sergeant in Vietnam. But not too much urgency; he voted with the Republican majority to reject a withdrawal timetable. Democrat Reps. Steny Hoyer and Ben Cardin — and all Maryland’s Democratic congressmen — voted on the other side…

Our Creature Feature is a dispatch from our Asia Desk bureau chief, Tom Long, about a drunken monkey named Banno, whom he apparently knows. That may be why Tom hasn’t filed for Bay Weekly since he left El Salvador for Thailand two years ago. New Yorker mainstay A.J. Liebling used to say that a reporter needs two weeks to gain “a frame of reference.” But two years?

Anyway, Tom reports that Banno, a fixture at a highway saloon in Uttar Pradesh, India, uncorks a half-dozen or so beers a day with her teeth, (she prefers strong lagers) guzzles heartily and then burps. When Banno gets a buzz on, she dances wildly to the latest Hindi pop tunes, a spectacle that draws people from across northern India. That makes us wonder if the saloon keeper is exploiting this poor monkey. He explains that Banno has at least sworn off hard liquor: “Gradually, she turned alcoholic, but for the past seven years only has beer.”

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