Sunday, November 30, 2003

Yahoo! News - McCain Lashes Congress, Bush for Overspending
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading Republican Sen. John McCain on Sunday berated fellow lawmakers for "spending money like a drunken sailor" and said President Bush was also to blame for pushing the nation toward higher interest rates and inflation.

On the "Fox News Sunday" program, McCain lamented the closing actions of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives before recessing for the year, most notably passage of a massive overhaul of the Medicare insurance program for the elderly.

THANK YOU JOHN! 'Bout frickin' time someone noticed this.

Facing the Horrific Every Day (
Assaults on U.S. troops have numbered as many as 45 a day in recent weeks. For the staff at the 28th Combat Support Hospital, located within the U.S.-led occupation authority's headquarters at one of former president Saddam Hussein's palaces, that translates into a dozen patients some days. Twenty-four hours in the hospital's emergency room with soldiers stripped of their uniforms and gritty exteriors revealed the physical and emotional toll.

About 70 percent of the hospital's patients are wounded soldiers; the rest are Iraqi civilians and prisoners, along with a small number of U.S. civilian contractors, said Maj. Mark White, director of patient administration.

The number of soldiers treated for serious combat injuries is not publicly disclosed. Instead, the hospital releases statistics on patient admissions -- a total of 1,659 U.S. soldiers through Oct. 30. The combined number of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi patients admitted per month has increased since September, and this month was expected to reach about 400, White said.

Excellent article on the reality of war. America needs to see this.

Yahoo! News - Election Sets Back Accord in N. Ireland
Among Protestant voters, the Democratic Unionist Party, led by Rev. Ian Paisley defeated the more moderate Ulster Unionists under David Trimble, one of the prime movers in the peace process and lead minister in the now-dismantled local government. Even in Trimble's party, several opponents of the agreement won election, giving Protestants who reject the power-sharing deal a solid majority.

On the Catholic side, Sinn Fein, the political affiliate of the paramilitary Irish Republican Army, vaulted over the Social Democratic and Labor Party, which until Friday had been the largest Catholic-oriented party. Both parties support the 1998 accord, known as the Good Friday agreement, which for the first time in the province's troubled history guaranteed the Catholic minority a share of decision-making in local affairs.

Paisley, 77, and his party are committed to scrapping the agreement, which they contend has given too much power to Sinn Fein and the IRA. While Democratic Unionists served as cabinet ministers in the last local government, they insist they will not do so again until the IRA has disarmed and been disbanded.

Oops! I spoke too soon. I hope they don't return to violence as a way of solving their problems.

GOP wins by bending rules, fudging reality
Republican pollster Bill McInturff ticks off the many reasons for satisfaction. Back in May, Congress added another round of tax cuts to those it passed in 2001 and 2002. The heady mix of fiscal stimulus, including increased defense and domestic spending, has had its desired effect, and the once-stagnant economy shows clear signs of soaring into the election year.

The "compassionate conservative" president can now go to the country bragging that he has moved the federal government more aggressively than ever into two areas where the public supports additional effort -- education, with the No Child Left Behind Act passed by the last Congress, and the largest expansion ever of Medicare.


It's the money, stupid. We can't afford the "conservatives" anymore.

79 died in Iraq in past month
WASHINGTON - November was the deadliest month yet for the American military in Iraq. Seventy-nine U.S. servicemen and women have died - compared with 73 in the previous two months combined.
Including six Americans killed in Afghanistan, November was the most costly month for the military since February 1991, when 162 U.S. troops were killed in the climax of the first Persian Gulf War.

Quote seen the other day- "It's the dead soldiers, stupid. Protect your sons (and daughters), vote Democratic." Although I see that Hillary thinks the power transfer shouldn't be done to hastily. Hmmmm. I have to disagree. If we give the appearance of handing over power, maybe these attacks will stop. Doesn't necessarily mean we totally leave the country.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

New York City - Joan Jett Running in NY as Dean Delegate
If she is elected during New York's March 2 presidential primary, Jett would go to the Democratic National Convention next summer as a Dean delegate.

Dean's New York campaign director, Ethan Geto, said Jett was an early and active supporter of Dean's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, including performing at fund-raising events.

Jett, 43, said she agrees with Dean's stance against the war in Iraq, though she is a champion of members of the U.S. military. She performed twice for troops in the Afghanistan military theater in the months after Sept. 11, 2001, and has also performed for American troops in Bosnia.

Alright Joan! You go girl! (For those who don't know, I met and chatted with Joan on one of her tour stops here. She is a very nice, soft-spoken, articulate lady.)

Yahoo! News - Aides Prodded Reluctant Bush on Iraq Trip
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - For a president fond of a tough-guy image, George W. Bush was uneasy when an aide casually asked him, "You want to go to Baghdad?"

It was White House chief of staff Andrew Card who first proposed the surprise trip -- not the president.

"Andy (Card), as he often does, said (to Bush) almost in passing: 'Thanksgiving's coming up. Where do you want to go? You want to go to Baghdad?"' Rice recalled, and the planning got under way.

Bush aides considered scrapping the visit less than a week ago after a DHL cargo plane, landing at the same airport, was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

"The president had made clear that he was prepared to call this off at any time," Rice said, adding the DHL incident "made people go back and take a look at whether we thought the plane would be safe going in."

I get the impression that this started as a joke. "Wouldn't it be funny if.....?" and, "C'mon Mr. President, what are ya, chicken or something?"

Yahoo! News - Schilling Accepts Trade to Red Sox
Schilling accepted a trade to Boston on Friday after agreeing to a contract extension that could keep him with the Red Sox through the end of his career. Having teamed with Randy Johnson to win a World Series in Arizona, Schilling now joins Martinez in trying to lead the Red Sox to its first title since 1918.

Oh my. Look out for the Sox.

Friday, November 28, 2003

NYC: Red, White and Creepy? Could Be Santa
Serious questions, all. But they are less immediate than a concern raised by a California company that does background checks on thousands of people applying for jobs. This company,, wanted to get the lowdown on the Santas who put the ho in holiday at shopping malls across the country.

A year ago, it examined about 1,000 Santas at malls, and discovered that 70 had criminal records. That's 7 percent, for those of you who have lost the pocket calculators that you got last Christmas. We're talking about nastiness like indecent exposure, assault, soliciting prostitution and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Did you know that if you rearrange a few letters in the word "Santa", you get "Satan"? Mere coincidence? I think not! - Official: Al-Qaeda plans something big
WASHINGTON — A top counterterrorism official says al-Qaeda operatives dropped plans this year for several small attacks in the USA to focus on plotting a "more spectacular" assault comparable to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The U.S. counterterrorism official, who has access to all intelligence on the terrorist group, told USA TODAY this week that officials have no specific evidence to indicate how or when al-Qaeda might try to launch a massive strike on U.S. soil.

But, the official said, interviews with al-Qaeda detainees, intercepts of communications from suspected operatives and other sources have yielded evidence that Osama bin Laden's network still has a command structure and a determination to launch an attack that might rival the suicide hijackings.

The mind reels at the thought of what that could possibly be.

Yahoo! News - Stigma Weakens for Pols Who Smoked Pot
Lots of politicians, including three of the Democratic presidential candidates, show no fear of fessing up to lighting up in their wild-oats days. Indeed, some who deny dabbling in illegal drugs give the impression that instead of feeling self-righteous, they're a little nervous about coming across as dishonest or just square.

Eight candidates at a recent Democratic presidential debate were asked whether they ever had used marijuana. Three of them — Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Howard Dean— each answered with an unadorned "yes," drawing enthusiastic applause from the "Rock the Vote" event's youthful audience. It was candidates who said they hadn't smoked pot who felt the need to elaborate.

I can hear the cries throughout Capitol Hill- "Will the honorable Senator please stop bogarting the joint? You have 30 seconds for rebuttal"

Yahoo! News - Some Iraqis Welcome Bush, Others Wish Him in Hell
Abu Sara, a restaurant owner in the capital, said if security and living standards under the Americans did not improve rapidly, more Iraqis would turn against the U.S. forces.

"We welcome Bush as we welcome any guest who comes peacefully," he said. "But we want to draw attention to the fact that there is no security, no jobs and no services well into the American occupation of Iraq. "If the situation continues, Iraqis will use everything they have to throw the Americans out, including stones."

No security, no jobs and no services? It seems we have succeeded in bringing the American way to Iraq! Mission accomplished.

Yahoo! News - Bush Returns Home from Secret Visit to Iraq
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush returned to the United States early on Friday after a secret, morale-boosting trip to Baghdad for Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. troops amid mounting casualties and political pressure at home. At the heavily fortified Baghdad International Airport, Bush thanked American troops, who are constantly under attack from a deadly guerrilla insurgency, and vowed that U.S. forces would prevail.

Morale booster or brilliant (and dangerous) campaign stop?

Thursday, November 27, 2003

It's All About Me Part Tres:

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I think the parents did, too. I am so happy that they are alive, healthy and happy. I guess I didn't want to go to the Lions game after all. I take it all back.
It's All About Me Part Deux:

Considering your posts its quite obvious you are willing to walk the path others haven't, to take the risk knowing of the strong possibility of takes courage, wisdom and a strong fortitude to do such in the eyes of such adversity.

This is quite possibly the nicest thing ever said to me on an internet forum.
It's All About Me:

Thanksgiving memories. Hmmm. It will be hard for me to write this because I know that my Dad (and perhaps others now too) will read it, but here goes.

When I think "holidays", I think stress. There was probably a time that they were fun, but I was probably too young to pick up on the underlying tension. I was the oldest grandchild in both sides of the family, and the star of the show for a time. I can vaguely remember it was always difficult to decide just where I was going to be- at one time I had three different "families", and we seemed to run between all of them. That was probably more Xmas than Thanksgiving though, but I remember it being a struggle.

Right now, all I can remember is sitting in my Grandmother's dining room with cold food on my plate, alone in the dark, ostracized from the family because I refused to eat something that made me gag. Thinking about that, I feel it was the beginning on my alienation from all of them. I was the *star*, dammit! What heinous crime had I committed that I was to be treated like this? I couldn't eat that shit, it made me want to puke! So I sat, alone, looking out the window at the dark, the snow, while everyone else was laughing in the other room. My Aunt Kathy came in from time to time and gave me dirty, disappointed looks. I felt abandoned. In time, I returned the favor.

As I got older, I begged off from the family dinners. I would stay home, eat boil-in-bag turkey, and usually drink myself silly. And that was just fine with me. "You'll be sorry!", my Mom said. Uh, no, I'm not. I miss my grandmothers now, but quite frankly, I'm still glad that I did not attend these torture festivals. They made me extremely uncomfortable; it was practically painful. I was the "lost" generation on both sides of the family, and I felt like a failure because I had not yet conquered the world. God knows why.

Some of my happiest Thanksgivings were spent at the Lions games! When I was a kid, I would look longingly at the television, wishing I was there. In the 90's, I made it! I was with my friends, loaded to the gills. I remember one year, I had played a gig the night before and didn't get home until 3 am. I was up at 6, by 7 we were rolling down the road, drinking Molson Ice and smoking pot. The only thing I remember about the game is the final touchdown, the Lions beat Atlanta in OT. It was great fun. Afterwards, we would go to my friend Deb's family dinner in Clarkston. They are Mexican, and had some great food! And they always made us feel welcome. It was comfortable. I smiled a lot.

In both of my serious relationships, holidays were also difficult. With Kathy, we were not "out" to our families. I was usually invited to her family dinner, but they were only taking pity on me because they knew I was going to be alone. They are good people, but they are loud. Total noise. I couldn't take it. With Kristin, it was a painful reminder that our relationship would never be accepted by her family. It hurt her tremendously, and it hurt me too. To them, if they invited me to dinner, it gave us legitimacy. So I wasn't invited. Funny, if I was just her friend, I would've been welcomed with open arms. They really liked me. But, since I was her lover, I was to be shunned at this "family" time to prove their Christian point. I'm sure Jesus was pleased with their behavior.

Now I have my parents coming to my house, and I like that, although I feel like both of them are only doing it because it is expected of us, not because they really want to. That kind of hurts, in a way. Maybe that's why I feel a sort of sadness about today, knowing that they would like to skip it all together. Honestly, I wish I could just get drunk and go to the Lions game. And with that thought, I feel incredible guilt. I should be grateful, right?

I am grateful my parents are still with me. I am very lucky. I love them both so much. I hope that they have a good time today, because I'm nobody's idea of a hostess, that's for sure.

Happy Thanksgiving all. I wonder if I will ever feel good about the "holidays".

Stephen King Hospitalized With Pneumonia
The best-selling author had been diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung before a recent trip to New York to receive an honorary National Book Award for lifetime achievement. His condition worsened when he returned to Maine and the pneumonia spread to the other lung, Silver said.

Steve! Why weren't you in Osprey by now? - Thanksgiving in a bottle: Turkey and Gravy soda
SEATTLE (AP) — No time for turkey? Craving gravy to go? Then give thanks for the hottest creation from a Seattle company: turkey and gravy flavored soda.

The Jones Soda Co. produced about 6,000 bottles of its Thanksgiving-themed drink, and then sold out its supply in less than two hours online last week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yahoo! News - U.K. prepares for same-sex union bill
The bill that will give rights to same sex couples for the first time is set to be unveiled on Wednesday, after the general public showed strong support for such a proposal.

The civil partnership bill will enter parliamentary debate after it has been announced in the Queen's Speech, along with other radical reforms. If passed, it will give same-sex couples in England and Wales similar rights to married heterosexuals, including employment and pension benefits, inheritance and parental rights and immigration recognition.

Its unveiling follows the release of comments made during the consultation period of the proposals, which revealed that more than 80 percent of people supported a more equal approach to gay and lesbian couples in terms of the law.

The rest of the world moves towards equality. I'm saddened that America, the supposed land of freedom, lags behind in social issues.

Yahoo! News - Women Needed to Test Orgasm Machine
LONDON (Reuters) - Wanted: women to test new orgasm machine.

No, really. An American surgeon who has patented a device that triggers an orgasm has begun a clinical trial approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States and is looking for female volunteers.

Meloy, of Piedmont Anesthesia and Pain Consultants in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is hoping to find eight more volunteers willing to have electrodes inserted in their spine and be connected to a pacemaker-size machine implanted under the skin to heighten their sexual pleasure.

Should be on every girl's Xmas list...

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Yahoo! News - U.S. senators introduce gay marriage ban
Three Republican U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. According to the Associated Press, Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., is sponsoring the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) along with co-sponsors Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

"The U.S. Constitution is no place to play election-year politics, particularly when our nation is facing other critical issues such as an uncertain economy, threats to our homeland, the safety of our troops in Iraq (news - web sites) and skyrocketing health care costs," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch in a prepared statement.

"Gay and lesbian citizens work hard, pay taxes and deserve the same rights as every other American," she said.

Mark Mead, spokesman for Log Cabin Republicans (news - web sites), was outraged.

"I think it's shocking that these allegedly conservative senators are introducing sweeping federal legislation," he told the Network soon after the information became public. "True conservative Republicans believe in state rights, and this goes against it."

***sigh***It seems the Republicans are going to use this issue. Well, at least it will be decided one way or the other...

The Sticker-Shock Congress
Though the Republicans are historically the party of budget restraint and smaller government, these Republicans have presided over an orgy of tax cuts and benefit increases that, according to the Concord group, will not only boost this year's projected deficit but also add as much as $800 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years. The damage will be even greater in the following decade.

Ladies and gentlemen, stealing your future for feel-good headlines today, it's the Republican Party! Let's give 'em a hand shall we?"

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Cubs get Lee in exchange for Choi
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs added some power to their lineup Tuesday, acquiring Derrek Lee from the Florida Marlins for Hee Seop Choi and a minor leaguer to be named.

Lee hit .271 with 31 homers, 92 RBIs and 21 steals last season for the World Series champion Marlins. Lee has 20 homers in each of his last four seasons and has 40 steals over the last two years -- the most by any first baseman in the majors.

Lee also is considered one of the game's best defensive first basemen, and he won his first Gold Glove this year.

Guess that means goodbye to Karros.

The Grand Finale (
What is still missing from the triumphant declarations of the bill's supporters is any realistic understanding of the costs involved, or any hint of the tradeoffs that may be necessary down the road. Many lean on the estimate that the legislation will cost $400 billion over the next 10 years. Yet the director of the Congressional Budget Office recently told members of Congress that in its second decade, the measure could cost between $1.7 trillion and $2 trillion. Not only are health care costs likely to keep rising, along with drug prices, but the pressures to spend more on Medicare will now be higher too.

After all, everyone else in this country, from those who are now children to those who are now middle-aged, will be paying the price of this enormously expensive legislation for the rest of their lives.

Looks like we will be paying for all the "enormously expensive legislation" proposed by this administration. Can we undo the damage?

Yahoo! News - Hall-Of-Fame Pitcher Warren Spahn Dead at 82
BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (Reuters) - Hall-of-Fame pitcher Warren Spahn, who won more games than any other left-hander in U.S. baseball history and threw two no-hitters, died on Monday at 82.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Poll Says U.S. Voters Evenly Split on Bush
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A year before the next presidential election, voters in the United States are about where they were in 2000 on the question of President Bush (news - web sites) -- split down the middle -- according to a new poll by Time magazine and CNN. The poll showed that 47 percent were somewhat likely or very likely to vote to re-elect Bush and 48 percent were somewhat unlikely or very unlikely to do so.

Bush's overall job approval rating was at 52 percent, according to the poll, down from its peak of 89 percent in October 2001, just after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. His disapproval rating reached a new high, at 43 percent, the poll said.

89% in Oct.2001. Very high at the start of the war too, I believe. If the Republicans see power slipping away, do they dare manufacture a crisis? Iraq is starting to look like a "manufactured crisis" to me. Would America fall for it again?

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Polls Show Mass. Gay Marriage Ruling OK
BOSTON - Two new polls released Sunday show Massachusetts lawmakers could be bucking public opinion if they try to thwart the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling last week that found the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

Fifty percent of Massachusetts residents surveyed for a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll said they agreed with the ruling, while 38 percent opposed it. A separate Boston Sunday Herald poll found 49 percent said they support legalizing gay marriage, while 38 percent oppose it.

Right on Massachusetts!

Yahoo! News - FBI Collecting Data on Anti-War Groups -NYT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been collecting information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions. In a report sourced to several interviews as well as a confidential bureau memorandum, the Times said that the law enforcement agency has also advised local officials that they should report to counterterrorism squads any suspicious activity at protests.

"The FBI is dangerously targeting Americans who are engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent," Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union told the newspaper. "The line between terrorism and legitimate civil disobedience is blurred, and I have a serious concern about whether we're going back to the days of Hoover."

DING! DING! DING! Wake up America, here it comes! Everybody get your 'papers' in order please.

The view from the Dan Ryan (I-94) as of last Friday.

Chicago in the sun is a thing of beauty. I wish the windshield wasn't dirty. - Georgian defense minister says troops won't intervene in crisis
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia's opposition urged followers to take over state television and seize more government buildings Sunday, a day after occupying parliament and declaring themselves in control of the impoverished Caucasus nation.

The opposition has pressed Shevardnadze to step down immediately instead of waiting until 2005, when his term ends. The elections, which Shevardnadze had declared democratic and fair, became a tipping point for a population fed up with the poverty, corruption and crime that have dogged Georgia for more than a decade.

Give it up Eduard. (Edited at 2:24PM- Later today he resigned.) - At least 17 U.S. troops have committed suicide in Iraq; Army seeks answers
Since April, the military says, at least 17 Americans — 15 Army soldiers and two Marines — have taken their own lives in Iraq. The true number is almost certainly higher. At least two dozen non-combat deaths, some of them possible suicides, are under investigation according to an AP review of Army casualty reports.

The military needs to be especially watchful for anxiety and depression among its troops in the weeks ahead. For civilian and soldier alike, the Christmas season and depression go hand in hand, Kelley said. But for a soldier, she added, a weapon is always at hand.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

You're Colin!
You are Colin Powell! You're the odd duck of
the Bush White House - the reasonable diplomat.
Every administration's got one!

Which member of the Bush Administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

House Passes Landmark Medicare Drug Bill
The House voted 220-215 on Saturday morning to pass the bill after Republican leaders kept what normally would have been a 15-minute vote open for nearly three hours as they battled to avoid defeat.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California accused Republicans of an "abuse of power" and likened it to the contested 2000 presidential elections in Florida. "I guess it's in their DNA," she said. "They just can't play by the rules."

Can these guys ever be fair? Why isn't holding the vote open that long illegal?

Way to go Blue! Big Ten Champions 2003!
Random Thoughts:
It was proposed on another forum that we are a nation of "adrenalin junkies". I tend to agree with this, but I can't be sure that I'm not just projecting myself here. I'm an adrenalin junkie, I know this for a fact.

Whatever 9-11 was, it had the collective effect on the national psyche of taking a big 'ol hit off the crack pipe. That's why George sells. He has become very adept at keeping us afraid and we like it. The fight or flight response is a rush. That blood gets ta cookin' and it's fun.

The problem with speed freaks is that eventually they crash and burn. Will we, as a whole, crash and burn? And what exactly would that entail on a national level? And would the "crash" be just another "rush", therefore perpetuating the addiction?

Yahoo! News - N.Korea Berates Rumsfeld as Worse Than Hitler
The official KCNA news agency also said Rumsfeld's criticism of North Korea this week -- he called it an evil regime -- made Pyongyang doubt the prospects of talks to resolve the North's nuclear crisis.

"It is nothing surprising that Rumsfeld talked such nonsense as he put Hitler into the shade in man-killing and war hysteria. But we can never pardon him for malignantly slandering our dignified and inviolable political system whether he is a political dwarf, human scum or hysteric," the agency said.

"If his vituperation represents the stance of the Bush administration, it can not but cast a doubt about the prospect of the six-way talks," it said.

Way to go Don. Let's piss off the people with the nukes. Brilliant. - UM-OSU more than just a game
If the No. 4 Buckeyes (10-1, 6-1) win, they have a good chance of defending their national championship in the Sugar Bowl. If the No. 5 Wolverines win (9-2, 6-1), not only do they clinch their first trip to Pasadena in six years, they have a great chance of ruining Ohio State's season. Don't ask them which is more important.

This should prove to be a fun game, both teams are pretty evenly matched. Go Blue!
It's All About Me:
From one of my forums- this took me damn near two hours to write. I guess it's better mental exercise than euchre.

Why is there so much depression today?

I would hazard a guess that mental illness and addiction existed in much the same quantity back in "the good old days", but it carried such an incredible stigma that it was not acknowledged in society. Most of the time, people were thrown into institutions and that was that. (and now that we have shut down the institutions, people are ending up in jail where they receive little to no treatment.)

We are just beginning to understand the human brain and the very strong evidence of genetic predisposition to mental illness and addiction, and we are in the infancy of learning how to treat it. It is going to take time. I have a feeling that they are going to find that the levels of chemical messengers in the brain are just as individual as fingerprints and therefore will be very hard to correct. (Just a theory) But I believe that we will get there eventually.

In my case, yes, I came from a "broken" home, BUT, without going into huge detail, I can tell you that I would have been MUCH better off had my Mom stayed a single parent. I could also show you examples of people in my life who came from so- called stable, two-parent households who fared a lot worse than I did. I think we tend to rely on stereotypical generalizations a bit too often, painting everyone with the same broad brush. Every case is different.

I wish our country would start to examine the real reasons we have so much emotional pain.

Right now we seem to be a country ruled by fear. (and greed, which I think is just another form of fear) If you subject someone to enough fearful stimuli, they are going to become neurotic. I see a lot of finger-pointing but no real solutions being offered (this forum is perfect evidence of that), and that's a shame. We are going to have to work together, here in America and with the rest of the world if we are going to progress. But unfortunately this sentiment is often dismissed as "touchy-feely liberal pap". My biggest fear is that our current direction of "might is right" will cost us NYC one of these days. (Do we appease the terrorists? No. But we sure as hell better seek to understand where they are coming from or we will never get past this. Violence only begets more violence.)

Examining our "emotional pain", as you put it, can only be a good thing, but, we have to do it without playing the blame game. (and btw, If I was the devil, I would send people such as Rush and Paul Harvey out to vilify entire groups of people so there can never be understanding amongst ourselves. Let's keep the humans fighting and they will never get anywhere. That, to me, is evil.) - U.S. admits attacks in Iraq 'inventive, ingenious'
BAGHDAD (AP) — Rockets launched from donkey carts. Explosives hidden in the carcasses of roadkill. Land mines taken apart and converted for attacks. Insurgents in Iraq are borrowing tactics used by Palestinians, Afghans and others to press their fight against the U.S.-led occupation.

In the latest sign of Iraqi ingenuity, guerrillas fired more than a dozen rockets from wooden donkey carts Friday at the Oil Ministry and two hotels used by international journalists and civilian defense contractors.

Guess we better open fire on any hostile looking donkey-carts, just to be safe.

GOP Presses for Vote on Medicare Overhaul
But Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who labored all week to unify her rank and file against the bill, said the GOP-backed bill was "not the beginning of a real prescription drug benefit under Medicare. On the contrary, this is the beginning of the end of Medicare as we know it."

First we take away Joe Lunchbox's overtime, now let's take Poor Elderly Granny and force her into a HMO that probably will hassle her about what kind of care she can get! Progress America!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Foes of Bush OT Rules Abandon Effort
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who had been the chief Republican opponent of the new rules, agreed Friday to drop a provision killing the regulations from a massive spending bill, said numerous congressional aides and lobbyists speaking on condition of anonymity. The Bush administration says the new rules are a badly needed modernization of overtime rules that in many cases are vague and decades old. Opponents like Specter said the regulations could enable employers to end overtime for millions of workers.

It was unclear what, if anything, Specter received in return for his decision.

The Bush administration says the new rules are a badly needed modernization of overtime rules that in many cases are vague and decades old. Opponents like Specter said the regulations could enable employers to end overtime for millions of workers.

Let's stiff the working stiffs some more. Hurry, we have to get out of town...

Granholm suggests pausing tax cut to bolster school funding
LANSING -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm is backing a plan to stall the scheduled Jan. 1 income tax cut, hoping to help reduce budget cuts to most schools to just $70 per pupil instead of $196. The plan, now in negotiations with House and Senate leaders, would freeze the income tax rate at 4.0 percent, the governor's spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Thursday.

The call for pausing the income tax rollback was immediately criticized by the state Republican Party. The GOP controls both the House and Senate.

"We have two words of advice for Gov. Granholm: Gray Davis,'' said GOP spokesman Greg McNeilly, referring to California's recently recalled Democratic governor. "Michigan families need tax cuts, not tax hikes. No matter how she wants to parlay or parse her words, that's what she's proposing.''

Could you be a tad more dramatic there, Greg? Gray Davis? Are you kidding me?

(sarcasm) Yes. By all means, more tax cuts. I don't feel the need for police, fire, environmental quality, prisons, education, roads, help for the disabled and elderly, arts, you know, all those wacky quality of life issues, do YOU, Michigan? Nah, just give me the cash. (/sarcasm)

When are the Republicans going to get a FUCKING CLUE?

Doctors Look at 'Chronic Daily Headaches'
It's a condition that has existed for centuries, doctors say. But only recently has it been given a name: "chronic daily headaches," or CDH, defined as migraines or neck- and head-squeezing tension headaches that are present 15 or more days each month.

Speaking of Scott, he always had terrible headaches, some that sent him to the hospital. I was cynical, thinking he was drug-seeking. Maybe there was a bit of truth to it too.
It's All About Me:
For my best friend Scott Allen, who set himself free two years ago 11/23. I thought it was the 21st because it was the Friday after Thanksgiving. (but perhaps it was the Saturday, nobody knows for sure when it was) I just know that this is the time-frame of the week; a "Good Friday" if you will.

I miss you now, I will miss you forever. I'm grateful today for the time we had together- the laughter, the truimphs, even the tears. Thank you for listening, for pulling me through some of my darkest hours, for celebrating with me some of my brighest ones. Thank you for your honesty, for telling me that I was being an idiot when I was being self-defeating, for giving me confidence in myself when I was faced with crippling self-doubt. For listening to endless hours of talk. For telling me that I was beautiful. For all that you gave to me. I was truly blessed. The tears I cry today are ones of pure selfishness for what I lost.

I hope that you are happy and free, that your beautiful soul lives on in a place where no pain or sorrow can touch it, where understanding and love are the order of the day, and the answers we all desperately crave are made available to us. If there is a reason to believe in heaven, it is so I can see you once again.

Thank you Scott. You will always be in my heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Stressful and Insecure Jobs Take a Toll on Health
Australian researchers found that managers and other professionals who were under a strong threat of being laid off were more than three times as likely to report depression, anxiety or being in poor health than people in more secure positions.

I'm here to testify...
It's All About Me: "I'm not much, but I'm all I think about."

Nothing interesting this morning to blog. Some days I got it, some days I don't.

Thanks to DAD for dinner last night, that was yummy! Can't wait for leftovers tonight. I shoulda grabbed your hash browns. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Genetic Risk of Alcoholism Linked to Sweet Tooth
Kampov-Polevoy explained that the same mechanism in the brain enables us to enjoy both alcohol and sweets. As a result, some people struggling with alcoholism may be able to substitute one craving for another--for instance, popping a hard candy when the desire to drink arises, he said.

Perhaps we should send a bunch of candy to the Russians.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Man dies after winning vodka-drinking contest
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A vodka-drinking competition in a southern Russian town ended in tragedy with the winner dead and several runners-up in intensive care. "The competition lasted 30, perhaps 40 minutes and the winner downed three half-litre bottles. He was taken home by taxi but died within 20 minutes," said Roman Popov, a prosecutor pursuing the case in the town of Volgodonsk.

Popov said the director of the shop organising this month's contest had been charged with manslaughter. He had offered 10 litres of vodka to the competitor drinking the most in the shortest time.

Anyone see the irony in the prosecutors name?

The mighty ocean has but one taste,
The taste of salt.
Even so, the true way has
But one savor,
The savor of freedom.

- Majjhima Nikaya

You say you want a revolution? Bucs turn page on Keyshawn
In short, what the Bucs decided they could live without on Tuesday was a player who never really bought into Gruden's program in Tampa Bay, and showed every indication that he didn't really want to be there. While no one disputes that Johnson played hard when he was on the field on game day, his dedication to both his craft and his team were found sorely lacking among members of the Bucs organization.

Are the Bucs a better team without Johnson? Certainly not. But the consensus within the front office and the locker room seems to be that they're better off. At least chemistry-wise. Call it your basic addition by subtraction.

Bye Bye Keshawn. Take your 'tude somewhere else. - Gay marriage looms large for '04
The issue is likely to be problematic for Democrats. While polls show an overwhelming majority of Republicans oppose gay marriage, Democrats are split. Some analysts say support of gay marriage or civil unions could be a "wedge" issue that separates moderate voters from Democratic candidates the way school busing and welfare reform once did.

There are complications for Republicans as well. "If Republicans become too harsh in their language, it creates an appearance of intolerance, which is not attractive to swing voters," Republican pollster Whit Ayres says, although he says the problems are greater for Democrats.

How to be a bigot without actually sounding bigoted. Hee hee. This is going to be fun. BUT, I hope this issue doesn't detract from the other issues that effect the lives of all of us, such as the war and the economy. I could see the nasty Republicans focusing on this so their failures on the other issues get lost.
It's All About my Dad: HAPPY BIRTHDAY POP!
Hope it's a good one. Love you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Yahoo! News - Massachusetts Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban
In a 4-3 ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court said Massachusetts cannot deny civil marriage rights to two people of the same sex who wish to marry -- although it stopped short of ordering the state to start issuing marriage licenses.

Happy, happy day! : Philadelphia Aims to Be the Next Gay Mecca
"The gay traveler has been to San Francisco. They've been to Provincetown, Mass. They are interested in going to more than the gay Meccas," said John Cochie, co-founder of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus. "We think they're ready for an Eagles game."

Um, has anybody but me noticed that Eagles fans are a real nasty group of folks? Do we really need to teach gays how to throw their beer at opposing players? : Rush Limbaugh Returns From Rehab
NEW YORK Nov. 17 — In his first broadcast after undergoing rehab for addiction to painkillers, Rush Limbaugh reassured his radio listeners Monday that he hadn't been turned into a "linguini-spined liberal."

Well, from that statement, we can certainly see that he has worked on his "resentments."

Bush Leans on Blair in the Face of Anti-War Anger
Protesters have vowed to give the president his first taste of European anger at the war during the visit, which begins with a greeting from Prince Charles and include three nights at Buckingham palace as guest of the Queen.

Organizers expect 100,000 anti-war demonstrators to cap their protest by toppling a giant statue of Bush in central London's Trafalgar Square -- an echo of the toppling of a statue of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in April.

I can't wait to see the media coverage of this.

Monday, November 17, 2003 : Pentagon Limits Media Coverage of Funerals
The Pentagon says it is merely trying to protect the privacy of the families of the fallen soldiers. But the new rules have some reporters wondering whether it is just the latest move by the Bush administration to limit coverage of casualties of the war in Iraq.

Images of soldiers' coffins impact the national psyche. Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton refers to something he calls the "Dover test." This is how he described it in a 2000 speech at Harvard University: "Is the American public prepared for the sight of our most precious resource coming home in flag-draped caskets into Dover Air Force Base in Delaware?" If not, he cautioned, the war should probably not be fought.

I'm still not sure how this is legal. Wouldn't it be covered by the Freedom of Information Act? I would think that, if it's OK with the immediate family, we should have access. America needs to see these guys come home. We need to see what it is costing us, both physically and financially.

Digital Sales Outpace Physical for First Time
NEW YORK (Billboard) - For the first time since the chart's rollout in July, the No. 1-selling song on Hot Digital Tracks bests the weekly total of the No. 1 title on Hot 100 Singles.

While it appears that the new kid in town is beating up the physical single, a closer look reveals that this is not exactly a fair fight. If stores were provided with the same weapons that the digital distributors are able to offer, the number of units on Hot 100 Singles most likely would exceed those found on Hot Digital Tracks.

7 out of 10 top singles were not manufactured in physical form. It will be awhile before digital will totally beat out physical, but singles sales are the first step.

Bush Says U.S. Would Wage War Again to Make World Safe
LONDON (Reuters) - The United States would wage war again, and alone if necessary, to ensure the long-term safety of the world, President Bush said in an interview published Monday.

"There are alternatives to fighting"- Obi Wan-Kenobi.

Too bad our President isn't wise enough to figure that out.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

It's All About Me:

Today's thought is:
Taking an honest look at ourselves is necessary if we want peace.

I believe whole-heartedly in this concept, but, it is an almost impossible task with those that live in the fog of denial, which is something that alcoholics/codeps are profoundly good at. We have turned it into an art form. Self examination is not possible with those that are too frightened to see.

Step Four asks us to admit our character defects. That's not an easy assignment. After all, we were the ones who kept the family functioning when the chemically dependent person was making a mess of things. How "defective" could we be? In truth, we do have many assets, and it will help us to admit our defects if we also own our assets.

The word that keeps tripping me up is "defects". It suggests that we are inherently "bad" somehow, when in fact most of us are having a perfectly normal reaction to an abnormal situation. If you subject a human to enough frightening stimuli, they are going to become neurotic. To suggest that those reactions are "defective" is absurd in my mind. I also have the same problem with the AA version of this step- the chemical reaction of alcohol in some human brains brings about the supposed "defects", not the other way around.

I realize that I am arguing the semantics of the wording, but I believe the wording to be very important. I also believe that more emphasis should be placed on the positive and help the alcoholics/codeps focus on the good that is within them, instead of telling them that they are "defective" people for having reactions beyond their control.

Constantly see your body as
Empty and quiet
Inside and outside
Communing in sameness.
Plunge the body into
The realm of reality,
Where there has never been
Any obstruction.

- Tao-hsin (580-651)

I'd love to bring these old Zen masters back to life and see how they deal with the cacophony that is the modern world..... - Scientists create a virus that reproduces
It is the stuff of science fiction and bioethical debates: The creation of artificial life. Up until now, it's largely been just that. But an important technical bridge towards the creation of such life was crossed Thursday when genomics pioneer Craig Venter announced that his research group created an artificial virus based on a real one in just two weeks' time.

"It's a very important technical advance," says Gerald Rubin, a molecular geneticist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "You can envision the day when one could sit down at a computer, design a genome and then build it. We're still inventing the tools to make that happen, and this is an important one."

I think it's amusing that we jump up and down about the "ethics" and "morality" of using embryonic stem cells for research in curing disease, but here we have the potential to wipe out the entire human race and nobody seems concerned.

The project was funded in part by the Department of Energy, which hopes to create microbes that would capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, produce hydrogen or clean the environment.

Uh-huh. Is anybody else bothered by the fact that this is coming from the government? Or I am just seeing black helicopters at every turn? Are they sharing this information with the Dept. of Defense/Homeland Security?

Barry Sanders says he quit NFL out of frustration, exhaustion
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Former All-Pro running back Barry Sanders says he quit the NFL because he was exhausted and frustrated because the Detroit Lions' front office did not seem willing to build a winning team. His retirement shocked the sports world because he was only 31 and on the verge of breaking Walter Payton's all-time NFL rushing record.

The realization that management no longer cared about winning ``slammed me harder than any linebacker had ever hit me in my entire career,'' Sanders writes. ``That realization trivialized everything I did during the off-season to prepare myself. It trivialized everything I dreamed about from the time I was a kid in Wichita ...''

I loved watching that man play football. He was magic. I'm sorry that he had to play for the Lions; if he had played anywhere else he would have put the rushing records well out of reach. We destroyed the spirit of what could have been the best running back ever , and for that the Lions should be mighty ashamed of themselves.

Democrat Wins Louisiana Governor's Race
NEW ORLEANS, La. (Reuters) - Democrat Kathleen Blanco defeated Republican Bobby Jindal on Saturday to become Louisiana's first woman governor in a hard-fought race that gave Democrats a boost ahead of the 2004 presidential vote.

Republicans See Medicare Deal But Passage Uncertain
Congressional Republican leaders Saturday announced agreement on landmark Medicare drug legislation which, if approved by the House and Senate, could herald some of the most significant reforms since the federal health plan's creation in 1965.

But the Senate's top Democrat expressed concern. "We have not seen all the details but it sounds like a bad deal for seniors and a good deal for the big drug companies and HMOs," said Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Everyone who is surprised by that, raise your hand......

Saturday, November 15, 2003

17 U.S. Soldiers Die in Iraq Copter Crash
MOSUL, Iraq - Two Black Hawk helicopters collided and crashed Saturday night in northern Iraq , killing 17 American soldiers and injuring at least five. One helicopter smashed into the roof of a house, witnesses said, amid reports one of the aircraft was shot down.

Iraq to Get Transition Government by June, Council Says
Iraq's interim Governing Council said Saturday a transitional sovereign government would be in place by next June and an elected government would follow by the end of 2005 after the drafting of a constitution.

Wine Industry Urges Drinking and Driving
France's wine industry wants drivers to know: It's OK to have a drink for the road. Or three. The $18 billion-a-year wine industry is fighting back against a government campaign to discourage drunk driving. It claims the government is scaring people away from ordering a glass when they go out and points to a 15 percent drop in wine sales at restaurants.

Wine makers have always promoted moderate drinking to comply with the country's blood-alcohol limit of .05. But they say the government is overreacting when it tells drivers that the safest way to stay out of trouble is not to drink at all.


Opposition to USA Patriot Act Swells
Rebecca Foster couldn't believe it when a bank cited the USA Patriot Act and asked her and fellow homeowners association board members for their Social Security (news - web sites) and driver's license numbers.

"They said they had to check us against a terrorist list," said Foster, a grandmother whose five-member board oversees a Las Vegas community. "That seemed kind of preposterous. None of us are terrorists."

A broad spectrum including liberals, conservatives, Libertarians, gay and Hispanic activists rallied in three corners of the state this week, calling for Nevada to join Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont and 210 U.S. communities that have passed resolutions urging curbs on the Patriot Act.

Amercia wakes up. Film at 11.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Constantly be aware,
Without stopping.
When the aware mind is present,
It senses the formlessness
Of things.

- Tao-hsin (580-651)
It's All About Them:

"All That You Love Will Be Carried Away"

Heart-broken again.

My Uncle Dan is probably not going to recover from this lymphoma, and right now is still struggling with a toxic reaction to chemo.

I learned this afternoon that my friend Marybeth's cancer is coming back, and she will be going back to chemo, too.

I miss Scott today. We are coming up on the anniversary of his death, and he has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

And the always lingering thought of my ex-wife Kristin, ravaged by a disease she can't control.

My parents with their heart problems, my kitty with her kidney disease.

Am I the "black cloud"? So, so sad.
It's All About Me:Report from the musical front- the RIAA lawsuits seem to be working. Dammit. I cannot divulge how I know this- be assured that I do. ;~)

My fabled city of dreams lays await for me today- hope it's sunny. Nothing like seeing the Chicago skyline bathed in golden sunlight. Wish I had the time (and money) to hang out and do some things.

Songs I can't stop listening to-
Guess Who- Star Baby
Neil Young- Rockin' in the Free World
Dan Fogelberg- Part of the Plan
Ian Hunter- Cleveland Rocks

I'm a bit confused by my fascination with "Cleveland Rocks"- I've only flown through the airport on my way to DC a loooong time ago. I like the guitar in the song...

I'll play a song till I get sick of it and then move on; they are usually based on my general mood or events in my life that I relate somehow to the song. I'd like to thank WDRV in Chicago for helping to remind me of songs that never receive airplay here. Bless 'em. Best classic rock station ever.

N.H. high court says gay sex not adultery
"I think the majority opinion is unintentionally trivializing same-sex relations and violating modern notions of the sanctity of marriage," said Marcus Hurn, a professor at Franklin Pierce Law Center.

A sexual relationship, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is "exactly an equivalent betrayal and that, I think, is the ordinary meaning most people would give."

MLB to test all players for steroids
All players on 40-man rosters will be subject to steroid testing and possible suspensions and fines after between 5 percent and 7 percent of 1,438 anonymous, unannounced tests last season were positive, exceeding the threshold in the Basic Agreement.

Cubs announce 2004 Spring Training schedule
The Cubs' exhibition campaign -- which begins Thursday, March 4, against the San Francisco Giants -- will conclude with a pair of contests against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark April 2-April 3.

Seems like there are a lot of snowflakes between then and now.....

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Winds knock out power to thousands
Almost 80,000 customers are without power throughout the state of Michigan as of noon on Thursday. It may take until Saturday or Sunday for some to have their lights and heat restored.

It's all about the weather. The winds of winter blew in last night and whisked away the last of the warm air, seemingly slamming the door shut on Fall. My mind already has me moved to Florida.

Governor comes to Grand Rapids on budget tour
Governor Jennifer Granholm came to Grand Rapids yesterday on a state-wide tour searching for ways to slice almost a billion dollars from the state budget.
24 Hour News 8 invited 50 members of our viewing area to listen to the governor, ask questions, and vote on the issues presented. Below, you can see how our studio audience voted.

I think I'm in love with this woman. Show your constituents what the problem is, ask how they want to solve it. Everyone in that audience was ready to rescind their upcoming tax cut. I hope that she can find the solutions to our budget problem- I still think we need to find a way to "raise revenue" without using the dirty words "tax increase". Good luck Jennifer. Good bye MEAP scholarships.

Judge Removed from Office Over Ten Commandments
Finding no other viable alternatives, this court hereby finds that Roy S. Moore be removed from his position as chief justice of Alabama," said Judge William Thompson, a member of the judicial panel. Thompson said Moore "willfully and publicly" defied a U.S. district judge's order to move a 5,000-pound monument from public view in the state judicial building, placing himself above the law in doing so. Thompson also said Moore "showed no signs of contrition for his actions."

There is some sanity in this world after all...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 -Nicotine studied as treatment for brain disorders
Scientists reported yesterday that nicotine seems to diminish mental impairment stemming from stress or an underactive thyroid -- the latest in a growing body of evidence that the long vilified substance may help people with brain disorders ranging from Alzheimer's disease to schizophrenia.

Parking Lot Tram
The Parking Lot Tram: The uncredited workhorse of
the Disneyland resort. You take visitors from
the largest parking lot on earth to the front
door of Disneyland and back again. You aren't
the picture of glamour and most wouldn't even
think you provide any sort of excitment, but
without you no fun could be had at all. You
don't mean to, but you seem often sour. You
get little respect and sometimes get losts of
scorn, but yet you are faithful and eager to
please. People need you and you need them.
Your simpleness is the perfect backdrop to
showcase the eager smiles of children riding
you for their first time to the Happiest Place
on Earth.

What Disneyland attraction are you?
brought to you by Quizilla Bucs must make their push soon
For the time being, the Bucs (4-5) can't avoid the stark reality. Help from other teams is necessary for a shot at a division title, and some kind of boost will be required to secure a wild-card spot.

So much for the "dynasty". Guess I was wrong Mom.

Iraq council head wants change; Bremer in US. 12/11/2003. ABC News Online
US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council president Jalal Talabani has called for a provisional government to be installed as soon as possible. Mr Talabani says he would like to see a provisional government "tomorrow" or as soon as discussions among council members and with the US-led administration could be completed.


Once the human mind goes astray,
Truth, the true pattern of the Tao,
Is lost.
Once the human mind is gathered in,
The true pattern of the Tao is there.

- Hu Juren (1434-1484)

My mind tends to stray quite a bit.

Baseball from Cubs' playoff loss to be auctioned
OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) -- An Internet auction house claims to have the baseball at the center of one of the most infamous plays in Chicago Cubs history -- the foul fly from Game 6 of this year's NL championship series. MastroNet Inc., based in suburban Chicago, said Tuesday it would auction the ball on behalf of a 33-year-old Chicago attorney identified only as ``Jim'' in a statement.

According to the company, Jim was sitting near Cubs fan Steve Bartman, who deflected a foul pop away from left fielder Moises Alou in the eighth inning of Game 6 against Florida.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

You are Dasha the Blade. Ex government employee....
Ex hero... Ex wife of Satan... Among your
accomplishments, despite being one of the
lowest powered of any of the supervillians,
your occasionally mumbling to yourself,
homicidal good twin, carrying a sniper rifle
into parties, and complete lack of a soul make
it so lesser villians often fear you. And your
a Texan as well.

France surrenders.

The Villian Forum Quiz
brought to you by Quizilla

Major League Baseball:Free agent season begins
Beginning Monday morning, MLB teams were permitted to discuss contract specifics with a record number of free agents in a distinguished market.

Now we will find out just how high the price of beef really is...heh heh. Sure would like to pick up Pettitte or Millwood, Javy Lopez or Pudge, and some solid bullpen help.
It's All About Me: This morning it's about my Uncle Dan, who is in the hospital...fingers crossed, best thoughts and prayers go out to you Danny. Hang in there.

Happy Veteran's Day to all the too Pop. Thanks for serving.

Iraqis Warned Attacks on U.S. Must Stop
The warning was another sign of a "get tough" campaign against insurgents, who have accelerated attacks against U.S. and coalition forces in recent weeks. U.S. forces had eased off on raids during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in late October.

Knock it off or we'll....uh....invade your country. Yeah, that's it."

Yahoo! News - Twenty-Six House Democrats Push to Fire Rumsfeld
The resolution said Rumsfeld misled the American public on assessments of progress in the war and occupation, sent U.S. forces to Iraq "without adequate planning and sufficient equipment," and "demonstrated a lack of sensitivity" in statements on the war and U.S. casualties.

Monday, November 10, 2003

The Onion | Americans Demand Increased Governmental Protection From Selves
Rev. Ted Hinson, founder of the Christian activist group Please God Stop Me, said he believes that the government will listen.

"For years, legislators have done an admirable job of listening to constituents who want the dangerous, undesirable behavior of their neighbors regulated," Hinson said. "That is a good sign for those of us who wish for greater protection from ourselves. But you should see the filth I still have access to, just by walking into a store or flipping on my computer. There is still much work to be done if we are going to achieve the ideal nanny-state."
It's All About Me: Nothing in the news interested me this morning. Maybe later.
Happy B-Day K-. I hope that year 38 is the turning point in your life.
And this above all, to thine own self be true. And it must follow as night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Gay Episcopal Bishop Begins His Ministry
PETERBOROUGH, N.H. - The Rev. V. Gene Robinson began his ministry as the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop on Sunday by saying he wants to bring the message of God's love to "those on the margins."

And lo and behold, the world didn't end...
It's All About Me: (A new feature here on the blog, I'll try to mark some of the happenings in my life from time to time. Instead of loading up on backstory, I'll just dive right in.)

Heard from K- for the first time in about two months. She loves me. She misses me. She's going back to rehab so she can clean up and we can be friends. To my reading public: I have heard this story as many times as I have heard Bush loosely link 9-11 and Saddam together. I don't know if I ever will believe it, but I hope that she makes it. I have a feeling that I will be disowned if I end up hanging around her again. I take it day to day.

Work blows. The pressure is on, the pay is down. I dread going in. I'm watching the minutes of my weekend tick away with a sinking feeling in my stomach.

Been yacking with a woman in New Jersey over the 'net whom I absolutely adore. Her politics damn near match mine point for point, she's a passionate, fiery redhead and seems to have a heart of gold, although she's a bit high-strung. (I like that) I also realize that in the real world, we would never be friends. The differences in our social/economic standings are too great. She's a rich lawyer with three kids, I'm just a bum. But it makes me feel good that she takes the time to talk with me. Hope that she doesn't think I'm just some lonely dork. I should give it a break though, I'm sure that she has better things to do.

My 17 yr old sick kitty EC is hangin' in there. I take that day to day too. Baby is on my lap as I type.

Parents are fine. All in all it was a good, restful weekend, even if the Bucs suffered another heartbreaking loss and FOX turned over just in time for me to witness it. Thanks guys.

Song of T’aego Hermitage

I’ve lived in this hermitage
How long I don’t know
Deep and secret and
Without obstructions
Heaven and earth meet
Like box and cover:
There’s no turning toward
Or turning away.
I do not stay in the east, west,
South or north
The jewel tower and the jade palace
Do not stand opposite me.
I do not take guidelines from
Bodhidharma as a model
As the light shines freely through
Eighty four thousand gates.

- T’aego (1301-1382)

-Daily Zen - Stargazers view lunar eclipse

It was cool. The moon becomes 3-D, the coloring and shadows give it a very round appearance. As I watched it, I couldn't help but think that I had seen this phenomena before sometime in my life. a first, Dean says he'll reject US funds
Howard Dean became the first Democratic presidential candidate ever to opt out of the federal public funding system yesterday, and cast the move as a preemptive strike against the fund-raising prowess of President Bush.

"Instead of getting $2,000 checks from the heads of all the major corporations in the country, we asked 2 million Americans to give us $100," Dean told supporters gathered at the University of Vermont. "And we believe that the 2 million Americans will borrow $100 simply for the pleasure of sending this president back to Crawford, Texas."

I'm tempted Howard.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Lunar eclipse offers colorful show
Those with fairly dark skies will be able to see the moon, vaguely, even during totality. It is expected to take on an orange or reddish color as light from all the worlds sunsets and sunrises is bent through Earth�s atmosphere and falls on the lunar surface, then is reflected back to Earth.

Now that I've blogged it, I should remember to go see it! Clear, cold skies tonight.

Insurgents Kill Two U.S. Paratroopers
Their deaths brought to 34 the number of American soldiers who have died in Iraq this month as resistance escalated during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Two more brave men die, America yawns. That's OK, we have the purely ficticious "Saving Jessica Lynch" on Sunday night to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Senate Leader Gives Democrats Ultimatum on Memo
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday demanded that Democrats own up, repudiate and apologize for a memo outlining a strategy to damage the White House in connection with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation on Iraq.

Democrats have refused to disavow it and accused Republicans of stealing the memo, which they said was written by their committee staff and never circulated to lawmakers. The memo shows their frustration that the inquiry into prewar intelligence on Iraq was not broadened to include a review of how the White House used that information, they said.

The memo which became public earlier this week said, "we have an important role to play in revealing the misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and motives of senior administration officials who made the case for unilateral preemptive war."

Is there any way we can now charge Frist with obstruction of justice? Impeding an ongoing investigation?

CIA Says N.Korea Already Has 'Validated' Nuke
North Korea appears to have built one or two nuclear weapons it could be confident would work even without a test nuclear blast, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has told Congress.

Why do I have a hard time believing anything our government says about anybodies weapons capabilities? Just another prelude to a "justified" pre-emptive strike?

Friday, November 07, 2003

Cubs exercise contract option on Matt Clement
He held opponents’ batters to a .227 average — the 6th-lowest in the National League — and had 171 strikeouts.

I guess this is good news. He scares me, but then again so do a lot of Cub pitchers. Let's hope he becomes a little more dependable.
It's All About Me: Serious head cold. Hard to keep up with the "Let's Get George" campaign. I'll be back soon.

Yahoo! News - Report: New Covert Force Hunts Saddam, Bin Laden: "A recently created U.S. covert commando force has been hunting America's most wanted men, Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) and Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), and has come close to the deposed Iraqi leader, The New York Times said on Friday."

Recently created???

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Stop and look around you.
Look out from the frameless window
Of a long pause.
Let the images come to you
Rather than chasing outward after them.
Allow yourself to reorient so that
You’re no longer pulled along
By the stream of events.
If you want to see differently,
You’ll have to look differently.

-Daily Zen

Yahoo! News Full Coverage - U.S. - Bush Signs Abortion Procedure Ban; Judge Blocks Law
President Bush signed into law the most far-reaching abortion restrictions in three decades Wednesday, an emotionally charged measure already challenged in three federal courts. A federal judge in Nebraska called the law "highly suspect" and issued a temporary order blocking it from applying to four abortion-rights doctors who filed suit.

Yahoo! News - Report: U.S. Offered Peace Deal Before War with Iraq
Hage said to avert war, Habbush offered "disarmament" to be validated by U.S. agents and to turn over a top al Qaeda operative who was in custody in Iraq, according to ABC.

The network quoted Hage as saying that he sent the offer on to officials in the office of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Hage met in early March with Perle in London, a meeting that Perle confirmed, ABC reported. Perle was quoted as saying that he was prepared to meet with Iraqi officials to discuss their offer, but said he was told by the CIA (news - web sites) not to do so.

I get the feeling that nothing was going to prevent this war. The contracts for rebuilding were already signed.

U.S. Alerting More Troops for Iraq Rotation Duty:
The Pentagon will immediately begin ordering thousands of additional active-duty and reserve American troops, including Marines, to prepare to serve in Iraq early next year, defense officials said on Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

MLB Votes Cards' Pujols Player of Year
St. Louis outfielder Albert Pujols was voted player of the year by his peers in balloting conducted by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Esteban Loiaza of the Chicago White Sox and Rod Beck of San Diego won the comeback player awards in their leagues.

Guess we shoulda kept Beck, eh? - Scientist asked boss to keep plague scare quiet>Butler, 62, faces 69 felony charges in connection with the incident, which sparked a bioterrorism scare earlier this year. Butler reported in January that vials of the bacteria responsible for the deadly bubonic plague were missing from a university lab. He later admitted he had accidentally destroyed them.

Butler is accused of smuggling plague bacteria from Tanzania and illegally transporting it within the country and overseas, lying to federal agents, and filing a false income tax return. Butler had listed his cargo as "laboratory samples," but prosecutors said the vials should have been declared.

And we worry about terrorists.... | FOX 17 | Grand Rapids | Bus Millage Increase Passes In Grand Rapids
The Rapid will continue to run at maximum efficiency and possibly add new routes thanks to overwhelming support from Kent County voters on Tuesday. People in six Kent County cities approved a .20 mills increase to fund the Interurban Transit Partnership.

I'm so proud of my little town!

Yahoo! News - Drug Appears to Unclog Arteries - Study
An experimental drug developed by Esperion Therapeutics Inc. appears capable of clearing clogged arteries of the plaque that causes heart attack and stroke, according to a study published on Tuesday.

Yahoo! News - Republicans Make Gains in the South
With a presidential campaign only months away, Republicans picked up two governorships in the South, ousting Mississippi's Democratic incumbent and seizing Kentucky's top job for the first time in 32 years.

Aaaarrrgggghhh! What the hell is wrong with you, America?

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

It's All About Me: Yesterday I found a dead bird in my upstairs toilet. The incident spooked me and I dreamt about it last night. Where did it come from, and what did it mean? My Dad pointed to the supernatural, which crossed my mind but I was too embarrassed to admit it. Later I could point to a very tired little cat, who for some reason spent most of the night sleeping. So, warning to all the birdies looking for a warm place- this isn't the house!

Supreme Court Rejects Judge's Ten Commandments Appeal
Without comment, the high court refused to hear two appeals by Judge Roy Moore, who was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal judge's order in August to remove the granite monument because it violated constitutional church-state separation.

Yahoo! News - A Day of Choices Await Voters Tuesday

Vote early and vote often!

CBS Mulls Canceling Reagan Mini-Series, Sources Say
Sources close to the production said on Monday CBS is considering canceling the docudrama, slated to air Nov. 16 and 18, under mounting criticism from political conservatives that the two-part series unfairly depicts Reagan and his wife.

Cowards. When has accuracy ever bothered these folks before?

Congress Sends Bush $87.5 Billion for Iraq
The bill's passage was never in doubt, as lawmakers said the United States had no option but to keep forces in Iraq. But their agreement to bypass a usual roll-call vote showed the measure's political sensitivity as many lawmakers did not want to be viewed as endorsing Bush on Iraq.

"Many lawmakers did not want to be viewed as endorsing Bush on Iraq?" That's an interesting statement.

Yahoo! News - Defector Says North's Kim Wants to Rule All Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's biggest ambition is to rule over a unified, Communist Korea, the North's highest-ranking defector said in an interview published on Tuesday.

Monday, November 03, 2003 - Top Stories - Episcopal Church in Steps Into Tense New Era
"They must know if they must leave, they will always be welcomed back," Robinson said to one of several rousing rounds of applause from the 4,000 supportive worshippers gathered in a university sports arena.

As Robinson was being consecrated, about 400 opponents attended an alternative Communion at a borrowed church. Critics included Terry Harwood, a Marine just back from Afghanistan. "The only thing I can hold onto is the Bible and 2,000 years of teaching," he said.

4,000 supporters. 400 opponents. I like those odds.

Internet Littered With Dead Web Sites
One study of 3,634 blogs found that two-thirds had not been updated for at least two months and a quarter not since Day One.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Eighteen Die in Second Deadliest Day for U.S. in Iraq
It was the second deadliest day overall for Americans in Iraq since the invasion on March 20, after 28 soldiers were killed in various attacks on March 23.

Protests Set for Gay Bishop Consecration
Sunday's consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop will be a watershed moment for American religion that will crystallize severe divisions over homosexuality among Episcopalians and their fellow Anglicans worldwide.

Good luck to you guy. Forcing the Christians to take a stand will be a positive thing for the future I believe. This backhanded pseudo-acceptance must be defined so parishioners can decide how they once and for all view homosexuality as it relates to religion. Choose sides everyone!"

Poll Finds Nation Split Between Bush, Democrats
One year before the next presidential election, Americans are evenly divided between President Bush and a Democratic challenger, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Sunday.

We're coming to get ya Georgie!