Sunday, February 29, 2004

Yahoo! News - S.F. Mayor Slams Bush Over Gay Weddings
SAN FRANCISCO - Mayor Gavin Newsom accused President Bush of political showmanship and discrimination because of the Social Security Administration's decision to not accept any marriage licenses from San Francisco — gay or straight — until the same-sex issue is resolved.

The Social Security Administration announced Friday it has told its offices nationwide not to accept marriage certificates from San Francisco as proof of identification for newlyweds looking to make name changes on Social Security cards.

Newsom called the move "political and retaliatory."

"The president is not only now discriminating against gay couples, he's discriminating against straight people," he said.

Go Gavin!

Damn! How would you like to run for President Mr. Newsom? Finally a Democrat with some balls!

Daily Zen for a day that only comes but once every four years-

"Default Quote Here...

- Default"

Truly profound. :-)

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Yahoo! News - Cubs' Wood to Get Opening Day Nod
MESA, Ariz. - Kerry Wood will start the Chicago Cubs opener in Cincinnati on April 5 and be followed by Greg Maddux and Mark Prior.

Manager Dusty Baker wants to use Maddux, the four-time Cy Young Award winner who re-signed with the Cubs this month, and his crafty assortment of pitches between his two young power pitchers Wood and Prior.

The way the rotation is set up means Maddux will not start a game during Chicago's second series in Atlanta against the team he pitched for the last 11 years.

Instead, Maddux will be slated to go in the Cubs' home opener April 12 against the Pirates.

That place is going to explode...

Yahoo! News - Cubs Agree to 3-Year Deal With Derrek Lee
MESA, Ariz. - The Chicago Cubs (news) agreed to a three-year deal with first baseman Derrek Lee on Saturday.

Lee, acquired by the Cubs in a trade with the world champion Florida Marlins in November, last month signed a one-year, $6.9 million deal with Chicago. Terms of his new contract were not immediately available.

The 28-year-old Lee broke in with the Marlins in 1998. He is a career .264 hitter with 130 homers and 421 RBIs. Last year, he batted .271 with 31 homers and 92 RBIs and won a Gold Glove at first base.

All our ducks in a row....

Yahoo! News - Iranian Radio Reports Bin Laden Captured
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's state radio, quoting an unnamed source, said Saturday that Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan "a long time ago." U.S. and Pakistani officials denied the report.

The report said that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's visit to the region this week was in connection with the arrest. In Washington, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied early Saturday that bin Laden was captured.

The report was carried by Iran radio's external Pushtun service. The director of Iran radio's Pushtun service, Asheq Hossein, said he had two sources for the report that bin Laden had been captured.

Wouldn't it be fun if this were true?

Yahoo! News - Doonesbury's Bush Contest Yields No Winner Yet
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A $10,000 reward offered by the "Doonesbury" comic strip for proof that President Bush served in the Alabama National Guard during the Vietnam War has elicited over 1,300 responses but turned up no credible evidence yet, the cartoonist said on Friday.

With so much controversy surrounding Bush's National Guard service, a credible witness would have turned up by now if there was one, said Garry Trudeau.

"You can be sure some very motivated people have tried to find a witness who can establish Bush's presence at Dannelly Base beyond a reasonable doubt," said the creator of the politically irreverent and satirical daily cartoon. "Anyone who could do so would almost certainly have surfaced by now."

Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee denounced the contest as a "silly stunt." Trudeau agreed.

"She's right," he said. "But as a simple investigative cartoonist, I don't have a very big tool kit."

Trudeau also said he doubted proof of Bush's service -- or lack thereof -- would affect his support in the November presidential election. "For me, stunt cartooning is mostly about keeping busy. If it tips a national election, well, that's just gravy," he said.

He said he planned to pay the $10,000 from his own money.

"What else am I going to do with a huge tax cut I didn't need? One of the unintended consequences of Mr. Bush's generosity toward the Great Un-needy is that I'm now a fat cat," he joked.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Yahoo! News - Calif. Court Won't Stop Gay Marriages
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court declined a request by the state attorney general Friday to immediately shut down San Francisco's gay weddings and to nullify the nearly 3,500 marriages already performed.

At the prodding of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked the court to intervene in the emotionally charged debate while justices consider the legality of the marriages. But the justices declined, and told the city and a conservative group that opposes gay marriages to file new legal briefs by March 5.

There's a good sign.

Yahoo! News - Bush Budget Said to Cause $2.75T Deficits
WASHINGTON - President Bush's budget would produce deficits totaling $2.75 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office projected Friday in the first authoritative look at the plan's longer-range implications.

The nonpartisan budget office said Bush's tax and spending plans would, if enacted, add $737 billion to shortfalls otherwise expected over the period. Its massive numbers are sure to factor into this year's presidential and congressional campaigns.

*singing* all the money's gone, nowhere to go....

Cubs sign Wood to multi-year deal
MESA, Ariz. -- Kerry Wood wanted to stay with the Chicago Cubs and the Cubs wanted to keep him. It was that simple. On Friday, the two sides agreed to a three-year, $32.5 million contract through 2006 with a mutual option for 2007.

Wood will receive $7 million in 2004, $8.5 million in 2005 and $11 million in 2006 plus a $3 million signing bonus. The fourth year has three scenarios. There is a club option for $13.5 million with a $3 million buyout. If Wood totals 400 innings in 2005-06, he could opt for a vesting option for 2007. Or, if he doesn't reach the innings figure and the Cubs decide not to honor the option, Wood could file for free agency.

The deal is the most lucrative ever for a Cubs pitcher.

There is a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the deal, which is unique. Wood also can receive extra rewards if he places high in the Cy Young balloting, for example.


Yahoo! News - New York Town Holds Gay Weddings as Debate Spreads
NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (Reuters) - The battle over gay marriage in the United States spread on Friday to a small New York town whose mayor began marrying same-sex couples in the first such ceremonies in the state.

New Paltz Mayor Jason West -- the state's first elected Green Party mayor -- married couples in a festive atmosphere outside Village Hall in what the 26-year-old official has described as "legal marriage ceremonies." West had so far officiated at 19 gay weddings on Friday.

It's anarchy! Anarchy, I tell ya!

See? Now everybody wants one.
crystal heart
Heart of Crystal

What is Your Heart REALLY Made of?
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Yahoo! News - Comedian Rosie O'Donnell Weds Gay Partner
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Comedian Rosie O'Donnell wed her lesbian partner on Thursday amid festive cheers and whoops from hundreds of onlookers and declared that her wedding was inspired by outrage over President Bush's call to bar gay marriage.

"We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president said the vile and vicious and hateful comments he did," O'Donnell said after kissing her bride, Kelli Carpenter.

The celebrity apparently jumped a line for marriage appointments that now stretches into April. But other gay couples were delighted to see O'Donnell, who announced her sexual orientation in 2002 and has since embraced gay rights issues including gay adoption.

I thought she might have been ushered to the front when I heard this, but, that's OK, I guess. A celebrity face (with lots of money and lawyers behind her) is good for visibility.

Yahoo! News - Haiti Rebels Warn of Imminent Attack on Capital
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - Rebels battling to oust Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said on Thursday an attack on the capital was imminent and the United States urged Aristide to consider whether he should stay in power.

Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Aristide to "examine" whether he could effectively rule, the first time the United States had questioned his ability to remain in charge.

"I think, as a number of people have commented, whether or not he is able to effectively continue as president is something he will have to examine," said Powell. "I hope he will examine it carefully considering the interests of the Haitian people."

Perhaps we should ask George the same question. (hee hee)

Give it up Jean. This could get very ugly.
It's All About The Senators:

Hey Pop- I think you can add Stabenow and Levin to that list. I'm sure about Stabenow, haven't heard from Levin.

"Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me to share your opposition to the federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I understand your strong feelings. It is my intention to vote no on this amendment.

Again, thank you for contacting me about this issue. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you."

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Now what about the bill in Michigan?

Yahoo! News - Ohio gay GOP official turns Democrat
Saying he can't stomach President Bush's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), a gay Republican leader in Ohio announced on Thursday he is becoming a Democrat.

In a letter to the chair of the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, John Farina, a former official in the county's party organization and former president of the Cleveland chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans (news - web sites), ended his 20-year association with the GOP. He also withdrew his candidacy for the Board of Elections' central committee in the March 2 primary.

Farina, 35, said in the letter that the president's announcement on Tuesday forced his decision.

"Quite frankly I'm sick over it," Farina wrote. "It is an insult to me as a lifelong Republican and it does nothing to strengthen marriage. It is an obviously political move that will do nothing but divide the nation even further. So much for Mr. Bush being a uniter."

Farina is not alone. Bush's announcement of support for the FMA presented a unique challenge for gay Republicans, many of whom vow to fight their party's leader on the issue.

I don't see how any gay or lesbian can support this version of the Republican party. As someone said, it's almost like being a member of "Jews for Hitler."

Yahoo! News - Chicago Baseball Fans Say Goodbye to a Bad Ball
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A flash of explosive charges shredded an infamous baseball into a spaghetti-like heap on Thursday as fans of the Chicago Cubs publicly demolished the ball that may have cost the team its first trip to the World Series in 58 years.

With an international cable-TV audience on hand and beer-drinking fans cheering in a tent set up on a closed city street and in bars around town, the ball was exploded inside a clear protective case by an Oscar-winning special effects expert.

The destruction of the ball followed weeks of hype that also raised money for juvenile diabetes research.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Yahoo! News - Rumsfeld in Afghanistan as U.S. Hunts Osama
KABUL (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Afghanistan Thursday amid stepped up U.S. and Pakistani operations against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and Taliban militants.

Is it just me, or is anybody else a little miffed that NOW this is becoming a priority?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Yahoo! News - 1st Mich. Wolverine Spotted in 200 Years
DETROIT - A biologist has confirmed the sighting of a real Michigan wolverine, about 200 years after the species was last seen in the state that uses the small but ferocious animal as its unofficial nickname.

The wolverine, a member of the weasel family that grows to about 25 pounds but is ferocious enough to fight off bears and wolves, once ranged across the northern and western United States. It is now limited mostly to northern Canada, Idaho and Alaska, with sightings in a few other states, but its last confirmed sightings in Michigan were by fur traders in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

The appearance is "up there with having a caribou or a polar bear turn up," Department of Natural Resources spokesman Brad Wurfel said Wednesday. "It's unprecedented."

Yahoo! News - Greenspan Urges Social Security Cuts
WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, stepping into the politically charged debate over Social Security, said Wednesday the country can't afford the benefits currently promised to the baby boom generation.

He urged Congress to trim those benefits to get control of soaring budget deficits, which he said threatened a "very debilitating" rise in interest rates in coming years.

The central bank chairman also repeated his view that Bush's tax cuts should be made permanent to bolster economic growth. He said the estimated $1 trillion cost should be paid for, preferably, with spending cuts so the deficit would not be worsened.

Yes, by all means, let's keep the tax cuts for the wealthy and stiff the elderly!!! Quick, do it now before the boomers get here!

Yesterday it was the gays, today the old folks- what will tomorrow bring? Children and small animals?

Anti-Terrorism Network Launched (
Hundreds of federal, state and local intelligence and law enforcement agencies will be able to share threat reports, investigative leads and potential evidence instantaneously under a new counter-terrorism computer system announced yesterday by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

The Internet-based secure network marks a dramatic expansion of U.S. law enforcement agencies' ability to simultaneously share time-sensitive information. The development has been eagerly anticipated by thousands of users and closely monitored by civil liberties groups that track the impact of technology on personal privacy.

The network mostly expands to law enforcement an instant-messaging capability long available in the private sector. It does not mine private records or exploit new tracking technology that could ensnare innocent people, officials said.


Yahoo! News - Federal agency cuts gay data from site
Federal workers wanting to complain about discrimination on the job because of their sexual orientation won't be able to get the information they need from the agency charged with protecting government whistleblowers.

Scott J. Bloch, the Republican appointed head of the Office of Special Council (OSC), removed references regarding sexual orientation discrimination from the complaint form and educational pamphlet on the agency's Web site.

Bloch told the Washington Post Friday that he is not sure if federal workers are protected from discrimination claims based on their sexuality. Pulling such references "is no way a statement that this office is retreating from any employee rights, or enforcement of employee rights," Bloch told the paper, adding a review was necessary.

And so starts the removal of all references to our protections....

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

It's All About Putting 'em On A Pedestal:

I can't find it on the web, but Jennifer crushed me today with the standard, down-pat Democratic answer to the gay marriage issue.

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, but gays should have civil protections."

(Well, then, protect us damnit!)

I knew she'd break my heart eventually. Must go cry now.

Details about proposed MI marriage amendment
Only marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized as valid in Michigan.

_No other relationship would be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent by the state, its political subdivisions or educational institutions, even if such a relationship is recognized by laws outside of the state.

Source: Michigan Legislature

There you go Michigan. No civil unions.

Proposed Grand Rapids budget cuts hit police, fire departments
Faced with a budget crisis that has gotten worse instead of better, Grand Rapids City Manager Kurt Kimball today urged city commissioners to eliminate 130 jobs from the city's payroll by July 1.

Those cuts include eliminating 28 firefighter jobs, 40 uniformed police officer jobs and 62 other jobs from the 1,895 positions on the city's payroll. Forty-seven of the 130 jobs have been eliminated and another 36 are vacant and have gone unfunded in recent months.

If the cuts he proposed for the fire department are unacceptable, Kimball said he will suggest commissioners ask voters to raise property taxes by about 1 mill.

Everyone enjoy their tax cuts? Hmmmmm?

Feds reject state's drug plan, Granholm says
WASHINGTON -- The gaping hole in Michigan's 2005 state budget just got $40 million bigger.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Monday that the Bush administration has rejected a plan that would have saved the state that much or more on the cost of prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients.

Granholm thought Michigan was on track to win federal approval until last Friday when Larry Reed, who oversees CMS' pharmacy services, said the Bush administration was going to deny Michigan's request to create a multistate purchasing pool.

The reason for the denial, according to state officials who sat in on the conference call, was that the state hadn't adequately followed federal procurement rules in designing its contracts with drug companies.

Yet as recently as two weeks ago, Michigan officials said Reed led them to believe that the only problem with their request was a minor disagreement over a few stray words in their contracts.

"We have leapt through every hoop that there has been to receive federal approval," said Bucholz. "This idea and concept we've proposed is really a market-based solution that the (Bush) administration claims to have a great deal of empathy for. I don't know why they'd turn it down."

Because they are a bunch of pricks, that's why.

Yahoo! News - Bush to Back Gay Marriage Ban Amendment
WASHINGTON - Jumping into a volatile election-year debate on same-sex weddings, President Bush on Tuesday backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — a move he said was needed to stop judges from changing the definition of the "most enduring human institution."

Bush, who has cast himself as a "compassionate conservative," left the door open for civil unions as an alternative to same-sex marriages.

Criticism was immediate for his call for amending the Constitution.

Democrats accused Bush of tinkering with a document that is the bedrock of American democracy to divert election-year attention from his record — an allegation the White House denied. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who hopes to run against Bush in this year's presidential election, said: "I believe President Bush is wrong."

I hope this blows up in George's face. What's it going to be America? Are we really going to write discrimination into the Constitution?

On a side note- the fact that everyone is considering "civil unions" is a bit of a victory. Maybe we should be happy they aren't stoning us in the public square.

Yahoo! News - Bush Portrays Kerry As a Waffler
WASHINGTON - President Bush, casting aside his desire to appear above the political fray, struck back at his Democratic critics, portraying presidential front-runner John Kerry as a waffler and warning that Democrats would raise taxes, expand government and fail to lead decisively on national security.

Let's take this apart piece by piece, shall we?

"Democrats would raise taxes"- My taxes are going up as a direct result of Republican tax cuts. Perhaps we should just declare bankruptcy instead of paying our bills, eh George? Nah, just pass it on down to the kids. Better yet, let's stiff the states so the blame for tax increases falls on someone other than who is responsible. I would love for the Dems to pull out the facts and figures of just how this budget was shaped to short-change the American people.

"expand government"- If I'm not mistaken, this administration has expanded government more than any other in recent history.

"fail to lead decisively on national security"- Would this leadership include blaming "faulty intelligence" for starting a war? How about the leadership that had no exit plan for ending that war? How about the underfunding for Homeland Security mandates? Spreading our troops too thin? Could we meet a "security crisis" here at home with our forces spread out over the world? If "leading decisively" means pissing off the rest of the world so they all hate us, well, George, you have done that. I feel sooooo safe now.

But he leveled his sharpest criticism yet at his rivals in a speech Monday night. Bush recalled terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, signaling his willingness to use the strikes for political gain, which his aides long had promised would not be done.

Good God, here comes Sept. 11th again. Best thing that ever happened to you, wasn't it George? It got you your war that made all your Daddy's friends rich(er), and now you can pull it out to instill fear into the sheep that follow you.

He's just started and already I am feeling violently ill.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Yahoo! News - Calif. Attorney General Sees End to Gay Marriages
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's attorney general predicted on Monday that the courts would bar same-sex marriages in San Francisco within weeks and invalidate the thousands of gay marriages the city has sanctioned over the past two weeks.

"I think it will be weeks and my best prediction is that the marriages will be invalidated, the courts will direct people that wish to change the law to the legislative process," Bill Lockyer, the Democratic attorney general, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has criticized the marriages and asked Lockyer to resolve the issue immediately.

"I believe strongly in the law that we have right now in California which respects domestic partnership rights and I think that that's a very good law," the former action film star said in Washington. "I believe in equal rights absolutely and in protecting that."

Well Arnie, that would mean marriage, wouldn't it?

OK, guess I'll give Arnold a break here. He really is caught in the middle of this thing, not much he could do but enforce the law.

Yahoo! News - Schwarzenegger Backs Amending U.S. Presidential Rule
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed support on Sunday for allowing foreign-born citizens to run for president.

Schwarzenegger, a native of Austria, said in a television interview he would support rescinding the constitutional rule that only U.S. citizens born in the United States can become president.

"There's many, many, many people here that have worked within a government and have done an extraordinary job and not have been born in America," Schwarzenegger said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Ahhhh, so Arnold would fight for the rights of foreign-born citizens, but not for American gays and lesbians.

Is it just me, or does this seem hypocritical?

"If the federal government does great things for California this year, I think there's no two ways about it, President Bush can have California and he can be elected. I'm absolutely convinced of that," Schwarzenegger said.

Translation: California can be bought. But then other states would be asking for hand-outs also, and we couldn't have that, could we George?

Yahoo! News - Nader Says He's Running for President Again
Ignoring pleas from Democrats to stay out of the race, the veteran consumer advocate said he wanted to challenge the two parties' stranglehold on the political process and their shared addiction to corporate interests.

"Washington is corporate-occupied territory, and the two parties are ferociously competing to see who is going to go to the White House and take orders from their corporate paymasters," Nader said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Sad thing is I agree totally with Ralph here.

Will he be a "spoiler"? Depends on the media. If they continue to run stories on him, yes, he will be a spoiler.

If Al Gore had just won Tennessee none of this would matter.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Greg Maddux (left) stands with Kerry Wood (center) and Mark Prior Thursday. (Matt York/AP)

Had to have this pic, too. Aren't they cute?

Are You More Yin or Yang?


The white side of the familiar yin and yang symbol (the Tai Chi T'u) is the yang side. It stands for the more active, brighter, warmer, louder, hyper-er qualities. Of course, Yin and Yang are said to attract each other and be part of each other: nothing (and no one) is completely yin or completely yang. (That's what the little opposite-colored dots mean).
It's All About The New Music Orgy:

On a happier note, I did find Seatrain....uh...ahem...on the internet. I have no idea what these lyrics mean, but what a great song. Shades of Chicago with the horns and keys, and that "wancka wanck" guitar-synth (?) that was popular for a while in the 70's.

"Did you see
the moon last night,
Hung like a Chinese ball?
You should have seen
the moon last night
At the party of us all"


After repeated listens to the new Norah Jones, Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, and Melissa Etheridge, I have to say I'm groovin' to all the new tunes. (Shawn? Chapin? Are you out there?) The winner of these four at the moment is Sarah: "Fallen", "Stupid" and "Perfect Girl" strike a deep chord to my "personal" situation. (What situation? ha ha)

The Indigo's and Melissa have a few stand-out songs- I think I need to listen a few more times, but I'm not hearing the standard of songwriting that I had become accustomed to with these guys. And Norah- I love her, but the country bit grew tiring fast. It was interesting at first, but not what I like about her.

Still, I love having new tunes. I have become musically stunted since I left the business. Just don't hear the good stuff anymore.

(edited at 5:49PM-

Between Here And Gone, Mary Chapin Carpenter's 10th album, will arrive in stores on April 27, 2004. Sweet!
It's All About Me & The Democrats:
My Dad is getting a big laugh out of how I'm just discovering that the Democrats are a bunch of wimps when it comes to standing up and doing the right thing, even if it isn't the "popular" thing of the moment. I think I always knew this, but chose to stay in denial because it was easier that way. Others pointed out this reality a long time ago; I wanted to believe that when push came to shove they would stand up for us. But they don't. They hem, they haw, they do a dance that gives the bigots an opening.

Push is coming to shove in the form of amendments to state and federal constitutions that single out a group of people for discrimination. Can you believe this is happening in 2004? And now I am forced into a position of voting for people who won't stand up to bigotry because the alternative is worse. Funny I find myself getting upset with Deaniacs who are abandoning the Democrats, and here I am contemplating the same thing.

This is turning into a watershed issue for me, one that is tearing at my heart.

Truthfully, I didn't want it to be an issue. I wish that it would have flown under the radar; progress made in small but solid steps that would have cemented our rights before "the public" noticed. But, it did not. Too late to turn back. It is now an "issue", and with my tendency to lean towards black or white, do or die, nose on my face kind of right-now thinking, I want to pour gasoline on it and let it go, see where the chips fall. If we lose, we lose. But at least we put up a fight. All this equivocation is making me ill.

And I am afraid that the champions of liberalism will melt away with the snow, roll over once more, and take it up the "you know where" like they usually do.

Hard to fight for someone that won't do the same for you.

It might be much to ask in an election year that has huge implications for the future of this country. I realize this. But in a way, the fight for gay rights is the fight for all our rights. If we don't stand up to these people now, there is no telling what they will decide to "ammend" next. Next time, it could be you.

Granholm set to lead the charge for governors
This week's National Governors Association meeting in Washington offers her a chance to step onto the national stage, elevating her as a Democratic Party spokeswoman beyond Michigan's borders.

Granholm's staff says she'll most likely use the attention to champion the issues that she believes hurt Michigan and much of the rest of the country, such as the loss of manufacturing jobs and the ballooning cost of health care.

"The governor has gotten some prominence and been given very good reviews, and she is viewed as a rising star," said John Burchette, director of Granholm's Washington office. "When we go to meet with folks on Capitol Hill, we probably get a slightly more open reception because she is who she is."

She'll need that pull in her new position as federal liaison to Congress and the White House for the Democratic Governors Association. Her appointment, announced earlier this month, will put her front-and-center in partisan congressional battles over federal funding for states.

Go Jenny Go. You can be a strong voice for the states that are getting stiffed on all these Federal mandates, and point out the need for more attention to America's issues, mainly jobs and health care. Bush's neglect of domestic spending while running up this huge debt is a winning issue for us. Hammer 'em hard.

"Rising star" indeed. She might single-handedly keep me in the Democratic Party, given how I feel right now.

Yahoo! News - S.F. Mayor Happy With Marriage Decision
SAN FRANCISCO - He's been called a renegade and a rogue, a thorn in the side of the Democratic Party's presidential ambitions. Enemies are calling for his political head and old allies are keeping a noticeable distance.

Yet what really matters to Mayor Gavin Newsom is what they're saying in the neighborhoods of San Francisco — that his decision to buck California law and grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples makes him a hero.

"I've never felt more certain about something than this," he said. "It was almost non-debatable."

But he acknowledged that he's been surprised by the lack of support he's gotten from fellow Democrats, including longtime gay rights champions like U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and mentors such as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both San Franciscans.

"A lot of people that I believed would be quite supportive publicly were not. A lot of people I never imagined, never could conceive, on any basis, would ever support the comments, they supported (me)," Newsom said.

Then he parsed the responses he's received into one more category: "Those who privately are telling me one thing and saying another publicly."

That's because the Democrats are a bunch of gutless wonders when it comes to sticking up for the things they supposedly believe in. The time to stand up against bigotry is now, people.

Mr. Newsom, you are a hero.

If more Democrats could find the courage to put their money where their mouth is, we would have a chance to win this battle. If they stay silent, we might as well pass those state and federal constitutional amendments right now. The Republicans are serious about this one, are we?

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Yahoo! News - Calif. Governor Tries to Stop Gay Marriages-Report
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hours after a second Superior Court judge refused to stop same-sex weddings in San Francisco, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told the state's attorney general on Friday to take "immediate steps" to stop the gay marriages, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to a report published on the newspaper's Web site, Schwarzenegger sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Lockyer saying, because the city's actions "are directly contrary to state law and present an imminent risk to civil order, I hereby direct you to take immediate steps to obtain a definite judicial resolution of this controversy."

A spokeswoman for the California attorney general told the Times that her office had been in contact with the governor's staff and planned to seek a judgment in the court case soon declaring San Francisco's actions in violation of state law.

She also told the newspaper that the city's actions posed no risk to public safety and said the governor had no authority over the independently elected Lockyer.

"The governor cannot direct the attorney general," spokeswoman Hallye Jordan told the Times. "He can direct the highway patrol. He can direct 'Terminator 4'. But he can't tell the attorney general what to do. However, we are his lawyer, and we are moving as expeditiously -- with deliberation -- as possible."

Seems to me the only "imminent risk" to "civil order" is coming from those on the right who laid down in front of a line of people waiting to be married. For this reason perhaps my thoughts of "burning down cities" isn't such a good idea after all.

As I'm blogging this, I'm listening to Melissa Etheridge's new song called "Tuesday Morning" about Mark Bingham, the gay man who stood up on Flight 93. It's bringing tears to my eyes-

"Even though he could not marry
Or teach your children in our schools
Because who he wants to love
Is breaking your God's rules
He stood up on a Tuesday morning
In the terror he was brave
And he made his choice
And without a doubt
A hundred lives he must have saved

Now you cannot change this
You can't erase this
You can't pretend this is not the truth

And the things you might take for granted
Your inalienable rights
Some might choose to deny him
Even though he gave his life
Can you live with yourself in the land of the free
And make him less of a hero than the other three
Well it might begin to change ya
In a field in Pennsylvania

Stand up America
Here the bell now as it tolls
Wake up America
It's Tuesday Morning
Come on let's roll"

"It's Tuesday Morning" should be our new tag line.

Yahoo! News - Bremer Sees Iraq Polls at Least One Year Away
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. administrator in Iraq has said it will not be possible to hold elections for a year to 15 months, putting him at odds with the country's most powerful religious leader who has insisted any delay must be brief.

"These technical problems will take time to fix -- we estimate somewhere between a year to 15 months...There are real important technical problems why elections are not possible," Bremer said in excerpts of the interview broadcast on Saturday.

"Iraq has no election law, it has no national commission to even establish a national law governing political parties, it has no voters' lists, it has not had a credible, reliable census for almost 20 years," he said. "There are no constituent boundaries to decide where elections would take place."

Translation- "We need time to set this up so it comes out in favor of American interests."

Get ready for more dead American soldiers. Ready for that draft yet?

Yahoo! News - Nader to Announce Presidential Plans on Sunday
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, whose third party run in 2000 many Democrats say cost Al Gore the presidency, will announce on Sunday whether he will run again this year.

Many Democrats, still angry at Republican George W. Bush's narrow victory in 2000, blame Nader's liberal, consumer-oriented run as the Green Party's presidential nominee for taking away votes from their candidate, then-Vice President Gore.

The number of Nader votes in key states such as Florida and New Hampshire were greater than the gap between Bush's winning total and Gore's losing total. Gore would have been elected president had he won one more state.


Friday, February 20, 2004 & WOOD TV8 - Same sex marriage debate in Grand Rapids
(Grand Rapids, February 20, 2004, 5:30 p.m.) The battle over same sex marriage has come to Grand Rapids. More than a dozen gay and lesbian couples lined up outside the Kent County Building Friday to apply for marriage licenses. But unlike their counterparts in San Francisco, they won't be tying the knot.

The answer seems simple because it's against the law. But that didn't stop about 40 people from filling out the application form. They are doing it because they want to make a point, and they say they deserve the same rights as anyone else. But to the people who matter most, it might not make a difference.

Gays and lesbians want to change the law so they can marry. Most lawmakers, including State Representative Bill Van Regenmorter, want to change the constitution to make sure they can't.

That is why same sex couples say it's important to go public and round up support for their cause.

Most Michigan Representatives are co-sponsoring this constitutional amendment. Almost half of the Senate does too. It takes two-thirds of each House and a majority of the public to take effect. The public could vote in November.

Jennifer, where are you? Speak to this issue please!

(Sidenote: The writing on TV 8's website is horrible. Three sentences that start with the word "But"? Fragments that don't make any sense? Can't we do any better than this?)
It's All About The Answer To Today's Trivia Quiz:

"Seatrain" was the band, "13 Questions" is the title of the song. I will be really, really lucky if I find this on the internet.

Yahoo! News - New Mexico County Now Allowing Same-Sex Marriages
SANTA FE, N.M. (Reuters) - Officials in a New Mexico county next to Santa Fe said on Friday they have granted their first same-sex marriage licenses, adding the state may become the next battleground over the issue of gay marriage.

Officials from rural Sandoval County, which is southwest of Santa Fe and home to a massive Intel Corp. semiconductor manufacturing facility, said they have already issued 10 same-sex marriage licenses after finding this week no laws on the books that prevent gay marriages in New Mexico.

Geeez, now everybody is going to want a gay marriage! (she said tongue in cheek)

Very, very big smile here.
It's All About That Elusive 70's Song:

Pop, perhaps you know- I believe the song title is "Thirteen Questions", the chorus goes "Did you see... the moon last night..." and it seems to me that it was played on Fuller St., maybe not by you though. Do you remember who did it?

It's going through my head and I want to get a copy.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Expects Troops in Iraq for Years
WASHINGTON - American officials say U.S. forces will be needed in Iraq long after a sovereign government is restored this summer, but they have yet to work out the terms of a continued presence.

Senior Pentagon officials said Thursday they were confident that the Iraqis, once given political control, would agree U.S. troops should stay. But some outside the government question whether that would hold true once an elected Iraqi government took over.

Even while the Bush administration works toward its goal of restoring Iraqi sovereignty by July 1, U.S. troops are dying at a rate of more than one a day. They are opposed by an insurgency that U.S. commanders say is aimed at preventing a stable Iraqi government from taking root.

Another report has recruitment way down for the National Guard. These guys seem to be getting out as fast as they can. Wonder how popular George would be if he had to reinstate the draft?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Maddux, Cubs open camp

It didn't take long for Cubs fans to show their support for the right-hander, who pitched in Chicago from 1986-92 and then exited to join the Atlanta Braves. Jill Rhamy, 31, who lives in the Phoenix area, showed up at Thursday's practice wearing an Atlanta Braves' jersey with Maddux's No. 31. She's a Cubs fan all the way and ordered a Cubs No. 31 on Wednesday as soon as she knew Maddux was coming home.

I had to steal this picture. They always seem to catch him with such a goofy look on his face. But, man oh man, does he look good in Cubbie blue.

As Congressional debate continues on long-overdue highway legislation needed to fund road and bridge improvement projects, a new report is sparking added urgency by ranking the nation's worst highway bottlenecks, including three in the Chicago metropolitan area. The report, an update of a study originally conducted in 1999, now ranks the I-90/94 and I-290 junction, the "Circle Interchange", as America's third-worst traffic bottleneck, blaming the site for more than 25 million hours of traffic delay each year.

I dread any kind of construction that would reduce lanes on the Ryan (I-94). I hit these sites after the morning rush hour and before any evening traffic, so I am lucky- I usually breeze right through town. The study lists the I-90 Skyway south and I have never, ever had a problem there. The one I have been stuck on (twice- and that is the reason I now take the Ryan and Stevenson when I can) is I-294, and that didn't make the list.

Chicago is scary and frustrating at times, but you get used to it.

Guess who paid for this study? The highway construction folks. No surprise there.

Yahoo! News - W.House Declines to Endorse Jobs Forecast
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday backed away from its own buoyant employment forecast that had predicted 2.6 million new jobs this year, marking the second time in as many weeks the Bush administration has reversed course on the key election-year issue of job creation.

In a position that quickly triggered a chorus of criticism from Democrats, President Bush and his top economic aides repeatedly sidestepped opportunities to embrace the optimistic job-projection figure published just a week ago in the Economic Report of the President.

Who can believe anything that is said by this administration anymore? Do they ever mean what they say?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - Top Democrats lead Bush in poll
WASHINGTON ( — Democrat John Kerry holds his largest lead yet over President Bush in a head-to-head match-up among likely voters, a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll concludes, and rival John Edwards also holds a double-digit lead over the president.

The poll, taken Feb. 16-17, indicates that if the election were held today, Kerry would be chosen by 55% of likely voters, compared to 43% for Bush. In the last polling, Feb. 6-8, Bush held a 49-48 advantage.

Edwards, Kerry's sole remaining major rival for the Democratic nomination, holds a 54%-44% advantage, the poll indicates. The question has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Thanks to Marybeth for this. It was a beautiful thing to read.

Yahoo! News - Bush 'Troubled' by San Francisco's Gay Marriages
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said Wednesday he was troubled San Francisco was issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians "even though the law states otherwise" and appeared close to endorsing a constitutional ban sought by many of his conservative backers.

Well, I'm "troubled" by George Bush, so I guess we are even.

Yahoo! News - Dean Ends Campaign, Vows to Back Nominee
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Howard Dean, bowing to the political realities of a 17-contest losing streak, ended his Democratic presidential campaign Wednesday but promised to keep his "campaign for change" alive while supporting his party's eventual nominee.

I am no longer actively pursuing the presidency," Dean told a crowd of cheering, flag-waving supporters. "We will, however, continue to build a new organization using our enormous grass-roots network to continue the effort to transform the Democratic Party and to change our country."

Dean sounded a theme of party unity, saying, "The bottom line is that we must beat George W. Bush in November, whatever it takes."

Bye Howard, thanks for playin'.

I don't think I've picked a winner yet. *sigh* When I think about that, I feel more alienated from society. But then I look at society, and think that's probably a good thing. - Edwards' better-than-expected finish revives hopes
As of Friday, Edwards was at only 16% in a public poll in Wisconsin. The first-term North Carolina senator spent and campaigned his way to more than twice that percentage and a strong second place Tuesday. "So close we can taste it," his campaign headlined an e-mail to supporters 90 minutes before the polls closed.

John Kerry 327,669 40% 30
John Edwards 283,326 34% 24
Howard Dean 150,682 18% 13
Dennis Kucinich 27,231 3% 0
Al Sharpton 14,685 2% 0

The more I hear Edwards, the more I like him. He's young, charming, and smart as a whip. Kerry strikes me as a boring, stuffy....uh...Senator who shows little enthusiasm. Super Tuesday will be interesting. - News - Judge Gives SF Until March 29 To Explain Same-Sex Policy
The judge told the plaintiffs that they would likely succeed on the merits eventually, but that for now, he couldn't accept their proposed court order because of a punctuation error.

It all came down to a semicolon, the judge said.

"I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal ... That semicolon is a big deal," Warren said.

The Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund had asked the judge to issue an order commanding the city to "cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before this court."

"The way you've written this it has a semicolon where it should have the word 'or'," the judge told them. "I don't have the authority to issue it under these circumstances."

HAHAHAHA! Too funny...

Yahoo! News - San Francisco's Gay Marriages to Continue, for Now
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California judge on Tuesday gave the city of San Francisco a green light to keep on issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians until late March at least.

There will not be a stay ... The requirements have not been met to issue an injunction," Judge Warren said as he scheduled his next hearing for March 29.

Warren said no immediate threat to society existed that warranted putting a stop to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.

Yahoo! News - Greg Maddux Signs Deal With Chicago Cubs
MESA, Ariz. - Greg Maddux brought his career full circle Tuesday night when he decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs, the team that gave him his start in the majors. No official announcement was made, but a source close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that Maddux agreed to a $24 million deal that could go as long as three years.

Woooo Hoooo! You better be worth it Greg.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

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for you are a trend setter. You're a natural
leader, and are good under pressure. People
often seek you out for advice, for you have
great insight.

Which kind of candy are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Yahoo! News - Gay Marriages to Have Their Day in Court
SAN FRANCISCO - Their wedding march on City Hall produced marriage licenses in the hundreds, but gay and lesbian couples who took part may not even finish opening gifts before their nuptials are null and void.

Opponents of Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to defy state law and have marriage licenses issued to gay and lesbian couples were to have their day in court Tuesday, with hearings scheduled on the petitions of two groups.

By Monday night, 2,340 same-sex couples had taken their vows at City Hall since the county clerk, under Newsom's directions, started issuing "gender-neutral" marriage licenses Thursday.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Hendry says Maddux offer upped
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have sweetened their offer to free-agent pitcher Greg Maddux. Sources said the Cubs have raised their initial offer of $10 million over two years, which was made Jan. 13, but details of the increase were not disclosed.

Looks like we might get Greg after all. I hope he still has some juice left in him. a letter to Mary Cheney, the gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, about gay marriage
Vice President Cheney, your father, recently said he would support adding anti-gay prejudice to the US Constitution, making you and millions of other Americans second-class citizens. As an open lesbian who has worked for years as a public advocate for gay civil rights, you are in a unique position to defend yourself and your community in this dire hour. Won't you join us in publicly opposing this bigoted un-American proposal?

Though Dick Cheney at one time seemed sympathetic to gay unions—in a 2000 debate with Joe Lieberman he said the issue should be left to the states—last month he said he would support "whatever decision" Bush makes. "I think the American people deserve to know he is willing to sell out his daughter for votes. It says something about his character," says John Aravosis, a Washington, D.C., political consultant who founded the site along with Los Angeles activist Robin Tyler. The two have a solid track record: in 2000 they helped force conservative talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlesinger off television with a similar campaign.

John used to moderate the USP board at About, and had great success with the "Stop Dr. Laura" site. IF Mary Cheney wishes to stay out of the public spotlight, I say leave her alone. But it sure would be nice if she came out (no pun intended) and campaigned against this amendment.

Yahoo! News - CBS Pulls Medicare Ad Pending Review
WASHINGTON - CBS has stopped running the Bush administration's publicly funded ad for the new Medicare prescription drug law, pending a review of its content by congressional investigators.

The 30-second ad, titled "Same Medicare. More Benefits," has prompted strong criticism from Democratic lawmakers and a range of interest groups who say it is a barely disguised commercial for President Bush's re-election campaign.

ABC insisted that the government edit part of the ad, which asserts that members "can save with Medicare drug discount cards this June. And save more with prescription drug coverage in 2006," to indicate that savings can vary.

Finally saw this on ABC last night, and yes, it IS a commercial for Bush. I don't know what ABC edited, but I am appalled at the blatant misuse of public funds and I think the Dems should ask for equal time.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Yahoo! News - Reports: Alex Rodriguez Heading for Yankees
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Yankees are on the verge of acquiring Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, according to media reports Saturday.

Rodriguez would move to third base with the Yankees, according to the reports, as New York already has Derek Jeter (news) at shortstop.

The rich get richer, and I bet Boston will be pissed off if this goes down. Yanks still have no pitching though.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Yahoo! News - Hundreds More Gay Couples Marry in S.F.
All day long, the marble passages beneath City Hall's ornate gold dome echoed with applause as one couple after another got hitched, promising to be "spouses for life." By the time weary authorities closed up shop Friday, 665 same-sex couples had taken their vows over two days.

So at this pace almost two thousand gay couples will be married by the time they can file an injunction (assuming they won't be open Sunday, but maybe they will. In that case, if they get rolling, maybe they can hit 3000.)

Anyone's marriage feel threatened yet? Has the institution crumbled? Hundreds of hetero's lining up for divorce? Is Fox planning "My Big Fat Obnoxious Gay Fiance"?

Heh heh heh.

Happy Valentine's Day to all out there today. The timing couldn't be better. I would love to see a line of thousands of couples who fly in from all over the country.

GOP tiff: Rep. Doug Hart rips Betsy DeVos
State Rep. Doug Hart, who has made it a part of his legislative repertoire to stand up to Republican leaders, assailed state Republican Party Chairwoman Betsy DeVos for calling on the state superintendent of education to resign.

In an article in Sunday's Detroit News, DeVos derided Tom Watkins for his "highly compensated tenure," which she said has had a "total lack of results." She blamed Watkins for falling test scores each year since taking charge.

Hart said DeVos' criticisms were "cheap political shots" that have a "polarizing effect" at a time when the state needs to be finding common ground in improving education.

"I don't quite understand why the state party is so resolute in their attacks on Tom Watkins," Hart said. "It smacks of partisanship."

Hart noted DeVos was similarly partisan in the debate over pausing the income tax cut, at a time when the state needed a bipartisan solution, he said.

Did you ever have one of those days where everything just went right? Yesterday was that day for me. Dry roads, sunny skies, cheap smoke deal in Indiana, new Norah Jones waiting for me at work when I got back, hundreds of gay people getting married, and then my beloved paper features someone ripping into Betsy DeVos, finally calling her on her divisive attacks.

I must admit I have been remiss in the "Betsy Bash 2004" news lately; apparently she had some nasty things to say about Michael Moore when he was in town recently, and she pissed a lot of people off. The letters to the editor ran 10-1 against her, calling her out on this same shit.

She's turning into the Ann Coulter of Michigan.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Yahoo! News - Same-Sex Wedding Festival Flowers in San Francisco
Scores of gays and lesbians having been lining up at City Hall to wed after San Francisco's new mayor Gavin Newsom lifted a ban on same-sex marriages, saying that gays and lesbians have the right to wed under the state's equal protection clause.

But the state of California does not sanction same-sex marriages and voters in 2000 approved a ballot initiative that restricted marriage only to heterosexual couples.

Newsom's order made San Francisco the first place in the nation to allow gays to marry and 90 couples were wed on Thursday.

The uncertainty over whether same-sex marriages will be blocked by the courts did not stop the giddy atmosphere from enveloping City Hall which became a veritable wedding chapel filled with throngs of people carrying flowers, snapping photos and shedding tears.

Seeing the line of people waiting to be married stretched out in front of City Hall, I was struck by how "normal" these happy gay folks looked. I know using the word "normal" in this circumstance is a bit comical, but that is what I thought.

Average Joe Americans in their everyday clothes, people that could be your next door neighbor- no flamboyant drag queens in sequin wedding gowns. I guess I had become accustomed to seeing the media play out the more dramatic, especially in San Francisco. Although if this continues, I'm sure we will see the gowns eventually. :~)

This is very, very cool. I have been grinning from ear-to-ear. Even if these weddings are declared void, it is the first strike in the war. Now more and more people will see how ridiculous and discriminatory a ban is-they will have to look in the face of these people, people just like them, normal folks who just want to live their lives together- and the wheels of equality will slowly turn forward.

It might not be tomorrow, but it will be in my lifetime, maybe sooner than I think.

I hope Gavin Newsom goes down in history.

Here are actual error messages seen on the computer screens in Japan; some are written in Haiku. Aren't these better than "your computer has performed an illegal operation'?

1. The Website you seek cannot be located, but countless more exist.

2. Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent and reboot. Order shall return.

3. Program aborting; close all the you have worked on. You ask far too much.

4. Windows NT crashed. I am the Blue Screen of Death. No one hears your screams.

5. Yesterday it worked. Today it is not working. Windows is like that.

6. Your file is so big. It might be very useful. But now it is gone.

7. Stay the patient course. Of little worth is your ire. The network is down.

8. A crash reduces your expensive computer to a simple stone.

9. Three things are certain: Death, taxes and lost data. Guess which has occurred?

10. You step in the stream, but the water has moved on. This page is not here.

Thanks to Rick C. for these. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.

MICHIGAN'S FISCAL CRISIS: Granholm's budget plan draws fire
Balancing proposals for $400 million in tax increases with $500 million in spending cuts, Gov. Jennifer Granholm unveiled a $39.7-billion state budget Thursday that sparked immediate criticism from various interests.

She said the proposal preserves essential services, especially public education and health care for poor people, without imposing new, across-the-board taxes and "without deterring job growth."

Some Republican lawmakers said the budget, which the GOP-controlled Legislature must now consider, relies too much on accounting gimmicks, but expressed a willingness to seek alternatives.

Funny, John Engler relied on accounting "gimmicks" all the time and not a peep out of the Pubs then.

All the Republicans seem to say is "cut government". Where? They never offer any specifics. Why? Because it would mean cutting programs for the poor, the elderly and the children, and they don't have the balls to come and out and say "let's stiff the little guy". They prefer to do their dirty work behind closed doors.

We have to pay the bills Michigan. What kind of state do you want to live in? Quality of life costs money.

Yahoo! News - Republicans Accuse Kerry of Planning Dirty Campaign
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of President Bush's Republican Party accused Democrat John Kerry's campaign on Thursday of planning the "dirtiest campaign in modern presidential politics" in a scorched-earth bid to oust Bush in November.

At the same time, Bush's re-election campaign released a web video on that attacked Kerry as beholden to lobbyists and special interests despite Kerry's frequent statements that he will get rid of the "influence peddlers" if elected.

More hypocrisy from the right. Of course they would think that Kerry speaking the truth about Bush is "dirty", because, well, he IS dirty. I wish that we would get away from the stuff that happened thirty years ago and move on to today's issues. Lots of dirt there.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Yahoo! News - Hostile People May Be 'Born to Smoke', Study Finds
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People with hostile or aggressive personality traits may have genetic tendencies that make them "born to smoke," U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

Brain imaging studies suggest that the same genetic variations that give people hostile personality traits may also make them more likely to become addicted to nicotine, the team at the University of California Irvine reported.

HEY! Fuck you, man! Who you callin' hostile? Well, no shit, when you raise the goddamn taxes so high on our drug of choice, hell yeah, we are hostile!


Yahoo! News - San Francisco Officials Marry Gay Couple
SAN FRANCISCO - In a bold political and legal challenge to California law, city authorities officiated at the marriage of a lesbian couple Thursday and said they will issue more gay marriage licenses.

The act of civil disobedience in San Francisco was coordinated by Mayor Gavin Newsom and top city officials and was intended to beat a conservative group to the punch.

The group, Campaign for California Families, had planned to go to court on Friday to get an injunction preventing the city from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Longtime lesbian activists Phyllis Lyon, 79, and Del Martin, 83, were hurriedly issued a license and were married just before noon by City Assessor Mabel Teng in a closed-door civil ceremony at City Hall, mayor's spokesman Peter Ragone said. The two have been a couple for 51 years.

Ragone said that beginning at noon, officials would begin issuing marriage licenses to any gay couples applying for one. One lesbian couple had already lined up outside City Hall, one of the women wearing a white wedding dress.

:-) And, gee look, the world didn't end. Amazing.

Yahoo! News - San Francisco may get same-sex marriages
The city of San Francisco may jump ahead of Massachusetts as the first place in the United States for same-sex marriages, under an initiative launched Tuesday by newly elected Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom, a Democrat, asked the San Francisco County Clerk to investigate what steps need to be taken to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"Less than a month ago I took the oath of office here at City Hall and swore to uphold California's Constitution, which clearly outlaws all forms of discrimination," Newsom said in a statement. "Denying basic rights to members of our community will not be tolerated."

Here's another example. Legal battles will continue to be waged all over the country. Will enough people stand up against bigotry? Stay tuned.

MSNBC - Mass. lawmakers reject same-sex compromise
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Legislature narrowly rejected a compromise proposal Wednesday that sought to legalize civil unions but ban same-sex marriages, delivering a setback to lawmakers who wanted to avoid taking the divisive issue head-on.

The defeat of the compromise means that lawmakers will return to the Statehouse on Thursday to consider either an outright ban on gay marriage or letting the state's constitution remain intact.

I've been thinking quite a bit about this lately, and now I am looking at how it would apply to me, specifically, as opposed to civil rights in general.

I never had a desire to be married legally. Never dreamed of "the big wedding" ceremony. Never, ever, wanted it to be in any sort of church, or have any religious connotations. Would have fought tooth and nail against that. I think that my Mom's two very painful divorces and the lack of commitment I saw in people in general (divorce, adultery, etc.) really just turned me off of the whole process. Plus, being the quintessential "outsider" and "rebel", I probably would have preferred something different from the regular norms. I never thought of the legal aspects because I never had anything of monetary value to worry about, and health decisions didn't matter because I was young and healthy.

Now I do. I could lose the house if I married with out some sort of pre-nup. And this bothers me on some level, that I would worry about money in the face of love. Cheapens it somehow.

The only person I would have married is Kristin- we did exchange rings at one point and I did consider myself "married" to her. I made that commitment to her in my heart, that is why the ending of that relationship was so incredibly devastating to me. (although in the past week she has been back in my life again, it apparently will never end because I lack the strength to tell her to "fuck off" once and for all, and I'm not sure I want to do that. God help me. I don't want to get into that now. One day at a time.)

My point being, they can never take away what is in the heart. They can pass all the laws they want. I will still be "gay". Gay folks will still be in committed relationships. They can't change that. I get the impression that they think if they pass discriminatory laws they will do away with homosexuality. Not gonna happen.

"Marriage" is in the heart, not the bank account.

We will still fight on. For me, I may never be legally married, and that's OK with me. I still prefer to be on the outside of "normal".

Cubs, Farnsworth agree to terms
Farnsworth had filed for arbitration, seeking $1.7 million, and the Cubs had countered with an offer of $1.1 million. A hearing was scheduled for Monday, but the two sides reached an agreement on a $1.4 million contract.

I hope he will continue to get better. Still waiting on Maddux.

Thank you, Fred.

(The Meijer Gardens amphitheater- this is called "paint daubs" but Adobe renders it so well it looks real. I will be getting this program. It's great.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004 & WOOD TV8 - Monks' performance disrupted by protesting Catholics
During a performance of a visiting group of Tibetan monks Tuesday night, a large group of Catholics, not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, started praying loudly and disrupting the event.

As the monks were on stage at St. Adalbert's Basilica in Grand Rapids, about 150 people, members of the St. Margaret Mary Church in Allendale, started reciting the Rosary very loudly, causing a disturbance and putting an end to the monks' performance.

Members of St. Margaret Mary say they felt offended that Tibetan monks, who don't believe in the same God as them, would hold a performance at a Catholic basilica and raise money for their cause.

I had never heard of "rogue Catholics" before this, but as far as I'm concerned these people are one step away from Fred Phelps land. How embarassing for my city. I wish they would have been slapped with disorderly conduct charges.

Yahoo! News - Elderly Fla. Man Robbed Bank to Pay Bills
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - An elderly man told police he robbed a bank to pay his wife's medical bills. His wife was behind the wheel of a getaway car Tuesday when the 71-year-old man ran from the bank, police said. Her doctor's appointment was scheduled a half-hour later.

A dye pack exploded inside the bag of money, covering James Roland Clark as he left the bank. Clark and his wife, Deloris Jane Clark, 66, were arrested soon afterward, said Gainesville police Sgt. Keith Kameg.

Clark told police he threatened bank tellers saying he had a bomb, but it was actually a bag of sand, Kameg said. The Alachua County Sheriff's Office Bomb Team detonated the bag of sand as a precaution.
It's All About The Clock:

Hey! Someone changed the Cubs report day and time. The Cubs site shows 7 days. Grrrr. I don't feel like changing my code, so, live with it.

I'll be putting the Bush clock up there soon anyway.

Yahoo! News - Kerry Sweeps in South, Clark Quits
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry rolled to dominating wins in Virginia and Tennessee on Tuesday, scoring a Southern sweep that knocked rival Wesley Clark out of the race and put the nomination within reach.

Kerry, whose campaign was considered dead barely a month ago until he charged to a win in Iowa, earned more than 50 percent of the vote in Virginia. Edwards ran a distant second and Clark a poor third.

In Tennessee, Kerry scored more than 40 percent of the vote, with Edwards 15 percentage points behind and Clark in third place.

Makes you wonder how Kucinich and Sharpton can afford to hang around. Edwards for VP? Would love to see him debate Cheney.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Governor: Raising cigarette tax will cut down on smoking
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday that her proposal to raise the state cigarette tax from $1.25 to $2 per pack will help make up for lost federal dollars and encourage people to stop smoking.

The higher fee would raise about $295 million in new revenues, which would go toward filling a gap in the Medicaid budget left by fewer federal dollars.

The administration recently raised its estimate of the shortfall in next year's budget from $1 billion to $1.3 billion because of the cutback in federal dollars for the state-run health program for low-income residents.

Ah-hah! So it's George's fault!

Boy, these tax cuts are costing me a lot of money...
House Vote on Anti-Family Marriage Amendment Postponed!

In my mailbox today from the HRC....

"Your opposition calls and letters have made a difference. Apparently fearing that the measure would fail, right-wing leaders in the Michigan House cancelled a floor vote last Thursday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the state to discriminate against same-sex couples and their families."

Sweet! Hope they can the whole thing altogether...

Yahoo! News - Dean Now Says He Will Stay in Race After Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wis. (Reuters) - Democrat Howard Dean on Monday reversed his position of a week ago and said that even if he lost Wisconsin's primary next week he would stay in the race for his party's 2004 presidential nomination. The former Vermont governor later told reporters that backers, particularly small donors, convinced him to stay in the race.

"They don't want to quit, so I'm not going to quit on them," the former Vermont governor said.

"Democrats who watched the popularity polls and cut bad deals with the White House are not the right people to stand up to George Bush this fall," the former Vermont governor said.

Although I don't think he will be considered a serious contender anymore, it will be good to have his voice in the campaign, provided he doesn't divide the party. He represents a lot of people who are fed up with Washington's "business as usual".

Monday, February 09, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bill Clinton Wins a Grammy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton won a Grammy Award on Sunday, but not for his famed saxophone playing.

Clinton was honored in the spoken word album for children category for a project he worked on with fellow winners, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Italian screen siren Sophia Loren.

None of them were at the ceremony to pick up the award for "Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks."

Yahoo! News - Boston Anti-Gay Marriage Rally Draws 2,000
BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley said gay marriage would have an "enormously negative impact on our society," drawing cheers from people at a rally on Sunday in an ongoing battle over a Massachusetts court ruling that gives same-sex couples the right to marry.

Gay rights activists who attended the rally on Boston Common accused the Archdiocese of Boston of fostering homophobia and discrimination. The church has been the center of a clergy-sexual abuse scandal that sent shockwaves to Rome.

Glass houses? Doesn't the Archdiocese have it's own "enormously negative impact on our society" to contend with?

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bush Offers Shifting Rationale for Iraq War
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Sunday offered a shifting rationale for the Iraq war -- that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to develop unconventional arms if not the actual weapons -- and said he did not believe the more than 500 Americans killed in the war died in vain.

"He had the capacity to have a weapon, make a weapon. We thought he had weapons. The international community thought he had weapons. But he had the capacity to make a weapon and then let that weapon fall into the hands of a shadowy terrorist network," Bush said.

Now it's the capacity to make a weapon. Uh-huh.

If rationale keeps shifting like this they might have to name a new dance after it.

I spared myself the agony of watching him and listened to some nice light jazz instead.
It's All About Baseball:

In less than a week, some guy in a Cubs uniform somewhere will be doing something that relates to the Cub season 2004.

It can't come soon enough for me.
Which bra are you?
Which bra are you?

The Pitch.

Here's what Elements can do that PhotoDraw can't...I might have to get this program.

Yahoo! News - Feds Win Right to War Protesters' Records
DES MOINES, Iowa - In what may be the first subpoena of its kind in decades, a federal judge has ordered a university to turn over records about a gathering of anti-war activists.

In addition to records about who attended the forum, the subpoena orders the university to divulge all records relating to the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a New York-based legal activist organization that sponsored the forum.

"This is exactly what people feared would happen," said Brian Terrell of the peace ministry, one of those subpoenaed. "The civil liberties of everyone in this country are in danger. How we handle that here in Iowa is very important on how things are going to happen in this country from now on."

The targets of the subpoenas believe investigators are trying to link them to an incident that occurred during the rally. A Grinnell College librarian was charged with misdemeanor assault on a peace officer; she has pleaded innocent, saying she simply went limp and resisted arrest.

We've got to keep those radical librarians in line, ya know...

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Kerry Wins Michigan Caucuses
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- John Kerry won Michigan's caucuses Saturday, easily outdistancing Howard Dean and John Edwards, who were vying for second.

Lt. Gov. John Cherry said it was the second-highest voter turnout in a Michigan Democratic caucus.

"One-hundred-forty-eight-thousand-plus people came out to cast their presidential preference and the loser was George Bush," Cherry said.

With 88 percent of the vote counted, Kerry won 50 percent, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had 17 percent, U.S. Sen. John Edwards had 14 percent, retired Gen. Wesley Clark 7 percent, the Rev. Al Sharpton 5 percent and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich 5 percent.

Yahoo! News - Jackson Flash Heightens Piercing Interest
Business was brisk at the Florida-based online distributor, with owner Russ Johnson saying he had sold about 65 Jacksonesque shields since the Super Bowl and had more than 40 on back order. Until the Super Bowl, he sold only two or three in a typical week.

New Yorker Tommy Vega had his nipples pierced several years ago but had them redone Friday so he could wear shields like Jackson's.

"I hate to admit I was influenced by her, but I love her and it looked really cute," said Vega, 23.

America is the epitome of hypocrisy when it comes to sexuality. CBS blew it. And inviting Timberlake while punishing Janet is the epitome of the double-standard. He ripped her clothes off, and she is the one to pay. (I still think they both were in on it)

Bush Did Not Manipulate Iraq Intelligence - McCain
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John McCain, who will sit on a commission investigating failures in the intelligence used to justify the Iraq war, said on Friday he did not believe President Bush's administration had manipulated information.

``The president of the United States, I believe, did not manipulate any kind of information for political gain or otherwise,'' the Republican senator told reporters on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, Germany.

(Thanks to Hoos for this.)

Let's see if McCain says the same thing next March. Of course, that's not what this panel is supposed to be investigating anyway. Just intelligence failures. Not how they were used after they failed.

What a crock of shit this is.
It's All About The Campaign:

Amazed at the amount of Kucinich posters in my little bohemian neighborhood. Apparently the fringe left around here has abandoned Dean in a big way. Of course, Dennis was in town, spreading the "good word."

Makes a huge difference. Hope Mr. Kerry remembers that.

Yahoo! News - Bush Sets Up Iraq WMD Intelligence Panel
Democrats immediately questioned the independence of the panel since its members were handpicked by Bush. Bush had initially been cool to a commission and agreed to it under pressure from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

He gave the commission until March 31, 2005, to report back, meaning the results will not be known until after November when voters decide whether to give him a second term. Democrats want it sooner.

Did he give them the Ouija board too?

The executive order that Bush signed laying out the objectives of the commission said the panel will assess whether the U.S. intelligence community is sufficiently organized, equipped, trained and funded to identify threats. It did not give the commission a specific mandate to examine whether the Bush administration exaggerated the Iraq threat, which Democrats wanted.

Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said the panel's mandate was overly broad. "A more narrowly focused effort could be completed, and corrective action taken, in a much shorter time," he said.

But we wouldn't want that, Carl. That might expose George for the lying, murdering, greedy SOB that he is. Wouldn't be prudent.

Yahoo! News - Michigan Dems Proceed With Online Voting
Thousands of Michigan Democrats have cast ballots for Saturday's caucuses using an Internet system that security experts say shares some of the risks found in a just-scrapped Pentagon effort.

Experts worry that more states might be encouraged by the Michigan Democrats' endeavor to try out online voting, making elections an increasingly tempting target for hackers.

But a flawless showing in Michigan could create pressure from the electorate, said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America and a longtime election poll worker.

"People shop online every day. Businesses do online financial transactions worth trillions of dollars. Why shouldn't you be able to vote online?" he asked.

If Kucinich wins today in Michigan, we will know that we have a problem. :-)

Still glad I voted for Howard. With John "I oppose gay marriage" Kerry's huge lead in the polls here, and given my current disgust with the Dems in general, I wonder if I would have made the effort to get out today had I not already voted online. (The answer-probably. I don't think I've ever missed a caucus, but I can't remember)

Friday, February 06, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Campaigns in Michigan on Eve of Contests
WARREN, Mich. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender John Kerry picked up the endorsement of former rival Richard Gephardt, a favorite of organized labor, and promised their union supporters he would boost manufacturing jobs.

A recent Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll showed Kerry leading his nearest rival by 37 percentage points in Michigan. Kerry had 47 percent support while former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had 10 percent. The remaining candidates were in the single digits.

Oops! He was here today. My bad.

47%? Wow. Nice numbers there, John.

Jennifer in water.

OK, enough Jennifer. Lisa suggested still life; I now have an urge to take a picture of my shoes in the snow. God knows why.

This was made with Adobe Elements. It seems to do the same things as PhotoDraw, but maybe a little better. Have to play with it some more.