Saturday, July 31, 2004

Yahoo! News - Garciaparra Goes to Cubs in 4-Team Trade
BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox sent star Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in a blockbuster, four-team deal Saturday that also involved shortstops Orlando Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez.

The Red Sox wound up with Cabrera and Minnesota first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz while the Cubs got Garciaparra and minor league outfielder Matt Murton.

Garciaparra is a five-time All-Star and a two-time AL batting champion, and is in the final year of his contract. The trade brought an end to his stellar career in Boston, one which was overshadowed for the past year by trade rumors and an injury.

YEEEE-HAAAAAH! Better make sure and sign him up for a while there, boys. Even if we don't make it this year, he will be a key piece of the puzzle for next. WTG HENDRY!

Down the drain.

Fence. This looks cool blown-up.

Yahoo! News - Kerry, Frank attack anti-gay GOP tactics
BOSTON -- He didn't use the "g" word or the "m" word, but Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Thursday night landed an unmistakable punch against President Bush's efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay couples from marrying.

And U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who didn't stick to his party-vetted speech, also came out swinging against the Republican's Party's anti-gay agenda during his remarks at the Democratic National Convention podium Thursday evening.

At 6:20 p.m. Thursday, before prime-time coverage, Rep. Frank took to the podium to a strong ovation by an already crowded arena. Departing liberally from the language of his vetted prepared text, Frank said that there is a "gay agenda" and that it includes equal rights for gay people in jobs, military service and marriage, as well as concern for the environment, access to health care, cooperation with other nations and concern for working people.

"Some of those things we believe because, particularly, we are gay and lesbian," said Frank. "To be honest with you, we don't know why we are, we just are. But we do know why we are Democrats.

I guess you could call us "Good Dog Democrats", Barney. If we lie down and roll over, maybe you guys will throw us a bone.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Panel Says Intelligence Reforms Urgent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government lacks a sense of urgency in making critical changes in the intelligence gathering and sharing needed to prevent terror attacks on America, top members of the Sept. 11 commission told Congress on Friday.

A White House task force will give Bush intelligence reform proposals that "will in some ways go beyond, I expect, what the 9/11 commission has recommended," a senior White House official said.

That's quite an ominous statement if you think about it.

"We find a desire to move ahead, but the whole government just is not acting with the urgency we think is required across the board, whether it's screening for cargo or checking airplane passengers or checking the air space or whatever," Hamilton told the hearing.

"Lots of good things have been done, but much, much more needs to be done. And what seems to us to be lacking is that real sense of urgency."

But...but...but..."America is safer!" Haven't you guys heard?

Friday, July 30, 2004

Lansing State Journal:Granholm impresses many
BOSTON - While the convention spotlight is on John Kerry, thousands of Democrats are meeting or hearing Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for the first time.

Her speech to the convention Wednesday was her first national prime-time speech.

Granholm has drawn national attention since she was elected Michigan's first female governor in 2002, but the convention has taken that to a new level.

She has appeared on "Face the Nation" and bantered with Chris Matthews, the brash host of MSNBC's "Hardball."

NBC anchor Tom Brokaw interviewed her Monday night, and ABC's Peter Jennings the following night. National Public Radio and CNN grabbed time with her as well. She turned down "Nightline" and several other news shows.

Jon Stewart goofed on her pretty good as well.

I'm glad that she's getting a lot of positive press out of this- and I see her moving on to bigger things some day.

Remainders 8

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Yahoo! News - Democratic Delegates Differ with Kerry on Iraq
BOSTON (Reuters) - Many delegates at the Democratic national convention appear to be at odds with the man they hope to put into the White House on whether America should have gone to war in Iraq.

Although John Kerry has criticized President Bush's handling of the war, he stands by his vote in the U.S. Senate to authorize it. But the sentiment among delegates is strongly anti-war.

Kerry defends the decision to remove Saddam Hussein but says Bush failed to plan for the war's aftermath or gain international support.

Convention speakers this week have echoed these measured criticisms while trumpeting Kerry's national security credentials.

But on the convention floor, anger over the war runs deep among the party faithful. Talk of the Bush family's ties to the bin Laden family is common, and it is almost an article of faith the White House went to war for Iraq's oil reserves.

There is room for dissent in the Democratic Party. We can talk issues and not have to agree on everything without the fear of being branded "un-patriotic." It heartens me to hear this.

I succumbed last night and watched a bit of the convention; Sharpton stole the show it seems. Jennifer did alright, although I think she is much better when she is talking one on one in a softer voice. She was "performing" a bit too much for my taste in her speech. I missed Edwards.

Tonight's the big night John. The future direction of the country might be riding on this, make it a good one.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Yahoo! News - Gay Democrats accept agenda compromise
BOSTON -- Leaders of the Democratic National Convention's gay caucus acknowledged at their first meeting Monday afternoon that they did not get everything they wanted in the party's platform this year. But they called the platform's language on gay families "respectful," and said they support it as a necessary compromise.

The platform says the party supports "full inclusion" and seeks "equal" benefits for gay families. The platform also opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment and says the marriage issue should be left to each state.

Some of the openly gay delegates attending Monday's standing-room-only caucus meeting expressed disappointment in the language.

"I know we didn't do enough," said openly gay former Clinton appointee Roberta Achtenberg, who served on the platform drafting committee. But the party, she said, needs language that every Democratic candidate can run on, regardless of where they live, and party officials "made a good faith response to our importuning."

Appeasing the terrorists. Define "full inclusion" and "equal benefits", please.

Yahoo! News - Bush Seen Projecting Record Deficit
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is expected to project soon a record federal budget deficit of about $420 billion for 2004, which could give ammunition to both sides of the election-year debate over tax and spending policies.

Congressional sources said on Tuesday the White House review of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, was likely to project a deficit about $50 billion greater than 2003. But the new figure would be nearly $100 billion less than forecast five months ago.

Republicans have said privately that they would view a better-than-expected projection as a sign of progress toward President Bush's goal of cutting the deficit in half in five years.

"It takes a lot of chutzpah," said Gene Sperling, a former economic aide to former Democratic President Bill Clinton and now an adviser to Kerry.

"There was supposed to be a $400 billion surplus this year," Sperling said, referring to Clinton-era projections. "That is an $800 billion deterioration and they are trying to brag about it."

Watch for them to brag about the "success" of the 9/11 commission findings also, after having dragged their feet kicking and screaming all the way. Don't people see through this? Are memories that short? I found it interesting that this story followed-

Medicare Plans to Cut Pay for Cancer Drugs
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration announced plans Tuesday to cut Medicare payments to cancer doctors, saying taxpayers have been paying the physicians up to twice what they should for certain medications.

Cancer doctors and patient advocates said the proposal could force a dramatic change in care, with patients forced to get their treatment in hospitals, sometimes far from their homes, rather than in physicians' offices.

"A patient of mine in rural Illinois may have to drive another 50 miles," said Dr. Edward Braud, a medical oncologist who was interviewed by telephone Tuesday from his clinic in rural Jacksonville, Ill.

Ellen Stovall, a two-time cancer survivor who is president and chief executive of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, said, "Our concern is that whatever cost-savings may be realized will come at the expense of quality care for patients."

Of course it will. There will be fewer doctors around who will be willing to treat Medicare patients. As I blogged previously, the number dropped about 23% in the last few years. But, hey, who cares about the poor and the sick, right?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

It's All About the Cats:

Who woke me up at 4AM again this morning. Arrrg.

I surfed back over to USP, God help me. I'm still bored and disgusted. (hard to be both all at once)

Looking and listening to the....ahem....self-proclaimed "experts" over there, I realize that it doesn't matter who gets elected, this country is in a deep, deep ideological divide that isn't going to heal anytime soon. In my mind, there is no speaking to the "right"; they will not listen, they will not compromise, all they do is call you "crazy". So why bother? And I'm sure they feel the same way about the "left".

It's going to be a long Fall, given the way I feel right now. I'm having a very hard time getting behind the Donkeys. More and more I see the whole political process as a battleground for the rich only- "we the people" only get to have a say if we have money behind us. Little guys such as myself don't matter, except as cannon fodder for the wealth machine.

Mom tried to get me reved-up last night; she's all excited about the drama at the convention. Good for her, hope she's having fun. My disillusionment is pretty much complete- I realize that my civil rights are not going to come anytime soon, and neither is affordable health care- the health care being more important than the rights at this point. I guess that's my fault for not sticking with a coporate job such as Best Buy. Should have stayed with the big boys, to hell with the American small business, huh? Damn me for following my heart.

Why was I interested in politics again? I don't remember anymore.
From my Daily Gift

All I have to know today is that I'm willing to have my life be different. "Willingness" is the key to my freedom. When I'm open minded, when I'm ready to listen to ideas and suggestions, I'm already changing my life for the better.

I like this one.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Yahoo! News - Adult Corrections Population Hits Record
WASHINGTON - A record 6.9 million adults were incarcerated or on probation or parole last year, nearly 131,000 more than in 2002, according to a Justice Department study.

Put another way, about 3.2 percent of the adult U.S. population, or 1 in 32 adults, were incarcerated or on probation or parole at the end of last year.

Of the 470,500 parolees discharged from supervision last year, 38 percent went back to jail for a new crime or a rule violation, with 9 percent becoming fugitives

38 percent? Not doing so well at "rehabilitation", are we?

Yahoo! Sports - NFL - Reflecting on Ricky
I don't want to do it anymore," Williams told Le Batard. "That's it. I don't want to do this anymore. If people really care about me, that would be enough for them.''

This may come as a shock to you, but not every football player loves football. Ricky Williams didn't love the game. He liked it, sure. But love? Not Williams. He likes too many things in life to be in love with football. Traveling, photography, his kids, being alone. And after making $16 million or so in football over his five seasons, he knew he could do what he wanted to do. When you read this, I'm sure many of you are going to think, "What's there not to like about playing a sport and making millions for a living?" Well, to most people, nothing. And to most football players, nothing. But it is physically and mentally demanding. It should not be a crime for a man to want to do other things with his life than play football.

I've been thinking about this story a lot as I looked for blog items this morning.

Congratulations Ricky. It makes my heart feel good to read about a soul that has broken free from the chains, real or imagined, that bound it to misery. It takes quite a bit of courage to walk away from the only thing that you knew would guarantee a luxurious survival for yourself, to walk into the unknown. Granted, he has quite a bit of resources to do this with, but that money will soon run out when you are living the "high life". Will he come back? Maybe. But for now he is free, and I'm proud of him. Good luck to you, man.

Yahoo! News - Armstrong Wins Record Sixth Tour De France
PARIS (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong became the most successful rider in the history of the Tour de France when he won the race for the sixth time on the Champs Elysees on Sunday.

WTG Lance.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Rises from Political Ashes to Face Bush

Subtitle: Meet John Kerry- a brief synopsis so far

To help dispel the notion that he is a cerebral elitist who has trouble connecting with people, Kerry has appeared on a late-night television show riding a motorcycle, shot pheasant on an Iowa farm, graced the cover of American Windsurfer magazine in a wetsuit and used a four-letter profanity in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Kerry is a strong abortion-rights advocate even though, as a Catholic, he is personally opposed to it and believes life begins at conception. He supports minimum wage hikes, protecting the environment and expanding health care. In 1995, he and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona successfully pushed for normalization of U.S. relations with Vietnam.

OK, ok, ok.....I have to vote for Mr. "Separate But Equal". After some careful thought with an eye towards the big picture, Kerry's gotta be the guy. It's way too close, way too important to think of going any other way. I'll be a good dog and get back on board.

Bring on the convention, whoop-dee-doo. Jennifer speaks on Wed., I believe.

We need a touchdown here, John. This speech better be the best one of your life.

Yahoo! News - Media Upset With DNC Restroom Facilities
BOSTON - Media members, already perturbed by long security lines, may find themselves waiting in line for something nearly as important. As the majority of the print reporters arrived Saturday at the FleetCenter for the Democratic National Convention, tongues clucked when they saw the restroom facilities that they will be using for the next week.

Twenty portable restrooms, like those used on construction sites, are lined up in front of the media pavilion to service nearly 1,200 members of the print media who will be working around the clock. That's about 60 serious coffee-drinkers per toilet.

"That's absurd," said Jim Drinkard, a political reporter for USA Today, when he heard of the ratio of toilets per media member. "This is not the type of planning you'd expect out of someone trying to be a good host."

Uh...guys? We need the media to be happy happy happy with us. What the hell were you thinking?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

It's All About Blatant Bigotry:

From Gene DeRossett, running for Congress in Michigan's 7th District. Gene was apparently born with a gun in one hand and a bible in the other- he looks like he could be Bob Dornan's long lost brother. Just thought I'd share the shape of things to come should the marriage ban proposal make it to the Michigan November ballot.


Length: 30 Seconds

“This is Joe Schwarz’ idea of marriage

*stark black and white shot of gay wedding- the cinematography suggests evil! bad! oh my God, the happy gay people are going to get us all!*

This is Gene DeRossett’s idea of traditional marriage

*break to a shot in living, vivid color of a hetero marriage, pause and slow film for emphasis*

Joe Schwarz is against a ban on gay marriage – there is a difference

Gene DeRossett will support traditional marriage – that’s why Gene DeRossett has been endorsed by Michigan conservatives and pro-life leaders.

Gene DeRossett – the trusted conservative we need to defend our values.”

(Disclaimer: I’m Gene DeRossett and I approve this message)

Are we having fun yet? Just for kicks, I reported him to GLAAD. I'm sure that there is nothing they can do about it, but I wanted them to be aware of what was happening out here. Perhaps they can compile a "greatest hits" list or something.
Mike Rabelo Update!:

M.Rabelo .294

Mike was called up to Erie for a drink of water; I was afraid they had released him. He has spent most of the year at Lakeland and usually his average has been over .300. Good luck Mike!

Yahoo! News - Congress to Hold Hearings on 9/11 Reform
WASHINGTON - Senate and House committees will hold an unusual round of August hearings on intelligence reform after leaders of the Sept. 11 commission warned that America remained vulnerable to another deadly terror strike.

"The American people expect us to act," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said Friday. "We don't have the luxury of waiting for months."

But we did have the luxury of waiting three years? If I'm not mistaken, wasn't this the same commission that George "America is Safer" Bush dragged his feet over for months on end? Tried to block it's inception? Fought over who would be interviewed, and when, and how they would be interviewed? Didn't want to extend the time the commission needed to do the job? Hmmmm? Wasn't that him?

In its blistering report Thursday, the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats cited multiple intelligence failures that contributed to the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history. The unanimously endorsed report could spell trouble for Bush, who has made his handling of terrorism the centerpiece of his campaign.

And I can think of some great commercials that would highlight the dubious nature of the claim, "America is safer". Have you noticed that the Kerry camp is not leaning towards "attack ads"? While I applaud the choice to take the "high road", I suddenly feel the need to point out Bush's glaring hypocrisy.

Pfc. Nicholas Blodgett of Wyoming dies in attack north of Baghdad
The 2001 Catholic Central High School graduate was killed Wednesday when an explosive struck his Bradley fighting vehicle near Abdalluyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad. The Army disclosed his death on Thursday after notifying his family on Wednesday.

Blodgett is the 902nd American service member to die in the Iraq war. He is the first Grand Rapids-area death caused by enemy fire and the 28th in Michigan.

The war comes home.

Yahoo! News - States Cut Health Insurance for 145,000 Kids
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some 145,000 poor children were dropped from a U.S. federal-state health insurance plan in the second half of 2003, with more than half the cuts made by Texas, a health-care research foundation said on Friday.

"The drop in (the) State Children's Health Insurance Program is a major setback when millions of uninsured children are eligible but not yet enrolled," said Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

In many cases, states made the cuts because a weak economy left them with huge budget deficits.

Along with Texas, two other states -- Maryland and New York -- accounted for most of the cuts in the program last year. The two eastern states each cut 23,000 low-income children, the report said.

A total of 11 states sliced enrollment, with "noteworthy" cuts made in Florida, Colorado and South Carolina, the report said.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Sandstone ghost.

Yahoo! News - Group May Attack Media at Democrats Convention: FBI
BOSTON (Reuters) - The FBI said on Friday it was investigating "unconfirmed information" of a possible attack on media vehicles during the Democratic National Convention, which begins on Monday in Boston.

"The FBI has received unconfirmed information that a domestic group is planning to disrupt the Democratic National Convention by attacking media vehicles with explosives or incendiary devices," the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Boston field office said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Boston FBI told Reuters that the bureau had notified media organizations of the probe because they were potential targets.

I wonder if we will see more of this in the upcoming months. In our zeal to stop the threat from the outside, we have tended to ignore (at least in the media) the threat from within. Will the lunatic fringe in this country become desperate enough to do some serious damage?

Yahoo! News - Public Fear of Genetic Discrimination Grows
WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - While science is moving rapidly to develop more tests to detect genetic abnormalities that can lead to disease, the public is growing more wary. Many fear the possibility that their genetic information might fall into the wrong hands, witnesses told a U.S. House subcommittee Thursday.

More than 1,000 different genetic tests are now in use or in development, Kathy Hudson, Director of the Johns Hopkins University Genetic and Public Policy Center, told the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations.

Yet a survey conducted this spring by the Center found that 92 percent of those polled think employers are not entitled to know if the results of an employee's genetic test puts that worker at increased risk for disease, and 80 percent said health insurance companies should not have access to that information, either.

"Opposition to employer and health insurers' access to genetic test results has grown since a similar survey was conducted by the Genetics and Public Policy Center in 2002," Hudson told the subcommittee.

Hudson and other witnesses at the hearing said patients are not likely to feel comfortable taking advantage of new genetic testing and potential treatments until they are assured that information will not be used against them by either employers or insurers.

"What are people afraid of? They're afraid they're going to lose their health insurance," testified Jane Massey Licata, a professor of patent law at Rutgers School of Law in New Jersey.

And they should be. This is a situation that should be closely watched. You know damn well that the insurance companies will penalize anyone with a "pre-existing" condition with higher rates, possibly pricing them out of the ballpark.

My father wanted to get me a physical for my birthday. Part of the reason I declined is that I don't want them to find anything now, when I don't have any avenue to address it. It's almost to the point that I have to wait until it disables me so I can get aid to pay for treatment. Sad.

Yahoo! News - House Votes to Curb Same-Sex Marriage
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to curb same-sex marriage on Thursday after rejecting concerns the measure may be unconstitutional.

On a vote of 233-194, the House sent the proposal to the Senate where members of both parties said it will likely die. But it could help rev up an election-year issue.

Democrats accused Bush and fellow Republicans of pushing the proposals merely to rally their conservative base for the November congressional and presidential contests.

"This debate is about a national election," Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said in opposing the bill. "We are playing with fire with this bill, and that fire could destroy the nation we love."

"I rise in defense of the Constitution, in defense of the separation of powers," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat. "What's next? No judicial review of laws that restrict freedom of speech or religion?"

Basically this was a show for the folks back home, but rather frightening that they would vote to limit judicial powers just to attack an unpopular minority group.

I'm rapidly losing interest in politics. The fact that they can take time to appeal to the bigots amongst us, rather than deal with the important issues such as health care, really disgusts me.

From my Daily Gift-

Acceptance frees us.

Conflict can result from trying to change a person or situation that we don't like. And conflict causes stress and agitation, both of which limit our lives. They steal our ability to be open to opportunities for growth and change.

Why is it so hard to accept situations we don't like? Twelve Step programs tell us it's because of our ego. We feel diminished when others don't agree with our plan or our opinion. Our self-worth is tied to other people's reactions.

Therein lies the key. I shouldn't let the opinions of the small-minded agitate me so much. But it's kind of hard when they are out trying to pass laws that limit your personal freedom while calling you "immoral" and a "threat". One can only take so much abuse.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Thorough inspection of Wrigley set
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs will begin a thorough inspection of Wrigley Field on Friday in response to two instances in which small chunks of concrete fell near fans during games at the 90-year-old ballpark.
A headline in Thursday's Chicago Sun-Times had a message from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to "Fix Wrigley or I'll shut it down."

"We don't require motivation nor should anyone else that you create a safe and as pleasant an environment as you possibly can for the fans," said Andy MacPhail, Cubs president and CEO. "We are doing and have done in the past and will continue to do everything in our power to provide a safe and a pleasant atmosphere as we can. Any area that we've identified as a problem, we've fixed.

The poor old building probably isn't used to 40,000 people tramping through it on a daily basis. When, besides the past two years, has it even seen so much use?

I remember my visit to the old Comiskey- the place looked like it could fall in at any minute; huge cracks in the concrete. Wrigley is in much better shape. I hope they can fix it up, it would break my heart (and probably cause riots in the streets) if they had to shut it down.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Underestimated War Costs by $12.3 Billion - GAO
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday it may tap emergency funding for Iraq and Afghanistan earlier than requested as a congressional report found that the Bush administration underestimated war costs by $12.3 billion.

Yes, I'm sure it's the same folks who underestimated the cost of the prescription drug bill, too. Perhaps the Bushies gave them faulty calculators to use.

There should be penalties for this. But as with all the other "white collar crime", I'm sure they wouldn't be severe enough to stop the theft.

Yahoo! News - Group plans protest at Democrat meeting
A demonstration is being organized to protest next week's reception of GLBT delegates to the Democratic National Convention -- not by religious conservatives, but by supporters of same-sex marriage.

"Why should we support any candidate who is opposed to our legal equality? No other minority group in this country would settle for such an offer," said Andy Thayer, national action coordinator for

"We're not trying to tell people how to vote," he said. "The point is we're not going to have a repeat of the Clinton administration. Each time the religious right pressured him, he caved in. Now we have the Defense of Marriage Act and 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

Dave Noble, the executive director of the NSD, said Unity '04 is not part of the convention or the Kerry campaign. "We would wish the activists would unite with us, because there's a lot to do and we all need to face these challenges together."

But Thayer disagreed. "This is billed as something for delegates to the Democratic Convention. All three of the main organizations behind the event -- HRC, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Stonewall Democrats -- have endorsed Kerry. It's absurd for them to say this isn't a pro-Kerry event. They have endorsed a candidate who's trying to take away equal marriage from the one state that has it."

This has been weighing on my mind. How could I support a candidate that is in favor of "separate but equal"? That, in effect, is saying that the bigotry of the religious right is in any way justified?

I want a candidate, a party, a platform, that will tell these fanatics to MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS when it comes to OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES. This not only goes for gay rights, it goes for reproductive rights, stem cell research, any other medical decisions such as medical marijuana, all the other draconian drug laws, the right to death with dignity, the right to freedom from the Christian religion, such as school prayer, the display of the Ten Commandments, etc., on and on the list goes.

Color me militant. I see the biggest threat to American's personal freedom coming from these groups. I don't want the quality of my life dictated by someone else's religious beliefs. To me, they are the terrorists.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Rig My Election, Please / Just how far will desperate Republicans go to trick America into another BushCo victory?
Do you feel it? Can you smell it in the air? The sensation that the Republican Party, though various tentacles, will stop at absolutely nothing to maintain power in the White House? It's true. It's the feeling that, during the next few months, it's all about to get very shrill, and very surreal, indeed.

How about another "imminent" terrorist threat? Pretty much a given, really. Followed, of course, by another. And then another. And then another and another until every other day the newscast features a thick-necked, panicky Tom Ridge saying yes, oh my God yes, we now have definitive proof that terrorists are more or less sort of maybe planning to strike the U.S. maybe very soon and disrupt our shopping and screw with our TV reception and blot out the sun. We just don't know, you know, where, or when, or how, or what the hell to do about it. P.S.: Vote Republican.

This is how I would write if I could actually write. A must read.
Jon Connolly Update!:

J.Connolly 7-2, 2.67

Looks like Jon is doing well for the little Cubbies. Best of luck to you, Jon.

Cubs lead early, but lose to Cards
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs are letting their frustration show.

The Cubs surrendered a six-run lead Tuesday as the St. Louis Cardinals rallied for an 11-8 victory behind Albert Pujols' 5-for-5 day.

Pujols belted an RBI double and three home runs, including a two-run blast in the ninth inning, to power the Cardinals, who opened a 10-game lead in the Central Division with the win. Tuesday's game was the regular-season finale between the two rivals.

"I guess at this point, we're glad we're not playing them anymore," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "This is a very devastating, tough loss."

Yesterday was the day that I lost hope for the Cubs. To blow a six run lead, to have Hawkins go off and throw a temper tanturm, to turn the talk to "wild card" and concede all just shows that this team doesn't have the cool and confidence to be champions.

I have to look at Dusty now, sorry. Yes, he is a great manager. Yes, I respect his knowledge of the game.. But these guys are out of control emotionally, and I don't see him making changes to shake things up a bit. I believe a good manager demands his team to be professional at all times, and all Dusty is doing is making lame excuses.

There are still a lot of games left, and anything could happen, but at this point I'm not seeing the spark that a winning club has to have to contend.

Yahoo! News - Bush Says: 'I Want to Be the Peace President'
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Reuters) - After launching two wars, President Bush said on Tuesday he wanted to be a "peace president" and took swipes at his Democratic rivals for being lawyers and weak on defense.

With polls showing public support for the war in Iraq in decline, Bush cast himself as a reluctant warrior and assured Americans they were "safer" as he campaigned in the battleground states of Iowa and Missouri against Democrat John Kerry and his running mate, former trial lawyer John Edwards.

"The enemy declared war on us," Bush told a re-election rally in Cedar Rapids. "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president... The next four years will be peaceful years." Bush used the words "peace" or "peaceful" a total of 20 times.

BAHAHAHAHA! War IS peace, George. Don't you remember that?

"For a while we were marching to war. Now we're marching to peace. ... America is a safer place. Four more years and America will be safer and the world will be more peaceful," Bush said.

"America is safer" is a potentially dangerous talking point. What if someone manages to blow something up? How can they keep warning of these imminent threats and yet tell us that we are safer?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Yahoo! News - Measure to Outlaw Flag Burning Advances in Senate
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw the burning of the American flag won the approval on Tuesday of a Senate Judiciary Committee split largely along party lines.

Raised by some Republicans as a mark of patriotism this election year, the measure passed on a 11-7 vote and was sent to the full Senate for final congressional approval. While the Senate has repeatedly rejected such measures in the past, both sides predict a razor-close vote this time.

Yes! This is much more important than stem cell research!

And, I can almost guarantee that the thing will be burned more often if you outlaw it. Go ahead, create more criminals. The lawyers need the business.

Good grief, I keep telling myself that I'm not going to pay attention to the politicians anymore, but not a day goes by that they don't do some stupid thing that pisses me off. I need to go to a mountain retreat or something.

MSNBC - 10 Partisan Myths

I found this article interesting, especially this part-

1. Because federal benefits go to the poor, reform will amount to a shedding of our social safety net.
We should never forget the critical role that federal benefits have played—and continue to play—in protecting Americans against the hardships of poverty. "I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished," announced President Roosevelt in 1937. Most of the benefits originally paid out through his New Deal programs were directly targeted at alleviating this misery.

However, this is no longer the purpose toward which most benefits are directed. In 2002, out of $1.2 trillion in federal, state and local benefits, the poor received roughly $140 billion, according to the Census Bureau. That's about 12 cents of every full benefit dollar.

But yet the myth of the "welfare Cadillac" lives on, and that I can blame on the politics of division currently practiced by the Republican Party. It's the poor, the gays, the terrorists, on and on and on, whipping up a hysteria of fear to further their agenda, hiding the fact that they have no answers for the problem, or continue with their policy of greed, I'm not sure which. The sad thing is, people agree with it and/or fall for it.

Yahoo! News - Norway Best Place to Live; AIDS Devastates Africa
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands ranked as the best five countries to live in but Africa's quality of life plummeted because of AIDS, said a U.N. report released on Thursday.

The United States was ranked in eighth place, a drop of one position from 2003 in the report that rates not only per-capita income but also educational levels, health care and life expectancy in measuring a nation's well-being.

*The crowd chants* "We're number eight! We're number eight!" And falling.

Yahoo! News - Singer Linda Ronstadt Ejected by Las Vegas Casino
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas on the weekend after dedicating a song to liberal film maker Michael Moore and his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," a casino spokeswoman said on Monday.

Ronstadt, who had been hired for a one-show engagement Saturday night at the Las Vegas Strip casino, dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to Moore and his controversial documentary, which criticizes President Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

That dedication angered some Aladdin guests who spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded their money back, said casino spokeswoman Sara Gorgon.

Linda! Didn't you know that free speech has been outlawed? What were you thinking!

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Cardinals get the best of Cubs in heated matchup
CHICAGO (AP) -- They've played more than 2,000 games since 1892, so no wonder Cardinals-Cubs is as heated, spirited and emotional as any rivalry in baseball. They've gone at each other 18 times this season and, as usual, tempers have flared, angry words have been exchanged and uniforms have gotten dirty.

When Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano hit Cardinals star Jim Edmonds twice with pitches Monday night and was ejected, it was just the latest chapter in the long-running feud.

``I don't care what the rivalry is, what the circumstance is, what the standings are, you are not allowed to cross the line in this game. Their pitcher crossed it twice,'' St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa said after the Cardinals' 5-4 win.

The Cubs have a serious attitude problem. They are behaving like a bunch of two year olds who don't get their way. It's embarassing. After last night, I really have my doubts about their emotional strength to make a push and get back in this thing.

Yahoo! News - Medicaid Patients Shortchanged as Costs Rise-Study
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Medicaid is costing the U.S. government and the states $305 billion this year, but the dollars are not flowing down to the physicians who treat the poor, a report by a free-market think tank said on Monday.

Yet the annual cost of Medicaid, the joint state-federal program that provides health care for the needy, has shot up $116 billion in just five years, the Washington, D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council estimated.

As an example, he pointed to a 2002 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission study that found fewer physicians were willing to treat Medicaid patients. The percentage of medical practices open to "all new Medicaid patients" fell by 23 percent from 1999 to 2002, the commission found.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Ozzie signs during the Caps 6-5 loss yesterday.

The line was too long for an autograph, so I just took some shots instead. The thing that struck me about Ozzie Smith is how short he actually is- not much taller than me. He seemed to be having a good time.

Going to games has been hard for me knowing that my friend won't be there anymore. I walk by her seat and feel this sadness of loss that is a bit overwhelming. But, I know the she would want me to be there, having fun, enjoying the beautiful weather and ballpark, even if the team sucks this year.

I miss you Bea.

Yahoo! News - Senate Vote on Stem Cell Policy Not Likely
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday it is unlikely the Senate will vote this year to relax Bush administration rules on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, despite widespread support in the Senate.

"It becomes a very political issue very quickly because it gets into abortion issues and tough issues," Frist, R-Tenn., told a National Press Club audience. "In the middle of a campaign, in a very narrowly divided Senate, I don't think we could do it justice."

Denying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at every turn, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for your United States Senate!

Excuse me? You could tackle the gay marriage "threat" but this is a "tough issue"? You fucking hypocrites. The only reason you won't do this is because you know that you are on the losing end of this battle as far as popular opinion is concerned.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who signed the Senate letter to Bush, has said supporters have more than the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster and vote for broader stem cell research.

Frist questioned the value of embryonic stem cell research in battling Alzheimer's, although he said it could be helpful in fighting diabetes and other illnesses. "There is a huge disservice going on today in the overpromising of research" Frist said.

Yes, Bill, people dying of horrible illness shouldn't grasp on to any hope based on research, should they? You sick people should just wait because, well, this is a tough political issue in a campaign year, and we don't want to appear "uncompassionate", or piss off our own radical right-wing base.


Words to live by.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Just a Thought:
Wouldn't abortion laws, by their very nature of being gender exclusive, be considered discrimination based on sex? After all, men aren't affected. 
Are there any laws that pertain to men only? I can't think of any offhand.


Hey- it's a phase.

Yahoo! News - Poll: Public Support Slips for Iraq War
The CBS-New York Times poll, released Friday, found that just over half, 51 percent, said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, while 45 percent said going to war was the right decision. Last month, people were evenly split on that question.

Sentiment on that question has slipped steadily since December, when the decision to go to war was supported by more than 2-to-1.

The presidential race remains close in the CBS-Times poll.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry held a slight lead, 49 percent to 45 percent, over President Bush in a two-way matchup. In a three-way race including independent Ralph Nader, Kerry had 45 percent, Bush 42 percent and Nader 5 percent.

I wonder if this country has ever been so evenly divided for so long. Seems like that since 2000, except for the brief "coming together" in 2001, we are split right in two, and thanks to George, that division is getting deeper everyday.

Edwards has been a popular choice for Kerry, though his presence on the ticket has not significantly altered the race. People viewed Edwards favorably by a 3-1 margin, while they were more likely to view Vice President Dick Cheney unfavorably.

My prediction: If the numbers stay this close, and Cheney's "unfavorable" numbers play any part of the balance, Dick will "take one for the team" and step down for "health reasons", opening the way for McCain, Powell or Gulianni. Would they take it? I think Rudy would jump at the chance, don't know about the others. We shall see.

Yahoo! News - Obscenity Charge Vs. Texas Woman Dropped
CLEBURNE, Texas - An obscenity charge has been dropped against a woman who received nationwide attention when she was arrested for selling two sex toys to undercover police officers posing as a couple.

Webb was arrested Nov. 13, about a month after the undercover officers approached her at her husband's business in Burleson, about 10 miles south of Fort Worth, and bought two products. Had she been convicted of violating Texas' obscenity law, she could have been sentenced to a year in jail.

According to the state's obscenity code, an obscene device is a simulated sexual organ or an item designed to stimulate the genitals. Adult stores get around the law by posting signs that say "sold only as novelties."

Novelties? *chuckle*

I'm so glad I don't live in Texas.

Yahoo! News - FDA Sets Up Cancer Office to Speed Up New Drugs
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to speed up government approval of new cancer therapies by creating an office dedicated to medicines, the agency announced on Friday.

The new office will oversee a variety of different cancer drugs, including biotech drugs and related products like dyes used for imaging technologies.

Such "changes will make the review process stronger and more efficient," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

The new office will centralize all cancer-related drug efforts, allowing for better coordination among FDA reviewers, reduced costs and less duplication, officials said.

Happy news from the government, this one is for you MB. Hope that everything is OK- it was good to hear from you, but your sudden silence on your condition and disappearance is still scary. I realize that you are on a journey that the rest of us can't understand, and might need some alone time. Just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

It's All About My Monitor:

Which I just calibrated. Wow! Kick up the contrast! Everything looks so much crisper!

Imagine what will happen when I actually clean it, too. Ha.

Cubs let one get away late
CHICAGO -- Matt Clement's tough luck continued Friday.

Clement (7-9) remained winless in his last seven starts, going 0-5 in that stretch. The right-hander gave up three runs on eight hits -- including Geoff Jenkins' solo homer -- over 6 1/3 innings.

Clement tried to help himself with an RBI single. The right-hander needed the offense. The Cubs had scored five runs when he was in the game in his six previous starts.

"It's amazing the starts he's had and pitched so well and we haven't been able to get the runs to win the ballgame," Cubs catcher Michael Barrett said. "I haven't seen anything like it."

I'm about ready to send the guy some flowers or something.

Yahoo! News - FBI: al-Qaida Might Recruit Non-Arabs
WASHINGTON - The FBI is cautioning local authorities the al-Qaida terror network may be recruiting non-Arabs less likely to attract notice as they carry out attacks in the United States.

Al-Qaida especially wants operatives who have American citizenship or legal residency status, the FBI's counterterrorism division said in its weekly bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

"Finding operatives with U.S. status would greatly facilitate al-Qaida's ability to carry out an attack within the United States," said the bulletin, obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The new warning comes amid a continuous stream of intelligence indicating that al-Qaida is determined to strike the United States in the summer or fall. Officials have said the terror network blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks hopes to inflict mass casualties again and disrupt the political process in this presidential election year.

This just dawning on you guys?

Everyone! Spy on your neighbors! al-Qaida is everywhere!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Yahoo! News - Canada's Yukon allows gays to marry 
 Another Canadian jurisdiction said 'yes' on Wednesday to marriage for same-sex couples. The Supreme Court in the Yukon Territory ruled that the common-law definition of marriage limited to a man and a woman is, according to Judge Peter MacIntyre, "wrong and discriminatory."

Judge MacIntyre ordered the Yukon government to change the definition of marriage to "the voluntary union for life of two persons, to the exclusion of all others."

Those activist judges are everywhere, aren't they?

Untitled No. 9

Could this be the start of my "black and white, goth, abstract" phase? I just thought it was a cool shot.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - MRI shows no damage to Prior's elbow
CHICAGO (AP) -- Cubs right-hander Mark Prior has no nerve or ligament damage in his elbow, an MRI exam showed Friday.

Prior had to leave Thursday night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the second inning with discomfort in the right elbow. He'd missed the first two months this season because of Achilles tendon tendinitis and a tender elbow.

``There is absolutely no possibility of 'Tommy John' or ligament reconstruction or anything like that,'' general manager Jim Hendry said Friday said after talking with team doctors.

Everybody say "whew". I hope they can find out what's wrong.
Huh, It Must Be Me:

I took offense at a comment made at my friend Marybeth's forum. One gentleman said that he was against Kerry's stance on homosexuality. Not "gay rights", on sexuality itself. He is a bible bigot Christian who also believes that abortion is murder, yada yada yada. Same 'ol shit. Feels he has to force his personal religious beliefs on everybody through the law. 
Marybeth posted another thread about how she will not tolerate bigotry on her forum.
They all missed it, and were confused about what she was talking about.
That comment slipped right by. Those kinds of comments always slip right by.
I'm sorry but I have had enough. I'm tired of Christians who get to be bigots and hide behind their Bible. Either you are for equal rights for all citizens or you are a bigot, period. I will not speak with these people, and I will not "hang" with them on forums either. I'm done with it. I have no interest in anything they have to say anymore. I find it very hypocritical to deny that I am an equal citizen on one thread, and then chat merrily away with me another, like nothing is wrong. (the hypothetical me, actually he chats with another gay poster)
Maybe it's just me. But I'm tired of being the "understanding" one, of being the "tolerant" one. I'm done. I'm drawing the line NOW.
You support George Bush, you support bigotry. You don't think that gays should have equal rights, then you are a bigot. Deal with it.

Yahoo! News - Senate Passes Historic Tobacco Bill
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate overwhelmingly approved a landmark tobacco deal on Thursday to give the Food and Drug Administration long-sought power to regulate cigarettes and give $12 billion in aid to tobacco farmers.

Though hailed as a breakthrough by public health groups, the measure faces an uncertain future because it was approved as part of a massive corporate tax bill that must still be reconciled with the House of Representatives's version. Those talks are expected to be long and complex.

The proposal would give the FDA expanded powers to require more forceful health warnings on cigarette packs, regulate advertising, more aggressively combat underage sales and regulate ingredients to make cigarettes less harmful. It could not ban cigarettes or completely eliminate nicotine.

Whatever happens, it will probably end up costing me more money.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

It's All About Blogger:

Wow, they changed the posting template. It's kind of freaky not having to write in html to change colors, etc. It also looks like they will let me upload photos without publishing them to a website.

It won't let me get rid of the space on the post time. Boo.

Rainbow pool.

I was going to fill it with red and call it "Iraq War Memorial" but I need to work on my "anger issues" so here is a happy picture instead. :-) - Nomar trade to Cubs looks unlikely
Speculation involving Nomar Garciaparra coming to the Cubs surfaced again Wednesday, but chances of everything falling into place appear remote.

The New York Times reported that Boston was contemplating a three-way deal in which the Cubs would send the Red Sox prospects for Garciaparra, with the prospects in turn shipped to Arizona for left-hander Randy Johnson.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry declined to comment on the report.

The Cubs' interest in acquiring a shortstop for the stretch run isn't surprising, and Garciaparra would seem a perfect fit. But no deal is imminent, and the Boston Globe reported that Red Sox management currently has no plans to dump the soon-to-be-free-agent shortstop.

Intriguing. But could we afford him?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Yahoo! News - Mass. Lawmakers Make Health Care a Right
BOSTON - Lawmakers on Wednesday took a step toward making Massachusetts the first state to make comprehensive and affordable health care a constitutionally protected right.

The proposed amendment to the state's constitution was approved during a joint session of the House and Senate. If approved a second time during the 2005-2006 legislative session, the question will go before voters in 2006.

The amendment states that "it shall be the obligation and duty of the Legislature and executive officials ... to enact and implement such laws as will ensure that no Massachusetts resident lack comprehensive, affordable and equitably financed health insurance coverage for all medically necessary preventive, acute and chronic health care and mental health care services, prescription drugs and devices."

"We're trying to provide justice in health care so that every single citizen has a health care plan," said Sen. Steven Tolman, D-Boston.

Wow. That is amazing. I must have missed talk of this. Wonder what their definition of "affordable" is.

Massachusetts must be a really cool place.

Yahoo! News - Senate Scuttles Gay Marriage Amendment
WASHINGTON - The Senate scuttled a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Wednesday, handing a defeat to President Bush yet assuring the issue renewed prominence in the fall campaign for the White House and control of Congress.

Forty-eight senators voted to advance the measure — 12 short of the 60 needed — and 50 voted to block it. Defeat came at the hands of dozens of Democrats joined by six Republicans.

Good. I can stop bitching about it for now. I'll save it up for the vote in Michigan come November.

Yahoo! News - AL Jumps on Clemens Early for 9-4 All-Star Win
HOUSTON (Reuters) - The American League jumped on starting National League pitcher Roger Clemens for six runs in the first inning and never looked back as they won 9-4 in the 75th Major League Baseball All-Star game on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old Clemens, making his 10th All-Star appearance and first as a hometown Houston Astro, gave up five hits, including two home runs, and was pulled from the game after the one disastrous inning at Minute Maid Park.

Thanks Roger. Now the Cubs will have to take the Series in four games I guess.

Yahoo! News - GOP Vows to Push Gay-Marriage Amendment
WASHINGTON - Bracing for defeat on one of President Bush's campaign-season priorities, Republicans vow that not even a Senate setback will halt their drive to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The institution of marriage is under fire from extremist groups in Washington, politicians, even judges who have made it clear that they are willing to run over any state law defining marriage," Republican senatorial candidate John Thune says in a radio commercial airing in South Dakota. "They have done it in Massachusetts and they can do it here," adds Thune, who is challenging Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle for his seat.

Yes, the total destruction of Massachusetts was a horrible thing wasn't it? The crying, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, all those people lined up to get divorced because some people got happiness and legal protection, oh, the terror!

"Thune's ad suggests that some are using this amendment more to protect the Republican majority than to protect marriage," said Dan Pfeiffer, a spokesman for Daschle's campaign.

Senate Democrats advanced a similar argument, saying politics prompted Bush and fellow Republicans to advance the issue to the top of the legislative agenda.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Republicans were trying to "change the subject" of the election away from the war in Iraq and the economy.

Of course they are. They don't have a leg to run on at this point.

"Gay bashing, plain and simple," charged Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Thank you Frank! About time a Democrat came out and called a spade "a spade".

Republicans protested, sometimes vociferously.

"If you support ... a mother and a father for every child, you are a hater. If you believe that men and women for 5,000 years have bonded together in marriage, you're a gay-basher. Marriage is hate. Marriage is a stain. Marriage is an evil thing. That's what we hear," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.

Coming this fall on ABC- "Wife Swap"! From FOX- "Trading Spouses"! (I'm not making this up, you can check) I'm sure that we will see some more shows like "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire", the program that tells us it's not about love at all, it's really about the money. You know, real American values. Last week's Newsweek had a cover story on infidelity among married women. Cheating on the overworked, inattentive hubby is the "in" thing to do nowadays it seems

Marriage, as it stands now with it's 53% divorce rate, apparently doesn't need to be protected from the straight folks who seem to take it, well, not so seriously. Perhaps the Pubs should attend to the "beam in their own eye" instead of trying to ban the speck from others.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

It's All About The Blog:

I just checked my "Dashboard" and realized that I had hit 1,000 posts today!

*insert confetti and balloons here*

With number 1,001- I just want to say - from the bottom of my heart - thank God for Jon Stewart. He makes all this political bullshit worthwhile.

And BTW, "bullshit" made it past the spell checker. But I might have "confetti" wrong- it wanted to insert "confute".

Go figure.

A dazzlin' Derby not to be
HOUSTON -- Sammy Sosa came to the Century 21 Home Run Derby with high hopes, the trademark hop and the familiar big swing.

Unfortunately for Sosa, it proved to be a disappointing night as he was knocked out of the Home Run Derby in the first round after hitting only five home runs.

"I wish I would have done better, but I had fun," Sosa said.

I knew he was toast when he swung at and missed the first ball thrown to him. I thought, "Gee, that looks familiar."

Yahoo! News - Dems Nix Idea of 2 Gay Marriage Measures
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans prepared two versions of a constitutional amendment on marriage Monday, unable to agree among themselves on how best to get a vote on a measure that President Bush made an election-year priority for Congress.

The likely outcome is that neither proposal will get a direct vote after Democrats just last week had agreed to allow one.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said there was "great interest" among Republicans for a simpler approach that would add only one line to the U.S. Constitution: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay political organization, said the last-minute effort to get votes on two different versions reflected a lack of care in drafting the amendment.

"I think it is outrageous and frankly surreal that at the 11th hour in this debate, they are literally rewriting the Constitution on the back of a napkin," she said.

I am absolutely fucking disgusted by this whole thing. To think that in 2004, after the civil rights movement, after the women's rights movement, after all that history has taught us about bigotry and discrimination, here we are today trying to figure out how to best word an amendment that would deny certain citizens equal rights.

Will it take another Stonewall? Do we have to resort to violence to get America's attention? Perhaps so. It seems to be the only thing that the idiots respect.

Monday, July 12, 2004

By The Way:

No pain this morning. (Thank Ja!) Just tenderness, and even that is going away as I wake up some. Hmmmmm. Wonder what is going on.

Must be the Cubs Miracle Cure. Took a lot of stress away when they managed to score more than one run and actually win the game last night.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior House Democratic lawmaker was skeptical on Sunday of a Bush administration idea to obtain the authority to delay the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda.

U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the presidential election in case of such an attack, Newsweek reported on Sunday.

Newsweek cited unnamed sources who told it that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the vote if an attack occurred on the day before or on election day.

Uh-huh. And what legal steps would we need to appoint George "King for Life"? Is Homeland looking into that one too?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

A Fun Fact:

The Cubs were 47-47 at the All-Star break last year, and in third place, three games behind the Houston Astros.

Although eight games out at this point looks like a daunting task, let's remember we were only .500 last year. This could (and should) turn around in the second half.

Wood comes back.
Gonzo comes back.(bye bye Ordonez)
Ramirez comes back.
Hollandsworth comes back.

Rusch adjusts to bullpen duties. Becomes a solid relief man.
Borowski is still a question mark, but might be a valuable piece if he gets it together. I trust him a bit more than Remlinger and Mercker. (but just a bit)

If we get everyone back healthy and over their "slumps", I still think we have the best ballclub in the majors.


The Onion | Nations Liberals Suffering From Outrage Fatigue
WASHINGTON, DC—According to a study released Monday by the Hammond Political Research Group, many of the nation's liberals are suffering from a vastly diminished sense of outrage.

"With so many right-wing shams to choose from, it's simply too daunting for the average, left-leaning citizen to maintain a sense of anger," said Rachel Neas, the study's director. "By our estimation, roughly 70 percent of liberals are experiencing some degree of lethargy resulting from a glut of civil-liberties abuses, education funding cuts, and exorbitant military expenditures."

Neas found that many survey participants who attended protests against the war in Iraq in 2003 could barely summon the energy to read newspaper articles about the subject in 2004.

Portland, OR resident Suzanne Marshal compared herself to an addict, needing increasingly large doses of perceived injustices to achieve a state of anger.

"Even though I know how seriously messed-up the situation is in Iraq, I've became inured to all but the most extreme levels of wrongdoing," Marshal said. "For months, no amount of civilian bombing could get me mad. Then those amazing photos of the tortured Iraqi prisoners hit the streets, and I got that old rush of overwhelming disgust with my government. Then more photos came out, and more officials were implicated, and now—I don't know. It's like a switch in my head turned off again."

"I can't even look at the back of my Volvo anymore," said one Syracuse, NY liberal who wished to remain anonymous. "My 'Lick Bush' and 'Four More Wars' bumper stickers just remind me of the angry feelings I can't sustain. I still have a sign hanging up in my cubicle at work, but if someone starts to talk about Cheney, I can't take it. I'm like, 'Yes, we all hate Cheney. He's an evil puppet-master. Yes, Bush is dumb. This is obvious. How many times can we say it? Now, excuse me, will you let me through so I can microwave my burrito?'"

OMG, I was just talking about this. Too funny.

It's All About Taking Care of your Teeth:


Looks like I pushed it too far. Throbbing pain in the left side of my mouth; I can keep it to a dull roar with ibuprofen.

Whoops. Will be calling the dentist tommorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Music calder mix.

Yahoo! News - Bush Speaks Out Against Gay Marriage
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Saturday that allowing gay marriage would undermine families, as he played to his conservative base by pushing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

Bush made the highly charged issue of gay marriage the focus of his weekly radio address the day after the U.S. Senate opened debate on the proposed gay-marriage ban, which seemed certain to fail.

"A great deal is at stake in this matter," Bush said. "For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that traditional marriage is critical to the well-being of families. ... And changing the definition of traditional marriage will undermine the family structure."


Wrigley from the platform.

(This looks better at a bigger size- it has a canvas texture with a real sky.)

Yahoo! News - Report: War Rationale Based on CIA Error
WASHINGTON - Following the release of a Senate report harshly criticizing U.S. intelligence gathering and analysis, the focus will soon shift to whether and how to make sweeping changes to the intelligence community.

After a yearlong investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee released nearly 120 conclusions about the intelligence community's performance on estimating the threat from Iraq, found primarily in a 2002 assessment that served as the Bush administration's leading arguments for war.

Following release of the 511-page review Friday, the panel's top Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said three-quarters of senators would not have voted to authorize the invasion if they had known how weak the intelligence was.

Bullshit. You had the leader of the free world and his entire administration spouting off about the supposed connections between Iraq and 9/11 at every turn. They pushed hard for this war, and would have branded you as a traitor had you not voted for it. Georgie wanted this to happen, and he made it happen, regardless of how weak the intelligence was. You assholes kissed his boots, and now you want to pass the buck and blame the CIA. What a crock.

So, do we apologize to Saddam if this was all an "intelligence" failure? Give him back his country? We are basically admitting that this was a big mistake, right? Shouldn't there be some worldwide repercussions from that? Some amends to make?
It's All About The Cubs:

Who can't seem to score any runs. Now it's time to start looking at Dusty, kids.

My proposed batting order-

1-Corey Patterson CF- He finds a way to get on base. He fouls off pitches forever (wearing out the opponent's starter), he beats out bunts, he has the speed for steals when he reaches. It's the only logical choice.

2-Todd Walker SS- I don't care if the guy has never played short in his life, I want his bat in the order right now. Let him boot a few, he'll get used to it. It seems f'ing ridiculous to have Ordonez on the team, let alone in the starting line up.

3- Moises Alou LF- Although he has been slumping lately (haven't they all), I think that third is a good place for him.

4- Derrek Lee 1B- The only one who has been worth a shit lately, he needs to bat cleanup.

5- Aramis Ramirez 3B- If Lee can't get 'em in, Amaris probably will.

6- Todd Grudzielanek 2B- Need a solid hitter here. He's hitting close to 300, I believe.

7- Michael Barrett C- Again we need baserunners at this point. After last night, I never, ever want to see Bako again. I don't care if he is "Greg's catcher", tough shit. I'm done with him. Grudzie and Barrett can set up for-

8- Sammy Sosa RF- Yes, it seems weird to have him so low in the order, but I'm tired of him striking out so much and taking away momentum from the start of the game. Sorry Sam, down you go. Maybe it will wake him up a bit, and we need some power in the bottom of the lineup. One complaint I have about Dusty is his lineup's have zilch in the 7th, 8th and 9th spot, and it wastes any hits 5 and 6 put up.

9- Whoever's pitching.

Something has got to give. And knock off this "Wild Card" talk, also. Stop admitting defeat- there is still a half a season to go.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Light Bulb Question:

Q. How many members of the Bush Administration does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Seven.

1. One to deny that any light bulb needs to be replaced.

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who has questions about the light bulb.

3. One to blame the previous administration for the need of a new light bulb.

4. One to arrange the invasion of any country rumored to have a secret stockpile of light bulbs.

5. One to get together with Dick Cheney and figure out how to pay Halliburton Industries $1 million for the new light bulb.

6. One to arrange a photo op showing Bush changing the light bulb while dressed in an electrician's uniform.

7. And finally, one to explain to George W. Bush the difference between screwing in a light bulb and screwing the country.

Another gem from Hoosier.
Michael & Me:

Debating whether or not to go see F-9/11 this afternoon. The reviews of the crowd reactions have me very curious. "Moving" is the word that comes up frequently. "Standing ovation" also has been said numerous times. It makes me wonder what is making jaded Americans feel this strongly about a movie- Spiderman 2 didn't get a standing O.

I must say that I have never been a Michael Moore fan- but I haven't read/seen him much either. Never saw "Bowling", although I meant to. Saw the pertinent clips. I will see it all someday. Didn't read "Roger & Me" except for some excerpts. Both sounded interesting, but there is something about Moore that turns me off - I can't put my finger on it, but the words "histrionic" and "pushy" come to mind. But this movie has me really intrigued.

I guess the question is, "Do I really need to be angrier than I already am?". I'm already foaming at the mouth, will this make me go postal? And, I also wonder if I'm hanging on to that anger as a way of avoiding despair- anger is energy, and is probably addicting on some level- the rush keeps me pumped, keeps me fighting. It might also be the motivator for positive change, so sometimes I feel justified in indulging in it.

Decisions, decisions...I have until 1PM or so to make up my mind, for today anyway...

Yahoo! News - Senator's Tearful Plea Helps Pass Suicide Bill
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For a few moments on Thursday, the only sounds in the U.S. Senate chamber were the sobs of a grieving father.

This was one of the most touching moments I have ever seen come out of the Hill.

Oregon Republican Gordon Smith took the floor to introduce a youth suicide prevention bill named after his dead son. With unusual speed, the Senate unanimously passed the measure within hours.

"He saw only despair ahead and felt only pain in his present. Pain and despair so potent that he sought suicide as a release. As a release," Smith said, recalling his son, Garrett, who killed himself in his college apartment last September, one day before his 22nd birthday.

The $60 million bill, which the U.S. House of Representatives has not yet taken up, would help states develop prevention strategies and would fund more mental health services on college campuses. More than 30,000 Americans kill themselves each year, and suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people aged 10-24.

New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici, who has been public about his daughter's schizophrenia, had gone home early but threw on a suit and dashed back to the Senate to sympathize with Smith. Domenici said he would make another push for the bill he has advocated for years that would require health insurers to treat serious mental illness the same way they treat physical illness.

It's a shame that they have managed to avoid paying for so long. Sometimes I am astonished at how ignorant (and greedy) people can be.

He also lashed out at fellow Republicans who had anonymously used a procedural move to block it.

"I don't know who you are yet," said Domenici, "but I'll find out."

Go get 'em Pete. It's too bad that it takes a personal tragedy in an elected official's life before these bastards will "do the right thing."

Yahoo! News - N.J. to Register Gay Couples in New Law
New Jersey is the fifth state in the nation to officially recognize same-sex couples. Domestic partner benefits have been granted in California and Hawaii. Vermont has approved civil unions and Massachusetts recently legalized same-sex marriage.

There is a list of "cool" places, Michigan. Take note. As more and more states set up "domestic partner benefits", or whatEVER you what to call it, we will be left behind and considered "backwards" if we should pass a constitutional amendment.

Yahoo! News - Bush Military Service Files Were Destroyed - Report
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Pentagon says military records related to President Bush's service in the National Guard more than 30 years ago were inadvertently destroyed, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Payroll records of "numerous service members," including Bush, were ruined in 1996 and 1997 during a project to salvage deteriorating microfilm by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the newspaper said, citing the Pentagon.

Bush's whereabouts during his service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War have become an election-year issue, with some Democrats accusing him of shirking his duty.

Yeah, OK, sure they were.......*wink wink nudge nudge*.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Yahoo! News - Ridge Warns of Election Threat in U.S., No Details
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Thursday warned Americans that al Qaeda may try to carry out a large-scale attack to disrupt upcoming elections but offered no details and had no plans to raise the terror threat level.

*yawn* Didn't he just say this a few weeks ago...and a few weeks ago before that...and a few weeks ago before that...

Yahoo! News - House Refuses to Curb Patriot Act
The effort to defy Bush and bridle the law's powers lost by 210-210, with a majority needed to prevail. The amendment appeared on its way to victory as the roll call's normal 15-minute time limit expired, but GOP leaders kept the vote open for about 20 more minutes as they persuaded about 10 Republicans who initially supported the provision to change their votes.

"Shame, shame, shame," Democrats chanted as the minutes passed and votes were switched. The tactic was reminiscent of last year's House passage of the Medicare overhaul measure, when GOP leaders held the vote open for an extra three hours until they got the votes they needed.

Perhaps this is a rule we should look into changing one of these days if the Repubs continue to abuse this process. Hasn't been a winning day for the House, has it?

Yahoo! News - House Opposes Effort to Allow Pot for Ill
WASHINGTON - The House voted Wednesday to let the federal government continue prosecuting people who use marijuana for medical reasons in states where local law allows its use by patients.

The 268-148 vote turned aside an amendment by Democrats and some conservative Republicans that would have barred the federal government from preventing states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.

Supporters of the federal restrictions said that constitutionally, federal statutes must override state laws. They also argued that medical marijuana laws only encourage the abuse of marijuana and other drugs.

The Bush administration has supported the strong enforcement of anti-marijuana laws. Wednesday's defeat of the amendment by the GOP-run House, just four months from Election Day, came as little surprise.

Yes, let's just continue on with the overuse of Vicodin and other habit-forming downers for pain. What's the fun in being sick if you can't have a demanding junkie monkey on your back?

Fucking morons.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Brewers 4, Cubs 0
The Cubs managed just two runs in 27 innings, trailed for 26 innings, never led in the series and got shut out twice by a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1992.

"It was just a bad three days,'' Baker said.

That's putting it mildly, Dusty. We don't beat St. Louis this weekend and the season will be in serious jeopardy.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Serious drugs.

Yahoo! News - Sources: Lay Indicted in Enron's Collapse
HOUSTON - Kenneth Lay, the former Enron Corp. chief executive who insisted he knew nothing about financial fraud at the energy trading giant, has been indicted on criminal charges, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The action caps a three-year investigation that has already seen several other executives charged and, in some cases, already sentenced to prison for their roles in the company's scandalous collapse.

Lay was expected to surrender to federal authorities Thursday, said the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Perhaps there is a God after all.
It's All About Being John:

God help me, now I've got John Edwards e-mailing me for money.

Dear Cathleen,

This campaign is about America's future. It's a celebration of American values. Together, John Kerry and I will work to build an America that's stronger at home and respected around the world.

I am so excited to join this campaign. It was only fitting that after phoning me, John emailed you and his other supporters first with the news. His success would never have been possible without your support over the past four months. I've been amazed at what you've done on the ground, where it counts -- at the grassroots level. It's because of your energy and enthusiasm that America will work for all of us.

yada yada yada here

Thank you,

John Edwards

Guys! I'm really excited about the ticket here, honest I am, but I DON'T have ANY MONEY! But I do appreciate the e-mails because I get tired of seeing "No new messages" all the time. Just don't expect a check anytime soon.

Yahoo! News - Report: Withholding Medicare Costs Legal
WASHINGTON - Bush administration officials broke no laws in withholding from Congress estimates of the cost of the new Medicare law, says an internal investigation made public Tuesday.

The Health and Human Services Department inspector general, the agency's internal watchdog, said its three-month investigation found that administration officials used aggressive tactics to keep from Congress its much higher estimates of the legislation's cost — $100 billion more than the president and other officials were acknowledging.

Yet the effort — including threats by Thomas Scully, the administration's Medicare chief until December, to fire chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster — did not violate federal law, the inspector general said.

That conclusion contradicted the findings of the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which in May said that threats against Foster designed to keep him from giving Democratic lawmakers his projections of the bill's cost probably broke the law. The Justice Department, in an opinion attached to Tuesday's report, said CRS was wrong.

"It sounds as though the Bush administration examined itself and found it did nothing wrong," said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means health subcommittee.

If it's not against the law, it sure as hell should be.