Thursday, September 30, 2004

Yahoo! News - House Defeats Gay Marriage Ban Amendment
WASHINGTON - The House emphatically rejected a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes advanced by Republican leaders in the run-up to Election Day.

The vote was 227-186, 49 votes shy of the two-thirds needed for approval of an amendment that President Bush backed but the Senate had previously scuttled.

The measure drew the support of 191 Republicans and 36 Democrats. Voting against it were 158 Democrats, 27 Republicans and one independent.

Thank you, House.

Cubs fall in extra innings to Reds
The Cubs were one out away from opening a half-game lead in the Wild Card race when Jimenez tripled in the ninth off Hawkins. He then scored on Kearns' double to tie the game.

"I'd rather have him beat me like that than walking guys," Hawkins said. "I can accept being beat when guys swing the bat."

Hawkins accepted the closer role in June when Joe Borowski was sidelined with a shoulder injury. This was Hawkins' ninth blown save this season, second in a row, and third in his last five appearances.

What was that saying about insanity? Keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?

What a disappointing year.

The Cubs now have four games to make me eat those words, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. I just don't see the desire to win with this team. Bad chemistry, bad management- I don't know what it is, but all that talent and they just can't seem to pull it together. Very sad.

Yahoo! News - Judge Blocks U.S. From Secret Searches
NEW YORK - Declaring that personal security is as important as national security, a judge Wednesday blocked the government from conducting secret, unchallengeable searches of Internet and telephone records as part of its fight against terrorism.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the ruling a "landmark victory" against the Justice Department's post-Sept. 11 law enforcement powers.

The judge said the law violates the Fourth Amendment because it bars or deters any judicial challenge to the government searches, and violates the First Amendment because its permanent ban on disclosure is a prior restraint on speech.

He noted that the Supreme Court recently said that a "state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Mr. Tree. He's outside my dentist's office.

Yahoo! News - Bush's Hometown Newspaper Endorses Kerry
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - The newspaper in President Bush's adopted hometown of Crawford threw its support on Tuesday behind Bush's Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.

The weekly Lone Star Iconoclast criticized Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and for turning budget surpluses into record deficits. The editorial also criticized Bush's proposals on Social Security and Medicare.

"The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda," the newspaper said in its editorial. "Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry."

It urged "Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country."


Yahoo! News - ABC Sitcom in Works for Singer Etheridge
To be written by Linda Wallem, the untitled project is described as a nontraditional family comedy and as a reversed "Will & Grace" with a kid.

It centers on a gay woman (Etheridge), a music teacher who lives with her best friend, a straight man. The two are raising the daughter of another friend.

Why do I feel like this has disaster written all over it? Good luck Melissa. Hope they come up with some good writing for you.

Yahoo! News - Official: MLB to Move Expos to Washington
WASHINGTON - Major League Baseball will announce Wednesday that Washington will be the new home of the Montreal Expos, bringing the national pastime back to the nation's capital for the first time in 33 years, The Associated Press has learned.

The announcement will come one day before the 33rd anniversary of the Washington Senators' final game. The Senators moved to Texas after the 1971 season, which was also the last time a major league team changed cities.

In the Senators' last game, on Sept. 30, 1971, they led the New York Yankees 7-5 with two outs in the ninth inning when fans seeking souvenirs went on the RFK Stadium field, which could not be cleared. The Yankees wound up winning the game in a forfeit.

Montreal's last home game is scheduled for Wednesday night against Florida. Monday's series opener drew a crowd of 3,923 to Olympic Stadium.

Good idea. My class A team draws more fans than Montreal.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

From Tom Tomorrow's Blog:


Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Thanks to Terrance at the Stoop for posting this.

Yahoo! News - Flood of New Voters Signing Up
New voters are flooding local election offices with paperwork, registering in significantly higher numbers than four years ago as attention to the presidential election runs high and an array of activist groups recruit would-be voters who could prove critical come Nov. 2.

Cleveland has seen nearly twice as many new voters register so far as compared with 2000; Philadelphia is having its biggest boom in new voters in 20 years; and counties are bringing in temporary workers and employees from other agencies to help process all the new registration forms.

Nationwide figures aren't yet available, but anecdotal evidence shows an upswing in many places, often urban but some rural. Some wonder whether the new voters — some of whom sign up at the insistence of workers paid by get-out-the-vote organizations — will actually make it to the polls on Election Day, but few dispute the registration boom.

This is one good thing that has come out of all of this ugliness- getting more people involved in the process. I would like to see registration deadines done away with; in Michigan it's Oct. 4th. Why so soon? I think you should be able to walk up on the day of election, prove that you live in the district with a license or whatever (this might require computers at the polling stations) and vote. I also would like to see elections on Saturdays, giving more working people time to get in.

Since all of this would favor the Democrats, I doubt that we will ever see it.

Yahoo! News - Audit Finds Large FBI Translation Backlog
WASHINGTON - Despite major increases in money and personnel, the FBI is still failing to translate many al-Qaida surveillance recordings in a timely manner and faces a giant backlog of untranslated material from terrorism and espionage investigations, a new Justice Department audit shows.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 123,000 hours of audio in languages associated with terrorists still had not been reviewed as of April 2004, the audit found. In addition, more than 370,000 hours of audio associated with counterintelligence had not been reviewed.

The audit found that the FBI still lacks language personnel necessary to do all the needed translation work, and limitations in its technology, especially computer storage capacity, also cause problems that lead to backlogs.

"Three years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, the overall effectiveness of a major investigative tool in our antiterrorism arsenal is still in doubt," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The Justice Department's translation mess has become a chronic problem that has obvious implications for our national security."

I'm having a hard time even being sarcastic about this anymore. Many reports indicate gaping holes in our security, but yet the Bushies still live in a Pollyanna world of believeing we are "safer" just because the administration says it's true. What is it going to take to wake this country up?

Yahoo! News - Adobe Plans New Format for Digital Photos
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Adobe Systems Inc. plans to introduce a new format for digital photos on Monday in an attempt to create an industry public standard to make the archiving and editing process compatible across all types of cameras and photo software.

Most consumer digital cameras today capture images in the JPEG format, but a higher-quality raw photo format is gaining in popularity among higher-end and professional camera models.

Now, Adobe, which dominates the photo editing market with its Photoshop products, is proposing that its new Digital Negative Specification, or DNG, becomes a universal standard for the raw format. The San Jose-based company is also launching a free software tool that will allow users to convert the raw formats from more than 65 cameras into the DNG format.

Raw photo files contain all the original information captured by a digital camera sensor before any in-camera processing occurs and thus gives users truer images and more flexibility when editing. By comparison, JPEG photo files are compressed images that suffer some data loss.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Here's another picture. Couldn't find anything I wanted to blog.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Onion | 2004 Election Guide | Kerry Unveils One-Point Plan For Better America
WICHITA, KS—Delivering the central speech of his 10-day "Solution For America" bus campaign tour Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry outlined his one-point plan for a better America: the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

"If I am elected in November, no inner-city child will have to live in an America where George Bush is president," Kerry said, addressing a packed Maize High School auditorium. "No senior citizen will lie awake at night, worrying about whether George Bush is still the chief executive of this country. And no American—regardless of gender, regardless of class, regardless of race—will be represented by George Bush in the world community."

"Schools do not have the resources they need to succeed," Kerry said. "One million students are dropping out of high school every year. John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to ensure that all Americans can make the most of their God-given talents: Get George Bush out of the White House."

Kerry also spoke on the subject of national security.

"This country has embraced a new and dangerously ineffective disregard for the world," Kerry said. "In order to win the global war against terror, we must promote democracy, freedom, and opportunity around the world. My national-defense policy will be guided by one imperative: Don't be George Bush. As will my plans to create a strong economy, protect civil rights, develop a better healthcare system, and improve homeland security."

Missed this when it came out. Funny (and true!) stuff.

Cub fans in Hell.

Kinda bizarre, I know.

Standing room only.

Comfortable win escapes Cubs-
Hawkins surrenders three-run lead in the ninth

On Saturday, Prior threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and walking two while striking out five.

"I felt good out there and thought I threw the ball well, but a loss is a loss," Prior said. "There's no way around it."

The right-hander was one out away from the win when Diaz connected off LaTroy Hawkins, who was vying for his 25th save. Instead, it was his eighth blown save.

"We were trying to stay away from Hawkins," Baker said. "He'd thrown six out of seven days, but the situation called for it. He got a ball where that young man likes it. This is what happens in September sometimes when you're facing guys you don't know -- Diaz and Brazell, both rookies. That was real tough, especially the way Mark pitched. That's a real tough one."

Well next time Dusty why don't we try Weurtz or Wellmeyer or ANYBODY else besides LaTroy. (and, no, not Mercker, either) It's obvious that the guy is not a closer. He has an ERA of 1. something in the 7th and 8th and over 3. something in the 9th. He looked completely shell-shocked sitting in the dugout. I wonder if his mind snapped.

How many times do we have to learn this lesson?

Yahoo! News - Hurricane Jeanne Hits Florida Where Frances Struck
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (Reuters) - Hurricane Jeanne ripped away roofs, whirled debris through the air and cut power to more than 800,000 customers as it slammed into Florida late on Saturday, delivering an extraordinary one-two punch to a coastal region scarred by Hurricane Frances three weeks ago.

Whipping rain around like a carwash, Jeanne carried winds of 120 mph when it charged into the central east coast as a record fourth hurricane to hit the state in a single year.

Its eye made landfall late on Saturday night very close to the spot where Frances hit on Sept. 5 -- near the southern end of Hutchinson Island just east of the city of Stuart, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Obviously God is trying to wipe out Florida so it doesn't screw up the election again. (tounge-in-cheek)

Seriously, my heart goes out to the people down there. Good luck folks.

Yahoo! News - FDA Approves New Opioid-Based Pain Medicine
The new drug, called Palladone contains a controlled substance called hydromorphone and has "the potential for abuse," the agency said. It will be regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the statement.

FDA officials said Palladone should only be used in patients, who are already taking opioid medicines, and who need to take at least 12 milligrams of the oral hydromorphone or its equivalent each day. The extended-release capsules are available in 12, 16, 24 and 32 milligram doses.

To help curb the possibility of abuse with Palladone, the company said it would provide "clear and appropriate labeling," educate healthcare professionals and "offer appropriate training to sales representatives," according to the FDA's statement.

Yes, "clear and appropriate labeling" has stopped many addicts, hasn't it?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Behind the plate pan.

Looks a little darker when published, and it has a fatal flaw (that you really can't see at this size) but I worked on it for a long time, so I threw it up here.

Yahoo! News - NL Wrap: Cubs Keep Wild-Card Lead with Win
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Derrek Lee's 10th-inning single scored Mark Grudzielanek with the winning run, clinching the red-hot Chicago Cubs a 2-1 victory over the host New York Mets in the National League Friday.

Grudzielanek drew a walk from Braden Looper (2-4) to lead off the 10th in his only at-bat. Their 13th win in 16 outings allowed the Cubs (87-66) to move 1 1/2 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the wild card race.

Another nail-biter. Where was this team earlier this year?

Yahoo! News - Calif. Air Board Adopts Vehicle Emission Cuts
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California air-quality regulators on Friday adopted the nation's first-ever rules to reduce car emissions linked to global warming, an action likely to prompt tough pollution standards in other states and a legal challenge by the auto industry.

The new rules will require automakers to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases in cars and trucks by as much as 25 percent beginning with the 2009 model year, with cuts accelerating as high as 34 percent in 2016.

The auto industry said the standards will lead to a sharp increase in car prices but proponents of the regulations said the claim was exaggerated.

Tough shit. I'm tired of the "auto industry" dragging it's feet on this issue. Did they think that we can just keep polluting the air indefinitely?
No Time Wasted:

I have to admit that I'm proud of the Kerry/Edwards team for saying the things that need to be said. No pussy-footing around anymore, they are hitting hard on the war issue and pointing out the lies of the Bush administration.

Of course, George doesn't help his own cause when he says stuff like this-

"I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America."

BAHAHAHA! Ha. Ha. Why we aren't way in the lead in the polls, I will never know.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Granholm Unveils Michigan Prescription Drug Discount Card:

MI Rx Card Offers Savings for Middle, Low Income Residents

FARMINGTON HILLS – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today unveiled the Michigan prescription drug discount card program that will lower prescription drug costs for some of the state’s one million uninsured residents.

The card is available to low income, working residents who do not have prescription drug coverage and are not enrolled in other government-sponsored prescription drug programs.

“The Michigan prescription drug discount card will provide much needed assistance for the low income working men, women and families who struggle with the high cost of prescription drugs,” Granholm said today. “With more than one million uninsured residents in Michigan, this card fills a critical gap in our health care system by making prescription drugs more affordable for those who have nowhere else to turn.”

To qualify for the program, family members must only be Michigan residents, have no other prescription drug coverage, and have an income level at or below the state’s median income level.

For a single individual, the median income level is $27,930. For a family of four that income level is $56,550.

OMG, I actually qualify for something for a change! WOW! Thank you Jennifer.

Yahoo! News - Alcohol Tied to 75,000 Deaths a Year in U.S. - Study
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Alcohol abuse kills some 75,000 Americans each year and shortens the lives of these people by an average of 30 years, a U.S. government study suggested on Thursday.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States after tobacco use and poor eating and exercise habits.

Yahoo! News - House Votes to 'Protect' Pledge of Allegiance
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal courts would be barred from striking the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag under a bill passed on Thursday by a House of Representatives split largely along party lines.

The Republicans in control of the chamber rejected Democratic claims that the measure was an unconstitutional bid to limit the power of the federal judiciary and an election-year ploy to rally social conservatives. It passed on a vote of 247-173.

Gag. Lucky for me I'm an adult and they can't make me say it. (yet)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Yahoo! News - Report Says Airport Screeners Missed Weapons-Paper
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Undercover investigators were able to slip explosives and weapons past security screeners during tests at 15 U.S. airports, USA Today reported on Thursday, citing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Results of the department's tests conducted during the second half of 2003 were presented in a classified report to members of Congress while a less detailed version was released by the agency's inspector general on Wednesday, the newspaper said.

Rep. John Mica, chairman of a House aviation subcommittee, confirmed that the classified report showed weapons and explosives got by screeners, the newspaper reported.

USA Today quoted the Florida Republican as saying that the results on weapons were "bad enough," but the results on explosives were "absolutely horrendous."

"Unfortunately, it may take some horrific wake-up call (for security shortfalls) to get attention," Mica told the newspaper.

But...but...but...America is safer!?! We managed to get Cat Stevens, didn't we?

Yahoo! News - Midwest Getting Its Summer in September
How weird is it? In Chicago, Wednesday marked the 14th day of the month with temperatures reaching 80 degrees, and Thursday was expected to be the 15th. In August there were 10.

It's looking like this will be only the fifth September in Chicago since records started being kept in the late 1800s that will end with an average high temperature above the average high for August, Snyder said.

I believe that is the same for us also. It was HOT yesterday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Yahoo! News - Cubs Escape Pirates 5-4 in 10 Innings
LaTroy Hawkins (5-4) got the victory despite allowing the tying run in the ninth, the first run against him in 10 innings over eight games.

I think we need a new stat- call it a "Hawkins Win", or "HW" for short. Any relief pitcher that gives up the tying or go-ahead run and still gets a win receives this designation.

Yahoo! News - Passenger Cat Stevens Gets Plane Diverted
WASHINGTON - A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine when it was discovered that passenger Yusuf Islam — formerly known as singer Cat Stevens — was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country.

Officials had no details about why the peace activist might be considered a risk to the United States. Islam had visited New York in May for a charity event and to promote a DVD of his 1976 MajiKat tour.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Islam, 56, was identified by the Advanced Passenger Information System, which requires airlines to send passenger information to Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center. The Transportation Security Administration then was contacted and requested that the plane land at the nearest airport, that official said.

A statement posted on a fan-supported Web site where his music is promoted said Islam being on a watch list "is certainly an error."

"It's also a very sad state of affairs when a man best known as a peace loving pop star can be grouped into the same category Osama Bin Laden just because of his chosen faith," the statement said.

Bizarre. And the funny thing is he was already on the plane.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Whitecaps turnaround surprises even Ernie
"Geez, people around here were shaking their heads and wondering what this was all about," McKeiver said. "They couldn't hit, they couldn't field, they had no bullpen. Heck, it looked like they were just going through the motions."

"Never saw anything like this season," he said. "They shoulda just forgot the first four months. Everybody knows I come here all the time, so they'd keep asking me 'What's going on over there?' And I didn't know what to tell them.

"I know this. There is no way I could have ever thought they'd have finished the season the way they did."

The team that was 5-6 on April 19; 16-23 on May 19, 28-40 on June 19 and 37-51 on July 19 turned out to be 76-73 on Aug. 19, and, by the way, they're getting ready to be measured for rings.

Midwest League champs. Who would have thought?

Good story on the 'Caps. Ernie echoes the words I said about them earlier this year- they couldn't do anything right and attending games was hard, if not painful, at times.

I will never forget this team and what they did this year. Whenever I'm down on myself, or feel that I will never get anywhere, I will remember the '04 Whitecaps and what they accomplished. Good luck to you boys, and thank you for this wonderful memory and inspiration.

Yahoo! News - Kerry, Bush Battle Over Iraq as TV Debates Set
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat John Kerry launched his sharpest assault yet on Monday on President Bush's "arrogance and outright incompetence" in Iraq, but Bush defended the U.S.-led invasion and accused his rival for the White House of contradicting himself again.

Campaign officials paused the war of words long enough to agree to a slate of three televised presidential debates that will begin next week in Florida as the race for the White House heads into a final six-week dash.

Problem with the debates is that I would have to actually watch Bush, and I don't know if I can stand that. Maybe I'll just listen to the reviews.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Pick up 3.

Seeing which one I like better.
It's All About The 'Caps:

'Caps celebrate after the final out. Video of the celebration here.

Click here for a video clip from WZZM. My father and I walk behind owner Lou Chamberlain as he was being interviewed.

Video story on the game here.

Thanks to WZZM 13 for their great coverage.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Happy Whitecaps hoist the trophy after Sunday's victory.

'Caps Win 2004 Midwest League Championship, 4-2!!!

Comstock Park, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps won their third Midwest League Championship since 1996 with a 4-2 win over the Kane County Cougars in Game 5 of the Championship Series Sunday afternoon.

West Michigan broke through in the third inning with one run before
adding two more in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Kane County comitted four
errors and none of the 'Caps first three runs were earned. Juan Francia,
who went 0-for-9 in Game 4's 16-inning 7-5 loss, had three hits in three
tries with two RBIs including an insurance run in the sixth to make a
4-1 lead. Danilo Sanchez and Rodland had the other RBIs.

Danny Zell tossed six innings of four hit, one run ball after allowing
two walks and five strikeouts before leading with a 3-1 lead and,
eventually, the win.

The Whitecaps had an overall record (69-70) that was 14 games worse than
Kane County’s intimidating 83-56 mark. The 'Caps came charging into the
playoffs, however, after earning a spot on the last day of the regular
season which was sparked by an astonishing 24-6 record in August for a
40-30 second-half record and Eastern Division Championship.

West Michigan used a 2-1 series win over Lansing, a 2-0 sweep of South
Bend and a 3-2 win over Kane County to earn their third league
championship in the 11-year history of the team and their first since
1998. The win came in the first Game 5 of the team's playoff history.

How does one describe the perfect day?


Read the blow-by-blow account here. More pictures will be coming in the days to follow.

(Note: The following was written after Saturday night's game.)

Midwest League Championship Series Tied at 2:

The Midwest League Championship series is now tied at two games apiece after West Michigan fell to Kane County 7-5 in 16 innings Saturday night. The championship will be decided Sunday afternoon in a 2:00 p.m. game at Fifth Third Ballpark.

I didn't get home until 1:15 last night. I'm dead tired, my voice is hoarse, but I plan on being there.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Pick up my guitar and play...

Francia bunts as the bench looks on in the 'Caps 3-1 victory.

'Caps Claim 2-1 Championship Series Lead
Comstock Park, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps took advantage of four Kane County errors to win Game 3 in the Midwest League Championship Series by a 3-1 margin Friday night.

The Whitecaps second half ace Jordan Tata shutout the Cougars for six innings on five hits with 11 strikeouts to keep Kane County in check.

One more win and we go from "worst to first"! Simply amazing.

Yahoo! News - Anti-gay groups boycott Procter & Gamble
Citing Procter & Gamble's "tacit endorsement of gay marriage," two conservative groups are urging consumers to boycott products made by the U.S. household goods giant.

The boycott, organized by the American Family Association and Focus on the Family, stems from P&G's support for a ballot initiative in Cincinnati that would repeal the city charter's ban on gay rights laws.

The ban -- the only one of its kind in the nation -- was passed by voters in 1993 and forbids Cincinnati from enacting or enforcing laws based on sexual orientation. Its proposed repeal is supported by LGBT community leaders and several churches and companies in the city. P&G is one of the largest companies headquartered there.

Funny thing is Procter & Gamble was the focus of a boycott when they sponsored Dr. Laura's failed TV show a few years back. I guess they just can't win no matter what they do.

Yahoo! News - Bonds Joins Ruth, Aaron in 700 Club
Bonds connected in the third inning of San Francisco's' 4-1 victory over San Diego on Friday night, leading the Giants to their sixth straight win in the opener of their final nine-game homestand.

With a 392-foot solo shot to left-center, Bonds became the first new member of the 700 club in 31 years, joining Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.

Quite an achievement, Mr. Bonds. A couple more years and you will own the record.

Yahoo! News - GOP Mailing Warns Liberals Will Ban Bibles
WASHINGTON - Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."

The RNC also is running radio ads in several states urging people to register to vote.

"There is a line drawn in America today," one ad says. "On one side are the radicals trying to uproot our traditional values and our culture. They're fighting to hijack the institution of marriage, plotting to legalize partial birth abortion, and working to take God out of the pledge of allegiance and force the worst of Hollywood on the rest of America."

Surprised they didn't come right out and call us terrorists. I feel sorry for the small-minded amongst us; so much to fear, so little time.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bush Reform Call Seen Part of Consumption Tax Move
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's call for a simpler tax code could mark the next step in a gradual move toward a system that places more of a tax burden on consumption and less on savings, analysts say, a direction critics think would put a bigger burden on working Americans.

More tax cuts for the rich! BAHAHAHA! And you dumb schmucks think that Kerry is going to raise your taxes? Bush has already effectively shifted the tax burden to the middle class and now you'll get to pay more on your "consumption" along with your increased state and local taxes because he has cut funding to the states, too!

Yahoo! News - U.S. Report to Say No WMD Found in Iraq
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A draft report by the top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq concludes no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found, but there was evidence Saddam Hussein intended to resurrect weapons programs, U.S. government sources said on Thursday.

Charles Duelfer, the CIA -appointed leader of the weapons hunt, was still finalizing the roughly 1,500 page-report, which was expected to say no stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons were found, the sources told Reuters.

The perceived threat from weapons of mass destruction was the main justification used by the Bush administration for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 that toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

And yet this administration will still claim "America is safer" because of this bogus war, while more people die and Iraq falls into chaos. Disgusting.
It's All About the Internet:

Took forever to blog that last story and now my mail doesn't work. Good grief.
One Down, Two to Go- Whitecaps Win!:

WTG Jason! 'Caps win 2-1 on Knoedler's two run homer in the 7th. Now we will have at least two games here at home. This was the first time we have beaten Kane County all year and I feel that this has got to give the team some confidence and momentum.

Could they actually win the championship? I never, ever would have guessed this in July and still have a hard time believing it now. Go Caps!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Yahoo! News - Johnny Ramone of 'The Ramones' Dies at 55
LOS ANGELES - Johnny Ramone, guitarist and co-founder of the seminal punk band "The Ramones" that influenced a generation of rockers, has died. He was 55.

Ramone, who had been fighting a five-year battle with prostate cancer, died in his sleep Wednesday afternoon at his Los Angeles home surrounded by friends and family, said the band's longtime artistic director Arturo Vega.

Johnny Ramone co-founded "The Ramones" in 1974 in New York along with singer Joey Ramone, bassist DeeDee Ramone and drummer Tommy Ramone, who is the only surviving member of the original band. All four band members had different last names, but took the common name Ramone.

Joey Ramone, whose real name is Jeff Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer. Dee Dee Ramone, whose real name is Douglas Colvin, died from a drug overdose in 2002.

Since its debut album in 1976, the band struggled for commercial success, but they left a formidable imprint on the rock genre. Though they never had a Top 40 song, the Ramones influenced scores of followers, including bands such as Green Day and Nirvana.

...and the Cheeztones. Rest in peace dude.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Yahoo! News - Russia Rejects U.S. Criticism of Planned Reforms
ASTANA (Reuters) - Russia on Wednesday curtly rejected U.S. criticism of sweeping political changes proposed by President Vladimir Putin, telling Washington to stay out of its business.

Putin, citing the need for radical reform to beat terrorism, has said he will nominate regional governors himself in the future and proposed changes to the electoral system that will effectively stop the rise of a strong parliamentary opposition.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an interview with Reuters, echoed liberal criticism in Russia by saying the planned changes were "pulling back on some of the democratic reforms." He pledged to raise his concerns with the Russian leadership.

But, speaking in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a meeting of ex-Soviet states, Putin's foreign minister said Washington had no right to impose its own model of democracy on others.

"First of all, the processes that are under way in Russia are our internal affair," Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday in reference to Powell's comments.

"And it is at least strange that, while talking about a certain 'pulling back', as he (Powell) put it, on some of the democratic reforms in the Russian Federation, he tried to assert yet one more time the thought that democracy can only be copied from someone's model," Lavrov said.

"We, for our part, do not comment on the U.S. system of presidential elections, for instance."

Lavrov said Washington had also faced tough choices and been forced to introduce stringent measures in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. targets.

"Following the events of the Sept. 11, they adopted very serious measures which also were given a mixed reaction by their society and produced a mixed public opinion," he said.

"And so I repeat that our process is our internal affair. And the president reiterated that all the proposed changes ...will be within the framework of Russia's constitution."

Do as we say, don't do as we do. Don't you guys know that by now? Just wait until someone invades a country on the basis of "pre-emptive" security. We won't have a diplomatic leg to stand on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

It's All About Blogging:

Having a hard time lately finding things to blog. The news seems repetitive: bombs in Iraq killing scores of people, hurricanes threatening Florida, the campaign with all it's daily negative's all staring to blend into one big, depressing ball of insanity. The direction this country is going in disgusts and horrifies me.

Half thinking of quitting blogging, so if nothing comes up here you will know why.

Not going to enter the photo challenge this week- I can't find anything I really like and I'm kind of bummed that someone asked for a dq on my current pic. It's a mediocre picture at best- but as I've been reading the forums I realize there are a lot of paranoid, win-at-all-cost people out there. Overall it's a very friendly site with good, helpful folks, but the few bad apples are leaving a bad taste in my mouth right now. I'm sure I'll be back.

As you can tell I'm in a downer mood- work is totally draining me physically and mentally. Wish me luck.

Yahoo! News - Study: Racial Profiling a Growing Problem
WASHINGTON - Authorities' targeting of people because of their racial background or religious affiliation is a deep-rooted problem in the United States, with nearly 32 million people reporting they've been racially profiled, a human rights group said Monday.

The report by Amnesty International USA also said at least 87 million people — one in three — in the United States are at high risk of being victimized because they belong to a racial, ethnic or religious group whose members are commonly targeted by police for unlawful stops and searches.

Racial profiling is a growing problem as the government has expanded its war on terror, the report said. Police, immigration and airport security procedures are the areas where the problem has gotten worse since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it said.

A sad result of 9-11, and it will only get worse as Bush continues to piss off the world, create more enemies, and keep our fear level set on high. Is this the kind of country you want America? I guess if you are white, Christian, and straight you have nothing to worry about, right?

Monday, September 13, 2004

I keep coming back to this because I figure if I have to have background people, at least in this one they are working with the whole picture.

Still undecided.

The amazing run continues on to the Midwest League Championship Series!

West Michigan « 1 2 0 1 7 0 0 2 0 13 19 0
South Bend « 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
Log | Box
W:D.Zell(1-0) L:J.Liebeck(0-1)
HR: WMI- J.Francia (1), K.Hunt (3), G.McKinney (2) SBN- None

Congratulations Whitecaps! See you Thursday!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Per request- in color.

Swing batta.

One in gray just 'cuz I wanted to. Didn't capture anything spectacular in the Whitecaps 3-1 victory last night, so maybe I'll have to go with something like this.

Yahoo! News - Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea
SEOUL, South Korea - A large explosion occurred in the northern part of North Korea, sending a huge column of smoke into the air on an important anniversary of the communist regime, a South Korean news agency reported Sunday.

The South Korean government said it was trying to confirm the report of an explosion at 11 a.m. on Thursday in Yanggang province near the border with China.

The Yonhap news agency carried conflicting reports from unidentified sources, with one in Washington saying the incident could be related to a natural disaster such as a forest fire. It also cited a diplomatic source in Seoul as raising the possibility of an accident or a nuclear test.

Although North Korea is believed to be developing nuclear weapons, international experts would likely have been able to detect the test if one had occurred several days ago.

Going to tell these guys to "bring it on", too?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Cubs smoke Fish in Game 2
CHICAGO -- What a difference a game -- and some offense -- make.

Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs to power a season-high 18-hit attack Friday and lead the Chicago Cubs to an 11-2 victory over the Florida Marlins and a split of their doubleheader.

In the opener, Cy Young candidate Carl Pavano (17-5) threw a seven-hit shutout and hit an RBI double in Florida's 7-0 win. Kerry Wood (7-7) took the loss and didn't get much support as the Cubs were blanked for the second straight game and made three errors.

Allow me a moment to question something- Game one, against one of the Marlins strongest pitchers, Dusty "rests" regulars Alou and Ramirez (and Grudzie, too, I think), knowing that in the second game the Marlins are starting an "A" ball pitcher? Why wouldn't you put your best offense in and let the back-ups face the kid, who ended up getting pounded anyway?

I don't get it. These games are critical. Why rest the best when you are facing the best?

The Whitecaps defeated Lansing last night 3-2 on two solo home runs from Kelly Hunt and a double from Danilio Sanchez that scored Juan Francia. Marvelous pitching from Jordan Tata shut down the potent Lugnut offense.

WOW! I'm so proud of them! Get ready for more baseball pictures! (heh heh)

Sidenote: The Cubs announced yesterday that they are moving their "A" affiliate to Peoria next year, so no more Cubbie rehabs in Lansing. Boo!

Friday, September 10, 2004

It's All About Action:

Jason pops up.


Yahoo! News - House Votes to Block Bush Overtime Regulations
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives defied President Bush on Thursday and voted to block his administration's controversial new overtime regulations for white-collar workers. The vote was 223-193.

In a rare election-year victory for organized labor in the Republican-led Congress, the House approved a Democratic amendment that would deny funds to administer the regulations that foes say would cost an estimated 6 million white- and blue-collar workers overtime pay.

Republican leaders rejected those claims, and aides said, would seek to kill the amendment once a $142.5 billion funding bill for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services reached a House-Senate conference committee.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Yahoo! News Full Coverage - U.S. - 3rd Federal Judge Finds Abortion Ban Unconstitutional
(AP) - A third federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional, saying it fails to include an exception when a woman's health is in danger. U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf in Lincoln said that Congress ignored the most experienced doctors in determining that the banned procedure would never be necessary -- a finding he called "unreasonable." "According to responsible medical opinion, there are times when the banned procedure is medically necessary to preserve the health of a woman and a respectful reading of the congressional record proves that point," Kopf wrote. "No reasonable and unbiased person could come to a different conclusion."

Thank God for the activist judges.
It's All About Me:

Will this post? Took forever for this screen to come up.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Yahoo! News - Washington's Gay-Marriage Ban Struck Down
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Saying the state constitution broadly guarantees equality, a judge struck down Washington's ban on same-sex marriage and set the stage for an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks said the guarantees of equality are violated by the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and bars same-sex civil marriage.

He acknowledged the Legislature's intent was clear when it banned same-sex marriage. But Washington's constitution, which offers broader protection of individual liberties than the federal Constitution, always trumps statute law, he said.

The state "must take care to treat all its citizens in an equal way," he said.

Another activist judge strikes again!

Yahoo! News - Money from Iran Fuels Iraq Insurgency -Rumsfeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Money and people channeled from Iran fuel the insurgency in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview published on Wednesday.

"They have put people in there. They have put money in there," Rumsfeld said in an interview with The Washington Times. "By 'they,' I'm not going to say which element of the government or whether it's even known to the government. But money has come in from Iran. People have come in from Iran."

He gave no further details. Iran has denied previous charges of meddling in Iraq.

Rumsfeld said it was "a very difficult thing to stop" because Iran has shown by its behavior that it is "not part of the civilized world."

Denigrate the people first. Good set-up for an excuse to start another war.

But he said other countries are not willing to join in pressuring Tehran to change.

"And when you have countries of the world that are not willing to participate in an organized effort to try to persuade a country to behave in a civilized way, it encourages them simply to continue on its merry way. And that's a problem," Rumsfeld said.

Ooops! Slam the rest of the world, too! You just blew the coalition there, Don! That statement can be applied to the US also. It's no wonder people think we are arrogant. I'll doubt we will ever get anyone to help us again with this attitude.

Yahoo! News - Gay Republican Group Won't Endorse Bush -NY Times
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Leaders of the largest group for gay men and lesbians in the Republican Party voted overwhelmingly against endorsing President Bush for re-election because he favors a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, The New York Times said on Wednesday.

The board of the Log Cabin Republicans voted 22-2 on Tuesday night against endorsing Bush, the newspaper said, citing a spokesman for the group.

Makes me wonder about the two who did vote to support him. Geez. Who could support their own second-class citizenship?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Yahoo! News - US Death Toll in Iraq Hits 1,000
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. death toll in Iraq on Tuesday reached 1,000 nearly 18 months after American-led forces invaded the country to topple the government of former President Saddam Hussein, the White House said.

The rising death toll includes more than a dozen U.S. troops killed in fighting and attacks by insurgents since Friday. Nearly 7,000 American troops have also been wounded since the invasion.

True heroes. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Rest in peace.

Just for laughs, here's my "reluctant model".
Baby Picture:

29 positive comments, 2 picked it as a favorite, 320 votes and the score has dropped to a 6.3875 after hovering at a 6.42 most of the day yesterday.

Must be the "cat hater" contingent came out last night. Bummer. Definitely no ribbon this time. Oh well.
It's All About Work:

How can four days go by so fast?

I need to get out of there. I'm sitting here dreading walking back into that hellhole. Wonder how much time he is going to shave off of this paycheck- I should have about an hour and a half overtime. The last three checks he has shaved off about an hour to two hours of work.

Would the state do anything? I might have to find out. I have copies of my last two timecards that show this, but the rules are very vague about when he can start paying.

Wish me luck. I feel like one of these days I'm just going to blow up and walk out.

Yahoo! News - Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Separate Iraq Attacks
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Guerrillas attacked U.S. troops in Baghdad's sprawling Shi'ite Sadr City slum district with rocket-propelled grenades on Tuesday, killing one soldier and wounding two, the U.S. army said.

The attack followed four separate roadside bomb blasts on Monday that killed four U.S. soldiers.

The deaths will raise the official Pentagon U.S. death toll to at least 993 since the start of the war in Iraq.

Depressing. How can America stomach this?

Monday, September 06, 2004

West Michigan Whitecaps - Home:

"Whitecaps Claim Second Half Division Championship"

The Whitecaps used a 9-2 win over Cedar Rapids Monday afternoon to claim the Second Half Eastern Division Championship. West Michigan will now face Lansing in round one of the playoffs. Get your playoff tickets for game one at Fifth Third Ballpark on September 8 at 6:35 p.m. today!"

Congratulations Whitecaps!

Yahoo! News - Former President Clinton's Heart Surgery a Success
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was recovering on Monday after successful heart bypass surgery at a New York hospital, his office said.

"The surgery was successful. The president is now resting comfortably," Clinton's office said in a statement after the five-hour operation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery Bill.

Different crop, want to see how it looks. I think I like the comp on the other one better.

Yahoo! News - Russia Mourns Hostage Deaths, Putin Criticized
BESLAN, Russia (Reuters) - Russia on Monday mourned the deaths of hundreds of children and adults in its worst hostage drama as criticism mounted over the way President Vladimir Putin and his security forces handled the crisis.

In the aftermath of the bloody school siege by Chechen rebels, in which at least 335 hostages were killed, troops tightened security over fears that fury over the carnage would stoke smoldering ethnic and religious tensions in the Caucasus region of southern Russia.

In the cold, damp morning in the main Beslan cemetery, hundreds of people worked to prepare the graves. In the center of the cemetery, muddy after an overnight downpour, mounds of flowers lay over the graves of the victims buried on Sunday. The authorities have taken over a soccer-field sized plot of wasteland next to the cemetery to accommodate all the bodies.

Relatives, dressed in black, brought more flowers, many hugging each other. Some placed bottles of water by graves, a tribute to victims whose captors refused to let them drink during the 53-hour ordeal.

I wonder how the US would have handled something like this. I have to believe that we would have stormed the building also, if bombs were going off and gunshots heard. (Waco, anyone?)

What will Putin do? These people are not afraid to kill, not afraid to die. Makes it hard to find an answer.

Yahoo! News - Weakened Frances Leaves Much of Florida in Chaos
COCOA, Fla. (Reuters) - Weakened after its long rampage through Florida, the lumbering giant of a tropical storm that began its tear as Hurricane Frances moved into the Gulf of Mexico early on Monday, leaving chaos in its wake.

The $9.1 billion citrus industry, hard hit by Hurricane Charley last month, was likely to take another blow as the storm moved across the state's best growing regions as a hurricane.

Frances could cause between $2 billion and $10 billion in insured losses, industry group Risk Management Solutions said.

The human toll, in lost housing and livelihoods, will also be great. "We think it's going to be an enormous bill," American Red Cross President Marsha Evans told CNN on Sunday. "We think that it's going to involve many more families perhaps than Hurricane Andrew did because it is so widespread."

Florida's not looking so good to live in anymore. It was fascinating to see a storm that was bigger than the entire state- they are very, very lucky that it weakened. If it had come in at a category 4 the devastation would have been tremendous.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The End of the Season.

This definitely meets the challenge, which is my main objective. Backlit and no silhouette. I'll go with this (or the cropped version of this) if I can't get anything else in the next couple days.

Now maybe I can relax.

Sunset at the River.

Problem with this is that it is not exactly backlit, kind of off-to-the-side-but -still-behind lit. Hmmmm...

Heading for sunset.

This haze in the air is giving me fits. It fractures the light and blows everything out. Might have to go with the baseball shot after all.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Near Seizing Bin Laden, Official Says
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.

Gee, what a surprise this announcement is! My guess is he will be captured...oh...about the middle of October. Either that or they are just blowing smoke again as usual.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Virg warms up.

Yahoo! News - Bill Clinton to Have Heart Surgery Next Week
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton will have heart bypass surgery early next week after being rushed to a top New York hospital on Friday complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath.

In a phone call from his hospital to CNN, Clinton, 58, said he felt "great" but an angiogram had found a "significant" blockage in a blood vessel.

"My blockage is so substantial, I think if I don't do this (surgery) I think there's virtually a 100 percent chance that I'll have a heart attack," Clinton told "Larry King Live."

"Some of this is genetic and I may have done some damage in those years when I was too careless about what I ate ... I've got a problem and I've got a chance to deal with it," Clinton said.

Good luck to you Bill.

Yahoo! News - Russia's Putin Orders Crackdown After School Siege
BESLAN, Russia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin ordered a crackdown in southern Russia after a school siege killed at least 250, and warned Chechen sympathizers on Saturday they would be seen as "accomplices of terrorism."

The hard words suggested Putin had no intention of backing down from his tough policies of crushing Chechnya's separatist rebellion to keep the mainly Muslim region within Russia, using tactics long criticized by human rights activists.

The storming of the school by Russian forces plunged the small town of Beslan into pandemonium. Troops and armed civilians advanced on the red brick building after explosions inside. Pupils, parents and teachers, many drenched in blood, were carried out on stretchers or in the arms of local men.

No definitive figure for the number of those killed -- many of whom were children -- was available on Saturday.

Not seeing any 'good guys' in this story- both sides will take the hard line and the killings will continue. I'm starting to wonder if there is any such thing as negotiation and compromise in this world anymore when violence has proved such an effective way of getting people's attention.

Friday, September 03, 2004 & WOOD TV8 - Grand Rapids news and weather - Gay marriage ban proposal will be on November ballot
(Lansing, September 3, 2004, 12:10 p.m.) A proposal to ban gay marriage in Michigan will be on the ballot come November.

In July, the Citizens for Protection of Marriage turned in over 400,000 petition signatures supporting a vote on an amendment to ban gay marriage in the state. But in August, the Board of Canvassers was deadlocked on two issues. several members thought a ban would be unconstitutional and the wording of the proposal could be used to end benefits for same sex couples that already exist.

The Court of Appeals said Friday that the Board of Canvassers didn't have the authority to make any of those decisions. That means a proposal defining marriage as only between a man and a woman will be on the ballot in November.

Fuck. Get ready for more gay bashing.

Last home game.

There is something very melancholy about the end of the season...

Yahoo! News - Reports: Clinton in NY Hospital for Bypass Surgery
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton will undergo quadruple bypass surgery later on Friday, television networks reported.

ABC and CBS television reported that Clinton, 58, had checked in to the hospital for quadruple heart bypass surgery.

CNN reported that the former Democratic president was undergoing tests at New York Presbyterian hospital after experiencing chest pains.

Living the high life caught up to ya, Bill? My thoughts and prayers are with you. More later; this story is all of three minutes old right now.

Yahoo! News - Russians Storm School; 100 Bodies Found
BESLAN, Russia - Commandos stormed a school Friday in southern Russia and battled separatist rebels holding hundreds of hostages, as crying children, some naked and covered in blood, fled through explosions and gunfire. More than 100 bodies were reportedly found in the gymnasium where hostages had been held.

The extent of the casualties was not immediately known. The militants, who had been demanding independence for nearby Chechnya, had been keeping up to 1,500 hostages — mostly women and children — in the sweltering gymnasium for more than two days.

A cameraman for the British network ITN reported seeing around 100 bodies in the gym. The correspondent for Russia's Interfax news agency reported that there were dozens of bodies in the school, including about 100 in the gym, and that some were killed when the building's roof collapsed from an explosion.

A sad ending to a sad story.

Yahoo! News - Kerry Hits Back at GOP 'Insults'
NEWARK, Ohio - In a scathing attack, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry accused Republicans of hiding President Bush's "record of failure" behind insults and promised a new direction for the country under a Kerry-Edwards administration.

Kerry, speaking to a midnight rally as Bush closed the GOP convention in New York with his acceptance speech, said the president was "unfit to lead this nation" because of the war in Iraq and his record on jobs, health care and energy prices.

He lashed out at the commander in chief and Vice President Dick Cheney for not serving in Vietnam during the war and for comments made during the convention about Kerry's fitness to occupy the Oval Office.

Kerry faulted the president and Republicans for not talking about "real issues" — creating jobs, improving the economy, expanding access to health care and reducing gasoline prices.

"They did everything except talk about that" at the four-day convention, Kerry said. "We've had insults, we've had anger from Republicans. And I'll tell you why," Kerry said. "Because they can't come to you and talk to you about having created jobs since they've lost them. They can't come to you and talk to you about creating health care since 5 million Americans have lost it.

"Their own labor secretary talks about exporting jobs overseas," he said. "They can't talk about their record because it is a record of failure. And so all they do is attack."

Go et 'em John. As much as I'd like to see the campaign remain positive, I feel a need to respond to the Pub nastiness. To let it slide emboldens them to continue. Like the big bully in a schoolyard, they need to be put in their place a few times and perhaps then their true cowardice will become apparent.

If John Kerry wants to prove he will be a tough, effective leader, he will have to show that he can deal with these assholes first.
My Baby is a Star:

She's sitting at a 6.41 this morning with lots of glowing comments. Surprised it's going up- usually they fall during the week. Glad people like it.

Yahoo! News - Loud Music Can Cause Lung Collapse
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Blasting music can be hard on the ears and the neighbors, and now researchers say it can also pack enough punch to collapse a lung.

Reporting in the medical journal Thorax, they describe the cases of four young men who suffered a lung collapse -- technically called pneumothorax --that appeared to be triggered by loud music. Three of the men were at a concert or club when the pneumothorax occurred, while the fourth was in his car, which was outfitted with a 1,000-watt bass box because he "liked to listen to loud music."

Noppen said he and his colleagues suspect that loud music may damage the lungs due to its booming bass frequency, which can be felt as a vibration going through the body. The lungs may essentially start to vibrate in the same frequency as the bass, which could cause a lung to rupture.

Ouch! See, we have to give these guys tickets for disturbing the peace. It's for their own good. ;-)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

It's All About The Whitecaps!:

The Whitecaps used a 3-0 win and a Fort Wayne 5-2 loss to clinch their first playoff birth since 2002. The magic number for the 'Caps to win the second half division is now 3 over Battle Creek. (any combination of Whitecaps wins and Battle Creek losses). Get your playoff tickets for September 8 at 6:35 p.m. today!

Yea!!! WTG guys!

Yahoo! News - Southeast Braces for Hurricane Frances
STUART, Fla. - With some homes still swaddled in blue tarp and the deaths from Hurricane Charley still fresh in their minds, Southeastern residents once again warily eyed a menacing hurricane — a storm that could prove the mightiest yet this season.

Nearly a half-million people in Florida were ordered to leave their homes by Thursday afternoon as Hurricane Francis churned toward the U.S. mainland. States of emergency were declared in both Georgia and Florida.

Packing 140 mph winds and a course that has emergency officials in several Southeastern states jittery, the Category 4 storm was expected to fluctuate in intensity as it headed for a Labor Day weekend rendezvous.

Still no word on Palma. Feelin' sorry for the folks down there- I can't imagine having to shutter my house, pack stuff and cats and leave to drive to ...where? How would you know which way to go?

Yahoo! News - Keyes: Mary Cheney is 'selfish hedonist'
In remarks that rattled some members of his party, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes called Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, a "hedonist."

Keyes made the remark Monday night, during in an interview with Sirius OutQ, a New York City-based satellite LGBT radio station. He told the hosts that homosexuality is "selfish hedonism."

The hosts then asked Keyes whether Mary Cheney is a "selfish hedonist," to which he replied, "Of course she is."

Cool! Is she single?

Yahoo! News - Unsafe Abortions Kill 70,000 Women a Year -- Report
LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly 70,000 women, almost half of them in Asia, die from unsafe abortions each year despite government pledges made a decade ago to improve human rights and reproductive health, researchers said Wednesday.

According to the report, Asia accounts for 55 percent of the world's unsafe abortions, the highest of any region, with about 10.5 million in 2000, followed by Africa with 4.2 million unsafe abortions and Latin America and the Caribbean with 3.7 million.

In Chile and El Salvador, abortion is not legal on any grounds. Some countries allow it for reasons such as ensuring the mother's life and in cases of rape or incest.

"But the fact is, even where it is legal under limited grounds it is not available and it is not safe," Maguire said.

A little preview of what could happen in America if the Republicans get their way.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Through the Green (retouched)
It's All About Grain:

That's a big NO from the voters. Heh. Oh well, at least it was in the top 200. New picture is at a 6.14, so I think it will finish in the upper 5's. Should help get my average back up. ;-)
Yahoo! News - NY Police Arrest Over 900 in Anti-Bush Protests
A day-long wave of civil disobedience raised tensions between police and protesters as activists opposed to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and other Bush administration policies attempted to seize the spotlight.

Police said in a statement more than 900 had been arrested, bringing to over 1,400 the total number of arrests in demonstrations since last Thursday.

Keep up the good work people.