Sunday, October 31, 2004

Yahoo! News - Votes From the Dead May Still Be Counted
RALEIGH, N.C. - An untold number of ballots from people who have died since casting them will be counted this year because of the haphazard and cumbersome process of enforcing laws in many states to weed out these votes.

With millions of voters taking advantage of new, in-person early voting in at least 30 states this year, it's even more likely that such "ghost" votes will be counted because, in most cases, those ballots are impossible to retrieve. Besides, it could be days or weeks after the election before local officials get word someone has died.

In Florida alone, more than 1.8 million people, many of them elderly and sick retirees, have cast absentee ballots or voted early in person in the past two weeks.

How many of those voters won't be alive on Election Day? Considering that an average of 455 voting-age people die in Florida every day, and that the 2000 presidential election was decided by a mere 537 votes, dead votes that slip through the cracks could become a meaningful bloc.

Yes, but they are a bitch to poll. ;-)


I like to call this one "Snarling Al".

Al "I was the first one laid-off" Gore speaks to the congregation at the Macedonia Baptist Church. This picture took an incredible amount of work to get this clear: the church was dark, I was about halfway back, most of my shots didn't turn out. Unfortunately things were moving so fast that I couldn't get any outdoor shots of him.

His speech was short, amusing and to the point. The jist was "GET OUT AND VOTE! EVERY VOTE COUNTS!" And he should know better than anyone about that.

I got to meet Al (and Tipper too!) as they were leaving. I scooted outside and shook his hand, told him thanks for coming to town. They both seemed tired and a bit dazed. Off they went to the next church.

More pics (maybe) to follow.

Yahoo! News - Man Charged With Threatening Cheney
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A man was charged Friday with making a threat against the life of Vice President Dick Cheney during his campaign visit to Michigan, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Homer O. Shoup Jr. of Wayland made the threats in a 911 call Friday morning, U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara said a statement. Authorities apprehended him a few hours later in Grand Rapids around the time Cheney was about an hour's drive away in Dimondale, Mich., for a rally, Michigan state police said.

In the 911 phone call, the 51-year-old Shoup said, "I've turned my van into a bomb and I am going to crash it into the Capitol Centre and try to kill Cheney," according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. The Capital Centre in Dimondale is where Cheney spoke.

Police tracked down Shoup at a park in Grand Rapids where they found in his van a propane gas tank, a full 5-gallon gasoline tank and three empty metallic trash cans.

Before making the 911 call, Shoup dropped off at Grand Rapids station WOOD-TV a videotape and letters that explained his plan, Chiara said. Shoup remained in custody and was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on Sunday morning. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Bad move, Homer. Although the fact that he called 911 and never even made it to Lansing shows that he wasn't serious, just mentally disturbed, and, hey, Cheney mentally disturbs me too, so, what can I say. My guess is psychiatric counsel and probation.

Another sign from the Bush visit. This poor guy had a helluva time with the wind.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Sammy Sosa returns to Dominican Republic, complains about lineup spot
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Sammy Sosa was humiliated by being dropped to sixth in the Chicago Cubs lineup, and claims he was mistreated by the club.

When he struggled down the stretch of the season, Cubs manager Dusty Baker lowered the slugger in the batting order -- much to Sosa's dismay.

"I'm not a sixth batter,'' Sosa told Hoy newspaper in Santo Domingo on Saturday upon returning to his native Dominican Republic. "I'm a cleanup hitter or third because I've earned that right with almost 600 career home runs.''

OK, nevermind what I said yesterday. Get him gone. He apparently doesn't get the concept of "team". Let him try to pull this shit with the Yankees and see how far it gets him.

Shoot, Sam, I would have dropped you to 8th. See ya.

Yahoo! News - Car Bomb Near Fallujah Kills 8 Marines
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - A car bomb killed eight U.S. Marines outside Fallujah on Saturday, the deadliest attack against the U.S. military in nearly six months. Marines pounded guerrilla positions on the outskirts of Fallujah, where American forces are gearing up for a major assault on the insurgent stronghold.

The Marines later reported a ninth combat death Saturday but did not say whether it was in the car bombing or another action. Efforts to contact the Marines for clarification were unsuccessful.

In Baghdad, another car bomb exploded outside an Arabic television network's offices, killing seven people and injuring 19 in the biggest attack against a news organization since the occupation began last year.

It was a day in which at least 30 people died in politically motivated violence across the country — stark evidence of a security situation threatening to spiral out of control. Late Saturday, the decapitated body of Japanese hostage Shosei Koda, 24, was found in an insurgent-infested neighborhood of Baghdad. The Japanese Foreign Ministry confirmed Koda's identity through fingerprints.

Meanwhile, back at the war...the Army has extended by two months the Iraq tours of about 6,500 soldiers. Instead of coming home in November, they have to stay till January. Merry Xmas, guys.

Saturday, October 30, 2004 & WOOD TV8 - Bush touts war on terrorism, economy during Grand Rapids campaign stop
(Grand Rapids-AP, October 30, 2004, 11:20 a.m.) President Bush hit on a number of important issues to this conservative part of the state, talking about the war on terrorism and the recovering economy during a campaign stop Saturday.

About 17,000 people gathered at DeVos Place for what could be Bush's last visit to Michigan before Election Day. He spoke in front of an oversized Michigan license plate emblazoned with the words: "AMERICA: SAFER STRONGER BETTER."

About 50-100 protesters gathered outside. (hard to tell, they move around a lot) Here's a few shots. Unfortunately the light was really strange and I had a hard time with the focus, so I didn't get anything spectacular.

Vern Ehlers came out all by himself before Bush arrived. He stopped to talk to us, shook some hands (including mine), which I thought was pretty cool. He took off in his car and drove away. Guess he didn't want to see Bush. I'd never vote for the guy, but he's not bad for a Republican. ;-)

Here come the protesters! Someone had to go get them from the Calder Plaza. Why they can't figure out that these politicians come in off of the Ford and down Michigan St., I'll never know. Get a clue, people! Only one easy way to the airport!

Sharpshooter on top of Olds Manor. Security, of course, was very tight. Bet this cost a fortune.

Protest sign. I'm not sure what "Practice Compassionate Terrorism" means.

Closeup of the protest. That woman holding the sign is the girlfriend (or maybe wife) of a guy I used to work with at Classic Recordings. I had some cool shots of the GRPD watching this crowd from above, but I had lighting problems that I just couldn't fix, so I changed it to this pic.

George motors up Michigan. That's him in the center. If we are lucky, that will be the last we see of him in Grand Rapids. Keep your fingers crossed.

It was fun. The crowd chanted "Four more days!" and booed very loudly when Bush came through.

Tomorrow, AL GORE! He will be right across the street from my house at the Macedonia Baptist Church. I can literally throw a rock from my porch and hit the place, so I hope to get some pics of him. Stay tuned!

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Garciaparra files for free agency
CHICAGO (AP) -- Nomar Garciaparra filed for free agency Friday, starting the bidding process for the All-Star shortstop.

Catcher Paul Bako, outfielder Tom Goodwin and outfielder Ben Grieve also filed for free agency Friday.

Garciaparra has said he'd consider returning to Chicago, and general manager Jim Hendry has already spoken with his agent, Arn Tellem. But Garciaparra also wants to test the free-agent market for the first time in his career.

Wonder what the numbers will be to sign him. I don't care about the injuries, I want him back. I think we have a good chance because I believe that he will want to play for a contender- missing the Series while his old team won must have stung a bit, now he has something to prove. Just like Sammy. These two ego maniacs might be pissed off enough to have the best season of their lives.

Yahoo! News - Bin Laden Condemns Bush, Says New Attacks Possible
DUBAI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden burst into the U.S. election campaign on Saturday, issuing his first video tape in more than a year to deride President Bush and warn of possible new Sept. 11-style attacks.

Bin Laden, taunting the man who has vowed to take him "dead or alive" for the past three years, said Bush had failed Americans with his Middle East policies, deceiving the nation and provoking Muslim groups like al Qaeda to strike again.

"Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened," he said, making his clearest claim yet of responsibility.

Osama who? While I think that this tape will rally the Bushbots to an even stronger hysteria, I also believe there will be an equal number of people who will see this as a reminder of Bush's failure to capture the man who actually attacked us. (At least, that's what I hope.)

Besides, I don't see the Bush supporters fighting the "terrorists" anymore, I see them fighting the "liberals" and using terrorism as one of the means to that end.

Here is a perfect example-

Bush vowed after the tape aired that "Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country."

Kerry said "we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists."

But Bush objected when Kerry, during a local television interview, repeated his almost daily criticism that Bush allowed bin Laden to escape in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when he "outsourced the job" to Afghan fighters.

"This is the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking," Bush said of Kerry's comment. "It is especially shameful in light of the new tape by America's enemy."

Campaign aides said Kerry taped the interview before he knew what was in bin Laden's tape, while Bush was briefed on the tape earlier on Friday and still delivered an attack on Kerry afterward, before the tape aired.

Granted, John Kerry will use this as a political tool also, but I found it interesting that Bush's focus, once again, was not on Osama or the fight on terror, but on defeating his perceived enemies on the homefront.

We will see how this plays out over the next few days.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bush and Kerry Locked in Dead Heat - Reuters Poll
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Sen. John Kerry moved into a dead heat with President Bush four days before a cliffhanger White House election, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Friday.

Bush and Kerry were tied at 47 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll as the Massachusetts senator gained two points on Bush. Bush led Kerry 48-46 percent on Thursday.

Bush gained a two-point edge in Michigan after being 10 points behind Kerry when the state tracking poll began on Sunday. Bush led by one point in Florida and Kerry had a three-point edge in Ohio. All three of those results were within the margin of error.

Another poll I saw this morning shows Kerry with a 7 point lead in Michigan.

Good God, this is nuts. Should stop watching polls, they are just making me more nervous. Next Tuesday is going to be wild.

West Michigan Whitecaps Schedule 2005

HOME (I've been corrected, thanks Pop) Opening Day April 9th. Home on my birthday next year. It all seems so far away right now.

Yahoo! News - Report: Video Shows Explosives Went Missing After War
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - ABC News on Thursday showed video appearing to confirm that explosives that went missing in Iraq did not disappear until after the United States had taken control of the facility where they were stored.

Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry has charged that President Bush's administration blundered by failing to safeguard the powerful conventional explosives.

Bush countered that Kerry was making wild accusations without knowing the facts. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday advanced the administration's argument that the explosives may have been gone by the time U.S. forces got there.

Without mentioning Kerry by name, Rumsfeld told a radio interviewer, "People who use hair-trigger judgment to come to conclusions about things that are fast-moving frequently make mistakes that are awkward and embarrassing."

Open mouth, insert foot. A lot of that going around in this administration lately.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Longtime broadcaster Steve Stone steps down
CHICAGO (AP) -- Longtime Chicago Cubs analyst Steve Stone announced Thursday he was leaving WGN-TV, less than one month after coming under fire for on-air comments he made criticizing the team.

"I regret I won't be calling another Cubs game on WGN-TV for the greatest fans in baseball, the fans of the Chicago Cubs,'' Stone, a Cubs broadcaster for 20 years, said on WGN-AM radio.

Stone told The Associated Press that WGN wanted to bring him back next season. But after much deliberation, he said he reached a decision that was "probably best for all parties.''

Good luck to you Steve, I'm going to miss you. Keep telling it like it is. Also going to miss Alou and Grudzielanek- options declined. Grudzie surprises me, as Todd Walker is a free agent too. Don't tell me that we are going to lose both these guys. Can Nefi play 2nd?

Thursday, October 28, 2004 Frequently Asked Questions:

"Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King, lifelong Red Sox addicts, will chronicle the 2004 Red Sox season from spring training and Opening Day through to the highly anticipated events of the fall, in a hardcover book that Scribner will publish in late '04 (possibly November). They'll go to some games together and each will keep a diary. They'll argue or agree about plays and trades, and the result will be a fan's notes for the ages. "

Couldn't have picked a better season to chronicle, Steve. You couldn't have written it as fiction, because no one would have ever believed you.

This should be a good read. / Sports / Baseball / Red Sox / YES!!!
"This is like an alternate reality," said Sox owner John W. Henry, soaked in champagne (Mount Pleasant, 2003 Brut Imperial). "All of our fans waited their entire lives for this." / Sports / Baseball / Red Sox / Now the tears are of joy
Revel in this unorthodox group of athletes, who danced to their own beat, purists be damned. Marvel at their uncanny ability to rise from the ashes, and resurrect themselves in the most improbable of situations. / Sports / Baseball / Red Sox / The possible dream
Avengers of 86 years of raw yearning, Terry Francona's raggedy renegades last night liberated generations of Sox fans from the purgatory of their unrequited dreams when they buried the Cardinals, 3-0, before 52,037 under a canopy of clouds beneath a Blood Red Moon at Busch Stadium to win their first World Series since 1918.

A few of the good stories from that sum up the feeling in Red Sox Nation today. Congratulations again everyone.

View of the moon near totality, taken from my back porch. We were very lucky the clouds cleared out.

Yahoo! News - Stargazers Enjoy Total Lunar Eclipse
BALTIMORE - Astronomy buffs and amateur stargazers turned out to watch a total lunar eclipse Wednesday night — the last one Earth will get for nearly two and a half years.

With the Earth passing directly between the sun and the moon, the only light hitting the full moon was from the home planet's sunrises and sunsets, resulting in an orange and red hue.

The next total eclipse of the moon will not be until March 2007.

Yahoo! News - Boston Fans Finally Celebrate Red October
ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The Boston Red Sox lifted a championship and buried a curse Wednesday, turning fantasy into reality with a stirring World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

In a match staged under a total lunar eclipse, Johnny Damon homered and Derek Lowe pitched seven shutout innings in a 3-0 victory which completed a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.

Since Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the hated New York Yankees in 1920, Boston has not celebrated a World Series champion team.

But this October the Red Sox appeared more charmed than cursed, starting with an unprecedented comeback win over the Yankees in the American League championships series and on through a World Series in which they never once trailed.

The final out came just as the moon was coming out of totality. Cool, weird stuff. Way to go BoSox! I'm so happy for them and their fans. Now, to face the long dark winter without baseball....

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bush softens gay stance in home stretch

President Bush said the Republican Party is wrong to oppose civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but stuck to his opposition of same-sex marriage during an interview that aired Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what the state chooses to do," Bush told "GMA" host Charlie Gibson.

"I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others," the president said.

You have got to be kidding me with this.

Well, George, if that's true, how about the FEDERAL benefits of marriage, hmmmmm? Going to propose civil unions on that level?

NO??? Didn't think so.

Hope the gay Pubs don't fall for this shit.
New Pic: at 5.54 this morning. I think I've found my average. :-)

And I must say, what a horrible challenge. I know poverty isn't supposed to be "pretty", but the quality of the pictures (bad focus, grain, bad subjects, etc.) was not so good this time. Hope the next challenge is something...uh..."nice", God knows I have plenty of time to work on it now.

The shot is posed. Usually you can find a hundred bottles-in-bags around the 'hood, but for whatever reason they were scarce this time. I found the bottle, the bag is from my house (that's why it's too big) and I had to drive around with a technically "open container" in my car for this shot. Had I been busted, I definitely would have "been suffering for my art".

Yahoo! News - BoSox Poised to Win First Series Since '18
ST. LOUIS - Manny Ramirez drove in two runs, including a solo homer, and Pedro Martinez set down 14 straight batters as the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 Tuesday to move within a victory of their first World Series title since 1918.

Martinez made his long-awaited Series debut a special one, bailed out when Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz did as much damage with their arms as bats. Backed by the surprising show of defense, Boston cruised past St. Louis 4-1 Tuesday night for a 3-0 lead and left a crowd that loves its Cardinals booing the home team.

And now, after being only three outs away from getting swept last week, Boston is on the verge of sweeping the club that led the majors in wins this year and claiming the ultimate prize.

Amazing story. I'm surprised by the Cards lackluster play and terrible base running. I almost made it to the end of this one- tonight I'll try to catch the whole thing.

Yahoo! News - Bush Could Seek Up to $75 Billion in War Funding
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration, faced with a growing insurgency and record fuel costs, plans early next year to seek $60 billion to $75 billion in emergency funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, administration and congressional officials said on Tuesday.

The White House Office of Management and Budget said it was premature to discuss the size of the upcoming supplemental spending request, which would bring total U.S. funding for military operations and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to as much as $280 billion.

Officials acknowledged that rising fuel costs could add billions of dollars to the price tag in Iraq. World oil prices have skyrocketed 70 percent since the start of the year, in part because of the turmoil in Iraq.

"Premature to discuss the size" probably means that they need more than 75B. Boy, it's going to take a lot of tax cuts to pay for this!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Circumstances Beyond Control.

For "Poverty". Didn't feel right taking pictures of people's stuff or homes, so, here we go. Who am I to judge?

Wish it luck.

ABC News: World's Oldest Man Cheering for Red Sox
SYRACUSE, N.Y. Oct 25, 2004 — In 113 years, Fred Hale Sr. has seen a lot. There's one thing he'd like to see again. Hale, documented as the world's oldest man, is a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan.

Hale became a celebrity of sorts in 1995 when Guinness World Records named him the world's oldest licensed driver at age 107. He made the network news that same year when a television cameraman caught him on his front porch roof shoveling off snow.

Hale said he also remembered how the great Ted Williams sometimes stopped at a lobster pound owned by his daughter Carolyn, where Williams was eager to talk about anything except baseball.

Carolyn died 12 years ago. Hale said he wanted the Red Sox to win a championship because his daughter had always wanted one so badly.

His hearing and sight are failing, and he needs a wheelchair to move about, but Hale said he otherwise feels "pretty fair."

Reminded that researchers regard him as the world's oldest man, he said, "I don't believe it. And I ain't going to die just to satisfy them."

Yahoo! News - Hundreds of Tons of Explosives Missing in Iraq -UN
VIENNA (Reuters) - Hundreds of tons of explosives are missing from a site near Baghdad that was part of Saddam Hussein's dismantled nuclear arms program but never secured by the U.S. military, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

The missing 377 tons of high explosives, monitored by inspectors from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, could potentially be used to make a detonator for a nuclear bomb, blow up an airplane or a building or in numerous other military and civilian applications, arms experts said.

About a pound of a related compound was enough to bring down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 170.

Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology informed the IAEA two weeks ago that the explosives had been "lost after April 9, 2003, through the theft and looting of the governmental installations due to lack of security," the watchdog agency told the 15-nation U.N. Security Council.

Feeling safer now, America?

Yahoo! News - Poll: Americans Skeptical About Election
WASHINGTON - Memories of Florida's contested 2000 presidential election and a growing number of pre-election lawsuits are making Americans skeptical about a voting process they once took for granted.

Six in 10 of those surveyed in an Associated Press poll say it's likely there will not be a clear winner in the presidential race by Nov. 3 — the day after the election — and fear the results will be challenged in court. The poll was conducted for the AP by Ipsos Public Affairs.

Both Democrats and Republicans worry about the possibility of an unresolved election — though Democrats express more worries. About seven in 10 Democratic voters, 69 percent, say they think it's likely there won't be a clear winner by Election Day, while almost six in 10 Republican voters, 56 percent, say they feel that way.

With both political parties putting thousands of lawyers on call for Election Day, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans — just over half of each — expect the election results will be challenged in court.

"I read the other day that there's going to be a perfect storm," Jack Martin, a businessman who lives near Salt Lake City, said of the growing number of lawsuits. "I think it's coming down to the courts. It worries me about our election system. I used to think every vote counts."

One week to go....I hope that this doesn't discourage people from voting.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Yahoo! News - Schilling Pitches Red Sox to Game 2 Win
BOSTON - Pitching again through so much pain it put his start in doubt, Curt Schilling helped Boston move halfway to snaring its most elusive prize: a first World Series championship since 1918.

Backed by another big hit from surprising Mark Bellhorn and unfazed by a defense that still had trouble getting a grip, the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 Sunday night to take a commanding 2-0 lead.

Go Sox!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Underlying Factors, an idea for the "Poverty" challenge.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Cubs: Alou's option to be declined
Moises Alou isn't likely to be back in Chicago next year. The Chicago Tribune reports the Cubs will decline the outfielder's $11-million option for 2005. Alou will become eligible for free agency and could return to the Cubs at a lower price.

The Cubs will probably seek a younger, faster, cheaper, better defensive option than Alou, but there will definitely be teams lined up to sign a player coming off a 39-homer season.

The first fall out from 2004. Good luck Moises.

Yahoo! News - Bellhorn's Late Homer Wins It for Red Sox
BOSTON - Mark Bellhorn hit a drive off the screen attached to Pesky's Pole in right field in the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox held on to take the highest-scoring opener in World Series history, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 11-9 on Saturday night.

Game 2 will be Sunday night, with Curt Schilling again testing his sutured ankle against St. Louis' Matt Morris.

I fell asleep when it was 7-5 Sox, knew it was going to be a wild one but couldn't force myself awake. Will have to drink more coffee!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Yahoo! News - GOP Voter Drive Accused of Tossing Cards
In several battleground states across the country, a consulting firm funded by the Republican National Committee has been accused of deceiving would-be voters and destroying Democratic voter registration cards.

Arizona-based Sproul & Associates is under investigation in Oregon and Nevada over claims that canvassers hired by the company were instructed to register only Republicans and to get rid of registration forms completed by Democrats.

"We treat these complaints very seriously," said Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. The Democratic office-holder said three complaints were filed with election officials throughout the state. He declined to provide details, citing the continuing investigation.

Substitute teacher Adam Banse wanted a summer job with flexible hours, so he signed up to knock on doors in suburban Minneapolis and register people to vote.

He quit after two hours. "They said if you bring back a bunch of Democratic cards, you'll be fired," Banse contends. "At that point, I said, `Whoa. Something's wrong here.'"

Nathan Sproul, a former head of Arizona's Republican Party and the state's Christian Coalition branch, denies any wrongdoing and accuses Democrats of making things up.

"This is all about making accusations," Sproul said Thursday. "They allege fraud where none exists and get the media to cover it."

Democrats in several states are "making things up"? Grunt workers from different areas all over the country came up with the same story? Conspiracy, I tell you!

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Heather Layman responded that her party accepts all voters, and she accused the Democratic Party of operating under this mandate: "If no sign of voter fraud exists, make it up, manipulate the media into covering baseless charges and spread fear."

This seems to be the new defense from the Right- just call people liars and fear-mongerers, be sure and take a shot at the media, too.

These people are disgusting.

Yahoo! News - N.Korea Vows to Double Deterrent if No U.S. Change
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea threatened on Saturday to double the size of its nuclear deterrent if the United States did not drop what Pyongyang sees as a confrontational policy aimed at unseating the communist leadership there.

On Friday, North Korea set three conditions to be met before it would consider returning to six-party talks on its nuclear programs, including Washington ditching its "hostile policy."

"If the U.S. persistently pursues its confrontational hostile policy toward the DPRK from the viewpoint of escapism, it will only compel the DPRK to double its deterrent force," the newspaper said. DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Bush diplomacy in action. Piss off the people with the nukes, good idea. Granted, North Korea is always flapping their gums about something, but "tough talk" is not going to work with their megalomaniac dictator, and George's cowboy attitude might drive him to do something that could potentially kill millions of people. Think about that on Nov. 2nd.

Yahoo! News - Prospects Uncertain on Intelligence Reform Bill
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers said on Friday it was increasingly unlikely they could deliver a measure to overhaul U.S. spy agencies to President Bush by the Nov. 2 elections, a delay some supporters said could imperil the post Sept. 11 reforms.

Putting a brave face on what has been slower-than-expected negotiations between the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on intelligence reform, lawmakers said they hoped to make progress on a final bill over the weekend to get it to the president by the elections. But they conceded it would be difficult.

With national security a top concern for voters, the Nov. 2 elections have been a major force behind the push to quickly enact intelligence reform legislation that would create a new national intelligence director, based on the recommendations made in July by the Sept. 11 commission.

Representatives of Sept. 11 victims' families, in a statement issued Friday, urged Bush to help push the talks forward and blamed "a minority faction of Republican House members who oppose this bill" for a lack of progress. They are worried that momentum for the legislation will fade after Nov. 2.

The Republicans are obviously WEAK ON TERROR! I expect to see the ad any minute now. Are any of those guys running for re-election?

Yahoo! News - Sox Fan's Death Raises Questions on Force
BOSTON - The death of a college student from a pepper-spray-filled projectile sparked anger and questions Friday about whether police used too much force to break up rowdy Red Sox revelers outside Fenway Park. The mayor said more police will be at neighborhood bars during the upcoming World Series to make sure fans do not get too drunk or rowdy, but he backed off his threat to ban alcohol in the area during the games.

Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole said police are considering discontinuing the use of the weaponry that killed Victoria Snelgrove as officers tried to contain an estimated 80,000 fans who poured into the area after the Red Sox victory Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Doug Conroy, 33, of Portland, Maine, said he and several other people had climbed the rafters of Fenway's famed Green Monster when police began to order them back down. He said he saw an officer in riot gear shoot something into the crowd below him.

He said he heard a woman scream, then heard sobbing. "A lot of people then looked over and saw her lying awkwardly on the sidewalk and blood coming out of her nose. She wasn't moving and we were just hoping she was just unconscious," Conroy said.

He called the police action "an egregious overreaction."

"There was nothing violent going on. It was all celebration," he said.

Sounds like a cop got spooked and a one-in-a-million tragedy occured. Sad footnote to the Sox victory. I feel terrible for that cop, and for the victim and her friends and family.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Yahoo! News - U.S.-Backed Iraq Government Losing Support - Survey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Support among Iraqis for the U.S.-appointed government in Baghdad has plunged since it was installed this summer, a U.S. survey released on Friday said.

The survey, carried out at the end of September, showed popular support for interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi dropped more than 20 percentage points since July. Washington formally handed sovereignty to Iraq at the end of June.

Just over 45 percent of those surveyed said Allawi had been effective since taking office in June, down from over 66 percent in July, and support for his government plummeted from 62 percent to 43 percent over the same period.

So, in one day we have less support from the Iraqi people and a rise in the estimate of the number of insurgents. Hmmm, wonder if there is a correlation.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Mark Grace eliminated from team's managerial search
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are starting to shorten their list of managerial candidates, and Mark Grace is out of the running for the job.

Grace said he was informed of the team's decision Thursday but hopes to remain with the organization as a broadcaster, minor-league manager or coach on the staff of the new Diamondbacks' skipper.

"I still have a plan and vision and hopefully someday, I will be a major-league manager,'' said Grace, who ended his 16-year career with Arizona in 2003. "We'll just let things take their course.''

Come and manage for South Bend, Mark!

Yahoo! News - U.S. Raises Estimates of Iraq Rebels - N.Y. Times
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials have raised their estimates of the size and financial support of Iraq's insurgency, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources.

The resistance numbers between 8,000 and 12,000 rebels, counting foreign fighters, the network of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and home-grown insurgents, the Times cited the officials as saying. When sympathizers are added, the number burgeons to more than 20,000, the newspaper said.

Those estimates are greater than earlier intelligence reports -- in which the number of insurgents has varied between 2,000 and 7,000, the Times said. (There's our sparkling "intelligence" folks again, whoever they are.)

According to military and government officials in Iraq and Washington cited by the Times, the core of the Iraqi insurgency now consisted of as many as 50 militant cells that draw on "unlimited money" from an underground financial network run by former Baath Party leaders and relatives of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Sounds like justification to start a draft to me. Shhhhh! Let's wait 'til after the election.

Yahoo! News - Cards Secure World Series Clash with Red Sox
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scott Rolen belted a two-run, tie-breaking homer off Roger Clemens in the sixth inning to give St Louis a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium Thursday, earning the Cardinals a World Series berth.

St Louis won the National League Championship Series (NLCS) by four games to three and now meets the Boston Red Sox in the World Series starting at Fenway Park Saturday.

Ug. Even more reason to root for the Sox. Should be a good Series.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

It's All About Jones:

Here's a couple of shots I sent to the Jones Soda labels gallery.

Here are the photos-

Go vote, if you can find them.

Would be fun to try to find a bottle with your pic on it. (They can't tell you where it might show up. You have to search.)

No money involved, just something to brag about if it happens. They have so many pics being uploaded that they get buried pretty quick- I'm already on page 11.(Edit: next day they were on page 20? or 21?- they move quick, 18000 images on there) I also think I read that the Jones people have final say anyway, but I bet they look at the voting, too. Who knows. Pretty cool site.

Yahoo! News - No Kidding: Miami Herald's Barry to Take Year Off
MIAMI (Reuters) - For many, many readers, this will not seem remotely funny.

Miami Herald humor columnist Dave Barry, who has poked fun at life's more bizarre aspects for 20 years, is giving up his weekly column from next January for at least a year, the paper said on Wednesday.

The Herald quoted Barry as saying he wanted a break to spend more time with his wife and child after a hectic summer and might return after a year.

"Part of the reason for taking a year off is to find out if I just can't stand not being able to write," Barry, 57, told the paper.

Barry's work is carried by about 500 newspapers and he has written some 25 books, including two that were the basis of a television sitcom. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1998.

His columns skewer politicians and bureaucrats, trends and gadgets and he often prefaces particularly outrageous "facts," with the phrase "I am not making this up."

Damn. Have fun, Dave.

Yahoo! News - Wal-Mart Finds 'Daily Show' Book Too Racy
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Wal-Mart canceled an order for a best-selling book by Jon Stewart and the writers of "The Daily Show" after executives learned that it contained a photo of nine naked, aged bodies, each with the superimposed head of a Supreme Court justice.

"America (The Book)," a mock school text that lampoons the American government in much the same way the Comedy Central show spoofs the news, includes cutouts of the justices' robes and a caption asking readers to "restore their dignity by matching each justice with his or her respective robe."

Executives for the Bentonville-based retail giant deemed the book inappropriate for its shelves this week.

"We were not aware of the image that was in the book (when Wal-Mart ordered it) and we felt the majority of our customers would not be comfortable with it," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Karen Burk. "We offer what we think our customers want to buy. That just makes good business sense."

Wal-Mart has a well-known policy of refusing to carry magazines with racy covers or CDs with explicit lyrics.

Ah, yes, the protector of all that is decent in America, Walmart. Now they are censoring humor to go along with the CD's and magazines that they deem objectionable. Don't you feel better knowing that they are making those kinds of decisions for you?

Yahoo! News - Red Sox Make History by Beating Yankees
NEW YORK - Boston blew away decades of defeat with four sweet swings. Believe it, New England, the Red Sox are in the World Series. And they got there with the most unbelievable comeback of all, shaming the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire to the south.

Just three outs from getting swept out of the AL championship series three nights earlier, the Red Sox finally humbled the dreaded Yankees, winning Game 7 in a 10-3 shocker Wednesday night to become the first major league team to overcome a 3-0 postseason series deficit.

WOW. Awesome. Congrats Boston. Get some rest, boys, there is still one team to defeat this year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

My Pic:

...finished 26 out of 262 for a 90%. Not bad.

Yahoo! News - Red Sox Beat Yanks to Force ALCS Game 7
NEW YORK - Pitching on a dislocated ankle tendon that forced him out of the opener, Curt Schilling smothered the New York Yankees by allowing one run over seven innings to lead the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night and pull Boston into a 3-3 tie in an AL championship series that was three outs from a sweep just two days earlier.

Schilling willed away the pain in his bloody right ankle and the Red Sox got the benefit of two reversed calls to move within one win of the most shocking comeback in baseball postseason history.

"This is incredible," Schilling said.

Yes, it is. I take back my comments from earlier about this series being a "disappointment". Hot damn, go get 'em Sox!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Yahoo! News - Canadians Seek Ban on U.S. Drug Shopping
TORONTO - Canadians must stop Americans from using Internet pharmacies to raid its medicine chest or face a drug shortage, a coalition of Canadian groups representing seniors, pharmacies and patients has warned.

The groups, claiming to represent 10 million Canadians, or about one-third the population, called on the Canadian government Monday to ban prescription drug exports.

They argue that Canada cannot afford to address U.S. drug shortages and soaring prescription costs with its own stock, which are often considerably cheaper for Americans because of government price controls.

An estimated 65 million Americans, most elderly, don't have drug coverage or can't afford drugs in the United States. Internet pharmacies and Canadian doctors willing to write prescriptions for Americans send an estimated $1 billion a year in Canadian drugs south of the border.

Ooops! With all this talk of getting drugs from Canada, nobody ever stopped to think that they might say "No". Now what?
It's All About Me:

This blog is one year old today. Where does the time go? Wish I had something profound to say about this- it seems like I just started.

As I look back, I realize not much has changed for me in the past year. I discovered a new passion in photography- but all in all, things are about the same. A little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit more terrified of my government, but hopefully that will change on Nov. 2nd.

Yahoo! News - Baseball-Red Sox Stay Alive with Epic 14th-Inning Win
BOSTON (Reuters) - David Ortiz drove in three runs, including the game winner in the bottom of the 14th inning, to lead Boston to a rallying 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees which kept the Red Sox's postseason hopes alive Monday.

Ortiz's shot to center field off Esteban Loaiza in the 14th scored Johnny Damon and sent the best-of-seven American League Championship Series back to New York for Game Six Tuesday with the Yankees up 3-2.

At nearly six hours, Game Five was the longest encounter in postseason history.

I guess I'll never see a game all the way through if they keep this up.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Emotional comeback for Red Sox
BOSTON -- The Red Sox arrived at Fenway Park on Sunday with the sole mission of making sure it was not their last baseball game of the season. Little did they know what a daunting and exhausting mission it would be.

All the Sox had to do to stave off elimination -- not to mention a humbling sweep -- in this American League Championship Series against the Yankees was overturn a ninth inning deficit against Mariano Rivera, the most accomplished closer in the world.

Then they had to shut the Yankees down for another three innings. David Ortiz finally ended the madness, pummeling a Paul Quantrill pitch into the visitors' bullpen for a two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Good for you, Sox. (And good for those folks who got rained out and had their tickets pushed back to today.) I woke up to watch the bottom of the ninth, but couldn't manage to stay awake for the rest. It was already midnight. Maybe we should start these games right at eight o'clock? (Helloooooo Fox Sports?)

Sure would be fun to have these guys come back and tie up the series...

Yahoo! News - Florida Voters Given Early Voting Option
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The deciding votes in this critical battleground state could be cast long before President Bush and Sen. John Kerry make their final pleas to voters.

Election offices across the state will open Monday to give voters the option of casting their ballots ahead of time.

Some groups are urging voters to cast paper absentee ballots because of concerns over the state's new touch-screen voting machines and any potential recounts. Others are touting that early voting option as a chance for busy voters to avoid waiting in line Nov. 2. And with few voters still undecided, both campaigns are emphasizing it in a bid to dramatically increase voter turnout.

Excellent idea. Wish it was available everywhere. Another idea I had was to stop all campaign advertising one week ahead of the election, but that will never happen, something about free speech, yada yada...still, it's a nice thought.

Yahoo! News - Crude Oil Price Surges Past $55
SINGAPORE - Crude oil prices surged past an unprecedented $55 per barrel Monday as uncertainty swirls over production, high demand and tight global supplies ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Crude for November delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit $55.33 per barrel around noon in Asia, up 40 cents from its Friday settlement price. The November contract expires Wednesday.

Heating oil also hit a new peak Monday.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


First decent "night" shot I've managed- this was run through Neat Image, a program that removes digital noise but can distort pictures a bit.

Haven't shot much this week- the weather turned nasty yesterday and I'm loathe to go outside. Doesn't bode well for winter shots. :-)

Yahoo! News - Reuters Poll: Kerry Trims Bush Lead to 2 Points
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic challenger John Kerry cut President Bush's lead to 2 points with just over two weeks to go before the Nov. 2 election, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released Sunday.

Bush led Kerry by 46 percent to 44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll of the closely contested race for the White House. The president led the Massachusetts senator by 48 percent to 44 percent the previous day.

OMG, this will be a daily thing? It will reach a fever pitch by the 2nd. Don't know if my heart can take it.

Yahoo! News - Yankees Stun BoSox 19-8 for 3-0 ALCS Lead
BOSTON - The Yankees kept circling the bases, battering Boston's beleaguered pitching staff. By the time the long, long night ended with a devastating 19-8 rout over the Red Sox, the dreaded New Yorkers were just one game away from a shocking sweep.

No major league baseball team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series, and 20 of the 25 that lost the first three games went down in four straight. The Yankees now have four tries to get the one victory they need for the seventh AL pennant in nine seasons since Joe Torre took over as manager, their 40th overall.

So much for the promise of an exciting series between these two. What a disappointment.

Yahoo! News - Bush Says He's Best Protection From Draft
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - President Bush turned the tables Saturday on Sen. John Kerry, declaring "the best way to avoid the draft is to vote for me," and pledged to oppose mandatory military service. The Democrat stuck to domestic issues, blaming Bush for a shortage of flu vaccines.

Campaigning in an area heavily dependent on the military, Bush said, "We will not have an all-volunteer army" before correcting himself. "Let me restate that," he continued. "We will not have a draft ... . The best way to avoid a draft is to vote for me."

I think the slip shows what really will happen. Read on:

Yahoo! News - U.S. Military Faults Lack of Troops in Iraq -Poll
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and their families said the Bush administration did not send enough forces to Iraq and relied too heavily on the National Guard and reserve troops, a poll showed on Saturday.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, or 65 percent, said they believed President Bush "had underestimated the number of troops needed in Iraq," the poll said.

Forty percent of National Guard members and reservists surveyed said they did not have enough training or supplies for their mission in Iraq, compared with 35 percent who said they were adequately prepared, the poll found.

I believe Paul Bremer mentioned something about this a few weeks ago, also.

So, what happens if we need a sudden surge in troop numbers? Do we pull all of the National Guard out of the US? What if we need them here?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Jon Stewart on Crossfire:

13 minutes of him reaming out these guys. I think I'm in love.

Four sign-stealing Cornerstone students apologize
Four Cornerstone University students were caught stealing three dozen Kerry/Edwards signs off lawns in Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids early Thursday. Cornerstone University is a conservative Christian college that hosted President Bush as a candidate in 2000.

The homeowner who nabbed them in the act was hailed as a hero at the local Kerry/Edwards headquarters when he dropped off the pile of recovered signs.

The Kerry campaign office has taken complaints from more than 2,000 people who have had signs stolen. Area Republicans say they have had more than 1,000 signs stolen. Both sides distributed more than 30,000 signs each.

"Finally, we caught one of them!" one Democratic volunteer yelled, shaking Hammontree's hand.

Local officials at the Kerry/Edwards office considered pressing charges but dropped the idea when all four students showed up unannounced to apologize.

"Apparently, the students aren't being educated on freedom of speech and civil rights or constitutional rights," said Ida DeHaas, the Democrats' 3rd Congressional District chairwoman. "Everybody has a right to put out yard signs and have different opinions. Too many signs are being stolen."

Wow, I can go and take stuff out of people's yards and if I get caught all I have to do is apologize? That's nice to know.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Warns Draft Possible if Bush Wins
WASHINGTON - John Kerry said Friday there is a "great potential" for a new military draft to replace overextended U.S. troops in Iraq if President Bush wins a second term, despite Bush's repeated pledges to maintain the all-volunteer service.

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt dismissed Kerry's comments as "fear mongering" and suggested the Massachusetts senator was spreading "false Internet rumors."

HAHAHAHA! Do you guys ever listen to yourselves? You, with your "Vote for Kerry and the terrorists will get us" rhetoric? Stop, now, sides are starting to hurt from all the hilarity.
Words of Wisdom:

Don't forget:

National Celibacy Day
November 2

Pass on this info --your life may depend on it

Thanks to Jo at USP for this. Why I stopped in there, I just don't know, but this brought a smile to my face. :-)
It's All About Me:

My pic is climbing- from a low of 5.17 (eeeek!), it's up to 5.48 now, with a great comment that makes it all worthwhile. I'm still surprised it's not higher; I think it's at least as good as my first entry which finished at a 5.99- maybe people think it doesn't meet the challenge. (?) Dunno, but glad to see it moving up. This is the first time it's started low and moved higher, so my preconceived notions about voting are now thrown out the window.

Yahoo! News - Federal Deficit Surges to Record $413B
WASHINGTON - Democrats are blaming President Bush for the record 2004 federal deficit of $413 billion, but Republicans say the figure shows that the economic and budget pictures are brightening.

Republicans emphasized that the figure was an improvement from earlier deficit projections. At the beginning of this year, the White House projected a $521 billion shortfall for 2004 and the Congressional Budget Office forecast a gap of $477 billion, though both lowered their forecasts as the year progressed.

"While the deficit is unwelcome, if we stick with the president's plan of economic growth and spending discipline,(Spending discipline? Is that where we cut funding for the states, education, the elderly, the environment, etc. etc., so we can give big tax breaks to corporations and to the wealthy? That discipline?)we will continue to see improvement and we will cut the deficit by more than half in five years," said White House budget director Joshua Bolten.

Citing data pointing to economic improvements, Treasury Secretary John Snow said, "All of this shows that the president's tax relief initiatives are having the intended effects."

These guys absolutely amaze me. As Judge Judy would say, "Don't pee on my leg and then tell me it's raining."

Yahoo! News - U.S. Asks States to Probe Flu Vaccine Pricing
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health officials urged states on Thursday to investigate reports of price gouging by companies distributing scarce supplies of influenza vaccine and to prosecute offenders.

"It is extremely disturbing to learn of reports of price gouging by immoral individuals looking to make a quick buck off a public health challenge," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement.

"I am encouraging the attorney general of each state to thoroughly investigate reports of price gouging and prosecute those engaging in this immoral and illegal activity to the full extent of the law," he said.

Here in Michigan, it is now a crime to give a shot to those not considered "high risk". I guess I don't understand all the hoopla surrounding this- is the "media" driving up demand by making this such a huge story? I don't remember getting flu shots when I was a kid- is it really that big of a deal?

Yahoo! News - Comedy Central Darling Jon Stewart Backs Kerry
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Jon Stewart, whose nightly cable television show is popular with the young voters considered key in the upcoming presidential election, said on Thursday he prefers Democrat John Kerry over Republican President Bush.

He called the U.S.-led war in Iraq a "mistake" and said he failed to understand the "Bush doctrine" of preemptive strikes against perceived security threats.

Stewart roasted both candidates for their repetitive stumping during their final public debate.

"I thought both men took rhetoric to another level," he said, adding that Bush appeared "well coached."

"He wasn't the angry Bush of the second debate or the retarded Bush from the first," Stewart said.

Stewart also took aim at the mainstream U.S. media -- which he mocks regularly -- and said it fails to take politicians or big business to task.

"The press has bravely and nobly eroded the public trust," he said. "What I'm advocating is the media come back and work for us again. ... The bias of the media is not liberal. It's lazy and sensationalist."

But Jon, that's what sells. Is the media lazy and sensationalist, or are we?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Lesbian Remark Angers Cheney
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Vice President Dick Cheney called himself "a pretty angry father" on Thursday after Sen. John Kerry mentioned their gay daughter during the final presidential debate — comments Kerry said were meant to be positive about families with gay children.

The vice president's wife, Lynne Cheney, called Kerry "not a good man" and his remarks about daughter Mary Cheney "a cheap and tawdry political trick." And they should know! Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of vice presidential candidate John Edwards, suggested in a radio interview that Mrs. Cheney might feel "a certain degree of shame" because her daughter is a lesbian.

Kerry issued a statement Thursday after the Cheneys had expressed anger over his remarks: "I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this."

This blew up into a "story" while I was at work.

Question: By using the comments Kerry made to throw a little hissy fit today, aren't the Cheney's now using their daughter for political purposes also? While I don't feel comfortable with "outing" people, I feel that Mary Cheney is fair game because she is working on this campaign. Of course, Mary has MILLIONS of reasons to stay on the side of the ones who would seek to oppress.

Slap Bush!

While I don't advocate violence, I did manage to slap Bush 103 times. Thanks for the link, Pop.

Yahoo! News - Bush, Kerry Differ on 'Choice' of Homosexuality
TEMPE, Ariz. (Reuters) - President Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry, who both oppose gay marriage, disagreed Wednesday on whether the issue should be left up to states and offered differing answers on whether a person could choose to be homosexual.

Asked by the debate moderator whether he thought homosexuality was a matter of choice, Bush said, "I just don't know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It's important that we do that."

Kerry said, "I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice."

Kerry said he agreed with Bush that "marriage is between a man and a woman."

However, he called for anti-discrimination laws to protect the rights of homosexuals. In addition, referring to state authority over marriage laws, he said, "the states have always been able to manage those laws. And they're proving today, every state, that they can manage them adequately."

Some people are more equal than others, I guess. Here we have the two major candidates saying it's OK to discriminate. Makes me want to leave the Democrats until they decide that ALL people are worthy of equal rights. History will look back and wonder how we could have been so blind.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Yahoo! News - FDA: Chip Implant Can Be Used to Get Health Records
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A computer chip that is implanted under the skin won U.S. approval on Wednesday for use in helping doctors quickly access a patient's medical history.

The VeriChip, sold by Applied Digital Solutions Inc., is placed in the upper arm in a painless procedure that takes minutes, the company said.

About the size of a grain of rice, the chip contains a patient's identification number that corresponds to health information in a computer database.

A handheld scanner can retrieve the patient's number from the chip, which emits radio waves when activated.

Proponents hope doctors will use the technology to find vital information about someone who is unconscious or having trouble communicating. The database could include details such as medication use, allergies and major health problems.

The database could include ALL kinds of details about you. Why do I get such a bad, creepy feeling when I read things like this?

Yahoo! News - FCC Proposes $1.2M Indecency Fine for Fox
WASHINGTON - Federal regulators proposed a record indecency fine of nearly $1.2 million Tuesday against Fox Broadcasting Co. for an episode of its reality series "Married by America" that included graphic scenes from bachelor and bachelorette parties.

The Federal Communications Commission said the material, which featured male and female Las Vegas strippers in a variety of sexual situations, was indecent and patently offensive, intended to "pander to and titillate the audience."

If we fined every show that was intended to "pander to and titillate" the audience, we might be able to balance the Federal budget. ;-)

On a similiar note, does anyone besides me find Fox's opening to last night's baseball game....uh....stupid and tasteless? Taking shots at Nomar for going to the Cubs and the "Bartman" look-a-like with the goat was pretty pointless and tacky. The "Star Wars" theme was old and tired also. Is there anyone at that network with just an ounce of creativity?
Good Grief:

My pic for Communication is sitting at a lowly 5.20. Damn. I thought it was a good pic, especially when I look through the thumbnails and find about 10 boring pictures of cell phones on the first page of entries. No comments yet either. Starting to be glad I didn't pony up the money to become a member.

Yahoo! News - Alabama to Vote on Segregation Language
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing school segregation, an Alabama law mandating racially separate classrooms is still on the books.

Gov. Bob Riley and others concerned about the state's image are urging voters to approve a constitutional amendment on Nov. 2 to strike the long-unenforceable language from the state constitution. They say such laws are a painful reminder of the South's divisive past, and make Alabama look bad when it comes to drawing in new businesses.

But the amendment ballot has opponents, including former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is suspicious of possible hidden agenda: a huge tax increase.

Gabriel J. Chin, a University of Arizona law professor who helped write a recent study on Jim Crow laws, said many Southern states besides Alabama still have unenforceable segregation-era laws on the books, and referendums on erasing them are not always a sure thing.

"Some people still support segregation. They won't say it in public, but they will say it in the voting place," he said.

Four years ago, Alabama repealed a ban on interracial marriage, but 40 percent of the state voted in favor of the ban.

Four years ago? Wow. I guess I didn't realize how deep bigotry still runs in this country. I'm getting quite the lesson in that now.

Yahoo! News - Saddam Fit and Well After Hernia Operation
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein underwent a hernia operation at a U.S.-run hospital inside Baghdad's Green Zone two weeks ago and has made a full recovery, a U.S. military official said Wednesday.

The former Iraqi president, who was captured by U.S. forces on Dec. 13 last year, had previously received treatment for hernia problems and had suffered discomfort in recent weeks.

"They eradicated the problem and dealt with it. There were no complications and no concerns," said the military official, who asked not to be identified.

Saddam gets health care, but millions of Americans don't. Isn't that nice.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Baseball's best show
NEW YORK – Logically there can be no rivalry between the hammer and the nail.

But logic has little to do with the best rivalry in sports – the white-hot matchup between the hammerin' New York Yankees and the perpetually nailed Boston Red Sox that renews here Tuesday in the American League Championship Series.

Over the last few years, the gap between the two teams has closed. Torre called last year's Red Sox, which New York beat in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the ALCS, the best team his Yankee clubs had faced – which is telling considering they have lost playoff series during his run.

Now, with Boston having improved its starting rotation, bullpen and defense – while remaining extremely dangerous at the plate – the question is whether the Yankees can hold off Boston again.

To put it simply, both sides desperately want this one.

I hope I can stay awake to see some of it. I feel asleep last night and didn't see much of Houston's win at Atlanta. The St. Louis/Houston series should be a good one, too.

In other baseball news, wave bye-bye to "Wavin' Wendell" Kim, Cubs third base coach. Great move. They also took down Gary Matthews as hitting coach. Glad to see them making some much needed changes.

Yahoo! News - Kerry, Bush Trade Charges in New Mexico
At separate stops in the crucial swing state, the White House rivals renewed their campaign-trail assaults on each other's leadership and judgment ahead of Wednesday's final debate.

"Just this weekend, we saw new evidence that Senator Kerry fundamentally misunderstands the war on terror," Bush told supporters in Hobbs, New Mexico, citing a New York Times Magazine interview with the Massachusetts senator.

Kerry was quoted as saying "we have to get back to the place where we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance."

"Our goal is not to reduce terror to some acceptable level of nuisance," Bush said. "Our goal is to defeat terror by staying on the offensive, destroying terrorist networks and spreading freedom and liberty around the world."

Everybody listen to those words very carefully, and then get your kid ready for Bush's crusade. He intends to spread freedom and liberty to the world at the end of a gun, whether or not they have asked to be "liberated" by us. This statement gave me chills, and when I thought of the ethnic cleansing going on in Sudan, it made me sick. People that most need our help will be ignored so George can screw around in the Middle East. Scary stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Opens Three-Point Lead on Bush -Poll
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic challenger John Kerry expanded his slight lead over President Bush to three points in a tight race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Monday.

The Massachusetts senator held a 47-44 percent lead over Bush in the latest three-day tracking poll, up two points from Sunday. Bush's support dropped one point and Kerry's support rose one point in the new poll.

The close race turns up the pressure for Wednesday's final debate in Tempe, Arizona, when the White House rivals will have another chance to make their case to voters on domestic issues.

Go John Go!

Yahoo! News - 3 Western States to Vote on Pot Proposals
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Bush administration's war on drugs stretches deep into Asia and Latin America, yet one of its most crucial campaigns — in the eyes of drug czar John Walters — is being waged this fall among voters in Oregon, Alaska and Montana.

In each state, activists seeking to ease drug laws have placed a marijuana-related proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot as part of a long-running quest for alternatives to federal drug policies they consider harsh and ineffective.

If all three measures are approved, Montana would become the 10th state to legalize pot for medical purposes, Oregon would dramatically expand its existing medical-marijuana program, and Alaska would become the first state to decriminalize marijuana altogether.

I meant to blog a story on Chicago's mayor Daley calling for a decrim on small amounts of pot, too. Let's hope all these measures pass so we can stop wasting time and money.

Pure black & white. Think I'm going with this one.

Yahoo! News - `Superman' Star Christopher Reeve Dies
BEDFORD, N.Y. - Christopher Reeve, the star of the "Superman" movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died Sunday of heart failure, his publicist said. He was 52.

Reeve fell into a coma Saturday after going into cardiac arrest while at his New York home, his publicist, Wesley Combs told The Associated Press by phone from Washington, D.C., on Sunday night. His family was at his side at the time of death.

Reeve was being treated at Northern Westchester Hospital for a pressure wound, a common complication for people living with paralysis. In the past week, the wound had become severely infected, resulting in a serious systemic infection.

Damn, sorry Chris. Two young stars in one day. Read on:

Yahoo! News - Ken Caminiti, 1996 NL MVP, Dies at Age 41
NEW YORK - Ken Caminiti, the 1996 National League MVP who later admitted using steroids during his major league career, died Sunday. He was 41.

Caminiti died of a heart attack in the Bronx, said his agent-lawyer Rick Licht. The city medical examiner's office said an autopsy would be performed Monday, spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.

The three-time All-Star third baseman often was in trouble the last few years. His 15-year big league career ended in 2001, five seasons after he led the Padres to a division title and was a unanimous pick for MVP.

Just last Tuesday, he admitted in a Houston court that he violated his probation by testing positive for cocaine last month, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Why do I get the feeling that this was a cocaine-induced heart attack? Nasty f'ing drug.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Biker Coffee. Another idea for "communication".

Surprised my current web site hasn't run out of storage space yet.

"Grand Rapids, Michigan, where even the turkeys are safe to walk the streets."

Went for a walk this morning to try to capture some tree color (hard to do in the city with all the friggin' wires all over the place) when lo and behold I turned the corner to find a wild turkey on the sidewalk.

Unfortunately there were no Bush/Cheney lawn signs to line him up with.

My little (elderly) panther, 18 year old EC. (aka "CB", "CBG", "my little gurl", and "What could you possibly want now?")

She was quite active yesterday, out soaking up the sun, but there have been times lately that tell me she is on the decline and might not have much time left. Of course, I have thought that over and over for the past year and she keeps on a tickin', so, who knows? I enjoy and cherish every day with her and spoil her to no end.

Yahoo! News - Yanks Advance to ALCS After Beating Twins
MINNEAPOLIS - A big home run by Ruben Sierra, a clutch 11th-inning hit by Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees are headed right back where most people figured — playing the Boston Red Sox for the AL pennant.

Yanks vs. Sox. Yeee-hah! Always a fun series.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

God on Satellite. For "Communication". Heh.

Grace interviews with D-Backs
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks interviewed broadcaster and former Gold Glove first baseman Mark Grace for its managerial position Friday at Bank One Ballpark. Grace is the second person to interview for the position, following Al Pedrique, who had his on Thursday.

It was the first time Grace had ever interviewed for a managerial position, so he was reluctant to try and judge how he did.

"How can anyone say for sure how they did in a job interview?" he asked. "We'll know how it went when the final result is in. I'll say this, though -- it was an awesome experience. They made me feel real comfortable and I thought it was a good exchange of ideas."

Go get 'em Mark!

Yahoo! News - Bush and Kerry Put on a Lively Show
NEW YORK - Friday's rematch between President Bush and John Kerry proved to be a livelier affair, and a more revealing show, than their first debate.

Along with learning what the candidates had to say and how they would say it, at least a few viewers came to Friday's debate with an odd but tantalizing issue in mind: The cut of Bush's jacket across his back. Soon enough, they concluded it was smooth and well-tailored.

This was in contrast to the first debate, when a rear-positioned camera glimpsed what, in replay, looked to be a rectangular lump between the President's shoulder blades and even a cord traveling up to his right shoulder.

Just a happenstance pucker in the fabric? Or was it a hidden receiver equipping Bush to take cues through a hidden earpiece from someone offstage? That was the rumor zipping across the Internet, as reported by the webzine

Here is a perfect example of why our "media" sucks. I go to find a review on what was said by who, and I get a story about scowls on faces and speculation of clandestine wiring. Granted, this was from the AP's television reporter, but this was the headline on the AP's top 10 stories. It's no wonder Americans are uninformed about the issues.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Yahoo! News - Melissa Etheridge Has Cancer, Cancels Tour
LOS ANGELES - Singer Melissa Etheridge has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has canceled upcoming tour dates to undergo treatment, her publicist said Thursday.

Etheridge, 43, will undergo surgery and a "speedy and complete recovery" is expected by her doctor, publicist Marcel Pariseau said in a statement.

The cancer was detected early and Etheridge has been receiving treatment, Pariseau said.

"I am fortunate to be under a wonderful doctor's care and thankful that this was caught early," Etheridge said in the statement. "I am looking forward to a quick and full recovery."

Good luck Melissa.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

It's All About Me:

After reading a discussion on DPC about photography as "art", I wanted to come and write down what photography means to me. I've been thinking lately about why I'm doing this, what is propelling me to create these images. It's basically part of the never-ending quest to define my life and decide what the hell it all means, if anything. I've come to this conclusion-

Photography, for me, is about capturing that which cannot be held, and that is time. By taking a photograph, I have frozen time in it's tracks. It is now history. For example, the picture of my cat in the leaves: in the next instant, the cat is a little older and fatter, the leaves closer to withering, and I, as the artist, or historian, if you will, have grown more mature for the experience. In the next second, everything changes. But I have that piece of time on (digital) film, captured for all eternity. It cannot exist in the same way ever again.

Part of man's quest for immortality? Perhaps.

Which brings me to the "art", or the Photoshop dilemma. By altering these pictures, erasing the blemishes and shifting the colors, am I therefore changing history? Have I created something that never really existed, falsifying the record? Or am I putting my own vision on the world, and therefore becoming an "artist"?

Deep thoughts. Gotta go to work

Yahoo! News - GOP Probes Moore's Underwear
The GOP is hoping to put Michael Moore behind bars for some supposedly dirty laundry.

Michigan's Republican Party has sent letters to district attorneys in four counties asking them to bring bribery charges against the controversial filmmaker, claiming he tried to get college students to vote by offering them clean underwear and ramen noodles.

"Michael Moore is offering things of value in order to get people to vote illegally," Michigan Republican Party spokesman Chris Paolino told E! Online.

To help energize his audiences, made up mostly of first-time and nonvoters, Moore has been handing out gag gifts, usually 12-packs of Hanes briefs and ramen instant noodles, to students at each tour stop in an effort to get them to cast their vote.

Apparently, state conservatives weren't laughing however.

"You need to make a stand on the small things lest Michael Moore starts something bigger," added Paolino. "It's the same thing as offering people cigarettes or booze to get them to vote."

Once again, Michigan's GOP proves that it has it's collective head up it's ass. Between this and their recent attacks on the radio on Granholm's "failed record" (she will take away your pickup trucks!), I have to wonder what planet they are living on, because it certainly isn't this one.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Report Finds No Evidence of Iraq WMD
WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs had deteriorated into only hopes and dreams by the time of the U.S.-led invasion last year, a decline wrought by the first Gulf War and years of international sanctions, the chief U.S. weapons hunter found.

And what ambitions Saddam harbored for such weapons were secondary to his goal of evading those sanctions, and he wanted them primarily not to attack the United States or to provide them to terrorists, but to oppose his older enemies, Iran and Israel.

"In short, we invaded a country, thousands of people have died, and Iraq never posed a grave or growing danger," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

I want someone prosecuted for this. Why doesn't the world community stand up and demand accountability from the U.S.?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

My Current Pic: at a 5.62 this morning, so I expect to finish at about a 5.5 or so which is about average. I wish I had more time/inspiration/energy to really work on these things. I find that, as with music before this, everyday life/worries/work etc. gets in my way, especially this time of year when the daylight is leaving me. Need to win that lottery! Heh.

Record number of entries in this challenge; it will be difficult to crack the top 100 I feel. Oh well, on to the next. Gotta keep trying. I also need to get a dedicated photo printer. Maybe I'll bite the bullet (credit) and just go get one.

Yahoo! News - House Crushes Military Draft Bill
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives on Tuesday crushed a bill to reinstitute the draft as Republicans accused Democrats of raising the specter of compulsory military service to turn voters against President Bush's reelection bid.

HAHAHA. How does it feel you morons?

With the presidential and congressional elections less than a month away, the White House also worked to dampen draft rumors that Republicans said have been fueled by Democrats. It threatened to veto the bill it called "both unnecessary and counterproductive."

"This campaign is a baseless and malevolent concoction of the Democrat party," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican. "It has one purpose -- to spread fear."

You should know, Tom. "Spreading fear" is what you guys do best. "The liberals are coming! They're going to take away your Bibles and SUV's, and make you perform gay marriages in your living rooms! Then they will give this country to the terrorists, or the French, whoever gets here first!"

Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, countered that Bush's Iraq policies have so strained U.S. forces, that a draft was possible no matter how unpopular it would be.

"Guess what, we're running out of troops ... Let's not be astounded that what follows is a draft. The only problem is that you can't announce it until after the election," Conyers said."

Seriously, this is going to be a problem. Let's say the North Koreans take a shot, or the Iranians... something that we will need a major response to...we WILL have to start a draft. And it's going to be ugly.