Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kerry Wood.

More pics later. The day was hazy and that affected the quality of some of the shots- will have to work on them a bit. Here, Derek Lee waits on the throw as JJ Hardy slides back to 1st.

Chicago Cubs : Wood's splendid return Worth-while

CHICAGO -- The "K" cards were back at Wrigley Field.

Kerry Wood returned after a two-month injury hiatus to strike out nine over six innings in the Chicago Cubs' 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. Todd Hollandsworth drove in the game-winner with a one-out RBI single in the ninth, but Wood was the hot topic.

"The first start for Kerry, he threw an awesome game," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "His control was good, his mechanics were good. It's a good sign when he's throwing like that."

Wood didn't get the win, but kept it close. He gave up one run on two hits -- including Bill Hall's leadoff homer in the fourth. Wood last started April 30 against Houston, and left that game with a strained right shoulder.

Fans in the left-field bleachers and on some of the rooftops surrounding Wrigley Field counted Wood's strikeouts with "K" cards, which had been missing while the right-hander rehabbed.

Wood was pulled after throwing 91 pitches (65 strikes) and with a 2-1 lead, thanks to Jeromy Burnitz's tie-breaking homer in the Cubs' fourth. But Lyle Overbay ruined Wood's chances for the win when he led off the Brewers' seventh with his 10th home run off Glendon Rusch.

With the game tied at 2 in the Chicago ninth, Burnitz walked to lead off against Julio Santana (1-2) and reached second on Todd Walker's single that center fielder Brady Clark just missed grabbing on a diving catch. Hollandsworth then smacked a single to center, and Burnitz scampered home with the game-winning run. Hollandsworth also hit an RBI single in the second. Roberto Novoa (2-1) picked up the win in relief.

Whadda day! Todd Hollandsworth will always have a place in my heart.

Thanks to my Uncle Tim for the wonderful seats, and to Dad for the wonderful car that got us there.

Wrigley Field is heaven on earth.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Chicago Cubs : News : Probable Pitchers
Wave "hi" and wish Kerry luck. I will be there in person. Let's hope I'm not behind the net so I can take some pictures.

Wednesday, June 29 Wrigley Field | 1:20 PM CT

Ben Sheets, RHP (3-6, 3.68) Brewers (35-41) @ Kerry Wood, RHP (1-1, 6.15) Cubs (39-36)

Scouting Report:
Sheets was once known as a Cubs-killer, winning his first six decisions against the Cubs. But he is 1-6 since, including a no-decision against them at Miller Park last week (the Brewers won the game). Sheets was frustrated after his last start because every time the Brewers got a lead, Sheets lost it the following half-inning. Look for him to pitch with a bit of a chip on his shoulder at Wrigley Field, when he lost 4-0 to Carlos Zambrano, who combined with Chad Fox and LaTroy Hawkins on a one-hitter.

Wood will be making his first start since April 30. He's been sidelined with a strained right shoulder, and made three Minor League rehab starts to tune up. The right-hander has spent the down time fine-tuning his mechanics in hopes of avoiding any further shoulder injuries.

If the "terrorists" blow up Wrigley today, know that I died a happy person. And, someone please come feed the cats. Thanks.

Bush Criticized Over Speech About Iraq War - Yahoo! News
One person put it best- "It's official, the Bush administration has jumped the shark." The same tired lines over and over...but instead of just changing the channel, we will be stuck with this show for a long, long time to come. As much as I like to see George choke on his own pretzel, I'm incredibly sad this morning, knowing that the shit we are in just keeps getting deeper.

WASHINGTON - Democrats are criticizing President Bush for raising the Sept. 11 attacks while he defends his plan to keep U.S. troops in Iraq as long as it takes to ensure peace in the country.

The president, urging patience on an American public showing doubts about his Iraq policy, mentioned the deadly 2001 terrorist attacks five times during a 28-minute address Tuesday night at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Some Democrats accused him of falsely reviving the link that he originally used to help justify launching strikes against Baghdad.

"The president's frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said. "He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."

Bush first mentioned the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center at the beginning of his speech, delivered at an Army base that has 9,300 troops in Iraq. He acknowledged that Americans are disturbed by frequent deaths of U.S. troops at the hands of insurgents, but tried to persuade an increasingly skeptical public to stick with the mission.

"The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001," Bush told a national television audience and 750 soldiers and airmen in dress uniform who mostly listened quietly as they had been asked to do.

"Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war," he continued. "Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them — to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home."

Bush said he understands the public concerns about a 27-month-old war that has killed more than 1,700 Americans and 12,000 Iraqi civilians and cost $200 billion. He said the sacrifice "is worth it and it is vital to the security of our country."

"We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we will fight them there, we will fight them across the world and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

Perhaps we should have asked the Iraqis whether or not they would mind us using their country so "we wouldn't have to fight them over here".

"Hi Iraq! Is it OK if we invade and draw the "terrorists" into your country so we don't have to mess up ours? Gee, thanks!"


Republican Sen. John McCain defended Bush's call to stop terrorism abroad before it reaches the U.S. shore in an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" program. He said those spreading violence in Iraq "are the same guys who would be in New York if we don't win in Iraq."

"I'm John McCain, and I'm running for President." That's it, John. You cuddle right up to this rationale. It will make great soundbites for the ads of 2008.


We are so screwed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Miss Pumpkin on the porch.

Bloggers Fighting Government Regulations - Yahoo! News
A big shout-out and cheer to Kos today as he testifies at the FEC. Go get 'em tiger.

WASHINGTON - Bloggers who built their Internet followings with anti-establishment prose are now lobbying the establishment to protect their livelihoods from federal regulations.

Some are even working with lawyers, public-relations consultants and a political action committee to do it.

"I like to think of myself as just a guy with a blog, but it's clear that 'just a guy with a blog' is different today than it was when I started three years ago," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the Web log "One sign of having arrived is when government regulators start wanting to poke their fingers into what you do."

Moulitsas was to testify Tuesday at a hearing on a Federal Election Commission proposal that would extend some campaign finance rules to the Internet, including bloggers.

Moulitsas also is working with a lawyer who volunteered to help bloggers fight new government regulations and whose efforts were promoted in a PR firm press release Monday. He is prepared to lobby Congress himself if necessary, and he is the treasurer of BlogPac, a political action committee formed last year by bloggers.

Duncan Black — who founded the blog — featured a headline Monday on his Web site, "Bite me, Congressman," that linked to a diatribe against a Republican House committee chairman over global warming.

Asked whether the use of hearing testimony and PACs is a sign that bloggers are succumbing to mainstream political techniques, Black said he and his colleagues have no choice.

"I think once you do achieve a certain degree of traffic, influence, notoriety — however you want to call it — eventually the outsider label is not perfectly applicable anymore," said Black, who describes himself as a "recovering economist." He too planned to testify before the FEC.

Federal election officials until now have steered clear of Internet oversight, siding with bloggers and other online activists who portray the Web as a laboratory of grass-roots political participation and an outlet for free speech that should develop unhampered by the government.

I had a few posts from Markos to me last weekend as he took suggestions and struggled with his new layout. Felt good to know that he is listening to concerns and suggestions, and it startled me a bit when he posted to me. Shit, what do you say to such a star?

Good luck Markos. Kick some ass.

Halliburton's Iraq deals described as contract abuse - Yahoo! News
Um...any prosecutors out there? Anyone? Anyone? Hellooooooo...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. Army procurement official said on Monday Halliburton's deals in Iraq were the worst example of contract abuse she had seen as Pentagon auditors flagged over $1 billion of potential overcharges by the Texas-based firm.

Bunny Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting official-turned whistle-blower, said in testimony at a hearing by Democrats on Capitol Hill that "every aspect" of Halliburton's oil contract in Iraq had been under the control of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR (Kellogg Brown and Root) represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career," said Greenhouse, a procurement veteran of more than 20 years.

Her blistering criticism came as Democrats released a new report including Pentagon audits that identified more than $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.

Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col Rose-Ann Lynch said the Pentagon had received the report but had not had a chance yet to fully review it.

"The department is committed to an integrated, well-managed contracting process in Iraq," said Lynch, adding that just because costs were questioned by auditors this did not mean a company had overcharged the military.

Criminal. Simply criminal.
It's All About Me:

Slowly but surely this is taking shape. Having some alignment problems with the Previous posts and achives sections. Wheeeee! Tired of messing with it right now.

Picture test. Steve Young bunts in the Whitecaps 7-6 victory Sunday.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Cubs 2, White Sox 0 want to see how this will publish.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Prior made it clear he didn't rush his return from the disabled list.

Prior allowed only one hit in six innings and retired 18 of his 19 batters Sunday, outpitching Jon Garland to send the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the White Sox.

``I felt pretty good,'' Prior said. ``Most athletes know if they're ready or not.''

Corey Patterson's solo homer in the sixth broke a scoreless tie for the Cubs, who took two of three on the road to split the season series at three games apiece. The White Sox won two of three at Wrigley Field in May.

Making his first start since May 27, when a line drive fractured a bone in his right elbow, Prior (5-1) dominated the White Sox, who have the best record in baseball. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

OK, I bit the bullet and changed the template. Bear with me as I screw around with this new one. I will be adding some of my own pics if I can make them look good.

Right now it's about 120 degrees in my little office- makes it hard to concentrate on this.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It's All About Blogger:

...who has obviously screwed up something in my template. I can't get the stories to display by the blue menu, no matter which side of the page it's on, and I don't feel like screwing around with it anymore. I've tried changing the margins, blah blah blah, but nothing is working.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Rumsfeld defends war in tense hearing
Here's a choice comment from Robert Byrd. I just had to blog it.
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.): Mr. Secretary, I've watched you with a considerable amount of amusement. ... I've been here a long time, longer than you have. ... I've seen a lot of secretaries of defense. ... I don't think I've ever heard a secretary of defense who likes to lecture the committee as much as you. ...

You may not like our questions, but we represent the people. ... We ask the questions that the people ask of us whether you like it or not. ... The problem is we didn't ask enough questions at the beginning of this war that we got into, Mr. Bush's war. ...

I don't mean to be discourteous. I've just heard enough of your smart answers to these people here who are elected. ... So get off your high horse when you come up here.

(Rumsfeld didn't respond)

That. We need more of that. Keep it comin' guys.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

House Approves Flag-Burning Amendment - Yahoo! News
IDOLATRY. Where's my matches?

WASHINGTON - The House on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag, a measure that for the first time stands a chance of passing the Senate as well.

By a 286-130 vote, eight more than needed, House members approved the amendment after a debate over whether such a ban would uphold or run afoul of the Constitution's free-speech protections.

Approval of two-thirds of the lawmakers present was required to send the bill on to the Senate, where activists on both sides say it stands the best chance of passage in years. If the amendment is approved in that chamber by a two-thirds vote, it would then move to the states for ratification.

Supporters said the measure reflected patriotism that deepened after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and they accused detractors of being out of touch with public sentiment.

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the (World) Trade Center," said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. "Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment." (P.S. I find this statement completely and utterly reprehensible.-ed)

But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said, "If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents."

Pass this, and watch as the number of flag burnings skyrocket. You have just elevated this into a guarantee at protest marches, when it really wasn't happening at all in this country anymore. WTG, idiots.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bolton UN nomination blocked again in U.S. Senate - Yahoo! News
Where was Carl? He failed to vote on this.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats on Monday again blocked the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, raising the possibility that President Bush may seek to bypass lawmakers and put him in the job without a confirmation vote.

Republican leaders fell six votes short of the 60 votes needed to end a procedural hurdle known as a filibuster and advance the nomination to a confirmation vote.

The Senate vote of 54-38 to try and overcome the filibuster came after Bush called for an immediate up-or-down vote on Bolton's nomination.

"We'll, put him in. If they're interested in reforming the United Nations, they ought to approve John Bolton," Bush said at a news conference with European leaders.

It was the second failed attempt by Senate Republican leaders to bring the contested nomination to a vote. The White House would not rule out the possibility Bush could appoint Bolton to the post during an upcoming congressional recess.

"It is critical that we get him in place," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Uh, why, Scottie? You know somethin' we don't?

But Senate Republicans raised concerns about a recess appointment

Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the country would be better served by a U.N. Ambassador who was confirmed by the Senate.

Appealing again for a confirmation vote on Bolton, Roberts said, "I hope that people will take a little longer look at our national interests and say that let's not go down the road to a recess appointment."

Democrats are demanding that the White House release information they say is important to the Senate's review of his fitness for the job. They want to know whether Bolton, the top U.S. diplomat for arms control, misused intelligence and bullied analysts who did not conform to his hard-line views.

Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee charged the administration has "stonewalled" Democrats' efforts to get the information.

Dodd also cautioned against a recess appointment, noting that Bolton he would be the first U.S. nominee not confirmed by the Senate ever to go to the United Nations.

Let him make his "recess appointment". Fuck it. When Bolton does something stupid it will all fall on Georgie's head.

I think the question now becomes about the contents of those documents that they won't release. Funny how the Dems are painted as obstructionist when it's actually the WH doing the obstructing here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Nicotine affects brain like heroin: study - Yahoo! News
Good thing I never tried heroin.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research hints at why it's so hard to quit smoking. In a mouse study, Pennsylvania researchers found that nicotine affects the brain through the same mechanism as heroin and other opiate drugs.

What's more, when nicotine-addicted mice were placed in the same cage where they had received nicotine before, the same signals in the brain were set off as when mice were actually given nicotine -- showing that certain cues reinforce the addiction.

But a drug that reverses the effects of narcotic drugs blocked both the effect of nicotine in the brain and the similar effect set off when mice were in the cage they associated with nicotine.

Anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows that nicotine is extremely addictive, and that certain situations trigger the desire to smoke.

Part of nicotine's hold on smokers is believed to be due to its effect on brain levels of dopamine, which is associated with feelings of well-being. But there is evidence from several studies that nicotine also causes a rise in levels of opioids -- naturally occurring chemicals that are similar to opiate drugs.

Now, Dr. Julie A. Blendy and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia indeed found that nicotine affects the brain pathway activated by heroin and other opiate drugs, at least in mice.

In the experiments, mice that were given nicotine showed a rise in levels of a protein called CREB. This protein is thought to be involved in the brain's response to many drugs of abuse.

But levels of this protein rose not only when mice were given nicotine but also when they were in placed in a location where they had previously received nicotine, Blendy and her colleagues report in the journal Neuron.

These effects were absent in mice that lacked opioid receptors, which respond to the body's natural painkillers as well as to drugs such as heroin and morphine.

The results raise the possibility of using opioid-blocking drugs to treat nicotine addiction.

Opiod blocking drugs sound scary to someone who is prone to depression, though. Would it also block natural opiods? Would you walk around feeling like shit all the time?

CIA has 'excellent' idea where bin Laden is -Time - Yahoo! News
I was wondering how long it would take before talk of the ultimate trump card would come about. Poll numbers down? Run around screaming "Osama" for a while.

Question is, will that work?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA Director Porter Goss said he has an "excellent" idea where Osama bin Laden is hiding, but the al Qaeda leader will not be brought to justice until weak links in counterterrorism efforts are strengthened, Time magazine reported on Sunday.

In his first interview since becoming head of the CIA last year, Goss also told the magazine the insurgency in Iraq was not quite in its last throes, but close to it.

Goss did not say where he believed bin Laden was hiding, but intelligence experts have said the al Qaeda leader who has evaded an extensive U.S.-led manhunt is probably in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"I have an excellent idea of where he is. What's the next question?" Goss said in the interview.

"In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links. And I find that until we strengthen all the links, we're probably not going to be able to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice," Goss said. "We are making very good progress on it."

He cited some of the difficulties as "dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play."

You callin' Pakistan a "weak link" there, Porter, or what? What exactly do you mean by this?

Another dog-and-pony show for mass consumption. My fear is that they pull Osama out of the hat just in time for 2006. I still wonder if it would matter anymore.

Sunday, June 19, 2005 With his polls down, Bush takes flak on Iraq from a host of critics--including a key moderate Republican (6/27/05)
No, no, no. We do NOT let these Pubs slither away. While it's loads of fun to watch the rats jump off the sinking ship, we had better shoot them in the water before they climb onto our boat and infest us with their disease.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is angry. He's upset about the more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers killed and nearly 13,000 wounded in Iraq. He's also aggravated by the continued string of sunny assessments from the Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remark that the insurgency is in its "last throes." "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

That's strikingly blunt talk from a member of the president's party, even one cast as something of a pariah in the GOP because of his early skepticism about the war. "I got beat up pretty good by my own party and the White House that I was not a loyal Republican," he says. Today, he notes, things are changing: "More and more of my colleagues up here are concerned."

Indeed, there are signs that the politics of the Iraq war are being reshaped by the continuing tide of bad news. Take this month in Iraq, with 47 U.S. troops killed in the first 15 days. That's already five more than the toll for the entire month of June last year. With the rate of insurgent attacks near an all-time high and the war's cost set to top $230 billion, more politicians on both sides of the aisle are responding to opinion polls that show a growing number of Americans favoring a withdrawal from Iraq. Republican Sens. Lincoln Chafee and Lindsey Graham have voiced their concerns. And two Republicans, including the congressman who brought "freedom fries" to the Capitol, even joined a pair of Democratic colleagues in sponsoring a bill calling for a troop withdrawal plan to be drawn up by year's end. "I feel confident that the opposition is going to build," says Rep. Ron Paul, the other Republican sponsor and a longtime opponent of the war.

Right. We let them of the hook because of faltering public opinion, and a few years down the road they continue on with the same underlying ideology that brought us Bush and this war in the first place.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Court Won't Challenge Civil Union Ruling - Yahoo! News

DES MOINES, Iowa - The state Supreme Court refused Friday to tamper with a lower-court decision that dissolved the civil union of two women, saying the conservatives who sued were not harmed and had no standing in the case.

The high court noted that it was not judging the merits of the claims by the legal arm of the Des Moines-based Iowa Family Policy Center, a church and a handful of state legislators.

"Rather, our task is to determine whether these plaintiffs are the proper parties to bring this action," the court wrote.

Their lawsuit challenged a ruling by Judge Jeffrey Neary that let Kimberly Jean Brown end her civil union with Jennifer Sue Perez. The two were joined in March 2002 in Bolton, Vt., according to Brown's divorce petition. Neary granted a divorce, later altering the ruling to say it terminated a civil union.

The plaintiffs argued that the judge had overstepped his authority by recognizing gay marriage, but the Supreme Court disagreed.

"We fail to see how the district court's action in dissolving a civil union of another couple harmed in any specific way these plaintiffs' marriages and for this reason, they have shown no legally recognized interest or personal stake in the underlying action," the high court said.

The court also rejected an argument by Matthew Wentz, pastor of the Church of Christ in Le Mars, that the decision threatened his ability as a minister to solemnize marriages.

Messages left Friday for officials with the Iowa Family Policy Center and three state lawmakers who were plaintiffs in the case were not immediately returned.

The judge, who won a retention vote last fall, declined to comment on Friday's ruling.

Now, take this statement and apply it to every other gay civil union, marriage, or whatEVER. A perfect legal way to say "Mind your own business". If only every judge would do this on every suit these bigots bring up.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

US House votes to curb Patriot Act, defies Bush - Yahoo! News
It's a start.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday defied President Bush by approving a measure making it harder for federal agents to secretly gather information on people's library reading habits and bookstore purchases.

The House voted 238-187 to scale back the government's powers to conduct secret investigations that were authorized by the Patriot Act, a post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism law.

"We can fight terrorism without undermining basic constitutional rights. That's what the message of today is about," said Rep. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who pushed the measure through the House with the support of 38 Republicans.

The White House has warned Congress that any weakening of the Patriot Act would prompt senior advisers to recommend that Bush veto the $57.5 billion bill to fund activities next year for the Justice Department and other federal agencies, which now contains Sanders' amendment.

You do that, George. You go right ahead and veto this.

The Senate has not yet debated its version of the bill.

Under the Patriot Act, federal law enforcement authorities can get permission from a special court to investigate what books people buy at bookstores or borrow from libraries, even if they are not suspected of committing any crime.

If the House measure becomes law, which is still a long way off, authorities would have to revert to the more traditional method of convincing federal grand juries of likely criminal activities before starting such investigations.

Civil libertarians said there was no evidence the government had ever used this security provision. But they argued the law presents potential threats to privacy and was unnecessary.

That duck is looking lamer by the day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bush blasts Democrats for 'agenda of road block' - Yahoo! News
The "W" stands for "Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Yes, once again it's all the Democrats fault that he can't railroad this shit through, never mind that it's his own party that is now holding him up. Georgie is such the victim.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Tuesday unleashed his harshest criticism yet on Democrats for thwarting his second-term agenda, demanding they put forward ideas of their own or "step aside" and signaling a more aggressive administration strategy of attack.

With approval ratings the lowest of his presidency and critics suggesting he is already losing political clout, Bush blamed "do-nothing" Democrats for holding up an overhaul of Social Security and delaying votes on his nominees to the federal bench and the United Nations.

The assault highlighted administration frustrations over Democratic tactics, and offered a preview of Republican strategy in the run-up to the 2006 mid-term elections.

"On issue after issue, they (the Democrats) stand for nothing except obstruction," Bush said at the annual President's Dinner, a $23 million fund-raiser attended by Republican leaders, party donors, and a blond porn star and former California gubernatorial candidate named Mary Carey.

Bush accused Democratic leaders of trying to "delay solutions" and "obstruct progress."

The speech marked a combative turn for the president, who declared two days after winning re-election last November that he had earned "political capital, and now I intend to spend it."

Much of Bush's legislative agenda has run into opposition, and critics point to the administration's recent troubles keeping fellow Republicans on board as a sign Bush may soon become a lame duck.

In recent weeks, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for legislation on embryonic stem cell research over Bush's objections.

He has made little progress pushing through his top legislative priority -- adding private accounts to the Social Security retirement program -- in part because some Republicans fear a backlash at the polls in 2006.

Senate Democrats, with the help of as many as two Republicans, delayed a vote on John Bolton, Bush's choice to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

And some Republicans are joining calls for a deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq, breaking with Bush, whose approval ratings have fallen to the mid-40 percent range, the lowest of his presidency.

Bush made no mention of these defections as he sought to present the Republican Party as driven and focused on finding solutions.

Yeah, it's those Democrats, alright. We just have sooooo much power.

What a dumb fuck.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

'Freedom' a Taboo Word on Chinese Internet - Yahoo! News
Very disturbing. We prattle on about "freedom", but yet major US coporations have no problem helping a communist (very naughty word back in my day) government oppress it's people.

SHANGHAI, China - Chinese bloggers, even on foreign-sponsored sites, had better choose their words carefully — the censors are watching.

Users of the MSN Spaces section of Microsoft Corp.'s new China-based Web portal get a scolding message each time they input words deemed taboo by the communist authorities — such as democracy, freedom and human rights.

"Prohibited language in text, please delete," the message says.

However, the restrictions appear to apply only to the subject line of such entries. Writing them into the text, with a more innocuous subject heading, seems to be no problem.

Microsoft's Chinese staff could not be reached immediately for comment. However, a spokesman at the tech giant's headquarters in Seattle acknowledged that the company is cooperating with the Chinese government to censor its Chinese-language Web portal.

Microsoft and its Chinese business partner, government-funded Shanghai Alliance Investment, work with authorities to omit certain forbidden language, said Adam Sohn, a global sales and marketing director for MSN.

But he added, "I don't have access to the list at this point so I can't really comment specifically on what's there."

Online tests found that apart from politically sensitive words, obscenities and sexual references also are banned.

MSN Spaces, which offers free blog space, is connected to Microsoft's MSN China portal. The portal was launched on May 26, and some 5 million blogs have since been created, Microsoft said.

The Chinese government encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to ban access to material deemed subversive.

Although details of the authorities' efforts are kept secret, users of many China-based Web portals are prevented from accessing sites deemed subversive by the government.

A search on Google for such topics as Taiwan or Tibetan independence, the banned group Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama or the China Democracy Party inevitably leads to a "site cannot be found" message.

Internet-related companies are obliged to accept such limitations as a condition of doing business in China. And government-installed filtering tools, registration requirements and other surveillance are in place to ensure the rules are enforced.

Then again, being a Microsoft product, it probably won't work, and freedom of expression will find it's way to the Chinese people anyway. So maybe it's a good thing. ;-)

U.S. Senate apologizes for shame of lynchings - Yahoo! News
Names. I want names. But I have a good idea who didn't sign this- as a matter of fact, by the end of the day I'll bet the kids at Kos and Americablog will have figured it out.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate on Monday formally apologized for having rejected decades of pleas to make lynching a federal crime as scores victims' descendants watched from the chamber's gallery.

On a voice vote and without opposition, the Senate passed a resolution expressing its regrets to the relatives as well as to the nearly 5,000 Americans -- mostly black males -- who were documented as having been lynched from 1880 to 1960.

These deaths occurred without trials, mostly in the South, often with the knowledge of local officials who allowed mob lynchings to become picture-taking, public spectacles.

During this period, nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, three of which passed the House of Representatives.

But despite the support of the legislation by seven U.S. presidents, the measures died in the Senate with much of the opposition coming from southern lawmakers who raised procedural roadblocks.

Such legislation would have made lynching a federal crime and allowed the U.S. government to prosecute those responsible, including local law enforcement officers.


Dan Duster, a descendant of Ida B. Wells, a former slave who became an anti-lynching crusader, praised senators who publicly backed the resolution of apology and scorned those who did not.

No lawmaker opposed the measure, but 20 of the 100 senators had not signed a statement of support of it shortly before a vote was taken on a nearly empty Senate floor.

"I think it's politics. They're afraid of losing votes from people of prejudice," Duster said of those who did not sign the statement of support.

They have already narrowed the list down, and, surprise, the missing names are mostly all from the South, Trent Lott being one of the biggies.

2005, and there are still Senators who are afraid to condemn lynching? Holy shit.

More British memos on pre-Iraq war concerns - Nightly News with Brian Williams -
Will this go anywhere? Stay tuned.

WASHINGTON — It started during British Prime Minister Tony Blair's re-election campaign last month, when details leaked about a top-secret memo, written in July 2002 — eight months before the Iraq war. In the memo, British officials just back from Washington reported that prewar "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" to invade Iraq.

Just last week, President Bush and Blair vigorously denied that war was inevitable.

“No, the facts were not being fixed, in any shape or form at all,” said Blair at a White House news conference with the president on June 7.

But now, war critics have come up with seven more memos, verified by NBC News.

One, also from July 2002, says U.S. military planners had given "little thought" to postwar Iraq.

“The memos are startlingly clear that the British saw that there was inadequate planning, little planning for the aftermath,” says Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And there's more. To prepare Blair for a meeting at the president's ranch in April 2002, a year before the war, four other British memos raised more questions.

After a dinner with President Bush’s then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Blair's former national security adviser David Manning wondered, “What happens on the morning after” the war?

In yet another 2002 memo, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw asked, “What will this action achieve? Can (there) be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better? Iraq has had no history of democracy.”

Monday, Rice, now U.S. secretary of state, told Chris Matthews from MSNBC-TV's “Hardball,” “I would never claim that the exact nature of this insurgency was understood at the time that we went to war.”

Vice President Dick Cheney also told a National Press Club luncheon Monday, “Any suggestion that we did not exhaust all alternatives before we got to that point, I think, is inaccurate.”

In fact, current and former diplomats tell NBC News they understood from the beginning the Bush policy to be that Saddam had to be removed — one way or the other. The only question was when and how.

To be continued...I hope.

Monday, June 13, 2005 Howard Dean speaks out in Chicago
Press press press, get more press....Go Howard! Everyone else has blogged this, so I think I will too.

June 12, 2005 — Still going strong after a week of controversy over some provocative remarks, Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean was in Chicago Sunday afternoon. The former presidential candidate kicked-off the Rainbow-PUSH coalition's annual conference.

Howard Dean sparred with reporters and drew laughs from the audience, even while he is earning criticism from "some" in his own party for doing something increasingly uncommon in politics... shooting from the hip.

"Congressman Jackson doesn't have to speak for me -- but the truth is you don't get to speak for me either," said Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee Chairman.

Dean was blasting a reporter for trying to pin him down on his position on the extension of the voting rights act.

It is this kind of fiery give and take that has kept the one-time presidential hopeful on the front page and now on the front lines of criticism as he leads his party's attack on the Republicans.

"The chairman of the Republican Party has made a big deal out of attracting African-American voters. This is a litmus test. If you don't support the extention of the Voting Rights Act, you don't have the right to walk into a black church and show your face," Dean said.

Dean energized "this" audience of union workers and Rainbow-Push activists with his "ideas" and "inclination" to say it like he sees it.

"My view is FOX News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don't comment on FOX News," Dean said. That was in response to vice president Dick Cheney calling Howard Dean "over the top" on Fox News on Sunday.

The former Vermont governor says democrats have not done a good job of talking about their moral values. He plans to do it more.

Wonder if FOX is going to carry that little quote.

I'm lovin' it.

US will 'have to face' military draft dilemma: senator - Yahoo! News
Is Joe trying to scare the public? Or just telling the truth?

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States will "have to face" a painful dilemma on restoring the military draft as rising casualties result in persistent shortfalls in US army recruitment, a top US senator warned.

Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the prediction after new data released by the Pentagon showed the US Army failing to meet its recruitment targets for four straight months.

"We're going to have to face that question," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" television show when asked if it was realistic to expect restoration of the draft.

"The truth of the matter is, it is going to become a subject, if, in fact, there's a 40 percent shortfall in recruitment. It's just a reality," he said.

The comment came after the Department of Defense announced Friday the army had missed its recruiting goal for May by 1,661 recruits, or 75 percent. Similar losses have been reported by army officials every month since February.

But experts said even that figure was misleading because the army has quietly lowered its May recruitment target from 8,050 to 6,700 people.

That has prompted charges that the real shortfall was closer to 40 percent, which in turn has led to questions about the future viability of the army as a force, if it continues to be plagued by lack of new recruits.

Since October, the army has recruited more than 8,000 fewer people that it had hoped to, which amounts to a loss of about a modern brigade.

The army, navy and Marine Corps reserves also fell short of their monthly goals by 18 percent, six percent and 12 percent respectively, according to the figures.

Recruitment at the Army National Guard was down 29 percent while the Air National Guard fell short 22 percent.

And, buried under the lead story of the newest missing-rich-white-girl-of-the-week, was this solemn milestone- we have now passed 1700 deaths in Iraq.

I doubt if America is really all that serious about "spreading freedom". I think we should start a draft and raise taxes to pay for all of this. But only on registered Republicans, you know, the ones with the yellow magnets and "W '04" stickers on their SUV's. Heh.

One Nation, Uninsured - New York Times
Shoot, Paul, I've been sayin' this for a long time...

Harry Truman tried to create a national health insurance system. Public opinion was initially on his side: Jill Quadagno's book "One Nation, Uninsured" tells us that in 1945, 75 percent of Americans favored national health insurance. If Truman had succeeded, universal coverage for everyone, not just the elderly, would today be an accepted part of the social contract.

But Truman failed. Special interests, especially the American Medical Association and Southern politicians who feared that national insurance would lead to racially integrated hospitals, triumphed.

Sixty years later, the patchwork system that evolved in the absence of national health insurance is unraveling. The cost of health care is exploding, the number of uninsured is growing, and corporations that still provide employee coverage are groaning under the strain.

So the time will soon be ripe for another try at universal coverage. Public opinion is already favorable: a 2003 Pew poll found that 72 percent of Americans favored government-guaranteed health insurance for all.

But special interests will, once again, stand in the way. And the big debate among would-be reformers is how to deal with those interests, especially the insurance companies. These companies played a secondary role in Truman's failure but have since become a seemingly invincible lobby.

Let's ignore those who believe that private medical accounts - basically tax shelters for the healthy and wealthy - can solve our health care problems through the magic of the marketplace. The intellectually serious debate is between those who believe that the government should simply provide basic health insurance for everyone and those proposing a more complex, indirect approach that preserves a central role for private health insurance companies.

A system in which the government provides universal health insurance is often referred to as "single payer," but I like Ted Kennedy's slogan "Medicare for all." It reminds voters that America already has a highly successful, popular single-payer program, albeit only for the elderly. It shows that we're talking about government insurance, not government-provided health care. And it makes it clear that like Medicare (but unlike Canada's system), a U.S. national health insurance system would allow individuals with the means and inclination to buy their own medical care.

The great advantage of universal, government-provided health insurance is lower costs. Canada's government-run insurance system has much less bureaucracy and much lower administrative costs than our largely private system. Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. The reason is that single-payer systems don't devote large resources to screening out high-risk clients or charging them higher fees. The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured.

Nonetheless, most reform proposals out there - even proposals from liberal groups like the Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress - reject a simple single-payer approach. Instead, they call for some combination of mandates and subsidies to help everyone buy insurance from private insurers.

Some people, not all of them right-wingers, fear that a single-payer system would hurt innovation. But the main reason these proposals give private insurers a big role is the belief that the insurers must be appeased.

That belief is rooted in recent history. Bill Clinton's health care plan failed in large part because of a dishonest but devastating lobbying and advertising campaign financed by the health insurance industry - remember Harry and Louise? And the lesson many people took from that defeat is that any future health care proposal must buy off the insurance lobby.

But I think that's the wrong lesson. The Clinton plan actually preserved a big role for private insurers; the industry attacked it all the same. And the plan's complexity, which was largely a result of attempts to placate interest groups, made it hard to sell to the public. So I would argue that good economics is also good politics: reformers will do best with a straightforward single-payer plan, which offers maximum savings and, unlike the Clinton plan, can easily be explained.

We need to do this one right. If reform fails again, we'll be on the way to a radically unequal society, in which all but the most affluent Americans face the constant risk of financial ruin and even premature death because they can't pay their medical bills.

I have a friend that works in billing for Spectrum Health. He is responsible for tracking people down who haven't paid their bills, helping them find the programs that might help them out, or, most of the time, finding ways to write off significant parts of their bills to that magical thing called charity. We used to have discussions about how he found ways to make this work.

Now, he just shakes his head and says, "It's bad. It's crazy." The case loads are growing faster than they can handle it, and there are fewer ways to finagle the system. The hospital writes off most of it as "bad debt", turns these people over to collection agencies, and then turns around and raises the cost of care (8% hike just recently, this following a double digit hike last fall) to make up for their loss.

We must do this. Or the whole system collapses. It's that simple.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Classic Pink Floyd Lineup to Play Live 8 - Yahoo! News
No Syd?

LONDON - Organizers of the London Live 8 concert said Sunday that the British rock band Pink Floyd would perform with its classic lineup at the July event for the first time in more than two decades.

Guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, bass player Roger Waters and keyboard player Richard Wright have not performed on stage together since 1981.

The group, which achieved major success with their 1973 album "Dark Side Of The Moon," will join musical acts including Elton John, Madonna, Paul McCartney and Coldplay at the anti-poverty concert in Hyde Park on July 2.

"Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G-8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world," Gilmour said.

"It's crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations."

Waters, the group's founder, split with the rest of the band after a falling-out in the 1980s.

"Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it's going to be worthwhile," Gilmour said.

Very surprised Waters agreed to this. Sure wish I could be there.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Poll: Bush Job Approval Dips to New Low - Yahoo! News
I love waking up to headlines like this.

WASHINGTON - As the war in Iraq drags on, President Bush's job approval and the public's confidence in the direction he's taking the nation are at their lowest levels since The Associated Press-Ipsos poll began in December 2003.

About one-third of adults, 35 percent, said they think the country is headed in the right direction, while 43 percent said they approve of the job being done by Bush. Just 41 percent say they support his handling of the war, also a low-water mark.

While Bush has gotten generally low scores for his handling of domestic issues for many months, most Americans have been supportive of his foreign policy. Not any more.

The poll conducted for AP by Ipsos found 45 percent support Bush's foreign policy, down from 52 percent in March.

Bush's popularity reached its zenith shortly after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when various polls found nearly 90 percent approved of the job he was doing. It was close to 80 percent when Ipsos started tracking attitudes about Bush at the start of 2002, and was just over 50 percent when the AP-Ipsos poll was started in December 2003.

Support for Bush's handling of domestic issues remained in the high 30s and low 40s in the latest AP-Ipsos poll.

Thirty-seven percent support Bush's handling of Social Security, while 59 percent disapprove. Those numbers haven't budged after more than four months of the president traveling the country to sell his plan to create private accounts in Social Security.

Support for his handling of the economy was at 43 percent.

Congress gets even lower grades than Bush, a potentially troubling development for those seeking re-election next year.

Only about three in 10 polled said they approve of the job being done by Congress, while 64 percent disapprove.

What scares me is the 43% actually approve of his job performance. My God, how bad does it have get?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dean takes fire from Republicans, won't back down - Yahoo! News
Go get 'em Howard!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Party boss Howard Dean, under fire for blunt comments about Republicans, refused to back down on Wednesday and said Republican critics were trying to divert attention from their own failures.

Republicans attacked Dean for saying in San Francisco on Monday, when asked about the lack of outreach to minorities by political parties, that Republicans are "pretty much a white, Christian party."

Republicans accused Dean of trying to divide Americans by religion and faith. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia called the comments "Howard Dean's games of division and hate." House Speaker Dennis Hastert's spokesman, Ron Bonjean, said "Dean likes the taste of his own foot."

Even Democrats grumbled about Dean's judgment and choice of words.

But Dean, known for fiery rhetoric during his unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign, stuck by his comments during an appearance on NBC's "Today" show.

"It's pretty hard to deny that predominantly that's what the Republican Party looks like. It is a party controlled by the conservative Christian agenda," the former Vermont governor said, adding "I'm a white Christian myself."

He said Republicans were trying to make him the issue so they could dodge a discussion about the Iraq war, proposed changes to Social Security and other controversies.
"We believe that this is a diversion from the issues that really matter: Social Security and adequate jobs opportunities, strong public schools, strong defense where our troops aren't pinned down when we should be doing something about Iran and North Korea, because those are real threats to America," Dean said.

Dean's comments in California followed his statement to a group of liberal activists last week that Republicans "never made an honest living in their lives." Dean later said he was referring to Republican leaders.

Heh. Unfortunately, this is the way to get the press. You have to say something outrageous enough (even if it is true) to get people talking, and then you can swing the argument back to the real point. Now if we could get Biden (and others) to shut up and get on the game plan, this would work.
After that, Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said Dean did not speak for him or a majority of Democrats, and Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and former vice presidential nominee John Edwards also distanced themselves from Dean. All are potential 2008 presidential contenders.

With Democrats gaining strength in public opinion polls and winning some battles on Capitol Hill, party officials hoped to concentrate on their policy agenda and not spend time defending Dean, who will appear before Senate Democrats at a private luncheon on Thursday and the Democratic National Committee's executive committee on Saturday.

"Did he make a mistake with these comments? Absolutely," Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut told CNN on Wednesday. "Howard is doing a good job ... he could have chosen better words."

Bullshit. Howard has to chose these words or else he never would be heard. I wish Democrats would stop apologizing for telling the fucking truth. We are our own worst enemy in this regard.

Granholm blasts GOP fiscal plan
Keep the tax breaks for the rich, stiff the poor. Turn the criminals loose! But, what else is new?

House wants to save millions by cutting Medicaid for 43,000. A vote by the full House could come as early as Thursday.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday blasted a House Republican spending plan as "cruel," saying it balances the budget on the backs of Michigan's most vulnerable.

"What they have put on the table is foul indeed," she said. "The priorities in this bill are completely wrong."

The overall $39.6 billion spending proposal announced Monday by House GOP leaders includes a number of cuts to Medicaid and the closure of two prisons to balance the budget.

It does not, though, include any new fees or changes to close about 170 tax loopholes that Granholm said would generate revenue for the state.

"These are tax subsidies for special interests," she said.

House Appropriations Chairman Scott Hummel, R-DeWitt, acknowledged that the plan includes difficult cuts. But he defended the proposal, emphasizing that it would not increase taxes and fees.

"There are some difficult decisions in this budget," he said.

Granholm's comments came as members of the House's powerful budgeting committee toiled throughout the day and evening to review the plan - just a day after leaders unveiled the massive, 683-page bill. GOP leaders are hoping for a vote from the 29-member panel as early as today.

Granholm chastised Republicans for their decision to put the entire 2005-06 budget into one huge bill instead of writing one bill for each state department.

"They don't have the courage to make these cuts individually," she said. "They want to jam this through under the cover of darkness before anyone gets wind of it, and citizens should ask why."

Granholm said she took particular offense to cuts targeting the poor and people with disabilities who are on Medicaid.

About 43,000 residents would lose their Medicaid health benefits under the GOP plan, including about 13,000 single 19- and 20-year-olds and 30,000 people who currently get their benefits because they take care of a low-income child on Medicaid.

Combined with freezing enrollment in another Medicaid program that provides limited benefits to people who wouldn't qualify otherwise, the changes would save $144 million in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Granholm proposed limiting services for childless adults younger than 21 and so-called "caretaker relatives" to save a combined $11.4 million.

Rep. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale, is the chairman of the House Appropriations Department of Community Health Subcommittee. He said one-third of the caregiver relatives who would lose their Medicaid eligibility under the GOP proposal could get benefits through another category.

When we will learn? We will pay for these people one way or another. You can pay through Medicaid, or you can pay through your private insurance. The GOP would rather have you pay through your insurance. HA HA HA! Fools. Keep your precious tax breaks.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Health insurance premiums will cost families and employers an extra $922 on average this year to cover the costs of caring for the uninsured, according to a report released on Wednesday.

With the added cost, the yearly premiums for a family with coverage through an employer will average $10,979 in 2005, said the report from consumer group Families USA.

By 2010, the additional costs for the uninsured will be $1,502, and total premiums will hit $17,273. In 11 states, the costs of the uninsured will exceed $2,000 per family.

For individuals, the extra charge this year is estimated to be $341 on average, rising to $532 in 2010. Total premium charges for individuals will be $4,065 in 2005, and $6,115 in 2010.

"The stakes are high both for businesses and for workers who do have health insurance because they bear the brunt of costs for the uninsured," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

Nearly 48 million Americans will lack health insurance for 2005, the report said.

Uninsured patients pay about one-third of the costs of their care provided by doctors and hospitals, the report said.

The remaining costs -- more $43 billion in 2005 -- are considered "uncompensated care." The government picks up part of the tab and most of the rest is added to insurance premiums for people with health coverage, the report said.

"Ironically, this increases the cost of health insurance and results in fewer people who can afford insurance - a vicious circle," the report said.

>Keep this in mind people. What the GOP is proposing has you pay more in the long run. Sort of a "backdoor" tax increase that will keep their friends in the insurance industry rich, and perhaps push you into the ranks of the uninsured when the cost gets so high that you can't afford it.

Either way, you pay. Would you rather pay smaller fees to the government, or huge fees to the insurance industry? You decide.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Pot Clubs, Patients Vow Business As Usual - Yahoo! News
Here's a big F.U. to Congress for not changing the law on this one. I can understand why the Supreme's had to rule the way they did- and this is why a Federal "marriage amendment" would be disastrous- Feds trump States everytime.

SAN FRANCISCO - A steady stream of customers filed into the Love Shack, where anybody with a city-issued cannabis card could buy $5 pot brownies or spend up to 20 minutes inhaling premium marijuana that sells for $320 an ounce.

It was business as usual at the medical marijuana club — one of dozens in San Francisco — even after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that people who smoke pot for medicinal purposes can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws.

Crime fighters in California and other states with medical marijuana laws insisted they were not about to start looking for reasons to shut down the dispensaries. But Dwion Gates, who was sitting next to a pair of bongs, said he's "a little bit shaken."

"I'm hoping that San Francisco will continue to be the compassionate place it has been in allowing places like this to exist legally," said Gates, 48, who smokes pot regularly to treat the pain from a bullet lodged in his back since 1983.

The ruling does not strike down medical marijuana laws in California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont or Washington state. And state and local authorities in most of those states said they have no interest in arresting people who smoke pot because their doctors recommend it to ease pain. (Arizona also has a law on the books allowing medical marijuana, but no active program.)

Oregon, where more than 10,000 residents hold medical marijuana cards, stopped issuing new cards on Monday, but elsewhere officials assured the public the situation was status quo.

"People shouldn't panic. There aren't going to be many changes," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. "Nothing is different today than it was two days ago, in terms of real world impact."

It remains to be seen whether the Drug Enforcement Administration will crack down on medical marijuana users. The Justice Department didn't comment Monday.

Keep on tokin', sick folks. And well folks, too.

Storm damage. The removal of this tree took out my power for a good 8 hours yesterday.

Didn't matter, I was out watching the "Scrappy" Caps win! 7-6 in 11 innings.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Safe at home. This was a disputed call, but the photo indicates his foot touching home (to me anyway).

The Swing of Quad City wins the award for the ugliest uniforms ever.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Cubs Embarrass Padres in an Ugly 11-5 Game - Yahoo! News
Who are these guys?

SAN DIEGO - Greg Maddux won his 309th game, major league batting leader Derrek Lee had two hits during a seven-run fifth inning and the Chicago Cubs embarrassed the San Diego Padres 11-5 on Saturday night, their eighth win in nine games.

Even Maddux singled and scored in the big inning, when the first eight Cubs batters reached base, with the first seven scoring for an 11-1 lead.

Never say never, I guess. Keep it up boys!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Brain drain feared without new stem-cell laws
Here's one glaring example of how the Christian Taliban is hurting our state...this law was passed in the late nineties.

The threat of losing revenue and top scientists has revved up Michigan's debate over human embryonic stem cells.

Leading University of Michigan researchers are lobbying the school's administration and others to adopt a strong public statement supporting embryonic stem-cell research. They favor changes in state laws that currently relegate Michigan to the bottom five states for laws that allow research on embryonic stem cells.

The campaign comes as the U.S. House voted Tuesday to lift limits on embryonic stem-cell research, a measure supporters say could accelerate finding cures for diseases.

President George W. Bush called the bill a mistake and said he would veto it. The House approved it by a 238-194 vote, far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

"This bill would take us across a critical ethical line by creating new incentives for the ongoing destruction of emerging human life," the president said Tuesday. "Crossing this line would be a great mistake."

Republican leaders instead offered an alternative measure to fund research using stem cells derived from adults and umbilical cords.

Attempts to change Michigan's law face similar obstacles.

Neither Gov. Jennifer Granholm nor legislative leaders have expressed interest. Granholm, who recently proposed borrowing as much as $2 billion from bond initiatives to promote life-sciences research, supports stem-cell research but is not advocating a change in Michigan laws, spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Tuesday.

Substantial majorities in both Michigan's House and Senate are aligned with the positions of the Michigan Catholic Conference and Right to Life, which support current laws.

U-M, the state's leading stem-cell research center with a $2.2-million grant to study federally approved embryonic stem-cell lines, stands to gain if federal or state restrictions are loosened.

The medical school's dean, the head of its cancer program and others all favor changes.

"This area is about to explode," said James Douglas Engel, PhD, professor and chair of U-M's Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and one of the scientists leading the charge for a university policy that supports a fuller range of stem-cell research. He spoke in an interview Friday in his Ann Arbor office.

Without changes in state laws, Michigan risks losing scientists -- senior ones and students in the pipeline -- as well as patentable discoveries that could fuel economic development in the state, said Dr. Allen Lichter, dean of U-M's medical school.

"It is enormously problematic if the State of Michigan or the University of Michigan, in particular, become uncompetitive in this area," Lichter said.

I would love to see Granholm take up this fight. To think that the U of M would fall behind the rest of the country in medical's ridiculous. We lose money, we lose jobs, we lose students and scientists, we lose, period.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dick DeVos Officially Running For Governor
Gag..choke...accck! The thought of this man being elected makes me want to leave the state.

Mackinac Island - Dick DeVos is getting into the governor's race.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis says the southwestern Michigan businessman and a major G-O-P donor is a very strong candidate. The announcement came on the first day of the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual policy conference on Mackinac Island.

DeVos filed paperwork with the secretary of state's office to create an exploratory committee in March. It's the first step toward forming a full campaign committee.

Governor Granholm has not yet officially said she's running for re-election, but a "Granholm for Governor '' Web site urges supporters to donate their time and money to her campaign.

Governor Granholm's spokesperson Heidi Hansen said, "It's much to early to be talking about candidates. The Governor is completely focused on fighting for jobs, working to diversify the economy and pushing the legislature to take action on the plan she's put before them to help improve Michigan's economy. That's what were focused on."

A WZZM poll taken yesterday indicated a 62- 37 split in favor of Dick. Granted, that's right in the center of wingnut land here in Michigan. Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Another picture of Jen.

Chicago Tribune | Cigarette-makers' target: Women
NEWS FLASH: Cigarette makers targeted everyone, from women to men to minorities to children. Spare me the handwringing, and give me another cigarette.

Tobacco companies did extensive studies of sex differences in smoking so they could design cigarettes with special appeal to women, such as lemon-flavored and vanilla-scented cigarettes, a new study has found. Marshmallow, coconut and chocolate flavors were also used.

The tobacco industry's studies indicated that women were more likely to be concerned about their health, so cigarette companies appealed to them by offering brands low in tar and nicotine--even though experts say there is no evidence these brands are less harmful.

"Perception is more important than reality, and in this case the perception is of reduced tobacco consumption," stated one Philip Morris document quoted in the study. The same document said, "Most smokers have little real notion of their own brand's tar and nicotine numbers."

Marshmallow? Ooooo, I want a smoke that tastes like toasted marshmallows. Yum.

Former FBI No. 2 was 'Deep Throat' - Woodward - Yahoo! News
I always thought that bringing down Richard Nixon was a great thing and that everyone applauded, but turns out I was wrong. Pat Buchanan was calling for this guy's arrest yesterday. (Funny that Pat never screached and howled like that we he was a suspect. Seems Pat's been turning up the "wacky" meter lately.)

But, hey, I was 9 when this all happened, and surrounded by a bunch of subversive hippies. No wonder I have such a warped view of the world. ;-)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former FBI No. 2 Mark Felt is "Deep Throat," the legendary source who leaked Watergate scandal secrets to the Washington Post and helped bring down President Richard Nixon, journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein said on Tuesday after 30 years of secrecy.

The two Post reporters, whose aggressive stories on Watergate led to Nixon's August 1974 resignation, confirmed Felt was "Deep Throat" after Vanity Fair magazine and Felt's family members made his role public.

The unmasking of "Deep Throat" solves one of the greatest political and journalistic mysteries of modern times and ends three decades of speculation on his identity by historians and political observers.

I made the mistake again of leaving the TV on Channel 8. (I usually put on Ellen at 4, even though her show is pretty banal, and sometimes can't switch it over fast enough because I'm in the other room and there is a cat on my lap.) Rick Albin had to bitch about this because the name wasn't "big" enough. He wanted it to be a star, like Ford or Haig or Kissinger. Seriously.

Good grief. I must remember to stop watching Channel 8.

Ford Motor Co. Vows Aid for Wild Mustangs - Yahoo! News
Big company does good. Even if it is for advertising purposes.

LAS VEGAS - Citing the mustang as a "great symbol for our company," the Ford Motor Co. pledged money Tuesday to help find new homes for wild horses rounded up on federal rangeland in the West.

"It just seemed like the natural thing to do," Ziad Ojakli, a Ford vice president, said at a ranch outside Las Vegas where he and federal officials trumpeted the Bureau of Land Management's "Save the Mustangs" campaign.

Ford introduced the Mustang line in 1964, selling some 8.5 million of the cars since then.

Its mustang relocation plan was spurred by the April slaughter of 41 horses at an Illinois meatpacking plant after the horses were rounded up and sold by the BLM under sale authority Congress approved in December.

Ford stepped in and spent about $20,000 to buy 52 additional horses. Ojakli said the company will now underwrite transportation of the horses to new homes.

The auto company is promising to pay the cost of shipping to nonprofit groups and Indian tribes for up to 2,000 of the 8,000 wild horses awaiting sale under newly adopted safeguards.

Buyers now must sign a statement saying they have no intention of reselling the horses for slaughter.

I'm still angry that Congress removed the protections in the first place, but glad to see Ford step up and help out.