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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Pope Given Last Rites

Pope John Paul II has been given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The pontiff has taken a turn for the worse today as it is reported he has a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection.

Excerpt
VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- Pope John Paul II was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church late Thursday night as his health deteriorated, a Vatican source has told CNN.

The pope is suffering from a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection, the Vatican confirmed Thursday -- one day after revealing he had been put on a nasal feeding tube for nutrition
Source: Pope gets last rites
Pope has high fever from urinary infection

Pope's Health Failing

The Pope's health continues to deteriorate, now suffering from a high fever. The pontiff has been ailing severely since Feburary when he had to be admitted to the hospital. Less than two weeks after being released he was once again readmitted, and is now back at the Vatican after being released a second time. Ironically, with the Terri Schiavo case in the minds of most Americans, the pope is being fed through a feeding tube like in the Schiavo case. The Vatican has denounced the removal of Schiavo's tube.

Pope reportedly develops high fever

I think we became aware of this fact a while ago. Good to know they figured it out too!
Panel: Spy Agencies 'Dead Wrong' On Iraq WMDs

Wolfowitz Approved to Head World Bank

Deputy Secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz is set to take the helm at the World Bank on June 1st. Wolfowitz was unanimously approved by the World Bank board today. In past weeks much has been made about the fact that Wolfowitz is one of the most controversial figures involved in the Iraq war, and his nomination took many international countries by surprise.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - The World Bank's board on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war, to be the next president of the 184-nation development bank. President Bush earlier this month surprised the international community by recommending Wolfowitz for the job. Wolfowitz's hard-line foreign policy stance has made him a target of critics at home and abroad. Wolfowitz, 61, will take the helm of the development bank on June 1.
World Bank Board Approves Wolfowitz

Terri Schiavo Dies

After 13 days without food or water, Terri Schiavo has passed away, putting to rest a bitter and ugly battle that has swept the nation off its feet. May her soul rest and peace, and God bless her family, both sides of it.

Excerpt

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) - Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman whose final years tethered to a feeding tube sparked a bitter feud over her fate that divided a family and a nation, died Thursday.
Schiavo, 41, died quietly in a Pinellas Park hospice 13 days after her feeding tube was removed despite extraordinary intervention by Florida lawmakers, Congress and President Bush - efforts that were rebuffed at every turn by the courts.
Her death was confirmed to The Associated Press by Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, and announced to reporters outside her hospice by a family adviser.
Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The United States and its Fuscal Future - Part 9: Scientific and Technological Innovation

I apologize for the delay in posting this next part but I have been short of time lately. Anyway, here it is.

Scientific and technological innovations has been a cornerstone for the United States powerful position in the world. They have improved the quality of life, performance of the economy and government, and the relationship between government and citizens. These advances have been fueled historically by public and private sectors investing on average about $284 billion annually. But as the pace of innovation has quickened in the last 30 years, competition in the global economy has accelerated and other countries are steadily gaining on the United States. They have upgraded their education institutions to compete with U.S. institutions and they have increasingly become more attractive in the funding and research offers to the brightest minds around.

Adding to the problem the Unites States faces in the competing for technological and scientific superiority are the domestic demographic and educational changes that have shrunk the size and the quality of the country's scientific workforce. Among the problems are: lagging performance by U.S. students in math, science, and engineering; large numbers of U.S. scientists reaching retirement age; reduced number of foreign minds coming to work here due to heightened security measures and visa restrictions, along with better offers from other nations.

One particular area the requires substantial funding but has come into question due to cost/benefit analysis and potential risks, is space exploration, specifically NASA. The Shuttle Columbia's tragic accident brought to the front page the potential risks involved with space exploration, and the possibility that the costs versus benefits of continuing to fund NASA heavily, specially during the largest federal deficit in recorded history, might not be economically sustainable.

The focus of the U.S. government should be on developing a more coordinated and targeted approach to setting the U.S. research agenda that also ensures the best return for investment. What kinds of incentives could be implemented to encourage private sector collaboration and also nurture interdisciplinary research and development approaches that enhcance U.S. competitiveness? Can current programs and funding processes maintain the nation's position as a scientific leader and continue to attract global investments in new technologies? The U.S. must also address the domestic problem posed by U.S. students not meeting necessary standards and forcing the country to rely on a foreign scientific workforce. And finally a reexamination of NASA's role in our future is essential seeing that it is a costly venture that at best can only yield results in the long term furture.

For more information on Part 9 visit www.gao.gov or go directly to the report:21st Century Challenges: Reexamining the Base of the Federal Government

Delay Lobbyist has Ties to Bush

The same lobbyist who allegedly used funds from gambling interests to illegally fund trips for House Majority Leader Tom Delay, apparently has ties to President Bush. Jack Abramoff, lead lobbyist for Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis at the time, is under investigation by a federal grand jury for deals where he and an associate received at least $66 million from six Indian tribes to lobby for their casinos and other issues. No further information has been released regarding his ties, if important at all, to the President.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - A lobbyist under investigation for billing Indian tribes tens of millions of dollars was at the center of an earlier inquiry that said his firm hadn't justified roughly $1.2 million it charged the Northern Mariana Islands.
Lobbyist With Ties to Bush Investigated

Fla. Court Will Hear Emergency Schiavo Motion

An emergency court hearing has been scheduled at the last minute for Terri Schiavo's family. Overnight, Florida courts decided to hear arguments supposedly presenting new evidence in the case. No notice has been given as to when the decision would come. This is one of last motion that will be heard, seeing that schiavo is now entering her 13th day without food and water and is close to dying.

Excerpt
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - A federal appeals court agreed to consider an emergency bid by Terri Schiavo's parents for a new hearing on whether to reconnect her feeding tube, raising their fading hopes of keeping the severely brain-damaged woman alive.
Court to Weigh Schiavo Emergency Motion

Johnnie Cochran dead at 67

Famous defense attorney ZJohnnie Cochran died yesterday afternoon at the age of 67 from an inoperable brain tumor. Cochran was most known for getting O.J. Simpson off the hook for the murders of his wife and boyfriend. Among other celebrity clients for Cochran were Sean "P.Diddy" Combs, and Jim Brown.

Excerpt
Cochran died of an inoperable brain tumor at his home in Los Angeles, his family said. Cochran, who was diagnosed with the tumor in December 2003, was surrounded by his wife, Dale, and two sisters when he died. ``Certainly, Johnnie's career will be noted as one marked by 'celebrity' cases and clientele,'' his family said in a statement. ``But he and his family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community.'' With his colorful suits and ties, his gift for courtroom oratory and a knack for coining memorable phrases, Cochran was a vivid addition to the pantheon of America's best-known barristers.
Lawyer Johnnie Cochran Dies

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Strong Opposition to Bolton's Nomination

What effect will the nomination of John Bolton have on U.S. relations with the United Nations? It is known that Bolton does not hold the U.N. in highest regard, so could it be a statement by the White House as to how it views the U.N. itself? The White House has denied any such claims, but, don't actions speak louder than words? Why nominate a figure with a reputation such as Bolton's if you are trying to mend strained relations? Bolton's reputation is such that it has sparked a large protest by 59 former U.S. diplomats, Democrats and Republicans, that have fired a letter to Sen. Richard Luger, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, urging him to reject Bolton's nomination. If the White House is trying to mend relation it sure is walking down the wrong aisle. If it is trying to challenge the U.N., then it certainly is going in the right direction.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - Challenging the White House, 59 former American diplomats are urging the Senate to reject John R. Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"He is the wrong man for this position," they said in a letter to Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Indiana Republican has scheduled hearings on Bolton's nomination for April 7.
59 American Ex-Diplomats Oppose Bolton

Iraqi Parliament In Turmoil

It seems it is not a breeze after all. Two months after the historic elections in Iraq, in only its second meeting, Parliament still cannot agree on a government. I think this puts into focus that, while the elections were successful, they will not determine whether Iraq is successfully turned into a democracy. For that we will have to wait because only time will tell.

Excerpt
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament erupted in acrimony at only its second sitting on Tuesday and journalists were thrown out after lawmakers berated leaders for failing to agree on a new government, two months after historic elections.
When parliamentarians were told that despite last-minute talks that delayed the session no agreement had been reached, even on the post of parliamentary speaker, several stood up to say leading politicians were letting down the Iraqi people.

"The Iraqi people who defied the security threats and voted -- what shall we tell them? What is the reason for this delay?" Hussein al-Sadr, a politician in the bloc led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, asked the assembly before the news blackout.

As the meeting grew heated, the interim speaker ordered journalists to leave and Iraqi television abruptly switched to Arab music. Allawi walked out of the session shortly afterwards.

"You can say we are in a crisis," Barham Salih, a leading Kurdish politician, told reporters.

Ahead of the meeting blasts echoed across Baghdad and a militant group said in an Internet statement it had fired four mortars into the fortified Green Zone where politicians were meeting. There were no reports of damage.

Two months after more than 8 million Iraqis braved suicide bombers and insurgent threats to vote in the Jan. 30 polls, many are increasingly angry that despite haggling no agreement has been reached on forming a government.
Iraq parliament in uproar over stalemate

Monday, March 28, 2005

Delay and Schiavo Case Share Similar Issues

Is is interesting that the House Majority leader Tom Delay has a similar situation to the Terry Schiavo case with his father in 1988. His family elected to take him of life support, without the intervention of Congress, the White House, Governor's etc. The cases are not entireliy alike, but they bear more than a passing resemblance. Of course, Delay's spokeperson has said that they are completely different. Not so, in both cases, doctors have said that the patient would remain in a persistent vegetative state , suffered severe brian damage, and would not survive without machine assistance. And more important, Delay's family believed his father would not have wanted to live that way, and Delay believed it as well, without it being in writing. Sound familiar? Delay has been one of the bulls pushing for Congressional involvement in Schiavo's case, calling the removal of her feeding tube barbaric. I am not going to discuss whether it is or not, it is not my place. But isn't the removal of the feeding tube essentially the same action Delay's family in 1988 by not connecting his father to a dialysis machine? Where does he get the nerve to criticize a decision, right or wrong, that so much resembles the one his family and him made 17 years ago?

Excerpt
CANYON LAKE, Texas — A family tragedy that unfolded in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal — without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the debate raging outside Terri Schiavo's Florida hospice.
he patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family members keeping vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman — Rep. Tom DeLay (news, bio, voting record) (R-Texas).
DeLay's father taken off life support years ago

Quake Strikes Indonesia, Sparks Tsunami Warning

As if southeast Asia hasn't gone through enough, another earthequale, this one measuring 8.2 (possibly as high as 8.7), struck at 11:00 p.m. local time. The quake was strong enough to warranat a tsunami warning, although it is impossible to tell if there will actually be one, since they do not have the system in place to detect it. Local authorities have begun evacuating the coasts in areas within 600 miles of the earthquake.

Excerpt
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - A major earthquake struck off the west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island late Monday, damaging hundreds of buildings and sending residents fleeing in panic. Officials issued a tsunami warning for as far away as Sri Lanka.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor, which occurred at 11:09 p.m. local time (11:09 a.m. EST), measured a magnitude of 8.2. A later reading put the magnitude at 8.7, said Paul Earle, a USGS research geophysicist.
Major quake strikes off Indonesia's Sumatra
Tsunami alerts cause panic across Asia

Saturday, March 26, 2005

U.S. To Sell F-16s to Pakistan

The U.S. has agreed to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, going against prior policy. It is fairly obvious that such a drastic change in policy was meant as a reward to Pakistan for help in the war against terror. Essentially a payoff. India, of course, is not happy about. They have been feuding with Pakistan for years and they view this as a threat to their well being. Also, remember that Pakistan has at times supported terror and they are largely responsible for the spread of nuclear weapon science because of their leading researcher selling out in the black market. Should we be paying off supporters of the war for their help? Has it gotten so bad that the United States cannot obtain support without paying for it? If it has, then the current government bears that responsibility. It is sad when you have to pay for your friends.

Excerpt
The Bush administration rewarded Pakistan, an improbable ally in the war on terrorism, with a promise Friday that it could buy sophisticated U.S.-built F-16 warplanes. Pakistan's nuclear rival, India, immediately complained the sale would threaten its security.

PhotoIndia Objects to U.S.-Pakistan Arms Deal

Army Will Not Prosecute Soldiers

I have always said the Army protects its own and is very secretive. We will not know whether this decision to not prosecute 17 soldiers involved in 3 Iraqi deaths has merit or if it just a cover up.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - Army officials have decided not to prosecute 17 soldiers involved in the deaths of prisoners in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites), a military report says.
Military investigators recommended courts-martial for the soldiers in the cases of three prisoner deaths for charges ranging from making false statements to murder. Officers rejected those recommendations, ruling that the soldiers lawfully used force or didn't understand the rules for using force, or that there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
Report: Army Won't Prosecute 17 Soldiers

Bush Approval Numbers Lowest Since Election

It is difficult for me to understand why an incumbent president like Mr. Bush has such low approval numbers so soon after his election. No, that's not true. I do understand where the numbers come from. What I do not understand is why he was reelected if so many people think he is not doing a good job. Its a paradox. Would you reward someone if you thought they did a bad job? Well, we did in November, now suck it up. You had your chance and you made your choice. It is time to accept the consequences of your choice, whether good or bad.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites)'s job approval slipped into the mid 40s in national polls released this week as he lost some support among men and other groups of core supporters.

Public approval for Bush slipped from 52 percent in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll over the weekend to 45 percent in that same poll released Thursday. A CBS News poll released earlier in the week found Bush's approval slipping six points to 43 percent.
Polls Show Drop for Bush's Job Approval

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Army Will Not Meet Recruitment Goals

I have said it all along, the Army is struggling to meet recruitment goals. They have resorted to extending the age limit from 35 to 39. Now, if you haven't joined the Army by 35, you sure as heck are not going to do it at 39. What is next? The draft? Nobody wants to join the military in time of war. It does not take a genius to figure that one out.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - The Army expects to miss its recruiting goals this month and next and is working on a revised sales pitch appealing to the patriotism of parents, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey said Wednesday.
Whether that boosts enlistment numbers or not, Harvey said he sees no chance of a military draft.

"The `D' word is the farthest thing from my mind," the former defense company executive told a Pentagon (news - web sites) news conference, his first since becoming the Army's top civilian official last November.
Army Likely Won't Meet Recruiting Goals

Fla. Judge, Supreme Court Deny Schiavo's Parents

It seems that this painful case is finally at an end. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for both sides. Those of you who have no vested interest in the case but have proceeded to slander and insult the husband, Michael Schiavo, who have taken up the cause for the sole purpose of causing trouble without really caring for the parents difficult situation, and most importantly the politicians (not all, I imagine there are some who genuinely cared about the issue) who have politicized it for personal gain, shame on you. I would hope you take a good look at yourself and ask: is this who I want to be? There are no winners in this battle, and my prayers go out to both sides of Terri Schiavo's family.

Fla. Judge blocks Schiavo case arguments
Florida judge denies bid to put brain-damaged woman in state custody

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Government and Schiavo's Parent Exhaust Options

Government options have been exhausted in the Terry Schiavo case. The parents have asked for an expediated hearing seeing that their daighter's death is imminent. So far all rulings have been for the husband's side, and all appeals have been denied.

Excerpt
(AP) - Racing against time to save their brain-damaged daughter's life, Terri Schiavo's parents asked a federal appeals court Wednesday for an emergency review of an appellate panel's ruling that her feeding tube not be hooked up again. In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush renewed his call for the Legislature to step in and "spare Terri's life," and 10 demonstrators outside Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park were arrested trying to bring her water -- including a 10-year-old boy.

Schiavo Parents Seek Review of Ruling
Bush: Gov't exhausts options for Schiavo

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Schiavo's Parents Denied

Judge denies parents in Schiavo case, appeal to be heard in Atlanta federal court.

Excerpt
A federal judge on Tuesday refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, denying an emergency request from the brain-damaged woman's parents. The parents' lawyer quickly filed a notice of appeal. The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Whittemore came after feverish action by President Bush and Congress on legislation allowing the contentious case to be reviewed by federal courts. The judge said the 41-year-old woman's parents had not established a "substantial likelihood of success" at trial on the merits of their arguments.
Schiavo's Parents Appeal Judge's Ruling

Monday, March 21, 2005

Congress Wrong on Schiavo, According to Poll

While the GOP in Congress fights to keep Terry Schiavo alive, claiming that they promotoe a culture of life, I think the reason is more politics than anything else. It is sad to see this tragic story develop in the way it has. It is even sadder to see politicians try to gain out of this more votes for the 2006 election, as Tom Delay is rumored to have said when he spoke to some of his colleagues. It seems I am not the only one who thinks this way.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of the intervention by Congress in the case of Terri Schiavo and most believe lawmakers are using her case for political gain, according to an ABC News poll published on Monday.

Seventy percent deemed the congressional intervention inappropriate, while 67 percent said they believe lawmakers became involved in the Schiavo case for political advantage rather than the principles involved.
Poll: Most Think Congress Wrong on Schiavo Case

Pentagon Releases Sex Cases Study

The army will be the army. Hopefully thi issue will now gather enough steam to hold those responsible accountable for their actions

WASHINGTON - Women at U.S. military academies say they have faced 302 incidents of sexual assault since they enrolled, a figure the military says is comparable to civilian schools.

"We are about where college campuses are, tragically. That's not, frankly, terribly surprising," said David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "These young men and women come from civil society."

On Friday, he announced the results of the Pentagon (news - web sites)'s first comprehensive study of assaults at the academies along with a new military-wide policy aimed at protecting the confidentiality of people who report being sexually assaulted.
Pentagon Details School Sex Assault Study

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Senate Passes Schiavo Bill

While the House of Representatives has failed to pass emegency legislation so far, the Senate has succeeded in passing legislation keeping Terry Schiavo alive.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - The Senate passed a bill that could prolong Terri Schiavo's life while a federal court considers her case while House Republicans, stymied by Democrats, scrambled to bring enough lawmakers back to the Capitol for an emergency vote early Monday.
GOP leaders planned a House vote just past midnight, hours after the Senate approved the bill by voice vote. President Bush (news - web sites) rushed back from Texas for a chance to sign the measure.

The plan had been for the House to act first and then the Senate to pass the House version. But with Democrats forcing a delay in the House, the Senate went ahead and passed its own, identical, version by unrecorded voice vote.
Senate passes legislation on Schiavo case

Polls Show Contradictory Views

It is interesting to see that, while many are calling for troops to leave Iraq, the public believes we should remain there until we accomplish our goal, if that is possible. Even more ironic is the fact that most people are dissatisfied with the handling of Iraq, but they see it as necessary for troops to remain if they are to achieve success. I tend to agree. Then again, these are poll numbers, and they blow whichever way the wind is blowing. I've said it before and I will say it again: time will tell whether we are successful in Iraq or not.

Excerpt
Recent public opinion on Iraq (news - web sites) suggests two basic findings: A majority of people are generally unhappy with President Bush (news - web sites)'s handling of Iraq and they are resigned to the importance of seeing the commitment through.
Polls: U.S. Troops Should Remain in Iraq

Schiavo Legislation Fails In D.C.

Schiavo case in Washington hits a snag.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - House Republicans, seeing Congress as a last hope for brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, failed during an extraordinary Palm Sunday session to pass legislation aimed at prolonging the Florida woman's life.

Once Democrats refused to allow the measure to go ahead without objection, Republicans began scrambling to bring lawmakers, who had just started their Easter recess, back to Washington.

Majority Republicans called a recess after the four-minute session and said they planned to meet as early as one minute after midnight on Monday — if they get at least 218 of the 435-member House to attend.
House GOP Fails to OK Schiavo Legislation

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sports Media Partially to Blame for Baseball Scandal

In part, the media is to blame for sitting back and letting players breeze by unquestioned. When you see records that have stood for decades shattered in such fashion, only to see players return to their averages the next season, or when you see questionable practices by players, the media should have the responsibility to ask the questions and demand the answers to protect the integrity of the game. Baseball has become a black mark in sports. During the 1998 season, it is sickening to know that sports writers were mum on the steroids subject because they did not want to ruin baseball's magic season. Well, now you cannot ruin it, but you call into question every major record that has been broken, every player, manager, and owner involved, and more shamefully, you call into question your own self worth as a writer. Why did it take 7 years, and a book by a criminal, to break this thing open. The sports media should be ashamed of themselves. Now, on to the real important issues such as the war, economy nad government.

Excerpt
NEW YORK After hints of steroid use by baseball players cropped up during the record home-run season of 1998, did sports writers drop the ball on pursuing the story? Steve Wilstein thinks so, and he should know: He's the reporter who found the steroid precursor known as "andro" in the locker of onetime home-run king Mark McGwire.
Sportswriter Who Broke '98 McGwire 'Andro' Story Slams Steroid Coverage

Iraq War Two Year Anniversary

As the Iraq war drags on, with a new parliament, after elections, Americans continue to burden to the cos of the war.

Excerpt
Two years after the United States launched a war in Iraq (news - web sites) with a crushing display of power, a guerrilla conflict is grinding away at the resources of the U.S. military and casting uncertainty over the fitness of the all-volunteer force, according to senior military leaders, lawmakers and defense experts.
Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Senate Eliminates All Medicaid Cuts in Budget

The Bush Administration was dealt a big blow to its proposed federal budget for 2006, and to its pride. The Senate eliminated all cuts related to Medicaid in the budget, therefore striking a huge blow to the heart of the 2006 Federal budget. Medicaid cuts were a large portion of the cuts proposed in the budget, and essential if the President is to reduce the deficit by half in 2009. Although realisticly, that reduction was never expected to happen. It gives the Administration a wake up call and forces it to look into other alternatives if it is to reduce the deficit at all.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to strip all proposed Medicaid cuts from the $2.6 trillion budget for next year, killing the heart of the plan's deficit reduction and dealing an embarrassing setback to President Bush (news - web sites) and Republican leaders.
Senate kills all Medicaid cuts from budget

Baseball in Congress

Congress is holding hearings today on the steroid issue that has enveloped baseball. Most of the stars called to testify will plead the fifth ammendment, including Jose Canseco, who basically opened the door for this issue. Canseco has previously admitted using and in jecting steroids with other players, as stated in his new book "Juiced". Bud Selig defended MLB's steroid policy, even though it is clear to everyone that it fostered steroid use from the 80s until now. Good job Selig!!

Excerpt

Photo
WASHINGTON - Commissioner Bud Selig defended Major League Baseball's drug-testing policy against withering attacks Thursday from lawmakers who called the penalties too light and progress on steroids too slow.
"Baseball did nothing over the years," said California Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), the ranking Democrat on the House panel holding a hearing on steroids in the sport.
Selig Defends Baseball's Steroid Policy

Anthrax Scare Reveals Flaws

I mentioned this yesteday when all the correct information was available. We are terribly prepared for another terrorist attack.

Excerpt
The anthrax scare at the Pentagon (news - web sites) this week exposed gaps between the military's procedures in handling biohazards and those of the rest of the federal government, which could increase the threat to public health in the event of an actual contamination, health experts and federal and Virginia officials said yesterday.
Health officials inside government and out said the Pentagon's reliance on detection and response systems that are isolated from those at other federal agencies delayed Virginia health officials, the U.S. Postal Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) in moving to protect the public from a possible biohazard in the mail.


Anthrax Alarm Uncovers Response Flaws

Robert Blake Not Guilty

Actor Robert Blake was found not guilty of the murder of his wife, after four ardous years. Jurors cited flimsy evidence to support their decision.


Excerpt
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A jury found actor Robert Blake (news) not guilty on Wednesday of shooting dead his estranged wife after trying to solicit others to kill her, capping a celebrity trial that exposed Hollywood's seamy underbelly.
The white-haired Blake, 71, the former star of the 1970s TV detective series "Baretta," trembled with emotion, buried his head in his hands and appeared to sob as the verdict was read, ending a three-month trial.
Actor Blake Aquitted of Murder After Seamy Trial
Photo

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Anthrax Scare False Alarm

As I had corrected earlier, it is now confirmed that the anthrax scare at the Pentagon was a false alarm. A lab mix-up was blamed for the error prompting 900 workers to take antibiotics and suffer a tremendous amount of fear. You would think that by now we would have a handle on these situations and mistakes such as this one would not occur, wasting taxpayers' money. This incident just underscores how inadequate our preparation is to meet the demand of another large scale terrorist attack. But hey, we are better off than before 9/11.
Anthrax Scare Turns Out to Be False Alarm

Wolfowitz Suggested for World Bank Job

Now, this is scary. I think the White House would be hard pressed to find a more controverisal and polarizing figure for the job than Paul Wolfowitz. Wolfowitz is widely known as one of the hardest neoconservatives in Washington. He was one of the main forces behind the invasion of Iraq, and, as it states in Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack, his main motives were not WMD or freedom for Iraq, it was oil. In a position as important as head of the World Bank, I'd be skeptical about Wolfowitz.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) on Wednesday tapped Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who has been a lightning rod for criticism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) and other defense policies, to take over as head of the World Bank (news - web sites).

Photo
AFP Photo

Bush told a news conference that Wolfowitz, now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's top deputy, was "a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job at the World Bank. That's why I put him up."

Bush Recommends Wolfowitz for World Bank

It's dangerous to be a politician in Iraq, not doubt.

Excerpt
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's first freely elected parliament in half a century began its opening session Wednesday after a series of explosions targeted the gathering. The opening marked a major milestone on the road to forming a new government in a country still beset by violence.

The parliament's 275 members, elected during Jan. 30 elections, convened in an auditorium amid tight security in the heavily guarded Green Zone with U.S. helicopter gunships hovering overhead.
First Iraq Parliament Session Rocked by Attack

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Correction on Anthrax Story

It seems that a second round of test has invalidated the first result for a suspiscious substance at the Pentagon. Will keep you posted.
Tests negative in mailroom anthrax scare

The United States and its Fiscal Future - Part 8: Retirement and Disability Policy

This part discusses Social Security, which I did an in-depth report on in January, pensions, and disability benefits and how they are expected to perform in the future. During the 20th century the United States was successful in developong a national social insurance system that alleviated fears of poverty in old age. It also addressed a risk that all workers and families face, the posibility of a severe injury that limits the worker. Millions of Americans in the last half-century have been able to look ahead to a comfortable retirement. That is not the case anymore. The challenges facing retirement and disability programs are severe, long-term, and structural in nature.

Social Security faces challenges that if not addressed will lead to the depletion of its trust fund. The projected unfunded obligation for the next 75 years is expected to hover around $3.7 trillion in current day dollars. Tax income is projected to fall short of outlays in 2018, and by 2042, the trust will not be able to pay all benefits promised fully. The cause for this growing challenge can be attributed to several demographic factors, among these are: people are living longer, they are spending more time in retirement, and they are having fewer children. The average time spent in retirement grew from 11.5 years in 1950 to 18 years in 2003. The average number of children per woman was 3 in the 1960s, but by 2030 it is expected to fall to 1.95 - a rate below replacement. As a whole, these issues threaten the solvency of the program as well as the federal budget. Among the ways that these problems can be addressed are increasing taxes by 15% or reducing benefits by 13% immediately, or a combination of both. But beyond 75 years, the system will require more drastic changes. Another possibility is to raise the retirement age, which makes sense since we live longer, and it would have the added benefit of promoting economic growth. Most important of all, it is imperative that reform be undertaken now because the longer we wait, the more difficult these changes will become.

The nation's private pension system is also weakening. As of now, despite federal assitance, pension coverage hovers at about half the private sector labor force. Traditional benefit plans, where employers bear most of the risk, have been shrinking. Bankrupcies by large sponsors have threatened the solvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal insuring agency. As of the year 2004, the PBGC's single employer pension program faced a negative accumulated position of $23.3 billion. Education regarding investment for individuals' plans is lacking. Large company stock holdings for individuals may add to employees' risk that their savings will be inadequate for retirement. And the ability to withdraw or borrow against retirement savings creates potential risk in not having enough to cover retirement needs. Policymakers will need to consider how to encourage better pension coverage and adequate benefits that are strictly for retirement purposes for current and future labor forces, also taking into account how they will interact with Social Security changes.

Federal Disability programs have seen sharp growth in the past decade and are expected to grow more as babyboomers reach their disability-prone years. Also, the composition of benefit recipients has shifted to mentally impaired individuals. At the same time, technological advances, economical, and social changes have redefined the relationship between impairments and work. Medical conditions previously untreatable have found cures, or ways to live with them have been devised, reconciling more workers with their work setting. More importantly, the nature of work has changed from a manufacturing and physically driven force, to a service and knowledge based force. Yet, with all these changes, disability programs remain mired in the past and are poorly positioned to provide support for workers with disabilities. Policymakers must reconcile past policies with current conditions to protect the worker in the new environment.

A lot of the social programs that were created in the 20th century face upcoming challenges. Though these are not facing a crisis right now, contrary to what they say about Social Security, they do face challenges that are better handled now than postponing them until they really become an impending crisis.

For more information on Part 8 visit www.gao.gov or go directly to the report:
21st Century Challenges: Reexamining the Base of the Federal Government

Iraq Still Fails to Elect Government

Still no government in place.

Excerpt
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Kurdish and Shiite leaders agreed to convene Iraq's new parliament Wednesday despite their apparent failure to complete a deal to form a coalition government. Car bombs exploded Tuesday in Baghdad, killing a U.S. soldier and at least five Iraqis, authorities said.


Six other American troops were wounded in one of the blasts. Iraqi police and witnesses reported at least three bombings around the capital.

In Rome, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday that Italy will start withdrawing its 3,000 troops from Iraq in September, Italian news agencies reported. Withdrawing Italian troops ``will depend on the capability of the Iraqi government to give itself structures for acceptable security,'' the ANSA news agency quoted Berlusconi as saying.
Leaders Fail to Form Iraq Coalition Gov't

Worldcom CEO Ebbers Found Guilty

At least one of these crooks will go to jail. But they need to get ALL of them. These crooked CEOs have committed the equivalent of financial murder, and some of them, such as Ken Lay from Enron, are still walking around. Then you have the Justice department making an example of Martha Stewart, seeing that she is so corrupt with a $41,000 transaction, sending her to jail. These men have ruined lives, and caused billions worth of damage. But no, the real threat is Martha Stewart ( I'm not defending Stewart, but there are bigger crooks out there than her). Gimme a break. What kind of misguided priorites do we have when these men destroy peoples financial lives and all the have to say for themselves is that they did not know what was going on. Even if they did not know, they are the CEOs, responsible for everyone beneath them. It is their responsibility to be aware of EVERYTHING. No excuses. They should strip them all of their possessions and put them in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives so they can think about the damage they have caused, how they have practically killed, indirectly, a lot of these folks financial lives. But they still roam free. Disgusting.
Ebbers found guilty in huge WorldCom fraud(AP)

Senate Showdown Over Bush's Budget

Senate Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for a tough battle over President Bush's budget proposal, amid a difficult Social Security issue. Last year, a budget was not passed, even though Republicans held the White House and both houses of Congress. This year the battle does not seem any easier, as lawmakers seek to protect those programs they like the most.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans and Democrats are trying to use President Bush (news - web sites)'s plan to revamp Social Security (news - web sites) as a political cannonball against each other in their skirmish over a $2.56 trillion budget.
As senators entered the second day of their weeklong debate over the GOP-written fiscal outline, fights over Medicaid, tax cuts, the environment and other hot-button issues were also on the horizon.

"I don't expect this year will be any easier than the recent past" for passing a budget, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Tuesday in a brief interview.
Senators Ready for Fight Over $2.5T Budget

U.S. Worried About China's Military Buildup

Of course it does, and it should. But what are they going to do? Throw tough words at them and expect them to be rattled? This is China, not Lybia or Egypt. They are certainly not going to be scared of U.S. tough rhetoric, and in this case it will be rhetoric because there is nothing that we can do to pressure China. China as rising economic superpower is attracting the attention of all nations around the world. What is going to happen in the present course is that the U.S. will miss the chance to get in on what will be the biggest economic market in the world. Can we afford to do that, in the current fiscal state? Other countries in Europe seem to be aware that China is where the future lies, and they will not have any misgivings about dealing with them The U.S. better join in, because there is no stopping this giant.
Rice: China military build-up worries U.S.

Anthrax Attacks Resurface

We thought this was over.

Excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Investigators are trying to learn why sensors at two military mail facilities in the Washington area detected signs of anthrax on two pieces of mail.


They are not sure whether the discoveries are signs of an attack.

The two pieces of mail, the origins of which were not provided, had been irradiated, so officials believed any anthrax in them was inert when they triggered alarms at the two mail facilities on Monday.

Additional tests and other sensors at the two facilities, one of them at the Pentagon and the other nearby, found no presence of the bacteria, which can be used as a biological weapon. There were no initial reports of illness.
Anthrax Detected in Pentagon Mail; 275 Possibly Exposed

Monday, March 14, 2005

Use of Video News by Government OK

Acceptable propaganda? The Justice Department has ruled it is legal for the White House to run ads in the form of news as long as they are factual. The question is are they? And should they be presented as news without revealing the government's involvement? You be the judge.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House on Monday defended the administration's use of video news releases that are sent to television stations across the country and frequently used without any acknowledgment of the government's role in their production.

In an opinion last week, the Justice Department concluded that the practice was appropriate as long as the videos presented factual information about government programs. The memo was sent to heads of federal departments and agencies.
White House Defends Video News Releases

Anti-Syria Protest Bigger Than Hezbollah Protest

As there was a pro-Syria march last week, today there was another huge anti-Syria protest in Beirut. It marked the biggest protest ever in Lebanon, and possibly the biggest ever in the Arab world.

Excerpt

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of anti-Syrian demonstrators flooded the capital Monday in the biggest protest ever in Lebanon, surpassing the turnout for an earlier pro-Damascus rally organized by the Islamic militant Hezbollah. In a show of national unity, Sunnis, Druse and Christians packed Martyrs' Square as brass bands played and balloons soared skyward.

The rally, perhaps the biggest anti-government demonstration ever staged in the Arab world, was the opposition's bid to regain momentum after two serious blows: the reinstatement of the pro-Syrian prime minister and a huge rally last week by the Shiite group Hezbollah.
Thousands March Against Syria in Beirut

The United States and its Fiscal Future - Part 7: Natural Resources, Energy , and the Environment

The last few years, we have seen a rising numbers of problems in our country regarding our natural resources. The recent energy grid collapse in the northeastern and midwestern states, along with the rising prices in oil and natural gas are just a few of the concerns that have affected us all, directly or indirectly. The quality, cleanliness, and availability of resources such as water maybe in question, as experienced in the areas suffering severe draughts. Approximately 36 states expect some type of water shortage in the next 10 years. Air pollution, although very improved in the past decades, has become a concern, raising questions about current standards.

The relevance of existing programs as they relate to today's conditions is essential to determining the balance between supporting the needs of today's economy with our stewardship obligations to the next generations. Most of these programs were created decades ago. Our long term goal should be to reconcile consumption with the need to protect resources to sustain the future.

Energy consumption has grown significantly in the last decade and it is expected to increase 30% in the next 20 years. Currently, consumption is about 790 billion gallons of gasoline per year. Our nation is extremely dependant on oil products. Multiple energy crisis have occurred and our systems remain perpetually at the mercy of supply/demand imbalances. It is not a matter of if, but when, that our nation will have to explore alternative sources of energy. Without a sustainable source of energy for the 21st century, energy markets will continue to experience the turmoil of the recent past.

Also called into question is the federal assistance provided to agriculture, in view of the current fiscal deficits. The agricultural sector has changed dramatically from when these subsidies were instituted and a reexamination of their appropriateness today is not unwarranted. U.S. agriculture today is dominated by small number of agribusiness giants and global farming operations, whereas at the time the subsidies were created, we lived in a largely rural nation.
The giants provide over 70% of the nations fiber and food, and they account for a majority of the $60 billion in exports.

Environmental cleanup is another issue that is costly and at times unrealistic. A current estimate puts the cost of cleaning the following:
1) radioactive wastes accumulated for over 50 years
2) unexploded ordnance, discarded munitions, and contaminated military sites
3) hundreds of thousands of Superfund and other hazardous waste sites creted by private
sectors,
at around $500 billion. It is also estimated that some of these sites will take up to 70 years to be fully cleaned, if possible at all. The enormity of the task, its cost, mixed with the current fiscal constraints the nation faces, calls into question whether existing cleanup standards are realistic.

We are slowly destroying the environment. The current Administration, which has the worst environmental record in recent memory, has not done enough to protect our interests. The level of contamination and the cost of the cleanup has gotten so ridiculous that with current technologies it seems unreasonable to attempt it. Hopefully in the future we will have developed better ways to clean our environment from the waste of civilization.

For more information on Part 7 visit www.gao.gov or go directly to the report:
21st Century Challenges: Reexamining the Base of the Federal Government

Delay's Troubles Cause for GOP Concern

House Majority Leader Tom Delay's troubles have started worrying some GOP members. Delay has remained a strong figure within the party, and although he is not widely known nationally, Republicans fear that the momentum gained by these allegations will slowly gain national attention and put Delay in a vulnerable position. Delay has been protected by the Republican party, but it seems that the depth of the allegations is such that the party cannot hold the fort. Three of Delay's aides are currently on trial in Texas for questionable fundraising activities. It has also come to light that Delay, and to his defense several others, including Democrats, have accepted trips paid for by foreign interests, such as South Korea. In January, Republicans tried to change House rules. In February they tried to replace ethics committee members with Delay supporters in an effort to protect him, should the indictments in Texas ensnare him. But with the new allegations, Democrats are now emboldened and might seek to challenge these rules openly, forcing Republicans to explain publicly why the changes are needed, specially at a time when the media has seized on Delay's questionable actions.

Excerpt
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has dismissed questions about his ethics as partisan attacks, but revelations last week about his overseas travel and ties to lobbyists under investigation have emboldened Democrats and provoked worry among Republicans.
DeLay Ethics Allegations Now Cause of GOP Concern

China's Taiwan Law Angers Washington

I agree with the White House that this is an unfortunate event that can create tensions between both countries. But what is the Bush Administration going to do against China? I bet they won't do anything. China is not a puppy dog. It is the second largest superpower in the world, possibly the most powerful in about 20 years. You do not want to mess with China. Just the sheer numbers are enough to warn the Bush Administration to watch its tone, over one billion in population. Taking on China would be to take on a sleeping giant, just like Japan did in 1941, only this time we are not the sleeping giant. And we certainly are in no position militarily or economically to apply any pressure.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Monday that China's threat to use force to stop any Taiwanese move toward independence is an "unfortunate" development that could increase tensions in the region.

Photo
AP Photo

"We view the adoption of the anti-secession law as unfortunate," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "It does not serve the purpose of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We believe it runs counter to recent progress in cross-Strait relations."
White House Unhappy With New Chinese Law

Sunday, March 13, 2005

New Iraq Government Yet to Be Elected

Iraq's new government seems far away from being agreed upon right now. The disagreement in parliament is exemplary of the differences within the country's population. As long as no government is elected, elected officials cannot begin to tackle the violence in the country and begin a stabilization process that would facilitate the withdrawal of American troops, although I think that even with a more stable Iraq, American troop presence will be needed.

Excerpt
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq (news - web sites)'s leading parties said on Sunday they had failed to reach a deal to form a new government before the first meeting of parliament, crushing hopes a much-needed cabinet would start to tackle relentless violence.
Talks on Iraq Government Fail Before Parliament

Government Secrecy and Bush

Government secrecy has been a rising concern in the last few years, and it is getting worse. A recent poll shows that 70% of Americans think that government secrecy is dangerous and that the public should have more access to information on its activities. Yet, the Bush Administration seems to care little about explaining itself to the people that elected it, that it is supposed to represent.

Excerpt
Since 1998, many federal departments have been reducing the amount of information they release to the public — even as the government fields and answers more requests for information than ever, an Associated Press review has found.

The locations of stores and restaurants that have received recalled meat, the names of detainees held by the U.S. overseas and details about Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites)'s 2001 energy policy task force are all among the records that the government isn't sharing with the public.
AP Review: Gov't Reducing Access to Info

Poll shows concern about gov't secrecy

Excerpt

Americans feel strongly that good government depends on openness with the public, with seven out of 10 people concerned about government secrecy, a new poll says.

AP Video Most People Not Open to Closed Gov't Records
(AP Video)

The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs for Sunshine Week, a coalition of media organizations and other groups pressing for government access, found that more than half of Americans believe government should provide more access to its records.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Delay and His Trips... I Mean Troubles

It seems that evryday a new allegation comes out against Rep. Tom Delay. I have always thought he was shady, but this is ridiculous. I am curious to see how many more questionable actions he has been involved with in the past.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay traveled to Britain with his wife, several aides and lobbyists on a $70,000 junket mostly paid for with money from an Indian tribe and a gambling services company, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Not long after the outing, Rep. DeLay, the second most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, played a key role in killing gaming-related legislation opposed by the company and tribe.

DeLay, R-Texas, reported in House financial disclosures that the weeklong May 2000 trip was paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nonprofit organization. However, the Post reported, lobbyist Jack Abramoff suggested the trip and arranged for two of his clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and eLottery Inc., to send checks to the center to cover the travel.
Report: Gambling Co. Foots DeLay Junket

Bush's Agenda Facing Resistance

As the President realizes that it is a bumpy road ahead, especially on Social Security, his team is beginning to shift focus to other plans in his agenda. His approval ratings hover at 50%, not good for an incumbent less than 2 months into his new term. The Administration is finding out that they will face resistance at every turn, and Bush's self-proclaimed "mandate" never existed. I guess the Democratic Party didn't become a pushover like many proclaimed.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - Running into heavy resistance to his Social Security (news - web sites) overhaul, President Bush (news - web sites) has started emphasizing other parts of his domestic agenda and is promoting his foreign policy goals of defeating terrorism and spreading democracy.

Photo
AP Photo

"These are amazing times," he tells audiences. Yet no matter which way he turns, he is finding a bumpy road.

Just short of two months into his second term, Bush still wields vast political clout and, by his accounts, has plenty of "political capital" left to spend. Still, polls show his approval ratings stuck at around 50 percent.

Analysis: Bush Shifting to Other Issues

Iran Dismisses U.S. Offer

Iran remains defiant and says that the U.S. offer to drop its opposition to Iran joining the WTO is not even an offer. The U.S. has decided to support the European effort to deal with Iran, but iran wants more, and it seems the U.S. does not have much to back its tough talk. Hence, a policy shioft very uncharacteristic of the Bush Administration.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States has dropped its opposition to Iran's application for membership in the World Trade Organization in an effort to bolster European negotiations with the Tehran regime over its nuclear program.

The three European countries negotiating with Iran -- Britain, Germany and France -- had been pressing the Bush administration to drop American opposition to Iran trying to enter the WTO, which facilitates trade between nations.
CNN Report

Excerpt
TEHRAN, Iran (AP)- Iran scoffed at U.S. incentives aimed at coaxing the Islamic republic to drop its nuclear ambitions and declared Saturday that Washington's overtures did nothing to change Tehran's plans to push ahead with its nuclear program.

An Iranian envoy in Europe, however, acknowledged in guardedly positive terms that there appeared to be a ``new awakening'' in Washington.
AP Report

Atlanta Killer Caught

The man suspected of killing three at an Atlanta courthouse yesterday morning, was caught earlier today , ending a multi-state manhunt that lasted 26+ hours.

Excerpt
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Brian Nichols, the suspect in the shootings of four people, three at Atlanta's Fulton County Courthouse, has been captured after a massive manhunt.

Nichols surrendered to authorities Saturday. Police said he had entered the apartment of a woman he didn't know and she managed to call 911 to report that he was there.

CNN Report

Friday, March 11, 2005

Another Courthouse Shooting

Deadly shotting in Atlanta courthouse, suspect is still at large.


Photo Excerpt
Three Shot Dead at Ga. Trial; Gunman Flees

A judge presiding over a rape trial, his court reporter and a sheriff's deputy were shot to death Friday at the Fulton County Courthouse, authorities said. Another deputy was critically wounded and the suspect, the defendant at the trial, remained at large hours later.

Sell Cookies, Get a Ticket

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Will it ever end?

Excerpt
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York police have ticketed a man they say set up a table on a Brooklyn sidewalk to sell Girl Scout cookies without a license.

But the suspect's 13-year-old daughter disputes the account and says her father was only helping her deliver pre-ordered cookies in the neighborhood.

Officers issued a summons for unlicensed vending to Hoi "Howard" Louis over the weekend.

"An adult 55-year-old male who had set up a table along a busy stretch was given a summons," Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said on Wednesday. "No Girl Scouts were seen by officers at the time the summons was issued."

Girl Scout Cookie Seller Ticketed

Abu Ghraib Comes Back to Haunt

I cannot see how you could possibly justify this, no matter what the excuse is. The only reason this information is out is because of lawsuits, they would never have revealed any of these disgusting acts.

Excerpt
WASHINGTON (AP) - A boy no older than 11 was among the children held by the Army at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, the former U.S. commander of the facility told a general investigating abuses at the prison.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski did not say what happened to the boy or why he was imprisoned, according to a transcript of her interview with Maj. Gen. George Fay that was released by the American Civil Liberties Union.

U.S. Imprisoned Kids at Abu Ghraib

Bush Changes Tune on Iran

Where did all the tough talk go? I guess when you cannot back it up, it does not work.
Excerpt
(AP) - In a policy shift, the Bush administration will go along with European efforts to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon by using diplomatic carrots now, with the threat of U.N. sticks later. Meantime, the Europe Union is warning Tehran that it could face U.N. Security Council action unless it agrees to scrap technology that can be used to make nuclear arms, according to a confidential document obtained by The Associated Press. President Bush agreed to offer modest economic incentives to Iran in exchange for Tehran's abandoning its nuclear enrichment program, two senior administration officials said Thursday.
U.S. Ready to Offer Incentives to Iran

Thursday, March 10, 2005

President Clinton Out of Surgery

Former President Bill Clinton is safely out of surgery after he had to go under the knife once again to remove fluid build up and scar tissue.
Bill Clinton Safely Out of Surgery

Pentagon Clears Top Officials

Excerpt
(Reuters) - The U.S. military failed to react to early signs of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and missed opportunities to correct lapses that caused prisoner abuse elsewhere but its own policies and top officials were not directly to blame, a Pentagon report said on Thursday. The report, by Navy inspector general Vice Adm. Albert Church, was billed by the Pentagon as the broadest of its investigations into the treatment of detainees by the U.S. military, particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.
Pentagon Clears Senior Officials in Prison Abuse

House Majority Leader Delay's Troubles

Embattled House Majority Leader Tom Delay faces more allegation of improper conduct stemming from trip to S. Korea paid for by foreign interests. It is illegal to accept donations or gifts from parties outside national borders.

Excerpt
A delegation of Republican House members including Majority Leader Tom DeLay accepted an expense-paid trip to South Korea (news - web sites) in 2001 from a registered foreign agent despite House rules that bar the acceptance of travel expenses from foreign agents, according to government documents and travel reports filed by the House members.
S. Korean Group Sponsored DeLay Trip

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Slap or a Message to the United Nations?

A rather unorthodox and controversial nomination for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., it is more a message to the United Nations about how the Bush Administration feels about its effectiveness. We will have to see how it plays out.

Photo Excerpt

In the weeks after John Danforth resigned as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rumors that John Bolton might replace him sparked dismay among some U.N. diplomats. Could the White House possibly have the nerve, they asked, to appoint the renowned U.N. critic to the post?
Bolton Regarded Warily Within the U.N.

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