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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Georgia Woman Ok, Got Cold Feet

This is one of these cases that royally pisses me off. Please excuse my language. This woman gets cold feet and takes off. Ok, I can understand that. What is inexcusable is the fact that her irresponsible behavior triggered searches that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, caused the parents of the woman an unimaginable amount of anguish and pain, and unfairly put her fiancee in the situation of potentially being a murder suspect. That is just to name a few, there are many more repercussions to her actions. She did not have the decency to inform anyone about her decision and she let all the hype build over the last few days. How could someone be so selfish and stupid? Yeah, the woman has some serious issues to address, but her immaturity and the problems it created are inexcusable. I am happy that she turned out to be OK, specially for the parents and the fiancee. That being said, she should be held accountable for her actions. Much was caused by her erratic behavior and she has to pay for it. But she most likely won't and taxpayers will foot the bill for her problems.
Ga. Woman Found, Reportedly Got Cold Feet

Congress Approves Budget

Congress approved a modified version of the President's proposed budget for a cool $2.6 trillion. It is the first time in 2 years that a budget has passed in Congress. The vote was strictly partisan, with all Democrats voting against the budget. Among the more controversial parts of the modified budget is a $106 billion tax cut in the next five years, cuts in the Medicaid program by about $10 billion, and cuts in health and education programs. Republicans say that this budget will put the country on a path to reduce the federal deficit to $254 billion by 2008, while Democrats counter this is misleading because the budget does not include funding for the 2 ongoing wars and the cost of revamping Social Security. The breakdown of the budget is as follows: $1.6 trillion in entitlement programs, $439 billion for defense spending, $404 billion for non-defense spending. The projected federal deficit for the fiscal year 2006 will be $383 billion. Once again, these numbers do not include funding for the 2 wars and Social Security costs so they are not going to be accurate.
Congress Passes Budget That Cuts Medicaid

2nd Bush Term Off to a Rough Start

Claiming non existent political capital in an election that was won by 3%, a self-proclaimed mandate as Mr. Bush said initially is, well, a joke. You do not have a mandate when over half the people do not approve of what you are doing. Remember, Mr. Bush might have won the election, but he didn't win because of his outstanding leadership and record, he did because we are in 2 wars, and the public is always hesitant to change leaders during time of conflict, specially when the challenger is not someone you can believe in 100% (John Kerry ran a pathetic campaign). The president has had a rough awakening to reality. He never had any political capital or a mandate and his people are now facing his worst approval rating ever at 44%, low Congress approval, low support for his major issues like Social Security, high gas prices, etc. And we are only 100 days into his second term.
A Rocky First 100 Days for New Bush Term

Italy, U.S. Disagree on Report

Italy and the U.S. reach different conclusions in the same investigation of the agent that was killed by the U.S. military in March. It is no suprise that the U.S. conclusion clears the soldiers while the Italian one is the opposite. Italy has now expressed its support for a criminal investigation into the matter.
Italy backs criminal probe into agent's killing

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bush Speech Fails to Score Points

Something rare happened last night, a prime time Presidential press conference. Bush's fourth since he became president. He has held fewer of these than any president in recent memory, and if you listen to him speak you can understand why. He doesn't perform well, he doesn't come across as too bright, which might be unfair because I don't think he is a dumb individual, at least not as dumb as he comes across. The White House has been very good at shielding the president from this type of spotlight because they know he is terrible in these press conferences. That in itself is indicative of how desperate the White House is right now with some of its issues, Social Security, Energy, Iraq, and so forth that they have had to schedule a much abhorred prime time press conference. But all said and done, the press conference did not do much more than reassure the public that President Bush is not going to back down. It was a very short and uninformative statement that Mr. Bush gave, and the Q&A session didn't reveal much since Mr. Bush, like any good politician, gave answers to different questions than he was asked. A few minor points came out of it, that of Social Security being adjusted for the poorer to receive higher benefits than the richer, and I liked the idea of receiving your spouse's Social Security income if she passes away. Other than that, the press conference more than anything reflected everything that has been overplayed in the media and the president did not offer anything different. Other than being flustered by pointed questions on No Child Left Behind's lack of funding and John Bolton's nomination, he didn't say anything reassuring or helpful. He did admit that the price of gas cannot be lowered by his energy bill in the short term.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Economy and GDP Slow Down

If you believe what the government says, we have an excellent, healthy economy. Think again. The economy has slowed to is slowest pace in 2 years. What is most alarming in this scenario is the fact that President Bush's economic approach has created an extraordinary set of conditions that make virtually impossible for any economist to accurately predict the economy's direction. These conditions are at odds with past trends, and history is more and more becoming less of a source for accurate predictions. Examine this: we are financing 2 wars. Normally, during wartime taxes are higher to support expenditure and usually it jump starts the economy if handled correctly. But Bush has not raised taxes, he has cut them extremely (a majority of the cuts going to richer folks). Don't get me wrong, I like lower taxes, but not at the expense of the economy and my salary. As a result of cutting taxes, the government is running a huge federal deficit. Because Bush refuses to curb his tax cutting, the 2 wars are being financed through deficits. The dangerous size of the federal deficit in turn affects everything from the value of the dollar to inflation. It is a chain reaction that trickles down to consumer prices rising and the dollar value declining. They head in oppossite directions intensifying the overall effect. As an example: China and Japan hold a large portion of the U.S. debt. As the dollar continues to weaken and these two countries begin feeling the pressure to pull their money out before they lose more imagine this: Were China and Japan to sell all the U.S. debt they hold, at maturity the country (with a huge federal deficit) could not pay it back. Unless the treasury printed money to pay back the debt. This would create an excess amount of bills circulating in the economy that would trigger tremendous inflation in the U.S. and weaken the dollar even further in the world. This is just one of many possible scenarios that could potentially happen. This ill conceived economic plan has thrown the economy into a tailspin that is so unpredictable that professionals cannot say for sure if today the markets are going up or down, GDP rate higher or lower, job creation one month good the next bad. It is like mixing a bunch of explosive chemicals in a bowl and waiting to see what happens next. It is so volatile and unpredictable that finding a solution to the problem is a huge undertaking in itself, specially when the government does not provide the necessary ingredients to attemp to fix the problem. High gas and energy prices, a weak dollar, inflation, record trade deficits, record federal deficits, sluggish GDP, sluggish job creation, expensive health care, is this the recipe for a healthy economy as they would have you believe?
Economy Grows at Slowest Pace in Two Years

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Numbered Bullets?

I think this is a fabulous idea. If it were to pass and they could keep proper records it would help law enforcement tremendously. The only thing is you would have a surge of underground bullet production, but maybe they could trace the materials to the source if it were to happen. I am also all for raising the price on bullets and making them really expensive to buy, that way curbing unnecessary use.
Bill Would Put Serial Numbers on Bullets

Partisanship Dominates Social Security Talks

The Social Security issue is coming to a head in Washington and partisan politics is at the front of it. Democrats are taking advantage of the public's dislike for the Bush plan and are taunting frustrated Republicans. The Republicans are angry that Democrats are not willing to offer anything and they are being vocal about it. I don't like the Bush Social Security plan, make no mistake about it. That is, personal/private (whatever they decide to call it, it is the same damn thing) accounts as a main solution to the problem. That is the equivalent of fixing a car's engine troubles by changing the tires. It does nothing. Now, I don't mind at all the idea of personal accounts as an additional option, after the problem has been fixed (not patched like they did in 1983). I think that properly instituted it could have many potential benefits, AS AN OPTION! I particularly like the idea of passing it on to my children. But I am also realistic. I understand what the problem with Social Security is. A lot of people have not taken the time to inform themselves on the issue and they just take their party's word for it. NO!! Social Security is everyone's. You have a responsibility as a member of this nation to properly inform yourself about the issues that could affect you and your family, and potentially millions of others.
Do your homework, learn what the problem is. Don't just take their words as facts. The solution does not lie in private accounts like Republican pretend (even though the White House has admitted that private accounts do not solve the problem), nor does it lie in completely pulling any cooperation into solving the issue like Democrats are doing. Work together, you will have to if you plan to fix SS. Throw out your party stripes and dress in Red, White and Blue, your nation's colors. Give this country the respect it deserves and realize that the best both parties can accomplish is done together. Meet in the middle, not the left or the right. The majority of the country stands in the middle, or moderately to the right or left, not to the extreme right or left. COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE!!
Partisan Divide on Social Security Widens

House Ethics Rules Ready For RollBack

After much a do about the changes in the ethics rules in the house, and Republican claims that they were fair, house speaker Dennis Hastert has cleared the way for a rollback of the controversial rules. Public outcry and a Democratic stalemate preventing the Ethics committee from convening has forced the Republican's hand to give in to demands. Included with this will be an investigation into Tom Delay's activities, and I would also say that investigations into other members of the house. The Republican Party is learning the hard way that having control does not mean having the right to impose their will on the people. The White House is also learning that it cannot do whatever it wants. They still have a country to answer to!
Hastert Urges GOP to Scrap Ethics Changes

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Terrorist Attacks Almost Quadruple in 2004

We are winning. Progress is being made. We are moving forward. Freedom is on the march. To hear the President speak these words (or something similar, I cannot remember exactly) would lead you to think we are winning the war on terror. Then just a few days ago, the state department announced that it would no longer release an annual report on the number of terror attacks around the world. But not before the final report is released at the end of April. Now the figures are out, and you can see clearly see why the state department will shelve the report. We are not winning a damned thing, terrorist are not on the run, they are on the rise. And the majority of the blame goes to the situation in Iraq. Figures released on the number of attacks in 2004 show that the number of attacks didn't double, it TRIPLED, no, it almost QUADRUPLED!!! And this figure could possibly be UNDERESTIMATED HEAVILY!!! The number of significant attacks was approximately 650 up from 175 in 2003. In Iraq alone there were more than 9 times the number of attacks than in 2003. More than 100 were not included because they did not meet the State Department's criteria, but for all account anyone else would consider it an attack. We are winning? What kind of a deluded mentality thinks that an increase in violence is a sign of progress? We are winning because in 2004 the number of attacks was different from 175? What crazy math is that? Is 650 less than 175? If it is I need to go back to elementary school because I am stupid. Then State suddenly decides to halt the reports beginning in 2005? Why would that be? May I dare say that maybe they were so damned spooked by the size of this year's number that they preferred to not keep a record in the years to come that may be published by the media like this was? How can we ever win when we do not even acknowledge the problem? These people fool themselves into truly believing that things are going great when everything else indicates otherwise. I normally do not rant like this but in this case I think I have a good reason to.
Terror Attacks Increase in 2004 (AP)

Bush and GOP Moderates Clashing More and More

This is not entirely a surprise. Republicans are going to wage war among themselves. I've written previously about the internal woes in the Republican party, where the Christian right has taken over the positions of leadership and power, leaving the moderates out to graze the pasture. Slowly this conflict is brewing into an all out war. The country might have elected George Bush for a second term, but the majority does not agree with his ultra conservative agenda. His extreme right stance on issues is off with the public (if you want to refute this like a good Republican, I suggest you look at all the poll numbers before saying anything because facts don't lie), but, alas, they did elect him, and as I always say, the people deserve the leadership they vote for. You voted for George W. Bush, now accept the consequences of your actions, whether you like them or not. I'm not bashing Bush by any means, I am just stating the facts reflected by several polls (although at times you have to take these with a grain of salt, but in this case they are overwhelmingly lopsided) conducted in the last few months. Bush has the lowest approval rating of any president ever at the start of his second term. Most of his party's actions have been met with severe criticism and opposition in the public arena (i.e. Terri Schiavo, Social Security, Filibuster battle, etc.). Congress, who is controled by the Republicans, also has an abysmal approval rating of 37% reflected by the most recent poll. This is not to say that Democrats are any better, by no means. Democrats were emasculated in the last election, and are still reeling from it. Still, they have managed to band together to battle the powerful Republican majority. But it is important to point out that the Republican Party controls both houses of Congress and the White House, yet, they have waged such a divisive agenda that they have not been able to get as much done as they should have (having complete control). Of course, they will tell you otherwise, but the big issues that were campaigned on remain in limbo. Republicans blame the Democrats for everything that goes wrong. Now, that cannot be all true, specially when they are in control. Might it be that a chunk of the party is not satisfied with the extreme rightist direction in which it has headed and has decided to break ranks (i.e. John Bolton's endangered nomination)? Every great empire crumbles from within, and, although I am not calling the Republican controlled government an empire at all, they are powerful and it seems like an appropriate comparison since it looks like they are slowly imploding.
Clashes between Bush, GOP moderates grow

Delay and Everyone Else Should Be Held To Equal Standards

If Congress is going to hold House Majority Leader Tom Delay accountable for those questionable trips he has taken over the years, then it should also hold everyone else who has committed similar actions to the same standard. This is aimed mainly at Democrats, who have taken to attacking Delay in and out. If several members of their party in Congress have done similar things, they should be treated the same way Delay is. Don't get me wrong, I do not like Tom Delay, I think he is a dangerously ideological man with too much power (just read his quote in the April 25th issue of The New Yorker, Article: Talk of the Town, page 34 and you can have an idea of how crazy he is), but I also do not like the hypocrisy from Democrats who want to bring Delay down through actions that some in their own party have also committed. Hold everyone to the same standard and clean house with those whose who bend the rules knowingly, or unknowingly (i.e. Germans claimed they didn't know what was happening to all the Jews being shipped, it still doesn't justify it). It is about time that Congress cleaned up its act, and politicians practice something new: Honesty. JAJAJAJA, but now I'm the one who sounds crazy. An honest politician? Maybe it's just wishful thinking.
Travel by Congress often paid privately

Monday, April 25, 2005

GOP Changes Tune on Judges

If things do not go your way, then change your colors. At least that seems to be the motto with the GOP. The public has expressed disagreement with the party's move to ban filibusters, at least as retribution for activist judges and to support "faith-based" people. So, the GOP is now saying that they are doing it to uphold the constitution. Yeah, I am sure that low poll numbers had nothing to do with it. Again, The GOP motto: If people do not support your reason for doing something, then change it until they do. And very important, get what you want done. Like that not so funny Larry the Cable Guy says: Git 'R' Done. Sad, how very sad.
GOP Stressing Constitution in Judge Battle

Bush Begs Saudis for More Oil?

I thought Mr. Bush was talking about reducing dependence on foreign oil? Is it me or is asking Saudi Arabia for help to reduce gasoline prices the exact opposite? If you are not going to do as you say, then don't say it! Oh, I forgot to mention that the high price of oil is not due to a shortage, there is enough oil in the market to support demand in the near future. The price is so high because of speculation and fear (much of it unjustified), a large part of it because of the instability in Iraq.
Bush Urges Saudis to Boost Oil Production

U.S. Prison Population Grows

Higher prison population but less crime? Isn't that paradoxical? You would figure that if we have less crime, less people would be in jail. Well, that is if the authorities would quit prosecuting drug offenses as major crimes (by this I mean individuals who are arrested for personal consumption, not distribution). Prison population is seething with drug offenders that should have received treatment for addiction, like alcoholics, not for crimes. If that were the case over 50% of the population would deserve jail sentences. The drug wars that have consumed this country have done little to slow the influx and consumption of dangerous drugs, and approaching the problem by punishing users and potentially forcing them to become real criminals after they are released (ask a convicted drug user if it is easy for him to find a job), does not address the root of the problem. It is a reactive measure as oppossed to a preventive one. As long as they refuse to see that drug consumption in this country is born here, with us, they will never address the problem at the source and jails will always be filled with drug users.
U.S. Prison Population Soars in 2003, '04

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tell that to House Majority Leader Tom Delay to see how he feels about it.
Frist Says Judges May Be Criticized, Not Threatened

Proof Against Delay, Finally

Finally, allegations no more, now there is proof. There is a financial paper trail that links the expenses for a trip to Scotland by Tom Delay were paid by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, along with a second Washington lobbyist. Delay previously had claimed the trip was paid by for by a nonprofit organization. There is now credible evindence against Delay, where as previously it was all allegations.
DeLay Airfare Was Charged To Lobbyist's Credit Card

Saturday, April 23, 2005

More Trouble For Bolton

Looks like John Bolton is headed down, not for sure yet, but slowly more and more people are having doubts. Now, a fourth Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has expressed doubt about Bolton. With more time to review his past, we can expect the scrutiny to increase.
Another Republican Backs More Review of Bolton

Friday, April 22, 2005

Army Clears Itself From Abuse Scandal

Let me get this straight: the Army clears ITSELF of any wrong doing in the Abu Ghraib? Wow, since when do the accused investigate themselves? This is like having a cop investigate himself for wrongdoing, no objectivity and severe bias. But then again it is the Army, and anyone with a sense of history know that the Army has always operated separate of any normal legal procedure.
Army clears top Abu Ghraib case officers

Iraq Not Any Safer

Where is the so called improvement in Iraq? It seems like everytime the government claims to be defeating the insurgency there is a surge in violence. This week has seen numerous attacks that have killed dozens. Helicopter crashes, roadside bombs, suicide bombers, kidnappings, mass executions, all are once again a staple of Iraqi life. Let me offer an opinion on this subject. I don't think the insurgency is slowing doing or being defeated, I do think that they are very smart, and they choose carefully when and where to attack. On periods of high security, such as the elections on Jan. 30th, and other similar ones, they pull back, knowing that it would be foolish to attack on those days. Then they wait until security decreases to make their move. Just when the U.S. thinks that the attacks are slowing down and they get confident, you see a wave of deadly attacks. These insurgents are just waiting under the Army's noses to mount attacks when least suspected. The Army claims that the war was won in 3 weeks because it was overwhelmingly well carried out, I counter that the battle was so swift because the enemy was aware that going up against the U.S. military would have been a lost cause, so they decided to pull back and live to fight another day, today. They are more effective as guerilla units than they would have ever been as an army in the frontlines of battle. Civilian leadership such as Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz failed miserably in assessing this avenue of battle and now the troops are paying the consequences of a very poorly planned invasion. But we are in for the long run. We have a responsibilty to the people of Iraq, and whether we like it or not, this war will have to continue until it is completely won, or (and I think more likely), until the government realizes that it is not possible to win and just pull out the troops ( like the Russians did in Afghanistan).
These are just a few of the incidents that have happened this week in Iraq, and they illustrate my point clearly.
Car Bomb at Shi'ite Mosque in Baghdad Kills 10
Tape Shows Hostages, Militant Threats
A Look at U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq
Fatal Helicopter Crashes in Iraq War
Dozens of Bodies Pulled From Tigris River
Car Bomb Hits Civilian Convoy in Baghdad

Florida Takes Action On Sex Offenders

It is a beginning, but more has to be done to prevent these atrocious deeds from happening. The most important thing is creating a reliable tracking system for the thousands of sexual offenders out in the public arena. That is where these incidents occurred and that is where they will continue. The ones that are behind bars can hardly attack anyone. Yes, a 25 year jail sentence is better than a 10 year one, but these monsters are not going to distinguish between 10 and 25. What it will do, is keep them off the streets for a longer period of time, having one less offender to worry about for the time being. But the focus should still be on those released and already back in society, and preventing them from commiting any more offenses.
Florida readies tough sex offender legislation

Powell Whispers Out on Bolton Nomination

Colin Powell spoke out, although very quietly, on John Bolton's nomination for U.N. Ambassador. This is just the latest in a string of allegations made against Bolton that have caused his nomination vote to be delayed, and possibly endangering the nomination overall. Powell is a well respected and fair individual in Washington and his opinion will have a larger impact than some of the others that have stated their disapproval of Bolton.
Powell Playing Quiet Role in Bolton Battle

Wendy's Chili Finger Likely a Scam

I thought this was funny, and somewhat a case of poetic justice, if the entire incident turns out to be a scam. If so, they ought to throw the book at the woman. Wendy's has already experienced slower sales in Northern California that have forced restaurants to lay off some employees. She should be held responsible for those who lost their jobs.
Woman in Wendy's Finger Case Arrested

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Minutemen Project Stops

It didn't take long, but it is no surprise that the Minutemen program in the Arizona border is stopping its patrols. Although the idea, in theory, is to help secure the border, the nature of the job lends itself to abuses and misbahevior. All in all, it is a vigilante program, whether they call it that or not. Not even a week into its service there were allegations of abuses. Maybe they are true, maybe not, but the point is that these incidents will continue to happen. Border Security should be left to the government, even though they do a poor job, to prevent Americans from getting into trouble trying to perform a service that the government should be doing.
Minuteman Project to stop border patrols

New Bankrupcy Law Signed by Bush

The New Bankrupcy Law bill was signed yesterday. It is the first rewrite in over 25 years. The new law will make it harder to walk away from debt. Under the new law, people that make more than the median income in their state will be requires to pay back at least $6000 in 5 years. The law goes into effect in six months, so there is an expected rush for bankrupcy filings in the next coming months. The bill has been criticized by some saying it protects the credit card companies while making it harder for Americans trying to begin with a clean slate to do so. Credit Card companies counter that the debt not paid back ends up being unfairly paid by other consumers in the form of higher interest rates and higher consumer prices.
New Bankrupcy Law

Helicopter Crash in Iraq

A helicopter was shot down in Iraq today, killing all 11 people on board. It included 6 Americans, 3 Bulgarians that worked for the contarctor Blackwater USA. Victims Id's have not been released pending notification of the next of kin.

Excerpt
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A commercial helicopter contracted by the U.S. Defense Department was shot down by missile fire north of the Iraqi capital Thursday, killing six Americans contractors and three Bulgarians, officials said.The Mi-8 helicopter went down about 12 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. Embassy said. Video on television showed burning wreckage and personal belongings scattered across a wide area.
6 Americans Die in Iraq Helicopter Crash

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More Delay Allegations

The troubles get worse and worse for Tom Delay. It seems like this is just a matter of time before it completely explodes in Delay's face.
Lobbyist gave DeLay skybox for donors

Bolton Vote Delayed

In a stunning development yesterday, the panel of Foreign Relations delayed the vote on John Bolton's nomination for U.N. Ambassador. They delay was brought about not by Democrats, but by Republicans. This is a major blow to the White House, who has gone on a media blitz of support for Bolton since the delay was anounced. With an extra 2-3 weeks before the vote, the White House knows that the possibility for more allegations to surface increases tremendously, so their concern is warranted.
Panel Delays Vote on Bolton Nomination to U.N.

A Delay Investigation?

Will the political pressure finally make the Republicans open an investigation into Tom Delat ethics allegations? So far Delay has avoided any official inquiry, but apparently his time is running out.
GOP ethics members say will probe DeLay

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Government Stops Publishing Terror Stats

The State Department has decided to no longer publish its annual terrorist statistics report. This job has passed to the National Counterterrorism Center, established last year, which has not decided what it is going to do. The last report to be issued by State will be available on April 30.It is worthy noting that the report is shelved a year after it revealed that terror attacks were actually up since the War on Terrorism started, even though the Bush Administration tried to use a trumped down figure to say that attacks were down. That was later revised and naturally the White House denied any wrong doing. The State Department says that it is not suited to issue the report and that another agency is a better fit. Also noteworthy is the fact that since 1985, State has been the one reponsible for writing this report. Have they not been suited for the task since 1985? Or are they conveniently copping out of possibly providing proof that the Administration's war on terror is not proceeding as rosy as they would have you believe? Just a thought.
Feds Stop Publishing Terror Statistics

Benedict XVI New Pope

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from Germany, one of Pope John Paull II's closest friends, Dean of the college of cardinals since 2002, has been elected the 265th pope. He has taken the name Benedict XVI.

Monday, April 18, 2005

U.S. Warns Israel Sternly

The U.S. has issued once again a stern warning to Israel to immediately halt the construction of 50 homes in the west bank settlement. Israel has not responded officially to the warning. The White House has firmed its position on the issue, even though Israel is one of its closest allies. Last week the President and Israeli PM Ariel Sharon met and the President made his stance clear. Sharon agreed to halt the expansion but so far has not stopped the building of these 50 homes. In another related matter, Israel has delayed its pullout from Gaza until August. The pullout was to begin in July, but due to religous sensibilities that could incite the anger of some settlers pulling out, Sharon has conceded to the delay and will present it to his top ministers for approval on Tuesday.
Sharon Faces U.S. Rebuke on West Bank Expansion

First Papal Vote Over

The first vote for the new Pope was unsuccessful, as black smoke was seen. White smoke signals a successful vote.
Black smoke signals no new pope elected

Delay and Republicans Face Hurting Themselves

This is the simplest and most compelling argument I have read regarding the Tom delay allegations. I have stated previously that they should be investigated, not that he is guilty of anything. But everything from murders, to kidnappings , to robberies, start as allegations that are investigated to see if they have any truth to them. It doesn't mean that they are true, but our justice system would not work if only those allegations that came forth with an evidence attachment were considered. How many cases do you know that are open and shut? Not many, and the reason many cases are solved is because they are investigated and proven true or false. The same logic should be applied here. If Delay is not guilty then the investigation would exonerate him, correct? But Tom Delay and the Republican party are not going to allow an investigation to move forward. Why, is the 64,000 dollar question? If they have nothing to hide, why not let it move forward? The Republicans are hurting themselves more by impeding any investigation into the allegations than if they just let it proceed. Unless, of course, any of these allegations were true. Then Delay would be a sinking ship and they know it. That would be the only logical thing I can think of why they are blocking the investigation, because the outcome is much worse than the heat they are under now. But regardless, Republicans are committing the same mistake that the Democratic Party committed in 1994 when the Republicans were swept into power in Congress through a backlash aimed at the Democrats because of a number of ethical questions. It seems that they themselves did not learn the lesson of there own victory. Well, as they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
DeLay dust-up draws venom, but where's scrutiny?

Iraq Kidnapping Story a Hoax

This is somethingI don't understand. What practical reason is there to trump up a kidnapping report? And what reaction did the Iraqi government expect if it reported 100 kidnappings? A good reaction? It just doesn't seem like the sensible thing to do to try and establish control.

Excerpt
MADAIN, Iraq - Iraqi security forces, backed by U.S. military, swept into a town south of Baghdad at dawn Monday but found no hostages despite reports that Sunni militants had kidnapped as many as 100 Shiites there.
Residents and Sunni clerics said the reports had been grossly exaggerated by government officials bent on re-establishing control in the lawless region the U.S. military has called the "Triangle of Death" because it has become a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency.
Forces Find No Hostages in Iraqi Town

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Airport Security No Better Than in 2001

This is incredible, but a reflection of how things really are. The federal government would have you believe that airport security is better than it was before 9/11. Not so. Billions of dollars that have been spent improving security have done little to better the situation. The ability of airport screeners to detect prohibited objects today fares no better than it did in 2001. This is due to lack of proper training, equipment and technology available, management, and policy. Indeed it is a very difficult and large task. The government took over security in about 450 airports and hired more than 45,000 workers to aid in the cause in early 2002. It did not improve security significantly. In five airports it was proposed that private firms handle security to compare the results. Neither private nor public security performed up to the needed standards. As the fervor over the upping security around the country, specifically airports, turns to a more realistic tone, government agencies might be realizing that it is impossible to completely secure our airports and that we will have to learn to live with an acceptable amount of risk in our lives. But you won't hear them say that anytime soon.
AP Report

Sarah Lunde's Body Found, Sex Offender Charged

Florida seems to be the place were convicted sex offenders that have been released go to prey on innocent little girls. Another girl has been confirmed dead and a sex offender charged with her murder. It makes you wonder what the hell the authorities do once these people are released from prison. It doesn't seem like they inform communities or their leaders about possible sex offenders moving to their areas. It also seems like the authorities do not keep track or control of these offenders effectively, leaving them with ample opprotunity to attack more victims.
Sex Offender Charged in Fla. Girl's Death

Cardinals Prepare For Conclave

115 Cardinals have checked into a Vatican hotel to prepare for the beginning of tomorrow's conclave. The Cardinals will remain in seclusion for the duration of the conclave until a new Pope is elected. A process that has in the past taken as long as 33 months to produce a Pope, it is not known at this time who is going to be elected, but there are certain frontrunners in the race. Cardinals will hold up to 4 votes a day until the 264th Pope is elected. Up until now the church has remained quiet on a self-imposed silence toward the media. It is not known how long it will take for the Cardinals to reach a successful vote.
Cardinals Prepare for Monday's Papal Conclave

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Another Congressman Bashes Delay

Tom Delay under more fire from his own party. Slowly it seems that people are putting distance between themselves and the embattled majority leader. How long can he survive if the heat keeps on coming?
Conservative Lawmaker: DeLay Should Quit

Bolton's Nomination In Jeopardy

After seeming to be on the fast track for approval, the nominee for U.N. Ambassador has hit some hard obstacles as an aide for Sen Chuck Hagel that was previously under Bolton and has apparently confirmed some of the allegations. While Hagel is still leaning towards approval, he now has questions regarding Bolton's behavior and has expressed that if more allegations surface he would have a hard time approving the nomination.
Reports rock support for Bush's U.N. nominee

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Level Fair Charges at Tom Delay

While I am not a Tom Delay supporter, I do say that one of the charges leveled at him is unfair, specifically the one that his PAC paid his wife and daughter $500,000 each in the past 4 years. This a is a practice that, though controversial, is not uncommon in Congress. At least 39 members of Congress have engaged in it and it is hypocritical that Delay is the only one singled out. If they are going to accuse someone of doing something unethical or questionable, then they should hold everyone who has commited a similar act to the same standards, not just the most public figure and leader. Now, I do not know if the other members paid their family members a half million dollars, a little exorbitant if you ask me, but even if it was just one dollar it should be held in the same regard as Delay's family's payments. The same goes for the trips Delay has taken. If they are going to go after him for those, and I am sure he is not the only one who has taken those questionable trips, then everyone else who has done the same, Republican or Democrat, should be held accountable just like him.
Political Payrolls Include Families

White House Impeding Investigation

The White House has claimed it does not condoned paying to promote its agenda, even though they have been caught at it several times (they cliam they were unaware). If they really do not condone it, why are they impeding the investigation into the Education Department's hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams by refusing to allow questioning of White House staff? Are they hiding something?

Excerpt
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is impeding an investigation into the Education Department's hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams by refusing to allow key White House officials to be interviewed, a Democratic lawmaker briefed on the review said Thursday.
In addition, Rep. George Miller (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., said Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is considering invoking a privilege that he said would require information to be deleted when the final version is publicly released, which is expected within days.
White House Said to Impede Education Probe

Violence Erupts in Iraq Again

The violence keeps steady in Iraq. Amid all the U.S. government's claim that things are improving in sectors such as government and infrastrusture, probably the most important factor to gain control over, the insurgency, is far from being quelled. The Iraqi parliament has chosen its president, the elections were fairly successful, there is construction going on, but the question remain how much longer can the Iraqi and American public put up with the unceasing violence and loss of life? Last week there was a large protest against U.S. occupation that stormed through Baghdad. Will this number rise in the future, since it is fair obvious that American troops are going to be there for a while?
Bombs Kill 15 in Surge of Violence in Iraq

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Patriot Act Renewal Won't Breeze By This Time

When the Patriot Act was signed into law shorlty after 9/11, the country was in shock and rushed into signing a bill without fully examining the repercussions. There have been reports of abuses, misuses, and the Justice Department has refused to disclose its use of the new power given it. With sections of the act up for renewal this year, it will not be a breeze like it was last time. There is opposition from both sides and a number of groups have banded together to oppose the renewal of these sections. While most of the law is benign, there are portions that infringe on civil liberties and rights. Among these are:

• It allows secret searches of any home or business by federal agents, with no deadline to notify the owners or occupants that a search has taken place. There has been misuse of this power.

• It authorizes collection of personal information from libraries, businesses and medical providers regardless of evidence of any connection with terrorism. Those ordered to supply the information are barred from letting anyone know that teh government is engaging in such activities.

• It defines domestic terrorism so broadly it could be applied to completely unrelated acts, even peaceful protests.

Excerpt
When Congress rushed to give unprecedented new powers to law enforcement in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks, debate was limited and the vote was overwhelming: 357-66 in the House and 98-1 in the Senate. As portions of the "USA Patriot Act" law come up for renewal, that's unlikely to happen again, fortunately.
'Trust me' just doesn't fly

Justices Address Congress For First Time Since Schivo Case

Supreme court justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas spoke before a congressional committee addressing the Supreme Courts budget today. The hearing turned into a wide ranging discussion regarding the role of the judiciary in society and the accountability that judges should have. Both justices defended the judiciary and admitted that criticism is part of the democratic process, but that is one of the reasons that federal judgeships are for life, to be free from any political or other types of pressure. The Courts have come under heavy criticism from the Republican Right for their role in deciding Terri Schiavo's fate. Recently Rep. Tom Delay, House majorioty leader, made a controversial statement in which he said: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," referring to what some are calling a judiciary "run amok". This is in sharp contrast to what the majority of the nation, a whopping 70%, thinks of the issue. Justice Kennedy dismissed the idea that the court should be sensitive to public dissatisfaction with rulings by saying that the most controversial rulings involved dissent from the nine justices themselves. What are we to expect from the public? Unanimous support?
Justices Respond to Criticism From Congress

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Israel Continues Construction on One West Bank Settlement

A day after the meeting between President Bush and Israeli PM Sharon, when Sharon agreed that he would halt all west bank expansions, the bulldozers and working crews are still working in an area they claim does not constitute expansion. But this action is in direct defiance with the Bush Administration and worse, looks like a slap to face of Palestinians. Sharon was quoted Monday saying "It was not to antagonize the U.S., but to keep areas that seem strategic to Israel." Bush countered that any further construction would constitute a violation of the international peace plan road map. Today, it seems yesterday's agreements fell on deaf ears. Construction in Maaleh Adumim has continued unabated through various Mideast peace plans, and it proceeded today as well. In 2004, Bush broke ranks with U.S. policy in saying that any future peace deal would have to take into account existing jewish population centers as part of Israeli territory. Israel has very freely taken that to mean that any current territory under its control is rightfully theirs, including the one in question. We will see what the Palestinian actions to this development will be soon enough. They have already expressed displeasure at Israeli intentions.
West Bank Jewish Settlements Continue

More Iraqi Troops Than American? True or False?

We keep hearing these claims about the astounding amounts of Iraqi troops being trained. Now the President says that they outnumber American troops. Yet he presents no real evindence of the claim, we do not see any move toward troop pullout (and will not see it for a while), and not long ago, Pentagon officials could not estimate what the figure really was, but I believe the rumor was about 20,000. Now they have over 150,000? Hmm.... dubious. Let me entertain the notion for a minute. Maybe they have trained that many troops. But how good a training can it be when it lasts only three weeks? They are not training soldiers, they are giving them weapons and throwing them out after three weeks. What would our public say if we were sending our kids off to war with only 3 weeks training? I mean, just regular Army training takes about 3 months. Three weeks? These people are soldiers after three weeks? What kind of an Army do these fools (normally I don't resort to name calling, but this is just too much) think they are building? Back to reality, it seems to me very unrealistic that they have trained over 120,000 troops in less than 2-3 months time. And does the Administration really expect the public to take its word for it? After everything they have lied about? You have got to be kidding me.
Bush Says Trained Iraqi Troops Now Outnumber U.S.

Three Indicted in Terror Plot

Three men have been indicted in a terrorist plot to attack financial institutions in NewYork, New Jersey and Washington. The indictments were unsealed today . All men are Muslims and are already being held in custody in New England.

Excerpt
(AP) - Three men have been indicted on charges they plotted to attack financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington. A four-count indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses Dhiran Barot, Nadeem Tarmohammed and Qaisar Shaffi of scouting the New York Stock Exchange and Citicorp Building in New York, the Prudential Building in Newark, N.J., and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the District of Columbia. The three men, already in custody in England, were charged with three conspiracy counts and providing material support to terrorists. More...
Three Indicted on Terror Charges in U.S.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Law, a Knowing Accomplice to Sex Abuse, Celebrates Mass

A cannot help but agree with this protest. The hypocrisy of the Church in the child abuse scandals that went on for decades under the watch of Cardinal Law is inexcusable. Not only was he the Archbishop of Boston at the time, but he knowingly moved priests accused of sexual molestation to other parishes where they went unpunished and committed even more crimes. He also failed to inform the parents that their children were in danger. The countless number of acts committed and the lives affected have been paid off in settlements but does that really excuse the predatory behavior of these priests hiding under the house of God, and even more, does that make a cover up by Law acceptable? For him to conduct mass for the Holy Father should be a shame in the Church and a shame on him. But he will have to live with his sins, if he considers them that, and that is about as much as we can expect. It has been commenetd by other American cardinals that Law was chosen because he heads an important church, not to personally honor him. Regardless, it is in poor taste that the Vatican allows a willing accomplice to some of the most unspeakable crimes to speak at the most popular Pope in history's Mass.
Law Celebrates Mass Despite Protests

U.N. Wants Leniency For Condoms

This is a particular issue that the Pope , in my opinion, did not handle well. It does not address the reality of the situation, and seeing how influential this Pope was, probably caused more harm than help. John Paul II's stance against contraception undermined the efforts by Health Organizations around the world to cut down on the spread of AIDS, specially in Africa where it has reached epidemic proportions. Although in a Utopian world abstinence would be the perfect contraceptive, in the real world condoms have proven to be the best way to curb AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The U.N. has expressed its desire for the new Pope to be more lenient when it comes to contraceptives. The public also shares this view.
UN Official Hopes New Pope Will Ease Condom Stance

Bolton Hearings Begin Today

The hearings for U.N. Ambassador nominee John Bolton began today. Bolton, a controversial figure due to his critical comments of the U.N. and questionable involvement in state department intelligence reports, faired pretty well today under heavy fire from the Democrats. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee consists of 10 Republicans and 8 Democrats. It is expected that all Democrats will vote against, so the passing of the nomination to the full senate might be in the hands of Republican moderate Lincoln Chafee, who has expressed inclination toward voting for Bolton unless something surprising made it otherwise. He expressed today that Bolton had done well. A vote is expected on Thursday.
Bolton Pledges to Help Strengthen U.N.

Bush, Sharon Agree On Settlement Freeze

In an interesting move, President Bush asked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to not expand the West Bank settlements. He did so both publicly and privately. This issue has been in the front line of the fragile peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis, and it was expected to cause severe problems if it was carried out. Sharon had expressed his need for U.S. to support the expansion, but Bush denied it. Sharon Agreed without much resistance, surprisingly enough. The president also pointed to Sharon that the expansion violated the international peace plan that called for a settlement freeze. Sharon also agreed.
Bush Asks Sharon Not to Expand Settlement

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Government More Secretive Than Ever

This should be no surprise. We have witnessed the Government becoming more and more secretive recently and more unaccountable for decisions made to further its own interests. In 2004, 15.6 million decisions were deemed classified, a 10% increase from 2004. In 2000, the number was 11.2 million. With the media laying low for so long, the government, as would any other government in power, has taken advantage of this. The checks and balances that the media has provided in the past have all but disappeared. There has been a surge in the media tenacity recently, but the government has gotten so far ahead in the race that it is difficult to battle them. The media is going to have to rely on leaks and confidential sources to trace the activities being carried on outside the public's eye. Now, more than ever, it is extremely dangerous for these sources to provide sensitive information seeing, that the price for this supposed "betrayal" in the eyes of the current administration is as bad as treason. Remember this is an administration that values loyalty more than qualifications, experience and righteousness. For somebody to criticize it would be the equivalent of committing career suicide and more likely worse should they be discovered.
Gov't Classification Decisions Hit Record

Sen. Santorum Blasts Delay

Things must really be getting heated if one of the top senators in the Republican party is demanding Tom Delay address the ethical issues hampering him. Sen. Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, the #3 Republican in the Senate has said publicly that Delay should answer the questions surrounding some of his activities and then let the people decide for themselves. Slowly we are seeing more and more Republicans steer away from Delay's troubles. Just last week vice-president Cheney and Sen. Bill Frist disagreed publicly with Delay's comments on the judiciary regarding the Terri Schiavo case. Are we seeing the beginnings of an inner battle? We will have to wait and see how everything plays out.
Santorum: DeLay Needs to Answer Questions

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Pulling Back on Social Security?

Is it possible they are backtracking? The Republicans? Hard to believe, but it seems that for once the public's chantl is being heard (and possibly the Democrats have helped there too). The lack of popularity on President Bush's private accounts, personal accounts, whatever they want to call it next, seems to have finally registered with those high ups that have been trying to steam roll the proposal through Congress and the nation. Most likely, these politicians have started to get worried their behinds might be in danger in the upcoming elections of 2006. After all it is all politics, right?
GOP Senators Reconsider Personal Accounts

Delay Becoming a Lightning Rod

Is Mr. Bush washing his hands of trouble? I don't blame him if he is. The way Tom Delay's road looks, its going to be a bumpy ride in the near future. Maybe he'll get lucky and more celebrities or important figures will pass away and take the attention away from him ( I.E. John Paul II).
Bush Declines to Endorse DeLay's Comments

First Spammer Convicted

Hopefully this will be the first of many more. I think we can all agree that spammers ought to be held accountable for the trash they send.
First Convicted Spammer Gets 9 Years

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bush and Congress Low in Polls

This should come as no surprise after the terri Schiavo push backfired on the Republican party. What is more interesting about this poll is the fact that Republicans are realizing that, while they have control of Congress and the White House, they still have a tough battle ahead. Democrats have taken a stand to some of the bullying, and I am sorry, it is bullying. This kind surprises me since Democrats have been lap dogs for the past 4 years. The public is dissatisfied with the government's performance and they should be. You should expect progress to be made when both Congress and the White House are commanded by one party, there is less oppostition. The problem here is the fact that the Republican party is at war within itself. It has been highjacked by a group of heavily right leaning leaders that do not really represent the core of the party. They will tell you that this is the face of the new Republican party and that this is what the people want. They are wrong, and they are starting to see the ill effects of bullying an agenda that does not agree with a majority of the population. Remember that Bush won with the lowest approval ratings for an incumbent, a testament to the fact that he is not viewed very favorably in matters other than terrorism. His win is more a reflection of the public's fear of changing leaders during two wars and the Kerry Campaign's ineptitude than it is of the President's performance. The Republican Party in the past has been a great party, a party of fiscal responsibility and defense. We have seen that side of the party wane and a group of rightwingers with their own agenda take over and push the more moderate and popular voices to the side. The parties take on the image of the leaders, even if they are not in agreement with most of the population. Right now, the faces of the Republican party are George Bush, Bill Frist, Tom Delay, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, etc., all of them neoconservatives. I do not criticize them for their beliefs, but to impose them on a public that, in majority, is more moderate, is not right. One thing I am personally faithful to is the fact that everything in moderation is the best way, excesses and extremes are not good, whether left or right. Unfortunately, it is the Nation that pays the price for the extremes that are existent in both parties, but as of this moment, more the rightwingers because they hold the best hand and can push harder. It is up to the people to hold those responsible for the direction of the country accountable and make the necessary changes to make this country respectable once again.
Poll: Bush, Congress approval rating slips

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Crash Kills 16 in Afghanistan

A helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed 13 U.S. soldiers and 3 civilians yesterday, two more were listed as missing. Bad weather is the suspected cause. This marks the deadliest crash since the war in Afghanistan began, among several others that have occurred in the last three years. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of the families.
13 of 16 killed in Afghan crash were U.S. troops

Minutemen Program Already in Hot Water

This is disaster waiting to happen. Although I agree with the idea in theory, in practice it lends itself to abuses, and it didn't take more than a few days for allegations to suface. Besides, shouldn't it be the Government's duty to protect our borders? We sure as hell pay enough taxes. Maybe if we had more money to spend? Oh, that's right, we cut a bunch in taxes and now there is now money to protect the border. Does that make sense?
Minuteman Project Volunteers Face Probe

Pope's Funeral Throws Foes Together

Pope John Paul II's funeral will reunite foes, such as the U.S. and Iran, Syria, although reunite is may be too nice a word. It will be more like throwing them into a ring. Cuba's Fidel Castro will not attend, but he did not hesitate to take jab at U.S. sanctions on his country when he delivered his speech on the Pope's death. The United States and Iran have been foes since the Islamic revolution in 1979, and they have been name calling ever since. At one point Iran called the U.S. "The Great Satan" and not too long ago President Bush called Iran part of the "Axis of Evil". It sounds childish, but that is the reality we live in today. The Pope's body will remain at St. Peter's Basilica for viewing until tomorrow when the y expect to bury him.
Foes Reunited at Peace Pope's Funeral

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

World Bank Warns U.S. of High Deficits

The World Bank has warned the United States that it must reduce its federal deficit. This criticism has been in the backburner for some time, and is beginning to rear its head, shortly befor Pual Wolfowitz takes the helm in June. Countries, mostly Asian ones, do not want any major modifications of the current system , therefore they are financing a large amount of the U.S. deficit. If the Unites States does not reign in its wild spending there is a strong possibility of sustaining a currecny crisis related to the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves. Because of the size of the deficit, the U.S. has to reduce it gradually, if it is done too quickly it could plunge the country into a recession. For now, a crisis is not imminent but the dangers of bankrolling such irresponsible fiscal spending are beginning to worry some.
World Bank warns U.S. to cut deficits(Reuters)

Leaked Study Paint Grim Portrait for Social Security

As Republicans reconvene after a two week break and vow to push forward with their Social Security plan, yet another study is leaked that paints bleak, but hypothetical, furture for some workers. The core of the study suggests that, hypothetically, someone born next year, earning about $56K as an adult, and investing the maximum 4% in the private accounts along with the proposed changes in the Social Security program, could possibly be receiving all his Social Security income from the private accounts alone. Not good, since the President says that it would help solve the problem. Republicans have fired away at the study's results, and they have a point. The study takes proposed changes such as cutting benefits and price indexing as a given, even though the President has said he will consider them, nothing is final. Still, with an unpopular position in the Social Security deabte, the Republicans are not particularly happy with the leaked study.
Accounts Could Replace Soc. Sec. Checks

Peter Jennings Has Cancer

Peter Jennings, anchor for the ABC nightly news, has lung cancer. He anounced it yesterday in a taped segment in which you could clearly tell his voice was husky anf forced. Over the weekend, speculation was rampant when Jennings failed to report on Pope John Paul II death. He anounced to his coworkers and staff about his illness in an interoffice email. Jennings was a long time smoker. Though he quit in 1988, it is clear that he smoke long enough for it to be a hazard to his future health. He is scheduled to begin chemotheraoy treatment nexy week, and he will not undergo surgery. It is usually not a good sign if a lung cancer patient cannot undergo surgery, but Jennings and his doctors have kept mum on the severity of his condition. We wish him the best, and hope he conquers this challeneg like many others in his life.


Photo Jennings Vows to Continue ABC Broadcast

Monday, April 04, 2005

Teenagers and Sex Off the Charts

This is the idiocy caused by abstinence only programs and education. It is not a realistic approach to the teenage sex problem and it only creates other problems and misconceptions such as oral and anal sex not really being sex. As dumb and ingnorant as the youth chooses to be today, how can Bush's abstinence program ever solve a problem by feeding them idealistic lunacy? Can they really expect these hormonal teenagers to abstain from sex by abstinence? As Bill Maher said on his HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher" last friday: "kids did with sex what everyone does with contracts, they found a loophole". So don't be surprised if your daughter is technically a virgin (vaginally anyway) but has been poked in every other orifice on her body, excuse the language but there is no other way to put it. I do not know of any culture that finds anal intercourse more acceptable than vaginal intercourse, but hey our little girls must remain virgins, according to Mr. Bush's ideals, right? Even if it is just a technicality. Sad, terribly sad.

Oral Sex Safe and Not Really Sex, Say U.S. Teens

Bush Says War Worth It

As nations withdraw their troops and the violence refuses to sunside, President Bush has stated that the U.S. will bear the burden of the cost of the war. While most people are aware of this, the President has gone as far as to say that it is worth it. That is a question that time and the American people will answer, not a politician whose sole legacy rests on the outcome of this conflict. It would be detrimental to the President if he gave any other answer, so he is compromised in his statements. The true answer to the question, is it worth it? - will remain evasive for years to come, but maybe in the future we will get a better idea if it was really worth it.


Excerpt
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday the United States will still bear the burden of reconstruction costs in wartorn Iraq even as some of its coalition partners withdraw their forces.
"The fundamental question is: is it worth it? And the answer is, Absolutely it's worth it for a free Iraq to emerge'," Bush said, standing alongside visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.
Bush: U.S. to bear burden of Iraq costs

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Terri Still Not left Alone

Even after her death, it seems that terri Schiavo cannot be let alone. There is now a dispute between the parents and the husband regarding her burial and also about lettung and independent medical examiner be present during the autopsy. In both cases, Michael Schiavo has the authority to make the decision. Terri's remains were cremated today, and an independent examiner was not allowed to attend the autopsy.

Excerpt
TAMPA, Fla. - Terri Schiavo's body was cremated Saturday as disagreements continued between her husband and her parents, who were unable to have their own independent expert observe her autopsy.
The cremation was carried out according to a court order issued Tuesday establishing that Michael Schiavo had the right to make such decisions, said his lawyer, George Felos. He said plans for burying her ashes in Pennsylvania, where she grew up, had not yet been completed.
Terri Schiavo cremated amid family dispute

Pope John Paul II Dies

Pope John Paul II passed away yesterday at 9:37 p.m. local time, 2:37 p.m. eastern. The Pope's body will remain in the Clementine Hall for viewing until tomorrow at which time it will be transported to the St. Peter's Basilica. Several. He was 84 years old.

Excerpt
VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II's body lay in state at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on Sunday, and Vatican television showed the pope's remains clad in crimson vestments, his head covered with a white bishop's miter.
T
he powerful images gave the world its first glimpse of the late pontiff since his last public appearance Wednesday. John Paul died Saturday evening at 84 after suffering heart and kidney failure following two hospitalizations in as many months.
Pope's Body Lies in State at Vatican

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope Near Death

Pope John Paul II clings to life at the Vatican. He has been in serious condition, fadinf in and out of consciouness since Thursday when he developed a high fever and a urinary tract infection.
Meanwhile, millionas around the world are holding masses and praying for the ailing pontiff.

Excerpt
(AP) - Pope John Paul II's condition remained in "very serious" condition Saturday after developing a high fever, but he was responding to members of his staff, the Vatican said. "The clinical conditions of the Holy Father remain very serious. In late morning, the high fever developed. When addressed by members of his household, he responds correctly," the Holy See said in a statement. More...
Pope Remains in 'Very Serious' Condition

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