Friday, December 31, 2004

Minimum wage increase among new laws Minimum wage increase among new laws

Workers’ wages, consumers’ ability to buy over-the-counter sinus drugs and costs at Secretary of State offices are just a few of the aspects of life that will be affected by the 120 new laws that will go into effect in the new year in Illinois.

Illinois workers at the bottom of the pay scale will receive a 15 percent wage boost. Illinois’ minimum wage will increase to $6.50 an hour in 2005.
The increase is the second phase of a change in the state minimum wage. The minimum wage rose from $5.15 to $5.50 in 2004.

According to state Sen. Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac), the increase makes Illinois’ minimum wage the highest in the Midwest.

Rutherford said he feared the increase would not benefit residents of Illinois. Rutherford said he believes the increase in wages will artificially raise the costs of consumer goods in the state.

While the increase in wages attempts to improve the workforce’s lifestyle, one law attempts to keep children in school to better prepare them for the workforce.

The law, approved in August, attempts to improve the graduation rate of Illinois high school students by raising the minimum dropout age from 16 years old to 17 years old providing parents and educators additional opportunities to keep children in school.

BBC NEWS | Health | 'Jigsaw plan' reveals personality

BBC NEWS | Health | 'Jigsaw plan' reveals personality: "If you have returned from a family Christmas feeling particularly stressed it could be down to 'jigsaw rage'.

University of Bath researchers have found people approach jigsaws in a number of different ways - and if two strategies clash, there can be trouble."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Blogs take on the mainstream

BBC NEWS | Technology | Blogs take on the mainstream: "Web logs or blogs are everywhere, with at least an estimated five million on the web and that number is set to grow.

These online diaries come in many shapes and styles, ranging from people willing to sharing their views, pictures and links, to companies interested in another way of reaching their customers.

But this year the focus has been on blogs which cast a critical eye over news events, often writing about issues ignored by the big media or offering an eye-witness account of events.

Most blogs may have only a small readership, but communication experts say they have provided an avenue for people to have a say in the world of politics."

Think Your Vitamins are Safe?

Millions of Americans spend billions of dollars annually on dietary supplements—herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals—to treat a multitude of ailments. But most don't know that under current law, there's no guarantee that what's on the label is what's in the bottle, or that what's in the bottle is safe and effective. In these excerpts from their interviews, NCCAM director Stephen Straus and Harvard Medical School's Tom Delbanco, Marcia Angell and David Eisenberg discuss the controversy over regulating dietary supplements and the challenges for doctors and patients in the face of the lack of reliable information. Plus, a review of the research on the popular supplement St. John's Wort from Dr. Straus.

For decades, there's been a tension about how herbs and dietary supplements should be [treated]. Are they medicines, are they foods, are they drugs, are they natural products, are they synthetic things, what are they?

In 1994, Congress decided to pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which said that dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs of all stripes, all botanical products that you ingest, other than tobacco, is to be regulated as a food. Now of course we ingest them, and in that regard they're foods.... But they're given for health promotion purposes, which means really [we should be] considering them to be drugs, but they're not regulated as drugs.... The reality is in the American marketplace, the American consumer is fairly sophisticated, and for many years, when it came to dietary supplements, the consumer was totally unsophisticated. We trusted that these things were standardized just like aspirin and they're not.

...Americans will go to the store and they'll buy the most expensive bottle with the fanciest label, and they'll think that they're getting the best product. But they're not necessarily getting the best product. Imagine if you were going to buy a Mercedes and somebody told you that there was a considerable chance that there was a Chevrolet engine under the hood and it was not a Mercedes. You might be upset. But that's the position Americans are in in the marketplace today in buying dietary supplements. There's no guarantee that what's on the label is in the bottle.

The public believed that these products were natural and therefore safe... that they are well standardized and free of contaminants. That led to an explosive growth in sales of these products throughout the 1990s, but that growth has stopped and it is now declining. It's now declining because the promise of dietary supplements has not been met with the reality of dietary supplements. There are products that have been pulled from the shelves of various health food stores [and] supermarkets, because they are contaminated with prescription drugs or heavy metals.

We know today that dietary supplements are chemically active. They must be, of course, if they're going to be beneficial to one's health. [But] those activities can interfere with the body's handling of life saving drugs. When people ate herbs 100,000 years ago, they didn't have to worry about whether it was going to interfere with their AIDS drug, but today we have that concern and some do interfere with AIDS drugs.

The public has learned largely through very good reporting from the media that these products are not necessarily safe. They're not necessarily as they claim to be. One needs to exercise caution and discuss the decision with a physician.

Terrorists using Lazor Beams as Weapons???

F.B.I. to Investigate Reports of Lasers Beamed at PlanesBy JEFFREY GETTLEMAN Published: December 31, 2004
EWARK, Dec. 30 - In the past week, laser beams of unknown origins have been shined into the cockpits of seven airplanes as they were about to land at various airports around the country, including Teterboro Airport. Federal officials announced on Thursday that they were initiating a major investigation to determine whether the episodes were related to terrorism.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thomas' Acceptance of Gifts Tops Justices

Thomas' Acceptance of Gifts Tops Justices : "WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts since joining the Supreme Court, from $1,200 worth of tires to valuable historical items and a $5,000 personal check to help pay a relative's education expenses.

The gifts included a Bible once owned by the 19th century author and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, which Thomas valued at $19,000, and a bust of President Lincoln valued at $15,000.

Anna Nicole Smith loses $88.5 million ruling

A federal appeals court Thursday threw out a judge's ruling that awarded $88.5 million to former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith from the estate of her late husband, an oil tycoon who died at age 90 just over a year after they wed.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Texas probate court's decision that the oilman's son was his sole heir should stand.

The appeals court said the federal judge in California who ruled in Smith's favor in 2002 should never have even heard the case.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Year the Earth Fought Back

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Year the Earth Fought Back: "London — LIKE two bookends of calamity, earthquakes at Bam in Iran and off Sumatra in Indonesia have delineated a year of unusual seismic ferocity - a year, one might say, of living dangerously. Twelve months, almost to the very hour, before Sunday's extraordinary release of stress at the India-Burma tectonic plate boundary, a similar jolt at the boundary of the Arabian and the Eurasian Plates devastated one of the most celebrated of Persian caravan cities. The televised images of Bam's collapsed citadel and the sight of thousands of bodies being carried from the desert ruins haunted the world then just as the images of the drowned around the shores of the Bay of Bengal do today.

But that has not been the half of it. True, these two disasters were, in terms of their numbers of casualties, by far the most lethal. But in the 12 months that separated them, there have been many other ruinous and seismically ominous events, occurring in places that seem at first blush to be entirely disconnected."

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Are We Stingy? Yes

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Are We Stingy? Yes: "President Bush finally roused himself yesterday from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to telephone his sympathy to the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and to speak publicly about the devastation of Sunday's tsunamis in Asia. He also hurried to put as much distance as possible between himself and America's initial measly aid offer of $15 million, and he took issue with an earlier statement by the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, who had called the overall aid efforts by rich Western nations 'stingy.' 'The person who made that statement was very misguided and ill informed,' the president said."

Democrat Declared Winner in Wash. State Gov. Race

Recounts can actually work in America, if we give them a chance. Too bad the Urkainians are the only ones passionate and patient enough to participate in a true democracy.

Romanian, 67, pregnant with twins

Romanian, 67, pregnant with twins

Romanian doctors say a 67-year-old woman is seven months pregnant with twin girls after fertility treatment.

If the pregnancy comes to full term, it is believed that Adriana Iliescu, an author and academic, will become the oldest recorded mother.

Mrs Iliescu told local television she had always wanted to be a mother but had been unable to conceive naturally.

She says she is optimistic about her future as a mother, claiming her family has a history of longevity.

Last year, a 65-year-old Indian woman gave birth to a boy.

Schoolteacher Satyabhama Mahapatra from Nayagarh in Orissa had been impregnated with an egg from her 26-year-old niece that had been fertilised by her husband.

It was the first child for Ms Mahapatra and her husband who had been married for 50 years.

Uncensored premiere for Potemkin

A newly reconstructed version of the 1925 Soviet film Battleship Potemkin will premiere at Berlin Film Festival.

The film, by Sergei Eisenstein, dramatised a mutiny on the Russian ship showing how it inspired a failed 1905 uprising against the country's czars.

It now includes Russian graphics and words from revolutionary Leon Trotsky, which were censored in the 1920s.

The festival, which is showing the film next year, said no complete print of the original movie survived.

It will be shown at the festival on 12 and 13 February and will be accompanied by live music from the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg.

One of its best-known scenes is the Odessa steps sequence, in which a child in a pram rolls down a staircase as fighting rages around it.

But the film, which was shot for the 20th anniversary of the failed uprising, was victim of "one of the most spectacular cases of censorship in the 1920s" after being cut by the Soviets, a festival statement said.

Tsunami Donations

My friend, Megan, is organizing donations to be made to the Urbana Red Cross for Tsunami recovery. Donations can be made to with e-payments to, or send them:

American Red Cross
507 W. Springfield Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

or call in to 217-344-2800 to make phone payments.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Head of CIA analysis unit joins exodus of top officials in shake-up

the earth's crust isn't the only thing being shaken up. where there's smoke, there's fire?!

UN suspends food aid for Darfur

United Nations food convoys to Sudan's western Darfur region have been suspended because of fighting.

The World Food Programme stopped its deliveries on Monday when rebels attacked police stations in the neighbouring state of West Kordofan.

Road closures prevented 70 trucks carrying rations for some 260,000 people reaching Darfur.

Despite an April ceasefire, clashes between rebels, pro-government militias and the army continue.

The UN has called Darfur one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with some two million refugees relying on aid handouts since the conflict began nearly two years ago.

Tsunami Disaster Relief: How America Can Prove It's Not 'Stingy'

Editor's Note: President Bush bristled at the suggestion that the U.S. response to the horrendous Christmas tsunamis was 'stingy.' The writer suggests a way for the administration to improve America's standing in the world's eyes by proving that Americans care.

When United Nations humanitarian aid chief Jan Egeland, from Norway, suggested that "rich countries" were "stingy" when it came to international disaster relief, his comment triggered petulant denials by Secretary of State Colin Powell and President Bush. "The United States is not stingy," Powell told CNN. Bush called Egeland "misguided and ill-informed." Since Mr. Egeland did not specifically mention the United States, these defensive reactions were puzzling

Gang members are terrorists?

I thought Kelly would find this especially interesting given the way terrorists are defined in new legislation -- "those intimidating or coercing civilian populations"
This leaves a huge gap in law; it is left wide open to perverted interpretation, such as is demonstrated in the following link. And as far as I'm concerned terrorism, its roots, causes, etc... is wholy and undeniably different from gangs, their roots, causes, and intentions. But apparently our wise leaders don't think so. Their logic is as follows:

Drugs = gangs.
Gangs = murder.
Murder = terror.
Terror = terrorism.

Simple logic : like y=mx + b: and if you can't follow it then you should just join Al-Qaeda.

And another thing, do political parties not "intimidate and/or coerce civilian populations" ?????
Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Birthday Blues

First of all, Merry Christmas!!

Next up, my birthday, Monday December 27th. I'm turning twenty-two, and have made the decision that this is my year -the year that Kelly does whatever makes Kelly happy. And those that know me well know that I am happiest in the presence of music, especially tangled up in the blues. So, to start things right, here's what I'm cooking up: Ever hear of the club Kingston Mines in Chicago on Halstead? Legendary blues club, been around since the 60', partly why Chicago is known for its blues scene. Anyway, that's where I'm going. Monday nights (December 27th a.k.a. my birthday) are "Blue Monday Blues Jam: Hosted by John Primer, Aron Burton, and Brian "BJ" Jones." Admission is twelve bucks, but, bring a college ID and it's free. I'm gonna get a cheap hotel, but who needs to sleep when the club is open till 4am!
So...tis the season! Let's party!! Get your friends, get your friends' friends, get a car, your new Christmas outfit, and come hit up Chicago! Call me...

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Families Pay the Price

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Families Pay the Price: "It's like watching your son playing in traffic, and there's nothing you can do.' - Janet Bellows, mother of a soldier who has been assigned to a second tour in Iraq."

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Christmas Eve of Destruction

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Christmas Eve of Destruction: "In Iraq, as Yogi Berra would say, the future ain't what it used to be.

Now that the election's over, our leaders think it's safe to experiment with a little candor.

President Bush has finally acknowledged that the Iraqis can't hack it as far as securing their own country, which means, of course, that America has no exit strategy for its troops, who will soon number 150,000.

News organizations led with the story, even though the president was only saying something that everybody has known to be true for a year. The White House's policy on Iraq has gone from a total charade to a limited modified hangout. Mr. Bush is conceding the obvious, that the Iraqi security forces aren't perfect, so he doesn't have to concede the truth: that Iraq is now so dire no one knows how or when we can get out."

Friday, December 24, 2004

Our Democracy is in Danger of Being Paralyzed

Can democracy truly exist without an informed public? I give a plea for MEDIA REFORM NOW!

Year's Biggest Quake Shakes Ocean Floor Off Australia
Australia & New Zealand
: "Year's Biggest Quake Shakes Ocean Floor Off Australia (Correct)

By Gemma Daley and Demian McLean

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.1, the year's strongest, shook the ocean floor today between Australia and Antarctica.

The quake struck about 1:59 a.m. at the epicenter about 800 kilometers (613 miles) south of Australia's Tasmania island state. It was the first this year to exceed a magnitude of 8. An 8.1 quake in Mexico City in 1985 killed about 9,500 people and left extensive damage."


Identrospection?... this clearly is not a word; just the loyal partnership of two benevolent words: 'identity' and 'introspection'. The X-mas shoppers are what make me think of this word.

I rarely see people shopping or doing things alone anymore. Everyone appears to be doing things in groups so they can have their friends approve of the actions they take and the products they buy. Man... screw all that! Introspection is one of life's most under-rated pleasures. People should do things alone once in a while to see who they really are. We've all been bludgeoned into reading Thoreau in high school. Everyone has heard something to the tune of: "Anyone can be themselves alone, but the true spirit can be themselves in a crowd"; but I don't see as many loners as there should be. This leads me to believe people aren't being themselves.

I consider myself a social person, and I definetely prefer companionship to enjoy things with; I'm just suggesting that people should spend more time alone and try to figure themselves out a little more. Take up a sport like golf. In golf you sometimes walk for 8-10 minutes before you hit your ball. Being outside with the trees allows for lots of thought in between getting mad at your game. This is just my example. I have to shop for gifts again tomorrow and I'll be looking for some palpable arrays of identrospection.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Bush stays course on environment

so, im glad to know that we can spend billions of dollars to blow up stuff, furthering our damage to the environment, and the government just pretends like its all hunky-dory and act like there is no hole in our ozone layer. that makes me sad. please remember to recycle.

Contractor Pulls out of Iraq

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

From the Horses Mouth

Here is a non-profit website started by a soldier who served last year in Baghdad. He is trying to give the troops an outlet to tell what they have seen and what the real state of our military.

A Lasting Bush Dynasty?

O Crap

Save the Children Pulls Out of Sudan

The Official Save the Children Site: Working to create real and lasting change in the lives of children in need.

Save the Children Pulls Out of Sudan
In news from Sudan, the British-based humanitarian group Save the Children announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the Darfur region after four of its aid workers were recently killed.

Mike Aaronson, the director general of Save the Children, called on the United Nations to take a more active role in securing peace in Sudan so aid groups can continue working in the area.

"This is a very serious situation in Darfur. We could be in decline here, it's not just Save the Children its all the humanitarian agencies who may be prevented from doing there job," Aaronson said. "And what I would say is to the members of the Security Council who have been dragging their feet on this, who have been pursuing frankly their own naked self-interest in the Security Council, it's time to stop that, it's time for them to put pressure on parties in the conflict and say to them you have got to stop fighting each other. You can talk about the politics later but you have got to stop fighting each other. You've got to let aid agencies get in and provide support to people who desperately need it."

***It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)***

Monday, December 20, 2004

Has Ireland granted the US immunity from the International Criminal Court?

The scale and significance of US military use of Shannon airport has taken on a new dimension with the revelations that Shannon has become part of the illegal movement and torture of prisoners, and the airport's increasing level of use by US military and civil leaders. This begs the question, has the Irish Government done a secret deal with the United States, granting US citizens immunity from arrest and procecution under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court?

check out the rest of the article. . . . .

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Scientists find new Indian monkey

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Scientists find new Indian monkey

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Not So Wonderful Life

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Not So Wonderful Life: "EXTERIOR BRIDGE OVER POTOMAC RIVER - NIGHT

CLOSE SHOT - Rummy is standing by the railing, staring morosely into the water. The snow is falling hard. Feeling a tap on his shoulder, he wheels around and wrestles an old man with wings into a headlock.

OLD MAN: Ouch! Tut, tut. When will you learn that force doesn't solve everything?

RUMMY: Who the dickens are you?

OLD MAN: Clarence, Angel First Class. I've been sent down to help you."

Rumsfeld To Start Personally Signing Condolence Letters - News - Rumsfeld To Start Personally Signing Condolence Letters: "Rumsfeld To Start Personally Signing Condolence Letters

Defense Secretary Had Been Using Machine

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that, from now on, he will personally sign condolence letters to families of fallen soldiers.

The news came as a surprise to some members of Congress, who had assumed he was already doing so."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Artificial life' comes step closer

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Artificial life' comes step closer: "Researchers at Rockefeller University in the US have made the first tentative steps towards creating a form of artificial life.

Their creations, small synthetic vesicles that can process (express) genes, resemble a crude kind of biological cell."

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Forecasters face losing key tools

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Forecasters face losing key tools: "Meteorologists fear they are losing one of their essential forecasting tools - microwave frequencies uniquely able to 'see' through clouds from satellites.

They say commercial applications, for example mobile phones and collision avoidance systems, are ruining them.

The use of the bands in this way causes interference and contaminates the data from the satellites, making it useless.

Not only weather forecasting is put at risk, but also a better understanding of how climate change is developing."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Sky and Telescope - NASA Chief Resigns

Sky and Telescope - NASA Chief Resigns: "NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe announced his resignation late yesterday in a letter to President George W. Bush. He cited the financial pressure of family life as his reason. 'The first of three children will begin college next fall,' he wrote. 'I owe them the same opportunity my parents provided for me to pursue higher education without the crushing burden of debt thereafter.' O'Keefe is reportedly in line to become the chancellor of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge; the position carries a salary more than three times the $158,000 he makes as NASA administrator"

BBC NEWS | Europe | Freak storms kill six in France

BBC NEWS | Europe | Freak storms kill six in France: "A freak hurricane-force wind has struck the French capital Paris and much of the country's north, killing at least six people, say the emergency services.

Tens of thousands of homes have been left without electricity.

The storm hit Paris without warning and lasted only a few minutes, but caused havoc there and across the north"

BBC NEWS | Europe | Hitler dodged taxes, expert finds

BBC NEWS | Europe | Hitler dodged taxes, expert finds: "Adolf Hitler spent years dodging taxes, accumulating enormous debts as he led his Nazi party to power, a German tax expert has revealed.

He owed the authorities 405,500 Reichsmarks (6m euros; £4m in today's money) by 1934, when as German chancellor his debts were forgiven."

Money & Business

Money & Business: "hy You Really Do Prefer Coke or Pepsi

Guess what? Your passionate preference for Coke or Pepsi is in your brain, not just your taste buds.

Baylor University researchers gave 67 volunteers taste tests of Coke and Pepsi, and brain scans showed that when they knew what they were drinking it not only affected their preference, but also activated memory-related brain regions that recall cultural influences.

Academic-speak translation: Product branding and advertising work."

Darfur a 'Timed Bomb' Waiting to Explode

International News Article | "ABUJA (Reuters) - Astronomical quantities of arms and ammunition have poured into Sudan's Darfur region in the last two weeks and the government is poised for a major military offensive, the African Union said on Friday."

If you are not aware of what is happening in Sudan, and you have any sense of humanity, please, please look into it.

The Kyoto Protocol is Dead

TCS: Tech Central Station - The Kyoto Protocol is Dead: "The Kyoto Protocol is Dead

By Ronald Bailey

BUENOS AIRES -- The Kyoto Protocol is dead -- there will be no further global treaties that set binding limits on the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) after Kyoto runs out in 2012.

Under the Kyoto Protocol industrialized countries are supposed to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases 5.2% below their 1990 emissions levels during the first commitment period which runs from 2008-2012."

Conflict Resolution

Does this seam ironic to anyone?

DECLARING the occupation of one nation by another to be "a horrible disaster for both peoples", Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday the coming year offered a historic opportunity for peace with the Palestinians.

the article is @ the 'Australien' website

MSNBC - Stem cells from fat used to repair girl's skull

MSNBC - Stem cells from fat used to repair girl's skull

CIA Agent Says Bosses Ordered Him To Falsify WMD Reports

Democracy Now! | CIA Agent Says Bosses Ordered Him To Falsify WMD Reports: "An undercover intelligence officer, who is suing the CIA, says his managers asked him to falsify his reporting on weapons of mass destruction and retaliated against him when he refused. We speak with his attorney. [includes rush transcript]
We turn now to the story of how a senior intelligence officer was targeted by the CIA after he refused orders from his superiors to falsify his reports on weapons of mass destruction.

The senior CIA operative charges in a lawsuit made public last week that a co-worker warned him three years ago that 'CIA management planned to 'get him' for his role in reporting intelligence contrary to official CIA dogma.'"

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Independent Media Center | | ((( i ))): "Anti-privatisation activist sent to prison for 2 years
13 Dec 2004 22:59 GMT

Anti-privatisation activist Matthews Ndlovu remains in jail today after he was sentenced to 2 years in prison or a R25000 fine for resisting the installation of infrastructure for pre-paid water meters in Phiri, Soweto. The Gauteng Anti-Privatisation Forum has appealed for funds to secure his release.

Elephants in Designer Duds

Go to:

if you want to see elephants dressed up in cute outfits.

Chocoholic beware: Prices going up

Hershey Foods blames fuel prices, packaging costs and employee benefits; Mars also ups prices.
December 16, 2004: 1:00 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN) - Getting a chocolate fix is about to get more expensive.

Hershey Foods (down $0.23 to $56.35, Research), the nation's largest snack-food company, said Thursday it is raising its candy prices. Standard and king-size chocolate bars are facing a wholesale price increase of nearly 6 percent, while the cost of packaged items -- like Hershey's Miniatures -- will be raised more than 4 percent.

Yet another reason to stay away from chocolate.

Horror as man killed by two sharks

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) -- Two great white sharks attacked and killed a surfer while his friends watched in horror Thursday off a popular beach in the southern Australian city of Adelaide, authorities said.

The 18-year-old man had fallen from a surfboard being towed by a power boat when the sharks attacked off West Beach mid afternoon, South Australia state Sea Rescue Squadron spokesman Fraser Bell said.

One shark tore the victim in half and the second shark took the remains, witnesses said.

Bell said the sharks, also known as white pointers, were between 5 to 6 meters meters (15-17 feet) long. They attacked about 250 meters (yards) from a crowded beach.

"He fell off the surfboard and the shark appeared and took him," Bell told reporters.

"It tore him apart ... apparently it tore him in half and the other shark came in and took the rest."

Asked if there were any chance the victim had survived, Bell replied, "None whatsoever".

Propaganda for those of us who are afraid to go in natural waterways.

Something Funny to Read

Dedicated to those of you who know a person that wears his/her collar up

Oddly Enough News Article |

Oddly Enough News Article | "NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jimmy Walter has spent more than $3 million promoting a conspiracy theory the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were 'an inside job' and he is offering more cash to anyone who proves him wrong.

The millionaire activist is so convinced of a government cover-up he is offering a $100,000 reward to any engineering student who can prove the World Trade Center buildings crashed the way the government says.

'Of course, we expect no winners,' Walter, 57, heir to an $11 million fortune from his father's home building business, said in a telephone interview from California on Wednesday."

Teacher charged with having sex with boy

Teacher charged with having sex with boy: "A Hall High School biology teacher was charged Wednesday for allegedly having sexual relations with a male student, aged 15 at the time of the alleged offense.

Gina M. Purvis, 29, of 345 N. Arch St., Tiskilwa, where she recently moved from rural Princeton, could face 3-7 years in prison if convicted of one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony.

This little bit of sensationalism comes from the front page headline in the paper from my little Midwestern town of Spring Valley.
Not really interesting news, not new news to me, but the headline is worded so insensitively it stunned me.

My Unhealthy lifestyle

The New Zealand Herald: "Sober, smokefree, happy - and fat - in wedded bliss
Marriage keeps people healthy, even though it can make men fat, US Government researchers have discovered.

Married people are less likely to smoke, drink heavily or be physically inactive, a report from the National Centre for Health Statistics shows.

you won't hear this on the nightly news / News / Local / Mass. / Jet linked to torture claims is sold:

Jet linked to torture claims is sold

Mass. firm had role in flying terror suspects to Egypt

By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff  |  December 9, 2004

A secretive Massachusetts- registered company involved in ferrying Al Qaeda suspects to Egypt, where they were allegedly tortured, has sold its private jet amid media reports about the plane's activities.

Premier Executive Transport Services, whose legal address is the Dedham law firm Hill & Plakias, sold the plane to a company in Oregon two weeks ago, shortly after the Globe asked the law firm about the plane's involvement in the covert transfer of two suspects to an Egyptian prison, according to documents filed with the Federal Aviation Administration.
"In the 1960s and '70s, the CIA controlled a far-flung network of airlines that included about 200 planes and nearly 20,000 employees, making it roughly the size of TWA and one of the world's largest airlines at the time, Time magazine reported.

But in 1975, after the Iran- contra scandal, Congress pressured the CIA to sell its proprietary airlines, which included Intermountain Airlines and Air America, which flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam W"

Thought Police (How far will we take this war on terror?)

Va. Boy's Defiant Words Draw Police Response (

"Va. Boy's Defiant Words Draw Police Response

Investigators Visit Home After Student Allegedly Wishes Harm on Americans
By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page B01

When the two plainclothes Loudoun County sheriff's investigators showed up on her Leesburg doorstep, Pamela Albaugh got nervous. But when they told her why they were there, she got angry: A complaint had been filed alleging that her 11-year old son had made 'anti-American and violent' statements in school."

The wide net of "terrorism" - U.S. to name Hezbollah TV a terrorist organization - Dec 15, 2004: "U.S. to name Hezbollah TV a terrorist organization

Thursday, December 16, 2004 Posted: 0357 GMT (1157 HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department plans to designate Hezbollah's television station, Al-Manar, as a terrorist organization for broadcasting incitement, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

The designation could come later this week, the official said."


FYI: I want to encourage everyone to add any friends of yours who you think would enjoy something like this. It's under change settings>members>invite.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Why Not the Coalition of the Shilling?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Why Not the Coalition of the Shilling?: "Duke Rummy the Domineering is not used to being challenged, so he's probably still smarting from his bruising brush with reality in Kuwait.
He has surrounded himself with so many sycophantic generals that it took a grunt from Tennessee to point out that the defense secretary has no clothes - or armor for his troops. He has taken the greatest military in the history of the world and pushed it to the breaking point.
Some people think he's toast, now that conservatives like John McCain, Chuck Hagel and Bill Kristol have turned on him - and now that the grumbles are getting louder in the military, from Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf and the TV generals to the rank-and-file reservists who have other jobs to go back to.
(Besides, what can Rummy do to punish reservists who push back - send them to Iraq?)
But, hey, it's Christmas. Overcome with the spirit of giving, I'd like to give Rummy a lifeline to escape the flak over armor"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Who's Coming With Me?

January 20, 2005: Our Resistance Continues!

Protest the Inauguration of George W. Bush

December 2nd, 2004

On Thursday, January 20, 2005, George W. Bush will be inaugurated as president of the United States. For the millions of us who stand for the values of peace and justice, it is a moment to renew our commitment to resist the Bush Administration and its deadly policies of war and greed – and to show Bush, and the world, that our movement is energized, mobilized, and determined to keep fighting back.

United for Peace and Justice urges everyone who can to converge in Washington, DC on January 20. We encourage you to participate in the creative, powerful protest activities being organized by two groups: the DC Anti-War Network (DAWN)) and Turn Your Back on Bush. See below for more information.

Fox News Channel, Giving 'Em More Zell

Fox News Channel, Giving 'Em More Zell ( "Fox News Channel, Giving 'Em More Zell

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page C07

Sen. Zell Miller, the fire-and-brimstone-preaching Dixiecrat who tried to challenge MSNBC's Chris Matthews to a duel after delivering the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, has been welcomed with open arms by Fox News Channel."

random quotes

"Brevity is the soul of wit."
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

The New York Times > International > Americas > Eskimos Seek to Recast Global Warming as a Rights Issue

The New York Times > International > Americas > Eskimos Seek to Recast Global Warming as a Rights Issue: "The Eskimos, or Inuit, about 155,000 seal-hunting peoples scattered around the Arctic, plan to seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the United States, by contributing substantially to global warming, is threatening their existence.
The Inuit plan is part of a broader shift in the debate over human-caused climate change evident among participants in the 10th round of international talks taking place in Buenos Aires aimed at averting dangerous human interference with the climate system."

Conspiracy Theories

Hey Everyone,
check out some conspiracy theories on the Al Jazeera website. There are tons of articles but if I see one that might interest the bunch, I will be sure to post it

And in more promising news....

Illinois appears to have made little progress in boosting its readiness for a bioterrorist attack, an independent group reported Tuesday.

The second annual assessment from Trust for America's Health reported that despite progress, Americans are still at risk from a biological or chemical attack.

The survey found that two-thirds of the states are not fully prepared despite large infusions of federal funds over the past three years.

Illinois made the grade in five of 10 areas of preparedness selected by the not-for-profit group, the same as last year when the state scored five out of 10. (thats failing you know :))

Kauerauf insisted the state has a major flu plan and said scientists in its labs have been trained to test for anthrax and plague. (bwaaa haaa haa haaaa)

The state has an electronic, Internet-linked disease-tracking system and the legal authority to quarantine in an emergency, the report said. Illinois also has boosted spending on public health and increased flu vaccination rates among older adults.
(uh, yeah we got a germ down on aisle 4, i repeat our "internet disease-tracking system" reports a germ on aisle 4, send out the nyquill squad)

Test of U.S. missile defence shield fails

(Hold to your seats cowboys)

An attempt to launch an interceptor missile as part of the U.S. missile defence shield failed early Wednesday in the first test of the system in nearly two years.

The Missile Defense Agency said the ground-based interceptor automatically shutdown "due to an unknown anomaly" shortly before it was to be launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean.

A target missile carrying a mock warhead successfully launched from Kodiak, Alaska, at 12:45 a.m. ET.

Officials said they would now review the pre-launch data to determine the cause of the shutdown.

The missile defence shield was meant to be in operation by the end of 2004.

In earlier tests, missile interceptors had a record of five-for-eight in hitting target missiles.

Wednesday's test had been put off several times because of bad weather, and a malfunction of a recovery vessel not directly related to the equipment being tested, The Associated Press reported.

U.S. President George Bush announced the system in 2002, saying it would help protect against a missile attack from rogue states such as North Korea and other parts of eastern Asia.

Last August, Ottawa agreed to amend its agreement in NORAD to allow the U.S to use the missile warning system for its controversial plan for a ballistic missile defence system.

However, it seems that Bush is seeking more help from Canada. On his recent visit to Halifax, Bush publicly asked for Ottawa's participation in the system.

Prime Minister Paul Martin has said he is against the "weaponization of space" -- a claim he reiterated in his year-end interview with CTV News anchor Lloyd Robertson and Ottawa bureau chief Craig Oliver.

Review: The Black Keys, Rubber Factory

Review: The Black Keys, Rubber Factory - Buzz Magazine - Listen, Hear:

4 Stars

When Neil Young decided to go back to his roots on Harvest, he found an old farmhouse to serve as inspiration for the recording. Similarly, The Black Keys find their muse in a less-than-likely place: an old rubber factory in their hometown of Akron, Ohio. The difference is that instead of simply getting in touch with the blues past they admire, the Keys mange to escape the derivative structures of rock, blues and independent music."

Is your desk making you sick? Experts: Office equipment swarming with germs

(CNN) -- With cold and flu season reaching its peak and flu vaccine in short supply, many Americans may want to hide at their desks to avoid those hacking and sneezing co-workers. But health experts say that could be the very place that makes them sick.

A study by the University of Arizona in 2002 found the typical worker's desk has hundreds of times more bacteria per square inch than an office toilet seat. If that's not disturbing enough, desks, phones and other private surfaces are also prime habitats for the viruses that cause colds and flu.

Bacteria, single-celled organisms, can cause strep throat, pneumonia and other conditions. They can be treated with antibiotics. However, viruses, which are smaller than bacteria, cause colds and flu and cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, counted bacteria on workplace surfaces for a study sponsored by The Clorox Co., makers of Clorox bleach.

Office toilet seats had 49 germs per square inch, he found. But desktops had almost 21,000 germs per square inch. Phones were worse -- more than 25,000 germs per square inch.

Eww... English Computer Lab

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


A free enterprise system appears to be the political structure the world is leaning towards. Manifest problems with globalized capitalism show us evidently how the system needs work. Two problems are labor exploitation (sweat shops) and commodification (the process of turning almost anything into a profit-earning commodity). How can we tinker with this system to avoid imposing on ecosystems or exploiting anyone? The answer may lie in labor issues.

While communist and highly regulated socialist frameworks can allow for everyone to have jobs, it doesn’t have the potential to reward the hard worker the way a free enterprise can. Communism seems great when I read about it; however, one is rewarded for working less. If my neighbor busts his ass and I slack off at the same job, we make the same wage but he’s exhausted at the end of the day. I get my paycheck, food-stamps, and my energy.

Allow me to start with a hypothetical situation of globalized capitalism. A corporation from a liberal democratic country opens a factory in a country on their own terms. The local government may feel elated to have business fuel their economy, so they reward it with special treatment. Now the company has a strong hand in policy making and legislation for the country. This is when mass globalization allows capitalism and free trade laws to give you a swift kick. The system is in place so hastily that few realize its effects. Suddenly, after the workers realize that they are mere outsourced labor and meaningless to the corporation/entity, they are exploited and helpless. Nevertheless, they continue to work for virtually non-existent wages because at least they have an income and maybe their neighbor doesn’t. The corporation is getting fat off the cheap labor and dodging domestic taxes since they decided to wreak dominance on someone else’s land. It is a win-win for the imposing entity. Meanwhile, the exploited proletariat laborers are too overworked to even spend their measly income.

A possible solution is labor unions and labor rights for under-represented workers. Labor lawyers could organize strikes and implement laws to protect the laborers. Safe work conditions and an honorable wage would drastically ease capitalist hatred. If these laborers received what they were worth, they would cease to be exploited. This is an example of a level trade. The company owners need to produce widgets, while the laborers need a job and are willing to produce widgets for ‘x’ dollars per hour. Obviously both would come out on top if this could be attained. This also assumes that the workers want to produce the widgets, not just that they do it because it’s the only job available to them. Another large “if” (but in my mind the most important) is that the citizens welcome the company to open there. A thoughtful consideration should be given to the company’s affect local businesses, and especially wildlife or environmentally sensitive areas.

Exploited laborers could morph into citizens with jobs in a free democratic society. This is highly hypothetical, yet highly probable. Karl Marx predicted that the working class would initiate a revolution and take control of those who hold their paychecks. A strong labor union (equipped with activists) could make a situation like this possible without relying on a communist framework. written by Collin D. Carlier

Fed raises another quarter

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Federal Reserve raised a key short-term interest rate a quarter-percentage point Tuesday -- the fifth increase this year and one that was widely anticipated on Wall Street.

The central bank increased the target for its federal funds rate, an overnight lending rate that helps banks determine rates on many loans, to 2.25 percent from 2 percent.

The Fed's policy-making Open Market Committee said in a statement that inflation is expected to remain relatively low and that it would likely keep raising rates at a "measured" pace -- something it's been saying since it started raising rates in June, and also something that most investors and economists had been expecting.

Blockbuster drops late fees

No. 1 video rental chain to give 1-week grace period; Financier Icahn steps into buyout fray.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Blockbuster Inc. announced Tuesday it is abolishing late fees on all its video tapes, DVDs and video games as of Jan. 1.

The world's largest video rental company will still have due dates for their rental products -- one week for games and two days or one week for movies, depending on whether it's a new release.

But customers will be given a one-week grace period after that to return the product. After that grace period ends, the chain will automatically sell them the product, less the rental fee. If the customers don't want to purchase the movie or game, they can return the product within 30 days for a credit, less a restocking fee.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: This Is Your Country on Drugs

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: This Is Your Country on Drugs: "JACQUES BARZUN famously said that to understand America, one must first understand baseball. Never has his remark been more accurate. Professional baseball players may be the most vilified Americans using performance-enhancing drugs, but they are by no means alone. Performance-enhancing drugs have become a part of ordinary American life.

College students take Ritalin to improve their academic performance. Musicians take beta blockers to improve their onstage performance. Middle-aged men take Viagra to improve their sexual performance. Shy people take Paxil to improve their social performance. The difference is that if athletes want to get performance-enhancing drugs they go to the black market. If the rest of us want performance-enhancing drugs, we go to our family doctors."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google to scan famous libraries

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google to scan famous libraries: "The libraries of five of the world's most important academic institutions are to be digitised by Google.

Scanned pages from books in the public domain will then be made available for search and reading online.

The full libraries of Michigan and Stanford universities, as well as archives at Harvard, Oxford and the New York Public Library are included."

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pollution: A life and death issue

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pollution: A life and death issue: "Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for thee, and for me."

Kojo Annan

This article 'convienently' doesn' t mention it, but Kojo quit working for Cotecna in 1997. It wasn't until 1998 that the company had anything to do with the Oil for Food program (U.S. created-- i.e. security council). Kojo remained on the company payroll for 4 or so more years after 97' earning $150,000 under the terms that he would not work for a rival company of Cotecna's or reveal secrets about the way they conduct business.
This is just another way the U.S. media is either smearing, or falling for a smear campaign against the U.N. Does anyone remember how incompetent the media claimed Hans Blix and the U.N. were for not finding any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq War?
What is going on?

QUESTIONS FOR STEPHEN HAWKING The Science of Second-Guessing


Published: December 12, 2004

What do you think was the most important physics idea to emerge this year?

We won't know for a few years.

What about the recent discovery that teleportation of very small particles is actually possible? Will we one day be able to whisk ourselves through space the way they did on ''Star Trek''?

The ''Star Trek'' version is bogus, but there's a sense in which Hawking radiation -- the light and particles that come out of black holes -- escapes by teleportation.

Speaking of black holes, you recently confessed that you had made an error in your famous theory about them.

My discovery that black holes emit radiation raised serious problems of consistency with the rest of physics. I have now resolved these problems, but the answer turned out to be not what I expected.

MSNBC - A tale in headlines

MSNBC - A tale in headlines: "A tale in headlines

• December 14, 2004 | 1:36 PM ET

Ways to Destroy a Great Nation in just a few headlines in a single daily newspaper.
Mislead the country into an endless, unwinnable, counterproductive, and extremely expensive war, here.

In that war, destroy your moral authority worldwide and incite countless additional enemies by taking a “see no evil” attitude to torture, up to and including murder, here.

In fact, encourage brutality on the part of your undertrained, inexperienced soldiers so that even the C.I.A. wants to know nothing about it, here.

Treat the actual security of your homeland with undisguised contempt, here.

Forcibly silence the people willing to tell the truth here.  (Ok, not a headline from today’s paper, but we had her on the show last night and she’s fresh in my mind, and I didn’t want to forget.)

Attempt to destroy the authority of those international bodies that demonstrate your mendacity, here.

Continue to express confidence in the people who have screwed everything up and refused to admit any errors, here.

And while you’re at it, foment a phony crisis in order to destroy the most successful social program in the nation’s history—one that just happens to be associated you’re your opponent’s political party, here.

Support the destruction of working people’s ability to ensure themselves dignity and decent pay in the workplace through collective bargaining, here.


I’ll stop for now."

MSNBC - Rumsfeld under fire for handling of Iraq

MSNBC - Rumsfeld under fire for handling of Iraq

Blogging 101

Here is a quick explanation on how to navigate this site.
First of all, you must be a contributor to post new topics. I have sent invitations to several people's email addresses, and in order to accept, simply click on the link in the message. It will ask you to either create an account if you haven't registered with already, or else it will add the Thief to your existing blog lists.
Once you've done that, if you are at the Thief's homepage, you can click on the Blogger icon in the upper left hand corner. It will ask you to sign in, and upon doing so it will show you the blogs you can access. Click the Post New option to post a topic.
If you are not a contributor (however, just ask and I can invite you) you can post comments anonymously. If you have articles related to a subject posted already, this would be a good place to put them.
Finally, the greatest tool this site has is the BlogThis! option. For Mac users, click and drag the BlogThis! icon at the top of the page (next to the search box), and drag it into the bookmark bar at the top of your browser. For PC's, well, I'm not as sure how to do that, but if you go to the website, there is a Help option that will explain how to use it.
Basically, when you are at a website of interest, you can highlight the text you want to appear in the post, and then click BlogThis! It will give you a new pop up window with the name of the site as the title, the url, and the highlighted text in the body. Then simply hit post. It's really really really really easy. It takes one second when you're browsing. Try it now!
Any questions? If someone can explain BlogThis! to the PC users, I would appreciate it if you would add it to the comments under this topic. Thank you!
Weeee...look at me, I'm blogging!

1 million U.S. troops have gone to war

United Press International: 1 million U.S. troops have gone to war: "By Mark Benjamin
Published 12/9/2004 4:55 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Nearly a million U.S. troops have been deployed for war in Iraq or Afghanistan since those conflicts began, according to Pentagon data.

The data also show that one out of every three of those service members has gone more than once....

One soldier in Kuwait asked Rumsfeld if the stress on the armed forces might weaken the country's ability to fight back against another terror attack. Rumsfeld responded that the country has "well over 2.5 million people we can call on at any given time. So you can be sure that we have the capability we need."

New 'hot' fusion experiment begins

New 'hot' fusion experiment begins
MIT and Columbia University students and researchers have begun operation of a novel experiment that confines high-temperature ionized gas, called plasma, using the strong magnetic fields from a half-ton superconducting ring inside a huge vessel reminiscent of a spaceship. The experiment, the first of its kind, will test whether nature's way of confining high-temperature gas might lead to a new source of energy for the world.

America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb "In 1996, journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that forced a long-overdue investigation of a very dark chapter of recent U.S. foreign policy – the Reagan-Bush administration’s protection of cocaine traffickers who operated under the cover of the Nicaraguan contra war in the 1980s.

For his brave reporting at the San Jose Mercury News, Webb paid a high price. He was attacked by journalistic colleagues at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the American Journalism Review and even the Nation magazine. Under this media pressure, his editor Jerry Ceppos sold out the story and demoted Webb, causing him to quit the Mercury News. Even Webb’s marriage broke up.

On Friday, Dec. 10, Gary Webb, 49, died of an apparent suicide, a gunshot wound to the head."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Sky and Telescope - Hubble Gets a Shot in the Arm

Sky and Telescope - Hubble Gets a Shot in the ArmDecember 10, 2004 | The smoldering controversy over the future of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has flared up again. On December 8th, after a six-month study, a blue-ribbon panel of experts recommended that NASA should do exactly what agency administrator Sean O'Keefe has said he won't do: return Space Shuttle astronauts to the orbiting observatory to make repairs and upgrades. The committee concluded that NASA's proposed alternative, an unprecedented robotic servicing mission, is unlikely to get off the ground by 2007 or 2008, when Hubble's remaining batteries and gyroscopes are expected to give out.

Meteor showers put on a show

CBC News: Meteor showers put on a show: "eteor showers put on a show
Last Updated Mon, 13 Dec 2004 18:26:14 EST

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Meteors will shoot across the sky in all directions on Monday night, the peak of the annual Geminid meteor shower.

Astronomers say the best time to look for the shooting stars is around midnight, weather permitting."

Psychology Today: A Nation of Wimps

Psychology Today: A Nation of Wimps:
"Maybe it's the cyclist i the park, trim under his slee metallic blue helmet, cruisin along the dirt three miles an hour. On his tricycle
Or perhaps it's today's playground, all-rubber-cushioned surface where kids used to skin their knees. And...wait a minute...those aren't little kids playing. Their mommies--and especially their daddies--are in there with them, coplaying or play-by-play coaching. Few take it half-easy on the perimeter benches, as parents used to do, letting the kids figure things out for themselves."

Peoplesoft Agrees to Merge with Oracle

PeopleSoft (Nasdaq: PSFT) agreed today to be bought by Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) for US$10.3 billion, or $26.50 a share, an 11 percent premium to Friday's stock price, ending a bitter 18-month acquisition battle. PeopleSoft's takeout price was 10 percent above what Oracle previously called its "best and final" offer of $24 a share.

NASA chief to resign

NASA Chief Is Resigning After 3 Years, Officials Say

Published: December 13, 2004

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 - Sean O'Keefe, the NASA administrator who guided the agency through sweeping changes after the Columbia shuttle accident, will resign and pursue a job as chancellor of Louisiana State University, agency and university officials said on Sunday.