Monday, February 28, 2005
"The Bush administration was accused yesterday of trying to roll back efforts to improve the status of the world's women by demanding that the UN publicly renounce abortion rights.
America's demand overshadowed the opening yesterday of a conference intended to mark the 10th anniversary of the Beijing conference on the status of women, an event seen as a landmark in efforts to promote global cooperation on women's equality.
The US stand was also widely seen as further evidence of the sweeping policy change in Washington under the Bush presidency. The last four years have seen a steady erosion of government support for international population projects, due to the administration's opposition to abortion."
Sunday, February 27, 2005
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
BUSHEHR, Iran Feb 27, 2005 — Iran and Russia ignored U.S. objections and signed a nuclear fuel agreement Sunday that is key to bringing Tehran's first reactor online by mid-2006.
The long-delayed deal, signed at the heavily guarded Bushehr nuclear facility in southern Iran, dramatized President Bush's failure to persuade the Russians to curtail support for the Iranian nuclear program during his summit with Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Slovakia.
In an interview with Japan's TV Asahi, Clinton said he did not know whether his wife, the senator of New York state, has any plans to one day run for the presidency.
"I don't know if she'll run or not," he told the network, but added, "She would make an excellent president, and I would always try to help her."
Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she plans to run for re-election as New York senator in 2006. Speculation has periodically surfaced, however, that the 57-year-old former first lady may have her sights set for the presidency in 2008.
Halliburton, under scrutiny for its contracts in Iraq, would receive an extra $1.5 billion as part of the Bush administration's additional war spending proposal for fiscal 2005, a senior US Army budget official said.
Halliburton, once led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, is the largest corporate contractor in Iraq and has drawn fire for its no-bid contracts there, with auditors charging its Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) unit overcharged for some work.
The Army's portion of a $81.9 billion supplemental spending package earmarked the extra funding for KBR under its LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme) contract to provide a wide range of services to US troops in Iraq, the official said. The contract covers food and laundry services, trash collection, mail delivery and other support services.
If approved by Congress, that would bring the total spending under KBR's LOGCAP contract to about $6 billion in fiscal year 2005, about the same amount spent a year earlier, said the offiical.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
KAUAI, Hawaii, Feb. 24, 2005
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System and Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) destroyed a ballistic missile outside the earth's atmosphere during an Aegis BMD Program flight test over the Pacific Ocean. Raytheon Company develops the SM-3. Lockheed Martin develops the Aegis BMD Weapon System
Friday, February 25, 2005
Thursday, February 24, 2005
As for earning a living, Kottke has a plan for that, too. His readers will support him. At least he hopes they will. Kottke does not intend to seek advertising revenue; he plans to depend solely on reader contributions.
On Tuesday, Kottke posted a letter asking for donations and a link readers can follow to make payments using PayPal and major credit cards. Whether they'll provide enough to support a single person on more than ramen noodles has yet to be determined. (see link for full article)
The site suggests women tell their partner they want a baby and men buy their girlfriend underwear that's too big.
But instead of just helping people give lovers the elbow, the site sells holidays -- working on the assumption that people want to go away for a fling without the shackles of a loved one at home, Dutch communications company Young Works said.
Some 180,000 people have visited www.dumpjeschatje.nl since it was launched Monday, it said.
The site also provides two downloadable documents with blanks left for names -- one a curt business-style letter, the other a scathing poem -- to end relationships in writing.
February 23 - 16:29 EST Apple might make a try to buy digital video recorder maker TiVo, analysts said today. 'What we hear on the street is that Apple is interested in their business and that they are a takeout target,' said analyst Steven Kroll Jr. of Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. TiVo shares jumped more than 17 percent on Wednesday, fueled by the speculation. Representatives for Apple and TiVo both declined comment"
The Mini Mac has been mentioned as an entertainment - multimedia center. So, this rumor should not be a surprise. Why not store Video and Music on one device connected to TV and Stereo. This would be the best way to position, physically and marketwise, the hardware to to just that.
But I still think ReplayTV ( owned by stereo giants Denon, Marantz, and McIntosh) is by far better.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
More than 50% of mobile owners reported they had had their phone stolen or lost in the last three years.
More than half (54%) of those asked in a poll for mobile firm Intervoice said that they do not have another address book. A fifth rely entirely on mobiles.
About 62% of women said they cannot remember their partner's number."
Phra Kru Prapatworakhun, 81, had been unable to see for nearly a week after applying the superglue, which he found in his temple's medicine cabinet.
Doctors used acetone solvent to remove the glue from one eye and said it was unharmed, the Nation newspaper reports.
An operation on the second eye, which is still tightly sealed, is scheduled for Thursday.
Phra Kru Prapatworakhun, the abbot of a temple in Muang Angthong district, north of Bangkok, said he had a severe itch in his eyes on 17 February.
'I squeezed several drops on the floor and saw a clear liquid, so I put four drops into each eye. In about a minute, my eyes felt cold and then sealed closed,' the monk told the Nation."
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Residents of Connecticut Town Fight Land Seizure
By Deborah Charles, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Feb. 22) - Supreme Court justices questioned Tuesday whether a city can take a person's home for a private development project aimed at boosting tax revenues and revitalizing the local economy.
Susette Kelo, owner of this home in New London, Conn., is one of several property owners to go before the U.S. Supreme Court to keep their properties from being seized for a commercial project. The case will have significant implications for so-called eminent domain actions.
(see link for full article)
The Korea Customs Service distributed more than 3,500 fake pieces in the southern city of Pusan this month with the permission of the fashion houses whose designs had been pirated.
A customs official declined to name the designers whose ripped-off creations are now being worn by the homeless but said both they and the state prosecutors had approved giving away the jackets, blouses, shirts and pants.
'We hope this will be of some help to the poor who need practical assistance in such hard times,' the official said.
Customs agents removed the labels from the clothes before giving them to a welfare agency for distribution.
South Korea has a vibrant illegal market in pirated designer clothing and customs officials said there would be more handouts.
'We will continue to look for useful ways to pass along the clothes -- it saves us the cost of destroying what we have confiscated,' the Customs Service said in a statement."
Dr Sam Gosling, of the University of Texas, rates the dogs on four key traits with positive and negative extremes.
He adds that his work suggests pets should be matched with owners who have similar personalities.
The work was presented at a major science conference in Washington DC."
Cox News Service
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — The popular computer game Unreal Tournament 2003 invited players to become the "ultimate techno-gladiator of the future," blasting foes with "a smorgasbord of ferocious, flesh-chewing weaponry."
Now, researchers are turning the game into a tool for U.S. troops in Iraq — not to make them fiercer in combat, but to sharpen language and cultural skills that could help them avoid a potentially deadly confrontation.
This system has been tried and it works in every state.
If you get a speeding ticket or went through a red light or whatever the case may be, and you're going to get points on your license. This is method to ensure that you DO NOT get the points.
When you get your fine, send in a check to pay for it. If the fine is $79.00 make the check out for $82.00 or some small amount over the fine.
The system will then have to send you back a check for the difference, however here is the trick.
DO NOT CASH THE REFUND CHECK! Throw it away!
Points are not assessed to your license until all financial transactions are complete. If you do not cash the check, then the transactions are NOT complete. The system has received it's money and is satisfied and will no longer bother you.
This information comes from an unmentionable computer company that sets up the standard databases used by every state.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Jeret Adair, a top young pitching prospect from Atlanta who started 64 games in one summer for his traveling baseball team, last year had Tommy John surgery, an elbow reconstruction once reserved for aging major leaguers.
Ana Sani of Scarsdale, N.Y., a 13-year-old budding soccer star, practiced daily until she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee.
Around the country, doctors in pediatric sports medicine say it is as if they have happened upon a new childhood disease, and the cause is the overaggressive culture of organized youth sports.
'They are overuse injuries pure and simple,' Dr. James Andrews, a nationally prominent sports orthopedist, said. 'You get a kid on the operating table and you say to yourself, 'It's impossible for a 13-year-old to have this kind of wear and tear.' We've got an epidemic going on.'
Typical injuries range from stress fractures, growth plate disorders, cracked kneecaps and frayed heel tendons to a back condition brought on by excessive flexing that causes one vertebra to slip forward over another vertebra. Most are injuries once seen only in adults"
Lindsay Allen, of the US Agricultural Research Service, attacked parents who insisted their children lived by the maxim 'meat is murder'.
Animal source foods have some nutrients not found anywhere else, she told a Washington science conference.
(see link for more)
By ANGELA MONTEFINISE
February 20, 2005 -- Can you hear me now?
Unsuspecting cellphone users may find themselves saying that more often now that cellphone jammers — illegal gizmos that interfere with signals and cut off reception — are selling like hotcakes on the streets of New York.
'I bought one online, and I love it,' said one jammer owner fed up with the din of dumb conversations and rock-and-roll ringtones."
(see link for full story)
'Gonzo' writer Hunter S. Thompson dies
Journalist, author takes own life at home near Aspen
By John Aguilar, Rocky Mountain News
February 21, 2005
Wickedly quirky journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson shot himself to death in his Woody Creek home near Aspen on Sunday night.
Author of the 1972 classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a story about the author's own drug-addled visit to Sin City, Thompson lived in the Aspen area for more than 40 years.
The man who put the 'gonzo' in 'gonzo journalism,' an extravagant and highly personalized writing style, was 67."
(see link for full story)
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Taking credit is a hacker group calling itself DFNCTSC. Among candid and nude photos of the heiress, email addresses and phone numbers of some of the hottest young celebrities were retrieved from her phonebook and posted online.
There were several confirmed phone numbers in the account including such stars as Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Seth Green, Lindsay Lohan, Anna Kournikova, Avril Lavigne, Ashley Olsen, Andy Roddick, Ashlee Simpson, and Usher.
A peek into Paris' daily schedule was taken from her calendar as well; from 'Call Maroon 5' to 'get birth control kill pill.'
The FBI is investigating after a similar incident occurred when a hacker compromised sensitive information from a Secret Service agent's T-Mobile account.
It seems Paris doesn't have much luck these days. A similar incident happened a month earlier when a hacker broke into her BlackBerry account and exposed her private emails. 'It became obvious to her what was going on,' says a source. 'She was pretty upset about it. It's one thing to have people looking at your sex tapes, but having people reading your personal e-mails is a real invasion of privacy.' "
Yeah, okay, stupid celebrity news, but I thought it was interesting because I didn't realize that you could hack someone's cell phone and get all their stuff off of it, but I guess anything with an internet connection is fair game.
From there, the bags make their way in refrigerated trucks to refrigerated containers in cavernous distribution centers, and then to thousands of McDonald's restaurants up and down the Eastern Seaboard. No more than 14 days after leaving the plant, the fruit will take the place of French fries in some child's Happy Meal.
The apple slices, called Apple Dippers, are a symbol of how McDonald's is trying to offer healthier food to its customers - and to answer the many critics who contend that most of its menu is of poor nutritional quality. McDonald's has also introduced 'premium' salads, in Caesar, California Cobb and Bacon Ranch varieties, a lineup that will soon be joined by a salad of grapes, walnuts - and, of course, apples.
It remains to be seen whether these new offerings will assuage the concerns of public health officials and other critics of McDonald's highly processed fat- and calorie-laden sandwiches, drinks and fries. So far, they have not - at least not entirely. But this much is already clear: Just as its staple burger-and-fries meals have made McDonald's the largest single buyer of beef and potatoes in the country, its new focus on fresh fruits and vegetables is making the company a major player in the $80 billion American produce industry.
The potential impact goes beyond dollars and cents. Some people believe that McDonald's could influence not only the volume, variety and prices of fruit and produce in the nation but also how they are grown.
The company now buys more fresh apples than any other restaurant or food service operation, by far. This year, it expects to buy 54 million pounds of fresh apples - about 135 million individual pieces of fruit. That is up from zero apples just two years ago. (This does not include fruit used to make juice and pies, which use a different quality of apple.)
And it is not just apples: McDonald's is also among the top five food-service buyers of grape tomatoes and spring mix lettuce - a combination of greens like arugula, radicchio and frisée. The boom has been so big and so fast that growers of other produce, like carrots and oranges, are scrambling for a piece of the action.
OF course, other fast-food chains have similar salads and fruit choices on their menus, but they have not had a comparable influence on the market because of their smaller size."
Author, Former Aide to Bush's Father, Disclosed Tapes' Existence
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, The New York TimesWASHINGTON, (Feb. 20) - As George W. Bush was first moving onto the national political stage, he often turned for advice to an old friend who secretly taped some of their private conversations, creating a rare record of the future president as a politician and a personality.
In the last several weeks, that friend, Doug Wead, an author and former aide to Mr. Bush's father, disclosed the tapes' existence to a reporter and played about a dozen of them.
Variously earnest, confident or prickly in those conversations, Mr. Bush weighs the political risks and benefits of his religious faith, discusses campaign strategy and comments on rivals. John McCain "will wear thin," he predicted. John Ashcroft, he confided, would be a "very good Supreme Court pick" or a "fabulous" vice president. And in exchanges about his handling of questions from the news media about his past, Mr. Bush appears to have acknowledged trying marijuana.
Mr. Wead said he recorded the conversations because he viewed Mr. Bush as a historic figure, but he said he knew that the president might regard his actions as a betrayal. As the author of a new book about presidential childhoods, Mr. Wead could benefit from any publicity, but he said that was not a motive in disclosing the tapes.
The White House did not dispute the authenticity of the tapes or respond to their contents. Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said, "The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend." Asked about drug use, Mr. Duffy said, "That has been asked and answered so many times there is nothing more to add."
"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."-Bush on campaign trail
The conversations Mr. Wead played offer insights into Mr. Bush's thinking from the time he was weighing a run for president in 1998 to shortly before he accepted the Republican nomination in 2000. Mr. Wead had been a liaison to evangelical Protestants for the president's father, and the intersection of religion and politics is a recurring theme in the talks.
Preparing to meet Christian leaders in September 1998, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, "As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways." He added, "I am going to say that I've accepted Christ into my life. And that's a true statement."
But Mr. Bush also repeatedly worried that prominent evangelical Christians would not like his refusal "to kick gays." At the same time, he was wary of unnerving secular voters by meeting publicly with evangelical leaders. When he thought his aides had agreed to such a meeting, Mr. Bush complained to Karl Rove, his political strategist, "What the hell is this about?"
Mr. Bush, who has acknowledged a drinking problem years ago, told Mr. Wead on the tapes that he could withstand scrutiny of his past. He said it involved nothing more than "just, you know, wild behavior." He worried, though, that allegations of cocaine use would surface in the campaign, and he blamed his opponents for stirring rumors. "If nobody shows up, there's no story," he told Mr. Wead, "and if somebody shows up, it is going to be made up." But when Mr. Wead said that Mr. Bush had in the past publicly denied using cocaine, Mr. Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything."
He refused to answer reporters' questions about his past behavior, he said, even though it might cost him the election. Defending his approach, Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
He mocked Vice President Al Gore for acknowledging marijuana use. "Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them," he said.
"Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them."-President Bush
Mr. Bush threatened that if his rival Steve Forbes attacked him too hard during the campaign and won, both Mr. Bush, then the Texas governor, and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, would withhold their support. "He can forget Texas. And he can forget Florida. And I will sit on my hands," Mr. Bush said.
The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush. Many of the taped comments foreshadow aspects of his presidency, including his opposition to both anti-gay language and recognizing same-sex marriage, his skepticism about the United Nations, his sense of moral purpose and his focus on cultivating conservative Christian voters.
Mr. Wead said he withheld many tapes of conversations that were repetitive or of a purely personal nature. The dozen conversations he agreed to play ranged in length from five minutes to nearly half an hour. In them, the future president affectionately addresses Mr. Wead as "Weadie" or "Weadnik," asks if his children still believe in Santa Claus, and chides him for skipping a doctor's appointment. Mr. Bush also regularly gripes about the barbs of the press and his rivals. And he is cocky at times. "It's me versus the world," he told Mr. Wead. "The good news is, the world is on my side. Or more than half of it."
Other presidents, such as Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson, secretly recorded conversations from the White House. Some former associates of President Bill Clinton taped personal conversations in apparent efforts to embarrass or entrap him. But Mr. Wead's recordings are a rare example of a future president taped at length without his knowledge talking about matters of public interest like his political strategy and priorities.
Mr. Wead first acknowledged the tapes to a reporter in December to defend the accuracy of a passage about Mr. Bush in his new book, "The Raising of a President." He did not mention the tapes in the book or footnotes, saying he drew on them for only one page of the book. He said he never sought to sell or profit from them. He said he made the tapes in states where it was legal to do so with only one party's knowledge.
Mr. Wead eventually agreed to play a dozen tapes on the condition that the names of any private citizens be withheld. The New York Times hired Tom Owen, an expert on audio authentication, to examine samples from the tapes. He concluded the voice was that of the president.
A White House adviser to the first President Bush, Mr. Wead said in an interview in The Washington Post in 1990 that Andrew H. Card Jr., then deputy chief of staff, told him to leave the administration "sooner rather than later" after he sent conservatives a letter faulting the White House for inviting gay activists to an event. But Mr. Wead said he left on good terms. He never had a formal role in the current president's campaign, though the tapes suggest he had angled for one.
Mr. Wead said he admired George W. Bush and stayed in touch with some members of his family. While he said he has not communicated with the president since early in his first term, he attributed that to Mr. Bush's busy schedule.
"I believe that, like him or not, he is going to be a huge historical figure."-Doug Wead, author and former aide to Bush's father
Mr. Wead said he recorded his conversations with the president in part because he thought he might be asked to write a book for the campaign. He also wanted a clear account of any requests Mr. Bush made of him. But he said his main motivation in making the tapes, which he originally intended to be released only after his own death, was to leave the nation a unique record of Mr. Bush.
"I believe that, like him or not, he is going to be a huge historical figure," Mr. Wead said. "If I was on the telephone with Churchill or Gandhi, I would tape record them too."
Summer of 1998
The first of the taped conversations Mr. Wead disclosed took place in the summer of 1998, when Mr. Bush was running for his second term as Texas governor. At the time, Mr. Bush was considered a political moderate who worked well with Democrats and was widely admired by Texans of both parties. His family name made him a strong presidential contender, but he had not yet committed to run.
Still, in a conversation that November on the eve of Mr. Bush's re-election, his confidence was soaring. "I believe tomorrow is going to change Texas politics forever," he told Mr. Wead. "The top three offices right below me will be the first time there has been a Republican in that slot since the Civil War. Isn't that amazing? And I hate to be a braggart, but they are going to win for one reason: me."
Talking to Mr. Wead, a former Assemblies of God minister who was well connected in conservative evangelical circles, Mr. Bush's biggest concern about the Republican presidential primary was shoring up his right flank. Mr. Forbes was working hard to win the support of conservative Christians by emphasizing his opposition to abortion. "I view him as a problem, don't you?" Mr. Bush asked.
The conversations were recorded beginning in 1998, when Bush was the governor of Texas and weighing a presidential bid.
Mr. Bush knew that his own religious faith could be an asset with conservative Christian voters, and his personal devotion was often evident in the taped conversations. When Mr. Wead warned him that "power corrupts," for example, Mr. Bush told him not to worry: "I have got a great wife. And I read the Bible daily. The Bible is pretty good about keeping your ego in check."
In November 1999, he told his friend that he had been deeply moved by a memorial service for students who died in an accident when constructing a Thanksgiving weekend bonfire at Texas A & M University, especially by the prayers by friends of the students.
In another conversation, he described a "powerful moment" visiting the site of the Sermon on the Mount in Israel with a group of state governors, where he read "Amazing Grace" aloud. "I look forward to sharing this at some point in time," he told Mr. Wead about the event.
Preparing to meet with influential Christian conservatives, Mr. Bush tested his lines with Mr. Wead. "I'm going to tell them the five turning points in my life," he said. "Accepting Christ. Marrying my wife. Having children. Running for governor. And listening to my mother."
In September 1998, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead that he was getting ready for his first meeting with James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, an evangelical self-help group. Dr. Dobson, probably the most influential evangelical conservative, wanted to examine the candidate's Christian credentials.
"He said he would like to meet me, you know, he had heard some nice things, you know, well, 'I don't know if he is a true believer' kind of attitude," Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Bush said he intended to reassure Dr. Dobson of his opposition to abortion. Mr. Bush said he was concerned about rumors that Dr. Dobson had been telling others that the "Bushes weren't going to be involved in abortion," meaning that the Bush family preferred to avoid the issue rather than fight over it.
"I just don't believe I said that. Why would I have said that?" Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead with annoyance.
By the end of the primary, Mr. Bush alluded to Dr. Dobson's strong views on abortion again, apparently ruling out potential vice presidents including Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and Gen. Colin L. Powell, who favored abortion rights. Picking any of them could turn conservative Christians away from the ticket, Mr. Bush said.
"They are not going to like it anyway, boy," Mr. Bush said. "Dobson made it clear."
Signs of Concern
"I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"-President Bush
Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.
But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"
Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."
"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."
Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays."
As early as 1998, however, Mr. Bush had already identified one gay-rights issue where he found common ground with conservative Christians: same-sex marriage. "Gay marriage, I am against that. Special rights, I am against that," Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, five years before a Massachusetts court brought the issue to national attention.
Mr. Bush took stock of conservative Christian views of foreign policy as well. Reading more of the report from the Christian Coalition meeting, Mr. Bush said to Mr. Wead: "Sovereignty. The issue is huge. The mere mention of Kofi Annan in the U.N. caused the crowd to go into a veritable fit. The coalition wants America strong and wants the American flag flying overseas, not the pale blue of the U.N."
As eager as Mr. Bush was to cultivate the support of Christian conservatives, he did not want to do it too publicly for fear of driving away more secular voters. When Mr. Wead warned Mr. Bush to avoid big meetings with evangelical leaders, Mr. Bush said, "I'm just going to have one," and, "This is not meant to be public."
Many of the taped conversations revolve around Mr. Bush's handling of questions about his past behavior. In August 1998, he worried that the scandals of the Clinton administration had sharpened journalists' determination to investigate the private lives of candidates. He even expressed a hint of sympathy for his Democratic predecessor.
"I don't like it either," Mr. Bush said of the Clinton investigations. "But on the other hand, I think he has disgraced the nation."
When Mr. Wead warned that he had heard reporters talking about Mr. Bush's "immature" past, Mr. Bush said, "That's part of my schtick, which is, look, we have all made mistakes."
He said he learned "a couple of really good lines" from Mr. Robison, the Texas pastor: "What you need to say time and time again is not talk about the details of your transgressions but talk about what I have learned. I've sinned and I've learned."
"I said, 'James' - he stopped - I said, 'I did some things when I was young that were immature,' " Mr. Bush said. "He said, 'But have you learned?' I said, 'James, that's the difference between me and the president. I've learned. I am prepared to accept the responsibility of this office.' "By the summer of 1999, Mr. Bush was telling Mr. Wead his approach to such prying questions had evolved. "I think it is time for somebody to just draw the line and look people in the eye and say, I am not going to participate in ugly rumors about me, and blame my opponents, and hold the line, and stand up for a system that will not allow this kind of crap to go on."
Later, however, Mr. Bush worried that his refusal to answer questions about whether he had used illegal drugs in the past could prove costly, but he held out nonetheless. "I am just not going to answer those questions. And it might cost me the election," he told Mr. Wead.
He complained repeatedly about the press scrutiny, accusing the news media of a "campaign" against him. While he talked of certain reporters as "pro-Bush" and commented favorably on some publications (U.S. News & World Report is "halfway decent," but Time magazine is "awful"), he vented frequently to Mr. Wead about what he considered the liberal bias and invasiveness of the news media in general.
"It's unbelievable," Mr. Bush said, reciting various rumors about his past that his aides had picked up from reporters. "They just float sewer out there."
Mr. Bush bristled at even an implicit aspersion on his past behavior from Dan Quayle, the former vice president and a rival candidate.
"He's gone ugly on me, man," Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead. Mr. Bush quoted Mr. Quayle as saying, "I'm proud of what I did before 40."
"I would love it to be a Bush-Ashcroft race."-Bush said in November 1998
"As if I am not!" Mr. Bush said.
Sizing Up Opponents
During the primary contest, Mr. Bush often sized up his dozen Republican rivals, assessing their appeal to conservative Christian voters, their treatment of him and their prospects of serving in a future Bush administration. He paid particular attention to Senator John Ashcroft. "I like Ashcroft a lot," he told Mr. Wead in November 1998. "He is a competent man. He would be a good Supreme Court pick. He would be a good attorney general. He would be a good vice president."
When Mr. Wead predicted an uproar if Mr. Ashcroft were appointed to the court because of his conservative religious views, Mr. Bush replied, "Well, tough."
While Mr. Bush thought the conservative Christian candidates Gary L. Bauer and Alan Keyes would probably scare away moderates, he saw Mr. Ashcroft as an ally because he would draw evangelical voters into the race.
"I want Ashcroft to stay in there, and I want him to be very strong," Mr. Bush said. " I would love it to be a Bush-Ashcroft race. Only because I respect him. He wouldn't say ugly things about me. And I damn sure wouldn't say ugly things about him."
But Mr. Bush was sharply critical of Mr. Forbes, another son of privilege with a famous last name. Evangelicals were not going to like him, Mr. Bush said. "He's too preppy," Mr. Bush said, calling Mr. Forbes "mean spirited."
Recalling the bruising primary fight Mr. Forbes waged against Bob Dole in 1996, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, "Steve Forbes is going to hear this message from me. I will do nothing for him if he does to me what he did to Dole. Period. There is going to be a consequence. He is not dealing with the average, you know, 'Oh gosh, let's all get together after it's over.' I will promise you, I will not help him. I don't care."
Another time, Mr. Bush discussed offering Mr. Forbes a job as economic adviser or even secretary of commerce, if Mr. Forbes would approach him first.
Mr. Bush's political predictions were not always on the mark. Before the New Hampshire primary, Mr. Bush all but dismissed Senator John McCain, who turned out to be his strongest challenger.
"He's going to wear very thin when it is all said and done," he said.
When Mr. Wead suggested in June 2000 that Mr. McCain's popularity with Democrats and moderate voters might make him a strong vice presidential candidate, Mr. Bush almost laughed. "Oh, come on!" He added, "I don't know if he helps us win."
Mr. Bush could hardly contain his disdain for Mr. Gore, his Democratic opponent, at one point calling him "pathologically a liar." His confidence in the moral purpose of his campaign to usher in "a responsibility era" never wavered, but he acknowledged that winning might require hard jabs. "I may have to get a little rough for a while," he told Mr. Wead, "but that is what the old man had to do with Dukakis, remember?"
For his part, Mr. Wead said what was most resonant about the conversations with Mr. Bush was his concern that his past behavior might come back to haunt him. Mr. Wead said he used the tapes for his book because Mr. Bush's life so clearly fit his thesis: that presidents often grow up overshadowed by another sibling.
"What I saw in George W. Bush is that he purposefully put himself in the shadows by his irresponsible behavior as a young person," Mr. Wead said. That enabled him to come into his own outside the glare of his parents' expectations, Mr. Wead said.
Why disclose the tapes? "I just felt that the historical point I was making trumped a personal relationship," Mr. Wead said. Asked about consequences, Mr. Wead said, "I'll always be friendly toward him."
Saturday, February 19, 2005
By John F. HarrisWashington Post Staff WriterFriday, February 18, 2005 President Bush will sign legislation this morning to rewrite the rules for class-action lawsuits, a measure he has coveted for years and whose swift passage in the new Congress illustrates the expanded influence of Republicans and their business supporters.
The Class Action Fairness Act is designed to funnel most such lawsuits from state courts to the federal system -- a procedural change that could have substantive implications, because federal courts traditionally have been less sympathetic to class-action cases waged by plaintiffs claiming they have been victimized by fraud or negligence by corporations.
Bush's first legislative victory of his second term came after a lopsided vote yesterday in the House, where most Republicans and many Democrats approved the bill by 279 to 149.
The class-action bill -- the first part of a broader White House campaign to impose rules designed to limit what Bush asserts is a glut of meritless lawsuits seeking billions of dollars -- has been close to passage for several years. But it regularly fell just short, largely because of the success of Senate Democrats in throwing procedural roadblocks against a measure that had majority support.
Their inability to do that this year, both sides of the class-action debate agreed yesterday, showed how the addition of four more Republicans in the Senate -- combined with a determined public and behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by the White House -- can shift Washington's balance of power in decisive and potentially far-reaching ways.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) called the vote a "historic first step towards breaking one of the main shackles holding back our economy and America's workforce -- lawsuit abuse."
Reflecting the frustrations of many Democrats, who knew their arguments had no chance of carrying the day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scored the bill as a "payback for big business at the expense of consumers." The legislation calls for federal courts to be the proper jurisdiction for most class-action cases in which defendants are from multiple states. Only in certain cases -- such as when two-thirds of the plaintiffs are from the same state and the defendant also has headquarters there -- would class-action cases remain in state courts.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who led the opposition in the floor debate, warned: "This is not a simple procedural fix. Moving the cases to federal court will result in many cases never being heard."
Ultimately, however, the skepticism of many Democrats to this argument pushed the measure to passage. In the Senate, the new rules for class-action suits were supported by Democrats with generally liberal voting records such as Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.). They agreed with such advocates as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that waging class-action lawsuits amid a patchwork of state laws produces irrational verdicts and invites abuse by plaintiffs' attorneys filing lawsuits in certain courts known to be sympathetic to the cases, no matter if there is any particular logic to hearing the case in that jurisdiction.
One of the most celebrated of these localities is Madison County, Ill., which Bush visited last month in his campaign to pass the legislation. A White House official last night said Madison County's record as a magnet for dubious class-action cases was one reason Bush was eager to sign the bill as quickly as possible this morning, before leaving for a European trip Sunday morning.
Just since the beginning of the year, the White House official said, there have been 23 class-action suits filed in Madison County -- 19 of them within the past week as lawyers recognized the imminent passage of the bill. The new legislation is not retroactive.
The new legislation removes the "tilt" against defendants by putting them into a federal system where there is a "clearer and more predictable body of law," said Robert C. Weber, a Cleveland lawyer who has defended such corporations as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. against class actions as head of the product-liability practice at the firm of Jones Day. He said the existence of magnet courts such as Madison County's leads to "extortionate settlements" by companies that do not want to risk the unpredictability and expense of going to trial.
Opponents argued to no avail that federal courts are ill-equipped to handle class-action suits, which usually revolve around questions of state consumer protection laws. Federal judges, citing confusion about how laws from multiple states should be applied in cases, often refuse to "certify" a case for hearing in their courts.
Joan Claybrook of the consumer group Public Citizen said these procedural hurdles to class-action cases in the federal system is why business lobbying groups were so eager for the bill's passage. "Many, many class actions will not be brought" under the new rules, she predicted.
She said the largest class-action cases, involving the most expensive potential verdicts, will still find lawyers willing to pursue them, but as a practical matter class actions will no longer be a useful tool for victims seeking redress against credit card companies, insurers or other firms that commit "everyday frauds and deceptions that happen all the time."
Supporters of the measure, however, said that genuinely aggrieved consumers may fare better under the new legislation, which seeks to curb "coupon settlements." Under such settlements, trial lawyers have reaped big fees while consumers get low-value coupons that can be redeemed for more purchases. Under the new law, lawyers in a settlement get fees based only on the number of coupons that are redeemed -- typically a small percentage of the total.
Stanton D. Anderson, who led the Chamber of Commerce's effort to pass the bill, said the addition of Republicans in the Senate after the November elections "made a bigger difference atmospherically," beyond just four votes; opponents seemed to yield hopes for blocking the measure. In fact, the efforts of opponents in recent weeks have been not to defeat the bill but to amend what they regarded as its most objectionable provisions. But even these efforts failed -- largely after an unusual but effective tactical move by House Republican leaders. They announced that they would drop the House's version of the bill and accept the Senate's -- provided the Senate did not weaken the legislation with any amendments.
Friday, February 18, 2005
The Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for soldiers traumatized by their time in Iraq and Afghanistan to be offered the party drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares. The soldiers would take the drug as part of an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder."
A new study conducted by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography reveals that global warming has raised the temperature of the world's oceans and places the blame squarely on man-made greenhouse gases.
The study says that within the next 20 years, there will be water shortages, melting of glaciers and other serious problems even if an immediate effort was made to curb emissions of greenhouse gases"
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Simple robots that toddle along like an old-fashioned child's toy offer a more realistic and efficient model of human walking than more sophisticated models, researchers said on Thursday.
They hope their back-to-basics approach can be used not only to design more efficient robots, but also prosthetics for injured patients and amputees, and to understand better how people walk.
The idea is based on "passive-dynamic walkers" -- devices that can walk down a slight slope using only gravity and carefully balanced, pendulum-like legs.
These unpowered walkers can produce a surprisingly human-like gait, three separate teams of researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Science.
Adding a tiny bit of power, as much as is used by a small fluorescent light bulb, allows an element of control for the walker to make more than a few steps and adjust to differing terrain, including level ground.
"We can let the mechanics take care of a lot of the motion as opposed to motors," Andy Ruina of Cornell University in New York, who helped design one of the robot walkers.
It gives a more realistic gait than fully powered robots, and is much more energy-efficient -- which will save batteries in the long run.
"For a robot to ever be practical it has to be able to run for a while," Ruina told a news conference sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (news - web sites).
The concept is simple, said Ruina -- the legs act like sticks attached to hinges, and swing back and forth with a pendulum motion. The concept has been used for more than 100 years to design toys that will "walk" down a slope with no propulsion.
"Mainstream" robots, on the other hand, have every movement carefully controlled and powered.
Steven Collins of Cornell, who is now at the University of Michigan, added a tiny bit of motorized propulsion at the robot's ankles. "At each step it pushes off with its back foot," Collins said.
"This is similar to how we think people walk."
Adding a hinged knee allows the robot to clear obstacles or step uphill.
Martijn Wisse of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands added pneumatic powering to simulate muscles in the legs of his robot, which uses very similar principles.
And Russ Tedrake of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) added a little computer to his model.
"We call him 'Toddler' because he 'learns' how to walk," Tedrake told the news conference.
"It can walk on a variety of terrains ... It evaluates how it is walking and adjusts," he said.
The concepts can be applied to better prosthetics such as artificial legs, Tedrake said. "If we understand how humans move, we can develop more advanced rehabilitation," he said.
Intelligence Officials Talk Of Growing Insurgency
By Dana Priest and Josh WhiteWashington Post Staff WritersThursday, February 17, 2005; Page A01
The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday.
"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
CIA Director Porter J. Goss prepares to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with other national security officials as committee member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) watches. (Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post) 1 )
"These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," he said. "They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries."
On a day when the top half-dozen U.S. national security and intelligence officials went to Capitol Hill to talk about the continued determination of terrorists to strike the United States, their statements underscored the unintended consequences of the war in Iraq.
"The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists," Goss said in his first public testimony since taking over the CIA. Goss said Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist who has joined al Qaeda since the U.S. invasion, "hopes to establish a safe haven in Iraq" from which he could operate against Western nations and moderate Muslim governments.
"Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate panel. "Overwhelming majorities in Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia believe the U.S. has a negative policy toward the Arab world."
Jacoby said the Iraq insurgency has grown "in size and complexity over the past year" and is now mounting an average of 60 attacks per day, up from 25 last year. Attacks on Iraq's election day last month reached 300, he said, double the previous one-day high of 150, even though transportation was virtually locked down.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee that he has trouble believing any of the estimates of the number of insurgents because it is so difficult to track them.
Rumsfeld said that the CIA and DIA had differing assessments at different times but that U.S. intelligence estimates of the insurgency are "considerably lower" than a recent Iraqi intelligence report of 40,000 hard-core insurgents and 200,000 part-time fighters. Rumsfeld told Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), the committee's ranking Democrat, that he had copies of the CIA and DIA estimates but declined to disclose them in a public session because they are classified.
"My job in the government is not to be the principal intelligence officer and try to rationalize differences between the Iraqis, the CIA and the DIA," Rumsfeld testified. "I see these reports. Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence in any of them."
After the hearing, Rumsfeld told reporters that he did not mean to be "dismissive" of the intelligence reports.
"People are doing the best that can be done, and the fact is that people disagree," he said. ". . . It's not clear to me that the number is the overriding important thing."
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House panel that the extremists associated with al Qaeda and Zarqawi represent "a fairly small percentage of the total number of insurgents."
Sunni Arabs, dominated by former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, "comprise the core of the insurgency" and continue to provide "funds and guidance across family, tribal, religious and peer-group lines," Jacoby said.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Eruptions that leave calderas this big don't happen often (Toba seems to be on a 400,000-year cycle, give or take a hundred thousand or so), but when they do, the effects can be global. Toba appears to have ejected some 670 cubic miles (2,790 cubic kilometers) of material, as much as 560 times the amount produced by Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The ash and gas from Toba reached 30 miles (50 kilometers) into the stratosphere and shrouded the entire planet.
A super-eruption has multiple effects on the biosphere. Sulfur dioxide combines with water vapor to form sulfuric acid particles that scatter, reflect, and absorb sunlight. The planet's surface cools, the stratosphere heats, photosynthesis is reduced. The ash rains from the sky in particles so small that they can penetrate an animal's lungs. "It's like smoking," he says. "The birds die first," says Rose. "They get the ash in their feathers and they're immobilized. Then the larger animals start to die."
A lot of the humans died too, says Stanley H. Ambrose of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Indeed, studies of mitochondrial DNA in humans point to a possible bottleneck of genetic diversity at roughly the same time as Toba's eruption, although it's impossible to prove a link.
Ambrose does believe, however, that human behavior shows signs of change after Toba. Prior to the eruption, there's little evidence that humans engaged in long-distance networking. Afterward, humans in Kenya, some 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) from Toba, appear to have traveled up to 200 miles (300 kilometers) carrying obsidian objects. Ambrose's theory is that humans who learned to cooperate and give gifts would survive another crisis better than those who lived in isolated groups and did not practice altruism or reciprocity.
So you might say gifts saved the world, a heartwarming ending to this disaster story.
Dr. Ambrose, the authoritative name on this subject, was my anthropology teacher last semester.
Years since the Justice Department last released the number of U.S. terror suspects taken into "preventive detention" : 3
Estimated number of people who have been taken into such detention since then : 4,000
Minimum number of Al Qaeda suspects from overseas whom the United States has now "disappeared," by legal standards : 11
Percentage "more intelligence" given up by prisoners in Iraq since coercion of them was banned, according to a U.S. general : 25
Factor by which an Iraqi is more likely to die today than in the last year of the Hussein regime : 2.5
Factor by which the cause of death is more likely to be violence : 58
Average number of Americans injured every year by air rifles, paintball weapons, and BB guns : 22,000
Phone number of The G.I. Rights Hotline, a nongovernmental service for U.S. military personnel : 800-394-9544
Estimated number of calls the line received last year from soldiers seeking a way out of the military : 34,800
Percentage of Pentagon contracts since 1998 that have been awarded on a no-bid basis : 44
Percentage change since 2002 in the average U.S. price of gasoline : +35.2
Change since then in the amount of gasoline Americans consume per capita : 0
Number of American five-year-olds named Lexus : 353
Estimated value of a diamond-and-sapphire jewelry set given to Laura Bush in 2003 by the Saudi crown prince : $95,500
Year by which the third and final phase of the 2003 "road map" to a Palestinian state was to have been reached : 2005
Estimated number of the twenty-five provisions in the first phase that have yet to be completed : 17
Number of House members in 1979 who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday : 133
Number who are still in the House : 9
Number who are Vice President : 1
Percentage of South African farmland owned by whites in 1994 and today, respectively : 87, 84
Ratio of the number of people in Haiti to the number of permanent full-time jobs there : 80:1
Rank of Wal-Mart among Mexico's largest private employers : 1
Number of states, provinces, or territories of the United States, Canada, and Mexico that lack a McDonald's : 1
Population per square mile of that territory, the Nunavut region of Canada : 0.03
Estimated number of different languages spoken at home by Alaskan schoolchildren : 110
Chance that a Japanese grade-school student reports never having seen a sunrise or sunset : 1 in 2
Percentage by which British university graduates are less likely than non-graduates to phone their mothers regularly : 20
Percentage by which they are less likely to make regular visits : 50
Portion of British trash that ends up in landfills : 4/5
Portion of German trash that does : 2/5
Meters of the Berlin Wall rebuilt by an entrepreneur last year as a "monument to peace" : 200
Minimum number of wild boar living in Berlin : 3,000
Total number of cats that entered the Cat Fanciers' Association 2004 "Best Cat in Championship" competition : 31,899
Points by which a cat named Colin Powell defeated the runner-up : 114.35
Average number of suicides per 100,000 residents in states carried by President Bush in November : 13.5
Average number of suicides in states carried by John Kerry : 9.9
Hours after Kerry conceded that a New Yorker posted a personal ad seeking a Bush supporter for a "fair, physical fight" : 5
Number of people who volunteered within twenty-four hours : 3
Number who asked to watch : 9
Paleontologist Richard Leakey found the fossils in 1967 in the area of Ethiopia's Omo River and estimated them to be 130,000 years old. First set of remains, Omo 1, featured part of a skull and some skeletal bones while Omo 2 contained more complete skull.
Published: February 20, 2005
THE prayers of those hoping that real television news might take its cues from Jon Stewart were finally answered on Feb. 9, 2005. A real newsman borrowed a technique from fake news to deliver real news about fake news in prime time."
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The 50-year-old, from Michigan, admitted she was drunk after swallowing substantial quantities of the fluid.
Police found that she had three times the legal level of alcohol in her blood at the time of an accident.
A bottle of Listerine was found in her car after she hit the vehicle in front of her at a red traffic light.
Mouthwashes cleanse the mouth by rinsing and are not intended to be swallowed.
Some brands can contain as much as almost 27% alcohol, more than twice the content found in wine.
Alcohol is used to provide a solution for active ingredients such as essential oils.
In a statement, the company that makes Listerine said: 'Pfizer Consumer Healthcare [...] would like to reassure users of Listerine that, if used according to recommendations, Listerine will have no effect on ability to drive.
'The directions for Listerine instruct the user to rinse with 20ml twice a day and not to swallow the mouthwash.'
February 15 - 22:35 EST In an apparent attempt to revitalize its Switch ad campaign, Apple has just posted a request on its Web site for 'New to Mac' stories. 'If you're a PC user who's recently bought a Mac, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know what made you get a Mac instead of a PC,'"
#1 reason to buy a Mac?
It's hard to argue with a Barron Babe.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
you can make from readily available parts. What has a homemade espresso machine got that an $800 Williams Sonoma special does't? $770 dollars in your bank account, high-design PVC tubing, and a caulk gun. You probably have a caulk gun anyway, so let's just make that $785 in your pocket and a fine piece of caffeinated gagetry that you can impress your friends with.
Continue reading How-To: Make a cheap portable espresso machine
By MARIAN BURROS, The New York Times
Bitter Over Sweets
An unusual partnership of consumer advocates, food conglomerates and sugar growers are all targeting the fast-growing Splenda sweetener's claims. Video: Rivals File Lawsuits
More on This Story/Jump Blw:
WASHINGTON (Feb. 14) - The strangest of all political bedfellows held a news conference together on Monday to accuse the company that markets a popular sugar substitute of deceptive advertising.
The president of the National Sugar Association, Andrew C. Briscoe III, joined the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Dr. Michael F. Jacobson, a frequent critic of the association, to make the case that McNeil Nutritionals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, should stop implying that its artificial sweetener, Splenda, is natural because it is made from sugar.
Both the sugar association and Merisant Worldwide, manufacturer of the artificial sweetener Equal, are suing to stop Splenda from making the claim "made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar." They say the phrase misleads consumers into thinking Splenda is natural when it is actually "a highly processed chemical compound."
The Federal Trade Commission has received a number of truth-in-advertising complaints against Splenda from consumer groups.
Dr. Jacobson said he had joined the news conference because "advertising and labeling, whether for products that are healthful or unhealthful, should be truthful and nonmisleading."
The sugar association and another participant at the news conference, the National Grange, an agricultural and rural advocacy organization, as well as other manufacturers of artificial sweeteners, have much more at stake. Splenda, or sucralose, which was introduced in 2000, now accounts for 51 percent of the market share for artificial sweeteners. In 2004, sales of sugar fell 5 percent from the previous year.
At the news conference, Dr. Jacobson presented the results of a multiple-choice Internet survey his organization conducted in April about public perception of Splenda. In the poll, of 426 people, 47 percent of respondents thought Splenda was natural. Only 8 percent knew it was made from sucralose, which is made by chlorinating sucrose, or sugar.
McNeil Nutritionals has retaliated with its own suit asserting that the sugar association suit is part of a "malicious smear campaign" that is "designed to injure the reputation of Splenda." Monica Neufang, director of communications at McNeil Nutritionals, said the association's Web site questioned Splenda's safety.
"We start the process of making Splenda with sugar, and studies show Splenda and sugar have very similar taste profiles," Ms. Neufang said, adding, "We are not sugar; we are a no-calories sweetener. "
Whatever Splenda may be, culinary experts say it is not like sugar at all because it leaves a chemical aftertaste.
The sugar association and Dr. Jacobson disagree over the safety of Splenda. The association's Web site, www.thetruthaboutsplenda, says: "Fiction: Splenda is safe to eat, even for children. " Dr. Jacobson does not question its safety.
NcNeil Nutritionals has the global marketing rights for consumer products using Splenda, which is made by Tate & Lyle, a British company.
Second missile test fails for US
US plans for a multi-billion dollar anti-missile defence shield have suffered a further setback after the failure of a second test in two months. (hope N.Korea wasn't watching).
Monday, February 14, 2005
This book has created quite a stir here in Washington, "The Case for Democracy." The president of the United States said this: "If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy read Natan Sharansky's book `The Case for Democracy.' ...It's a great book." "I think it will...explain a lot of the decisions that...you've seen made and will continue to see made."
The president went on that the book was part of his "presidential DNA. ...It's It's what I think; it's"-- "part of all policy. ...It is part of my philosophy."
it is even paraphrased in the state of the union address.
"The president now plans to hector and badger foreign leaders on the progress each is making toward attaining U.S. standards of democracy. ... This is a formula for `Bring-it-on!' collisions with every autocratic regime on earth, including virtually every African and Arab ruler, all the `outposts of tyranny' named by Secretary [of State] Rice, most of the nations of Central Asia, China and Russia. This is a prescription for endless war."
Imperial interventionism. You want to end terror...
stop it the way the British stopped it in Palestine. They got out. The French got out of Algiers. It ended. The Russians got out of Afghanistan. It ended. They got out of Lebanon. That ended it."
It is hard to make Mr Buchanan look great, but Sharansky made Buchanan sound convincing and logical.
Acceptance of different points of view made the US great. The administration seems to be headed toward the policy of interventionism so all the world will be like the USA.
…the amazing thing is we are being taken over basically by a cult. Eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease…. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
This is a link to a document that was unearthed in 1986. It is supposedly part of a series of training manuals for certain privilleged individuals within the framework of the CIA. If you have nothing to do, read the whole thing. It is very interesting in many of its assertions.
Have fun all you sheople !!!
Policy change paves way for Bagger to play British
Transsexual golfers will be allowed to play in this year's women's British Open in a policy change made by the Ladies Golf Union.
The move, announced Wednesday, comes 11 months after Danish-born Mianne Bagger became the first male-born golfer to play in a professional women's tournament.
The LGU, which governs amateur golf in Britain and also runs the women's British Open, followed a similar move made last year by the Ladies European Tour, the governing body of professional women's golf in Europe.
Bagger, who had a sex-change operation in 1995, is playing this season on the Ladies European Tour and expected to enter the women's British Open. The tournament is open to amateurs and professionals.
The LPGA -- the professional women's tour in North America -- prohibits transsexuals from playing and allows only women who are female at birth.
The first tournament under the LGU new rules will be the Ladies British Amateur on June 7-11 at the Littlestone Golf Club in southern England.
The British Open is July 28-31 at Royal Birkdale, near Liverpool in northwest England.
"We have a legal situation in Europe and the U.K. that is different to America, so in a sense we had no option but to address the situation," said Andy Salmon, chief executive of the LGU. "In America, they reserve the right not to address it at the moment.
"It has taken a considerable time to finalize the gender policy document and we are convinced that we have a document that is fair to all."
LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw said late last year his organization was considering a change, partially because of rule changes made by other golf bodies and the International Olympic Committee.
That biological analysis turns out - surprise! - to have been superficial. Instead, modern science is turning up a possible reason why the religious right is flourishing and secular liberals aren't: instinct. It turns out that our DNA may predispose humans toward religious faith.
Granted, that's not very encouraging news for the secular left. Imagine if many of us are hard-wired to be religious. Imagine if, as a cosmic joke, humans have gradually evolved to leave many of us doubting evolution.
The notion of a genetic inclination toward religion is not new. Edward Wilson, the founder of the field of sociobiology, argued in the 1970's that a predisposition to religion may have had evolutionary advantages."
An artificial fat once embraced as a cheap and seemingly healthy alternative to saturated fats like butter or tropical oils, partially hydrogenated oil has been the food industry's favorite cooking medium for decades. It makes French fries crisp and sweets creamy, and keeps packaged pastries fresh for months.
But scientists contend that trans fat, a component of the oil, is more dangerous than the fat it replaced. Studies show trans fat has the same heart-clogging properties as saturated fat, but unlike saturated fat, it reduces the good cholesterol that can clear arteries. A small but growing body of research has connected it to metabolic problems.
The Food and Drug Administration has declared that there is no healthy level in the diet and has ordered food companies to disclose trans fat amounts on food labels by January 2006."
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Technology seems to have inspired a chef to design an amazing invention, edible ink made of liquidised food to print a picture snack on low-cal edible paper using a specially designed printer.
According to The sun, chef Homaru Cantu's food paper can even be downloaded from the internet. He adapted an ink-jet printer with computer wizards from local firm Deep Labs.
They first experimented with ink made of crushed carrots, tomatoes and purple potatoes. He has already started printing edible menus at his restaurant Moto in Chicago.
Diners can rip up the menu and toss it in their soup or have the sheets baked or fried. "You can make an ink-jet printer do just about anything. Just imagine going through a magazine and looking at an ad for pizza. You wonder what it tastes like so you rip a page out and eat it," he added. (ANI)
Friday, February 11, 2005
Business reporters -- like, I suspect analysts and venture capitalists -- develop over time a set of diagnostic tools for analyzing the relative health of companies we encounter. This bag of tricks is mostly subjective, some of it no doubt unconscious, and we constantly test it against experience, most of it bad. That is, every time we get suckered into writing an upbeat story about an evil, incompetent or doomed company, we swear we will never make that mistake again -- then we scrutinize where we went wrong and what warning signals we missed."
Retailer says workers' demands would have made the Canadian store unprofitable.
By ADAM GELLER
The Associated Press
NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Wednesday it will close a Canadian store whose workers are on the verge of becoming the first ever to win a union contract from the world's biggest retailer.
Archaeologists say they have discovered some stone remains from the coast close to India's famous beachfront Mahabalipuram temple in Tamil Nadu state following the 26 December tsunami.
They believe that the 'structures' could be the remains of an ancient and once-flourishing port city in the area housing the famous 1200-year-old rock-hewn temple.
Three pieces of remains, which include a granite lion, were found buried in the sand after the coastline receded in the area after the tsunami struck."
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Literally, this time.
The delegates have passed a bill authorizing a $50 fine for any Virginians - from randy Desperate Housewives to droopy chic teenagers - who wear pants that ride so low that their underwear shows 'in a lewd or indecent manner.'
Given that several generations now have unsuccessfully tried to meddle in the matter of teens' jeans, you would think lawmakers would know it is the ultimate futility. But the bill's sponsor, Delegate Algie Howell Jr., a 67-year-old Democrat and barbershop owner from Norfolk, told The Virginian-Pilot that he's got high, or rather low, hopes: 'I think if there's a law saying you can't walk down the street with 8 to 10 inches of your undergarments showing, at least some of them might stop doing it.'
This guy should be on the Bush team. Controlling what does not need to be controlled is its specialty.
Condoleezza Rice plays hardball with foes and allies around the world. But she's afraid of a few French schoolkids?
Keith Richburg reported in The Washington Post that the Bushies ensured that Condi's appearance at the elite Institute of Political Sciences was more sheep pen than lion's den. 'Only a handful of the school's 5,500 students were allowed near the auditorium where Rice spoke,' he wrote, 'and the initial questions were vetted in advance by the school and the State Department.'
The article said Benjamin Barnier, the son of Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, asked the first question, about the possibility of a theocratic government in Iraq. But the real question he wanted to ask was vetoed after he submitted it to the school on Monday. It was: 'George Bush is not particularly well perceived in the world, particularly in the Middle East. Can you do something to change that?'
Surely, the 'princess warrior' and 'Madame Hawk,' as she has been dubbed in France, could have handled that one.
But Bush officials prefer to write the script, or 'create their own reality,' as one Bushie put it, whenever they can. Besides the W.M.D. scare, there was the Kabuki 'Ask President Bush' campaign sessions where voters had to take written pledges of support before they were allowed in, and the micromanaged town hall debates, where Bush strategists would not allow truly undecided voters to ask W. questions. And don't forget the administration's payments to conservative 'journalists' to sell programs they would have promoted anyway."
By SANG-HUN CHOE
Associated Press Writer
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea announced for the first time Thursday it has nuclear weapons, and it rejected moves to restart disarmament talks anytime soon, saying the bombs are protection against an increasingly hostile United States."
*Be mindful of how this story is covered. It is really interesting in terms of PR and rhetoric. Several headlines say things like "Rice to diffuse situation." Or something about diplomatic deals. Interesting, because they aren't saying "HOLY SH**, We've FOUND THE WMD!" Or, run chicken little, the sky is falling! Or perhaps, N.Korea is afraid of U.S. hostilities and seeks protection w/bomb. Now would be a good time to invest in those cold war bomb shelter companies.
The 12 men and women said to be 100 years or older were invited to the gathering by the 120 Year Club, a Cuban group whose members are convinced many people can live to a similar age by changing their lifestyles.
"The whole world could satisfactorily live 120 years," said Dr. Eugenio Selman, the club's director and Castro's personal physician.
But to do so, he said, six basic elements must be fulfilled: motivation to live, appropriate diet, medical attention, intense physical activity, cultural activities and a healthy environment.
The wedding will be a civil ceremony in Windsor Castle on April 8, followed by a service of prayer and dedication in St. George's Chapel at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside.
Charles said he and his wife-to-be were "absolutely delighted" at their engagement.
When offered congratulations as he entered Goldsmiths' Hall in London for an engagement Thursday morning, he said: "Thank you very much, you're so kind." He added: "I am very excited."
On their marriage, Parker Bowles will be given the title of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall.
When Charles becomes king, Camilla will not be known as Queen Camilla but as the Princess Consort, according to Charles' office.
The Adversary - Your first blogger for royal news.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
"It's still legal in America to tell jokes — even about lawyers," said 70-year-old Harvey Kash's lawyer, Ron Kuby, about Monday's decision.
Kash testified he was exercising his First Amendment right when he shared a few lawyer jokes with his friend, Carl Lanzisera, 65, as they waited to enter a Long Island courthouse last month.
Kash and Lanzisera are founders of Americans for Legal Reform, a group that uses confrontational tactics to urge greater public access to the courts. They said they have mocked lawyers outside courts for years.
"How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?" Kash reportedly asked.
"His lips are moving," the pair howled in unison.
Some people giggled, but a lawyer in the line told them to pipe down and reported them to court officers. They were arrested for allegedly being abusive and causing a disturbance.
The charge against Lanzisera was dropped because of insufficient evidence
A ban on tobacco use -- whether at home or at the workplace -- led four employees to quit their jobs last week at Okemos, Michigan-based Weyco Inc., which handles insurance claims.
The workers refused to take a mandatory urine test demanded of Weyco's 200 employees by founder and sole owner Howard Weyers, a demand that he said was perfectly legal.
'If you don't want to take the test, you can leave,' Weyers told Reuters. 'I'm not controlling their lives; they have a choice whether they want to work here.'
Also a health concern: overweight workers.
'We have to work on eating habits and getting people to exercise. But if you're obese, you're (legally) protected,' Weyers said."
The Karl Rove Ascension
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, February 9, 2005; 11:41 AM
Karl Rove is now, officially, in charge of pretty much everything at the White House.
But it's mostly just a title change.
President Bush's long-time chief political strategist is now assistant to the president, deputy chief of staff and senior adviser. That's a lot of titles. But of course Rove has even more nicknames. He's been called "Bush's guru," "Bush's brain," "the man behind the curtain" and "the wizard of the West Wing." Rove himself cracked that his reputation is "evil Rasputin." And Bush alternately calls Rove "the architect," "boy genius," or "turd blossom" -- the last a reference to a West Texas flower that grows in cow manure.
Related entries: Household, Misc. Gadgets
Chemistry professor Richard Pashley says he’s found a way to clean clothes without using soap. The key to his discovery is a process called “de-gassing”, which removes air particles from the water. Once de-gassed, the water can apparently remove even the toughest stains, without using an ounce of detergent. Right now, the water can only be de-gassed by freezing it in liquid nitrogen (not exactly practical for soccer moms or college dorm residents), but Pashley plans to develop semipermeable membranes, similiar to those used on oil rigs, that will de-gass water as it passes through.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Tues Feb 8 2005 9:27:01 ET
From: The Drudge Report
Last Friday when promoting social security reform with 'regular' citizens in Omaha, Nebraska, President Bush walked into an awkward unscripted moment in which he stated that carrying three jobs at a time is 'uniquely American.'
While talking with audience participants, the president met Mary Mornin, a woman in her late fifties who told the president she was a divorced mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son.
The President comforted Mornin on the security of social security stating that 'the promises made will be kept by the government.'
But without prompting Mornin began to elaborate on her life circumstances.
MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
I bet the Bush team hates it when they forget to pre-screen their audiences. It only results in a reflection of reality? And who wants that..