Wednesday, April 30, 2003

A woman will be riding in the Kentucky Derby

Rosemary Homeister will be rewarded with a ride in the Kentucky Derby aboard Supah Blitz.Homeister, one of the leading jockeys in south Florida the past few years, will be the fifth woman in 129 years to ride in the Derby. She follows Julie Krone (1992, 1995), Andrea Seefeldt (1991), Patricia Cooksey (1984) and Diane Crump (1970). The best finish was 11th by Krone aboard Suave Prospect in 1995 and Cooksey on So Vague in 1984.Homeister, 30, has a good chance to better that with the hard-running Supah Blitz, a longshot in the 17-horse field. >>Full story...

129th Running of the Kentucky Derby: May 3, 2003.

THE BACTERIA WHISPERER

Bonnie Bassler discovered a secret about microbes that the science world has missed for centuries. The bugs are talking to each other. And plotting against us. >>Full story...

Briefing.com

11:15AM Dollar crumbles as Greenspan keeps options open : The buck is really breaking down. The Dollar Index (DXY) has broken through support and is looking very vulnerable. Currently sitting at 97.41 and a weekly close below 97.62 would increase the risk that the March/April recovery has failed to produce a bullish reversal. With Greenspan seemingly open to another possible ease in interest rates, the Dollar will likely continue its fall. After all, a 50 basis point cut in Fed Funds puts us in sub-1% territory

Hutchison Walks Away from Global Crossing (Reuters)

"Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. on Wednesday abandoned plans to buy a stake in Global Crossing Ltd. due to U.S. regulatory resistance, leaving Singapore Technologies Telemedia as the sole investor to gain control of the bankrupt telecommunications company. Hutchison (HKSE:0013.HK - News) decided to walk away after U.S. national security officials balked at Hong Kong-based Hutchison's ties to China, sources familiar with the situation said ... The pact with Singapore Technologies, however, still may spark objections from U.S. lawmakers, since the firm is a unit of Temasek Holdings Ltd., the investment arm of the Singapore government. U.S. law restricts the purchase of a U.S. telecommunications company by a company that is owned or controlled by a foreign government. Singapore Technologies would need a waiver to complete the deal. Sen. Ernest Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, tried to block Deutsche Telekom AG's purchase of VoiceStream Wireless Corp. in 2001 due to concerns that the German firm was backed by a foreign government. In the end, that deal was completed.

comments: The article didn't mention the $600,000 or more that Richard Perle just lost because the deal didn't go through. questions: Why WAS Perle working for Hutchinson Whampoa on this deal if it was a "national security threat" ... who's in charge of intelligence? Shouldn't we KNOW if the deal was a security threat and wouldn't that raise further questions about Perle who sits on the Defense Policy Board? Certainly the U.S. law mentioned above which restricts foreign ownership of US telecommunications ... especially communications from the Pentagon ... are there for a reason SUCH AS protecting national security ... WHY all the waivers? Is this another example of corrupt and/or inept government officials? >>Read full story ...

U.S. to sell record $58 bln. in notes

By Rachel Koning, CBS.MarketWatch.com, The United States will sell a record $58 billion combined in 3-, 5- and 10-year notes this quarter to compensate for a weak economy's skimpy tax revenue and pay for expanding benefits and defense programs ... The Bush administration expects a $304 billion budget shortfall at the end of the current fiscal year Sept. 30. Most observers look for an even wider gap at least through fiscal 2004. Officials said the upcoming auctions this quarter are not affected by the agency's debt limit. The $6.4 trillion ceiling was hit earlier this year, forcing Treasury to borrow temporarily from government retirement funds and other means to keep up operations. The agency said Wednesday that without an extension from Congress, Treasury's current financing measures would only fund the government through the second half of May. The Bush administration is hoping for a permanent extension of the debt limit but has not asked for a specific amount.

Accordian Guy's close encounter with SARS

I have been told that I'm too damned lucky, and this story serves as more evidence for that argument.

Arkansas Earthquake

Magnitude 4.0 near Blytheville, AR, Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at 4:56:22 (UTC) -- it was felt in WV

Israeli $9 billion loan guarantee deal to be signed this week

By Haaretz Service - Following talks over the weekend between Israeli and U.S. delegations, the agreement granting Israel $9 billion in U.S. loan guarantees is expected to be signed this week, Israel Radio reported on Sunday. The Israeli delegation, headed by Finance Ministry director-general Ohad Marani, were presented with the U.S. conditions for transferring the loan guarantees, which include a demand that the principles of the government's economic austerity plan be passed by the Knesset. According to Israeli sources, the U.S. officials said that the most pressing conditions were the privatization of government corporations, cutting the public sector, and a deficit reduction. The U.S. Congress approved $9 billion in loan guarantees and $1 billion in security aid to Israel a few weeks ago. The guarantees are to be given in three installments over a three year period, at a rate of interest linked to the U.S. government bonds on the day of issue. The U.S. president will have the right not to approve any new Israeli issue of guarantee funds if Israel fails to keep its commitment to implement its economic austerity plan. >>Full story...

Despite U.S. Resistance, France Ready To Move Into Iraq

PARIS, Apr 30, 2003 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) -- France is ready to join the reconstruction of Iraq and help ensure self-rule is quickly restored despite U.S. resistance to a prominent French role, the foreign minister said Wednesday. "France wants to be present at the side of the Iraqi people," Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said, adding that Paris wanted to take the initiative under the supervision of the United Nations. A French diplomat, whom de Villepin did not identify, was already back in Baghdad to begin discussions with the various political and religious factions vying for power in Baghdad, he said. >>Full story ...

The Economy and National Security

Excerpt: Moreover, liquidity can make bad loans look good, while making them bigger! The Fed will be printing more money, a lot more money, and will encourage "risk taking" with your money. They will encourage you to overpay for things by printing up, out of thin air, hundreds of billions of dollars in "Real Money" and Trillions more in credit that can be used to buy real things like stocks, junk bonds, and real estate - as long as it is mortgaged to the hilt. The "Greenspan Put" is back! The Fed will aggressively try to keep all asset bubbles propped up: especially the stock market and housing.

The Fed will try to get inflation and top line revenue going. Inflation is the only way that all the past bad debt can be serviced. To get inflation going and stop the bleeding in manufacturing employment, the Fed and the Treasury will have to "let the dollar go". Dropping the value of the dollar helps firms raise prices in the US, and bring back more corporate earnings from overseas. A falling dollar makes imports more expensive and helps get prices up and rising. Expect the Fed will drop the currency bomb. It's the MOAB of Monetary Policy, and it has to be done.

For George the 2nd to get elected to a second term the trade deficit has to come down. Devaluing the dollar is the ultimate "Greenspan Put". Besides, Joe Six Pack needs a job to pay for his "Sport Brute", and fill it up with gas. Don't save, devalue! It's in the National Interest. Interest rates will be held down. Just when the drunks in the speculative community were starting to sober up, an election is coming. The President needs a couple million jobs. The Fed Chairman is bringing the punch bowl back, laced with the "good stuff" this time like cutting rates, buying stocks, and pegging interest rates on bonds no matter how many they have to buy.

"Another bubble? Whoopee! Sounds a little bullish to me?

SafeMoneyReport: Perma-Bulls Keep Buying -- But It's Still A Bear Market

The die-hard bulls keep hanging on. They try to convince themselves that the worst is over for the stock market. They say companies are beating expectations -- but that's easy to do when expectations are lower and lower every quarter. When you look at these earnings compared to a year ago, however, the economic outlook is grim.

Plus, stocks are still overvalued. The Dow has a P/E ratio of 27, and the S&P 500 has a P/E of 30 -- well above historic averages. In addition, the massive number of personal and corporate bankruptcies continues to put a heavy strain on the stock markets.

And don't look to the government for help. It has enough problems of its own. The federal government currently has $32 trillion in debt -- three times the nation's GDP. If deficit spending continues, the government will have to borrow more money and interest rates will surge. That will strangle business investment even more, and could put the brakes on the booming real estate market.

The bottom line is that while some investors want to believe that the market may have slightly more upside potential over the near term, the current "risk versus reward" does not justify new buying.

Party's over?

Self-proclaimed Time Traveler vanished

NEW YORK -- Self-proclaimed time traveler Andrew Carlssin -- the enigmatic Wall Street whiz jailed on insider-trading charges -- has vanished without a trace! The mystery man, who claimed to be a visitor from the year 2256, jumped bail before a scheduled court hearing on April 3 and hasn't been seen since, officials say, despite an intense manhunt by federal lawmen. "It's like he disappeared off the face of the Earth," declares a law-enforcement source. "No one can find him. Some people are speculating that he might really have hopped in his time machine and escaped 'back to the future.'" Authorities can't talk on the record about the case due to a judicial gag order and details about the ongoing, hush-hush criminal investigation are hard to come by. However, in this week's (4/29/03) "Newsstand Issue" we are hot on the trail of the details of the case, from the benefactor who bailed him out, to his predictions which were used to prove he was from the future. >>Original story from archives...

Amber Alert bill is Trojan horse?

"National elation over reuniting Elizabeth Smart with her family mutated into nasty partisan politics in the nation's capital Thursday, as congressional leaders and Ed Smart exchanged fire over progress of anti-abduction legislation. Smart incited a congressional backlash when, in a national television interview with missing child activist and "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh, he stepped up his verbal lashing ..."

"The political strategy at play with the Amber Alert bill is as old as the Trojan horse. Legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support is stuffed with other less-popular measures in the hopes the core intent of the bill will carry the additional provisions through the gates of the legislative process. Sensenbrenner's bill tacks onto the original measure expansion of the death penalty and wiretapping authority, elimination of the statute of limitations on sex abuse cases, criminalization of traveling with criminal intent, and other changes."

"Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, pushed the Amber-only bill through the Senate in just two days earlier this year, and he and Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, joined Senate sponsors Thursday in calling for immediate House passage."
http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Mar/03142003/nation_w/38169.asp

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"Right before the House passed its first version of the bill, Republicans inserted language that would make it harder for federal judges to stray from official sentencing guidelines for criminals ... Democrats say a hastily written amendment offered by Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would affect almost all federal crimes, taking away judges' discretion on sentencing criminals ... Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said that provision could hurt the federal court system."

"The Judicial Conference believes that this legislation, if enacted, would do serious harm to the basic structure of the sentencing guideline system and would seriously impair the ability of courts to impose just and responsible sentences," he [Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquis] said ... That language -- which has been strongly opposed by Democrats -- shouldn't have been considered by the negotiating committee or included in the final compromise because it has nothing to do with either the Amber Alert system or child pornography, Democrats said."
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/04/10/amber.alert.ap/index.html

---------------

"The House passed the bill 400-25 hours before the Senate approved in on a 98-0 vote. The legislation now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it ..."

"Sensenbrenner and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, shepherded the stronger criminal penalties through the House by attaching them to the popular Amber Alert kidnapping-notification legislation. That measure was sought by the family of Elizabeth Smart, who was recovered in March after being taken from her bedroom in Salt Lake City last year."

"Some Democrats, who support a stand-alone Amber Alert bill passed by the Senate, argued that provisions in the bill reducing federal judges' discretion in sentencing criminals should have been debated longer. The Senate never debated the legislation before passing it as part of the House-Senate compromise."

"Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota accused Republicans of 'kidnapping the Amber Alert bill in an attempt to achieve partisan and wholly unrelated goals gutting judicial sentencing guidelines.'"

'"But we question and wonder why it should carry with it such extraneous kinds of material which this legislation carries,' he [Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass] said."

"Two Democratic senators, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, missed the final vote."

"Federal judges, including Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, have expressed concern about Congress changing judicial discretion in federal sentencing. Despite their complaints about the additional provisions, House and Senate Democrats voted for the Amber Alert bill anyway."

"Lawmakers rushed to get the Amber Alert legislation through after Elizabeth Smart was returned to her parents in March. "The family is grateful for passage in the House and they are very, very anxious to see the legislation pass in the Senate so it can be enacted into law," Smart family spokesman Chris Thomas said before the Senate vote."
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/news/041003_nw_amber_alert.html

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -The Salt Lake Tribune said today that it fired two reporters who were paid $20,000 for collaborating with the National Enquirer on an Elizabeth Smart story because they misled their employer about the level of their involvement with the tabloid ...
Vigh and Cantera split $20,000 for their help on a July 2 Enquirer story headlined ``Utah Cops: Secret Diary Exposes Family Sex Ring.'' The story has been retracted as part of a settlement between the Smart family and the tabloid. Vigh and Cantera, the lead reporters on the Smart kidnapping case, didn't tell Shelledy of their dealings with the Enquirer until last week"
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/5744626.htm

Ari, Why Won't You Answer the Question?

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS, BuzzFlash Prediction: This Reporter Will be Joining Helen Thomas in the Back of the Room.

4/23/03 Press Briefing w/Fleischer (excerpt below appears middle to two-thirds way down website page - the reporter is referring to a former question on Powell's use of the word "consequences" France will have to face)

Q Why won't you answer the question about whether or not -- he said there are going to be consequences --

MR. FLEISCHER: David, there are other qualified reporters in here, too, who can follow-up.

Q I didn't say they were not qualified, Ari. I'm saying you're running it like it's homeroom, like we can't follow-up when you're refusing to answer a question that's been posed twice to you, directly. The Secretary of State said that there would be consequences. Why won't you say what they might be?

MR. FLEISCHER: Greg.

Q Do you want to elaborate on what those consequences would be?

MR. FLEISCHER: I addressed it earlier. You heard what I said about consequences.

Q You didn't address it, which is the point. But you can't tolerate that kind of dissent.

Congressional pork spending leaves taxpayers hamstrung

"Our Congress just passed a bill to fund the war in Iraq. The bill provided $80 billion for the war. Few would be opposed to such spending, so our congressmen jumped on the bill and added $20 billion for pork. They added $8 billion for foreign aid -- $1 billion to Turkey, $1 billion to Israel, $700 million for Jordan and millions even to the countries that Bush listed as terrorist havens. On the home front, they added $3.2 billion for airline bailouts, $125 million for more security for Congress, $215 million for agriculture, $5.5 million for the Library of Congress and even $1 million to build a UFO museum. Congress has increased spending by 22 percent in the last two years. We are now $6.5 trillion in debt."

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Saddam, The Desktop


>>Free from PhotoDude.com

JOHN KAMINSKI ON FOX-TV

UPDATE: Fox News cancels Kaminski interview

APRIL 30: 12:15 AM, EASTERN. APRIL 29: 9:15 PM, PACIFIC; 10:15 PM, MOUNTAIN; 11:15 PM, CENTRAL

FROM JOHN KAMINSKI: Could they put me on any later? Tuesday night, or actually, early Wednesday morning, April 30, 12:15 AM EDT, is when I am scheduled to make my first appearance by telephone on the Alan Colmes show on Fox TV, which supposedly is seen in 25 cities. The reason they want to talk to me, they say, is because of the article "9/11 was a hoax" that appeared on al-Jazeerah, London Daily, rense.com, onlinejournal.com and hundreds of other websites.

It will be my intention to get across the point that millions of people question the official version of the events of 9/11 that is parroted unquestioningly by the glib droids of the corporate megamedia, and that the big media are complicit in the coverup of the crimes of mass murder and treason. It will also be my point that the attacks could not have happened without the prearranged failure of America's air defenses. I expect to be attacked and ridiculed, knowing what I do about Fox, but I'm not about to take that quietly, so expect some fireworks, as I surely have a lot more to say about the U.S. TV networks than they do about me. Personally I believe the only way to stop this out-of-control American war machine is to link [President] Bush to 9/11 and watch him and his coterie of billionaire criminals feel the real wrath of the betrayed American people. I sincerely think the entire future of the human race depends on making this connection, so wish me luck, and I hope it's on in your city. >>Read Kaminski's article...

Market summary from 2020Insight.com 04-28-03

Excertps: The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its biggest rally in a month, on optimism earnings are recovering after McDonald's and Procter & Gamble reported quarterly profits that beat analyst estimates. The DJIA gained 165 points (+2.0%) to 8471, its largest advance since April 2. The S&P 500 Index rose 16 points (+1.8%) to 914. The Nasdaq added 27 points (+1.9%) to 1462. Also providing a psychological boost was a drop in oil prices and a 0.1% rise in March Consumer Confidence, the first positive number in the index in three months. The long-expected $1.4 billion global settlement with investment banks over conflicts of interest involving research reports, initial public offerings and other issues from the bull market may be providing a psychological lift as well. Bonds eased as money flowed into equities.

Brian Belski, fundamental market strategist at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, said he's becoming more cautious as the stock market's rally "matures and elongates." "While we are not dismissing the recent positive performance as unwarranted or unjust, we do believe that investors should consider scaling back on those positions that have provided strong gains over the past three to four months in particular," the strategist told investors in a research note. Still, Belski does believe that the broader stock market is in the preliminary stages of building a long-term trading range and bottom.

Kevin Marder, chief market strategist at Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, said he continues to be impressed with the major averages. He notes that Nasdaq volume has risen on up days and diminished on down days over the past three weeks, which he views as an important positive. Marder believes the next sustainable advance will be "a more labored affair than the numerous intermediate-term advances of the '90s." He feels that sideways action in the averages will take place due to the tremendous amount of overhead supply that exists in the form of holders who are sitting underwater on their positions.

Comment . . . As far as the markets are concerned, it is becoming abundantly clear in recent months that despite a weak global economy, high and volatile oil prices, the war and SARS; there has also been a decisive decline in investor risk aversion. This can be seen in almost every asset class and sentiment metric. Corporate spreads have broadly tightened by more than 60 basis points so far this year, and the high-yield sector has been the top-performer in the bond market. Within the broad recovery in the equity market itself, the cyclicals are leading the way (note that consumer discretionary has outperformed the S&P by 550 bps year-to-date). The CRB successfully tested and then bounced off its 200-day moving average of 230. Adding to the pro-risk thrust, the cyclically-sensitive currencies have been on fire this year (the A$ is up 10% against the greenback year-to-date). And these moves are also evident in global investment shifts, with Latin American markets emerging as global leaders. Meanwhile, fear barometers like the VIX, at 23.49, is at its lowest level since June/02 and the VXN (measures volatility of the 100 biggest NASDAQ stocks) is at a mere 33.13, its lowest since December ‘98 when the bull market was in full swing.

Strong Market Rally 04/28 (Comstock commentary M-W-F)

The stock market had a pretty good rally today with the Dow up 165 to 8472, the S&P up 16 to 915, and NASDAQ up 28 to 1462. The reasons given by the media for the rally ran from a short squeeze, crude oil declining, not many earnings disasters, to better news on the SARS virus. The SARS virus has been something we have been very concerned about since a very sharp viewer we communicate with from Singapore has been keeping us in touch with the problem in Southeast Asia. Things weren’t looking so good for a while, but the statistics did show pretty good relief over the weekend.

The rally could have been SARS related or any of the other above reasons, but the main point we would like to make is that rallies like these are normal in a bear market. We expect them, and usually act to benefit from them. However, with that said, we also make sure that we cover short positions that are breaking out and futures positions that are breaking out. We can’t take a chance, that a short position may wind up being the target of a major short squeeze, will affect our funds too detrimentally. We advise our viewers to also protect themselves with stop orders for any stock breaking out with good volume irrespective of the fundamentals. We now have the flexibility to replace shorts that are breaking out with other shorts that continue to show a deteriorating pattern.

The rally that is taking place is not to be confused with a new bull market. The chances of a new bull market starting from here are very remote. The valuation levels are much too high, the sentiment figures much too bullish, and the public participation still much too high, for this to be the beginning of a new bull market. Please keep in mind that the 1929-1932 bear market was punctuated by six big rallies with respective jumps of 48%, 16%, 23%, 29%, 35%, and 25%. Each one of these rallies should have been sold or sold short in order to achieve the maximum returns in that significant bear market. >>Full story ...

Beware of weak numbers By Justin Lahart

Given that, despite their April billing, the week ahead's big numbers won't give much of an indication of what the post-war economy looks like, the market should arguably look right past them. But for investors betting on a rebound, that may be a hard argument to swallow. Weeden strategist Steve Goldman points out that bullishness among investors appears to be on the rise, which means that stocks are vulnerable to bad news. "We have a fragile market," he said, "and we're due for a pullback."

Key events in the week ahead:

*The week ahead brings the last big raft of first-quarter earnings.
*The Commerce Department releases its March report on personal income and consumption Monday. It's considered a bit of a stale number (for traders, last month seems like a long time ago), but gains in the income section can be a decent predictor of future consumer demand. Economists polled by Reuters expect a 0.4 percent gain in income and a 0.7 percent gain in consumption. [Personal income rose 0.4% in March, after a revised 0.2% gain in February, the Commerce Department said Monday. Personal consumption also rose 0.4% in March after a 0.1% gain the month before. The Commerce Department had previously reported February income up 0.3%, and spending unchanged. The March report was broadly in line with Wall Street expectations.]
*The employment cost index -- believed to be one of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's favorite reports -- is due out Tuesday. For the first quarter, economists expect it climbed to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent. This shows that there's still considerable slack in the labor market.
*Economists expect the April consumer confidence index, due out Wednesday, lifted to 68.7 from March's 62.5. Another sign that, with the closing of the war, the nation's mood has improved. [The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence catapulted to 81.0 in April from 61.4 in March, far above expectations of a reading near 70. It was the biggest one-month gain since after the end of the first Gulf War ... But economists caution that better confidence figures may not last while the labor market remains stagnant. The payrolls report on Friday is expected to show another slide in jobs in April, taking total recent losses to more than half a million.]
*Wednesday, the Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index, considered to be a good indicator of where the following day's national index is headed, comes out. Economists think it rose slightly in April, moving to 49.1 from 48.4. [Chicago PMI at 47.6 vs the consensus estimate of 48.5 ]
*Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan speaks before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday on monetary policy. Fed watchers will be poring over what he says to gauge the chances of a rate cut at the Federal Open Market Committee's May 6 meeting. [Economists expect the Fed chief to be cautiously optimistic, pointing to positives like the recent fall in oil prices and improving corporate profits. Other officials at the Fed have been more guarded about the outlook, citing worries about capacity overhangs in the nation's factories and the risk of consumers slowing down. From Briefing.com: Greenspan text upbeat : The chairman says that the timing of the pickup remains uncertain, and that the end of the Iraqi war should ease economic tensions, after which the economy should grow at a noticeably better pace. However, lingering business caution may impede growth and business confidence has not improved after the war - though rising equities are encouraging. He cites claims as evidence that firms do not have the need for labor and lower energy prices as better for the consumer. .]
*Economists expect the government's report on first-quarter productivity, due out Thursday, to show a rise to 2.1 percent from the fourth-quarter's 0.8 percent.
*The Institute for Supply Management releases its Purchasing Managers' Index Thursday. Economists expect the key read on manufacturing rose only slightly for April, to 47.3 from March's 46.2.
*Throughout the day Thursday, car companies will report April sales. Expectations are they pushed higher.
March construction spending, due out Thursday, is expected to show a 0.3 percent pickup coming back from February's 0.3 percent drop.
*Economists expect Friday's April employment report to be a downer. Payrolls are forecast to drop by 59,000, bringing the nation's job losses over the past three months to over a half million. The unemployment rate is expected to pick up from 5.8 percent to 5.9 percent.

Rare Earthquake Rattles the South

ATLANTA - A 4.5 magnitude earthquake centered in northern Alabama rattled windows and bookshelves around the South early Tuesday. The rare Southern quake, which occurred at about 5 a.m., was centered near the Alabama-Georgia line, 27 miles northwest of Rome, Ga., according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Web site.

SARS seen on overall downward trend

Washington Times, The SARS epidemic appears to have peaked in Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada, and has been contained in Vietnam, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

Subject: Hydrogen Car Myth Exposed to Congress

clipped from: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EnergyResources, Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 07:14:26 -0800 (PST), From: Ron Patterson , The myth of the Hydrogen Freedom Car was exposed to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives on June 6, 2002. So if they do go ahead and allocate millions for study of this project, they have no excuse, they know the truth.

An excerpt:There are three major areas of fuel availability-related (asopposed to utilization related) research areas to move towards hydrogen-based transportation.

1) Hydrogen production. Currently, essentially all hydrogen is produced from steam-reforming of natural gas. Further, this is an endothermic process resulting in the heating value of hydrogen obtained being less than that of the feedstock natural gas. Additional energy is required for compression or liquification as well as for transportation. For large scale hydrogen production, a large new supply of national gas or other primary feedstock would be needed if production techniques are used. The dissociation of water to produce hydrogen utilizes an almost unlimited supply of feedstock, but the electrical energy required to produce a unit of hydrogen is at least double that of the electrical energy which would be produced by consuming that unit of hydrogen in a fuel cell. Consequently, innovative and inexpensive primary energy sources, such as renewables or perhaps nuclear will have to be exploited to produce the hydrogen. Even with acceptable primary energy sources, the total power requirements and production facilities to replace even a fraction of current petroleum energy are staggering.

2) Infrastructure. For hydrogen-powered vehicles to be commercially viable, fuel must be readily available to the consumer, nationwide. There are currently perhaps around 200,000 refueling stations for gasoline. These refueling stations accommodate vehicles which have ranges in excess of 300 miles and can be refueled in minutes by persons with no expertise or training. Thus, it is likely that at least tens of thousands (perhaps many more) refueling sites for hydrogen, distributed all around the united States will be needed to support large-scale production and sale of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Since there is currently virtually no infrastructure to provide this capability, clearly some innovative infrastructure approaches are necessary.

3) Vehicle refueling and on-board storage of hydrogen. The energy density of hydrogen (energy stored-per unit of storage volume) is much less than that for gasoline or other alternative fuels. For example, to store on-board the same energy available from the typical 16-gallon gasoline tank would require abour a 200 gallon volume for compressed (5000psi) hydrogen gas or about 60 gallons for liquid hydrogen (at --424F). Even if the on-board energy efficiency is assumed to be double (for a non-hybrid system) or tripled (for a hybrid system), the resulting volume of about 70 gallons for compressed hydrogen would likely present a sever challenge to the vehicle designers. The use of liquid hydrogen would ease the storage volume problem, but producing liquid hydrogen is very energy intensive, and handling it at -423F presents obvious safety problems. >>Full Report ...

Young love will cement marriage of Britain's top three dynasties

Times Online, April 21, By Ingrid Mansell, THE notice in the Forthcoming Marriages section of The Times looked much like any other. “The engagement is announced between Benjamin, youngest son of the late Sir James Goldsmith and of Lady Annabel Goldsmith, and Kate, eldest daughter of the late the Hon Amschel Rothschild and of Mrs James Wigan,” it read But while the notice’s format was run-of-the-mill, the marriage that it heralds will be anything but ordinary. It represents not just a union between two of Britain’s wealthiest youngsters, but also a merger of three of the country’s most powerful dynasties: the Rothschilds, the Goldsmiths and the Guinnesses.

The Jerry Springer Show: the classical opera?

"There are people screaming at each other and you can't understand what they're saying. It's perfect for opera". That sums up Richard Thomas' rationale for turning the tacky, tawdry Jerry Springer talk show into a full scale opera. A specialist fight choreographer will direct the numerous brawls, and the show's bizarre themes (like "I'm Pregnant By A Transsexual") have been woven into the "hugely amusing" plot. >>Full Story...

AlterNet Headlines

A WAR ON ENLIGHTENMENT, Adam Hochschild, tomdispatch.com, After more than a century of expansion of the concept that everybody deserves human rights, we now seem to be -- temporarily, at least -- slipping backwards.

THE SOMEBODY MYSTIQUE AND THE RISE OF THE UPPITY NOBODY, Michelle Chihara, Robert Fuller's new book 'Somebodies and Nobodies' hopes to do for society's lower ranks what Betty Friedan did for women.

THE PINKING OF PEACE POLITICS, Ashley Nelson, Conservatives' disparaging of women's anti-war groups as simplistic and touchy-feely reflects a widespread panic in America: the fear of being too girly.

SAY IT SLOWLY: IT WAS ABOUT OIL, Ted Rall, With corporate vultures swooping into the killing fields, OPEC facing a death blow and Shi'ites partying like its 1979, Iraq is a mess only terrorists and greedheads could love.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMEGIRL SECURITY Erin Aubry Kaplan, LA Weekly, The war forced me into an absolutism I never had and don't quite like. In this newly divided world, you're either with me or against me.

COOL COMMODITIES, Anmol Chaddha, ColorLines, There's no question that dissent has become cool, and nothing sells quite like "nonconformity."

PERSONAL VOICES: LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT, Jarmila Temelova, A survivor of Soviet oppression sees frightening danger signs in her beloved adopted homeland, the United States.

THE PARENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS, Jonathan Rowe and Gary Ruskin, Mothering Magazine Isn't it time we were given the tools to protect our kids from brainwashing?

DEMOCRACY AND ITS ROOTS OF GRASS, Richard Flacks, Francesca Polletta's "Freedom Is an Endless Meeting" is a deep portrayal of the ways in which activists in the '60s tried to achieve participatory democracy, while "Making a Place for Community" argues for its use in the making of public policy.

THE IRAQI HYDRA GROWS NEW HEADS EVERY DAY, William O. Beeman, Pacific News Service, With the removal of the Baathist regime, a whole host of would-be leaders has bubbled to the surface in Iraq.

CAN THE RICH BE GOOD?, Nina Shapiro, Seattle Weekly, To help smooth America's growing class divisions, the father of one of the world's richest men is urging the current generation of millionaire Medicis toward social responsibility.

WORKPLACE FLEXIBILITY, Molly Ivins, The Bush administration is leading the charge with proposed new rules that will erode the 40-hour workweek.

Space Station Moon Movie

This is what a moonset looks like from the International Space Station (ISS). On April 16, 2003, ISS science officer Don Pettit looked out the window and watched the full moon sink behind Earth's edge-on atmosphere. In only 30 seconds it was transformed from a bright pale disk into a dim pink pancake--like no moonset on Earth.

BuzzFlash Recommendation

A More Perfect Union: Advancing New American Rights, by Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., with Frank E. Watkins, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr, sees "race as the lens through which to see all of American history." This book details Jackson's visionary response to the ongoing American struggle with overcoming its neo-Confederacy past and present. Largely ignored by the mainstream press and booksellers when it was published in the fall of 2001, Jackson lays out a vision for guaranteeing economic and social justice to all Americans. We interviewed Congressman Jackson in December of 2002 and believe that he is an important advocate for American rights. This is a book that should be read, not ignored.

Schumacher hot in Ferrari's new car

Michael Schumacher says Ferrari's new F2003-GA is faster than the team's old car, and he is confident that it will be just as reliable. Schumacher will get a chance to prove his opinion to the Formula One community when he races with the car for the first time in the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. >>Full Story...

So who really did save Private Jessica?

Doctor claims that soldiers terrorised unarmed staff, From Richard Lloyd Parry in al-Nasiriyah, THE rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, which inspired America during one of the most difficult periods of the war, was not the heroic Hollywood story told by the US military, but a staged operation that terrified patients and victimised the doctors who had struggled to save her life, according to Iraqi witnesses ...

An Orwellian purge

Sunspot.Net, by Leila Christenbury, "One of the great classics of contemporary literature is George Orwell's '1984,' a novel that is routinely taught in English classes in this country. Many readers are riveted by '1984' and by Mr. Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian society ... Doublespeak dominates ... [in this] depressing and cautionary novel, [whose] enduring appeal has been confirmed by actions taken in the past year by the U.S. Education Department; '1984' is just as relevant now as it has ever been."

Power play in Northern Iraq

Asia Times, by Hooman Peimani, "Saddam Hussein deliberately upset the population balance between Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds in oil-rich northern Iraq through forced removals. Now these groups are trying to redress the imbalance and reclaim land that they believe is rightfully theirs, even if it means taking up arms."

Afghan poppy production rises again

Guardian Unlimited [UK], "Afghanistan is expected to have a bumper harvest this season and produce about 4,000 tons of opium, making it the world's No. 1 producer again, a record it had held prior to the eradication of poppies by the Taliban rulers in 2001. A preliminary survey of 134 districts of Afghanistan, carried out last month by both the United Nations and the Afghan anti-narcotics division, showed a rise in poppy production even in areas not previously known for the crop." (04/29/03)

NBC's Banfield Chided Over Criticisms

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC News president Neal Shapiro has taken correspondent Ashleigh Banfield to the woodshed for a speech in which she criticized the networks for portraying the Iraqi war as "glorious and wonderful."

Planet X / Niburu: Chatter on the Internet

Nibiru Fear Mongers are Creating Needless Panic. Excerpt: If we take a practical look at the present search for Nibiru, what we have are four basic approaches: 1. Ancient Texts: The published works of noted scholar, Zecharia Sitchin show conclusive proof of Nibiru’s existence in ancient Sumerian texts. 2. Prophecy: According to many who study prophecy, the return of Nibiru is predicated by noted visionaries such as Nostradamus, Mother Shipton and many others. 3. Precursor Events in Our Own Solar System: This is the method that YOWUSA.COM has chosen as a foundation for its reporting as it is based on actual observations by credible sources. 4. Orbital Calculations Based on Ancient Texts: Dutch Physicist Jacco van der Worp has examined the orbital calculations found on the web, and has labeled them the “the physics of fear.”

NASA ACKNOWLEDGES PLANET X? Is it time for a serious discussion of the evidence of Planet X?, Forum posting #1, "OK, I have been prompted by some interesting NASA pages (some below and some I will post later) to start a more serious discussion of some of the evidence for the existence of Planet X, whether or not the belief is that it will return in 2003 - personally I don´t think 2003 is the year but try to keep and open mind to new evidence. I have a page about Earth Changes that developed out of the Seismic Activity (The Shift) thread - this has some links for Planet X information. This is at http://www.sc0rp10n.plus.com. My quick introduction to Planet X theory - scientific and historical is at http://www.sc0rp10n.plus.com/px-intro.html. A number of pieces of compelling evidence have made me think there is truth in the Planet X theory and I will post a page on that site shortly with links to that evidence. Please contribute links to different evidence for Planet X and try and keep an open mind as we investigate this fascinating subject.

WHITLEY STRIEBER SAYS PLANET X IS A HALLUCINATION

Items of interest found at UnderNews

Of all occupying Powers, the Americans showed themselves the most inept at the business of governing a conquered country. They maintained little or no continuity of policy. They never succeeded in making up their minds whether they wanted to administer stern justice or indulge Christ-like charity. They did not, indeed, make up their minds about anything except the 'superiority' of their own intentions. - Australian WWII war correspondent Osmar White

AMERICAN TO CONTROL IRAQI OIL INDUSTRY, GUARDIAN, UK - The US is preparing to install an American chairman on a planned management team of the Iraqi oil industry, providing further ammunition to critics who have questioned the Bush administration's agenda in the Middle East. The administration is planning to structure the potentially vast Iraqi oil industry like a US corporation, with a chairman and chief executive and a 15- strong board of international advisers. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, it has lined up the former chief executive of the US division of Royal Dutch/Shell, Philip Carroll, to take the job of chairman.

FRANCE AND GERMANY THINK ABOUT UNHOOKING FROM NATO, CHARLES BREMNER, TIMES, UK - Europe's self-inflicted wounds over Iraq will be on display tomorrow, when the leaders of France and Germany - dubbed the "Axis of Weasels" in America - start to try to lay the groundwork for a European Union military alliance that would compete with NATO. At a meeting in Brussels with the Prime Ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg, President Chirac and Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, want to clear the way for a common European defense system that would start with a core of volunteer states ... Despite denials from Paris and Berlin, the session looks like a maneuver by French-led "old Europe" against the pro-Atlantic axis, led by Britain and Spain and featuring new EU states, which Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, called "new Europe." Britain, which has the EU's most powerful Armed Forces, was not invited. Nor were the leaders of the EU's other main pro-Atlantic states - Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

SANTORUM'S OFFICE ELABORATES ON PREVIOUS COMMENTS, SCARLET PIMPERNEL: Below is a verbatim transcript of my call this morning to Senator Rick Santorum's Office.

SSO: "Senator Santorum's office."
Me: "Hello there... took me awhile to get through. Guess you're pretty busy what with all this going on."
SSO: "Yes."
Me: "Well I just wanted you to know that my wife and I are big supporters of the Senator, but we have just one question..."
SSO: "Yes?"
Me: "Does oral sex between a husband and wife, when they're both consenting... does that constitute sodomy?"
SSO: "Umm.. no. It does not."
Me: "HOT DAMN! (calling out to wife:) HONEY? GREAT NEWS!"
SSO: (stifles laugh)
Me: "Thank You. Thank you very much. Just one more thing..."
SSO: "Yes?"
Me: "How does the Senator feel about doggy-style?"
SSO: "Umm... I can't really speak for the Senator on that."
Me: "Oh Well... Thanks Again!" (Hangs up.)

WATCH ARI SQUIRM, Fleischer tries to do better than Santorum's receptionist

Q And if I can just shift gears very briefly, what's the President's beliefs about homosexuality?

MR. FLEISCHER: You know, that's a question that's been put to the President, and if you go back and you look at it, the President has said that, first of all, he doesn't ask that question about people. He judges people about who they are, their individual soul. That's not a matter the President concerns himself with. He judges people for how they act and how they relate, and that's his focus on that.

Q How they act sexually? Because I asked sexually --

MR. FLEISCHER: How they act as a person. The same way --

Q But the police in Texas asked how they act sexually.

MR. FLEISCHER: The same way you would say that about how anybody -- what's his reaction to this person or that person -- say, are they a nice person, what kind of person are they? It has nothing to do with their sexuality.

Q So does he believe that they ought to be free to be themselves, without interference from police?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President has always said that when it comes to legal matters, that it's a question of different groups, homosexual groups, gay groups should not have special rights or special privileges.

Q Is it a special privilege to be able to love the person you love the way you want to love them, without interference from the police?

MR. FLEISCHER: If you're asking about a matter that is a legal matter that is pending before the Supreme Court, that's a matter for the court to rule on, and we'll find out what the court says in the specific case in mind.

Q So he has no position on that?

MR. FLEISCHER: It's a matter that's pending before the court, in regard to your last question. . .

Q And second question, piggy-backing off of what Terry was asking. President Bush denounced what Trent Lott said. Why not denounce what Santorum has said?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, because I think the President views this exactly as I've indicated all week, that there is a legal matter pending before the Supreme Court, and that different individuals are going to offer legal theories about this matter. And that puts it in a different category.

Q But Ari, on January 15th, Dr. King's birthday, the President delivered an amicus brief for the University of Michigan, saying he was against their points policy for admission. Why not get involved in this situation?

MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, because the matters are not analogous. One involved federal programs, admissions, that the federal government is directly involved in. This is a matter clearly applying to a state law.

Q Does he denounce Santorum's comments, though?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President views it exactly as I've indicated. This is a question of a legal matter before the courts. And different people have different legal theories. . .

Q Ari, both Senator Frist and Senator Specter have publicly supported Senator Santorum. And my question: Does the President believe they were wrong to do so, because while governor of Texas he never tried to get that state's sodomy law repealed?

MR. FLEISCHER: As I said this morning, Lester, the President has confidence in Senator Santorum, both as a senator, as a member of the Senate leadership.

Jesus. (EDITOR'S NOTE This word pops into the transcript without attribution.)

Q Wait a minute, I have one follow-up.

MR. FLEISCHER: Go ahead.

Q The Culture and Family Institute --

MR. FLEISCHER: But calm down. (Laughter.)

Q I will. Thank you. The Culture and Family Institute estimates that 30 to 40 percent of Americans are evangelical Christians, and these, plus loyal Catholics and conservative and orthodox Jews comprise a large portion of the Republican base, which so narrowly elected the President. Robert Knight of this institute says that the President's refusal to support Senator Santorum, "looks like a suicide move." Is your statement just now a refutation, in that he is supporting --

MR. FLEISCHER: I can't refute something that was asked me after I made my statement. I made my statement, and I would just say this, when it comes to faith --

Q So he does support Santorum.

MR. FLEISCHER: No, no, no, I want to say this -- you raised a question whose premise deals with faith. Faith is an important part of life for many Americans, regardless of their party, regardless how one party or another has different people of different faiths. It's one of the things that makes America one country, regardless of what party people fall into. And the reaction I gave is based on the President's views as a governmental matter, and that's he approaches it.

IN MUNCIE, NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER DOESN'T INCLUDE NON-CHRISTIANS REX W. HUPPKE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, MUNCIE, IN - The minister who has planned this city's National Day of Prayer service for the last decade ran into a dilemma this year. The Jewish community wanted to show up. So did the Muslims, Unitarians and Hindus. Rev. William Keller, 85, an evangelical Christian, decided everyone would be welcome to join him at noon Thursday between the flowering pear trees that flank the steps of City Hall. But only on one condition: People of other faiths could not take the microphone and pray to their God; they could only listen to Keller pray to his. Talk of God is common in this town of more than 100 churches, but religious controversy is rare, so the emotional tempest stirred up by Keller's stance has swept through like a tornado on the Indiana flatlands. It has resulted in fiery letters to the editor and claims of bigotry, and it has prompted critics to organize a separate interfaith service. . . The flap is unfortunate for Muncie, but if history is any indicator, it could carry overtones for the rest of the country as well. For decades, this east-central Indiana town of about 70,000 - whose residents proudly claim "we're so ordinary, we're unique" - has served as a much-studied barometer for the nation. In the 1920s, Muncie became the focus of a landmark sociological work called "Middletown: A Study in Contemporary Culture." Since then, the city on the banks of the White River has been polled, observed, monitored and written about more than any other community its size, so much so that "Middletown" is more than a nickname, it's a state of mind. Perhaps the most telling statistic of Muncie as a bellwether is the fact that residents have voted for the winning U.S. president in all but one election since 1932.

PERLE CLAIMS 'WE'RE NOT GOING TO STOP' IN IRAQ, SCOTSMAN, Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, a key architect of the US-led drive to topple Saddam Hussein, told a French newspaper that Washington had not run out of countries to target as part of the war against terrorism. "The military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of efforts to fight against terrorism," Mr Perle told Les Echos. "We are not going to stop there. We shall continue to fight against countries who harbor terrorists and develop weapons of mass destruction." He said the UN Security Council was ill-suited to dealing with such threats and should be reformed.

BRITISH COMMANDER WARNS OF BASRA REVOLT, BBC - The population of Basra could turn against British forces if quality of life does not improve, a UK military commander has warned. Brigadier Graham Binns, commanding officer of the 7th Armored Brigade, the Desert Rats, spoke as doctors warned of a potential cholera outbreak in the southern Iraqi city.

Colorado Farmers Get Three-Year Reprieve in 35-Year-Old Water Fight

DENVER (AP) -- Farmers who faced a summer without crops because of a water-rights dispute have won a three-year reprieve from the state Legislature, a measure hailed as a major breakthrough ... The 35-year South Platte water war pits farmers who use wells against farmers downstream who draw water directly from the river into their irrigation systems. Taking water from the wells depletes the river to the point it interferes with the downstream farmers' use. Under water law, so-called "surface rights" are senior, or have priority over the right of well users. The measure passed Monday allows about 4,000 South Platte well users to continue operations if they acquire replacement water and go through a hearing process, which could take 35 days, according to the state engineer ... Attorney General Ken Salazar said the agreement ends one of the longest and hardest fought water wars in Colorado history. "The willingness of diverse parties to put aside over 35 years of past disputes provides a model for resolving western water wars," Salazar said. Lawmakers who opposed the bill said it sets a dangerous precedent and legitimizes a process that allowed junior water rights to override senior water rights. Rep. Carl Miller, a Leadville Democrat, said the crisis occurred because well users were allowed to break the law and take water to which they were not entitled.

Hong Kong Peoples Telephone Sees Roaming Revenues Hit By SARS

HONG KONG -(Dow Jones)- Peoples Telephone Co. said Tuesday that the outbreak of SARS has brought down the mobile phone operator's roaming revenues by 30% this month, but overall sales have remained steady because of an increase in usage by local subscribers.

Wall St. Firms to Pay $1.4B in SEC Deal

Wall St. Firms to Pay $1.4B, Change Practices in SEC Deal Over Alleged Misleading of Investors By Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer, WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a bid to restore investor confidence, regulators are forcing some of Wall Street's largest brokerage firms to alter their research practices and to pay a $1.4 billion settlement. The deal announced Monday with the 10 firms comes after more than a year of regulatory probes that found analysts misled investors with stock picks designed to win the firm company investment banking business ... The 10 brokerage firms will have to sever the links between financial analysts' research and investment banking, pay a total of $432.5 million over five years for independent stock research for their customers, and fund an $80 million investor education program. A fund of $387.5 million will be set up to compensate customers of the ten firms; $487.5 million in fines will go to states according to their population. Much of the evidence consists of e-mails in which analysts derided stocks they were publicly recommending and discussed the pursuit of banking fees.

Scandal In Australian Pharmaceutical Sector

By Ambereen Choudhury and Eric Johnston, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, SYDNEY -(Dow Jones)- Australia's pharmaceutical industry shifted to damage control Tuesday due to the license suspension of Pan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. , the world's fifth biggest contract manufacturer of vitamins and health supplements ...

THOUGHT PROVOKING COMMENTS ABOUT SARS

Excerpt: "So far, from what I know, the great majority of those that are seriously affected are Asians, mainly people of chinese ethnicity. The facts presented before us are persuasive. It is biowarfare. It would also appear that this is also an economic war against Asia. In reality, WW4 has already descended upon humankind with different regions being given diferent treatment. None other than former CIA Director Woolsey had stated that WW4 started on 9.11.01. Deception is the order of the day because the true agenda must be kept silent for a while until the aims are completed."

Market notes from UrbanSurvival.com

If you look at the 200 day moving average (DMA) since July of 2000 over at FiendBear's site, you'll see that since the market peaked in 2000, selling spikes above the 200 DMA has been a fairly good strategy. The market seems to pop up above the 200 DMA, hang there, while the latest round of bulls (more like veal) are herded in to long positions, and then they are systematically slaughtered as the market falls below the 200 DMA So, that's my expectation in here...a sideways move that will edge above the 200 DMA for another week or so, then accelerate down to new lows.

The Axis of Deceit: Expand the Empire by Smearing the State Department!

by Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) Angered that the bureaucrats of the State Department have not done its bidding either before or after the war on Iraq, the Axis of Deceit - the neo-conservative warmongering group that had gotten the U.S. to attack Iraq - has publicly launched a major drive to reorganize the State Department and clean out those opposing its imperial ambitions towards the Middle East. But is reorganizing the State Department their real aim, or is pressuring George Bush into launching an attack on Syria the real goal of the Axis?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich - a member of Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Advisory Board and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute - launched the Axis' jihad on State in a speech before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday morning, April 22. (Is Newt taking the lead now that Richard Perle is under a cloud?) In a rant reminiscent of a dictator's tirade, the "Newtster"attacked State's Bureau of Near East Affairs for six months of diplomatic failure prior to the war and for failing in its post-war mission by continuing to appease dictators and prop up corrupt regimes. Among the charges, Newt indicted State for: 1) the failure to get Turkey to agree to be a staging base for the U.S. attack on Iraq; 2) the failure of the United States to get European and UN support for its attack on Iraq; 3) the failure to get contracts issued for Afghan reconstruction; and 4) for encouraging Secretary of State Colin Powell to meet with a "... terrorist supporting, secret police wielding dictator ... ." (Apparently Newt was referring to Syrian President Assad.)

Who's Really Running the Show, or How Do We Get George to Start AnotherWar? The timing and content of Gingrich's attack on the State Department are interesting. Fresh from its victory in getting the U.S. to attack and take control of Iraq, the Axis of Deceit has been beating the war drums for an attack on Syria. Colin Powell going to Syria and working with Russia, France, the UN, and others to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace process going (all with President Bush's permission) as well as State's control of the pork barrel funds for reconstructing Iraq (read payoffs to Bush supporters) has really lit a fire under Newt's and the Axis' tails. This combination of actions has apparently stymied any rapid U.S. attack on Syria. And the recent looting in Iraq - including the loss of that country's vast treasure of historical and cultural artifacts - and recent protests by the different religious and ethnic groups is demonstrating that predictions made by critics of the war - namely that the U.S. would be stuck there for decades trying to turn Iraq into a democracy - are starting to come true even sooner than expected. No wonder Newt and his fellow Axis warmongers have gotten so riled up and felt the need to stage a counter-attack of their own.

But can the Axis attack George Bush directly for not wanting to start another war immediately? Well, not really, as he foolishly gave the Axis the go-ahead to get us into Iraq in the first place. And this is true even if Mr. Bush is beginning to have second thoughts about the invasion of Iraq (what is Karl Rove whispering into his ear?) and is dragging his heels on starting other wars. But Newt and his Axis pals appear to have concluded that they can still get what they want by pushing the President into a corner again. They probably will try to steamroller Mr. Bush into launching a war on Syria by attacking the State Department as the modern equivalent of sellouts and, at the minimum, disloyal to the Administration. While the Newtster did not use the word traitors in describing the folks at State, he did say that they were deliberately and systematically working to undermine the President's policies on the Middle East. Hence, Gingrich called for major Congressional hearings on the State Department followed by legislation to reform the operations and authority of the State Department, especially the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which handles the Afghan and Iraqi reconstruction money. Just coincidentally, any hearings would call into question State Department advice against starting other wars - thus eliminating a moderating voice against starting other wars - and would also likely disrupt and delay the flow of the pork from State's USAID to politically-connected contractors. By delaying any reconstruction and making the Afghan's and Iraqi's suffer further, Newt and his Pentagon Pal Rummy would have another reason to claim that the Defense Department should be in charge of post-war reconstruction.

Real Reform of U.S. Foreign Policy. The bottom line is that neither Newt Gingrich nor his buddies in the Axis of Deceit give a hoot in Hades about whether the State Department is well-run or not. All they care about is conducting a successful smear campaign against the State Department and using this smear job as a club to get George Bush to continue U.S. attacks on other countries in the Middle East. Since the career types - both analysts and diplomats - at State disagree with the Axis of Deceit and its policies, they are to be neutered, but not eliminated. Real reform of U.S. foreign policy would have the U.S. end all alliances with other countries, end all foreign aid and financial support of international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, get out of the United Nations (a front for one-world dictatorial government), and declare a foreign policy of neutrality, friendship, peace, and free trade with all countries. The return to the traditional U.S. foreign policy would then be the guide to a drastically slimmed down foreign policy and defense establishment, saving the U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars per year and trillions over the long run.

Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman), formerly an economist with the federal government, writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the public. April 24

Sunday, April 27, 2003

SARS May Be Unstoppable

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, The Boston Globe, 4-26-3, HONG KONG -- "The battle to contain the respiratory disease known as SARS looked grimmer than ever Friday after a World Health Organization official warned that it may be too late to stamp out the virus in China and in other developing countries. Adding to the downbeat assessment Friday, Jeffrey Koplan, a former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, said that even with the best efforts by leading scientists, the disease will probably never be eradicated. More than two dozen countries are grappling with varying outbreaks of the flulike illness, which had killed 274 worldwide and sickened 4,649 as of Friday ... With infections now confirmed in two-thirds of China's provinces and mounting daily, "hope dwindles" for wiping out the disease, WHO virologist Wolfgang Preiser said from Shanghai. Even in "Singapore and Hong Kong, very rich places, they still have problems. We are worried about the spread to poor provinces, maybe countries such as India and Bangladesh," where "we don't think they have the capacity to stem the tide once it's introduced."

Top Scientist Doubts SARS Link To Coronavirus

Only 40% Of SARS Patients Show Link, The National Post - Canada, 4-28-3, "The death toll from SARS rose again yesterday, bringing to 15 the number of people who have died from the disease in Canada ... Although coronavirus is still a leading candidate, many scientists believe SARS may be linked to human paramyxovirus, identified by Dr. Plummer's lab several weeks ago as a potential cause. However, other researchers think the virus is simply an "innocent bystander" that just happens to be present in many people, including SARS patients."

The Girl Who Cried Webmaster

Accordion boy meets New Girl. Accordion boy gushes about New Girl on weblog. Accordion boy gets contacted by Whistleblower, who tells him that the New Girl is not who she claims to be...

Saturday, April 26, 2003

CGMP Makes War on Nutritional Supplements

"Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Dietary Ingredients and Dietary Supplements" (CGMP) is a proposed FDA rule which would impose strict standards of manufacturing on the nutritional supplement industry. "The standards put forth in this document are so severe that they exceed those imposed upon the pharmaceutical companies, which are Goliaths with virtually unlimited resources in comparison to nutritional companies...the added burden would at least triple the price. "There can be little doubt that the proposed rule would level most small businesses (which comprise most of the industry). Far fewer companies would survive, and these would tend to be the largest and most conservative, resulting in significantly less competition and far less innovation. CGMP would ensure not only a rollback of complex products, but also hinder or halt the development of new products. "The FDA would have the right to conduct unrestricted inspections of nutritional companies at their discretion and could, for subjective reasons, shut down companies that are in their political beacon...the FDA's solution to 'good manufacturing' is nothing less than the imposition of arbitrary and undefined powers enabling it to exercise repression of all with whom it disagrees.

Oil industry suppressed plans for 200-mpg car

Times Online.com, By Simon de Bruxelles, The original blueprints for a device that could have revolutionised the motor car have been discovered in the secret compartment of a tool box. A carburettor that would allow a car to travel 200 miles on a gallon of fuel caused oil stocks to crash when it was announced by its Canadian inventor Charles Nelson Pogue in the 1930s. But the carburettor was never produced and, mysteriously, Pogue went overnight from impoverished inventor to the manager of a successful factory making oil filters for the motor industry. Ever since, suspicion has lingered that oil companies and car manufacturers colluded to bury Pogue’s invention. Now a retired Cornish mechanic has enlisted the help of the University of Plymouth to rebuild Pogue’s revolutionary carburettor, known as the Winnipeg, from blueprints he found hidden beneath a sheet of plywood in the box. Patrick Davies, 72, from St Austell, had owned the tool box for 40 years but only recently decided to clean it out. As well as drawings of the carburettor, the envelope contained two pages of plans, three test reports and six pages of notes written by Pogue ... The announcement of Pogue’s invention caused enormous excitement in the American motor industry in 1933, when he drove 200 miles on one gallon of fuel in a Ford V8. However, the Winnipeg was never manufactured commercially and after 1936 it disappeared altogether amid allegations of a political cover-up. Dr Murray Bell, of the University of Plymouth’s department of mechanical and marine engineering, said he would consider trying to build a model of the Pogue carburettor. Engineers who have tried in the past to build a carburettor using Pogue’s theories have found the results less than satisfactory. Charles Friend, of Canada’s National Research Council, told Marketplace, a consumer affairs programme: “You can get fantastic mileage if you’re prepared to de-rate the vehicle to a point where, for example, it might take you ten minutes to accelerate from 0 to 30 miles an hour.”

World's first hydrogen service station opens in Iceland

By Richard Middleton, Associated Press, 25 April 2003, REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A filling station for hydrogen-powered vehicles, said to be the first in the world, opened Thursday in Iceland. "In time, what is happening in Iceland will show to the rest of the world that hydrogen fuel is a real, commercial possibility that will lead to a cleaner, pollution-free environment," Industry Minister Valgerdir Sverrisdottir said at an opening ceremony on Iceland's official First Day of Summer. He opened the station by filling up a hydrogen-powered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, a prototype product of a European Union–backed program. The major partners in the venture are Icelandic New Energy, DaimlerChrysler, Norsk Hydro, and Royal Dutch Shell. Iceland was chosen for the project because 90 percent of its electricity is generated geothermically or from hydropower. The European Union contributed 2.8 million euros (US$3.1 million) of the 7 million euros ($7.7 million) cost of the project. In August, three DaimlerChrysler hydrogen-powered buses will be introduced and tested for two years in Reykjavik. Each bus will have a range of about 200 kilometers (125 miles) before it needs refueling. Another hydrogen station is to open in Hamburg, Germany, in May, and others will follow in major cities in the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, Belgium, and Sweden. "It is an important stepping stone along the long road to a commercially viable hydrogen future," said Jeroen van der Veer, vice president of the committee of managing directors of Royal Dutch Shell. "We are confident that in time, hydrogen can make a significant contribution to the global energy mix. But none of us expect overnight success. Despite the years of hard work and the existence of hydrogen fuel cell technology for decades, we are in a real sense at the very beginning of the hydrogen economy story." Norway's Norsk Hydro developed the hydrogen electrolyzers that use electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen again combine, and water is the only exhaust product. Professor Bragi Arnason, head of chemistry at the University of Iceland's Science Institute, said the nation's fishing fleet could be running on hydrogen within 25 years. "Using hydrogen, from renewable geothermal water in Iceland, is really only the first step towards a pollutant-free environment," Arnason said.

SARS, Items of Interest

The following is an excerpt from a posting on a private genealogy newsgroup found at Yahoo! Groups: [Physician in Wisconsin] "told me that they have received Center for Disease Control notices by email and the latest is that there will be one billion cases of SARS in the next 60 weeks and the assumption is that 4% will die. That is 4 Million people. They are expecting it to reach these epidemic proportions sooner rather than later. There is an antibiotic for last resort patients which costs about $15K for a 3 day treatment. Sounds okay except there isn't enough of it to offer it to 1% much less the 4%. He truly feels that it will sweep through all the nursing homes and basically empty them as the elderly are affected much severely. There are few cases of children." (Note that the number of deaths using the above numbers is actually 40 million)

"One of the primary concerns of course is as to how this virus SARS is spreading globally, when it is well known that if you are desirous of testing a new pathogen, all you do is put it in the mail." "Total Inactivation Of SARS Virus Achieved In 14 Seconds," By Basil Wainwright, http://www.rense.com/general37/sarrss.htm

Sars death rate 'higher'

BBC News excerpt: "The death rate for Sars could be significantly higher than previously thought, according to an British expert's study into the pneumonia-like virus. The research by Professor Roy Anderson, due to be published in a medical journal next week, is expected to say the virus could kill between 8% and 15% - or one in seven - of those infected. The World Health Organization (WHO) had predicted a death rate of 5% to 6% and said the virus could be beaten if countries worked together to stop it spreading. A WHO spokesman said Professor Anderson was a top class professional and his findings were probably accurate. Latest figures show Sars has infected an estimated 4,649 people in 26 countries around the world. So far more than 274 people have died, with most sufferers making a full recovery..."

The dragon wheezes, The Economist Newspaper

Excerpt: China finally wakes up to the SARS epidemic, which may herald much more profound changes ... On roads leading into Beijing’s neighbouring province of Hebei, officials have begun stopping some vehicles to check passengers for signs of SARS to prevent the disease from spreading. But such measures have come too late. Official figures show that SARS has now affected 20 of the country’s 31 provinces and municipalities. Apart from Guangdong, Beijing and the northern province of Shanxi, each has reported only a tiny handful of cases. Tianjin, the port city closest to Beijing, has reported only eight, the whole of Hebei province has declared only six and Shanghai a mere two. But it is safe to assume that the actual number of cases around the country is significantly higher. With the best will in the world, cash-strapped local governments whose health-care and disease-surveillance systems have fallen into disarray in recent years for want of funds would be extremely hard pressed to monitor the spread of a new disease.

Even in Beijing, the official figures still convey only a partial picture. The city has offered free treatment for poor SARS patients. But this is little consolation to the large numbers with no health insurance, particularly the unemployed and the 3m or so ill-paid migrant labourers (about one-fifth of the city’s population) who are too poor to consider hospital treatment in the city. Many with SARS-like symptoms would think twice about any offer of free treatment, since their ailment may well turn out to be something else for which they would have to pay. Compounding this fear is the risk that days of quarantine for themselves and family members could cause a big loss of earnings.

In rural areas, the situation is particularly bleak. The “barefoot-doctor” system established under Mao Zedong to provide basic health care to peasants has broken down. Many township hospitals can now do little more than dispense medicine. As many as 70% of country people cannot afford to pay for medical treatment. On Sunday, the deputy health minister said that if SARS was found to be spreading in the countryside, “the consequences would be extremely serious.” But how will anyone know? On Wednesday the government announced a fund of 2 billion yuan ($240m) to support anti-SARS work in the countryside and among the urban poor. The problem, however, could only be solved by a massive overhaul of the health-care and insurance system that would cost many times more than that.

With their political U-turn, Mr Hu and Mr Wen may help to shore up their image. In Beijing, the party’s legitimacy rests largely on its ability to deliver economic growth. Although a severe downturn could precipitate serious social unrest, China’s SARS crisis (unlike Hong Kong’s) occurs at a time of strong growth. As long as the death toll does not rise (or is not rumoured to rise) dramatically in key urban areas such as Beijing and disruption is short-lived, the new leadership will probably muddle through. But the trust of the rest of the world, which had come to believe that China was beginning to understand the need to play by international rules, could take far longer to repair.

SARS vs. Recovery, III

Excerpt from Urbansurvival.com:
HAWAII: Don't talk about it! There's a report on westhawaiitoday.comthat island health authorities are advising drivers not to talk on VHF or UHF radios about SARS.
SARS Blamed: Comments of a leading analyst about SARS cut into the US markets on Thursday.
Euro Airs Hit: Reuters is reporting this morning that SARS worries are - in part - behind declines in airlines and travel groups on European bourses this morning.
CDC: Zero Change: The latest reports from CDC indicated yesterday at there are still just 39 cases in the US.
WHO: What???: The number of probable cases reported by WHO Thursday was 4439, with 263 deaths and 2117 recovered.  If you're a Pollyanna the mortality rate is deaths divided by probable cases - 5.9%, but if you're an alarmist, the death rate is deaths divided by number of people who actually recovered - a 12.4% mortality rate which is far above what's in the mainstream press yet.
Get skinny and live? Sources tell us that while there's not much hard fact coming in yet from China, initial appearances are that overweight people are harder hit than people who are just slightly under-nourished. It's only a murmur out of our sources, but one worth thinking about - especially in light of the animal experiments that suggest people who are a little on the skinny side tend to far outlive those who are on the chunky side...
Cheney Reports: We've also heard from well informed sources that just about every federal agency conceivable, perhaps more than 20, are rushing to get reports onto VP Dick Cheney's desk by Monday or Tuesday or next week. Apparently the Administration is worried about some kind of public awareness emerging in the very short term - perhaps weeks - and they're trying to ready a plan to cope. That's why Cheney has been out of sight - and yes - you're not the first one to wonder about the timing of the disease hot on the heels of the Iraq victory. Is this some kind of a 'warning shot?' Question to ponder: Who fired it?
Global Markets: Using our proprietary Global Aggregate Index, it's clear that the beginnings of a global recovery have been forming in the past month or two, but with the latest SARS reports in Asia, we note that Hong Kong is down almost 10% compared with the first day of trading this year - and the same goes for Japan. (Sony's earnings at the low end of hype, didn't help much today, either.)

From the collected pieces, what emerges is a view of a world that could descend into a permanent malaise should SARS gain ground in Europe and the US.  Asia is already on the verge of panic.  If that occurs, a second major leg down of the global economy will get underway and we can kiss the idea of recovery good bye.
Who Loses: We think the airlines, hotels, car rental outfits, and large retail chain eateries (with the possible exception of the locally run beanery) will all suffer should the SARS worries turn into widespread panic. Stocks like Disney, Hilton, Marriott, and of course the airlines, could be hit.
Who Wins: We see the likelihood that the majority of Americans will spend more time at home. Companies like 3-M (masks), Michaels Stores (hobbies and crafts to do while quarantined, along with Home Depot and perhaps home entertainment stocks. Will 'son of webvan' emerge?
What to do NOW: If you don't have a 30-day supply of food and water in your home, it might be a good thing to slowly accumulate.  We've always kept a week or two on hand, but we're slowly expanding our personal stores to allow us at least 21-days in event of quarantines.  Not that it will help escape a "round up", but it also won't hurt. Besides, looks like hurricane season will be early this year in our area so food, water, batteries, and the ham rig are always nice to have around. If you don't want to go that route, figure out which grocery stores in your area will deliver - and be ready to lay in a big order if things look threatening.
Most Important: Watch the WHO statistics - we expect somewhere between 88-133 people to be added to the probable cases count today, and as long as the case count is going up 2-4% per day it will mean present containment methodologies are not working.  The daily updates are usually posted between 11:00 A and 12:30 P EDT at http://www.who.int/csr/sarscountry/en/.  Read the numbers and chart your own best course. If the numbers decline quickly, we can expect a real barn-burner rally, but the opposite is also true. The markets don't like uncertainty, and until resolved, we expect things to remain trendless to a downward bias as people pull bets off the table.

Flight 77 Official Story Doesn't Fly

Questions about the Pentagon crash.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Crown jewel of American empire, WorldNetDaily, by Pat Buchanan

"Our new imperialists view Iraq much as McKinley's generation of imperialists saw the Philippines, as an outpost of empire and a strategic base-camp for the projection of American power. ... But has anyone consulted the Iraqis on whether they wish to play their assigned role in the Pentagon's script? ... the vision of the neoconservatives -- that Iraqis would embrace Americans as liberators and democracy would spread like brushfire across the Arab world -- has yet to be realized."

SARS: Tin Foil Hat Time!

Sometimes you read some things you try your damndest to deny, but they sorta seep into the "what if" category. That is the case of SARS and my research. Yeah, the stuff I am reading on SARS is making me do a major up-chuck! But what is grabbing my attention is the fact SARS may be manmade. Yeah, Henrietta is going ape -- or maybe NOT! So lets put things in a true perspective. One particular quote jumped out at me: "Canadian scientists racing to find the cause of SARS say it appears to be a mutant strain of coronavirus with bits of human, cow and mouse virus scrambled into its genetic code." --Henrietta

Violence is the American way, AlterNet, by Ira Leonard

"America demonstrated a national predilection for war and domestic violence long before the 9/11 attacks, but its leaders and intellectuals through most of the last century cultivated the national self-image, a myth, of America as a moral, 'peace-loving' nation which the American population seems unquestioningly to have embraced."

The next target: America, Liberty For All, by Geoffrey Neale

"With public attention riveted on the war in Iraq, politicians may be planning to launch a sneak attack against the American people. Their weapon: Patriot II, a piece of legislation that would give the government frightening new powers, including the ability to make secret arrests, issue secret subpoenas, create a vast new DNA database and even strip Americans of their citizenship and deport them."

SARS mutates, attacks intestines, Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]

"The deadly SARS virus appears to be becoming more virulent, attacking the intestines as well as the respiratory system, according to a leading Hong Kong microbiologist. Speaking on Hong Kong radio station RTHK, Professor Malik Peiris of Hong Kong University said the change might indicate the virus had mutated, as many experts feared."

US has plans to bomb North Korea nuke plant - Reuters

The Pentagon has drawn up plans to bomb a North Korea nuclear plant if it reprocesses spent nuclear fuel rods, according to an Australian newspaper report on Tuesday that was quickly downplayed by Australian officials. ... The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan said the U.S. has produced a blueprint to bomb Yongbyon if the plant went ahead with reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods to make atom bombs. He said the plan also involved a U.S. strike against North Korean heavy artillery in the hills above the border with South Korea, threatening the capital Seoul and about 17,000 U.S. troops stationed nearby."

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

SPACE STATION FLYBY

On April 11th, the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS) passed directly between South Bend, Indiana, and the Moon. Tom Laskowski filmed the transit using a 6-inch telescope and an Olympus digital camera. Still frames from the movie clearly show the station's elongated shape and a hint of individual modules.

Women fighters of the Mujahedin Khalq

Women fighters of the Mujahedin Khalq (MKO) smile as they stand in their main base at Camp Ashraf, Iraq, 100 kms north of Baghdad Saturday April 19, 2003. The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime has raised the question of what will happen to the heavily armed Iranian opposition group that has operated on Iraqi soil for years.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Raikkonen wins crash-strewn Brazil GP, April 06 2003, By Alan Baldwin

Sao Paolo - McLaren's championship leader Kimi Raikkonen won a wreckage-strewn and chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix cut short by crashes on Sunday. The 700th grand prix in Formula One history started late and behind the safety car and ended in chaos and confusion 18 laps before the scheduled finish. Cars and wreckage were strewn across the rainswept Interlagos track as the red flags came out in a race that world champions Ferrari and Michael Schumacher failed to finish. There was heartbreak for the home fans
Only Raikkonen and Italian runner-up Giancarlo Fisichella appeared on the victory podium, with Renault's third-placed Spaniard Fernando Alonso taken to hospital after being injured in a massive final crash. Officials said the 22-year-old, also third in Malaysia, was not seriously hurt. There was heartbreak for the home fans and their local favourite Rubens Barrichello, who retired agonisingly for the ninth year in a row while in the lead for Ferrari after starting on pole position. There were mixed emotions for struggling Jordan, who thought Fisichella had won them their 200th grand prix only to have their celebrations cut short. Fisichella, 110 starts without a win, had swept past Raikkonen into the lead on lap 54 only for the race to be halted immediately afterwards and the winner declared to be the driver leading at the end of lap 53. Fisichella's car later caught fire in the pits before officials announced there would be no restart. "It's obviously very disappointing," Jordan's head of race and test engineering Gary Anderson told ITV. "But if somebody had said we'd finish second at the start, we'd have taken that very happily." The day was marked by torrential rain and the race started late with the field lined up tamely behind the safety car for the first eight laps. McLaren have now won the first three races of the season, and Raikkonen two in a row. The 23-year-old Finn, whose victory in Malaysia was his first in Formula One, leads the championship with 26 points to team mate David Coulthard's 15. Coulthard was fourth, ahead of Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen for Sauber and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in a BAR. Australian Mark Webber was seventh for Jaguar, despite having no wheels on his car after a massive accident on lap 53 that Alonso then ran into. Alonso's Italian team mate Jarno Trulli picked up the final point for Renault. Nearly half the 20 starters had crashed out before the halfway point, with only a handful of cars still running by the finish and the safety car deployed five times. Ferrari's five-times world champion Schumacher was one of the casualties, his car aquaplaning backwards into the barriers on lap 27 while he had been challenging in third place. The accident compounded the German's nightmare start to the season, already the worst of his career, and left him with just eight points from the first three races. The same turn three caused repeat mayhem, with the space behind the tyre wall soon turned into an expensive scrapyard for shattered cars. Schumacher's wingless Ferrari joined the Williams of Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, the Jaguar of Brazilian rookie Antonio Pizzonia as well as the Minardi and BAR of Britons Justin Wilson and Jenson Button. "There's a river running off the grass banking and it's changing on every lap," said Wilson. The safety car was deployed for the second time at the end of lap 19 after British rookie Ralph Firman suffered a catastrophic suspension failure while flat out on the start-finish straight in his Jordan. The right front wheel broke off on its tethers and Firman became a passenger on the slippery track. A wheel from his Jordan then took the wing off the back of Frenchman Olivier Panis' Toyota but neither driver was hurt.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

POW rescued as Marines stage diversion

NASIRIYA, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, a prisoner of war whose unit was ambushed near this city south of Baghdad March 23, was rescued from an Iraqi hospital early Wednesday, U.S. military officials announced. Lynch, 19, who had been listed as missing, suffered multiple serious gunshot wounds in the ambush that led to her capture and went through "quite an ordeal," Pentagon sources said. She is in stable condition. The sources said the rescue mission had been planned for several days and involved a joint special operations team backed by U.S. Marines. ... Marines staged an offensive in Nasiriya as a diversion while Lynch was rescued from a hospital by a special operations unit ...

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

What the Late Night Comedians are saying:

"President Bush said this Iraq situation looks like 'the rerun of a bad movie.' Well sure, there's a Bush in the White House, the economy's going to hell, we're going to war over oil. I've seen this movie, haven't I?" -- Jay Leno

"President Bush has said that he does not need approval from the UN to wage war, and I'm thinking, well, hell, he didn't need the approval of the American voters to become president, either." -- David Letterman

"In a speech earlier today President Bush said if Iraq gets rid of Saddam Hussein, he will help the Iraqi people with food, medicine, supplies, housing, education - anything that's needed. Isn't that amazing? He finally comes up with a domestic agenda - and it's for Iraq. Maybe we could bring that here if it works out." -- Jay Leno

"President Bush announced tonight that he believes in democracy and that democracy can exist in Iraq. They can have a strong economy, they can have a good health care plan, and they can have a free and fair voting. Iraq? We can't even get this in Florida." -- Jay Leno

"Democrats were quick to point out that President Bush's budget creates a 1 trillion dollar deficit. The White House quickly responded with 'Hey, look over there, it's Saddam Hussein.'" -- Craig Kilborn

"We have it. The smoking gun. The evidence. The potential weapon of mass destruction we have been looking for as our pretext of invading Iraq. There's just one problem -- it's in North Korea." -- Jon Stewart

"War continues in Iraq. They're calling it Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were going to call it Operation Iraqi Liberation until they realized that spells 'OIL.'" -- Jay Leno

"CNN said that after the war, there is a plan to divide Iraq into three parts ... regular, premium and unleaded." -- Jay Leno

"Iraq began destroying those missiles they don't have over the weekend. See, President Bush may be the smartest military president in history. First, he gets Iraq to destroy all of their own weapons. Then he declares war." -- Jay Leno

collected by BuzzFlash Reader R. Miller

Exclusive: War? Mazeltov!

What the Saudis are saying: " ... There is no doubt in any objective and honest person’s mind that there is a link between the US-led war on Iraq and Israel. That link seems to be growing with various revelations that cite the agenda which the neocons in the American administration share with the Likud Party in Israel. The neocons, a group of extreme ultra-right conservative politicians, mostly Jews, have basically taken over American foreign policy for the sake of protecting the Jewish state. There is a list of countries and regions in the Middle East that such leading neocons as Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Perle, Wolfowitz and the ex-prime ministers of Israel regard as targets for destruction. They include Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran. As is now widely known, the genesis of the idea for occupying Iraq dates back to the early 1990s. Richard Perle, often described as the intellectual driving force behind President Bush’s world-view, has for years pressed US and Israeli leaders to go to war against Iraq. On July 8, 1996, shortly after Netanyahu’s election victory over Shimon Peres, Perle handed Netanyahu a strategy paper entitled “A Clear Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It called for the removal of Saddam Hussein as a key Israeli objective and as a means of weakening Syria. The call for an attack on Iraq was then taken up in 1997 by a right-wing American group called “The Project for a New American Century” whose members included Richard Perle, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Eliot Abrams, Middle East Director of Bush’s National Security Council, Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and two influential conservative editors, William Krista of the Weekly Standard and Norman Podhoretz of Commentary. With friends such as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney, and backed by half a dozen right-wing think-tanks, this group made a formidable pressure group. The terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11 gave the advocates of American empire and of the US-Israeli alliance their chance. They were able to make the inexperienced President George W. Bush, who came to power after a questionable election, the vehicle for their agenda. The result is the war we are now witnessing. The ultimate objective is to change the map of the Middle East by destroying or intimidating all enemies of the US and Israel. If America’s imperium turns out to be benevolent, which is most improbable, the Arabs may accept it for a while. But they will always resist Israeli domination of the region. That is the major flaw in the project. For whose benefit and advantage will there be endless wars in a region that holds nothing important for America except for oil which is sold to it anyway. Who would benefit from such enmity between the West and Islam and by putting the clash of civilizations into high gear? One simple answer — one country, one man, one party: Israel, Sharon and Likud ... Israel, the only country in the Middle East with weapons of mass destruction, disobeys all UN resolutions, occupies land and massacres civilians on a daily basis — with the complete blessings and support of the US government..."

CONDOLEEZZA RICE TO GIVE SECRET TALK TO ISRAEL LOBBYISTS

HOWARD WITT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE - When Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, gives a speech Monday to roughly 4,000 members of an influential pro-Israel lobbying group, her remarks will be closed to the media and the public, the White House said Thursday. The decision, termed routine by the White House, is causing particular discomfort for the lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been battling the perception among some political commentators that Jewish groups unduly influenced the Bush administration's decision to wage war against Iraq. Some of the harshest commentaries, viewed as blatantly anti-Semitic by Jewish groups, allege that prominent Jews within the administration conspired to persuade the president to target Iraq because of the threat Saddam Hussein poses to Israel. . . But American Israel Public Affairs Committee officials say privately that they are concerned that a closed-door briefing in the midst of the Iraq war by the president's national security adviser may only add fuel to the conspiracy theories.

Free Iraqi Resistance Calling on Jewry For Support in Quest to Depose Saddam

Flashback: July 1998, Allies of Chalabi Meet Ambassador Gold, Warn of White House Folly, By SETH GITELL, FORWARD STAFF, WASHINGTON - With Senate Majority Leader Lott pushing for $10 million in new funding for the Iraqi opposition, supporters of the free, democratic Iraqi National Congress are calling upon Israel and members of the American Jewish community to get behind their quest to depose Saddam Hussein. An adviser to INC chairman Ahmad Chalabi, Francis Brooke, and a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, David Wurmser, met with Israel's permanent representative to the United Nations, Dore Gold, last Friday to begin the process of getting Israel to back the INC. Rest of story