Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I'm going on vacation for a while. I'll be back next Wednesday. Until then, keep fighting the good fight!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hilarity from my father

A young man graduated from University of Arkansas with a degree in journalism. His first assignment for the newspaper who hired him was to write a human interest story. Being from Arkansas, he went back to the country to do his research. He went to an old farmer's house way back in  the hills, introduced himself to the farmer and proceeded to explain to him why he was there. The young man asked, "Has anything ever happened around here that made you happy?"

The farmer thought for a minute and said, "Yep! One time one of my neighbor's sheep got lost. We formed a posse and found it. We all screwed it and took it back home."

"I can't print that!" the young man exclaimed. "Can you think of anything else that happened that made you or a lot of other people

After another moment, the farmer said, "Yeah, one time my neighbor's daughter, a good looking girl, got lost.  We formed a big posse that time and found her. After we all screwed her, we took her back home."

Again, the young man said "I can't print that either.  Has anything ever happened around here that made you sad?"

The old farmer dropped his head as if he were ashamed and after a few seconds looked up timidly at the young man and said, "I got lost once."

Complaints about prescription drugs

You remember my rant about health care costs last week? No? You don't? Scroll down the page a bit and read it then. Done? Okay... I'll continue.
Well, along with the MRI for my girlfriend he also prescribed some medications. The first was a light muscle relaxer, the second was Celebrex as an anti-inflammation drug. She went to fill the prescription. The muscle relaxer has a generic, no big deal there. However, Celebrex doesn't and it costs a good amount of money. Her insurance doesn't cover drug costs until she pays a hefty amount first, and then the co pay after that is pretty high too. So, she can't get the Celebrex.
Talk about a crock of shit. These are the problems that are truly wrong with America. When you want to get help with medicine you can never afford it. So, once again, she is supposed to just sit there in pain for the next few days until we can figure something out.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bill O'Riley said what?

Fox News Anchor, and host of the syndicated The Radio Factor With Bill O'Riley, said this week:
"Any American that undermines that war with our soldiers in the field or undermines the war on terror is a traitor. So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we can incarcerate them immediately. Would you have that done please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains? Because they, you know, they're undermining everything, and they don't care."
Now, he was referring to Air America Radio, and probably more specifically at The Al Franken Show host Al Franken. This bugs me because it is a sentiment that is shared and repeated along the right side of the political spectrum, that those who question the war effort or it's motives are somehow traitors, or not patriotic? I mean, what the fuck is this, right?
Why is it bad to ask questions? Why is it bad to question how effectively people are waging war? It's only our friends, neighbors, family, parents, and spouses over there fighting right? How dare we try to look out for their best interests? It really pisses me off, what a bunch of crap.
Jesse Ventura said it best when he plays a clip of a bunch of talking heads jabbering about the war during this commercial for www.OpTruth.Org when he says, "This is the sound of a bunch of people who know nothing about what war is really like." Bill's never been over there. I mean, shit, he hasn't even gone on a USO tour. Not one. At least Franken has done three or four of those since this war started. You can add Ann Coulter to that list as complaining about people speaking out against the war as being treasonists but yet never having been on a USO tour.
I have four fraternity brothers in Iraq right now. Four guys who I know are probably going to see combat at one time or another. These are people who matter to me, people whom with a share a deep common and personal bond. And they are in danger, each and every day, and I'll be damned if I'm going to be criticized because I'm concerned for their well being. These are real people over there, fighting for a cause many here question as just or not. I want my friends to come home so they can start families and have the lives they are entitled to live. We are not under a threat by Iraq, never were, and yet they fight for them, my friends fight for those people, to make their lives better. I just want to make sure they are allowed to live their lives when this is all over.
The day I our elected officials, and these bullshit talking heads, send their own kids over to fight their wars is the day I actually listen to them when they tell me what I can and can't say about our government.
Bill O'Riley, you can eat my ass.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This is the problem with health care in the US

I'm really fucking pissed off right now. Furious.
My girlfriend has had sever neck and back problems for years. As with most young people (most of the uninsured are young adults ages 18-26 believe it or not) we haven't had insurance until recently. I have a really good plan with my job. Unfortunately, she doesn't.
So, she needs to get an MRI done on her neck and back. However, her deductible is so high that we can't afford it. So, she has to sit in pain until she gets a better job with a better health plan. This is fucking ridiculous. So much for that culture of life bullshit.
I don't understand this. I mean, who fails to accept the fact that there are too many people in this world who have to sit in pain, or be forced to be sick, or even die, because they don't have insurance? Why are we the only modern industrialized nation without a national health care plan?
This is just so fucking stupid I can't comprehend it. I mean, I have to sit an argue with people over this fact when we talk politics. "Where does it say I have to provide health care for people on the constitution?" says some moron. "I don't ask them to do anything for me, why should I help take care of someone else," some other dolt says. Now, if some antigovernment, anarchist is saying this I can't really argue. I mean, they're anarchists, so it's in their political agenda for everyone to fend for themselves. It's the people who are religious that I want to punch in the face when they say that. So much for that "Help thy neighbor and less fortunate" stuff Jesus was always preaching. I'm sure he wasn't referring to health care, probably just about bread and lepers.
I mean, for the billions and billions we spend on defense each year we could take less than 10% of that and fully fund national health care. No kidding here, look it up. Instead, we get pork barrel bullshit in D.C. for these piece of shit legislations, money spent on fucking hearings for steroid use in baseball, a bunch of time and money wasted on some brain dead woman in Florida, and the FBI being sent to Aruba to search for some missing white girl. I'm sorry, but this is a bunch of crap.
My living, breathing, significant other has to suffer constant and daily pain because these people who run this country and the constituents who vote them in are so brain washed they buy into the crap the health care industry lobbyists feed them. How many other people have had to attend bowl-a-thons to raise money for a cancer fighter. How many times have you given money to someone trying to get a kidney transplant? How many people have had to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills (don't expect D.C. to tell you that the number one cause for personal bankruptcy is due to medical expenses). If we're really concerned about this culture of life we need to start worrying about people between the time they are born and the time they are starting to die.
God, I want to punch a wall right now. Argh!

In case you didn't notice

In case you didn't realize it, I've figured out how to post images online now. I wasn't able to do it when I first started but now I've got a few ways around that. So, get ready for some interesting stuff.

Amazing Scientific Discovery

I came across this while peruzing CNN.COM and thought it was just too cool not to share. Supposedly scientists have found a virus that is harmelss to humans and can be trained, sort of, to attack and destroy cancer cells.
Having lost two relatives to cancer, a friend, and the possibility of losing other loved ones I think this is great news. It has always been my view that the tools to fight cancer and right in front of our eyes. The problem is being able to see them. In this case, we couldn't see them because they were really really tiny.
Regardless, here is the article.

WASHINGTON -- A common virus that is harmless to people can destroy cancerous cells in the body and might be developed into a new cancer therapy, US researchers said.

The virus, called adeno-associated virus type 2, or AAV-2, infects an estimated 80 percent of the population.

"Our results suggest that adeno-associated virus type 2, which infects the majority of the population but has no known ill effects, kills multiple types of cancer cells yet has no effect on healthy cells," said Craig Meyers, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania.

"We believe that AAV-2 recognizes that the cancer cells are abnormal and destroys them. This suggests that AAV-2 has great potential to be developed as an anti-cancer agent," Meyers said in a statement.

He said at a meeting of the American Society for Virology that studies have shown women infected with AAV-2 who are also infected with a cancer-causing wart virus called HPV develop cervical cancer less frequently than uninfected women do.

AAV-2 is a small virus that cannot replicate itself without the help of another virus.

But with the help of a second virus it kills cells.

For their study, Meyers and colleagues first infected a batch of human cells with HPV, some strains of which cause cervical cancer. They then infected these cells and normal cells with AAV-2.

After six days, all the HPV-infected cells died.

The same thing happened with cervical, breast, prostate and squamous cell tumor cells.

All are cancers of the epithelial cells, which include skin cells and other cells that line the insides and outsides of organs.

"One of the most compelling findings is that AAV-2 appears to have no pathologic effects on healthy cells," Meyers said.

"So many cancer therapies are as poisonous to healthy cells as they are to cancer cells. A therapy that is able to distinguish between healthy and cancer cells could be less difficult to endure for those with cancer."

AAV-2 is being studied intensively as a gene therapy vector -- a virus modified to carry disease-correcting genes into the body.

Gene therapy researchers favor it because it does not seem to cause disease or immune system reaction on its own.

I always said it would go to seven... what I didn't know is who would win it all.


Pistons stay alive

Detroit forces Game 7 with 95-86 win over Spurs

Tony Parker
Tony Parker drives by Antonio McDyess in the first quarter of Game 6.
John McDonough/SI

SAN ANTONIO -- Larry Brown and Gregg Popovich met at midcourt as the final buzzer sounded to exchange handshakes and a hug. Never before has there been an NBA Finals moment quite like it, and another rarity -- a Game 7 for the championship -- will unfold next.

The Detroit Pistons weren't ready to concede their title Tuesday night, and the San Antonio Spurs weren't quite good enough to earn it.

Behind the scoring of guards Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton and several clutch plays from foul-plagued Rasheed Wallace down the stretch, the defending champions displayed the resiliency they've become known for and defeated San Antonio 95-86 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

For the first time since 1994, the finals are going to a winner-take-all game.

"Not today. Not tonight. Not today. Not tonight," Billups said as he walked to the locker room after the game.

"This is how we do it," Lindsey Hunter sang as he exited the shower.

Billups made five of the Pistons' eight 3-pointers as Detroit matched its long-range output from the first five games combined. Billups scored 21, Hamilton had 23 and Wallace 16 for the Pistons, who played at their peak despite being on the brink of elimination -- just as they did in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami earlier this month.

Brown won his 100th playoff game as an NBA coach, breaking a tie with Red Auerbach for third-most in league history. If he gets No. 101 on Thursday night, he may end up retiring at the apex of his career achievements.

"I've been with these guys for two years, and they don't disappoint me in terms of their desire to win and their respect for each other," Brown said.

There were 23 lead changes and seven ties in the first three quarters before Detroit built a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter and stayed ahead the rest of the way, handing the Spurs just their sixth home loss in 52 games at the SBC Center this season.

Now, the Pistons will have to try to become the first team in finals history to win the last two games on the road. But given what they've done over the past two seasons, refusing to quit when circumstances are most dire, they have to be considered a legitimate candidate to make a little more history.

"We can fight any odds," Wallace said. "You know, a lot of people thought we were going to be out tonight, but -- they had their Cristal ready and all that stuff, but -- hey, we're going to pop it Thursday."

Once again, ball control was one of the key factors as Detroit committed just five turnovers against 19 assists. Billups played brilliantly for the second straight game, and Hamilton was not affected by the tight defense of Bruce Bowen -- even after Bowen swiped Hamilton's mask off his face in the fourth quarter. Hamilton flung the mask aside, wrinkled his nose a few times and finished the game without it.

"We're just tough as nails," Billups said. "Our motto is, 'If it ain't rough, it ain't right.' We always make it tough on ourselves, but we always find a way to climb out of that foxhole."

Duncan had 21 points and 15 rebounds, but the Spurs' offense rarely ran though him as it normally does so fluidly. Manu Ginobili also scored 21 for San Antonio, which was outscored 24-19 in the fourth quarter.

The Pistons were looking everywhere they could for motivation. A sign on the greaseboard in Detroit's locker room read: "San Antonio's parade is scheduled for Thursday!!!," and Detroit forward Darvin Ham yelled: "Anybody want Cristal? They just brought four cases to their locker room!"

But the Pistons probably didn't need any extra reason to push harder: Time and again, they've proven that pride is enough to fuel them.

The early part of the third quarter hammered home the point that the Spurs would only get as far as Ginobili, not Duncan, would take them. Ginobili was as aggressive going to the basket as he had been in Games 1 and 2, while Duncan was having difficulty freeing himself from the double-teams that he rarely saw in the first five games.

Even when he got the ball in single coverage outside, he was not in position to use his best moves. Absent the usual contributions from the two-time finals MVP, the Spurs just weren't themselves.

As for the Pistons, their offense continued to come from the clutch long-range shooting of Billups and the mid-range game of Hamilton. Billups was 6-for-13 from the field for 21 points and Hamilton was 8-of-16 for 19 points when the third quarter ended with the Pistons ahead 71-67.

A three-point play by Antonio McDyess to open the fourth quarter made it 74-67 -- the largest lead for either team to that point, and Detroit stayed ahead from there.

"We saw them get frustrated at the end, so we tried to keep the pressure on them," Detroit's Antonio McDyess said.

The Spurs held a 47-46 lead at intermission behind 12 points from Ginobili and 10 from Parker.

After San Antonio pulled to 82-81 on a 3 by Ginobili with 4:48 left, Wallace had a corner jumper, a 3-pointer and a putback as part of a 9-4 run that made it 91-86. Wallace then stole a pass by Ginobili with 1:16 left, and the Spurs were all but done.

"I did a bonehead play the other night. I just had to put it behind me," said Wallace, who left Robert Horry open for the game-winning 3-pointer in Game 5.

But that shot is part of the past, same as the blowouts from the first four games.

Now, it all comes down to one more game.

Game 7.

Notes: The Pistons previous win in San Antonio was on April 2, 1997 ... Detroit is 7-0 in the 2005 playoffs when Wallace scores more than 15 points in a game; 6-6 when he scores 15 or less. This was his first performance of more than 15 points in this year's finals. Since joining the Pistons, he has never been held to 15 points or less in six consecutive games.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Want to curb teen pregnacy and unwanted chilren?

Stop lying to them about sex.
Came across this on PBS.ORG. Keep fighting the good fight Shelby. To many adults want to pretend it's still the 50's and sex doesn't exist.
A self-described "good Southern Baptist girl," 15-year-old Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas has pledged abstinence until marriage. But she becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex ed when she finds that Lubbock, where high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs in the state.
As the nation reflects on the outcome of the recent presidential election, "moral values" is a factor often cited in George Bush's win. A look at the "red" and "blue" states paints a picture of "red" voters who embrace traditional religion and family life, and reject what they see as the erosion of American ideals and culture that the "blue" states represent.

Federally funded, abstinence-only sex education is part of the equation, sparking an intense national debate. Sex may be everywhere - in music, television, fashion and movies - one argument goes, but schools need to give teenagers the tools to resist peer pressure and say "no." Won't teaching about sex only encourage teens to try it? Opponents say that withholding information about condom use and birth control will only lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Into the culture wars steps feisty teenager Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas. Although her county's high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the nation. Shelby, a devout Christian who has pledged abstinence until marriage herself, becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education, profoundly changing her political and spiritual views along the way.

Texas public schools have had abstinence-only sex education since 1995, when then-governor George W. Bush signed a law making Texas the third state to follow the curriculum. The "abstinence-only" initiative gained national attention in 1996 when President Clinton enacted landmark welfare reform that included grants for abstinence programs. In November 2004, Congress included more than $131 million for abstinence programs in a spending bill, an increase of $30 million but about $100 million less than President Bush requested. A national evaluation of abstinence programs has been delayed, and is expected in 2006.

In the fall of 2001, Shelby, then a 15-year-old high school sophomore, budding opera singer and politically conservative Southern Baptist, joined the Lubbock Youth Commission, a group of high school students empowered by the mayor to give Lubbock's youth a voice in city government. "We get no [sex] education at all in school," says Shelby in "The Education of Shelby Knox." "Maybe twice a week, I see a girl walking down the hall pregnant... It's part of normal life at my school. If a student asks a teacher about sex, the teacher by policy is required to answer with 'Abstinence is the only way to prevent STD's and teen pregnancy.'... If they don't, they're in danger of losing their job."

Shelby attends a youth assembly called Love, Sex and Dating, held by charismatic local pastor Ed Ainsworth. "If they say there's no information at all in the schools, then they haven't listened to me," he says. "Safe sex? You have been lied to, kids," he tells them, warning them not to get hurt "physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially" by being sexually active. Ainsworth's seminar, with its religious references excised, is also given in 200 Texas junior high schools as part of a national movement called "True Love Waits," which claims 2.4 million teen "pledgers" since 1993. Shelby links hands with the other teens, promising before her parents and God, "On my wedding night, that night will be my first time."

Although committed to her personal vow, Shelby is not convinced that Ed Ainsworth's lectures constitute real sex education. "Every time we said we wanted sex ed, everyone said 'Sex Ed' was already doing it, but he's really doing something very different." The Youth Commission decides to fight for comprehensive, fact-based sex education in the town's public schools. Shelby takes up the campaign with missionary fervor and runs for "mayor" of the Youth Commission, but another teen, Corey Nichols, wins and she is devastated.

Two distinctly different personalities, Corey and Shelby spend the next year trying to advance their cause of comprehensive sex ed while attempting to outdo one another. As they bicker through a range of activities, Shelby increasingly defines herself as a hot-tempered activist. Corey, in contrast, emerges as the diplomat, a politician in the making who sees no good in confrontation, insisting instead on compromise.

Shelby finds herself in a difficult position on the home front, too. Her parents are supportive, but they are also concerned about the stress the campaign is putting on her, and by Shelby's increasingly liberal attitudes. When they suggest she quit the commission, Shelby explodes, "I'm not dropping out... I have power there."

On the public level, the youth group is getting extensive media coverage but little attention from school officials. After repeated requests, the school board finally allows them to present their recommendations. Although the school board listens, the members are not persuaded, and it becomes clear that the district will continue to implement its abstinence-until-marriage sex education in the city's high schools. Again, Shelby refuses to give up.

Shelby now allies herself with a group of gay students who have been denied the right to form a gay-straight alliance in school, feeling it will galvanize her campaign. This is not a fight that Corey and the kids on the commission, afraid of adding more controversy to their already contentious agenda, want to join. Soon after, the mayor of Lubbock announces that he is considering doing away with the youth commission because of a city budget shortfall. Corey shows his penchant for political compromise and saves the commission by agreeing to operate without funding and, in the process, abandoning the sex education campaign. An infuriated Shelby decides she can work more effectively outside "the system." Accusing Corey of betraying a cause he claimed to champion, she resigns from the commission.

By her senior year, Shelby is committed to working with the gay teens, who have decided to sue the Lubbock School Board. She has also declared herself to be a liberal Democrat, a turn that shocks her Republican parents. But when an organization whose slogan is "God Hates Fags" comes to Lubbock to protest the gay kids' lawsuit, Shelby, along with her mother, joins a counter protest, carrying a sign that reads "God Loves Everybody," and affirming a belief that will guide her into adulthood: "I think that God wants you to question," Shelby says, "to do more than just blindly be a follower, because he can't use blind followers. He can use people like me who realize there's more in the world that can be done."

Shelby is now a sophomore at the University of Texas in Austin, where she is studying political science. She continues her activism for comprehensive sex education. Visit our Update section, where Shelby answers questions about her life today. Send in your own question for Shelby. »

"The Education of Shelby Knox" is funded by grants from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Brush Foundation, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Columbia Foundation, the Lalor Foundation, the General Services Foundation, the H. van Ameringen Foundation, the Playboy Foundation, the Trull Foundation, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and American Documentary, Inc.

Tune in June 21st, at 10:00 P.M. or check your local PBS affilate for more info.

Starbucks Union - Interesting

I was listening to Air America's Morning Sedition today and heard about the Starbuck's Union. Evidently Starbucks has some shady work practices that I was not aware of and the two people on the air spoke about them. Some of them were things that could be expected from a large chain (limited part time hours, hard to get health care) but some of them weren't (common injuries from repetitive tasks, cuts, bruises, burns).
Being from the Motorcity (Detroit for all of you outside the Midwest) I have a pretty strong pro union view. I remember my mom not wanting to cross the picket lines at the local Kroger, even though she really wanted to, back when I was a kid. I remember the autoworkers strikes growing up. I even remember when school almost didn't start on time because the teachers unions were striking. I feel Unions do a lot of good work standing up for their fellow employees and I think the current industrial/commercial business climate is really eating away at the "little gut matters" mentality of union ideals.
I thought it was interesting enough to post some of their info up on the blog. So, if you've got some time check out
Below is a little bit about them from their "About" page:
The Starbucks Workers Union is part of IU 660 - the retail worker's division of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The Starbucks Workers Union is driven by solidarity unionism, an innovative and powerful 21st century approach to improve our life at work.

Solidarity unionism means:

· Any Starbucks worker can join the Union at anytime

· We build strength by supporting each other with direct action

· Joining the Union is affordable, only $6/month which includes a free
subscription to the Industrial Worker newspaper

By becoming a member of the Starbucks Workers Union, you gain:

· Immediate access to co-workers around the country to protect you at work

· The privileges of an organization that has already won wages increases and a
Christmas bonus for workers around the country

· A role in the movement of retail workers at major corporations organizing for a
strong voice on the job

The more workers who join the Union, the more power we have on the job to win a living wage and guaranteed hours. If you choose, once you join you can be provided the tools necessary to talk to your co-workers about joining the Union. Deciding if you’d like to explain the Union to others is completely up to you. Involving others in the Union is both fun and challenging. The Union is our organization: created by Starbucks workers for Starbucks workers. Ready to join?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Biden for President?

So, Joe Biden announced that he'd like to run for president in 2008. He said that he wants to run but has to figure out he he'd be able to raise the funds needed to have a realistic campaign.
Personally I think this is a bad move. All the pundits are going to say that he's only doing whatever he does not because he wants to run for president. On the flip side, it could be a good move since it gets his name out front long before the rest of the election machines start moving. If he starts making sense and has some good media snippets in the next two years a lot of people may just say, "Hey, I could see this guy as my president."
The trick is to get people thinking about you being their president without having to tell them you're trying to be their president. Then again, what do I know? I was kicked off my own fraternity's executive committee. The only other elected office I held was student council, and I sucked at that too.

Friday, June 17, 2005

A message for Jeb...

"People should understand that sometimes, for known or unknown reasons, individuals sustain massive brain injury that for which healing is not possible," said Dr. Karen Weidenheim, the chief of neuropathology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. "Everything that could have been done was done for this lady for 15 years, and this case is very tragic."

Press Release          

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz                  

118 Cannon H.O.B.               10100 Pines Blvd.               19200 W. Country Club Dr.,

Washington, DC 20515            Pembroke Pines, FL 33026        Aventura, FL 33180     

Phone:  202-225-7931            Phone:  954-437-3936            Phone:  305-936-5724

Fax:    202-226-2052            Fax:    954-437-4776            Fax:    305-932-9664           Florida's 20th District


June 17, 2005                                                   Contact: Jonathan Beeton        202-225-1750

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    Cell:          202-812-1715   

Floor Statement Condemning Egregious Abuse of Power

By the Majority at the Judiciary Committee Hearing on USA Patriot Act



For Related Press Release: CLICK HERE

WASHINGTON, DC - Mr. Speaker, last week it was an honor to begin my new assignment as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary. This Nation was founded on the principles of ensuring that the rights of the minority are protected from the tyranny of the majority. The display that I witnessed and experienced at our committee hearing last Friday was, honestly, the most egregious abuse of power witnessed in my 13 years of combined public service in three legislative bodies.

This is a political institution, with individuals who feel passionately about their views, and this is an institution that runs on power. But my hope is that even when we disagree, we will treat each other with respect and dignity. Respect and dignity were nowhere to be found at that hearing last Friday, and it was a shame.

I was particularly surprised and disappointed by the disposition demonstrated by the chairman during the hearing, and found it ironic that the Committee on the Judiciary, whose responsibilities include reviewing, safeguarding and upholding our Constitution, thought nothing of trampling the rights the minority's witnesses by severely limiting their opportunities to be heard.

After 9/11, the vast majority of Americans were and remain willing today to give up some of our freedoms and civil liberties in order to keep us safe. When the USA PATRIOT Act was adopted by Congress, there were 16 provisions that were troubling enough to most Members that they were required to be reviewed by Congress before they could remain in law past this year.

I think I share the views of many when I say that I may ultimately support all 16 provisions remaining in law. However, it did not seem too much to ask to thoroughly review those provisions, and not just hear a drastically lopsided set of witnesses called by the majority party.

If we are going to restrict civil liberties in the name of national and homeland security, it is more important than ever to shine the light on these provisions and make sure they can withstand a rigorous test.

Forfeiting civil liberties is not merely an inconvenience for our citizens. It must be a conscious decision, made with full disclosure and review and for good reason. If this forfeiture cannot withstand a review where proponents and opponents have their concerns aired, then our citizens cannot be expected to give up rights they were born with and for which our forefathers and foremothers so desperately fought.

It is my hope that, like the other committee on which I serve, the Committee on Financial Services, which operates in a spirit of bipartisanship even on the most contentious of issues, that we can withstand the test, and this should be done without the abuse of power and trampling of democracy that we experienced last week.

Mr. Speaker, the American people expect and deserve Members of Congress to approach terrorism prevention in a thoughtful, factual, and responsible manner. All too often opponents of the PATRIOT Act have constructed unfounded and totally unrelated conspiracy theories, erected straw men that bear no relation to reality, engaged in irresponsible and totally unfounded hyperbole, or unjustly impugned the law enforcement officials entrusted with protecting the security of America's citizens. While the PATRIOT Act was drafted and passed by both Houses with wide bipartisan majorities, it has been transformed by some into a political weapon of choice to allege a broad range of violations which have nothing to do with that legislation. These efforts coarsen public debate and undermine the responsible, substantive examination that must inform congressional and public consideration of this critical issue.

I will not be deterred by malicious attacks or minority obstructionism. In the coming months I will continue to energetically discharge my responsibilities as chairman to ensure thorough, bipartisan, and thoughtful consideration of issues relating to the PATRIOT Act and other legislation before the committee. This House and the American people who elect us to represent them expect and deserve no less.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

# # #

For Related Press Release: CLICK HERE

Ian Rayder

Legislative Assistant

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-20

118 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: 202.225.7931

Fax: 202.226.2052

Ian Rayder

Legislative Assistant

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-20

118 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: 202.225.7931

Fax: 202.226.2052

What the hell is this?

So, CNN.COM is reporting that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush asked a prosecutor Friday to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago, calling into question how long it took her husband to call 911 after he found her.
CNN.COM went on to say that Jeb will not be giving any extra effort to cases involving missing black children, living people, old people, other otherwise people who may currently contribute or effect society. Instead, they say, he wants to concentrate on a dead woman so he can push a hard lined political agenda.
No, CNN.COM didn't any of that stuff. Seriously though, I mean, what the hell? Isn't there more important stuff to worry about in Florida? Lord knows it seems every time you turn on the TV something crazy is going on down there. I find this said that they are still hanging on to the hope that somehow they can find evidence that undermines the autopsy report of the other day.
It's funny though, my father called this whole thing. He said they'd go and try and find more dirt on the husband so they can blame him now. The fact is, all the right wasted out time with this Terri crusade, and even after her death and autopsy, are still trying to use her and her family for political gains.
I think the Terri incident has marked a climax in the power of the hard-line right wing. With this whole ordeal America wised up a bit, and lets hope this is a trend that continues.

Go Pistons!

Courtesy SI.COM

Balanced Pistons rout Spurs to even Finals at 2-2

Posted: Thursday June 16, 2005 10:38PM; Updated: Friday June 17, 2005 3:16AM
Tayshaun Prince scored 13 points and collected two of the Pistons' 13 steals.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The blank, bewildered looks on the faces of the San Antonio Spurs said it all. They were a beaten team -- a badly beaten team -- and their collective daze extended from Tim Duncan on down the bench.

A lopsided victory came easily for the defending champion Detroit Pistons in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, almost too easily. Their 102-71 victory Thursday night over San Antonio evened the series at two games apiece and left the Spurs scratching their heads.

"They really pressured us, and they didn't let us do anything on offense. We've got to find a solution," Spurs guard Tony Parker said.

Once again, it was a double-digit victory -- the series' fourth in as many games. The difference this time was the degree of dominance shown by the Pistons, a mix of suffocating defense and varied offense that left the Spurs completely befuddled.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told his team at halftime that they had played the worst half of basketball he'd ever seen by an NBA playoff team.

Maybe he was exaggerating, maybe not.

"We were phenomenal tonight," Detroit's Larry Brown said. "I really believe in all honesty this is the best game on a team I've been involved with at this level, this is they best we've played. This was a pretty special game."

Game 5 in Detroit will be Sunday night, and one team will emerge one victory away from the title.

Game 6 will be played on the Spurs' home court Tuesday night, and Game 7, if necessary, will be next Thursday in San Antonio.

The home team has won every game in the series thus far.

"It's a three-game series now. It's going to be a lot of fun," Detroit guard Chauncey Billups said.

Detroit took control with a 14-0 run bridging the first and second quarters, and it was never close the rest of the way. When the Spurs tried to force the ball inside, a swarm of defenders and a collection of long arms was there to swat at them, bother them and break them.

The Spurs' 71 points tied for the fifth-fewest in finals history, two more than the Pistons managed in Game 1.

Duncan had the best stat line of the night with 16 points and 16 rebounds, but if there was ever a misleading set of numbers, that was it. The two-time finals MVP shot 5-for-17 and was never able to get into any kind of an offensive rhythm against the defense of the two Wallaces, Ben and Rasheed, and no one stepped up to take on a bigger share of the offensive load.

Contrast that with the Pistons, who received big boosts off the bench from Lindsey Hunter (17 points) and Antonio McDyess (13 points) in support of Billups' 17 points, Rasheed Wallace's 14, Prince's 13 and Richard Hamilton's 10.

"We've got a lot of guys who can score. Tonight, Chauncey recognized I had it going, and like I said before the game, I still know how to put it in the hole a little bit," said Hunter, a 12-year veteran averaging just 3.3 points in the postseason. "My dad always taught me the only way you know if the next one is going in is to put it in the air. So I've always lived by that."

Detroit had a 22-10 edge in fast-break points and a 13-1 edge in steals, led by Ben Wallace's three.

"Those guys, they throw a lot of bodies at you, each with their own little style," Duncan said.

The Pistons took the first double-digit lead of the game early in the second quarter by pressuring rookie backup point guard Beno Udrih. A midcourt trap by Rasheed Wallace and Hunter resulted in a steal, and Prince scored on the ensuing fast break to make it 27-17.

A turnover by Ginobili off another trap led to a layup by Hunter for a 14-point lead, which was followed by an offensive foul on Duncan and a three-point play by Antonio McDyess that made it 34-17.

The big lead held for the rest of the first half, and the Pistons calmly walked to their locker room at intermission with a 51-36 lead after getting at least eight points from four starters -- Billups, Prince and both Wallaces, while Hamilton made up for his lack of scoring (four points) with five defensive rebounds. As a team, Detroit had 16 assists and just one turnover.

"They came out playing hard, but it seemed like we took the air out of them when we kept getting steals from them and blocking shots," McDyess said. "It seemed like everything went right for us, and I hope it continues."

The Spurs came out for the third quarter looking to take the ball to the basket, and their first two possessions ended with driving layups.

But the difficulty of trying to sustain that type of an offense against the Pistons' swarming, smothering defense was established over the past two seasons, and they immediately showed why. San Antonio's next two possessions ended with blocked shots by each of the Wallaces, and Duncan then was left open at the top of the key but couldn't knock down a wide open look.

The Pistons had four blocks and two steals in the first 6 minutes of the third quarter, and then they started getting some offense from an unusual source -- Hunter. He hit a pair of jumpers from the corner and another jumper from the lane, and McDyess added back-to-back baskets late in the quarter to help Detroit to a 74-57 lead entering the fourth.

The lead grew as high as 31 from there, and Duncan and Ginobili were rendered spectators for the final 5 minutes as the Pistons finished off the job.

"I don't feel frustrated at all. There would be some other words that would be a lot more accurate," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's disappointing that their physical play and their defense has taken us away from everything that we normally do."

Notes: The win was the 99th career coaching victory for Brown in the NBA playoffs, tying him with Red Auerbach for third in league history behind Phil Jackson and Pat Riley. ... Despite having to be back in New York for a collective bargaining meeting Friday, commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Russ Granik attended the game. ... Carrie Underwood of "American Idol" fame sang the national anthem and received an enthusiastic applause.


Sushi for lunch!

So, I had to fast since like 9 P.M. last night. That sucked pretty bad. I'm a real routine guy, same thing every day at the same time. Just like a dog. Anyway, I didn't get my coffee or breakfast. Needless to say I was cranky.
Got my aforementioned doctors appointment done, and stopped at Publix to grab some lunch. Now, my wonderful girlfriend, and one day fiancée and hopefully wife, got me into sushi a year or so ago. I don't know if you have this near you, but some Publix supermarkets have sushi chefs. This one by my work did, so I got some. Boy, what a treat. I mean, it's not as good as from a good sushi place, but it served it's purpose.
And here I thought I was going to have to settle for a sub.

Went to the doctor today

So, I went to the doctor today for a physical. Turns out I'm okay. Nothing wrong with me. Vitals are all okay. Blood work being done at the lab to check my cholesterol. I don't expect anything abnormal.
I do have to get a heart monitor though. I told them about my heart palpitations I've had since puberty. Although the doctor said it's probably nothing, he wants me to wear a monitor for a day or two just to be sure. I should be getting that soon.
Other than than, I'm a healthy 26 year old man. Good for me, eh?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What have I been busy doing?

A lot of people don't know this about me but I've been
busy writing two screenplays over the last several

Why would you be writing two screenplays you ask? What
makes you think you have enough talent to write
screenplays, you quander?

Well, a few reasons. One, unlike most people I know, I
actually studied film as a career path when I started
college. I would have continued on that path too had
it not been for the high expense of the college and
the amount of money it was costing me out of pocket to
be able to produce my student films. Two, I have a
friend of mine who actually finished film school, and
is currently working on a upcoming feature film to be
released sometime later this year or early next year.
When I say working on an upcomming film, I mean this
thing will be produced and you will see it at a theater
near you with actors and actresses you will recognized.
This is not some glorified independant film.

At any rate the two movies I've been working on are
tentatively called The Hypocrisy Standard and The
Track at Dusk.

The Hypocrisy Standard is a story about two friends
who are on the run from some people who are trying to
kill them. Turns out one of the friends was recruited
by a secret agency while he was in college. This
agency kills people who escape justice in their eyes.
Trust me; it doesn’t come across so corny in the
screenplay. At any rate, both of them are drunk one
night and the one friend blabs to the other about what
he does for a living. It’s actually a funny scene.
Without going into to much detail, turns out the
agency the friend works for wants to kill the other
friend, and it’s all his fault because he blabbed
about what he does. There are twists, some turns, and
a few really dramatic scenes. I wrote the first draft,
all 123 pages of it, in about a week. I think moved on
to some other things and are now hard at work on the
second draft.

The Track at Dusk is the story of Frank Jasper, an
aging NASCAR driver at what most consider the end of
his career, still chasing the championship (he’s
finished second twice).A member of a six driver team,
his contact isn’t renewed in lieu of a younger more
marketable driver that the sponsor of the car he
drives wants. Frank considers retirement, but is
convinced to meet with one upstart team that has a
unique offer for him. I know what you’re thinking; the
upstart team takes Frank all the way in a real
underdog story. Well you’d be wrong; this new team
isn’t anything to shake a stick at. They’ve dominated
many other motor sports series and are looking to get
into NASCAR, and they want Frank to be their driver
since they view him as a safe investment. The story
goes on from there, Frank has the opportunity to
reconcile with his ex-wife who left him because she
can’t take the racing lifestyle anymore, he battles
the other drivers, his old team, and the driver that
replaced him in his old car all while trying to win a
championship so he can retire.

I haven’t finished The Track at Dusk, but am about 80
pages through it right now. It’s been a lot of fun but
there is only so much racing you can write about. I
needed a break and I had been concentrating really
hard on what I wanted to change for The Hypocrisy
Standard in the second draft, so I decided to get back
to work on that. Besides, it has a far better chance
of being made anyway.

Regardless, I’m writing these for me and still for
that faint hope that one day I can return to doing
what my original goal in life was to do, and that’s
make movies for people.

'Mactel' Desktops May Offer Triple-Threat OS

Found this tidbit on Thought I might share. I find the idea of being able to run Apple OS on PCs and Windows on Macs interesting, if nothing else. I feel the more widespread OSes being used out there in computer land the better. It makes us safer in regard to viruses. Think, "safety in numbers" principle.

'Mactel' Desktops May Offer Triple-Threat OS

Well said Randi, well said

Just got this in a mass e-mail from talk show host Randi Rhodes and thought I'd share it with you.
Click for Pics06.15.2005

Greeting from Phoenix!

It's 111 degrees Fahrenheit as I type this…my fingers are sticking to the keys. But it's a dry heat; you know, like a kiln.

As I walked out of the Barry Goldwater Memorial Terminal (seriously) at Sky Harbor Airport, I couldn't help but think about how many so-called Goldwater-Conservatives actually STILL believe that Sen. Goldwater and the Bushies are cut from the same cloth.

In fact, it was this 1964 Goldwater quote that came to mind:

I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

Terri Schiavo, stem-cells, corporatist judges, purposefully lying "journalists," Downing Street Memos, etc, etc, etc. ENOUGH! Regardless of your party affiliation, how much more are you going to take?! And more importantly, how much more can we afford to take?

Thank you for listening.

Love ALLways,


Rep. John Conyers to the rescue, again!

Remember the Downing Street Memo? Probably not if you've been watching Fox News. It's a memo from the Brits that basically state the US told them we were shaping the facts around our policy for Iraq so that it looked like we had the evidence we needed to attack Iraq. In other words, it says we were getting out shit together far in advance of any of this "evidence" and creating what we needed to justify attacking them. There was no threat, we made up what we needed to create the perception of a threat.
Well, most people in D.C. are shrugging this off because it might lead to conclusions about the current administration. And as Hellen Keller once said, people don't like conclusions because "conclusions can sometimes be unplesant." The fact is, if this stuff turns out to be true there is going to be hell to pay, which means work to be done. And we know when it comes to things that would require actual work (i.e. fixing poverty, addressing actual concerns of citizens, nuculear proliferation) the people on D.C. run fast and far away. They'd much rather concentration on important things like steriods in major sports, Terry Schiavo, and flag burning. You know, shit that keeps food from being on peoples tables.
Well, Conyers isn't taking this anymore and he wants people to talk about this thing. Problem is, the Reds won't give him any space on the hill to do it. Well, he managed to fandangle some space on the hill and he's made as hell. This thing will be covered in CSPAN-3, which means no one but me and three other people willbe watching it, but it's there.
Here's the article and I urge you to check this out.
After fracas, Conyers heads back to Capitol with Downing Street

John Byrne


Rep John Conyers (D-MI, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee who was told by House Republicans that he would be refused rooms for Democratic hearings, has found a space in the Capitol for his fourm Thursday on the Downing Street documents, RAW STORY has learned.

The hearing will be broadcast live on C-SPAN 3 Thursday.

Conyers and other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee were recently told the Republican majority staff had instituted a new policy to deny any request from a Democrat to use a committee hearing room.

GOP Judiciary spokesman Jeff Lungren told The Hill Tuesday Republicans were upset Congressmembers were addressing Conyers as “Mr. Chairman.”

“They were unwilling or unable to make those changes,” Lungren added. “At this point, if they want to hold these forums, they’ll have to find some other place to do it.”

Conyers' release follows. The event will be held at HC-9 The Capitol at 2:30 PM ET Thursday; the room is one that can be reserved by the Democratic leadership.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Thursday June 16, 2005, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of House Judiciary Committee, and other Democratic Members will hold a Democratic hearing to hear testimony concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

On May 1, 2005 a Sunday London Times article disclosed the details of a classified memo, also known as the Downing Street Minutes, recounting the minutes of a July 2002 meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair that describes an American President already committed to going to war in the summer of 2002, despite contrary assertions to the public and the Congress. The minutes also describe apparent efforts by the Administration to manipulate intelligence data to justify the war. The June 16th hearing will attempt to answer the serious constitutional questions raised by these revelations and will further investigate the Administration's actions in the lead up to war with new documents that further corroborate the Downing Street memo.

Directly following the hearing, Rep. Conyers, Members of Congress, and concerned citizens plan to hand deliver to the White House the petition and signatures of over a half million Americans that have joined Rep. Conyers in demanding that President Bush answer questions about his secret plan for the Iraq war.

WHAT: Democratic hearing on Downing Street Minutes and Pre-war intelligence

WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 2005, 2:30pm

WHERE: HC-9 The Capitol

(Overflow Room - 430 S. Capitol Street, The Wasserman Room)

WITNESSES: Joe Wilson, Former Ambassador and WMD Expert, Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst who prepared regular Presidential briefings during the Reagan administration, Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen American soldier, John Bonifaz, constitutional lawyer


Sanitation problems for climbers

This was just too much of a hoot to pass up sharing with every one.
Evidently, there is super poop that can really get you sick when mountain climbing.
Courtesy CNN.COM and the AP

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) -- Mountaineers who ascend North America's loftiest peak are often brought down to earth by "virus-laden poo" left behind by previous climbers, a medical report says.

The unsanitary conditions created by piles of human feces on Mount McKinley can cause diarrhea among climbers, which can lead to widespread problems when combined with the physical stress of a mountain expedition, according to the report in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.

Of 132 climbers interviewed on the 20,320-foot (6,200-meter) peak in the summer of 2002, more than a quarter reported having trouble with diarrhea, said the report, which was conducted by officials with the Alaska Division of Public Health.

At high altitudes and in cold temperatures, the authors said those troubles can be severe and potentially dangerous, leading to acute mountain sickness, hypothermia and fatigue-related accidents.

"They think they're going out on a pristine climb and there's virus-laden poo all around them," said Dr. Bradford Gessner, a mountaineer and one of the study's authors.

The researchers said other peaks around the world had similar sanitation troubles but they did not have data on the degree of the problem.

The study recommends a campaign to better educate climbers about hygiene and to impose stiffer penalties for breaches. Climbers also should use alcohol-based hand sanitizers or other antiseptic cleansers after defecating, use purification tablets for drinking water and avoid crowded sleeping arrangements.

Such steps also are appropriate in other well-traveled climbing routes, like Washington's Mount Rainier and on Himalayan peaks, they said.

The National Park Service already has started a clean-up campaign, including the distribution of devices called clean mountain cans to store feces for removal from the mountain, said Roger Robinson, lead mountaineering ranger for Denali National Park and Preserve, site of McKinley.

Because of the harsh conditions, piles of feces have accumulated at the mountain's crowded high camp, located at 17,200 feet (5,200 meters), Robinson said.

"It's just an ice pack up there. You really can't dig down and bury anything," he said.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More Damning than Downing Street

I came across this little gem on the frontpage of

It's from Paul Rogat Loeb, who's articles I read quite
often there.

Take a gander and see for yourself...

More Damning than Downing Street
by Paul Rogat Loeb

It's bad enough that the Bush administration had so
little international support for the Iraqi war that
their "coalition of the willing" meant the U.S.,
Britain, and the equivalent of a child's imaginary
friends. It's even worse that, as the Downing Street
memo confirms, they had so little evidence of real
threats that they knew from the start that they were
going to have manufacture excuses to go to war. What's
more damning still is that they effectively began this
war even before the congressional vote.

With Congressman John Conyers about to hold hearings,
coverage of the Downing Street memo is finally
beginning to leak into the media. In contrast, we've
heard almost nothing about the degree to which this
administration began actively fighting the Iraq war
well in advance of the March 2003 official
attack--before both the October 2002 US Congressional
authorization and the November United Nations
resolution requiring that Saddam Hussein open the
country up to inspectors.

I follow Iraq pretty closely, but was taken aback when
Charlie Clements, now head of the Unitarian
Universalist Service Committee, described driving in a
Baghdad neighborhood six months before the war "and a
building would just explode, hit by a missile from
30,000 feet -'What is that building?'" Clements would
ask. "'Oh, that's a telephone exchange.'" Later, at a
conference at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base, Clements
heard a U.S. General boast "that he began taking out
assets that could help in resisting an invasion at
least six months before war was declared."

Earlier this month, Jeremy Scahill wrote a powerful
piece on The Nation's website, describing a huge air
assault in September 2002,

"Approximately 100 US and British planes flew from
Kuwait into Iraqi airspace," Scahill writes. "At least
seven types of aircraft were part of this massive
operation, including US F-15 Strike Eagles and Royal
Air Force Tornado ground-attack planes. They dropped
precision-guided munitions on Saddam Hussein's major
western air-defense facility, clearing the path for
Special Forces helicopters that lay in wait in Jordan.
Earlier attacks had been carried out against Iraqi
command and control centers, radar detection systems,
Revolutionary Guard units, communication centers and
mobile air-defense systems. The Pentagon's goal was
clear: Destroy Iraq's ability to resist."

Why aren't we talking about this? As Scahill points
out, this was a month before the Congressional vote,
and two before the UN resolution. Supposedly part of
enforcing "no fly zones," the bombings were actually
systematic assaults on Iraq's capacity to defend
itself. The US had never declared war. Bush had no
authorization, not even a fig leaf. He was simply
attacking another nation because he'd decided to do
so. This preemptive war preempted our own Congress, as
well as international law.

I don't think most Americans know these prewar attacks
ever happened, aside from those who've read Scahill's
recent piece, or heard him on Democracy Now. I recall
no mainline media coverage at the time, and little in
the alternative press. The bombings that destroyed
Iraq's air defenses were under the radar for both the
American media and public.

If coverage of the Downing Street memo continues to
increase, I suspect the administration will try to
dismiss it as mere diplomatic talk, just inside
baseball. But they weren't just manipulating
intelligence so they could attack no matter how Saddam
Hussein responded. They weren't only bribing would-be
allies into participation. They were fighting a war
they'd planned long before. They just didn't bother to
tell the American public.

Letter from David Brock to Rep. Jim Ryun

As a fan of public broadcasting, I listen to NPR almost daily and catch the News Hour, Nova, and Scientific American Frontiers quite often, this is an issues that I've found increasingly disturbing.
Here is a letter that David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters For America, has sent to Rep. Jim Ryun. It includes the original corresspondence he sent what I think was one of his constituants.
The link to the original article can be found here:

June 15, 2005

Congressman Jim Ryun
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Ryun:

The e-mail below was forwarded to our office by one of your constituents.

I take issue with your contention that Mr. Tomlinson appointed a "liberal" ombudsman to monitor the content of public broadcasting. I assume you are referring to Ken Bode, who is, as Media Matters for America has documented, a former journalist and a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute. Last year, Mr. Bode endorsed Indiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels.

Given that Mr. Bode is a fellow at a conservative think tank and endorsed a Republican candidate for governor last year, I would be interested in your reasons for describing him as a liberal.


David Brock
President and CEO
Media Matters for America

* * *

E-mail from the office of Congressman Jim Ryun to private citizen:

From: "Congressman Jim Ryun" <>
To: <e-mail redacted>
Subject: Message from Rep. Jim Ryun

June 7, 2005

(name redacted)
(address redacted)

Dear (name redacted),

Thank you for contacting me with your views. I appreciate hearing from you.

Some have expressed concern over Kenneth Tomlinson, the current President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). President Clinton appointed Mr. Tomlinson to the CPB board in 2000, and he was elected chairman of the board in 2003. Since his election to the chair, Mr. Tomlinson has expressed concern that programming on the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) is not balanced. This is a problem since by law PBS is required to balance its programming. Mr. Tomlinson hired two ombudsmen - a conservative and a liberal - to investigate the content of PBS programming to ensure its compliance with the law. Some are concerned that this was an attempt by Mr. Tomlinson to ensure PBS programming reflects only the conservative ideology because he is a Republican.

PBS should not be held hostage to a single ideology. It receives public money, which cannot be used to endorse political positions. Therefore Mr. Tomlinson's actions were appropriate. There are plenty of private outlets for liberalism and conservatism, but the American taxpayer should not be forced to endorse a particular point of view in public broadcasting. If the chairman of CBP feels that tax money is being used in an inappropriate way on PBS, he has a duty to investigate it.

Be assured that I will continue to work towards balance in public broadcasting. Please feel free to contact me again with comments or concerns on matters that are important to you.

God Bless You,

Jim Ryun

Posted to the web on Wednesday June 15, 2005 at 3:08 PM EST

Schiavo autopsy finds no sign of trauma

Coutesy of CNN.COM and the AP
LARGO, Florida (AP) -- Terri Schiavo did not suffer any trauma prior to her 1990 collapse and her brain was about half of normal size when she died, according to results released Wednesday of an autopsy conducted on the severely brain-damaged woman.

Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin concluded that there was no evidence of strangulation or other trauma leading to her collapse.

He also said she did not appear to have suffered a heart attack and there was no evidence that she was given harmful drugs or other substances prior to her death.

Autopsy results on the 41-year-old brain damaged woman were made public Wednesday, more than two months after Schiavo's death ended an internationally watched right-to-die battle that engulfed the courts, Congress and the White House and divided the country.

She died from dehydration, he said.

He said she would not have been able to eat or drink if she had been given food by mouth as her parents' requested.

"Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not," Thogmartin told reporters.

Thogmartin said that Schiavo's brain was about half of its expected size when she died March 31 in a Pinellas Park hospice, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed.

"The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain. ... This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons."


Pistons pull away in fourth for 96-79 Game 3 win

Courtesy SI.Com
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Three games into the NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons finally figured things out: With some energy and aggression, they can actually play with the San Antonio Spurs.

Not only play with them, but soundly defeat them.

The defending champions summoned the spirit and spunk that had been missing in the first two games of the NBA Finals, changing the complexion of the series in a way many thought impossible.

Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton led the way as the Pistons dominated the final 14 minutes and defeated the Spurs 96-79 in Game 3 Tuesday night.

"I think we figured out how hard we have to play," coach Larry Brown said. "I think our guys realize it's going to take our very best to make this a competitive series."

Television ratings have been down and interest has been low, but the best-of-seven series suddenly looks much more compelling. No longer is there a chance for a sweep, and never again will anyone question whether the Pistons can even play with the likes of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Co.

Ginobili got hurt in the game's first 30 seconds was a non-factor for the first time in the series, and Duncan could not match the energy or enthusiasm generated by Wallace, the NBA's Defensive Player of the year. Wallace's dunk with 4:27 left gave Detroit its largest lead up to that point, 88-73, and the Pistons held on easily from there.

Now, the Pistons will look to even the series at 2-2 in Game 4 on Thursday night and ensure a trip back to Texas.

Known for their resiliency over the past two postseasons, the Pistons finally showed the one distinct team characteristic that had been eluding them since Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Miami.

"We knew this was the game that we needed," Rasheed Wallace said. "And, definitely being the home team came up in that mix and supplied a lot of energy for us."

Hamilton scored 24 points, including 10 in the third quarter when Detroit took the lead for good, and Chauncey Billups added 20. But although the Pistons got most of their points from their backcourt tandem once again, they were anything but a two-man team.

Ben Wallace had 15 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and three steals, and Tayshaun Prince and Antonio McDyess each added 12 points.

Detroit became the first team to score 90 points against the Spurs in 13 NBA Finals games, putting together the type of poised, pumped-up performance they hadn't displayed since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at Miami.

Detroit had lost by 15 and 21 points in the first two games of the series, but they ditched the downtrodden demeanor that contributed to their undoing in Games 1 and 2.

"You know, tonight we really came out here and took care of business at home," Hamilton said. "We defended, we helped each other out and we got a win."

Everything about the Pistons was different, from their defensive intensity to their dedication in terms of getting more people involved on offense. Hamilton was more assertive in shaking off the pesky defense of Bruce Bowen, Prince was much more effective limiting Ginobili, and Ben Wallace seemed especially motivated to put two very sub-par performances behind him.

"He was great. He played with energy and got their crowd into it," Duncan said. "Their aggressiveness was up, and that in itself fueled what they were doing."

Ben Wallace blocked his five shots in the first quarter alone, and he had half of Detroit's offensive rebounds in the first half when Detroit had a 24-12 edge in points in the paint and an 11-0 advantage in fast-break points.

He set the tone right from the start, stealing the opening inbounds pass after he was called for a jump ball violation, then racing downcourt for a dunk and a three-point play.

Wallace ended an eight-game streak of scoring in single digits and a five-game streak with fewer than 10 rebounds.

Ginobili went down just a few seconds later, bruising his left thigh in a collision with Prince just 21 seconds into the game. Though he wasn't sidelined for long, the star of Games 1 and 2 had just four points at halftime with four turnovers. He finished with seven points and six turnovers.

"No excuses, no reasons, I just didn't play well," Ginobili said. "I didn't have a great game, and as a team we didn't have the juice."

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 21 points. San Antonio was outrebounded 44-37 and committed 18 turnovers leading to 23 Pistons points.

There were 20 lead changes and 10 ties, but the Pistons took over to such a degree late in the third quarter and early in the fourth that Brown was able to empty his bench near the end.

Detroit opened the second half with a 13-5 run ending in an alley-oop reverse slam by Ben Wallace off a pass from Hamilton, a play that brought the fans out of their seats and left rapper Eminem waving a red, white and blue towel from his seat behind the Spurs' bench.

But the Spurs came right back with a 9-0 run to regain the lead 56-54 before the Pistons closed the period with a 16-9 run to take a five-point lead into the final quarter.

"There are no games to waste," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said beforehand. "We've created an opportunity for ourselves, and it would be great to take advantage of it."

They didn't, and now it's a whole different series.

Notes: Wallace's five blocks in the first quarter tied Bob Lanier's club record for blocks in a quarter. ... Doctors used CPR to revive a man who had an apparent heart attack during the first half in the seats behind the north basket. The fan received a loud ovation as he was wheeled out on a stretcher holding his thumb up. ... Keyboardist and vocalist Stevie Wonder played the national anthem on a harmonica.