Monday, August 29, 2005

Box Office News


Tarantino left speechless after first NASCAR ride

Movie director was Dallenbach's guest in 'Wally's World'

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Quentin Tarantino has produced his share of action-packed, thrilling moments. For once, he was just along for the ride.

Tarantino, a NASCAR novice, was treated to several hair-raising laps in a stock car Saturday that left the eccentric film director speechless at Bristol Motor Speedway.

"Yeah, Baby! That's what I'm talking about!'' he yelled after several seconds of silence. "That was incredible. I didn't 100 percent know what to expect when I got here. I was very open to be intoxicated, and I most definitely was.''

Tarantino was introduced to NASCAR by good friend Mauricia Grant, a Busch Series official who lives near him in Hollywood. When he asked her about attending a race, she encouraged him to choose Bristol -- a short track where the bumping, banging and post-race altercations can be as intense as an action scene from Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill.

She also arranged for him to take a ride with TNT commentator Wally Dallenbach, who drives a celebrity around the track each week as part of his "Wally's World'' segment. Recent ride-along partners have ranged from actors Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, David Spade and singer Lisa Marie Presley, who has made a point to publicly complain about how Dallenbach intentionally tried to scare her during a ride last month.

"You're not going to whine after this ride like Lisa Marie Presley, are you?'' Dallenbach asked during the warm-up laps.

There was no whining when it was over. Just a brief silence as Tarantino soaked in the adrenaline rush. After, he said he asked Dallenbach to make the ride as scary as possible with close-calls with the Bristol walls.

"Ben Affleck, he looked like a little girl!,'' Tarantino said. "When I saw Ben Affleck and Dave Spade acting like little girls, I said I got this one. I'm all good. I don't have to worry about nothing.

"That part that was in the wall, that was the bomb. I wanted a lot of wall time and Wally gave me the wall time.''

Tarantino's day didn't end with his ride. After watching Friday night's Busch race from one of the suites -- he said he rooted for Kevin Harvick and had been cheering on Harvick to "crash (Greg Biffle) into the wall'' -- he was scheduled to stick around for Saturday night's main event and watch it from the pit Grant was working in.

But it was clear that Tarantino was hooked. He was making plans to take a lesson in the Richard Petty Driving Experience next week at California Speedway, and possibly attend the race.

"I love it,'' he said. "This is, in one word -- adrenaline.''

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google joins instant message party

SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- Google Inc. is offering its own instant message and Web-based phone calling system, joining a crowded field of established rivals in a nearly decade-old computer communications craze.

The world leader in Internet search confirmed reports on Tuesday that it plans to add instant messaging from Wednesday, together with Web-based phone calling to the growing menu of technology options it offers beyond simply trawling the Web.

Google Talk is seeking to elbow its way in among four instant messaging Web communities that number more than 10 million users each, ranging from market leader AOL, with AIM and ICQ brands, to Yahoo Inc., Microsoft and two-year-old European Web chat phenomenon, Skype.

"This is a missing piece in Google's larger strategy as they emerge to become a bigger Internet media player," said Greg Sterling, an analyst with the Kelsey Group who had been briefed by the company on its Google Talk strategy.

A trial version, in English only initially, can be found at Users need to have a Google Gmail account. The computer-to-computer Web calling software requires speakers and a microphone, or a computer-ready headset.

The service fits within the Google Sidebar, another service the company introduced this week which is designed to help it branch out beyond pure search to help users manage e-mail, instant messages, news headlines and music.

The basic, uncluttered design of Google Talk conceals subtle differences with some jazzier features of rivals. "When instant messaging is like Las Vegas, with all kinds of advertising banners, it's very distracting," Sterling said.

Seeking to turn its outsider status into a strength, Google said its Talk service would allow users to communicate with other open systems such as Trillian, Apple Computer Inc.'s iChat and a system under test at EarthLink.

AIM, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype are closed networks that offer selective access only to certain other IM systems.

"Now we have another evangelist in the ranks," Tom Hsieh, EarthLink's director of voice products, said of Google joining EarthLink's campaign to open up previously closed IM networks.

Because the text and phone instant-messaging requires the user to sign up first for a Gmail account, Google is looking to significantly expand the base of the e-mail program that has only been available through referrals by friends to date.

"If it's successful it will drive Gmail adoption," Georges Harik, product management director for Google Talk said in an interview. "More than e-mail, Google Talk is a viral application. You have to be on the system," he said.

In order to verify the identity of new Gmail users, Google sends new subscribers a sign-up link in the form of a mobile phone text message to whatever telephone they provide.

Analysts and Web pundits have speculated that the instant messaging service could form the underpinning for a push by Google into both mobile phone services and video search.

Future versions are likely to allow users to call from computers to standard telephones or vice versa, paralleling services such as SkypeOut, a rival computer to phone service.

"It seems reasonable," Harik said. "I can't really comment" on future Google products, he said.

The combined computer text and voice-calling service puts Google into head-to-head competition with a service popularized by Skype, which has attracted 51 million unique users, half of them in Europe and the rest scattered around the globe.

America Online, with its AIM and ICQ brands, counts more than 40 million IM users in the United States alone. Yahoo has around 20 million and Microsoft's MSN Messenger numbers some 14 million users, according to recent comScore Media Metrix data.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mysterious Monopoly Card

I was playing Monopoly the other day and pulled this card out of the Chance pile. Never seen it before... I hope it's not an indicator of bad things to come.

Box Office News

Halo goes Hollywood in '07
Microsoft and movie magnates Fox and Universal reconfirm 2007 target date; film based on Xbox's biggest seller set for that summer.

If all goes according to plan, Master Chief may be accepting an Academy Award in January 2008. Variety (subscription required) is reporting that Fox and Universal have targeted the summer of 2007 for one of the small screen's biggest heroes to make his anticipated debut on the big screen.

The Bungie-developed Halo franchise, which has seen more than $600 million in sales since 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved, owns claim to the top two best-selling Xbox games of all time. Halo 2, released in November 2004, eclipsed $125 million in sales on its first day of release. With such impressive numbers, the property caught Hollywood's eye, leaving many to speculate that a movie deal would be imminent.

However, negotiating a movie deal proved as challenging as taking down a Covenant dropship, as several studios surprisingly passed on producing a Halo movie. The reason: Film studios may be used to kowtowing to A-list actors' demands, but they don't typically cave in to requests from non-Hollywood players. Initial reports saw the software giant asking for $10 million against 15 percent of the gross (whichever is higher), a below-the-line budget of $75 million (budget before hiring actors and crew), near-immediate production of the movie, and a large say in the creative development of the movie.

Fox and Universal eventually bent and accepted the project, paying Microsoft $5 million against 10 percent of the gross. Universal will oversee production and domestic distribution, and Fox will handle all overseas operations.

Peter Schlessel (American Gun) will produce the flick, which was scribed by author Alex Garland. Garland, whose previous credits include the novel and film adaptation of The Beach and zombie-horror film 28 Days Later, was reportedly paid $1 million for the Bungie-approved script.

The deal gives several Bungie employees "extensive consultation" on the project, but it doesn't give them final word.

"Our conversations in the last few weeks focused on the level of collaboration needed to bring this complex property to life," Peter Moore, marketing and publishing VP for Microsoft's Xbox, told Variety. "Ultimately, Universal is the expert responsible for making a powerfully commercial movie palatable to our demographic."

Oh this is just too good...

You know....I don't get these people. They sit, high and mighty on their chair or moral superiority, telling us heathen folks how we are evil and wrong. They support a culture of life. No abortion, every baby must be born, at all costs. Life starts at conception. Stem cells are babies with a soul.
Then, you are born and since you're alive, that culture of life no longer applies. You are on your own. These people are for the death penalty. These people are for wars. These people are for praying death or illness on court justices so they can appoint their own ilk. And now these people are for the assassination of the leader of a sovereign nation which democratically elected him.
I shit you not. The oh so holy  Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. You see, Pat thinks that Hugo is a "danger" bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas. Robertson even said that assassination is "a whole lot cheaper than war," because, you know, Republicans always make decisions based on the bottom line.
That's the link to the article, choose for yourselves.
Just remember, this guy is a "religious leader" here in the states in the same vein that "Islamic clerics" are in Iraq. Their opinions heavily effect the minds of their weak willed followers.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Box Office News

NEW YORK (AP) -- He wasn't grief-stricken, he was acting, Joaquin Phoenix says of tabloid reports that he had a breakdown while filming the upcoming Johnny Cash biopic.
Phoenix banged his head on a bedpost during a scene related to Cash's brother's death, prompting speculation that he was reacting to the 1993 death of his brother, River.

The 30-year-old actor tells Newsweek he was just trying to get into the emotional state of his character.

"You know, the press has kind of imposed upon me the title of Mourning Brother, and because I haven't been vocal about it, the assumption is that I'm holding onto this (expletive) that's just not there," he tells the magazine, now on newsstands.

His brother River Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside a Los Angeles nightclub when he was 23.

Suggesting that he'd use his personal life for "Walk the Line," says Phoenix, "kind of makes me sick."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Box Office News

"Supercross: The Movie," a motorcycle-racing flick so bad the studio
did not screen it in advance for critics, opened well out of the top
10 with $1.3 million.

Sucks to be them.


A new feature

I'm going to try penning a few new columns for the site now in
addition to the random news clips and funny pictures and whatnot I

The first new column is going to be called Box Office News. This is
for several reasons.

First, I've been quite bust writing a few screen plays. I'm recently
went back to the first one I wrote and am working on a third draft.
Who knows, maybe one day it will turn out to be more than just a
hobby...probably not. A boy can dream, can't he?

Second, one of my best friends in the world, Rylend Grant, actually
works in the entertainment industry, currently penning the screenplay
for a remake of the French Film L'Enfer. I don't know the name of the
production company it is for but Penelope Cruz is involved, mainly
from the ground up, and she is either the head or the co-head of the
production company. I think she will be playing the lead role as well.
At any rate, this is his first big I'm really excited for
him because he is amazingly talented and has busted his ass for the
last several years trying to make it in the dog eat dog worls that is

Third, I actually went to school to study film. The whole idea was
that I got my degree from my school, Ryley from his (which was
University of Michigan), and we'd meet up out in L.A. Well, Ryley did
his part as you can see. Me? I transfered, got a B.A. in English, and
now work as a Business Consultant at a software company. Yay me, huh?

At any rate...there are a few other columns I'd like to start penning
as well and over the course of the next few weeks I might add them in.

Until then, stay black America!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Former aide: Powell WMD speech 'lowest point in my life'

A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former
secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life.

"I wish I had not been involved in it," says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson,
a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002
through 2005. "I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest
point in my life."

Wilkerson is one of several insiders interviewed for the CNN Presents
documentary "Dead Wrong -- Inside an Intelligence Meltdown." The
program, which airs Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, pieces together
the events leading up to the mistaken WMD intelligence that was
presented to the public. A presidential commission that investigated
the pre-war WMD intelligence found much of it to be "dead wrong."

Powell's speech, delivered on February 5, 2003, made the case for the
war by presenting U.S. intelligence that purported to prove that
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Wilkerson says the
information in Powell's presentation initially came from a document he
described as "sort of a Chinese menu" that was provided by the White

"(Powell) came through the door ... and he had in his hands a sheaf of
papers, and he said, 'This is what I've got to present at the United
Nations according to the White House, and you need to look at it,'"
Wilkerson says in the program. "It was anything but an intelligence
document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a
Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."

Wilkerson and Powell spent four days and nights in a CIA conference
room with then-Director George Tenet and other top officials trying to
ensure the accuracy of the presentation, Wilkerson says.

"There was no way the Secretary of State was going to read off a
script about serious matters of intelligence that could lead to war
when the script was basically un-sourced," Wilkerson says.

In one dramatic accusation in his speech, Powell showed slides
alleging that Saddam had bioweapons labs mounted on trucks that would
be almost impossible to find.

"In fact, Secretary Powell was not told that one of the sources he was
given as a source of this information had indeed been flagged by the
Defense Intelligence Agency as a liar, a fabricator," says David Kay,
who served as the CIA's chief weapons inspector in Iraq after the fall
of Saddam. That source, an Iraqi defector who had never been debriefed
by the CIA, was known within the intelligence community as

After searching Iraq for several months across the summer of 2003, Kay
began e-mailing Tenet to tell him the WMD evidence was falling apart.
At one point, Wilkerson says, Tenet called Powell to tell him the
claims about mobile bioweapons labs were apparently not true.

"George actually did call the Secretary, and said, 'I'm really sorry
to have to tell you. We don't believe there were any mobile labs for
making biological weapons,'" Wilkerson says in the documentary. "This
was the third or fourth telephone call. And I think it's fair to say
the Secretary and Mr. Tenet, at that point, ceased being close. I
mean, you can be sincere and you can be honest and you can believe
what you're telling the Secretary. But three or four times on
substantive issues like that? It's difficult to maintain any warm

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Prosecutor: Ohio governor to be charged with 4 misdemeanors (One Guess Which Party He Belongs To)

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft speaks at the state fair on August 14.

Taft, a second-term Republican and member of a distinguished U.S. political family, would be the first Ohio governor to be charged with a crime. If convicted of the four misdemeanors, he could be fined $1,000 and sentenced to six months in jail on each count, though time behind bars was considered unlikely.

Taft will be charged later Wednesday, said City Prosecutor Stephen McIntosh, who declined to comment further pending an afternoon news conference.

The governor will respond publicly on Thursday and is not planning to resign, spokesman Mark Rickel said.

Investigators have looked for weeks at Taft's alleged violation of a law requiring officeholders to report gifts worth more than $75 unless the donor is reimbursed. He had announced the problems involving reporting of golf outings in June but said any errors were inadvertent.

The allegations about Taft, 63, grew out of a scandal that began with revelations of problems with an unusual state investment in rare coins.

The investment was handled by coin dealer Tom Noe, a top GOP donor. Noe has acknowledged that up to $13 million is missing from the fund, and Attorney General Jim Petro has accused him of stealing as much as $4 million.

Taft released records August 5 that showed he accepted invitations to 21 golf outings since 1999. They included a 2001 outing with Noe.

The records released earlier this month did not indicate who paid for the outings. Taft's golf partners included John Snow, then the head of transportation company CSX Corp. and now the U.S. Treasury secretary; and Tony Alexander, president and chief executive of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.

Some partners have said Taft paid for the golf; others have said they picked up the tab.

In a speech given in May, the governor had stressed the importance of ethical behavior for public employees.

"Public employees can enjoy entertainment, such as golf or dining out, with persons working for a regulated company, or one doing business with the state, only if they fully pay their own way," he said in the speech at Xavier University.

Taft's former chief of staff Brian Hicks pleaded no contest last month to failing to report stays at Noe's million-dollar Florida home. He was found guilty and fined $1,000 after entering the plea.

Taft's great-grandfather was President William Howard Taft -- who later was chief justice -- and both his father and grandfather were U.S. senators from Ohio.

Other Ohio governors have come under investigation, including Republican George Voinovich, investigated for unproven allegations he laundered campaign money, and Democrat Richard Celeste, whose connections to a contributor who owned the failed Home State Savings Bank were examined.

Pointers for the single fells and single laides out there



Adventurous.................Slept with everyone

Athletic....................No breasts

Average looking.............Moooo

Beautiful...................Pathological liar

Emotionally Secure..........On medication


Free spirit.................Junkie

Friendship first............Former slut
New-Age.....................Body hair in the wrong places

Old-fashioned...............No BJs

Outgoing....................Loud and Embarrassing


Voluptuous..................Very Fat

Large frame.................Hugely Fat

Wants Soulmate..............Stalker 



   1. Yes = No

   2. No = Yes

   3. Maybe = No

   4. We need = I want

   5. I am sorry = you'll be sorry

   6. We need to talk = You're in trouble

   7. Sure, go ahead = You better not

   8. Do what you want = You will pay for this later

   9. I am not upset = Of course I am upset, you moron!

   10. You're certainly attentive tonight = Is sex all you ever think



   1. I am hungry = I am hungry

   2. I am sleepy = I am sleepy

   3. I am tired = I am tired

   4. Nice dress = Nice cleavage!

   5. I love you = Let's have sex now

   6. I am bored = Do you want to have sex?

   7. May I have this dance? = I'd like to have sex with you

   8. Can I call you sometime? = I'd like to have sex with you

   9. Do you want to go to a movie? = I'd like to have sex with you

   10. Can I take you out to dinner? = I'd like to have sex with you

   11. I don't think those shoes go with that outfit = I'm gay

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory

KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public
schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose
Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the
Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that
the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded
to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational
force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is
pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in
education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts

Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is
founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual
force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force.
Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend
upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in
vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."

Founded in 1987, the ECFR is the world's leading institution of
evangelical physics, a branch of physics based on literal
interpretation of the Bible.

According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the
International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's
Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by
secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how
Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of

The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other
Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school
curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They
insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from
schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so
they can make an informed decision."

"We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.

Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories
used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally
consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's
ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum
mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that
gravity is a theory in crisis.

"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory
Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the
blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some
gravity making them fall—just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7,
we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly
upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly
upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious
intelligence governs all falling."

Critics of Intelligent Falling point out that gravity is a provable
law based on empirical observations of natural phenomena. Evangelical
physicists, however, insist that there is no conflict between Newton's
mathematics and Holy Scripture.

"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general
relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen
Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with
the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the
better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical
observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."

"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation
is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists
need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just
secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"

Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides
an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.

"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the
'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear
force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they
tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But
readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one,
unified force is: His name is Jesus."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings dead at 67

I wanted to share a few words on Peter Jennings.
Growing up in Michigan, there was always the same thing heard from my television at 6:30 each evening. It was the familiar song from ABC World News Tonight. Our house, for the most part, was a Peter Jennings house. Maybe it was because he was Canadian and we were so close to Canada. Maybe it was because we liked his voice. But, for whatever reason, Peter was the person who told us what was going on.
There was a certain comfort hearing his voice growing up. Sure, perhaps it was that "Voice of God" thing that everyone talks about with this last great group of anchors, but for me as a child I think it was something else. For me, it was security. I was always deeply disturbed by the 80's Cold War. Sure, it's hard to accept that a eight year old could comprehend the possibilities and scenarios that surrounded the total destruction of the world had we and the U.S.S.R. went at it. However, if you knew me as a kid, you'd understand that it was perfectly normal for me. At any rate, I was scared, I was scared a lot, but every night I heard Peter explain what was going on, and that made me feel good. I watched as the wall came down and communism ended, and Peter was there.
I remember before that, listening to him explain to me what happened when the Challenger blew up. I was in kindergarten, and I was very upset. Every kid wants to be an astronaut, and they were heroes to me and my class. We were watching on TV, it was brilliant, and then, it was over. My teacher didn't know what to do. Peter was there, and he guided us back down until the principle let school out so everyone could go home and be with their families.
Then the War in the Gulf happened, the first one, good 'ole Desert Storm, Peter was there for me. I knew my uncle was out there in the most technologically advance tank of it's time, the M1-A1 Abrams, but I was still scared. I knew it was going down and for a thirteen year old, I was overly sensitive to the consequences of what was happening. I was in my basement working on some homework when the bombs started to fall, I cried, but Peter was there. He explained that this was an aerial assault, this was to weaken up the ground forces so that when our boys went in, there was a little resistance as possible for them. That made me feel good.
Most recently, there was 9/11. I, as most other people at the time, had no idea what was going on. I had heard rumors in class that morning that a plane had hit the WTC. I figured it was a prop plane, that was blown off course, and lost control. It wasn't until I walked into the Student Union that I saw the second tower fall and understood the gravity of just what had happened. I stood in awe, realizing this was now a key moment that I will remember the rest of my life, and there was one voice I heard in the background, the same voice that had been there before, it was Peter. For one reason or another, that made me feel good, it made me feel safe. I needed that.
Through the years as I grew up, and even before 9/11, my interests moved more towards NBC and Tom Brokaw. I liked Tom, and I liked NBC's coverage better than ABC. Peter was still a close second, and I still flipped between them, much to the angst of my girlfriend, who was a firm Tom fan. I remember hearing Peter on April 5th sign off for the last time. There was hope in his voice, he didn't think this was the end, as a matter of fact he said he'd be back, when he felt better.
Peter is gone now, and to me it seems like I've lost a good friend. He was there for some of the defining moments of my generation, speaking as if only to me. Walking me through what was happening. Keeping my feet on the ground. I was always fascinated by listening to him in interviews, especially when he would appear on Conan O'Brian. There was a unique feeling listening to a "voice of God" talking about his kids, going to the store, mowing the lawn, and other normal thing. I'll miss Peter.
Peter Jennings died today, he was 67.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Poll: Bush's Iraq rating at low point

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also suggests fewer than half now think he is honest.
The President, obviously thinking very hard.

A solid majority still see Bush as a strong and likable leader, though the poll indicates the president's confidence is seen as arrogance by a growing number.

Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to disapprove of Bush on his handling of Iraq in the past six months.

American troops have suffered heavy casualties in Iraq this month. On Wednesday, 14 Marines were killed in the Euphrates River valley in the worst roadside bombing targeting Americans since the war began in March 2003.

On Monday, seven Marines were killed, six of whom died in a gun battle near Haditha in western Iraq.

William Anderson, a retired Republican from Fort Worth, Texas, said Bush "has the right intentions, but he's going about them the wrong way."

"Iraq is one of the issues that everybody has a problem with," Anderson said. "There are some big discussions about it around town. Everybody's got their agreements and disagreements. It seems like there's no end. Is it going to end up another Vietnam?"

If worries about Iraq continue, they could become a major issue in the 2006 midterm congressional races, and if the war is still going in 2008, they could be a factor in the presidential race.

Bush's overall job approval was at 42 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. That is about where Bush's approval has been all summer but slightly lower than at the beginning of the year.

The portion of respondents who consider Bush honest has dropped slightly from January, when 53 percent described him that way while 45 percent did not. Now, people are just about evenly split on that issue -- with 48 percent saying he is honest and 50 percent saying he is not.

The drop in the number of people who see Bush as honest was largest among middle-aged Americans as well as suburban women, a key voting group in the 2004 election. A further erosion of trust could make it tougher for Bush to win support for his policies in Congress and internationally.

"The reason that trust is so important has to do with the long-standing belief that you could trust him, even if you don't always agree with him and don't understand what he's doing," said Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas. "The honesty dip is partly caused by a loss of faith in his credibility on Iraq."

The president said Thursday from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, that threats from al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, "make it clear that Iraq is a part of this war on terror, and we're at war."

Bush pledged to "complete this job in Iraq."

Almost two-thirds in the poll described Bush as strong and likable.

"He's a man of character," said Cheryl Cheyney, a school bus driver from Cumming, Georgia, and a Republican. "He's very honest in the things he says. I agree with his belief system, the way he believes in God and is not afraid to show it. That's very important to me."

But the portion of respondents who view his confidence as arrogance has increased from 49 percent in January to 56 percent now.

"This country is a monarchy," said Charles Nuutinen, a 62-year-old independent from Greenville, Wisconsin. "He's turning this country into Saudi Arabia. He does what he wants. He doesn't care what the people want."

Six in 10 surveyed said they think the country is headed down the wrong track, despite some encouraging economic news in recent weeks.

"Iraq is just a great weight holding down perceptions of an economy that is quite robust," said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. "Whenever you have troops in harm's way, people are anxious about things in general."

Ipsos, an international polling firm, conducted the poll of 1,000 adults between August 1-3. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Where have I been

There haven't been too many posts this week. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I've posted anything at all. Basically, I do most of my posting during the day and I've been extremely busy at work and haven't had a block of 5 minutes to goof off in to toss up a post. This will happen from time to time.
However, as you may have noticed, Bebe has been added as a new contributor. She should be able to provide some more fodder for your eyes in the times I'm too busy to post myself.
That's it for now.
As always, stay black America.