Saturday, January 31, 2004

Is the rebound fading?
The BBC says so:

The once-sizzling pace of US economic growth has eased sharply, according to the latest set of official figures. Output grew at an annual rate of 4% during the last three months of 2003, less than half the 8.2% achieved in the previous quarter.

Analysts, who were taken aback by the scale of the deceleration, pinned the blame on slowing consumer spending - the US's main economic driver. The slowdown could make an early rise in interest rates less likely.

The 4% figure was lower than analysts' growth forecasts of about 4.8%. Lara Rhame, senior economist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co, said: "Four percent is going to feel like a disappointment compared to the consensus and compared to Q3 but it is still a very respectful rate of growth and details show that the recovery is well on track."

Consumers, whose spending accounts for two-thirds of US economic activity, were blamed for the end-of-year slowdown. Spending growth slipping to 2.6% in the final three months of the year from 6.9% in the July to September period.

Bush pins deficit on lawmakers
Bush took some time to remind us of his plan to halve the deficit in 5 years. This right after the undershooting CBO predicted a $535 billion deficit:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Friday the news that his Medicare overhaul would cost significantly more than expected would require lawmakers to be careful with spending.

So wait....Bush's plan for cutting the deficit is telling Congress to be careful? Hmmm...

So how are things with the war on terror?
Glad you asked! Well, the Afghan president says a U.S. strike killed 10 civilians, 3 more Americans are dead in Iraq, and more flights to America are being grounded.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Kansas courts getting dumber
The homophobic right strikes again:

Judge Henry W. Green Jr. wrote in the 2-1 decision that legislators could justify differing penalties for heterosexual versus homosexual sodomy in plenty of ways, including higher health risks or an attempt to "encourage and preserve the traditional sexual mores of society."

The ruling rejected an appeal by Matthew R. Limon, who was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for having sex when he was 18 with a 14-year-old boy in 2000.

Had Limon's partner been an underage girl, he could have been sentenced at most to one year and three months in prison under the state's "Romeo and Juliet" law.

Calling all internet junkies
If someone could get the Google cache on this I'd be quite interested:

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon accidentally posted hundreds of pages worth of details from its forthcoming 2005 budget on its web site. The Defense Department had previously said that Bush would request $401.7 billion, 7 percent over this year.

Among the proposals it revealed -- and quickly removed from its site -- was data on weapons procurement, research and development, military construction, and operations and maintenance.

The figures showed that the request for procurement will be $74.9 billion, $6.2 billion less than this year. Research and development would grow to $68.9 billion from $64.7 billion, including $2.7 billion -- a near doubling -- to modernize the Army's armored weapons.

No comment
Here's quite the story:

AHMADABAD, India -- A 43-year-old woman in western India gave birth to her own grandchildren after she acted as the surrogate mother for her daughter's twin children, doctors said Friday.

The names of the woman and her daughter were being withheld at the family's request, said Dr. Nayana Patel, the fertility expert who treated the women.

The births happened nearly two weeks ago in Anand, a town 60 miles south of Ahmadabad, the commercial capital of western Gujarat state, she said.

The daughter suffers from a rare medical condition that left her unable to bear a child.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

U.S. "sure" about catching bin Laden
This is an odd thing to say:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The U.S. military is ``sure'' it will catch Osama bin Laden this year, a spokesman said Thursday, but he declined to comment on where the al-Qaida leader may be hiding.

Bin Laden, chief suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that sparked the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, is widely believed to be holed up somewhere along the mountainous Pakistani-Afghan border with former Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Following last month's capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, American commanders in Afghanistan have expressed new optimism they will eventually find bin Laden. Spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said the military now believed it could seize him within months.

``We have a variety of intelligence and we're sure we're going to catch Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar this year,'' Hilferty said. ``We've learned lessons from Iraq and we're getting improved intelligence from the Afghan people.'' ...

What kind of intelligence tells you that you'll catch someone within the year? When Saddam was about to be caught, there were hints that we knew about two weeks in advance. But "within the year"? Very, very strange.

Teens let out of Gitmo
In a bold move, the U.S. has decided to let three boys (about 13-15 years old) leave Gitmo, where they were being held for supporting the Taliban. The Pentagon declared that they were no longer a threat to the U.S. Phew.

Trouble out east
With an attack in Israel, 7 Americans dead in Afghanistan, and some WMD admissions by the government, I'd say it was a pretty symbolic day of why there will never be peace in the Middle East.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I wonder what James Brown is looking like these days? Oh.

Girl "sees" injuries
Is this crazy psychic girl who can see people's injuries a fantastic hoax? If not, she should probably be destroyed before she takes over the world.

Trippi off the ship
MSNBC says Joe Trippi will no longer manage Howard Dean's campaign, but will stay involved.

Second rover in trouble
I think we need to face it. NASA can't land a couple of RC cars on Mars without them malfunctioning. They can't send a few shuttles into space without one somehow blowing up. And they certainly can't send men to Mars - or build some kind of base on the moon.

Oh baby
They've been eating their own all week.

Kerry's Botox?
From Drudge:

Kerry denies it here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

KtL says Dean can't win
My call is that with Kerry taking NH, Dean is out. The more centrist Feb. 3 primaries are more likely to swing to other candidates - by that time Dean will be left behind.

Primary updates
With 25% reporting, Kerry has 39%, Dean 24%, Clark 12% and Edwards 13%.

CNN has declared Kerry the winner.

A step forward
Indiana Dems have effectively blocked the passage of an amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.

3 Americans dead.

I'm baffled
It appears that some people in the media have actually apologized to Howard Dean for the coverage of "the scream." Wow...

Franken hands LaRouche supporter his ass
According to Drudge and the NY Post, Al Franken knocked down a LaRouche supporter the other day who were shouting down Dean. I don't condone violence...unless it's against LaRouche supporters.

The Super Bowl of primaries
Are you ready for some sweet, sweet primary action? I know I am, and I'll be posting early results as soon as they come in this evening.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Part of PATRIOT Act declared unconstitutional
The biggest step forward in civil liberties since 9/11:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A federal judge has declared unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated international terrorist organizations.

The ruling marks the first court decision to declare a part of the post-September 11, 2001 anti-terrorism statute unconstitutional, said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project.

In a ruling handed down late Friday and made available Monday, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said the ban on providing "expert advice or assistance" is impermissibly vague, in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments.

Anti-US music in Iraq
While we're being told that only a small handful of Iraqis are launching the attacks, anti-American music is very popular in the region.

SCOTUS to hear 17 y/o death penalty case
The Supreme Court is going to consider abolishing the execution of minors:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court, which two years ago abolished
executions for the mentally retarded, said Monday it will now consider ending
the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes.

The court said it will reopen the question of whether executing very young
killers violates the Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment."
Currently, states that allow the death penalty may impose it on killers who
were 16 or 17 at the time of their crimes.

The court's decision, expected by June, continues the high court's
reexamination of who belongs on death row and how the death penalty is carried

The court agreed to hear the case of a Missouri man who was 17 when he
robbed a woman, wrapped her head in duct tape and threw her off a railroad
bridge in 1993. The state Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to send
people to their deaths for killings committed when they were younger than 18.

If they do it, amen I say! My thoughts on underage executions are here.

Newsmax for Lieberman, the online right-wing shill (they never even claim to be impartial) is endorsing Joe Lieberman. Now, I'm going to read you the ad banners on the side of the Newsmax page I'm reading currently:

Ann Coulter doll. Click here now!

Christian Debt Management: Debt Consolidation with a Christian Perspective

Best Stocks for 2004

Christian Persecution: learn the truth

3 conservative books for $1 each

OK, there are others, but you get the point. Now what do I find most amusing about this? The fact that The New Republic also endorsed Lieberman, which I feel says a lot about their judgment. Do them a favor: e-mail TNR and tell them about the Newsmax endorsement.

Ashcroft drops us a line
Here comes the spin, baby:

VIENNA, Austria Jan. 26 — Saddam Hussein's past use of "evil chemistry" and "evil biology" and the threats they posed justified the war in Iraq even if no weapons of mass destruction are ever found, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday.
Ashcroft, in Vienna for talks with top Austrian officials on measures to fight terrorism and drug trafficking and improve air travel security, told reporters that Saddam's arsenal remained a menace and was sufficient cause to overthrow his regime.

"I believe there is a very clear understanding that Saddam Hussein continued to pose a threat," Ashcroft said.

"Weapons of mass destruction including evil chemistry and evil biology are all matters of great concern, not only to the United States but also to the world community. They were the subject of U.N. resolutions," he said.

Evil chemistry? Yeah, that's what I called it back in 10th grade, too.

Joey's mom wonders why he didn't 'catch on'
When your mother is disappointed, maybe its time to drop out:

NASHUA, N.H. — Resting in a wheelchair as her son finished a speech at City Hall here Saturday night, 89-year-old Marcia Lieberman shook her head and gave that worried look that only a mother can give.

The U.S. senator from Connecticut vying for the Democratic presidential nomination was the kind of boy who brought struggling students home from school for tutoring. At 61, he still calls his mother every night from the campaign trail, no matter where it takes him.

So why, she wonders, isn't her Joseph faring any better in his presidential quest?

"He's such a good man," she said softly. "I don't know why he didn't catch on."

We're (I'm) back
After a blogging-less day (my first ever), I'm gonna get off to an early start today.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

KtL AWOL? Never!
I apologize for the lack of postig today - I'm extremely busy. However, I can't go a day without some posting, so I'll do a little blogging tonight. Monday and Tuesday will, of course, be big days for me.