Thursday, December 30, 2004

A Message From Bill

Hi Everyone!,

In the event I do not make another posting before the end of 2004, I just want to wish all a Happy New Year.


Scientists: Tsunami Could Hit West Coast

Bill's Comment: Take that, Left Coast! You want global warming, you got it!
-What Mother Nature might say.

Scientists: Tsunami Could Hit West Coast

By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA, Associated Press Writer

Tsunami scientists and public safety officials are closely watching an earthquake-prone nation with thousands of miles of crowded coastlines for signs of an imminent disaster. Indonesia? Japan? Try the United States.

Experts say the West Coast could experience a calamity similar to the one they have been watching unfold half a world away.

"People need to know it could happen," said geologist Brian Atwater of the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites).

Scientists say grinding geologic circumstances similar to those in Sumatra also exist just off the Pacific Northwest coast. They are a loaded gun that could trigger a tsunami that could hit Northern California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia in minutes — too fast for the nation's deep-sea tsunami warning system to help.

In fact, Atwater said there was a 9.0 earthquake under the Pacific more than 300 years ago that had devastating consequences. He and other scientists last year reported finding evidence of severe flooding in the Puget Sound area in 1700, including trees that stopped growing after "taking a bath in rising tide waters."

The danger rests just 50 miles off the West Coast in a 680-mile undersea fault known as the Cascadia subduction zone that behaves much like one that ruptured off Sumatra. The 1700 quake occurred along the Cascadia fault.

Scientists say a giant rupture along the fault would cause the sea floor to bounce 20 feet or more, setting off powerful ocean waves relatively close to shore. The first waves could hit coastal communities in 30 minutes or less, according to computer models.

Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; and other big cities in the region probably would be relatively protected from deadly flooding because of their inland locations. But other, smaller communities could be devastated.

And while buildings in the United States are far more solid than the shacks and huts that were obliterated in some of Asia's poor villages, few structures could withstand nearby tremors as powerful as those that occurred Sunday in Sumatra.

Moreover, such a quake would be way too close to shore for the nation's network of deep-sea wave gauges to be of any help.

Even in the case of quakes happening farther out in the Pacific or in Alaska, the U.S. warning system might not be adequate.

The network — which consists of six deep-sea instruments in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii and near the equator off the coast of Peru — is thin and scattered, and at least two of the gauges in Alaska are not even reporting daily wave readings. Also, predicting where a tsunami is likely to come ashore cannot be done with the kind of precision seen in hurricane forecasts.

Eddie N. Bernard, who directs the network for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the six sensors are the "bare minimum" for adequate warning. He said there are plans to expand the system to 20 sensors in the next five years, including 10 gauges for the seismically active Aleutian Islands.

Whether the continental United States is vulnerable to tsunamis from Asian earthquakes is another question. Hawaii and parts of Alaska certainly are exposed, but whether earthquake fault lines in Japan and Southeast Asia are oriented in the right directions to send tsunamis all they way to the Lower 48 states is debatable.

As for the Atlantic Coast, a tsunami is considered extremely unlikely.

Some computer models suggest East Coast cities are vulnerable to a large tsunami if there were a huge volcanic eruption and landslide in the Canary Islands, off northwest Africa. But other researchers say such an event would happen only once in 10,000 years, and such a disruption is unlikely to occur all at once.

Make this new year your year for love

Make this new year your year for love
Brought to you by!

With the approaching new year, many people are preparing long–winded resolutions they have no intention of keeping. Most do so with good intentions and don't lose much sleep over it when they fail. Others beat themselves up for 11 months and start the cycle over the following January.

There's just something about a new year that represents more than simply a turnover in tax seasons; it's an opportunity to start at the beginning, to make changes you've been waiting for some milestone to implement.

Whether or not you have been wildly successful in love, you can make next year your breakout time. It doesn't matter if you plan to find the love of your life and settle down or just meet someone you can have a good time with, so long as you commit yourself to being a mover and shaker of the romantic world, you're likely to have some success.

When people don't do well in dating or love, it's usually because they try for a while and then become discouraged for some reason. They got dumped, dated a psycho, went to jail, whatever. The point is, they never lost the desire — they just stopped trying.

If you allow setbacks to dishearten you on your quest, you might as well not start in the first place. Yes, it can be painful or humiliating to brush yourself off and go meet someone else, but you're going to have to keep doing it until you meet the right one.

That's not the same as keeping at it until you "do it right." There is no right or wrong way; in fact, the worst mistake you could make is to try and become something you're not in the vague hope that it will make you more attractive. Be yourself because whatever that may be, it's going to be an asset when you meet the person who's truly right for you.

Admittedly that person may be harder to find if you're a social troglodyte, own entire seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD or walk the streets doing your best impersonation of the elephant man. But the fact is, if you hide those truths, you'll only involve yourself with people who aren't right for you.

If you choose this coming year to be "The Year of You" then it will happen. Like most New Year's resolutions, the only thing that can defeat you is yourself. When you go out on the town to meet with someone special, you may find the perfect relationship on your first try — or you may need to demonstrate some resiliency, and keep trying if things don't work out the first dozen times.

Finding people who are right for each other is no easy task. Luckily services like have made it easier to compare interests, lifestyles and desires by quick search technology. Remember, though, that the your romantic success is your responsibility. Keep at it and you won't be disappointed.

10 Dating Resolutions for the New Year

10 Dating Resolutions for the New Year
Brought to you by!

I like making lots of New Year's resolutions. This year I'm going to get more exercise and stop ordering miracle products from late–night TV. I also realized that my social life could use some resolutions. Here's my list; maybe a few of them could work for you, too!

10. I will explore new hobbies and interests. What does this have to do with dating? I need something to talk about. There's nothing worse than spending a whole dinner just talking about how much I'd like to be in a relationship. This year, I'll become a more interesting person (and have a great time) by pursuing things I've always wanted to do.

9. I will give someone a chance. Sooner or later, whether it's at the coffee shop or browsing, I'll meet someone who falls outside my description of the person I think I'm looking for. Maybe he has a different religion, job or educational background, but he'll interest me anyway and I'll see what happens. What do I have to lose?

8. I will stop falling for the idea of a person. As soon as I hear that someone has a fascinating occupation or background, I create this story in my head: "If he's an architect, we could have such profound conversations about composition." I will knock if off and wait to learn who people really are.

7. I will stop bringing my lucky rock to social engagements. It was nearly discovered recently, and I have this great dress that doesn't have any pockets.

6. I will not make too much eye contact. While it's sensible and good dating etiquette to look your date in the eye during conversation, gazing too deeply tends to mesmerize the weaker minded boys or scare off potential winners.

5. I will not tell my life story on a first date. Nor will I show off my tattoo or share multiple college party stories. I'm all for honesty, but a little privacy is good at first. Besides, the present and the future make great conversation, too.

4. I will avoid last–minute hysteria before a date by combing my hair in a way that experience has proven to be technically feasible and aesthetically pleasing. I'll save the bold experiments for another night.

3. I will be straightforward with decent people who I am not interested in pursuing a relationship with. I will practice these lines for use in emails and phone messages: "Thanks for your reply, but I don't think we're a match. Good luck." and "I had a nice time Friday, but I don't see this working out. Thanks for the evening, and good luck. "

2. I will make a psych–up tape of my favorite songs to play before I go out and leave the house feeling energized and confident.

1. I will bounce better. If I learned anything from last year, it's that a bit of disappointment is part of the dating game and you've got to move on. I had a seventh grade softball coach, Coach Terry, who would shout "Way to go, tiger!" when I got up after being hit with a bat or losing some skin in an unsuccessful slide for second base. This year, I'll work on my sense of humor and remember Coach Terry.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Facts about New Jersey

If you've ever lived in'll appreciate this!!!

New Jersey is a peninsula

Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida.

New Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.

New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky.

New Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq mi.) than Havana, Cuba.

New Jersey has the densest system of highways and railroads in the

New Jersey has the highest cost of living.

New Jersey has the highest cost of auto insurance.

New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation.

New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the "Diner Capital of the World."

New Jersey is home to the original Mystery Pork Parts Club (no, not Spam): Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.

Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions.

North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.

New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.

New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns; some of the nation's most famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch, Cape May.

New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.

New Jersey is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.

Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy.

New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production (and here you thought Massachusetts?)

Here's to New Jersey - the toast of the country! In 1642, the first
brewery in America, opened in Hoboken.

New Jersey rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.

New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first.

New Jersey is home to one of the nation's busiest airports (in Newark), Liberty International.

George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by General George Washington.

The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory

We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs.

The first seaplane was built in Keyport, NJ.

The first airmail (to Chicago) was started from Keyport, NJ.

The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ.

New Jersey is home to the Miss America Pageant held in Atlantic City.

The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City.

And, Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world,

Not to mention salt water taffy,

New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries.

The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey, in the Watchung Mountains.

New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world. (Union, NJ!!!)

New Jersey had the first medical center, in Jersey City.

The Pulaski SkyWay, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.

NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson (Holland Tunnel).

The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.

The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick in 1889 (Rutgers College played Princeton).

The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ, (but they're all gone now!).

New Jersey is home to both of "NEW YORK'S" pro football teams!

The first radio station and broadcast was in Paterson, NJ.

The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong.

All New Jersey natives: Sal Martorano, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifah, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Joan Robertson, Ken Kross, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, Budd Abbott, Lou Costello, Alan Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Marilynn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Linda McElroy, Eileen Donnelly, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Lauryn Hill, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gorden McCrae, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Zebulon Pike, James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm.Halsey,Jr., Dave Thomas (Wendy's), William Carlos Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Bob Reyers, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia and, of course, Francis Albert Sinatra and "Uncle Floyd" Vivino, Kelly Ripa.

Bob Meade adds: The Great Falls in Paterson, on the Passaic River, is the second highest waterfall on the East Coast of the US.

You know you're from Jersey when . . .

You don't think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges."

You know that it's called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.

A good, quick breakfast is a hard roll with butter.

You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.

You've eaten at a diner, when you were stoned or drunk, at 3 A.M.

You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery.

At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen, and you know the town Jon Bon Jovi is from.

You know what a "jug handle" is.

You know that WaWa is a convenience store.

You know that the state isn't all farmland.

You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey--there's the shore--and you don't go "to the shore," you go "down the shore" And when you are there, you're not "at the shore"; you are "down the shore."

You know how to properly negotiate a circle.

You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving.

You know that this is the only "New" state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (try . . . Mexico . . . York . . . Hampshire-- doesn't work, does it?).

You know that a "White Castle" is the name of BOTH a fast food chain AND a fast food sandwich.

You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege

You don't think "What exit?" is very funny.

You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different."

Yes they are!

You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to Princeton--that's for out-of-staters.

The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or localbar.

You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.

You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers.

Every year you have at least one kid in your class named Tony.

You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits.

You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall

You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar, and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood. It can be no other way.

You weren't raised in New Jersey--you were raised in either North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey.

You don't consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state.

You remember the stores Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and Orbach's.

You also remember Palisades Amusement Park.

You've had a boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries.

You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.

And finally . . .

You've NEVER, NEVER pumped your own gas.


Preliminary report says Reggie White died from lung ailment

Preliminary report says Reggie White died from lung ailment

December 27, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NFL great Reggie White may have died because of a respiratory disease combined with other health problems, a preliminary autopsy report said Monday.

White most likely had a condition that affected the amount of air his lungs could hold, resulting in ``fatal cardiac arrhythmia,'' said Dr. Mike Sullivan, the medical examiner for Mecklenburg County and a forensic pathologist.

The report issued by Sullivan's office also said sleep apnea may have been a factor.

The report is a preliminary one; determining a final cause of death could take up to three months, Sullivan's office said.

White died Sunday at Presbyterian Hospital in Huntersville after being taken there from his home in nearby Cornelius. His wife, Sara, called 911.

White had the disease, known as sarcoidosis, for several years, family spokesman Keith Johnson said Sunday. He described it as a respiratory ailment that affected his sleep.

On its Web site, the American Lung Association describes sarcoidosis as a disease characterized by the presence of small areas of inflamed cells that can attack any organ of the body but is most frequently found in the lungs.

The cause of the disease, which is most common among blacks and white northern Europeans, is not known.

Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing repeatedly -- in some cases, hundreds of times -- during their sleep.

White and his wife lived in a gated community on Lake Norman. They had two children, Jeremy, a freshman at Elon College in Elon, and a daughter, Jecolia, a junior high school.

A public viewing will be held 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at A.L. Jinwright Funeral Service in Charlotte. A private service also will be held, although the details won't be made public, the funeral home said Monday.

A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and ordained minister who was known as the ``Minister of Defense,'' White played 15 seasons with Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina. He retired after the 2000 season as the NFL's career sacks leader with 198. The mark has since been passed by Bruce Smith.

A member of the NFL's 75th anniversary team, White was elected to the Pro Bowl a record 13 straight times from 1986-98. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1998.

He retired -- for the third time -- from the Panthers at the age of 39.

White worked tirelessly in the offseason with inner-city youths. But his image was tarnished when he gave a speech in which he denounced homosexuality and used ethnic stereotypes. White later apologized.

Updated on Monday, Dec 27, 2004 4:59 pm EST - Gibbs Racing mourning the death of NFL's White - Dec 27, 2004 - Gibbs Racing mourning the death of NFL's White - Dec 27, 2004

From Official Release
December 27, 2004
12:12 PM EST (17:12 GMT)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Reggie White, a former defensive star in the NFL and a partner in the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program, passed away Sunday. He was 43.

The cause of death was not immediately known, however White had a respiratory ailment for several years that affected his sleep, according to Keith Johnson, a pastor serving as family spokesman. An autopsy was scheduled.

White, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers in his 15-year NFL career, partnered with JGR to form a diversity program in 2003. White was instrumental in the successful beginning of the program.

In 2004, under the leadership of White and Gibbs, Chris Bristol, an African-American competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, N.C., while Aric Almirola, a Hispanic, competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C.

Bristol scored one victory and finished fourth in the Caraway Speedway point standings, while Almirola won three races and finished 11th in points at Ace Speedway.

"On behalf my dad and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing family, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Sara and the White family for their loss," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "He was much more than a great football player. He excelled as a husband and father and he honored the Lord with his life.

"It was a true pleasure to collaborate with him on the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program. I know that my father and I, as well as all the employees of JGR, were looking forward to a long relationship with Reggie through this program. All of us at Joe Gibbs Racing will ensure that his vision to cultivate a diversity program within NASCAR will continue. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

NASCAR released the following statement:

"The passing of Reggie White is a loss for the NASCAR community.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the White family, Joe Gibbs Racing, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with Reggie.

"The Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing team helped to further diversify NASCAR by providing opportunities to drivers such as Chris Bristol and Aric Almirola."

Comedian George Carlin Enters Rehab Program

Comedian George Carlin Enters Rehab Program

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian George Carlin, who became a counter-culture hero in the 1970s with routines about drugs and dirty words, said on Monday he was voluntarily entering a drug and alcohol treatment program.

"I'm going into rehab because I use too much wine and Vicodin," Carlin, 67, whose latest book "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" is a current national bestseller, said in a statement. "No one told me I needed this; I recognized the problem and took the step myself."

The announcement came weeks after the veteran stand-up comic caused a stir at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with a performance that questioned the intellect of people who visit the resort city.

According to media accounts of the incident, Carlin's bit about "moronic" Vegas tourists touched off a bitter, profane exchange with members of the audience, including one woman who shouted "Stop degrading us."

Carlin has acknowledged having battled cocaine addiction in the 1980s but said he quit on his own by tapering off the drug. He also has suffered three heart attacks.

Speaking of his current problem, he said: "My levels of use are nowhere near the worst you hear about these days; I could easily have continued functioning at a good level ... for awhile. But my use would have progressed, I would have been in deeper trouble, and I didn't want to tolerate that."

Carlin's spokesman, Jeff Abraham, said the comedian entered rehab on Monday but did not know how long he would remain in treatment. He said Carlin was currently scheduled to begin a new engagement at Stardust Hotel in Vegas in February.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

In Memoriam: Reggie White (1961-2004)

Bill's Comment: A very sad day, for both the National Football League, and humanity itself.

May the "Minister of Defense" rest in peace. You will be missed, as you were taken away from us much too soon. May your star shine eternally.

Former NFL Star Reggie White Dead at 43

White died Sunday morning of a massive heart attack. He was 43.

White, the league's former all-time sack leader, put together a Hall of Fame career as a defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers from 1985-1998. He also played for the Carolina Panthers in 2000.

A 13-time Pro Bowl selection, White died at his North Carolina home just seven days after his 43rd birthday.

ESPN reported his death Sunday morning on its NFL preview show.
12/26/04 12:12

© Copyright Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Reuters Ltd.

Update: 12/27/04: Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie announced that the number 92, which Reggie White wore for all but one season for the Eagles, will never be worn again, and be retired.

Thank you, Mr. Lurie!

Be Informed: Natural Disasters

Joyce Comments: This post is not intended to scare you, but inform you. A major earthquake estimated to be measured about 8.9 has occurred earlier today that may have briefly interfered with the Earth's rotation. This is huge news considering that other related or non-related natural disasters are also occurring now around the world hours after this major quake. Not to scare you, but please take this post to heart of information. I am posting from and prepare yourself and your family for any unwanted or unexpected dramatic natural disaster that may occur (likely it won't) and feel free to give the Red Cross any monitary help you can. People in Florida with the numerous hurricanes this year; New Jersey with the floods in Southern New Jersey; and California and Texas with the abnormal snow may be quick to scream Global Warming, but don't jump to conclusions. In the case of American weather abnormalities it is probably just another El Nino passing through like it did in the 1990s. These huge natural disasters around the world could be two things: Mother Nature or Man-made, or even a mixture of the two. I'm leaning toward it being from Mother Nature with some help from Man (China, may be getting restless doing some illegal testing of major weapons underground in preparation for war against free democratic countries like the United States following the 2008 Beijing Olympics causing the pot to boil??) For the latest news these major earthquakes and tsunamis go to Yahoo News Full Coverage: Earthquakes & Volcanos. Following are the suggestions from that you can use if you choose followed by USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:


Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, there are important differences among natural disasters that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Some natural disasters are easily predicted, others happen without warning. Planning what to do in advance is an important part of being prepared.

Find out what natural disasters are most common in your area. You may be aware of some of your community’s risks: others may surprise you. Historically, flooding is the nation's single most common natural disaster. Flooding can happen in every U.S. state and territory. Earthquakes are often thought of as a West Coast phenomenon, yet 45 states and territories in the United States are at moderate to high risk from earthquakes and are located in every region of the country. Other disasters may be more common in certain areas. Tornados are nature's most violent storms and can happen anywhere. However, states located in "Tornado Alley," as well as areas in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Florida are at the highest risk for tornado damage. Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists can now predict hurricanes, but people who live in coastal communities should plan what they will do if they are told to evacuate.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has information available about the following natural disasters:

Extreme Heat
Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

Planning what to do in advance is an important part of being prepared. Find out what natural disasters are most common in your area.

For more general information, see "Are you Ready?" from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or Disaster Safety from the Red Cross.

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

2004 December 26 00:58:50 UTC

Preliminary Earthquake Report
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver

A great earthquake occurred at 00:58:50 (UTC) on Sunday, December 26, 2004. The magnitude 8.9 event has been located OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Magnitude 8.9
Date-Time Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 00:58:50 (UTC)
= Coordinated Universal Time
Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 6:58:50 AM
= local time at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 3.298°N, 95.779°E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
250 km (155 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
320 km (200 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
1260 km (780 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand
1605 km (1000 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 9.2 km (5.7 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters Nst=157, Nph=157, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=1.35 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9

Event ID usslav
Felt Reports At least 2,200 people killed in Sri Lanka, 1,600 in India, 700 in Indonesia, 220 in Thailand, 29 in Malaysia and 2 in Bangladesh by tsunamis. Tsunamis also occurred on the coasts of Maldives, Cocos Island and Somalia. At least 200 people killed, buildings destroyed or damaged in the Banda Aceh area, Sumatra. Felt widely in Sumatra. Also felt in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. This is the fifth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake.

Today's shallow, thrust-type earthquake occurred off the west coast of northern Sumatra at the interface between the India and Burma plates. In this region, the Burma plate is characterized by significant strain partitioning due to oblique convergence of the India and Australia plates to the west and the Sunda and Eurasian plates to the east. Off the west coast of northern Sumatra, the India plate is moving in a northeastward direction at about 5 cm per year relative to the Burma plate. Preliminary locations of larger aftershocks following today's earthquake show that approximately 1000 km of the plate boundary slipped as a result of the earthquake. Aftershocks are distributed along much of the shallow plate boundary between northern Sumatra (approximately 3 degrees north) to near Andaman Island (at about 14 degrees north).

Location Maps:

Report shaking and damage at your location. You can also view a map displaying accumulated data from your report and others.

The earthquake locations and magnitudes cited in these bulletins are very preliminary, and may disagree with the more accuate USGS locations and magnitudes computed using more extensive data sets.

For more information, go to || Contacts

Back to: World map | USA map

The official magnitude for this earthquake is indicated at the top of this page. This was the best available estimate of the earthquake's size, at the time that this page was created. Other magnitudes associated with web pages linked from here are those determined at various times following the earthquake with different types of seismic data. Although, given the data used, they are legitimate estimates of magnitude, they are not considered the official magnitude.


FAQ about Earthquakes | Earthquake Preparedness

The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (EHP) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Friday, December 24, 2004


Hello Everyone!,
I just want to wish all of you that see this a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy NEw Year!


PS- Politically Incorrect and proud of it!

'Naked Twister' Broadcast Nets FCC Fine

'Naked Twister' Broadcast Nets FCC Fine

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators on Wednesday proposed a $220,000 indecency fine against the owner of two Kansas radio stations for broadcasting a ``Naked Twister'' game with local strippers and graphic interviews with porn stars.

The Federal Communications Commission said the material, which aired during the ``Dare and Murphy Show,'' was indecent and clearly intended to ``pander to and titillate the audience.''

The commission cited four broadcasts during April and May of 2002. They aired on stations KQRC-FM in Westwood, Kan., and KFH-AM in Wichita, Kan. - owned by Entercom Communications Corp., based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

The agency proposed a $27,500 fine - the maximum allowed at the time - for each of the four broadcasts by the two stations for a total penalty of $220,000.

The commission said the ``Naked Twister'' broadcast dwelled on descriptions of female genitalia and breasts in an explicit and graphic manner. Other broadcasts the FCC reviewed included interviews with porn actors Ron Jeremy and Dave Cummings.

The commission also noted Entercom's history of prior indecent broadcasts. In September 2002, the FCC fined the company $12,000 for broadcasting indecent material on a Seattle station.

No one from Entercom was available for comment Wednesday. A receptionist said management would be out of the office until Jan. 3 and could comment then. Calls to two numbers listed for KQRC were unanswered Wednesday.

At KFH-AM in Wichita, program manager Tony Duesing declined to comment on the fine but said the station has not aired the show for the past six months, dropping it after it became too cost prohibitive. The show had already been replaced when the station learned about the FCC investigation a month or two ago, he said.

12/23/04 20:41

© Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Democratic Leadership Rethinking Abortion

Bill's Pre-comment: "Did you ever have to make up your mind?" - Anonymous

Democratic Leadership Rethinking Abortion

Thu Dec 23, 7:55 AM ET

By Peter Wallsten and Mary Curtius Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — After long defining itself as an undisputed defender of abortion rights, the Democratic Party is suddenly locked in an internal struggle over whether to redefine its position to appeal to a broader array of voters.

The fight is a central theme of the contest to head the Democratic National Committee (news - web sites), particularly between two leading candidates: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (news - web sites), who supports abortion rights, and former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, an abortion foe who argues that the party cannot rebound from its losses in the November election unless it shows more tolerance on one of society's most emotional conflicts.

Roemer is running with the encouragement of the party's two highest-ranking members of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and incoming Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Dean, a former presidential candidate, is popular with the party's liberal wing.

If Roemer were to succeed Terry McAuliffe as Democratic chairman in the Feb. 10 vote, the party long viewed as the guardian of abortion rights would suddenly have two antiabortion advocates at its helm. Reid, too, opposes abortion and once voted for a nonbinding resolution opposing Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.

Party leaders say their support for preserving the landmark ruling will not change. But they are looking at ways to soften the hard line, such as promoting adoption and embracing parental notification requirements for minors and bans on late-term abortions. Their thinking reflects a sense among strategists that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and the party's congressional candidates lost votes because the GOP conveyed a more compelling message on social issues.

But in opening a discussion about new appeals to abortion opponents, party leaders are moving into uncertain terrain. Abortion rights activists are critical pillars of the Democratic Party, providing money and grass-roots energy. Some of them say they are concerned that Democratic leaders are entertaining any changes to the party's approach to abortion.

A senior official of one of the nation's largest abortion rights groups said she would be concerned if the party were to choose Roemer to head the Democratic National Committee.

"We want people who are pro-choice. Of course I would be disappointed," said the official, who asked that her name be withheld because of her close alliance with party officials.

Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood (news - web sites) Federation of America, said Democratic strategists who were pushing for the abortion discussion had misconstrued the results of the November election by overstating the strength of "values" voters.

She said the party should remain committed to the "women of America, and their health and their lives and their rights."

Feldt said she had spoken to Kerry and Roemer on Wednesday, and that both had sought to allay her concerns. Both assured her that the party was not changing its stance on abortion, but merely wanted to be more "inclusive."

The debate among Democrats comes at a time when abortion rights supporters are feeling particularly vulnerable. Congress passed a ban on what critics call "partial-birth" abortion last year that Bush signed into law. Last month, abortion opponents were emboldened when four conservative Republicans were elected to the Senate. Also, anticipated retirements from the Supreme Court could give Bush the chance to nominate justices that would tilt the court against Roe vs. Wade.

The race for Democratic Party chairman remains wide open among Dean, Roemer and several other contenders, including longtime operative Harold M. Ickes, New Democrat Network head Simon Rosenberg and South Carolina political strategist Donald L. Fowler Jr. The field of candidates is likely to remain in flux until days before the February vote.

In an interview, Roemer said he would not try to change the minds of abortion rights supporters. But he also said he would encourage the party to eliminate its "moral blind spot" when it comes to late-term abortions.

"We should be talking more about adoption as an alternative, and working with our churches to sponsor some of those adoptions," Roemer said Wednesday from his Washington office. He said he was calling 40 to 50 delegates a day to make his pitch. Most of all, he said, he thinks that abortion opponents would be more comfortable if the party talked about the issue in a more open-minded manner.

"We must be able to campaign in 50 states, not just the blue states or 20 states," said Roemer, referring to the most Democratic-leaning states.

Dean declined through a spokeswoman to talk about the issue, but earlier this month he signaled that he would maintain the party's defense of abortion rights, telling NBC's Tim Russert: "We can change our vocabulary, but I don't think we ought to change our principles."

Votes will be cast by 447 members of the Democratic National Committee, many of whom are among the party's most liberal members. These members are thought to be friendly to Dean and less receptive to Roemer. But the former Indiana congressman is getting attention amid reports that Pelosi and Reid urged him to run.

Roemer has also highlighted his service on the independent panel investigating the government's response to the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that credential builds his appeal to security-minded voters. He noted that he was an elected official from Indiana, a "red state" where Democrats want to make gains.

A Pelosi spokesman said the House Democratic leader liked Roemer because of his national security credentials. But a senior Democratic congressional aide said Pelosi also thought that Roemer's stance on abortion could be an additional benefit.

"She is pro-choice and very staunchly pro-choice," the aide said of Pelosi. But at the same time, the aide said, "she supports showing that this is a big-tent party."

In the presidential election, Kerry, a Catholic, said he personally opposed abortion but did not believe in imposing that belief on others. He said he would not appoint antiabortion judges to the bench.

But after his election loss, the Massachusetts senator concluded that the party needed to rethink its stance. Addressing supporters at a meeting held by the AFL-CIO, Kerry said he discovered during trips through Pennsylvania that many union members were also abortion opponents and that the party needed to rethink how it could appeal to those voters, Kerry spokesman David Wade said.

On the other side of the debate, Wendy Wright, senior policy director for Conservative Women for America, which opposes abortion, said she thought it would be "very smart" for Democrats to elect Roemer chairman of the party.

"It would make sense for Democrats as a whole to recognize that Americans want protections for women and unborn children, want sensible regulations in place, instead of forbidding the law to recognize that an unborn child is a human being," Wright said. "To not pass legislation just to keep the abortion lobby happy is nonsensical, and it appears that some Democrats have recognized that."

Wright said it was too early to know whether Democrats would change their votes on upcoming antiabortion legislation, or would only change the way they speak of abortion. She said the comments of some party leaders led her to believe that "it would just be changing of wording, just trying to repackage in order to be more appealing — really, to trick people."

Some local Democratic leaders said they would be open to an antiabortion chairman under the right circumstances, but that it would be difficult to envision those circumstances.

"That would be a very large philosophical mountain for me to climb," said Mitch Ceasar, a Broward County, Fla., lawyer who is a voting member of the party's national committee.

Ceasar said he took note of Roemer's abortion stance when he received a letter recently from him. He said he was surprised to learn that abortion was an issue in the contest to succeed McAuliffe. "It never occurred to me before his candidacy," Ceasar said. "I never wondered whether Terry McAuliffe was pro-choice or not."

Bill's Post-comment: How long will this last? Can somebody say appeasement? The entire Democratic Party needs to step back, look in the mirror, and look deep into their souls to see what they truly believe in. I forgot. The answer to that last comment depends on what the public surveys and polls say, along with despising anything that President Bush supports.

In Defense of Rumsfeld

In Defense of Rumsfeld
December 22, 2004
by Newt Gingrich

THE RECENT CALLS for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down provide a good opportunity to step back and review his record from the last four years.

Shortly after Mr. Rumsfeld began what would be his second tour of duty as secretary of defense, he made it clear that he would do what it takes to begin transforming the military and its supporting bureaucracies into a force capable of meeting the threats of the 21st century. In his 2001 Senate confirmation hearing, Mr. Rumsfeld testified, "The old deterrence of the Cold War era is imperfect for dissuading the threats of the 21st century and for maintaining stability our new security environment."

In the face of enormous internal opposition, Mr. Rumsfeld, who under President Gerald Ford directed a military that stood ready to face the might of the Warsaw Pact, began in the summer of 2001 to transform the defense bureaucracy by forcing it to recognize that the Cold War was over. He then began implementing the changes necessary to reflect that reality.

Most notably, he undertook an extraordinarily complicated set of negotiations with our allies to move forces from obsolete and expensive Cold War positions in Europe and East Asia to much more useful and less expensive positions from where they can be more effective in defending America.

Just eight short months into the new Bush administration and just weeks after Mr. Rumsfeld's Defense Department transformation plan had begun, the United States was attacked on 9/11.

By now the response to that attack is well known. Mr. Rumsfeld took control and led the remarkably successful campaign in Afghanistan, which led in short order to the defeat of the Taliban and the destruction of its terrorist training camps.

Even during ongoing military campaigns, Mr. Rumsfeld never wavered from his transformational objectives. In the summer of 2003, in order to accelerate transformation in the Army, he brought Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker out of retirement to become Army chief of staff. Mr. Rumsfeld, with the brilliant leadership of General Schoomaker, was able to move personnel from noncombat to combat units, enabling them with additional reorganization to create 15 newly restructured combat brigades.

Also, because of Mr. Rumsfeld's successful plan, our military is more flexible, more agile and better able to fight unconventional enemies.

A new civilian personnel system was designed to reward merit, reduce force stress and replace a bureaucratic culture of risk aversion with one of innovation.

Moreover, he was able to move military personnel out of jobs that should be and are now held by civilians. Under this reorganization, Army troop levels increased (by 30,000), as did the number of combat brigades (from 10 to 15), making a draft unnecessary despite some critics' claims that one was imminent.

At the same time, Mr. Rumsfeld directed the global war on terrorism through the Special Operations Command. The effort has helped other countries hunt down, capture or kill terrorists in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Yemen, Pakistan and dozens of other countries. The combined effort has resulted in three-fourths of al-Qaida's senior leadership being killed or captured, while the organization's mastermind, Osama bin Laden, remains a powerless international fugitive (probably hiding in Pakistan).

Finally, there is the question of Iraq. The military performed brilliantly in the 23-day campaign led by Gen. Tommy Franks that defeated the dangerous Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

Today, Mr. Rumsfeld is working closely with the ambassador to Iraq, John D. Negroponte, to help create an interim government, build up the Iraq military and help Iraqis regain control over their own country.

Yet Mr. Rumsfeld is being used as a target by those who either oppose American military involvement in Iraq or lack the ability to understand or communicate the difficulty and the importance of defeating the insurgency inside Iraq and creating a stable elected government.

Mr. Rumsfeld, standing on his remarkable record of achievement, is far too effective a defense secretary for any serious student of recent American history to think that he should be replaced.

With Mr. Rumsfeld at the helm, the U.S. military has defeated two terrorist regimes, giving more than 50 million people a chance at freedom.

Ten million Afghans, 40 percent of whom were women who under the Taliban had no rights, voted in the free election of their first popularly elected national leader.

In Iraq, while Mr. Hussein sits in jail awaiting trial, tens of thousands of Iraqis are being trained and equipped to reclaim control of their country as the Iraqi people prepare to vote in their first free elections, planned for Jan. 30.

In addition, the most compelling reason to keep Mr. Rumsfeld as secretary of defense may simply be that there has not been another attack on our homeland since 9/11.

Mr. Rumsfeld's critics are off the mark. The military, under Mr. Rumsfeld's leadership, is our finest example of what works.

Winning the Future:
A 21st Century Contract with America

The dangers are manifold: Terrorism. Judges who think they're God (and who are anti-God). Rising economic challenges from China and India. Immigrants and young Americans who know little about American history and values. Can America survive?

Yes, says Newt Gingrich, and we as Americans can do more:We can create a safer, more prosperous, and healthier America for our children and grandchildren. How? By enacting a 21st Century Contract with America.

The challenges of the 21st Century are great, says Newt Gingrich, but so are the opportunities. The decisions we make over the next four years will determine our future. And no book can be more important for making the right choices than Newt Gingrich's Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jersey Girls Named 'Women of the Year'

With Carl Limbacher and Staff
For the story behind the story...

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004 10:37 p.m. EST
Jersey Girls Named 'Women of the Year'

Four women who lost husbands in the World Trade Center attacks and used their connection to 9/11 to bash the Bush White House have been named "Women of the Year" by Ms. magazine.

"The 2004 Ms. Women of the Year included the 'Jersey Girls' (Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie Van Auken) the four 9/11 widows who made the 9/11 Commission happen," reports the Feminist Daily News Wire.

After complaining that President Bush failed to do enough to prevent the 9/11 attacks, the Jersey Girls signed on to John Kerry's presidential campaign, where they stumped side-by-side with the Massachusetts Democrat in a bid to counter his soft-on-terror image.

Others named "Women of the Year" by Ms. include Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., whose "courageous and determined actions," the magazine said, "saved the life of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti," and Betty Dukes, the lead plaintiff against Wal-Mart in the nation’s largest class action sex discrimination suit in history.

Why Christmas Without Christ?

Why Christmas Without Christ?

Susan Estrich
Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2004

At least the kids are used to it by now: no presents, no tree, no Santa, no Christmas. It's not as bad as it sounds. We're not characters out of a Grisham novel or a holiday movie. We're just not Christian.

It's not a religious holiday. I hear that all the time.

What is it? A celebration of crass commercialism? If Christmas isn't a religious holiday, it should be.

I respect those who celebrate Christmas. What I don't understand is how you can celebrate Christmas without believing in Christ. Or rather, why?

I'm not talking here about whether the town puts up a tree or holds a Christmas festival. Those issues tend to be fought out every year in the courts between the civil libertarians and the cities. Personally, I'm no bigger a fan of public menorahs than public trees, but in the list of issues worth fighting about, I wouldn't make a federal case of them. What I'm talking about here is whether a non-Christian family puts up that tree, or holds that celebration, in its own living room.

If you celebrate Christmas with your children, a rabbi once told me, your children won't celebrate the Jewish holidays when they grow up.

Rabbis call it the December Dilemma. Should non-Christians celebrate Christmas? Buy a Chanukah bush and put presents under it? Adopt Santa for their children, even if their own religion treats Dec. 25 as just another day? As we become a more and more diverse country, more and more non-Christian parents face children for whom Santa has no place in our religious tradition. A Buddhist Santa? A Moslem Santa? A Jewish Santa?

Even the most well-meaning Jews end up turning the minor holiday of Chanukah into a major occasion because of that other holiday in December. But a surprising number of parents of all stripes go beyond that, and celebrate Christmas as well, with all the bells and whistles, except for a trip to church.

We don't want them to feel left out, my Jewish friends always tell me, in explaining why they buy presents and trees, and knock themselves out for their Jewish children.

When I was growing up, in a New England town where real estate agents carried maps marked in color by religion to keep everyone in their place, I hated Christmas because it did make me feel left out. But the point was not simply that we were excluded, but that we were second-rate.

The Protestant section of town was nicer than the Jewish section, the houses were bigger, right on the water. There were no Chanukah songs, and no Chanukah play, in the public schools. We were taught that the Jews killed Christ. My Hebrew School teacher, Mr. Sherf, had a number on his arm.

I can't speak for other groups, but I do know that upper-middle-class Jewish kids growing up in Los Angeles aren't in much danger of feeling the same sort of victimization I lived with. Rather, the danger for them is that they are growing up without any sense of identity that will carry them later, when their parents aren't there to remind them who they are. But even if they were, the point would be the same.

Forging an identity may require a sense of exclusion, as well as a real dose of religious education. For Christian children, that should be part of the Christmas message.

The danger for too many children brought up with plenty of presents and no religion is that they never get a dose of education and end up with no system of beliefs and no faith in anything or anyone Bigger than themselves, which is no gift at all. They never do learn what Christmas is about. Or the Jewish holidays, for that matter.

Merry Christmas.


Christians in the Crossfire

Christians in the Crossfire
By Michelle Malkin Commentary
December 22, 2004

Yes, it's maddening when politically correct bureaucrats ban nativity scenes and Christmas carols in the name of "diversity" and "tolerance." We are under attack by Secularist Grinches Gone Wild.

But the war on Christmas in America is a mere skirmish. Around the world, a bloody, repressive war on Christians rages on.

In Iraq, Islamist rebel troops have declared open season on Christian churches, priests and missionaries. In February, four American pastors were traveling in a taxi near the capital when terrorists ambushed them. Rev. John Kelley, pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in rural Rhode Island and a former Marine, was killed in the attack. The missionaries were starting up a new church south of Baghdad.

A friend of Rev. Kelley's noted upon word of his murder that "he wanted to be a witness for Christ in a part of the world where there aren't a lot of witnesses for Christ."

On March 15, Southern Baptist missionaries Larry and Jean Elliott of Cary, N.C., Karen Denise Watson of Bakersfield, Calif., and David McDonnall of Rowlett, Texas, were killed in a drive-by shooting in northern Iraq. McDonnall's wife, Carrie, survived the attack.

The group, one of several Christian aid groups helping with reconstruction efforts, was scouting out locations for a water purification project.

The McDonnalls were young students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Watson served on the Baptist International Mission Board, as did the Elliotts. At the Elliotts' funeral, their oldest son, Scott, touched his chest and looked upward in tribute to his parents: "Thank you for living for the Lord. I am a life that was changed."

Stephen Rummage, interim senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Cary, N.C., said the couple "loved the gospel and the souls of lost men and women more than themselves."

In Saudi Arabia, an Indian Christian man was abducted and held captive by the kingdom's religious police (the "Muttawa") for seven months earlier this year. Brian Savio O'Connor was singled out by the Wahhabist thug cops for "possession of Bibles and preaching Christianity."

In addition, the Muttawa falsely charged that O'Connor had illegally sold alcohol. While in custody, O'Connor was allegedly beaten and "pressed to convert to Islam," according to the AsiaNews Web site. The Saudi government succumbed to international pressure and freed O'Connor last month.

But persecution by the Saudi government against Christian Saudis continues. A Saudi Christian convert, Emad Alaabadi, was taken into custody by the Muttawa in November. The father of four became a Christian two years ago. Family and friends at the human rights group International Christian Concern fear he has been tortured for his beliefs.

On Dec. 1, Christian pastor Zhang Rongliang disappeared from his village apartment in Zhengzhou, China. According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a non-profit charity that tracks religious persecution, state police confiscated all of Pastor Zhang's Christian DVDs, materials and photos.

Three other Christian churches were reportedly raided after Pastor Zhang's arrest-part of a nationwide crackdown on the Chinese "house church" movement. More than 100 other Christian pastors were arrested in Kaifeng city in September. Many have been beaten, sentenced to "re-education through labor," and accused of being "leaders of an evil cult."

In Vietnam and North Korea, followers of Christ have been arrested, beaten, tortured and forced to renounce their faith. In Nigeria, an Islamist terrorist group named after the Taliban conducted religious pogroms in the northern part of the country this fall-kidnapping, raping and killing Christian villagers as part of a radicalization program that government officials suspect is being funded by Saudi Wahhabists.

In Sudan, Muslim radicals have perpetrated mass slaughter and enslavement of Christian men, women and children, some of whom have been literally crucified.

If America's mainstream media would give the global War on Christianity just a fraction of the attention it pays to the War on Christmas, lives might be saved. And light would be shed on the true heroes of the original religion of peace.

Doing so, however, would require the nation's secularized pundits and pontificators to take religious persecution seriously. In that, alas, I have no faith.

(Michelle Malkin is author of "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.")

Copyright 2004, Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Lisa Marie Presley Selling Elvis Estate

Bill's Comment: I, personally, have no problem with this decision. Elvis should be a worldwide phenomenon.

Lisa Marie Presley Selling Elvis Estate

Thu Dec 16, 7:43 PM

By WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press Writer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Lisa Marie Presley is keeping Graceland but selling the bulk of the Elvis estate, including rights to her father's name and image, in a deal worth approximately $100 million.

Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. announced an agreement Thursday to sell 85 percent of its assets to businessman Robert F.X. Sillerman, founder of music and sports promoter SFX Entertainment.

The Presley estate brought in almost $45 million last year. Sillerman said more aggressive marketing, supported by capital raised through a new publicly traded company, can make Elvis an even bigger earner.

Presley occupies a unique place in American pop culture, and "I don't think there's much likelihood his influence is going to wane anytime in my lifetime," Sillerman said by telephone from New York, where he runs the Sillerman Companies.

As Presley's only child, Lisa Marie is the sole heir to the estate, most of which is now to become part of a publicly traded company that will be called CKX Inc.

The agreement will pay her $53 million in cash and absolve her of $25 million in debts owed by the estate. She also is to get shares in the new company expected to be worth more than $20 million.

Lisa Marie will retain possession of her father's home, its more than 13 acres of land and many of her father's "personal effects," an announcement on the agreement said.

"For the past few years, I've been looking for someone to join forces with to expand the many facets of (Elvis Presley Enterprises), to take it to new levels internationally and to make it an even greater force in the entertainment industry," Ms. Presley, also a singer, said in a statement.

Tours of Graceland, which gets 650,000 visitors a year, will continue unchanged. The throngs of fans drawn to Memphis each August on the anniversary of Presley's 1977 death will notice little different, Sillerman said.

Although Elvis already ranks No. 1 on the Forbes magazine list of top-earning dead celebrities, Sillerman said new markets and business opportunities may be available, including abroad.

"Does it make sense to invest in Elvis Presley enterprises in Japan? Does it make sense in Germany? Are there things that can be done in other jurisdictions in the United States?" he said. "The answer to some of the questions is obviously yes, we just don't know which ones."

Sillerman said the staff at Graceland will remain in place.

Elvis Presley Enterprises was created in 1980 by Priscilla Presley, the singer's ex-wife and mother of Lisa Marie, who was still a child then. She is to remain as a consultant to the new owners.

Sillerman founded SFX Entertainment in 1977 and ran the company until it was bought by Clear Channel Communications in 2000. He said he expected the sale to wrap up within two months, pending standard regulatory approval.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Surviving the holidays together

Surviving the holidays together

Randy B. Hecht and brought to you by!

All through the holiday season last year, you felt a twinge every time you saw a couple out together. "Where's my kiss under the mistletoe?" you thought. "Where's my date for New Year's Eve? Where's the one I get to snuggle with on all these cold and snowy nights?”

It was lonely being single during the holidays. But this year you did meet someone, and now you're looking forward to spending your first holiday season together.

You think you had stress before? Brace yourself for the big time!

Being in a relationship doesn’t automatically reduce the pressures of the season. Just as often — maybe more often — it increases them. How you approach the month of December can spell the difference between a season of peace and a season of falling to pieces.

To make your first holidays together truly worth celebrating, remember these tips:

Manage your expectations. It's not your sweetheart's job to make up for all the years when you didn't have a honey for the holidays. Nor for that really bad year when your ex turned out to be an absolute Grinch. Expecting the person you're dating to recreate the holiday season of your fantasies is unreasonable.

Good things come in no package, too. Speaking of gifts, don't put too much emphasis on them as a measure of just how merry your season has been. The pressure to find absolutely the most perfect presents for one another can take all the joy out of the occasion and create a stress — emotional and financial — unlike any other. And extravagance isn't the key to a happy holiday. Enjoying time with each other will do the trick.

Give each other some space. The holidays can be overwhelming, and eventually everyone needs a time out from the endless festivities. Allow each other time to relax, reflect, and recharge solo.

Share your traditions...Your favorite holiday decoration or recipe was passed down to you from your grandmother. Tell your sweetheart about it and her, the memories it brings back every December, and some of your favorite stories from holidays past. And ask to hear your sweetheart's stories and family traditions, too.

...And make some new ones, too. It can be as simple as agreeing that each of you will buy, or better yet, make a special ornament for the other to mark the year. Or that every year you're going to experiment with baking one new type of cookie. Or even that you're going to organize your friends for what you hope will be an annual night of caroling. The details don't matter — except to the extent that they will help put your own stamp on the holiday season for you as a couple.

Above all else, enjoy yourself and each other. Remember, you already have the gift that you swore just last year was the only thing you really wanted!

10 ways to beat holiday blues

10 ways to beat holiday blues

Marcia Jedd and brought to you by!

There's no getting around the holidays. The world slows down and everyone seems paired up or off with family and friends. If you feel the holiday blues creeping up on you — loneliness or the grass–is–always–greener blues — it's time for an antidote. Here's 10 sure–fire ways to feel upbeat:

1. Gratitude, honey. Nothing soothes your blues better than a deep feeling of gratitude. Put on soft instrumental music. Sit down, count your blessings and meditate. What do you have to be grateful for? Journaling is optional. Repeat as necessary.

2. Spa time. From a simple manicure, a pedicure with foot massage, to a full–on day at the spa, treat yourself. Schedule one of those new hot–stone massages or a deep–muscle massage. Experience the tingling of a light chemical peel or other facial.

3. Volunteer. Giving your time to others and being of service is a great way to feel valued. It could be reading to children at a day–care center, volunteering at a hospital or working at a soup kitchen during this trying time for the homeless or destitute. You'll lose your own blues when you find enough overflow to give to others in a meaningful way.

4. Bake. Forgot how much you loved those ginger snaps your mom used to make? Craving chocolate chip cookies? Cooking and baking puts your mind on the flavorful task at hand. Share your bounty with a neighbor or friend and you'll find it comes back to you in other ways.

5. Plan a party. Get some friends together and plan a theme party. Consider a single–mingle night where an equal number of invited males and females each invite a specific number of the opposite sex. It's never to late for a procrastinator's holiday party, such as hosting a white–elephant gift exchange after December 25. Or, casually have a few friends over, spur of the moment.

6. Cultural events. Want to see that traveling Impressionist exhibit at the art museum? What about that offbeat gallery in uptown? Plan an afternoon around it with a like–minded friend or relative. Or, take off by yourself: You never know who you could meet.

7. Take in a movie. Grab a friend and attend a matinee, go to a flick yourself (it's good for you) or simply rent a movie. You'll forget your funk after a light romantic comedy, thriller or even a tear jerker.

8. Stay moving. Get a zip of mood–enhancing endorphins with vigorous or even light exercise. Try dance, yoga, tai chi or a good workout at the gym. Many fitness clubs and yoga centers offer free sampler classes. Try a new activity and you may find a new sport for yourself.

9. Change your routine. Chase holiday blues by delving outside your comfort zone. If you are shy, go to a local coffee shop and read a book by yourself. Always drive to the video or grocery store? Try walking. Meeting friends at a local bar or nightclub? Go early and hobnob.

10. Find a date. Speaking of breaking out of your comfort zone, it may be time to start dating again. Try a quick search to find suitable singles in your city. The holidays are a great time to take out a clever ad and get a jump on the New Year.

U.S. health care needs a spark

In case you missed it...

U.S. health care needs a spark
December 15, 2004
by Newt Gingrich

It is time that we in the United States learn to think of health care as an economic opportunity, not a liability. Despite America's well-documented health-care delivery problems, America's actual health care is the best in the world. U.S. firms are responsible for some of the most important innovations in pharmacology and medical technology. Wealthy foreigners routinely come to the United States for advanced medical services with the best possible outcomes. To take advantage of this position, President Bush should create a new undersecretary for health in the Department of Commerce to promote the American system of health care worldwide.

Composed of 8,500 firms (mostly employing fewer than 50 people), the U.S. medical technology industry already sustains 350,000 high-value manufacturing jobs paying an average of 49 percent more than those in other manufacturing sectors and accounts for roughly half of the $175 billion global production of medical products and supplies. A 2003 New England Health Care Institute study showed that every job in the medical technology sector generates another 2.5 jobs elsewhere in the economy.

However, the $3 billion trade surplus the United States has historically enjoyed in this sector has recently vanished, prompting serious questions about the fairness of overseas markets. Countries such as France and Japan have recently imposed what are called "foreign reference prices" on U.S. technology that prevent firms from pricing products at a rate appropriate to the actual costs of doing business in their countries. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. products launched in Japan over the last 10 years have received a new product price distinct from its predecessor, resulting in an unfair disadvantage for U.S. manufacturers.

In addition, nationalized health-care systems - confronting aging societies and sluggish economies - are seeking to manage rising health-care costs by limiting patient access to new drugs and medical technologies through price controls and other barriers to market entry. These actions don't just damage U.S. firms; they harm these countries' own health industries and, ultimately, their own populations, whose health is put at risk by limiting their choices to inferior options.

An undersecretary for health would have the important task of ensuring that overseas markets provide a level playing field for exports of the U.S. health economy. He or she could help break down these barriers by accelerating patient access to medical innovations; encouraging robust research and development opportunities (much of which is spurred by small U.S. start-up firms that require venture capital); promoting transparent and consistent product approval policies at home and abroad; and helping ensure predictable pricing that consistently rewards innovation.

The commerce undersecretary for health would also play a major role in increasing information-sharing among medical professionals worldwide through telemedicine and other electronic formats, giving the United States the opportunity to promote its clinical services and medical talent abroad. A key component to successfully marketing our health-care services would be the development of a system of reporting outcomes for specific procedures. That would encourage consumers both home and abroad to make better decisions about providers, which, in turn, would increase quality because of competition.

In every decade since World War II, America has lost jobs in entire sectors of the economy. But in each of those same decades, America has created millions more jobs than those that died away. By focusing on the future, new jobs in health, new drugs and medical technologies, and the development of larger markets for American health care, we will help ensure that our children and grandchildren will have the best, highest-paying jobs in the world, with the large wealth creation that allows our seniors the opportunity of a prosperous retirement.

We must always try to promote industries in which the United States currently holds a clear advantage. Health care should be no exception. The time is right to maximize the enormous potential of the American health economy.

Conservative students sue over academic freedom

Conservative students sue over academic freedom

(AP) — At the University of North Carolina, three incoming freshmen sue over a reading assignment they say offends their Christian beliefs.

In Colorado and Indiana, a national conservative group publicizes student allegations of left-wing bias by professors. Faculty get hate mail and are pictured in mock "wanted" posters; at least one college says a teacher received a death threat.

And at Columbia University in New York, a documentary film alleging that teachers intimidate students who support Israel draws the attention of administrators.

The three episodes differ in important ways, but all touch on an issue of growing prominence on college campuses.

Traditionally, clashes over academic freedom have pitted politicians or administrators against instructors who wanted to express their opinions and teach as they saw fit. But increasingly, it is students who are invoking academic freedom, claiming biased professors are violating their right to a classroom free from indoctrination.

In many ways, the trend echoes past campus conflicts -- but turns them around. Once, it was liberal campus activists who cited the importance of "diversity" in pressing their agendas for curriculum change. Now, conservatives have adopted much of the same language in calling for a greater openness to their viewpoints.

Similarly, academic freedom guidelines have traditionally been cited to protect left-leaning students from punishment for disagreeing with teachers about such issues as American neutrality before World War II and U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Now, those same guidelines are being invoked by conservative students who support the war in Iraq.

To many professors, there's a new and deeply troubling aspect to this latest chapter in the debate over academic freedom: students trying to dictate what they don't want to be taught.

"Even the most contentious or disaffected of students in the '60s or early '70s never really pressed this kind of issue," said Robert O'Neil, former president of the University of Virginia and now director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Those behind the trend call it an antidote to the overwhelming liberal dominance of university faculties. But many educators, while agreeing students should never feel bullied, worry that they just want to avoid exposure to ideas that challenge their core beliefs -- an essential part of education.

Some also fear teachers will shy away from sensitive topics, or fend off criticism by "balancing" their syllabuses with opposing viewpoints, even if they represent inferior scholarship.

"Faculty retrench. They are less willing to discuss contemporary problems and I think everyone loses out," said Joe Losco, a professor of political science at Ball State University in Indiana who has supported two colleagues targeted for alleged bias. "It puts a chill in the air."

Conservatives say a chill is in order.

A recent study by Santa Clara University researcher Daniel Klein estimated that among social science and humanities faculty members nationwide, Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one; in some fields it's as high as 30 to one. And in the last election, the two employers whose workers contributed the most to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign were the University of California system and Harvard University.

Many teachers insist personal politics don't affect teaching. But in a recent survey of students at 50 top schools by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a group that has argued there is too little intellectual diversity on campuses, 49 percent reported at least some professors frequently commented on politics in class even if it was outside the subject matter.

Thirty-one percent said they felt there were some courses in which they needed to agree with a professor's political or social views to get a good grade.

Leading the movement is the group Students for Academic Freedom, with chapters on 135 campuses and close ties to David Horowitz, a one-time liberal campus activist turned conservative agitator. The group posts student complaints on its Web site about alleged episodes of grading bias and unbalanced, anti-American propaganda by professors -- often in classes, such as literature, in which it's off-topic.

Instructors "need to make students aware of the spectrum of scholarly opinion," Horowitz said. "You can't get a good education if you're only getting half the story."

Conservatives claim they are discouraged from expressing their views in class, and are even blackballed from graduate school slots and jobs.

"I feel like (faculty) are so disconnected from students that they do these things and they can just get away with them," said Kris Wampler, who recently publicly identified himself as one of the students who sued the University of North Carolina. Now a junior, he objected when all incoming students were assigned to read a book about the Quran before they got to campus.

"A lot of students feel like they're being discriminated against," he said.

So far, his and other efforts are having mixed results. At UNC, the students lost their legal case, but the university no longer uses the word "required" in describing the reading program for incoming students (the plaintiffs' main objection).

In Colorado, conservatives withdrew a legislative proposal for an "academic bill of rights" backed by Horowitz, but only after state universities agreed to adopt its principles.

At Ball State, the school's provost sided with Professor George Wolfe after a student published complaints about Wolfe's peace studies course, but the episode has attracted local attention. Horowitz and backers of the academic bill of rights plan to introduce it in the Indiana legislature -- as well as in up to 20 other states.

At Columbia, anguished debate followed the screening of a film by an advocacy group called The David Project that alleges some faculty violate students' rights by using the classroom as a platform for anti-Israeli political propaganda (one Israeli student claims a professor taunted him by asking, "How many Palestinians did you kill?"). Administrators responded this month by setting up a new committee to investigate students complaints.

In the wider debate, both sides cite the guidelines on academic freedom first set out in 1915 by the American Association of University Professors.

The objecting students emphasize the portion calling on teachers to "set forth justly ... the divergent opinions of other investigators." But many teachers note the guidelines also say instructors need not "hide (their) own opinions under a mountain of equivocal verbiage," and that their job is teaching students "to think for themselves."

Horowitz believes the AAUP, which opposes his bill of rights, and liberals in general are now the establishment and have abandoned their commitment to real diversity and student rights.

But critics say Horowitz is pushing a political agenda, not an academic one.

"It's often phrased in the language of academic freedom. That's what's so strange about it," said Ellen Schrecker, a Yeshiva University historian who has written about academic freedom during the McCarthy area. "What they're saying is, 'We want people to reflect our point of view."'

Horowitz's critics also insist his campaign is getting more attention than it deserves, riling conservative bloggers but attracting little alarm from most students. They insist even most liberal professors give fair grades to conservative students who work hard and support their arguments.

Often, the facts of particular cases are disputed. At Ball State, senior Brett Mock published a detailed account accusing Wolfe of anti-Americanism in a peace studies class and of refusing to tolerate the view that the U.S. invasion of Iraq might have been justified. In a telephone interview, Wolfe vigorously disputed Mock's allegations. He provided copies of a letter of support from other students in the class, and from the provost saying she had found nothing wrong with the course.

Horowitz, who has also criticized Ball State's program, had little sympathy when asked if Wolfe deserved to get hate e-mails from strangers.

"These people are such sissies," he said. "I get hate mail every single day. What can I do about it? It's called the Internet."

Bill's Comment: It is about time these liberal indoctrinates called professors are being challenged. Go for it!

Lottery Winner's Granddaughter Found Dead

Lottery Winner's Granddaughter Found Dead

By APRIL VITELLO, Associated Press Writer

SCOTT DEPOT, W.Va. - The 17-year-old granddaughter of the nation's largest lottery winner was found dead near her boyfriend's home, her body wrapped in a sheet and plastic tarp.

"All I know is she OD'd and Brandon freaked out," Steve Crosier, the father of Brandi Bragg's boyfriend, Brandon, told reporters in a brief conversation outside the house.

Bragg, who lived in the nearby town of Hurricane, was last seen alive Dec. 4. She was reported missing five days later by Jack Whittaker, who won a $314.9 million jackpot on Christmas Day 2002 but has battled legal and other problems since then.

The cause of death was under investigation. Authorities said there were no obvious signs of violence, and they would not comment on whether drugs were involved. An autopsy was planned for Tuesday, and police said Tuesday morning there was nothing new to report.

Bragg's body was found Monday behind a junked van several hundred feet from the home of Steve Crosier, whose son Brandon was Bragg's boyfriend, said Trooper S.E. Wolfe.

A preliminary investigation indicated that Bragg may have died in the Crosiers' house and her body was later moved.

Wolfe said Monday's discovery was based on interviews with Brandon Crosier and others. "We are focused on him but I wouldn't call him a suspect yet," he said.

After his conversation with reporters outside his home, Steve Crosier told The Associated Press he did not know any details of Bragg's death or when her body was placed outside on his property. Crosier said he had been busy tending to his daughter, Jennifer, who died of cancer Dec. 13.

Bragg's body was identified by tattoos on her neck, said State Police Sgt. Jay Powers. "The troopers had talked to her in the past and knew her," Powers said.

Whittaker and other family members did not return messages. There was no listing for Bragg's mother, Ginger McMahon of Beckley, who is Whittaker's daughter.

Shortly after he won the lottery, the biggest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history, Whittaker said he had few plans for himself but wanted to lavish his winnings on his daughter and Brandi, then 15.

But Whittaker — already a wealthy contractor before his lottery win — has had several brushes with the law since he won the prize. Earlier this month, a magistrate ordered him to go into rehab and surrender his driver's license after his second drunken driving arrest this year. He must report to rehab by Jan. 2.

He has also been accused in two lawsuits of assaulting female employees of a racetrack. And his vehicle, business and home have been broken into.

In September, an 18-year-old friend of his granddaughter was found dead at Whittaker's home. That death remains under investigation. Whittaker was out of town at the time.

Bill's Comment: Is fame and fortune really worth it?

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Philled to the Brim" (12/20/04)/ "The Real World" (Medley)

I know that it is the holiday season, and that I should be as happy and gay as the next person (if that next person is James E. McGreevey), but with the post I had placed right before this, I have no choice but to vent off a little random anger.

I am getting sick and tired of the selfish, asinine parents who want to spoil it for everyone one, because they don't like Christmas. However, they will be hypocritical and force their religious holiday (if they have one) on both myself and the rest of us folks. Do not get me wrong. I respect those who celebrate Chanukah and Kwanzaa, and they reciprocate my wishes.

To me, this is just another example of both liberalism and political correctness trying to cling on like a dryer sheet in the upper arm of one my dress shirts where my armpit normally occupies. These misanthrope yuppies, along with the ACLU, deserve to get coal in their stockings. (I guess I just pissed off the environmentalists with that last comment. They can go bite the big one, as well.)

These are the same folks that dumb-down what the kids learning in school today, as well as trying to tell how to raise our children today (when they probably don't have any themselves), and want to take "Under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance, just to name a few.

If you whiners and crybabies do not like it here, then LEAVE! I dare you to go to France. They don't give two hoots for you, yet alone themselves. Canada wants nothing to do with you, either.
12/21/04- Addendum: One More Thing

In regards to these adolescent grinches that want to spoil our holiday season for their selfishness, I have one one more question to ask, and it goes out to all school boards and administrators.

When are you ever going to get some fortitude, both intestinal and testicular, and IGNORE them! Why do you always seem to cower like a whipped puppy every time the word "lawsuit" is spoken?

Back to the folks that cause all of this mayhem. If you want to spoil a school Christmas program (Yes, I said it!), then DON'T GO! STAY HOME (and be miserable)! Yes, it is a public forum, but attendance is not mandatory.

Since I am such a nice guy, I will provide a bit titled "The Real World":

The Real World

Charles Sykes is the author of DUMBING DOWN OUR KIDS. In his book, he talks about how the liberal, feel-good, politically correct garbage has created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 Life is not fair; get used to it.

Rule 2 The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world Will expect You to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 You will not make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you "earn" both.

Rule 4 If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

Rule 5 Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 If you screw up, it's not your parents' fault so don't whine about your mistakes. Learn from them.

Rule 7 Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. So before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 Your school may have done away with winners and losers but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades, they'll give you as many chances as you want to got the right answer. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule 9 Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

N.J. School Reverses 'Silent Night' Ban

With Carl Limbacher and Staff
For the story behind the story...

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004 10:51 a.m. EST

N.J. School Reverses 'Silent Night' Ban

A New Jersey talk radio host has succeeded in forcing the Egg Harbor Township board of education to reverse its ban on the Christmas classic "Silent Night," which had been dropped from the school district's holiday program based a single parental complaint.

Last night's 7-0 vote by the panel means that "Silent Night" can now be included in this week's Holiday Singalong at the E.H. Slaybaugh Elementary School, where the controversy first erupted.

The complaining parent, an attorney who has not been publicly identified, asked that the holiday carol be dropped from the program, even though songs about other religious holidays, such as "The Dreidel Song" and "Kwanzaa's Here," were included.
The controversy erupted last Wednesday after WOND Atlantic City radio host Jeff Whitaker received a tip about the Christmas music ban.

"I had on the air the lawyer for the school district, Will Donio, who advised them to do away with 'Silent Night,'" Whitaker told NewsMax.

The Atlantic City talker said he was deluged with calls as the controversy percolated through the week, including requests for more information from local pastors.

As a result, "four of five pastors wrote to the local school board," Whitaker said, prompting district officials to rethink the ban.

After Egg Harbor educrats voted to reverse the ruling in a special session on Monday, Whitaker declared victory, posting a message to his Web site crediting his audience with the success.

"The credit in this turn of events goes to the listeners of our radio show, the outrage and stand taken by many of Egg Harbor Township parents and the prayers of people all across the region," he said.