Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bush Drops Hints on Supreme Court Choice

Bush Drops Hints on Supreme Court Choice

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 28 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush gave the nation several clues Saturday about the person he will nominate for a seat on the Supreme Court, except for the most important one — a name.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said his eventual nominee will be a "fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values."

His candidate also "will meet the highest standards of intellect, character and ability and will pledge to faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country," the president said.

"Our nation deserves, and I will select, a Supreme Court justice that Americans can be proud of," he said, without revealing the name that many are anxious to hear.

Bush also discussed his recent meeting with Senate leaders of both parties to discuss the nomination and confirmation process for a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor. The first woman to serve on the high court, O'Connor announced July 1 that she is stepping down after 24 years.

Much of the retirement speculation — before and after O'Connor's surprise announcement — had focused on Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who is 80 and ailing with thyroid cancer.

Rehnquist tried to dampen expectations this week, issuing a statement in which he said his retirement is not imminent and that he would continue on the court "as long as my health permits."

While the expected battle over the Supreme Court is Topic A in Washington, Bush also said he is working on "other important priorities" while reviewing the dossiers of potential nominees.

He noted the week's positive economic news — this year's budget deficit is expect to come in nearly $100 billion below previous estimates — and reflected on his pledge to cut the deficit in half by 2009.

"This week's numbers show that we are ahead of pace, so long as Congress acts wisely with taxpayer dollars," Bush said. He also noted recent signs of economic growth and a 5 percent unemployment rate.

But the president also prodded Congress to make progress in several areas that he said will keep the economy growing and creating jobs, including by finishing work on:

_An energy bill to reduce dependence on foreign sources.

_A free-trade agreement with the Central American nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. The pact, signed by the United States a year ago, would end or sharply reduce trade barriers with these countries.

_A highway bill to fix roads and bridges.

He also pressed for action on his proposal to overhaul Social Security for younger workers.

Bush said he and Senate leaders agreed on the need for a dignified confirmation process for his Supreme Court choice. He noted the treatment of President Clinton's nominees — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — as examples of how it has been done.

In 1993, the Senate voted on Ginsburg 42 days after Clinton submitted her nomination. Despite philosophical differences with some senators, she was confirmed by 96 of the 100 members.

A year later, Breyer's confirmation came 73 days after his nomination, and he received 87 votes.

"These examples show that thorough consideration of a nominee does not require months of delay," he said, and repeated his intention to make an announcement in time for the person to be confirmed before the court's new term begins in October.


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Friday, July 15, 2005

The end of Eminem?

(Pre-comment: Source courtesy of the Drudge Report)
The end of Eminem?

Latest tour and CD could be rap superstar's last, insiders say

July 15, 2005


On Eminem's new summer tour, a tense video storyline is woven through the Detroit rapper's show. Following a montage of visuals encapsulating his vast celebrity -- magazine covers, TV footage, limos, crowds -- the star is seen alone backstage, aiming a loaded pistol at his image in a mirror before turning it toward himself.

The climax is abrupt: With the gun to his temple, Eminem pulls the trigger. The screen goes black.

When the dressing room eventually fades back into view, the audience sees that the rapper sits unharmed; the gun has misfired. Eminem looks into the camera.

"This is how you go out with a bang, baby!"

At a casual glance, it might come off like the latest shock attack in a career defined by controversy. But dig a bit deeper and you'll come upon a revelation even more startling, one that has been known only to the artist's closest friends and associates.

Marshall Mathers is ready to get rid of Eminem.

Here's what it could mean, say those close to the rapper: When he steps off the stage Sept. 17 in Dublin, Ireland, he will have made his final concert appearance. "Encore," his slyly titled 2004 release, will stand as the final Eminem album. The reign of Eminem, and his alter ego Slim Shady, will have been voluntarily vanquished.

It wouldn't be a mere name game, in the hip-hop fashion that let Puff Daddy become P. Diddy, or the fanciful indulgence of a superstar toying with personas, like Prince. Nor would it be some gimmicky farewell stunt, say hometown friends and professional associates, many of whom asked not to be named in this story, citing sensitivity about the issue deep within Eminem's record label and management camps.

What it would represent, say those friends, is a dramatic life shift for a celebrity grown weary of public commotion -- and an artist who feels trapped by musical expectations.

"Em has definitely gotten to the level where he feels like he's accomplished everything he can accomplish in rap," said rapper Proof, Mathers' right-hand man onstage. "He wants to kick back and get into the producing thing."

Detroit producer Jeff Bass, who won an Academy Award for cowriting Eminem's "Lose Yourself," said while he won't rule out the possibility of further solo albums from Mathers, "the Eminem part of his career isn't going to be at the forefront anymore."

If Mathers is truly set to shake things up, exactly where he goes from here is unclear. He's not doing interviews this summer, and his spokesman at Interscope Records in Los Angeles declined to comment. Manager Paul Rosenberg said there's been "no official decision" about the future. But he acknowledged that some kind of recalibration is likely, adding that Eminem's latest multiplatinum record is "certainly the cap on this part of his career."

Others by his side, from business partners to fellow rappers in D12, say Mathers is ready to embark on a path like that of mentor Dr. Dre, who upon reaching his 30s eased away from the microphone for a successful career as a producer and star-maker.

Such a move by Mathers would shake the tectonic plates of pop culture. At 33, he is now the best-selling hip-hop artist in history and is, by many standards, the globe's biggest music star.

If this is indeed a final bow, Eminem will join a special society of pop icons: the ones who went out on a high note. It's a small and exclusive membership that includes the Beatles, Sam Cooke, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana -- artists who, by choice or fate, quit while they were ahead. They're the ones who left stories with clear beginnings and ends and legacies that never risked getting spoiled.

"Why not bow out while you're on top?" said Proof, speaking last Friday inside his tour bus at Germain Amphitheater in Columbus, Ohio, second stop on the Anger Management Tour 3.

"Marshall is very smart about this stuff," said another musical partner. "He knows the danger of being at this level, where there's nowhere to go but down."

Within the star's tightly insulated Detroit circle -- a small group of long-trusted friends and collaborators -- the signals began to emerge during sessions for his latest record. This was it, he told them. The last album, the last tour, the last sprint through the thicket of public hysteria.

"We didn't go into this for the celebrity thing. We were never looking for that," said Mark Bass, brother of Jeff Bass. Mathers is signed to their production company, 8 Mile Style, which landed the rapper's deal with Interscope.

"As much as he caters to his fans, this has always been about putting food on the table," Mark Bass said. "And he knows the right thing to do to make sure that happens. If that's moving into producing 50 Cent and the other new artists he's handling, then that's what it is. He's a smart guy. He knows what he's doing."

In November, Eminem unveiled his mind-set for everybody -- and nobody caught on. His new album was titled "Encore," complete with a cover photo that showed him taking a bow. For his fourth release since his 1999 breakout, Eminem had chosen to announce the end of the show.

"I was actually pretty shocked when no one picked up on the concept," said manager Rosenberg.

Maybe the audience was still too noisy to notice. "Encore," his first solo effort in more than two years, was the most anticipated album of the season, generating wall-to-wall hype on its way to the obligatory critical kudos and No. 1 debut. Eight months later, sales are nearing 5 million.

The new concert video, with its metaphoric killing of Eminem, merely extends a concept already sketched by Mathers.

Buried in the "Encore" album notes is a line that reads, "To my fans ... I'm sorry," adjacent to an image of a bullet. On the album-ending "Encore/Curtains Down," he delivers his closing stanza accompanied by the sound of gunfire: "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming out -- peace! / Oh ... I almost forgot / You're comin' with me / Ha ha! Bye bye!"

As "Encore" promotional plans were mapped out, sources say, worried advisers convinced the rapper to leave it at that, to resist further tip-offs that "Encore" was the end: Why chain himself to a pledge he might not want to keep?

Any fears would be understandable. Even in an industry often accused of nearsightedness, the short-term publicity bang of a retirement announcement wouldn't trump the loss of the decade's biggest seller. Since 1999, Eminem has sold more than $1 billion worth of records. So much was on the line for so many, from the global executives at Universal Music to Mathers' local team of writing partners. Though Mathers remains under contract to Interscope, he can't be forced to deliver another record, based on music industry precedent established by California courts.

Extensive discussions did precede the album's release, said Rosenberg, but the decision to withhold a farewell announcement was driven by Mathers himself.

"He didn't want to seem like one of those guys who's playing a trick on his fans, or playing with their heads," said Rosenberg, pointing to the on-again-off-again retirement of hip-hop star Jay-Z. "It's part of the same struggle he goes through in his music -- 'How much of my inner thinking should I be putting out there?' "

But if this really is it, why now?

Friends say several factors have converged to create the transformative moment: a growing weariness with the media spotlight, a related drive for solitude and family time, and a savvy recognition of the links between credibility, age and the limited shelf lives that come with pop stardom. But musical motivations top the list.

Over time, Eminem's own songs have alluded to his frustration at feeling creatively cornered by public expectations. You don't need a decoder ring to get the message: "I've created a monster / 'Cause nobody wants to see Marshall no more," he rapped on the chart-topping 2002 hit "Without Me." "They want Shady / I'm chopped liver."

"Marshall feels like he's said everything he can say as Eminem," noted one insider. "The idea that he intended this to be his last record is something that everyone on the inside circle has known for a while."

"At this point," said Mark Bass, "he's a producer."

Mathers will likely devote increased time to "guest appearances and working on other people's stuff," said Jeff Bass. "The songs I've been writing with him are being placed on other artists' albums now."

2002 was a career peak for Eminem. Three top-10 albums. Box office success and critical acclaim for the film "8 Mile." A subsequent Oscar for the song "Lose Yourself," which spent three months at No. 1. Behind the scenes, he was taking increasing command of his own production work while beefing up his Shady Records roster of artists, including soon-to-be sensation 50 Cent.

Even amid the whirlwind of '02, Mathers rarely spoke with the media. But in an interview that December with the Free Press, he hinted at a day when his rapping appetite might wane.

"When it does for me, as far as rap goes, as far as being the front man, I'll still be doing music," he said. "Which is why I'm trying to build my clientele, so to speak, and producing. People have a hard time recognizing that, looking past the fact that I'm a rapper."

Summer 2005 was already shaping up as a crucial moment in the Eminem story, a time of transition for both his career and the broader pop-culture realm where it operates.

Few pop artists hold on long to the double aces of creative vitality and commercial clout. It's just not the nature of the pop-music deal, which rarely delivers that winning hand in the first place -- let alone allows it to be played several times in a row.

Eminem has now been front and center of American culture for nearly seven years. The Beatles were there for six.

That he's pulled off such a feat within this era, within the realm of rap, makes the dynasty that much more remarkable. Both the 2000s and hip-hop favor the chew-'em-up, spit-'em-out mentality. Together, they're nearly lethal to longevity.

"The public is certainly fickle," said Howard Hertz, the rapper's Bloomfield Hills attorney. "But when you've got an artist with such enormous talent, it tends to rise above the crowd in terms of staying power."

For a figure who remains perched atop the music world, Mathers has kept a startlingly low profile these past three years. No U.S. tour, one solo album, few forays into the big-media spotlight. In an age of surplus celebrity, prone to information overdose, Mathers and his advisers have approached the game carefully, cautiously. They've played it Prince and Bob Dylan style: Seclusion feeds the mystique that feeds the public demand.

Even when Eminem seemed everywhere, he was rarely anywhere outside his familiar daily orbit -- namely, his Oakland Township manor and the Ferndale studio where he records much of his work.

Since a pair of gun incidents in 2000 that led to probation -- and accompanying drug testing -- Mathers has reshaped his personal life, toning down his wild side while toning up in the gym. In recent years, he has largely managed to avoid tabloid headlines, which have been left to focus on the perpetual legal troubles of his ex-wife, Kim Mathers. In stark contrast to fellow Detroit star Kid Rock, who also hit big in 1999, Mathers is the bane of gossip writers across the land, conspicuously avoiding the late-night, out-on-the-town scene.

It's an interesting study in restraint for a guy who made his name with a loud mouth. Of course, when you're as big as Eminem, the physics of fame works both ways, and public demand also can force seclusion. When the world grabs at every piece of you, saving some for yourself can take hard work.

On the evening of Detroit's fireworks last month, Eminem made a rare appearance to perform a song at a downtown rooftop party. His brisk entrance and departure were waged with presidential precision. Staffers snapped crisp orders over headsets; bodyguards jammed into tight formation; a Department of Homeland Security dog team sniffed for bombs. And that was just in an otherwise deserted parking-garage stairwell.

On his way out of the party, a crowd surged toward him, armed on an autograph mission. One lanky teenager was among the lucky few to get a CD signed as Eminem stopped briefly to indulge the group. The scrawled name wasn't enough; the young man had found his opening.

"I had to meet you, man," he hollered desperately, hands still stabbing forward for a touch. "I've been waiting to meet you, man. I had to meet you!"

Eminem nodded vaguely as his security staff prodded the rapper toward the exit. Five years after discovering that he could start alone at one end of a shopping mall and wind up surrounded by 500 people when he got to the other, Mathers still seems uncertain how to handle the crush of attention, so much of it intensely personal.

His 1999 debut, recorded when he was a virtual unknown, was packed with standard hip-hop bluster about dominating the world. Just 15 months later, "The Marshall Mathers LP" found him wrestling with the reality of explosive celebrity. On the song "Stan," he tackled it head-on, condensing the complexities of fame, the blurring of private and public life, into a narrative about an overzealous fan.

It was the first big sign that Mathers wasn't going to let the public snatch him up and have its way with his psyche. While insiders say he relished the popularity, which served as a figurative middle finger to any former doubters, he also developed a kind of bunker mentality, seeking sanctuary as he retreated from the celebrity circus.

Rosenberg concedes that some fans have been frustrated by Mathers' detachment, an isolation that is aided by one of the most unyielding media policies in modern entertainment. But the manager defends the choices, pointing out that Mathers has already revealed more than most public figures, via his emotionally raw music.

"In a sense, he feels like, 'Hey, I'm giving y'all enough already,' " said Rosenberg, a Detroit native now based in Manhattan. "There's a strong dichotomy between what he puts on the table with his private life through his art, and what he wants people to see in public. He exposes exactly what he wants to expose. Everything else, as far as he's concerned, is private."

Central to that quest, said Mark Bass, was simply remaining in the Detroit area, deliberately avoiding the frantic entertainment centers on the coasts.

"If we'd stayed out in Los Angeles, this would all have happened a lot quicker. He might be gone already," said Bass. "I really think the best thing is that he stayed here -- that he stayed home."

Privacy has been a growing priority for the rapper, who reunited late last year with his ex-wife. Friends say he is now happiest at home, where the couple tend to their 9-year-old daughter Hailie, Mathers' 12-year-old niece Alaina and 2-year-old Whitney, Kim Mathers' daughter by another man.

Mathers has come to dislike travel, and though his breezy demeanor at last week's Columbus concert was perhaps the loosest he's ever appeared onstage, he had to be cajoled into tackling this tour, scheduled to complete its U.S. leg Aug. 12 at Comerica Park.

But looming over all else, say some on the inside, is a fear that Eminem could be musically spent. The making of "Encore" proved particularly tough, as Mathers searched for new ways to cover the stock Eminem repertoire: feuding with Kim, battling the establishment, cleaning out his family's emotional closet -- all the familiar fare that has defined his public character.

"This was a very difficult record for him to make," said a source in Detroit. "Marshall really struggles to write for himself now, to speak through the voice of Eminem. He knows as well as anybody that there comes a point where you risk beating this thing to death."

There's an old cliche in the music biz: You've got your entire life to write your first record; after that, you're at the mercy of the annual cycle. If you're among those who score riches and fame, you may find yourself straining to stay connected to an audience whose world you no longer inhabit.

Some artists try to confront the dilemma with stylistic twists and turns, a craft mastered by Madonna, another Detroit-bred star. Most, though, just plow ahead, resigned to steadily dwindling relevance.

What's rare is quitting before the erosion gets a chance to kick in. It requires a distinct kind of foresight, the kind that might belong to someone with an acute self-awareness -- the kind that might be second nature to someone who spent his formative years as a white outsider seeking legitimacy in a black cultural form.

"Marshall isn't young anymore," said a staffer with Mathers' hometown operation. "Throughout these six years, he's always stayed one step ahead. Now it's knowing that he's at an age where teenagers might be ready to move on to something else."

No matter how it goes down, no matter what the rationale, fans are likely to be blindsided if 2005 is the last call for Eminem.

In Columbus late Friday night, concertgoers streamed out of the amphitheater buzzing about the Eminem set they'd just seen, a spectacle featuring some of the highest production values to hit a hip-hop stage. Against a three-story backdrop layered with balconies and intricate lights, Em and Proof delivered 90 minutes of music punctuated by confetti showers and pyrotechnic flash.

But if anyone had picked up on the night's underlying angle -- Eminem's potential career finale -- it wasn't obvious.

Greg Thomas, 24, had made the trip from Ann Arbor, the work of a die-hard fan with a $90 seat down front. He had watched the onstage video and heard the "Encore" songs. But he hadn't connected the dots. The notion that this could be it, the end, left him in disbelief.

"That would be horrible," he said. "Eminem is the one who unites everybody. Look around you here. He brings together white, black, Puerto Rican, Filipino, everybody. If he were to give it up now, who would take over?"

Fans will always have their CDs. Around Detroit, though, an Eminem exile would directly alter the lives of those who have been part of the ride, enjoying everything from steady work to million-dollar paydays.

The members of D12, rappers who played barren Detroit dives with Eminem long before they accompanied him in sold-out arenas, have already begun preparing for the shift -- founding their own companies, taking on outside production work, recording solo albums and scheduling solo tours.

Backstage in Columbus, Proof reflected on the past as he looked ahead to a future that might find Mathers "doing some raps now and then."

"He's been like a gift and a curse at the same time," said Proof, who on Aug. 9 will release "Searching for Jerry Garcia," the debut album for his new Iron Fist Records. "He's the biggest rap artist of all time, so he overshadows everything -- not just me personally, but all of hip-hop. Now I've got a chance to get my label really cranking."

It was an affectionate comment, echoing the sentiments of many in the Shady sphere. Whatever the personal impact of an Eminem fadeout, those closest to Marshall Mathers say they would marvel in respect, admiring what could be the brashest move of all by a friend who has long pushed the envelope.

"I would envy him for it," said producer Mark Bass. "Who knows if he'll make another album. But he's worked hard -- he's been at the top because he's worked hard. If he makes a break, he deserves to get a break."

Contact BRIAN McCOLLUM at 313-223-4450 or

Court: U.S. Can Resume Detainee Tribunals

Court: U.S. Can Resume Detainee Tribunals

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
1 hour, 25 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A Guantanamo detainee who once was Osama bin Laden's driver can be tried by military tribunal, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, apparently clearing the way for the Pentagon to resume trials suspended when a lower court ruled the procedures unlawful.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled unanimously against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni.

More broadly it said that the 1949 Geneva Convention governing prisoners of war does not apply to al-Qaida and its members. That supports a key assertion of the Bush administration, which has faced international criticism for holding hundreds of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay without full POW protections.

"I think pretty much the entire opinion would be welcomed by the administration. I think there's nothing in there that is adverse to the administration's positions," Carl Tobias, a professor of law at the University of Richmond, said in a telephone interview. "It's a very pro-administration decision."

The Pentagon has argued that it is justified in using what it calls military commissions, or tribunals, to try terror suspects like Hamdan who were captured in the war in Afghanistan because they are "enemy combatants."

Hamdan, who was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001, denies conspiring to engage in acts of terrorism and denies he was a member of al-Qaida. His lawyers say that by working as bin Laden's driver he simply wanted to earn enough money to return to Yemen, buy his own vehicle and support his family as a driver.

Two lawyers representing Hamdan, Georgetown University law professor Neal Katyal and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles D. Swift, said the appeals court ruling "is contrary to 200 years of constitutional law."

"Today's ruling places absolute trust in the president, unchecked by the Constitution, statutes of Congress and long-standing treaties ratified by the Senate of the United States," the two defense lawyers said in a statement.

Katyal said in an interview that the detainee's legal team plans a further appeal.

The Pentagon had no comment on the ruling, nor did it say whether or when it planned to resume the its commission proceedings against Hamdan and three other Guantanamo detainees.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales issued a brief statement praising the decision.

"The president's authority under the laws of our nation to try enemy combatants is a vital part of the global war on terror, and today's decision reaffirms this critical authority," Gonzales said.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, a critic of the commissions, said the Pentagon would be better off using the normal courts-martial process under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"By permitting trials before military commissions, the court gave the administration enough rope to hang itself," Roth said. "That's because, as currently conceived, the military commissions are deeply flawed."

Hamdan's trial started last August but was halted when a district court ruled in November that Hamdan could not be tried by a U.S. military commission unless a "competent tribunal" determined first that he was not a prisoner of war under the 1949 Geneva Convention. In Friday's ruling, the three judges said the commission itself is such a competent tribunal, and that Hamdan could assert his claim to prisoner of war status at the time of his trial before a military commission.

Hamdan's lawyers said President Bush violated the separation of powers in the Constitution when he established military commissions.

The appeals court disagreed, saying Bush relied on Congress's joint resolution authorizing the use of force after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as two congressionally enacted laws.

"We think it no answer to say, as Hamdan does, that this case is different because Congress did not formally declare war," said the decision by Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who was appointed to the appeals court by the first President Bush. He was joined in the ruling by Stephen Williams, a Reagan appointee, and Judge John Roberts, placed on the court by the current President Bush.

One of the leading critics of the Pentagon's military commissions, the Center for Constitutional Rights, called Friday's ruling "misguided" and said it could have an impact beyond the status of Hamdan.

"The ramifications of the decision may be enormous in terms of the danger created for U.S. soldiers stationed abroad," it said. "If the United States does not use fair and just procedures that guarantee military detainees due process protections in the 'war on terror,' no other country will feel the need to do so either."

Just 15 of the 520 detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been designated by Bush for such prosecution by military tribunals and only four, including Hamdan, have been charged. The Pentagon has said it is developing charges against others, and it maintains that those not charged could be held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay .

Hamdan, a mechanic with a fourth-grade education, says he left his home country of Yemen looking for work and wound up in Afghanistan, working for bin Laden from 1997 until the U.S. attack in Afghanistan in 2001.


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Mother Charged With Injecting Fecal Matter Into Son

Mother Charged With Injecting Fecal Matter Into Son

McMullen Former Nurse At Children's Hospital

POSTED: 12:17 am EDT July 15, 2005
UPDATED: 8:47 pm EDT July 15, 2005

BEAR, Del. -- A Bear woman has been charged with trying to poison her 22-month-old son by injecting feces into his bloodstream.

New Castle County police have charged 29-year-old Stephanie McMullen with assault by abuse or neglect, recklessly charging serious physical injury to a child and first-degree reckless endangering. McMullen is being held on $27,000 bond.

McMullen is a former nurse at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children. She's accused of deliberately injecting fecal matter into her son, causing the toddler to be hospitalized numerous times.

Police said they learned about the boy once doctors who had treated him stepped forward, NBC 10 News reported.

The toddler had been hospitalized on six different occasions for serious medical conditions since he was approximately 4 months old. According to court records, the toddler suffered fevers, diarrhea, dehydration and vomiting.

Police said they found needles and confiscated McMullen's computer. Investigators said they learned about several inquiries on search engines for child poisoning. On at least two occasions, the child was hospitalized just days after the searches.

Police said the child's father knew nothing about the alleged abuse, and is not a suspect in the crime. The child is currently in foster care.

Police said the incident is a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a pattern of behavior in which caretakers deliberately try to create health problems in others.

"It's absolutely disgusting ... that somebody or any parent would do this to a child," said one neighbor.

McMullen's attorney, Woody Eveland, said the charges are unfounded.

"We've conducted numerous depositions, at which point each of the doctors at A.I. duPont Hospital have had to admit they have absolutely no objective evidence that she's done this in any way, shape or form," he said.

Related Story:
July 15, 2005: Munchausen By Proxy Is Psychiatric Problem

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Newt: Censure Durbin


Newt: Censure Durbin

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
by Newt Girngrich

Last week in the Senate, after reading an FBI memo describing prisoner conditions in Guantanamo Bay, Sen. Richard Durbin, one of the highest-ranking leaders in the Senate said, "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings." The comparison, sadly, is despicable. The Senate should censure Mr. Durbin for his statement.
Let us be clear about the gravity of Mr. Durbin's words. Nine million human beings were murdered in Hitler's death camps, nearly 3 million perished in the gulags under Stalin and more than 1.5 million were slaughtered in the killing fields of Cambodia at the hand of Pol Pot. And while not a single terrorist has died in detention at Guantanamo, Mr. Durbin sees fit to liken our American servicemen and women to the terrifying murderers of three evil despotic regimes.
Moreover, Mr. Durbin equates the terrorist detainees at Guantanamo with the millions of innocent men, women and children exterminated by the order of evil dictators. The fact that he did so as a high-ranking member of the Senate on the floor of the Senate makes his comparison all the more shocking.
This moral equivalence isn't just utterly false; it endangers the lives of our young men and women in the military because it arms every radical Islamist with the official-record words of a Senate leader to justify their war of terror against civilized people everywhere The very men and women who defend our freedom and ironically the freedom of an Illinois senator to smear them, are put at risk from such statements.
So we now know where Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin stands He had two choices, defend or apologize for his statements equating American treatment of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay with the behavior of the worst villains of the 20th century. Last Wednesday, he issued his first statement in an attempt to clarify his words. On Friday, he issued another statement that included the word "regret" but notice what he actually said; "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings." Incredibly, Mr. Durbin is sticking to his original assertion that there is indeed, in Mr. Durbin's own words, an "historic parallel" between U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo Bay and the killers under Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. In other words, his only regret is that we don't understand his misreading of history and that he has caused us to misunderstand him. Offering no apology for the slanderous statement itself, he has chosen instead to stick to and actually defend his original worsens defense makes his original speech all the more revolting.
But what about the other 99 senators? Where do they stand? Will they stand with Mr. Durbin? Will they allow American soldiers to be defamed by a fellow senator? Will they succumb to collegial courtesy by letting their silence speak for their toleration of a fellow senator's offense? Or will they defend Americans from this kind of verbal assault by having the courage to censure Durbin?
It is the moral responsibility for every senator to renounce Mr. Durbin's comparison of U.S. troops to the Gestapo, the KGB and Pol Pot's killers. Mr. Durbin has left the Senate no choice but to censure him for his defamation of America and endangering young Americans fighting for freedom and against terrorism.
A Senate censure of Mr. Durbin is not only justified, but it is necessary to reaffirm a standard for healthy, rational debate. More importantly, by voting for or against the censure, the rest of the members of the Senate can go on record and make clear how they judge Mr. Durbin's characterization of American soldiers. It will also send a clear message to terrorists who will use the words of a Senate leader against us that the Senate stands in support of America and our military and against those who seek to destroy the free people of the United States.
While we stand for freedom, including the freedom of speech, the detestable words of one senator does not constitute policy or truth.
It is one thing for one senator to endanger young Americans and defame America; but it would be the shame of the Senate if the other 99 senators did not stand up to defend America and to defend the reputation of our men and women in uniform.
In this case, expressing outrage is not enough It is time for the Senate to act Sen. Durbin must be censured now.

The Washington Times 2005

Ford unveils Fusion race car for 2006 season

Ford unveils Fusion race car for 2006 season

From Press Release
July 14, 2005
05:00 PM EDT (21:00 GMT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2006 Ford Fusion race car, based on the production model that will hit showrooms this fall, was officially named Ford Racing's new race car for NASCAR competition in a ceremony featuring Ford's NASCAR stars in the Booth Playhouse in Charlotte, N.C.

The 2006 NASCAR Ford Fusion will make its competition debut at the 2006 Daytona 500 in February, and Ford teams will use it in next year's Nextel Cup Series Chase for the Championship, as well as Busch Series competition.

"We're thrilled to be unveiling the new Fusion," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "The Fusion production car represents a fresh, new attitude for Ford in the mid-size sedan lineup. This Fusion race car has the same bold look, and it represents an all-new era in our Ford NASCAR racing program."

The 2006 Fusion will become Ford's first all-new nameplate car for NASCAR racing in 38 years, since the 1968 Ford Torino made its debut in both the showroom and on the race track.

"The Fusion represents the new face of Ford cars," said Marty Collins, General Marketing Manager, Ford Division. "And racing it in NASCAR competition allows us to get that new face in front of the millions of race fans who follow NASCAR racing in person and on television.

"Racing involvement will play a key role in the launch and the marketing of the Fusion throughout the rest of this year and into 2006. The great interest in NASCAR racing will help us tie the Fusion name to the Ford brand, and it's only right that we race Ford's newest car in America's flagship racing series."

The first of nine Ford Racing Innovation Drives for consumers nationwide kicks off Saturday at Kentucky Speedway, with the production Fusion headlining the Ford lineup of vehicles available to drive, and the NASCAR Fusion making its public debut for race fans.

The NASCAR Fusion will replace the Ford Taurus race car, which has captured four NASCAR championships (three Nextel Cup, one Busch), and 100 Nextel Cup victories since it made its competition debut in 1998.

"We'd like to send Taurus out with one more championship," said Davis, noting six Ford drivers are currently in contention to qualify for the final, 10-race Nextel Chase for the Championship. "But the time is right to move on to Fusion."

Ford submitted the Fusion to NASCAR officials several weeks ago, and is awaiting a final, on-track test before the car is officially certified for competition.

"We've worked hand-in-hand with NASCAR on the development of this car, and we can't thank them enough for helping us bring the Fusion forward," said Davis.

Ford took a different approach with the development of this race car than it had done with previous models in the past. This time, Ford engineers, led by Ford NASCAR field manager Ben Leslie and Ford aerodynamicist Bernie Marcus, did the early development with a scale model testing program that in previous new model efforts had been done by race teams.

Leslie and Marcus consulted with Ford race teams and took input on the new Fusion race car, but the duo did most of the development work over the past eight months while Ford teams competed week-in and week-out in NASCAR competition.

"Our guys did a terrific job of getting the NASCAR Fusion to where it needed to be, and we actually were ahead of schedule in getting it to NASCAR," said Davis. "The goal of any new car is to take the lessons learned from the previous model and, working within the NASCAR guidelines, bring forth a slightly better product.

"I think we accomplished that, and with the Fusion's dynamic new look, I think we have a car that NASCAR fans will easily recognize out on the track, in Victory Lane, and in their own driveway.

"We're excited, and I know our teams are as well."

Bill's Comment: I saw a picture of it, and it looks very cool. Check it out.

DEI, Waltrip parting ways at conclusion of season

DEI, Waltrip parting ways at conclusion of season

Veteran driver says he has many options for '06 and beyond

By Marty Smith, NASCAR.COM
July 15, 2005
03:23 PM EDT (19:23 GMT)

LOUDON, N.H. -- Unsuccessful in a six-week quest to agree to terms for a contract extension, Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. have mutually agreed to part ways following the 2005 Nextel Cup Series season.

"It's as mutual as any decision has ever been, because of my respect for DEI and the relationships I have there with Richie and Teresa.

"Dale and Teresa and I go way back, so we wanted to be sure that so we didn't take a step back as an organization or as a team for me, that maybe I should try to find something else to do."

Waltrip explained Friday that DEI held the option to renew the deal, with a deadline of May 1. After that, Waltrip was free to seek another job.

So for the past month, the two sides worked diligently to agree on terms, but uncertainties about which individuals would make up his team left Waltrip leery. He opted out, and said Friday he has had discussions with owners about possible opportunities.

He has received no formal offers.

"The way I've performed and the job we've been able to do, I've got a lot of options for 2006," Waltrip said. "I thought I'd drive this car for the rest of my career, and I knew if that was the case, it means I'd be winning races and doing what I needed to do.

"It's sad to say I'm not going to be at DEI anymore.

"We're not really sure what 2006, seven, eight and beyond will look like. But I definitely will be in the Cup Series with a winning team."

Waltrip wouldn't specify with whom he's spoken about future employment, but did make it clear he has no intentions of elevating his Busch Series team to the Nextel Cup ranks.

He is also uncertain whether sponsor NAPA Auto Parts will stay at DEI or go with him to another team, but DEI motorsports director Richie Gilmore said in a statement Friday that the team was working diligently to re-sign NAPA and field a third team in 2006.

"DEI's NASCAR Nextel Cup focus for 2006 will be to sharpen every entity of our race teams by preparing the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, driven by Martin Truex Jr., and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the championship," Gilmore said.

"Additionally, we are working diligently with our current partner, NAPA, on returning to the No. 15 car."

Waltrip said he's not sure whether DEI plans to field three cars in 2006.

"NAPA has a lot invested in me and they have a lot invested in DEI, so they were hoping we could figure out some way to stay together," Waltrip said. "They wanted to be with me and with DEI next year. That was their goal.

"But when that became obvious that wouldn't happen, they're faced with a decision of what they need to do. I'm certainly open to seeing if they want to go with me, and at the same time encouraging them to stay at DEI, as well."

McMurray to drive No. 6 for Roush Racing in '07

McMurray to drive No. 6 for Roush Racing in '07

By Marty Smith, NASCAR.COM
July 7, 2005
03:34 PM EDT (19:34 GMT)

Jamie McMurray has signed a multi-year contract to drive Roush Racing's No. 6 Fords starting in 2007, sources close to the driver confirmed Thursday morning.

Roush Racing released a statement Thursday afternoon confirming McMurray has signed to drive the No. 6 car.

Chip Ganassi Racing announced Thursday morning it and McMurray would part ways following the 2006 season.

"Jamie's made a decision to go in another direction after we've both fulfilled the commitment that we made to each other in 2002," team owner Chip Ganassi said in the statement.

"We didn't do a good job of conveying to Jamie where this team is headed, but we expect a lot of success with Jamie the rest of this year and next year, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors beyond that."

Sources said McMurray signed the contract with Roush Racing late last week, and speculation began almost immediately that he was on his way out at Ganassi.

No word has been given regarding an interim driver for 2006, but many feel Roush Racing Truck Series driver Ricky Craven is the team's first choice.

McMurray is currently in his third Nextel Cup Series season, all with Ganassi. His lone victory came at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October 2002 while substituting for injured teammate Sterling Marlin.

McMurray currently ranks seventh in the 2005 championship point standings.

Paris Mayor Says Blair, Coe 'Crossed Line'

Paris Mayor Says Blair, Coe 'Crossed Line'

Mon Jul 11, 6:01 PM ET

PARIS - Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe says British prime minister Tony Blair and London bid leader Sebastian Coe "crossed the line" by criticizing other cities that were vying for the 2012 Olympics.

However, French International Olympic Committee member Jean-Claude Killy said the Paris bid was weakened from the inside and he was "sickened" by the complaints.

Last week, London was awarded the 2012 Games over Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow.

"They crossed the yellow line with respect to the IOC rules," Delanoe told France-Info radio Monday after a meeting of the Paris city council.

Delanoe did not offer specific accusations, though two consultants for the British bid were critical of the sightlines at the Stade de France, considered a centerpiece of Paris' bid. Under IOC rules, the bid cities are prohibited from criticizing each other.

However, after reviewing the remarks, Paris officials decided not to complain to the IOC ethics commission. The IOC said it wouldn't pursue the matter.

On Saturday, IOC president Jacques Rogge said none of the cities broke rules designed to stamp out corruption in the bidding process.

Paris bidders were reportedly angry that Blair had met with IOC members in his hotel room in Singapore.

"There's nothing wrong with having a conversation with a major politician from a bid city," Rogge said.

Killy pointed to the last-minute loss of Foreign Minister Michel Barnier — who long worked with the Olympics but was replaced following a government change in June.

And he made a veiled suggestion that remarks in 2003 by President Jacques Chirac, who criticized eastern European nations over their support of the United States in its war in Iraq, cost Paris the votes of members from those countries.

Killy, a World Cup, world and Olympic ski champion, said Paris shouldn't "look for pitiful excuses."

"Imagine trying to obtain today the votes of the east. It's really not easy," he said in an implicit reference to Chirac's criticism of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for supporting Washington in 2003 ahead of the invasion of Iraq.

Chirac said it was "not very responsible" or "well bred" of them to do so, adding that "I think they missed a good chance to shut up."

He said that Barnier was "one of the best known and most respected French with the IOC" and added that France has no "international sports presence."

Bill's Comment: Like the liberals in this country, the French can never accept defeat.

Embattled Detroit Mayor Trails in Poll

Embattled Detroit Mayor Trails in Poll

Mon Jul 11,10:13 AM ET

DETROIT - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick trailed former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix in a new poll, although the incumbent was gaining ground somewhat in a potential two-way race.

Detroit's nonpartisan mayoral primary is Aug. 2. The top two candidates face off in the Nov. 8 general election.

Kilpatrick, who was elected mayor in 2001, has been struggling with a budget deficit and questions about his personal conduct.

Asked whom they support for mayor, 34 percent of those surveyed said Hendrix, 23 percent said Kilpatrick, 16 percent said City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail and 7 percent said state Sen. Hansen Clarke.

The survey, conducted July 5-7 by EPIC/MRA of Lansing and published Monday in the Detroit Free Press, showed other candidates receiving a combined 9 percent. Eleven percent were undecided.

The latest survey showed Hendrix still head in a two-way race, but losing ground to Kilpatrick — with 53 percent favoring or leaning toward Hendrix, 39 percent favoring or leaning toward Kilpatrick and 8 percent undecided.

A late-May poll showed 57 percent supporting or leaning toward Hendrix, 30 percent supporting or leaning toward Kilpatrick and 13 percent undecided.

Both polls surveyed 400 likely voters and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.


Bill's Comment: I know that polls are insignificant, but I hope that it gives the citizens of Detroit a beacon of light. We shall see in November.

Chrysler Matches GM, Ford on Discount Plan

Chrysler Matches GM, Ford on Discount Plan

Wed Jul 6, 7:27 PM ET

DETROIT - DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group became the last of the Big Three carmakers to slap employee discounts on its vehicles Wednesday, raising the stakes in a price war with a very uncertain outcome.

Under the program, which runs through Aug. 1, Chrysler is offering some Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles at the employee rate plus up to $3,500 cash back. Chrysler is following the lead of General Motors Corp., which began offering an employee discount to customers June 1, and Ford Motor Co., which announced an employee pricing plan Tuesday.

Chrysler also said Wednesday its former chairman and chief executive, Lee Iacocca, who led the carmaker's turnaround in the 1980s, is expected to appear in advertisements for the new promotion. Chrysler's program excludes the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Magnum, Sprinter and Viper and the Jeep Liberty Diesel. All 2006 models and SRT models also are excluded.

GM's sales jumped 41 percent in June thanks to the discount, which allowed customers to buy vehicles for an average of $400 to $500 less than they spent in May. Ford and Chrysler followed after lackluster sales in June.

Quarterly sales results, which will be released in mid-July, will show how much the discount program has cost GM. But Jesse Toprak, an analyst with the automotive research firm, said early signs indicate the program was cost-effective.

In general, Toprak said, GM paid for the discount by taking away cash rebates and other incentives. GM said more customers were willing to buy rather than lease, which held costs down, and customers also bought more expensive vehicles than they might have because of the perceived savings.

According to Autodata Corp., though, GM spent an average of $4,458 per vehicle on incentives in June, up $449 from May.

Toprak said Ford and Chrysler could have the same success with minimal cost if they follow GM's strategy. Ford already has taken away some cash incentives to help pay for the program, he said.

Still, Toprak said, the Big Three have reason to worry. Consumers might not continue to flock to dealerships as the summer goes on, especially when 2006 vehicles arrive in showrooms without big discounts attached.

GM's program "has further conditioned consumers to expect a big discount when they walk into a GM dealer," he said.

Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa agreed with that assessment in a note to investors.

"We are concerned that this everyday low price strategy has only set the domestic industry's starting price point a notch lower and in the long run will further erode brand-equity and residual values," Casesa said.

A discouraging sign for the Big Three is that the employee-pricing promotion did little to affect June sales of Asian brands, which continued to climb.

Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman Xavier Dominicis confirmed Wednesday the company has no plans to match the Big Three's discount program. Toyota sales were up 10 percent in June.

"Our outlook is a long-term outlook, and we're seeking sustainable growth," Dominicis said. "Toyota buyers tend not to be the deal-of-the-day buyers. There's a lot of loyalty when you look at our buyers."

Chris Ceraso, an analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston, said the discount programs also could sour relations with dealers. In a research note, Ceraso said the amount GM spent suggests dealers sacrificed thousands of dollars in profit margins in June to help the automaker.

Jim Sanfilippo of Bloomfield Hills-based Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc. said he believes the employee-discount programs could ultimately help U.S. automakers in the 2006 model year and beyond.

U.S. automakers have been trying to get away from incentives and price vehicles more realistically, and this program helps them do that by setting clear prices and letting manufacturers see what consumers are willing to pay, he said.

"Maybe GM erred on the side of generous (in June), but somewhere in there is the sweet spot, where they can make $1 a car or whatever the market will bear," Sanfilippo said. "It's easier to figure that out with pricing than with rebates."

Chrysler shares rose 6 cents to close at $40.16 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. GM shares fell 55 cents to $34.22, and Ford shares slipped 5 cents to $10.35.


On the Net:

Ford Motor Co.:

General Motors Corp.:

Chrysler Group:
Bill's Comment: It is a sad state of affairs for the American automakers. I would not be shocked if this program gets extended. With all of the gimmicks you see advertised, they are still having problems. Is all of this a lost cause?

Guinness: Pa. Pair Oldest Married Couple

Guinness: Pa. Pair Oldest Married Couple

By Associated Press

2 hours ago

PHILADELPHIA - Herbert Brown, 105, and his wife, Magda, 100, are the world's oldest married couple, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The Browns' combined ages total 205 years and 293 days, which Guinness said makes them the oldest living married couple.

Other couples have been married longer, and some other individuals are older. In fact, on June 1, Guinness had named an English couple, Percy and Florence Arrowsmith, also 105 and 100 respectively, as the oldest.

The Browns proved they beat the Arrowsmiths by a few days, and then on June 13, Percy Arrowsmith died. Guinness has now certified that Herb and Magda Brown have the distinction.

Herbert Brown and the former Magda Fritz married in their native Austria in 1930. Their lives became dangerous when the Nazis came to power in 1938. Soldiers raided their home. Herb Brown survived time in a Nazi concentration camp, rescued by neighbors who raised money for his release, and was interrogated by the notorious Adolf Eichmann.

The couple fled to England, then came in 1940 to Philadelphia, where Magda worked as a seamstress and Herb worked at a factory sewing shoulder seams on tuxedos.

Their daughter, Trudie Solarz, documented their experiences on videotape for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation.

Today, in assisted living at Harbor View apartments, Magda dresses by 6:30 a.m., with lipstick and pearls, and Herbert, despite fading hearing, is content.

"He doesn't talk much," Solarz said. "But that's nothing new. Mom never let him get a word in."

Betty Lowery, the assistant activity director at Harbor View, where the staff is planning a celebration, asked Magda her secret of longevity. "You have to be happy all the time," Magda says. "Think of life as you want it to be."

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Nursing Home Sued in Sexual Assault Case

Nursing Home Sued in Sexual Assault Case

By Associated Press
Fri Jul 15, 4:20 AM

CHICAGO - The family of a brain-damaged woman has filed a lawsuit alleging she was sexually assaulted at a nursing home and is now pregnant.

Attorney Ed Fox said Thursday the 23-year-old woman has been in "a quasi-vegetative state since birth" and can't walk or talk. She was living at the Alden Village Health Facility for Children and Young Adults in Bloomingdale when she was discovered to be 29 weeks pregnant last month, he said. She has since been moved to another facility.

"The woman was clearly raped," said Fox, who is representing the patient's mother in her suit against the nursing home. "Equally outrageous is that they seemed to have concealed the pregnancy."

Jane Amata, an Alden vice president, said in a statement the nursing home is cooperating with the investigation and is "committed to the delivery of quality care."

Employees at the nursing home were providing DNA samples as authorities seek to identify the father, Fox said. He added the child likely will have health problems because the mother has been on medication and received no prenatal care.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Bill's Comment: What is wrong with people these days?