What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority.
Democratic legislators, who hold overwhelming majorities in both the state House and Senate, are supporting a proposed civil union bill as one of the party's top priorities for this year's legislative session. If it passes, Hawaii would become only the fifth state to recognize either civil unions or gay marriage.
"Committed couples, regardless of their sexual preference or orientation, should have the same rights. That's the bottom line — we should treat people equally," said Gary Hooser, the state senate majority leader. "There's broad support among Democratic party members."
This year, the civil union bill hasn't yet generated a similar public outcry.
The Catholic church in Hawaii opposes the idea, said spokeswoman Kelly Rosati. A spokeswoman for the Mormon church in Utah said she was not aware of any institutional involvement in Hawaii's civil union debate.
Items to discuss:
1. Good news
2. Your metric-determine
3. Your "Rock"
4. Reoccuring issues
5. One phrase closing -- a word to represent how you feel at the moment
Seven years after New Jersey legalized gambling in 1977, state lawmakers created an agency called the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to redirect some casino revenue to blighted areas in Atlantic City and across the state.
But the agency, contending that the gambling industry’s success is a critical component of the state’s economic health, has handed about $400 million back to the casinos themselves, a sum that accounts for more than 20 percent of the money it has committed since its inception.
The authority has subsidized construction of 13,000 hotel rooms in the city, 800 of them planned for a tower under construction at the Trump Taj Mahal. The agency spent $3.7 million for an IMAX theater to be built at the Tropicana Casino and Resort, where its grants also helped finance three floors of elegant stores, restaurants and a spa. An additional $26 million went to help build the House of Blues and to spruce up the facade at Showboat.
The agency has also pitched in for “parking lot beautification” at Showboat and road signs for Resorts and the Taj Mahal.
David Sciarra, who helped to write the legislation that created the reinvestment authority while working as a deputy public advocate, said that giving the money to the casinos “really goes against the very purpose of C.R.D.A.”
“It was not set up to finance industry-related projects because the industry clearly has the resources to do that on its own,” said Mr. Sciarra, who now runs a nonprofit group in Newark to help disadvantaged students. “This is a betrayal of the very promise that was made to the citizens: That the casinos would have a social responsibility to invest a small percentage of their revenue through the C.R.D.A. to help make sure residents, especially the poor, had better housing and neighborhoods.”
...despite the authority’s disbursements, Atlantic City continues to grapple with blocks of dilapidated buildings and seamy motels that draw drug dealers and prostitutes, all within the shadows of towering, brightly lighted casinos.
"America loves an underdog. America loves people who have had to struggle and for whom every rung of the ladder has been sometimes three rungs up and two back down, Thank God for the one you've gained, and keep climbing," Huckabee said.
He planned to travel to Iowa, an early nominating state, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Marriage has historically never meant anything other than a man and a woman. It has never meant two men, two women, a man and his pet, or a man and a whole herd of pets.
[Activists] want to change rules that have been in place for thousands of years.
Villagers did not harm the snake, which was tied to a tree then handed to wildlife officials, the paper said on Friday.
Jonny Lang is 26
Keith Olbermann is 48
(AP Photo/LM Otero, file)
"In total defiance to the vicious lies and hateful allegations of `racism' leveled at me by irresponsible, unprofessional and downright goofy media punks, I never said a word about immigration or language, specifically not the alleged slam against `illegal immigrants' or `non-English-speaking' anyone," the outspoken 58-year-old rocker wrote.
"I will intensify my fight for a united America by demanding all Americans speak English," he wrote.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons says he has yet to make a choice. But he has an idea for the perfect Democratic candidate.
"If you could take Barack Obama's image, add Hillary Clinton's money and John Edwards' voice, that would be my candidate," says Simmons, an independent who has supported both Democrats and Republicans.
He's a rock star," Simmons said in a telephone interview. But he added, "I don't know what his opinions are." Simmons says that so far, the message he prefers is Edwards' --but he's also fond of Dennis Kucinich, the liberal Ohio congressman launching his second long-shot candidacy.
A potentially explosive dispute in the City Too Busy to Hate is taking shape over a proposal to break Fulton County in two and split off Atlanta's predominantly white, affluent suburbs to the north from some of the metropolitan area's poorest, black neighborhoods.
Legislation that would allow the suburbs to form their own county, to be called Milton County, was introduced by members of the Georgia Legislature's Republican majority earlier this month.
Supporters say it is a quest for more responsive government in a county with a population greater than that of six states. Opponents say the measure is racially motivated and will pit white against black, rich against poor.
"If it gets to the floor, there will be blood on the walls," warned state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat and member of the Legislative Black Caucus who bitterly opposes the plan. Fort added: "As much as you would like to think it's not racial, it's difficult to draw any other conclusion."
The former Milton County is now mostly white and Republican and one of the most affluent areas in the nation. Atlanta and its southern suburbs are mostly black, are controlled by Democrats and have neighborhoods with some of the highest poverty rates in America. (Buckhead, a fashionable Atlanta neighborhood of clubs, restaurants and mansions, would remain in Fulton County.)
"The only way to fix Fulton County is to dismantle Fulton County," said state Rep. Jan Jones, the plan's chief sponsor. "It's too large, and certainly too dysfunctional, to truly be considered local government."
The state of Illinois yesterday took the first steps in selling its state lottery system, hoping to attract as much as $10 billion from investors who, in return, would own a monopoly that could turn out to be the biggest jackpot yet.
The sale, which may occur as early as the spring, would not be the first privatization of public property — both Chicago and Indiana have recently earned billions of dollars by signing long-term leases with private companies to run toll roads. But the proposed lottery sale is almost certain be one of the largest privatizations of a state-run program, and it raises concerns that states, some of them critically short of cash, are selling valuable assets that could otherwise provide consistent streams of revenue.
Under the proposed sale, Illinois would receive a multibillion-dollar one-time payment, and the lottery’s new owners would receive all revenue and profit for 75 years.
Indiana is also considering selling its lottery, and bids are due later this month. That sale is expected to raise more than $1 billion upfront and annual payments of $200 million. Midway Airport in Chicago, toll roads in Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Turnpike are all potentially on the block.
“These are very healthy businesses,” said Melissa Kearney, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Maryland. “It’s unclear exactly what is gained by selling a lottery, except for a huge pot of money that legislators can start spending right away.”
President Bush marked the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision Monday, telling thousands of abortion foes he shares their goal of seeing "the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected into law."
So on we march, from one battle to the next, fighting for the right to choose, to make up our own minds about our bodies and our futures. And in each place, of each new face who believes s/he knows better what's best for us, I hope we ask: I trust women; why don't you?
At this stage in the game, even contraception is on the table as pharmacists in many areas of the country can refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control; hospitals have even failed to offer emergency contraception to rape victims.
A bomb followed by a mortar attack struck a market in a predominantly Shiite town north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 12 people and wounding nearly 30, police said. The bomb exploded at 5 p.m. near the main market in Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad, and a mortar shell struck the same area about five minutes later, according to the information bureau for the volatile Diyala province. It said 12 civilians were killed and 29 were wounded.
At least 78 people were killed and more than 150 wounded earlier Monday after two nearly simultaneous bombs struck a predominantly Shiite commercial area in central Baghdad in the deadliest attack in two months, officials said.
The U.S. military reported the deaths of two Marines in a particularly bloody weekend for American forces in Iraq -- a total of 27 dead in just two days.
The Yavapai County sheriff's office also said Neil Havens Rodreick II conned two men he was living with and having sex with into believing he was a young boy. One of them, 61-year-old Lonnie Stiffler, called himself Rodreick's grandfather when he tried to enroll him at Mingus Springs Charter School as "Casey Price."
Stiffler and Robert James Snow, 43, "were very upset when the detectives told them they had been having a sexual relationship with a 29-year-old man and not a pre-teen boy," Quayle said.
Deputies who served a search warrant at a Chino Valley home Thursday found Stiffler, Snow, Rodreick and Brian J. Nellis, 34. Quayle said Nellis was apparently Rodreick's cell mate in an Oklahoma prison, where both served time for sex offenses.
|Your Inner European is Dutch!|
Open minded and tolerant.
You're up for just about anything.
Using machine guns as props, Nugent, 58, appeared onstage as the final act of the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, according to people who were in attendance.
Perry's spokesman, Robert Black, downplayed the Tuesday-night incident.
"Ted Nugent is a good friend of the governor's. He asked him if he would play at the inaugural. He didn't put any stipulation of what he would play," Black said.
Hundreds of people attended the ball, but most had left before Nugent's performance.
Facing public outrage over the soaring price of tortillas, President Felipe Calderón abandoned his free-trade principles on Thursday and forced producers to sign an agreement fixing prices for corn products.
Skyrocketing prices for corn on the world market have pushed up the price of the humble tortilla, the mainstay of the Mexican diet, by nearly a third in the past three weeks, to 35 cents a pound in Mexico City and even higher in other parts of the country.
Half of the country’s 107 million people live on $4 a day or less, and many of them survive largely on tortillas and beans. The price increases have riled the public to such an extent that it has created a political storm that threatens to swamp Mr. Calderón’s fresh presidency.
There is a continuing debate here about what caused the price of tortillas to shoot up so quickly. Some economists blame the increased demand for corn from ethanol plants in the United States, and it is true corn prices in the States last week reached their highest point in a decade, the United States Agriculture Department said. At the same time, the cost of white corn has risen about 13 percent here over the past year, Mexican government figures show.
But Mexican lawmakers and other officials have suggested that giant tortilla companies and corn flour distributors — among them Grupo Maseca S.A. and Maíz Industrializado S.A., often known as Minsa — have taken advantage of the situation, hoarding supplies to drive prices up even more.
Inspired by soaring demand for corn to feed the growing ethanol industry, farmers across the United States are planting corn this year instead of soybeans, wheat and cotton.
Some farmers are contemplating planting continuous years of corn, but that can lead to pest problems and increased costs for fertilizer and seed, said Bruce Erickson, a Purdue University agricultural economist. And those fields tend to produce less each year. Most farmers rotate their crops to maintain nutrients in the soil and stop insects and weeds.
"Most scientific research shows a 10 percent drop in yield when you plant corn on corn," Erickson said. In Louisiana, the number of acres devoted to corn likely will double and could triple, said David Bollich, a grain marketing specialist with the Louisiana Farm Bureau.
"Everybody wants to get into corn this year, some who have never planted it before," he said.
Corn prices are so high, though, that it will cost chicken and pork producers more to feed their animals, and that could end up increasing prices at grocery stores.
Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.
A week ago, Yoonis Issay Alin was riding around in the back of a pickup, part of a squad of tough-looking guys with big trucks and big guns.
Now he is drooling on a metal cot, shot in the head over a parking spot.
All around him at Medina Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, young men writhe in steamy beds, their arms and legs trapped in traction ropes, their gunshot wounds the latest proof of a society out of control. It is hard to imagine there is enough gauze in this broken-down country to keep up.
His skull is encased in a helmet of white medical tape. He has been drifting in and out of consciousness, and doctors say they have no way to gauge the amount of brain damage.
“There are no neurosurgeons here, no M.R.I.’s, no CAT scans, no psychiatrists,” said Sheikhdon Salad Elmi, director of Medina Hospital. “Can you imagine that? In a city where everyone needs therapy, not a single psychiatrist?”
Diplomats see international peacekeepers as the only way to stabilize Somalia once Ethiopian troops -- who helped the interim government oust rival Islamists over the New Year and are now propping up the administration -- return home.
But with Uganda the only country to pledge troops publicly, funding uncertain and African politicians clearly wary of a messy engagement in a nation in anarchy since 1991, many think it will be a long and difficult task to muster such a force.
For those of you lucky enough to have never experienced an ice storm, allow me to enlighten you. It's one thing for a light rain or drizzle to fall in freezing temperatures causing ice to form on roads, bridges, trees, or anything else. It does so very quietly. You might never know it's happening which is rather scary. And then with enough weight building up on surfaces, things can sag or break. It's particularly annoying when the thing that snaps happens to be a power line.
The real fun begins when the temperatures warm up enough to cause the ice to dislodge and fall. There are chunks falling all over the yard. It sounds like golf balls hitting the ground. It's almost funny. I will not be walking out in the yard until this is done. A severe head injury is not on my wish list.
Gee, I'm glad I'm not downtown walking beneath a 30-story building.
The report was superficial in dealing with several points," spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
"The current environment of impunity and lawlessness invites a heightened level of insecurity for homosexuals in Iraq. Armed Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile toward homosexuals frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them," the U.N. report read. "There has been a number of assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq."
Such a topic is widely frowned at in this predominantly Muslim country and gays usually keep their sexual orientation a secret.
"There was information in the report that we cannot accept here in Iraq. The report, for example, spoke about the phenomenon of homosexuality and giving them their rights," al-Dabbagh said. "Such statements are not suitable to the Iraqi society. This is rejected."
"They should respect the values and traditions here in Iraq," he said.
In the days before the war almost five years ago, the Pentagon estimated that it would cost about $50 billion. Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed. Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so.
“This war has skewed our thinking about resources,” said Mr. Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative-leaning research group. “In the context of the war, $20 billion is nothing.”
Many of the people who had gathered considered the decapitation of Barzan Ibrahim to be a calculated insult, another act by the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to humiliate followers of the executed former president and all his fellow Sunni Arabs. A doctor inspected the remains to assess the government's explanation that the noose inadvertently took off the head after Ibrahim dropped through the trapdoor of the scaffold.
In many parts of Iraq, the executions set off new waves of anger and celebration along sectarian lines, though Maliki's government had gone to great pains to prevent the type of chaotic spectacle that accompanied Hussein's hanging two weeks ago, when Shiite witnesses in the execution chamber taunted Hussein.
State officials said there was no clear way of knowing at this point how much damage had been done by the freeze, which has sent temperatures plunging into the teens and 20s from Eureka in the north to near the Mexican border for several nights.
Farmers in some sections of the Central Valley, the 400-mile-long agricultural engine, and farther south reported near complete losses of fields of oranges, lemons and other citrus.
The state’s food and agriculture secretary, A. G. Kawamura, said the damage appeared even more widespread than that from a freeze in December 1998 that cost growers $700 million.
China will have 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in less than 15 years as a gender imbalance resulting in part from the country's tough one-child policy becomes more pronounced, state media reported Friday. Traditional preferences for sons has led to the widespread - but illegal - practice of women aborting babies if an early term sonogram shows it is a girl.
"Discrimination against the female sex remains the primary cause of China's growing gender imbalance," Liu Bohong, vice director of the women studies institute under the All-China Women's Federation, was quoted as saying in a report from the State Population and Family Planning Commission.
President Bush told Americans last night that failure in Iraq would be a disaster. The disaster is Mr. Bush’s war, and he has already failed. Last night was his chance to stop offering more fog and be honest with the nation, and he did not take it.
In other places, there was less reserved support for Bush and the reinforcement strategy. At an American Legion post near Fort Hood, Texas, Vietnam veteran George Payntar said he backed the president's plan.
"I think we need to stop the terrorism, stop it there," said Payntar, whose daughter has been stationed in Iraq since October. "If we pull out, they'll be here. I am afraid if we pull out now, we would lose the progress we made and the Iraqi people would suffer greatly."
President Bush will tell a nation weary of war Wednesday night that he is sending 21,500 more Americans to Iraq, arguing it has been a mistake not to commit larger numbers of U.S and Iraqi troops to stabilize the increasingly violent, shattered country.
Bush, meanwhile, is putting the onus on the Iraqis to meet their responsibilities and take the lead in the fighting, but without the threat of specific consequences if they do not.
"The Iraqis have to step up," White House counselor Dan Bartlett said.
After nearly four years of fighting, $400 billion and thousands of American and Iraqi lives lost, [ahem, make that tens of thousands, if not in the hundreds of thousands] approval of the president's handling of the war hit a record low of 27 percent in December, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.
Up to 20,000 troops will be put on alert and be prepared to deploy under the president's plan, but the increase in forces on the ground will be gradual, said the official, who requested anonymity because the plans have not yet been announced.
The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.
The huge potential prizes for Western firms will give ammunition to critics who say the Iraq war was fought for oil. They point to statements such as one from Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.
...John Hall [center], the band’s guitarist, wasn’t content to stick to the bouncy tunes and lyrics about sweet romance. He also used the stage to lecture audiences about the dangers of plutonium production.
“He would take the liberty of getting on the soapbox at a lot of concerts and go on a bit about nuclear power,” said Larry Hoppen, the bass guitarist for Orleans. “But you have to understand it in the context of the ’70s, with the Nixon thing and the nuke thing.
Mr. Hall was one of many political activists from that era. But when he was sworn in as a congressman on Thursday, he became the first bona fide rock ’n’ roll musician in the House of Representatives. (Sonny Bono did not play an instrument.) [oh, he played Cher, didn't he?]
The ratty T-shirts and the long hair are gone, and the bare-chested album covers have given way to dark suits, conservative ties and wingtip shoes.
Mr. Hall, a Democrat, defeated Sue W. Kelly, the Republican who had held the seat for six terms, to represent the 19th Congressional District of New York, which stretches from the Connecticut line, through the Hudson Valley, across the Catskills and to the Pennsylvania border.
As he prepares for a nationally televised address next week, officials said, Bush is considering three main options to bolster U.S. forces in Iraq: a relatively modest deployment of fewer than 4,000 additional troops, a middle-ground alternative involving about 9,000 and, the most aggressive idea, flowing 20,000 more troops into the country.
Even many Republicans appear unenthusiastic about troop increases. Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said Thursday night on MSNBC's "Hardball" that he might say no to the surge. "I want to know what it all is," Lott said of Bush's overall plan. "But here's my main point: We've got to change the status quo. At some point we've got to say to the Iraqis, 'Congratulations. Saddam is dead. We've given you an opportunity for peace and freedom. It's yours.'"
The Bush administration is expected to announce next week a major step forward in the building of the country’s first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades. It will propose combining elements of competing designs from two weapons laboratories in an approach that some experts argue is untested and risky.
The effort, if approved by President Bush and financed by Congress, would require a huge refurbishment of the nation’s complex for nuclear design and manufacturing, with the overall bill estimated at more than $100 billion.