Today's Headlines

US News

Two Cops Killed in Staten Island
Two New York City police detectives were shot and killed in Staten Island last night in an undercover gun-buy-and-bust operation gone awry. The officers, whose names were not immediately released, worked for the Firearms Investigation Unit and were trying to buy guns from an illegal gun dealer. The two detectives were shot in the head and left in the street.

Senate Set To Ban Partial Birth Abortion
A bill to make so-called "partial birth" abortions illegal in the United States was taken up by the Senate yesterday and advocates of the bill claimed to have enough votes to ensure the bill's passage. The bill has been passed around the Senate in various forms since 1995, hindered by a strongly pro choice President and a Supreme Court which struck down a very similar Nebraska law. President Bush says that he will sign the bill if presented to him.

Lawmaker In Trouble For Anti-Semitic Remarks
Representative Jim Moran of Virginia is in hot water with Jewish groups for comments he made at a recent anti-war forum. At the forum in Reston, Virginia last Monday, Moran said, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this ... the leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going and I think they should."

International News

US, Britain Forced To Retreat On UN Iraq Vote
The United States and Britain have been forced to delay their push for a United Nations resolution authorizing war against Iraq after France and Russia vowed to use their veto power on any measure calling for war in Iraq. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned Washington that conflict would be illegitimate without a new resolution authorizing it, and that doing so would violate the UN charter. Together, these two measures put a major hurdle in the way of the United States and Britain successfully acquiring United Nations approval for military conflict in Iraq.

OPEC Says Crude Oil Supply Adequate
Brushing aside arguments that increasing the world's oil supply as a way of soothing nervous markets on the eve of a potential war in the Middle East, OPEC announced that for now oil supplies would remain at the same level as they have been for the past several months. Despite sharply higher oil prices, OPEC members argued that the world has enough crude to meet demand and blamed the threat of a US-led war against Iraq for fears of a supply disruption. "Don't worry about the war... we'll deal with it when it happens," said Saudi Arabia's oil minister.

US, Russia Meet To Tighten Control on Dirty Bombs
Russia and the United States are meeting to discuss methods for tightening control on so-called "dirty bombs" so that these weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorists. A dirty bomb uses radioactive material attached to a conventional bomb, and is intended to spread as much radiation and fear as possible. The talks are currently transpiring in Vienna with the hope that an agreement can be reached that will keep such weapons out of the hands of potential terror groups. Issues include control over nuclear waste, limitations on arms sales, and possible methods of reaction to the use of such bombs.


Volkswagen Warns On Future Profits
Shares in Volkswagen fell more than 10 per cent on Tuesday after Europe's largest carmaker warned it would not be able to match its 2002 operating profit of 4.76 billion this year unless the US and European car markets rebounded. Speaking at Volkswagen's annual corporate press conference in Dresden, Volkswagen CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder said unfavorable exchange rates would also hurt Volkswagen sales in the coming year.

Deutsche Telekom Posts Massive Loss
Deutsche Telekom posted a loss of €24.6 billion for 2002, the biggest one year loss in European corporate history. The company said that it saw hopeful signs near the end of the year from T-Mobile, the company's wireless division, but even the strength of T-Mobile was not enough to hold up the many other divisions in DT, which showed significant losses across the board. The main culprit in the losses was the decreased value of investments made during the technology stock bubble of the late 1990s.

Japan Stocks Fall To New 20 Year Low
Japan has begun to enact desperate measures to curb the freefalling markets there as stocks plunged to a new 20 year low yesterday. Shaken by fears over war with North Korea and Iraq, the Nikkei dropped below the 8000 mark for the first time since January 25, 1983, closing at 7862.43. In the first of a series of moves, the Japanese central bank yesterday pumped ¥1 trillion into financial institutions to shield banks from financial instability.

Science & Technology

Oracle Still On Top of Database Market
Research firm International Data Corp. on Monday reported that Oracle maintained its top position among database vendors in 2002, but that Microsoft and IBM were closing the gap. Oracle's market share slipped to 39.4% from 41.7%, while IBM's share grew to 33.6% from 31% and Microsoft moved up from 9.7% to 11.1%. Together, these three companies are tops in the database market.

New Worm Targets Weak Windows Passwords
A new worm, W32/Deloder-A, is making its way across the internet, targeting computers using easy-to-guess passwords in an attempt to access administrator accounts. The virus generates random IP addresses and tries to connect on port 445, a port used by Windows to share files. If a vulnerable machine is found, the virus tries to log on as administrator by running through a list of fifty common weak passwords. The risk for this virus is low as long as one uses strong passwords.

IT Spending Increase Expected
Aberdeen Group, an IT review group based in Boston, said Monday that it sees IT budgets growing by 2.7 percent over the next six to twelve months. This number comes from its quarterly survey of CIOs who gave indications of future corporate IT spending trends. This number is seen as a good sign in an IT market that has been extremely sluggish over the past two years, but nowhere near as strong as the IT spending booms that occurred in the late 1990s.


Peanut Allergy Treatment Developed
The first drug designed to protect the 1.5 million Americans who are severely allergic to peanuts also may aid millions more with other food allergies, researchers said. The new drug, called TNX-901 for now, brought about a significant increase in the threshold of sensitivity to peanuts during clinical trials, according to data presented Monday to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. While the new drug is not a cure, it should allow people to avoid severe complications if they accidentally eat one or two peanuts, which is the common situation in cases of accidental exposure.

Drug Use Damage Lingers
Problems with attention and motor skills persist for more than a year after someone stops using cocaine or amphetamines according to a study in the March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The Massachusetts General Hospital-led study included 50 pairs of male twins in which one was a former heavy user of cocaine or methanphetamines who had not used drugs for at least a year. The result was that the clean twin scored significantly better on average than the other one.


Yankees Give Wells $100K Fine
In the firestorm resulting from his autobiography in which he claims to have pitched a perfect game the day after a late-night bender, David Wells has received a $100K fine from the New York Yankees for the revelations. The Yankees cited that Wells dishonored their organization through such revelations.

Beckham Addresses Concerns
David Beckham addressed concerns that he might be leaving Manchester United yesterday, stating that he is more concerned about planning a larger family than moving to another league. This announcement comes as concern about Beckham leaving Man United in the wake of being hit in the face by a boot kicked by manager Alex Ferguson after last month's loss to Arsenal.


The Clash, AC/DC, The Police, Elvis Costello Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Clash, AC/DC, The Police, and Elvis Costello were among the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night during a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The show featured a performace by The Police who played together for the first time in 17 years, as well as performances by Elvis Costello and AC/DC. The Clash, however, did not play together despite having been strongly encouraged to do so.

Bloomberg Urges Broadway Talks
Broadway producers and musicians got back to bargaining last Monday night at the urging of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg publicly stated that the darkened musicals last week were crippling the city's restaurants, hotels, and other businesses, and that the sides should quickly reach an agreement for the betterment of the city as a whole. The strike is in its fourth day as musicians demand a minimum number of musicians to be present during any given performance.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

I've spent some time the last couple of evenings working on my exact platform for the political move I am considering making, and as I write it, I am in great fear that the platform is too forward thinking.

My general approach to life is to let people do what they want to do as long as it doesn't interfere with my ability to do what I want to do. In that same vein, I feel that as an adult it is my responsibility to care for myself; if I am just unwilling to do this, then the government shouldn't help me at all. The group that needs help from the goverment are the truly disabled and, more importantly, the children and those not yet born or even conceived of.

My general philosophy is this:

Today, people should be free to make their own choices for their own lives.
Tomorrow, people should enjoy the benefits of decisions made today.

All of my political stances and beliefs grow from those two statements. It's been truly enlightening to sit down and really consider the issues that I would like to champion.

Lent Diary, Day 7

In my daylog for February 19, 2003, I outlined my plan for a challenging Lenten discipline: no food or water during daylight hours. Visit that daylog for more details.

Last night, I spent better than an hour lost in meditation just before I broke my fast. It was a very strange and deep meditation, filled with very vivid memories and thoughts of those very important to me.

I was sitting crosslegged on the floor, as I usually am when in meditation, but this time I seemed to slip very deep into it. It was almost as if there were others in the room with me.

And as I find so often when trying to communicate with God, the answers I was seeking just suddenly appeared inside of me. I opened my eyes and realized that a lot of time had passed; it was dark out. So I went and prepared supper while still trying to figure it out.

Truly, I feel as though my understanding of the universe is growing.