Today's Headlines

US News

21 Die In Stampede of 1,500 at Chicago Nightclub
Twenty one people are confirmed dead and fifty more injured in the aftermath of a stampede in a Chicago nightclub. The stampede started after security guards used Mace and pepper spray to subdue a fist fight between two women. The club, E2, has been ordered shut since July 1, 2002 because of 11 violations of fire and building codes; the owners are facing criminal contempt charges.

Blizzard Whites Out Northeast United States
The worst blizzard since 1996 shut down much of the Northeast United States on President's Day. The storm piled up snow as deep as four feet (1.2 m) and left more than 250,000 businesses and residences without electrical power. At least 21 deaths have been blamed on the storm so far.

Many Groups Offer Support to University of Michigan Affirmative Action Case
A month after the White House filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court opposing the affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan, more than 350 organizations (including academic institutions, corporations, labor unions, and military officials) have announced that they will be filing briefs in support of the university. These endorsements amount to a broad endorsement of affirmative action practices and policies.

International News

Arson in South Korean Subway Kills At Least 50
Early this morning, a man in a subway in Daegu, South Korea ignited a carton filled with a flammable material, and the resulting fireball killed at least fifty people. A suspect has been captured by South Korean authorities, but there is still no clue as to the motivation for the attack.

European Union Leaders Discuss Iraq Compromise
Leaders of the European Union, lead most vocally by French President Jacques Chirac, agreed last week to present a united front on the Iraq issue by issuing a joint statement saying that war should be a "last resort" and that there is a "final opportunity" for Iraq to resolve the situation peacefully. However, some candidate members of the European Union, mostly former Soviet bloc states, are siding with the United States in that now is the time for military action.

North Korea Threatens To Pull Out of Korean War Armistice
In its latest move in the continuing escalation of tension between the United States and North Korea, North Korea is threatening to pull out of the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953. Pulling out of this armistice would essentially resume the war between the two nations, causing a renewal of the military conflict between North Korea and the United States along with South Korea. This is just the latest step in conflicts relating to North Korea's recently renewed nuclear arms program.


Wal-Mart Quarterly Profit Up
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the world's biggest retailer, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings. The company said it earned $2.53 billion in the fourth quarter (November 1, 2002 - January 31, 2003), or $0.57 per share, wihch is better than the $2.19 billion (or $0.49 a share) earned the previous fourth quarter. It also exceeded expectations, which estimated earnings of $0.56 per share.

Cisco Launches Massive Advertising Campaign
In a move geared toward targeting Cisco Systems into the network security, storage systems, voice networks, and wireless communication, the company is launching a global advertising campaign, spending between $100 million and $150 million on print and television ads. The goal is to change the perception of Cisco as a company that makes only routers and establish a presence in other new markets.

Andrew Corp. Acquires Allen Telecom
Wireless infrastructure systems supplier Andrew Corp. is acquiring Allen Telecom in an all-stock deal worth approximately $500 million. The combined company will be the number one global supplier of coaxial cables, RF power amplifiers, ground-based microwave antennas, and repeaters.

Science & Technology

Workers Admit To Cutting Corners in Columbia Accident
In order to cut costs, workers repeatedly cut corners during the preparation of the space shuttle Columbia for flight. Mark Hernandez, a former employee for Lockheed Martin who was employed from 1981 to 1999 to apply insulating foam to the outside of the fuel containers, reports that he was encouraged to not report minor defects in the foam and instead simply cover these defects with another thin layer of foam. Hernandez claims that he did not report "hundreds" of flaws during his years at Lockheed Martin.

K-Bot the Social Cyborg Unveiled
K-Bot, a robot that its developers at the University of Texas describe as the "social cyborg," was unveiled yesterday. The face features twenty four artificial muscles and twenty eight distinct facial expressions, and its eyes are capable of following objects around the room. The software running the device mostly functioned to demonstrate the potential movements, but the demonstrated technology is another major step forward in the development of humanlike robotics.

Google Acquires Pyra
In something of a surprise move, Google has acquired Pyra Labs, the makers of the popular software tool Blogger, which aids in the development of web logs. The move is the latest in a series of such moves for Google, as they attempt to extend their company into new realms, building upon their earlier acquisition of Usenet archiver Deja.


Thiamine May Help In Preventing Many Diseases in Diabetics
Diabetes can result in a significant buildup of sugar in humans, which can lead to eye diseases, heart diseases, and other ailments. An article in the latest issue of Nature Medicine, however, argues that thyamine (a derivative of Vitamin B1) halts much of that sugar buildup, which can lead to a much better state of life for many diabetics.

FSA Repeats Fish Warning
The UK Food Standards Agency encourages pregnant women and women who plan to become pregnant to change their diet to avoid mercury. The agency urges that consumption of tuna be limited to no more than two medium size cans or one fresh tuna steak per week, and that shark, swordfish and marlin be avoided altogether. These fish tend to build up a large amount of mercury in their systems, which can be harmful to the female reproductive process.


Baltimore Orioles Pitcher Steve Bechler Dead
Pitching prospect Steve Bechler, who made his major league debut for the Orioles late last season, died yesterday of multiple organ failure caused by a stroke. He was 23. Bechler arrived at camp somewhat over his prescribed playing weight of 239 lbs., but passed the team's physical before training camp began.

University of Arizona Remains on Top in College Basketball
After soundly defeating UCLA and the University of Southern California by an average of more than thirty points this week, the University of Arizona Wildcats retained the number one slot on the AP men's college basketball poll. The rest of the top five included Kentucky, Texas, Louisville, and Oklahoma.


Fox's Joe Millionaire Creates Happy Ending For All
Evan Marriott, the star of Fox's dubious reality series Joe Millionaire, selected fan favorite Zora Andrich as the winner in the much-maligned but hugely successful television series. The show's producers gave both Marriott and Andrich one million dollars to split between them, contributing to the happy ending. Fox expected to dominate the ratings after 24 million viewers tuned in to the next-to-last episode last week.

Paul McCartney To Play Live Shows in UK
For the first time since 1993's New World tour, Paul McCartney is scheduling a tour of his homeland. The show is a continuation of his recent Driving Rain tour of the United States, where he played mostly old songs from The Beatles and Wings. The tour has seven dates scheduled, kicking off in Sheffield and ending in London on April 19, 2003.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

I decided to start adding the above headlines on a regular basis because I was browsing through the daylogs recently and I realized that there was no real context in terms of the noteworthy events happening in the world at that moment. On occasion, individuals would post a few headlines, but there was no real expansion on these items. I don't know that I'll be able to post these daily (the above took a while), but I hope to post them as often as reasonably possible.


My general feeling on this wonderful sunny morning is that the government of the United States is actively trying to flush the country down the figurative toilet. When virtually every other country in the world is in disagreement with your foreign policy, as well as a strong minority (it may even be more, but I don't want to overstate my point) of people in your own country, perhaps it's time to re-think what you're doing.

Let's sit down and consider this, W.

Your supposed primary threat is Saddam Hussein. You have a strong suspicion that he may be making "weapons of mass destruction," but you have no real hard evidence of this. I watched Colin Powell's speech; you're not convincing me that there is any true concrete evidence. Nonwithstanding, your father drug us into a war with Saddam Hussein in 1991 that was basically fought over oil; we were afraid of losing the lucrative oil business from Kuwait, even though the struggle was an internal struggle in the region that they should have been left alone to figure out. In the twelve years since, we have ordered the Iraqis not to fly in 60% of the airspace in their own country; we fly our own patrols over this no-fly zone and shoot down anything we see. We have also repeatedly brought in "inspectors" to see what he is doing; in other words, spies that are out in the open. Saddam has made no external moves at all except for occasionally getting tired of the inspectors and tossing them out.

And you expect me to support a war against him?

W, you fed me some sort of story about how he's in cahoots with Osama Bin Laden. Yet, Bin Laden is repeatedly on record calling Saddam Hussein a Zionist Crusader, no different than the United States. You also accuse him of harboring terrorists, but it has always been easy to cross borders in that region of the world; it's impossible to control when you're landlocked. The United States has a pretty free border with its two land neighbors; imagine how easy it would be for a Canadian terrorist to get into the United States and thus be "harbored." And what of the "atrocities" against his own people? It was a civil war, period. The United States had one, too, and there were some awful atrocities committed in that one. War is not pretty in any regard.

Bush, rather than trying to win a fight that your father could not, how about you focus on some real problems in our world? Let's focus on the North Koreans, who are actually doing some things we should be taking notice of. Let's focus on actually breaking the backbone of Al Qaeda rather than just tossing that mission off to the wayside because it won't help you get re-elected.

How about you enact some foreign policy that protects American interests while at the same time doesn't cause most of the world to hate the United States? That would be a novel idea, wouldn't it?