Today's Headlines

US News

Howard Dean Perhaps Early Frontrunner For Democratic Party
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who has previously said that he hopes to win votes from Southerners "who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals," was the "star of the show" at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting, according to Tom Lakin, a DNC member. The purpose of the meeting was to showcase the 2004 Democratic candidates, including Carol Moseley-Braun, Joe Lieberman, Richard Gephardt, John Edwards, Denis Kucinch, and Al Sharpton.

Chicago Gets Tough on Nightclub Inspectors
Chicago Fire Department inspectors were out late into the night Friday and Saturday, inspecting nightclubs for fire safety in the wake of the 21 deaths in the fire of the E2 nightclub on Monday and the later Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed just shy of 100. The city investigated 17 nightclubs on Friday night, and 15 more on Saturday evening in a series of surprise inspections.

Republican Party Vows To Bolster Bush and Defeat Boxer
The California state Republican party met in Sacramento on Saturday to discuss a response to their resounding defeat in the 2002 elections, as the party lost all statewide offices in 2002. On the table was agreement to focus on supporting George W. Bush for President in 2004 and also to knock off Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. However, the party was split on whether to continue pursuing a recall against unpopular governor Gray Davis.

International News

Ten Dead as Gunmen Attack Shi'ites at Prayer
A group of gunmen on motorcycles stormed a Shi'ite mosque in southern Pakistan on Saturday at the start of evening prayers and opened fire with automatic weapons, killing at least ten worshipers and injuring at least nine others. The work is believed to be the result of radical Sunni Muslim extremist groups operating to persecute the minority Shi'ite Muslims. The two groups have been in conflict since the 7th century, when they had a falling out over who should be the heir to the prophet Mohammed.

United States Must Boost South Korean Ties, Says Powell on Tour
While on tour in Tokyo, US Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged the rampant anti-American sentiment in South Korea and said the United States will have to demonstrate the benefits of cooperation between the two nations. Powell said that the alliance "created conditions for solid economic growth that has brought South Korea clearly into the camp of democracy ... they have benefitted greatly from this alliance."

Israeli Government Shifts To Right
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has signed an agreement to bring the far right wing [National Religious Party into his coalition government. This move sinks the possibility of a national unity coalition with the left-leaning Labour Party. The NRP is known for strongly supporting the settler movement, which has been at the root of the conflict in recent years between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Labour legislator Avraham Shochat said that Prime Minister Sharon "clearly selected a right-wing extremist government that won't pursue a peace process."


G7 Finance Ministers Ready To Respond To Economic Weakness
Despite a global economic slowdown and the threat of war with Iraq, officials from the world's richest countries are confident in the strength of their economies, but have plans in the event of a war. The nations are largely sticking to discussions of economic and other social issues during the G7 summit, avoiding the thorny Iraq issue.

Illinois Sues Wal-Mart, Target Over Sales Tax Issue
Illinois is suing Wal-Mart, Target, and several other retailers, charging them with failure to collect sales tax on items sold through their Web sites. Current Illinois law requires all retailers that have a "physical presence" in Illinois to collect sales tax on merchandise they sell to customers in the state, whether through their stores, Internet sites or catalogs. Many companies, such as Wal-Mart, structure their Internet divisions as separate entities from their physical stores to avoid this requirement. The suit and its' verdict will probably indicate much of the future of online businesses.

US Oil Firms Increase Dependence on Iraqi Oil
American oil refiners have significantly increased their dependence on oil from Iraq in the last few weeks, even as the Bush administration prepares for an attack on Baghdad. This is the result of a recent political crisis in Venezuela which caused a huge decrease in oil exports from the nation. Iraq rarely sells oil directly to American businesses, but the oil is purchased through middlemen, who have been purchasing a significantly greater amount of Iraqi oil in recent weeks.

Science & Technology

Snow Found On Mars
Phil Christensen, a planetary geologist, has spotted conclusive evidence of fresh snow on Mars. This discovery implies the presence of a significant amount of water on the red planet, which is the core material needed for the development of life. If conditions are right for life to appear on Mars, then the strong possibility exists for an abundance of extraterrestrial life.

AOL, Microsoft Team Up Against Spam
American Online and Microsoft have teamed up to press for tough federal legislation to stop the proliferation of spam delivered to email boxes everywhere. In the last 18 months, spam has seen a 500% increase, resulting in massive amounts of spam delivered across the internet. The companies seek penalties of jail time, large fines, and injunctions to prevent the spread of email addresses and the distribution of spam.

Lindows Steals Show At Desktop Linux Summit
At the first Desktop Linux Summit this weekend, Lindows stole the show by demonstrating several recent products, including a $799 Lindows Mobile PC, which features a 933 Mhz processor, 256 MB of memory, along with USB and Firewire. Other products shown include SuSE's Linux Office Desktop, which allows Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to run under Linux, as well as VIA's Media Center PC, built around Linux and designed as a home entertainment machine, including 2.1 channel satellite speakers, a subwoofer, and DVD playing capacity.


Transplant Teen Dies
Jesica Santillan, the teenager who survived a botched heart-lung transplant long enough for an odds-shattering second set of donated organs, died yesterday. Jesica was declared brean dead at 1:25 PM EST and taken off life support machines shortly afterward. Jesica was 17 years old.

Cancer Cure A Fraud, FTC Says
Cell Specific Cancer Therapy, a company based in British Columbia, has been using its website to advertise a $15,000 electromagnetic cancer treatments, claiming to have successfully treated more than 800 people since 1998. After a year long investigation, the FTC has determined that the therapy is a fraud. "It has absolutely no effect on cancer cells, and tragically, some consumers lost a lot more than $15,000; they lost time," said FTC member Howard Beales.


Tyson Easily Defeats Etienne
Mike Tyson flattened Clifford Etienne after only 49 seconds of their heavyweight fight here on Saturday, setting the stage for a possible world title rematch against Lennox Lewis. Tyson's record rose to 50-4 with 44 KOs. The rendition of the US national anthem before the fight lasted 18 seconds longer than Etienne.

Louisville's COllapse Continues
A week after being ranked third in the world of college basketball and being mentioned as a possible top seed in the NCAA tournament, the Louisville Cardinals have lost three of their last four. Saturday's loss, a 101-80 drubbing to the Cincinnati Bearcats, included an ejection of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who vociferously argued calls throughout the game.


Grammy Awards Held Tonight
The music industry's annual self-celebratory blowout known as the Grammy Awards will be held tonight in New York City to hand out awards to the top musical performers of the year. Among the expected winners are Bruce Springsteen for his strong album The Rising, newcomer Norah Jones, and The Dixie Chicks for their strong bluegrass-heavy album Home.

Clooney Steps Up Critiques of Bush
American actor George Clooney stepped up his criticism of George W. Bush's administration on Sunday, saying he feared a war against Iraq was inevitable but would ultimately only lead to more violence. On German television this morning, Clooney said "America's policies frustrate me. I think a war with Iraq is as unavoidable as it is useless. I think it's coming, but I also think the real danger is going to be what happens after it." Clooney has been very public in his criticisms of Bush over the past few years, particularly in terms of military policy.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

Besides my writing here on e2 and my own fictional writings that I continue to try to sell to publishers, I also keep a very detailed personal journal. I keep it electronically, encrypted on my hard drive thanks to public key encryption and backed up on a series of burnt CDs. My journal, in hand with prayer and meditation, is my only real window for true honesty with myself that I have in life; without it, I would go quite mad.

I usually fill page after page of rants, random thoughts, quotes that pull on my mind, and other such things. On occasion, I'll pull out pieces I particularly like (such as this one) and post them here, but mostly they remain private. I never really understood my compulsion for keeping them; I have hand written journals from about 1990 to about 2001 that I keep as well.

What I can't figure out is why I write so much, and why I do this every day. I estimate that I put on paper somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 words a day, and towards the higher end of that range in the last couple of weeks.

My life is relatively balanced; my largest concern is whether a new co-worker will work out and my upcoming wedding plans (which I am very happy with, I should point out). I've been sleeping well lately, and my dreams have been less vivid than usual (I often don't sleep well).

Is it because of changes I made to my life in the last year? Is it because of some indescribable fear of the future? Or is it simply because I am a growing and changing person, and this is a direction I am growing in?

I've long had an urge to just leave everything behind and go work on a fishing vessel for a while, or go Foxfire and live in the hills of Appalachia. I've found myself agreeing less and less with many of the choices my country is making; I feel it is time for a strong libertarian push in our government. But I guess I have this sense that something needs to change.

Thomas Jefferson said that America needs a revolution every twenty years or so. I'm twenty four.