Today's Headlines

US News

Violence Erupts At NYC Arcade
At least 11 people have been injured after a fight erupted inside an arcade in New York City. The violence erupted at Broadway City Arcade in Times Square stemming from a fistfight, which quickly escalated into the arcade being filled with a shower of bullets. Some of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, while others appeared to have been stabbed, says Louis Camacho, who also said that the conditions of the victims are not immediately known and that the police have no suspects at this time.

1967 Study Discouraged Use of Nuclear Weapons in Vietnam War
A 1967 government study on the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War, declassified and released for the first time yesterday, found that the political cost of using such devices far outweighed its military benefits. "The use of tactical nuclear weapons TNW in Southeast Asia would offer the U.S. no decisive military advantage if the use remained unilateral ... the political effects of U.S. first use of TNW in Vietnam would be uniformly bad and could be catastrophic," said the conclusion of the study.

Antiwar Protests Picking Up Steam
Saturday was filled with more nationwide (and worldwide) protests opposing the war with Iraq. Chanting "Bush says Code Red; we say Code Pink" and "Peace, not war!" thousands of women marched through downtown Washington yesterday to the Ellipse to protest the looming prospect of war with Iraq on the event of National Women's Day. Among thise arrested during this protest was American writer Alice Walker. This was perhaps the most high profile protest of the weekend, which featured protests of more than a thousand people in most US cities.

International News

Israel Justifies Slaying of Hamas Co-Founder
Israel put its security forces on top alert Sunday after justifying its assassination of a co-founder of the Islamic hardline faction Hamas. Meanwhile, the world watched as Yasser Arafat finally named his second-in-command in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as his prime minister, a reform aimed at curbing Arafat's sweeping powers and introducing more accountability into the organization of Palestinian politics. Mahmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is seen as a moderate and will give his response this week after the Palestinian parliament defines the premier's executive powers.

UN Security Council Split Widens
Just as they did the last three times they met, the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council agreed on Friday that Iraq has not complied with their demands that it disarm immediately and completely. However, just as in previous gatherings, the nations disagreed over what to do about it and when. On the day after George W. Bush stated more clearly than ever that he didn't need UN approval to go to war, country after country told the United States that it was wrong to state that Iraq's chance to disarm was all but over. The disagreement revolves around whether or not military conflict is a proper response to Iraq's unwillingness to follow UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which states that Iraq must disarm.

Blair Faces Revolt Within Own Party
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing a rebellion of up to 200 Labour MPs and the resignation of as many as 10 members of his government if he proceeds with military action against Iraq without a second UN resolution authorising it, according to media reports today. Labour rebels, who mustered 122 votes against Blair in the House of Commons 11 days ago, say their numbers will pass 200 if Blair strikes Iraq without the second UN resolution, The Sunday Times reported. Military action in Iraq could mean the end of Tony Blair's premiership.


Buffett Increases Warnings on Derivatives
In a recent note to investors in his financial company Berkshire Hathaway, financier Warren Buffett warned of the potential devastating effect of investments in derivatives, which he called a "time bomb." derivatives are financial contracts that call for money to change hands at some future date, with the amount to be determined by one or more reference items - such as the level of interest rates, share prices or exchange rates. If, for example, you're on either side of a share price index futures contract, whether you gain or lose will depend on what the index does over the specified period. Buffett says derivatives contracts sometimes run for 20 years or more, and their ultimate value is often tied to several variables. The complexity of the investment makes them very dangerous, says Buffett, particularly to unwise investors.

Six Continents Looks To Split
Hospitality group Six Continents remains determined to hold a vote on its planned demerger despite speculation a new bid could be tabled. Shareholders of the group are due to vote this Wednesday on whether to approve its plan to separate its hotel and pub divisions. The Six Continents group contains Inter-Continental Hotels, the Holiday Inn chain and All Bar One pubs. In recent months, the company has been the target of takeover attempts, most notably from Marriott.

Employees Lose Control of United Airlines
UAL Corp, which owns United Airlines, said today that stock held by the company's employee ownership plan had fallen below 20 per cent, effectively ending workers' control of the world's second-largest carrier. This follows action earlier this week by the Internal Revenue Service, which allowed the manager of UAL's employee stock ownership plan, State Street Bank and Trust, to sell 3.9 million UAL shares without incurring tax penalties. UAL is expected to rise on this news, because the drop triggered provisions in the United Airlines board of directors which limited control by the employees, which have been blamed for recent troubles in the company.

Science & Technology

Endeavour Finds Evidence of Cataclysmic Event
NASA scientists have discovered the strongest evidence yet of the cataclysmic event that wiped out the dinosaurs and most of life on Earth some 65 million years ago. An obscure geologic formation on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, photographed in detail in 2000 by the space shuttle Endeavour, reveals clearly a very large crater shape. Chicxulub, as it is called, is an ancient crater, some 112 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep, and it is thought to be the site of the asteroid impact that ended the Cretaceous period and cleared the way for the age of mammals and humans.

Nvidia Unveils New GeForce FX Chips
Nvidia unveiled yesterday the two newest chips in the GeForce FX video chip line, the GeForce FX 5600 and GeForce FX 5200. These two chips target the mainstream and budget markets, respectively, along with the already-released high-end GeForce FX 5800. The 5600 is very similar to the 5800, except it does not support DDR 2 frame buffer memory, but does support up to 256 MB RAM, more than the 5800 or the 5200. The low-end chip doesn't support DDR 2 or Intellisample, but it only costs $79. All chips in the line support DirectX 9, according to Nvidia.

Mars May Have A Liquid Iron Core
New information about what is inside Mars shows that the red planet has a molten liquid iron core, confirming the interior of the planet has some similarity to Earth and Venus. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory analyzed three years of radio tracking data from the Mars Global Surveyor and concluded that Mars has not cooled to a completely solid iron core. Rather, the interior of Mars is made up of either a completely liquid iron core or a liquid outer core with a solid inner core. Their results are published in the March 7, 2003 online issue of the journal Science.


Abortions Cleared of Cancer Risk
The National Cancer Institute said yesterday it was changing guidelines on abortion and breast cancer after scientific advisers examined recent studies and found no link between the two events. Executive director of the NSW Breast Cancer Institute Professor John Boyages said that weak evidence linking abortions and miscarriages to breast cancer have been brushed aside in recent studies. "This is just confirmatory evidence that abortion is not a risk factor and we should just put it to bed," he said in a statement.

Bush's Medicare Plan Viewed As Weak
The latest proposal for Medicare reform, unveiled by the White House Tuesday, would come closer to providing the kind of prescription drug coverage the nation's elderly need than previous administration efforts. Over the weekend, Democrats decreed that the plan was closer, but not close enough, stating that Medicare should provide comprehensive drug coverage for all seniors, those who choose to stay in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program as well as those who opt for private-sector plans.


Kentucky Wildcats Finish Perfect SEC Season
Kentucky closed out a perfect journey through the Southeastern Conference on Saturday, getting 18 points from Gerald Fitch in a victory over the University of Florida Gators. The team finished 16-0 in the perennially tough conference and 26-3 overall, and look set to receive a top seed in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament. Florida saw their school record 19 game home winning streak snapped in the loss, finishing 12-4 in the conference and 24-6 overall, putting the team comfortably in the tournament as well.

Jim Harrick Faces New Charges From Rhode Island
New allegations surfaced against embattled University of Georgia men's basketball coach Jim Harrick on Saturday, this time from his years as coach at the University of Rhode Island. The Providence Journal reported that Christine King, who worked for Harrick in 1997 and 1998, charged in a deposition that Harrick tried to influence and change grades for former Rams players Luther Clay and Lamar Odom, arranged for team managers to write players' term papers, arranged for players to get housing and money from Rhode Island boosters, falsified expense reports, and paid a women's basketball player to cover up an alleged assault on her by one of Harrick's players. These are the latest in a string of accusations against Harrick, who also faces charges at his current position.


Broadway Strikes Continue
The stages of 18 Broadway musicals remained dark Saturday, a day after contract negotiations between theater producers and striking musicians collapsed. Actors refused to cross the musician's picket lines, resulting in the cancellation of the shows. The action has cost about $1.2 million per performance in lost box-office revenue, according to Jed Bernstein, head of the musician's union.

Clinton and Dole To Debate Tonight
Former US president Bill Clinton and his 1996 opponent Bob Dole will be facing each other in a series of 10 debates on the CBS television program 60 Minutes, starting tonight. "The historic face-off of a former president and a former Senate majority leader will help make an unpredictable world a little more understandable," "60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt says. Although they were opponents in the 1996 election, Dole and Clinton have worked together since then. Clinton awarded Dole the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1997, and the two men are co-chairmen of a scholarship fund for families of 9/11 victims.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

I received several pieces of positive feedback from e2 users after my announcement yesterday that I am considering running for public office as a Libertarian; in fact, multiple people suggested that I node my platform in detail for the interest of the e2 community.

I'm a little hesitant to do this, mostly due to my concern of it turning into a GTKY type of situation; on the other hand, it may be of significant interest in terms of what I perceive the overall goal of everything2 to be: a preservation of a snapshot of the facts of the world.

My platform and politics do have some support in my local area; I have discussed issues involving my beliefs with many local leaders, and their encouragement has been the impetus for my consideration of making this move.

So, I guess my question is would you, as an e2 reader, be interested in reading my platform (and perhaps campaign notes and speech transcription) if I were to node it? For one, it would give me a good reason to clearly eludicate my ideas in written form; second, it would be useful for the long term to look at the political agenda of a prospective candidate for political office in the modern era; and third, I'm sure it would get some feedback, as these "opinion" sections of my news daylogs of late have done.

This does not mean that I am going to necessarily run for office, just that I am giving the issue serious consideration and am willing to publicly share my platform. I would post it here because e2 is a sensible and intelligent community of people who have provided some very well thought out discussion and commentary in the past, both in terms of nodes and messages.

Let me know what you think by sending me a /msg. If I have some substantial support on the issue, I may node my platform.

Lent Diary, Day 5

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.

This is the dawning of the first Sunday of my fasting. To respond to some questions I've already received, yes, communion is an exception to the fasting rule.

Interestingly, it seems as though each day is easier than the day that preceded it; yesterday was the easiest day so far. Even though the days are steadily growing longer, as they will continue to do throughout Lent, the actual practice hasn't been all that difficult.

I use a little calendar I made to indicate when the actual times for sunrise and sunset were. One can easily obtain geographically correct sunrise and sunset times, so I made a calendar listing these times. Now, I don't just jump up and run to the fridge when the official sunset time comes; I usually just casually drink a glass of water and eat three dates, then spend a bit of time in meditation, considering the day that is past.

Most mornings, I eat a simple breakfast (usually corn flakes with skim milk and perhaps some yogurt) and drink a good deal of water before sunrise. Then, at sunset, I eat the dates and a light supper (except for last night, when I ate pizza with some friends). So far, the light supper has been either a tuna sandwich and a salad with a glass of V8 Splash or a chicken breast and some Brussels sprouts.

Today, I will pray for the strength to continue this journey and for continued understanding of the world about me. I'll also pray for others undergoing disciplines, so that they will find the same things.