Friday, June 24, 2005

Friday 24 June 2005

High Court Approves Bush's 'Clean City Act'

5-4 Decision Paves Way for Govt. Cherry-Picking Eminent Domain Properties

After weeks of negative press and losing battles, President Bush received a boost yesterday, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a municipality taking a neighborhood by eminent domain, largely for projects by private developers.

For the President, it was a vindication and endorsement of his quietly-pushed agenda item, his 'Clean City Act'.

In the closely watched case, the City of New London, Conn., by a 5-4- decision, won the right to move forward with its "economic development" plans, by taking 15 homes in the fading Fort Trumbull neighborhood for private developers to build and lease a "riverwalk" along the Thames River, consisting of office space for research and development, a conference hotel, new residences and the pedestrian "riverwalk.

New London condemned the properties in November 2000, the homeowners then sued in state court, and the case ending with the Connecticut Supreme Court upholding the use of eminent domain in a ruling last year.

President Bush, caught up in the fight to get his judicial nominations, as well as pushing his plan for Social Security reform, quietly plugged away at getting the Clean City Act through the courts. The Congress is expected to pass the bill easily, now that the Supreme Court has ruled in its' favor.

"The President firmly believes", offered White House Spokesman, Scott McClellan, 'that government has the right to develop their economic development programs, without hindrance".

Hindrance, in this case, came from 15 homeowners in Fort Trumbull neighborhood, who were represented by a public-interest law firm, the Institute for Justice. Lawyers for the Institute cited eminent domain abuse, and argued that taking property, for private economic development, even if such development enhanced the tax base for the municipality, could never be considered "public use".

The Supreme Court, the majority led by Justice John Paul Stevens, broadly defined "public purpose".

Writing for the minority opinion, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor disagreed, and cited that "under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded."

"Every trip the President takes to Crawford (Texas)", McClellan continued, "that, along with his bicycle riding, he clears acres-and acres of brush, all with the eye of developing and increasing the value of the property. He believes he knows best on what to do with that property and the President is confident that New London, and other cities, also know best what to do with their properties."

When asked if the President has plans to combine his Clear Skies Act and the new Clean City Act, McClellan stated that "the President always looks at all the options and the best way to undertake those options to maximize them for the best possible results".

Frist Distances Himself From Gitmo MD's

Ethical Issues Reveled; Frist Says He's Never Made Exam or Viewed Tape

Senator Bill Frist quickly distanced himself from a study conducted by the Pentagon, and mental health professionals, looking into the ethical issues surrounding the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp in Cuba.

The study shows that military doctors aided interrogators in increasing psychological duress on detainees, and exploiting their fears.

In an article published by The New England Journal of Medicine this week, the authors said their interviews with doctors who helped devise and supervise the interrogation regimen at Guantánamo showed that the program was explicitly designed to increase fear and distress among detainees as a means to obtaining intelligence.

The Pentagon, officially declined comment of the report, but various Pentagon officials that the practices violated no ethics guidelines, and they disputed the conclusions of the medical journal's article.

Frist immediately upon hearing of the report, declared that he has not made "one diagnosis of a Gitmo prisoner"

"I haven't seen any detainee, nor have I reviewed any videotape of the detainees. I haven't stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and offered any medical advice or opinions on any detainee in Guantanamo, or any other section of Cuba."

Guidelines include prohibitions against doctors' participating in abusive treatment, but they all make an exception for "lawful" interrogations.

The article also charges that non-medical personnel reviewed the medical records of detainees and that doctors usually observed interrogations from behind a one-way mirror, or, at times, were also in the room with the detainee and interrogator.

"I can say for the record", Frist added, "that I have never made a diagnosis from a one-way mirror. I would say that any detainee should be seen and diagnosed by a competent physician, who can make a complete and thorough examination, face-to-face and not from behind a sheet of glass".

Top Ten Cloves: Other Different Philosophies, According to White House PR Man Scott McClellan, That Karl Rove Has

10. All liberals and Democrats suck

9. That the Los Angeles Times needs therapy for that Wikitorial thing they tried running

8. Times Square was more fun before Rudy Gulliani cleaned it up

7. Michael Moore, in particular, sucks

6. Absolutely nothing wrong with being in the White House Steam Room at the same time Jeff Gannon was

5. It's a perfect, legitimate act to suppress voting in Presidential elections

4. Certainly appropriate to have White House PR Person make excuses for idiotic statements by White House Strategists

3. Children, today, would be better off switching from PBS, to the Fox News Network if they want to learn more

2. Rather satisfying to leak and uncover CIA operatives who are the spouse of one of your political enemies

1. You place the former company of the Vice President in charge of rebuilding the country you're tearing apart with a war

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thursday 23 June 2005

Al Qaeda, OSHA Clash Over Workplace Safety

With Iraq As Training Facility, Safety Agency Wants Compliance

Citing complete defiance to rules, including the posting of federally-mandated signs, proper training programs, insurance, outreach, and education, along with the disregard for the safety and health of its employees, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking huge fines against the terror group, Al Qaeda, for their new training facility of the country of Iraq.

With the U.S. Military occupying Iraq, OSHA contends that Al Qaeda must adhere to the standards and practices of workplace safety as outlined and enforced by OSHA.

A recent CIA report states that Iraq was become a training ground for Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, so much so that it's
"even more an effective training ground than Afghanistan was".

Jonathan L. Snare, Acting Assistant Secretary of OSHA, said he was "appalled" at the conditions in Iraq.

"They have untrained personnel working with firearms, explosives and other dangerous tools and devices and there is no evidence that these employees have had any level of professional training".

OSHA, since its inception in 1971, has helped to cut workplace fatalities by more than 60 percent and occupational injury and illness rates by 40 percent.

Al Qaeda has not responded to OSHA's request for records and documentation of its training program, the qualifications of its instructors, managers and councilors, or a copy of their employee manual.

"We need to have complete compliance", stated Snare. "If we don't get it, we may have to take the drastic step - one we don't like to take - and shut the operation down".

Disney Parks Overrun As Southern Baptists End Boycott

Gates Locked On Mob By 11AM; Nagging Children Key To Breaking Stalemate

Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland in Southern California were overrun by Southern Baptists, who for the past eight-years have boycotted the theme park over their belief the Walt Disney Co. violated "moral righteousness and traditional family values".

Park officials were forced to shut down the box office and lock the main gates to the park by 11:00AM, in Orlando and by 12-Noon in Anaheim, turning away tens-of-thousands. The small avenues and walkways inside the parks were packed and teeming with people. There were unconfirmed reports that the parks' food vendors shut down by mid-afternoon, having run out of food to serve.

Hotels and motels, virtually throughout the entire state of Florida were booked to capacity. The other theme parks in the Orlando area, such as Disney's Epcot Center, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Universal Orlando and Wet 'n Wild filled with the overflow crowds.

In Southern California, crowds turned away from Disneyland flocked to Knott's Theme Park, San Diego Zoo, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and others. Hotels and motels, from San Diego all the way up to Santa Barbara, over 135-miles, were booked solid.

All non-Disney parks set one day attendance and revenue records.

It was back at the Southern Baptist Convention in 1997 that the resolution was passed to boycott Disney theme parks and products, due to the Walt Disney Co's decision to give benefits to companions of gay and lesbian employees.

Gene Mims, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention committee said that "we believe the boycott was effective".

''We cost Disney hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars,'' said Wiley Drake, an SBC member from California

Disney officials had no immediate comment.

The resolution ending the boycott states that Disney should serve ''families of America by providing only those products that affirm traditional family values.''

Southern Baptist Convention Chairman Rob Zin, at a press conference, stated that he was pleased with the boycott and happy to see it end.

"While the boycott was effective, we underestimated some of it's side-effects"

Zinn described how many of the SBC's staff and member were "nagged" and "hounded" by their own children and wives.

Through the advent of the Internet, e-mail and cell phones, young Southern Baptists organized campaigns that included wearing pink or purple "Mickey Mouse Ears", endlessly watching the Disney Channel on cable television, or Disney movies on videotape or DVD and adding to the evening dinner pray, a plea for "the Lord to grace this home with the words We're going to Disneyland"

"After eight-years of this, we had to do something", Zinn sighed.

At the convention, other resolution were passed that included encouraging parents to investigate their children's public schools to determine whether they are too accepting of homosexuality, commendation for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for defending the appointment of fair and impartial judges to the federal bench and insisting upon their right to a vote of confirmation to the full Senate and support of stem cell research that doesn't destroy human embryos or risk in obtaining human stem cells.

''It's just devastating to me what's happening to our children,'' said Robert Dreyfuss, an SBC member from Florida. ''We're going to look very much like Europe looks.''

News In Brief 23 June 2005

Biden Looking At Presidential Run In 2008

Taking First Step of Staffing, Including Proofreaders and Fact Checkers

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) confirmed that his statements on the CBS program 'Face The Nation' last Sunday were accurate

"If in fact I think I have a clear shot at winning the nomination by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the nomination," he said,

Biden indicated he will review and reflect on making the run, but, as he does so, he is taking the first steps of staffing.

Included in his staffing requirements will be a Proofreader and a Fact Checker.

Biden had to drop out of the 1988 race for the Democratic nomination, after it was revealed he plagiarizing parts of a speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and revealed that he had plagiarized in law school 20 years earlier.

Biden admitted that his campaign may come in fits-and-starts, as all his statements and writings will be reviewed before being spoken or released for publication.

"Just think of it of watching a foreign movie with bad dubbing", joked Biden

Biden stated he will explore his support and decide by the end of this year if he will join the race.

Winn-Dixie Announces Cuts of 22,000 Jobs

Movie Bombed, Cost Increases Prolong Bankruptcy

Winn-Dixie, the bankrupt supermarket chain announced yesterday that, in an attempt to emerge from their prolonged bankruptcy, 22,000 jobs will be cut, or 28% of its workforce and they will also close over 325 stores.

As reported by The Garlic in February (see The Garlic 23 February - Winn-Dixie Files For Bankruptcy; Blames Canine), company officials banked on the success of the movie, 'Because of Winn-Dixie', based on the children's bestseller of a young girl who adopts an orphaned dog.

The movie opened well, but to mixed reviews and soon dropped at the box office. DVD sales of the movie have been sparse.

Company officials blamed the cause of their initial bankruptcy filing on the dog of the movie.

"This little pup has been more then we could handle … He's been a real primadonna … Special food, a big entourage … flying first class …"

The new cuts will have Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. ceasing operations in four states - Tennessee, Virginia, and North and South Carolina, while trimming business in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Winn Dixie will be leaving the Atlanta market completely.

Top Ten Cloves: Other Things The Los Angles Times Might Experiment With

10. To see if people are really reading the paper, run all San Francisco-based stories

9. Printing the daily edition on colored construction paper

8. To get readers back, rerun all the O.J. Simpson trial coverage

7. Send a videotape of the paper to Bill Frist and see if he can see what's wrong with it

6. As soon as the ankle bracelet comes off, bring in Martha Stewart to redesign the paper

5. Hiring Jayson Blair

4. Getting Tom Cruise to fall in love with the paper

3. Based on the number of hits, changing its' website into a porno site

2. Recut the Paris Hilton commercial that will have her taking a break and reading the LA Times

1. Just invite readers to send in comments; That even for LA, the word "wikitorial" might have been too much

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wednesday 22 June 2005

Rice Threatens Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Urges Democratic Reform or "We'll Throw Your Countries Into Turmoil just like we've done with Iraq"

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered her strongest and harshest message yesterday, to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, urging the two allies to get moving on democratic reforms or "we'll throw your countries into turmoil, just like we've done with Iraq".

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East, and we are tired of not getting the results we want", Rice said in a speech at the American University in Cairo.

Rice didn't give a timeline for the democratic changes but subtly noted the number of U.S. Troops currently in Iraq and Afghanistan, and saying that "they might like a change of scenery".

"We want to see both purple roses and purple fingers".

Rice went further, telling both Egyptian and Saudi officials that "we have the full confidence we'll have John Bolton as our Ambassador at the United Nations".

Rice intimated that, with Bolton at the U.N. and Paul Wolfowitz now the head of the World Bank, the U.S. will have virtually unlimited power and authority to force the changes in their countries.

Back in Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney commended Rice, saying "it's time to take the gloves off"

"We've coddled these people" said the Vice President, "and that can't continue. It's time to make some tough choices, to be on the right side, or the wrong side and we're getting pretty good at convincing regimes to be on the right side."

Rice's comments caused a stir in Great Britain.

Already under pressure and stress to produce a new series of memos, based on President Bush's threats against Spain (see The Garlic, 20 June - Bush Threatens Spain With Axis Placement), Prime Minister Blair's office issued a statement, saying in part;

"They've got to slow down with the regime-change policy and let us catch up a bit".

Banana Republic Group Blasts Bush, Bolton

"These Guys Are Making Us Look Like A Dynasty"

With yet another losing vote in his determination to place John Bolton as the U.S. Ambassador at the United Nations, President Bush had the entire Republican block in Congress to the White House yesterday to plan further strategy.

And, as this meeting took place, the Association for Banana Republics blasted Bush, Senate Leader Bill Frist and the Congress, for double standards, hypocrisy and "for not seeing the noses on their faces"

"These guys are making our members look like dynasties", offered General Emilio M. Vargas, who heads the Non-Profit advocacy group, made of past and current banana republics.

On Monday, Frist again called, for the third time, for a vote to end the filibuster over Bolton and came up six votes short.

Democrats have held up the vote by insisting the White House provided additional documents for their review and the White House stubbornly refuses to do so, demanding the up-or-down vote.

"Traditionally, when we have wanted to place someone in office, it's done with one vote … or a coup" offered Vargas. "These guys are going about it all wrong. You don't just keep voting, over-and-over, until you get it the way you want".

Vargas also criticized the seeming disorganization around the Bolton fight.

'Frist says it's all over, no more voting and the President says he's waiting for a vote. I guess they're not looking at the same videotape".

Yesterday morning, Frist conceded defeat on Bolton, indicating that he would not schedule any more votes, while, the President was saying he had no intentions of pulling Bolton or giving up on getting the up-or-down vote

Frist, after the White House meeting said "The president made it very clear that he expects an up-or-down vote,"

Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, denied there was any discord between the President and Frist. When apprised of Vargas's comments, McClellan said that 'The President isn't planning any coup's, though he has left all options on the table".

Including a possible 'recess appointment'.

"If they put Bolton in the U.N via a recess appointment", Vargas stated, "he'll have about as much confidence of the people as one of our members when they have taken over a position without the proper voting".

"They should do what they did to take office in the first place", offered Vargas. "They should just have their Supreme Court put their stamp-of-approval on it."

On another matter, Vargas admitted that the ABR is reviewing an application for admission by Iraq.

Top Ten Cloves: Ways Ken Tomlinson Will Try To Survive His Latest Scandal

10. Will get Dick Cheney to talk to his critics - Enough said

9. Gets Republicans in Congress to filibuster his firing

8. Announces another secret project - Trying to get Howard Stern to move over to NPR to boost ratings

7. Puts it on-the-line: Winner-Take-All Steel Cage Match between him and Bill Moyers

6. Blames all the trouble on out-going PBS President Pat Mitchell

5. Will hire another consultant to get the goods on the Senators calling for his resignation

4. Gets Paul Gigot to run some numbers to show it's cheaper to keep him versus firing him

3. To attract more sponsors for PBS, will produce the Jennifer Wilbanks Story

2. Asks President Bush to make him Ambassador at the U.N.

1. To show he's not against liberals, will have photo taken with Buster and two lesbians

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tuesday 21 June 2005 - Happy First Day of Summer!

Google Drops Bombshell - Will Compete With U.S. Treasury

Markets Close Early and Troops Activated; eBay Said To Be Dumping PayPal

A day after news leaked of the 'Google Wallet', a pay system said to rival eBay's PayPal, Google late yesterday afternoon dropped a bombshell when they announced they will begin a new monetary system for the United States and compete with the U.S. Treasury.

Wall Street, and markets around the world, racked by the news, closed early, causing some investors huge losses.

President Bush, called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice back from her Mid-East trip and had the rest of his cabinet report to the White House immediately. Also, on the advice of Treasury Secretary John Snow, and as a precaution, the President activated National Guard outfits and U.S. Marshalls to stand guard of the Treasury buildings around the country.

Industry executives and Google's chief competitors, such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon, had only just begun to analyze the news of Google's new "Wallet' system when this new announcement hit them.

"This could be the beginning of an effort by Google to, essentially, pull a corporate coup", offered Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates.

"It's very troubling", said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO.

Yahoo offered no comment but reports say they went out and secured, with six-figure retainers, the top lawyers in the country and may mount a legal challenge to Google.

Or, as one veteran speculated, "maybe they're going to come out with Yahoo Dollars".

eBay, reeling from the news of the pending Google Wallet, made a series of moves following Google's announcement that may indicate they are positioning to dump PayPal, who, along with 72-million accounts, took in over $6.2-Billion in the first quarter this year.

In a memo provided to The Garlic, by a person close to Google who wishes to remain anonymous, or would otherwise be terminated, shows that Google's money units will be called "Googlets" For higher denominations, a hyphen and Roman Numeral is added.

Ten Dollars in Googlets will be known as 'Googlets-X', $20, as "Googlets-XX, and so on. For odd denominations, a combination of Roman Numerals and regular numbers will be employed, such as $7 as 'Googlet-V2 or $23 as 'Googlet-XX3. There will be no metal coins in the Googlet Monetary System.

The memo goes on to show that thousands of Google Ad Word clients have agreed to transact business in the new Googlet money system and, for up to two-years, will also be allowed, without penalty, to also accept U.S. Treasury-issued money.

A unique aspect of the Googlet Monetary System is that Google is implanting sensors in their Googlets and users of Googlets can track where their Googlet goes after they spend it on the new Google Maps feature, but only to a general location of city and street - no private identity information will be given to someone that searches their Googlets

Secretary Snow, red-faced with anger, emphatically stated that "Googlets is not legal tender and will not be accepted by any U.S. or Federal Reserve Bank".

The White House late last night issued a statement that seemed to show more of a 'wait-and-see' attitude.

When questioned about the statement, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said that "The President and his staff are examining this very carefully".

"While, at first, it is very startling, however, the President wants to look at all angles and, if there is an application for this new money with the President's plan for Private Social Security Accounts, it may be something he will look at".

F.B.I. Finally Gets Photos, Files On Terrorism

Senior Agents in Counterterrosim Thought Osama bin Laden was Illinois Senator

As a follow-up to the bombshell news released yesterday, that F.B.I. Officials in charge of counterterrorism lacked training, CIA Chief Porter Goss copied photos and files and sent them to F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller to "get his guys up to speed".

Lawyer Stephen Kohn, interviewing top level F.B.I. Counterterrorism officials in connection to a lawsuit, wrote in a letter to three senators, that these official - both current and former members - lacked training and understanding in terrorism and had been, more-or-less, routinely promoted to their positions despite the lack-of-experience.

Goss, yesterday, announced that he knows, or has a "pretty good idea" where Osama bin Laden is hiding.

"If I had known", said Goss, "that they didn't know very much about terrorism, I could have shared the files and photos earlier. Mueller should have said something - he knows I have a huge, big files … actually rooms-and-rooms full of files on terrorism".

One person close to the F.B.I. Indicated that in a survey of top agents, 67% of the agents thought September 11th was the start of the National Football League Season and 87% thought Osama bin Laden was the freshman senator from Illinois.

Kohn's interviews uncovered that F.B.I officials had little knowledge as to basic links between Al Qaeda and a Southeast Asian terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah. Or the connection between Osama bin Laden and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik already convicted of terrorism.

"Wow" was Mueller's reaction. "I guess we got a lot of catching up to do"

Pasquale J. D'Amuro, a former F.B.I. Official who recently retired, stated that "experience in counterterrorism was helpful for managers but added that it was one of a number of leadership qualifications that were important in filling crucial posts"

"Filing reports on time, filling out paperwork properly, staying on top on new fingerprinting and check forging techniques are important also".

Cassandra M. Chandler, assistant director for public affairs at the F.B.I., said in response to the charges that the F.B.I. Agents in charge of terrorism, knew little about terrorism;

"The F.B.I.'s post-9/11 transformation involves nothing less than the complete reshaping of our work force"

Asked if the reshaping of the work force involved gaining knowledge in terrorism, Chandler said that she "doesn't know" and that "You'd have to ask Director Mueller that question".

"We do know the different colors for when they elevate the terrorism threats", she added

News In Brief 21 June 2005

Heinz Buying Danone Groups' HP Foods

Longtime Goal of 57 Varieties of Worcestershire Sauce Near

In an all-cash deal, the H.J. Heinz Company is expected to purchase HP Food, a British condiment company that is part of Groupe Danone's holdings, for close to $861-Million.

Famous in Britain, HP Foods namesake sauce is a spicy brown condiment used on "fry-ups", a traditional British breakfast of eggs, sausages, bacon, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms. The sauce's name stands for "House of Parliament", where legend says it was first served over a century ago.

HP Food also makes the famous Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, which Heinz has stated was the key to making the deal.

Heinz's chairman, chief executive and president, William R. Johnson, has long sought ownership of the Worcestershire sauce so that the company "can get back to its' roots"

Johnson plans on having Heinz produce 57 different varieties of Worcestershire Sauce

"I love the stuff", said Johnson, "and we need to stay with the times"

Top Ten Cloves: Places That Porter Goss Thinks Osama bin Laden Is Hiding

10. Most recent sighting was that he was a candidate in the just-held Iranian Presidential election

9. Goss disputes latest revelation and believes bin Laden was actually Deep Throat

8. In Dick Durbin's basement

7. At the New England Patriots spring camp, trying to make it as a walk-on at wide receiver

6. He went to Disneyland!

5. Goss isn't exactly sure but heard Bill Frist has some videotape to review on it

4. He's missing, or hiding, somewhere in Aruba

3. Got on a bus, went to Las Vegas but then, ended up in New Mexico

2. Was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Tyco case and is now in the FBI's Witness Protection Program

1. Summering up in Kennebunkport at the Bush's place

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday 20 June 2005

Bush Threatens Spain With Axis Placement

President "Extremely Displeased" With Gay Marriage Vote

Reports from Washington this weekend, The Garlic has learned, say that the White House was abuzz with activity this weekend as they lobbied Spain to shoot down the vote on legalizing gay marriages.

One person close to the White House indicated a number of "heated telephone calls and emails" between Bush and Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Other staff, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was traveling in the Mid-East, were lobbying European allies to back the White House against Zapatero and the gay marriage measure.

One source said that the strain between Bush and Zapatero reached a point where Bush, losing his temper, threatened Zapatero with placing Spain in the Axis of Evil. Currently Iran, North Korea and Iraq hold membership in the Axis but, upon drafting a constitution, Iraq is expected to be taken off the list.

Dealings between Bush and Zapatero were strained, almost from the beginning, when, in April 2004, some 24-hours after his inauguration, Zapatero declared the withdrawal for Spanish forces from Iraq.

Zapatero, and his Socialist Party, were swept into office after a bitter election that included the March 11, 2004 bombing of a train in Madrid. Zapatero has put forth an agenda that includes ending mandatory religion classes in public schools, reconsidering euthanasia and divorce laws, and easing restrictions on abortion

If the measure passes in Spain, it will become the second European country to legalize gay marriage, following The Netherlands, which enacted the law in 2001. Belgium has also legalized gay marriages but has not yet adopted it into law.

The Madrid-based Center for Sociological Research, a leading and independent pollster, suggested that 66 percent of Spaniards believe ''homosexuals should have a right to get married."

"Bush is livid", offered one source. " 'He's ordered Rumsfeld to run up numbers on invading Spain and he's leaning on Blair to come in with him".

In England, Prime Minister Tony Blair declined comment but it is being reported that he has ordered a new batch of Downing Street Memos that could be leaked at a later date on the subject.

Officials Say Two Jacksons Cause of California Quakes

News of Laker Signing and Trial Acquittal Rattle Entire State

After yet another significant earthquake early Sunday morning, officials have narrowed down the cause of this recent cluster of quakes - seven, plus numerous aftershocks - over the past week

In a joint statement late last night, seismologists and geophysicists from the U.S. Geological Society, National Earthquake Center and the University of California say that the recent acquittal of Michael Jackson and the recent signing by Phil Jackson to come back to coach the Los Angeles Lakers caused stress fractures along multiple fault lines that were felt throughout the entire state.

"While clusters of earthquakes, by themselves, are not necessarily uncommon", said a spokesperson from the National Earthquake Center, "the news of two Jackson's' was a pretty freak occurrence and the data shows how it effected the faults"

A spokesperson for Michael Jackson reiterated previous statements since the trial ended, saying that Michael plans on ending his practice of sleeping with young boys "so I don't think he'll be causing any earthquakes in the future".

When reached for comment, Phil Jackson declined to admit he was the cause of the quakes and that "it sounds like something Kobe would say".

Jackson was referring to Laker star, Kobe Bryant, with whom Jackson had a tumultuous relationship with during his first turn as head coach.

"He's probably jealous his little rape incident didn't shake things up as much", Jackson added.

When asked how two individuals could cause such reactions, a geophysicists from the University of California at Berkeley indicated that complex data was analyzed from the earthquakes and measured against the actions of the two Jacksons.

"It's pretty much a complete match", said the spokesperson.

"There was some Paris Hilton activity, and Congressman Duncan Hunter's antics over the Guantanamo situation but the overwhelming amount of data pointed to Michael Jackson and Phil Jackson".

News In Brief 20 June 2005

Rep Hunter May Leave Congress For Restaurant Biz

Says "Different Stress Level" But "More Fun In The Kitchen, Than On The Floor"

After defending the Bush Administration against charges of abuse at the Guantanamo prison by serving up the meals served at Gitmo to media members, Hunter says he's considering leaving the Congress and opening a restaurant.

"It's a different level of stress but there'll be more fun in the kitchen than out on the house floor", said Hunter.

Hunter last week, as if auditioning for a spot on the Food Network, rolled out for the assembled press, dinners of lemon-baked fish and oven-fried chicken with rice, fruit and vegetables. Hunter also described other options prisoners had, such as whole wheat pita, brown long-grain rice, canned peaches, steamed asparagus, northern beans, tea and margarine.

Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, went on to extol that the Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo lived "a good life and are probably eating better than they have in their entire lives"

This isn't the first time that Hunter has stepped out in front of the cameras to defend the Bush Administrations prison policies.

Hunter was a lead player in squashing the Abu Ghraib investigations in the House last year, after news of abusing prisoners in Iraq broke and became public. Hunter also was the first chairman of a congressional oversight committee to criticize the Sept. 11 Commission and their recommended reforms

"We are not going to be steamrollered in the Armed Services Committee", Hunter said of the Commission recommendations.

Asked if he has chosen the name of his pending restaurant

"No, I'm still kicking that around. Right now it's between 'Gitmo's' or 'Filibuster's".

Top Ten Cloves: Things Overheard At The Iranian Election

10. We're doing pretty good - our lines aren't half as long as the one's in Ohio

9. Don't tell the mullahs but I Tivo'd that Paris Hilton commercial

8. Since we gave the woman the right, don't be surprised by a big Brad Pitt write-in vote

7. Is that Sean Penn? Is he still making movies?

6. Can we reschedule dinner - I gotta make a bombing run up in Baghdad at 4:30

5. How you voting on that referendum measure of staying in on the Axis of Evil?

4. I sent that Senator Frist a videotape of my mother … I hope he can tell us what's wrong with her

3. I heard the press can't write about "hanging chads" - The West will think we're killing the opposition again

2. You know, if it's close, they'll bring in Bush's brother and the Harris woman to rig the count

1. I'm thinking about turning myself into the Americans - You see the meals people are getting at the Cuban prison?