Hidden Nook

"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."


Friday, December 31, 2004



US pledges $350 million to Tsunami



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In a show of generosity the President announced that the U.S. would be pledging ten times the amount it originally offered to the nations affected by the Tsunami, from $35 million to $350 million. I guess he is trying to show just how "stingy" America can be, according to the United Nations. Well...there is more below and I am out for the day...Happy New Years everyone!


CTV.ca

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell discusses the international response at the UN on Friday.


President Bush is sending Colin Powell to visit the areas in order to determine what else our country can do to help these people. His brother Jeb will accompany him as he already knows the devastating affect that weather can have on land. President Bush went on to say:
"Initial findings of American assessment teams on the ground indicate that the need for financial and other assistance will steadily increase in the days and weeks ahead."


"Our contributions will continue to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become clearer," Bush said.


"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this epic disaster."

Hopefully aid will arrive soon as reports of deaths exceeding 150,000 are now reaching this blogger's ears. Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 11:39 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Testing new template



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This is just a test...testing new template...Selah!

Hmm...does it blockquote easily?

Hidden Nook


Testing whether or not post expandable summaries works...Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 10:05 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Thursday, December 30, 2004



Redoing blogger...skin...



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I am in the process of redoing my blogger skin. I found a cool design on Blog Skins and I am in the middle of implementing it. I decided to revamp the blog since I am moving away from Xanga and many of my friends do not have high speed access. So...I will be out for a couple of days...(this new skin is cool and tricky to customize...but I am learning new html/css though). You can visit my other blog (go underneath drop menu in "About Me" and select "Audio Journal"). Until then...Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 9:49 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Editing...



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I started to edit my Blog site in order to make it "scroll friendly" but to my surprise it turned out extremely ugly. I could only stand it for about ten minuets before reverting back to the original. Oh well...I'll have to find some other way to edit the skin. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 5:12 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Tsunami deaths over 120,000



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Other news sources such as Fox News have reported deaths up to 114,000, Reuters (see source link) has reported that the new count is now 120,000 dead. Areas such as Sri Lanka have reported over 27,000 deaths and in Indonesia just under 80,000 people were reported killed, although an official report will be made later on.


AP/Fox News

Dec. 29: A Buddhist monk stands over dozens of covered corpses at a temple in southern Thailand.

Google has generously placed a link on their homepage for those interested in donating money to aid the victims (it lists charities requesting aid) and if anyone is interested in more information on how to help out they can visit Tsunami Help (a blog site). For those with higher bandwidth, a picture summary is located below. (click "Read More")




AP/Fox News

Dec. 29: Two men on a scooter pass by mud-encrusted vehicles that were washed up by tsunami waves in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.



AP/Fox News

Dec. 29: A woman from Banda Aceh who lost her entire family cries as she is greeted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Medan, Indones



AP/Fox News

Dec. 30: Men gather near the ruins of a home that was destroyed by tsunami waves in southern Sri Lanka.



AP/Fox News

Dec. 29: An aerial photo shows twisted train tracks and scattered vehicles that were destroyed by tsunami waves in Galle, Sri Lanka.



AP/Fox News

Dec. 30: A villager returns to a fishing colony that was hit by tsunami waves in India's southern Tamil Nadu state.



By Darnell Clayton • 10:15 AM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004



Blogs for Hillary?



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While searching the blogosphere, I came across something that almost made me shudder in terror. No, it wasn't the Blogs for Gore campaign, which is campaigning for the (noticeably sad) Presidential election bid in 2008. It was far worse. It was Blogs for Hillary, something far worse.




My initial reaction was that they were copying Blogs for Bush soon to be renamed GOP Bloggers. But according to their blog site:



"...I'd like to mention is BFH is not an attempt to copy Blogs for Bush; we are so much more creative than that...The Blogs for Hillary effort is a counter to the nasty Blogs Against Hillary movement. We aim to provide positive information about Senator Clinton, supporting her as she represents the people of NY. In addition, we're hoping we can provide a central location to dispurse news and information about the Democratic party, help Senator Clinton with her re-election in 2006, and maybe (if she decides to run for president), help her with her efforts in 2008."

Quote Source


Although having Hillary run for President is almost laughable (as she alone would bring more conservatives and concerned citizens than Bush ever would) we must approach her re-election bid with some seriousness. Bush the elder underestimated Clinton which resulted in a loss of morals for 8 years. I would hate for us to do the same about this upcoming election as well.



Our job as GOP Bloggers is not yet done. A greater battle lies yet ahead. "Dubya" has managed to reverse the effects of our economic recession, defend our nation against terrorists and bring back belief into our government system. Unless a strong candidate is brought forth who actually is in touch with reality (something our liberal friends seem to lack now-a-days), we may wind ourselves losing that to liberal idealism. I intend to blog for liberty (economically and politically) in 2008. Will you?






By Darnell Clayton • 8:45 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Monday, December 27, 2004



What a loss...in India



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I wanted to avoid talking about this because I not only have friends in the region but wanted to wait until the full picture emerged (as in what areas were hit and all). According to Fox News, a Tsunami hit India (around Sri Lanka) and nine other nations killing more than 22,000 people. The United Nations began sending humanitarian agencies in what would become the largest relief effort the world has ever seen. More photographs (with essays) below.


AP

Dec. 27: A woman grieves next to the bodies of her grandchildren who were killed by tidal waves in Nagappattinam, India.


Here is more info from Fox News...

Sunday's massive quake of 9.0 magnitude off the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent 500-mph waves surging across the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal in the deadliest known tsunami since the one that devastated the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in 1755 and killed an estimated 60,000 people.


A large proportion of southern Asia's dead were children — as many as half the victims in Sri Lanka, according to officials there. A bulldozer dug a mass grave in southern India for 150 young boys and girls, as their weeping parents looked on.


AP

Dec. 27: A man carries his son as relatives and others grieve at the site of a mass burial in Cuddalore, India.


AP

Dec. 26: A street is littered with damaged vehicles and debris after the area was hit by tidal waves at Patong beach in Phuket, Thailand.


AP

Dec. 26: A damaged car that was swept by the tidal wave that hit Kata beach in Phuket, Thailand.


AP

Dec. 26: A view of the Marina Beach littered with debris after tidal waves hit the coast in Madras, India.

Unfortunately many of these events happen because of lack of preparation. One would think nations who have suffered from similar situations in the past would have developed a warning system. Alas that tragedies like these are the reason for many warning systems instead of reasonable foresight. Australia is thinking about setting up an Indian Ocean warning system and is calling on talks with the other islands within the region on how to develop this. Sad Selah.



By Darnell Clayton • 9:15 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Sunday, December 26, 2004



Abbas the Punk...



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Normally this author is semi-objective (what blogger is) but on the Seattlepi.com (see source link) Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Israel leave all the land that it occupies before the 1967 border (which includes East Jerusalem by the way). One thing is certain for sure. If Abbas keeps up this "macho talk" he will kill potential peace talks and might as well allow Hamas (which has probably done a better job at providing for the Palestinians) rule the West Bank.



AP Photo/Nasser Nasser

Interim Palestinian leader and the front-runner in the upcoming Jan. 9, 2005 presidential election Mahmoud Abbas talks during his first official campaign speech in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Saturday Dec. 25, 2004. Cloaking himself in Yasser Arafat's legacy, Abbas pledged to fulfill Palestinian dreams of statehood.


It seems that the Palestinian leadership (upcoming) will not be a peace partner with Israel. He is already demanding claims that Israel said no to not only the world, but to Arafat himself.
Listing his priorities, Abbas told supporters of the ruling Fatah party that he was determined to provide security to his people and continue the struggle against Israel's partially completed West Bank barrier.

Abbas also pledged to resolve the problem of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Abbas, a refugee himself from what is today the northern Israeli city of Safed, called the refugee issue "very important and very dangerous."

Having personally visited the West Bank and Israel, I can say that this new political voice is threatening to collapse the peace process. If Abbas does not change his former thinking and continues the path of Yasser Arafat, then there will not be peace in the Holy Land and the Palestinians will ultimately suffer. Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 10:46 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Saturday, December 25, 2004



Merry Christmas (Gmail Invite)



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Merry Christmas everyone! To celebrate the birth of Christ in our world (whether you love him or not) I decided to give out a present to the world. I have three Gmail Invites (aka gmail invitations) and several Orkut invites to the first three people who contact me!


You can contact me either by posting on this site (make sure it is on the main page for me to notice), emailing me (one of the links has the address) or subscribing to my blogger. Let me know as this offer goes by pretty fast. Selah!



For those of you who don't know Gmail is an email service offered by Google that offers 1,000 MB of free space along with a host of other features. Click the source link above for more details. Merry Christmas!



By Darnell Clayton • 10:31 AM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Friday, December 24, 2004



Rumsfeld's surprise trip to Iraq



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In Reuters today Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on Christmas Eve after weeks of being onslaught by the MSM (Main Stream Media) and prominent congressmen demanding his resignation. Rumsfeld visited some of the more hostile regions of Iraq ranging from Mosul (where troops were attacked in a mess hall) to Tikrit to Fallujah where U.S. troops battled insurgents (aka terrorists) last month.


Photo by US Army/Spc. Blair Larson via Reuters

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaks to soldiers from the 67th Combat Support Hospital in Mosul, December 24, 2004. Rumsfeld paid a surprise Christmas visit to troops in Mosul, scene of the deadliest attack on Americans since last year's war to oust Saddam Hussein.


It is good to see Donald visiting troops after his blunders with Congress and the MSM over the signing of the letters. Although some may view his trip to Iraq as a "photo op," designed to draw away criticism, his trip to Iraq mirrors the Presidents Thanksgiving travels as a way of thanking troops and raising spirits in the midst of a very tough situation.


Photo by US Army/Spc. Blair Larson via Reuters

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld eats breakfast with soldiers during a visit to a military base in Mosul, Iraq, Dec. 24, 2004. Rumsfeld paid U.S. troops a surprise Christmas Eve visit after weeks of controversy over his handling of the war and perceived lack of sensitivity to U.S. forces and their families.

He was even quite honest to some of the soldiers about the situation in Iraq.
"I don't want to in any way paint a picture that it's pretty because it isn't. This is a tough country...This is a tough situation here in Iraq. It's dangerous, people are being wounded, people are being killed ... The great sweep of human history is for freedom and you are on the right side of that."

Despite the many criticism's of Rumsfeld I think calling for his resignation is a foolish thing. Not many people are as highly qualified as Ronald, and I would not easily place my life on another Secretary of Defense (not even Mrs. Rice who is pretty good at what she does). So for all the nay sayers out there I have only two words for you--Merry Christmas! Selah! (okay, so that was three)



By Darnell Clayton • 1:56 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Thursday, December 23, 2004



Why cats are evil...



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Can you say attack of the clones? In San Francisco the first "cloned-to-order" pet has turned out to be a cat. While other animals have been cloned (from sheep to gorilla's to whatever else is hairy) nothing could be more diabolical than cloning a cat. This kitten clone cost the owner a whopping $50,000 and was created from the DNA of her beloved cat named "Nicky" who died last year(the clone's is "Little Nicky" which is ironic).



AP

Little Nicky


While some of the die-hard pet lovers will sympathize with the owners decision to "reincarnate" her lost one, critics argue that cloning pets is not only frivolous, but a waste since the animals are not as healthy as the originals. Fox News (see source link) goes on to explain:
Scientists also warn that cloned animals suffer from more health problems than their traditionally bred peers and that cloning is still a very inexact science. It takes many gruesome failures to produce just a single clone.


Genetic Savings and Clone said its new cloning technique, developed by animal cloning pioneer James Robl has improved survival rates, health and appearance. The new technique seeks to condense and transfer only the donor's genetic material to a surrogate's egg instead of an entire cell nucleus.


Between 15 percent and 45 percent of cloned cats born alive die within the first 30 days, Hawthorne said. But he said that range is consistent with natural births, depending on the breed of cat.

Despite the odds and the lack of profit (something key to most successful businesses) the company is still determined to press on despite the debate. It plans on cloning 50 more cats (which means hundreds will die in the process if not thousands) at $50,000 a piece. Ironically this is looking to provide an alternative for the rich who can now clone "Fluffy" instead of picking up a random stray off the street. In my opinion if Pet cemetery had a sequel, this would be it. Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 7:12 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Monday, December 20, 2004



Bush defends Rumsfeld...



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There seems to be outrage over the apparent lack of "feeling" that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did not personally sign condolence letters to the families of U.S. troops killed in Iraq. Bush is known for personally signing letters such as these, and the apparent lack of Donald for doing so it causing outrage.


Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters

President George W. Bush gives a year-end news conference in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House compound in Washington, December 20, 2004. Bush defended Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the Iraq war but acknowledged difficulties in training Iraqi police and army to take over the country's security so U.S. forces can return home.


In Reuters (see source link) Bush defended Rumsfeld.
"Sometimes, perhaps his demeanor is rough and gruff. But below that rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military and deeply about the grief that war causes," Bush said.


I personally think controversy with Rumsfeld is pretty much a "non-issue." It was a dumb mistake for Rumsfeld (who is a bright guy by the way) to not sign the letters but it is even dumber to call for his resignation. This is not your average CBS scandal here. This was a poorly made mistake by a public figure who has been "spanked" by the media for his error. To condemn him for it is one thing. To ask for his job is another. He is still much needed as Secretary of Defense and until the job is done in Iraq, Afghanistan, (future reference) Iran and North Korea all calls for his departure will be ludicrous. Selah.




By Darnell Clayton • 9:12 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Sunday, December 19, 2004



Wal Mart befriends Salvation Army...



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According to Forbes (see source link) Wal Mart has decided to match every donation made to the Salvation Army dollar for dollar, up to a $1 million. This is quite a feat as many stores, including Wal Mart's competitor Target Corp. have started to ban the charity because of "multi-cultural" issues.


Picture from City of Rochester, Minnesota



Wal Mart, along with Kmart is keeping the bell ringers but as a courtesy allows the local store owners select which groups can solicit at the doors. Wal Mart however does not allow certain groups, but it does encourage charities generally across the board.

"We hope our customers join us in donating what they can to benefit an organization that does so much in our communities to serve families in need," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Betsy Reithemeyer said in a news release. "The Salvation Army red kettles and the bell ringers are truly a holiday tradition worth keeping."


The Salvation Army said the kettle donations are spent locally and said the Wal-Mart match will extend local donations.

Ironic how many stores have boycotted the Salvation Army (which helps out individuals regardless of creed) while Wal Mart has extended the Christmas spirit towards them. Perhaps to masses should boycott stores such as Target in order to show them the spirit of "Humbug." Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 3:04 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Saturday, December 18, 2004



Bush's Intelligence reform...



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On Friday President Bush signed into existence the largest overhaul of the U.S.'s intelligence in 50 years by creating a new director of national intelligence which will oversee all 15 agencies and help coordinate information between each of these organizations.


Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President Bush signs the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 during a ceremony in Washington, December 17, 2004. Standing with Bush are (from left) Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI).


"Under this new law, our vast intelligence enterprise will become more unified, coordinated and effective," Bush said at a ceremony that included members of Congress and Sept. 11 victims' families. "It will enable us to better do our duty, which is to protect the American people."

This new law is a great way from keeping information from slipping through the cracks which was a major result of the failure to prevent the September 11th disaster. The new law will help foster a spirit of "teamwork" instead of rivalry between our intelligence departments. This will not only work for the benefit of our nation, but to the detriment of our enemies. Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 4:34 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Friday, December 17, 2004



Stolen Fetus found alive...



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I am not quite sure that "fetus" is the correct terminology for this, but since we were all "fetus's" once, I will just say baby.



After "slimming down" my blog I noticed on Fox News (check source link) that a pregnant woman was slain and the baby inside of her was ripped out. Medics arrived at the seen only to find the mother nearly dead and unfortunately died later on.




AP/ Maryville Daily Forum

Bobbi Jo Stinnett is shown in an undated photo provided by Nodaway-Holt High School.


This type of savage behavior is beyond description. I will spare you the grisly details, but authorities found the baby alive in the hands of the suspect (man and a woman) and are investigating them for further information. If convicted, the death penalty would sure be useful in this case.



AP

Dec. 16: Nodaway County Sheriff Ben Espey speaks to reporters about a woman who was murdered and her fetus stolen in Skidmore, Mo.


By Darnell Clayton • 8:37 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004



"Chemical Ali" first to be tried...



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According to Reuters (see source link) it looks like Ali Hassan al-Majid (also known as "Chemical Ali") will be tried in Iraq's new court system. This can be nothing more than evidence showing that the Iraqi criminal justice system (which Europe and the U.N. refused to help) is slowly picking up steam. "Chemical Ali" is accused of some of the worst crimes committed during Saddam's reign of terror, including the gassing of some 5,000 Kurds in northern Iraq.


REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

Ali Hassan al-Majid, one of Saddam Hussein's closest aides and better known as "Chemical Ali", will be the first of Saddam's top deputies to be tried, Iraq's Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan says. Al-Majid is shown in a 2003 file photo.


My Opinion


Despite the announcement of the trial of "Chemical Ali" many suspect that this annoucement was "timed" in order to give Iraq an appearance of "civilized government" as well as bolster Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Whether this is true or not does not matter in my opinion. Even if it is a "publicity scene" it is another milestone in the war of terror, a sign showing a turning point in the Iraqi criminal justice system.


This trial should be very quick according to Hazim al-Shaalan.


Shaalan said Majid was the only one of Saddam's former lieutenants so far earmarked to appeared before a judge. He said he did not expect the process to take long, adding that all the evidence and witnesses were in place.

Another good sign for Iraq. Another good sign for President Bush and a very grievous sign for those opposing the war in Iraq. Selah.




By Darnell Clayton • 11:26 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004



One good thing about France...



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Although I do not think much about France other then the fact that they attempted (and failed) to stab "US" in the back, one thing they are good at (perhaps one of the few things) is artistic beauty. The Prime minister of France inaugurated the world's highest bridge, which really is an design of splender. The bridge is 1125 feet high (62 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower) and is almost 1.5 miles long. Pictures (with descriptions) are below (click "Read More" in order to see them). Selah!


Photo by Jean-Philippe Arles/Reuters

The 'Patrouille de France' release colored smoke over the Millau Viaduct during its inauguration December 14, 2004. Designed by English architect Lord Norman Foster, the Millau Viaduct is composed of seven slender soaring pillars and becomes the highest bridge in the world, creating a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast.


More Pictures



Photo by Jean-Philippe Arles/Reuters

French President Jacques Chirac delivers a speech during the inauguration ceremony of the Millau Viaduct December 14,2004. The structure is the world's highest bridge, a creation taller than the Eiffel Tower, longer than the Champs Elysees and designed to end a traffic bottleneck in southern France.


REUTERS/Jean-Philippe Arles

Pillars from the Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, rise above the cloud-covered valley of the river Tarn December 9, 2004. The Millau Viaduct with seven slender soaring pillars is the highest bridge in the world at 343 meters, now creates a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast. The bridge will be inaugurated by French President Chirac.


REUTERS/Jean-Philippe Arles

Pillars from the Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, rise above the cloud-covered valley of the river Tarn December 9, 2004. The Millau Viaduct with seven slender soaring pillars is the highest bridge in the world at 343 meters, now creates a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast. The bridge will be inaugurated by French President Chirac at a ceremony December 14.


REUTERS/Jean-Philippe Arles

The Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, crosses the valley of the river Tarn in Millau, December 9, 2004. The Millau Viaduct is composed of seven slender soaring pillars and becomes the highest bridge in the world at 343 meters, creating a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast. The bridge will be inaugurated by French President Chirac at a ceremony December 14.


REUTERS/Patrick Kovarik

French President Jacques Chirac talks with Lord Norman Foster English designer of the Millau Viaduct during the inauguration ceremony December 14,2004. The Viaduct is composed of seven slender soaring pillars and becomes the highest bridge in the world at 343 meters, creating a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast.



By Darnell Clayton • 6:44 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Monday, December 13, 2004



Scott Peterson convicted...



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Scott Peterson was convicted for the killing of his wife Lacy Peterson and his unborn child Conner (which is ironic in a state that is pro-choice) by a jury after 12 hours of deliberation. The jury recommended the death penalty for Scott who showed no emotion as the verdict was read by a clerk as he was sitting stone face next to his Attorney Mark Geragos.


Photo by Reuters (Handout)

The California jury that convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife and unborn son, after a sensational trial that transfixed much of the country, recommended on December 13, 2004 that he be put to death. Peterson is seen during defense closing arguments in the penalty phase of his murder trial, at the courthouse in Redwood City, California, Dec. 9.

"Scott Peterson was Laci's husband, Conner's daddy -- the one person who should have protected them. And for him to have done that -- that's it," juror Rochelle Nice said at a press conference after the verdict was read.


My Opinion


Although the his lawyer plans to appeal the case Scott will probably face the justice he deserves. No one has the right to take the life of their own child (not fetus but a child) in such a way. The least he could have gotten was some marital counseling on the situation. If he is indeed guilty of this crime it would be beneficial for him to at least show some remorse over the tragedy. From the looks of his "cold heart" it seems that he did not even miss his wife much less love her. Here are some more pictures from Reuters.


Photo by Kimberly White/Reuters

People read the San Francisco Examiner with the headline 'Death' over pictures of Scott Peterson and his wife Laci at superior courts in Redwood City, California, December 13, 2004. A California jury recommended the death sentence for Scott Peterson for killing his wife and unborn son after a sensational trial that riveted much of the country.


Photo by Pool/Reuters

Jackie Peterson, the mother of Scott Peterson (R) observes a crowd while being escorted by a police officer as she arrives for the reading of the verdict of her son outside the courthouse in Redwood City, California December 13, 2004. Peterson was sentenced to death by the jury after being convicted of two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child.




By Darnell Clayton • 7:11 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Sunday, December 12, 2004



Marine cuts off finger for love...



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As odd (see source link) as it may sound a Marine chose to sacrifice his ring finger in an attempt to save his wedding ring. The 19 year old marine was wounded in a fire fight in Fallujah receiving wounds in the legs and in his left hand. When doctors told Lance Cpl. David Battle that he would have to sacrifice his ring finger or the wedding band he wore, he told the doctors to cut off the finger.


When doctors prepared to cut off his wedding ring in order to save his finger David Battle replied:
"But that would mean destroying my wedding ring," he said. "My wife is the strongest woman I know. She's basically running two people's lives since I've been gone. I don't think I could ever repay her or show her how grateful ... how much I love my wife, my soul mate."



I have no words worthy do describe this Marines devotion to his wife. Some may call it stupidity, others love, while I simply say it represents nothing less than dedication. Selah!


By Darnell Clayton • 11:06 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Middle East against Democracy



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It seems that many nations in the Middle East have a different view towards democracy (Reuters-source link). While the Bush Administration believes that democracy would benefit the region many countries of the Middle East countered that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have to be countered first. Outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell responded by saying that "reform does not have to wait for that."


Photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

U.S Secretary of State Colin Powell(L) speaks at the opening of the 'Forum for the Future' one day meeting in Rabat December 11, 2004. Arab, Muslim and Western nations gather in Morocco on Saturday in an effort to promote economic and political reform in the Middle East that is widely seen within the region as U.S. meddling.


It is ironic that nations supposably offering the best society (under Islam) possible resist a government by the will of the people. It seems that many of these nations refuse to focus on their own reforms and instead take "pot shots" at Israel and the Iraq situation. The meeting which was suppose to be a "Forum for the Future" instead resembled an economic summit and less on political reform. Colin Powell goes on to eloquently state that:
"We did not overlook some of the challenges that we are all facing in the region and uppermost in that list of challenges is the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

"But we cannot ignore the fact that reform has to go on ... A child who is in need of an education and will not be a contributing member of society without that education, needs that education now," he said.

"Now is not the time to argue about the pace of democratic reform or whether economic reform must precede political reform," Powell told delegates from nearly 30 countries.

"All of us confront the daily threat of terrorism. To defeat the murderous extremists in our midst we must work together to address the causes of despair and frustration that extremists exploit for their own ends," he said.


Photo by Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters

Secretary of State Colin Powell on December 11, 2004 said Middle Eastern economic and political reform would help defeat terrorism but many Arabs dismissed his call and demanded an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. With continued violence in U.S.-occupied Iraq and the Palestinian question unresolved, the one-day 'Forum for the Future' conference in Morocco was viewed by many in the Middle East as U.S. meddling even though American officials insist change must come from within the region. A Palestinian boy holds an election poster of jailed presidential candidate Marwan Barghouthi near the West Bank city of Nablus, December 10.

Although their is considerable resistance towards democracy in the region (as will be the case in the future) the success of Iraq and Afghanistan will be the determining factors on whether or not democracy is something Arabic (as well as Islamic) nations are capable of running. Ironically in Israel those practicing Islam have more freedom's there than inside their own nations. Hopefully Iraq will be a role model in how a democratic Arabic state can be run. Selah!



By Darnell Clayton • 1:18 AM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Saturday, December 11, 2004



Poisoned!



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

According to Fox News (see source link) the reason for the disfigured face of Viktor Yushchenko's face (presidential candidate for Ukraine) was a result of a poison called dioxin which caused his face to be pockmarked and ashen. This is something that Yushchenko has been declaring ever since he fell ill on September and was rushed to the Vienna hospital.


AP

Dec. 10: Viktor Yushchenko is being tested for poison after his face has disfigured over the last few months.


Zimpfer gives a more detailed report:

"We suspect involvement of an external party, but we cannot answer as to who cooked what or who was with him while he ate," Zimpfer said, adding that tests showed the dioxin was taken orally.

Zimpfer said Yushchenko's blood and tissue registered concentrations of dioxin --one of the most toxic chemicals-- that were 1,000 times above normal levels.

"It would be quite easy to administer this amount in a soup," Zimpfer said.


Now that the reports have been verified it appears that this upcoming Ukrainian Election (on December 26th) is probably going to be an intense campaign, adding fuel to the fire for Yushchenko. Ironic how an election in Ukraine turned out to be more fierce than the one in the U.S. Selah.



By Darnell Clayton • 3:53 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Friday, December 10, 2004



Not ready for Saddam?



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

It appears as if the prosecutors who are responsible for trying one of the Middle East's most notorious dictators (after the Iranian Mullah or perhaps more) are not ready for trial. It appears that their European "friends" along with the ever so helpful United Nations are refusing to provide the tribunal with the help that they desperately need (see source link above).


Lt-Col Michael Newton who is a US military lawyer from West Point Academy took part in the training session for the Iraqis. He goes on to explain that:
"The judges and prosecutors have much to learn about conducting complex trials in accordance with international law. But their calls for help are not being answered."



Ironic that some of the world's "leading" nations and the international body itself would refuse to help put on trial a man who has broken not only every international resolution set against him but has committed documented genocide (by the U.N.'s account), supported terrorism (in the West Bank at least) and has attempted to kill a former President of the United States? The article (check source link above) clarifies the reasons for this "decline of help."
But the UN ordered serving staff - including experienced lawyers from the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal - not to take part because of concerns about the fairness of the proposed trial procedure and the tribunal's willingness to impose the death penalty.

Britain and other European countries are reluctant to help openly for the same reasons.

For a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of his own people, ironic how the "world body" feels that this once fearsome dictator does not deserve to be put to death himself. Selah?




By Darnell Clayton • 2:07 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Thursday, December 09, 2004



Gay Marriage, Eh?



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Unfortunately it looks like gay marriage could be a reality for the great white north (aka Canada) in the near future. A Supreme Court ruling in Ottawa says that they have the authority to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, but that religious officials (i.e. Christians) cannot be forced to perform unions against their beliefs.


(CP PHOTO/Jeff McIntosh)

Robert Lawrence, left, and Ron Siegmund, embrace after hearing the Supreme Court of Canada announce it's decision on same-sex marriage, Thursday in a Calgary bar.



Ironically despite declaring this ruling the Supreme Court refused to say whether traditional marriage as it is defined between a man and a woman violated equality rights. The court has acknowledge that times have changed and with them the definition of marriage in the future. The court goes on to explain:
"Several centuries ago, it would have been understood that marriage be available only to opposite-sex couples."

"The recognition of same-sex marriage in several Canadian jurisdictions as well as two European countries belies the assertion that the same is true today."

The frightening thing about this is that Canada's marriages are being defined not by the populace or the will of the people but rather the will of the few, the judges in the land. The article (see source link above) goes on to explain:
Same-sex marriage could become legal across the country next year if the minority Liberals win enough support in the divided House of Commons. It's expected a vote on legalizing gay weddings would narrowly pass even without the support of several Liberals and the Conservatives.


Judges in six provinces and one territory have already struck down the traditional marriage definition, saying it violates equality rights. Thousands of same-sex couples have already tied the knot. Should the legislation pass, Canada would join Belgium and the Netherlands in allowing gays to wed.

If Canada legalizes Gay Marriage through the court system, it will only be a matter of time before the US (and perhaps the world) does as well.



By Darnell Clayton • 1:36 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Shiites Uniting Politically



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

It looks like the Shiite Muslims are uniting together and taking advantage of their 60% majority (population wise) in Iraq. A Shiite Cleric announced a list of 228 approved candidates from which the Shitte's can vote upon. This is backed by the leading Shiite Cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and will most certainly put the Shiites at the helm of Iraq for the first time since the fall of Saddam.



AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed

People walk past a poster of Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Baghdad, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004. al-Sistani issued a fatwa, or religious rulling, in mid-October to encourage people to vote in Iraq's upcoming elections.



But not everyone on the list is Shiite. This list includes Kurds and Sunni's as well. Despite this "inclusiveness" the intent of the list is to promote Shiite's into office. An exerpt from ABC News (see source link above) goes on to explain:
The coalition, called the United Iraqi Alliance, includes two major Shiite political parties the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Dawa Party and the Iraqi National Congress, led by former exile and one-time Pentagon favorite Ahmad Chalabi, Dawa party official Ali al-Adeeb told a news conference.

Also on the list were independent Sunni Muslims and Kurds.

Al-Sistani, an Iranian-born cleric, has been working to unite Iraq's majority Shiites ahead of the vote to ensure victory, as well as include representatives from Iraq's other diverse communities.

Things look good for the Shiite. Their time in history has come and it looks like they will not be denied. Ironic that one of the group's that has suffered the most in Iraq will now be calling the shots of the future nation. Selah.



By Darnell Clayton • 1:17 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004



No Oscar for the Passion of Christ?



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Not to the surprise of many the film "The Passion of Christ" which generated more than $370 million throughout the United States and was probably the "film of the year" will probably not be nominated for an Oscar. Despite the huge attendance from movie-goers (many of them church-goers) you will not likely see the movie nominated among the five best picture nominations.



New Market Films via Reuters file

Jim Caviezel talks with producer and director Mel Gibson, right, on the set of "The Passion of The Christ."



According to Michael Ventre of MSNBC (see source link above) the reason has to do with the way Mel Gibson refuses to promote the film as is traditionally done by the movie industry when a movie has the potential to be nominated.


First off, we live in highly commercial times. Rare is the motion picture that is plucked out of obscurity and embraced by Academy voters without being accompanied by a good, old-fashioned marketing onslaught. In this case, Gibson has already declared he will not spend money to promote the film. Turning his back on the increasingly distasteful practice of trumpeting a movie for Oscar contention is a noble gesture.

A noble gesture indeed. Ironically a movie that has polarized many people within the country as well as angered those who regard themselves as "elitist" within the American society will probably be remembered for years to come (if not decades). If this movie ever is recognized for the glory it deserves, it will like the story itself be a miracle. Selah.





By Darnell Clayton • 5:28 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004



BBC's troubling times...



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

According to Reuters (see source link) the BBC has announced that it will be slashing 10 percent of its work force in order to trim down costs. The Director General Mark Thompson who once described BBC as "basking in a Jacuzzi of spare public cash" announced the cuts to staff members on Tuesday. Ironically, Thompson spun this as a apart of BBC's "transformation" which is probably a result of BBC's fouling up in regards to their...



REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

The BBC, facing a government review of its charter, is set to unveil a major shake-up including substantial job cuts and shifting some TV and radio production out of London. File photo shows BBC Director General Mark Thompson.



...report about the government having "sexed up" evidence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (which forced the resignation of Thompson's predecessor Greg Dyke and Chairman Gavyn Davies) as well as them being duped into airing an interview with a fake Dow Chemical spokesman over India's Bhopal disaster.



REUTERS/Toby Melville

The BBC, facing a government review of its charter, is set to unveil a major shake-up including substantial job cuts and shifting some TV and radio production out of London. A file photograph shows the BBC Television Centre in west London.

These blunders have brought them into the scopes of the British Government which is reviewing the BBC's 10 year charter as this determines how much money BBC will receive from the license fee.


It seems that BBC is going through a major "accountability" phase as it's own editorial credibility is now more than ever coming into question in regards to it's programming. If other news networks/programs like BBC (CNN, CBS, etc.) continue to promote opinion over objectivity, they will find themselves continually in second place (behind other networks like Fox News) and on the road towards extinction along with the dinosaurs. Selah!





By Darnell Clayton • 1:51 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Sunday, December 05, 2004



Finally a cure! (we hope)



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Many people may remember the "killer virus" called SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that spread around the world and hit China and Canada hard with the former having around 800 deaths and the latter 44.



Researchers in Beijing, China however have developed a vaccine that they claim works against SARS. Researchers injected 36 healthy volunteers with the vaccine starting in May and 24 had developed antibodies (see source link above).





This is a partial transcript from the CBC (see source link above):
None of the volunteers reported abnormal physical reactions.


The vaccine has passed the first phase of testing and proven to be safe, said Yin Weidong, director of the research program.


The research team has already established standards for manufacturing the vaccine, he said, although it still has to go through two phases of testing.


More than a 100 researchers have been working on finding a vaccine for more than a year in China.


Although the virus originated in China, this recent news shows that China is taking responsibility for itself, as well as the world. By providing a vaccine China is quickly becoming a major player in the international community. For more information on Sars simply click here. Selah!




By Darnell Clayton • 7:16 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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United Numbskulls...



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Despite the evidence shown to the United Nations over the scandal over the "Oil-for-Food" program involving the son of Kofi Annan (as well as many other factors) many leaders around the world are still in support of Kofi Annan. Over 3,000 of the U.N. staff have signed a petition supporting his leadership and practically all of Africa as well as Europe and many Asian leaders wrote letters or made phone calls expressing their support of Kofi and condemning America for it's "attacks."


Getty Images

Three years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is the target of escalating attacks in the United States and a U.S. senator has called for his resignation.



President Bush has refused to say whether Annan should resign, but neither used the opportunities to back him. Bush demanded instead that "a full and fair and open accounting" of the oil-for-food program in order for the U.S. to validate spending taxpayer money towards supporting the United Nations (of which 25% of their budget comes from).


Despite the demand by congress (specifically U.S. Senator Coleman, a republican from Minnesota) their has been little outrage over the incident which in itself is outrageous. If the United Nations keeps failing to maintain the standard set before them it will become nothing less than an international bureaucratic organization with lots of ideals but no power (more like a large discussion board of possibilities instead of responsibility).


The United nations has failed to uphold it's standard in Sudan when genocide (at least the extermination of one ethnic/religious group by another) when it refused to recognize it as the fact. They failed again during the Ukraine elections when they refused to recognize the fraud (even when Canada and Europe did). If the United Nations does not want to stick out it's head and accomplish the job it was suppose to, it will become nothing more than a bunch of United Numbskulls. Selah!





By Darnell Clayton • 6:56 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Saturday, December 04, 2004



MSN Blog?



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

It looks like MSN is finally reaching into the realm of Google. With the debut of their Beta Search which is a modest attempt to dethrone Google, the MSN dynasty has also released it's blogging feature called MSN Spaces in order to keep users within in's "sphere of influence."


Although it is good for MSN to enter in the search engine business, they do need a lot to improve on for their blogging features. According to the Tech Whack (see source link above) MSN doesn't meet the competition.



Here is a little bit of what Tech Whack had to say:

Therefore, Blogger gives you freedom to express yourself while leaving the rights of the content to you. In addition, MSN practically owns the content and can modify it at will? Is that even blogging? I am not sure.

This is one good enough reason to move on to some other blogging service. Blogging is supposed to be about expressing oneself. And it should be as open as one wants it to be. Even worse is that they also reportedly apply censorship on the MSN Spaces. Not a good beginning…





By Darnell Clayton • 5:02 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Friday, December 03, 2004



Let Freedom Ring!



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Freedom is ringing loudly with the color of orange as Ukraine's Supreme Court ruled that the election results were invalid. The court ruled that a run off would take place between Viktor Yushchenko (pro-western candidate) and Viktor Yanukovych (pro-Russian candidate). With a new runoff beginning around December 26th, it appears the courts have spoken in favor of freedom and of the Ukrainian people as a whole.


AP

Dec. 3: Supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko cheer the Ukraine Supreme Court's decision in Kiev.


The ruling was made five days after hearings by the court's 18 justices which scored a major victory for Viktor Yushchenko. The ruling was a stinging blow both to outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and Russian President Vladimir Putin who had previously denouced the idea of a new run-off.


AP

Dec. 3: Supreme Court Presiding Judge Anatoly Yarema declares the presidential vote invalid in Kiev.

Fireworks were in the air as supporters were cheering the new victory. The victory now presents Ukraine with the opportunity to not only have a more liberating culture, but also freedom of press from government control, something that has been denied to them for quite awhile. Let freedom ring!


AP

Dec. 3: Thousands of opposition supporters wait to hear the Ukraine Supreme Court's verdict on the disputed election in downtown Kiev.




By Darnell Clayton • 1:04 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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Thursday, December 02, 2004



A new cold war?



[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

It appears that Putin is getting more "involved" with Ukraine's election. Despite large criticism from Europe and the U.S., Putin has not only endorsed the "victor" (although that is highly disputed) but is also is arguing against a proposed "re-run" of the run off that Ukraine had a while ago.


Associated Press

President Vladimir V. Putin, right, meeting with departing President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine at a government airport outside Moscow.
It is obvious to many in Europe over the cold war differences as one can see by the candidates they support. Putin is asking that foreigners stay out of Ukraine's election process, all the meanwhile Russia puts both hands in for all the world to see. If Russia intends to maintain ties to their Ukrainian neighbor, they must do so in a way that respects the true will of the people. It is obvious to many that the citizens of Ukraine desire freedom, and that freedom will not be silenced by fraud. They are in essence fighting for their own future, one with a better hope for themselves and for their children.


Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

Ukrainian opposition supporters celebrated in parliament after the government of Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich was dismissed.





By Darnell Clayton • 11:28 PM • Email Post • • Linking Blogs

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