Jan. 1st, 2003

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can't get no worse (knock wood)

Happy New Year.
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President Bush said today that he was still hopeful that the confrontations with Iraq and North Korea could be resolved through diplomacy rather than war, though he seemed to express deeper concern over Iraq.

"The choice is his to make as to whether or not the Iraqi situation is resolved peacefully," Mr. Bush said, referring to Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein. "We have got a military presence there to remind Saddam Hussein, however, that when I say we will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him if he chooses not to disarm, I mean it."

Declaring that working for peace is one of his most serious New Year's resolutions, Mr. Bush said, "Again, I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully." But, he added, "it appears that on first look that Saddam Hussein hasn't heard the message."

On North Korea, the president expressed optimism tempered with resolve. Asked why he was not considering military action against what a reporter termed "a defiant, unstable, unpredictable nuclear-armed North Korea," Mr. Bush, speaking at a coffee shop near his ranch in Crawford, Tex., where he is spending the New Year's holiday, said that he believed the situation on the Korean Peninsula could be resolved without bloodshed.

"The international community, particularly those countries close to North Korea, understand the stakes involved," he said.

Asked again whether he was "currently contemplating military action" against North Korea, the president replied: "I believe this is not a military showdown. This is a diplomatic showdown." A moment later, he added, "We can resolve this peacefully."


Jan. 1st, 2003 12:13 am
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Trent Lott said tonight that while his resignation as Senate majority leader had been "a very trying experience," he believed that some good would come of it. The episode has taught him, he said, that he must know more about all his constituents and focus more on issues of interest to African-Americans.

The senator's remarks drew applause from almost 1,000 people, some 20 of them black, who attended a hometown reception for him here sponsored by three local Chambers of Commerce.

Mr. Lott added that he "would have preferred to have not have found out this way" that he needed to change.

Mr. Lott stepped down as majority leader on Dec. 20, 15 days after suggesting at a 100th-birthday party for Senator Strom Thurmond that the nation would have been better off if it had elected Mr. Thurmond president in 1948, when he ran on a segregationist platform.

At the reception tonight, Mr. Lott, accompanied by his wife, Tricia, shook hands, looked at baby pictures and hugged constituents.

Among those attending was Charles Evers, brother of the slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Mr. Evers, a Republican, said he would continue to support Mr. Lott.

"I know what good he has done for black people," said Mr. Evers, adding that anyone was capable of making an unfortunate comment. "If I were sitting around talking to a bunch of 80-year-old blacks," he said, "I would say all kinds of stuff."

I hear babies crying
I watch them grow
They'll learn much more
than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
what a wonderful world
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Michigan Gov. John Engler's administration has abandoned efforts to significantly ease state standards for toxic dioxin pollution that would likely have allowed Dow Chemical Co. to avoid huge cleanup costs near its Midland, Mich., plant.

The proposed rule change, negotiated by the outgoing Republican governor's Department of Environmental Quality and Dow officials, had drawn fire from Gov.-elect Jennifer M. Granholm (D) and regional officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and was the subject of a lawsuit filed earlier this month by a coalition of environmental groups.

The proposed deal -- a consent order -- fell apart last Friday when Dow rejected language demanded by the state attorney general's office.

"While it continues to be my belief that a consent order to address the dioxin contamination in Midland is the appropriate solution, it has become impossible at this late date to prepare a final document that not only complies with the environmental statute, but also reflects the substantive comments received from all parties," said Russell Harding, director of the state's Department of Environmental Quality.

Chris Bzdok, a Traverse City attorney who represented the environmental groups, said that while he would drop the suit, "We're still going to keep a careful eye on the process and the dioxin in Midland."

Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported on the controversy, in which environmental groups charged that Engler was handing Dow a "sweetheart deal" that would essentially relieve the company of a large part of its liability for contamination of a major watershed in the Great Lakes.

Dioxin is a potent toxin that can cause cancer and disrupt the immune and reproductive systems. Experts say that elevated levels of dioxin found in Midland soil likely came from the burning of chlorinated compounds, while the dioxin in the Tittabawassee flood plain likely came from Dow waste ponds that overflowed in a 1986 flood.

The proposed rule change would have increased by more than ninefold the amount of dioxin allowed in Midland's soil. Some environmentalists said that if the rule change had prevailed, it would become the de facto standard for the state -- an assumption that state and Dow officials disputed.
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these are great. we should get one for grandma to decorate her house next year. what do you think - a santa, a reindeer or a snowman?

a santa. she already has deer and snowmen outside her house, but no santas.


Jan. 1st, 2003 09:15 am
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...JUNE In a coffee shop, a woman with a BA in English will admit her affection for J.R.R. Tolkein, causing her companion, whom she will just have met after a lengthy exchange via an online dating service, to glaze over and think about dinner, which he will consume alone.

JULY A man, his head swimming with beer, will decide that this, this is the best sandwich of all time.

AUGUST Two people, heading back to their offices following a presentation by the VP of Marketing, (in town for the day from head office), will smirk after one of them says, ‘What a waste of PowerPoint’.

OCTOBER A child, having his freshly skinned kneecaps cleansed and bandaged by his mother, will respond with confused silence when she asks, ‘Why do you do this to me?’...
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1) This is a man who doesn't socialize outside the family circle and keeps showing up with suspicious facial bruising because he chokes on pretzels a lot

2) This is a man who doesn't socialize outside the family circle and keeps showing up with suspicious facial bruising because he still drinks.

I used to wait tables with someone who worked at Ranger Stadium so I recuse myself.
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