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Hottest Christmas Toys 2004 #1 - Techno
"Video games (and the systems to play them on) are HUGE again this year -- again. Some of the old favorite characters and game types will still be hot, but there are new electronic entertainment systems and interactive TV games that will be equally popular.

From snowboarding to 'monster truck' interactives, and from action heroes to mysteries, you can look for Nintendo, Sony Playstation and xbox systems and games to be leading the pack."
Hottest Christmas Toys 2004 #2 - 'Boy Toys'
"Action 'toys' like scooters, dirt bikes and skateboards are for both boys and girls, of course, and they are all among the hottest Christmas toys for 2004. The Razor E battery-powered scooter is sure to be hot, as is the Fisher Price Power Wheels Go-Cart, and other electric or battery-powered 'toys' that translate into transportation fun!"
Hottest Christmas Toys 2004 #5 - Educational/Creative
"Every year there are newer and smarter educational or creative games or toys that your children will learn new skills from -- the whole time they're playing and having fun!

A relative newcomer to the educational toys scene, Leapfrog Enterprises, Inc. has burst on the scene with junior computer games called 'LeapPad' that will definitely be one of the season's hottest Christmas toys.

Other creative and educational games include the classic Fisher Price toddler's line, and Discovery Toys."
reforms in the bush administration about health care
" * Changing the patent laws to increase the availability of generic
prescription drugs (84%);

* Expanding tax-free health savings accounts so that more people can
afford health insurance coverage (83%);

* Legalizing the importation of brand name prescription drugs from Canada
and other countries (82%);

* And, creating new tax credits for individuals who are uninsured to pay
for their health insurance (75%)."
bush administration- retirement of JOhn Ashcroft
"On 9th November 2004, the White House announced the resignation of Attorney-General "Pentecostal John" John Ashcroft."
Court should permit medical marijuana
"We've never been fans of medical marijuana laws. Maybe it's because the practice of sucking in smoke of no particular dosage is the sort of primitive, unhealthy "treatment" that modern medicine has properly left behind. But if a majority of people want such laws - and in 11 states, including Colorado, they do - by what right does the federal government stop them?

The obvious answer is that government can regulate drugs under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. But what if the marijuana used by certified patients is grown entirely within the state in which they live? And what if the program is carefully limited so that its impact on the illegal market for marijuana is imperceptible? Congress has no authority granted by the Constitution to regulate an activity that is totally intra- state, non-economic in nature and specifically permitted by state law.

Such at least is the argument made Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of chronic-pain sufferers in California, and we find it unexpectedly persuasive. We may not like medical marijuana laws as public policy, but we recognize a principled case for reasonable federalism when we hear one.

In other words, much more is at stake in the court's eventual decision in Ashcroft vs. Raich than the survival of the preferred treatment of some patients in chronic pain. The very legal boundaries between the federal government and the states could also be adjusted"
bush administration- New Homeland Security Director to Face Big Challenges
"WASHINGTON, D.C. — The new director of Homeland Security will have to find the answer to a critical question: “What’s the best way to protect America?” Tom Ridge's replacement will also have to figure out how to handle a massive bureaucracy, just part of the enormous challenge of keeping America safe from terrorism."
Summary: Clash over medical marijuana
"THE NEWS: The Supreme Court considered whether state medical marijuana laws might be abused by people who aren't really sick, as the court heard arguments Monday on whether the federal government can prosecute patients who smoke pot. Justices will rule before next summer.

AT STAKE: The justices are ruling on the power of federal agents to go after sick people who use homegrown cannabis with their doctors' permission and their states' approval.

WHERE LEGAL: Eleven states have passed medical marijuana laws since 1996: California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington."
iran-iraqi operation freedom- Meet Pakistan's 'most dangerous man'
"The leadership vacuum created by the sad demise of (Palestinian) President (Yasser) Arafat can only be filled by Osama bin Laden and (Taliban leader) Mullah (Mohammad) Omar, the real leaders that are the only dedicated individuals with the mass support of the Muslim world,"
Callahan says Huskers 'building for championship'
"Although Year One of the Bill Callahan era was a major departure from the precedent set at Nebraska over the last four decades, the coach says the days of glory will return.
''We're building for a championship season. I don't want to get away from that. That's our goal, to win the national championship,'' Callahan said. ''It's going to take time. How much time? I don't know.''

The Cornhuskers' 5-6 record goes down as their worst since the 1961 squad went 3-6-1. Streaks of 42 straight winning regular seasons and 35 consecutive years in a bowl are history."
husker football dissappointment
"Although in the waning minutes of Friday's game against Colorado, it sure didn't seem like Nebraska's sellout streak was still intact.

With 98 seconds remaining in the game, many of the 77,661 at Memorial Stadium already had left before the Cornhuskers had one last chance to extend their season.

Trailing by six points, the Huskers' onside kick attempt failed and Nebraska (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) lost 26-20 to the Buffaloes on Senior Day. And just like that, Nebraska's 35-year streak of reaching a bowl game and 42-year run of finishing without a losing record came to a screeching halt"
The Debate Over Medical Marijuana
"Medical marijuana has not been tested extensively enough to say one way or another whether it is actually good medicine. The problem with marijuana testing is that Washington refuses to allow clinical trial but instead restricts researchers to review literature on medical marijuana. Many doctors, however, feel that marijuana is quite effective in alleviating pain in cancer and AIDS patients, and reducing muscle spasms associated with epilepsy and sclerosis. The undeniable advantage of marijuana for people with chronic pain or with spastic disorders such as multiple sclerosis, is that marijuana intake can be tailored to an individual's needs, whereas many prescription drugs may just knock patients out for the day; marijuana directly responds to the symptoms."
Medical Marijuana Dabate
"What this whole mess really boils down to is not whether marijuana makes good medicine or even the threat of legalization but the issue of freedom of speech. According to the First Amendment, doctors have the right to discuss freely all possible treatments including marijuana with their patients. The doctor/ patient relationship is just as important if not more than lawyer/ client and priest/ parishioner relationships whose privileged communication is recognized by the federal government. And thus if doctors feel that marijuana is good medicine for their ill patients then they have a right to prescribe it and that information should remain confidential; the federal government really has no right to intervene."
Debates over Medical Marijuana info
"Regardless of public perception, if you are a skeptic and believe that marijuana has no medical worth or if you're a believer in the possible medical benefits of marijuana and its continued research to cure seriously ill people, the medical marijuana controversy should not be debated on its good medicine but rather remain an issue of freedom of speech between doctor and patient, which is why the AMA has already approved the use of medical marijuana in the first place.

Now that California has voted to implement Prop. 215 into policy, the federal government is going to have to stay out of state policy, unless otherwise authorized to do so by the Supreme Court. Until then, Americans are going to have to live with this issue until it gets resolved."
Medical Marijuana for Greg Scott
" Greg Scott has AIDS. He says smoking marijuana is not something he does for recreation -- but to survive.

"In fact, I'm certain that, had it not been for marijuana, I would have died," Scott said. "
Federal report reignites medical marijuana debate
"A report released Wednesday by a federal advisory panel backs up claims by some doctors, and patients like Scott, that marijuana can play an important role in medical treatment.

The report, by the Institute of Medicine, said that for many, marijuana does have "therapeutic value" for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting and appetite stimulation. The institute also said that there was no conclusive evidence that marijuana use leads to harder drugs. "
Scott's case on med. marijuana.
"In Scott's case, his weight dropped dramatically when he first started taking drugs called protease inhibitors to prolong his life. But he said smoking marijuana helped him alleviate the drugs' side effects -- nausea, loss of appetite and pain. "
"Marijuana is the perfect medicine for this because it both suppresses nausea and increases your appetite," he said. "
Congress: Marijuana 'dangerous'
"The report once again brings to the forefront the controversy over whether marijuana is a helpful or harmful drug.

In the past few years, voters in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have approved measures in support of marijuana for medicinal purposes, even though critics say such measures send the wrong message to children.

Congress has taken a hard line on the issue, with the House last fall adopting a resolution that said marijuana was a dangerous and addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical use. "
Push for smoking substitute
"But the panel warned that smoking marijuana can cause respiratory disease, and called for the development of standardized forms of the drugs, called cannabinoids, that can be taken, for example, by inhaler.

"Marijuana has potential as medicine, but it is undermined by the fact that patients must inhale harmful smoke," said Stanley Watson of the Mental Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan, one of the study's principal investigators.

Even so, the panel said, there may be cases where patients could in the meantime get relief from smoking marijuana, especially since it might take years to develop an inhaler.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would carefully study the recommendations.

"We note in the report's conclusion that the future of cannabinoid drugs lies not in smoked marijuana, but in chemically defined drugs" delivered by other means, the office headed by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey said in a statement. "
House agrees to reorganize U.S. intelligence
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House voted Tuesday to overhaul a national intelligence network that failed to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks, combining under one official control of 15 spy agencies, intensifying aviation and border security and allowing more wiretaps of suspected terrorists.

"We have come a long way toward taking steps that will ensure that we do not see another September 11th," said House Rules chairman David Dreier, R-Calif. Now "we have in place a structure that will ensure that we have the intelligence capability to deal with conflicts on the ground wherever they exist."

The House voted 336-75 to send the Senate legislation to create a new national intelligence director, establish a counterterrorism center, set priorities for intelligence gathering and tighten U.S. borders. The measure would implement the biggest change to U.S. intelligence gathering and analysis since the creation of the CIA after World War II to deal with the newly emerging Cold War.
WASHINGTON - More than two months after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq shocked the world, an official memo described how military intelligence officers witnessed further prisoner abuse in Baghdad but were threatened to prevent them from reporting it.

The memo was the most recent in a collection of government documents released Tuesday. It was dated June 25 and written by Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, who directs the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Lowell described how two Defense Intelligence Agency officers, assigned as interrogators to a special operations unit designated as Task Force 6-26, witnessed evidence of prisoner abuse while working at an unnamed "temporary detention facility" in Baghdad.
U.S. sees more ties between Syria, rebels
WASHINGTON - U.S. military intelligence officials have concluded that the Iraqi insurgency is being directed to a greater degree than previously recognized from Syria, where they said former Saddam Hussein loyalists have found sanctuary and are channeling money and other support to those fighting the established government.

Based on information gathered during the recent fighting in Fallujah, Baghdad and elsewhere in the Sunni Triangle, the officials said a handful of senior Iraqi Baathists operating in Syria are collecting money from private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe and turning it over to the insurgency.

A U.S. military summary of operations in Fallujah noted recently that troops discovered a global positioning signal receiver in a bomb factory in the western part of the city that "contained waypoints originating in western Syria."
U.S. attacks Fallujah; 2 Americans killed in incidents
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - American warplanes pounded Fallujah with missiles Sunday as insurgents fought running battles with coalition forces in the volatile western Iraqi city. The U.S. military said two troops died in separate incidents.

Iraqis check two cars that were destroyed after an U.S. tank drove over them in central Baghdad Sunday.

Meanwhile, a large swath of Iraq lost electricity Sunday after a fire erupted in a major power plant north of Baghdad. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi called the fire an accident, but accused guerrillas of hurting Iraqis with attacks on infrastructure. The capital went dark at about 4 p.m. and power was still out at 7 p.m. The only lights came from the Green Zone and a few other places that have their own generators.
america at war
Several detained leaders of Saddam Hussein's regime began refusing meals in apparent protest against their upcoming trials, U.S. military officials and a lawyer said. Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was not among them.

In Jordan, Saddam's attorneys argued ahead of Monday's first anniversary of his capture that the former president was being held illegally by U.S. and Iraqi authorities.

"It was more of a forced abduction that later became compulsory concealment and solitary confinement, acts rejected by all international conventions," said a statement released Sunday by the team, which cited human rights conventions Washington allegedly had violated.
Ukrainian candidate poisoned with dioxin, doctor says
LONDON - New tests conducted Saturday at a hospital in Vienna, Austria, confirmed that Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian opposition candidate for president, had ingested the poison dioxin, providing an explanation for a broad array of painful and disfiguring conditions that plagued him during the last three months of the campaign.

Viktor Yushchenko before the apparent poisoning, left, and after.

There was "no doubt" that Yushchenko's disease "has been caused by a case of poisoning by dioxin," Dr. Michael Zimpfer, president of the Rudolfinerhaus Hospital, said at a press conference.

"We have proved the source of his problem, and we clearly suspect third party involvement," Zimpfer said in a later interview. But he said law enforcement authorities would have to determine how the poisoning occurred.
18,000 U.S. troops begin offensive in Afghanistan
Protecting Afghanistan's young democracy has become the most urgent priority for American commanders frustrated by their failure to capture al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who disappeared after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

The landmark Oct. 9 vote, which gave a landslide victory to Karzai, was free of the major violence threatened by Taliban diehards, who continue to fight on three years after being ousted from power. Attention is already turning to the more complex National Assembly election, slated for April.
Best gift for Bethlehem: tourists
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) - Bethlehem knows what it wants for Christmas: tourists.

All over Manger Square and the rest of town, shopkeepers, hotel owners and just plain folks are hoping that visitors come and stay - if only for a night.

Pilgrims are the primary source of income in Jesus Christ's traditional birthplace, and town leaders, while mourning Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, are encouraged by a lull in Israeli-Palestinian fighting since his death last month.

"We hope things will get better and pray every day for tourists to come back," said Nidal Dar El-Qurneh, a guide at the Church of the Nativity. "It's been so hard recently, especially the last four years of the intefadeh."

The intefadeh, or Palestinian uprising, has devastated tourism throughout the Holy Land, and occasionally the violence spilled into Bethlehem.
Report on U.S. oil-for-food spending set to be released
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A U.N. panel critical of how the U.S.-led coalition authority in Iraq spent billions of dollars from the U.N. oil-for-food program and other sales of Iraqi oil will issue its report Monday, an official with the world body said.

The U.N. Security Council set up the Iraqi Development Fund to help the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority administer Iraq. The CPA administered Iraq from the March 20, 2003, invasion to its dissolution June 28, 2004, when it handed the reins to the Iraqi interim government.

The development fund consisted of money from CPA sales of Iraqi oil, millions of dollars remaining from the U.N. Iraqi oil-for-food program and Iraqi assets that were dispersed worldwide.
Account of '43 Nazi siege surfaces
JERUSALEM (AP) - As flames engulfed the Warsaw, Poland, ghetto in its last days in 1943, a young Jewish woman hiding from Nazi soldiers kept a journal about her fight to survive in a cramped basement.

The six-page diary, apparently the only account written during the uprising that survived the battle, has surfaced at a Holocaust museum in Israel.

The monthlong uprising by a few dozen desperate, starving Jews holding their own against the Nazis is one of the best known tales of Jewish heroism from the ashes of the Holocaust.

The author, who didn't give her name and whose fate is unknown, described a nine-day period during the uprising. She lived on a bowl of soup and a cup of coffee a day. Outside, the Germans were torching houses.
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LINCOLN - He didn't want to answer questions. Didn't want to make a fuss.

Emotions are close to the surface Friday as receivers coach and former quarterback Turner Gill announces his resignation from the University of Nebraska football program.

Turner Gill spent 17 years at Nebraska and four minutes on his farewell speech.

In a hastily called press conference Friday afternoon, Gill announced he was leaving Nebraska to pursue his dream of becoming a head football coach. The 42-year-old receivers coach, the last link to the Tom Osborne era, gathered his players together Friday afternoon to say goodbye, then stood at a podium an hour later to make it official.

The former icewater-in-the-veins quarterback, who rarely showed emotion as a player or a coach, paused midway through his speech, shuffled some papers, then turned his back as he wept. Gill said he's leaving with no job offer, just a leap of faith and a dream of running his own program.
Voice From the Grandstand: These are times that test a fan's soul
All Husker fans need to take a deep breath and relax. The loss Saturday night was frustrating. However, it's not the end of the football world at Nebraska.

Remember last year, when Texas A&M visited Lincoln and the Huskers dismantled them? A&M had a new quarterback and a new system, just as Nebraska did Saturday in Lubbock. Texas A&M is 4-1 this year and playing good, solid football after a year of additional experience.

We need to continue to back the program. Brighter days are ahead. The young quarterback needs time.
Randy Lenhoff, Omaha

For all the people out there who think the world is over because Nebraska lost to Texas Tech, zip it.

I played football at the collegiate level and realize how hard it is to balance athletics, school and social time.

We are just kids, and this is still just a game. I always thought these were student-athletes, student being first.
Joe Herold, Nebraska City
These are times that test a fan's soul
Well, Husker fans, what we saw Saturday night was a true team effort, in every respect. Good heavens, if you take away about five of those scores off turnovers, Nebraska still lost 35-10.

Joe Dailey better grow some confidence, and soon, or this could get really ugly. On the positive side, David Dyches is back, and the (Brandon) Jackson kid ran pretty hard. Don't give up, Husker fans, they need you now more than ever.
Jay Skarda, Lakewood, Calif.

I don't like what's happening, but we have to face reality. We're installing an offense that takes pro quarterbacks years to perfect, and we're throwing it on the shoulder of a 20-year-old kid who is starting for the first time in college this year.

We need a couple of years of repetition in this offense and get players more suited to it. But how about John Blake for defensive coordinator?
Dave Lenzen, Eustis, Neb.
This Husker has political aspirations
In Garth Glissman's world, pigskin meets pork barrel.

Garth Glissman plans to go to law school, then launch a political career in his 30s. "Serving Nebraska is something I've always been passionate about."

"I've had two passions since I was young," he said. "Football and politics."

Living out his athletic dreams as one of Nebraska's backup quarterbacks, Glissman has his eyes on the future. When his days are done in scarlet and cream, he wants to serve the citizens of the red, white and blue.

Any Husker could probably tell you that Glissman is the most politically charged member of the football team. For the junior from Waverly High School, the topic is serious business. Running for office in the future is more certainty than possibility.

"I believe he will be the president. It wouldn't surprise me at all," said Victoria Smith, an assistant professor for Native American history and Native American studies who has taught Glissman in three classes.
Make marijuana legal to ease jail overcrowding
Marijuana should be legalized. There are many people sitting in jail or prison right now over possession of marijuana. If people want to smoke, drink or eat marijuana in their homes, it should be their business. It would be better for the taxpayers because then they wouldn't have to pay for so many people sitting in jail.
Although they wear the same standard-issue black robes, it's difficult to confuse U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia -- an impassioned conservative with thick, dark hair -- with John Paul Stevens -- an ardent liberal whose mane is as white as the court's famous marble columns.

But had you shut your eyes during oral arguments recently in a case involving California's medicinal-marijuana law, you might not have recognized who was talking.

It was Scalia, historically one of the leading proponents of the rights of states, who vigorously challenged the attorney for two California women who want to keep using medicinal marijuana, which is legal under state law but whose users can still be arrested under a federal ban on the drug. And it was Stevens, long a defender of the federal government's reach, questioning the central government's ability to trump the decisions of California doctors who prescribe marijuana.
"Marijuana" role comes naturally
LOS ANGELES — It was pot that made him famous and pot that helped put him in prison. So it seems only natural that Tommy Chong's first big gig since leaving the joint would be in a play called "The Marijuana-Logues."

"I'm trying to change my image," jokes the taller, bespectacled half of comedy's ultimate doper duo, Cheech and Chong.
Future Hazy for Medical Marijuana
Angel Raich, 39, of Oakland, Calif., is suffering from a brain tumor. In accordance with California's Compassionate Use Act, which voters approved in 1996, her doctor prescribed medical marijuana to relieve her intense pain.

It was "the only drug of almost three dozen we have tried that works," said Dr. Frank Lucido, her physician.

Diana Monson, 47, of Oroville, Calif., also uses marijuana after her doctor recommended it to ease excruciating back spasms.

Monson smokes it; Raich puts it in a vaporizer and inhales the fumes.

A few days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments by attorneys representing the women. The court's ruling, which will not be handed down for months, will affect similar patients in the 10 states that permit doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.
Demise of states’ rights
IF A STATE wanted to enact marriage rights for gay couples, the President’s Federal Marriage Amendment would forbid it. That’s true even if such marriages could not be recognized anywhere else in the country, as stipulated by the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. So much for states’ rights.

The same is true with another nettlesome social issue: medical marijuana. The Supreme Court heard arguments last week about the right of some people with severe medical conditions to grow and use pot. It seemed clear enough from the often dismissive line of questioning that, under current law, the feds rule. Even if a person grows only enough pot to treat her own illness, even if nothing is bought or sold, even if she lives in a state where medical marijuana is legal, she can expect to feel the dank breath of the Drug Enforcement Administration on her neck every time she rolls a joint.
Fuelling festive cheer
SANTA Claus may yet arrive at the sharemarket in time for Christmas after oil plunged $US1.81 to $US40.71 a barrel over the weekend.

That was its lowest level since July 21.

The fall could not have come at a better time for retailers following reports that debt-logged consumers were cutting back.

A fall in the price of oil means consumers have more to spend on Christmas presents.

Retailers rely on Christmas shopping to determine whether they had a good or bad year.,4057,11668809%255E462,00.html
Batteries not included
PORTABLE, reusable and in no need of batteries, books make marvellous presents. Christmas and books make an especially happy pairing; unlike birthdays, should you receive a book at Christmas you will at least have the time to read the thing, thanks to the holidays. (A note on pricing: we’ve included the recommended retail prices but thanks to discounting, if you shop around you should get most titles cheaper.) The problem with buying a book as a present is the epic variety to choose from. Would Uncle Wilfred prefer Paula Radcliffe’s Paula: My Story So Far (Simon & Schuster, £9.99) or Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld novel, Going Postal (Doubleday, £17.99)? Will little Chloe cry if you buy her Ricky Gervais’s stab at kid lit, Flanimals (Faber, £9.99), over The Diamond Girls (Doubleday, £10.99), the new book by the tried and tested Jacqueline Wilson?
The Bush Administration's FY 2004 Budget
On Feb. 3, 2003, President Bush delivered a $2.2 trillion FY 2004 budget to Congress. In addition to $1.20 trillion proposed for mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare, the budget calls for $819 billion in discretionary outlays, with nearly half going to national defense. The remaining $429 billion in discretionary outlays is for the many other programs working families rely on, such as public safety, job training and worker protections, education, housing, transportation and environmental protections. The Department of Labor is slated to receive $11.5 billion in discretionary funding ($56.2 billion altogether) to enforce the nation’s worker protection laws. This is a drop of one-half percent from FY 2003 proposals and 6.5 percent less than the actual FY 2002 appropriation.
American vision 2004-2008
Now that President Bush has been elected for a second term in office the world looks forward for a more peaceful and prosperous era. The period 2000-2004 was a bumpy journey compared to a roller coaster ride with ups and downs. It was unfortunate that the terrorists struck at a time when Bush was just adjusting to the routine of his office. The 9/11 event when even involved the US security where the terrorists struck at the heart of the mightiest power on earth. Bush was quick to respond and struck Afghanistan along with a coalition force with the approval of the UN. The Taliban in Afghanistan after the Russian evacuation projected to the world an image of extremism-religious fanaticism devoid of international norms of diplomacy.
The President’s Proposal
Strengthens and improves Medicare, offering more options, including enhanced
benefits and prescription drug coverage;
Reforms child welfare financing by providing states with flexible grants that will
encourage innovative child welfare plans with a stronger emphasis on prevention and family support;
Helps 1.2 million more people receive health care at Health Centers in 2004; and
Provides a $100 million increase for a prevention initiative to reduce the number of deaths and disabilities caused by diabetes, obesity and asthma.
Public Services - The Bush Record
President Bush's tax cuts for corporations and the rich are exacerbating the budget crisis in the states. That's because state tax codes are tied to the federal tax code -- so when cuts are made to the federal code it triggers reductions at the state level too. States are already reeling from the resources lost during Bush's first three years in office. Now the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that Bush has tucked 11 more tax proposals in his 2004 budget that will have a disastrous impact on state revenues.

"Over the five-year period from 2004-2008, states would lose as much as $23 billion in revenues.
"States would lose $41 billion more from 2009-2013, for a 10-year total loss of as much as $64 billion.1
Growing criticism of Bush budget deficit
The Bush administration’s budget, which was sent to the Congress on February 3, has drawn increasingly critical comment from economists and commentators in the US and internationally. They fear that escalating deficits resulting from the massive tax-cut handouts to the wealthiest sections of the population will cause major problems for the US and global economy.

So far, largely as a result of the tax cuts, the deficit for this year will be $304 billion, rising to $307 billion next year, with deficits stretching out at least over the next five years. But the final total could be much higher as these estimates do not take into account the cost of any war against Iraq.

The Economic Policy Institute published a statement signed by almost 400 economists, including 10 Nobel laureates, critical of the tax cuts. It warned that Bush program would do nothing to revive growth in the US economy, which now has two million fewer private sector jobs than at the start of the current recession in March 2001.
National Water Program Strategic Plan 2004 - 2008 and National Program Guidance for 2005
EPA has a new Strategic Plan charting a course for the Agency over the next five years (2004 - 2008). The new plan is organized around five key goals. The Office of Water has elements in Goals 2 & 4.

Clean Air and Global Climate Change;
Clean and Safe Water; (PDF, 497KB, 25 pgs)
Land Preservation and Restoration;
Healthy Communities and Ecosystems; and (PDF, 625KB, 31 pgs)
Compliance and Environmental Stewardship.
Myths and Facts on the Bush Administration’s New Overtime Regulation
MYTH: Under the Bush Administration’s new overtime laws, very few if any workers making between $23,660 and $100,000 a year will lose overtime eligibility.

FACT: The new Bush Administration overtime laws are written such that many workers who currently earn overtime pay in this pay range are likely to lose it. For example:

Concurrent Duties—Under the old rule, an employee who spent a substantial amount of his or her time on nonexempt work but who also performed some exempt supervisory duties generally remained eligible for overtime pay (under old rule 541.116). Under the new rule, that person will generally be an exempt executive, and not eligible for overtime pay. (New section 541.106)
EXAMPLE—An assistant manager in fast-food, grocery or retail may spend most of his or her time performing “line” duties, like burger flipping or ringing up customers, but still be “in charge” of other workers at the same time. Under the old rule, many of these workers still received overtime pay. Under the new rule, they may very well lose their overtime pay, even if they make as little as $23,660 a year—a wage that qualifies a family for food stamps.
The Bush Administration's Overtime Pay Take-Away Frequently Asked Questions
Millions of workers become eligible to lose their overtime pay starting Aug. 23, 2004, because of new regulations from the Bush administration. Union members should check with their unions to determine how their contacts address overtime.

Is your overtime pay at risk? Submit a question to WORKING AMERICA’s Ask a Lawyer.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the new overtime regulations from Woodley & McGillivary's wage-and-hour attorney Baldwin Robertson, a lawyer for WORKING AMERICA, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO for nonunion workers.
This spring, the administration significantly increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the Taliban's Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan. A succession of high-level American officials--from outgoing CIA Director George Tenet to Secretary of State Colin Powell to Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca to State Department counterterrorism chief Cofer Black to a top CIA South Asia official--have visited Pakistan in recent months to urge General Pervez Musharraf's government to do more in the war on terrorism. In April, Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, publicly chided the Pakistanis for providing a "sanctuary" for Al Qaeda and Taliban forces crossing the Afghan border. "The problem has not been solved and needs to be solved, the sooner the better," he said. ...
New Bush administration rules slash overtime pay for millions of workers
The Department of Labor’s “FairPay” rules came into effect August 23, taking away the right to overtime compensation for millions of workers. Congress allowed the rule changes to take effect in a vote July 10 in the House of Representatives, which defeated a measure to stop the new rules, by a margin of 213 to 210.

The rules will impact almost every workplace, dramatically reducing the scope of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, one of the few social reforms remaining from the New Deal period. The Bush administration action highlights the impunity with which big business feels it can treat American workers, as long as the working class remains subordinated to the trade union bureaucracy and the Democratic Party.
Medical Marijuana Research
MAPS' goal is to initiate and fund a serious drug development research program aimed at proving to the satisfaction of the FDA that marijuana is safe and efficacious for specific medical uses and should become a legal, FDA-approved prescription medicine.

Prior to initiating a serious drug development research program that would require an estimated $5 million and 5 years, MAPS first needs to obtain access to an independent source of supply of marijuana that is legal for medical research. MAPS, in association with Prof. Lyle Craker, UMass Amherst Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences, is in the midst of what is now a three year struggle seeking DEA permission to establish a medical marijuana production facility to grow high-potency marijuana for FDA-approved research.
Medical marijuana laws don't address where to get the drug
Imagine that you are sick.

You're in a lot of pain, and your doctor suggests using marijuana as a treatment. Under Maine law, those circumstances make it legal for you to use the drug.

The question is: What are you supposed to do now?

Have your local pharmacist fill a prescription for weed? Go to a convenience store for a pack of joints?

Laws on medical marijuana simply don't adequately address the issue of obtaining the drug. That leaves patients to choose between growing their own or buying it illegally.

The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether state laws on medical marijuana use should be allowed even though they violate federal drug legislation.

At the same time, a Maine activist is challenging Maine's laws. Don Christen of Madison established a marijuana distribution center in his house this fall to supply the drug to five ill people who possessed written recommendations from their doctors.
Readers support states on medical marijuana use
DOVER — Do you think states to be able to make it legal for people to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, or should the federal government have the right to ban the drug?

We posed that question in our reader’s poll this week, and among the 260 people who responded, more than 85 percent said they were in favor of state control, while just under 14 percent said the federal government should be able to veto state laws.

Some responders, such as Liz of Rochester, said legalizing marijuana makes sound fiscal sense.

"They should just legalize it like they did alcohol and put an age restriction on it. That will stop wasting all our precious dollars in legal fees, and will stop wasting all our courtroom time on small petty issues."

Rick Newman of Nottingham wrote in to say marijuana should definitely be allowed for medicinal purposes.

"We use morphine, OxyContin, and many other more potent drugs for medical use. How can the feds stand in the way of marijuana use if it is going to ease a patient’s suffering? This is a ridiculous debate fueled by the thought and body police among us."

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