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Duchesne Speech Class


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Censor alert:Congress considers controls for cable TV and the Internet
Just as a TIME magazine poll out this week shows Americans want more TV censorship, a brace of Republican initiatives threatens to extend federal control of what you can see and hear and read to both cable TV and the Internet.
Will tv indecency ban become censorship?"
In the minds of many viewers, the current anti-indecency crusade isn't just out to make the airwaves safe for families and children. Another likely goal is to punish TV for its brazen smut-peddling
The mess of mass entertainment
Such examples highlight the need for significant revisions in the rating system, while pointing the way to a moderate reform to address concerns of worried families without raising fears of censorship. The PG-13 category needs rethinking and relabeling, since the typical PG-13 release now contains enough sexual content and rough language to have earned an R-rating 10 years ago. It's also problematic that many moviegoers, including 6-year-olds, can buy tickets to PG-13 fare without challenge.
The mess of mass entertainment (again)
In part, the prevailing confusion about where we stand in the struggle over pop culture indecency reflects the limited focus of recent efforts to "clean up" mass entertainment. While concentrating on a few high-profile events on TV, activists and officials have done little to address the omnipresent edginess and raunch on cable TV, in the music business or in video games. While attempts to expand FCC supervision into these arenas would prove unpopular, impractical and ill-advised, a meaningful extension and adjustment of content ratings could equip parents with information to enhance empowerment.
Rock 'n' `Ryan': The 2 sides of TV censorship
No bleeping was needed for Chris Rock, but the post-Super Bowl `malfunction' environment has broadcasters grappling with self-censorship...On the day after comedian Chris Rock hosted the nationally televised Academy Awards ceremonies, the Federal Communications Commission exonerated ABC's broadcast of the Oscar-winning war movie "Saving Private Ryan." These two seemingly unconnected stories illustrate why it is so hard to clean up the airwaves: One person's offense is somebody else's patriotic act.
Rock 'n' `Ryan': The 2 sides of TV censorship (again)
The FCC refuses to give advance rulings because it understandably does not want to be seen as a censoring board.
Pope gives first Sunday blessing to faithful
Newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI gave his first Sunday blessings to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome, following in the footsteps of his predecessor. Tens of thousands cheered the pope as he continued the tradition set by John Paul II of addressing the faithful from his apartment window immediately after Sunday midday prayers.
Panelists consider direction of the papacy under Benedict XVI
Too much is unknown to predict how Pope Benedict XVI might change the Vatican's approach to world affairs, said panelists at a Washington forum April 29. But speakers at the program of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life drew on bits of information about the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's philosophy to suggest the new pope would be a peacemaker, including in the Middle East, and might well continue his predecessor's efforts to bring world religions together. They also suggested a pope with a lower public profile than that of the late pope might be healthy for the church.
Pope Benedict XVI begins his ministry
In a liturgy rich with symbols and promises, Pope Benedict XVI formally began his ministry as head of the universal Church, and Catholics from around the world pledged their love and obedience to him.
The morning of April 24, Pope Benedict, elected April 19, walked down to the tomb of the martyred St. Peter in the Vatican basilica to pay homage to the first bishop of Rome. Then, with some 150 cardinals, he processed into a sun-bathed St. Peter's Square to begin the Mass and receive the main symbols of his office: the fisherman's ring and the pallium. "At this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity," Pope Benedict said in his homily.
Pope Benedict XVI begins his ministry (again)
The new pope said his inaugural Mass was not the moment to present "a program of governance," but rather a time to promise to try be a good shepherd to Christ's flock, to rescue those who are lost, to help the poor and to build unity among all believers in Christ.

An estimated 350,000 people attended the Mass, including delegations from more than 130 countries and from dozens of Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches. The crowd was dotted by faithful waving flags, especially German flags.
A good start for Benedict XVI
While newly ordained Pope Benedict XVI has begun his papacy by pledging to work for peace, reconciliation, intrafaith outreach and harmony, many American Catholics - and even non-Catholics - sit fuming. He is not the pope that polls showed we wanted. This new pope may not, however, turn out to the unpleasant, unfeeling hard-liner many Catholics feared. It may be becoming more and more clear that American Catholics will not move the church away from its doctrinal base, but the 78-year-old man now leading the Catholic Church began his tenure with some impressive, conciliatory actions - at least on the global front.
Filibuster a hedge against majority stampede
For a brief moment last week it seemed that a compromise might be possible in the U.S. Senate to avert a nasty fight over the use of filibusters to block a vote on judicial candidates. It's been a custom in the Senate for nearly 200 years for the minority party to invoke filibusters and other anti-majority tactics, particularly when the other party controlled both the Senate and the presidency, which is the situation today. Although these practices commonly frustrate the majority, they have generally served the nation well as part of the system of checks and balances designed to protect the minority and promote compromise and consultation.
Filibuster a hedge against majority stampede (again)
It was disappointing, therefore, to hear Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., turn down the offer of Democrats to allow a confirmation vote on four of seven stalled judicial nominations in return for doing away with the threat of changing the rules in order to quash filibusters. This brings the fight over judicial nominations to the brink of a partisan confrontation that is simply unnecessary. This is a simple enough proposition on its face, but it conveniently ignores the common use of delaying and blocking tactics in years past.
Filibuster a hedge against majority stampede (again).
It is particularly unbecoming for Sen. Frist to say he does not support filibusters against judicial candidates. In 1999, he was part of a failed effort to block a vote on Richard Paez, a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee who finally was approved by the Senate four years after he was nominated. What kept Judge Paez from being blocked altogether was not the obedience to a principle against filibusters by his opponents but rather the fact that Sen. Frist and his colleagues didn't have the votes to make a filibuster effective.
Filibuster a hedge against majority stampede (again)..
Democrats are forced to surrender the filibuster to stop judges they consider extreme, it turns the Senate into a rubber-stamp chamber. As the number of party-related appointments suggest, the attack on the filibuster rule isn't related to the partisan affiliation of active federal judges. More likely, it goes hand in hand with the assault on the federal judiciary by Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tex., and his ardent supporters. It isn't enough to have their party appoint judges; the aim is to control the judges
Lawmakers at impasse over use of filibusters
Senate Republicans yesterday rebuffed a Democratic overture aimed at ending a confrontation over federal judges, saying that any agreement must include a pledge not to filibuster future nominees — especially Supreme Court nominees.
Lawmakers at impasse over use of filibusters (again)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had offered to end three of seven Democratic filibusters of President Bush's appellate-court nominees if Republicans would pledge not to change Senate rules to end the use of the parliamentary tactic to stall judicial votes. But Republicans said they were less concerned about current nominees than they were about future ones, especially an anticipated Supreme Court vacancy this summer.
Demanding The Appointment Of Fair, Unbiased Judges
When judges are confirmed, it is majority rule, so long as the majority confirms conservative, rigid judicial nominees like the 10 being blocked in the Senate. The Democrats have used the filibuster to stop these nominees. The Republicans are responding by claiming that Senate tradition demands and up or down vote on the nominees. The Republicans are threatening a rule change, to eliminate an important “free speech right” of the minority — Republicans want to eliminate the judicial filibuster.
Demanding The Appointment Of Fair, Unbiased Judges (again)
Conservatives continue to demand that Sen. Frist push these nominees to a floor vote. If Sen. Frist pushes the nominees to a floor vote, he is bowing to extremists - abandoning the art of compromise, an invaluable tool he can use to insure that fair, unbiased judges are appointed to the judiciary. It is time for the Senate to use its constitutional option, demanding that the President withdraw the nominees and appoint fair and unbiased judges.
Demanding The Appointment Of Fair, Unbiased Judges (again).
During the Clinton years, the number of floor votes for judicial nominees was abysmal. Republicans used majority rule to block judicial nominees who deserved a floor vote, the nominees deserved the up or down vote demanded by Republicans in the current Senate. The Republicans are now threatening to change a time-honored Senate rule over 10 nominees. The judicial filibuster is designed to protect the minority from being “trampled by the majority.” The filibuster allows the minority to speak loud and clear, stopping the appointment of extremists to the federal judiciary.
The filibuster is too crucial a safeguard to toss away
Short of a war declaration, the most important thing the Senate votes on -- the thing that most affects our lives -- is the appointment of federal judges. Judges are not like any other government creatures. They're the only federal officers appointed for life. As members of a co-equal branch (with the legislature and the executive), they can be removed only by impeachment, a most arduous route.
Lobbyist falls out of favor amid inquiries; dealings with DeLay under intense scrutiny
Even among the power-thirsty lobbyists who inhabit Washington's K Street office corridor, Jack Abramoff was a standout. He was a Republican wunderkind who'd been a political organizer, a movie producer, a restaurateur, an educator, an erstwhile casino operator and a high-dollar rainmaker who always seemed tethered to great gobs of other people's cash. But in the cruel arc of Washington politics, Abramoff has dropped off the table. Now 46, he's under at least six federal investigations. His relationship to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is under intense scrutiny, even as DeLay seeks to distance himself from Abramoff.
Lobbyist falls out of favor amid inquiries; dealings with DeLay under intense scrutiny (again)
Abramoff met DeLay as a board member of Toward Tradition, a group founded by Rabbi Daniel Lapin to help nurture ties between Christians and Jews. The organization still lists Abramoff as a director. Their relationship grew deeper at Preston Gates, where Abramoff attracted new clients and enlisted a few former aides to DeLay, then majority whip. When Democrats tried to challenge the business-friendly wage and immigration laws of an Abramoff client - the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. protectorate - DeLay helped defeat the move. And when Republican congressmen moved to tax Indian-owned casinos, another Abramoff client, DeLay derailed the effort as contrary to the anti-tax philosophy of the new breed of Republican. Those early successes attracted new clients and millions in retainers to Abramoff and Preston Gates. He was also an elite Republican fundraiser who helped fuel DeLay's various political projects with millions in campaign contributions gleaned from an eclectic list of clients and associates.
Lobbyist falls out of favor amid inquiries; dealings with DeLay under intense scrutiny (again).
But the key to Abramoff's power was his access to millions in cash produced by tribal-owned casinos seeking political advice and legislative influence. They kicked in an estimated $66 million to the lobbyist, who may have used some of the money to fund trips and giveaways at the center of investigations he faces. DeLay has said he didn't know that the money had come from a lobbyist. Abramoff's friends say he's stunned by reports that he has threatened to turn on DeLay.
Down with DeLay
DeLay has come under scrutiny for a host of questionable acquisitions and associations. A 1997 trip to Russia, during which DeLay played golf and met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, was recently discovered to have been indirectly underwritten by a company that also financed a $440,000 lobbying campaign in support of the Russian government. House ethics rules bar congressmen from receiving travel reimbursement from lobbyists. Similarly shady trips to South Korea and England have attracted further attention. In addition, reports sprang up earlier this month that DeLay’s wife and daughter received more than $500,000 from the congressman’s political action committee, an unusually large amount for the campaign work they contributed. To top it off, DeLay’s association with the Republican push for redistricting in his home state of Texas has cost him much political capital in Washington. Three of DeLay’s associates have been indicted in relation to the effort, and DeLay has continued to advocate Republican gerrymandering. The charges against Congressman DeLay are mounting, and the time has come for DeLay to be held accountable for his actions.

top 10 non-fiction
#1. MY LIFE SO FAR, by Jane Fonda. #2. BLINK, by Malcolm Gladwell. #3. THE WORLD IS FLAT, by Thomas L. Friedman. #4. ON BULL----, by Harry G. Frankfurt. #5. FREAKONOMICS, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. #6. LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER, by Michael Savage. #7. ONE SOLDIER'S STORY, by Bob Dole. #8. THREE NIGHTS IN AUGUST, by Buzz Bissinger. #9. GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES, by Ruth Reichl. #10. A DEADLY GAME, by Catherine Crier with Cole Thompson.
NBA Playoffs
New Jersey was swept by the Miami Heat, losing 110-97. Phoenix did the same to Memphis, winning 123-115 to sweep that series. Detroit leads its series three games to one after beating Philadelphia 97-92 in overtime and Seattle has the same lead in its series with Sacramento after beating the Kings 115-102 on Sunday.
A historical perspective on the selection of U.S. Supreme Court justices
A historical perspective on the nomination, confirmation, and appointment of justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The appointment of a Supreme Court justice involves legal, political, and personal considerations. A legal scholar discusses several factors that have influenced presidents in choosing nominees for the High Court and the Senate in confirming -- or rejecting -- their nominations. In spite of the president's and the Senate's efforts to appoint justices who may share their political philosophies, members of the Court have consistently displayed independence from the other branches of government, and Americans wouldn't have it any other way.
A historical perspective on the selection of U.S. Supreme Court justices (again)
Because the Supreme Court is itself important, the process by which its members are chosen is perforce of great significance. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution vests the judicial power of the national (or "federal") government in "one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time . . . establish," provides that the justices of the Supreme Court (as well as all other federal judges) shall have life tenure during good behavior, and guarantees that their salaries shall not be reduced during their time in office. Article II, Section 2 provides that the president of the United States ". . . shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . judges of the Supreme Court. . . ."
A historical perspective on the selection of U.S. Supreme Court justices (again).
Since 1789, when President George Washington initiated the process, presidents have made a total of 148 nominations to the Supreme Court. Of these, six were declined by the nominees, 12 were rejected by the Senate, nine were withdrawn by the president (usually because of Senate opposition), and five were not acted on by the Senate (and consequently lapsed). Thus, historically, approximately four out of five presidential nominations have been successful. The Constitution does not establish criteria for Senate approval or rejection of nominees. 9 justices.
Senate Dispute Over Filibuster Heats Up
Q: Who are the judicial nominees involved in the filibuster controversy?

A: David McKeague, Richard Griffin, Henry Saad, William G. Myers III, Janice Rogers Brown, William H. Pryor Jr. and Priscilla Owen.
Senate Dispute Over Filibuster Heats Up (again)
Q: Why do Democrats oppose these nominees?

A: Democrats oppose McKeague, Griffin and Saad, all nominees for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, because Republicans blocked Senate votes on former President Clinton's nominees for vacancies on the same court. They say the other four are conservative ideologues whose views against homosexuality, abortion, affirmative action, Social Security, labor rights or environmental standards are out of the mainstream.
Senate Dispute Over Filibuster Heats Up (again).
Q: Why is this important?

A: Republicans and Democrats anticipate that at least one of the nine Supreme Court justices will retire before the end of the Bush presidency. The outcome of the fight over judicial filibusters will determine whether a replacement needs 60 votes or merely a majority. Social conservatives fear Bush would pick a Supreme Court candidate who doesn't oppose the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion if 60 votes are needed to win confirmation.
The New Patron of Europe
The election of Pope Benedict XVI is widely regarded as a continuation of the morally uncompromising policies of Pope John Paul II. A refusal to give in to every passing social fad that has emptied the pews in Protestant churches is said to be his greatest virtue.
The New Patron of Europe (again)
In selecting the Bavarian Joseph Ratzinger, the Catholic Church’s conclave of cardinals has once again deliberately chosen a leader from an area of the world where the Faith is in danger. John Paul II, probably the first such papal leader selected with this criterion in mind, was appointed head of the Roman Catholic Church to save Christianity in Central and Eastern Europe, while Pope Benedict XVI was chosen for the same purpose in Western Europe.John Paul II’s opponent in Eastern Europe was communism’s militant atheism. Benedict XVI, however, faces the twin dangers of an intolerant, aggressive secularism and a militant Islam in Western Europe.
Heat from both sides leaves Frist frozen in middle of filibuster flap
The Senate majority leader, under fire from all sides, has a frozen trigger finger. Religious conservative groups and many party activists want him to pull that trigger, thereby changing the Senate's long-standing rules and erasing the Democratic minority's right to filibuster President Bush's 10 stymied judicial nominees. Monday, three Christian leaders turned up the flame under Frist; as James Dobson, director of Focus on the Family, warned on the radio, "If this filibuster fight is lost by Sen. Frist," liberals will stay on the federal bench "and the things that we believe in are gone." Also Monday, a coalition of groups - headed by Frist's former staff attorney - demanded that Frist pull the trigger immediately. Many of these activists have already vowed to wreck Frist's 2008 presidential prospects unless he complies.
AWS Test Store - My Life So Far
Jane Fonda has always been a trailblazer. Her autobiography is the story of finding herself underneath her addiction to food and the need to please. Most women will be able to identify with her story as the need to please strikes the majority of us in one form or another. Finding herself was a gradual awakening and she went through three husbands and some painful experiences in finding her way. Though she may have lost her voice in her marriages, she also grew with each marriage and learned from the experience. In fact, each man she married seemed to be just what she needed at the time in order for her to grow. In reading the first part of Jane's life, you can hardly tell she's there because her need to please is so great. Then comes her role as activist during the Vietnam War and the story really picks up. For the first time you can feel the passion she brings to something she believes in and can feel the energy and vitality of a person. Although she still had a ways to travel in the journey toward herself, you can tell this was a turning point in her life and she can never go back. The love she felt for her father is very touching and you can sense the longing of a little girl for her father's approval. At that time, men were raised to show no emotion, except maybe anger, but that has changed. Men, as well as women, have made strides toward their authentic selves. Jane Fonda's book is helpful to women in finding their voice and their inner self.
Malcolm Gladwell
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Billionaire investor George Soros claims he changes his position on the market when
he starts experiencing back pains, viewing them as “early warning signs.”
Angelos Delivorrias, one of the world’s foremost experts in Greek art, identifies a fake
sculpture when, immediately upon laying eyes on it, he feels a wave of “intuitive
repulsion.” This in spite of the fact that fourteen months of scientific and legal
research had (incorrectly) verified its authenticity.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, two of the greatest basketball players in history, are
most revered not for their physical gifts but rather their intangible “court sense.”
Each possessed an uncanny awareness of every player, every angle, then in an
instant—blink!—perfect pass to a teammate who (to the rest of us) didn’t even look
Neuropsychologists refer to these phenomena as rapid cognition. The rest of us call it
instinct, or intuition, or gut reaction. Whatever your term of choice, it refers to a
process that occurs in a single glance, the blink of an eye, in a portion of our brain
that we don’t even begin to understand. Helping to demystify the process, Blink lays out the circumstances in which we can
and should feel comfortable trusting our instincts, and when we should be wary of
them. When we should pause for further contemplation, and when over-thinking the
problem will only muddy our judgment.
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
His aim, in his new book, The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn't going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman's breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists--the optimistic ones at least--are inevitably prey to. What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. This in itself should not be news to anyone. But the news that Friedman has to deliver is that just when we stopped paying attention to these developments--when the dot-com bust turned interest away from the business and technology pages and when 9/11 and the Iraq War turned all eyes toward the Middle East--is when they actually began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well. (He doesn't forget the "mutant supply chains" like Al-Qaeda that let the small act big in more destructive ways.) Friedman tells his eye-opening story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns will know well, and also with a stern sort of optimism. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. Thomas L. Friedman's reporter's curiosity and his ability to recognize the patterns behind the most complex global developments have made him one of the most entertaining and authoritative sources for information about the wider world we live in.
On Bullshit
"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit," Harry G. Frankfurt writes, in what must surely be the most eyebrow-raising opener in modern philosophical prose. "Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted." This compact little book, as pungent as the phenomenon it explores, attempts to articulate a theory of this contemporary scourge--what it is, what it does, and why there's so much of it. The result is entertaining and enlightening in almost equal measure. It can't be denied; part of the book's charm is the puerile pleasure of reading classic academic discourse punctuated at regular intervals by the word "bullshit." More pertinent is Frankfurt's focus on intentions--the practice of bullshit, rather than its end result. Bullshitting, as he notes, is not exactly lying, and bullshit remains bullshit whether it's true or false. The difference lies in the bullshitter's complete disregard for whether what he's saying corresponds to facts in the physical world: he "does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."
This may sound all too familiar to those of use who still live in the "reality-based community" and must deal with a world convulsed by those who do not. But Frankfurt leaves such political implications to his readers. Instead, he points to one source of bullshit's unprecedented expansion in recent years, the postmodern skepticism of objective truth in favor of sincerity, or as he defines it, staying true to subjective experience. But what makes us think that anything in our nature is more stable or inherent than what lies outside it? Thus, Frankfurt concludes, with an observation as tiny and perfect as the rest of this exquisite book, "sincerity itself is bullshit."
Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet.
NBA Playoffs: Stars flicker but Heat still hot
Still, the Heat did not need vintage O'Neal or Wade to dispatch the Wizards on Sunday, 105-86, before a capacity crowd of 20,151 at American Airlines Arena. Miami took a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven second-round series. Wizards fans had chanted "We want Shaq, we want Shaq" when Washington was putting away the Chicago Bulls on Friday to advance to the second round. By then the heat had the game under remote control. By then, the Heat had the game on remote control. In the other playoff game Sunday, The Associated Press reported: Spurs 103, SuperSonics 81 With Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic at their best, the Seattle SuperSonics had a good shot at knocking off the San Antonio Spurs. Without them, they know they're in big trouble. The Sonics lost both Allen and Radmanovic to right ankle sprains in their loss in San Antonio in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
NBA Playoffs: Heat, Spurs Win
The Heat dispose of Washington 105-86 while the Spurs beat Seattle 103-81 as both winners take the opening game of their series.

Today, Indiana begins a series at Detroit in a rematch of the regular season brawl that caused players and fans suspensions, fines, and more. Dallas also begins a series at Phoenix where guard Steve Nash was named the league MVP over Shaquille O'Neal of Miami.

The Associated Press
No. 2 Pistons (54-28) vs. No. 6 Pacers (44-38)

No. 1 Suns (62-20) vs. No. 4 Mavericks (58-24)
Breaking Down the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs
The first round presented some close series (Indiana over Boston and Dallas over Houston) and a few walks in the park (Miami over New Jersey and Phoenix over Memphis), but the most important part is we’re onto the second round.

#1 Miami Heat over #5 Washington Wizards, #2 Detroit Pistons over #6 Indiana Pacers, #2 San Antonio Spurs over #3 Seattle Sonics, #1 Phoenix Suns over #4 Dallas Mavericks
The leaning tower of PBS
Public television officials are increasingly fearful that PBS is reemerging as a political football after a series of efforts by Republicans to promote more conservative perspectives on the taxpayer-supported network. Station managers and programmers gathered here for two public broadcasting conferences last week expressed growing alarm about recent actions by officials of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the private nonprofit agency charged with distributing federal funds to public broadcasters.
The leaning tower of PBS (again)
Kenneth Tomlinson, the Republican chairman of the agency, has called for more conservative voices in PBS programming and recently hired a former White House official to help set up an ombudsman's office to evaluate the fairness and balance of public television and radio. Meanwhile, PBS itself has reined in several controversial programs, taking steps some public TV advocates see as self-censorship.
The real scandal of Tom DeLay
But one man primarily stopped the U.S. House from even considering that worker-reform bill: then-House Republican Whip Tom DeLay. According to law firm records recently made public, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, paid millions to stop reform and keep the status quo, met personally at least two dozen times with DeLay on the subject in one two-year period. The DeLay staff was often in daily contact with Abramoff. DeLay traveled with his family and staff over New Year's of 1997 on an Abramoff scholarship endowed by his client, the government of the territory, to the Marianas, where golf and snorkeling were enjoyed. DeLay fully approved of the working and living conditions. The Texan's salute to the owners and Abramoff's government clients was recorded by ABC-TV News: "You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system" Later, DeLay would tell The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin that the low-wage, anti-union conditions of the Marianas constituted "a perfect petri dish of capitalism. It's like my Galapagos Island."Contrast that with what then-Sen. Murkowski told me in a 1998 interview: "The last time we heard a justification that economic advances would be jeopardized if workers were treated properly was shortly before Appomattox." Forget the freebie trips across the Atlantic and the Pacific. Forget the casinos and the allegedly illicit contributions -- they represent only degrees of avarice.
The immediate attack against DeLay
In recent weeks, we have seen the news media inundated with stories concerning the activities and criticism of highly ranking House of Representatives member, Republican Tom DeLay. Apparently DeLay has been guilty of numerous ethical violations, the most recent accusations against him deal with lobbyists paying his expenses on a trip abroad. Now I have no idea whether DeLay is guilty of the charges or not, but you get the impression that he is guilty even if proven innocent. If Delay is guilty he must be guilty, and if he is cleared on the charges he is even more guilty, since this implies the "fix" is in, or that DeLay already paid someone off, stacking the deck clearly in his favor. DeLay is a scoundrel and any proceedings are merely the formal conformation of what is accepted and must be true. DeLay must be indicted by default.
Tom DeLay's Empire of Favors
Politicians are not always the most courageous lot. The first whiff of scandal, the first taint of defeat, usually makes them run - hence the popular saying that if you want a friend in this town, get a dog. But Republicans in the House have not run from Tom DeLay, who, like Bill Clinton before him, has defied political gravity in recent months. Three of his former aides have been indicted in an investigation of campaign fund-raising practices; a close lobbyist friend is under criminal investigation; the House ethics committee is preparing to reconsider allegations that Mr. DeLay and his staff members violated travel rules. Rather than try to protect themselves and engineer a coup, Republican members are throwing a tribute party for him this week. President Bush is also standing firm, even taking him along on Air Force One. His supporters say that Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, has done nothing wrong - that he's the target of unfair attacks from Democrats bent on partisan revenge. Yet the volume of outspoken support also speaks to the strong personal loyalty many have for Mr. DeLay. Mr. DeLay has built a wall of political support. His small acts of kindness have become lore. On a larger scale, friends - and enemies - describe him as a favor-trader extraordinaire, piling up a mountain of goodwill. Almost every Republican in the House owes Mr. DeLay for something - a job, a piece of legislation or a large campaign contribution. While the familiar Democratic caricature of Tom DeLay is that of a red-cheeked tyrant who started out as a bug exterminator and rose to power in Congress with a force that earned him the nickname "the Hammer," it is his cannier, more responsive side that appears to have won such a robust defense.

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