Sunday, September 30, 2007

Biggio goes out in style as Astros win



First inning double marks Biggio's 3,060th and final hit

Arriving at Minute Maid Park on Sunday, Craig Biggio’s wife and children could not believe the lines that snaked around the stadium to watch the Astros icon play the final game of his 20-year career.

A standing-room-only crowd of 43,823, the largest crowd to watch a game during Minute Maid Park's brief eight-season history, saluted Biggio with every opportunity as he concluded his career with a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s amazing,” Biggio’s eldest son, Conor, said proudly. “You’d think that you’d want more people at the World Series. But just for one player’s last game, it shows how much the fans love him and everything and how good of fans they are.”

After a moving pregame ceremony in which Astros owner Drayton McLane praised and thanked Biggio for his contributions on and off the field, Biggio helped the Astros take a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Josh Anderson led off the bottom of the first with a single to right. Biggio followed with his signature hit, a double to left field at 1:16 p.m. After Buddy Carlyle intentionally walked Lance Berkman to load the bases, Carlos Lee hit a two-run single to left. Biggio’s last run of his career gave the Astros a 2-0 lead at 1:18 p.m., exactly 11 minutes after Astros rookie righthander Felipe Paulino threw the contest’s first pitch.

Hunter Pence added an RBI double to left-center field, giving the Astros a 3-0 lead. That was enough to earn the victory for Paulino, who held the Braves to two hits and three walks over six scoreless innings.

The rest of the afternoon was essentially about honoring Biggio, who had to step out of the batter’s box in each of his four at-bats while finishing 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. His teammates also stopped by to embrace him each time they were pulled out of the game.

Veterans Mark Loretta and Brad Ausmus took their positions before the fifth inning, but they were replaced by Chris Burke and J.R. Towles, respectively. Ausmus then went to hug Biggio before heading to the clubhouse. Loretta also made a pilgrimage to Biggio before leaving.

Before the sixth, Lee was replaced by Luke Scott. He jogged back toward Biggio, hugged him and then tossed his cap to the crowd. Then Lance Berkman was replaced at first by Mike Lamb, but not before walking over to Biggio, shaking his hand and hugging him.

Biggio headed to the plate for his final at-bat to lead off the seventh inning at 3:02 p.m. As the crowd stood to give him another ovation, Biggio took his batting helmet off with his right hand and turned to tip it to the crowd and the Braves.

With the crowd still roaring a minute later, he stepped back out of the plate and repeated his previous gesture. Acknowledging the situation, plate umpire Angel Hernandez bought Astros fans some time by cleaning up the already clean plate. Biggio then grounded out to third at 3:04 p.m. for his final out as a major leaguer.

The Astros’ first round pick out of Seton Hall in 1987, Biggio reached the majors in 1988 as a catcher. Twenty seasons, 3,060 hits and three positions later – second, center, left and back to second – Biggio ended his career on Sunday, September 30, 2007.

Cecil Cooper sent Biggio out to the field for the top of the eighth inning to give the fans an opportunity to say goodbye. After Cody Ransom was sent in as a defensive replacement at 3:10, the roar picked up again. After hugging first base umpire Derryl Cousins, Biggio took his cap off with his right hand cupped it over his heart. Then he tipped it again to the fans, the Braves and his family.

His teammates lined outside the farthest steps out of the dugout to greet him, embracing him one by one before allowing him to give yet another tip of the cap to the crowd.

On his way out, Biggio tipped his cap one more time to the fans, who responded just as they had for 20 seasons in the best way they knew how.

BIG-GI-O! BIG-GI-O! BIG-GI-O! BIG-GI-O …

Saturday, September 29, 2007

McGrady on Africa: 'I knew I had to go'


After a journey to refugee camps in Chad, NBA All-Star vows to spread the word about atrocities in Darfur

There was so much Tracy McGrady did not know. Not then, not in the beginning.

The Houston Rockets star had seen the news reports about the atrocities in the Darfur region of western Sudan, where a genocide has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions more homeless and living in bleak desert camps.

He had begun to educate himself with conversations with experts. But he did not really understand what genocide means, how horrific the tragedy was in Africa's largest nation.

Where his journey began, almost as much as where it would lead, is part of his story. But even then, he knew he needed to see it all, the horror and sadness, for himself.

"I still don't know why," McGrady said, "but I knew I had to go." The more he learned, the more he knew that to make it a part of him, to let it change him, he had to go to the refugee camps and see it for himself.

So McGrady went to Chad to live among Darfur's displaced people, to hear their stories, to hold their babies and to vow to return to his world to be their voice.

He needed to see the orphans, barely able to walk, wandering through the camps, unattended, alone. He needed to sleep in tents overrun by maggots and frogs and rats. He needed to wake up in the middle of the night and feel the tears dampen his face.

He needed to live it.

"Now that I've gone over there and experienced it, I know," McGrady said.

"I could have read about it, seen it on TV. People can tell you. But you have to be hands-on to get the full effect, to really understand the devastation, the sadness of it all."

He brought a filmmaker with him, and they plan to make a documentary that he hopes will help spread the word, perhaps even inspire others to join the cause.

"I was really, I don't know — it just did something to me," McGrady said. "I was overwhelmed. It was by far the hardest thing I ever did, by far. It was the hardest thing and the best thing."

Darfur, an arid area about the size of Texas, covers an expanse of western Sudan and borders Libya, Chad and the Central African Republic. Its people, who number up to 6 million, work at subsistence farming or as herders. They rank among the poorest in Africa.

The violence began in 2003 when two groups of African rebels rose up against the mainly Arab leaders of Sudan, a country rich in oil deposits. The government shipped weapons to Arab Janjaweed militias, and the gunmen attacked ethnic African villagers who trace their lineage to sub-Saharan Africa.

The Janjaweed, sometimes with the help of government aircraft, wiped out entire villages of ethnic Africans. Although it remains unclear how many lives have been lost, estimates range between 200,000 and 400,000 dead. At least 2 million fled to refugee camps in Darfur, and more than 230,000 others escaped to Chad, where McGrady visited three camps.

Imprint of devastation

McGrady and the rest of the group repeatedly said they have been changed forever, and they asked, how could they not be?

"To live a lifestyle like mine — pretty damn good — go over there and sleep in tents, hear stories, see devastation — nothing compares to this," McGrady said. "From this point on, whatever I go through, it will be easy."

As McGrady told the stories he had heard barely a week before, he saw the women and the children and heard their voices.

His voice cracked. He stopped and found the words to tell of the women who go into the hills for nine hours to gather wood and then sell it for 15 cents at the end of the day.

The men would have gone, he was told, but they would have been tortured and killed. The women said they knew they would be raped, but they went anyway. They needed the 15 cents.

"If the men go, (the Janjaweed) cut their arms off," McGrady said. "They take out their eyes and put them in a bag and send it to their wives."

He closed his eyes and saw the faces of the children who sat in his lap and showed him the pictures they had drawn. A humanitarian aid group had set up an art school as a form of therapy.

But the pictures were not like the cheerful drawings of birds and flowers that decorate family refrigerators back home. Instead, the children's sketches showed planes dropping bombs on villages or men on horseback killing their parents.

He told of the unmarked trucks that rushed toward him, carrying militiamen with rocket launchers and rifles, and he spoke of his anxiety at not knowing their intent. The trucks sped past; he was not harmed.

But McGrady can no longer think of "AK-47" as an innocent nickname for a Utah Jazz forward named Andrei Kirilenko; it is now a reminder of those moments of doubt.

"The United Nations has a white plane they fly to the villages to bring them food," McGrady said. "The Arab (militia groups) got a plane and painted it to make it look like the U.N. plane and bombed the villages. These people are thinking it's food. All they want is food.

"They're burning up the villages, throwing the elderly in the fire," he said of the militias. "I mean, it's just awful, awful to sit and listen to these stories. And everybody there has experienced the same thing.

"More than 230,000 refuges came over to Chad. We visited a refugee camp with over 15,000 from Darfur living in this camp. Just to see how they're living, sleeping in huts. Some eat maybe once a day. It's really, really sad.

"I have a 4-year-old daughter and almost 2-year-old son. I've seen kids, 4 or 5 years old, walking around with babies on their backs with no supervision, just wandering around. Little girls and boys just carrying babies on their back."

He stopped again, silent. With the faces of children overwhelming him, his voice broke.

"Up to 400,000 people have died in this genocide, in these attacks," he said. "It's crazy that this is happening. These people are innocent people, innocent people targeted and getting killed. "

Troops lack resources

The United States government has branded Darfur's violence as a genocide and led a drive in the United Nations to send peacekeepers to the region. About 1 million people remain in their villages in Darfur. They're protected now by about 7,000 soldiers from the African Union, but the troops are poorly armed and lack the resources necessary for the task, and they have failed to stop the violence.

The United Nations voted to send about 20,000 soldiers to join them, but Sudan until recently blocked their deployment.

New fighting has broken out in Darfur, and rebel leaders, government officials and international observers are to meet Oct. 27 in Libya for peace talks. They are not expected to make much progress.

McGrady's journey began months ago when he made a donation to the construction of Dikembe Mutombo's hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mutombo, McGrady's Rockets teammate since 2004, in July opened the 300-bed, $29 million Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, named for his late mother.

Mutombo told him about Africa's humanitarian tragedies, including Darfur.

Later, McGrady saw a televised segment in which Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, whose family comes from Sudan, described the Darfur crisis. McGrady spoke with Deng and began making plans to visit the refugees.

He put together a group of seven others: John Prendergast, a former White House aide and co-chair of the Enough Project, which focuses on war crimes; Omer Ismail, the founder of the Darfur Peace and Development advocacy group; Elissa Grabow, McGrady's manager-assistant; Josh Rothstein, a filmmaker; his wife, Jill Grabow, who is the sister of McGrady's manager; Brian Jackson, a cinematographer; and Ira Seright, McGrady's longtime friend.

The group spent a week in camps in Djabal, Koloma and Koubigou.

Elissa Grabow said the trip was particularly jarring for McGrady.

"He's been a very pampered guy the last 10 years," she said. "He lives a certain lifestyle." But Darfur ripped him from his surroundings.

"His struggle is so surreal," she said of his time in the camps. "We are at the bottom of the Earth. All the excess we have is so ridiculous.

"It became apparent (sitting) with the people, spending hours with the refugees and holding them and hearing their stories."

McGrady funded a project with Doublewide Media to produce a documentary for those who haven't been keeping up with the media coverage or might not be aware of visits of other celebrities, including George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Mia Farrow and Don Cheadle.

The film will show McGrady's initial lack of understanding of the situation, said Rothstein, who has made several documentaries.

"The point of view of the film is Tracy's awakening to the human rights situation, Tracy actively becoming a more conscious human being, to use his celebrity and influence on people in new way."

To Prendergast, who has worked in African war zones over the past 25 years and has also served on the Clinton White House's National Security Council, McGrady represents something he cannot.

"Tracy can be the master recruiter," Prendergast said, "someone who has a fan base and can bring attention to a whole new group of people who don't know about this issue."

Although McGrady is a celebrity, Prendergast said, "he is also just a guy who went over there to learn and came back to tell a story. He is a human being sharing an experience with other human beings.

"Once they learn, they will want to do more."

Biggio relives old times behind plate


Retiring star returns to catching, collects two hits; today's his last game

The catcher's mask did a good job hiding the far-reaching emotions that figure to be on full display today when Craig Biggio methodically tapes his wrists, puts on his uniform and runs onto the field.

For the last time.

Biggio's 20-year career, one which should take him to the Hall of Fame, comes to an end today when the Astros wrap up a disappointing regular season against the Atlanta Braves.

But before No. 7 says goodbye in front of another adoring sellout crowd, Biggio used Saturday's 3-2 win over the Braves at Minute Maid Park to take himself and the fans back to where his career started — behind the plate.

Two innings and back 2B

Biggio started at catcher for the first time since Oct. 5, 1991, and caught two innings before playing six innings at second base, the position where he became a star after breaking into the majors in 1988 as a catcher.

"I enjoyed it," Biggio said. "Walking out to the bullpen and everybody down the right-field line was standing up, everybody in the outfield and bar area were saying so many nice things. I'm just glad it went well.

"I forgot what that side of the game was like, when you're just calling pitches and figuring out how to set hitters up."

At the plate, Biggio went 2-for-4 with a single, stroked career double No. 667 and scored a run. That's 3,059 hits.

"Pretty special player right there," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "I'm just tickled to say I had a chance to manage a Hall of Famer."

Biggio, who wore a specially designed catcher's mask, spent the top of the ninth sitting on the bench with sons Conor and Cavan, who will throw out the first pitch today. He got choked up after the game talking about his sons.

"It was hard walking out (onto the field) after the game with my boys," he said. "It kind of caught me in the moment. We'll see how (today) goes."

With Biggio behind the plate, starter Brandon Backe (3-1) won his third consecutive start, giving up four hits and one run in six innings. It was Backe's fifth start after missing most of the year because of elbow surgery.

"He did real well," said Backe, who shook off Biggio's signs a few times. "It was awesome. There's no other words to describe the feeling I had pitching to my childhood idol. It was a very special night for me, and I wish it didn't end."

Berkman, Backe homer

Lance Berkman scored Biggio in the first with a homer into the upper deck in right, and Backe hit his second career homer in the fifth with a shot to right-center that made it 3-1.

"Since I've (hit a home run) before, I guess pitching to Biggio was probably the best (moment)," Backe said. "I'm very proud of myself for hitting a home run, obviously, and to able to pitch to Bidge and for him to catch me is unbelievable.

"I'm going to cherish this moment for the rest of my life."

The Braves put the leadoff man on base in the first two innings, but Biggio never had to make any throws to the bases.

"He came in after the first (inning) and said, 'Let's do it again,' " Cooper said.

Cooper spoke to Braves manager Bobby Cox before the game about not running on Biggio, who says he probably doesn't have the arm strength to reach second base from the plate.

"They got the memo," Biggio said.

The other Astros player who was out of position to begin the game was Brad Ausmus, who started at second base and then switched positions with Biggio in the third. It was Ausmus' first start at a position other than catcher since his sophomore year in high school.

"I thought Bidge did alright," said Ausmus before poking fun at his friend. "Catchers like him are the reason catchers like me played more than 10 years."

The Braves scored off Dennis Sarfate in the seventh to get within 3-2, but Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless eighth and Brad Lidge worked the ninth for his 150th career save.

"Brad was real efficient, and hopefully that will be something positive for him," Cooper said.

Behind the Plate

Cheap screen printing tutorial

Cheap screen printing tutorial

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yesterday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame revealed the nominees

for the 2008 induction ceremony.

And the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an EFFING JOKE!

The Nominating Committee can all go to hell.

I'm going to Sunday's game!!!!!!!!!!!

Biggio to catch one last time


CINCINNATI -- As a kid growing up in Galveston, Texas, Brandon Backe attended his fair share of games at the Astrodome. He idolized Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, and he has vivid memories of watching Biggio when he first came up to the big leagues as a catcher.

Nearly 16 years have passed since Biggio last caught in a Major League game, but that streak will end this weekend when Biggio crouches behind the plate for one inning, maybe two, to catch Backe on Saturday.

Biggio originally had planned to catch Roy Oswalt on Friday, but after the right-hander shut it down for the year, Biggio turned to Backe, for two reasons. He doesn't throw too hard, and he figured Backe would get a kick out of pitching to someone he admired as a young Astros fan in the late 1980s and '90s.

Biggio was right on both counts.

"I guess it's kind of fitting for someone that grew up watching him as a catcher, and basically throughout his career," Backe said. "To be able to pitch to him ... that would be in a way pretty special to me. I don't know who's getting the better end of the deal, him or me, but it should be pretty interesting and I'm excited."

"After they said [Oswalt's] not going to pitch anymore, it was, all right, who's next?" Biggio said. "Brandon's perfect, he grew up near Houston, he's from there, he cheered for us back in the Astrodome days. I hope he's excited. I'm excited about it. Hopefully it'll go well."

Biggio and Backe had a quick practice session in the bullpen on Wednesday, and Biggio indicated he's ready, or at least, as ready as he's going to be.

"It went well yesterday," Biggio said. "But once the game gets here and you have a hitter and an umpire behind you, it'll probably be a little bit different. After what we went through yesterday, I think we'll be OK. I hope so."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

See ya Craig Biggio






I'm not going to the final 3 home games (that I know of). Wish I could make it, I wish there were tickets available. Craig is a very special player/person and he'll be missed. They're giving away t-shirts those three nights, e-Bay or Craigslist here I come. :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yet even more M3 DS Simply links...

I should create a side link thingie for these...

and I did, see the sidebar for Nintendo DS.

I bought a M3 DS Simply earlier this week and I'll try to post about soon. I can tell you that it is great and if you are thinking of getting a ROM cart for your DS, I highly recommend the M3 DS Simply.

M3 DS Simply reviewed

M3 DS Simply Forums

BatchDPG

Friday, September 21, 2007

Games 'n' Music - an NDS Revolution!

With Games ‘n’ Music, you can get even more out of your Nintendo DS or DS Lite! You can launch home brew games written for the DS and downloaded the internet, listen to your happening sounds with the device’s integrated MP3 player and even watch videos. In fact, Games ‘n’ Music turns your DS into an exciting multimedia and home brew software player!

Games ‘n’ Music is the ideal way to play home brew games on your DS or DS Lite. It’s easy to use. Just connect the 128MB Micro SD memory card to your PC using the supplied adapter, then drag and drop the game of your choice onto your card. Remove the card and insert it into the supplied DS cartridge, and you’re away!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jam Sessions DS

Say hello to your new guitar.

Then looked up the review on Gamespot...

and became a little disappointed. They gave it a 6.5.

Then I found this and was further intrigued.

Stumbled upon this first, what the ?, this is pretty cool!

Saldana Is Trek's Uhura


Zoe Saldana (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl) has signed on to play Uhura in J.J. Abrams' big-screen adaptation of Star Trek for Paramount Pictures, Variety reported. The casting was rumored on the TrekMovie.com Web site.

In the original Star Trek TV series, Uhura—whose name means freedom in Swahili—was a member of the bridge crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise who rose to the rank of commander. Nichelle Nichols played the Starfleet Academy alumna in the series.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci wrote the screenplay and will executive-produce alongside Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof. The film is set for a Christmas Day 2008 release.

Saldana recently wrapped the Sony thriller Vantage Point. She is filming James Cameron's SF epic film Avatar.

Update on this 'thing', going to New Orleans now?

Pete, keep your Florida crap in Florida! :-)



From the Weather Channel - A tropical wave and upper level trough is bringing locally heavy rain to Florida's East Coast and the Bahamas. There is some potential for this system to develop tropically after it moves west into the Gulf of Mexico, and will be monitored closely.

And Houston weather forecasters started talking about this yesterday, they seemed concerned very early that it will be heading our way. - Marc



Friday, September 14, 2007

Updated Trek Debuts 'Galileo'

The digitally remastered version of the original Star Trek series returns in syndication for the 2007-08 season the weekend of Sept. 15 with the premiere of an enhanced version of "The Galileo Seven." The episode, which first aired in 1967, features Spock in command of the tiny shuttlecraft Galileo, the first appearance of the small craft that would become a staple of the franchise.

The episode will feature new computer visual effects of the Galileo in flight, as well as the space storm Murasaki 312.

The remastered episode also features a digital transfer of the original Star Trek film elements and newly recorded remasterings of the show's main title theme, CG renderings of spaceships and other visual effects created by CBS Digital.

A list of U.S. stations carrying the digitally remastered Star Trek can be found here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tropical Storm Huberto!!

ZEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Led Zeppelin set for reunion gig in London


LONDON (Reuters) - Rock legends Led Zeppelin were set to announce a one-off comeback concert on Wednesday nearly three decades after disbanding.

The group split in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham and have performed only a handful of reunion gigs, last taking the stage 12 years ago at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Music Web site NME.com reported the show will be held in November in London.

Bonham's son Jason is expected to wield the drum sticks for the band known to many fans simply as Zep.

Rounding out Led Zeppelin, rated the best ever hard-rock band by U.S. channel VH1, would be its classic founding trio of singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones.

NME.com said it would be a one-off show, not a full-fledged reunion tour.

Plant and Page have joined forces over the years, notably on an album in 1994, but Jones has been more distant. When Bonham passed away after a long battle with alcoholism, his bandmates said Led Zeppelin, formed in 1968, had died with him.

November is the scheduled release month for a greatest hits collection from the band.

The reunion gig is slated for London's 02 Arena, which has a capacity of 20,000.

Depression? Storm? Either way, we're gonna get wet.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fred Thompson web site

Fred in '08!

Fred, I hope you can be the kind of conservative that we need. I don't know why the liberals don't like George W, he's been closer to the left the past three years than he has been to the right. George is far too middle of the road for my tastes. We need another Ronald Reagan, the greatest president in the past 75 years! - Marc

Here's the e-mail I got after I signed up on the Fred08 site -

Thank you for registering as a Friend of Fred. We’re in this race to win it, but I’m going to need your help. We’re using the Internet to reach out to people online, but we also need to reach friends and neighbors who may not be connected. We’ll be making a lot of calls, knocking on a lot of doors, and telling family, friends and neighbors that there is another, better way. Please take a moment to invite your friends to learn about our vision of strength, unity, and prosperity for America. You can help us bring to our fellow Americans our message of change and a call to return to the principles of our founding heritage. It’s critical that we address our nation’s challenges through the core ideals of self-governance, free markets, and the rule of law. I believe there is a real sense across our country that we’re tired of the same old petty politics. Our fellow Americans want to see some real change. They want it in Washington, and they want it closer to home. They want a better future for themselves and for their families. We can do it. Thank you again for your encouragement and support. P.S. Keep checking http://www.Fred08.com/ for updates and ways get involved.

Inside Fred Thompson's head

Candidate's views appear to have grown more conservative over time


A review of Thompson's record and public statements reveals him to be a small-government conservative who has moved rhetorically rightward on social issues. He also positions himself as a defense hawk, believes Americans are safer when armed and thinks the growing alarm about global warming is, well, a little silly.

Read entire article here!

Thompson enters presidential race, vows to invigorate GOP

DES MOINES, Iowa — Fred Thompson officially entered a wide-open Republican presidential race today, vowing to invigorate a dispirited GOP and promising to thwart another Clinton from capturing the presidency.

The former Tennessee senator harkened to the GOP glory days of 1994 when he and other Republicans seized control of Congress and established an equal counterpoint to Democrat Bill Clinton in the White House. Now an official candidate for the Republican nomination, Thompson promised to return the party to better times.

"In 1992, we were down after a Clinton victory," Thompson said in a 15-minute Webcast that laid out the rationale for the candidacy he also declared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

"In 1994, our conservative principles led us to a comeback and majority control of the Congress. Now, you don't want to have to come back from another Clinton victory. Our country needs us to win next year, and I am ready to lead that effort," he said.

Thompson also swiped at his leading Republican rivals, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, without naming them, saying: "In 1994, when I first ran, I advocated the same commonsense conservative positions that I hold today."

Thirteen years ago, Giuliani was a New York mayor who espoused liberal-to-moderate positions on social issues and endorsed Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo. Romney was a moderate challenging Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in liberal Massachusetts.

Today, some conservatives question Giuliani's and Romney's credentials — and Thompson sees an opening for his candidacy.

Thompson, 65, enters an extraordinarily fluid race four months before voting begins. While Giuliani leads in national polls, Romney maintains an edge in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Overall, Republican voters have expressed less satisfaction with their choices than Democrats, and Thompson, who ranks strongly in GOP surveys, is maneuvering to become the favorite of a GOP base that is searching for someone with right-flank bona fides who can win in a general election.

His quest won't be easy.

As he prepared to join the campaign, Thompson was plagued by lackluster fundraising; high-profile staff departures, including some prompted by the deep involvement in the campaign by his wife, Jeri; and less-than-stellar performances at campaign events. He also has endured repeated questions about his career as a lobbyist, his thin Senate record and his record on abortion.

Going forward, he faces not only finance and organization hurdles but also the challenge of living up to his supporters' sky-high expectations. They have painted him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and the would-be savior of a Republican Party demoralized after electoral losses last year at all levels of government.

After months of playing coy, the veteran actor launched his candidacy Hollywood style and with a multiphase campaign roll out. He confirmed his bid to Leno in Los Angeles — "I'm running for president of the United States" — while his eight rivals gathered in New Hampshire to debate without him. Then, he released the online video. A tour of early primary states begins this afternoon in Iowa.

On Leno's show, Thompson called Giuliani, Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain formidable but added: "I think I will be, too" as he rejected the notion that he was jumping in too late. Poking at his rivals, who have been running since January, he added: "If you can't get your message out in a few months, you're probably not ever going to get it out."

In the online video, Thompson emphasized his longtime adherence to states' rights, limited government and individual liberties. He also countered the perception that he is unwilling to do the hard work necessary to run for office, much less serve as president. "I'm going to give this campaign all that I have to give," he promised.

Thompson also portrayed himself as capable of addressing "grave issues affecting the safety and security of the American people and our economic well being."

On foreign policy and national security, he said: "The specter of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of our worst enemies continues to grow, and still we have yet to really come to terms with the nature and extent of the threat we are facing from radical Islamic terrorism."

"Iraq and Afghanistan are current fronts in this war and the world watches as our will is tested," he continued. "We must do everything in our power to achieve success."

On domestic issues, he called for reforming Washington, criticized a politicized Congress and bemoaned "a bureaucratized government that is increasingly unable or unwilling to carry out basic governmental functions, including the fundamental responsibility of securing our borders against illegal immigration and enforcing our laws."

"I do not accept it as a fact of life beyond our power to change that the federal government must go on expanding more, taxing more, and spending more forever," he added.

An actor for decades, Thompson is perhaps best known as the gruff district attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's "Law & Order," and for his roles in more than a dozen movies.

During his 1994-2002 Senate tenure, he was considered a reliably conservative vote. However, he strayed from the party line on a few issues, including advocating for campaign finance reform.

Thompson also spent many years in Washington as a lawyer and lobbyist. He has faced repeated questions about his lobbying work for a family planning group that sought to relax an abortion rule, and for former leftist Haitian leader Jean Bertrand-Aristide.

8 Foods You Should Eat Every Day

It sometimes seems as if the internal politics of Baghdad are easier to sort through than the latest thinking on nutrition. So here's the simple answer: Just eat these eight foods--along with a little protein such as salmon, turkey, or lean steak--every day. And relax. Let our all-star panel of doctors, scientists, nutritionists, and chefs tell you why and show you how.


1. Spinach
2. Yogurt
3. Tomatoes
4. Carrots
5. Blueberries
6. Black Beans
7. Walnuts
8. Oats

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Felix became a 5 FAST!!!


Which way will it go? They had forecast Dean to hit Texas early on but it went much further south. Will Felix come a knockin'?

SuperKids

Education for the Future

SuperKids is a website for parents and teachers who want the best in education for their children. SuperKids provides: The number one reason parents give for purchasing a home computer is "education." Yet after one year of ownership, education doesn't make the top three uses reported by those same parents! Why not? Because they find it difficult to identify good educational software -- software that they find educationally valuable and that their children enjoy using. SuperKids was created to address that need.