Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From the Seattle Times:

President Obama wisely kills abortion "global gag rule"

President Obama signed an executive order ending the ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions. It is an important move by the new president that sets a different tone.

A new president and new era mean it is time for a refreshing new approach on the shortsighted gag rule, the provision banning federal funds for international groups that promote or perform abortion.

President Obama changed the rule, a swift move early in his administration that makes enormous sense. The new president has an undisputable mandate for change and that includes reasonable policy on women's reproductive rights.

The ban on federal funding to any group that even mentions abortion or abortion counseling has always represented a ridiculous limit on the kind of information that needs to be distributed.

Few people favor abortion. But sometimes women need that kind of information and medical attention. Obama is right to make this important change.

In the early days of his administration, Obama wisely tried not to wade too deeply into sharp divisions on ideological issues. He has, however, done a few targeted things that set a different tone, such as suspending trials at Guantánamo. Keeping a campaign promise to women's groups, he quells the gag rule.

The federal rule is one of the most narrow-minded federal policies, one that flips and flops from one administration to the next, from Ronald Reagan, who established it in 1984, to President Bill Clinton, who ended it in 1993, to President George W. Bush, who changed it back in 2001.

The gag rule is so contrary to wise planning that it precludes international family-planning groups from providing abortions, counseling or even referring someone to another organization that performs abortions. The rule is so stringent that federal money could not go to a group even if the money was targeted for a different health-care need. This is exactly the kind the head-in-the-sand policy the public is tired of.

Obama also is preparing to loosen federal restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research. Good for him and for many individuals who may benefit from this important research.

The voters said they wanted change. These policy adjustments are overdue.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WASHINGTON - The National Mall swelled into a vast, pulsing scene of expectation Tuesday as excited crowds clogged mass transit lines and security checkpoints to witness the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama.

Energized by the historic moment, hundreds of thousands of people turned this city’s orderly grid of streets into a party scene. Ready to endure below-freezing temperatures, they streamed up from subway stations and thronged past parked buses, emergency vehicles and street vendors, bound for Pennsylvania Avenue NW and the National Mall for the inauguration.

A chaotic situation, and at least one injury — a child taken out on a stretcher — was reported at one gate where ticket holders were backed up.
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Washington's subway system was jammed and two downtown stations were disrupted when a woman fell onto the tracks. Her condition was said to be not life threatening.

Some 410,000 people had entered Washington’s Metro transit system by 9 a.m., transit officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of people packed the Mall, which stretches 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial on the Potomac River and along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

The cold registered at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit at 9 a.m.

On the Mall, the sea of people, many waving American flags, crowded onto the grassy plain.

“This is chaos now,” Judy Bailey, 42, of Cincinnati, Ohio, said as police shunted her farther and farther from the swearing-in ceremony. “But it is amazing to be here. This is history in the making.”

As dawn broke, they streamed up from subway stations and past parked buses, emergency vehicles and street vendors.

“This is the culmination of two years of work,” said Akin Salawu, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who helped Obama as a community organizer and Web producer. “We got on board when Obama was the little engine who could. He’s like a child you’ve held onto. Now he’s going out into the world.”

Parking lots full
By 4 a.m., lines of riders formed in suburban parking lots for the Metro transit system, which opened early and put on extra trains for the expected rush. Many parking lots filled up and had to be closed.

Streets around the Capitol quickly filled with people, and security checkpoints were mobbed.

A flea-market atmosphere prevailed on downtown streets, with white tents set up to sell Obama T-shirts and mugs as well as food, bottled water, snacks, scarves and footwarmers. The scent of grilled coiled sausages and steaming Chinese food greeted those who walked toward the parade route, more than six hours before Obama would pass by.

Ticket holders approaching the inaugural site on Capitol Hill awaited security sweeps in a line estimated at thousands. People were in a festive mood, despite the cold and the economic gloom that that has left millions unemployed and tens of thousands homeless.

Connie Grant of Birmingham, Ala., said she got up at 3:30 a.m. after coming to Washington with a group. Three hours later, she was still on 7th Street waiting for police to clear the way into the Mall.

She said the wait didn’t matter. “I sacrificed and came here,” she said. “To me, this is very historic. I just wanted to be here.”

“I brought my patience,” said Matt Rohrbaugh, 37, who had traveled from Santa Cruz, Calif., with his sons, ages 12 and 15. “Everyone else seems to have brought their patience, as well,” he said.

Christian Alderson of Berryville, Va., said he was in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968 when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. “That day was sorrowful,” Alderson, 73, said as he stood near the Mall. “This is a dream come true for me.”

Friday, January 16, 2009 staff and news service reports
updated 11:00 a.m. PT, Fri., Jan. 16, 2009

CHICAGO - A bone-numbing Arctic blast drove temperatures down Friday to 30, 40 and 50 below in parts of the Midwest and Northeast, closing schools to spare children from freezing at bus stops and prompting police to keep a watchful eye out for the homeless.

Forecasters said temperatures in the upper Midwest could turn into the coldest in years as frigid air keeps spilling south from Canada. The cold snap has claimed at least five lives and contributed to dozens of traffic accidents as vehicles slipped and slid on icy roads.

Scores of schools in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and upstate New York canceled classes for Friday as officials feared it would be dangerous for students to walk to school or wait for buses.

"They're waiting 30 minutes at a bus stop; there's the fear of frostbite and hypothermia," said Champaign Assistant Superintendent Beth Shepperd. "We also have more children walking to school without adequate outerwear."

By Friday morning, cities and towns in 13 states reported temperatures well below zero, among them:

* -50 in Big Black River, Maine, in what could be a new state record
* -46 in Embarrass, Minn.
* -42 in Island Pont, Vt.
* -42 in Necedah, Wis.
* -39 in Berlin, N.H.
* -38 in Monticello, Iowa
* -36 in Sterling, Ill., possibly tying a state record
* -35 in Paradox, N.Y.
* -26 in Stambaugh, Mich.
* -20 in Valparaiso, Ind.
* -19 in Lawton, Pa.
* -16 in Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va.
* -14 in Dayton, Ohio

In upstate New York, meteorologist Dave Sage said areas near Lake Erie were walloped by snow, with 2 inches falling per hour in some areas on Friday morning.

The cold kept many from venturing outdoors. Those who did kept their trips short.

Quentin Masters, who was at the post office mailing a gift in downtown Syracuse, N.Y., said he had on two coats and long underwear.

"It was almost too cold to come down here today but it's a birthday present for my sister in Buffalo," said Masters, 28. "It's on Monday and I don't want it to be late."

Although the temperature in Syracuse was 5 above just after dawn, wind gusts of up to 25 mph chilled the air to subzero temperatures.

This story just reminds my how different it is to live in southern California. Right now it's 78 degrees out here in Huntington Beach. My friend Tabi lives in Kansas and she told me this morning it was -2. I don't think I'd be able to handle that day in and day out =). Well I hope everyone keeps warm and has a safe fun weekend.


This is a "set" I created on You can see the items that are used are credited to the owner ---> I find myself on this website everyday, it's very addicting (in a good way of course) =).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So Buddy and Buster are our wonderful kitties. Buddy(Grey and White)just had a recent scare with fatty liver disease. We were very close to loosing him. If you own a cat please inform yourself of this disease, apparently it's common in cats around the age of 7 or 8. Here's a link with more info --->

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Max & Rusty

These are my puppies; Max and Rusty. They are Chihuahua/Wiener Dog mixes. We adopted Rusty (tan & white) in November and Max back in May. I just wanted to share my "kids" =).

Monday, January 12, 2009

This site allows such creativity and friendship. I highly recommend checking it out. Also there are some who dispute the use of art on the site. Please sign this petition letting them know how we feel --->