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Tuesday, June 29

US Soldier
With involuntary callups on
the rise, many fear military
drafts are on the horizon.

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You're in the Army Now (and Forever)
The U.S. Army is planning to call up close to 6,000 reservists, who will
likely be shipped off to Iraq or Afghanistan later this year. Many of the
troops will be drawn from the Individual Ready Reserve, which was last
tapped en masse more than a decade ago during the first Gulf War.

The IRR is comprised of former full-time soldiers who still have time
remaining on their military commitments. When Army hopefuls sign their
enlistment contracts, they are agreeing to an eight-year stint in the
service. After four years or so, soldiers who do not wish to become lifers
are given discharges and return to the civilian world. But they're still on
the hook as IRR reservists and are supposed to keep the Army apprised
of their whereabouts.

Unlike members of the National Guard and Reserve, individual reservists
do not perform regularly scheduled training and receive no pay unless
they are called up.

Why conscription won't improve the military
There's a draft bill floating around Congress, but it's difficult for the
government to figure out how many soldiers we really need.

Sunday, June 27

Saloni's Ex-Boss
Scott Flanders

More CEOs These Days Seek Therapy
Scott Flanders, the chairman and CEO of Columbia House, a New York marketer of
entertainment products, says he's glad he had therapy when he was still in his 30s and
climbing through middle management. At the time, he got along well enough with
superiors and subordinates, but he had intense rivalries with peers. A human-
resources executive at the publishing company where he worked encouraged him to
attend a week-long seminar in human behavior at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan.

Soon after, he began weekly psychotherapy with a Menninger-trained psychiatrist and
stuck to the process for five years. He says therapy helped him realize that much as he
craved success, he also felt unworthy of it. "My therapist once said, 'Scott, you'd be
happier if you lost everything and could start over,' and that's when he got my

As Mr. Flanders talked about his rivalries with his siblings, it became easier for him to
start forming alliances with peers "who really wanted me to succeed," he says, noting
that "I was complicit before in encouraging them to hate me." One of his fiercest former
rivals is now a close friend and golf partner.

Saturday, June 26

Swamijis lead rituals
at Swaminarayan

Ceremony to Mark Beginnings of Swaminarayan Temple in Lilburn
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More than 1,000 Hindus are expected to gather Sunday in Lilburn to begin laying the
foundation of what they hope will be among the largest Hindu temples in the South. The
exact dimensions of the temple are still up in the air and depend very much on fund-
raising, said Ritesh Desai, a spokesman for the group. But the multimillion-dollar
structure will certainly be one of the largest Hindu temples in the South, he said.

Just last month, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta dedicated a new temple in Riverdale. And
three years ago, the Swaminarayans built a community center on their 30 acres off
Rockbridge Road. The center is the first piece of a cultural complex whose centerpiece
will be the temple.

Leaders say there are now more than 1 million Swaminarayan followers worldwide who
have taken lifetime vows of no alcohol, no addictions, no adultery, no meat and no
impurity of body and mind.

Tradition at the Temple
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The Aarti ceremony ends daily services with small flames circled from top to bottom in
front of the images of God. The ceremony is often accompanied by devotional music,
incense and flowers. In ancient times when temples were housed in caves, the flames
helped devotees to see God in darkness.

Friday, June 25

Josh Childress @ Stanford
Childress will have
the second best 'fro
in the NBA.

Josh Childress Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks
Childress went 6th in the draft to the Hawks, becoming the highest drafted
Stanford player ever. Childress helped lead the Stanford basketball team to
three NCAA Tournament appearances and a Pac-10 Championship in 2004.

Childress will be asked to contribute heavily in his rookie season, as he is joining
a Hawks team with little talent. Last year, in his third and final season at
Stanford, Childress led the Cardinal in scoring (15.7 points per game) and
rebounding (7.5) and received Pac-10 Player of the Year honors despite
missing the first nine games with an injury.

Full 2004 NBA Draft Coverage
8 high schoolers taken among first 19 picks. Last year's NCAA Player of the
Year was taken 20th.

Wednesday, June 23

Moe's Grill

Atlanta-based Tex-Mex Restaurant Expanding Rapidly
Started in December 2000, there are now 135 Moe's restaurants in 15 states,
with only one owned by parent company Raving Brands. Another 700
restaurants are under contract, and Moe's plans to expand to 1,000 locations
in 45 states by 2008.

Compare that to Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, which owns half of its 301 eateries,
and Chipotle, which owns all but eight of its 350 restaurants.

Moe's charges franchisees a one-time $20,000 fee and gets 5 percent of each
restaurant's annual net sales. The franchisees also contribute to a pool used
for advertising; in exchange, corporate officials help scout out the best

Welcome to Moe's!
Its name is based on a Three Stooges character. The menu is filled with
references to "Seinfeld" and other TV shows. And employees are required to
greet every customer with a shout of "Welcome to Moe's!"

Tuesday, June 22

Dobbs' Newsletter Touts Firms He Criticized for Offshoring
Mr. Dobbs, host of the popular CNN program "Lou Dobbs Tonight," is a fierce critic of
U.S. companies that replace American workers with cheap overseas labor. He routinely
blasts the move, dubbed offshoring, in his "Exporting America" segments of the
program, and recently railed against corporations that were doing "very well" while
"working men and women in this country" are "simply being screwed."

But Mr. Dobbs has used his private newsletter, the Lou Dobbs Money Letter, to
endorse the stocks of some of the very companies he criticizes as exporters of jobs. In
the August 2003 issue, Mr. Dobbs described the newsletter's mission thus: "Every
month I introduce you to people that I believe bring a lot of value to the table. They run
good companies, they look out for their employees, and they care about the

A review found that eight of 14 companies Mr. Dobbs extolled in his newsletter were
listed on his show's CNN Web site as offshoring offenders.

Monday, June 21

John Kerry House Party
More than 40,000 people gathered at 2,000 homes in all 50 states
for the first Kerry House Party on May 22. House parties help the
Kerry campaign raise money and build its volunteer base, both
which will be vital to winning in November. The next Kerry House
party will take place on June 26 (this Saturday) at a house near you.

Voter Mobilization Training & Job Fair
August 14-16 in Philadelphia

Sunday, June 20

Liza Weil
Liza Weil (bio)

TV Star Performing in Play in Souderton
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Liza Weil, who plays the intense Paris Geller on WB's Gilmore Girls and calls Lansdale home,
is back in Montgomery County through July 10. She's starring with her father, Marc Weil, in
Proof at the Montgomery Theater in Souderton. They play father and daughter in David
Auburn's play, which won the 2001 Pulitzer and best-play Tony. Liza Weil spent much of her
childhood traveling throughout Europe with her parents, who had their own comedy troupe.

Reserve Tickets for Proof

Friday, June 18

Despite Kobe's and Shaq's
clashing egos, the Lakers
managed to once again reach
the NBA Finals.

The End of the Show
After five successful but often tumultuous seasons in LA, Phil Jackson is
stepping down as coach of the Lakers. Owner Jerry Buss has made it clear that
Kobe Bryant's rape trial notwithstanding, re-siging the free agent superstar is a
higher priority for him than retaining the services of either Phil Jackson or
Shaquille O'Neal. As a result, Jackson and possibly O'Neal are moving on.

Karl Malone and Gary Payton are also free agents and may re-sign with the

The Detroit Pistons beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals last week, preventing the
Lakers from winning their fourth title in five years.

Wednesday, June 16

The surviving Reagans disagree
with President Bush's mixing of
religion and politics.

Reagan's Family Says Bush is No Reaganite
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On Friday, at the culmination of an emotional week of mourning for
the former president, his son Ron Reagan delivered a eulogy that
castigated politicians who use religion "to gain political advantage,"
a comment that was being interpreted in Washington as a not-so-subtle
slap at Mr. Bush.

"The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly
because of the position he's in now," Ron Reagan said in an interview
last year. "Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the
80's. But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's
- these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive
and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."

Stem Cell Research Bill Renamed in Memory of Former President Reagan
Nancy Reagan and her daughter, Patti Davis, are vocal opponents of
President Bush's restrictive stem-cell research policies. Stem cell
research could potentially help with a variety of diseases, such as
Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's, but pro-lifers object to the killing of
embryos required to perform the research.

Tuesday, June 15

Indian call center worker
Many companies are
outsourcing jobs, though
few jobs actually go

Naive Outsourcing Stirs Up Trouble
Over 80 percent of enterprises across Europe have suffered serious problems
resulting from a widespread "naive readiness" to outsource software development
and the maintenance of core business applications according to a study
conducted by Meta Group.

Common problems included time and cost overruns, together with issues arising
from the outsourcer's failure to adhere to specifications and requirements.

Peter O'Neill, vice president at Meta Group, said "We were surprised at the naive
readiness and lack of due diligence with which some companies jumped into
outsourcing their core business applications."

Few Layoffs in US Caused by International Outsourcing
9 percent of U.S. layoffs during the first quarter were due to outsourcing, but only
2 percent were sent overseas.

Saturday, June 12

About Marijuana

Police to Let England Fans Smoke Dope
England fans will be allowed to smoke dope before Sunday’s crunch clash
with France — to keep them calm.

Cops in Lisbon plan to crack down on drunk supporters while turning a blind
eye to those spotted puffing on a spliff.

Pot-smoking fans have been assured they will not be arrested, cautioned —
or even have their drugs confiscated.

Cannabis-based Medicine Brings Fresh Hope to Thousands of Birmingham
Arthritis Sufferers

Boondocks Pot

View Latest Boondocks

Wednesday, June 9


How to Pick the Ripest Summer Fruit
On Watermelon: The area where a watermelon has rested on the truck, or on the
ground, or on the fruit stand, tends to flatten out and turn yellow. The wider the
spread of this area, and the more intensely yellow the color, the sweeter and riper
the watermelon.

Tuesday, June 8

Lightning Captain Dave Andreychuk with the Stanley Cup
The Flyers lost to the eventual champion
(pictured) by 1 goal in Game 7 of the
Eastern Conference Finals

Smarty Jones', Flyers' Losses Add to Philly Fans' Woes
No horse has won the Triple Crown since 1978.
No Philadelphia team has won a title since 1983.
Both streaks continue despite the best efforts of Smarty Jones
(video) and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sunday, June 6

15 Year Old EBayer
Pierce Spencer buys and sells
GMail accounts that will be
free in a few months.

Trader, 15, Riding a Gmail Boom
(use password:foobar )

Pierce has sold, by his count, more than 50 accounts. His main supplier
has been a Gmail early adopter who told Pierce he has friends at Google
who hook him up with accounts. Account holders sometimes get chances
to invite new users to the Gmail-using club; for well-connected users who
have multiple accounts, the invitations can pile up.

The final prices of Pierce's auctions seem to rise and fall of their own
accord, without much rhyme or reason. Sometimes he thinks the sales
have finally run their course, then they perk up again. "It's like the stock
market," he said.

Pierce buys the free accounts for around $30 and sells them for around
$60 each, though buying and selling prices vary. He has been paid up to
$102.50 for an account.

GMail Beta

GMail: Is Unlimited Space Worth Limited Privacy?
Google's free email service will provide 1 Gigabyte of email storage to
users, but privacy advocates worry about the technology that allows
Google to scan and place contextual ads in your incoming email. The
service is currently in Beta and a limited number of accounts are
available - the service is expected to launch for all users in a few months.


Added June 10:
Gmail Invitation Prices Crash
On Monday morning, invitations to join the testing of Google's
Gmail Web e-mail service were still fetching as much as $100 on
eBay closed auctions. By Wednesday afternoon, sellers were
lucky to crack the $20 mark.

Increased supply is the likely cause, with many Gmail users
receiving up to six invitations in the last two days.

Saturday, June 5

Marion Barry
Marion Barry alleges that
drugs found on him in 2002
were planted by police.

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry to Re-Enter Politics
Barry, who expects to announce his candidancy for a Ward 8 council
seat on June 12, cited poor conditions as the reason for his comeback.
The former four-term mayor said D.C. schools are academically the worst
in the nation, despite excellent teachers and principals. He's also
concerned about housing prices.

Barry reopened a controversy dating to March 2002, when Park Police
said they found a trace of marijuana and $5 worth of crack cocaine in his
Jaguar. "The Park Service planted whatever they planted in my car,"
Barry said on the radio today. The drug incident caused Barry to
abandon a 2002 campaign for City Council, saying he was stepping
aside to do what was best for his family and the city.

Mayor Street
John Street survived a
mysterious FBI investigation
to win re-election.

FBI Wiretap in Mayor Street's Office Tracked Drug Dealing Cleric
The FBI declared Philadelphia Mayor John Street a "subject" in a two-year,
federal investigation into allegations of public corruption in October 2003,
just one month before his vote for re-election. The FBI failed to comment
further at the time even though wiretaps were discovered at Mayor Street's
office. John Street ended up winning re-election anyway.

Since then, the FBI inquiry has reached into many corners of city
government as the FBI and the IRS have traced the flow of money that
drives city business and examined a range of contracts involving
demolition, insurance, bonds, and debt collection. The wiretaps led to
5,000 incriminating discussions among 855 people, many of them city
employees. The federal probe uncovered information on Cleric Shamsud-din
Ali, who has been indicted on charges of both political corruption and
drug smuggling.

Friday, June 4

David Tidmarsh
David Tidmarsh won with

David Tidmarsh Beats Fainting Indian in Spelling Bee (competition words)
Eighth-grader David Tidmarsh won when he spelled "autochthonous", an
adjective used to describe indigenous flora or fauna. Tidmarsh hid behind his
placard during the championship rounds and openly wept tears of joy when
spelling the winning word.

Eventual runner-up Akshay Buddiga fainted when asked to spell "alopecoid"
before recovering and spelling the word correctly. His older brother won the
competition in 2002.

Ten million children competed in spelling bees across the US this year. 265
finalists made it to Washington DC for the national competition.

Spell the Toughest Sports Names
I got 3 of 10 correct.

Thursday, June 3

Bono at the Podium
Bono never went to college,
but now he has an Honorary
Doctorate from UPenn.

U2's Bono Gives UPenn Graduation Speech (transcript)

Wearing blue-tinted sunglasses with a black cap and gown, the Irish U2 frontman
accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Pennsylvania President
Judith Rodin. He urged graduating Penn students to live up to the ideals of

Bono: "We can't fix every problem--corruption, natural calamities are part of the
picture here--but the ones we can we must. The debt burden, unfair trade,
sharing our knowledge, the intellectual copyright for lifesaving drugs in a crisis,
we can do that. And because we can, we must. Because we can, we must. Amen."

Bono to Address European Leaders on Third World Debt Relief

Wednesday, June 2

Muhammad Ali
Is John Kerry channeling
Muhammad Ali or a Sock

Presidential Rope a Dope
So far, Kerry (who certainly can claim tough-guy credentials) has been fairly
careful in his responses when it comes to the negative ads. In fact, he has
been fairly careful, even quiet, when it comes to his side of the campaign.

According to the accepted political philosophy, Kerry is making a dire
mistake. But maybe Kerry is employing another time-tested strategy
perfected in the ring by Muhammad Ali: The Rope a Dope.

Newsweek offers up the Sock Puppet Theory described by an interviewee
who had just listened to another careful Kerry speech: "Kerry did not
address Iraq as clearly as I would have liked. But my dislike of George Bush
overrides everything at this point. You can put a sock puppet next to Bush
and I would vote for it."

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