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Sen. Edward Kennedy has malignant brain tumor May 20, 2008

Filed under: Politics — gervmaine @ 3:02 pm

BOSTON – A cancerous brain tumor caused the seizure Sen. Edward M. Kennedy suffered over the weekend, doctors said Tuesday in a grim diagnosis for one of American politics’ most enduring figures. “He remains in good spirits and full of energy,” the doctors for the 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement.

They said tests conducted after the seizure showed a tumor in Kennedy’s left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma, they said.

His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

Kennedy has been hospitalized in Boston since Saturday, when he was airlifted from Cape Cod after a seizure at his home.

“He has had no further seizures, remains in good overall condition, and is up and walking around the hospital,” said the statement by Dr. Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Larry Ronan, Kennedy’s primary care physician. They said Kennedy will remain in the hospital “for the next couple of days according to routine protocol.” Kennedy’s wife and children have been with him each day since he was hospitalized. Senator Kennedy’s son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., plans to stay at the hospital for the time being. “Obviously it’s tough news for any son to hear,” said spokeswoman Robin Costello. “He’s comforted by the fact that his dad is such a fighter, and if anyone can get through something as challenging as this, it would be his father. So he’s optimistic, he’s hopeful, but obviously he’s concerned.” President Bush was notified by his staff of Kennedy’s diagnosis at 1:20 p.m. “He said he was deeply saddened and would keep Senator Kennedy in his prayers,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said. Malignant gliomas are a type of brain cancer diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year — and the most common type among adults. It’s an initial diagnosis: How well patients fare depends on what specific tumor type is determined by further testing. Average survival can range from less than a year for very advanced and aggressive types — such as glioblastomas — or to about five years for different types that are slower growing. News of the diagnosis hit hard for colleagues on both sides of the aisle. “I’m really sad,” former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., said when told in a Senate hallway about Kennedy’s condition. “He’s the one politician who brings tears to my eyes when he speaks.” “I am so deeply saddened I have lost the words,” Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said in a Senate hallway. Warner said he and Kennedy had been friends for 40 years. Both served on the Senate Armed Services Committee together. Kennedy, the second-longest serving member of the Senate and a dominant figure in national Democratic Party politics, was elected in 1962, filling out the term won by his brother, John F. Kennedy. His eldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a World War II airplane crash. President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother Robert was assassinated in 1968. Kennedy is active for his age, maintaining an aggressive schedule on Capitol Hill and across Massachusetts. He has made several campaign appearances for Sen. Barack Obama in February, and most recently last month. Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts and the Senate’s second-longest serving member, was re-elected in 2006 and is not up for election again until 2012. Were he to resign or die in office, state law requires a special election for the seat no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after the vacancy occurs.


Kentucky Campaign Trail Sermon Hits Close to Home for Clinton May 19, 2008

Filed under: Politics — gervmaine @ 9:18 am

BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (CNN) – Hillary Clinton left Oregon late Friday night to focus her efforts on Kentucky before the state’s primary on Tuesday.

“My opponent said the other day he wasn’t coming back so I’ve got the whole state to myself. What a treat!” Clinton exclaimed at a Sunday afternoon rally at Western Kentucky University.

What was likely less of a treat was Pastor Paul Fryman’s sermon she heard Sunday morning at Bowling Green’s State Street United Methodist Church on marriage and adultery entitled “When the Devil Whispers Over Your Shoulder.”

Pastor Fryman launched into his sermon with Matthew 5, verse 27, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The verse goes on to say anyone guilty is better off plucking out their eye or cutting off their hand lest they end up in hell.

Clinton did not speak at the service, nor was she recognized at any point from those on the altar, instead sitting quietly in the second pew praying and singing along with the rest of the congregation.

She smiled broadly as a baby was baptized and carried down the aisle by the pastor.

Later at Western Kentucky, Clinton picked up her message of staying in the race where she left off on Saturday, urging supporters to vote on Tuesday and telling them, “This is one of the most consequential elections of our lifetimes.”

“You don’t stop democracy in its tracks. You don’t tell some states that they can’t vote and other states that have already had the opportunity that they’re somehow more important,” said Clinton. “I want everybody to vote and everybody to help pick our next president. I am proud to be campaigning in Kentucky.”


U. of Okla. freshman, 19, elected mayor of Muskogee May 14, 2008

Filed under: Politics,Unbelievable — gervmaine @ 2:55 pm
Tags: ,

MUSKOGEE, Okla.—A 19-year-old freshman at the University of Oklahoma was elected mayor Tuesday of Muskogee, a city of 38,000 in the northeastern part of the state.

With all precincts reporting, John Tyler Hammons won with 70 percent of the vote over former Mayor Hershel Ray McBride, said Muskogee County Election Board Secretary Bill Bull.

“The public placing their trust in me is the greatest, humbling and most awesome experience I’ve ever had in my life,” said Hammons, who is from Muskogee but attends the university in Norman.

The two candidates squared off in a runoff election for the nonpartisan post after neither secured 50 percent of the vote in a six-person election April 1.

Hammons, who will be sworn in next week, said he plans to continue his college education but expects to transfer to a school closer to Muskogee.

“Being elected does not change my desire to continue my education,” he said. “We will schedule our time in an appropriate fashion so that I can be mayor and stay in school.”

Hammons replaces Wren Stratton, who decided not to seek re-election after one term.

The mayor leads the nine-member city council and serves as a voting member. Hammons said a key to his platform that resonated with voters was openness of government and keeping citizens better informed of city operations.

“I think that’s been a detriment to the trust of the citizens of Muskogee,” he said. “Once we have that trust, we can solve any other problem.”


President Bush: An ‘Awfully Special’ Wedding Weekend May 12, 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous News,Politics — gervmaine @ 12:30 pm

As tiny Crawford, Texas, and surrounding towns emptied of wedding guests on Sunday, President Bush pronounced the weekend an “awfully special” one. And, by all accounts, an emotional one for the First Family.

“Our little girl, Jenna, married a really good guy,” the president told reporters on the tarmac before boarding Air Force One with First Lady Laura Bush and his parents for the return trip to Washington, D.C.

The ultra-private wedding on Bush’s gated ranch was the president’s first turn at playing Father of the Bride. In a suit and tie (Jenna, aiming for a more “natural” and casual affair, didn’t want black-tie), Bush walked his 26-year-old daughter down the aisle to a limestone altar topped by a 4-ft. cross where she and Henry Hager, 30, exchanged vows just as the sun set. The bride’s twin sister and maid of honor, Barbara, did a reading during the ceremony, as did their grandfather, George H.W. Bush.

The former president later joked that he’d had a whole speech planned. “It was supposed to be 40 minutes but they cut me back to 20,” he kidded reporters aboard Air Force One before stopping himself, noting that he had been told not to talk about the wedding.

Wedding singer Tyrone “Super T” Smith of Nashville evidently missed that memo. He happily told PEOPLE how Jenna and Henry gazed into each other’s eyes during their first dance, to Taj Mahal’s “Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes.” And he described a poignant father-daughter dance to the Joe Cocker ballad, “You Are So Beautiful.” And when the band played “Sugar Sugar,” the president hit the dance floor again, Smith said. “He was right there. He got down. He got down!”

Asked at his Sunday appearance, just before noon, whether he’d been up late partying, the president just winked.

‘We’re Mighty Blessed’
“The wedding was spectacular. It’s just — it’s all we could have hoped for,” Bush said. “The weather cooperated nicely; just as the vows were exchanged the sun set over our lake and it was just a special day and a wonderful day and we’re mighty blessed.”

Back in Crawford and nearby Salado, where many of the guests had booked rooms at the quaint inns and B&Bs, it was time to pack up and clean up. One twentysomething man checking out of the Old Salado Celebration Center & Retreat, where Friday’s rehearsal dinner had been held, told PEOPLE: “The wedding was a great party. It was beautiful, incredible, outstanding.”

Jamie Burgess, who manages the Red Bull Gift & Gallery in Crawford, sounded like she was going to miss the nuptial hubbub. “We’ve had over 100 tourists and media people in here just in the last couple of days,” Burgess enthused. But in this one-stoplight hamlet that boasts not one motel, she added, “A lot of people say they wish they’d thought to rent out their houses.”


Jenna Bush Wedding Photos

Filed under: Miscellaneous News,Politics — gervmaine @ 9:17 am


Blogger critical of Cuba wins Spanish prize, but can’t pick it up May 8, 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous News,Politics — gervmaine @ 11:40 am

MADRID, Spain (AP) — A Cuban woman who has gained worldwide acclaim with a blog that voices stinging criticism of the Havana government received a major journalism award Wednesday, and said it gave her a “small protective shield” to keep pressing for democracy in her country.


Yoani Sanchez, pictured at home in Havana, uses a blog called “Generation Y” to lash out at Cuba’s government.

Yoani Sanchez, 32, was denied permission to travel to Madrid to accept her Ortega y Gasset Prize in digital journalism for creating a now year-old blog called “Generation Y,” which gets more than 1 million hits a month, mostly from abroad.

Time magazine deemed Sanchez this month as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Sanchez’s blog has drawn a wide audience with her wry comments on life on the Caribbean island and frequent digs at the communist government.

A Cuban friend, essayist Ernesto Hernandez Busto, accepted the award on her behalf. Sanchez addressed the ceremony through a recording, saying the fact that she had to do so was “the clearest evidence of the defenselessness of the Cuban people with respect to the State.”

“Nothing of what I have written in these 13 months speaks as loudly as my absence from this ceremony,” Sanchez said in the recording.

She said this international recognition will not give her “immunity, because in Cuban society one is never immune from the State. But it does allow me to carry on more strongly with this small protective shield that the prize gives me.”

All Cubans seeking to leave the island need an exit permit, and Cuban authorities did not approve Sanchez’s request to travel to Madrid for the award ceremony.

In a blog entry dated May 3, Sanchez said that as she awaited word from the authorities, she felt like “a baby in diapers.”

“Before, it was my parents who watched out to make sure I did not swallow a screw or stick my fingers in an electrical outlet. Now, the supervision comes from the State,” she wrote.

Cuban authorities have made no sustained effort to shut down Sanchez’s blog, although pro-government sites accuse her of accepting money from opposition groups.

On Sanchez’s site and others, anonymous Cubans lash out at their government.

Sanchez said Wednesday that the prize, handed out by the top-selling newspaper El Pais, obliges her to maintain Generation Y, which she said “went from being a hobby, or a kind of exorcism, to a motivation for staying here” in Cuba.

Last year, Cuban dissident poet Raul Rivero, who now lives in Spain, also won an Ortega y Gasset prize. They are named for the late Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset.

This year, Mexican journalist Sanjuana Martinez received one for a series of investigative reports on sexual abuse of children by Mexican clergy; they were published in the Mexican daily La Jornada.

For an entire body of work, another prize went to the Mexican magazine ZETA for its work rooting out corruption and organized crime. The publication was founded in 1980 and is based in Tijuana.

The photography award went to Spaniard Gervasio Sanchez for a photo that is part of a series called “Vidas Minadas,” on the toll wars take on civilians. The winning photo, titled “Sofia and Alia,” shows an African woman with artificial legs — hers were blown off by landmines — asleep next to her baby daughter.


Dwight Schrute for Vice President

Filed under: As Seen on TV,Politics — gervmaine @ 11:29 am
Tags: , ,

 the Democratic presidential candidates, would Republican John McCain rather take on Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton?

“You know, Ron Paul is still in the race,” McCain joked Wednesday during a taping of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

McCain deadpanned about the marathon race between the Democrats: “I hate to watch it. It’s terrible. My heart goes out to them.”

During the taping, McCain pretended to walk off the set when Stewart pressed him on whether President Bush is more of a liability for him than the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is for Obama. Then
McCain fiddled with his microphone and mouthed “technical difficulties” into the camera.

The all-but-certain Republican nominee did reveal a few tidbits. His Secret Service code name, he thinks, “is ‘jerk,”‘ and his choice for a vice presidential running mate is Dwight Schrute, a character on the NBC sitcom, “The Office,” played by Rainn Wilson.