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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
October 28, 2006

Front Page Photo by Sharon Shern

This sign was found after a storm laying on the side of a street downtown. Grandparent Sharon Shern said the sign fits her grandson's character. LIVELY Dustin is visiting his grandparents Steve and Sharon Shern in Ketchikan.
Front Page Photo by Sharon Shern

Top Stories
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The week in review By THOMAS HARGROVE - U.S. ties with Baghdad strained as death toll rises

October became the fourth bloodiest month for U.S. troops in Iraq this week and American and Iraqi leaders clashed angrily over proposed timetables for ending escalating sectarian violence. At least 97 Americans have died this month. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the United States does not have the right to impose "timetables" on his government. He contradicted U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's claims that al-Maliki had already agreed to set timelines to reduce violence and stop death squads. The two men issued a joint statement Friday saying Iraq is committed to a "good and strong" relationship with the United States.

Safavian weeps but still gets 18 months in Abramoff scandal

Former White House procurement officer David Safavian was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday for obstruction of justice by concealing his relationship with convicted influence-peddling lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Safavian had wept earlier when asking for leniency by saying Abramoff manipulated him. But Safavian also denied the case against him. "There was no conspiracy to defraud anyone, least of all the taxpayers," Safavian said. It wasn't what U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wanted to hear. The judge gave Safavian a stiff penalty under federal sentencing guidelines.

White House denies Cheney supports water torture

Vice President Dick Cheney came under fire for remarks made on a Fargo, N.D., radio station Tuesday that it's "a no-brainer for me" when radio interviewer asked if "a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives." White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said Cheney was not endorsing a torture technique called "water boarding" in which detainees suffer simulated drowning. "The vice president of the United States is not going to be talking about water boarding. Never would, never does, never will," Snow said. "You think Dick Cheney's going to slip up on something like this? No, come on."

Rumsfeld wants Iraq critics to "just back off"

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that Iraqi war critics who seek specific deadlines for progress should "just back off." He told a Pentagon news conference that conditions in the country are too uncertain to be setting deadlines. "You're looking for some sort of a guillotine to come falling down if some date isn't met," Rumsfeld told reporters. "That is not what this is about."

Police find secret documents in a New Mexico mobile home

Police discovered classified documents from the Los Alamos National Laboratory while conducting a drug raid at a New Mexico mobile home, federal authorities said Tuesday. Police arrested a man suspected of domestic violence and of dealing methamphetamine. The FBI has begun an investigation. The federal charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. - More...
Saturday PM - October 28, 2006


Washington Calling: White House flip-flop! ... anti-Bush site ... Oliver vs. Daniel By LISA HOFFMAN - At President Bush's press conference this past week there was something new and it didn't have to do with Iraq.

His lectern and podium were moved from the corridor entrance of the White House's East Room - where they had been placed for news conferences since the Reagan administration - to the far wall with its backdrop of elaborate gold draperies.

The Reagan White House had positioned them adjacent to the corridor for two reasons. The president striding down the flag-lined corridor made for a good visual and it allowed Reagan handlers to spirit him away quickly to avoid unscripted encounters with reporters.

Why the flip-flop now? "Just a change of scenery," the Bush press office said.


Is the hourglass half empty or half full?

White House chief of staff Josh Bolten has placed digital clocks that count down the days and hours left in the Bush administration on West Wing desks. The idea is to implant a sense of urgency for getting things done before Jan. 20, 2009, dawns.

Meanwhile, a decidedly anti-Bush Web site - - is celebrating the passage of each day, hour, minute and second until the president goes for good. It's selling 01-20-09 bumper stickers, hats and buttons, too.


Digital divide? A new report on the future of the nation's electric grid notes that within 20 years half of the U.S. population will have been born and raised in the digital age. The Galvin Electricity Institute study says that will result in a population that will expect perfect power quality along with energy efficiency to run everything from robotic maids and home security guards to three-dimensional telecommuting that mimics physical presence in an office. The report stresses the need for an adequate electrical infrastructure to keep brownouts or blackouts to a minimum.


Remember George Tenet, the former CIA chief who left the job under a cloud after he said it was a "slam dunk" that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction? He's now landed a job at the British research firm that was the inspiration for the outfit at which "Q" worked in the James Bond novels and films. Unlike the mysterious Q, Tenet won't be creating cool spy gizmos at QinetiQ, the company that was once a top-secret part of Britain's defense ministry. Instead, he'll be an "independent non-executive director" - whatever that means. Sounds like good cover to us. - More...
Saturday PM - October 28, 2006


Basic Rules

letter RE: Hate, Greed, and Fear By Steven McLaren - Saturday PM
letterBridge By Robert Glenn - Saturday PM
letter Hate, Greed, and Fear By Robert Freedland - Thursday PM
letter Free Money is a distraction for local governement By Michael Spence - Wednesday PM
letter Bridge By Jerilyn Lester - Wednesday PM
letter KGB School Lock-Down By Anne Lucas - Tuesday
letter TIME FOR CHANGE By James C. Eakes - Tuesday
letter RE: Tongass Construction By Cathy Geer - Tuesday
letter Promises, Promises: What Do They Mean at UAS? By Robert D. Warner - Tuesday
letter Getting hosed at the pump? By Wayne Kinunen - Tuesday
letter Metlakatla's Choice: A simple Yes or No By Virginia E. Atkinson - Tuesday
letter Martin and John Bugge By Pam Grender - Tuesday
letter RE: Adults think they know all the answers etc. By Frances C. Natkong - Tuesday
letter Gas Prices By Janelle Hamilton - Tuesday
letter SQUEAKY By BJ Orand - Tuesday
letter Hooray!!! for recovey By Patti Fay Hickox - Tuesday
letter Killer of a Whale By Greg Harris - Tuesday
letter Law enforcement in Ketchikan By Colleen James - Tuesday
letter Lots of Failing Parents By Rob Glenn - Tuesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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SitNews Archives
October 2006
Click on the date to read the stories published on that day.
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Columns - Commentary

Jason Love: Competitive Eating -Ever since curling found its way into the Olympics, our concept of sport has so devolved that ESPN is now televising darts. Call me old-fashioned, but when I turn on ESPN and people are throwing darts, they had better be aiming at each other.

Where could they possibly go from here? Steam room endurance? Tiddlywinks? ...

Answer: competitive eating.

ESPN now broadcasts four gorge-a-thons, including Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which I recently watched with keen interest ... beside my barf bag.

Nathan's is sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (no, seriously), which also handles, among other things, crab cake, baked beans, butter-just-butter, spam, tiramisu, and -- brace yourself, PETA -- cow brains.

At least with cow brains you know what you're getting. Scientists still don't understand what holds together a hot dog. Right now they are focusing on a reaction between shoe polish and tripe.

Of course, one cannot talk hot dogs without mentioning undisputed champion of the world, Japan's greatest pride outside of Mount Fuji, Takeru "The Tsunami" ... Kobayashi.

In terms of consecutive world titles, you've got Lance Armstrong, Martina Navratilova, the '59-'66 Boston Celtics, and Takeru Kobayashi, who not only wins every year but often laps the competition (and by that I mean lifts them up with his tongue).

Yet Koby could pass as a wrestler: stony biceps, trim waist, that orange-blonde hair that looks so natural on Japanese men. Certainly this wasn't the record-holder for hot dogs, lobster rolls, hamburgers, bratwurst, and rice balls.

IFOCE president George Shea, who promotes his events the old-fashioned way -- in a straw hat -- stomached my questions.

"We're seeing a changing of the guard," he said. "The older, heavier eater is being replaced by athletes like Koby."

Enter femme phenom Sonya Thomas, who, for her Tinkerbell physique, has outscarfed 300-pound men to win titles in tacos, ravioli, chicken nuggets, jambalaya, and pulled pork sandwiches.

Having seen frankfurter sludge ooze out of eaters' nostrils, I can only shudder at the thought of pulled pork sandwich.

I had to get closer, but not so close that I lost a finger.

"Crazy Legs" Conti received me like a professor ... in dreadlocks. Conti has gobbled his way onto "The Today Show," CNN, "The Sopranos," "Emeril," and "Good Morning America"; he even beat David Letterman in an oyster-eating challenge (459 to 3).

How does one eat 459 oysters without spewing on national TV?

"The stomach can fill up," said Legs, "but the mind never can."

I could just see Yoda training Crazy Legs in some forgotten swamp: "Hmm, the bile strong with this one is."
The Fine Art of Oinking Out

Every food poses it own challenge (example: butter is made of butter), but hot dogs are eaten in one of three ways: 1. The Solomon Method, breaking the dogs in half; 2. Tokyo Style, eating wiener and bun separately; and 3. Dunk 'n Dip, soaking the meat in what appears to be sewer water.

I'm not sure which method is favored by Miss Manners.

By IFOCE policy, regurgitation -- "remnants" -- amounts to disqualification. One of Koby's records was stained by controversy over remnants, a clear-cut cry for instant replay. - More...
Saturday PM - October 28, 2006

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