Saturday, October 02, 2004
Tony Blair recovering
Wow, I haven't written in 2 days! Weird...And you'd think I would have, after the first debate. Oh, well, we stomped Bush's behind--here's hoping we keep doing it! I have no doubt at all that John Edwards will triumph as well on Tuesday :)
Meanwhile, knowing something about heart disease, having lost my 34-year-old brother to a heart attack in December 2003, I was worried about Tony Blair's health these past few days. He isn't getting any younger, and the stress he's had to deal with because he was basically tricked into going to war is trememdous.
So, I've been following the news out of Britain re. Blair, and today's from CNN.com is encouraging:
LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has arrived home saying he felt "absolutely fine" after successfully undergoing treatment to correct an irregular heartbeat.
"We expect him to continue his rapid and complete recovery," London's Hammersmith hospital said in a statement Friday.
"We consider the risk of a recurrence of the problem to be very low."
Blair entered the West London hospital early Friday for the two-and-a-half hour procedure.
He returned to his Downing Street home looking relaxed and smiling. "I'm absolutely fine," he told reporters.
In an interview Thursday with the British television network ITN, Blair said: "I'll be back at work on Monday flat out."
Blair, 51, also used the interview to confirm that he intended to seek a third term as prime minister, but would step down after completing that term.
"It is my intention to lead the Labour Party into the next election." Blair said, adding that he and his wife Cherie had bought a $6.3 million (Â£3.5 million) house in central London.
"If elected, and that's the decision of the British people, then I would serve a full term. I do not intend, however, to put myself forward for elections after that."
Some pundits say the move has made Blair a lame duck prime minister because at the next election -- expected in spring 2005 -- the British public will know he is already on his way out of Downing Street.
Analysts say the announcement could energize the battle to succeed Blair, for whom the past two years have been tough.
He has faced strong criticism -- including from his own party -- for his support of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The decision to go to war led to two inquiries -- both clearing Blair and his government of exaggerating Saddam Hussein's weapons program.
Last year, doctors diagnosed his condition as supraventricular tachycardia -- irregular heartbeat -- that caused shortness of breath. He was given an electrical treatment to stabilize his heartbeat and was sent home a few hours later with orders to rest.
Friday's procedure involvex inserting a catheter through the groin and up to the heart, where radio-frequency energy is used to kill off the cells conducting the extra impulses.
Downing Street said the prime minister would rest over the weekend before returning to "normal duties" on Monday. He will go ahead with a scheduled visit to Africa on Tuesday, the office told Reuters.
Blair became prime minister in May 1997 when he led his Labour Party back to power for the first time since 1979. Labour was again re-elected by a landslide in 2001.
He is a father of four children. His youngest, 4-year-old Leo, was the first baby born to a serving prime minister in 150 years.
The terms of British parliaments are for up to five years. While Blair would have to call an election by 2006, the next general election is expected to happen in 2005. If Blair is re-elected next year, he could remain prime minister until 2010.
Blair received a political boost Friday with a win for his Labour Party in a parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool, northeast England, which was seen as a pointer to the result of national polls expected next year.
Labour candidate Iain Wright held the seat for Labour with 12,752 votes, with the Liberal Democrats second on 10,719 votes. The main opposition Conservative Party slumped to fourth place, narrowly behind the UK Independence Party, which opposes British membership of the European Union.
Wright succeeds Blair's close ally Peter Mandelson, who recently stepped down as a British MP to become Britain's EU commissioner.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
No, they don't
Edwards assails Bush on Iraq
MANCHESTER - Democratic running mate John Edwards claimed Monday that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are the only two people in America who disagree that post-war Iraq is a mess.
Edwards gave a tough-talking critique of the Bush administration's Iraq policy at the opening of a town hall-style forum before 350 supporters at Victory Park.
"The truth is Iraq is a mess, right, because of two people, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. That's why it's a mess," the North Carolina senator said.
"The best I can tell, they are the only two people who think things are going well, right?"
That's my boy
John Edwards refuses to cross picket line
By Associated PressTuesday, September 28, 2004
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards [related, bio] canceled his appearance at a Providence campaign fund-raiser yesterday, refusing to cross a firefighters' picket line staged because of the union's ongoing dispute with this city's Democratic mayor.
The North Carolina senator had been scheduled to attend a reception at the downtown Biltmore Hotel, which an organizer said brought in nearly $500,000 for the presidential ticket of Sen. John Kerry [related, bio] and Edwards.
The firefighters' union said it has gone four years without a contract, and accuses Mayor David Cicilline of failing to negotiate directly with it. Cicilline, a Kerry-Edwards supporter, said the firefighters' demands are unaffordable, and faulted the union for disrupting the fund-raiser.
On the Biltmore's 17th floor, Democratic party supporters were sipping drinks and eating hors d'oeuvres when event organizers announced Edwards would not attend.
``Once the campaign learned there would be a picket line at the event due to a contract dispute with the city, we canceled this trip,'' said Kim Rubey, a spokeswoman for Edwards. ``John Edwards does not cross picket lines.''
She said Edwards learned of the picket line while at a Manchester, N.H., event, and went directly from there to a planned New York stop. Rubey was unsure if Edwards planned another visit to the Ocean State.
``We're all disappointed today. We're not going to be disappointed on November 2,'' said former lieutenant governor Richard Licht, who is working on the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Rhode Island and attended the event.
Joseph Paolino, Jr., one of the event's main organizers, said he was sorry Edwards didn't attend. ``But you can't do anything about it,'' he added.
David Peters, president of Local 799 of the International Association of Firefighters, said the protest was directed at the mayor, not the Democrats.
``We support the Democratic party right through,'' he said.
Peters said the union would have called off the protest if the mayor had stayed away from the event. Cicilline said Friday he had no intention of skipping the fund-raiser to appease the union.
``I am a huge Kerry-Edwards supporter. I'm the mayor of this city. I of course was going to be at the event,'' Cicilline said. He said the union was using ``intimidation tactics'' in an effort to gain ground in the contract dispute.
The firefighters and the mayor are at odds over health care, pensions and salary, according to the union. Cicilline said arbitrators will resolve the situation, while union officials said the mayor should settle the issues.
``We're asking him to sit down and negotiate fairly with us,'' Peters said.
The protest included some 75 firefighters, who held signs that read ``Negotiate'' and ``Cicilline Democrat?''
Edwards made appearances Friday in Manchester, N.H., and New York. In Manchester, he accused President Bush's re-election campaign of lying in television ads about Kerry's Vietnam War service and his plan to reform health care.
Tracy Young, a Providence resident who attended the Biltmore fund-raiser, said she was disappointed Edwards chose not to attend.
``I personally don't think it was the right decision, because people paid to be here, they paid to see him,'' she said. Young added Edwards' staff could have allayed the firefighters' concerns by speaking with them, and then attending the reception.
Former attorney general Sheldon Whitehouse, also at the fund-raiser, said he was not bothered by Edwards' decision to skip the event.
``From my point of view, I don't really want him here ... I want him in the so-called battleground states,'' Whitehouse said. He said the fund-raiser accomplished what it set out to do, which was to raise money for the party.
Analysts predict Rhode Island is solidly in the Kerry-Edwards camp. The state has four electoral votes.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Of trying to figure out code
And to my dear friend Chandira, ((((((((((((())))))))))) from rainy Colorado...
The Zero Room
It's located at www.thezeroroom.blogspot.com