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Chicago White Sox

Fresh off sweep, White Sox ready to face the "other" Chicago team

Chicago White Sox Team Report

(Sports Network) - In the Chicago sports scene, it doesn't get any better than a good old fashion cross-town rivalry to beat the summer heat. In one corner, the Chicago Cubs, owners of the top record in all of baseball. In the other, the Chicago White Sox, who lead their division by the largest margin across the league.

National League versus American League. Big brother versus little brother. North Siders versus South Siders. Bill it however you want to, the tables have been set for another classic showdown. In a series that dates back to 1906 and is tied 30-30, the Cubs have had the edge of late, winning six of the last seven meetings. Last June, the Cubs went into U.S. Cellular Field and swept the Sox.

Still, the White Sox and their major league-leading 7-2 interleague record cannot be overlooked. And although some of the players may try to downplay the significance of Cubs-Sox, there is still some bad blood there. As recently as last month when the White Sox were struggling, manager Ozzie Guillen blew up at the media, complaining that the Cubs get all the credit in Chicago even though they haven't won anything in 100 years. Actually, he painted that picture with a considerable amount of expletives.

When asked this week about the differences between Cubs and Sox fans, Guillen said White Sox fans are "legit," while some people go to Wrigley Field "to have a tour."

Sox general manager Kenny Williams even got in on the action. In a recent article in the Chicago Sun Times, when Williams was asked about the different environments, he didn't pull any punches.

"It is so different," he said. "You might as well build a border, a Great Wall of China on Madison, because we are so different. We might as well be in two different cities. The unfortunate thing for me is it's a shame that a certain segment of Chicago refused to enjoy a baseball championship being brought to their city. The only thing I can say is, 'Happy anniversary.'"

The anniversary, of course, refers to the Cubs' 100-year World Series drought. Then, asked in the same article if he would ever consider being the GM of the Cubs: "God, I would really, really have to need the job. Oh, wow, really need the job."

As far as the baseball aspect of it, both teams are trying to keep that cushion between themselves and the rest of the division. The level of play in the AL Central has certainly picked up, while the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers remain within striking distance of the Cubs.

The White Sox are coming off a three-game sweep of the Pirates, in which they piled up 37 runs. That once-slumping lineup which prompted Guillen's early-May media blowup is now red-hot. Four White Sox players homered in Tuesday's 16-5 rout. Three went yard in Wednesday's 8-2 win. In Thursday's 13-8 win, Jermaine Dye belted two home runs (his second and third of the series), including a grand slam and finished with six RBI. Orlando Cabrera added a three-run blast, his second of the series.

Still, after all those fireworks, all the talk around Chicago is focused on one thing.

"I think it's great," Guillen said of the rivalry, also noting that he thinks it's more intense than the New York rivalry. "I think it's fun. I think it's good for the fans, good for everybody. Even if you try to avoid the circumstances, you can't avoid the circumstances. But we're in first place, they're in first place. They're playing great baseball."


With Paul Konerko sidelined with a strained left oblique, Jim Thome could end up playing first base against the Cubs. Thome hasn't had any significant time at the position since his time with the Phillies, largely because it's taken a toll on his aging body. But Guillen didn't rule out the possibility.

"He'll prepare," Guillen said. "I'm going to let him know that I don't want him doing anything at first base. Just catch the ball when they throw it to you. If they hit a ground ball and you miss it, blame it on me."

Not exactly words of endorsement from the manager, but Guillen already said in a matter-of-fact tone that Thome won't get any better from one day to another just by taking grounders. He missed three games with back stiffness last week, so his health will most likely be the deciding factor, although Thome said he feels fine right now. The only other option is Nick Swisher, though Guillen almost certainly prefer to go with Thome, who has been heating up at the plate lately.


Over the last month, nobody in the lineup has been more consistent than Cabrera (hitting .342 in 28 games) or Alexei Ramirez (hitting .341 in 26 games).


Also over the last month Carlos Quentin, who started the season as one of the league's top (and most surprising) performers, is hitting just .224.

Prior to a brief turnaround in the last two games (2-for-4 on Wednesday, two runs scored; 1-for-3 Thursday, run scored), Quentin was mired in a 1-for-16 slump.


John Danks (4-4, 2.90) will square off with Ted Lilly (7-5, 4.76) in the opener Friday. Both pitchers had effective outings their last time out, though they both struggled with command.

On Saturday it will be Jose Contreras (6-5, 3.24), who is coming off back-to- back losses for the first time this season, against Jason Marquis (5-3, 4.24), who is 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA over his last three starts. Javier Vazquez (7-5, 4.13) will close out the series Sunday against Ryan Dempster (8-2, 2.76). Vazquez has pitched three straight poor outings, while Dempster is 8-0 at Wrigley this season.

After an off day Monday, the White Sox continue their interleague trek in Los Angeles Tuesday to take on the Dodgers.

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Vero Possumus

Obama Unveils New Campaign Seal

If Barack Obama’s new campaign seal looks familiar, it should–it’s a riff off of the official U.S. presidential seal.

Both feature an eagle holding arrows in the left talon and olive branches in the right talon, but Obama’s monochromatic blue-colored seal states “Vero Possumus” (Latin, roughly, for “Yes We Can”) in place of “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of many, one). Replacing the shield in the center of the eagle is Obama’s campaign symbol of a rising sun.

Also, in place of “Seal of the President of the United States” around the circular border, it says “Obama for America” and includes his campaign’s Web site,

Obama unveiled the new seal while speaking during a Democratic Governors meeting in Chicago on Friday.

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Cito Gaston

Blue Jays fire manager Gibbons, bring back Gaston

TORONTO (Reuters) - The struggling Toronto Blue Jays fired manager John Gibbons and replaced him with Cito Gaston, who led the Major League Baseball club to back-to-back World Series championships in the early 1990s, the team said on Friday.

The Blue Jays, who had high hopes at the start of the season, have lost five straight games and are in last place in the American League eastern division, 10.5 games back of the first place Boston Red Sox.

Gibbons became manager of the Jays near the end of the 2004 season, but could not lead the club into the post-season. In his three full seasons as manager, the Jays never finished with more than 87 wins.

The team also said it fired first base coach Ernie Whitt, third base coach Marty Pevey and hitting coach Gary Denbo. Gene Tenace was named the new hitting coach while Dwayne Murphy and Nick Leyva were named first-base coach and third-base coach, respectively.

Gaston, 64, managed the Blue Jays from 1989 to 1997. He led the team into the playoffs four times, including World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

Gaston, who has a 681-635 record in a franchise high 1,316 games, will join the team for their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

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Gull Island Oil

Oil prices

I would not think that the politicians that we elected would turn their backs on the people that elected them to office. I believe recently our federal legislators have passed a bill that disallows anyone to drill for oil in the United States or along our coastline. Why are they against us and don't give me that crap that the environmentalist are against it.

What is so wrong with drilling for our own oil for a change? The drillers can drill numerous wells from one location and if necessary, could plant trees if feasible, around the well site to conceal the well, that maybe a couple people might see sometime in the future. There has been a huge oil discovery in the Gull Island area. As on the website, besides ANWR Alaska, there are three other large oil pools that according to the author, could make the U.S. independent from buying foreign oil. According to the author, the drillers were ordered to cap the test wells and not to say too much about it. The web site with this information is gull island oil (then down to the non-oil crises) Chapter I7.

If this information is fact, it makes no sense to buy oil from people who hate us and a bit risky like the mess we are in now. We still need to learn to conserve, look for alternative energy and also use proven nuclear power.

Call, write or E- mail our legislators and express your outrage. You would be surprised which party is mainly responsible for this mess and it is not President Bush's friends. Now, who wants to see our country brought to its knees? Also, we import 400,000 gallons of gasoline each day-- no new refineries have been built because of the environmentalists.
D. F. Shick

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Robert Calhoun As The World Turns

TV Obits: Charisse, Calhoun, Schwartz, Brandt

A roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.
  • Cyd Charisse: Though she is known best for her work with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in many classic movies, including Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Ziegfield Follies, and Words and Music, she also appeared on many TV shows, including Hawaii Five-O, The Love Boat, The Fall Guy, Medical Center, Burke's Law, Checkmate, and Arthur Godfrey and Friends, as well as a voice role on an episode of Frasier. She died of a heart attack at age 86.

  • Robert Calhoun: He was a producer and director who worked on many soap operas, including As The World Turns, Guiding Light, Another World, and Texas. He died of lung cancer at age 77.

  • Tony Schwartz: He was an advertising icon who is probably best remembered for creating the famous "Daisy" TV commercial for Lyndon Johnson during the 1964 Presidential campaign. He also worked on other advertising campaigns, including Coke, Chrysler, and anti-smoking ads for the American Cancer Society. He died of heart valve stenosis at age 84.

  • Yanna Kroyt Brandt: She was a producer on several shows, including The American Experience, Great Performances, FYI: For Your Information, and many other films and specials. She died in an auto accident at age 74.
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Chaz Shepherd : Me And The Boys

This one was about an African-American widower raising his sons with the help of a live-in grandmother (Sinclair). The "family sitcom trap" did not serve Steve Harvey's cynical, acerbic comedy personality very well. He was more successful in the much funnier "Steve Harvey Show" a couple of years later (which also co-starred Wendy Raquel Robinson). Madge Sinclair, who was a fantastic and underappreciated actress, was also wasted here.

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Wimbledon Draw

Wimbledon draw reveals tough match for Murray

Andy Murray has drawn Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in the first round of the Gentlemen’s Singles at The Championships, Wimbledon. The British No 1, who is the 12th seed, could meet Richard Gasquet in the fourth round if both players progress.

Meanwhile, wildcards Alex Bogdanovic and Jamie Baker will both meet Italians in the opening round; Bogdanovic will face Simone Bolelli and Baker will play Stefano Galvani. Chris Eaton, who qualified for the main draw on Thursday, has been rewarded with a first round match against Serbian Boris Pashanki.

In the Ladies’ Singles, Naomi Cavaday has drawn the defending champion, American Venus Williams, in the first round. Should the 19 year-old cause an upset, Anne Keothavong might be waiting in round two with the British No 1 set to play another American, Vania King, in her opening match.

Elsewhere, Katie O’Brien will play the Israeli No 24 seed, Shahar Peer, in the first round while Mel South will meet the Ukrainian No 28 seed, Alona Bondarenko. Elena Baltacha, who reached the third round at The Championships in 2002, will face German Angelique Kerber.

To view the full draws, visit the official website of The Championships.

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Digital Angel

Digital Angel awarded contracts by US Federal government agencies

Digital Angel (Nasdaq:DIGA), a provider of technology in the field of animal identification and emergency identification solutions, announced on Thursday (19 June) that the company's Destron Fearing unit has been awarded USD885,000 in contracts by Federal government agencies.

Under the contracts, the company will provide its Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) technology to Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a federal agency under the US Department of Energy (DOE), the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

A contract award of USD760,000 is for the initial development phase of a large antenna reader system for the Bonneville Dam, covering a nine-month period beginning 1 July 2008. The contracts for the latter part of the project have not yet been awarded.

The other multiplex reader project award for USD125,000 is for reader systems for river applications.

Destron Fearing will employ PIT technology in conjunction with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) antenna to monitor salmon movement in the dam passages in the Columbia and Snake River Basins in the US Pacific Northwest.

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Summer Solstice

Observe summer solstice, courtesy of the ancients

The first day of summer usually means little for most people in the Valley.

It means our air-conditioning bills will soar, we'll be cranky because of the heat and we'll retreat indoors.

But the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, has long had mystical and religious significance. This weekend, visitors to Petrified Forest National Park, east of Holbrook, can mark the passage of the solstice with the aid of an ancient solar calendar.

Although watching time move may sound as exciting as watching grass grow, the annual event attracts hundreds of people looking to escape the heat and see a once-a-year occurrence.

"It's really cool," said Rita Garcia, a ranger at the national park.

The park contains hundreds of petroglyphs. One of those is a solstice calendar, a spiral etched into a rock, at Puerco Pueblo, in the central portion of the park. Early people would mark the passing of time by noting when and at what position on the spiral the sun shone. Garcia said people used the calendar to keep track of the seasons and help them determine when to plant or harvest.

"This is how these people learned to track their time," Garcia said.

The best time to see the peak interaction between the sun and the solstice calendar is between 8 and 10 a.m. Saturday, although visitors can still see how the calendar works for several days after the solstice.

As the sun climbs on Saturday morning, Garcia said, visitors will see a dagger of sunlight hit the petroglyph at about 9:10 a.m.

"This is a very special opportunity," Garcia said. "Very few solstice markers are open to the public."

After you've observed the solstice's passing, enjoy the park's other attractions: petrified logs, fossils, hiking trails, scenic drives and Junior Ranger activities for kids, along with visitor centers and museums.

Hundreds of other petroglyphs also are accessible to the public. Garcia said the etchings are pretty sophisticated, considering that they were hammered into rocks.

"It's likely that more than 'Joe was here' was what they were trying to communicate," Garcia said.

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Freedom Of Religion

Will gay rights trample religious freedom?

Early this morning, gay and lesbian couples were surely lining up at county clerk's offices across the state to exercise their new right to marry, bestowed on them last month by the California Supreme Court.

In its controversial decision, the court insisted that these same-sex marriages would not "diminish any other person's constitutional rights" or "impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official or any other person." Religious liberty would be unaffected, the chief justice wrote, because no member of the clergy would be compelled to officiate at a same-sex ceremony and no church could be compelled to change its policies or practices.

And yet there is substantial reason to believe that these assurances about the safety of religious liberty are either wrong or reflect a cramped view of religion.

The case for same-sex marriage, reduced to its essentials, is an attractive one. It is that the government in a liberal democracy ought not to impose any one moral vision on its citizens; moral decisions ought to be, as much as possible, a matter of private choice and not law.

But it should not follow that having allowed same-sex couples to come out of the closet, as it were, that religious people should in turn be confined to the sanctuary.

In the same-sex marriage decision, the state Supreme Court suggests that all will be well and good as long as the "official" activities of the clergy aren't affected. But that excludes religion entirely from a broad range of social welfare and other activities, despite the fact that the California Constitution declares: "Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed."

Evidence from previous and pending cases indicates that the court tends to take an extremely narrow view of people's "free exercise and enjoyment of religion" when they clash with another group's need for equal protection. This would seem particularly true following the In re Marriage Cases ruling, in which the majority equated the ban on same-sex marriage to the now discredited (and unconstitutional) ban on interracial marriages.

Religious liberty claims rarely, if ever, have prevailed in the face of complaints about racial discrimination. Conflicts about the rights of gays and those of religious believers demonstrate that these are not hypothetical fears. Consider the following:

* A San Diego County fertility doctor was sued for refusing to perform artificial insemination for one partner of a lesbian couple for religious reasons. The doctor referred the patient to a colleague, promised there would be no extra cost and offered to care for her during her subsequent pregnancy. The case is now before the California Supreme Court, and justices seemed hostile to the doctor's defense during oral arguments last month.

* Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco ended adoption services altogether rather than be compelled by anti-discrimination laws to place children with same-sex couples. In the Boston case, Catholic Charities was prepared to refer same-sex couples seeking to adopt to other providers, but that was not sufficient.

* A Lutheran school in Riverside County was sued in 2005 under California's Unruh Act (which forbids discrimination by businesses) for expelling two students who allegedly were having a lesbian relationship, in contravention of the religious views of the school. The case was thrown out in Superior Court in January, but the students have appealed.

* Public school officials in Poway, Calif., so far have successfully barred students from wearing T-shirts that register their opposition to homosexuality on campus. One lawsuit made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court before being dismissed (as moot, because the students had graduated), but another federal lawsuit is pending.

In each of these cases, and other similar ones, the government has acted in some way to forbid gays and lesbians from being demeaned. But allowing same-sex couples to force religious individuals or organizations to act out of accord with their faith is not cost-free either. Their dignity is no less affected. Unless claims rooted in equal protection under the law are to sweep away claims rooted in freedom of religion, a more sensitive balancing approach is essential.

This is particularly true in California. The state Supreme Court has treated such clashes as all-or-nothing propositions, and it seems to believe that once outside the church or synagogue doors, equality is always more important than religious liberty. California's high court, for example, denied a landlord's religion-based refusal to rent an apartment to an unmarried heterosexual couple, but Massachusetts' high court was willing to sanction such a refusal in cases in which alternative housing was readily available.

Given the array of church views on homosexuality, and the number of secular organizations offering social services to same-sex couples, allowing religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage to put that opposition into practice beyond the sanctuary is not likely to often seriously impede anyone.

Concurring in the May 15 California marriage judgment, Justice Joyce L. Kennard observed that the court's most important role was to preserve constitutional rights "from obliteration by the majority."

If past rulings are any guide, it is religious rights that are likely to be "obliterated" by an emerging popular majority supporting same-sex relationships -- and it seems unlikely that the California courts will intervene. That's a shame.

Marc D. Stern is general counsel of the American Jewish Congress and a contributor to a forthcoming book, "Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty."

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