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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deep Throat revealed?

According to Vanity Fair its W. Mark Felt, now age 91. My first reaction- Who the heck is Mark Felt?

'Deep Throat' Reveals Himself, Magazine Reports

New YORK (May 31) - A former FBI official claims he was ''Deep Throat,'' the long-anonymous source who leaked secrets about President Nixon's Watergate coverup to The Washington Post, Vanity Fair reported Tuesday.

W. Mark Felt, 91, who was second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, kept the secret even from his family until 2002, when he confided to a friend that he had been Post reporter Bob Woodward's source, the magazine said.

Never heard of the man before today. Neither Woodward or Bernstein is talking at the moment. Bob Woodward did re-iterate today that neither he or Bernstein would reveal the source till the person is dead.

If Felt really is Deep Throat, why not come out and say it now? There is another theory, Deep Throat was the composite of several different sources for the two Washington Post reporters.
I agree with this particular theory.

I guess we'll have to just keep on waiting.

Update- The Washington Post has confirmed it. Mark Felt was Deep Throat. The mystery has ended

Johnny can't read so don't give him too big a text book.

I don't know what is worse about this legislation written about in yesterday's Sacramento Bee. ( That the California assembly feels it needs to micromanage state schools so heavy handedly or that some educators think this is a good idea.

The California Assembly is betting that kids learn more with small books.
Lawmakers voted Thursday to ban school districts from purchasing textbooks longer than 200 pages.

The bill, believed to be the first of its kind nationwide, was hailed by supporters as a way to revolutionize education.

Critics lambasted Assembly Bill 756 as silly.

"This bill is really the epitome of micromanagement," said Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge. "(It's) absolutely ridiculous."

"With all due respect," said Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta, "this Legislature worries more about the rules than they do about whether children learn."

But Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, a Los Angeles Democrat who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, said critics are thinking too narrowly.

California schools are teaching kids with the same kinds of massive books that were used generations ago, though the world has changed significantly, Goldberg said.

The workplace increasingly demands more than the ability to read Page 435 of some manual.
It requires expertise in using the Internet to research and solve problems, according to Goldberg.

"Our textbooks are not going to be able to meet that standard," said Goldberg, a former Compton high school teacher. "I think it's time for us to begin to approach the problem in a different way."

Seems like a dumb bet especially since there is no study to back this legislation up with.

Michael Kirst, a Stanford education professor and co-director of Policy Analysis for Education, said he's never heard of any such bill nationwide.

"There's no track record that anyone can draw on," he said.

The question begs to be asked. Why then is there a need for this legislation.

"(AB 756) says don't give students a predigested version of what U.S. history is, let them explore the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress," Goldberg said.

"It's time for California to be the leader that it always has been."

Right off the cliff just like the films of those lemmings I watched when I was in school 35 years ago. Without proof this is going to help, Gov. Schwarzenagger should veto the bill.

US Supreme Court throws out Arthur Andersen verdict

I still think Arthur Andersen was culpable in the Enron enviorment, but the Court's decision was seems reasonable. The verdict was also unanimous, which is an infrequent happening.

Tuesday May 31, 10:54 am ET By Hope Yen, Associated Press Writer
Supreme Court Overturns Arthur Andersen's Conviction for Destroying Enron-Related Documents

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for destroying Enron Corp.-related documents before the energy giant's collapse.

In a unanimous opinion, justices said the former Big Five accounting firm's June 2002 obstruction-of-justice conviction -- which virtually destroyed Andersen -- was improper. The decision said jury instructions at trial were too vague and broad for jurors to determine correctly whether Andersen obstructed justice.

"The jury instructions here were flawed in important respects," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court.

The ruling is a setback for the Bush administration, which made prosecution of white-collar criminals a high priority following accounting scandals at major corporations. After Enron's 2001 collapse, the Justice Department went after Andersen first.

Enron crashed in December 2001, putting more than 5,000 employees out of work, just six weeks after the energy company revealed massive losses and writedowns.

Subsequently, as the Securities and Exchange Commission began looking into Enron's convoluted finances, Andersen put in practice a policy calling for destroying unneeded documentation.

Government attorneys argued that Andersen should be held responsible for instructing its employees to "undertake an unprecedented campaign of document destruction."

But in his opinion, Rehnquist noted that jurors were instructed to convict Andersen if the accounting firm had an "improper purpose," such as an intent to impede or subvert fact-finding in an "official proceeding." He noted jurors were instructed to convict, even if Andersen mistakenly thought it was acting legally.

At trial, Andersen argued that employees who shredded tons of documents followed the policy and there was no intent to thwart the SEC investigation.

The probe into Andersen led to just one guilty plea, from the firm's former top Enron auditor, David Duncan. But the conviction of the Chicago firm forced it to surrender its accounting license and stop conducting public audits. Some 28,000 workers had to find other jobs, and the company was left a shell of its former self.

A ruling against Andersen would have had onerous consequences for businesses, whose discarding of files is an everyday occurrence. Experts say companies would have to keep all files for fear that any disposal, however innocent, could subject them to potential prosecution.
According to Andersen attorneys, notes and drafts of documents were thrown away under the firm's document-retention policy in part because they were preliminary and could have been misconstrued.

Andersen's appeal was backed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It argued in a friend-of-the-court filing that broad characterization of "obstruction" used in the jury instructions would also unfairly punish criminal attorneys who advise their clients to withhold evidence in legal ways.

Such a broad reading could open defense lawyers and others to prosecution if they merely advise clients of their rights to assert legal privileges or review document retention policies, the criminal defense group said.

The case is Andersen v. U.S., 04-368.

Are they really ready?

Florida Power and Light aka FPL is claiming to be ready for this year's hurricane season. Of the four that struck Florida in 2004, three Charly, Jeanne and Francis had caused severe disruptions to FPL customers. I remember it vividly, we were without electric for eight days after Francis and for 36 hours after Jeanne.

Here are bits of Palm Beach Post article from yesterday.

By Kristi E. Swartz
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, May 30, 2005

Last month, Armando Olivera made this pledge to an audience in West Palm Beach:

"Ever since the storms last year, we have been hard at work getting ready for 2005," said Olivera, president of Florida Power & Light Co. "We will be ready for whatever this season brings our way."

What's new in 2005• More trees and vegetation will be cleared this year.• Customers will know, within 24 hours after a storm's winds die down, the last possible day electricity will be restored. And 48 hours after that, each county will have its own restoration date.• About two days after the counties get restoration dates, FPL will try to break counties down by halves or quarters to give target dates for certain areas.

This will be a nice change from the aftermath of Francis. After promising for days that people would get a date for restoration, it was finally done. It was a generic date, not one broken done by neighborhoods or even towns.

The coming months — the hurricane season starts Wednesday — could give him plenty of opportunity to fulfill that vow.

Forecasters at the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting a highly active hurricane season this year, with 12 to 15 tropical storms, seven to nine of which will become hurricanes. Three to five will be major storms of Category 3 or larger, forecasters say.

The media has been playing up these predictions, but they are really guesses. No one knows what Hurricane season will be like. In 1992 there were no named storms till mid-August. Everyone remembers the first, it was Andrew.

And now, with June 1 just hours away, one question tops them all:
Is FPL ready for another hurricane season?

Absolutely, FPL says.

I don't think any company is ready for a season like Florida had in 2004.

The article went on to say.

Geisha Williams, FPL's distribution vice president said "There's no such thing as hurricane-proof."

After 2004 I have to agree.

A mostly thankless and very stressfull job few want

There is an AP article about another shortage school districts are encountering now. In addition to teachers, few people want to be school bus drivers.,0,4283198.story?coll=dp-headlines-virginia

School Districts Face Bus Driver Shortage

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Wanted: Drivers to transport dozens of often-unruly students to school on a 38-foot bus through congested suburban traffic.

Requirements: Extensive training, criminal background checks and physical exams. Sincere affection for young people is strongly preferred, even when they're misbehaving.

Starting salary: $13,920.

Add noisy working conditions to the job description, and it's not surprising that many school districts are having a tough time hiring bus drivers. The effects are seen in drivers burdened with covering extra routes, and parents upset because their children are late getting to and from school.

Yes this job description sounds about right. Though I'm sure Ms. Sampson is being tongue in cheek with her writing. No classified advertisement would actually read like that but I've seen some questionable ones over the years. Like one in the Boca Raton News- Bouncer wanted. The advertisement listed job benifits that included- FREE HOSPITALIZATION!

Schools or school boards having difficulty hiring drivers isn't new either. I remember a 60 minutes or 20/20 piece about 20 years ago about a North or South Carolina school system bemonanin the same fact but they were only paying .25 to .50 cents above the minimum wage too. The Henrico school system in this article is doing better but still has a problem. Little wonder why considering the stress that goes along with this line of work.

Henrico County has 24 full-time bus drivers, plus 20 supervisors and others pulled in to cover routes, transportation supervisor Harold Grimes said. The average driver turnover is between 10 percent and 13 percent a year; there are now 23 driver vacancies.

Grimes said that besides balking at the starting salary of $13,920, or $10.69 an hour ($14,153 annually and $10.87 hourly for the upcoming school year), potential bus drivers also consider the responsibility involved, especially after recent bus accidents and violent incidents on buses.

"They're in charge with those children," Grimes said. "Plus it's hard to watch for the traffic. When it's added together, people say, 'Whoa, why am I trying to do this?"'

Mr. Grimes you hit the nail right on the head.

The Knuckleheads of the Day Award

Today's winners(or losers) are Petaluma California High School Principal Mike Simpson and the Petaluma school board for not allowing soon to be graduating High School senior Steven Kiernan to wear his Marine Blues at his school's graduation on June 11th. Steven who finished his classes early, is currently in Marine boot camp and ready to graduate out on June 1st. Here is the LA Times article.,1,6163958.story?page=1&coll=la-news-state

This story is almost two weeks old but I found it while checking out the website for the local newspaper in Petaluma, The Press Democrat. More can be found there also at (I know someone who works for this paper.)

SAN DIEGO — Steven Kiernan, 17, has two dreams: One is to become a Marine, and the other is to wear his Marine dress-blue uniform to his high school graduation.Kiernan is close to achieving the first. He has finished all but the final days of the grueling 12-week boot camp in San Diego.

But his goal of wearing his uniform to Petaluma High School's graduation on June 11 appears thwarted.The principal of the Northern California school notified Kiernan's parents that school rules require that all graduates wear the traditional cap and gown.

Jim Kiernan, Steven's father, plans to appeal the decision to the Petaluma school board at its meeting Tuesday."The Marine Corps has traditions, but I guess the school district has traditions too, and the different traditions have collided," he said in a telephone interview.

Jim Kiernan, who works for a vineyard management company, said he was not so much angered by the decision as he was puzzled. Other graduates, he said, will be honored for their achievements, by wearing adornments on their caps or having their names read aloud."Finishing boot camp is my son's achievement, and I think he deserves to be honored too," Jim Kiernan said.

He's a member of another school board in Sonoma County and says he knows that school boards can overrule principals.In similar cases this spring involving young Marines returning to their high school graduations in Illinois and Wisconsin, school officials lifted the no-uniforms rule.

Steven finished his course work early at Petaluma High so he could start boot camp. His parents, somewhat reluctantly, signed his enlistment papers.

Principal Mike Simpson said he sympathized with Steven and respects his decision to enlist. Simpson's father was a Marine who saw combat in World War II.Still, Simpson said, rules are rules.

"The intent of a graduation ceremony is not to individualize, but to show that all the graduates are part of the same class," he said. "If we do differentiate, it's because of academic achievements."

Rules are rules, the usual excuse for idiotic decisions. Don't anyone have common sense today? It seems to be missing in both our education system and immigration policies.

Note- The Petaluma School board last week decided not to grant an exception. Therefore they get Co-Knuckleheads along with Principal Simpson. None of these so called intelligent people see the irony in that Steven Kiernan will soon be defending their right to make stupid decisions.

Thank you Steven for taking up arms for our country. To Steven's parents you have much to be proud of in your son.

Another sign of our useless immigration system

I have said for 16 years our immigration system penalizes people who want to legally immigrate and obey the law rather than punish those who want to illegally enter this country. These opinions of mine began when I petitioned for my Philippine born wife to be allowed to come to the US after our marriage in 1989. (Yesterday was our 16th wedding anniversary)

Compounding these feelings was an incident this year where my brother-in-law a cruise ship musician was deported for staying in the US between work contracts as he stayed with his cancer stricken mother. The US has to be made safe from Philippine pianists!

Lo and behold there was a article in today's Palm Beach Post. A mother and US citizen is being kept separated from her four year old son while immigration plays footsie with the boy's paperwork. This is so twisted. Why can't some common sense take over and someone issue this boy a visitor visa and end this. When a US citizen and her natural born minor son have to live half the world apart because of our immigration laws, there is really no justice in this country.

I'm reposting the whole Palm Beach Post( article below.

By Jane Daugherty
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
WEST PALM BEACH — Christian DeGrow was only four months old when his teenage mother, a U.S. citizen, tearfully left him in the Philippines, where he was born, to find work in Florida.
"There are no jobs in the Philippines, even for college graduates. People get sick from the water, especially in rural areas like where I lived. There are no sewers and raw sewage runs in the streets when it rains," said Christian's mother, Diana DeGrow Vattiat, now 23 and married to Paul Vattiat of West Palm Beach.

"I reluctantly left my baby with my mother for what I thought would be six months so I could earn enough money to get an apartment and bring him to the United States," she said.
Diana got a job as a Publix cashier, which is how she met Paul, manager of food services at GE Medical in Jupiter. Paul, a Florida native, began helping her with the voluminous paperwork required by U.S. immigration officials, whose agency became part of the Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11 attacks.

That was more than three years ago. She still has no idea when she will be reunited with her child.

"She would cry every time we started filling out the forms," Vattiat said. "Sometimes we would have to start over because the ink would get messed up. She still cries every night for her baby."

Her plight is not unusual, said Cheryl Little, an attorney and executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami.

"When a U.S. citizen can't get her minor child into the country, it's just ludicrous," Little said.

"There is no question that he is eligible to come here. Family unity is supposed to be the cornerstone of our immigration policy, but there are plenty of other cases like theirs where the paperwork falls into this bureaucratic morass."

Under immigration law, minor children of U.S. citizens who are born abroad are entitled to enter the United States to live with their parent or parents. They are usually granted quick citizenship.

"I found out later that if I had brought him with me on a visitor's visa, he could have stayed here," Diana Vattiat said, choking back tears. "But I had almost no money and needed to get a job to work to support him. I thought I was doing the right thing leaving him with my mother for a few months until I could afford to send for him."

Diana and Paul Vattiat have another child on the way, due Aug. 3, but the couple cannot figure out what to do to reunite 4-year-old Christian with his mother.

There is no doubt about Diana's citizenship. The daughter of a U.S. serviceman, she has a valid U.S. passport and an official birth certificate showing that she is Christian's mother, said immigration attorney Stuart Karden, whom they hired to handle their case.

"Unfortunately, this process can take a very, very long time," Karden said. "It's heartbreaking for the families, but the reality is this paperwork can take years to be processed. I wish they would come back to me and hire me to do some more work for them."

But after spending several thousand dollars to retain Karden, Paul Vattiat said they no longer can afford additional legal fees, especially with no guarantee that Christian would be able to join them.

"Our case has been assigned to the Texas district office, then transferred to Vermont when it was about to come up for a decision, then transferred to Nebraska when it was scheduled to come up for a decision in Vermont — or maybe Nebraska was before Vermont," Vattiat said with disgust.

He and Diana have made three trips to the Philippines to see Christian and his grandmother. They also have applied for a visitor's visa for Imelda DeGrow so she can visit Christian in the United States, making the transition easier on both. The last trip cost more than $6,000, they said.

"He's very attached to my mother," Diana said. "But when we left the Philippines a few weeks ago, he was telling all his friends that Paul is getting all the papers to bring him to the U.S. to live with us and be his daddy."

Paul has begun the paperwork to adopt Christian, but because that takes longer than petitioning to bring him to this country as the child of a U.S. citizen, that is an issue for when — or if — he arrives.

"We've spent thousands and thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees, filing fees for all the immigration forms, producing documentation of Diana's citizenship," he said. "The immigration people told us to expect this to take 990 days and that's because their computer system time log doesn't go to four figures. They told us that people were transferred out of processing families' immigration requests to fighting terrorism.

"This ordeal for us has been torture. Can you imagine a mother being kept from her baby when there are no legal issues? He's not exactly a terrorist threat. They acknowledge that Diana is a U.S. citizen and that Christian totally qualifies for a visa to come here to live with her and become a citizen. There are no quotas that affect his status because he's a minor child of a U.S. citizen."

Five calls to the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services in Washington and Miami, seeking information on Christian DeGrow's case, were not returned.

The CIS computer system listed the case as last reviewed Nov. 14, 2004, with initial processing complete, and projected that it would take "less than" another 540 days to reach the next stage, a review by the Philippine consul.

"You're usually talking about another 300 days for that process," Karden said.
Pleas to two local congressmen have failed to speed up the process.

When the Vatiatts lived in a rented home in Lake Worth, they contacted U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr.'s office for help but were offered only assistance with filling out the forms.

After Hurricane Jeanne destroyed their home and most of their belongings, they moved to West Palm Beach and contacted U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's office. His local staff members also offered to help with the paperwork, Paul Vattiat said, but advised that they could do nothing to hasten the processing by the Department of Homeland Security.

"We weren't asking for special treatment, just for the case to be ruled on," Vattiat said. "In the meantime, Christian is growing up without the benefit of the educational opportunities we could give him, without good water, without medical care. We send $300-$500 a month to his grandmother for his care, but even the food she can buy is sometimes limited.

"We got as far as the check-in for the plane to the U.S. with him three weeks ago. I bought him a ticket and we had his Philippine passport, hoping we could bring him home with us, but they refused to let him board ...

"Mother's Day was a very sad time at our house and it doesn't look like Father's Day is going to be any better."

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Separate Government for Hawaiians Only?

If Senator Daniel Akaka had his way Hawaiians would have a Hawaiian only government.

AKAKA BILL SEEKS ETHNIC-HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENTBy Ralph Z. HallowTHE WASHINGTON TIMES-----------------------------------------------------------A Senate Democrat is pushing a bill that would allow a separate government for ethnic Hawaiians.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and other Republicans also support the bill, which critics say would have dire ramifications beyond Hawaii.
"By creating a race-based government in the United States, we would be enhancing a trend toward the Balkanization of our culture," said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman. "This would be the first time that we would actually be creating a race-based government entity within the United States."

I have to agree with Senator Kyl. If we do this for one group, where do we draw the line. This country has accepted people from around the world and their many cultures. No culture is absolutely pure from outside influences. To think one can keep it pure is simply impossible.

Senator Akaka went on to say.

"All my bill does is clarify the political and legal relationship between native Hawaiians and the United States, thereby establishing parity in the federal policies towards American Indians, Alaska natives and native Hawaiians," Mr. Akaka told The Washington Times last week. Mr. Akaka said his bill "provides a process for the reorganization of the native- Hawaiian governing entity for the purposes of a federally recognized government-to-government relationship."

He said the "action is similar to the restoration of an Indian tribe."

"Congress has recognized native Hawaiians as the indigenous peoples of Hawaii and has enacted more than 160 laws to address the conditions of native Hawaiians."

We all know how well Indian reservations have worked. Indian culture preserved while a greater percentage of Indians live in poverty than people who don't live on a reservation.

I'm an admitted Asianphile but this is just a plain bad idea. It probably has little chance of passing Congress.

More on Ligaya Lagman vs Gold Star Mothers

Not surprisingly at least to me, Ligaya Lagman is no longer interested in joining Gold Star Mothers as reports.

Ligaya Lagman has dropped her bid to become a Gold Star Mother, but still wants rules changed so that women who lose sons or daughters in war will be able to receive the honor — even if the mother is not a citizen.

"She's kind of shaken up and wants to stay on the sidelines, but she wants to see this fight continue and she doesn't want other mothers turned down like she was," said Bob Foster, vice commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Eastchester, where Lagman received help applying for the Gold Star recognition.

Lagman, who came to the United States from the Philippines in 1983, is a permanent resident but not a citizen, as is required in the bylaws of the American Gold Star Mothers Inc.Lagman, of Yonkers, was not available for comment and was busy caring for her husband, who is seriously ill, Foster said.

First I'll say Mrs. Lagman's decision don't surprise me. I'm married to a Filipina and I'm more than acquainted with their forgive and forget Catholic beliefs. That's what I believe is at least partly behind the decision.

Secondly, I would hazard a guess that Mrs. Lagman feels unwelcome and possibly overwhelmed by the publicity she has drawn. So she would rather take a low profile. Again pretty typical Filipino thinking.

I do want to wish the Lagmans well. May Mr. Lagman recover from his cancer.That all said, I don't think this Gold Star Moms group should go away. These women need to be taken to task. If they take any govt money, the same govt should go after these people.

As was also reporterd over the weekend, Gold Star has a new incoming President a Judith Young. She tries to explain or rationalize Gold Star's actions. She fails badly on all counts. Here is what she said in the rest of the same article.

Judith Young said that although any member may propose a change to the organization's bylaws for a vote in 2006, she had no plans to initiate such a change. "I'm not saying at this present time that I'm going to do that," said Young, who becomes president of the national nonprofit next month. "We have a lot on the agenda, things we have to get done."

Young yesterday reiterated that American Gold Star Mothers did not deny membership to Lagman. She said the application was still pending because it was incomplete, lacking a signature and a death certificate.

Young said that any of the group's 1,000 members could propose an amendment to change the bylaws or constitution. The 12-member executive board would have to move the amendment to a full vote, which would happen at the organization's annual convention in late June. It is too late to introduce a new amendment for this year's convention, Young said.

In January, the organization's executive board discussed allowing noncitizen mothers into the group after receiving a letter on the topic, but no one initiated an amendment to change the bylaws. "The only thing we voted on at that time was not to make any exceptions to the rules until further investigation," Young said yesterday.

There is only one problem with this too late excuse. This issue by their own admission has been around since January. More than ample time to have it reconciled.It seems pretty clear to me Mrs. Young opposed the application from the start.

Judith Young is currently a Gold Star Board member.There is even some damning comments out of Mrs. Young's mouth and current President Ann Hurd. All reported by again.

"We've got rules to follow," Herd said, while questioning why Lagman, a Filipino who is a permanent resident of the United States, never became a citizen in her 20-plus years living here.

This woman's ignorance is showing now if not outright bigotry. She clearly knows nothing about the citizenship process which is often lengthy and costly. There are are also possible legal reasons to stay a citizen of another country. Taxes, property ownership to name two.

"It hurts that all this is coming up, but it's not our fault," Herd said. "I can't understand why, if she isn't happy with the way things are, she didn't become an American citizen by now. All these years. That seems to be her choice. Is this (membership) what she wants, or does someone else just want to get this started?"

Defensive aren't we? I'd say you have alot to be defensive about. Both Senators from New York, Governor Pataki and at least three members of Congress, Lowry, Rangel and Engel all don't understand the decision that was made and think you should re-consider. So you are right and they are wrong?Well there are two former board Presidents of Gold Stars who are also shaking their heads at what was done. Not to mention veteran's organizations. What Mrs. Young really means is she and her 11 co-horts were outed and they don't like it.

Mrs. Young also mentioned the many phone calls(I was one) the organization got, and that some were vulgar. There are few persons more sympathetic than a grieving mother, particularly one who gave her son for this country.I wonder if any of the board sees the irony in that Anthony Lagman died fighting to preserve this group's freedom to reject his mother's application. It's sad if they don't.

Well I could dissect more of Hurd's and Young's statements but I think the case is made. Either these women are bigots or PR clueless in that they didn't know how badly this would shame both them and Gold Stars. I oscilliate between the two, there may be board members who are both of these. In any case my last two bits on this subject barring more news.

1- Any current board member who voted for Lagman or rules to be ammended should both come forth and issue their resignation in protest. Till they do so, all 12 are guilty in this ugly affair at least in the public's eye.

2- Veteran's groups should picket Gold Star's annual meeting next month in June. Shame works wonders sometimes. At the meeting other GS mothers should protest what the board did. It was clearly not in anyone's best image and tars everyone associated with the group.

God Bless Ligaya Lagman and her family.

Memorial Day

Yesterday my wife watched the PBS Memorial Day Concert from our nation's capitol. During the broadcast A letter was read from Marine Staff Sgt. Donald May. It was addressed to his wife Deborah.

Next Deborah appeared on stage and we learned the rest of the story. Ssgt Donald May had passed away shortly after writing that letter. He had died in Iraq fighting for this nation's freedom. Listening to Deborah I could barely avoid crying.

This morning I did a little poking around to learn more about his hero and his brave wife. The article is about Deborah but also how these soldier's deaths hit home also.

Thank you Ssgt May and all those who fought and died for our country. To protect the freedoms too many of us take for granted.

God bless Deborah May and her children, and all those who lost loved ones in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere in the world as they served our country.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Go Danica!

With less than twenty-five laps to go she is leading the Indy 500. GO!

Update- Danica Patrick finished 4th. She ran a hell of a race and nearly won in spite of stalling an engine and having a scrape with another car. Here is betting she'll be back next year.

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Missing Coins in Ohio

Auditors are saying at least 7 million dollars worth of coins are missing in Ohio that had supposedly bought by a govt. agency as a way of investing. Here is the Toldedo Blade link and article.


COLUMBUS - Auditors reviewing the inventory of Tom Noe's $50 million state-funded rare-coin venture in September reported to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that nearly $7 million worth of coins could not be observed because they were "not on site," according to complete copies of the inventory released last night.

It is unclear why the bureau took no action to verify the existence of the "off-site" coins.
Bureau spokesman Jeremy Jackson did not return a call seeking comment last night. Mr. Noe also did not return a message.

Because when it comes to taxpayer money, bureaucrats think its like monopoly money. You know the saying "A million(or billion) here, A million there, and soon we're talking real money."

The Ohio Attorney General's Office, on behalf of the bureau, last night released complete and unredacted copies of the inventories of Mr. Noe's state-funded coin ventures to The Blade.
The newspaper sued the bureau in the Ohio Supreme Court for the documentation earlier this month after bureau officials refused to release complete records, saying the records could reveal trade secrets.

The bureau released the records a day after the Maumee coin dealer's lawyers acknowledged that $10 million to $12 million of the state's assets had been misappropriated from the Noe coin funds.

"Given recent developments and findings with respect to the inaccuracy of holdings of Capital Coin Funds One and Two," Deputy Attorney General Audra Osmena DeVictor wrote, "any argument that the funds may have had in that such inventories contain trade secrets the release of which would significantly reduce the value of the coins has been greatly diminished."

Can I anyone explain to me why the State of Ohio is investing in rare coins rather than something else? Besides the obvious connection between Mr. Noe and the Ohio State GOP that is.

The inventories contained hundreds of pages listing coins, their grades, values, and serial numbers. The audit did not include Mr. Noe's other investments with state money, which the bureau has said included loans, mortgages, and collectibles such as trading cards, paintings, and autographs.Coins listed in the inventory ranged from an 1891 10-cent piece valued at $11 to a 1907 $20 coin valued at $1.7 million. Hundreds of coins listed were valued at more than $1,000.The audits, conducted by Plante & Moran and Doyle & McDonnell in June and reported back to the bureau in September, noted that about 20 percent of the coins held in both Capital Coin Funds could not be observed because they were off site.

According to the procedures noted in the audit, "For coins/packages listed but not on site for inspection, we performed no further procedures to verify the existence of the coin/packages." Coins said to be not on site "can include coins located at a grading company, coins located at a customer's location pending approval, coins out on consignment, etc," the auditors wrote.

The bureau told The Blade for weeks that Mr. Noe had turned over $13.3 million in investment returns since 1998. But they acknowledged two weeks ago that Mr. Noe was allowed to reinvest $5.4 million of the state's share of the reported returns, expanding Ohio's investment in the Noe coin funds to $55.4 million.

It wouldn't surprise me if these coins never existed at all and Noe pocketed the money.

This scandal is rocking Ohio politics at the moment. Democrats are already gloating with reason, but I just question how much harm this will really d o. Most state legislative seats are so gerrymandered that few are in play every election. At least that is the way it is in Florida. If the Ohio Governor is smart, he will be totally transparent about this affair. Stay tuned.


On my original blog I gave my strong opinions about Broward County Judge Eileen O'Connor. Two months ago she gave a prospective juror a four month sentence for lying when questioned if he had a criminal record. Sending a juror candidate to jail is unheard of, and this jurist was obviously way out of line.

Guess what Judge O'Connor is back in the news. She is being accused of lying on the application for the judgeship she now holds. Here is the link to the Miami Herald article.

When Eileen M. O'Connor applied for a state judgeship in Broward County in 2003, the federal prosecutor wrote on her application that no co-workers had ever filed a ''formal complaint or accusation of misconduct'' against her.

But The Herald has learned that two federal prosecutors who worked under O'Connor at the U.S. attorney's office in Fort Lauderdale filed racial and religious discrimination complaints against her in 2000 and 2001 -- including one that the U.S. Department of Justice settled for about $10,000.

O'Connor, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush as a Broward Circuit Court judge in 2003, was recently in the public spotlight when she sentenced a prospective 19-year-old juror to jail for four months on a contempt-of-court charge because he lied about his arrest history during jury selection.
The judge said Friday that she filled out her March 2003 judicial application truthfully.

''There were no formal complaints filed against me,'' O'Connor, 56, told two Herald reporters in her chambers at the Broward Courthouse.

The judge said she wouldn't comment further because the reporters' questions dealt with ''personnel matters,'' but then she said: ``I have never seen these complaints that you're telling me about, nor have I been served with them.''

When asked whether the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida or Department of Justice ever informed or told her about the discrimination complaints, O'Connor refused to answer.

''Here is the bottom line: The answer to that question is, I stand by my application,'' O'Connor said as she left her chambers for a midday appointment.

What a load of bull. The article goes on to say.

O'Connor's 2003 judicial application could now become the basis for an investigation by the state Judicial Qualifications Commission. The panel, which consists of judges, lawyers and lay people, investigates claims of judicial wrongdoing, holds evidentiary hearings and makes recommendations to the Florida Supreme Court, which can issue penalties ranging from a public reprimand to removal.


On her March 6, 2003, application for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward, O'Connor was asked: ``Have any of your current or former co-workers, subordinates, supervisors, customers or clients ever filed a formal complaint or accusation of misconduct against you with any regulatory or investigatory agency, or with your employer?''

O'Connor's response: ``No.''

But according to five sources familiar with O'Connor's employment history at the U.S. Attorney's Office, she was hit with two employee discrimination complaints in 2000 and 2001 when she served as managing assistant in its Fort Lauderdale division. (The sources asked that their names not be used because personnel cases are exempt from public release under the federal Freedom of Information Act).

The first complaint, alleging disparate treatment on the basis of race, was filed by the civil section chief in Fort Lauderdale. She alleged that O'Connor discriminated against her as a black supervisor because she gave her more case work than nonblack section chiefs in an effort to set her up for failure.

The U.S. Attorney's Office conducted an investigation, interviewed numerous prosecutors and then resolved the complaint by reassigning some of the civil section chief's duties.
The second complaint, which accused O'Connor of discrimination on the basis of religion, was filed with the Department of Justice in 2001. A Fort Lauderdale prosecutor alleged that O'Connor took reprisals against her because she was Jewish.
The complaint accused O'Connor of giving the prosecutor poorer performance evaluations than those of non-Jewish colleagues in the office. It also alleged O'Connor gave her smaller bonuses than non-Jewish prosecutors for the same work.
The Equal Employment Opportunity staff at the Justice Department formally opened an investigation. In September 2002, the prosecutor's complaint was officially settled in an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Justice Department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington, D.C.
Both offices declined comment or to release O'Connor's personnel file, citing exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.

The mediated settlement included a Justice Department payout of about $10,000 to resolve the prosecutor's complaint against O'Connor, according to several sources familiar with the complaint.

That September, in 2002, O'Connor was reassigned from being in charge of the U.S. Attorney's Fort Lauderdale office to being a prosecutor in its white-collar section.

This woman is a work of art that has no business being on the bench. The Florida Supreme Court should remove her that's if these complaints are true.

Ha! Ha Judge O'Connor. Won't it be ironic if you're removed for lying? Payback is a bitch, bitch!

Why Golf Channel? Why?

One of my favorite sports happens to be Pro golf. Not much of a golfer myself, I been a fan of the sport for almost 30 years. Both the PGA and LPGA tours.

The LPGA has alot of problems. Some of them self inflicted. Just recently the organization deleted their message boards without warning angering in the process many of their fans. Me included because I ran a friendly competition every week on the Se Ri Pak board.

Why isn't the Corning Classic on live today? Right now The Golf Channel has on a infomercial while the LPGA event in New York is just finishing. What is going on here? The golf will be on taped delay at 4 p.m. Why is an infomercial on instead of the golf right now.

Not knowing it was tape delay, I went and checked the website. It looks like South Korea's Jimin Kang is going to win her first LPGA event edging Annika Sorrenstam in the process.

The LPGA is a sorry affair. Women's golf in USA could soon be a thing of the past.

Take it off!

A woman in Tennessee hired a stripper for her son's 16th birthday party.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 29) - A mother faces criminal charges after she hired a stripper to dance at her 16-year-old son's birthday party. Anette Pharris, 34, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and involving a minor in obscene acts. The boy's father, the stripper and two others also face charges.

''I tried to do something special for my son,'' Pharris said. ''It didn't harm him.''

About 10 people under the age of 18 were at the birthday party in September, including minors who were not related to the family, authorities said.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said minors are not permitted in adult establishments.

''A person shouldn't be allowed to circumvent that law by hiring a stripper, a lady who took all her clothes off and spent a good amount of time dancing around minors,'' he said.

Anette Pharris took photos at the party and tried to have them developed at a nearby drug store. Drug store employees notified authorities, police said.

''Who are they to tell me what I can and can't show to my own children?'' the mother said.

Truthfully I think the woman does have a point except there wasn't just her son there but other minors. Just proves people are incredibly stupid at times.

Misplaced Anger

On May 16th a Palm Beach County jury awarded Ronald Perelman 1.4 billion dollars in his suit against Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the investment house. The suit was due to a deal Morgan Stanley brokered over the sale of a Perelman company to Sunbeam Inc. Shortly after the deal was completed, Sunbeam disclosed it had misreported earlier earnings and its stock plummeted. Including Stock Mr. Perelman got as a result of this business deal.

Morgan Stanley unhappy over the verdict has continued a vendetta against the Judge who presided over the trial, Elizabeth Maass. Accusing her of bias, and filing a motion to have her dismissed before the trial and now continuing to complain to the Florida bar over her rulings at trial. Here is the Palm Beach Post Story from today. For the whole story-

WEST PALM BEACH — A Wall Street firm's criticism of Circuit Judge Elizabeth Maass is rankling local attorneys who describe her as one of the brightest and hardest-working judges on the bench.

"It's a lot like tar and feathering," said Stuart Z. Grossman, a Boca Raton attorney and former member of the Florida Bar's board of governors. "There isn't any question that it's going over the line."

Maass became a target of the Morgan Stanley investment bank, which lost a $1.45 billion fraud case in her courtroom this month. After the five-week trial, the bank issued a statement saying it was a victim of "judicial bias."

Earlier, personal shots were leveled at the judge in mid-April when the bank labeled her "an advocate and advisor" for Ronald Perelman, the billionaire investor who sued Morgan Stanley over a 1998 business deal.

"To insinuate that a judge is biased for or against a side, I think, is inappropriate," said Stanley Klett Jr., president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association. "I very seldom have heard of anyone come out so blatantly and attack the judge."

Maass, a judge since 1990, was given above-average marks for impartiality in a 2002 poll of Bar Association attorneys.

Morgan Stanley moved to remove Maass from the case in mid-April when she shifted the burden of proof from Perelman to Morgan Stanley to punish the bank for withholding of e-mail evidence. The ruling meant the jury would be instructed by the court that Morgan Stanley participated in the fraud. The jury's job was limited to deciding whether Perelman relied on fraudulent representations from the bank and, if so, how much he should recover in damages.

In its motion to disqualify the judge, Morgan Stanley said that even her body language favored the other side. During opening statements, the motion charged, Maass paid close attention to attorneys for Perelman but at times worked on her computer when the bank's attorney spoke.

It seems pretty clear to me MS tried to coverup their sorry conduct in the Sunbeam fraud. I am glad that I stopped doing business with these people some years back. They will sell their souls and screw their investors for a dollar. Save the PR and ante up Morgan Stanley.

The Knucklehead of the Day Award

A few days ago four present Tennessee legislators plus others were arrested as part of an FBI Sting called Tennessee Waltz. These three Democrats and one Republican, including thirty year State Senator John Ford who. All are accused of taking bribes to facilitate legislation that would benefit a re-cycling company setup by the FBI. In addition Sen. Ford is accused of making death threats against one of the FBI agents involved in the sting.

Not surprisingly State legislators are rallying to show their support for these crooks.

The biggest knucklehead of these crooks defender's is Sen Roy Herron-D who said the following

Thursday "was like the day President Kennedy was shot, like 9/11," Herron said.

"A day that scares us and scars us like few other days." •

Save the over wrought rhetoric Senator Herron. 3,000 people didn't die the other day, just some crooks getting arrested.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Nascar Driver Robby Gordon who says Female racer Danica Patrick has an unfair advantage. What is it? She only weighs 100 lbs.

May 28) - Robby Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indianapolis 500 and said Saturday he will not compete in the race again unless the field is equalized.

Gordon, a former open-wheel driver now in NASCAR, contends that Patrick is at an advantage over the rest of the competitors because she only weighs 100 pounds. Because all the cars weigh the same, Patrick's is lighter on the race track.

"The lighter the car, the faster it goes," Gordon said. "Do the math. Put her in the car at her weight, then put me or Tony Stewart in the car at 200 pounds and our car is at least 100 pounds heavier.

"I won't race against her until the IRL does something to take that advantage away."
The Indy Racing League does not consider the weight of the driver in its race specifications. The car has to weigh at least 1,525 pounds before the fuel and driver are added, and teams in Indy have estimated that Patrick will gain close to 1 mph in speed because of her small stature.

Although her rivals in Sunday's race have said she doesn't have a huge advantage, pole-sitter Tony Kanaan told reporters he would like the Indy Racing League to look into the issue.

"Right off the bat, a guy my size is spotting her 105 pounds," Gordon said. "That's the reason she's so much faster."

I have suggestion Robby. Go on a diet!

Interest only mortgage loans

Kirstin Downey in today's Washington Post( writes about a new risky venture being done by some people. Mortgage loans where only interest is paid back without accuring principal.

More than a third of the mortgages written in the Washington area this year are a risky new kind of loan that lets borrowers pay back only the interest, delaying for years repayment of any loan principal. Economists warn that the new loans are essentially a gamble that home prices will continue to rise at a brisk pace, allowing the borrower to either sell the home at a profit or refinance before the principal payments come due.

The loans are attractive because their initial monthly payments are tantalizingly low -- about $1,367 a month for a $320,000 mortgage, compared with about $1,842 a month for a traditional 30-year, fixed-rate loan. If home prices fall, though, borrowers could lose big.

"It's a game of musical chairs," said Allen J. Fishbein, director of housing and credit policy at the Consumer Federation of America. "Somebody is going to have the chair pulled out from under them when they find prices have leveled out and they try to sell, only to find they can't sell for what they paid for it."

About 54 percent of home buyers in the District purchased their homes using interest-only loans so far this year, according to LoanPerformance, a San Francisco-based company that tracks loan originations nationwide. About one-third of buyers in Maryland and Virginia are buying with interest-only loans.Just five years ago, only about 2 percent of home-purchase loans in the Washington area involved interest-only terms.

I agree with Mr. Fishbein that this is an extremely dangerous practice. If these people lose their shirt in this venture, and they may well could, it's their own damn faults. Don't be surprised if some legislator tries to outlaw or regulate these types of loans when that happens.


Friday, May 27, 2005

My first post- The Knucklehead of the Day

This will be an award I will give out as often as there are suitable candidates. It's for any idiot either in the news or just encounter where I live. Today's winner I find particularly outrageous.

Goes to any of the 12 members on the board of Goldstar Mothers who voted to deny Ligaya Lagman membership. This organization which is for mothers who lost children during the war, denied Mrs. Lagaman membership after her son Army Sgt. Anthony Lagaman died in Afghanistan. What was the reason? The rules for Gold Star Mothers says a mother must be a US citizen. Ligaya Lagman is a Permanent Resident Alien and her son was a US Citizen.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -- Everyone agrees that Ligaya Lagman is a Gold Star mother, part of the long line of mournful women whose sons or daughters gave their lives for their country. Her 27-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, was killed last year in Afghanistan, but American Gold Star Mothers Inc., has rejected Lagman, a Filipino, for membership because - though a permanent resident and a taxpayer - she is not a U.S. citizen.
"There's nothing we can do because that's what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen," national President Ann Herd said Thursday. "We can't go changing the rules every time the wind blows."
This excuse given by Ms. Herd is the standard one for groups of xenophobic idiots that Ms. Herd obviously belongs to. The woman lost her son who fought so this organization could even exist. If terrorists had their way, the DC based organization would be dust particles in a mushroom cloud.
That explanation isn't satisfying the war veterans who sponsored Lagman's application, some other members of the mothers' group or several members of Congress.
Rep. Eliot Engel, who represents an adjoining district, said the group should change its rules immediately.
"Whatever the excuse, American Gold Star Mothers' decision smacks of xenophobia and is in stark contrast to what Mrs. Lagman's son fought and died for," Engel said.
Amen Congressman Engel.
A past president of the mothers' group, Dorothy Oxendine, of Farmingdale, said, "There's no discrimination in a national cemetery. There's no discrimination when they get killed side by side. So how can we discriminate against a mother?"
Apparently the board thinks they can. Just shows what a bunch of idiotic nitwits they are. They should be shamed nationally for the actions they have taken. People this stupid need to be ostracized.
Lagman has lived in the United States for more than 20 years. She was not at home Thursday, apparently tending to her husband, who is hospitalized. But her other son, Chris Lagman, said in Thursday's The Journal News that all she wants "is recognition as the mother of this fallen soldier."
"We can't go changing the rules every time we turn around," said Herd, the national president. "When we have problems within our organization with people not abiding by the rules, we just get it straightened out, we don't change the rules."
As I said before just the cover story for this board's unconscionable decision. Rules are the last refuge for scoundrels. Ms. Herd definitely qualifies as one.
Oxendine, the former president, said she is sure the general membership would approve a rules change if the board did.
"I can't believe that 12 intelligent women would ever not have it in their hearts to think about another Gold Star mother," Oxendine said. "You pay a high price to join the American Gold Star Mothers. I figure her dues were paid."
Yes Mrs. Oxendine, Ligaya Lagman has paid her dues but I wouldn't call any of these 12 women intelligent. THEY ARE MORONS!
The Gold Star Membership should oust the whole board or quit. That simple.
Below is the contact info for the organization. Let them know how you feel about their board's stupidity.
The American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.2128 Leroy Place NW - Washington, DC 20008Phone: 202-265-0991 Fax: 202-265-6963E-mail us at

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Goes to the Ft. Lauderdale News Sun Sentinel for their coverage of the story of the rape and burying alive of an 8-year-old girl here in Florida got nationwide publicity since last night. Here is the how the Palm Beach Post covered the story.

LAKE WORTH — The two officers stared down at the pile of stones, saw only a small hand and a foot sticking out and assumed the little girl they had frantically searched for was dead.

Finally, they had found her at a secluded landfill, her body stuffed inside a large bright yellow recycling bin, with rocks and crushed concrete covering her. The bin lay inside a trash container, a dismal last resting place.

The officers summoned a superior, Lake Worth Detective Lt. Dave Matthews, who, after seven tense hours of hunting, also thought the case had ended in the worst of tragedies.
And then something happened.

"Her hand just moved!" Matthews shouted.

Moments later, the officers had unearthed an 8-year-old girl who had lived through a nightmare but survived to identify a teenager as her abductor, sexual attacker and would-be killer, police said.

Kudos to Sgt. Michael Hall of the Lake Worth Police Dept. and Sheriff's Cpl. Bob Cresswell who found the girl who had left for dead piled under some rocks in a recycle bin. They are heroes for saving this girl's life.

The girl was in St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach Sunday, where medical staff said she was in good condition. Her alleged assailant, Milagro Cunningham, 17, of Lake Worth, was in custody, on charges of attempted murder, sexual battery and false imprisonment. Police said he had confessed.

Only animals do this to children that young an age. Mr.Cunningham is the scum of the earth and spending the rest of his rotting in prison is far too easy on him. Castration with a dull knife, cutting off his balls would be more appropriate.

That goes too to the other scum in Broward County who was sent to jail for life. That animal(I won't call him a man, because he isn't one) sexually assaulted a two-year-old.

Contrast the Palm Beach Post coverage of this story with the one in today's Sun Sentinel.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is not identifying the suspect or the victim because of their ages and the nature of the charges. Their relatives are also not being identified.

I understand not identifying the girl, but can someone please tell me why this paper is protecting the identity of her attacker? He is a minor but he commited rape and attempted murder! For christsakes the guy deserves to be hung by his balls for the heinous acts he did the paper feels he should be protected!!!!!!!

What the hell is wrong with this country? We can't protect our young ones from scum like this. What this country needs to do is serve out punishment appropriate for the crime instead of watching out for their rights. That's the way we'll stop these obscene acts and the animals that perpertrate them. Till then this is going to happen again and again.

For protecting scum, the Sun Sentinel is the Knucklehead of the Day.

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