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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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Why NBC Why?

The television network insists on running Law & Order repeats all summer long. Isn't there something else they can show? I mean who is going to watch the episode for the third or fourth time.

On the other hand, few if any West Wing episodes have been repeated. Why not repeat these episodes at least once? I'd get caught up on the couple of episodes I missed.

In all I don't watch much network television.

Chris Mathews on MSNBC

There is a saying, never ask a question in an interview if you don't have a clue to what the answer will be. Maybe Chris Mathews should brush up on this rule.

He was interviewing Governor Perry of Texas and discussing the people being moved from the New Orleans Superdome to the Houston Astrodome. Mathews asked where the Houston Astros will play then.

Duh. The Astros haven't played at the Astrodome since 2000. Even if they did, who cares. Sports teams are really one of the least concerns right now.

God have mercy

The mayor of New Orleans said Katrina probably killed thousands of people in the city.

"We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and other people dead in attics, Mayor Ray Nagin said. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands."

The looting continues. Last night a Children's hospital in the city was under siege.

Late Tuesday, Gov. Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher described a disturbing scene unfolding in uptown New Orleans, where looters were trying to break into Children's Hospital.Bottcher said the director of the hospital fears for the safety of the staff and the 100 kids inside the hospital.

The director said the hospital is locked, but that the looters were trying to break in and had gathered outside the facility.The director has sought help from the police, but, due to rising flood waters, police have not been able to respond.

Bottcher said Blanco has been told of the situation and has informed the National Guard. However, Bottcher said, the National Guard has also been unable to respond.

Note the New Orleans Times-Picayune has an excellent blog with breaking news concerning the city.

Emergency generators are reported to be out of fuel too at University and Charity hospitals.

The Superdome is being evacuated. 22,000 people took refuge there during Katrina. They will be bused to Houston Texas. The entire evacuation process is expected to take two days.

One company, Miller Beer I think, is shipping large amounts of bottled water to the hurricane stricken area. Kudos to them, unfortunately a few corporations are missing. It seems tsunami victims in Asia were more appealing than hurricane victims in the country they are based out of. I think I have tomorrow's Knucklehead award lined up.

Pope Benedict XVI is asking for prayers for the city and its residents. As I said, God have mercy.


Blogger Don Singleton has created a blog Firefox problems for users of that particular web browser. Don has been reporting problems using the program, namely his computer locking up. Those with similiar problems are invited to come over and leave comments at the blog.

More on the Soldier hoax

I blogged before about how a Southern Illinois graduate student fooled the school newspaper into printing letters from a girl whose Kodee father Sgt Dan Kennings was supposedly serving in Iraq. This hoax went on for two years till the 'soldier' supposedly died and the Chicago Tribune did some elementary fact checking. It was soon discovered that Sgt Dan Kennings never existed.

Today's Chicago Tribune reports that the SIU Carbondale police department is investigating whether any laws were broken during the perpertration of the Kennings hoax.

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Police Department is investigating the "Sgt. Dan Kennings" hoax to determine whether anyone broke the law in carrying on the two-year ruse about a phony soldier in Iraq and his daughter, the campus police chief said Tuesday.

SIU police have interviewed "some of the people involved," said SIU Public Safety Director Todd Sigler. They also are collecting documents, including e-mails, to help figure out whether Jaimie Reynolds or anyone else profited from the hoax, which played out in the pages of the student newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.

Investigators are piecing together various deceptions carried out since May 6, 2003, when former Daily Egyptian reporter Michael Brenner published his first story about Kennings going off to war in Iraq, leaving his 8-year-old daughter Kodee behind with Kennings' stepbrother and his wife. Many people in the community responded sympathetically to the story and letters--ostensibly from Kodee to her father--that the paper subsequently published.

"It's a bit of a unique situation, so we're moving at a very deliberate, methodical pace," Sigler said. "The devil will be in the details with this."

First comment. The campus police or the Carbondale city police are investigating? Obviously campus police don't have arrest powers.

But what crimes were committed?

A local firefighter said he gave the child toys, and the girl said she remembers members of a Detroit church giving her envelopes containing small amounts of cash during visits in December and May. A lawyer for the Detroit World Outreach ministry said the church did not give any money, but individuals in the congregation may have made contributions.

As despicable as fooling a church congregation is, I don't know if it builds to being an actual crime. My church congregation here in Florida was fooled by a hoax a few years back. This is not as uncommon as you may think but it is disgusting however.

The Carbondale Illinois Southern Illinoisan has more on both the fire department and the church angles. Click here and here. The SI also ran a brief story on Kodee in September 2004.

Reading the whole the whole Kennings affair, you sometimes have to shake your head at how gullible people can be. I can understand a little girl thinking a documentary was being shot. But adults? The college students are a little more understandable, they let their political views color their reporting. Just like much of the MSM today. Click here for an example.

The Tribune article went on.

Reynolds has said there was no financial motive to the hoax, and that she was trying to help her reporter friend Brenner concoct a heart-rending story that might advance his career.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Brenner again denied vehemently that he was anything other than a misled reporter who never bothered to check the facts of the story.

"I'm so sick of being crucified when I am the victim of this whole thing," he said. "I'm really getting worn out talking to the media."

For the moment I believe Reynolds. I don't think she did it for financial gain. Rather Ms. Reynolds did it to get attention. Something she is getting plenty of now but not of the type she wants.

As to Michael Brenner, I have a much harder time believing in his innocence. The first reason is his reporting on Kodee and her father.

The story the Daily Egyptian published reads as if Brenner was on the scene of the emotional parting between father and daughter at Fort Campbell, Ky.Following is an excerpt from Brenner's Daily Egyptian story:

"In an attempt to delay his departure, Kodee swiped his helmet and refused to let go, saying he could not leave without his helmet.

ìStill in tears, Kennings took his helmet back from his 8-year-old daughter, but he still could not convince her he had to go. She refused to let go of his arms, and pleaded with her father.

ìëPlease donít leave,í Kodee begged. ëIíll be good if you stay. I wonít get in trouble

During the Friday interview, Brenner defended the style of writing he had used in the story."It was the style going around the newsroom at the time," Brenner said.

So he gives a first accounting tale of the emotional separation. Now Brenner is saying that was a stylistic selection. He lied therefore in his reporting, why are we to believe he had no part in the story?

There's also something out of the original Tribune story.

Tribune reporters continued asking questions, and some students and a faculty member were growing increasingly hostile because of suggestions that Kennings did not exist. By Tuesday night, however, Brenner was pacing nervously outside a Dairy Queen in Carterville, Ill., talking to Hastings on his cell phone.

He handed the phone to a Tribune reporter, and Hastings said she would come to the Dairy Queen and listen to questions.Brenner, 25, said he was still convinced of Kennings' existence and defended Hastings for trying to protect a little girl.

Hastings pulled into the parking lot in the same red car she'd driven to the memorial service. She was told that the military denied Kennings' existence and that the name Colleen Hastings appeared in no public-records databases in Illinois. She was asked for a driver's license and for a death certificate for Kennings.

With each question, Hastings shook her head no.After Brenner spoke to her for a minute alone, she drove off.

This meeting sounds suspicious unless the non-responses from Reynolds are her reacting to the hoax and her embarassment in taking part in it. In my opinion these two are were working together. Brenner who was promoted to editor of the Daily Egyptian after the first Kodee story was published, had something to gain from the whole affair.

After finishing his studies at SIU, Brenner went to work for a newspaper in Oregon. He quit a few months back. The reason? He wanted to be closer to Kodee.

Brenner recently quit his job as a sportswriter with the East Oregonian, a job he landed shortly after donning his gown and receiving his diploma in the December 2004 SIUC graduation ceremonies.

He said he left the Oregon job after only a few months because he wanted to spend time with his family in Illinois - and with the girl he said he had known as "Kodee Kennings."

Just an incredible story. Mr. Brenner should take up fiction writing.

Supper- Basil's blog

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Robert Kennedy Jr. He wrote a piece over at the Huffington Post.

Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.

In 1998, Republican icon Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour’s memo that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast.

Priceless. Blame cyclical changes in the weather on the Republicans. That's how hateful the left has become. Kennedy can't see how foolish he looks when he says such bs, and for that he is the Knucklehead of the Day.

Lunch- Basil's blog

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The idiots are on the loose

People are looting in New Orleans. Stephen Taylor says this behavior is predictable. It is but there is no excusing it still.

NEW ORLEANS -- With much of the city emptied by Hurricane Katrina, some opportunists took advantage of the situation by looting stores.

At a Walgreen's drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers.

A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) (Dave Martin - AP)

When police finally showed up, a young boy stood in the door screaming, "86! 86!" _ the radio code for police _ and the crowd scattered.

Denise Bollinger, a tourist from Philadelphia, stood outside and snapped pictures in amazement.

"It's downtown Baghdad," the housewife said. "It's insane. I've wanted to come here for 10 years. I thought this was a sophisticated city. I guess not."

Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores.

One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."

What about those protestors at Walter Reed?

I haven't blogged on this subject to date. Others have done so and much more eloquently than I can. Code Pink and their supporters have a right to protest, but their choice of venues is tacky at best and sickening stupidity and other words at worst. In a city full of famous sites, why a military hospital? Why not the White House instead?

Just leave it to Milblogger Chuck to give an unvarnished opinion on these people.

I think it's wonderful the people in this country are allowed to express themselves any way they feel, I think it's wonderful that they are willing to go out and hold up signs and demonstrate for what they believe in what they believe to be a true and just cause. I have fought for their right to do this and I believe that their First Amendment rights should not be in any way imposed upon.

Now, as for their selection of a place to demonstrate against the war, I think it is abhorrent that they would choose to do that outside of the hospital that treats soldiers who were wounded in the war. It can only serve to discourage the soldiers who are trying to heal. As the soldiers come in the gates they see these asshats holding up their signs and banners and they see how much these people hate what they do and what they're doing. I would much rather they went and demonstrated in front of the Congress or in front of the White House, and even more so if the simply demonstrated with their ballot, when it comes time to vote.

Chuck then has his solution.

now to the tinfoil helmet is to completely sealed, I would much rather that people showed up there with baseball bats and beat them to a bloody pulp, and then showed up the next day and beat any survivors to a bloody pulp. On the third day, collect up anyone that still shows up, and give them a hug for their dedication to their beliefs. Then club them like a baby harp seal on coat-making day. These shitbags are little more than the people who protested as men came home from Vietnam after serving their country.

As I remove the tinfoil helmet I can't believe what I just wrote. I would never, ever advocate violence against my fellow American who is simply trying to demonstrate what he believes in and who is exercising his right.

Don't blame you Chuck, these people are a disgusting lot. God bless you.

Hat tip- Mudville Gazette

Korean women and Bush.

The following article is mind boggling. I heard Korean women like to have plastic surgery, but this is a little too much. Hat tip- Mrs Satan

Transplanted pubic hair is the latest trend in South Korea, where it is regarded as a sign of fertility.

Surgeon Afschin Fatemi, from Unna in Germany, said: "In the West, women try to reduce their genital hair as much as possible, but in Korea the trend is for forestation."

He said a mass of pubic hair was considered a sign of fertility, which was why many women were paying as much as £1,700 to have hair transplanted from their heads.

Fatemi added: "The structure of head and pubic hair on Asians is quite similar. The implanted hair isn't long and rarely falls out."

The operation is conducted under local anaesthetic and bandaging can be removed after just one day.


Maybe some architect or engineer can answer a question I or my father have had for thirty years.

Movies stretch reality all the time. The 1974 film, The Towering Inferno was no different. I saw this film for the first time in 74 or 75 along with my parents and younger brother. Last night Fox Movie Channel had the movie on and seeing the film again reminded me of something.

At the end of the movie the fire is doused by having two water tanks at the top of the skyscraper detonated pouring down one million gallons of water on the fires below. One million gallons would weigh 7-8 million pounds if I'm right. Can a 130-140 story building have that much water at the top and still stand?

My father didn't seem to think so when we saw the movie way when. I would seem to agree, also those tanks would have to be enormous and heavy themselves. Can someone answer the question for me? I'd like to finally solve this mystery.

Lunch- Basil's blog

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher. Yesterday Gov. Fletcher pardoned nine current or former members of his administration who were indicted in a civil service scandal.

This knucklehead Governor showed his contempt yesterday for both the law and the people of the state of Kentucky. He himself is being investigated by a Grand Jury for the same scandal. Fletcher says he won't pardon himself, but don't bet on it. He has already shown he will protect his cronies instead of seeing justice served.

By Mark Pitsch and Tom LoftusThe Courier-Journal

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Ernie Fletcher used the power of his office yesterday to pardon nine current or former members of his administration who were indicted in an investigation of alleged illegal hiring.

Fletcher also said he would not pardon himself or testify today during his appearance before the grand jury, which is investigating whether state jobs were filled on the basis of politics, not merit.

"I cannot allow state government to continue to be consumed by this game of political 'gotcha' paralyzing our ability to serve you, the people of Kentucky," he said.

The pardon Fletcher signed covers officials indicted so far and "any and all persons who have committed, or may be accused of committing, any offense up to and including the date hereof, relating in any way to the current merit system investigation."

In his remarks, Fletcher compared the severity of misdemeanor and felony charges to illegal fishing, dismissing the investigation as "a political tool of Greg Stumbo."

Speaking during an address before about 150 supporters at the Capitol, Fletcher said "at no time was there a cynical scheme to displace thousands of hard-working state employees."

"Even though I am very disappointed at the abuse of our justice system throughout this entire affair, I am ready to stand up to this misguided display of prosecutorial misconduct," Fletcher said.

Open Post- Mudville Gazette

Terrorists and illegal immigration

One of my favorite bloggers Lashawn Barber has a good post on how we need to enforce our immigration laws or face the possibility of another terrorist attack.

Quoting two reports from the Center for Immigration studies LaShawn points out Homeland Security' hapless record when it comes to illegals.

The report provides newly compiled data on U.S. terror arrests to illustrate gaps (GAPS?) in the nation’s border security, visa approval and immigration systems. It was written by Janice Kephart, who served as counsel to the 9/11 Commission that investigated missteps leading to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“The attack of 9/11 was not an isolated instance of al-Qaida infiltration into the United States,” the 46-page report found.

“In fact, dozens of operatives both before and after 9/11 - other than the 9/11 hijackers - have managed to enter and embed themselves in the United States, actively carrying out plans to commit terrorist acts against U.S. interests or support designated foreign terrorist organizations,” the report concluded. “For each to do so, they needed the guise of legal immigration status to support them.”(Emphasis added) (source)

Almost all of our politicians, up to and including President Bush have disgraced themselves on the illegal immigration problem. It's not just immigrants in here illegaly, it's a security problem. Our enemies see our lax policy and they have and will exploit it. How many more Americans have to pay with their lives before our politicians do something?

As I say a revolution is bound to happen in this country, our politicians serve no one but themselves and their contributors. I've always felt the reason Bush and others turn a blind eye to illegals, is because big business depends on this low cost labor. They donate money to both Democrats and Republicans wanting our elected officials to ignore the issue. These knuckleheads just see dollars instead of the threats posed.

I do have one minor quip with what Lashawn says. All immigration laws don't need to be tightened. We need to enforce the laws we have, that's what is wrong in my opinion.

See right now the people who the laws are enforced against most often, are legal immigrants. This country does need some legal immigrants to fill nursing, teaching and some technical jobs. Making it tougher for these workers and those who hire them serves no purpose.

Another seldom mentioned immigrant, are relatives of US citizens or legal resident aliens. I petitioned for my Philippine born wife to immigrate to the US in 1989. It took five and a half months to complete the process. Today it would take over a year. Do we need to separate families more than we do? Thousands of our US serviceman in places like Japan, Germany, Korea, marry foreign nationals every year. Throwing more roadblocks in the path of these people isn't called for. I'd rather see our soldiers get expedited service.

Just a little spin on this from Lantana Florida

Missing bloggers

Today three blogs I frequent quite a bit are all down for some reason. They are-

Outside the Beltway
Captain's Quarters

OTB was having problems for some reason yesterday and one of it's contributors James Joyner mentioned it. He just didn't know why it was happening.

Poliblog which is the work of Stephen Taylor. He lives in Alabama and was in the path of Hurricane Katrina. I pray he and all of his loved ones are well.

Captain Ed I don't know what is going on there. So three prominent conservative blogs are down. As Auric Goldfinger said in Ian Fleming's book(not the movie) the Chicago mob has a saying.

"First time accident, Second time coincidence, Third time enemy action."

Insert diabolical laughter.

That was a joke before someone says I believe in conspiracies. I certainly do not.

Guess I'll have to come up with my own material to blog about then.

Breakfast- Basil's blog

Update- Add Florida Cracker to the list of blogs currently offline.

The aftermath of Katrina

That is the kind of destruction Hurricane Katrina has left behind. God help the people in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

At least 55 people have died due to the storm. Thirty of whom were in a Biloxi MS appartment building.

The destruction isn't over either. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new .hurricane proof. Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north. The breach sent a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing across Lakeview and into Mid-City, Carrollton, Gentilly, City Park and neighborhoods farther south and east.

As night fell on a devastated region, the water was still rising in the city, and nobody was willing to predict when it would stop. After the destruction already apparent in the wake of Katrina, the American Red Cross was mobilizing for what regional officials were calling the largest recovery operation in the organization's history.

Other reports say the water main for New Orleans has broken and therefore the city's water is unsafe to drink. Disease is certainly going to be a problem in the weeks ahead.

People are still cooped up in the Superdome where part of the roof is missing. If the city is flooded these people could be there for weeks.

Michelle Malkin has more on the devastation.

I count my blessings. We here in Florida were spared the brunt of Katrina. Please pray for all those affected by Katrina. Better yet, donate money to the Red Cross if you can. People are going to be affected by Katrina for a very long time.

From the silly news desk

A bird in the hand isn't worth two in the pants?

Man accused of smuggling birds in pants
By Akilah Johnson Staff Writer

There really was a bird in his pants. Two, in fact.Federal court papers unsealed in Miami on Monday charge Giraldo Wong with smuggling two tiny songbirds from Cuba in his underwear, then lying about it on a customs form, according to the U.S Attorney's Office.

Wong and five others were charged in a separate 21-count indictment, also unsealed Monday, with dealing in protected species of migratory birds. Each trafficking count is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Wong faces an additional 10 years in prison and $500,000 fine.

The market was packed Sunday with up to 70 bird enthusiasts, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Capt. Jeff Ardelean.

"Anyone we found in possession of a bird they couldn't have was issued a citation," Ardelean said. "The rest were educated and released. We educated a lot of people."

The hummingbird-sized Cuban grassquits that Wong got caught with May 6 at Miami International Airport were headed for an underground bird market in Hialeah, authorities said.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Our tax dollars at work- California style

Another of those stories that boggles your mind. Hat tip- Betsy's Page who wonders how does one lose a fire rig?

(CBS 5) An examination of California's inventory has revealed that almost of half of the state's cars and trucks are unaccounted for.

The study concluded that 30,000 of the states 70,000 vehicles are missing -- everything from Caltrans trucks, to CHP cars, to fire rigs, to prison vehicles. The audit of state-owned property was ordered by Governor Schwarzenegger, and found state agencies had no idea what they owned.

"It was very bad," said Fred Aguiar, head of the State and Consumer Services Agency. "We were amazed at how inadequate the information was. The data coming from departments and agencies was terrible."

It was so terrible, in fact, the state found that one agency had recently purchased $4 million in new vehicles but had no record of where it bought them.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

At long last I found an appropriate winner.

Today's winner is Michael Lyons of Savannah Georgia. This winner gets his award for sending a girl into a bank with a note as a practical joke. It said "Give me all of your money, this is a stickup." A bank employee not seeing the humor instead summoned the police.

SAVANNAH, Ga. - A Savannah man was arrested after he told a 13-year-old girl to hand a note to a bank teller threatening a holdup, police said.

Michael Lyons, 45, told police that he and a group of girls celebrating his daughter's birthday were trying to play a practical joke. The note said "Give me all of your money, this is a stick up," according to a police report.

While Lyons was getting money out of an ATM on Friday, the girl went into the bank and handed the note to a teller.

The teller sounded the bank's alarm and police and FBI surrounded the building searching for suspected burglars.

Instead, they found Lyons and the group of girls.

Lyons was charged with criminal attempt of robbery by intimidation, said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Bucky Burnsed.

Open Post- Mudville Gazette

Some good news?

My primary doctor called. If you recall from last week, a MRI showed I had growths in the area of my adrenal gland and pancreas.

Dr. Nguyen got the full report from the radiologist. The tumors are very tiny, so small in fact a needle biopsy would not be possible at this time. It's been recommended for me to have another MRI in 3 months, if it grows then a biopsy will be done.

I don't know if this is good or bad. Adrenal tumors tend to be benign, pancreas is worrisome on the other hand. Waiting 3 months sort of puts off the news, what can I do? Nothing I guess. The wife is more positive about this than me. I just wondering if this is just a postponement.

Thank you to every one for the well wishes. I appreciate them. Now can someone help me find a Knucklehead for today?

Breakfast- Basil's blog

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Katrina again

It's hard not to hear the latest news on the storm. Katrina was the only topic on Fox News whenever I viewed the channel this afternoon.

The storm is now a Category 5 and has sustained winds of 165 MPH. Gusts have reached over 200 MPH. This makes Katrina one of the strongest hurricanes on record, and that almost certainly means catastrophe for whatever part of the Gulf region the storm hits early tomorrow.

Right now New Orleans appears to be in the storm's path. An evacuation was ordered, but thousands still remain. Most of them housed at the SuperDome. New Orleans is below sea level, this storm will cause 20-30 storm surges. There may be no city left when Katrina is done with New Orleans.

Lets pray for all Gulf residents in the path of the storm. They truly need God's help now.

Update- Fellow blogger Paul aka Wizbang is directly in the path of Katrina. God protect him and his family.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. On Friday he filed suit for the state of California against nine snack and fast food companies. The stated purpose- To put a warning label on french fries that they may have a possible carcinogen in them.

A warning label? For a minimum health threat? Why not put ones on automobiles? They pose a far greater risk. People get killed every day from them. What this truly is-

1- The fleecing of a corporation by greedy politicians. In reality its thievery from the citizens of this country, the companies in the suit will pass the cost to who else- THEIR CUSTOMERS!

2- Politicians seeking publicity at any cost so to enable to hold higher office.

AG Lockyer is just another crook posing as a public servant. For thinking of no one but himself, Bill Lockyer is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Hat tip- Overlawyered

Carcinogen Warning Sought for Fries, Chips
Attorney general's suit argues makers of potato products must include acrylamide notice.

By Tim Reiterman, Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer sued nine snack- and fast-food giants Friday, saying the law requires them to tell the public that their potato chips and French fries contain a toxic chemical.

In a suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Lockyer sought a court order compelling the companies to place warnings on their cooked potato products because they contain higher levels of a suspected carcinogen, acrylamide, than other foods.

The defendants include Frito-Lay Inc., KFC Corp., McDonald's Corp., Wendy's International and Procter & Gamble Distributing Co.

"I am not telling people to stop eating potato chips and French fries," Locker said in a statement.

"I know from personal experience that, while these snacks may not be a necessary part of a healthy diet, they sure taste good."

But he pointed out that Proposition 65, a ballot initiative passed by voters in 1986, requires businesses of all types to provide the public with "clear and reasonable" warnings before exposing them to potentially dangerous substances.

Representatives of the fast-food industry said Lockyer was unnecessarily alarming the public and unfairly singling out companies named in the suit, since many non-potato food products contain acrylamide

An Annika slump and other golf comments

I have gone a whole week without talking about golf. Here I go.

*- Christie Kerr won the Wendy's LPGA event in Ohio today. She defeated both Paula Creamer and Annika Sorrenstam by one shot.

It was quite a good finish. The top money winners were all represented on the leaderboard, a very rare event. In addition to Kerr, Creamer and Sorrenstam, both Jeong Jang and Lorena Ochoa were in the top 10.

Poor Pat Hurst. An errant drive on 18 cost her the tournament. She had an unplayable lie and had to take a drop. The drop was disastorous, leaving her with no back swing. Pat finished with a double bogey and dropped her to a tie for 4th. This isn't Pat's first late collapse, Annika overtook Hurst in the 2001 Office Depot tournament after trailing Hurst by 10 shots going into Sunday. In 2003 Pat Hurst four putted 18 on Sunday at the Longs Drugs to lose by one shot.

*- Annika finishes second. This marks the 4th or 5th LPGA event in a row she hasn't won. She has built up such an invincible reputation, I'm surprised no one is talking of an Annika slump ala Tiger slumps on the PGA tour.

*- US Captain Nancy Lopez announced her Captain's selections for the Solheim team. The picks- Wendy Ward and Beth Daniel. I think these are good picks, definitely better than 2003 Captain Patty Sheehan's picks of Kelli Keunhe and Heather Bowie.

Dorothy Delasin is on the outside looking in for the 3rd straight Solheim team. The talented Filipina golfer has finished 11th in the pts standings for the 2002, 2003 and 2005 Solheim Cup teams.

*- Karrie Webb and the photographer. A week ago today at the Safeway Classic, Karrie took away a camera from a photographer at the Portland Oregon LPGA event. Ms. Webb did so claiming the photographer took photos while she was making her swing.

My take on it- Karrie is blaming the wrong person. Camera noise today is so slight, and the cameraman was not that close. Background noise is worse at a tournament, and how do you get rid of that. Ms. Webb was directing anger at the wrong person for her own poorly hit golf shot. Get a grip Karrie.

*- I'm trying to get press credentials for the LPGA ADT tournament in November. As you see, I follow the tour. I'll blog the whole week here on the ADT, if I get the credentials. Unfortunately the PR agency handling credentials for this tournament have some antiquated idea about what the media is. They don't think a blogger can be the media. I've written more about the LPGA than the Palm Beach Post's golf writers. Did they cover the British Open? Not at all, I blogged about it.

There is precedent too for online people to get credentials. Eric of the website has gotten credentials to the Safeway tournament. The photographer above who tangled with Karrie Webb worked for a website. A blogger was credentialed for the US Open this summer.

Stay tuned, I may be giving out a Knucklehead award to some PR agency soon.

Our tax dollars at work- Criminals paid to babysit

This story out of the Sacramento Bee should anger anyone who reads it. In 2004 2,200 people with criminal backgrounds were paid by the state of California to babysit children of welfare recipients. Among those 2,200 are people who have abused their own children.

Just one more example of governmental incompetence. There is no excuse for this, most of our public officials have no regard for anything but their careers and themselves. I'll repeat what I've said on this blog before, the American public one day will rise up in arms against a government that protects the guilty and punishes the innocent. We need to take back our government before people pay with their lives for bureaucratic stupidity like this.

State has paid criminals to baby-sit
Workers sometimes start months before background checks are complete.

The Kern County woman told local officials up front that she was in court-ordered abuse counseling and that child-protection workers had taken away her three children.

Yet, for months the state has been paying the woman to care for the children of someone else: a participant in California's welfare-to-work program, CalWORKS.

A state-paid baby sitter for another Kern County CalWORKS participant is on probation for nine counts of willful cruelty to her own children.

California also has been paying people arrested on murder and attempted murder charges to watch the children of welfare recipients, state workers say.

In 2004, state records show, nearly 2,200 people with criminal backgrounds that disqualified them from watching children served as child-care providers for welfare recipients in California for up to a year before state officials cut them off.

It's a problem that has persisted for years with no solution in sight.

Since the state pays the cost of child care for welfare recipients who are working, California law requires caregivers who earn welfare funds to have a clean criminal record or to get an exemption from the state.

Sixty percent of new welfare recipients leave their children with unlicensed providers - usually a friend or relative. But unlike workers at bigger child-care centers, unlicensed caregivers who watch children from only one family start getting paid before their criminal background checks are complete.

And because of bureaucratic delays in Trustline, the state's background-check program for unlicensed child-care workers, a criminal-history investigation can take months to finish.

The state stops paying people who've committed crimes only after their background checks are complete and their appeals have been exhausted.

Filipinas come of age(at what price?)

If you have read my blog on a regular basis, you know my wife is a Filipina and immigrated to the US from the Philippines after our marriage 16 years ago. I've always been an admirer of the culture of my wife's homeland.

There is an interesting article in today's Honolulu Advertiser. It is about the elaborate parties some Filipino-American families throw for their daughters. Debuts as they are called, are celebrations of the Filipinas coming out or 18th birthdays.

The origins of the debut are likely rooted in the 300-year Spanish occupation of the Philippines, said Belinda Aquino, University of Hawai'i-Manoa professor of political science.

At first, the debut was a tradition reserved for the elite families who could afford such a lavish celebration, Aquino said. Now, "it doesn't have to be for rich people anymore."

My wife knows of this practice. The Olobias did not throw such celebrations for either of their daughters. My in-laws are pretty humble people, Tatay was a civil servant and Nanay a schoolteacher.

But here is the interesting part of the article.

Though extravagance is what debuts are known for, said Galang, who didn't have a debut herself (she turned 18 while in college at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles), less expensive debuts are not unheard of.

In Hawai'i, however, many families appear to go all-out for their daughters' debuts.

That's understandable, Aquino said, since "the person can only turn 18 once."

For Heather Sales' debut at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu in June, her parents paid about $25,000 for everything from the dresses for the girls in Sales' court (18 of them, all from the Philippines) to lessons for the court's cotillion, or dance.

Krystal Tabora's debut last November cost about $15,000. Tabora, 18, said that was "75 percent of all-out" thanks to "a lot of bargains and discounts." Among the costs? Around 200 party favors and a $600 birthday cake.

Seeing this article, I asked the wife's opinion. She could hardly agree less with Ms. Aquino. She things these parties are ridiculous wastes of money. These families probably have poor relations in the Philippines, how about helping them out.

I agree with the wife. $15-25,000 for a birthday party is a immense waste of money.

Brunch- Basil's blog

So much for peace

Another murder bombing happened in Israel today. I'm not one of PC media, it's murder not suicide. This one took place in Beersheeba, a town in southern Israel. 21 were wounded but no one was killed.

For those idealists who think the Gaza withdrawal would bring peace, this should be a wakeup call. The Palestinian leadership don't want Gaza, they want Palestine. In simple terms, they want the total destruction of Israel. That's their objective, and the violence won't end till that happens or a radical change in the thinking of those leading the PLO, Hamas, etc happens. There is no sign of this happening any time soon.

Hat tip- Captain Ed

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Twenty-one people were wounded Sunday, two seriously, in a suicide bombing at a central bus station in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, Israeli officials said.
The bombing occurred about 8:30 a.m. outside a bus during the morning rush hour when a man detonated himself.

Security guards at the bus station were approaching him to check him out, thinking he looked suspicious, when the explosion occurred, police said.

"Israel has taken the necessary steps to advance the peace process," said an official in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, referring to the Israeli withdrawal from settlements in Gaza and the West Bank.

"The Palestinians have not. Without such steps, there will be no progress."

Hours after the bomb blast, the Israeli cabinet voted 18-2 for the deployment of Egyptian troops along the Gaza border, another step toward ending Israel's decades-long military presence in Gaza.

No claim of responsibility

The two people that were seriously wounded in Sunday's blast were the security guards nearest the bomber, police said.

From the silly news desk

This crime will definitely cost someone a leg. Hat tip- Don Surber

DES MOINES, Iowa - A man test-fitting a $17,000 artificial leg ran off without paying the bill, police said.

Spectrum Prosthetics and Orthotics reported the theft of the specially designed leg this week.

Police said the crime happened after the man came in on Aug. 19 to be fitted for the prosthetic.

He "was allowed to take it for a couple hours to ensure that the fit was proper," a police report said.

Sgt. David Murillo said the man didn't come back.

Todd Schweizer, one of the owners of the company, said employees had been working with the man for about a week.

"We were trying to meet his needs," Schweizer said.

The store was left with a cellular telephone number, but no one answers, said Detective Robert Lewis. There also was no answer at the door at an address left by the man.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Brac votes not to close Ellsworth AFB

This bit of news is about 24 hours old but I just want to say I agree with the comission's decision. I don't think it is wise to have all our B-1 bombers at one base. That would have left them vulnerable to attack. Saving tax dollars is important, but our national security takes precedence. Congratulations to South Dakota residents, you get to keep your base and the jobs that come with it.

BRAC votes to remove base from closure list
By Celeste Calvitto, Journal Staff Writer

Like the phoenix from the ashes, the status of Ellsworth Air Force Base rose from expendable to essential in a matter of seconds when the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, or BRAC, voted Friday to save the base.

South Dakota's top lawmakers and the head of the Ellsworth Task Force were on the edge of their seats at the suburban Washington, D.C., hearing when BRAC Commissioner Samuel Skinner made the motion to reject the Pentagon's recommendation to close Ellsworth and move its 29 B-1B Lancer bombers to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.

Looking for at least five commissioners to raise their hands in support of Skinner's motion, the South Dakotans instead saw all but one of the nine-member panel vote to save Ellsworth.

"It would have been nice to have nine (votes)," Pat McElgunn, Ellsworth Task Force director, joked by telephone only minutes after the vote. Later, he said, "I started counting, and when it got to five, I knew we were there."

The decision came at 7:18 a.m. MDT after less than an hour of discussion among BRAC commissioners.

"This is certainly one of the most significant recommendations to come before the commission," BRAC chairman Anthony Principi, a former U.S. secretary of veterans affairs, said in opening the deliberations.

Almost from the start, it appeared as if the vote would go Ellsworth's way as the primary arguments advanced by Ellsworth advocates over the past three months were mirrored in the presentations by BRAC staff members.

Soldier's Mom update

I blogged before about blogger Soldier's Mom. Her son Noah was wounded in Iraq. There is a new update, Noah and his mother have talked twice via cellphone. Noah's injuries aren't as bad as first feared. He is currently at Landstuhl military hospital in Germany.

Please continue to pray for both this brave soldier's recovery and his family. God bless Noah and his family.

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Goes to Edward and Bettina Larsen of Cape Coral Florida. They are parents to three children ages 4, 14, and 17. This was the family the Coast Guard had to rescue after their boat got shipwrecked off the South Florida coast.

What parents take their children to sea when a hurricane is approaching. Do these people have any common sense? They endangered not only their lives but their children's. Plus forced the Coast Guard and authorities to have to search for them. This father and mother apparently have zero common sense and therefore Edward and Bettina Larsen are today's Knucklehead award winners.

By Christine Stapleton
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The U.S. Coast Guard plucked a Cape Coral family from a mangrove island off Everglades City about 2:30 p.m. Friday, a day after the family tried to cross Florida Bay and failed to return home.

Edward and Bettina Larsen and their three children, ages 4, 14 and 17, were in good condition and did not need medical attention after being hoisted, one by one, aboard a Coast Guard HH-60 helicopter, according to a Coast Guard statement. The family's 24-foot Glasstron, single-engine power boat was beached on the island beside the family. The Coast Guard was interviewing the family to determine how they became stranded.

The search for the Larsens began Thursday night after a family friend reported they had not returned home from a trip to Banana Bay resort in Marathon. The family left the resort early Thursday morning and had not been heard from.

"They were concerned about the weather, but they thought they could outrun it," said Dave Boblitt, dockmaster at Banana Bay in Marathon. "They went back and forth about whether to leave Wednesday night or Thursday morning."

The family traveled to Marathon from their home in Cape Coral earlier in the week, the first time they had ever crossed Florida Bay in the boat, said Larsen's mother, Edwina Larsen of Punta Gorda.

"It was just going to be a two-day trip to the Keys, but they were having so much fun snorkeling that they decided to stay another day," she said. "I guess that storm just went down and followed him. Where he went I don't know."

Edwina Larsen said her son had grown up around boats in New York and "knows that Atlantic Ocean." Edward Larsen recently had equipped the boat, named Sea Note, with extra safety equipment before the family trip to the Keys, she said.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Goes to former Southern Illinois University student Jaimie Reynolds. She hoodwinked SIU student newspaper The Daily Egyptian into believing a story about a little girl and her letters to her father serving in Iraq. I posted part of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article below, it's truly incredible. The people at the college newspaper are almost as big a knuckleheads, they never bothered to do any elementary fact checking in the two years this story ran.

Hat tip- Michelle Malkin

CARBONDALE, Ill. - For two years, Carbondale residents have been riveted by the writing of a little girl imploring her father in Iraq: "Don't die, OK?"

Only now are they learning there was never any danger of that.

The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University's student-run newspaper, today will admit to its readers that the saga - of a little girl's published letters to her father serving in Iraq - was apparently an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a woman who claimed to be the girl's aunt.

In fact, the newspaper will report today, the man identified as the girl's father was never in Iraq, and it was the woman who apparently wrote the letters and regular columns that were published under the little girl's name - and even impersonated the girl in telephone interviews.

Katrina Blogging Part 2

I'm still blogging on the Hurricane. Since my original post became long and unwieldly I decided to continue in a second post.

7:30 p.m. update- Hurricane Katrina has started coming ashore. The eye according to the National Hurricane Center made landfall in the Hallandale Beach/North Miami Beach area.


The NHC also reported that Katrina was near 25.9 Longitude 80.1 Latitude. The storm has definitely shifted to the south. Most of Palm Beach County is going to miss the brunt of Katrina.

Two people were killed in Broward County. Anyone reading this and in Katrina's path stay indoors. Its too dangerous to go out.

Fellow blogger Florida Cracker isn't as fortunate. She is very close to the storm's path. Please keep her and the Cracker family in your prayers.

9 p.m. update- The local televisisions here are broadcasting regular programming. That tells you what they think of Katrina now.

The wind is still gusting here. A power interuption isn't impossible. I think if we make it to morning we'll be fine.


Good news coverage continues at Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald websites

I will keep posting updates till bed-time around 11 p.m.

August 26th 10:30 a.m. Update- I went to bed earlier than expected last night. Been putting the house back together. Also I'm still down from yesterday's news. That is why I didn't update till now.

Katrina is pretty much through with Palm Beach County. The sun came out at a little past 8 this morning.

As for myself, we have rolled back the shutters and restored the house to normal. The only damage we have is an uprooted papaya true. That's insignifigant, we count our blessings here. Maybe my baby angel Daniel protected his parents. Today and yesterday mark 31 months since my son was born and then died.

A friend who owns a small Asian market in Lantana, lost power at the store. They have no insurance, so could have suffered losses from spoiled food. Fortunately their power was restored last night.

My sister-in-law in Miramar had power as of 10 p.m. last night. Haven't spoke to her this morning yet. Leonette likes to sleep late.

It appears blogger Florida Cracker weathered the storm. Keep praying for her and all South Florida residents.

The Sun-Sentinel reports four people having died because of Katrina. Lots of roof and tree damage in Dade and Broward. A highway overpass collapsed in Miami but no one was hurt. A family of five took their boat out of Marthon and is now missing.

Florida Power and Light has over a million customers without power. The company warns that people that it could be a week before electricity is restored.

Latest Katrina location update- REPEATING THE 9 AM EDT POSITION...25.2 N... 82.0 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST NEAR 6 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS... 75 MPH. That is 45 miles northwest of Key West. She is expected to turn Northwest towards the Florida panhandle. So Florida is not yet done with this storm.

As can be seen Katrina turned dramatically to the Southwest. This wasn't unexpected, some computer models had the storm doing this. The discussion posts at NHC are very good for detailed explanations of how forecasters predict these storms.

In all I think South Florida was pretty fortunate in regards to Katrina. The damage in Dade and Broward can be fixed. This wasn't an Andrew like storm.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Katrina blogging

I've decided to do regular updates on the tropical storm and its path towards Florida. That's till it either passes or I lose power.

Note- I have continued updating in a second post. Click here.

10 a.m.- Rather calm but overcast in Lantana Florida. We've had some squall like weather periodically but nothing lasting more than five or ten minutes.

Power is constant. No flickering as of this time.

I rely on the National Hurricane Center, plus the PB Post and Sun-Sentinel for updates on the hurricane. Local television reporting gets to be repetative after a while. They are often misleading and spectacular when reporting also. I will trust what I get from the papers and the NHC above anything I hear on the tube.

The most recent 11 a.m. advisory is up.



26.2 Longitude puts the storm about due east of Deerfield Beach(26n19, 80w06. Deerfield Beach High School is my alma mata) or 25 miles south of where I live.

That puts us close. Katrina could still drift north or even south but there isn't much room between the storm and the coast. I won't be holding my breath for any sudden change south. Besides, that would push it into the path of my sister-in-law in Pembroke Pines. (26n0, 80w13)

Right now the concern I have is the slow movement of Katrina. That's going to prolong and deepen the storm's impact on South Florida. Frances last year was a slow moving storm and did more damage than Jeanne did.

11:45 a.m. Update- Wind is picking up a little.

12:17 p.m.- If anyone is wondering, I'm still waiting for the results of my MRI. Boynton Beach Open imaging which is the same company as Concept another medical testing firm has had a history of infuriating me in the past. Right now they are still trying to find the report for my doctor. These people may be my next knucklehead winner.

Weather conditions are the same. Dreary, light or little rain. The wind is gusty at times.

1:45 p.m. update- Here is the latest advisory. They are coming every two hours instead of every three now.





Weather conditions are the same here. Location hasn't changed relative to where I live. We are in for a ride as I am not feeling confident about this storm.

2:50 p.m.- Another update coming soon but I'm not expecting anything dramatic.

How do we stand down here? Flat footed as the comedian said. No, not really. Our yard is secure except for a few last minute items, namely patio chairs. Shutters are pulled but awaiting to be secured. It's a two person job. Our car will probably be pulled into the garage so that will need to be worked on.

Dear wife is still working. The shutters need someone on the inside and outside to be done properly. Her boss hasn't seen fit to call work for the day. Ugh but what can we do. No office tomorrow.

Unfortunately our bank already closed. Too late for us to cash the wife's paycheck. That will probably have to wait till Monday. We do have cash on hand though, $300 plus dollars. Other supplies are fine, though if we lose power we may bug out similiar to last year. Either to my sister-in-law's(In Miramar not Pembroke Pines) or an apartment in Miami. We have a boatload of food in our freezer, I rather not have it all spoil. Last year we were without power for over a week after Frances.

530 p.m.- Katrina is a hurricane now. Maximum sustained winds of 75 MPH.

We're shuttered up now. The garage just needs to be finished then we move our car in.

The weather has definitely deterioated. Winds are up to the 40's now, rain comes and goes but there have been only short downpours. According to Channel 25 there are now scattered power outages in the County. So far so good in the Lantana area for us and our friends.

A 5 p.m. advisory put Hurricane Katrina at 26.1 N... 79.9 W. and moving at 6 miles per hour. About thirty miles off the coast of Pompano Beach. The storm has drifted slightly south in the last advisory. That's good for me here but not so good for Broward County. The slow movement of this storm is going to wreak as much havoc as the wind.

I got to try finding out when the last direct hit by hurricane on Broward County occured. It has to be before 1970.

Welcome to Michelle Malkin readers. Florida Cracker is blogging on Katrina too.

I got my MRI results. The post is here.

Katrina blogging continued here.

Breakfast- Basil's Blog

Got my Results

On Monday I had an MRI. I wish the news was good.

There is a tumor on both my pancreas and adrenal glands. A needle biopsy will have to be done to determine if its malignant or benign. Dr. Nguyen has written a prescription for it but due to the hurricane I can't get it till Monday.

This could possibly be metastisis of my malignant melanoma. I'm more than aware of the survival statistics of this cancer. It is very depressing. Please keep me in your prayers.

Supper- Basil's blog

Florida- The rules are different here Chapter IV

Former Florida Marlin Pitcher Brad Penny is absolutely right here. Just makes MLB look dumb, but they have a history of that. Read here for an example.

Hat tip- Poliblog news services
Updated: 12:00 p.m. ET Aug. 25, 2005

A performance-enhancing substance? Perhaps not. But an affinity for milk has earned a Florida Marlins batboy a six-game suspension from the team, according to the Miami Herald.

The newspaper reported that the unidentified batboy accepted a dare from Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny to try to drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without throwing up.

According to the report, Penny offered the boy $500 if he could accomplish the task. The Marlins would not comment on the suspension to the Herald, but the boy will not be allowed to work during the upcoming six-game homestand.

Penny was angry about the suspension.

''It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk,'' Penny told the Herald.

The Unthinkable

Michelle Malkin is back from a well deserved vacation. While Michelle was gone, a group of guest bloggers kept the website up to date on recent events.

However there is a small change at Scroll beneath the search engine on the left side of the webpage and you find an advertisement. For the NEW YORK TIMES. Heavens to Betsy! Don't worry Michelle will not be corrupted by this.

Maybe the Palm Beach Post will advertise here one day. Yes siree, and I have a bridge in Leyte Philippines to sell you. The price is so reasonable......

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is National Institute of Health employee Michelle Ledgister. Unhappy with the tax assessment on her home by the Broward County Property Appraiser's Office, Ms. Ledgister threatened an attack of anthrax spores on the office. According to the FBI Ledgister said.

"It's Michelle Ledgister ..... NIH is located where infectious agents are, and you guys now have anthrax spores. Toodles,"

Gives her name, where she works. Michelle Ledgister is a really outrageously dumb Knucklehead winner.

Click here to read the entire Sun-Sentinel article.

Here comes Katrina

There is no doubt any more. We're in for a ride from this storm. How much of a ride and if we'll get hurricane conditions here are still unknown.

Keep us(home included) in your prayers. Thanks.

Why am I not surprised?

Last November Palm Beach County voters approved a half cent sales tax to pay for school construction. The tax hasn't been in effect a full eight months yet but School Superintendant Art Johnson is already saying an extension may be necessary.

"There is not a reason why we can't go back to the public," Johnson said at a workshop on the district's five-year capital plan. "We understand that possibility exists. If we explode in Palm Beach County because of Scripps or because of conversion of the western communities, there's no question that is going to have to happen."

All of that was known before last year's vote. Good thing is to get a continuation, it would have to come to a vote of county voters again. Hopefully common sense will prevail the second time around.

If you want to read the entire Palm Beach Post article, click here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Actor Brock Peters Dead at 78

Best remembered as the accused Rapist in 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird, he more recently appeared in two Star Trek movies and had the recurring role of Benjamin Sisko's father on Star Trek- Deep Space Nine. Mr. Peters died at home yesterday while surrounded by his family. RIP.

LOS ANGELES - Brock Peters, who began his Hollywood career in the landmark productions of "Carmen Jones" and "Porgy and Bess" and gave a heartbreaking performance as the black man falsely accused of rape in "To Kill a Mockingbird," has died at age 78.

Peters had been receiving chemotherapy after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January, according to Marilyn Darby, his longtime companion. His condition worsened in recent weeks and he died peacefully in bed Tuesday, surrounded by family, she said.
Peters was born George Fisher on July 2, 1927, in New York. His long film career began in the 1950s; he appeared in "Carmen Jones" (1954) and in "Porgy and Bess" (1959).

In recent years, he played Admiral Cartwright in two "Star Trek" films and appeared in numerous TV shows. Peters was often used for animated characters, including Jomo in 2002's "The Wild Thornberrys Movie."

But he was perhaps best known for portraying accused rapist Tom Robinson, defended by Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch in the 1962 film "To Kill a Mockingbird."

"He was such a dear friend and one of the most lovely human beings I knew in my life," said Mary Badham, who played Jean Louise "Scout" Finch in the film.

I hate waiting for medical results

If you're a cancer survivor or had a close friend or relative with cancer, you probably know how I feel right now.

This last Monday I went for a MRI. While in the hospital two weeks ago a spot was discovered on my adrenal gland. My primary care doctor wanted this checked out but didn't order the MRI till I was nearly released from the hospital. The day I was being discharged, I was scheduled for an exam the same afternoon. It was decided to do the MRI outpatient instead.

When I went for the exam on Monday, I was told two days for the results. I called Dr. Nguyen's office this afternoon, they still hadn't gotten the results. A further check with Boynton Beach Open Imaging shows they were working on them right now. Ugh I just hope to hear about them today. I plan on checking on it again in an hour or so.

It was December 1993 when my malignant melanoma was first diagnosed. That first time was probably the only time I wasn't anxious about results. The news from Dr. Rubenstein when my wife and I received it on Dec. 30th that year floored us.

Ever since I have never been patient with medical results. Whether its a biopsy, an MRI, bloodwork or any test. The unexpected has happened before, MM is very aggressive. I've survived not just one of them, but FOUR all diagnosed in 1993-94.(Two on my back, one on my face, one on my left arm) Ten years is a long time for a recurrence but I know from other patients its hardly impossible. I've been very lucky, while too many of my friends haven't been. Therefore I always wonder if my luck will run out.

All I can do is pray and wait. It just isn't easy.

Lunch- Basil's Blog

Lance Armstrong tested positive for banned substances?

A French newspaper reported just that and now the Tour De France's director says the cyclist owes an explanation.

These allegations have all been around earlier. The substance EPO, has been banned since 1990. But a test wasn't possible till 2001. The results the French Sports daily L'Equipe reported on came from 1999, but were not tested till 2004. All of this is highly odd to put it mildly. I'm no expert, I'll let you draw the conclusions.

By ANGELA DOLAND, Associated Press Writer

PARIS - The director of the Tour de France claims Lance Armstrong has "fooled" the sports world and that the seven-time champion owes fans an explanation over new allegations he used a performance-boosting drug.

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc's comments appeared in the French sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday, a day after the newspaper reported that six urine samples provided by Armstrong during the '99 Tour tested positive for the red blood cell-booster EPO.

"For the first time — and these are no longer rumors, or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts — someone has shown me that in 1999, Armstrong had a banned substance called EPO in his body," Leblanc told L'Equipe.

"The ball is now in his court. Why, how, by whom? He owes explanations to us and to everyone who follows the tour. Today, what L'Equipe revealed shows me that I was fooled. We were all fooled."

On Tuesday, Leblanc called the latest accusations against Armstrong shocking and troubling.

Armstrong, a frequent target of L'Equipe, vehemently denied the allegations Tuesday, calling the article "tabloid journalism."

"I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs," he said on his Web site.

Armstrong, who retired from professional cycling after winning the Tour a month ago, was not immediately available for comment regarding Leblanc's latest remarks.

EPO, formally known as erythropoietin, was on the list of banned substances at the time Armstrong won the first of his seven Tour's, but there was no effective test then to detect it.

The allegations surfaced six years later because EPO tests on the 1999 samples were carried out only last year — when scientists at a lab outside Paris used them for research to perfect EPO testing. The national anti-doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry said it promised to hand its finding to the World Anti-Doping Agency, provided it was never used to penalize riders.

Five-time cycling champion Miguel Indurain said he couldn't understand why scientists would use samples from the 1999 Tour for their tests.

"That seems bizarre, and I don't know who would have the authorization to do it," he told L'Equipe. "I don't even know if it's legal to keep these samples."

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Pompano Beach Fire Dept. Training Cmdr. Robert McCarthy. Cmdr. McCarthy was responsible for verifying the legitamacy of diplomas of those who worked at the Department. Now McCarthy is being demoted because he applied for the position of batallion chief and it was discovered the Cmdr. got a degree from a school that isn't certified.

Dumb, dumb and dumber sums this all up. At the end of the Sun-Sentinel article, Pompano Beach Fire Chief Harry Small said McCarthy had a credibility issue. I say the Cmdr has no credibility. He used his position of authority to verify other workers credentials and training when his own was sorely lacking. That really takes chutzpah and therefore the cmdr is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Pompano fire commander demoted for getting college degree from online company
By Jean-Paul Renaudand Brian Haas

The commander responsible for verifying the legitimacy of diplomas at the Pompano Beach Fire Department will be demoted Friday after his staff discovered he applied for a position using an invalid degree in fire science.

Training Cmdr. Robert McCarthy will be relieved of his position and assigned to a fire house as a lieutenant on "C" Shift, which begins at 7:30 a.m. In demoting him, Chief Harry Small said the credibility of McCarthy's position has been "severely compromised."

"This has particular significance in that the training commander has the responsibility to `validate' all employee credentials as they relate to promotional examinations," Small wrote in a memorandum to McCarthy Monday.

In April, McCarthy, a 20-year veteran of the department, applied for the position of battalion chief, which requires candidates to have an associate's degree in fire science.

In reviewing the application for adequate qualifications, McCarthy's staff discovered their boss' diploma came from Suffield University, an online company that gives degrees for "life experience." It has not been accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

"Your submission of an unaccredited diploma in order to qualify for the battalion chief's exam has all but made it impossible for you to continue performing the role of training commander as it relates to promotional validation," Small wrote in the memorandum.

Messages were left for McCarthy with the city's public information officer and the firefighters' union, but he could not be reached for comment.

Prayer Request

The son of fellow blogger Soldier's Mom, SPC. Noah Pincusoff, was seriously wounded in Iraq. Please keep Noah, his Mom and all their family in your prayers

Tropical Storm Watch

My part of South Florida is carefully watching a tropical depression near the Bahamas. The National Hurricane Center posted a Tropical Storm watch for most of the Southeast Florida coast.

The family and I have been through a few weak tropical storms since our move to Lantana in 1989. This isn't a TS yet but expected to become Tropical Storm Katrina in the next day or so. It isn't a well organized storm or a very strong one, we should only get alot of rain and some wind, but after the hurricane experiences of 2004 I'm taking this more seriously than we did TS Irene back in 1999 or 2000.

So if my blogging suddenly stops, you know what happened. Stay tuned.

Breakfast- Basil's Blog

Update- At the 8 a.m. National Hurricane Center update, the tropical depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Katrina.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What was he thinking of? Part 2

This man would have normally won a Knucklehead of the Day award.

Man hits girl with van, drives her home
By Scott McCabe

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A Loxahatchee man was arrested after he backed over a 10-year-old girl with his van and then carried the girl to her home before returning to the accident scene, a sheriff's office spokesman said.

The girl, Glenda Hurtado of Loxahatchee, had stepped off a school bus at Yorkshire Drive and Seminole Pratt Road with a friend and was walking home when Terbainee Sarju, 62, attempted to make a three-point U-turn in his blue van, according Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Miller.

The 1991 Plymouth struck Glenda, and Sarju jumped out, pulled the girl from under his vehicle and put her in his van, Miller said. Sarju drove the girl to her home, which was about three blocks from his own house, Miller said. Sarju then drove home, picked up his wife and then returned to the accident scene, Miller said.

Sarju was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license, Miller said.

Glenda was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center where her injuries were not life-threatening.

Palm Beach County Knucklehead of the Day

There are so many knuckleheads out there today for me to write about.

Our local winner is Palm Beach County Commissioner Adele Greene. She gets the local award for her recent comments regarding the shooting of Jerrod Miller and the Grand Jury decision to not charge Delray Beach Police Officer Darren Cogoni in the death.

I blogged about this story before. A inquest ordered by the State Attorney Barry Krischer had determined charges should be filed but the feckless Mr. Krischer sent the case back to a Grand Jury. I still don't agree with that decision.

There is a long catalog of mistakes in the entire Miller-Cogoni affair but Commissioner Greene is only fanning the fires and looking for trouble. Here are her two of her most insane statements.

First she'd advise black teens to be careful when approached by law enforcement. "I'll them him to run and find the biggest crowd of people. If he doesn't, he will be killed. We in Palm Beach County are living in the days of the Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia lynchings."

The end comment is outrageous enough. But the idea of suggesting teens to run from the police borders on the insane. That's what Miller did, and look what happened.

Then yesterday Greene held a press conference to clarify her comments. Law enforcement officials from the county showed up to protest and the conference turned into a ugly shouting match. You can read the entire Palm Beach Post story here.

At a news conference, Greene was met by members of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association who said she was "preaching hate," was a racist and was disrespectful to members of law enforcement. They wore T-shirts that said "Addie Must Resign," shouted comments and chanted "Resign. Resign. Resign."

Afterward, Greene flatly rejected their demands and said their behavior was rude and disrespectful: "The only thing they left at home was the sheet."

Ms. Greene just further proves what her accusers say about her. I predict Ms. Greene won't resign from office nor will she be defeated for re-election. I feel sorry for her constituents, they have a Knucklehead for a County Commissioner. Then I think most of Palm Beach County does. I'll save that for another time.

Zogby International- Where for art thou?

Blogger Don Surber notes the curious absence of polling on the 2006 West Virginia Senatorial race. Robert Byrd is facing his most serious re-election fight ever from Republican Shelley Moore Capito. Zogby International has polling data on 25 of next year's 33 Senatorial races but none for West Virginia so far. That's interesting because the Byrd-Capito already appaears to be one of the most critical races for the next election cycle.

I don't see anything sinister behind Zogby's lack of coverage. If you forgot, Zogby was perhaps the biggest cause of last year's exit poll debacle. They were way off in predicting how states would fare in the Bush-Kerry election. Some people speculated back then if Zogby's figures were off due to a prevalence for polling in urban rather than rural areas. West Virginia is mostly rural and this may be the cause of Zogby's current inattentiveness to this important 2006 race. To be honest, I don't give much credence to polls done this early. There is just too much time till election day.

Maybe I should have just walked it there

I don't write about my correspondence chess games too often here. This will be an exception.

At the moment I have 132 games going. Most are played by snail mail. I'm willing to play any game by email but most CC players still prefer the postcard route.

I live in Lantana Florida. Most of Boca Raton is less than twenty miles from my home. I have a player in Boca named Albert Rothaus. On July 26th I mailed a postcard to him. Care to take a guess when he got it?

AUGUST 18th!!!!!!

I could have walked to Boca Raton and back multiple times. Do they ever wonder why more people use email every day?

If not for Pat Robertson, the US Post Office would have been today's knucklehead winner. I got a feeling they will get another shot at it sooner or later.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today has Knucklehead candidates raining down on me but I think the following is the best.

The Knucklehead for today is Preacher Pat Robertson. On yesterday's 700 Club he advocated the assaination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

I don't like Chavez any more than most US citizens do, but I don't advocate assaination. Only Mr. Robertson does, and he calls himself a Man of God. What happened to the commandment, 'Thou Shalt not Kill' Reverend? Pat Robertson is a deserving Knucklehead of the day.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Prayer requests for a fellow blogger

My good friend Kobayashi Maru is going through a difficult time right now. His brother had a recurrence of his leukemia. At first doctors weren't hopeful, but recent events/news do give KM's brother hope for a miracle.

Please go over and visit Kobayashi Maru, read his posts and drop him a note. Cancer is tough on caregivers and loved ones also and my friend could use some cheering up. I'm an almost 12-year cancer survivor myself, miracles do happen.

Breakfast- Basil's blog

What a load of Bull Tahe

Here is some interesting news from Oregon.

BROWNSVILLE, Ore. - It could have happened to anyone: Charles Gastorf and his wife, Cheryl, forgot to pay the $10 tab for 10 bags of steer manure during a recent shopping trip to their local Wal-Mart.

The two say that in the confusion of shopping on that March day they simply forgot to add in the cost of the manure. When the Gastorfs explained their forgetfulness to Lebanon City Attorney
Tom McHill, he dropped shoplifting charges against them.

That could have been the end of the story — except for the letter from the world's largest retailer that soon arrived in their mailbox, demanding $175 in civil damages.

That's when the Gastorfs learned about a little-known Oregon law that allows retailers to pursue civil penalties regardless of whether a person is found guilty or innocent of theft.

The Gastorfs — who live in a manufactured home and are retired — spoke to an attorney, who told them that challenging the action in court could cost them several thousand dollars, much more than the $175 civil claim.

So the Gastorfs paid Wal-Mart the money.

"We wouldn't want to embark on a life of crime at our ages and become manure thieves. I mean, if you were going to steal something, would you steal manure?" Gastorf said.

But Shardon Weber, a spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, told The Albany Democrat Herald that the company has decided to refund the Gastorfs' $175.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is former NFL player Lawrence Phillips. He was arrested yesterday for running down three teenagers with his car. This isn't Mr. Phillips first run-in with the law. He has had a history of them going back to his playing days at the University of Nebraska. At the time of his arrest Phillips was also wanted on charges of Domestic abuse.

Note to Yahoo- Lawrence Phillips was never a NFL star contrary to your headline. He was a bust, a bum, a failure and alot of other words. Star isn't one of them.

Hat tip- LaShawn Barber

LOS ANGELES - Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips, who was wanted by police for domestic violence, was arrested Sunday after allegedly running his car into three teenagers who argued with him during a pickup football game, police said.

Phillips, 30, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and domestic abuse and held without bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Web site. It wasn't immediately clear if Phillips had an attorney to represent him.

Police had been seeking Phillips since earlier this month for allegedly attacking his girlfriend twice, once choking her into unconsciousness.

Phillips joined a group of 16- and 17-year-olds in a pickup football game in Exposition Park on Sunday and got into an argument with some of the teens, said Los Angeles Police Officer Sandra Escalante. He left, but came back and drove a car onto the field, hitting three of the boys, she said.

The three teenagers were treated at a hospital; none of their injuries was considered life threatening, police said.

The car was reported stolen in San Diego last week, Escalante said.

Phillips was arrested and held on the domestic violence felony warrant. Charges are pending in the Sunday incident, Escalante said.

It wasn't immediately clear if Phillips had an attorney to represent him.

The former University of Nebraska star has a history of high-profile trouble with the law going back a decade to his time as one of the nation's top college football players.

Must read in the Washington Post

On the same day the Post publishes a Knucklehead of a Consumer article, another story was published. It featured our favorite milblogger Chuck and the non-profit group Soldiers' Angels. You really must go over and read it. Registration is required, but its free. I'm only going to excerpt the very end.

Now they're all sitting in a room at Mologne House, the outpatient center that's part of the Walter Reed complex. Everyone is headed home next week. Ziegenfuss is wearing walking shorts and a knit shirt. The clothing covers up many of his injuries. The skin over the wounds is purple, bright in some spots and dark in others. He, Carren, Alice and Bair sit around a table talking. They're going for pizza in a minute.

"I think he's had nine operations," says Alice.

"Does that include the ear?" he asks.

"Ten," she corrects herself.

"They took a piece of my head and put it in my ear," he says, explaining surgery to repair a perforated eardrum.

Ziegenfuss is in good spirits, if slightly apprehensive about his future. What does a captain with nine fingers do?

"Get back in line," he says, citing what he most wants to do -- return to Iraq and his command.

For Bair, the relationship is winding down. There are other soldiers she looks in on, other wounds to mend. None of it will change the world. Hand-holding and sandwiches and toothbrushes rarely do.

They just make it a little more bearable, these acts of kindness from strangers in a time of war, these things that bind us.

Thank you Kathleen Bair and Soldiers' Angels for helping care for Chuck and our other servicemen. Get well Chuck and God bless you and your family.

Hat tip- Mudville Gazette

My State House Representative Shelley Vana Part 2

She is back in the news today. Earlier this month I blogged about the cozy little job Rep. Vana was lining up for herself. Before getting elected to the State House, Vana was a Palm Beach County School teacher and President of the local teacher's association.

State Rep. Shelley Vana, D-Lantana, is in line for a new "science programs coordinator" post approved by the school board last week. Vana was a teacher, but wanted a non-classroom job to allow her time in Tallahassee. With salary and benefits, the new job's listed as an $88,716 budget item, but Vana will make less because she won't be paid when she's on legislative business, schools spokesman Nat Harrington said.

A new job just for Rep. Vana? Smells like a sweetheart deal to me. In my prior post, Vana was listed as a schoolteacher when it was obviously incompatible with her state rep. duties. Is this someone's idea of a solution?

The school board decision happened last week but only rates a tiny comment in a weekly political comment today. Why isn't Randy Schultz and the Palm Beach Post Editorial board asking uncomfortable questions right now? I would be if I were them and I assume they read your own newspaper.

I'm going to email the author of today's article and Mr. Schultz. Stay tuned.

Breakfast- Basil's Blog

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