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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, November 30, 2005

Time to do away with limbo

The Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI may finally get rid of this outdated and I think wrong doctrine. Limbo had been deempazied over the last forty years as the Globe and Mail reports but not done away with entirely.

What I could never understand is that unbaptized babies not going to heaven. They are innocents and Jesus in the Gospel says let the children come to me. I always felt that was a contradiction and that God would embrace these members of his family. Pope John Paul II in 1992 catechism said-

"As regards children who have died without baptism, the church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them."

I think that would only be right. Go and read the entire article.

Hat tip- Captain Ed
Open Post- Don Surber, Outside the Beltway

Who's complaining Pilots or Associated Press?

Here is a story that cites pilots complaining about restrictions on flying over the home of Vice-President Cheney's home in Maryland. There is something curious about it.

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed flight restrictions over Dick Cheney's new Maryland home, angering private pilots who say they can't fly overhead even when the vice president isn't around.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association spokesman Chris Dancy said Tuesday the FAA only imposes restrictions at Cheney's Jackson Hole, Wyo., home when he's there. He questioned the need to have the restrictions in place at all times over a home in Maryland, which has much more air traffic.

Cheney's new home is on the Chesapeake Bay in St. Michaels, Md., about 30 miles east of Washington. The restricted airspace has a radius of one nautical mile and was established Nov. 22.

The vice president's official residence is on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington, part of the region covered by airspace restrictions that were put in place after the Sept. 11 attacks.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the St. Michaels' restriction is classified as temporary, though she acknowledged there is no date for it to be lifted.

Airspace restrictions are an inconvenience for private pilots. If they stray into restricted space, they could have their pilot's license taken away, be escorted away by fighter jets or, in a worst-case scenario, be shot down.

Flight restrictions over President Bush's house in Crawford, Texas, stay in place even when he isn't there.

Anyone note what is missing? Where is there one quote from a pilot complaining about the restriction. If the person wanted to be annonymous, why not quote them? There is a good reason for there to be a restriction, the Vice-President is first in line of sucession the presidency. A one mile restriction hardly seems like alot. If a pilot reads this and knows better, feel free to tell me in my comments.

Overall I think this story is shoddy journalism, if you can't either quote or name a person making a complaint, where is the story? Of course this could be just more MSM whining and stupidity. AP has done it before, why not now?

Open Post- Don Surber, Stuck on Stupid, Right Wing Nation, Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog,

Tear down the Orange Bowl?

The City of Miami is considering just that according to a Channel 6 news report I found at the Sun-Sentinel website. The Orange Bowl is nearly 70 years old and suffered structural damage due to Hurricane Wilma.

I was to Miami Dolphin or Miami Hurricane games about a dozen times in the late 70's to mid-eighties but not since. The stadium was on the antiquated side back then. Seats had no backs etc. There's been alot of history at the OB but all stadiums eventually meet the wrecking ball.

Open Post- Don Surber, Third World County, Bright & Early

MIAMI -- The city of Miami is considering a proposal to tear down the historic Orange Bowl stadium, news partner NBC 6 reported Wednesday morning.

The stadium, which was built in 1936, suffered structural damage when Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida on Oct. 24.

Miami City Manager Joe Arriola said city officials have not discussed the proposal with the University of Miami, which uses the stadium for its home football games.

Arriola said officials are concerned about the structural integrity of the stadium. City officials could decide to make repairs to the facility or tear it down.

At a game on Oct. 29, just days after Wilma, UM fans were moved from the upper deck of the stadium as a safety precaution even though city officials deemed the facility structurally safe after Wilma passed through

I do, I do, No you don't!

Some news out of Texas. If Ms. Rector has no influence over her planned husband's work directly or indirectly, I don't see a conflict. However Texas laws on this could be strict, and I'm aware there are good reasons to not allow nepotism.

Open Post- Don Surber, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Jo's Cafe, Political Teen,

AUSTIN - When Kerr County Tax Assessor-Collector Paula Rector decided to get married, she sought permission — not from family or friends, but from the state attorney general.

And she didn't get it.

Rector, 54, wanted to marry one of the district's tax appraisers. But the couple worried that their marital union would violate the state's nepotism law, so they brought the case before Attorney General Greg Abbott.

In an opinion released Tuesday, Abbott confirmed their fears, ruling that the couple could not marry and simultaneously retain their positions.

"Isn't that crazy? We thought it was funny that we had to wait for an attorney general's opinion to tell us whether we could or couldn't," Rector told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. "I bet that's never happened before."

Rector could not resign from the appraisal district board or appoint someone to replace her because the position must be held by the tax collector, according to state law. But she highlighted the fact that she does not vote on how appraisals are set, nor does the board make any hiring or firing decisions outside of the job of chief appraiser.

"It doesn't affect his appraisals, and I don't get a percentage of what I collect," Rector said.

Kerr County Attorney Rex Emerson had argued in a letter to Abbott that the couple's plight did not squarely fit inside the law's provisions.

"This unfortunate situation is an unintended consequence of a well-meaning statute, and it is urged that the nepotism laws should not be applied in this case," Emerson said.

"Nepotism laws are designed to prevent a public officer from serving his or her personal interest in full employment for relatives instead of the public interest in hiring the best qualified employees," Emerson said. "The (tax assessor-collector) lacks a voice in employment matters."

But Abbott ruled that state law trumps love.

"The employee may retain his employment until the end of his contract with the appraisal district, or if the employee is employed at-will, he may retain his employment until the end of the pay period during which his marriage occurs," Abbott said.

Rector said she was disappointed with the ruling but would wait until her retirement to marry her fiance. She has served five terms in office and said she may not seek re-election when her current term ends in three years.

Time to boycott Birmingham Alabama?

That would seem to be the fair response after Morgan Quitno Press released a report saying Birmingham was the 10th most dangerous city in America. Governor Bob Riley called for a boycott of Aruba based on one murder, maybe the knucklehead should worry about matters closer to home.

Open Post- Don Surber, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Basil's Blog,

CAMDEN, New Jersey (AP) -- For the second year in a row this destitute city of Camden, New Jersey, has been named the nation's most dangerous, according to a company's annual ranking based on crime statistics.

Last year, the distinction seemed to hurt city boosters' feelings more than it harmed revitalization efforts. This time, city leaders are offended by the ranking, calling it unfair.

"We're doing so many nice things now. It's unfortunate that somebody always wants to bad-mouth Camden," Mayor Gwendolyn Faison said.

The city took the top spot last year from Detroit, which remained No. 2 in the most dangerous city rankings, to be released Monday by Morgan Quitno Press.

The Lawrence, Kansas-based company publishes "City Crime Rankings," an annual reference book.

Listed as the most dangerous cities are: Camden, New Jersey; Detroit, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Flint, Michigan; Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Gary, Indiana; Birmingham, Alabama.

At the other end of the scale, the safest are named as: Newton, Massachusetts; Clarkstown, New York; Amherst, New York; Mission Viejo, California; Brick Township, New Jersey; Troy, Michigan; Thousand Oaks, California; Round Rock, Texas; Lake Forest, California; Cary, North Carolina.

Lack of common sense in Florida MSM

Several news media outlets are suing the state of Florida so as to be able to see autopsy photos of Carlie Brucia. Carlie was the 11-year-old Florida girl brutally murdered in 2004 by Joseph Smith.

The trial judge in Smith's case blocked access to these materials by t he media. Florida has what is known as Sunshine Laws that allow public access to most goverment documents and proceedings. In wake of Dale Earnhardt's death at the 2001 Daytona 500, a law was passed that exempted autopsy photos. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Tampa Tribune, Bradenton Herald and WFLA-TV News Channel 8 have appealed the trial judge's ruling all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. A ruling should be handed down shortly.

I believe in Florida Sunshine Laws for the most part. Our government and its work should be done out in the open. What I don't get here is why these media outlets are suing? Let me quote this part of the AP article.

Attorney General Charlie Crist has asked the high court to block a Nov. 22 appellate court ruling that would let representatives of three newspapers and a television station examine, but not publish, broadcast or post on the Internet, crime-scene photos and tapes introduced against Joseph P. Smith.

They won't publish them but then why do they need them? I guess they are fighting over a principle here, that this should be an open matter. Here is something else.

"A stay by this court would necessarily mean that, for the first time in Florida history, a death-penalty proceeding will be conducted based upon evidence hidden from representatives of the public," the media lawyers wrote in papers filed Monday.

The media lawyers are dead wrong. As the article points out, the photos were introduced at trial. They were available to the public then.

What I'm getting to is I think these media outlets should drop the suit. The Brucia family has been t hrough enough of an ordeal, and they don't need the MSM viewing the carnage done to their daughter just so they can stand on principle. The family has a right to privacy too. Or does that just apply to abortion?

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Stuck on Stupid, Right Wing Nation, Adam's Blog,

The end of hurricane season

Today marks the official end of Hurricane season. Don't mind me if I get down on my knees and say thanks.

South Florida had both Wilma and Katrina. Many non-Floridians forget that the later struck southern Broward County and Miami-Dade before going on to Louisiana. I personally experienced the former. We have a roof needing repairs but there are so many people in South Florida in same boat that roofing contractors are overwhelmed with business. It can be months before we get someone over here.

Our church has worse damage. The main building is fine, its roof being damaged by Francis in 2004 and repaired only months ago. However the church rectory and social hall are so badly damaged the buildings should in all probability be condemned.

There's Tropical system 26 out there too. At least Epsilon is far out to sea and likely to stay that way.

Looks like we get a six month reprieve till June 1, 2006. Don't mind me if I feel anxious going into next year's season.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Stuck on Stupid, Right Wing Nation

Bunglers and disgraceful

Best describes most of the participants in this story. Parents give their three-month old daughter Vodka mixed in with baby formula killing the child. This kind of stupidity angers me enough. Then Fort Lauderdale police never bother to arrest the couple for 16 months after being told it was a homicide. I don't buy the language barrier bs either being given. With as big a Haitian population down here as there is, this isn't the first case the FTL police had with Creole speakers. Someone screwed up big time and now Mardala Derival and Mackenson Dantus are fugitives.

Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early

Fort Lauderdale -- It took nearly two years to issue an arrest warrant in the case of two parents accused of killing their 3-month-old child using formula mixed with vodka.

It may have taken so long, in part, because infant deaths from alcohol poisoning are highly unusual, a police spokeswoman said Tuesday.

"I don't know of any cases like this in our city that I'm aware of," said Detective Katherine Collins, the Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman. "This is pretty bad."

Mardala Derival, 22, and Mackenson Dantus, 25, are fugitives charged with aggravated manslaughter in connection with the death of their child, Makeisha Dantus, in February 2004. A warrant for their arrest was issued Oct. 20.

Makeisha's blood-alcohol level, 0.47, was enough to kill an adult, toxicologists say. It would take a shot of vodka, or 35 ml, to immediately cause the same toxicity level in the 9.5-pound, 22-inch baby, assistant medical examiner Dr. Altaf Hossain said in a report.

On Tuesday, Dr. Josh Perper, the Broward County medical examiner, said the case is unusual.

"I don't remember a case like this in the past 11 years in Broward County," Perper said. "Children are very sensitive to alcohol, they can die at very low levels."

In April 2004, the medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide, but it took prosecutors more than a year to issue the arrest warrant. Collins said investigators kept track of the couple until they moved in August 2005.

The FBI's Fugitive Apprehension Task Force is among the agencies searching for the couple, she said.

Other delaying factors came into play as investigators looked into the baby's death, including a language barrier, other agencies' participation and difficulty locating witnesses, Collins said. She declined to elaborate.

"We cannot ethically file charges unless there is adequate evidence," said Howard Scheinberg, a prosecutor in the Broward State Attorney's homicide division. "When we get a case like this, we'll continue to investigate and seek out more.

"Evidence continued to develop up until the time of the warrant," Scheinberg said. "Until Oct. 20 we felt it was more appropriate to continue investigating."

Andrea Moore, executive director of Florida's Children First, a statewide advocacy organization for children based in Coral Springs, said the Broward State Attorney's Office usually moves quickly on cases of suspected child abuse.

"This is not typical for them, so there must be a good reason," Moore said. "It's very unusual."

Makeisha was declared dead at her parents' apartment at 831 NE 14th Court on Valentine's Day 2004. The parents told police she had suffered from a fever, oral thrush, vomiting and diarrhea for three days, the medical examiner's report states.

To calm the child, the parents gave her Tylenol for the fever, sugar water mixed with vodka and baby formula also mixed with vodka, Hossain said in the medical examiner's report. The child was not seen by a physician, he stated.

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are the members of the Massachusetts Commission On Judicial Conduct. They are Robert J. Guttentag, William W. Teahan, Jr, Susan D. Ricci, Stephen E. Neel, William E. Bernstein, Gael Mahony, Christopher P. Geehern, and Mary Z. Connaughton. All but Geehern, Connaughton and Guttentag are judges or lawyers in MA. Don't matter, these knuckleheads get the award for their handling the case of Judge Robert F. Murray. This disreputable jurist sexually harassed two female Plymouth county employees. The judge was suspeneded without pay, so what do these eight commission members do? They give Murray a one year suspension without pay, fine him $50,000(The state paid out $250,000 to settle with the women) and even leave open that he can return to the bench after the suspension is over.

Another instance of the legal system of our being both broke and corrupt. These people think their gods, and can't be held accountable. Any of them and they protect their own. This is the third outrageous case at least in the last 2 months. Click here and here. And don't forget this one here in Palm Beach County, where a disgraced judge with a similiar record was being re-hired by the State Attorney's office. The people in this country see this conduct and criminals go free to rape and murder again or people face loss of their homes in direct contradiction of the constitution and they get fed up. A revolution will come one day and the judicial system in this country brought it on themselves. For bringing dishonor and corruption to the legal profession, Robert J. Guttentag, William W. Teahan, Jr, Susan D. Ricci, Stephen E. Neel, William E. Bernstein, Gael Mahony, Christopher P. Geehern, and Mary Z. Connaughton are today's knuckleheads of the day.

Hat tip- Wizbang

Open Post- Don Surber, Is it just me?,

The one-year slap-on-the-wrist suspension that will allow “love judge” Robert F. Murray to return to the bench after sexually harassing female underlings would never pass muster in the private sector, experts say.

“I don’t think this would fly in the private sector. Increasingly, the private sector is realizing that it has to have a much closer to zero tolerance for this type of conduct,” said Boston lawyer Inga Bernstein, a sexual harassment specialist.

The state Judicial Conduct Commission yesterday announced it had reached an agreement with Murray, 60, a Plymouth County Juvenile Court judge accused of sexually harassing two female workers last year.

As part of the one year unpaid suspension agreement with the JCC, Murray — who made a rare public apology — will also have to give up his accumulated vacation time and pay a $50,000 fine. He also can no longer serve in Plymouth County but is free to be reassigned to a different court afterward. The state paid the women and their lawyers a total of $250,000 to settle their civil claims Nov. 18.

Court clerk Michelle Goldberg and court officer Barbara Brawders alleged Murray made inappropriate telephone calls and engaged in unwanted touching at the Brockton courthouse where the three worked together last year.

In another instance, Brawders claimed Murray, his breath reeking of liquor, asked to speak to her in the jury deliberation room near his chambers and tried to kiss her once she entered, sources familiar with the allegations told the Herald.

Murray, in a statement released by the JCC, apologized and blamed “medical problems and personal difficulties.”

“I acknowledge and accept responsibility for my wrongful conduct. I am very sorry for the pain, anguish and apprehension I caused both court employees,” the statement said. “I am very sorry for the embarrassment and expense to the Trial Court, and I apologize to my judicial colleagues for what I have done.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Come fly with me......

Or maybe I should say sink. In a week's time I've gone from a Large Mammal to a Flappy bird. I've also lost over 2,000 places in Bear's Rankings. He has a message up that updates are in progress but it seems in order to fix his system so not to count Open trackbacks Bear has instead broke his rankings to the point of silliness. I lose about 45-50 unique links out of a total approaching nearly 200 a week ago and I drop 2,000 spots. Open trackbacks are still being counted and Bear has mucked up his own system. What I think the moral of this tale is is not to take the bear's rankings seriously at all.

I'll stick to trying to build an audience here at TFM. With Knuckleheads, Florida issues, silly news and occasionally pissing people off like I did with this post and this.

Those two posts got me a record amount of comments since I converted to haloscan. If all I wanted was lots of comments, I guess I could continue to be contrarian to what most right of center bloggers think. Then people wouldn't take me credibly. I will continue to state my views even if I'm not taking the popular stance. What would life be like if we all agreed?

TFM turned 6 months old two days ago. I've improved my blogging mechanics considerably since this post.

Wizbang is having the 2005 Weblog awards. Here at TFM we'll be having the Knucklehead awards. For the biggest and worst of 2005. Categories will include Sports&Entertainment, MSM, Politics and our judicial system to name just a few. The winners will be announced the last week of December ending with THE KNUCKLEHEAD(s) of 2005.

There all 100 of you out there have something to look forward to.

Open Post- Don Surber, Adam's Blog, Third World County, Is it Just me

Now bend over, this won't hurt

Some news from the Sun-Sentinel website. Could you imagine being one of the researchers studying this?

Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog, Third World County

CHICAGO -- Fatter rear ends are causing many drug injections to miss their mark, requiring longer needles to reach buttock muscle, researchers said today.

Standard-sized needles failed to reach the buttock muscle in 23 out of 25 women whose rears were examined after what was supposed to be an intramuscular injection of a drug.

Two-thirds of the 50 patients in the study did not receive the full dosage of the drug, which instead lodged in the fat tissue of their buttocks, researchers from The Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin said in a presentation to the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Besides patients receiving less than the correct drug dosage, medications that remain lodged in fat can cause infection or irritation, researchers Victoria Chan said.

"There is no question that obesity is the underlying cause. We have identified a new problem related, in part, to the increasing amount of fat in patients' buttocks," Chan said.

"The amount of fat tissue overlying the muscles exceeds the length of the needles commonly used for these injections," she said.

The 25 men and 25 women studied at the Irish hospital ranged in age from 21 to 87.

The buttocks are a good place for intramuscular injections because there are relatively few major blood vessels, nerves and bones that can be damaged by a needle. Plentiful smaller blood vessels found in muscle carry the drug to the rest of the body, while fat tissue contains relatively few blood vessels.

From the silly news desk

Some news out of Gaza. Hat tip- Bright & Early who thinks terrorist recruiting must be down right now.

Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe,

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Armed robbers made off with a lion cub and two Arabic-speaking parrots in a recent raid on Gaza's zoo, Palestinian police chief and newspapers said.

Suod al-Shawwa, the zoo's chairman of the board, told Palestinian newspapers four masked gunmen used blankets to try and snatch a pair of lion cubs, but only managed to capture one.

"They wrapped the lion cub in a blanket and took him away," Shawwa said.

He said the Kalashnikov-toting gang first tied the zoo keeper up in a cafeteria and then made their way to the cages, where they also seized the parrots.

Palestinian police chief Ala Husni said forces were investigating the theft and believed the cub and parrots were being concealed in a Gaza hide-out.

Shawwa promised a $1,000 reward to whoever managed to track the animals down.

The small zoo opened last month in the crowded, poverty-stricken coastal strip and is also home to squirrels, monkeys, an ostrich, and some household pets.

Calling Governor Bush or a Knucklehead followup.

Yesterday I blogged about how DCF which was to give out emergency food stamps to Hurricane Wilma victims had dropped the ball. Despite saying cards would be issued in 7-10 days many people were still missing them.

I did some phone calls yesterday. Called DCF, got a live operator who said I had to talk to someone else, then got transferred and disconnected. Then got another person who told m e I had to call EBT because they were the ones responsible for mailing the cards. Then I called EBT and was told the cards were mailed out November 18th in this particular case. That was 10 days earlier. A supervisor tried to brush this off, slow mail, that it would take 5-7 business days for the post office to deliver them. This knucklehead supervisor went as far as to count business days like Govt. business days not Post Office business days.(Post Office is open saturdays, government is not). The man was in obvious denial and didn't want to be bothered.

So I went and called Governor Bush's office, operator gave me to an assistant who then passed me to a DCF operator, and then to the DCF director's office. They passed the buck further, sending me to EBT. Finally I got someone who could help, her name is Connie Reinhardt. She said anyone approved for Food stamps who hadn't gotten their cards could call and get their number over the phone. Stores can hand input the numbers in place of the swipe card. Ms. Reinhardt did stick to the mailing on November 18th story, but if my friends didn't get their card by tomorrow would Fedex them a replacement.

While this was all going on, I been talking to WPEC Channel 12 and their reporter Suzanne Boyd. They are getting a similiar run around from DCF and I told her just a few minutes ago to follow up with Connie Reinhardt. Other than Channel 12, where is the press on this story? The Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel haven't said a word. I tried contacting reporters there but no one was in the newsroom yesterday.

First people's lives get disrupted by a hurricane, our politicians promise help but then don't fufill it as the bureaucrats and them pass the buck. The MSM in this area for this area doesn't care, and or is too lazy to be bothered. I guess I got a bunch more knuckleheads to pass out soon, starting with Governor Bush. Get off your butt Governor and do something.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Political Teen, Outside the Beltway

A billion here, a billion there....

and we're soon talking about real money. So goes the saying in Washington politics. It also applies here in Florida when it comes to the Florida Department of Transportion or DOT. 16 years ago I-595 a connector expressway was built in Broward County. It runs from the western suburbs to Port Everglades. At the time it was the most expensive road project in Florida, costing 1.3 billion dollars.

Guess what? The DOT wants to spend another 1.03 billion to improve the road and fix poorly designed interchanges. This will take 10 years and won't start till 2010. Our govt. couldn't do it right the first time, so they want another shot. Typical isn't it? When are highways ever built to match present needs? Never it seems, I-95 was over capacity the day it was completed down here. More taxpayer dollars down the toilet and more construction to cause travel nightmares. And some wonder why you have to be a masochist to live here.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Pursuing Holiness

Whether you're headed east in the morning or west in the evening, the crush of commuters takes the rush out of rush hour on Interstate 595.

It's been that way almost from the day the $1.3 billion highway opened in 1989, the most expensive highway project ever built in Florida at the time.

Starting in 2010, planners will get another crack at relieving Broward County's east-west commuting woes with an ambitious makeover of I-595 that would take a decade to complete and cost more than $1 billion.

The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing Tuesday on the plans.

Among the first priorities will be eliminating the tricky S-curve from westbound I-595 to northbound Florida's Turnpike -- the scene of a fatal gasoline tanker crash that killed four people in February -- with a more direct ramp.

The missing link of State Road 84 also would be built parallel to I-595 between State Road 7 and Davie Road, eliminating the need for local traffic to get on the interstate.

"One of the big problems we have now is traffic that has to get on 595 to travel short distances," said project manager Steve Braun.

Tischa Weathers, who commutes along I-595 from Davie to downtown Fort Lauderdale, said she wishes the entrance ramps from the turnpike continued all the way to I-95 instead of forcing drivers to merge.

"As it is now, there is a bottleneck," Weathers said. "Coming home, the beginning of the rush, I am always so thankful that I get to exit 595 at the turnpike, before the masses heading to west Broward."

Braun said Weathers and other commuters like her will get their wish with a new road system that will parallel I-595 and move entrance and exit ramps at Davie Road, the turnpike, S.R. 7 and S.R. 84 away from the main flow of traffic.

The so-called "collector-distributor" road system will look and function similar to lanes that parallel I-95 south of Broward Boulevard.

Daniel King of Fort Lauderdale said he'd much rather see the money for I-595 spent on creating an east-west interstate in northern Broward County, maybe along McNab or Copans roads.

"If I have to go on Commercial Boulevard from the Sawgrass [Expressway] to Dixie Highway, it's a toss up. Do I try Commercial and deal with the stop lights, or do I go all the way down the Sawgrass to 595 and then come back up 95 to Commercial?" said King, a truck driver.

By February, the state will choose between two options being considered for improving I-595.

The first would put two reversible express lanes in the median of I-595 and preserve a path for elevated light rail trains between eastbound I-595 and eastbound S.R. 84. The cost is $1.04 billion, including $530 million for road improvements and $514 million for mass transit.

The second would put the light rail in the median and build three reversible express lanes on top, including a direct connection to the turnpike. Cost is $1.14 billion, including $827 for road improvements and $320 million for mass transit.

Land costs for both options are $160 million. The mass transit costs reflect only the amount required to build the portion that would parallel I-595, not the full line that would swing through Fort Lauderdale along S.R. 7, Broward Boulevard, Andrews Avenue and U.S. 1.

Braun said the state has accumulated about $400 million to fully fund design work for eight of about a dozen I-595 projects in addition to a portion of the construction and land costs.

In addition to the new road system between I-95 and Davie Road and the missing link of S.R. 84, both options would build "braided" ramps that take entering traffic over or under exiting traffic. They also would add bridges to carry S.R. 84 in both directions over Hiatus Road and eastbound over Pine Island Road.

At its most congested point, I-595 currently handles about 180,000 vehicles a day.

Philippine revisionist history?

There is an interesting AP article out. It is mostly about Six Marines who have accused of raping a Philippine woman. I'm not passing any kind of judgment on this case either way.

What I find interesting is the final two paragraphs.

U.S.-Philippine relations soured in the early 1990s when Philippine senators terminated a treaty allowing U.S forces to keep naval and air bases in the country.

The links were repaired when the Philippine Senate ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement in 1999, allowing U.S. troops to return to the country only for exercises and training.

If US-Philippine relations soured it was the making of the Philippine government, not the US. The US pulled out of Subic Bay and Clark Air Base when our leases ended.(In the case of Clark the base was nearly destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinotaubo) This was after years of clamoring by Philippine politicians and vocal protestors asking for the US to leave the country.

So we left, and alot of people suffered economically for it. See the US was one of the biggest employers in the country. Probably the biggest if you counted the businesses catering to servicemen outside Subic and Clark. So those who got their wish then complained about the economic impact on the country and they say that soured relations. What's the saying about be careful what you wish for?

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Republican Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham. He pled guilty yesterday to taking bribes amounting to almost 2.5 million dollars.

Cunningham resigned in disgrace, but you always wonder how many more corrupt politicians there are in Washington. They make the laws but don't think it applies to them. Don't cry for Cunningham, for I definitely won't. He's a crook, a liar, and today's Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Don Surber, Indepundit, Outside the Beltway where Leopold Stotch thinks the congressman is a traitor to his country, Political Teen, Adam's Blog,

SAN DIEGO - After months of insisting he had done nothing wrong, Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham tearfully acknowledged taking $2.4 million in bribes, saying: "The truth is I broke the law."

The eight-term Republican and former Vietnam fighting ace pleaded guilty to graft Monday and resigned, admitting he took money mostly from defense contractors in exchange for government business and other favors.

"In my life, I have had great joy and great sorrow. And now I know great shame," a tearful Cunningham said after the plea. "I can't undo what I have done but I can atone."

But Cunningham, who could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Feb. 27 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and tax evasion, may not be the only person ensnared in the case. Prosecutors have indicated they have more than him in mind.

"There's more work to be done," Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Halpern said Monday. Cunningham has promised to cooperate.

In the plea, Cunningham, 63, acknowledged working with four co-conspirators to take bribes from defense contractors and others. Prosecutors said the bribes were paid in a variety of forms, including checks totaling more than $1 million, cash, antiques, rugs, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.

Prosecutors said he used his influential position as a member of a House Appropriations subcommittee to secure defense contracts worth tens of millions of dollars for those who bribed him.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mystery solved and Case closed

For almost 13 years a mystery remained in Lantana Florida. Who killed Rita Bado and her daughter, Lisa Bado. Sometimes this case was known as the Hurricane Andrew murders because it took place the night(The Post article is incorrect in saying two, it was one) before that deadly storm passed through Dade County.

Today saw closure finally occur in this case. James Frederick pled guilty to the murders. The Post article makes no mention of it, but Mr. Frederick was hostile today when being asked questions by the judge in regards to his plea bargain. He killed two women over money and a television set. Mr. Fredericks should count himself lucky he isn't facing a death sentence instead of two life terms in jail.

Open Post- Don Surber, Land of Ozz, Pirates, Third World County, Bloggin Outloud who I suggest you go read for his how to bake cookies with your cat. LMAO!

Two of the most vicious and baffling murders in Palm Beach County were officially resolved Monday when James Frederick pleaded guilty to killing Rita Bado and her daughter, Lisa Bado, in their Lantana apartment in 1992 and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

The state dropped additional charges of sexual battery, burglary, kidnapping and grand theft in exchange for Frederick's plea to two counts of first-degree murder with a firearm.

The mother and daughter were each shot in the head, and Lisa Bado was raped two days before Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida, investigators said. No evidence ever surfaced that either woman knew her attacker.


I'll get a few people angry at me. That's only if they read my blog and with my small audience, that won't mount to much.

My opinion on Cindy Sheehan hasn't changed since I posted this. I don't care for the woman's political views but she has a right to have them. I've also got my own opinions on what drove this mother to do her anti-war campaigning. Its based on the shared experience we have had and that is losing a child. But I'm holding these opinions to myself. I just wish Cindy Sheehan peace with herself, with her son Casey and the world. God bless her.

Now I think some bloggers should feel ashamed. They are gloating over noone or very few people coming to her book signing. Among those posting the photo are Captain Ed, Don Surber, Jo, and Political Teen. Why is it necessary to gloat over this? Funny but Don agreed with me when I made my original post three months ago and said so in linking to my blog. Ed thinks we should give thanks. Yes we should, that Cindy Sheehan raised Casey Sheehan so he could protect our freedoms.

Cindy Sheehan is alone in many ways, but she's down because her son is no longer with her. And bloggers are continuing to kick her. I just have to say this is despicable. If Ms. Sheehan is far removed from America's mainstream, the public has a way of letting her know. Just let it happen and move on to something else. Some subjects aren't worth falling into a cesspool for.

Guess my Open trackback priviliges are going to be lost. LoL but I just felt this had to be said.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Third World County, California Conservative

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Goes to Florida's Department of Children and Family Services. In the wake of Hurricane Wilma, disaster food stamp benefits are allowed for families who don't normally qualify. People were given six days to apply in the disaster areas affected by Wilma. That was November 7-12th. People were told if approved their benefits would come in 7-10 days. Well its over 2.5 weeks since some friends applied and they are still waiting. A news report on a local television station also showed others haven't gotten the cards. So what the heck is going on? Attempts to contact DCF and EBT who administers this program are an exercise in futility. Either pass the buck operators, or a website that says Application denied. Last year these same friends got their card about 10 days after applying, DCF is showing its incompetence again. For screwing the people of Florida already hurting from Hurricane Wilma, Florida's Department of Children & Family Services is today's knucklehead of the day.

Hat tip- Don Surber, Political Teen, Bright & Early, Choose Life, Basil's Blog,

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bad idea

That's my opinion of legislation that would eliminate birthright citizenship in the United States. Here is an article at Fox News.

Bill Would Eliminate Birthright Citizenship

LOS ANGELES — Birthright citizenship is the right in which babies born in the United States, even to parents in the country illegally, automatically become American citizens.

Critics call them anchor babies, and say the laws should be changed to prevent automatic citizenship that could, in the end, reward illegal immigrants.

"By granting the child citizenship, that child then is able, down the road, as he becomes an adult, to legally make the parents citizens of this country as well," said Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga.

Now, a bill sponsored by Deal is gaining support in Congress. It would deny automatic citizenship to children born to undocumented immigrants.

"The idea that somebody could come here, five minutes later give birth and have a brand new United States citizen is simply something that most people in their gut feel is wrong," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

"It would be just wrong for us to deny such a basic right to just this population," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA.

Critics of the plan also warn that denying birthright citizenship to illegal immigrants could result in a divided culture such as the one that was demonstrated so vividly in the recent wave of arsons and vandalism in France.

The 14th Amendment states, in part, that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the U.S." Backers of birthright policy say changing the way that clause is interpreted would be unconstitutional and un-American.

"It goes against a tradition of really integrating immigrants into our society in order to unify us as a nation, and what it actually does, it further marginalizes a whole community," Salas said.

Deal says supporters are missing the meaning of the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," which he argues excludes anyone in the United States in violation of the law — like illegal immigrants.

"If you look at the original debate of that amendment in the Congress, it was obviously not intended to give carte blanche birthright citizenship to anyone who happened to be born on American soil," Deal said.

I'm no fan of illegal immigrants. Read here and here. However I do strongly believe in birthright citizenship. Freedom Folks says its not about excluding these children on the basis of their skin. I don't argue that, its punishing the children for the sins of their parents.

Most people don't know, but the US is a rare country that grants this. Most of the world does not. Including many countries in western Europe, Germany and France are two.

Why do we need to punish the child? Tell me, anyone come up with a good reason? For that is who we are punishing. This country was made of immigrants, and we still have a need for them. I believe in a sane immigration policy, stop illegals, don't punish those who legally want to come here etc. Enforce our laws, because our security is dependent on it.

A big problem is if we don't deport this child, but only not give them citizenship is we're creating a permanent underclass. The riots in France by Muslims, well they live in France but can't become citizens. The middle east, Palestinians are treated the same. No citizenship given to them. Granted the Arabs are using them as political pawns, but feeling of not belonging don't help either. You create a class of people who feel disenfranchised, you're asking for trouble in my humble opinion. Ending birthright citizenship will do that, it will take a generation for the trouble to start but it will. Lets not emulate other countries who do this wrongheaded policy.

Open Post- Don Surber, Euphoric Reality, Bright & Early, Stop the ACLU, Uncooperative Blogger

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Jose Hernandez of Thorndale Texas. Yesteday six of Mr. Hernandez's dogs attacked and killed a 76-year-old woman.

Dogs don't attack like this without a reason. Most often that they are badly treated or they are trained to be aggressive. If neither applies and I don't think its likely, Mr. Hernandez should have known the danger these dogs posed. For letting his dogs take a human life, Jose Hernandez is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Don Surber, Political Teen, Right Nation, Samantha Burns, Mac Stansbury,

THORNDALE, Texas - A pack of six dogs mauled a 76-year-old woman to death as she worked in her yard, authorities said.

Lillian Loraine Stiles was riding on a lawn mower in her front yard Saturday when she was confronted by the dogs, described as pit bull-rottweiler mixed breeds, said Milam County Sheriff Charlie West.

Investigators think Stiles was attacked when she got off the mower and headed into her house.

Stiles had severe bites over her entire body, and a man who tried to help her was bitten on one leg, authorities said.

The dogs were found at the home of Stiles' neighbor, Jose Hernandez.

The sheriff's department will send the findings of its investigation to the Milam County District Attorney's Office, which will decide if any criminal charges will be filed against Hernandez.

Thorndale is located about 70 miles west of College Station.

Sex and Chess or Maybe its good I only play correspondence chess

Try playing a game of chest....err I mean chess with that across the board from you. I haven't competed Over the board in 20 years. Have times changed.

The NY Times has an interesting article today. It's titled-

Sex and Chess. Is She a Queen or a Pawn?

Read the entire article. I posted some of it below.

Hat Tip- Ann Althouse
Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Political Teen, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Wizbang,

VANESS REID, a 16-year-old student from Sydney, Australia, runs cross-country, plays touch football, enjoys in-line skating, swims and goes bodyboarding. She also has a cerebral side: she plays competitive chess. She represented Australia at a tournament in Malaysia in 2002 and played in a tournament in New Zealand this year.

While Ms. Reid is clearly no novice at the game, she isn't exactly taking it by storm. She is not on the World Chess Federation's list of the world's 50 top female players. In fact she is ranked 47,694th among both men and women. But Ms. Reid, who has auburn hair, light-blue eyes and a winning smile, is arguably the top player in the world based on a more subjective criterion: her looks. A Web site called World Chess Beauty Contest ( ranks her as the world's most beautiful woman in the game.

The site was started earlier this year by Vladislav Tkachiev, 32, a Kazakh grandmaster who is ranked 83rd in the world, and his brother, Eugeny, 39. The younger Mr. Tkachiev, who appears in photos to be well-built and boyish looking, said they had started the site to raise the profile of the game. "Chess desperately needs some glamour," Mr. Tkachiev said. The brothers are not the only ones trying to inject some glamour, or at least sex appeal, into the game. Alexandra Kosteniuk, 21, a dark-haired, porcelain-skinned Russian grandmaster who is ranked fifth in the world among women and 525th over all, models and uses her Web site to sell photos of herself posing in bikinis next to giant chess pieces.

Maria Manakova, 31, who is the fourth-ranked woman in Russia and who is ranked eighth on the Beauty Contest site, attracted attention last year when she posed nude for Speed, a Russian magazine. She followed it up by posing for Maxim and the Russian edition of Playboy.

The efforts to spice up the game mainly emanate from Eastern Europe, whose players have long dominated the sport and where cheesecake displays are less likely to draw complaints about the exploitation and the objectification of women.

And capitalizing on sex appeal is also not exactly a new idea in competitive sports. Before Ms. Reid, tennis had Anna Kournikova and beach volleyball had Gabrielle Reese and soccer had Mia Hamm.

But chess?

Mr. Tkachiev said that the people who do not play the game have a wrong opinion about chess. "They think that it is only a game for those who are quite inactive and unattractive and aged," he said. "It is simply not true. This is a very democratic game for anyone. There are a lot of attractive people, whether female or male. We decided to show this side of chess."

So the stereotypes are wrong and always have been? Not exactly. "In general there are much more women in chess than before," Mr. Tkachiev said.

Other players agree. Steve Immitt has directed chess tournaments around the United States for more than two decades. In recent years, he said, he has noticed not only that there are more women playing but that they are better and more attractive.

Still, women are vastly outnumbered in tournaments. So their participation can be a distraction, drawing crowds around them, Mr. Immitt said. They can also distract their male opponents, some of whom do fit the stereotype that Mr. Tkachiev disputed. Mr. Immitt recalled a tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla., in which a male player complained that his female opponent was a distraction. Mr. Immitt went to investigate.

"She was distracting," he said. "But there was nothing I could do. It was the beginning of April, right after spring break, and she was dressed appropriately for the time of year. It wasn't anything against the law. I told the guy, 'You are going to have to call upon yourself to overcome the distraction.' He ended up losing the game anyway, but I am not sure that was from being distracted."

One indisputably attractive woman who plays chess is the supermodel Carmen Kass, who was elected president of the Estonian Chess Federation last year and is dating Eric Lobron, a German grandmaster. But if Ms. Kass draws stares, it is not at the playing tables; she does not compete.

That is not the case for Ms. Kosteniuk, 21, however. Many elite players agree that if there is an equivalent of Ms. Kournikova in chess, it is Ms. Kosteniuk. She dislikes the comparison, saying that she works harder at her game than Ms. Kournikova did at tennis and that she has had more success.

Still, the comparisons are inevitable. Like Ms. Kournikova, Ms. Kosteniuk trades on her looks, modeling and selling her bikini-clad image through her Web site. But Ms. Kosteniuk (pronounced KOS-ten-yuke) said she did not think that people treated her less seriously because of it. To the contrary, she said, the photos helped promote the game by showing that women could be both beautiful and smart.

My weekly Miami Dolphins prediction

I must really be a masochist having to watch this team every week. Last week Miami got crushed by Cleveland 22-0. That makes the Dolphins record 3-7.

This week the team is on the road again. This time to play Oakland. Another team having a bad year. The Raider run defense is mediocre at best, and the Dolphins can run for sure. Passing is another matter. Rosenfels bombed last week, Frerotte has a bum finger which leaves you wondering how effective he'll be. He was 4 for 18 last week, Gus can't get worse. Or can he? Can we talk Bob Griese or Dan Marino out of retirement?

Then Miami's defense is banged up. Junior Seau and Zach Thomas are out for the game. The secondary isn't much better and they have to contend with Randy Moss.

Don't forget that Miami has a dismal record against Oakland in California dating back to the famous 1974 playoff game between the two teams. Miami has won like twice out there.

My prediction- Oakland 27 Miami 10

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Jeffrey Loria. Mr Loria is the owner of the Florida Marlins and gets today's award for the ongoing fire sale of Marlins personnel. The team is in the process of dumping most of its major league talent. What for? Mr. Loria says the team is financially strapped and gives part of the reason because the team doesn't have a baseball only stadium.

What a crock. If Mr. Loria is so broke, why waste millions on an over-rated slugger Carlos Delgado? Loria did that a year ago. Plus the high price bidding war for manager Joe Girardi. No Mr. Loria is doing this as an act of spite because the state of Florida and its citizens won't finance a playground for multimillionaires. Mr. Loria is throwing a temper tantrum because he can't get his way. For that Jeffrey Loria is today's knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Political Teen, Don Surber, Point Five

The only constant is change

First Betamax, VHS is dying out and now DVDs may soon be a thing of the past. Why? Holographic disks.

A computer disc about the size of a DVD that can hold 60 times more data is set to go on sale in 2006. The disc stores information through the interference of light – a technique known as holographic memory.

The discs, developed by InPhase Technologies, based in Colorado, US, hold 300 gigabytes of data and can be used to read and write data 10 times faster than a normal DVD. The company, along with Japanese partner Hitachi Maxell announced earlier in November that they would start selling the discs and compatible drives from the end of 2006.

"Unlike other technologies, that record one data bit at a time, holography allows a million bits of data to be written and read in parallel with a single flash of light," says Liz Murphy, of InPhase Technologies. "This enables transfer rates significantly higher than current optical storage devices."

The discs, at 13 centimetres across, are a little wider than conventional DVDs, and slightly thicker. Normal DVDs record data by measuring microscopic ridges on the surface of a spinning disc. Two competing successors to the DVD format – Blu-ray and HD-DVD – use the same technique but exploit shorter wavelengths of light to cram more information onto a surface.

Holographic memory, by contrast, stores information in a light-sensitive crystal material using the interference of laser light. The process involves splitting a single light beam into two and then passing one through a semi-transparent material. This is a grid that acts like a filter, changing different parts of the beam to encode bits of information.

The altered beam and the reference beam are then recombined in the light-sensitive material and their pattern of interference provides a record of the encoded information. Information can be recorded and retrieved so rapidly because many bits of data can be recorded and read in parallel.

InPhase says the technique could theoretically be used to store up to 1.6 terabytes of data on the same size of disc and to read data at 120 megabits per second. This is 340 times the capacity of an ordinary DVD and 20 times the data rate.

Hat tip- Dr. Steven Taylor who says he should have seen it coming when his 80-year old grandmother asked for a disk player for her tv.

Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog


New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson now admits he was never drafted by a major league baseball team. This after almost forty years of claiming otherwise. A Albuquerque newspaper that looked into the claim found no record of Richardson being drafted by the Kansas City Athletics or any other MLB team.

For nearly four decades, Richardson, often mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has maintained he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics.

The claim was included in a brief biography released when Richardson successfully ran for Congress in 1982. A White House news release in 1997 mentioned it when he was about to be named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And several news organizations, including The Associated Press, have reported it as fact over the years.

But an investigation by the Albuquerque Journal found no record of Richardson being drafted by the A's, who have since moved to Oakland, or any other team.

Informed by the newspaper of its findings, the governor acknowledged the error in a story in Thursday's editions.

It's a slow news cycle right now and this was commented on by both Captain Ed and Stephen Bainbridge who seem to think it could affect Richardson's possible presidential bid in 2008. The professor called it dumb and dishonest and it is. I just think this is insignifigant. How many people puff up their resumes? Honesty in a politician? We truly expect it, but we know that it isn't the norm. If Richardson runs in 2008 this won't amount to a hill of beans.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sayonara Arnold

Pat Morita probably best known for Karate Kid movies but I always think of him as Arnold on Happy Days, has passed away at age 73. RIP.

Open Post- Don Surber

LOS ANGELES - Actor Pat Morita, whose portrayal of the wise and dry-witted Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" earned him an Oscar nomination, has died. He was 73.

Morita died Thursday at his home in Las Vegas of natural causes, said his wife of 12 years, Evelyn. She said in a statement that her husband, who first rose to fame with a role on "Happy Days," had "dedicated his entire life to acting and comedy."

In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and spawn countless affectionate imitations. As Kesuke Miyagi, the mentor to Ralph Macchio's "Daniel-san," he taught karate while trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice as "wax on, wax off" to guide Daniel through chores to improve his skills.

Morita said in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press he was billed as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in the film because producer Jerry Weintraub wanted him to sound more ethnic. He said he used the billing because it was "the only name my parents gave me."

He lost the 1984 best supporting actor award to Haing S. Ngor, who appeared in "The Killing Fields."

For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and TV series such as "The Odd Couple" and "Green Acres." His first breakthrough came with "Happy Days," and he followed with his own brief series, "Mr. T and Tina."

"The Karate Kid," led to three sequels, the last of which, 1994's "The Next Karate Kid," paired him with a young Hilary Swank.

Morita was prolific outside of the "Karate Kid" series as well, appearing in "Honeymoon in Vegas," "Spy Hard," "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "The Center of the World." He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie "Mulan" in 1998.

Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.

Black 'Insane' Friday

Neither the wife or I went to the malls this morning. After reading this news from the Sun-Sentinel, we're glad we didn't.

Open Post- Don Surber, Adam's Blog, Common Folk

A crowd of shoppers outside BrandsMart USA in Sawgrass Mills, angry at being forced to wait by security personnel, pushed their way under a metal security gate and stampeded down a hallway into the store, pushing dozens of people against the walls and trampling a 73-year-old woman.

"I was trying to get out of the way but they knocked me down," said Josephine Hoffman of Coconut Creek, who was standing immediately outside the gate as a human wave rushed inside, carrying her along.

"I hit my head on the floor and people stepped on me," said the woman, who was resting on a box of merchandise inside the store following the 7:30 a.m. incident. "I don't understand why people do these things."

A store manager asked if she needed medical attention and called for assistance, while Hoffman's two daughters phoned the police.

Moment before the crowd burst under the metal gate, Tony McLeod, another BrandsMart manager, tried to calm down shoppers, telling them the store could only allow groups of about 20 to enter the store at one time to avoid overcrowding.

BrandsMart personnel tried to keep the total number of shoppers in the store to about 500 to meet fire department regulations, he said.

"There is more than enough for everybody. The sale is going on all day," he shouted, as frustrated shoppers shouted back, complaining they were tired of waiting.

"We have your money out here," one woman responded angrily. "We need to go to other stores. I can't stand here all day."

One man shouted through the gate that he had been waiting for an hour and half. A woman from Brazil, nearly in tears, asked in Portuguese if she could be allowed inside because her husband was already there. Others complained that security personnel lowered the metal door and left them isolated from family members.

Inside the store, shoppers were calmer. There were a few hundred people inside since the store opened, but the aisles were not crowded and most of those inside were waiting patiently in long lines to reach one of the store's 17 cashiers.

People began lining up at BrandsMarts two entrances before 4 a.m. Friday, hoping to snag some of the doorbuster specials or hundreds of other discounted items. "We came in about 4:45 and there were already lines," said Cosmo Adamo, the general manager.

By 6 a.m., when the store opened, hundreds of people waited in long lines snaking around the building outside the main entrance, which faces a Sawgrass Mills parking lot, and at the mall entrance.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Michael Ivey. Mr. Ivey was a director of World Children's Inc., a charity that supports orphanages around the world. Instead of doing that, this knucklehead took $250,000 in donations to support himself. He resigned from the board last May and in doing so pretty much admitted what he had done. Using the Sick Mom/Mom's death excuse common among such scoundrels. Last Wednesday Ivey turned himself in to police.

For cheating children and contributors, Michael Ivey of Winter Haven Florida is today's knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog

BARTOW - The former director of an international children's charity has been charged with using $250,000 of the group's money for his personal use, authorities said.

Michael Ivey, 44, of Winter Haven, took money from the World's Children Inc. to pay his mortgage and car payments and to purchase liquor, clothing and other personal items, an arrest report said.

He turned himself in Wednesday, said Chip Thullbery of the State Attorney's Office.

Ivey resigned in May citing health problems and difficulties dealing with his mother's death. He told the board he would repay "all funds overpaid" to him in excess of his $55,000 annual salary, the report said.

World's Children operates orphanages and hostels for homeless children in Mexico, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, the Philippines and Africa.

Ivey has been charged with one count of grand theft and one count of scheme to defraud, the report said.

What were those programmers thinking?

Yesterday morning I flip flopped channels(we have directv) to see if there was anything interesting on to watch. I made some interesting discovries.

The Sci-Fi Channel had an all day marathon. Not surprising, this network does it all the time. But what was the theme of the marathon? Living Dead movies. Man eating cannibal movies on Thanksgiving day.

I guess someone at Scifi thought this was delicious black humor. But do people want to be stuffing their faces while watching people stuff their faces with faces of people they are eating?

One of the Starz channels had Dawn of the Dead(2004) on at dinner time. So Scifi channel wasn't alone.

So be careful next thanksgiving when flip flopping channels. Memo to Sci-Fi channel- How about a Twilight Zone marathon instead next time?

Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Please help re-unite this Mother and her son

I've blogged twice before about this mother and son separated by our idiotic immigration bureaucracy. Read here and here. Finally Christian DeGraw has gotten his visa enabling him to be re-united with Mom, Step-Dad, and newborn sibling.

The only problem is money, the Vattiats have spent thousands to get this far and need help to buy two plane tickets, one round-trip for an adult and a one-way for Christian to fly here to the US. If you have the means, please contribute. What a great gift would it be to have this family re-united for Christmas. Checks can be sent to-

Contributions to the Christian DeGraw Immigration Fund may be made at any SunTrust Bank in South Florida or mailed to: SunTrust, 4500 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Big Dog, California Conservative, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Stop The ACLU, Political Teen, Stuck on Stupid, Bacon Bits, Outside the Beltway, Choose Life, Bright & Early


A young American citizen who has never set foot on U.S. soil may soon join his mother, baby brother and adoptive-father-to-be in Wellington for the holidays.

Christian DeGraw, 5, needs a plane ticket from Manila to West Palm Beach and one for an adult to accompany him to be reunited with his mother, Diana DeGraw Vattiat.

Family friends and co-workers have set up a special account through SunTrust Banks called the Christian DeGraw Immigration Fund to get him here.

One of the first to contribute was a Jupiter man who also has a 5-year-old son.

"I was thinking about how blessed we are and how good it is to have your family around you at the holidays," said the donor, who asked to remain anonymous. "We just wanted to share a little at Thanksgiving and hope their family can be reunited in time for Christmas."

Christian's mother, Diana DeGraw Vattiat, 24, was single and 18 when she decided to leave the Philippines. She was born on a U.S. military base there, to a U.S. serviceman who married her mother, a Filipino.

When she finished high school, she realized there were no jobs and no opportunities for more education.

Her mother urged her to use her American citizenship and move to the U.S. to make a better life for her son.

Christian was 4 months old when Diana left him in her mother's care. Arriving in Florida, she got a job at a Publix and began saving money to bring her baby to live with her.

That was almost five years ago. During her ordeal with immigration, officials cited post-Sept. 11 restrictions and refused numerous applications to get her son a passport and a visa.

Finally, Bill Strassberger, an official with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Washington, himself a father, read about them and intervened.

A week ago the news came: Christian's passport and visa had been issued.

"It was fabulous news," Vattiat said. "Then it dawned on me how broke we are."

Contributions to the Christian DeGraw Immigration Fund may be made at any SunTrust Bank in South Florida or mailed to: SunTrust, 4500 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418.

The Knucklehead of the day award

It's Thanksgiving day but there are knuckleheads to give an award to.

Today's winner is CNET Networks. On their website they have a product called Fake Webcam 1.0. It's description says-

Stream/Play videos and movies on Yahoo/MSN/AOL messengers. It stream videos and movies on your messenger just like an actual webcam. You don't need to have a webcam for webcamming. Enjoy pretending a teenage girl or someone you want to be. Your chat mate will never figure out that it's not a real webcam.

Random Numbers calls this program 'Dangerous, very dangerous' and I agree 100%. People pretending to be teenagers and then setting up meetings. A great product for pedophiles, wouldn't you think?

For putting the almighty dollar over children's safety, CNET Networks is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Don Surber, Political Teen, Big Dog, Stuck on Stupid,

An elected Public Service Commission?

Floridians would have one again if Attorney General Charlie Crist has his way. He plans to lead an effort to make PSC members elected officials. Right now the Commission appears to be a friend of the industries they are supposed to regulate.

I'm all for it, though I think Crist faces an uphill battle. The best way to make the change would be a statewide referendum in 2006. I wonder what the Post's editorial position will be on t his, they rail against the PSC on a regular basis. On the other hand, Schultz and company don't care much for Crist and has in the past supported appointments(like to the bench) over elections. Saying campaign contributions corrupt the process.

One note the commission used to be elected til 1978. The most famous comissioner was Paula Hawkins, a one-term US Senator from 1981-86.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early,

Calling the Public Service Commission ''a rubber stamp'' for utilities' proposals, Attorney General Charlie Crist announced Wednesday he will lead an effort to have the public elect PSC members.

Speaking at a press conference in Hialeah, Crist was supported by two legislators and Julio Robaina, the mayor of Hialeah and president of the Florida League of Cities.

At present, the five commissioners are selected to four-year terms by panels controlled by legislators, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.

PSC spokesman Todd Brown said no commissioners were available for comment Wednesday afternoon. Florida Power & Light spokesman Bill Swank issued a brief statement: ``Whether the [PSC] is appointed or elected, FPL will remain focused on our primary mission of providing our customers with reliable, cost-effective electrical service.''

Crist, who is a Republican candidate for governor, said the proposed bill will probably have to wait until the 2006 legislative session.

Gov. Jeb Bush has called a special session for December, but said that proposed legislation involving the PSC and the utilities would be too complicated to do at that time.

Mayor Robaina, state Rep. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and state Rep. Gustavo ''Gus'' Barreiro, R-Miami, all cited the way the PSC so readily granted FPL a 20 percent increase for energy surcharges and told consumers they will have to pay $1.68 a month for 2 ½ years to make up for the money FPL lost last year from three hurricanes hitting its area.

''The whole burden is on the consumers, not the shareholders,'' Barreiro complained.

Crist's proposal would forbid PSC candidates from accepting contributions from the utilities they regulate or people connected with the companies. And after their terms are over, commissioners would be prohibited from working for a utility for two years.


Crist did not mention FPL by name during his remarks. ''I'm not here to bash a company,'' he said. But ``the poor consumer can't go to Joe's power company across the street. . . . My heart bleeds for the consumer. Enough is enough. . . . Let the people have a voice.''

At present, Crist said, the appointed members constitute a ``public disservice commission.''


The proposal faces a difficult road. Similar bills were introduced four times in the 1990s -- once by Crist when he was a senator. None passed.

At the press conference, the politicians were asked about whether they felt they could combat FPL's powerful array of 36 lobbyists, many of whom have close relationships with the Legislature's most influential members.

Robaina responded that the league represented 413 cities in the state and the utilities' power ``will not hinder our work in Tallahassee.''

Before 1978, the PSC was elected. After the Legislature changed the positions to an appointment process in which the lawmakers played a major role, electric utilities have become one of the top three industries contributing to legislative election campaigns.

Happy Birthday Mom

My mother would have been 74 years old today. She died in 1985 of lung cancer at age 53. My mom was a two pack a day smoker. I hate the stuff.

Mom I wished you lived long enough to meet my wife. I know you would have liked her. I miss you and have never forgotten you.

Open Post- Don Surber, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Big Dog, California Conservative, Jo's Cafe,

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

We all have something to be thankful for this year. I also want to thank our brave fighting men and women around the world. The American people appreciate the sacrifices you are making to preserve our freedom. God bless you all.

Our plans here in Florida are pretty simple- The turkey is already in the oven. We'll be eating around 4 p.m. My sister-in-law is coming up from Miami for dinner. Tonight we may go see the new Harry Potter movie. Till then lots of football.

Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Bacon Bits, Outside the Beltway, Basil's Blog

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Knucklehead followup

Last week I gave a Knucklehead out to the Media Bloggers Association and Robert Cox. Low and behold today I got a reply to one of the three emails I had sent.

We have been in process on new policies which were agreed to at our board meeting three weeks ago. I am now in the process of communicating with current members and getting back to applicants. I hope to have things caught up over the holiday weekend.

Too little, too late Mr. Cox. 53 days to get a reply to my last email is a joke. You and organization are still knuckleheads who shouldn't be taken seriously.

Open Post- Don Surber

Does it really hurt business?

Here is some news from the Palm Beach Post. It appears some people on the internet are leaking retailer's sales specials for the Friday after Thanksgiving. Office Depot just filed suit against one website owner.

I'm just not buying into this hurting sales. Some businesses say these are trade secrets. Others say they don't want their competitors knowing their plans. Many retailers today if they sell/price match you the same product that someone else advertises say for $600. So I don't really get the argument. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

Open Post- Don Surber, Cao's Blog, Stop The ACLU

A California college freshman has drawn the ire of some of the country's biggest retailers with his Web site, which leaks holiday shopping ads days in advance.

That includes Office Depot, which has taken its complaint to court.

The Delray Beach-based office supplies giant (NYSE: ODP, $29.51) is suing Michael Brim, saying he posted the company's ad circular that featured sales slated for the day after Thanksgiving.

The suit, filed Monday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, aims at forcing Brim to remove all Office Depot ads and references to the company from the site.

"We want to make sure our promotional offers are coming directly from the company," said Office Depot spokesman Brian Levine. "That ensures that the information is accurate."

Brim's Web site, or, posts advance copies of advertisements for Black Friday, the nickname for one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Brim, 18, is an electrical engineering student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., according to published reports. He did not respond to interview requests Tuesday.

His is one of a handful of similar sites popping up to give holiday shoppers a sneak peek at upcoming sales. The elaborate circulars generally are distributed just a day or two ahead of the big day, but these sites post them days, even weeks, earlier. They presumably get leaked copies from employees or people involved in the ads' printing who don't have permission to distribute the ads.

Many retailers are furious, arguing that the sites hurt their holiday business. A few have taken legal action.

Home Depot, Sears and Kmart have taken steps to force Brim to remove their ads, according to published reports.

The concern is not about consumers seeing the ads early. Few are even paying attention, said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, a consumer market research firm in Charleston, S.C.

This issue is other retailers.

"A retailer who's going to have some barn-burning price on Friday doesn't want his competitor to know about it," Beemer said. "Some retailers are breathing fire over it."

In its suit, Office Depot said the ads are confidential trade secrets. The early release tips off competitors on the company's sales, giving them time to adjust their prices.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Goes to Home Depot. They get it for banning Michael Panorelli from their stores. What was Mr. Panorelli's crime? Taking a pencil absentmindedly when going through the checkout lane. If the store chain did that for every employee who took a pen home in their smock they wouldn't have many employees. Home Depot has since apologized.

Open Post- Don Surber, Political Teen, Big Dog

For making a mountain out of a #2 pencil, Home Depot is today's knucklehead of the day. Note- Dear wife picked this one.

METHUEN, Mass. - Home Depot Inc. apologized to a carpenter who was banned by the chain worldwide after he absent-mindedly pocketed a pencil he had used up to do some quick math.
Michael Panorelli, 51, of Lawrence, was accused of shoplifting from the Methuen store last Thursday and banned from Home Depots.

Panorelli was with a client and had just bought some lumber when the client picked up the pencil sitting next to a cash register for Panorelli to use. Panorelli pocketed the pencil and was met in the parking lot by a worker who asked for identification.

The worker presented Panorelli with one letter saying he was banned from Home Depot, and another advising that he would be hearing from the company's lawyers.

Panorelli took his story to the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in Lawrence, which published it over the weekend.

On Sunday, Atlanta-based Home Depot issued a written apology, saying the incident was prompted by a narrow interpretation of its shoplifting-prevention rules.

"We will not be pursuing any claims against Mr. Panorelli for this incident," the statement said. "We welcome Mr. Panorelli back as a customer in our stores at any time."

But the carpenter said he had no intention of doing business there again, adding, "Why should I put money in someone's pocket when they treat me like this?"

The Torches, Pitchforks, and Roasted Bear Open trackback festival

See Open trackbacks won't die!

Rules are simple, you link your post to me, send a trackback. I'll update this post with your URLS. Help boost TFM to the top of the blogosphere so when I become a higher being I'll rule the Blogosphere. Take that NZ Bear!

If you believe any of that, go and read this post of mine.

Other blogs with Open trackbacks include- Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog, Big Dog, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Don Surber, Euphoric Reality, Jo's Cafe, Land of Ozz, Political Teen, Stop the ACLU, Third World County,

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