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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A win and a disaster averted

Samuel Alito has been confirmed to the US Supreme Court. The vote was 58-42. Congratulations to Justice Alito.

This is definitely a win for those who believe in a stricter interpertaion of the Constitution. I supported Alito from the beginning. This coming after the Miers debacle, where I was one of the bloggers Professor Bainbridge calls the Coalition of the Chillin' who thought Bush made a mistake.

Another nomintation to the court should be coming up soon also. Justice Stevens is 85. Seeing how a judge with a long conservative suceeded over a stealth candidate, I hope Bush picks another judge in the Alito mode. Michael Luttig, Emilio Garza, Priscilia Owen, McConnell or my own choice Janice Rogers Brown. Two battles down, ? to go.

Many bloggers are commenting on the Alito victory. Here are some of my favorites - Michelle Malkin, Poliblog, LaShawn Barber, Ann Althouse, Wizbang, Stop the ACLU, Iowa Voice, All Things Beautiful, Below the Beltway, The Anchoress, Outside the Beltway, Bright & Early,
Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Is it just me?, Third World County, Land of Ozz,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Blogger Mike Rogers. Only once before have I given a Knucklehead award to a blogger. I don't like taking swipes at other bloggers but I'll make an exception for Mike Rogers. At his Blog titled Blog Active, he threatened to out a Republican Senator as a homosexual if he didn't vote for the Alito filibuster.

Tomorrow you will decide if your political position is worth more than doing what is right for others like you. For others like you, Mr. Senator, who engage in oral sex with other men. (Although, Mr. Senator, most of us don't do in the bathrooms of Union Station!) Your fake marriage, by the way, will NOT protect you from the truth being told on this blog.

This isn't the movie, Advise and Consent Mr. Rogers or just one person's life you could be destroying. Blackmail is despicable and for threatening it Mike Rogers is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Outside the Beltway where James Joyner notes only Republican Senator Chafee voted against Alito.
Other Blog's commenting- Adam's Blog, Myopic Zeal,
Open Post- Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Is it just me?, Bright & Early, Third World County, Land of Ozz,

More on the Pledge lawsuit

The Palm Beach Post reports Cameron Frazier who brought against the Palm Beach County School Board over having to stand for the pledge of allegiance, is coming to a settlement. A vote on Wednesday will settle the matter local, but Frazier and his ACLU lawyer hope to change the state law that requires students to stand unless excused.

I blogged on this before. My predicition came true, a settlement is being made over this trivia, if its $5 its five dollars too many for the taxpayers. This is just ridiculous. Everyone, myself included have to do things we don't like. The constituion gives us no protection from these obligations. What I said in my first post still holds today- Grow up Cameron Frazier!

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Is it just me?, Bright & Early,

A student is ending his fight with the Palm Beach County School Board over being told he must stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, but the battle isn't over for Cameron Frazier.

Frazier is aiming instead at eliminating the state law that requires local school officials to make students stand.
The school board is scheduled to vote Wednesday on settling the part of the lawsuit Frazier filed against board members, his teacher and assistant principal for $32,500. But Frazier, a Boynton Beach High junior who said he was berated in class when he refused to stand during the pledge, wants more than that.

Earlier this month, he named the state Board of Education and state Education Commissioner John Winn as defendants in his lawsuit, too.

That's because winning a lawsuit against the school district won't change the law.

"We're working to attempt to limit the Palm Beach County School Board's exposure and that of the assistant principal and the school teacher," said James Green, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing Frazier.

But the state Board of Education is charged with making sure school districts follow state law, and Winn's job is to help the state board with their job, the suit says. State law says students must stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, even if they don't recite the pledge. The school district's student handbook cites that law, and requires students to have written permission not to say the pledge.

The suit contends that the state law that requires Frazier and other students to stand is unconstitutional because it conflicts with the First and 14th amendments to the Constitution, which provide for the rights of freedom of speech and due process. Frazier should be able to sit quietly during the pledge.

In the suit, Frazier says that on Dec. 8, his math teacher, Cynthia Alexandre, scolded him in front of his classmates when he refused to stand for the pledge. Frazier said he told her he hadn't stood for the pledge since he was a sixth-grader.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Hey I like a funny woman

A Canadian study says men are turned off by funny women. Am I odd or are these researchers way off?(Better yet why would anyone spend money researching this?)

Dear Wife and I been together 17 years in May. I've come to learn she has a great sense of humor. She better, she's married to me. I'm one big joke.

Some of my wife's favorite lines-

US Navy Base Subic Bay Philippines 1988- On seeing a microwave oven for the first time, DW says "Wow, what a big television set you have."

And when she was the asst manager of a linen store and a customer called asking if they sold electric blankets- "No we only have electric chair."

My wife is priceless. :)

Hat tip- Florida Cracker
Open Post- NIF, Jo's Cafe,

A GLANCE at any personal ads column shows the importance of a GSOH - a good sense of humour.

But it seems that laughter does not work the same way for both sexes.
While women admit regularly being drawn to men who can make them laugh, men find funny women a turn-off.

Psychologists reached this conclusion after studying the dating behaviour of hundreds of twentysomethings.

The research showed that men feel threatened by wise-cracking women, Dr Rod Martin, who led the study at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said.

"Men see being funny as a male thing," he said. "When forced to choose between humour production and humour appreciation in potential partners, women valued humour production. Men valued receptivity to their own humour."

The survey results came as no surprise to Meera Syal, who cowrote and starred in the BBC television comedy Goodness Gracious Me.
"The idea that men are more interested in having an audience rather than sharing banter doesn't really surprise me," said the 44-year-old, who is married to Sanjeev Bhaskar, her co-star in another BBC comedy, The Kumars at No. 42.

"Women see men with a sense of humour as dangerous and sexy, while men see it as threatening," she said.

I have an alibi!

This was not me. Though Dear Wife says it sounds like something I would do. My wife has had to live with my clumsiness for 16 years. God bless her.

Hat tip- Betsy's Page
Open Post- NIF, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog,

A CLUMSY visitor to a Cambridge museum has destroyed a set of priceless 300-year-old Chinese vases after tripping on his shoelace.

The three Qing vases, dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, had stood on a windowsill at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, southeast England, for at least 40 years. Their prominent position made them among its best known artefacts, the UK Daily Telegraph reported today.

The report was accompanied by a photo, taken by another visitor, of the culprit, an unnamed man in his forties, attempting to pick himself up among the porcelain debris after the accident, which happened on an unspecified day last week.

Steve Baxter, another visitor who saw the accident, was quoted as saying: "We watched the man fall as if in slow motion. He landed in the middle of the vases and they splintered into a million pieces.

"He was still sitting there stunned when staff appeared. Everyone stood around in silence, as if in shock. Then the man started talking. He kept pointing to his shoelace and saying, 'There it is, that's the culprit'."

Ethics and blogging

James Joyner has an excellent post over at OTB on blogging ethics. Go over and read the whole thing.

Personally I don't see a problem in James taking the offer of a trip to Holland for he and his wife. I know he would have disclosed this in any future posts on that country. Note to James- If he don't want to take the offer, I will. ;) LOL.

As to ethics in general, I believe in keeping it simple. Long sets of rules and laws are counter-productive, a blogger, a journalist or a politician or anyone in fact should know what is right or wrong. I forget where I read it, but someone wrote if you have to write down your ethics rules, the battle is already lost. TFM totally agrees with that statement.

Open Post- Cao's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Florida's Chief Financial officer and candidate for Governor, Tom Gallagher. When speaking before the Tampa Chamber of Commerce last weekend, Gallagher announced his support for applying the state sales tax to internet sales. He says its about fairness.

Gallagher pointed out that laws taxing mail-order purchases already are on the books, but they are almost universally ignored. "I'm not adding a tax," Gallagher said. "It's just a fairness factor."

What an idiotic thing to say. It is a tax. it wasn't applied before and by applying the tax it takes money out of people's pockets. What world does Gallagher live in? Actually he's starting to sound like the Palm Beach Post editorial board who said the same thing! No wonder Gallagher has lost the two or three previous times he tried running for Governor. This statement tells GOP primary voters to say no to him again.

For not knowing what a tax is, Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Hat tip- Peer Review
Open Post- Bright & Early, Don Surber, Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

Lumping them all together

I'm not taking offense with this story for how it groups all Asians together, but the writer's ignorance or laziness does bug me. Not all Asians celebrate their own new Years. I know this from not just learning about Asian culture but because I'm married to a Filipina. The Philippines celebrates the traditional Christian New Year's of January 1st.

So why does Ms. Pedicini start her story this way?

Asians across Central Florida on Sunday celebrated the start of a new year -- the year of the dog.

The article went on to detail the Chinese and Vietemease New Year's celebrations. That's just two of the many nationalities on the Asian continent.

Further on Ms. Pedicini comments on someone wearing traditional Asian dress. Does the skirt or dresses my wife wears invariabley to her job qualify as this.

What I'm saying is Ms. Pedicini is wrong grouping all Asians in one group. By doing so you lead people to stereotype one race of people for their culture is not either that simple or monolithic. Say Chinese and Vietemease next time.

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

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Why should men pay child support for children they didn't father?

They shouldn't and it would seem to be common sense but apparently it isn't. A measure was passed by a Florida House committee that would end a man's child support obligation if its proved he isn't the biological father.

TFM has blogged many times about the lack of common sense shown by judges. I recall reading a story where a man had to continue paying child support when it was proven he wasn't the father. That's an outrage and this law would keep judges from abusing both the law and the public.

Open Post- Third World County, Right Wing Nation, Stop the ACLU, The Real Ugly American,

A House committee has unanimously approved a bill that would let a man end his child-support obligation if he proves he's not the biological father.

This will be the second time the bill, which the committee passed this week, will go before the House. A Senate version passed last year, but the House didn't get a chance to vote on it.

"Everyone just agrees it's a fair thing to do," said the sponsor, Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee.

Generally, Florida law requires that child support - once legally established - continue until the child's 18th birthday, regardless of who the biological father is. Eleven states, including Georgia, have changed similar laws since 1994.

Richardson was approached in 2004 by two Quincy constituents - Tony Winbush and Bobby Rhames - who spoke of paying thousands of dollars in child support after DNA tests proved they could not be the biological fathers.

The men went to Carnell Smith of Georgia, a paternity-challenge advocate who has worked with various states to get so-called "paternity-fraud" bills passed. Smith worked with legislators in Georgia to get a similar bill passed in 2002.

As it is now, the bill does not include an amendment that a court could grant relief to the man only if it found that doing so would be in the best interests of the child.

Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, said his Senate bill will include that amendment.

"I don't think I can pass that bill in the Senate without that amendment," Lawson said.

Advocates for the paternity bill have said the amendment allows too much subjectivity. Lawson disagrees.

"When you can show DNA testing and people have tricked the (father), I think the judge will rule in their favor and give them relief," he said. "Most of the cases brought to us are hard-core cases in which the mother did know the man wasn't the father."

Richardson reasoned that if the man is married with other children, the court would have to decide which child it should be concerned about and protect his or her interests.

Controlled Fire= oxymoron

Here is some news out of Leon County Florida(Tallahassee). Another controlled blaze became an out of control brushfire.(There were two fires in the story, one set by a private individual) This is just two weeks a similarly set fire did the same in Martin County.

Why does anyone, private or public sector, set a fire when its windy outsie? I guess its lack of common sense of stupidity. In the case of govt. set fires, bureaucratic inertia is probably to blame. Some one scheduled the fire, it has to be done and when its scheduled. No exception. Then personal property and people are put at risk. Maybe if we held these bureaucrats personally liable for the damage they create, they'd think twice before doing these idiotic acts. Some people would say this was an overreaction, but one day a controlled fire is going to kill people. Is bureaucratic inertia acceptable then?

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle Blog,

Two controlled burns turned into brushfires as a result of a windy weather Saturday in north and south areas of Leon County.

Fire Department Lt. Mary Bridges said a resident on Fairbank Ferry Road was burning a pile of logs when the fire quickly spilled onto the road.

"It jumped the road and burned into 10 acres of planted pine," Bridges said. The fire department arrived at the scene before it could spread to a nearby mobile home.

Fire trucks arrived at Natural Bridge Ridge, located halfway between Woodville Highway and Tram Road, and found a fire headed toward Woodville Highway.

A blogging note

Things are a little slow at TFM right now. There are two reasons for this. First tax season has arrived, and I work this time of the year. Secondly, I'm busy with one of those fiction stories I write. When my muse is active, I like to keep writing. This tears my attention away from the blog.

I'm still around, things may just be slower for a few weeks. Don't worry, I'll still be giving out my daily knucklehead awards.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early,

Saturday, January 28, 2006

No remorse, No mercy

Two days ago a Mom of three was killed in nearby Port St. Lucie County. She was walking with a friend, each of them with one of their children, when Lisa Vichlenski was hit by a green pickup truck. She died later that day, her son was injured but will survive.

Today comes news of Jerrold Baron. This scum was driving the pickup who struck Ms. Vichelenski. Probaby drunk at the time, he fleed the scene of the accident. To add icing to his crimes, Baron abandoned the truck and then called 911! Claiming the truck was stolen.

This is a horrible story, three children lost a mother and a husband his wife. What gnaws at me about this tragedy besides the chutzpah shown by Baron by calling 911, is this quote from police about Mr. Baron.

"showed absolutely no remorse at all"

I hope to God our justice system treats him in kind.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Stuck on Stupid, Right Wing Nation, The Real Ugly American,

PORT ST. LUCIE — Jerrold Baron "showed absolutely no remorse at all" when he was arrested Friday in the hit-and-run death of 31-year-old Lisa Vichlenski, police officer Gerry Harrington said.

Baron, 55, had called police an hour after the crash Thursday to report his girlfriend's green Nissan pickup was stolen. Police said he was drunk when he made the 911 call.

Vichlenski was walking Thursday morning with her 3-year-old son, Cody, her neighbor Melissa Leclerc and Leclerc's son Blaze when she was hit and killed on Green River Parkway near Melaleuca Boulevard.

Vichlenski, who has two other children, was thrown about 75 feet and died early Thursday afternoon at St. Lucie Medical Center, police said. Cody, who was dragged in a stroller about 70 feet, was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Pete Vichlenski, Lisa's husband, said Cody will be home soon and knows his mother is dead. His other two children, 8-year-old Tyler and 11-year-old Alexis, are taking the news hard, he said.

Tyler planted roses near where his mother died and kept one for Cody when he comes home.

Baron could be charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury.

Police described Baron as a person of interest before his arrest and worked from a tip called in by someone outside of Baron's household who knew what happened and had "a little bit of pressure, a little bit of conscience," as Harrington, the police officer, put it.

Harrington said the pickup did not appear to have been broken into and the keys were in the ignition when it was found Thursday evening at the Jensen Beach Post Office.

Norma Rinaldi, 61, of Port St. Lucie is the registered owner of the truck, according to state records. She could not be reached for comment Friday. Police officials said she and Baron have been a couple for about 20 years.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

It took me a while to name today's winner, but here we go.

Today's winner is Miami Attorney Adam Horowitz. He is representing a woman(The name in the suit is Jane Doe) who is suing the Archdiocese of Orlando. A priest in their employment raped this woman and Mr. Horowitz has filed suit.

What a greedy piece of horse tahe Mr. Horwoitz is. The priest, Fr. Wladyslaw Gorak broke into the woman's home and assaulted her, so how is the diocese responsible? Charges of stalking were filed in New Jersey but dropped. There's a thing called innocent till proven guilty but Horowitz apparently forgot that. Its about money and greed, and Mr. Horowitz and attorneys like him are leeches who have to be put in their place. For if they aren't stopped, no one is safe.

For pursuing greed, Adam Horowitz is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Wizbang, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Point Five, Uncooperative Blogger, Adam's Blog, Stuck on Stupid, NIF, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Don Surber, Right Wing Nation, Bullwinkle Blog, Stop the ACLU, The Real Ugly American,

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A woman has sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Orlando for $5 million, alleging that a priest who worked at the two parishes sexually assaulted her.

The woman, identified in court papers as "Jane Doe," claims the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak broke into her house in Lakeland in October 2004 and overpowered her, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Orlando. She said she told religious officials that Gorak was harassing and stalking her, but they allegedly ignored her pleas for help.

Gorak was arrested last year and charged with burglary with an assault, false imprisonment, aggravated stalking and battery.

The woman's attorney, Adam Horowitz of Miami, said the Newark Archdiocese should have known and warned others that Gorak, 49, was a potential problem when it let him work in Florida in 2004. Police reports obtained by Horowitz show that in 2001 a female parishioner in New Jersey also accused Gorak of stalking, though reports do not show charges filed.

But James Goodness, a spokesman for the Newark archdiocese, and Carol Brinati, a spokeswoman for the Orlando diocese, both said the dioceses knew of no previous complaints about Gorak. Brinati said the diocese removed Gorak when allegations of wrongdoing surfaced.

Jane Doe first met Gorak in New Jersey, where he became a spiritual adviser to her and her husband, the suit states. The couple moved to Florida shortly after Gorak was transferred to Resurrection Church in Lakeland in 2004.

Soon after, Gorak pestered the woman, frequently showing up for long, unannounced visits, the suit alleges. She complained to the Lakeland pastor, who told her he would take action, the suit claims.

But on Oct. 12, 2004, Gorak kicked in the door of her house and sexually assaulted her, the lawsuit claims.

"slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

The Space Shuttle Challenger Crew January 1986.

Back Row: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnick.

Front Row: Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair.

Its 20 years since that tragedy. President Ronald Reagan's word that are the title of this post still resonate today. I remember being home that day and watching the television coverage of this still terrible tragedy.

May America never forget these brave men and women.

Other blogs commemorating Challenger- Michelle Malkin, Bright & Early, Stop the ACLU, Below the Beltway, Hooah Wife, Poliblog,

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Wizbang, Basil's Blog,

Welcome to 2006 Palm Beach Post

The Post today both in print and at its website featured this article about Floridian blogger Michael Yon who is covering the war in Iraq. Gee whiz I've known about Yon for months though I have only visited his website a few times. The AP article is old news to me and many other people. Just more proof the Post is in a world of it's own.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Point Five, Uncooperative Blogger

He didn't have to go, it wasn't his job and nobody paid him to do it. But Michael Yon says he went to Iraq because he wanted to see for himself what was going on.

The 41-year-old former Army Green Beret, self-published author and world traveler didn't know exactly what he was going to do when he got to the war zone last year, nor did he have any particular plans to report what he saw to the world at-large.

But that's what he did.

After getting himself embedded as a freelance journalist with troops last year, he used his Internet blog to report on the car bombs, firefights and dead soldiers. But he also wrote descriptively about acts of compassion and heroism, small triumphs in the country's crawl toward democracy and the gritty inner workings of the military machine.

Yon's dispatches have been extolled by loyal readers as gutsy and honest reporting by a guy who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. He has been interviewed and his blog quoted by major newspapers and TV news networks, and he has drawn comparisons to Ernie Pyle, the renowned World War II correspondent who shared the trenches with fighting soldiers.

Actor Bruce Willis is a fan and has said he wants to make a movie about the exploits of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment — aka the "Deuce Four" — which Yon followed through battles against insurgents in Mosul.

"Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy," Yon wrote in one dispatch. "They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive."

In May, a poignant photo he shot of a soldier cradling a dying Iraqi girl after an explosion in Mosul was printed in major U.S. newspapers and brought even more attention to his unpaid mission. A subsequent appeal for donations on the Web site brought in thousands of dollars.

And at one point he crossed the line from observer to participant.

In August, during a fierce firefight in downtown Mosul, Yon and witnesses say he picked up an M4 rifle, reloaded and fired three times at insurgents inside a shop as two of the battalion leaders lay wounded nearby. That's a no-no for embedded journalists, and it brought a stern reprimand from the Army.

"As soon I saw the rifle, I just grabbed it," he says. "It was just a reflex."

The slant of Yon's blog is unflinchingly pro-military, but he has frequently criticized Army public affairs officers in print over how news out of Iraq is managed. He hasn't shied away from describing the horrors of war, and he once wrote about an Iraqi taxi driver killed by U.S. troops during a fire fight.

"They know I don't follow the party line," says the soft-spoken Yon, whose broad, solid physique makes him seem taller than his 5 feet and 6 inches. "Like when our guys get killed, I'll write about it and I'll write about it the way it really happened, which sometimes is pretty graphic."

Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla, the Deuce Four commander who was wounded in the downtown Mosul battle, says Yon was effective because he stayed with the unit longer than most embedded reporters.

"Mike, by spending five months with us, understood the unit, the idiosyncrasies, the good and the bad, and how we made decisions," Kurilla says. "You don't get that from coming in for 48 or 72 hours."

A native of Winter Haven in central Florida, Yon is a professional adventurer of sorts. His tales range from establishing a vending business in Poland to tracking cannibals in India, all after serving five years in the Army in the 1980s. In 2000 he self-published a memoir called "Danger Close," which includes details of the 19-year-old Yon killing a man in a bar fight, a case later determined to be self-defense.

At the urging of friends connected the military, Yon went to Iraq a year ago, began blogging a few weeks later and within a few months had a good Internet following. It really took off when he started writing about the Deuce Four in Mosul, and in the last four months of 2005 the site logged around 1.5 million hits.

"I think Michael set out to chronicle what it was like for regular rank-and-file soldiers who went out outside the wire every day in a city that has been a very dangerous place," says Richard A. Oppel Jr., a New York Times reporter who was in Iraq with Yon.

Not being a journalist by trade, Yon says he initially had trouble being an objective observer when the explosions and gunfire started.

"In the beginning I would just help people, and I wouldn't get any photos," he says. "I realized that I could do a lot more with my camera and my pen than I could with my hands, and so I disciplined myself to just stay out of the way and photograph, unless somebody really, really needs me."

He felt that was the case in the downtown Mosul battle in August when he got involved in the battle. But before picking up the rifle, he shot a stunning sequence of photos of Kurilla crumpling to the ground as an insurgent's bullets pierced both his legs and an arm.

Kurilla and the rest of the Deuce Four are home now, with dozens of Purple Hearts among them. Lately Yon has been traveling in the United States and interviewing them for a book about the unit and the Battle for Mosul.

Get a shave

Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi plans on enforcing a facial hair ban on The Florida Marlins this upcoming season. It's within his and management's perogative but I think its rather silly. Particularly Girardi's comment about looking professionl means playing professionally. This sounds stupid coming from an organization that just unloaded almost all its good players. I predicted earlier that the Marlins will lose 95 games or more in 2006. Facial hair ban or no facial hair ban, the personnel is just not there.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Adam's Blog,

JUPITER — Here's a warning for the many young Marlins prospects preparing to report for spring training.

Pack a razor.

Manager Joe Girardi, taking a page from George Steinbrenner's grooming manual, has issued a no facial hair policy for his players. For the first time in franchise history, the Marlins will be cleanshaven.

Girardi figures the rule won't be an issue with this team.

"With our guys, it shouldn't a problem,'' he said, adding with a laugh: "They're probably too young to shave anyway.''

Girardi didn't wear facial hair as a player, so he had no problem with Steinbrenner's long-standing rule that allowed neatly trimmed mustaches but no beards and shaggy hair.

"To me, the idea is to look professional,'' Girardi said Thursday. "I understand it's important for players to have their own style, and I don't have a problem with that. But I want players to look neat and clean.''

With seven key veterans traded in the off-season and others gone through free agency, the Marlins figure to have plenty of fresh-faced players showing up when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18 to Roger Dean Stadium.

It might be a good thing the Marlins made a clean cut with some of their stars. Ace Josh Beckett favors a scraggly beard, third baseman Mike Lowell wears a goatee and reliever Todd Jones has a bushy mustache.

The holdovers aren't as hairy. Pitcher Dontrelle Willis had a wisp of hair on his chin during a workout last week at Roger Dean and catcher Matt Treanor's neat mustache is not compliant but says he wouldn't have a problem facing a razor.

"Hey, I figure I'll enjoy it while I can,'' Treanor said of his mustache. "I'm all right with (the policy). It's not too much to get up in the morning and shave.''

Unless you're Perry Hill, the Marlins' first-base coach who has worn a mustache or beard since he graduated from high school in 1970.

More than a century ago, baseball players were famous for their handlebar mustaches. But no players wore facial hair from 1918 to 1971, according to authors Neil McCabe and Constance McCabe in the award-winning book, Baseball's Golden Age.

Reggie Jackson was among several Yankees whose beard came up in contract negotiations in the 1970s. Also in the 1970s, Rollie Fingers, Joe Rudi and the Oakland A's ushered in the facial-hair era with the blessing of owner Charley Finley. The Cincinnati Reds were a longtime holdout, until 1999 when owner Marge Schott scrapped the team's 32-year-old rule against facial hair at the request of slugger Greg Vaughn.

But Girardi believes stubble means trouble.

"I appreciate peoples' styles and how they want to be different, but I really believe if you look professional, you play more professional,'' he said.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Wellington and Suretha Simpson. They get the award for leaving their four year old son in a parked truck while they went into a mortgage office. The vehicle was then stolen. The thieves have been arrested but so have the Simpsons.

The boy is fine and unhurt which is the most important. He just has two knuckleheads for parents.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Stuck on Stupid, NIF, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Don Surber, TMH's Bacon Bits, The Real Ugly American, Adam's Blog, Third World County,

MIAMI -- Thieves stole a truck with a child inside. Friday morning they were not the only ones in trouble with the law, news aprtner NBC 6 reported.

Authorities said a mother and father made a dangerous mistake that sent police in pursuit of a stolen 2003 Silverado with a gun inside and, more importantly, precious cargo onboard -- their little child.

"The child was left unattended in a vehicle while parents were inside a mortgage company," said Miami-Dade Police Det. Roy Rutland.

On Thursday afternoon, the vehicle was found flipped over and abandoned near a field at 348th Street and 217th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade County after the father pleaded with the abductors to release his child unharmed.

"The father noticed that his vehicle was being stolen. He realized he had left his Nextel radio inside the vehicle. He was then able to use his wife's Nextel to contact the one inside the vehicle. He begin to scream, asking for the subjects to release his child," Rutland said.

Shortly after the call, a worker found the 4-year-old boy in back of a mall not far from the scene. He was unharmed.

"Miami police then established a perimeter further south where we apprehended all three male subjects inside the vehicle," Rutland said.

Police also arrested the child's parents, Wellington and Suretha Simpson, for their alleged role in the incident, sending out a stern message for others to follow.

"Never, ever leave your child unattended in a vehicle for any time," Rutland said.

What a dummy

Some news from Colorado. Dear wife says people do this all the time. Why am I picturing a scene from the movie Airplane! right now? The one with the flight attendant and the auto pilot.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Stuck on Stupid, NIF,

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - A motorist was arrested Thursday for driving in a high-occupancy vehicle lane with a mannequin dressed to look like a passenger, police said.

Investigators said Greg Allen Pringle, 53, was the only human in the car. HOV lanes are open only to buses, motorcycles, vehicles carrying two or more people or hybrid vehicles.

Officer Mark Watters said Pringle was southbound on U.S. 36 between Boulder and Denver. Watters said the mannequin was dressed in a gray sweat shirt and a baseball cap.

Pringle was ticketed on a charge of driving an unauthorized vehicle in a high-occupancy lane, a nonmoving violation that carries a fine of $115 upon conviction.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Shelley concentrate on your real job

My state legislator, Shelley Vana(D) is back in the news. She is trying to get elected President of the Palm Beach County Teacher's union. Rep. Vana held that position for 6 years up till 2004.

I've blogged about Shelley three other times. Here, here, and here. Vana is a science curriculum coordinator for the Palm Beach County school district in addition to her legislative job. Whatever the heck a Science Curriculum coordinator is I am clueless. It sounds like a cushy and possibly questionable deal for her. She is in Tallahassee 60 days a year when the legislature is in session. That don't count special sessions and other work for her constituents. To me and I think any other reasonable person, Shelley is over reaching in wanting to be union President. Unless that's just a make work job like I suspect it is with the school board.

This latest news isl out of the Sun-Sentinel. Why isn't the Palm Beach Post asking questions about Vana and her 'job' with the school board? Could it have anything to do with her being a Democrat? Probably alot to do with it.

Open Post- Quietly Making Noise, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Bright&Early,

It's a battle of two heavyweights for the presidency of Palm Beach County's teachers union: former chief Shelley Vana vs. current boss Theo Harris.

"I'm simply responding to member requests that I run," said Vana, 54, who served six years before leaving office in 2004 because of term limits.

"People know me, so they'll decide. It's good to have a choice."

Harris, 52, welcomes the challenge by Vana, a Democratic member of the state House of Representatives from Lantana. She also is running this year to keep her seat in Tallahassee.

"You do your job and let people decide," said Harris, a career educator in the county with a reputation for quiet diplomacy. "I think I've done a great job."

The 7,500 members of the Classroom Teachers Association will cast ballots March 15-16 for union officers.

Separately, Vana -- a county science curriculum coordinator since August -- is involved in a quest to retain her union membership. The School District contends she can't be a union member because she takes too much time off for political work during the school year.

Vana said a grievance against the district is pending.

She's no stranger to fighting Superintendent Art Johnson's administration. In the final year of her union presidency, she led a fiery struggle over teacher raises. Negotiations for a new salary pact are due to heat up around the time of the upcoming union election.

Harris has had no notable clashes with the district. He did make headlines in January 2005 for his bid to be paid the union's top salary, above the $107,000 earned at the time by union Executive Director Helene Samango.

Harris dropped the request after receiving complaints from other union leaders and members. A raise last year boosted his base salary to about $97,000, up from the $79,000 salary when he took office in July 2004.

Just say no

Kudos to the BB&T corp, one of the biggest banks in the country. and its chairman and chief executive, John Allison. BB&T will no longer make loans to developers to build on property taken through eminent domain. Kelo like eminent domain seizures are an outrageous constitutional abuse. I only hope more banks would make decisions like this. This insanity has to end or no one's personal property is safe.

Peer Review FL says he may start doing business with BB&T.
TMH's Bacon Bits is also commenting
Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog, Quietly Making Noise,

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Regional bank BB&T Corp., one of the nation's largest financial institutions, will make no loans to developers who plan to build commercial projects on land taken from private citizens by the government through the power of eminent domain, the company said Wednesday.

"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided, in fact it's just plain wrong," John Allison, the bank's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

In an interview, BB&T chief credit officer Ken Chalk said the bank expects to lose only a tiny amount of business, but believes it was obligated to take a stance on the issue.

"It's not even a fraction of a percent," he said. "The dollar amount is insignificant."

But he added: "We do business with a large number of consumers and small businesses in our footprint. We are hearing from clients that this is an important philosophical issue."

Chalk said he knows of no other large U.S. bank with a similar policy.

BB&T, which is headquartered in Winston-Salem, ranks among the nation's top 10 banks by assets.

In June, a divided Supreme Court ruled that cities may raze people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development. The 5-4 decision gave local governments the power to seize private property in the name of increased tax revenue.

The ruling upheld a decision by the City of New London, Conn., to seize seven property owners' land so developers could build a hotel and high-end condominiums to keep pharmaceutical giant Pfizer expanding in the state.

Scott Bullock, a senior attorney with the Arlington, Va.-based Institute of Justice, who represented homeowners in the New London case, applauded the bank's decision.

"Eminent domain abuse is wrong and unconstitutional," Bullock said in a statement. "BB&T has stepped up and recognized its corporate responsibility to not be a part of this shameful abuse of individual rights."

The policy also will protect the assets of banks such as BB&T by not tying up their money in projects that may draw political opposition, said Columbia University law professor Thomas Merrill, a specialist on eminent domain.

Merrill added that he did not believe there were many cases similar to the one that developed in New London.

"No one knows how many of these projects are out there because the data is flimsy," he said. "But my hunch, from what data we do have, is that the number is relatively small and concentrated in large congested cities like New York, Boston or Baltimore."

In its statement, BB&T said 38 states have recently passed or are considering laws to ban the use of eminent domain for private development. Similar legislation is pending before the U.S. Congress.

"While we're certainly optimistic about the pending legislation, this is something we could not wait any longer to address," Chalk said in a statement. "We're a company where our values dictate our decision-making and operating standards. From that standpoint, this was a straightforward decision; it's simply the right thing to do."

Get out the smelling salts

Three Democratic Senators have decided to vote for Samuel Alito's nomination. Tim Johnson, Ben Nelson and Robert Byrd!

Byrd's announcement came just days after West Virginia businessman John Raese announced plans to challenge the veteran senator in the November election. Byrd and Nelson both face re- election. So does another Democrat from a state Bush won, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, who has not yet announced how he will vote.

``I refuse simply to toe the party line when it comes to Supreme Court justices,'' Byrd said in a floor speech. ``I hail from a conservative state. And, like a majority of my constituents, I prefer conservative judges.''

Have you woken up yet? I'd like to see Byrd try to rationalize opposition to Janice Rogers Brown if Bush made her the next nomination to the court.

Hat tip- Michelle Malkin
Open Post- Bloggin Outloud, Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog, Bright&Early,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Adelphia Corporation. They are the internet provider for my wife's employer. Dear Wife's work responsibilities include preparing our church bulletin. She sends this in to the printers via email. Adelphia DSL service has been down in our part of Palm Beach County for over 24 hours. Dear Wife had to come home and send the bulletin. This kept me from doing urgent blogging for almost a half hour.(Time for sarcastic laughter)

I been pricing DSL interenet providers because my AOL is coming up for renewal. With such wonderful service(NOT!) I'm hardly going to pick Adelphia for my internet provider now. Adelphia is today's knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- NIF, Third World County, Bloggin Outloud, Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog, Quietly Making Noise, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Bright&Early,

Blogspot comment peculiarities

There is something going on with my blog. Maybe there is a Blogspot blogger who converted to Haloscan comments out there who could help explain something to me.

When I first started TFM I had blogger comments. One of the features of blogger comments was I got email notifications any time a comment was left.

Then in late August of last year I installed Haloscan. That copied over all my old blogger comments. Not that there were that many to start with. LOL. The peculiar thing is, I'm still getting email notifications of blogger comments. Lots of them in the last two weeks, at least 2 a day. None of these comments appear on my blog,(I go and check the post the email says the comment is made to. In each case the comment does not show.) but I'm getting emails for them.

I don't mind these comments not appearing. They are all from annonymous senders and spam to boot. I'm just curious why I get these when I don't have my old comment system anymore.

Anyone out there who can help explain this to me? Thank you in advance.

Open Post- NIF, Third World County, Bloggin Outloud,

Tooth fairies and Potty training

Why am I discussing this? It's three years since Daniel died. I just can't resist commenting on this post by Michelle Malkin. First she writes-

Big week here at Malkin Central. My five-year-old lost her first tooth

Warning Michelle it won't be long before she starts questioning Santa Claus. Life is all downhill after we stop believing in Santa.

Then Michelle passed on this news and commentary-

Meanwhile, potty-training my son is like dealing with post-9/11 liberals. No matter how much patient educating and explaining you do to convince them to take responsibility for their actions and prevent future disasters, the end result is always the same: soiled pants.

Michelle is lucky she just has one to train at a time. I've heard of potty training triplets. One gold medalist, One silver medalist and one who keeps missing the podium.

Also Michelle your son will learn from his mistakes and grow up. Post 9-11 liberals are unlikely to do either.

God bless Michelle and her family.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Florida the rules are different here Chapter XV

The town of Ocean Ridge(Population 1631) has two city council seats up in spring elections. Incumbents were running, but no one is opposing them.

This happens with Congress and State legislature all the time. Wouldn't you think someone in such a small town would want to run? I guess no one is interested in town business. Ocean Ridge may die of apathy one day but will anyone care?

Open Post- Adam's Blog, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation,

Ocean Ridge will not have elections this spring for the first time since 2001 after the town's filing period ended at 3 p.m. Monday and no one challenged the incumbents.

Two seats on the five-member Town Commission were open, but Mayor Ken Kaleel, 45, and Vice Mayor Geoff Pugh, 43, automatically won new three-year terms.

Political observers say there are a variety of reasons why residents choose not to run against incumbents, such as complacency or apathy.

Most likely, however, said Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause Florida, a Tallahassee-based government watchdog group, is that residents are intimidated.

"The most realistic situation could be is that potential challengers don't see the possibility of winning due to the campaign war chests that the incumbents build up," Wilcox said.

Town Clerk Karen E. Hancsak has her own explanation: "Maybe they're satisfied with the two commissioners that are in office."

Hancsak held out the possibility of a challenger until the last day because sitting Commissioner Nancy Hogan registered on the last day last year.

Kaleel, a lawyer at Kaleel & Crozier, has been on the commission for 10 years and has lived in the town since 1990. He decided to run for re-election to oversee some projects to completion and to have a voice in issues facing the town in the near future, he said.

"We're running toward the end of the drainage program, and the new Town Hall is the focus. ... I've seen and implemented a lot of changes happing today. I'm proud of those changes," he said.

Pugh, in the pool construction business, is an 11-year resident finishing his first term.

"It takes at least three years just to figure out what the heck you're doing up there," Pugh said.

An anniversary

Twelve years ago today my Dear Wife became a US Citizen. Funny its same day as my son's birthday.

My wife was born in the Philippines, we married in 1989 and that same year she immigrated to the US. In late 1992 we began the INS so my wife could become a US citizen. Spouses of citizens are eligible to apply after three years, the usual wait is five.

I remember the day in 1994. It wasn't long after my first malignant melanoma operation. I was still recovering from that and DW made me drive the car to Miami for her swearing in. She was afraid back then to drive to Miami. I remember the ceremony and how proud I felt that my wife was now a citizen.

Happy anniversary sweetheart.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Third World County,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are the eight Democratic members of the Judiciary committee who voted to oppose the nomination of Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court. They are Senators Joseph Biden, Diane Feinstein, Russ Feingold, Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy, Richard Durbin, Charles Schumer and Herb Kohl. Its obvious their opposition has nothing to do with Alito's views but Democratic fundraising and just plain politics. Alito is a sitting federal judge, if he is so horrible a judge and out of touch with the US mainstream why don't they call for his impeachment?

Somehow these knuckleheads think voting Alito will help win Congress back for the As Don Surber cites in the cases of Breyer and Ginsburg, only seven and three Republicans respectively opposed their nomination to the Supreme Court in 1993 and 1994. Only 30% of the american public opposes Alito's nomination, but truthfully few people really care though they should.

For being partisan hypocrites, Democratic Senators Biden, Leahy, Feinstein, Finegold, Kennedy, Dubrin, Kohl and Schumer are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Other bloggers commenting(There are too many to list. These are just my favorites)- Poliblog, Michelle Malkin, Professor Bainbridge, Ann Althouse, Stop the ACLU, Blogs For Bush, Wizbang, Uncooperative Blogger, Outside the Beltway,
Open Post- Bloggin Outloud, Adam's Blog, , Common Folk, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Stop the ACLU, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog, NIF, Third World County,

An opening down under

The United States hasn't had an ambassador to Australia in over a year.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – More than a year after the former US ambassador said his goodbyes to Australia, the top diplomatic post remains vacant in Canberra, reflecting a casualness that has the typically laid-back Aussies getting a little anxious.

Sure, even good mates don't always keep in touch - to a point.

And with trouble in the Middle East, spy scandals at home, and plans to move hundreds of diplomats to hot spots around the world, filling an ambassadorial post in the South Pacific may not be high on the White House's priority list.

A relaxed attitude by both governments - which are in agreement on almost all matters of foreign policy - has allowed months to pass before doubts finally began to be raised here that perhaps the Americans were being a tad callous toward their close ally.

"The US definitely takes us for granted - and they know that it's not a difficult relationship to manage and that we don't need any sort of mollycoddling or day-to-day attention," says Elizabeth Thurbon, professor of politics and international relations at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

No reason has been given for the delay in dispatching an ambassador to Canberra's vast US Embassy grounds. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has stated that he would like the position to be filled as quickly as possible.

Dr Taylor is right, Australia is a big ally not in need of much diplomatic work but leaving the post open is strange. But TFM has a solution. I know someone who would be perfect for the job, she's charming, intelligent, a minority(Republican too), can be tough as nails(her name translates to the little female lion. She is usually a pussycat but when angry she roars!) too if needed. Who is she?

My dear wife! So when do we pack our bags for Canberra? Can I still be the The Florida Masochist then? LOL.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Third World County, TMH's Bacon Bits, Stop the ACLU,

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Will Kenyon

He was a prematurely born boy like my son Daniel. A year ago this week he passed away. Go over to the blog set up by Will's parents John and Mary. I discovered it a few weeks ago and it revived memories of my son's short life. My wife and I share an experience with the Kenyons no parents should suffer.

John and Mary have recently had a new addition to their family. God bless them all but they could still use some kind words. The death of your child leaaves scars that can never be removed.

Open Post- Bloggin Outloud, Adam's Blog, Third World County, Common Folk,

From the Silly news desk

Criminals are so dumb. Some news from California.

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe,

FORT BRAGG, Calif. - A man on a weekend getaway was arrested after allegedly burglarizing the Fort Bragg motel where he was staying, then leaving a note indicating where to find him.

Enrique Rodriguez Vasquez, 37, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of methamphetamine after police confronted him at the Best Western motel room he'd described in the note.

Police found a computer hard drive, television satellite device and $200 reported missing from the motel, said Fort Bragg Police Lt. Floyd Higdon. The stolen equipment was valued at $1,500.

Vasquez's poorly spelled note berated the motel manager for being absent from the office.

"There was no one here to attend us guest in rm427. You even left the office unattended. You could have been burglurized ... Your lucky I didn't steele," the note said in part.

Vasquez said his companion, Dana Lynn Jensen, 41, was unaware of the theft until afterward. She did however, admit owning half the methamphetamine and the stolen cash was in her suitcase, authorities said.

Michael Schiavo

Got re-married last weekend.

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (AP) -- A man whose brain-damaged wife was at the center of a contentious end-of-life battle that played out on a worldwide media stage has remarried, family members said.

Michael Schiavo and Jodi Centonze were married Saturday in a private church ceremony, said John Centonze, the brother of the bride.

Schiavo's former wife, Terri Schiavo, died March 31, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed. Terri Schiavo suffered irreversible brain damage after collapsing at age 26 in 1990.

Her parents and siblings fought to keep her alive for years, arguing that she had some level of consciousness. Gov. Jeb Bush, the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, the White House, and even the Vatican became involved in the case.

An autopsy supported Michael Schiavo's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state with no consciousness and no hope of recovery.

Because of the attention attracted by the Schiavo saga, family members kept the location of the ceremony secret and reporters were not allowed inside the church in Safety Harbor, about 15 miles northwest of Tampa.

"It was very emotional," John Centonze said after the noon ceremony. "It's been a long time coming. A lot of things happened in between."

The bride and groom did not make any public comment. They had applied Friday for a marriage license.

The couple met in a dentist's office and began a relationship after Terri Schiavo was already in a nursing home. Michael Schiavo has called Centonze his fiancee for more than five years, relatives said. They have two young children.

Now I think the death of Terry Schiavo was tragic. I only had a chess blog back then, TFM didn't exist yet. Here are two posts- Here and here. Terry was brain dead, but Michael was in an obvious conflict of interest. The courts set a bad future precedent with the handling of this matter.

As to Michael's remarriage, I understand it perfectly and wish him and his new wife well not ill. There is still alot of anger and hate out there in the blogosphere towards Michael Schiavo. Here is one instance.

Let it go people. Michael Schiavo did not kill Terry Schiavo last year. Terry was dead for 15 years in all but name. Terry would want Michael to find happiness again, I would want the same for my wife if I left this world for what ever reason.(As long as she didn't kill me first. LOL) Two things are at play here, people who still hate Michael for going to the courts to let Terry die, and others who think its terrible a man(or womanr) re-marries so soon after a spouse dies. As for the later, they are just as narrowminded as the others are hateful. Grieving is a personal process, it takes however long the individual NOT SOCIETY or ANYONE determines. It can take months or years. Widows and widowers re-marry frequently in the first year or two after their other spouse dies. I'm a melanoma survivor but have known men and women who lost spouses to melanoma. Some re-married, they found happiness again and I'm happy for them. The same goes for Michael Schiavo and you should feel the same. Forget the past, life goes on.

Life~Florida~Whatever shares my feelings on Michael Schiavo and his new wife.
Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Bloggin Outloud, Adam's Blog, Third World County, Common Folk,

I guess he covers bloggers too

January 24th on the Catholic calendar is the memorial day for Saint Francis de Sales. He is the patron saint of writers.

If you're Catholic, please pray to him for me and all other writers. Particularly so I can finish those thirteen unfinished sci-fi stories on my hard drive. LOL.

God bless all bloggers.
Hat tip- The Anchoress
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Bloggin Outloud, Adam's Blog, Third World County, Common Folk,

1567 at Chateau of Thorens, Savoy
28 December 1622 at Lyons; buried at Annecy
8 January 1662 by Pope Alexander VII
19 April 1665 by Pope Alexander VII

My own backyard

I live in un-incorporated Palm Beach County. If you put the name Atlantis, Lantana or Lake Worth and my zip code number mail will get delivered here.

When addressing mail, we use Lantana. Always have. It's not a big PB County city, less than 10,000 live there. My wife works within the city limits.

Less than a mile from our home is Lantana airport. Its a small community airfield, not one that lands commercial jets(Though a Carnival airlines flight about 10 years ago almost mistook it for PBIA!). Small planes and helicopters fly in and out of it all day. You hear it all the time at my house but its not a distraction.

Today the airport is back in the news. A student pilot flipped her plane practicing touch and gos this morning. Fortunately no one was hurt.

This isn't the first accident at the airport. Since moving here in 1989, there have been at least four crashes and three involving fatalities. Two of the crashes took place on the airport property, one over by the interstate, and another about 1/8 of a mile short of the airport.

I'm not saying it's dangerous here but life certainly isn't boring.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe,

LANTANA – A 49-year-old flying student from Denver walked away from a crash unharmed on Tuesday after her airplane flipped over during a touch and go exercise at the airport.The incident occurred around 10:49 a.m. at the Lantana Airport while Jeanine Davis flew solo and was completing a series of touch and go landings and takeoffs on Runway 15. Her instructor was on the ground.

On the final approach the two-seat Cessna airplane touched down, bounced, then veered and flipped over, deputies said.Davis was not injured, but damage was reported to the aircraft's nose propeller and the tail. A dollar estimate was not immediately available.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Andrea Kozlowski. She gets the award for trying to enter the Martin County Courthouse yesterday. With a pipe full of marijuana stashed in her purse.

Why not just put a sign around your head Ms. Kozlowski saying- I'm breaking the law. For bringing her stupidity to court, Andrea Kozlowski is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Bloggin Outloud, Don Surber, Adam's Blog, Third World County, Common Folk,

STUART — Andrea Kozlowski almost made it through the entrance of the Martin County Courthouse Monday afternoon.

If only it weren't for the pipe full of marijuana stashed inside her cute black rectangle purse.

Martin County sheriff's deputy Paula Neild thought the pipe was a weapon when she saw it on the X-ray machine. She asked Kozlowski, 29, if she could look inside her purse. Kozlowski, who was visiting the courthouse to file some paperwork, agreed.

"My main concern is to look for something that would hurt someone in here," said Neild, who has worked in the courthouse since June. "I never expected that."

Neild pulled the pipe out of the purse and said it was full of "a leafy green substance." Sheriff's deputies said a field test concluded that the green stuff was marijuana.

Neild arrested Kozlowski for possession of drug paraphernalia. She was being held at the Martin County jail Monday afternoon.

Signs near the front of the courthouse entrances warn people that everything they carry into the building is subject to search, but this is not the first time someone has tried to enter the building with drugs.

A Palm Beach Gardens man was arrested in 2003 after deputies said he tried to walk into the courthouse with a tin full of marijuana on his way to get a passport.

Who cares

Does the press corps have anything better to do than report whether President Bush has watched a movie?

Asked his opinion of the movie "Brokeback Mountain," President Bush hemmed and hawed.

"You would love it. You should check it out," a man in the audience told Bush Monday during a question and answer session at Kansas State University.

After some hesitation — and laughter in the audience — Bush said, "I'd be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven't seen the movie." The audience laughed some more, and Bush, who owns a ranch in Texas, allowed that, "I've heard about it."

Apparently not. There aren't enough big stories out there. Iran, North Korea, and others to concern the President. He needs to watch a movie!

President Bush is a very busy man, much busier than myself and I haven't seen the movie either. Dear Wife and I will probably see it eventually.

David Sanger at the NYT is also reporting this important story. Yawn....

Iowa Voice wonders why this is news.
Betsy is also commenting.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bloggin Outloud

What's the fuss?

Some civic activists are complaining that three Hollywood firefighters got food stamps after Hurricane Wilma struck South Florida. One such firefighter made $100,000 last year and this was considered galling by one civic leader, Charles Vollman president of the Hollywood Council of Civic Associations.

I've blogged before on both the story of firefighters applying for food stamps and the the relief program for South Florida residents. My feelings on today's news is summed up by what Union president Russ Chard said-

"Being a firefighter, you don't forfeit your rights as a citizen," Chard said. "If they applied for a benefit and legitimately qualified, they're no different from anybody else."

If these firemen qualified, they get the benefits like anyone else. End of story. There was no limit on the amount of food stamps paid out. Mr. Vollman and the other complaining activists need a life.

Donnah at Florida Cracker is also commenting on this story.
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation,

Hollywood · A group of civic activists is taking the city to task over the case of three firefighters who applied for emergency food stamps after Hurricane Wilma, even though they each earn more than $70,000 per year.

The federal emergency food stamp program, run by the state Department of Children & Families, was intended for people who lost wages or suffered such catastrophic damage they could not feed their families that month. Approximately 500,000 Floridians applied.

Firefighter Anthony Cioppa, 41, Capt. Raymond Powers, 51, and Driver-Engineer William Gutierrez, 42, made substantial overtime as a result of the hurricane, city records show. It's unclear whether all the men received aid because such records are not open to the public.

Charles Vollman, president of the Hollywood Council of Civic Associations, said Monday his board could not believe that "with one of them making over $100,000 a year, that they would have the gall to apply for food stamps."

In a letter to the city, the Council called the firefighters' actions "unethical" and "unconscionable."

Pete Brewer, president of the North Central Civic Association, said the city should make the men write checks to charity in any amount they may have collected.

Cioppa, who lives with his mother and whose children live with him about four times a week, said Monday he received a food stamp debit card. He now regrets it.

"I worked for Eastern Airlines. We went on strike and I walked the picket line for two years," he said. "They offered us groceries, but I wouldn't take anything. I was too proud ... All this for 200, 300 bucks? It's not worth it. It's an embarrassment. I apologize," he said.

Cioppa said he and his co-workers never stood in line or met with a DCF caseworker to verify their information as other applicants did. DCF spokeswoman Leslie Mann said if that happened, it was "an anomaly."

"When we received an application, you had to meet with a worker because they had to fill out a worksheet," she said. "There's no getting around that. I don't understand how that's possible."

Powers could not be reached for comment. Gutierrez declined to comment.

Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez said he had no problem with the three applying. His concern, which he counseled them about, was that they did so while on duty and in uniform.

The three were assigned at the time to the Millennium Mall application site in case anyone fell ill in line.

"As far as I'm concerned, I handled it," Fernandez said.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Clint Curtis and Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Arthur Andersen. Curtis is a kook who has a conspiracy theory about the 2004 election. Of course there are huge holes in the story and no evidence. Why does Anderson get the award too. Because he's wasting taxpayer money by having an elections advisory committee listen to this nut. If it cost the county a dime, thats one dime too much. I warned here about Andersen's questionable management skills. Andersen's term in office is heading downhill fast. That's what you get when a party seeks revenge over putting a competent person in office.

For making spectacles of themselves and the Election supervisor's office, Clint Curtis and Arthur Andersen are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Third World County, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Don Surber, Jo's Cafe,

Clint Curtis, a familiar name to those who follow election-stealing allegations on the Internet, will get an official audience this week with the committee advising Palm Beach County on voting technology.

Curtis is the Florida computer programmer who emerged in December 2004 at an Ohio forum and online with an affidavit claiming he had been an unwitting accomplice four years earlier in a Republican plot to rig touch-screen elections.
His disputed story has found a receptive audience in Palm Beach County with some Democrats and foes of electronic voting. Curtis was a featured speaker at this month's county Democratic Party meeting and a participant last month in a demonstration outside the county elections office demanding a ballot "paper trail."

The protest took place before a meeting of the Elections Technology Advisory Committee formed by Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson. A member of that committee, Democratic activist Jack Sadow, has been trying since September to get the panel to listen to Curtis.

The committee voted Jan. 12 to let Curtis speak for 20 minutes at Thursday's meeting about the vulnerabilities of paperless voting systems.

Curtis, 47, was a programmer for Yang Enterprises Inc. of Oviedo in 2000. Tom Feeney — now a Republican congressman, then the incoming speaker of the Florida House — was Yang's general counsel and its local lobbyist. Curtis claims he took part in a meeting in September or October of 2000 with Yang officials and Feeney in which Feeney asked him to write a program that could alter electronic votes and be undetectable.

Curtis says he wrote the program believing Feeney wanted to detect Democratic attempts to steal elections. But he says he was later told by a Yang executive that the program was actually intended "to control the vote in South Florida."

Feeney flatly denies Curtis' story. His office wouldn't comment beyond that.

Yang Enterprises also denies Curtis' claims.

Through its lawyer, the company says it has never written elections software and that Curtis was never present at any meeting with its officials and Feeney.

Curtis admits he has no hard evidence to back up his claims. He points to a lie-detector test he took last year that was administered by Tim Robinson, a retired Florida Department of Law Enforcement chief polygrapher, who confirmed that Curtis passed. The test was paid for by a Washington private investigator, Kevin Walsh. Walsh wouldn't say who hired him.

Curtis' 2004 affidavit says Feeney specified in 2000 that the vote-rigging program "needed to be touch-screen capable."

Touch-screen voting machines were not used anywhere in Florida in 2000. They only became popular with elections officials after the 2000 presidential recount highlighted problems with punch cards and their notorious chads.

"Feeney is always ahead of the curve. He's a planner," Curtis said in a recent interview.

Curtis has had other clashes with Yang Enterprises and Feeney.

After leaving Yang in 2001 and taking a consulting job with the state Department of Transportation, the firm accused him in a lawsuit of stealing its software. Curtis called the suit, which is still pending in Leon County, "retaliation" for his accusations that Yang overbilled DOT on a multimillion-dollar technology contract and employed an illegal alien in violation of the contract's terms.

Curtis' overbilling accusations led to a DOT investigation that found $212,991 in "questioned costs" in Yang's billings, including $97,437 in "unallowable" costs for which DOT requested repayment. Yang disputed the findings. The firm and DOT remain in litigation over the contract.

The man Curtis accused of being an illegal alien, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, was indicted in 2004 on charges he shipped sensitive technology to China that could be used in missile guidance systems. He entered a plea deal in which he admitted making false statements to authorities, paid $100 and was sentenced to three years' unsupervised probation. A DOT report concluded the matter wasn't related to the Yang contract and that Nee was in the country lawfully at the time he worked on the contract.

Curtis also accused Feeney of misusing his position as speaker to benefit Yang. The state Commission on Ethics in 2002 dismissed a complaint against Feeney that was based largely on Curtis' claims.

While these disputes were playing out, and while Feeney ran for Congress in 2002 against a Democrat who hammered him on ethics issues, Curtis never came forward with any story about being asked by Feeney to design vote-rigging software.

Curtis said the only person to whom he divulged the story before 2004 was Raymond Lemme, a DOT investigator probing the Yang overbilling allegations. In a twist that has fueled some dark speculating on the Internet, Lemme died in an apparent suicide in 2003.

DOT Director of Investigations Robert Clift said he and Lemme spoke "several times a day" about the investigation of Yang's billing. If Curtis had made any election-related allegations to Lemme, Clift said he is certain Lemme would not have kept the information to himself.

"Lemme would have immediately referred those investigations out," Clift said.

The fact that Curtis' claim of a 2000 vote-tampering discussion didn't surface until 2004 drew skepticism last year from liberal Fox News personality Alan Colmes when he interviewed Curtis on his radio show.

"If what you are claiming is true, I would have shouted it from the rooftops. I would have gone to the authorities, the FBI, the police, the Democratic (Party) — anybody that would listen. I wouldn't depend on one guy with the Department of Transportation," Colmes said.

Curtis said this month that he waited to go public with the story in part because he didn't fully appreciate the potential significance of a program to manipulate electronic votes. He said he doesn't pay much attention to politics and didn't realize until 2004 that much of Florida had switched to paperless touch-screen voting machines two years earlier.

Curtis says he does not know whether his program was ever used. But he says he suspects someone tampered with the 2004 presidential results in Florida.

A blogging anniversary

A Blog for all turned one year old yesterday. Its author lawhawk asked for a ping. So here is one.

Go and check ABFA out. Its a good blog, I got to add it to my blogroll the next time I do an update.

Albertsons close to being sold?

According to news reports, the 2nd biggest food chain may just be. The consortium that hopes to buy Albertson's includes the CVS Drug Store chain, which recently bought Eckerd Drugs and is very prominent here in Florida.

I've blogged about this before. The colossus known as Walmart is effecting the whole food store chain industry. Winn Dixie is in bankruptcy, companies like Albertson's find their profits stagnating. Walmart does have low prices, but if more stores fall by the wayside will this be good for consumers? Less competition is not a good enviorment for the consumer more times than not. Just look at Cable television before and after satellite television came into play.

Personally I don't do much shopping at Albertson's. Four of their stores are located within seven miles of my home but I rarely visit them except for specials. I find their prices too high compared to Winn-Dixie or Publix.

For better or for worse I guess we'll just have to live with fewer grocery store choices.

Open Post- Third World County, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog,

BOISE, Idaho -- The group that tried to buy Albertson's Inc. late last year -- a deal rejected by the company's board -- was reportedly close to reaching a deal Sunday for the nation's second-largest supermarket chain.

The Boise-based chain was considering an offer from a group of companies and investment firms for at least $9.6 billion in cash and stock, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported in Monday editions.

The consortium includes the Rhode Island-based CVS drugstore chain; Minnesota-based Supervalu supermarkets; Cerberus Capital Management, an investment fund; and Kimco Realty, a real estate investment company.

Supervalu and Albertson's disclosed Friday that talks had resumed after the group approached the company last week with a modified proposal. Albertson's did not return telephone calls from The Associated Press on Sunday.

Albertson's shares fell more than 10 percent after the company announced it had ended the December talks.

Some shareholders called for the resignation of Albertson's chief executive, Larry R. Johnston, a former General Electric executive who was brought in to revive the business.

Under the new proposal, the buyers plan to break Albertson's into three parts -- splitting the supermarket business in two and merging the drugstore business with CVS, The Times reported.

Supervalu supermarkets was expected to acquire the most attractive stores, and Cerberus Capital and Kimco Realty would take the rest and either resell or revamp them.

The group is expected to pay slightly more than $26 a share in cash and stock, The Times reported, citing people involved in the talks. CVS, Cerberus Capital and Kimco Realty are planning to contribute slightly more than $20 per share in cash, while Supervalu covers the rest in its stock.

Shares of Albertson's closed on Friday at $24.11, up 24 cents, or 1 percent, on speculation that a deal could be reached.

The possible sale comes as traditional grocers are under pressure from larger discount competitors like Costco and Wal-Mart Stores, which now has more than 1,000 supermarkets within its stores around the country.

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