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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.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Truth or Bluff?

Things in the Middle East get scarier with this latest news. Iran says they test fired a missile that can avoid radar detection.

Iran - Iran successfully test-fired a missile that can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads, the military said Friday.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the air force chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards, did not specify the missile's range, saying it depends on the weight of its warheads.

But state-run television described the weapon as "ballistic" — suggesting it's of comparable range to Iran's existing ballistic rocket, which can travel 1,250 miles and reach arch-foe Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East.

"Today, a remarkable goal of the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense forces was realized with the successful test-firing of a new missile with greater technical and tactical capabilities than those previously produced," Salami said on state-run television.

It showed a clip of the launch of what it called the Fajr-3, with "fajr" meaning "victory" in Farsi.

"It can avoid anti-missile missiles and strike the target," Salami said.

He said the missile would carry a multiple warhead, and each warhead would be capable of hitting its target precisely.

"This news causes much concern, and that concern is shared by many countries in the international community, about Iran's aggressive nuclear weapons program and her parallel efforts to develop delivery systems, both in the field of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

"The combination of extremist jihadist ideology, together with nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is a combination that no one in the international community can be complacent about," he said.

Israel has every reason to be concerned. If what Iran says is true, they have a missile known as a MIRV. Which combined with their nuclear program could give them the capability to wipe out much of Israel before that country would have a chance to retaliate.

The question is- Is what Iran's claim true? Dr. Steven Taylor at Poliblog is wondering. Why would Iran announce their test? If they really posess this ability, this is only going to make a first strike by Israel even more likely. Is Iran trying to provoke Israel in order to be able to attack back saying its self-defense? Or is Iran bluffing about the missile entirely? That would seem to be a very dangerous policy to be undertaking, but little seems rational about Iran's leadership.

I see a crisis brewing in the Middle East and my fear is the butcher bill will be worse than anything ever before in human history. God help us all.

Open Post- Random Thoughts, Right Wing Nation, Is it just me?, Adam's Blog,


Here is some news out of Southwest Florida. I wonder what this guy's handicap is? Oh it is between Rodney Hearon's ears. LOL!

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Stuck on Stupid, Cao's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Bright & Early,

A man in Seminole County was arrested on a golf course after witnesses said he used a golf club to attack another golfer in an apparent fit of rage.

Deputies said Rodney Hearon became involved in a dispute Wednesday with a golfer at the Wekiva Springs Golf and Country Club in Longwood.

Witnesses said Hearon and another man asked two other golfers if they could pass in front of them near the tenth hole on the course. The men declined to allow the pair to pass, citing that the golf course was full and that there was still a group in front of them, a police report said.

A verbal altercation ensued and during the exchange, witnesses said Hearon chased one of the men with a golf club and swung it about one foot from his head.

Deputies arrested Hearon and charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Ticket Scalping to become legal in Florida?

It could if a bill that that is currently in both houses of the Florida State legislature gets signed into law. As Florida law stands now, it's illegal to sell tickets for more than $1 over their value in Florida. The online ticket seller Ticketmaster is in favor of the legislation.

TFM is ambivalent on the issue of scalping. Only one time in my life have I ever purchased tickets from a scalper. It was so I could take this person to a concert, she paid. Truthfully enforcing this law doesn't make sense. Our police have better things to do with their time. Its also the free market at work, if people want tickets to a sold out event and someone has tickets they can't use, why can't they make a little money? No one has to buy tickets at a higher price.

On the other hand I could see someone buying large blocks of tickets and then scalping them to make a profit. Scalping laws in theory prevent this, but every Super Bowl game that ever took place in Florida has seen scalping despite the laws against it.

So what do you think?

Open Post- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Outside the Beltway,

TALLAHASSEE - Matthew Adams is getting desperate.

He has less than a month to sell six tickets to a Kenny Chesney concert at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise. He recently posted the tickets for sale on the popular website The asking price: $75 each -- exactly what he paid.

Even though Adams lives in Virginia, he knows he'd be committing a crime in Florida if he tried to sell the tickets for more than $1 over their face value.

But Florida lawmakers want to change that.

A measure filed in both chambers of the Legislature would drastically change the 61-year-old ticket-scalping laws, allowing Floridians to resell tickets at any price to sporting events, theater shows and concerts on authorized websites that offer consumer protection guarantees, such as full refunds if the event is canceled or the tickets are not delivered in time.

The measure comes as Internet ticket sales are skyrocketing -- some legal, others not.

''There's a current market out there that is booming,'' said state Rep. Marcelo Llorente, a Miami Republican who introduced the House version of the bill. ``We want to be able to offer the consumers the protections they deserve and the ability to resell their tickets for whatever price the market will bear.''

The proposed changes also will affect scalpers who stand outside arenas and other event venues hawking tickets.

Current law says someone caught selling an admission ticket for more than $1 over its original selling price can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

If the law is changed, those same people will make money: Scalpers who make hand-to-hand transactions would be able to resell tickets for 25 percent over face value.

Proponents of the measure say it will do away with laws that limit free enterprise.

''A free market is by far the best for the consumer,'' said Gary Adler, general counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers, a nonprofit group that represents the ticket brokering industry.

Current law says licensed ticket brokers are exempt from the $1 cap as long as they resell the tickets as part of a travel package. That exemption allows many of them to resell tickets at exorbitant prices, Llorente said. The proposed bills wouldn't affect them.

Llorente and his co-sponsor, state Rep. John Stargel, a Lakeland Republican, won unanimous support for their bill from a House committee Wednesday. It must pass through another committee before it can be voted on by the entire House.

Its Senate counterpart, filed by Sens. Mike Bennett, a Bradenton Republican, and Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, has passed through two committees. If approved by one more, it can be voted on by the full Senate.

The bills have won support from online ticket retailers, such as Ticketmaster and StubHub.

But Judge that was the only way I could get to court

Some news out of Miami. If being dumb was a crime, Mr. Minks would be serving a life term.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Stuck on Stupid, Real Ugly American,

Thomas Minks has a history of stealing cars.

He is alleged to have stolen another one Thursday, this time in order to get to court on time to face charges -- for stealing a car.

Minks' latest exploit played out in front of dozens of lawyers, cops and civilians as police caught up with him in the parking lot of the Miami-Dade Justice Building.

A Global Positioning System device in the vehicle led police to Minks, who was driving a 2002 S500V Mercedes Sedan that did not belong to him.

He was finally arrested after trying to flee police and being subdued by a stun gun.

''He almost ran over two officers,'' said Miami police spokeswoman Herminia Salas-Jacobson.

For his latest transgressions, Minks, 32, of 3130 SW 120th Ct., faces charges that include two counts of aggravated assault on police officers and single counts of grand theft auto and fleeing and eluding police officers.

He's been arrested numerous times since a 1992 burglary charge. Before Thursday, his most recent arrest was in Miami-Dade on Jan. 6, for stealing a vehicle and battery on a firefighter. He allegedly stole another vehicle in June of 2005, also in Dade, but those charges were later dropped.

Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Nicholas Quiles and an unnamed New Port Richey Florida mother. Mr. Quiles raped the 7-year-old son of the unnamed mother. The mother instead of reporting this to police, took $600 from Quiles and let him do it again.

Note- I'm assuming the mother isn't being named to protect the name of her son. You just never know with newspapers.

This is despicable and how any parent can allow this to happen to their child I don't know. These stories just make me sick.

Open Post- Blue Star, Don Surber, Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Mudville Gazette,

NEW PORT RICHEY - When the mother first heard a neighbor had raped her 7-year-old son, she confronted the man and threatened to call police.

That's when she stopped acting like a concerned parent and began negotiating, police said Wednesday.

She accepted $600 in hush money and let the neighbor molest her son again, Lt. Jeffrey Harrington said.

"We don't know if this was supposed to be an ongoing arrangement," he said.

An anonymous tip Monday led investigators to the woman's home on Jefferson Street,north of downtown.

The neighbor, Nicholas Quiles, 48, was arrested that day on two counts of capital sexual battery - felony charges that could put him away for life if he's convicted.

After investigating further, detectives arrested the boy's mother Tuesday. The Tampa Tribune is not printing her name to protect the child's identity.

She faces one count each of capital sexual battery and child abuse.

The woman was candid with police about her involvement in the case, Harrington said.

"She wasn't overly upset," he said. "She wasn't cavalier. It wasn't matter-of-fact. It was more conversational."

Harrington said this is the first time he's heard of a parent allegedly selling a child for sex.

"There are definitely oddities to this case," he said. "I hope we never have to investigate anything like this again."

The sexual assaults happened in the first two weeks of February, Harrington said.

The boy first confided to his 11-year-old sister that Quiles did "bad things to him," the girl told a detective.

Her brother later told authorities the sex acts happened when he was alone with the neighbor.

The two children, plus their toddler brother, were taken to a safe place Tuesday. The investigation continues, and so far there's no evidence the woman's daughter and younger son were sexually abused, Harrington said.

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Christianity doomed in parts of Europe?

That may be an extreme statement, but news like this out of Belgium makes you wonder. Political speech equals hate spech and as Aussiegirl at Ultima Thule states so well, hate speech is a code word for speech crime. Something the USSR was well known for punishing.

You may agree or disagree with Fr. Samuel, but he has a right to say what he says. Silencing him would be the real crime.

Open Post- TMH's Bacon Bits, Freedom Watch, Right Wing Nation, Real Ugly American,

One of the rare Belgian churches that is packed every weekend is the church of Saint Anthony of Padova in Montignies-sur-Sambre, one of the poorest suburbs of Charleroi, a derelict rust belt area to the south of Brussels. Holy Mass in Montignies is conducted in Latin and lasts up to four hours. Yesterday over 2,000 people attended the service by Father Samuel (Père Samuel). The priest’s sermon dealt with his persecution. The Belgian authorities are bringing the popular priest to court on charges of racism.

Father Samuel has been prosecuted for “incitement to racist hatred” by the Belgian government’s inquisition agency, the so-called Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), because of a remark he made in a 2002 television interview when he said:

“Every thoroughly islamized Muslim child that is born in Europe is a time bomb for Western children in the future. The latter will be persecuted when they have become a minority.”

Père SamuelLast Thursday the Belgian judiciary decided that the priest will have to stand trial before the penal court in Charleroi. He reacted by repeating his time bomb statement and added that he would be honoured if he had to go to jail for speaking his mind. He added that Jesus, too, had been convicted. During yesterday’s sermon he called upon the faithful to accompany him to court. “We will turn this into an excursion, driving there in full buses.”

Father Samuel’s passport gives his name as Charles-Clément Boniface. That is not entirely correct. He was born in 1942 in Midyat, Turkey, as Samuel Ozdemir. The latter is a surname the priest dislikes because, he explains, it was imposed on his family by the Turks. Samuel was a Christian: “At home we spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus.” The Aramaics are a Catholic minority in Syria and Turkey. They speak an old Semitic language, which Jesus and the apostles used and which Mel Gibson had his actors use in his movie The Passion of the Christ.

Young Samuel became a Catholic priest. In the mid-1970s he fled to Belgium, claiming that the Aramaic Christians were being persecuted in Turkey. He became a Belgian and adopted the surname of Boniface – “he who does good things.” He was appointed to the diocese of Tournai, but soon became caught up in the culture war between Christians and secularists. Tournai is a thoroughly secularised, modernist diocese. Father Samuel clashed with the bishop, who suspended him in 2001. He then bought the St-Antoine-de-Padoue church in Montignies-sur-Sambre. There he conducts the Mass according to the traditional rites of the Catholic Church.

Hundreds of faithful from all over the country and even from the north of France attend Sunday Mass in Montignies-sur-Sambre. The congregation includes African immigrants, a large number of young people and many young families with small children. In his sermons and on his website Father Samuel speaks out against secularism, but also fights on another front of the three-way culture war, warning against “the islamic invasion” of the West. He says he has witnessed in Turkey what the future has in store for Europe. He claims Muslims are invading Europe and warns for an impending civil war. According to Father Samuel “so-called moderate Muslims do not exist.”

Could I have some French Fries with those handcuffs?

Some news from Texas.

Open Post- Freedom Watch, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog,

ABILENE, Texas - A police chase of a suspected carjacker ended abruptly when the suspect took a wrong turn: into a Burger King drive-thru.

Abilene Officer Ralph Garcia said he spotted a vehicle that was reported carjacked in Dallas on Wednesday and started following it. The car sped away, fleeing from Garcia and other authorities onto Interstate 10 before exiting and getting stuck in the drive-thru.

No one was injured during the chase.

Colton Raysor, 39, and April Perea, 26, were arrested and jailed on multiple charges, including felony theft of a motor vehicle.

Twenty Five years ago today

Betsy reminds us that today marks twenty-five years since the assaination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Where were you that day?

I was twenty years old and in the Navy then. Stationed at the Naval Training Center in Orlando. I had driven down to my parents in Boca Raton to visit when we heard about the attempt on President Reagan's life. Like recent MSM feeding frenzies, mistakes were made. James Brady being announced as dead for one.

What I remember most about the day had nothing to do with the assaination. It was the first time I went out with Imi. Imi was 18 years old, from Holland, and the daughter of a wealthy family that employed my father to do bookkeeping work for their harness racing operations in the US. She came to my parent's home with an older sister and asked if I wanted to go out with her. We went to some club in Fort Lauderdale.

I remember this because Imi was a wild girl. Drank like a fish, would party till any hour of the night, plus if I may borrow from Bill James the baseball author(Don't want to be accused of plagarism), was wilder than a truckload of starving kangaroos. At night's end I deposited Imi in her hotel room and avoided her invitations to join her in...... Well you can guess what.

Imi wasn't to be thwarted so easily, she paid another 4 visits to Florida in the next year or two and looked me up. Every time we went out, we partied, she got drunk and I brought her back to a hotel with me refusing her drunken advances. I got stationed out of Florida and I never saw Imi again after either 1982 or 83.

So I turned down getting laid at 20 and a chance at being filthy rich. Heck I rather make sarcastic wisecracks and be married to a simple Filipina. Its safer that way.

Also posting on where they were that day- Musing Minds
Open Post- TMH's Bacon Bits, Bright and Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Real Ugly American, Cigar Intelligence Agency,

Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part Two

Our second winner today is Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson. Mr. Anderson has a penchant for getting my award, click here for example. His latest knucklehead award goes to him because of the botched counting of ballots in a Mangonia Park race city commission race.

An election night foul-up at the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office, in which absentee ballots from Pahokee were mistakenly tallied as votes in Mangonia Park, was corrected Wednesday -- changing the outcome of one race.

Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson attributed the problem to "human error."

Frances Elien, the Mangonia Park councilwoman who held a barbecue with supporters Tuesday night to celebrate what she thought was her re-election, wasn't satisfied with the explanation. The corrected results on Wednesday showed Elien losing narrowly to Peggy Cook.

Elien said she wants details.

"They have to show where those votes went. Why did it happen? What measures are you taking to make sure that it doesn't happen again?" she said.

Her concerns go beyond her own contest. She said the problem would shake public confidence in elections.

Sure does Ms. Eileen. Wasn't Anderson voted(or hoisted) into office so we would have no more election 'incompetence' like 2000. Funny it seems we now have a clear case of votes going to the wrong candidate. Are all the Democrats come flocking to Palm Beach County now to demand a recount or a do over election??? Better yet did Mr. Anderson take counting lessons from another famous AA who is no longer in business?

Ok enough sarcasm already. Read the entire article to understand how human error works. For not properly supervising a City election, Arthur Anderson is today's Second Co-Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- TMH's Bacon Bits, Bright and Early, Freedom Watch, Jo's Cafe, Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Real Ugly American, Cigar Intelligence Agency, Cao's Blog,

Nothing short of lunacy

Is what I think of the Missouri Transportation Department Officials idea to construct an interstate approach that would make people drive on the left side of the road. What drugs are these people using(Or off of)?

Missouri Transportation Department officials considered a number of plans for the downtown Front Street approach to Interstate 435. But the one they settled on appears to be a national first. It involves briefly crisscrossing lanes and putting drivers on the left.


Drivers will reach a traffic signal, then be guided to the opposite side of the road, which will be divided by a concrete median with glare screens to minimize the potentially disorienting sight of oncoming cars to the right. After about 600 to 700 feet, motorists reach another traffic signal and are returned to the right side of the road.

Ramps before the first and second lights will allow motorists to enter I-435. The design spares motorists from having to turn left in front of oncoming traffic to get onto the highway.

"Most of us look at it and we say, `What?'" said Susan McCubbins, a transportation project manager for the state. "Then we think it through and we realize the safety and traffic advantages."

Doug Hecox, a Federal Highway Administration spokesman, said this was the first such use of the diverging diamond in this country, and he suggested it could be seen more often.

"The design is something that really has some potential," he said.

It sure has lots of potential. For catastrophe. People get confused enough about where to drive as it is, then there are also the plain old dumb people. I don't care how well designed the roadwork would be, its a recipie for disaster. For you can never account for one thing in engineering- The Human element. Will it take a dead family before these 'smart' people learn how dumb this idea is?

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Real Ugly American,

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part One

Today we have two such excellent candidates I am going to give two awards.

Our first winner is Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. She gets the award for punching a Captiol Hill policeman.

According to U.S. Capitol Police, the two reportedly scuffled yesterday after the Georgia Democrat entered a House office building unrecognized and refused to stop when asked.

According to one account, the sixth-term congresswoman from DeKalb County struck the officer. A police official said there were conflicting accounts.

No charges were filed.

Police spokeswoman Sergeant Kimberly Schneider said only that senior officials have been made aware of the incident and are investigating.

Temper, temper congresswoman. Most adults are wise enough to know it isn't wise to do such outbursts, but who said members of Congress are wise. They do however often feel they are above the laws and rules they pass on the rest of the country. You are not Congresswoman, and if the facts stand up you should get justice for what you did just like anyone else.

Additional note- Congresswoman McKinney has apologized, but her act is still knucklehead worthy. It don't matter Democrat or Republican, this isn't acceptable behavior.

For assaulting a person who is there to protect her, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is today's Co-Knucklehead of the day.

Others blogging on this topic- Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters, Wizbang, Iowa Voice,
Open Post- TMH's Bacon Bits, Bright and Early, Freedom Watch, Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog,

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My heart breaks for you Judge Stoop- NOT!

Seminole County Judge John Stoop cried and said he was horrified at his having 11 people arrested for going to the wrong courtroom. Judge Stoop testified before the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission on Tuesday in regards to the arrests he ordered in 2004. The judge could be removed from the bench.

Stoop is a sorry excuse of both a human being and judge. First he played God having these people arrested, he even left the courthouse and it was up to another judge to free these people after they spent 9 hours in jail! Then Judge Stoop will not apologize to his people, he says his lawyer told him not to. Thirdly Stoop is trying to explain his unforgivable actions by saying he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Its one big crock, this jackass has been in trouble before and is trying to weasle his way out again. If there was any justice, this man would have been removed from the bench 2 years ago and jailed 10 hours for every hour the people he jailed did time. This country has too many out of control judges, and almost as bad judges who won't discipline these. Florida is no different, Stoop could well get off with a slap on the wrist and that is inexcusable.

If Judges don't judge offending justices with proper justice, our whole judicial system comes into question because our judiciary feels they are above the law the rest of us have to obey.

I'll say it again, a revolution will happen some day when a judge lets go one too many child molestor. The people will rise up and Judges like Stoop or that Knucklehead in Vermont better run for cover.

Open Post- Third World County, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Blue Star, Bright & Early,

SANFORD -- Saying he was "horrified" by what he had done, Seminole County Judge John Sloop on Tuesday told a panel deciding whether he should be kicked off the bench that a mental disorder made him order the arrest of 11 people who had accidentally gone to the wrong courtroom.

"I will never be able to make amends," he said on the first day of his trial.

Sloop, 57, is fighting to salvage his 15-year judicial career. Prosecutors with the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the state panel that polices judges, want him removed from the bench.

Sloop blamed his actions on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Until the incident, he said, he never realized he had a problem, but soon after, a psychiatrist confirmed his self-diagnosis.

The morning of Dec. 3, 2004, 11 traffic offenders went to the wrong courtroom. He ordered them arrested for failing to appear.

Two judges and a bailiff told him it was all a mistake, that the defendants had sat in a different courtroom after they were directed there by faulty paperwork or deputies.

Sloop conceded Tuesday that he ignored those warnings, ate a quick lunch of popcorn, left the courthouse to run errands, then returned and began his afternoon hearings as if nothing had happened.

That behavior, he said, was a classic symptom of ADHD: He had a schedule to keep, and he wouldn't be deterred, he said.

He is much better now, he said. He takes medicine daily and is under the care of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

Sloop testified for slightly more than an hour. When he was questioned by the prosecutor, Lauri Waldman Ross, his answers were brief.

But when the questions came from his lawyer, Marc Lubet, Sloop was contrite, expansive and, at one point, his eyes filled with tears.

He has never formally apologized to those who were arrested because his attorney advised him not to, he said.

"I have wanted to apologize. I look forward to that apology," he said.

Why hadn't he apologized right away, before he had hired a lawyer, before the commission brought formal charges, asked a member of the six-person commission serving as jury.

"I can't answer that," Sloop said. "I can only suggest I was struggling with an undiagnosed disorder."

Sloop's psychiatrist and psychologist are expected to testify today, which is expected to be the hearing's final day. Also likely to take the stand is a commission-hired psychologist.

Two of the 11 people jailed that day testified Tuesday. One was Alda Rugg, an Oviedo homemaker ticketed for driving home with a new truck without a valid tag and registration.

She sat in a courtroom waiting for her hearing to start for at least two hours, and when the judge in that courtroom, Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson, realized there had been a mix-up, he sent her and the 10 others next door, she said.

She went and, within minutes, deputies were clicking handcuffs onto her wrists and latching chains to her legs, she said.

Sloop had already left.

"I just kept asking, kept asking, 'Why can't we see the judge?' " Rugg said. " 'Why do we have to go to jail?' "

She was freed about nine hours later, after she and the others had been strip-searched.

Lubet said Sloop signed their release orders about 2:20 p.m. By then, two other judges also had begun working on their release.

Ross told panel members that it was the fourth time Sloop has been in trouble with the commission, often because of his temper. Each time he had been warned, he conceded, and each time he had promised never to be a problem again.

This time, though, he did more than lose his temper, Ross said.

"This," she said, "was raw abuse of power. Judge Sloop put these people in jail for one reason and one reason only: He could."

Golf World vs The LPGA and the Nabisco Championship

Despite being a big fan of women's golf, I've been highly critical of the LPGA which runs the women's tour in the US. Its a badly managed organization, click here and here for a few examples.

This year the LPGA did another of their seemingly never ending blunders. A dispute over press credentials, and whether photos and articles done by news organizations belonged to the press or the LPGA.

It's safe to say the last full week of February 2006 won't be commemorated by the LPGA Tour and Carolyn Bivens, who encountered the biggest hurdle of her nascent tenure as commissioner. Any grumbling over the new Rolex Women's World Ranking seemingly grew fainter when the LPGA and various media outlets found themselves trying to work out differences regarding the tour's revised credential regulations.

The issue was precipitated by the LPGA's inclusion of new language governing use of stories and photos at its events. It came to a head when the Associated Press, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser did not cover Thursday's first round of the Fields Open in Hawaii after being denied media credentials for declining to agree to the new stipulations. The AP and LPGA reached a compromise regarding editorial usage Friday, and the AP resumed normal coverage along with the two local papers through the tournament's conclusion.

I side with the media. They do the work, the photos and stories belong to them, not the LPGA. This is such a dumb issue, that I got bad feelings already about Ms. Bivens and her reign at the LPGA. If the organization continues like this, I fear Professional Women's golf could die in the United States.

While the LPGA resolved the dispute with some media outlets, Golf World was not one of them. I subscribe to this weekly golf magazine.

Golf World statement on the credential issue

The LPGA imposed new photography requirements last week that made demands well beyond the accepted standards of the PGA Tour and the ruling bodies of other sports. As a result, the only coverage of the LPGA's Fields Open in this issue is the scoreboard on page 40. Golf World -- along with its sister publications, Golf Digest and Golf For Women, owned by Condé Nast Publications -- are in negotiations with the LPGA and remain hopeful that coverage will resume in coming weeks.

Its sad that a major golf magazine had to ignore one of the world's golf tours for approximately a month. However I agree with GW, they had to stand up to the LPGA.

With the Kraft Nabisco Championship being played this weekend, I began to wonder if the dispute would continue through that event. Yesterday I emailed Brian Wacker, Editor of Golf World. He was kind enough to email back, Golf World has re-commenced its coverage of Women's golf. Some kind of settlement was agreed to with the LPGA.

Today Ron Sirak wrote a kind of preview of the Nabisco. While Annika Sorrenstam is the favorite, Sirak notes correctly the many other contenders for this major championship. Paula Creamer, Christie Kerr, Michelle Wie, Meena Lee and others.

Golf for Women writer Stina Sternberg has begun a blog that mostly talks about women's professional golf. Stina seems to think Annika is a lock this weekend. I think Ms. Sternberg has a case of idol worship, no one is certain lock to win a professional sports event.

We'll just have to watch and wait this weekend. I took Annika in the Pakpicker. You can't argue with her record.

Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Bright & Early, Adam's Blog,

Time to eat some crow Pat Summitt

The Tennessee Vols ladies basketball team lost last night to the University of North Carolina 75-63. Vol coach Pat Summitt said after the game.

"You don't win a basketball game in the first half, but you certainly can lose one," said Summitt, Tennessee's Hall of Fame coach. "We just dug too deep of a hole. We were just trying to get back into the game and they just answered everything. A lot of those plays were huge."

UT got humbled last night playing close to home. This is less than two weeks after Coach Pat Summitt whined about her team's seed in the NCAA' Women's Basketball Final. The end result proved the seedings were right. May I suggest Ms. Summitt that you tone down your ego in the future?

By the way would you like some ketchup with your crow too?

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

Professor Entman you're the one who isn't thinking

University of Memphis Law Professor June Entman has banned laptops from her classrooms. Students at the University are signing a petition to end the ban.

What is the reason for Professor Entman's ban?

Professor June Entman says her main concern is that students are so busy keyboarding they can't think and analyze what she's telling them.

Earth to Professor Entman, Earth to Professor Entman. Come in Professor Entman! Students take notes in a classroom, tell me the difference between writing them on paper or typing them on a keyboard.

Apparently with all her education June Entman missed that lesson in class. I didn't, and I don't have a law degree. This woman is actually a teacher? Where this professor belongs is on the bench, where people with law degrees don't think but act like Gods instead. Click here and here for examples. (Time for sarcastic laughter)

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

Update- Gordon Smith at Conglomerate has a different take on this matter.

The pot calling the kettle black

David Ignatius writing in today's Washington Post thinks President Bush's replacement of his Chief of Staff Andrew Card with OMB Director Josh Bolten is a mistake. To prove it, Mr. Ignatius has the following.

They've reached all the way across the driveway for new blood," says John Podesta, who became Bill Clinton's chief of staff in 1998, during a similar period of disarray. "When you're in a deep hole, you have to do more than that."

That's an interesting person to quote, especially for what Mr. Podesta says. Here is Mr. Podesta's resume.

Before becoming President Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Podesta served as both an Assistant to the President and as Deputy Chief of Staff. Earlier, from January 1993 to 1995, he was Assistant to the President, Staff Secretary and a senior policy adviser on government information, privacy, telecommunications security and regulatory policy.

Bush went across the street, Clinton across the hall. What difference does it make? Mr. Ignatius missed this for all his inside the beltway wisdom. As the title of my post says, its like the pot calling the kettle black.

Hat tip- Bullwinkle Blog
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Third World County, Liberal Wrong Wing,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are the Kraft Nabisco Championship and its tournament director Terry Wilcox. Read the excerpts from the cybergolf article below.

The Kraft Nabisco Championship will be entering its 35th year during the week of March 27 to April 2. To put that in perspective, Annika Sorenstam, the defending champion, was just a toddler in Stockholm when the tournament began in 1972.


Fans can also collect a free 35th anniversary poster featuring all 25 past champions. The commemorative posters will be available at Canyon National Bank's booth at Vendor Village, located near the main clubhouse.

Do you notice what is wrong? The tournament began in 1972, its celebrating its 35th anniversary by giving out calendars. Lets count. 1972- Tournament is born. 1973- 1st anniversary 1974- 2nd 1975- 3rd 1976- 4th.....

I don't think we need to count all the way off to 2006 to see this year is the 34th anniversary! No one counts(or should count) their wedding date or the day they are born as the 1st. It takes a year. Duh!

This is what some people would call the dumbing down of America. I hear this crap all the time on sports broadcasts, but its leaking into the MSM media too. Dan Rather before he left CBS, Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. Has everyone suddenly forgotten elementary math?

For not knowing how to count, The Kraft Nabisco Championship and its tournament director Terry Wilcox are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Mudville Gazette, Adam's Blog, Blue Star, TMH's Bacon Bits, Don Surber, Is it just me?,

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Someone give these women an eye exam now!

Sharon Stone and Madonna think Hillary Clinton is too sexy for the White House.

Actor Sharon Stone has warned Hillary Rodham Clinton to stay out of the 2008 US presidential race, saying the New York senator and former first lady is too sexy to win back the keys to the White House. Stone, 48, who appears naked in a soon-to-be-released sequel to the provocative 1992 sex thriller Basic Instinct, said Senator Clinton had an intimidating sexuality that would cost her votes. “I think Hillary Clinton is fantastic, but I think it is too soon for her to run (for president),” Stone said in the latest edition of Hollywood Life magazine. “A woman should be past her sexuality when she runs. Hillary still has sexual power and I don’t think people will accept that. It’s too threatening.”

But while Stone wants the 58-year-old Senator Clinton to wait until her sexuality subsides, singer Madonna is urging her to “go for it” in 2008, even though the timing might not be right for Americans to put their trust in a woman president. “I don’t think now is necessarily her time, or the Democrats’ time, but she should certainly go for it,” Madonna reportedly told Out magazine. “You’ve got to start somewhere in terms of a woman leading the US. In Europe and Asia and elsewhere, women have ruled over millions. It’s not an abstract concept. “But in America, men are still afraid. And I don’t think women are too comfortable with the idea of a female in charge.”

Seriously I'm no fan of Hillary, but being sexy isn't her problem politically.
Hat tip- James Joyner at OTB who says Sen. Clinton isn't bad looking but no Scarlett Johansson. I say she is no Soo Yun Kang or my wife either.
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Is it Just me? , Third World County,

You would have made a hell of a pitcher Marquis Grissom

If Star Tournament Strat-O-Matic baseball was real-life. The veteran outfielder announced his retirement today.

As I blogged before, I played in Star Tournaments from 1996-2002. Arguably my biggest memory other than my two tournament victories was a game I played at the 1996 Worlds played in Los Angeles January of 1997. My opponent was veteran Bruce Leyton and it was the last game of the evening.

The game saw Bruce jump out to an early 5-1 lead but I rallied and tied the game at 5-5 and the game went to extra innings. Twice in extra innings I took the lead, once in the 11th, once in the 17th, only to see Bruce come back to tie the game and send it to more innings. The second time on 1-1 or 1-2 roll on a 20 sided dice!

The game continued on past the 20th inning. In like the 21st or 22nd inning I outsmarted myself pinchhitting Gregg Jeffries for Rafael Palmiero against a left-handed reliver. If I had left Palmiero at the plate, the die roll I had rolled for Jeffries would have produced a homer instead of an out. Those are the breaks.

By the 23rd inning Bruce was out of relievers. Star Tournament rules say a pitcher can only pitch so much and all of Bruce's pitchers were either used or ineligible. Into the game came Marquis Grissom to relieve.

In Strat-O-Matic a position player can relieve, but their card is a hitter's wet dream. Hits, homers, walks galore and few outs. I was certain victory was mine, for I still had a pitcher left.

It wouldn't happen. Grissom threw three innings of spotless relief taking the game into the 25th inning. Then it was my turn to be out of pitchers, so in came Kirby Puckett for my team. Kirby faced three batters, one he got out but the last he faced was Robin Ventura who hit a homerun to end the marathon. Final score Bruce 9, TFM 7.

This game still holds the record for the longest game at any Star Tour Worlds. It was a great game if a disappointing finish. Thanks for the memory Marquis and good luck in retirement.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Adam's Blog, Outside the Beltway,

MESA, Ariz. - Marquis Grissom, a non-roster invitee to spring training with the Chicago Cubs, announced his retirement Tuesday after a 17-year major league career.

The 38-year-old Grissom signed a minor league contract in January and had hoped to make the team as a backup outfielder. But he batted just .200 in 17 spring training games.

Grissom leaves as one of seven players with 2,000 hits, 200 home runs and 400 stolen bases, joining Craig Biggio, Roberto Alomar, Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor and Joe Morgan.

He finished with 429 stolen bases, including a career-high 78 in 1992. He was a two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner during a career that saw him play in the majors with six teams.

Grissom batted .272 with 386 doubles, 56 triples, 227 homers and 967 RBIs, and he compiled .988 fielding percentage in 2,165 major league games. He also batted .317 in 52 postseason appearances with 20 RBIs. Has the MVP of the 1997 AL championship series in his only season with the Cleveland Indians.

Grissom broke in with Montreal in 1989 and also played for Atlanta, Milwaukee, the Dodgers and the Giants.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is King County(Washington) Judge Michael Spearman. He gets today's award for his ruling yesterday that allows convicted felons in Washington State to vote despite them not having paid off court ordered fines.

Just another activist from the bench making his own law. Washington has a law not allowing these felons to vote unless they finish their sentence, pay their fines and any ordered court costs. The felon then has a right to appeal to be able to vote again. Makes sense, if they haven't paid the fine, the felon hasn't paid his debt to society.

Not in Speerman or the ACLU's mind. Judge Spearman ruled Washington's law violated the equal protection clause. How about equal protection for the people of Washington from convicted felons? Anyone speaking up for the law abiding? Of course not. This is just another sign of our runaway courts system. One day the public will get fed up with judges like Spearman and this one in Vermont, and a revolution will happen. For our system is sick, the criminals get off and the innocent are punished. Mark my words the American people will only take this for so long.

For praticing judicial activism, Judge Michael Spearman is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Don Surber, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Jo's Cafe, Is it Just me? , Third World County, Blue Star, Liberal Wrong Wing, Adam's Blog, Mudville Gazette,

OLYMPIA — A King County Superior Court judge Monday ruled that thousands of Washington felons should be able to vote even though they have yet to pay off court-ordered fines.

"It is well recognized that there is simply no rational relationship between the ability to pay and the exercise of constitutional rights," Judge Michael Spearman wrote in a ruling backing the challenge of three indigent felons.

Spearman said the state law requiring payment of all court-ordered fines and fees before a felon can vote again violates the equal-protection clause in the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution. He said "discrimination on the basis of wealth and property has long been disfavored."

Under state law, felons can petition the state to have their voting rights restored, but only after they have completed their sentences — including any probation or community service — and have paid all of their court-related costs.

State lawyers argued that the judge shouldn't make a distinction between court-ordered payments and other parts of a felon's sentence, such as jail time.

"It's rational for the Legislature to say we want you to complete everything, as opposed to start separating out sentence elements," said deputy solicitor general Jeff Even.

State officials said they hadn't yet decided whether to appeal.

"We're still weighing our options," said Trova Heffernan, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Sam Reed.

It also was unclear how many people the ruling will affect. But, based on past estimates, it could add tens of thousands of convicted felons to the voter rolls.

In Monday's ruling, Spearman said the state could not show a "rational relationship" between a felon's ability to pay the fines and his willingness to abide by the law.

In fact, he wrote, "the better example of respect for our justice system may very well be the indigent who manages for years to make monthly payments toward the obligations."

The lawsuit was filed in late 2004 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of three felons who cannot afford to pay their court-ordered fines: Dan Madison of King County, Beverly DuBois of Spokane County and Dannielle Garner of Snohomish County.

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Some mighty expensive burgers

Read this news from California. I'm cautious when it comes to money, and human error is just too likely to happen when . That's why I pay by check, credit card or cash. I don't think I'll be changing that habit any time soon either.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Is it Just me? , Third World County,

PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) -- Four burgers at his neighborhood Burger King cost George Beane a whopping $4,334.33.

Beane ordered two Whopper Jr.s and two Rodeo cheeseburgers when he pulled up to the drive-through window last Tuesday. The cashier, however, forgot that she'd entered the $4.33 charge on his debit card and punched in the numbers again without erasing the original ones - thus creating a four-figure bill.

The electronic charge went through to George and Pat Beane's Bank of America checking account and left the couple penniless. Their mortgage payment was due and they worried checks they had written would bounce, Pat Beane said.

"We were thinking, 'No, not now!'" she said of the overcharge.

Terri Woody, the restaurant manager, said Burger King officials tried to get the charge refunded. But the bank said the funds were on a three-day hold and could not be released, Pat Beane said.

The hold is designed to prevent customers from spending money that no longer is available in their accounts and to let the bank confirm a transaction is legitimate before transferring funds, said Bank of America supervisor Joel Solorio.

Burger King did not charge the Beanes for their meal, and the couple got their $4,334.33 back on Friday

Monday, March 27, 2006

Some Miami Dolphins notes

Football season is over five months away, but there is plenty of Dolphins news.

*- The NFL announced some of its 2006 schedule today. Miami will play the opening game of the season at Pittsburgh on September 7th. They will also be playing on Thanksgiving day in Detroit.

I guess my holiday plans are set then.(Subject to change by the boss, aka Dear wife) Two games with alot of exposure but I still think Miami will have a losing season in 2006.

*- Nick Saban and his coaches scouted Univ of Texas QB Vince Young last weekend. This has led to speculation that Miami would use their first round draft pick to take him if he dropped to Miami's position in the collegiate draft next month.

TFM's take- Miami is just going through the motions. After their trade for Duante Culpepper I doubt Miami will use any draft pick on a QB, alone a high-round pick. Miami doesn't have a 2nd round pick now due to the acquisition of Culpepper.

*- The Culpepper trade. I think it's a bad mistake and liable to rank up with the Feeley deal of two years ago. Duante is coming off knee surgery, and didn't play well before the injury. Then there's Culpepper's leadership which comes into question after his off-field problems of last year. I smell a debacle, not helped by the fact that Miami let go two of its three QBs of 2005. Gus Frerotte all is forgiven, please come back. (Time for sarcastic laughter)

Open Post- Bright and Early,

Massages- Drive-ins and other types

Some news out of Malaysia. The government there will soon be opening drive-in massage parlors for stressed drivers. I'll let TFM's readers make the appropriate wisecracks.

This story reminded me of something I had happen to me some 6 or 7 years ago. From 1997 to 2001 I travelled from Florida to Santa Monica California for cancer treatments and check-ups. These were done at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica. JWCI is affiliated with St. John's Hospital and is arguably the best cancer center in the US for malignant melanoma patients.

I had been going to JWCI for some time 2 or 3 years. On these trips I almost always stayed at the same hotel, a Best Western at the corner of 20th and Santa Monica Blvd. This hotel was only a short walk to JWCI.

Having stayed in that hotel so many times, I got to know the surroundings pretty well. If you walk west towards the ocean from the hotel, there is one auto dealer after another on the road. Also a half a block from the hotel and visible from rooms on its northside was a small shop marked massage.

In either 1999 or 2000, I decided to pay a visit to this shop. I wanted a back massage. Going inside there was a woman behind the counter, I paid her $50 and was shown to a room in back. This happened all in the early afternoon after one of my appointments.

A few minutes after I'm shown in the room, an attractive Asian woman dressed in tank top comes in. She says her name is Candy and I kind of forget what she said but her body language told me she wasn't there to massage my back! I said no thanks and exited the place minus the $50 I spent. Never in my life have I ever used a prostitute and I never will. I'm a married man.

One of those lessons in life. I just wonder how this establishment stays in business. It's on Santa Monica Blvd and blatantly obvious. Are the city's police being paid protection, or are they or city officials good customers there?

PS- My wife knows this story. She only ever accompanied me to Santa Monica once and she trusts me. I've never broken her trust.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Third World County, Blue Star, Cigar Intelligence Agency,

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Stressed out during a long drive? Road hogs driving you up the wall? The Malaysian government is only too happy to help. The country's first highway drive-in massage parlor opened Monday, with the aim of reducing accidents by easing tense muscles of stressed-out drivers. The parlors will be equipped with automatic massage chairs.

"I hope highway users will use this facility," Works Minister S. Samy Vellu said.

Samy opened the first massage center along the North-South Highway, and said the government was planning to open another center this year.

The North-South Highway is the country's main highway, and stretches the length of Peninsular Malaysia.

Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians commute along a web of highways daily, but accidents — and deaths — typically rise during festive occasions when millions leave Kuala Lumpur and major cities during extended holidays.

29 years since Tenerife and US air safety today.

The worst aviation disaster in history occured. At Tenerife in the Canary Islands, two 747s one belonging to Pan Am, the other to KLM, collided in the fog that spring day. Ironically the disaster happened on the ground, as the KLM tried to take off when the Pan Am plane hadn't quite cleared the runway. 583 people died that day.

Like most aviation disasters, a chain of seemingly innocent or inconsequential events ended in tragedy. Most but not all the blame falls on the KLM pilot, Captain Jacob Van Zanten who despite his many years of piloting, made a series of fatal mistakes mostly due to impatience.

Many lessons were learned from this disaster, but at a heavy price. Right now the US is going through a never before seen period of air safety. With no major airline crashes in over three years. We still need to keep our vigil up, complanecy has been the cause of more than one air crash. has more information on the events of that day on Tenerife 29 years ago. The report is good, but I disagree. Captain Van Zanten was not solely responsible for that tragic day in 1977.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Third World County, Blue Star, Outside the Beltway, Right Wing Nation,

Florida the rules are different here Chapter XIX

A sinkhole in central Florida that has led to two homes being condemned is still expanding. We get these things all the time in Florida. They are caused by when limestone dissolves due to water. Like a broken water main.

Sinkholes, Aligators, Pythons, Panthers, you got to love this state. That is unless you're one of those two homeowners.

Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation,

MINNEOLA -- The sinkhole that forced city officials to condemn two houses Friday continues to grow deeper, authorities said this afternoon.

Some portions of the ground have fallen a few inches since Friday, Minneola Fire-Rescue spokesman Troy Newton said. In some places, the sinkhole is 6 feet deep. It also is more than 30 feet in diameter but has not become wider, Newton added.

The hole stretches across two backyards on Windy Bluff Drive in the Oak Valley subdivision off U.S. Highway 27. Both houses show signs of cracking.

Sinkholes, which are common in Central Florida, happen when underlying limestone dissolves, according to the Lake County Water Resources Management.

Sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week

This story out of North Carolina certainly does. A woman who took her two small children after a custody battle spent two years living under various aliases. Including her ex-husbands. Yes she was posing as a man. When police arrested Ms. White, one of her children said "Why are you arresting our Daddy". Life is truly stranger than fiction.

At the time of her arrest Ms. White was living with another woman. They were the children's father and mother. I guess they were gay or did the other woman need a lesson in anatomy? LOL. Don't give up your day job TFM, right?

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Third World County, Cigar Intelligence Agency,

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. -- A woman accused of abducting her two young children from their father, then dressing like a man so she could assume his identity, agreed Monday to return to Arizona where she faces kidnapping charges, authorities said.

Shellie White, 30, was taken into custody Friday in Roanoke Rapids, where police said she and a woman lived together as the children's father and mother.

``I haven't lived the life of someone on the run,'' White said in a jail interview with The Associated Press. ``I never knew I was on the run.''

White was arrested more than two years after she was charged with custodial interference in the children's disappearance, the U.S. Marshals Service said. Her ex-husband, Ernest Karnes, had custody of the children at the time and learned Friday that they had been found.

``The first thing that come out of his mouth was, 'Did they get my kids, too? Are my kids OK?''' Gila County, Ariz., Sheriff's Detective Johnny Holmes said Monday.

The U.S. Marshals Service said White ``radically changed her appearance to that of a man and assumed many aliases,'' including her ex-husband's.

``She even went so far as to tell her children, aged 3 and 5 at the time, that she was their father,'' the Marshals Service said. ``When she was arrested, the children, now aged 6 and 8, asked why they were arresting their Daddy.''

White told the AP that one of her children, scared by authorities breaking into their home on Friday, did say she was their father. White also said she told her son to tell children who made fun of her appearance that she was his dad.

But Deputy U.S. Marshall Dennis Harkins said White had posed as her husband and other men since leaving Arizona. ``She was playing it off for all the world to see that she was a man,'' Harkins said.

Under the terms of the divorce, Ernest Karnes had custody of the children, a boy and a girl, but his wife had visitation rights, Holmes said. He said Karnes' wife could take the children to Tucson when she lived there, but neither parent could leave the state with them without the other's permission.

White, who signed a waiver of extradition on the fugitive warrant Monday, denied kidnapping her children.

``I didn't steal my children and I didn't take my children,'' she said. ``When I left Arizona, I had custody.''

Holmes said that after charging White with custodial interference in January 2004, authorities were able to trace the children to various schools, but always came up empty.

``It kept going in a circle,'' he said. ``So she was aware of it. It was just a matter of time, because she wouldn't keep them in a school no more than maybe six months.''

Holmes said he was contacted about a month or two ago by a police officer in North Carolina who had received a letter from Ernest Karnes, who said he believed his ex-wife was in the area. Karnes contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children earlier this month.

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Spare me

Sometimes I should be thankful I get the Palm Beach Post. As bad as their editorial page is, they don't give me lessons in Communist Chinese Economics. That we leave to the St. Petersburg Times in an editorial called 'The chopstick tax'.

What do you get when you cross communism with capitalism, environmentalism with conspicuous consumption? A tax on golf balls and disposable chopsticks.

That is the answer in China, with its often conflicting ideologies. Rapid economic growth in the world's most populated nation has had some unpleasant side effects, particularly wealth disparity and environmental degradation. To address those concerns, the Chinese government will impose new taxes beginning April 1 that will attempt to even things out.

Where do well-heeled communists and capitalists hang out together? Country clubs, of course. So the government is imposing a new 10 percent tax on golf clubs and balls, and a 20 percent tax on luxury watches. And don't even think about buying a yacht.

Wooden chopsticks would seem to be a minor environmental concern, unless you have 1.3-billion people using them daily. It takes 70-million cubic feet of timber to provide China with disposable chopsticks each year, leading to the loss of forests throughout Southeast Asia. So the Chinese government is also putting a 5 percent tax on wooden chopsticks (and floor planks), while reusable plastic chopsticks will carry no levy.

Its policies to encourage fuel efficiency are ahead of this country. The Chinese will tax cars based on the size of their engines, with the highest rate of 20 percent imposed on gas guzzlers usually imported from America. Even General Motors China admits the policy "will be more environmentally friendly and help lower energy consumption."

Maybe the Chinese are on to something, after all.

The editorial fails to note China is one of the biggest polluters in the world and that the air in some of their major cities is very difficult to breath because of it. Plus these taxes are coming from a regime that represses political and religious expression. I won't mention the Cultural revolution where millions of Chinese died in a quest for political perfection.

The United States shouldn't emulate a country like this, and only the far left or insane would suggest we do.

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Bright & Early, Mark My Words, Cigar Intelligence Agency,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Hanelie Botha and Engeline de Nysschen. Both these South African women get today's award for their parts in the death of Jandre Botha, Haneile's son. The four-year-old boy was beaten to death by Ms. de Nysschen because he refused to call her Daddy. Ms. Botha then tried to cover up her girlfriend's crime.

Absolutely despicable is all I have to say. It has nothing to do with either woman's sexual orientation, Its about beating a child to death and do nothing about it. These women are sick, knucklehead doesn't do them justice. I just hope the South African legal system sentences them appropriately for their crimes.

For failing to protect her child and beating one to death, Haneile Botha and Engeline de Nysschen are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

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

Four-year-old Jandre Botha disobeyed an order to call his mother's lesbian lover "Daddy''.

So the lover, Engeline de Nysschen (33), viciously assaulted Jandre while demanding that he must call her "Daddy".

Jandre died from his injuries, which trauma expert Professor Mohammed Dada said were similar to those of a person who had fallen from a double-storey building.

Yesterday Vereeniging Regional Court magistrate Rita Willemse found De Nysschen and the mother, Hanelie Botha (31) - who did nothing to protect her child - guilty of murder.

Jandre's father, Jan Botha, sat in court holding the hands of his fiancée, Yolanda Deysel, and listened attentively to Willemse, who, in her judgment, accepted evidence that among the reasons that led to Jandre's brutal ordeal was his refusal to call De Nysschen "Daddy".

The court had heard evidence from Lydia Nkomo and her daughter Aletta Lesiba, who worked for the couple in their tuckshop, that De Nysschen had viciously assaulted Jandre while demanding that he must call her "Daddy".

Both testified that while Jandre was assaulted, his mother failed to intervene or protect him. Evidence showed he had sustained horrific injuries, including a fractured skull and brain damage, as well as broken legs, collarbone, hands and pelvis.

Delivering judgment, Willemse acknowledged there was no substantial evidence linking Hanelie Botha to the assaults, but said she was equally guilty of murder for failing in her legal duty to protect her child against abuse and violation.

The court found she had lied to Dr Elna Gibson, one of the medical doctors who treated Jandre, by saying the boy got his injuries after he had slipped in the bath.

The court ruled that she had lied to protect De Nysschen. The doctors who had examined Jandre dismissed the pair's version that he had slipped in the bath. They said excessive force was required to inflict the kind of fatal injuries sustained by Jandre.

Convicting the two, Willemse dismissed their version and said there was substantial medical evidence before her about the nature of the injuries suffered by Jandre.

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Sunday, March 26, 2006

One hand washes the other

This Miami Herald article doesn't surprise me. I've been to all 50 states, about a dozen countries and have encounter people who work as concierages. Their job is to help those staying at the hotels the concierage works for. That they may send customers to certain business establishments don't surprise me at all. Or that these businesses sometimes gives benefits back. It's part of doing business and as the saying goes, "One hand washes the other."

There will also be like in any business some bad apples. Most concierages(or any other profession) will take their work seriously. Their job is to help their hotel or motel's customers have a good time during their stay. Giving bad referrals or recommendations can endanger their jobs.

If these people get a reward for referrals, it don't bother me as long as I am happy with the businesses or tours they recommnd to me.

On a personal note- My wife has worked in the office of our church for almost 13 years. For many years she would refer people to a certain funeral home in our town. They were Catholic, and members of our parrish and did do a good job. Leonita did this for no other reason than that, though when my father died we were given a small discount on their services, and we paid nothing for son Daniel's funeral. The funeral home did this for us without us asking or even expecting it.

One hand washes the other or back scratching. That's how business is done all over the world.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Wizbang, Real Ugly American,

As a concierge at South Beach's Delano hotel, Brian Bean often makes reservations for guests at China Grill and its sister restaurant, Tuscan Steakhouse.
So often, in fact, the restaurants' management company rewarded Bean with a free trip to London last year.

''To receive, you have to give,'' said Steven Haas, general manager at China Grill, which offers top concierges catered cocktail parties, spa treatments and $500 Movado watches. ``This is our way of paying them back.''

From a cash payout for booking a boat tour to a VIP table at a hot nightclub, concierges often receive some benefit from the businesses they recommend to guests. Known as incentives or commissions, concierge rewards are both a controversial topic and standard practice in the hospitality industry.

''How common are commissions? I think they're pretty common,'' said Sara-ann Kasner, president of the National Concierge Association. Especially in big
restaurant markets like New York City and Miami, she said, ``because it's a very competitive world.''

Even some of South Florida's most celebrated restaurants say they depend on hotel referrals for a significant chunk of their out-of-town business, so they're eager to woo concierges with perks and freebies.

''It's a brutal business. You're vying for every hotel guest,'' said Frank Randazzo, an owner of Talula Restaurant and Bar in South Beach, which gives out $125 gift certificates to concierges. ``I'm competing with my fellow restaurants and what incentives they offer.''

The hospitality industry mostly justifies the incentives as either helping concierges make better recommendations (by attending a free tasting party at a top restaurant) or as compensation for conducting another company's business (by taking a commission on a limousine ride booked for a guest).

And concierges say they don't let perks cloud their recommendations -- out of professional pride and financial self-interest. Since satisfied guests tip well, concierges say it would be foolish to let incentives dictate their restaurant recommendations.

''No matter what the reward, you don't recommend a place you haven't tried [or] don't like,'' said Bean, the trip-winnning Delano concierge.

Concierges earn 15 points for each customer they send to China Grill Management's four Miami Beach restaurants, which include Blue Door at the Delano and Social Miami at the Sagamore.

The first concierge to earn 37,000 points (equal to about 2,500 customers) wins this year's first prize: two business-class tickets to Spain, a three-night stay at the Barcelona Ritz-Carlton, followed by a 10-day Mediterranean cruise. Haas said the prize, one of 25 the company offers each year, costs about $20,000.


Igor Omerhodzic, lead concierge at the Loews Miami Beach, said he earned enough points last year for a China Grill trip and probably will be in the running this year. Despite the contest, if a guest asks for the best Chinese restaurant in town, Omerhodzic suggests Mr. Chu's Hong Kong Cuisine.

''I'll say any day or night, it's better than China Grill,'' he said.
But even supporters acknowledge incentives can walk a fine line between reward and kickback.

''I sent out a pretty heated letter last year saying we absolutely discourage the paying of commissions of any sort for restaurants to secure reservations,'' said Ed Ponder, chief concierge at the National in South Beach and past president of the Southern Florida Concierge Association.

Ponder said the warning followed reports of new restaurants trying to woo concierges with cash commissions. Ponder and other concierges said cash payments from restaurants are rare -- but not unheard of -- in South Florida, and are banned by most hotels.

Payments for booking tours and other services are another matter, which the concierge industry considers the equivalent of travel-agent commissions.

Miami Duck Tours lets concierges keep the $6 deposits they collect from guests who reserve slots on the $26 amphibious trip through Miami and Miami Beach, while concierges keep about $60 of the $250 Island Queen Cruises charges for its gondola rides in Biscayne Bay, owners from the two companies said.

Don Meyer ran concierge desks for small Fort Lauderdale hotels in the 1990s. He said his company didn't charge hotels, but made its money through commissions on car rentals, day cruises and other bookings.

''If you go to a concierge and you ask them to do something, they are only going to suggest the things and places where they get a kickback,'' Meyer said.

But Meyer said restaurants rarely offered money for customers, though free meals were commonplace.

Restaurateurs said tasting parties and free meals are a must for doing business with concierges, who make between $21,000 and $24,000 a year in South Florida, according to state labor statistics.

''If a restaurant invites us, we go. Because how else could we share that experience?'' said Kay Cremeens, chief concierge at Marriott Harbour Beach Fort Lauderdale, which bans restaurant payments to concierges. ``Some of my people make nine or ten dollars an hour. They can't afford to go to the Grill Room on Las Olas or Grill 66 or some of the other high-end restaurants.''


But the back-scratching between concierges and the businesses eager for hotel guests can leave travelers somewhere between suspicious and fuming.

After a long day touring the redwoods, Heather Callahan and her husband wanted to grab a bite at a casual restaurant and go to bed. The concierge at their San Francisco hotel had a recommendation and insisted that she make the reservation for the jean-clad couple, Callahan recalled in an interview.

More NASA Bungling

Everyone who reads this blog most certainly knows of the Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy. It burned up on re-entry in February 2003. Then there is The Challenger which blew up shortly after take-off in 1986. In both instances bad decisions by NASA cost astronauts their lives. It could be said NASA bureaucrats don't take the safety of those men and women into space seriously.

If you read the following article from today's Sun-Sentinel, the same may be applied to the residents of Florida. In 2002, Space Shuttle Endeavor may have gone into space without a critical self-destruct system operating used to destroy errant rockets.

In an apparently unprecedented move, the safety officers were overruled after a phone conversation between Brig. Gen. Donald Pettit, commander of the Air Force's 45th Space Wing, and space center Director Roy Bridges.

Endeavour launched minutes later in violation of flight rules designed to protect the public.

Those and other findings are detailed in a 2005 internal briefing on the incident written by investigators with NASA's Office of the Inspector General. The draft, a copy of which was obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, concluded that the "Entire Florida Central Coast [was] placed at UNKNOWN but INCREASED risk."

Despite those findings, NASA Inspector General Robert "Moose" Cobb derailed the inquiry and declared the issue an Air Force matter last year, according to investigators familiar with the case.


The Orlando Sentinel interviewed five current or former investigators in NASA's Inspector General's Office, as well as a safety official at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, for this story. All requested anonymity because of concerns they would face retribution for speaking publicly.

All rockets launched from Cape Canaveral are equipped with explosive devices to destroy them if they veer off course.

Both of the shuttle's pencil-shaped booster rockets have such devices, which range safety officers can detonate by remote control.

As with other critical functions, the so-called command-destruct system has a backup communication link in case the primary link fails.

Launch rules mandate that both links must be working properly before a mission lifts off.

On June 5, 2002, Endeavour was poised to begin a 14-day flight to the international space station.

Read the whole article, but a space launch may have taken precedence over the public's safety. If so, this is just proof of incompetence at the space agency. I've blogged before on this, but the space shuttle program should be scrapped. Its 1970's technology, with 20 year old spacecraft that become less safe with every mission. I'm for a space program but the shuttle needs to be retired.

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My sister Patty

This is an update of my post yesterday. I talked to my BIL Marty this morning, well i n good spirts he sounded upset. The news of Patty's leukemia diagnosis had come as a big shock. She got the news on Friday just before a planned trip to Pennsylvania. Patty went in the hospital yesterday, has already had a bone marrow aspiration test(?) and could be starting chemo as soon as tomorrow. Tentatively she is diagnosed with AML(Acute mylogenis leukemia). Final blood tests will confirm this.

I talked to Patty just minutes ago. She's in good spirits and we had a good talk. I'm planning to go to RI tentatively April 4-6 of next week. I'll be flying. In the meantime I ask you keep Patty, Marty and their three children in your prayers.

On a blogging note- I'll probably ask one of a few people to guest blog for part of next week. What's a day without a Knucklehead award? LOL. This is not a request for volunteers, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone steps forward.

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You're a joke Representative Arza

For putting a provision into a Florida education bill requiring St. Thomas and Chaminade-Madonna high schools to play an annual football game.

Things have changed. Demand for the St. Thomas and Chaminade-Madonna football teams to face off can be heard all the way from the state Capitol in Tallahassee. Rep. Ralph Arza, R-Hialeah, put a provision into an education bill that could force the teams to play annually.

Arza, who has a daughter attending Chaminade-Madonna, slipped his provision into Gov. Jeb Bush's educational bill tabbed as the "A-plus-plus" plan. Although Arza said he did it merely to bring attention to demand for the game in South Florida, the bill passed out of the House Pre-K/12 committee on Thursday.

If the bill gains final approval, it would be sent to Bush for signature.

"This is a lighthearted thing," Arza said. "It would be great for high schools, nothing more and nothing less. I never meant it in a serious manner, but just to get people's attention."

Still, Arza said he could get the matter passed into law if he really wanted to. Smith, who is from Fort Lauderdale, said if the representatives didn't know about it, it could slip through the cracks and be passed.

This is a total waste of time for our any of our state legislators. There are ones also on the national level who are also too concerned with playground matters. I was going to give Arza today's knucklehead but he is an insignifigant microbe compared to today's winner.

Chaminade-Madonna coach Mark Guandolo said it perfectly in this quote.

"It is a joke and is really kind of embarrassing,"

Yes Representative Ralph Arza is an embarassing joke. We can only hope his constituents think the same and send the right message at election time.

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Paul Dana RIP

The rookie IRL driver died today at age 30 after injuries suffered in a crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Dana was 30 years old. TFM expresses his condolences to Dana's friends and family. May God bless them all at this time.

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Driver Paul Dana died after a two-car crash Sunday during the warmup for the season-opening IRL IndyCar Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The other driver, Ed Carpenter, was awake and alert at a Miami hospital, IRL officials said.

Dana, 30, a former motorsports journalist with a degree from Northwestern, was a rookie who competed in three IRL races for Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing last year with a best finish of 10th in the race at Homestead.

The Toyota Indy 300 race was expected to be run as scheduled. Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing for which Dana was to race this season, said the team's other two cars -- driven by Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice -- will be pulled out of the race.

``Obviously, this is a very black day for us,'' Rahal said. ``This is a great tragedy.''

Carpenter spun and hit the wall moments after the practice began at 10 a.m. EST. As Carpenter's battered car slid to a stop, Dana slammed into it at almost full speed -- about 200 mph.

Dana and Carpenter, the stepson of IRL founder Tony George, both were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. IRL officials said Dana died shortly before noon.

Vision Racing team general manager Larry Curry said he was told Carpenter ``would be fine.''

Dana is the first IRL driver killed since Tony Renna died in a crash during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2003. It is the third racing death at the Homestead track -- John Nemechek was killed in a NASCAR truck race in February 1997 and Jeff Clinton died in a Grand Am sports car event at the track in March 2002.

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