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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.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Unlikely allies

Would you believe ABC Reporter Sam Donaldson and former US Senator Connie Mack?

Whether you believe it or not they are. I stumbled upon this column from last Friday's St. Petersburg Times. Both Donaldson and Mack doing fundraising for cancer research and the Moffit Cancer Institute in Tampa Florida. There was a fundraiser held for Moffit last night. Sorry I can't put up $600 for dinner. I do give money to the Melanoma Research Foundation however.

Donaldson is a malignant melanoma survivor. Sen. Mack lost a brother to malignant melanoma.(the column doesn't mention this) I'm a melanoma survivor too. Fighting cancer is one of those issues that will bring together people of different philosophies. All we want to do is see research done to fight these dreaded diseases. I'm realistic and know we can't totally beat cancer. However we can improve the odds. The lives saved are worth it.

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

Sam Donaldson has gone from White House correspondent to cancer advocate, but that doesn't mean he has stopped asking Washington politicians tough questions.

Donaldson, who challenged the press secretaries and presidents of three administrations for ABC News, is now a member of the Moffitt Cancer Center's Board of Advisors. Sam and his wife, Jan Smith, have been active supporters of cancer research since Donaldson was diagnosed with melanoma in 1995.

Naturally, Donaldson wants to see more research and is concerned about budget cuts proposed for the National Institutes of Health. President Bush's proposed budget for NIH would stay flat for the 2007 fiscal year while the National Cancer Institute's budget would be cut by $40-million.

Moffitt receives funding from both institutes.

At the moment, Donaldson says, only 19 percent of peer-reviewed grants that come before the NIH board can be funded. Peer reviewed means a panel of distinguished scientists have deemed the grants promising, but promise doesn't always convert to research dollars.

"They're talking about cutting real dollars," Donaldson said in a telephone interview from his office in Washington, D.C. "I know we've got some budget problems, I know we've got the war in Iraq, but for us not to be able to put money behind the initial source of the cure is ridiculous."

Borrowing from an old British phrase, Donaldson said the failure to fund research is "worse than a crime, it's a blunder." He conceded that some of the grants may not pan out, but until you test the theories, they can't be proven.

Donaldson, 72, still speaks with the same vim and vigor he used in all those press conferences and appearances on ABC's Sunday morning television program. Although he is no longer covering the White House, he does a daily afternoon talk show on ABC News Now, the network's fledgling digital channel.

Ask Donaldson what are the country's most pressing problems, and he breaks it down into foreign affairs and domestic affairs before quickly covering a wide range of topics.

On the foreign side, he believes the United States needs to foster better relationships with other nations and lose its "my way or the highway attitude."

Domestically, Donaldson worries about the nation's racial and economic disparities, and says we need better health care and energy policies.

He's just as enthusiastic talking about Moffitt. When Donaldson was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, a bond formed between him and former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack, who called to offer support.

"I had met him, but I had never covered him," Donaldson said. "I wasn't a social friend of his, but he called and said, "Hey, guy, I had what you have and I'm okay. You're going to be just fine."'

After that, Donaldson wedded himself to Mack, whom he called one of our great American public officials. Not surprisingly, when Mack, who lives in Naples, called 31/2 years ago and asked if Donaldson would come and tour Moffitt, Donaldson didn't hesitate.

"I'll do anything for Connie Mack, short of a terrible perversion," Donaldson said.

Now Donaldson is chairman of the advisory board that strives to further Moffitt's mission.

The board also includes NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, golf great Arnold Palmer and Cokie Roberts, the former ABC correspondent Donaldson personally invited to join the cause.

Donaldson, who recently spoke to a group in Naples about Moffitt, said he likes to deliver a message of hope to audiences.

"Cancer is no longer an automatic death sentence," Donaldson said. "I'm not minimizing the fact that it's a deadly disease, but in certain areas there are promises of hope. The odds are you're going to be okay."

On Saturday, Donaldson and his wife will be among the attendees at the Magnolia Ball, Moffitt's annual fundraiser. The ball, which features '80s pop stars Hall & Oates, is one of the biggest social events of the year. At $600 a plate, it's also one of the area's top fundraisers. The group is looking to better its 2005 total of $500,000.

Donaldson said the posh setting at A La Carte Pavilion is impressive.

"It's a fine evening, but it's not like having a beer at Pete's bar," he quipped.

With radio show preparations on the horizon, Donaldson had to end the interview, but I could have talked politics and policy with him all day. He's fun and funny, and thanks to the advancements made in cancer research, he's still with us.

That's all I'm saying.

First spilled milk now cock fighting

That's my hometown of Lantana. Which isn't in the news too often. Here is an article from the Palm Beach Post. I guess the subjects of my title beat a hurricane.

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

Police have broken up what they say was a cock-fighting ring complete with more than 200 roosters, performance-enhancing drugs for the birds and artificial spurs used to inflict harm on their opponents.

After an anonymous tip, police responded to the house of 32-year-old Jose Reyes at 5768 Colbright Road in suburban Lantana. They found Reyes and several other men in a clearing, a wooded area beyond the backyard, where several roosters were housed in cages. One was bleeding and appeared harmed, according to a sheriff's report.

The men tried to flee but were caught.

Reyes said he's owned the roosters for about a year. There were 214 in all. Reyes said he sells them for food. The other men were also charged for their participation.

The roosters were handed over to Animal Care and Control, where they were expected to be euthanized.

Going Bananas?

That's what some may say the Wall Street Journal did when they allowed actress Pamela Anderson to write an op-ed for their opinion journal. It's about the use/abuse of chimpanzees in television and movies. You make the call but be warned Pamela's hero is King Kong. What does the big ape think of her? Hmm.........

Open Post- Stop The ACLU, Wizbang, Jo's Cafe,

King Kong is my hero. He's big, muscular, sensitive, a terrific actor--and he's not real. The use of computer-generated imagery has really taken off in Hollywood. So why has Madison Avenue suddenly gone bananas for real apes? Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, with at least 95% of the same DNA. We're closer to them than they are to gorillas, so when I see chimpanzees being used as on-screen comedians, dressed up in silly costumes to sell credit cards, I think, Is this any way to treat a relative?

This issue has been on my mind a lot lately. It started when my kids went on a field trip to what was billed as an exotic animal refuge in Malibu. I excitedly tagged along only to find that it was like a shabby petting zoo that rents lions, tigers and a fascinating pair of chimpanzees to productions like "The Gong Show" to perform pathetic tricks under lights in front of loud crowds--conditions that are very stressful. I chose to have that kind of life; these animals didn't.

In the wild, baby chimpanzees and their mothers are inseparable. Moms carry babies with them as they forage and sleep in the same nests with them at night. Chimpanzees start climbing and eating on their own when they're 3 years old, but never stray far from mom. They're not independent until 7, so it broke my heart to learn that the chimpanzees used in ads and shows are babies, snatched from their mothers when they're infants so they'll be manageable in front of the camera. While it's possible to train animals using only kindness, as Jane Goodall pointed out, "this requires the kind of time and patience which is usually lacking in the fast moving world of 'show biz.' "

A primatologist who spent 14 months working undercover for a facility that trains great apes for film and TV saw trainers kick and punch the animals to make them obedient. Bright, energetic chimpanzees were reduced to zombies who cowered in fear of being struck. These same chimpanzees were later seen at an "animal sanctuary," which compassionate people were charged $200 to visit. Most abuse by "animal trainers" goes on behind closed doors, where the PR teams that dream up ad campaigns featuring costumed chimpanzees--and the consumers buying their products--never even see it.

That's just the beginning. By the time chimpanzees are 7, they're stronger than Vin Diesel and can pull your head off. When they can no longer be disciplined, they're abandoned like trash. Zoos don't want them, and the few sanctuaries for abused apes can't possibly take them all. So they're sold to tawdry attractions, or to breeders who churn out even more chimpanzee babies for "entertainment." A performing chimpanzee's life consists of about seven years of being lugged around sets and then 40 years of being caged, often in solitary confinement.

I've vowed never to be involved with a production that uses live apes because I don't want to be a part of this cruelty, and I bet you don't either. Let's drop the curtain on ape "actors" by sticking to animatronic animals or willing human performers for our ads. It's not like there's a shortage of struggling starlets willing to embarrass themselves if it means getting on TV.

Do they all look alike?

The Palm Beach Post had a story earlier this week on the LPGA's leading rookie Seon Hwa Lee. Lee is in fourth place going into the final round of the Ginn Clubs tournament in Orlando.

Now go read this headline.

South Korea's Kim rises to top of the rookie class

Kind of reminds me of this post of mine. I mean, the name Lee is mentioned throuhout the article and no mention of anyone named Kim. What was the person who headlined the story thinking of?

While we're talking about headlines, Mi-Hyun Kim is leading by three shots going into today's final round. The diminutive Kim is nicknamed Peanut. If she wins today I have a headline for the Post.

Peanut Shells Field

What do you think? If Peanut wins today it will be a doubly wonderful weekend, for she became an Aunt for the first time also.

Good luck Aunt Peanut, I mean Aunt Kimmy.

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

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is funeral home director Jim Bostick. He gets the award for defrauding the family of Marine Jason Sepulveda. Jason was training for going to Iraq at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina when he died in an off-duty car accident.

Read the whole story. Mr. Bostick has seized Jason's savings account and despite a court ordering him to return the money to the Sepulveda family, Bostick hasn't. To top things off Bostick is the mayor of Fort Lupton Colorado. I used to tell a joke that prostitution and politics were the two oldest professions. Both take money for a favor and both want to screw you. Bostick has lived up to the saying, I just think prostitutes are more honest than he is.

For defrauding the family of a dead marine, Jim Bostick is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Mudville Gazette
Open Post- Bright & Early, Adam's Blog, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Jo's Cafe, Stop The ACLU, Wizbang, Right Wing Nation,

FORT LUPTON, Colo. -- The mother of a U.S. Marine was grieving for her dead son when she found that his savings account had been claimed by the director of the funeral home.

It was money that he had no right to and despite a court ruling, the funeral director refused to pay. What's even more puzzling is that he's not just any debtor, he's the mayor of the small town and a member of a City Council that has financial responsibility for the city's budget.

7NEWS also found that he has other debts as well, something his constituents may want to know.

Jason Sepulveda, a Marine, was training at Camp Lejune in North Carolina, preparing to go to Iraq, when in an evening off-base, he was killed in a car accident.

"My son died instantly and the other Marine died approximately two weeks after," said Elis Sepulveda, Jason's mother.

His parents, who spoke with him weekly, knew he had been saving his money for a long weekend when they would all be together.

"We were going on vacation for the Fourth of July to visit him," Sepulveda said. "I know he had been sacrificing because they don't get paid very much."

Jason's body was returned to Colorado for burial. Records show that the funeral was paid, in full, by the Marines. But after closing out her son's accounts, Jason's mother realized that the probate court had sent the proceeds of Jason's savings account to the funeral home, which is run by Jim Bostick.

"I called Mr. Bostick and I said, 'Well, the courts sent you my son's savings account.' He just kind of really blew me off a lot," Sepulveda said.

She said he didn't give her any receipts or bills and just kept the money.

In addition to his duties as mayor and member of the Ft. Lupton City Council, Bostick also owns two funeral homes. In his role with the city, he is heavily involved in overseeing the finances of the town.

Sepulveda took Bostick to court over the money he wouldn't return to her family. The judge's order in the case was final.

"She gave damages, interests, court fines, everything, and I assumed that if you go to court that you pay it," Sepulveda said.

But despite the judgment of more than $7,500, Bostick has refused to pay.

When 7NEWS Investigator John Ferrugia confronted Bostick and asked him why he was still holding money from the Sepulvedas, Bostick said, "I'm not holding the money for them. I don't want to be on camera right now."

But Bostick not only owes the Sepulvedas, he owes other people money.

"You've got other judgments out there. Do you want to talk to me about that?" Ferrugia asked Bostick.

"No, I don't," Bostick said.

In fact, court records show Bostick has several current unsatisfied debts to creditors from Greeley to Montana and that doesn't include money he owed when he filed bankruptcy in 2001. He claims he is trying to repay the money.

But Bostick didn't want to talk about the money he owes the Sepulveda family or whether, given his personal financial problems, he should be making fiscal decisions for the town of Fort Lupton.

"I want to know if you think it's appropriate for the mayor who has fiduciary responsibility to owe this kind of money," Ferrugia said.

7NEWS obtained letters written by Bostick to the family, saying that he would settle the debt.

"It got to the point where he would just not accept our phone calls and just say, 'I can't hear you, I can't hear you,'" Sepulveda said.

"You wrote. You said, 'I want to settle this,' and you never have. Why not?" Ferrugia asked Bostick.

"I don't recall ever writing letters to ..." Bostick responded. "Well, I don't recall that, no. Right off, I don't recall it."

Finally, using the same double-talk that has frustrated the Marine family, Bostick seemed to make clear he has no intention of settling the claim.

"It will be worked out with them," Bostick said.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I must be a golf masochist too

Even though I haven't played the game in years. Instead it is because I subscribe to this magazine.

I've blogged before about how poor Golf World's coverage of the LPGA tour is. Click here and here for examples. Yesterday I received the most recent issue and GW has done it again. Sung ah Yim won last weekend's tour stop. Now go look at this.

That's a picture of Annika Sorenstam. Where is a picture of Sung ah Yim. I have the magazine here on my desk. Yim won a tour event last weekend and her picture isn't even in the magazine. Shame on you Golf World.

Now if that's not bad enough, it gets worse. There is a feature article on one of the leading rookie money winners? Is it Seon Hwa Lee who's got better than TRIPLE the money earnings of the next closest rookie? No it is about Julieta Granada. Golf World has yet to give Lee any press.

And thirdly Golf World has the balls to criticize The Golf Channel's coverage of the LPGA on its Golf Central show. Saying its bed isn't buttered in Daytona Beach, but in Ponte Verde. Look in the mirror Golf World. You're the leading candidate for golf hypocrite of the year.

Open Post- Rhymes with Right, Wizbang, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle Blog,

A few words

The Media Bloggers Association announced their new members today. Yours truly isn't on the list.

Not that it surprises me. I said before I had changed my mind about my application after what I think seeing the very unprofessional manner. One MBA member told me I had been approved, President Robert Cox was waiting for me to reply . Cox said the f0llowing at the MBA site.

Bill - I visited your site a few minutes ago and from what I understand you no longer wish to be considered anyway. If that's the case let me know otherwise we will proceed on the assumption you still wish to be considered. You seem to be under the impression that your personal comments about me will impact your application to the MBA. They won't. Members have posted far nastier comments about me before and they are still members. Liking me is NOT a requirement of membership :-)

Robert also said something similiar in an email to me last November. Apparently I did irk Robert with the Knucklehead award I gave him(The same blogger who said I was approved said so) but I stand by my award. In returne Cox called me a link whore. At least I didn't lie through my teeth on the website for the organization I was President of.

My not getting membership saved me from a Groucho Marx moment.


Now what should I do in regards to MBA?

I could-

"Why I'd horsewhip you if I had a horse!"


"You'll be hearing from my lawyer as soon as he graduates from law school!"


"Of course you know this means war!"

No it will be none of these but

"It's nice to have met you, and I've got nobody to blame but myself."

Those are my final words.

That is an understatement

The NFL draft is beginning in a matter of moments. A few bloggers, OTB Sports being one, are live blogging this spectacle.

ESPN/ESPN2 will be covering the Draft today and tomorrow. Millions will be watching too. All just to watch endless talk and highlight reels. I guess the NFL does that to people.

TFM will be watching from time to time. My TV is on right now, I'm mostly interested in what the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets will be doing. I won't be watching all day or live blogging the draft. This post will be updated as the day goes on.

What will the Dolphins do today? Your guess is as good as mine. Coach Nick Saban is being coy. The Dolphins have lots of needs. A first round pick could be used on either a linebacker, wide receiver or on the defensive backfield. On the other hand draft priorities can change on how the draft plays out. Miami never expected to find Dan Marino still available when they drafted 27th in 1983.

One problem the Dolphins has is lack of draft choices. No 2nd, 5th or 6th round picks. I have questioned Miami's deals in the past and still think this could be detrimental to the team's future.

As to the Jets, I think they need a QB. If Leinhart or Young are available, that should be the pick.

The draft has already begun. Yesterday the Houston Texans signed Mario Williams and some are already questioning it. Dr. Taylor also has his doubts.

The Palm Beach Post today had an article about the history of the 16th pick in the draft. That is where Miami is picking. Jerry Rice, Russ Francis, Gene Washington are just some of the stars who were picked 16th.

Has Miami ever drafted 16th? They did in back to back years in the 1980's.

The Dolphins don't necessarily have an impressive history picking at the 16th spot. They have had that selection twice, taking defensive end John Bosa of Boston College in 1987 and linebacker Eric Kumerow of Ohio State in '88. Each lasted three undistinguished seasons in Miami.

Undistinguished? Bust is the correct word for both Bosa and Kumerow. Lets hope Miami doesn't repeat those draft experience.

Update- Miami took DB Jason Allen from Tennessee. I hadn't heard this name when it came to potential picks for the Dolphins.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Uncooperative Blogger,

Well done Peter Correnti

You have to love the irony in a story like this. Lawyer Peter Correnti just after defending a client who was convicted of drivng without a license, is arrested himself for the same charge. How dumb is this guy?

I guess he did do one worthwhile thing. One more lawyer joke has been created.

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

SANFORD -- Lawyer Peter Correnti climbed into his Ford Taurus and left the courthouse minutes after his client was hauled off to jail, convicted of driving without a license.

Before Correnti got a mile down the road, though, deputies pulled him over and arrested him on the same charge.

Correnti, 44, of Altamonte Springs had failed to pay a series of traffic tickets, according to state records.

Correnti was booked into the Seminole County Jail on Thursday evening on two charges: driving without a license and the unauthorized use of a handicap permit. The permit he was using, according to his arrest report, belonged to a dead man.

He posted $230 bail and was released about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, about six hours after his arrest.

Correnti was not available for comment Friday.

His wife, Cheryl, said he was in court, then added, "I don't know anything about this."

Correnti was arrested shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday just after pulling out of the parking lot at the Seminole Criminal Justice Center, across from Flea World.

Twenty minutes earlier, a jury had convicted his client, Mark Siddens, 50, a Winter Springs auto-body repairman, of driving without a license. It had acquitted him, though, of drunken driving, and a judge had thrown out another count: driving with an open container.

Siddens was sentenced to 57 days in jail.

In Correnti's case, his license had been suspended Aug. 10, 2004, for failing to pay a traffic ticket in Seminole County, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Even though he never got it back, it was suspended twice more last year for two other unpaid tickets in Orange County, the agency reported.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Palm Beach Post editorial board. It's been a while since Randy Schultz and company earned one.

They get the award for an editorial today advocating in-state tuition for illegal aliens.

It's consistent with the nation's conflicted views on immigration that the Legislature feels strongly both ways when it comes to deciding whether to allow children of illegal immigrants the same in-state college tuition rates as Floridians.

In 2003 and 2004, the Senate unanimously passed legislation giving students who are illegal immigrants the reduced tuition. The bill moved through the House without opposition during both sessions, but the Republican leadership stopped it each time from reaching the floor.

Positions abruptly reversed last year when the House supported the idea in a bill sponsored by Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, but then the Senate balked. This year, it's the same story. After moving through the House, HB 119 has run aground in the Senate. The most powerful opposition has come from Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, who says he fears that the bill would promote more illegal immigration and that the Legislature shouldn't underwrite unlawful activity - views he didn't have in '03 and '04 when he voted for approval.

Rep. Zapata's latest version would allow illegal residents to qualify for tuition breaks if they have attended public schools in Florida for three consecutive years. Only 2,000 top-ranked students are eligible, and they are excluded from Bright Futures and other state-run scholarship programs. The cost savings for the immigrants would be substantial - perhaps $12,000 a year at the University of Florida, for example.

Eight states already allow illegal immigrants to pay the same fees - including New York, California, Texas and Illinois, which have large immigrant populations. In Congress, a similar measure called the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minorities Act) - which would guarantee the in-state rates to the 65,000 illegal immigrants who graduate from high school each year - is stalled over the same objections as in Florida.

Gov. Bush supports Rep. Zapata's bill, correctly believing that good students, regardless of their immigration status, are worth the investment and will contribute to the state's future. Misplaced blame remains the biggest obstacle. Senate Republicans want to punish children for the violations of their parents and look politically tough doing it. Motivated, successful students shouldn't be made scapegoats for the nation's failure to solve its immigration problems.

The editorial is titled 'Legally educate illegals'. That was the Post's first mistake.

Under a federal law passed in 1998 it is illegal for states to offer in-state tuition to illegal aliens unless all students are offered that rate. The Post doesn't mention that. Is Randy Schultz and company ignorant or dishonest?

Yes other states have done the same for illegal alients. The Post however fails to mention that California is being sued by out of state students. A Class Action lawsuit that is likely to cost California millions. Do Florida taxpayers need to do a repeat?

Not to mention why an illegal alien should get priviliges over a person whose 'crime' is from being out of state.

For advocating the passing of an illegal law, The Palm Beach Post editorial board is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Bright & Early, Adam's Blog, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Jo's Cafe, Stop The ACLU, Wizbang, Right Wing Nation,

Former MLB pitcher Steve Howe dead at 48

Howe was the 1980 Rookie of the year. A very good left-handed reliever he was better known for his battles with substance abuse. Steve Howe died yesterday in Southern California. RIP.

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

NEW YORK - Steve Howe, the relief pitcher whose promising career was derailed by cocaine and alcohol abuse, died Friday when his pickup truck rolled over in Coachella, Calif. He was 48.

Howe was killed at 5:55 a.m. PDT about 130 miles east of Los Angeles, said Dalyn Backes of the Riverside County coroner's office. He had been in Arizona on business and was driving back home to Valencia, Calif., business partner Judy Welp said.

Toxicology tests had not yet been performed.

The hard-throwing lefty was the 1980 NL Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles, closed out the Dodgers' 1981 World Series championship and was an All-Star the next year.

But for all of his success on the field, Howe was constantly troubled by addictions — he was suspended seven times and became a symbol of the rampant cocaine problem that plagued baseball in the 1980s.

During the 1992 season, he became the first baseball player to be banned for life because of drugs. An arbitrator reinstated him after the season.

In recent years, he owned an energy drink company in Arizona.

"I just saw Steve last winter when his son was pitching against my son," former teammate and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday night. "Everything was looking up for him and he looked great. It makes you numb when you hear about a situation like this. He had a roller-coaster ride."

Howe was 47-41 with 91 saves and a 3.03 ERA with the Dodgers, Twins, Rangers and Yankees. His final season in the majors was 1996, and the Yankees released him in June.

A moment of silence was observed at Yankee Stadium before New York played Toronto on Friday night. Howe played for the Yankees from 1991-96.

"I wish more people knew Steve Howe the way I knew him," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "His struggles in life were well documented, but he always tried to fight through them and I will always respect that."

Two days after the Yankees let him go in 1996, Howe was arrested at a Delta Airlines terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when a loaded .357 Magnum was detected inside his suitcase. He later pleaded guilty to gun possession and was placed on three years' probation and given 150 hours of community service.

Chicago White Sox coach Tim Raines played with Howe in that final year.

"You always get second chances — third and fourth sometimes. And people really believed in him and that he'd eventually kick the problem. Unfortunately, it didn't happen for him," he said.

Howe tried a comeback in 1997 with Sioux Falls of the independent Northern League and retired after injuring his forearm. That August, he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Montana and charged with drunken driving; those charges were later dropped when prosecutors decided his blood test was improperly obtained.

"He was extremely talented, very confident on the mound and had an incredible arm," Scioscia said. "Obviously, he didn't reach his potential because of other things that crept into his life."

Said former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda: "Steve played for me for five years and I thought the world of him."

Howe was suspended for the 1984 season by commissioner Bowie Kuhn for cocaine use. Howe was out of the majors in 1986 after a relapse the previous August with Minnesota.

Texas released him before the 1988 season because of an alcohol problem, and he did not pitch again in the big leagues until 1991.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part Five

Our fifth winner today is Warren Kremer Paino Advertising LLC. They are an advertising agency hired by the Maine Dept. of Tourism. Warren Kremer Paino is suing blogger Lance Dutson claiming Mr. Dutson defamed the company and violated their copyright at this website. I blogged about this story here.

Warren Kremer is upset because they've been made out to look like fools. Fools they are, for preparing advertisments that showed a number for a phone sex service. They're obviously a waste of taxpayer money and Lance Dutson pulled down the pants for the State of Maine to see.

Tom McCartin the President of Warren Kremer is complaining about the damage Dutson is doing to his agency. Well it was self-inflicted, they're the ones who made themselves into a joke with an advertisement.

For seeking revenge through a frivolous lawsuit, Warren Kremer Paino Advertising LLC is today's fifth Co-Knucklehead of the day.

Below is an article from today's Boston Globe.

Hat tip- Outside the Beltway
Open Post- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County,

A coastal Maine blogger who criticized the state's tourism office has been hit with a lawsuit seeking potentially more than $1 million in damages for allegedly making false statements and posting on his website, Maine Web Report, images from proposed tourism advertisements a New York agency prepared for Maine officials.

''It's a reflection of the extent to which businesses are taking critiques from the blogosphere very seriously," said John G. Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. ''Bloggers have gained enormous power."

Warren Kremer Paino Advertising LLC, an agency hired by the Maine Department of Tourism, filed suit in US District Court in Maine last week, alleging the blogger, Lance Dutson of Searsmont, Maine, outside Camden, violated the agency's copyright and defamed the agency in blog entries self-published at

Dutson, an independent Web designer, launched his blog last fall to comment on technology and Maine tourism issues. He has written commentaries ridiculing the state's tourism efforts and, last month, he posted a ''rough draft" advertisement pulled from Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development website showing a collage of iconic images of the Maine seacoast, woodlands, and ski slopes, with a dummy phone number that turned out to connect to a line promoting a phone sex service. The agency had inadvertently placed the phone number on the draft advertisement for a presentation made to state tourism officials.

''This is supposed to be our biggest industry," Dutson wrote on his blog yesterday, referring to tourism, ''but it's being run like a trailer park daycare on its 3rd notice from the Human Services people."

In an interview yesterday, Dutson said he was served with the lawsuit Saturday by a sheriff. ''This cop car pulled up to my house," he recalled. ''It was pretty good for neighborhood gossip."

The advertising agency is suing Dutson on three counts: copyright infringement, defamation, and trade libel/injurious falsehood. It seeks statutory damages of $150,000 for each of six images it alleges were infringed upon, as well as unspecified punitive damages and legal fees. Dutson is being represented by Gregory W. Herbert, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig in Orlando.

Dutson said he thinks Warren Kremer Paino is trying to silence him. ''I'm basically a freelance Web designer," he said. ''I have three kids. We're just a dead-middle-of-the-road Maine family. If they succeed in this, it'll ruin us. I can't write that kind of a check."

In the lawsuit, filed by the agency's attorney, Alfred C. Frawley III of Preti Flaherty in Portland, Maine, the plaintiff claims Dutson's blog ''contains numerous defamatory statements designed to blacken" the agency's reputation. As one example, the suit cites Dutson's claim that the advertising agency has been wasting Maine taxpayers' money in its work for the tourism department.

Tom McCartin, president and chief operating officer at Warren Kremer Paino, said the firm decided to sue after Dutson walked out of a meeting scheduled in Augusta, Maine, specifically to address his concerns about the tourism campaign.

''I don't think his real mission here is to get answers for the taxpayers of the state," McCartin said. ''One of the things he wants to do is to get attention. He's potentially causing some real harm to our agency if people go into his blog and start reading things that aren't true."

Other bloggers have rushed to Dutson's defense, portraying the matter as a clear-cut free speech and First Amendment issue. ''This is a deep-pocketed litigator trying to stop a small media outlet, a blog, for saying things that they don't like," said Robert A. Cox, a New Rochelle, N.Y., blogger and cofounder of the Media Bloggers Association.

The increased scrutiny is putting bloggers on notice that they need to use their power responsibly, said Palfrey at the Berkman Center. But he said the plaintiff faces a high bar in the Maine case.

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Erasable history

Associated Press finally catches on to the truth behind online Encyclopedia Wikpedia. It can be used for political dirty tricks.

Political operatives are covertly rewriting — or defacing — candidates' biographical entries to make the boss look good or the opponent look ridiculous.

As a result, political campaigns are monitoring the Web site more closely than ever this election year.

Revisions made by Capitol Hill staffers became so frequent and disruptive earlier this year that Wikipedia temporarily blocked access to the site from some congressional Internet addresses. The pranks included bumping up the age of the Senate's oldest member, West Virginia's Robert Byrd, from 88 to 180, and giving crude names to other lawmakers.

The entry for Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall (news, bio, voting record) of Georgia labeled him "too liberal" for his state, in part because of a contribution he received from a political action committee run by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The man who doctored Marshall's biography now works for his Republican challenger.

In Georgia this week, the campaign manager for a candidate for governor resigned amid allegations he doctored the Wikipedia biography of an opponent in the Democratic primary.

I had heard of some of these shenanigans months ago. Why is AP only reporting it now?

Wikpedia lacks alot of credibility as a reference source. I admit to using it sometimes, but on topics that should be non-controversial. Wikpedia says its about free speech. Don't they see what this editing feature does to their site? If an article can be re-written by anyone, abuse will happen and it damages a site's credibility.

Open Post- Cao's Blog, Adam's Blog,

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part Four

Our fourth winner today is Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post. Mr. VandeHei gets one of today's awards for his questioning of White House spokesman Scott McClellan. What was on Mr. VandeHei's mind? Iraq? Illegal Immigrants? The Budget? No none of these, it was why Fox News instead of CNN is shown on Air Force One!

During a briefing led by White House spokesman Scott McClellan as President Bush was traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, the Washington Post’s Jim VandeHei asked why the White House televisions always seemed to be tuned to Fox News and if it was possible to have them tuned instead to CNN. “It’s come to my attention that there’s been requests — this is a serious question — to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied,” VandeHei told McClellan, who is soon to be replaced by former Fox anchor and self-described conservative Tony Snow. “My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?” VandeHei asked.

“Never heard of any such thing,” McClellan responded. “My TVs are on four different channels at all times.”

VandeHei noted that McClellan has four televisions in his office, and clarified that he was referring to the ones that reporters can see. “They’re always turned to Fox, which a lot of people consider a Republican-leaning network.” VandeHei noted that the televisions are paid for with taxpayer dollars. “And my understanding is that you guys have to watch Fox on Air Force One. Is that true?”

McClellan said it was the first he had heard such a claim, and that it was not true. “In fact, I’ve watched other channels on here,” he said. “I’ve never known anyone that’s raised a complaint about a request from back here to watch a different channel,” McClellan added.

VandeHei replied, “I’m officially raising it, and officially complaining about it.”

The National Journal has the full blow by blow.

We're fairly sure "Q" is : Jim VandeHei

Q It's come to my attention that there's been requests -- this is a serious question -- to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied. My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?

MR. McCLELLAN: Never heard of any such thing. My TVs are on four different channels at all times.

Q Because you have four different TVs. But every time I've ever been --

MR. McCLELLAN: Every TV in the White House also has channels every -- has a split screen, where they can --

Q Well, they always seem to be tuned to Fox, and there's been requests, and these are paid for by taxpayer dollars. And my understanding is that you guys have to watch Fox on Air Force One. Is that true?

MR. McCLELLAN: First time I've ever heard of it. First time you've brought it to my attention, meaning the first time the press corps has brought it to my attention. In fact, I've watched other channels on here.

Q There's one --

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, Jim, come on. I've watched other channels on here, so I don't know where yuo're hearing that. But it's the first time anyone in the press has raised that question with me.

Q You've watched other channels other than Fox?

MR. McCLELLAN: On here, yes, sure.

Q I've never seen -- they're always turned to Fox, which a lot of people consider a Republican-leaning network.

Q Scott, is it one -- on the airplane, is it one for all? I mean, if it's tuned for Fox here, is it Fox everywhere?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that certain areas may be interconnected, but I'll have to double-check which.

Q Is yours off, wherever you are?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the conference room, or the senior staff office, the staff office, they're different TVs, and you can switch to different channels. I'm not sure if some of these in the back are connected to some of the others that are watching right here, right now. It doesn't look like it to me. I've never known anyone that's raised a complaint about a request from back here to watch a different channel.

Q I'm officially raising it and officially complaining about it.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I'm going to go see if we can change the channel for you. Have you called up?

Q I was the Fox victim, and I was told -- the quote was, "No," when I asked for CNN.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know who you talked to, so -- it didn't come to my attention. You don't know who you talked to either?

Q Well, the magic people at the other end off the phone.

MR. McCLELLAN: The magic people at the other end of the phone. Well, I'll see if this cabin is --

Q I was told, "We don't watch CNN here, you can only watch Fox."

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, it's hard to respond to something when I don't know who it is you talked to.

Q I used the phone back here.

MR. McCLELLAN: I find this all quite amusing, to tell you the truth. I mean, there are a lot of people on this plane that do watch that channel.

Q I've never been told, no. They're such nice guys up there.

MR. McCLELLAN: First time you brought it to my attention. I'll go see what we can do on it

If I didn't know better I'd thought this was a tv comedy sketch. Give this man a bottle. No better yet, Jim VandeHei is today's fourth Knucklehead of the day.

PS- This is such a funny Knucklehead, Mr. VandeHei is already in the running for the year end award. I'm not done with awards today either, there is one more to give out. Don't worry I'll have one for tomorrow.
Some of my favorite bloggers also commenting on this- Outside the Beltway, Michelle Malkin, Stop the ACLU, Iowa Voice, The Anchoress, and The Moderate Voice.
Open Post- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County,

Otherwise what would they do for re-runs?

NBC announced they are renewing all three Law & Order series. I guess the network still has lots of time slots to fill.

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

LOS ANGELES - The verdict is in for "Law & Order": television's second longest-running drama will be back for its 17th season in the fall, NBC announced Thursday.

The network said it has renewed all three series in the franchise from creator and executive producer Dick Wolf, including "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

"Law & Order," which stars Sam Waterston, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina and S. Epatha Merkerson, must air for a total of four more seasons to catch up with "Gunsmoke."

The CBS Western with James Arness aired from 1955-75.

The original in the "Law & Order" family has slipped in favor among viewers. Last year, it averaged nearly 13 million weekly viewers; for the season so far, with weaker lead-ins and more competition, it's drawing 11.1 million viewers.

Sibling "Special Victims Unit" draws a bigger crowd, with an average 13.9 million viewers. The series starring Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni, now in its seventh year, also ranks as NBC's No. 2 drama (behind "ER") among the advertiser-favored young adult audience.

"Criminal Intent," which stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Chris Noth and Annabella Sciorra, is drawing an average 10.9 million viewers in its fifth season.

Overall, NBC is struggling in the ratings and may again repeat its fourth-place showing for the season in both viewers and the young-adult demographic.

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part Three

Our third winner today is Scott Keatley. Keatley a Volusia county schoolteacher gets one of today's awards for using his students for personal gain. He offered them extra credit if they brought in specially marked cups from Wendy's. These would help Mr. Keatley get a free plane ticket. Instead Keatley is being suspended from his job and may even lose it.

What a knucklehead. Keatley doesn't even see what he did as wrong and tried to pass the blame onto others. Being college educated doesn't make someone smart and Scott Keatley is living proof.

For using his students for personal gain, Scott Keatley is one of today's Co-Knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County,

DeLAND -- A first-year teacher at Deltona High has been disciplined for exposing high-school students to profane language on a Web site and for asking them to collect Wendy's restaurant paper cups that he could cash in for a free plane ticket.

The Volusia County school district found Scott Keatley, 23, guilty of unprofessional conduct and determined that he exploited his relationship with students for personal gain. On Tuesday night, the School Board suspended him without pay for five days.

An internal investigation found that Keatley, who teaches social studies, gave students extra credit toward their final grades if they brought in specially marked cups being offered in a promotion with AirTran Airways. The investigation found that Keatley tried to cash in the cups for credits toward a ticket.

A letter from the district's professional-standards director also reprimanded Keatley for "exposing students to a website that contained profane language." There was no further explanation of the site.

On Wednesday, Keatley said he didn't know that collecting the cups was wrong. As soon as it was called to his attention, he said, he took steps to make things right. A letter in the investigative file shows he wrote to AirTran and asked the airline to remove 32 credits from his account -- the number needed for a free one-way coach ticket in the promotion.

Keatley also said he briefly, inadvertently exposed ninth-graders last semester to a satirical Web site that contained mild profanity while he was teaching a lesson on Greek political satire.

"As soon as it came up, I put it down," he said.

The investigation began after a student complained about Keatley in March. The child's parents wrote a letter to the school principal in January claiming that the boy deserved an A instead of a B in Keatley's class. The letter also criticized Keatley's teaching methods.

"I feel that they're simply out for my job because I didn't give their son a different grade," Keatley said.

The father, Danny Allen -- who asked that his son's name not be used -- reiterated Wednesday that he thought Keatley's grading was unfair.

"I think the district let him off too easy," said Allen, a former DeBary City Council member.

But Keatley, who has not yet served his suspension, said the penalty is anything but lax.

"This will stay with me forever," he said. "Plus I'm probably going to lose my job. It's a nightmare."

Churches win a battle in Palm Beach County.

Some good news out of our County Commission for a change.

WEST PALM BEACH — In sharp contrast to earlier fervor-filled hearings, Palm Beach County commissioners quietly voted 4-1 Thursday to remove a clause that would have limited the size of new churches.

The proposed cap would have limited the number of seats and square footage to as little as 250 seats and 25,000 square feet in rural neighborhoods; 500 seats and 50,000 square feet in moderately dense areas; and 750 seats and 75,000 square feet in more urban settings. Houses of worship in commercial zones would not have been restricted.

I don't know whether it was a case of NIMBY(Not in my back yard) or the secularization of society that drove the people behind these proposed caps. Whatever the motive was, their illogic is just extroadinary.

First of all, churches have little activity other than days of worship. Yes there are other events at a church but none on the scale of weekly church service. So what we're talking about is 52 days out of the year and another 10-20 special days on a church calendar.

Traffic problems? My wife works for our local Catholic Church. The parrish pays for the local police to direct traffic after Mass on Saturdays, Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.

Another thing is the size of the caps that were being considered. Our church at full capacity seats about 1,000 people. There is nothing mega about the church dear wife and I attend. The only days the church reaches capacity is Easter, Christmas and maybe Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday. You know those ECPSAW Catholics as the wife refers to them. The rest of the time, average amount of people at service is about 500. Being in Florida we have many seasonal residents.

A dumb law was averted. It wouldn't surprise me if another attempt is made to pass some kind of cap. The rest of the Post article is below.

Open Post- Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog,

Congregations that had bought land to expand their campuses but had not yet begun construction would have been affected by the change.

When the proposals were announced, pastors and church members fervently voiced their objections at public forums and through letters and e-mails to commissioners. They believed the size rules would have discriminated against houses of worship and violated their First Amendment rights.

After the vote, Calvin Lyerla, senior pastor of Acts 2 Worship Center near Loxahatchee, was delighted to hear that the size limits had been dropped. He attributed the commission vote to the presence of 40 to 50 ministers at a recent zoning meeting.

"We have plans in zoning now that would have been completely stopped," said Lyerla, referring to a 600-seat, 9,000-square-foot building in an unincorporated western community.

"Our voice was very clear and unified," he said. "I was pleased that we communicated to them that it was an overreach."

Opponents of church growth were less sanguine about the vote.

"It's unfortunate that churches can't abide by the same rules that anybody else has to abide by," said Susan Kennedy, president of the Jupiter Farms Environmental Council, which advocated for the size limits. "That's all were asking for. You wouldn't want a super Wal-Mart or a giant-sized church placed in a small residential community."

County Zoning Director Jon MacGillis said Thursday that he doubted the proposed changes would have treated churches any differently than commercial and other enterprises.

Lawyers for two religious watchdog groups said the proposals may have violated the First Amendment right of religious expression, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 and the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998. The federal and state laws seek to protect churches from unequal treatment by municipal governments.

By early this month, zoning department staff members offered commissioners three options: Study the matter for a year before deciding, accept the proposed changes or drop them. In the end, commissioners dropped them, but they retained an amendment that there be one parking space for every three seats or 200 square feet, whichever is greater.

One of the few to comment at Thursday's meeting was Bishop Avis Hill, who has had a long-running conflict with the commission over the use of his church, Westgate Tabernacle in suburban West Palm Beach, as a homeless shelter.

"It seems this county is somewhat hostile toward the religious community, from the guttermost to the uttermost," Hill said. "You realize that there is a sizable number of religious establishments in this county, and you are upsetting them very much."

Commissioner Jeff Koons jokingly asked Hill whether the commission would be able to "get right with God" if it voted down the cap.

During commissioners' comments before the vote, they pointedly signaled their appreciation for the county's houses of worship and their considerable flocks.

Commissioner Karen Marcus reminded her colleagues that county code covering churches had not been reviewed since the relatively recent genesis of churches that offer a variety of services seven days a week, not just on Sundays.

Commissioner Addie Greene cast the dissenting vote. She said she wanted to make it clear that her district was made up of municipalities and that they, not she, controlled the growth and number of churches.

"One thing I don't do is debate religion," she said.

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part Two

Today's second winner is Jamie LaMunyon. She is the owner of The Montgormery Maulers a National Indoor Football League team. Ms. LaMunyon gets one of today's awards for firing her entire football team. Earlier this month paychecks made out to players bounced for insufficent funds.

Does Ms. LaMunyon think anyone will want to play for her? Who wants to if they won't get paid. The team is financial difficulty and the former players want want they are due. Instead they get fired. LaMunyon won't have a team and still owe these people their pay.

For defrauding her employees and then firing them over back pay, Jamie LaMunyon is today's second Co-Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County,

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (April 27)- Montgomery Maulers owner Jamie LaMunyon had an emphatic response to her players' demand for back wages: You're fired.

LaMunyon said she will field a replacement team for the National Indoor Football League game at Osceola, Fla., on Friday, and next week at home.

"I have cut all the football players," she told the Montgomery Advertiser in a story Thursday. "Fans will see a whole new team next week in Montgomery. Maybe they can win a game."

The mass firings came after four Maulers held a news conference at a local attorney's office Wednesday saying the team wouldn't travel to Osceola if LaMunyon didn't pay money they claimed she owed them.

Attorney Donald Jackson said some players were owed as much as $800 or $1,000 and the average was about $650.

"In all my years of a sports-based legal practice, I have never seen anything quite like this," Jackson said. "But it's not really surprising. The owners of this team are apparently in dire financial straits. Whether you call this a termination or a refusal to pay, it's all the same. What she's doing now is grasping at straws."

LaMunyon disputed the players' claims that some have not been paid for as long as four or five weeks.

"They have missed one pay check," said LaMunyon, who already replaced the head coach this season. "The league requires that I hold their last pay check because (the players) have a couple of thousand dollars worth of equipment."

The players' checks bounced earlier this month, which LaMunyon said was just a mistake in her checking account.

What is the rush?

Some news out of today's Miami Herald.

Since Hurricane Andrew destroyed the commissary at the former Homestead Air Force Base, active and retired military in South Florida have campaigned for a replacement.

After years of lobbying, their efforts may be getting closer to a resolution.

It is certainly taking long enough. Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992!

The Commissary Operating Board, made up of three lieutenant generals, is scheduled to meet May 8 at the Pentagon to decide whether a Department of Defense commissary will be built in South Florida. The commissary would be part of a new headquarters for the U.S. Southern Command in Doral.

Paul Kruger, a retired Army soldier, is one of several people locally urging others to persuade their congressional representatives to support the commissary.


``It's very expensive to live here. The commissary is a big boost for struggling military families.''

Kruger says that research has shown there are about 30,000 eligible customers in South Florida, including active and retired military, plus National Guard reservists called to active duty or military widows.

Right now the closest commissary they can visit is in Key West or near Cocoa Beach.

I'm guessing those are Patrick AFB and Key West NAS. There is over 300 miles of South Florida in between and what 3-4 million people living it?


The commissary would be part of a new 630,000-square-foot headquarters for SouthCom that already has been approved by the Department of Defense yet still needs approval from Congress. Plans also call for a fitness center, medical offices and food court, with a move-in date set for sometime in 2010.

That'll be 18 years since Homestead was closed.

It's just disgraceful how our veterans and even active-duty soldiers are treated much of the time. None of the military bureaucracy cares in DC. Mostly because they hoard the best for themselves.

We owe the people who are serving our country today and in the past better than this.

Open Post- Liberal Wrong Wing, Bright & Early, Mudville Gazette,

The Co-Knucklehead of the Day award Part One

There are so many knuckleheads out there, I'm going to give out at least four awards today.

Our first winner is the Indonesian Tennis Association. They are refusing to play a Women's Fed Cup match in Israel because the predominantly Muslim country doesn't recognize the Jewish state.

Sports should be above politics. Sadly they aren't, politicians of many different beliefs use them as forums for their beliefs or refuse to attend events because of another nation's politics. The USA has been guilty of this, remember the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott?

For playing politcs instead of tennis, The Indonesian Tennis association is today's first Co-Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Mudville Gazette,

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia refused to play a Fed Cup series in Israel in July and wants the women's tennis matches switched to a neutral country.

Indonesia, home to about 190 million Muslims, has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has long supported Palestinian independence.

"We cannot play in Israel," August Ferry Raturandang, the Indonesian Tennis Association deputy secretary-general, said Thursday.

If the request for a venue change is denied, the Indonesian team will have to forfeit. Raturandang told The Associated Press his group would be fined $5,000 and banned for a year.

The two countries have met twice in the Fed Cup — in Italy (1974) and Japan (1981) — and Israel won both times.

Israel earned a promotion as a winner in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I. The International Tennis Federation said Tuesday that Israel would host Indonesia in the July 15-16 World Group II playoffs. Indonesia must win the July playoff to stay in World Group II.

From the silly news desk

Here is some news out of Ohio. They should have brought a mini-van at least.

Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Jo's Cafe,

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Police who charged a Cincinnati couple with stealing a big-screen television said they should have thought about a bigger car.

Police stopped Richard and Stephanie North early Wednesday when they noticed their Mercury Sable going down a road with one of the doors open. Police found a 55-inch flat-screen TV on the back seat, hanging out the door.

Earlier, police had responded to an alarm at a TV and appliance store where the window on the front door was smashed out and a Hitachi flat-panel television was missing.

Richard North was charged with breaking and entering and felony theft. His wife was charged with complicity.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Not to be taken seriously

There are signs of life over at The Media Bloggers Association. Some of you may recall my applying to join this group almost a year ago. Instead my application along with others has been stuck in limbo. A email from MBA President Robert Cox last November saying the application process would be caught up with over the holiday weekend. That is Thanksgiving for your information or over five months ago.

Now MBA has posted their new membership guidelines.

The Media Bloggers Association has ratified a sweeping set of new policies intended to formalize practices that had evolved since the organization was formed in 2004.

The MBA Mission Statement, approved unanimously by the board, expands on the MBA's original, informal, "Promote, Protect, Educate" mission, confirms the non-partisan nature of the MBA while spelling out the goal of extending "the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.

The new MBA Statement of Principles, the result of a long and often contentious debate, is an attempt by the members to articulate an ethical code for bloggers while recognizing the desire of all bloggers for complete freedom of expression. Rather than stipulate ethical requirements for membership in the MBA, the new Statement of Principles limits itself to "presenting standards as aspirations and offering guidance on how to achieve those aspirations through education, robust discussion and mutual support." Standards to which the MBA encourages its members to aspire include honesty, fairness, accuracy, transparency, accountability, and respect for the privacy of private citizens.

The new MBA Membership Policy is an attempt to bring order to what has been a chaotic application process. Bloggers will no longer apply directly to the MBA for membership but must secure a nomination from a current member in good standing based on the newly developed prerequisites for membership. Member applicants must agree to the MBA’s membership policies. The current policy of not charging member dues remains in place but a shift in that policy is anticipated in the new policies contingent on the MBA being designated a 501c3 non-profit corporation.

This seeminly put old applicants back to square one. Robert Cox did clarify that old applicants were being grandfathered in/voted under the MBA's former membership policy.

All I say is big whippedy do. People are still waiting. When is the next board meeting? Don't mind my sarcasm, but it could be a couple of weeks before hell freezes over.

I have little tolerance for people, companies or organizations that don't answer email or live up to their promises. Or in MBA's case their former membership policy and Robert Cox's email. This is a group in name only and I was interested in the beginning but not any more. This isn't personal either, I like several MBA members, Don Singleton and James Joyner of Outside the Beltway. James has been particularly kind to me. I just think very little of the organization they are members of.

On a side note James has some excellent commentary on a MBA blogger who is being sued. I wish Lance Dutson of the Maine Web Report good luck in his battle to tell the truth. Our government wastes millions every day.

Open Post- Customer Servant, Cao's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits,

Most unlikely? NOT!

Associated Press strikes again when it comes to ridiculous golf writing.

Sung Ah Yim picked her first LPGA Tour victory in the most unlikely way possible: a final-round collapse by Annika Sorenstam that allowed the 22-year-old South Korean to win by two strokes Sunday.

What is unlikely? That Annika lost. She is a human being not a God. Annika has missed opportunities to win tournaments before. Look at the 2003 US Open for an example.

The most unlikely way for Yim to have won.

1- Acing the final hole. It was a Par 5.

Associated Press has done poor golf reporting way too often in the past. Click here for an example. Piece of advise for the wire service- Check your facts and quit the idol worshiping. Your job is to report the news.

Open Post- Freedom Watch, Bright & Early, Mudville Gazette,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Charles Tyson and the Fort Lauderdale newspaper The Sun-Sentinel. First Mr. Tyson gets the award for this act.

A man in in custody this morning after allegedly throwing a child into a canal.

It happened in Delray Beach near the Fairway Condos on Lowson Boulevard.

Police said it was part of a domestic dispute between a man and his girlfriend.

At about 2 a.m., Charles Tyson drove the child to the canal and dumped him, police said.

Police found the boy and took him to Delray Medical Center, where he died.

Absolutely despicable. How can anyone do this to a child?

Now the Sun-Sentinel gets the award also for their coverage of the story.

A 9-month-old boy died this morning after his father threw him into a Delray Beach canal during a domestic dispute.

Delray Beach police spokesman Jeff Messer told news partner NewsChannel 5 that the man was involved in the domestic dispute with his girlfriend at his home east of Interstate 95 in the city.

About 3 a.m., the man grabbed the baby boy and drove west of I-95 to Congress Avenue and Southwest 10th Street, where he threw the baby in the canal, Messer said.

When he returned home, police were called. They rescued the baby from the canal about 20 minutes after he was thrown into the water. The baby had floated about 100 yards down the canal, Messer said.

The father was taken into custody by police for questioning. The identities of those in the family were being withheld while the investigation continued.

See the difference. The Post has the name of the father and the Sun-Sentinel doesn't. This isn't a one-time occurence either. Click here, here, and here for more examples of the paper taking the name of a criminal out of the story. In one case I checked with the reporter(who actually worked for another paper but whose story was on the Sentinel's website) and it was the S. Sentinel that took out the name. What is it about the Sentinel do they like to coddle criminals and murderers?

If you point out the story was from Channel 5 in West Palm Beach, I'll point out this. The Post and Sun-Sentinel posted to the websites the same news within 15 minutes of one another. If one paper knew the identity, then both should have.

Charles Tyson and The Sun-Sentinel are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Mudville Gazette,

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Are we giving citizenship to terrorists now too?

Here is some interesting news out of the Sun-Sentinel.

EL PASO, Texas-- A Cuban militant accused of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner was set to be interviewed Wednesday by immigration officials after he applied to become a U.S. citizen, his lawyer said.

Luis Posada Carriles has been jailed in El Paso on immigration charges after his arrest in Florida in May. Felipe D.J. Millan, an immigration lawyer hired by Posada's Miami lawyers, said Tuesday he will accompany Posada during the citizenship interview but declined to provide details of the application.

Posada, a former CIA operative and a fervent foe of Cuban President Fidel Castro, is accused by Cuba and Venezuela of plotting the 1976 bombing while living in Venezuela. He has denied involvement in the bombing, which killed 73 people.

Posada escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting retrial on the airline bombing charges, and Venezuela has formally sought his extradition.

He was jailed last year on immigration charges after being accused of sneaking into Texas from Mexico in March 2005. He was arrested in May after speaking to reporters in Miami.

If I read this right, he is an illegal in this country and applying for citizenship. Posada is wanted in two countries, one I believe we have an extradition treaty with. The man is wanted for killing 77 people. We're interviewing him for citizenship?

Mr. Posada's politics or cause has nothing to do with it in my mind either. Murder is murder, if Posada is responsible for the bombing we shouldn't be giving him citizenship. He fled Venezuela before being tried 20 years ago. That says a great deal to me and would to most people. Justice wasn't served and therefore Mr. Posada has no business being a citizen of this country.

Just the latest example of immigration bungling. Like keeping a child and mother separated like here. What is wrong with these people?

Open Post- Rhymes with Right, Cigar Intelligence Agency, Bright & Early, Blue Star,

Some personal notes

It's good news for the most part for my sister Patty and my wife.

*- Patty is home now from the hospital. Bloodwork was done before her discharge and the results were very good. The leukemia looks to be in remission.

*- Dear Wife had her cat scan on last Saturday. The scan was normal, some fatty tissue in her liver area. We're still waiting on the bloodwork results of a liver panel. We're feeling confident that the wife has no liver disease.

This is a big relief for me. I'd be lost without my wife. Leonita has been the only love of my life.

*- I'm saving something potentially for tomorrow's knucklehead award. Today we got a certified letter from a doctor who was taking care of my wife's liver issues. This letter is absurd, and I'm presently seeing if I can any resolution in regards to it from the Office manager. If not I will take appropriate action. My wife is worth fighting for and I won't let any one walk all over her. I've fought battles with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Diagnostic testing centers and Billing departments in the past when I was a cancer patient. Each time I won because I was in the right. We're in the right here too, and if this idiot of a doctor doesn't think I'll fight she is sadly mistaken.

Stay tuned.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Third World County, TMH's Bacon Bits,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is NFL and Miami Dolphin Running Back Ricky Williams. Williams gets today's award for the one-year suspension the NFL gave him for violating the league's drug policy.

Enough said. Williams has let down both his teammates and Dolphins fans. He is only concerned about himself and no one else. This suspension and prior acts of his prove it. For that Ricky Williams is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog, Third World County, TMH's Bacon Bits, Cao's Blog,

The NFL on Tuesday refused to reverse its decision to suspend Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, putting his controversial career on hold for yet another football season.

Williams, who abruptly retired before the 2004 season, had appealed the league ruling that he failed a drug test in December. However, the NFL affirmed that he had violated the league's substance-abuse program for the fourth time in his career.

He will have to sit out a year before he can apply for reinstatement.

Unlike two years ago — when he walked away from the team, citing dissatisfaction with the pro football lifestyle and the NFL's strict anti-drug rules — Williams vowed Tuesday to return to the Dolphins as soon as he can.

"I'm proud of my association with the National Football League and look forward to returning to the Dolphins in 2007," he said in a statement.

Of the NFL's ruling, he said: "I'm disappointed with the decision, but I respect it."

After serving his punishment, Williams — who served as a backup to rookie Ronnie Brown last season — can apply for permission to play again, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Williams, 28, likely would have to prove through independent testing that he remained clear of drugs during the suspension.

"It's up to him," Aiello said. "If he's not interested in . . . continuing his career, there would be no reason for him" to continue drug testing.

Aiello also noted that players in similar situations who seek counseling can improve their chances for reinstatement.

The NFL, citing the confidentiality of its drug program, would not comment on why Williams' appeal was denied.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Designed by idiots to be run by geniuses

I'm going to vent on some computer/chess problems I'm having at the moment. What is happening right now just astounds me.

Here is an earlier blog post I wrote. I been having PC problems for almost two weeks. One of my most important programs I use(at least as far as my correspondence chess is concerned) is something called Chess Assistant 8. It's a chess database program. Good for chess opening play(this kind of assistance is legal under CC rules. Its like a big opening book) and for keeping a database of your games.

I love Chess Assistant for the most part. The first time I used it was back in 2001 and I couldn't do CC without it. That said, I have a major gripes with the company that designs it. They are-

1- The lack of customer service. Every inquiry I've made to Convetka has gone unanswered.

That's small compared to my big gripe.

2- Any database I make can't be copied to disk so as to transfer it to another PC.

What a royal pain in the ass this is. What piece of horse bleep designs a database that can't be copied? It just boggles my mind and I been living through this nightmare for two weeks. I have 1,031 games saved on my malfunctioning and dying desktop. First I tried to copy it to CD. It copied but when I tried to open it on my laptop I get an error message. This is just great.

Now the CA database file is corrupting. Games are disappearing or becoming gibberish. I tried to get around this by printing all my games. It got to game 773 and stopped. The database file won't go further because of the corruption. That leaves me hand inputing all these games into my laptop.

No fun at all. If you wonder if the corruption is why I can't copy the database to disk, no it isn't. I tried copying the good database off my laptop in a test. It didn't open.

All this for something like $100. Didn't anyone ever hear of computer crashes or did no one think a person would store thousands of their games in a CA database? Convetka isn't talking, I'm just guessing it is incompetence. If I could find out who designed this mess, I'd give him a knucklehead award.

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

Dangerous demographics

For Russia according to the Washington Times.

Russia's population is declining rapidly, with almost half of Russian families childless, a senior member of Russia's lower house of parliament has said.

Yekaterina Lakhova, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on women's affairs, said Thursday, "Today, almost half of the country's 41 million families have no children at all," RIA Novosti reported.

Addressing parliamentary hearings on family policy, Lakhova said that 34 percent of Russian families have only one child, 15 percent have two children, and less than 3 percent have more than two children.

She added that the Russian birthrate is 1.34 children per woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.14, causing a steady decline in the population growth rate.

U.N. statistics say that at this rate Russia's population will be 101.5 million by 2050, shrinking by almost half from the over 143 million population of today.

Numbers like those cited above don't bode well for either Russia's economy or society in general. I'll hazard a guess but causes are probably related to the country's formerly communist system of government. Enviormental and social damage was inflicted on the country and Russia will be showing signs of that debacle for years to come.

Then this is just speculation, but I see another danger. A large country with a growing population and limited resources. That sees the wide open Russian areas of Siberia as a possibility to relieve their own overcrowding and need of natural resources. The country?

China. Maybe I've read too much Tom Clancy, but I don't think this scenarion will be so far fetched say in another fifty years. Good I won't be alive to see it.

Hat tip- Wizbang
Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Right Wing Nation,

Both of you to the corner!

Too bad that won't work for nations. Tension is growing between Japan and South Korea over a group of islets(small islands. I had to look this up) in the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Japan is sending out a mapping expedition and the ROK has countered by sending a flotilla of ships.

This all seems to be rather silly. A group of barely inhabited islands(South Korea sent a young couple there recently making TFM wonder exactly how many people live there. Is this an island or a rock that surfaces when the tide is out ?) has these two regional powers shaking fists at one another. I don't think it will come to war, and I pray it doesn't. It seems nationalism is at play here. The ROK still resents Japan's occupation of the Korean peninsula last century. I don't blame the Korean people. Japan sees the ROK as an economic rival. It don't matter, may calm heads prevail. No one will benefit from any hostilities and these rocks aren't worth any loss of life.

Open Post- Rhymes with Right, Liberal Wrong Wing, Adam's Blog,

TOKYO, April 19 -- A long-simmering dispute over a group of islets escalated sharply Wednesday, with South Korea dispatching a flotilla of 20 patrol ships toward the territory as the Japanese coast guard sought to conduct an official survey in surrounding waters.

The South Korean move came as Japan rejected a warning from Seoul and vowed to forge ahead with a six-week mapping expedition aimed at bolstering Tokyo's legal claims to the rocky outcroppings controlled by South Korea. Enraged officials in Seoul put their maritime forces on high alert and strongly suggested they would use force if necessary to prevent two Japanese ships from entering waters claimed by South Korea. The islets, located between the two countries, are known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

President Roh Moo Hyun called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss South Korea's options and denounced Japan's move as an "offensive provocation." Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon warned that South Korea would "act sternly" and was preparing "countermeasures for all scenarios."

Most analysts dismissed the notion that the two East Asian powers would come into direct military conflict over the islets, but at the very least, the intensifying dispute poses new challenges for the United States. The latest events dramatically widened a growing diplomatic breach between Washington's two biggest allies in the region at a time when they are struggling to present a united front on China's military rise and North Korea's nuclear belligerence.

The tensions also underscored the broader frictions between Japan and its neighbors as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has taken a more assertive stance on a series of issues, including territorial claims dating to Tokyo's long military buildup before World War II.

Both South Korea and China have expressed outrage at the recasting of history textbooks here to support Japan's long-held territorial claims and allegedly whitewash its past aggression. On Wednesday, South Korean politicians said they would insist on linking resolution of the islet dispute to what they condemned as a pattern of resurgent militarism by Japan.

Shinzo Abe, Koizumi's chief cabinet secretary, called for understanding and dialogue to resolve the islet dispute. Japanese media reports indicated the two expedition ships were still lingering off Japan's coast late Wednesday evening, but Abe insisted Japan would not back down and was acting within its legal rights.

"We expect that the survey will be conducted peacefully with both sides dealing with it in a levelheaded manner," Abe told reporters in Tokyo.

One Japanese official familiar with the situation said the decision to launch the mission was made after a South Korean government Web site announced plans to present Korean names for underwater geological formations in the contested area during a maritime conference in Germany in June. Japan is likely to use data from the surveying operation to support alternative names.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Japanese vessels were not expected to directly approach the islets and were likely to confine themselves to surrounding waters.

The Japanese public has yet to pay much attention to the dispute. But in South Korea, it has taken on huge nationalistic proportions.

Both nations maintain centuries-old claims to the area, which is coveted for fishing rights. But the South Koreans view Japan's 1905 move to enforce its control over the islets as a precursor to its invasion and 35-year occupation of the Korean Peninsula, from 1910 to 1945.

As Japan has stepped up its claims, the South Koreans have grown furious, increasing their police presence on the outcroppings and allowing a dutiful young South Korean couple to move there. "Save Dokdo," a video game in which players wipe out a merciless battalion of Japanese invaders, has become a hit in South Korea.

South Korea and Japan are additionally locked in a testy diplomatic battle over the name of the body of water surrounding the islets -- called the Sea of Japan by Tokyo and the East Sea by Seoul. Citing territorial and other disputes, Roh has repeatedly refused offers for a summit with Koizumi in Japan.

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