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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, June 30, 2006

Chop Chop

Lee Siegel of The New Republic has a rant about baseball caps at TNR's Blog. I'll just post one little bit of it.

But the baseball cap signifies, most of all, a lazily defiant casualness. It's less insouciant than I-don't-give-a-shit. I have an inborn antagonism toward any type of hierarchy, but I think natural elegance is the best reply to assigned status, not sloppy rebellion. Wearing your standard-issue baseball cap in a restaurant isn't a blow for egalitarianism; it's a hopelessness about the possibility of originality ever to fly in the face of hierarchy. It also gives the impression of someone whose ego is angrily planted on his head. NO, I won't take it off!When I see someone wearing a baseball cap in a movie theater, I want them to bring back the guillotine.
TFM wears a baseball cap, but it is usually limited to when I go outdoors and then usually when I do my walking. Here is a rare instance of me wearing one indoors. Note- I lost alot of weight since that photo.

As to guillotine Lee, you go first. Get a life.

Hat tip- Poliblog
Open Post- Adam's Blog, Outside the Beltway


News from the west coast of Florida.

INVERNESS, Fla. - The confession of a man charged with kidnapping, raping and killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford isn't admissible in court, but the discovery of her body can be used as evidence, a judge ruled Friday.

John Evander Couey, a 47-year-old convicted sex offender, gave the confession to detectives, but also told them that he wanted to consult a lawyer. He wasn't given the opportunity to do so.

"This is a material and a profound violation of one of the most bedrock principles of criminal law," Circuit Judge Ric Howard said in issuing the ruling Friday.
If television crime dramas are accurate(A big assumption), once a defendant asks for a lawyer all questioning must stop till one is present. I do think that is the law, if so the police goofed bad with Couey.

By the way I see Knucklehead Judge Howard is on the case. If you want to read about this fine(NOT!) example of a sitting judge, read this. To be fair, the Prosecutor got a Knucklehead award too.

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

You light up my......

Some news from Pakistan. Was it 60 or 100 Watts?

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bloggin Outloud,

MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - Fateh Mohammad, a prison inmate in Pakistan, says he woke up last weekend with a glass lightbulb in his anus.

Wednesday night, doctors brought Mohammad's misery to an end after a one-and-a-half hour operation to remove the object.

"Thanks Allah, now I feel comfort. Today, I had my breakfast. I was just drinking water, nothing else," Mohammad, a grey-beared man in his mid-40s, told Reuters from a hospital bed in the southern central city of Multan.

"We had to take it out intact," said Dr. Farrukh Aftab at Nishtar Hospital. "Had it been broken inside, it would be a very very complicated situation."

Mohammad, who is serving a four-year sentence for making liquor, prohibited for Muslims, said he was shocked when he was first told the cause of his discomfort. He swears he didn't know the bulb was there.

"When I woke up I felt a pain in my lower abdomen, but later in hospital, they told me this," Mohammad said.

"I don't know who did this to me. Police or other prisoners."

The doctor treating Mohammad said he'd never encountered anything like it before, and doubted the felon's story that someone had drugged him and inserted the bulb while he was comatose.

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy. Siegelman and Scrushy were found guilty yesterday in Federal of charges they took part in a bribery scheme while the former was still in office.

Siegelman, 60, was accused of trading government favors for campaign donations when he was governor from 1999 to 2003 and lieutenant governor from 1995 to 1999.

Scrushy, who once ran the Birmingham-based chain of rehabilitation clinics, was accused of arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for a seat on a state hospital regulatory board.
TFM despises corruption, no matter what the party. Siegelman is just another crook and Scrushy a leech. I hope they both spend a long term in prison. Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Tip- Poliblog
Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Basil's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Samantha Burns, Dumb Ox, TMH's Bacon Bits, Bloggin Outloud, Third World County,
Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Golf World Magazine has struck again. Do these people take their work seriously?

7. Jeong Jang takes the LPGA Wegmans, her second title of 2006.On the LPGA this season, the tournament isn't over until the Korean lady lifts the trophy.

Funny comment. Too bad its wasted because the beginning is wrong. Jeong Jang has only won one title in 2006.

Eight Korean winners, 8 wins. I don't know how anyone can have two except that GW can't do elementary math.

This section is also co-written by GW editor in chief Geoff Russell. An editor-in-chief who doesn't know the facts and can't add. No wonder this magazine is such a disgrace.

Play at the US Women's Open was cancelled today because of fog. They hope to play 18 tomorrow, 18 Saturday and 36 on Sunday. Good luck USGA, between fog and rain this tournament may be completed by August. The couse is wet already. I say 3-1 odds against a Sunday finish. Anyone think otherwise?

Open Post- Bright & Early, Outside the Beltway,

Move on

The US Supreme Court has handed down a decision in Guantanamo Bay detainees case.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday strongly limited the power of the Bush administration to conduct military tribunals for suspected terrorists imprisoned at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The 5-3 ruling means officials will have to come up with a new policy to prosecute at least 10 so-called "enemy combatants" awaiting trial -- it does not address the government's ability to detain suspects.

The case was a major test of Bush's authority as commander-in-chief during war. Bush has aggressively asserted the power of the government to capture, detain, and prosecute suspected terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. (Watch analyst say administration has to start over -- 3:50)

At the center of the dispute was a Yemeni man, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who officials said admitted he was al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's driver and bodyguard.

"The military commission at issue is not expressly authorized by any congressional act," said Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority. The tribunals, he said, "must be understood to incorporate at least the barest of those trial protections that have been recognized by customary international law."

"In undertaking to try Hamdan and subject him to criminal punishment, the executive (Bush) is bound to comply with the rule of law that prevails in this jurisdiction," Stevens said.
My personal inclination was that President Bush was overreaching. Then a Chief Executive's sometimes has to make decisions during war-time that he would not do otherwise if the country was at peace. Like Lincoln suspending habeas corpus during the Civil War.

It's done and over with. Hamdan will get his day in Federal District Court. If the case is strong, he'll get the appropriate justice. Just like if it had been a military court. I think 12 jurors will make the right decision.

James Joyner at OTB has lots of links and some good analysis. Also check out Professors Althouse for her thoughts. Michelle Malkin has plenty of links.

Also blogging on the decision- Kim at Wizbang, Assorted Babble, A Blog for All, Stop the ACLU, Uncooperative Blogger, Professor Bainbridge, Iowa Voice, Captain's Quarters, Betsy, John at Bullwinkle Blog,

A few blogging or personal notes

*- Today marks the 30th anniversary of my family moving into our Florida home. We moved from Centereach NY to Lighthouse Point FL in June 1976. At the time of the move I was 15 and between 9th and 10th grades.

With the passing of this anniversary there is a subtle change in my blog's description. I'm a resident of Florida for over 30 years rather than 'almost' as it said previously.

Otherwise all remains the same. I'll still supply commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement down here also.

Additional note- Blogger is acting up. The description change will have to wait.

*- I went to a nephrologist yesterday. For at least a year my potassium levels have been very low. My primary doc kept uping the amount of potassium pills I took till I was taking 10 a day.

Guess what? The nephrologist thinks its due to the meds I'm taking. I take lasix and zaroxolyn. Both are diuretics. Why didn't my primary ever consider this?

Next week I'm going to have blood and urine testing. After the doc sees my results, he'll change my medications.

*- If you're wondering why I haven't blogged on this story or this or this, there is a reason. The 4th of July is next week and to celebrate America's independence TFM is going to do another knucklehead marathon. If all works out well, I'll do 24 hours of knuckleheads, one per hour.

So like a chipmunk I'm stockpiling nuts. LOL. If any reader would like to submit candidates feel free to email me at WilliamJE-at-aim-dot-com. US or foreign knucklehead candidates are welcome.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Dumb Ox, Basil's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Blue Star, Third World County,

Doing the happy dance

The missing VA laptop has been returned. From CNN-

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has recovered the stolen laptop computer and hard drive with sensitive data on up to 26.5 million veterans and military personnel.

The FBI said Thursday there is no evidence that anyone accessed Social Security numbers and other data on the equipment.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, in announcing the recovery of the computer, said there have been no reports of identity theft stemming from the May 3 burglary at a VA employee's Maryland home.

The FBI, in a statement from its Baltimore field office, said a preliminary review of the equipment by its computer forensic teams "has determined that the data base remains intact and has not been accessed since it was stolen."
That's great news for all veterans(myself included). I'm not questioning the FBI's conclusions, but would it be possible for someone to have copied what was on this laptop and still leave no trace? Or even make a duplicate harddrive? Or perhaps hack in and not leave a trace?

Just wondering. If a computer geek reads this, please feel free to educate me.

Hat tip- Outside the Beltway,
Open Post- Bright & Early, Cao's Blog,

Sure and the rain will start going up too

Port St. Lucie is contemplating a leash law. For dogs and cats!

City council members Monday said they support tougher laws governing a myriad of pet issues — from dangerous dogs to pet waste — and scheduled the proposal for a vote at their July 10 meeting.

City Attorney Roger Orr said that while the "pooper scooper" law would apply to all kinds of domestic animals, he warned enforcement against cats could be problematic. A similar leash law requiring all animals, including cats, to be leashed in public is difficult to enforce because one county judge refuses to fine anyone "for not having a cat on a leash," Orr said.
Is Orr the only person with common sense up there? Cats are very independent. I propose the entire council try test walking some of them. They'll find out how impractical a leash law for cats is.

TFM moved to Florida 30 years ago this month. When I moved here, my family brought our pet cat Felix. Felix was no fan of riding in a car and I tried to teach him to walk on a leash. It worked but Felix was always closest to me and this wouldn't work with 1 in 1000 cats if not a bigger number.

The animal waste ordinance would require pet owners to pick up their animals' fecal matter on any public or private property unless the landowner has agreed to the indiscretion.

Seeing Eye dogs are exempt. Owners of other pets in violation could be fined $50 for the first offense and $100 for the second. Third and subsequent offenses would be ticketed at $200.

City officials have warned it will be difficult to link a particular pile of evidence with a particular animal unless the complainant has a photo or video capturing the activity. Having a police or animal control officer witness the act also would suffice for a citation, officials said.

"It's a crapshoot," Mayor Bob Minsky said, eliciting giggles from the audience.
LOL Mayor. I like your sense of humor. Dogs and cats are not equal and trying to enforce the same law on both is stupid. Cats just aren't leash animals. Dog owners should have to pick up behind their animals however.

Maybe St. Lucie County Sheriff Mescara can put his toy to good use on those who violate this proposed law.

Stay tuned to TFM for further Port St. Lucie poop updates.

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

What are grandma and grandpa to do?

The MSM has already shown it does racial profiling, why can't it do age profiling also?

For instance, click here. It links to a an Alabama news story through But first, they want to know your zip code and year of birth.

I've never understood why these stupid surveys are done. However if you want to read some news articles on the internet, this is one of those minor inconveniences.

So I entered my zip- 33462. For year of birth I put 1895. It was rejected!

So I typed 1905. Again it was rejected.

So I typed 1907. It was accepted.

Today's lesson- No one over the age of 100 could possibly be surfing the internet. The MSM has declared it impossible!

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Dumb Ox,
Cross posted to- Bullwinkle Blog

Interstate Highways

Today is the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower's signing of the bill that created the interstate highway system. Today's Miami Herald has an article about how these roads helped to shape South Florida.

I agree. These roads have helped to shape America and may be the the biggest impact Eisenhower had on American life as President. It has long survived his Presidency. Travel cross country was made easier as was local commuting. Can you imagine South Florida today without I-95? I don't think this bit of Florida would be like it is today if not for that road.

I-95 took over 20 years to complete in Florida. The road runs about 385 miles in the state. Why so long? The Florida Turnpike was the reason. Florida didn't want to lose revenue from the toll road, so a secret agreement was made not to finish the interstate till the Turnpike's 30 year bonds were paid off. That wasn't till the mid to late 80's and why I-95 for so many years had a missing link between Ft. Pierce and Palm Beach Gardens.

Open Post- TMH's Bacon Bits, Blue Star,

Fifty years ago today, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that transformed South Florida and the United States.

With the possible exception of the Internet, no innovation over the last 50 years touched more American lives on a daily basis, via commerce and culture, than the advent of the interstate highway system.

The 47,000-mile network of limited-access highways knit the country together, forging a common sense of the American identity, much like the transcontinental railroad in the mid-1800s and television after World War II, said Doug Callaway, executive director of Floridians for Better Transportation.

''Today we take it all for granted,'' Callaway said. ``It was an idea that was profoundly simple and simply profound. Imagine someone 50 years ago saying that you could get in your car in Miami and be able to drive all the way to Los Angeles without hitting one stoplight if you wanted to. Amazing.''

The interstates fueled an unprecedented wave of development that transformed sleepy Sun Belt outposts like Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas and Phoenix into regional hubs with sprawling suburbs that spawned ``Edge Cities.''

In Florida, the interstate system -- and the advent of affordable, mass-produced air conditioning -- drove a residential building boom with no end in sight. Florida had 4.9 million residents in 1960; today, it has 17.7 million. Broward's population has risen from 334,000 in 1960 to nearly 1.8 million today. Miami-Dade's increased from 935,000 to 2.36 million.

Interstates also ushered in a new wave of prosperity for Florida tourism -- suddenly putting beaches, sunshine and exotic locales within a day's drive for a larger segment of the swelling middle class.

Imagine what Central Florida would look like today if Walt Disney hadn't understood the power of the nation's highways. Disney decided to build his new ''world'' on 47 square miles of swamp and cattle pasture close to I-4 and Florida's Turnpike.


The interstates revolutionized commerce -- and the places where goods are sold.

City-center shopping districts withered as suburban malls surrounded by huge crop-circles of asphalt became de facto town centers. Fast-food outlets, lodging chains and Big Box retail stores sprang up like weeds at interstate exits, even in remote areas.

Workplaces migrated to the fringes. The vast majority of South Florida workers are commuting from suburb to suburb, not suburb to downtown -- making it much harder to retrofit the region for mass transit.

''It's really led to the enormous growth of suburbia, for better and worse,'' said South Florida historian Paul George. ``We wound up making swampland available as tract housing lots for the masses and really decimated some old neighborhoods in the process.''


Eisenhower first started thinking about a national road network in 1919, when he participated in a coast-to-coast convoy as an Army officer. The trip, over large stretches of dirt and gravel roads, took 62 days, said Dan McNichol, author of The Roads That Built America.

Eisenhower's thinking crystallized during World War II when he was commander of Allied forces in Europe.

McNichol said the future president marveled at the commercial and tactical advantages Nazi Germany enjoyed with the Autobahn.

The Interstate Highway Bill of 1956 created a national trust fund for state highway construction and maintenance, paid for by taxes on gas and diesel sales. What followed was the largest public works project in American history.


The bill did a lot more than ignite a road construction boom. It spawned a car culture that permeates every corner of modern American life.

But plenty has been lost in the name of progress, George said.

The echoes still resonate in Overtown, where interstates 95 and 395 ripped through the heart of Miami's historic black enclave and the population plummeted from 40,000 in the early 1960s to about 9,000 today.

Overtown was already in decline, historians say, but the destruction of homes and displaced businesses cemented its fate. More than four decades later, Overtown still struggles to rebound.

Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach were largely spared the same fate as Overtown because they were smaller cities with readily available land next to existing rail lines.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. Read the first paragraph of Mr. Cohen's column from Tuesday.

It is the sheerest luck, I know, that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales looks (to me) a bit like Jerry Mahoney, because he fulfills the same function for the Bush administration that the dummy did for the ventriloquist Paul Winchell. At risk to his reputation and the mocking he must get when he comes home at night, Gonzales will call virtually anyone an al-Qaeda-type terrorist. He did that last week in announcing the arrest of seven inferred (it's the strongest word I can use) terrorists. I thought I saw Dick Cheney moving his lips.

How brilliant. You compare an Attorney General to a ventriloquist's dummy. This guy writes for one of the biggest papers in the country?

Let's just change things a little. If Cohen did the same to a Democratic AG who happened to be hispanic................We all know what would happen. Cohen would be laughed out of town after the 'racist' uproar subsides.

See its alright for liberals to attack Republican minorities. Anyone remember my hometown paper, The PB Post's political cartoon of Clarence Thomas as an Antonin Scalia handpuppet? Hate does terrible things to a person. It fogs their judgment and Cohen has clearly lost it. He hates Republicans so much, Bush in particular, that he has to resort to the above.

Poor man, I hope he gets help for his disease. But first, I make Richard Cohen today's Knucklehead of the day.

Additional note- I read Mr. Cohen's column in yesterday's PB Post. Today when I went to the WPO website to locate the column, it wasn't on Cohen's column page. I had to do a search of the WPO's website to locate it.

Could the Washington Post be ashamed of what Mr. Cohen wrote?

Open Post- Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Mudville Gazette, Dumb Ox, Basil's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Blue Star, Third World County,
Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kereoke madness

We bought a sing along last weekend. My wife is a Filipina and like many from her country loves to sing.

I don't know we never got around to buying this before but we finally have. DW is loving it, she has spent much of the last 3 nights singing. My wife is a good singer. She cantors at our chuch.

TFM sings too. I can do Imagine, As Time Goes By, Moon River, We have all the Time in the World and a few others. You're welcome to visit us in Lantana and hear me sing.

Just bring your earplugs.

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

Secretary of State

Adam is appointing a conservative Blogger cabinet. Hmm....who made him Chief Executive?

Secretary of Interior: Clayton Cramer
Secretary of Labor: Basil
Secretary of Agriculutre: David at Third World County
Secretary of HHS: Christina Dunigan
Secretary of HUD: Jo
Secretary of Transportation: Joel Kennedy
Secretary of Energy: Jay Tea
Secretary of Education: Random Yak
Secretary of Veteran's Affairs: Cao's Blog
Secretary of Homeland Security: Michelle Malkin
White House Press Secretary: Don Surber
Good choices all. Helen Thomas would finally meet her match in Don.

I was hoping for HHS and was disappointed at first. Then Adam made these choices.

Jack Yoest gets the nod at the Commerce Department. I know this job is supposed to go to some big time political hack who helps win the election, but lets go with merit.

The Attorney General, another obvious pick. You understand someone who understands what the law actually says and will act justly. My choice John Stepenson of Stop the ACLU.

For Secretary of Treasury, I want someone who understands the idea of fiscal responsiblity. That’s why Mr. NZ Bear from the Truth Laid Bear and the leader of Pork Busters will fill this vital role.

The Defense Department needs strong leadership in troubled times. Who better to lead than Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters?

I’d also want David Oatney as White House Chief of Staff. He’d be invaluable.
Good choices all but where is TFM?

The State Department needs a straight shooter, someone who can tell the truth. Someone who can tell other nations as nicely as possible that their leaders are the Knuckleheads of the Day. My choice, the Florida Masochist.

LOL. As long as I get the following bloggers to help me out.

Dr Taylor for Latin America
Avi Green for Israel
Kobayashi Maru for the rest of the Middle East
GI in Korea for Asia

Ultima Thule for Russia and Eastern Europe
Hooah Wife for Western Europe. She's feisty enough to handle the French.
LaShawn Barber for Africa
James Joyner for Political Affairs

Is that a deal then Adam? When do I start?

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

Tanks alot

Some news from Port St. Lucie County.

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office bought a tank for this hurricane season.

Technically, it's an armored personnel carrier — the M113A2. The 13-ton vehicle can withstand 180 mile-per-hour winds and can roll through about 3 feet of water. It's the same vehicle U.S. troops are using in Iraq.

Sheriff Ken Mascara said the M113A2, the sheriff's office "emergency response vehicle," will help reach people stuck behind water, mud or brush that would obstruct an ordinary vehicle.

The M113A2 is 16 feet long and can hold 13 people. It has infrared vision, smoke grenade launchers and a gas mask filter system. It even has air-conditioning.

And it has a gun mount, but no machine gun.

That's good. I think.

Describing the cost, Mascara said, "It's about a quarter million new to the government. For $2,000 I think we got a good deal."

But everyone at the sheriff's office is still wondering: Who gets to drive it?

For now, VanDeventer is the only trained staff member. He served as a tank commander in the U.S. Army more than 25 years ago and worked with five M113A2s. Mascara said he's not sure yet who else will be trained.


And though it might have been cheap to bring the vehicle down, fueling the M113A2 won't be so cost effective. VanDeventer said it only gets about 2 miles to the gallon.
A $2,000 dollar vehicle that may not be used for years and years and when it does get used will consume gas like a football fan drinks beer. Oh and the Sheriff is the only one who can drive the thing.

The sheriff sounds like a kid with a new toy gun. Mascara and his toy should be sent packing the next time County voters have their say. Maybe Sheriff Mascara will order the gun afterall for target practice. He could start with himself, Mascara's purchase could well be an act of political suicide. 'The Tank Sheriff' has supplied his next opponent with ample ammunition.

Open Post- Adam's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits,

Give this man a towel

TFM is good at finding nuts in Florida. Here is an example from today's Miami Herald.

Stuart Taylor extends his arms to create a warrior-like gesture. His legs stand strong in a contrapposto pose. He is completely still, nude, while college art students make him the subject of their drawings and oil paintings.

Being a nude model isn't easy -- at any age. Taylor is 85.

''It's hard work to stand still doing all those poses,'' said Taylor, a Coconut Grove resident. ``Sometimes I get myself in trouble for getting in positions I shouldn't get into.''

Positions, such as a modified version of Rodin's Thinker, which affects blood circulation over a long period of time.

There are an estimated 20 nude models throughout the county, said Jennifer Basile, a figure-drawing professor at Miami Dade College in Kendall.

But Taylor is the most, ahem, mature by decades.

For Taylor, it all began in 1947, when he was a struggling college student at the University of Wisconsin.

At the time, models who wore bathing suits commanded $1.25 and one wearing a supporter earned $1.50.

One day, Taylor forgot his supporter.

'I told the instructor: `I'll need to model nude for you.' He was upset and gave me a towel,'' Taylor said.

''I remember having supper that first night at my fraternity, and I had butterflies just thinking about it,'' he said.

The last thing I felt was butterflies on seeing Mr. Taylor in a G rated pose at the the Miami Herald page. Don't venture over if you've eaten recently.

85-year-old men or women in the nude do nothing for me. I think that can be said for most of the breathing population. Mr. Taylor is a work of...... You fill in the blank.

Open Post- Blue Star, Jo's Cafe,

Another golf(hack) writer

His name is Ted Hutton and he writes for the Sun-Sentinel.

Kim, 24, turned professional in 2000 and spent three years on the Futures Tour before qualifying for the LPGA Tour in 2004. She came to Colorado having made the cut in nine of 33 Tour events, with a tie for 19th her best finish.

That's Birdie Kim that Mr. Hutton is referring to.

Now lets go here-

5/15/2005 Chick-fil-A Charity Championship 07T 69 73 69 69

See that wasn't hard to find. It's Birdie's Player Performance link at

Oh read the headline for the story-

Pressel has been steady since disappointing U.S. Open

Wrong! In Morgan's last six starts she has-

Missed Cut
Missed Cut

That is erratic not steady play. I can't blame Mr. Hutton for this stupidity but a Sun-Sentinel Sports Headline Writer.

Just more examples of carelessness and non-existent fact checking by the Sports and Golf MSM. I'll keep chronicling it. Remember, bloggers aren't journalists as I was told by a PR Agency used by the LPGA.

Who's kidding who?

Open Post- The Dumb Ox, Adam's Blog,


I recently blogged about a Hoax call to the Coast Guard here in Florida. A man was saying his boat was sinking and nine people had to go into the water. Despite an extensive search, no trace of these people were ever found.

Yesterday an arrest was made.

BOYNTON BEACH — Federal authorities on Tuesday charged a 45-year-old felon with making a hoax call that launched a 23-hour, $350,000 air and sea search for nine people bobbing in the stormy Atlantic.

Robert J. Moran was arrested shortly after 4 p.m. at the home he shares with his wife and mother on Northeast 20th Avenue.

Authorities said Moran made the 63-minute fake distress call with a hand-held radio at 10:49 p.m. on June 11, claiming that his 33-foot boat Blue Sheep was taking on water 3 miles north of the Boynton Beach Inlet, and that his wife had fractured her leg and was bleeding profusely.


A false emergency report to the Coast Guard is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison, more than $250,000 in fines and the cost of the search.


Moran was expected to be booked into the Palm Beach County Jail.


It wasn't long before a tipster who recognized the caller's voice in a TV news account notified officials about Moran. Authorities said they did not know why Moran made the allegedly false distress call, nor could they pinpoint the exact location of it.

The unnecessary rescue effort cost $347,014.92, based on the hourly rate of two Coast Guard planes, two jets, two helicopters and two vessels, as well as wildlife commission and sheriff's office boats, said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil, Coast Guard spokesman.

Florida is certainly full of nuts. What would drive a person to do such a prank?

Mr. Moran if found guilty is going to regret making that phone call. I'll withhold a Knucklehead award till a verdict comes through or a plea deal is done.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Blue Star,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are 20 Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputies. Their names are Jimmy Maisonet, Belinda Murvin, Lorrie Wrice, Angel Alava, Francis Wheeler, Kasandra Smith, Bernard Hardemon, Donald Reilly, Sonya McIntosh, Conrad Stewart, Adrian Wallace, Chester Gibson, Sandra Price, Willie King, Reginald Price, Reginald Wright, Major Thornton, Richard Klaysmat, Brenda Gray and Caretha Cason. They get today's award for cheating on exams that would have boosted their salaries. These officers have all been reprimanded by the PBSO.

Read the Sun-Sentinel article below. These deputies are a disgrace. They are supposed to be enforcing the laws, but they themselves are cheats. Letters of reprimand is too light a sentence in TFM's eyes. A trust was broken by these men and women and our law enforcement's integrity damaged. Who is to say they don't cheat in other ways.

For being disgraces to the law enforcement profession, Jimmy Maisonet, Belinda Murvin, Lorrie Wrice, Angel Alava, Francis Wheeler, Kasandra Smith, Bernard Hardemon, Donald Reilly, Sonya McIntosh, Conrad Stewart, Adrian Wallace, Chester Gibson, Sandra Price, Willie King, Reginald Price, Reginald Wright, Major Thornton, Richard Klaysmat, Brenda Gray and Caretha Cason are today's knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Third World County, TMH's Bacon Bits, The Dumb Ox, Adam's Blog,

Twenty Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies have been reprimanded for improperly obtaining answers on tests for classes intended to boost their performance and salaries.

The deputies, at times, compared answers as a group to tests for classes offered by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, sheriff's office investigators said. The completion of the classes on emergency management preparations enabled the deputies to qualify for steps up the agency's salary scale, with each upgrade carrying a 4.5 percent pay increase.

All the deputies have been charged with violating the agency's ethics rules and have gotten letters of reprimand. Those deputies who moved up in the salary scale have been downgraded and required to return the extra money.

The investigation, which was completed last week, initially reviewed the conduct of 26 deputies who were taking online FEMA classes and applying their certificates toward the "career deputy status" program. That enables non-management law enforcement and corrections deputies to receive higher salaries by meeting the program's performance, experience, skill and educational requirements.

Police Benevolent Association attorney Larry Fagan said the deputies did not set out to deceive or bilk money from the agency. Most didn't realize that it could be implied that something was improper about working together as a group to prepare for a test in an agency that "emphasizes and congratulates teamwork," he said. The agency didn't have policies on taking online tests, he said.

"These are not cheaters," Fagan said. "These deputies as a whole are hardworking, career deputies."

Deputies exploited a "loophole" through the FEMA classes that allowed them to take up to 20 classes a day on the Internet and get certification for them. Investigators determined that many deputies took the tests without getting the required videos, discs and materials needed for the classes.

"Without these study materials, a student cannot properly prepare or study for these specific courses," the internal affairs report said. "If the student does not have the proper study materials or test questions, it is conceivable that the only way a person can pass the test is to obtain the answers improperly and cheat."

There are no safeguards in place to prevent deputies from taking more than one test in a one-day period, investigators found. Students can submit as many test answers to FEMA as they want.

According to the investigative report, Corrections Deputy Jimmy Maisonet took 45 FEMA tests from June 6, 2003 to March 22, 2005, the day he took 20 tests. He told officials he got a breakdown on some of the classes and course material from FEMA's Web site. Investigators figured out that the courses did not have study material on the Internet and required students to contact FEMA directly to order them.

When pressed, Maisonet said initially he didn't remember where he got the material, but later admitted to getting them from a "study group" with co-workers. He further disclosed that he shared notes, test answers and study guides with other deputies and never viewed course discs and videos. He used answers from others when he took the tests.

The agency later rejected his application for advancement in the career deputies program.

In addition to FEMA, the Sheriff's Office accepts classes from other colleges and institutions for the same program.

Sheriff's Capt. Ron Mattino, who oversees the department's training, said a safeguard to prevent future problems should be to require deputies taking the FEMA tests to be supervised in the training office.

Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Capitol One- Get out of my Mailboxes!

I'm going to do a little rant here.

Three people live at my home. Me, my wife, and my 71-year-old mother-in-law. We own our own home plus have a PO Box.

Between my mailbox and PO Box every month we have to get 12 Capitol One Credit Card offers. At least, and that's between the three of us. I junk these in my garbage can daily. If I collected them for a year, I'd probably fill a large trash bag.

Today finally sick of seeing these card offers, I opened one up. There's an application it says my wife is pre-approved for a Platinum Visa. It gives an option of applying online and gives DW a reservation number and access code.

The second option is to call up a 1-800 number

I went to the website. It's a generic website with many card offers and links. No where to be seen is any place even on the link to input a reservation# and access code.

The 1-800 number to call is totally automated. No live operator.

A third number given is a number to call to opt out of these credit card offers. After a few preliminary questions about name and address, I'm asked for my SS#.

I hung up.

If this is Capitol One out there, they sure as hell have their heads up their ass. Wary of identity theft, anyone with common sense won't just give out their SS# to a generic website or automated recording. Whyl do credit reporting agencies give out my info to credit card companies? And if they do, why do they need my SS# to un-list me when by my very call they know my name and home address?

This smells and should make any thinking person not avail themselves of these offers. Who knows if this is really Capitol One out there? It's not paranoia, its' just the world we live in and caution with personal information is a necessity in life today. If this is really Capitol One, they need to re-do the way these offers are made. I may do some further checking on this, even contact the Company HQ. I can always give them a Knucklehead award at some future date.

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

Joseph Biden- My kind of President

Is TFM off his meds? No, read this.

Speaking to a group of 130 twenty- and thirty-something supporters of his leadership PAC last Thursday, Biden indicated that while he thinks he could be an effective chief executive, as far as the job itself goes, he could take it or leave it.

“I’d rather be at home making love to my wife while my children are asleep,” he said.
The simple pleasures in life. This is an issue I can agree with Senator Biden on. There is only one problem.

Will my dear wife have any energy left after spending the night on the kereoke?

Hat tip- Joe G at The Moderate Voice
Open Post- Third World County, The Dumb Ox,

Howard Goodman- The Whiner

He is a Columnist for the Sun-Sentinel who covers Palm Beach County. Today Howard has a column about Boca Raton's $100 hameburger.

We live in a region of plenty that offers the amusement of a $100 hamburger. At the same time, 800,000 people in South Florida live below the poverty line, according to organizations that track hunger.

Last year, 23,000 people in Palm Beach County sought emergency food provided, in part, by the Daily Bread Food Bank, a clearinghouse for donations. That's in addition to another 30,000 people in Broward and 64,000 in Miami-Dade.

"It's a huge problem," says Judith Gatti,executive director of Daily Bread, based in Miami.

Some 800 nonprofits are running programs to combat hunger in South Florida. They're supported by thousands of donors -- including many from the restaurant industry, Gatti said.

Despite the generous effort, the need keeps growing. In recent years, the ranks of those seeking emergency food aid in America are increasing nearly 1 percent a year, she said.

The $100 hamburger?

"We could provide 600 meals for that," said Gatti. The economy is achieved by collecting and redistributing discarded and donated food, millions of pounds worth a year.

One hundred dollars.

It can buy three meals a day for a child for 200 days.

Or one ritzy burger.
Howard like alot of liberals, you seem to ignore simple economics. The eatery selling this burger priced it at what they thought the market would pay for it.

It is called capitalism. The Old Homestead Steakhouse had to figure in the cost of the beef and other products to make their burger, plus overhead for their establishment and then of course profit. The owner had to ask himself how people would want to pay for it without pricing it too high where there would not be a demand.

It's called capitalism. McDonald's does the same thing with their Double Quarter pounders with cheese that I sometimes eat. Supply and demand, what the market wil take. Whether it's 3.49 or $100.

Howard could have wrinen how many people would be fed for that $3.49. Or the cost of those French Fries Or the cost of a large drink.

I for one won't be eating that $100 burger. In truth, I doubt there is much of a market for it. If a person has that kind of money for a meal, I'd think they would buy something else to eat. Then maybe I'm wrong. Old Homestead will make that decision, not Howard Goodman.

What I think is the cause for Howard's whining, is his boss wouldn't pay for the meal. Nothing else makes sense. For a smart person would know its just capitalism at work in Boca Raton. Just like most of the free world.

Open Post- Freedom Watch, Third World County,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Ward Churchill. The University of Colorado decided yesterday to fire the controversial professor.

"Today, I issued to Professor Churchill a notice of intent to dismiss him from his faculty position at the University of Colorado Boulder," CU Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano said Monday afternoon.

Churchill has 10 days to appeal, which entails making a request to have the university president or chancellor forward the recommendation to the faculty senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure. A special panel will then conduct hearings on the matter and make a recommendation to the president on whether grounds for dismissal are supported.

Another committee found Churchill guilty of research misconduct and another panel recommended that he be fired because of "repeated and deliberate" infractions of scholarship rules.

Churchill's attorney promptly called a news conference Monday afternoon to announce that his client does intend to appeal to the tenure committee. He also mentioned going to court.

Churchill, who ignited a firestorm by calling some of the World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns" in an essay he wrote after Sept. 11, 2001, has vowed to sue the school if he was fired.


The tenured professor of ethnic studies has repeatedly denied all accusations of misconduct.


When his essay was brought to light in January 2005, Gov. Bill Owens, state lawmakers and relatives of Sept. 11, 2001 victims in New York immediately denounced it. University officials concluded Churchill could not be fired for the essay, but in March 2005 they launched an investigation into allegations of plagiarism and other research misconduct.


Last month, an investigative subcommittee concluded that Churchill repeatedly fabricated his research, plagiarized others' work and strayed from the "bedrock principles of scholarship."

Churchill called the investigation "a kangaroo court" designed to reach the conclusion that he should be fired.

"A university is a marketplace of ideas, a place where controversy is no stranger," said Distefano. "An opinioned discourse is applauded. But as is true of all liberties enjoyed by all Americans with freedom, comes responsibility."
Churchill doesn't get the knucklehead for his views. I find them disgusting but he is welcome to them. TFM has always been an advocate of free spech, speaking up for unpopular people like Cindy Sheehan.

No this is about plagiarism. In academia there are few more serious charges and Mr. Churchill has broken the rules. The University has a reputation to uphold, they have to fire the Professor. James Joyner holds a similiar view to my own, he says Churchill has no place on a university campus.

For acts of plagiarism and other violations of scholarship, Ward Churchill is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Also blogging on this- Big Dog, Real Ugly American
Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Bloggin Outloud, Cao's Blog, Adam's Blog, Mudville Gazette,

Monday, June 26, 2006

No Justice for Michelle

DCF has fired three workers for their mishandling of the Michelle Fontanez case. Michelle was murdered by her stepfather last February.

Three child welfare workers were fired Friday over the handling of a case involving a 13-year-old girl who was found raped and fatally beaten while in state care.

Investigator Erica Cesare was dismissed by the Florida Department of Children & Families for negligence, misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a public employee, according to records obtained by the News-Press of Fort Myers. Also fired were supervisors John Taylor and Herb Glover.

Taylor, a 15-year employee, was Cesare's immediate supervisor and Glover, a 23-year DCF veteran, was in charge of all child abuse investigations in Southwest Florida.
If you read the Ft. Myers News-Press extensive coverage of the Fontanez case you'd be angry as hell. What these 3 DCF workers and lawyer Andrea Lang did is beyond words. Michelle told Cesare of being abused and they didn't put the girl into foster care! The mother wasn't protecting her daughter and Hernandez was made to move. To another home in the same neighborhood.

Plus Lang said DCF couldn't do anything because Hernandez wasn't the girl's bio father or guardian. All four of these imbeciles need to pay for this case. Firing isn't good enough, and to my knowledge Lang still has her job. They need to be prosecuted and put in jail. All of them for what they did caused an innocent girl to die. A social worker has been prosecuted in Florida before, its time for it to happen again plus one lawyer. Justice for Michelle Fontanez won't be complete without it.

Open Post- Bloggin Outloud, Is it just me?,

If Broward can, why not Palm Beach County?

Sunday's Post had an article revealing Palm Beach County has a secret docket of over 44 court cases. It was recently disclosed that Broward County had a secret docket also. This troubles many because court records are supposed to be open.

Now Broward and Palm Beach docket's are supposed to be different. In Broward those files closed were in many cases officers of the court, politicians and local celebrities. Here in Palm Beach it is cases involving domestic violence, children etc. That's if you take the word of Chief Circuit Judge Kathleen Kroll.

Sorry but TFM doesn't have enough faith in our judicial system to take Judge Kroll's word. In over a year of blogging I've chronicled many cases of judicial abuse, and it can occur and has occured here in Palm Beach County. An investigation needs to be done, by someone outside the County for I don't think State Attorney Barry Krischer can be objective. Will the Palm Beach Post call for a investigation? They constantly attack the slightest closing of public records. Shocker, but TFM most of time agrees with them. Currently the Post is asking questions, that's a good sign.

We'll have to see if Kroll is telling the truth. The 'protect the children' excuse has too often been used by demagogues for me to trust anyone in government who uses it as a reason for any action.

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

WEST PALM BEACH — Forty-three civil court cases have been held in ultra-secret status by Palm Beach County court officials since 2001, their contents wholly unknown, their most basic information — names and case numbers — restricted from public view.

A woman's claim against Ford Motor Co., for example.

All are on a "confidential" docket the chief judge herself says she wasn't aware of.

Allowing the public to see courts and their records has long been a basic value of American justice. Public access, including the basic knowledge that a case exists, is considered one way people can hold courts accountable and understand their actions.

Chief Circuit Judge Kathleen Kroll began a judicial review of the confidential cases after a media inquiry about it. She completed it Friday.

Kroll did not release the identities of the litigants, lawyers or judges involved. The clerk's office released a list of the case numbers. The case number coding indicates the type of case.

The majority involve domestic relations, which can include divorce and adoption. Also, there are civil lawsuits, mental health and tuberculosis-related cases.

Kroll and her staff lawyers decided that nearly all the cases should remain confidential. The judges who handled them had a legal basis to seal them, relying on a judicial rule that allows closure to protect issues such as trade secrets. Most were closed to protect a child, Kroll said, and none was closed for terrorism concerns.

"I'm clear that a judge did it, recognized the rule and made a decision. As a chief, I'm very comfortable with that," Kroll said.

The entire files of the cases will remain confidential and sealed for now.

First Amendment lawyers are not comfortable with that. The wholesale sealing of a file — entirely dropped from public view — is something some never have heard of.

Companies may be able to hide defective products within secret sealed files. Public agencies can skirt accountability if the public doesn't know the case even exists.

It is not uncommon for a judge to seal individual items in a court file: a psychological exam of a person, financial disclosures, etc. But the closure of entire files raises strong concerns.

Jon Kaney Jr., the lawyer for the First Amendment Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the public's constitutional right to open government, said he never had heard of secret dockets in 20 years of practicing First Amendment law.

Nor does Kaney know of any possible basis that could be legal or constitutional.

"The idea of it is anathema to the entire Florida court system," Kaney said. "I'm wondering how an entire file can disappear. There is no way, no how that ever could be appropriate."

It's happening in other places, too. According to published accounts, courts in Broward County and the Tampa Bay area also have maintained secret dockets.

A Miami Herald investigation into the secret docket in Broward revealed a select group of people given super-sealed status for their lawsuits or divorces: elected officials, judges, TV personalities. The Florida Attorney General's Office is expected to investigate.

Court officials in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties had cases kept entirely out of public view, according to The St. Petersburg Times. Court clerk officials in the counties said computer glitches and clerical errors were responsible.

Un Cha Kim, chief operating officer of the Palm Beach County clerk's office, said the secret docket cases were given a higher security clearance with a few special keystrokes. The files were made that way upon a judge's declaring them confidential and ordering the entire file sealed, Kim said.

"It is presumed judges know the law, and clerks do not," she said.

Secret dockets are catching people's attention in Tallahassee.

The chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, Barbara Pariente, made a reference to the Broward docket situation at a privacy committee meeting this month, saying it causes some concern. A spokesman for the court said she would decline to comment to the media because of possible legal action.

First Amendment lawyer Thomas Julin said it's not clear whether the secret dockets are happening because people are getting preferred treatment or clerks are overzealous or it's all some good-faith mix-up. One thing is clear though, he said: Judges and clerks' offices have been lackadaisical guardians of keeping things open.

"If those institutions and courts are going to work, people have to have faith that they are doing the right thing," Julin said.

In the federal court system, where terrorism cases land, reports of sealed cases have increased since the Sept. 11 attacks. Cases are removed from any public view, filed in a secret vault.

A federal appeals court in Atlanta recently had to remind federal judges in South Florida that the practice of secret dockets is forbidden. The same court earlier had found the practice unconstitutional.

The practice of super-sealed cases in Palm Beach County probably occurred before Sept. 11, too, Kim said.

Kim said her office intends to make just the case numbers available in the public view to comply with a recent appellate court ruling. If people enter the case number in the clerk's computerized record system, they will see that it exists and is sealed, and nothing else.

So if people enter the name Ford Motor Co., they will not see any reflection of the company's case that is on the secret docket list.

The Palm Beach Post has asked Kroll to release more information about the cases on the secret docket: the names of the litigants, the names of the judges and whether any public notice was given before the files were entirely sealed.

In the Treasure Coast, court officials report no secret dockets.

The chief judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit, which includes Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties, said he is not aware of any judge in the circuit ordering a case to be entirely confidential, barring even its mere existence from public disclosure.

Chief Judge William Roby said he never has approved that kind of "secret docket."

"I know nothing of anything like that," Roby said.

The Martin County clerk of court, Marsha Ewing, has said no secret docket of civil cases exists. St. Lucie Clerk of Court Ed Fry said his supervisors reported no "super secret" cases.

Fry said the clerk's office will seal a case only with an order from a judge. Every sealed case gets a case number and an index in the clerk's computer system, he said. The existence of these cases and the fact that they have been closed from public viewing is a matter of public record, Fry said.

The supervisor of St. Lucie's circuit civil division said the judge who presides over those cases takes the process one step further and requires all attorneys who request that a case be sealed first notify the media before he will consider the motion.

In her review of the 43 sealed cases, Kroll ruled that at least two had been sealed incorrectly: One involved an emancipation of a child; the other, an issue of attorney fees totaling just over $13,000. She unsealed them.

Kroll said she saw no evidence on the list of people receiving preferential treatment or hiding an A-list divorce. The number of cases on the list is few compared to the tens of thousands that have moved through court in the same period, she said.

Why don't we start talking 2012?

The speculation about 2008 started the day after the election. Are we in a perpetual election mode? I mean the next Presidential election is over two years away.

People with two much time on their hands makes for silly specualtion. Like the following-

"OK, so Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has made it clear that he doesn't want to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, but that hasn't stopped friends from talking him up for vice president. In fact, allies are pushing him as the perfect match for several Republicans already running for president, including Virginia Sen. George Allen, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani."

Says a Bush friend: "I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes vice president."
Jeb has said before he won't run for President. Why would he then be interested in VP. VP speculation is silly to start with because who knows who'll be the GOP Presidential nominee in 2008.

Hat tip on the above- Poliblog by the way of The Moderate Voice

If that's silly, here is sillier.

WASHINGTON -- Senator John F. Kerry has intensified his quest to regain the Democratic presidential nomination with a sharp move to the left, presenting himself in high-profile speeches and Senate debates as an unfettered lawmaker and would-be presidential candidate who learned from his 2004 loss that he must fight harder for what he believes.

In passionate remarks on the Senate floor and before party faithful last week, Kerry spoke directly to grass-roots Democrats, many of whom remain angry over his defeat in an election they believe Kerry was capable of winning.
Hat tip- Captain's Quarters,

I don't think the Democratic party is masochistic enough to nominate Kerry again. The days of Adlai Stevenson and William Jennings Bryan are long gone.

No one knows what the future will bring not even TFM. All of these experts are equally clueless.(S0 is TFM, but I admit it!) Some of them need to find honest work for a change.

Open Post- Outside the Beltway

Sperm Donor

It's been determined who Jerrod Miller's biological father is. If you don't recall, I blogged about this story here.

The shooting death of a Delray Beach youth took another twist Monday when DNA test results showed his father was not the man who raised him.

Surrounded by television cameras in his attorney's office, Terry Glover announced that he — not Kenneth Miller — was the father of 16-year-old Jerrod Miller and the teen's twin Sherrod.

The DNA tests were ordered by Circuit Court Judge Karen Miller after a two-day hearing earlier this month raised questions about the paternity of the youth who was killed by a Delray Beach police officer at a school dance in February 2005.

Glover, a longtime Delray Beach resident who moved to Orlando after the shooting, surfaced after Kenneth Miller filed a $7.5 million wrongful death suit against the city.

While Glover never challenged a court ruling that established Kenneth Miller as the father of the boys when they were young, the 42-year-old claimed he saw the boys regularly and helped support them. He claimed they knew them as "Mr. Terry." Their mother, Gwen Cornelius, died of a heart attack in 2003.
Neither of these knuckleheads deserve a penny.

The best quote I've read today comes later in the article.

"Just because he donated sperm doesn't make him a father," Cunningham said.
I couldn't agree more. They're only interested in Jerrod now because of the potential windfall for them. These guys make me sick.

Open Post- Mark My Words, Third World County,


The Tampa School bus story has come to a conclusion. From AP-

TAMPA -- Two Saudi men accused of boarding a school bus full of students won't be prosecuted if they complete a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders, the state attorney's office said Monday.

Mana Saleh Almanajam, 23, and Shaker Mohsen Alsidran, 20, were charged with misdemeanor trespassing after boarding the bus bound for Wharton High School on May 19. They told investigators they got on the bus because they wanted to visit the school and didn't know it was just for students.

At the time, the men gave conflicting reasons why they boarded the bus and were kept in jail for the weekend, police said. They were released after detectives determined they meant no harm, and immigration agents found that they were here legally.

The two men arrived in the country seven months ago on student visas and are enrolled at the English Language Institute at the University of South Florida, officials said. Terms of the pretrial intervention program were not immediately available.
My original belief this was an innocent mistake or an accident seems to have been verified. Some crow may be getting eaten out in the blogosphere today. Either that or this news will be quietly ignored. I'm betting the later.

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

Fond farewell Knight Ridder

Yesterday's Miami Herald had a long piece on its parent Knight Ridder and its community involvement in both Miami and Miami-Dade county. The newspaper chain will no longer cease to exist after its merger with McClatchly Co. on Tuesday.

The article is mostly a nostalgic look at the Herald and KN's past. KN did alot for Miami, and they will be missed. Who knows, maybe McClatchly will have a similiar involvement with the community it will soon be serving. Only time will tell.

Two other notes-

*- The Herald announced their website will be changing soon. As a frequent visitor of Newspaper websites, I've always said you couldn't tell one KN newspaper from the other online except by the title at the top of the webpage. Look at the Miami Herald, Wichita Eagle, Bradenton Herald, and Philadelphia Enquirer sites for example and you'll see what I mean.

*- Today's Herald had an article about the new owners.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Bloggin Outloud,

In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, with homes destroyed, lives devastated and government overwhelmed, President George H.W. Bush turned to the man in Miami he knew could lead a badly needed recovery effort.

It was Alvah Chapman Jr., retired chairman of Knight Ridder, which owns The Miami Herald. Chapman quickly enlisted James Batten, Knight Ridder's chairman, and We Will Rebuild, a private effort that would collect and distribute $27 million in hurricane aid, was born.

''Knight Ridder has had a very powerful, very positive impact in the community,'' says Armando Codina, chairman and chief executive officer of Codina Group, a large Miami real estate concern.

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, when its sale to The McClatchy Co. is final, Knight Ridder, whose roots go back to the 1890s, will cease to exist. Its influence in South Florida already is mostly gone.

''I don't know that Knight Ridder has any influence,'' says Merrett Stierheim, the former Miami-Dade County manager and longtime civic activist. ``The Herald has some influence.''

Knight Ridder's impact in South Florida in the 32 years since Knight Newspapers merged with Ridder Publications in 1974 has risen and fallen with the personalities of its leaders, the company's financial vigor and the challenges and needs of the community.

As a corporate citizen, it has touched nearly everything -- politics, crime, homelessness, drugs, charity, sports arenas, hurricane relief, the old Florida Philharmonic, the new Miami Performing Arts Center.

The source of Knight Ridder's power was its position among the business giants of that era in South Florida. Miami in the 1970s and 1980s was a city of corporate headquarters -- Southeast Bank, AmeriFirst Bank, Burdines, Eastern Airlines, National Airlines, Ryder System, Jordan Marsh.

At the top: Knight Ridder.


Much of the power that Chapman and Knight Ridder wielded was in private. In 1971, a dozen chief executive officers formed a fraternity called the ''Non-Group'' -- so powerful that Maurice Ferré, Miami mayor in the 1970s, called it ``the shadow government of Dade County.''

It met once a month in members' homes to discuss the public's business. Its co-founders were Chapman and Harry Hood Bassett, chairman of Southeast Banking Corp.

''If I faced a problem as county manager, I could tell Alvah I would like to meet with the Non-Group,'' Stierheim says. ``Things got done.''

Example: raising $3.5 million for a redevelopment project in Liberty City in 1980. Chapman secured the money with seven phone calls.

As the Non-Group's activities became known, some complained that such public business should be done by local governments in public. Ferré agrees, but says the businessmen were filling a political vacuum created by Miami-Dade's tangled system of feuding cities with weak-mayor governments.

The Non-Group also was criticized for being almost entirely white non-Hispanic males -- the corporate CEOs.

''The community's problems will not be solved until the power structure opens itself to the fact that power must be shared,'' said Eduardo Padron, then vice president of Miami Dade College and now the president.

Codina, who became the Non-Group's first Hispanic member, agrees: ``In today's world, the best way is to call on diverse groups of people to get behind a goal.''

Chapman was sensitive to the situation.

''We started [the Non-Group] with only 12 people,'' he says now. ``With 12 CEOs, there were no females or others. There was no choice. It became broader eventually.''


Chapman, who came to Miami in 1960 to work for Knight Newspapers, helped orchestrate the 1974 merger that created Knight Ridder. He became its CEO in 1976 and its chairman in 1982. He retired as chairman in 1989.

As chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s, he helped reorganize it into ''action committees'' to promote downtown development. It helped set the stage for a $2 billion building boom that included the Government Center, the former CenTrust Tower, the Hotel Inter-Continental and the Bayside Marketplace.

Chapman's authority didn't come only from his place atop Knight Ridder.

''It was his personality,'' Ferré says. ``He's a very dedicated, honorable, Christian, all-American Southern gentleman. He has a vision of right and wrong. People felt honored to follow him.''

Says Chapman: ``I learned about service to others from my father, who was a civic leader in Columbus, Ga., and active in Bradenton, where I grew up.''

He learned duty, honor, country as a ''knob'' at The Citadel, and as a B-17 pilot over Germany in World War II.

Another influence came to the fore in 1993 when he teamed with Alex Penelas, then a Miami-Dade commissioner, to create the Dade County Homeless Task Force. Chapman's involvement stemmed from a 37-week Bible class that he and his wife, Betty, had taken at First United Methodist Church in Coral Gables.

''At the end of the class, the 27 members each made a commitment to do something to increase spiritual values,'' Chapman says.

Learning that 8,000 homeless people lived on Miami-Dade's streets, the Chapmans chose that as their mission.

Result: the Community Partnership for the Homeless, which operates two Homeless Assistance Centers, one in downtown Miami, another in Homestead. They provide food and shelter, case management, healthcare, day care and job training in a campus setting.

''I'm prouder of that than anything else,'' Chapman says.

Chapman's leadership roles sometimes chafed editors and reporters at The Miami Herald. In 1978, when Chapman was president and CEO of Knight Ridder Newspapers and president of The Miami Herald Publishing Co., he directed the publishing company to contribute $16,000 to fight a state referendum to permit gambling casinos in Florida.

The Miami Herald also editorialized against the casinos. Casino supporters cried foul, asserting that Chapman was interfering with the newspaper's editorial independence.

John McMullan, Miami Herald executive editor at the time, strongly denied that Chapman, his boss, had interfered in an editorial stance. But he wrote: ``It was an unnecessary burden to have our credibility questioned because of gifts made by business members of The Herald. It tended to undermine our efforts.''

Today, Chapman's position has softened: ``John had the right to his opinion. And we did better the second time. [Another unsuccessful casino referendum was held in 1986]. We contributed individually, not through the corporation. That made people more comfortable.''


In 1989, Chapman retired as chairman, and Batten, a veteran Southern newspaperman, took over, retaining the position of CEO. P. Anthony ''Tony'' Ridder became Knight Ridder president.

As chairman, Batten dived into community affairs, often in tandem with Chapman. Batten, as a reporter in Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C., had covered the civil rights era, the Ku Klux Klan, controversial Alabama Gov. George Wallace and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

''I'm sure it influenced him,'' says his wife, Jean. ``He felt very strongly that the Non-Group should become more inclusive.''

Taking over as co-chair of the Non-Group, Batten helped select 21 new members, including blacks and Hispanics, explaining: ``Unless we are successful in reflecting fully the nature of the communities we seek to serve, we simply will not be as successful as we must be.''

After Hurricane Andrew, he worked closely with Chapman on hurricane relief, quickly calling 50 community leaders to set up We Will Rebuild, raising money and lobbying then-Gov. Lawton Chiles for more help.

In 1993, Batten helped negotiate an end to an economic boycott organized by Miami's black community. The boycott, spurred by the snubbing of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, had cost Miami-Dade's tourist industry at least $25 million.

In 1989 Knight Ridder, under Batten, agreed to donate three acres of land on Biscayne Boulevard for a Miami Performing Arts Center -- stressing, however, that both Chapman and Batten considered Bicentennial Park a better site. The transfer was formally approved while Ridder was CEO.

Batten died of a brain tumor at 59 in June 1995.


Ridder, who had been in Miami for Knight Ridder since 1986, became chairman, retaining the title of CEO. He had been born into the Ridder newspaper family, eventually rising to publisher of The San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News. He came to Miami in 1986 as president of Knight Ridder's newspaper division, and in 1989 had become Knight Ridder president.

Ridder led one major, if brief, campaign in Miami -- in 1996. The Miami Heat basketball and Florida Panthers hockey teams had declared their home at the old Miami Arena too small. They were threatening to move to Broward County, which was offering a new $212 million arena.

Ridder's campaign -- shuttling among Heat officials and city and county leaders -- worked, in part. The Panthers went to Broward, but the Heat stayed in Miami. Ridder's efforts were applauded by Chapman and Miami-Dade Mayor Steve Clark, although Ridder -- and The Miami Herald -- got a lambasting from Broward.

Ridder declined an interview request for this report but answered some questions by e-mail, via Polk Laffoon, Knight Ridder's vice president/corporate relations. Concerning his community activities in Miami, Ridder said: ``Until I became CEO, they didn't really want me. They wanted Alvah Chapman, Jim Batten and Dick Capen -- the company's CEO, president and publisher of The Miami Herald, respectively. When Dick Capen left The Herald, they wanted Dave Lawrence. I was just a corporate executive.

``After I became CEO, I read in the newspaper that the Heat's effort to build a new arena in Miami was dead, and that the team was resigned to moving to Broward. I felt that would be a terrible thing for Miami-Dade. I called [Heat owner] Micky Arison and asked him if he would give me 30 to 45 days to put together a coalition to keep the arena in Miami-Dade. He agreed. I pulled together some people and, importantly, we came up with a financing plan to keep the arena in Miami. I don't think that was insignificant for the community.''

In 1995, the Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management was created at Florida International University's College of Business Administration with an endowment of $2.04 million from Knight Ridder (matched by the state) and $1.2 million from Chapman and his wife.


In 1998, Ridder led the move that transferred Knight Ridder's headquarters from Miami to San Jose. In an e-mail response Friday, written by Laffoon and approved by Ridder, he explained: ``We moved Knight Ridder to San Jose to ensure that our newspapers could take maximum advantage of the Internet. Silicon Valley is the world center of Internet activity.''

Chapman, Ridder's mentor, was stunned by the 1998 move. ''I feel terrible,'' he says now. ``I voted against it. Unquestionably, Knight Ridder has a reduced role now in the community.''

''Tony Ridder never had his heart in Miami,'' ex-Mayor Ferré says. ``He didn't fit. He didn't see the future of this community. He's an all-American guy, and this is not an all-American city. This is Tomorrowland.''


The move wasn't the only factor reducing Knight Ridder's clout here. Many of Miami's powerful corporations had died, moved away or merged. Eastern Airlines, National Airlines, Jordan Marsh, Southeast Bank and Burdines are gone. A major base of Knight Ridder power, the Non-Group, is no more.

A new generation of political leaders has emerged -- Miami Mayors Xavier Suarez, Joe Carollo, Manny Diaz, Miami-Dade Mayors Alex Penelas, Carlos Alvarez. The old political vacuum has been filled.

Chapman, now 85, still passionate about newspapering, concludes: ``I feel terrible about the sale. Knight Ridder will no longer exist as a company. But I feel that if the company had to be sold, McClatchy is a good company to buy, own and operate it.

``I hope [McClatchy Chairman] Gary Pruitt will come to Miami quite strong.''

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winners are U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman and lawyer Marc Mezibov. They get the award for the following-

WASHINGTON - A federal judge temporarily has barred the government from publicizing its free credit monitoring offer to veterans whose personal data was stolen and wants to see if they might get a better federal offer.

Lawyers who have filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the 26.5 million veterans and active-duty troops affected contend that accepting the government's offer could jeopardize their chance of winning more money in the privacy suit.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman in Kentucky scheduled a hearing this Friday to determine whether the Veterans Affairs Department should revise its offer. His order on the credit monitoring was issued late last Friday.

The suit seeks free monitoring and other credit protection for an indefinite period as well as $1,000 in damages for each person — or up to $26.5 billion total — in what has become one of the nation's largest information security breaches.

Last week, the department announced its plan to offer free monitoring for a year to millions of veterans and nearly all active-duty military troops whose names, birthdates and Social Security numbers were stolen May 3 from a VA data analyst's home in suburban Maryland.

The department said it would send out letters to affected veterans and military personnel in early August — after it solicits bids from contractors — on how to sign up for the free service. It also posted information on the government's Web site.

But in court papers, lawyers for veterans said the VA's deal was "incomplete and misleading." The VA must make clear whether veterans who take the government deal will have to give up their rights in court to a potentially larger payout, lawyer Marc Mezibov wrote.

A spokesman for the VA did not have an immediate comment Sunday.
Let me see if I get this right. Veterans had their identifications stolen and now they can't avail themselves of free monitoring paid for by the agency that lost them? The world is truly upside down.

We all know how much defendants get in class action suits. Those $1 or $2 payoffs are so going to compensate veterans that have their credit histories damaged. For that's what it will be after the lawyers like Mezibov get through with any payouts. A payout isn't even guaranteed either. Winning damages from the government just don't happen that easily.

Judge Bertelsman should know better than to fall for the con game being played by lawyers like Mezibov. No veteran is going to get damages for what the VA did, but they could get screwed twice in the process. First by the agency and now by the court system.

For failing both the justice system and the veterans of America, U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman and lawyer Marc Mezibov are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Is it just me?, Cao's Blog, Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog,
Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Sunday, June 25, 2006

For $150 they could have at least said something original

Democratic Congressman John Murtha appeared at a local Democratic fundraiser last night.

WEST PALM BEACH — Americans don't support the war in Iraq and need a Democratic Congress to force President Bush to change his policy, a leading war critic told about 600 Palm Beach County Democrats at the local party's annual fund-raising dinner Saturday night.

"This is going to be our year.... We know America wants a change," said U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who wants the United States to begin pulling troops from Iraq immediately.

Murtha said the situation in Iraq is steadily deteriorating and "the truth is there's no plan for victory."

The congressman, who spoke for less than 20 minutes, urged the partisan crowd to help elect Democrats in November.

"We need your help. We need Democratic members of Congress. We need a Democratic majority," Murtha said. "The Congress is an equal body, but we've been losing our power because the Congress won't stand up to this president."

Palm Beach County is home to two congressional races in which Republican incumbents are being challenged by Democrats.

Democratic state Sen. Ron Klein of Boca Raton, who is facing U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, in a nationally watched race, followed Murtha at the podium at Saturday's dinner. Klein criticized Shaw as an unquestioning "cheerleader" for the Bush administration, which Klein said is waging "a war without a plan."

While critical of the war, the senator does not support setting specific dates for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Tim Mahoney, a Palm Beach Gardens Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fort Pierce, met with Murtha before the dinner. Mahoney has said America can "win the peace" in Iraq by firing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and building an international coalition.

Both Democratic candidates for governor, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, attended Saturday night's event at the county convention center, although Davis arrived after Murtha's remarks.

Also attending were Democratic U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler of Delray Beach and Alcee Hastings of Miramar, along with a host of other Democratic officeholders.
Note- My basis for the $150 is a previous Post article that previewed last night.

Maybe it's bad reporting by George Bennet. He's been behind before. If true, this fundraiser just further shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the Democratic party. It saddens me because I for a long time supported the party. TFM is a registered Democrat.

Let's go down the list

1- So the Democrats can stand up to the President? I seem to recall a Senate vote to set a withdrawal date for Iraq being defeated 90 something to a handful. If the Dems are so certain of victory, why not vote yes. Won't the voters support their vote then?

2- No mention of a Democratic plan but they attack the Republicans for not having one. Is it fight or leave for the Democrats? See Point #1 if its leave, if its stay isn't that what we're doing now?

3- Tim Mahoney is clueless. How does firing Rumsfield bring peace? As to a coalition, well I seem to recall there being over 40 countries assisting us in Iraq already.

I guess those talking last night were talking to the like minded. Its us moderate or moderate conservative Democrats who are left scratching our heads at how bankrupt the party sounds today.

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits,

Danger Will Robinson

Or should I say Joshua Levin? Some news from the Jerusalem Post.

The Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced on Sunday that its members have succeeded in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons.

In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, said the weapons were the result of a three-year effort.

According to the statement, the first of its kind, the group has managed to manufacture and develop at least 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons.

The group said its members would not hesitate to add the new weapons to Kassam rockets that are being fired at Israeli communities almost every day. It also threatened to use the weapons against IDF soldiers if Israel carried out its threats to invade the Gaza Strip.

"We want to tell [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz that your threats don't frighten us," the leaflet said.

"We will surprise you with our new weapons the moment the first soldier sets foot in the Gaza Strip."
This is both a serious and dangerous claim to be making. Israel surrounded by enemies and the recent memory of holocaust, are liable to take the most extreme actions when threatened with annihilation. Israel is a very small country area-wise. A chemical or bio weapons attack on it would be devestating.

I pray to God this is all a bluff. Why would any group, even an extreme group like Aksa, want to say or announce this? You're inviting an attack. Israel has shown through four previous wars they take their survival seriously. They can stamp out the Palestinians on both the west bank and Gaza strip without difficulty. A threat or bluff like this is just too dangerous.

Much of what I said in this post about Iran can be applied here too. The Middle East will pay close watching in the coming days, but then when doesn't it?

Hat tip- Captain's Quarters. Ed has some commentary that is worth reading. Tel-Chai Nation and Outside the Beltway have also blogged on this.
Open Post- Wizbang, Third World County,
Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

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