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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bush vs. Kerry, 2006

I know William commented on this earlier. I did too at my blog. But after watching Bush on TV from Perry, Ga., I must post this observation:
What John Kerry said: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

What Huff Post says he meant to say: "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

What he should say: "I apologize."

What President Bush said: "The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer armed forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots."

What President Bush meant to say: "The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer armed forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots."

What President Bush should have said: "The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer armed forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots."

Any questions?

Target practice

Some news from the Miami Herald-

Barbra Streisand's politics didn't find a wholly agreeable crowd during her Monday concert at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.

As Babs traded political barbs with a George W. Bush imitator, a fan of the songstress who apparently disagreed with her politics pelted her with a beverage. And as her anti-GOP riff ended, another man in the crowd found himself being escorted out of the center as he shouted at Streisand.

Streisand shrugged both incidents off, saying some people would do better to buy her records than come to her shows.

A similar scenario unfolded during Streisand's concert earlier this month at Madison Square Garden in New York, during which the singer used the F-word in shouting down a heckler.
I don't like Barbara's politics either but I wouldn't throw anything at her nor should anyone else. She is entitled to her views.

Most celebrities have thin skin. A certain degree of arrogance comes with stardom. If Ms. Streisand doesn't want to be criticized aka used as a verbal bullseye(Again I'm not condoning physical violence), she needs to keep her political views private. As Harry Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Or better yet Barbara, get your own blog. Just don't do it at Blogspot.

Hat tip- Florida Cracker
Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Random Yak,

I have a better question

A juror asks why is someone being tried for murder twenty years after the crime. From today's Tampa Tribune-

TAMPA - After a full day fielding questions from a prosecutor and a defense attorney, one man in a pool of 80 potential jurors asked a question of his own.

Why, he asked, is this murder trial scheduled to run 20 years after the crime?

Neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney was allowed to provide the answer. They simply asked the man, should he sit on the jury, to keep an open mind and listen to all the evidence.

The reason for this week's trial: Oscar Ray Bolin's previous two convictions of the murder of Stephanie Collins were overturned by appeals courts.

In December 1986, Collins' body was found off Morris Bridge Road. On Nov. 5 of that year, prosecutors contend, Bolin abducted the 17-year-old from the parking lot of a Carrollwood drugstore.

He was convicted twice and sentenced to death twice.

The convictions were overturned for several reasons, including too much pretrial publicity, improper jury selection and improper testimony from Bolin's then wife.

Bolin has had other successes in the appeal process.

The 44-year-old also was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Teri Lynn Matthews, 26, and Natalie "Blanche" Holley, 25. Those convictions and death sentences also were overturned twice.

In 2001, at Bolin's third trial for Matthews' death, he was again sentenced to death. The Florida Supreme Court upheld that conviction in 2004.

Last year, in Bolin's third trial for Holley's death, he was found guilty of second-degree murder and is serving a life prison term.

Bolin is on death row, he is also in prison for second degree murder. What good does trying him again for another murder even after it has been twice overturned? Seems to me it is one big waste of money and resources.

What do you think?

Linked to- Bright & Early, Is it Just me?, Adam's Blog,

Florida the rules are different here Chapter LIX

Strange men break into your home to lick your wife's left big toe. Don't you just love Florida?

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Bullwinkle Blog, Basil's Blog,

STUART -- Police are on the lookout for a man dubbed the "Foot Fetish Fiend."

The brigand reportedly entered a Stuart home and licked a woman's left big toe as she slept early Sunday in the 900 block of Dixie Lane, according to a police report.

The startled woman woke her husband, who chased the suspect -- described as a bald black man about 6 feet, 2 inches tall -- from the house and down the street. The suspect was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt, white shorts and white shoes, according to the report.

Investigators ask anyone with information about the incident to contact Detective Frank Logalbo at (772) 220-3911 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at (800) 273-TIPS.


From the Miami Herald-

WEST PALM BEACH - (AP) -- State wildlife officials have recommended that alligators be downgraded from species of special concern to game within five years.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also ruled Monday that homeowners be allowed to kill nuisance alligators on their property or hire a trapper to do so. How to dispose of the animal once captured is still in question, said program coordinator Harry Dutton.

''It's likely that selling the alligator wouldn't be allowed, but a homeowner could eat it at home,'' Dutton said.

The recommendations come after the first comprehensive review of the state's alligator management program in its 20-year history. The commission will consider the recommendations at its December meeting.
My only problem with any policy change, is that we'll see some Florida residents kill gators just for pleasure, like game hunters. I guess if someone can shoot a deer, they can kill an alligator too.

Then one question remains- What will hunters use to catch or kill a gator? Live animals? Mama mia......

Lake Worth trapper Rick Kramer may have summed it up right.

You'll have a lot of hurt people and injured gators running around,'' Kramer said. ``You make a mistake with an alligator, and it can do some damage.''
Linked to- Random Yak, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog,


A week ago I blogged my rather strong opinion on Katherine Harris and why I won't vote for her. Not surprisingly, a few Florida bloggers still plan on voting for this knucklehead.

That's fine, though I truly feel anyone who votes for the woman either knows nothing about her or are like this animal. They don't want to see just how dumb and corrupt this woman is. I do think the rulings Harris made after the 2000 election were right, but this isn't about that but her more recent behavior.

I'm not going to recycle all of the damning case against Katherine Harris. Go read my earlier post if you want to see it. What I will do is give two scenarios for Harris if she were elected to the Senate.

We have

1- Paula Hawkins US Senator for Florida 1981-1986

or this

2- Edward Gurney US Senator for Florida 1968-1974

The first Senator Paula Hawkins was considered a populist from her days on the FL public service commission. Elected in 1980, she was trounced when up for re-election in 1986. Bob Graham was a popular Governor yes but in her six years in the Senate, Hawkins made a series of embarrassing gaffes that made people question her intelligence.

Senator Edward Gurney was indicted for influence peddling while still in office. Not surprisingly he declined a chance to run for a second term.

Those are the best and worse cases for Harris after election to the Senate. Strike that, the worst scenario would be a combination of the two. Something hardly beyond the realm of possibility based on Harris' behavior in the last four years. Florida doesn't need another embarrassment in public office, Republican or not.

Twenty two Florida daily newspapers agree with me. The Florida MSM is a diversified lot, Harris is the only statewide candidate in 2006 not to get endorsed by at least one newspaper.
Linked to- Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Adam's Blog,

Update- Read this Washington Post article on Harris. She is playing the victim and will write all about those who oppose her in an upcoming book. Heavens to Betsy, TFM might become famous.(Cue the sarcastic laughter)
James Joyner at OTB and Steven Taylor are also commenting on today's WAPO article.

Go away John

The Junior Senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Presidential hopeful has struck again. James Joyner at OTB has both the video and excerpt.

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

Unbelievable. And rather ironic given that the line sounds dumb in more ways than one.

I totally agree with James. It is an insulting comment to all the people who are serving our country now and have done so voluntarily in the past(Yours truly included) John Kerry is a perpetual knucklehead. We've seen so many signs of his stupidity since the 2004 election, I've lost count. And he was one state away from being i n the White House. Martin Peretz at the liberal opinion journal The New Republic was right, Kerry could have been a dangerously bad President.

"Today, Democrats are overcome with despair. And I do not doubt that Bush's second term will have its abuses and its nastiness. But they should not delude themselves: John Kerry would not have been a good president; he might even have been a dangerously bad one.
And Peretz is a friend of Kerry!

I'd give Kerry a second knucklehead award tomorrow but I've got a better candidate. No problem, I'm sure Kerry will soon embarrass himself again.

Others blogging on Kerry's remark- Captain Ed, Michelle Malkin, Sister Toldjah, GI in Korea, My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Morning Coffee, Sensible Mom, Kim at Wizbang,
Linked to- Third World County, Cao's Blog, Right Wing Nation,

Phony Money

Some news from Arkansas. If Bill Clinton's name was on the $100 bill, why wasn't Hillary's photo on it too?

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Is it Just me?, Bullwinkle Blog,

BATESVILLE, Ark. - Police knew this Bill wasn't authentic. A man has been arrested for trying to use a $100 bill with no president's face and the name of former President Clinton.

The man, who has not been identified, was arrested Friday after trying to use the bill to buy cigarettes at a Batesville gas station.

"The bill was unmistakably fake due to the fact that the ink was running on the bill, the president's face was missing and for the president's name, it had the name Clinton on it," said Deputy Nathan Stephens.

The sheriff's office expects to file counterfeiting charges against the suspect, authorities said.

"Of all the cases I've worked with phony money, this is the sorriest bill I've ever seen," Lt. Brenda Bittle said.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is former Palm Beach County Commissioner Tony Masilotti. He gets the award for the following.

WEST PALM BEACH — Former Palm Beach County Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti faces up to five years in prison and forfeiture of $9.5'million in cash and real estate for his leading role in a land deal conspiracy that stretched from 2000 to this past June, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Masilotti, who in a sorrowful resignation letter said he will plead guilty, is expected to surrender Friday at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, where he will appear for the first time before a judge. Still to be determined: when Masilotti formally will plead guilty and when he'll be dispatched to prison.

The grand jury investigation of Tony Masilotti was triggered by a series of stories in The Palm Beach Post this year documenting how the county commission chairman's family secretly profited from land deals that Masilotti had pushed.

The Post's investigation, launched in January, involved the review of thousands of documents from 16 government agencies in four counties in Florida and Illinois as well as dozens of interviews. It began with records of Masilotti's recent divorce, which included financial statements and a document index that identified marital property holdings in the name of an accountant who represented a secret land trust. The trust, it turned out, was involved in a tangled series of transactions that generated a $1.3 million profit for the family.

A federal grand jury charged the 50-year-old insurance broker with conspiracy to violate the federal "honest services" statute, a law that allows prosecutors to charge public officials with corruption even if there was no direct bribe to secure an official act. Public officials - and those caught providing them with financial inducements - can be charged even if there was no specific vote involved.

"As an elected official, former Commissioner Masilotti was legally and ethically required to represent the best interests of his constituents and to perform his duties free from fraud and self-dealing," U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta said at a news conference Monday. "Masilotti repeatedly breached that duty and misused his power and his office for personal gain."

Acosta hinted that more defendants could be charged in the case but declined to elaborate. The grand jury's charging document points to a group of prominent lawyers and developers allegedly involved in the series of tainted land deals that made Masilotti millions.

None of them has been charged. The grand jury identified them by their initials but provided ample information in the charging document to clearly identify them.
Read the rest of the Post article if you want all the sordid details. Tony may well end up with company in prison. They deserve whatever sentences are handed down.

For using his public office to enrich himself, Tony Masilotti is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Third World County, Cao's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Mark My Words, Is it Just me?, Outside the Beltway,

Monday, October 30, 2006

Some Golf notes

*- This weekend marks the culmination of the 2006 PGA Golf Tour. The Tour Championship will be played outside of Atlanta Georgia. 27 of the tour's top 30 money winners will tee it up there beginning Thursday.

The big news concerning this event is Tiger Woods' withdrawal. The reason given by Tiger is physical and mental fatigue.

To be honest this sounds a little hollow. Tiger is playing in events the three weeks after the Tour Championship. While he has the right to make his own schedule, we know why Tiger is playing in Asia rather than Atlanta. Money, the PGA tour doesn't pay appearance fees.

With Woods withdrawal, plus Phil Mickelson's hanging it up for the year and Steven Ames being injured, The Tour Championship will have its smallest field ever. Some how all of this doesn't bode well for the FED EX Cup to begin in 2007. I have already stated my opinion on that gimmick.

*- Last weekend was a big one for Korean golfers. Besides KJ Choi winning in Tampa, Jin Joo Hong won the LPGA Kolon-Hana Bank Championship in South Korea. She became the 3rd KLPGA player to win the former 9 Bridges tournament in its five year history.

Unlike previous winners Shi Hyun Ahn and Jee Young Lee, Ms. Hong may not come to play in the US. This week she is attempting to qualify for the JLPGA. Her mother lives in Japan, and from what she said at the press conference, I think Jin Joo is not all that interested in playing in the states.

That's ok, at 23 years old Jin Joo would be an old lady so far as Korean golfers trying to make a career on the LPGA. LOL, look at Christina Kim, Lee and Ahn, and Seon Hwa Lee. All started on tour by age 20 or their late teens.

If you ever wonder about Korean men golfers and their lack of success(Other than Choi who has won 4 times on the PGA Tour) at golf, there are a couple of reasons. One that all Korean males have to serve a two-year stint in the country's military. Secondly, Korean culture or family attitudes don't deem golf as a suitable career for men. It is considered risky and less safe than college and or a job in the business world.

So an explosion of Korean men on the PGA Tour doesn't appear likely. Who knows, that could change.

*- This weekend's LPGA tour stop is in Japan. The Mizuno Classic has been site to displays of incredible golf by Annika Sorenstam. Actually Annika has won the event five consecutive years beginning in 2001. No other golfer in LPGA history has done such a feat.

Can Annika be stopped this weekend? If I were to pick a golfer to beat Annika, it would be Se Ri Pak. Se Ri appears on top of her game at present. She finished 3rd last weekend. Still I wouldn't bet against Annika in Japan. More so since she won last weekend in Dubai.

*- The ADT Championship is only two weeks away. TFM's once a year chance to watch the LPGA's best is coming to West Palm Beach. I don't like the tournament's new format, but barring health issues I'll go and watch play on at least 3 days the women are in town.

Linked to- Mark My Words, Bright & Early,

Drop dead

From the International Herald-Tribune-

WARSAW: With the start of his first official visit to Germany on Monday, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of Poland is calling on Germans to renounce all property claims stretching back to World War II, saying it is time to clear up "misunderstandings" that have brought relations between the countries to their lowest point in many years.

"Misunderstandings can and must be cleared up together," Kaczynski, who leads a nationalist-conservative government, said in an interview to be published Monday in the mass-circulation daily newspaper Bild. "But it makes no sense to remain silent over what causes us in Poland concern."

A few people who were expelled from Poland after World War II are going through the German courts to reclaim their property. The German government has long renounced any restitution claims. But the Polish government remains skeptical.

Seeking to reassure Warsaw, Chancellor Angela Merkel said over the weekend that her government had no property claims on Poland and that the borders between the two countries were recognized.

"With this, we have laid a foundation on which we can work together in trust," Merkel said. She added that Kaczynski's visit was "symbolic of how we should develop our relations as good neighbors in the European Union."

Indeed, the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his Polish counterpart agreed in early 2005 that neither government would support claims pursued by individuals in either country.
Polish distrust of Germany is understandable. Not just because of WWII but that it is barely 200 years since the country was partitioned at the hands of modern day Germany's predecessor Prussia, plus Russia and Austria.

The people suing over lost property should be told to get lost. Losing a home is terrible, but nothing compared to the atrocities Poland endured during WWII at the hands of the Nazis. Most of the country's jewish population was wiped out in the concentration camps. Then you have the famous uprising in Warsaw and the Nazi reaction to it. Other horrors include the slaughtering of hospitals, where patients and staff were either shot and burned to death by having the building set ablaze.

These property owners are alive, millions aren't. The title of my post sums up my feelings on the matter. If they want compensation, let the Poles who lost much more get compensated too. Fair is fair.

Note- TFM and his wife toured Poland for 2.5 weeks in 2000. During that trip we visited Auschwitz.
Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Cao's Blog, Right Wing Nation,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Google and Blogger. They get the award for the repeated outages Blogspot bloggers have had to endure for at least the last week.

Blogger does make an effort to apologize-

You need to look no further than our status blog or perhaps your own experiences to know that Blogger had a significant number of unplanned outages this last week (forgive me my euphemisms?) and a handful of planned ones to clean up from the unplanned ones. It’s been a Murphyesque cavalcade of power failures, fileserver trouble, and wonky network hardware, and I hope you’ll believe me when I say that the Blogger staff is even more sick of it than you are.

First up, our apologies. We really regret these outages, which were a nuisance (or worse) to you. The past week’s performance was not representative of the kind of service we want to provide for you.
That was written on October 26th. The worst outages were on October 28th and 29th. On both days, I couldn't post or update my blog for much of the morning and part of the afternoons. Most other blogspot bloggers had to endure the same. Rick at SOTP is just one example.

Blogger hasn't been very good at keeping people informed. When they do, it is almost comical.

...I’m pleased to point out that our status blog is now powered by the new version of Blogger. This means that we will be free of the Catch-22 of problems with the current version of Blogger preventing us from reporting about the problems with the current version of Blogger. (And we’ll fix that bug that makes it look like all the posts came from me. We’re on it.)
Don't you just love this outfit?

Someone may point out that blogger's services are free. Fine, so and we don't get any customer service. It is sort of a trade off. However Blogger and google are failing to keep up their end of the bargain. To provide webhositing. At present, Blogging at blogspot is like pulling teeth. Its painful and frustrating. Google could afford to buy You Tube, but can they ever get their act together in regards to Blogger?

Google and Blogger are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Third World County, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation,


Sunday, October 29, 2006

I beg you

From today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune-

VENICE -- Sisters Belle and Piper Aurora Hale spent their last night dressed up as the Disney princesses they were named after.

Belle, 4, and Piper, 3, were heading home from a church's Halloween party with their family Friday when they died in a car crash on River Road.

"They're both our little princesses," said the girls' father, Samuel Hale, who was driving them back to their Port Charlotte home when the accident occurred.

"They were always loving on everything. They were so sweet," Samuel Hale said Saturday as words caught in his throat and his eyes glistened with tears.

As he grieves the loss of his little girls, Hale has to deal with the possibility that he could face traffic or criminal charges in their deaths.

After Hale ran a stop sign at River Road and Venice Avenue, a Jeep crashed into the family's 1994 Nissan, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Then, the Nissan struck a stop sign and ultimately overturned.

Both girls were thrown from the back seat. Kira Hale, the girls' mother, was sitting in the rear seat with them and also was ejected, the FHP said. She received serious injuries and was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital.
Having lost a child, I can certainly understand the agony the Hales are going through at this minute.

This story almost made me want to cry when I saw it yesterday. I'm not blaming Mr. Hale, we don't know yet what happened or why no one was buckled in. Any parents out there, please make sure your children are always buckled in when riding around in the automobile. Life is too precious, and we don't know when it can end. I never want to read a story again like the one of Belle and Piper Hale.

Linked to- Blue Star, Pursuing Holiness, Samantha Burns

Off week

The Miami Dolphins didn't play this weekend but their opponent next week, The Chicago Bears did. From AP-

CHICAGO - Brian Urlacher's one-handed interception was headed to the highlight reel as soon as he tumbled to the ground after somehow batting the ball to himself.

Urlacher's stellar play symbolized what kind of afternoon it was for the refreshed and still unbeaten Chicago Bears — and how frustrating the day was for the San Francisco 49ers.

Wearing bright orange uniforms and showing their speed on defense and special teams, the Bears overwhelmed the 49ers from the outset. They jumped to a 24-0 first-quarter lead and 41-0 halftime cushion before coasting to a 41-10 victory Sunday.

At 7-0, Chicago is off to its best start since the 1985 Super Bowl champions won their first 12 games.
Maybe Miami ought to skip the trip to Chicago and wave a white flag instead. Unless the Dolphin fans are into masochism, I don't know if many will care to view next week's game which is liable to be called 'Massacre at The Midway'

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Bright and Early,

Not again

From today's Miami Herald-

After a week of early voting, a handful of glitches with electronic voting machines have drawn the ire of voters, reassurances from elections supervisors -- and a caution against the careless casting of ballots.

Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen -- the final voting step.

Election officials say they aren't aware of any serious voting issues. But in Broward County, for example, they don't know how widespread the machine problems are because there's no process for poll workers to quickly report minor issues and no central database of machine problems.

In Miami-Dade, incidents are logged and reported daily and recorded in a central database. Problem machines are shut down.
There have been problems up here in Palm Beach County also, but with machines not working or being slow. Back to the Herald article.

Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.

That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear -- especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.
That makes me skittish too. I don't like Davis, but I want a fair election. The article also notes problems in Broward County. Can Florida ever pull of an election without controversy or voting machine foul-ups?

Rick at SOTP has more commentary. He doesn't believe the mistakes are coincidental. Hmm......
Linked to- Third World County, Bright and Early, Right Wing Nation,

Coming down the home stretch

Some news from the Philippines-

MANILA, Philippines - One of the strongest typhoons to hit the storm-prone Philippines in years battered the mountainous north late Sunday, and the country's president urged people to prepare for the worst.

"Let us all pray," President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said in a message on nationwide radio as she ordered schools and government offices closed in the affected area and temporarily banned bus trips there.

Typhoon Cimaron lashed Isabela province with sustained winds of 121 mph and gusts of up to 143 mph, the Philippine weather bureau said. Hours earlier, the region was placed under the highest of a four-step warning system to advise residents to abandon vulnerable coasts and mountains.

"The wind is really blowing strong. Trees are swaying and I can hear tin roof sheets banging about. Large areas are without light. We're expecting the worst," Armand Araneta, a provincial Office of Civil Defense officer, told The Associated Press by phone from Isabela.

The storm was expected to disrupt the national All Saints' Day holiday, on Wednesday, when millions travel to cemeteries to remember their dead, some leaving days in advance for outlying provinces. Officials warned people to cancel trips to threatened areas.
All Saints Day is a holiday in The Philippines. All Souls Day is too if I recall correctly. The Philippines is Asia's most predominant Christian(Mostly Roman Catholic) nation.

My in-laws are from Leyte in the Central Philippines. They weren't affected by the storm.

This Saturday marks the day my wife returns from a four and a half week visit to her family. I've been home alone since October 2nd and will be glad to see my dear wife again.

Linked to- Bright and Early, Jo's Cafe,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. He gets the award for the following.

DURHAM -- Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong said today that he has had no direct discussions with the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case about what happened to her the night she says she was raped.
The statement came at a pre-trial hearing where lawyers for the three lacrosse players charged with rape and assault had asked a judge to order Nifong to produce notes about his conversations with the woman as part of the discovery information prosecutors are to provide to the defense.

Nifong and Durham police detectives met with the accuser April 11 to discuss the mechanics of how the criminal case would proceed, but the woman was still too distraught to talk about what had happened to her at a March 13 party where she was hired to dance. The News & Observer does not typically identify the alleged victims of sexual assault.

"She probably did not speak 15 words," Nifong said of the woman's emotional state. "She had trouble making eye contact. She looked like she was going to cry."
Seven months have passed and Nifong hasn't found the time to interview the accuser? He sure has had enough time to give press interviews or get re-elected. This man and prosecution both stink badly. I'm not the only one who thinks this, Betsy, LaShawn Barber, and others have blogged intensively on this miscarriage of justice taking place in North Carolina. Blogger John in Carolina has done some of the best writing on the subject. Read here, here and here for examples.

TFM hasn't blogged about the Duke Lacrosse case till today. For prosecutorial incompetence, Mike Nifong is today's Knucklehead of the day. Better late than never, heh?

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Bright and Early, Blue Star, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Point Five, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid, Uncooperative Blogger,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Who will tell the chickens?

From ABC News-

WASHINGTON Oct 19, 2006 (AP)— The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is now Kyiv, as far as the U.S. government is concerned. And the State Department says the spelling change has nothing to do with American hopes of wooing the one-time Soviet republic more into the Western orbit.

About half of Ukraine's 47 million people are Russian speakers, and Kiev is the Russian spelling.

Ukraine's Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko, elected on the wave of the 2004 Orange Revolution's mass protests against election fraud, has sought to take his nation out of Russia's influence and join NATO and the European Union.

"I don't think this decision has anything reflective in it," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Thursday.

The department announced the change in a memorandum Oct. 3, instructing officials to use the Kyiv spelling in all communications regarding Ukraine.

When a reporter asked about the change Thursday, Casey said there is a U.S. Board of Geographic Names with representatives from several government departments, including the State Department, that establishes uniform geographic name usage for the federal government.

The Associated Press continues to spell the name of the capital Kiev.

AP should make the change also, as should all cookbooks. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Hat tip- Basil
Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Samantha Burns,

What's the rush?

From today's Palm Beach Post-

By Susan Spencer-Wendel
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 28, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH — Jurors deliberated about six hours Friday in the murder-for-hire trial against Ronald Samuels. Long-faced and looking at the floor, they filed back into the courtroom before breaking for the weekend with no verdict.

They are set to resume deliberations Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors say Samuels hired cash-starved crack addicts to kill his ex-wife, Heather Grossman. Grossman, left a quadriplegic after the shooting, has waited nine years for the case to go to trial.

Grossman, 40, came to the courthouse Friday morning queasy but confident, she said, already planning for the sentencing hearing.

She cried outside the courtroom at the prospect of three more days of tortured waiting. Her nurse fully reclined her electric wheelchair and tears rolled down her temples.

One of Samuels' defense attorneys smiled and shook Samuels' hand. Samuels is jailed, sharing a cell with another wealthy man accused of wanting his wife dead, Fred Keller. Keller is charged with fatally shooting his ex-wire, Rosemarie, prosecutors say.

The lack of a Samuels verdict Friday surprised an alternate juror released Friday morning. James Ahern of Wellington said he and two fellow alternates had shared their thoughts on the case - all agreeing to convict on all charges.

"We would have been up and gone after five or 10 minutes." Ahern said.

From what I'm reading, The Palm Beach Post is impatient that no verdict has been handed down. Further proof of that is the article's headline- Jury slow to deliver Samuels verdict Is the Post's rush for a headline more important than justice being properly served?

The Post supplies the answer.

Samuels faces eight counts, including solicitation to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
The jury is taking its time in order to not send a possibly innocent man to jail for the rest of his life. I haven't followed the case and am rendering no opinion on Samuels' guilt or innocence.

I guess the Post just wants another headline in a few years. Innocent man freed after verdict overturned. What a bunch of nuts reside at this newspaper.

Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid,

The signs go up

The latest Florida 16th news-

Elections supervisors in Mark Foley's former district received permission from a Tallahassee appeals court Friday to post notices stating a vote for the disgraced Republican congressman will go to replacement candidate Joe Negron.

The Florida Democratic Party said it would not appeal the decision, ending a two-week court battle.

"Confused voters should not be required to guess as to how their vote will be counted, or be forced to question poll workers and rely on the potentially inconsistent, incomplete, or partial information," the appeals court stated.

Writing for a three-judge panel, District Judge James Wolf said Florida law allows poll workers to display informational notices, so long as they are impartial and do not favor a specific candidate. The unanimous ruling reversed an Oct. 28 decision barring the signs.

"The voters of 16th District won with today's ruling," Negron said.

"Voters deserve to know how their vote will be counted."

The court-approved notice states: "A vote for Mark Foley [Rep.] will be counted for Joe Negron [Rep.], the Republican candidate."

The sheets also say a vote for Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney counts for Mahoney and a vote for unaffiliated candidate Emmie Ross counts for Ross.
I think this is the right ruling. If the parties were reversed, I'd feel the same way. The best voter is one who is informed. The signs were just explaining what a vote for each of the candidates on the ballot. How that is unfair is beyond me, and the democratic lawsuit was just another example of dirty politics. While both parties use these tactic, I feel its almost always wrong no matter which party is doing it.

Linked to- Bright and Early, Right Wing Nation, Stop the ACLU,

More CIS news

From the Washington Post-

The Bush administration is considering proposals that would make it tougher for legal immigrants to gain U.S. citizenship.

The proposals being drafted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, could nearly double application fees, toughen the required English and history exams, and ask probing questions about an applicant's past, such as "Who is your current wife's ex-husband?"
What the @#%^! in regards to that question? The person is already a legal alien, what their spouse's former relationships have to do with citizenship I don't know.

As to the increase in fees, this is the same agency that has citizenship petitions years old they still aren't processing. Also note blogger GI in Korea's comment to an old post of mine. He can speak from personal knowledge about how messed up the process is.

In an interview yesterday, a USCIS spokesman said the contemplated changes are necessary to pay increased administrative costs and to standardize an application that is subjective and varies across the country.

But immigration rights advocates say the changes would amount to a second wall, a potential barrier against legal immigration that is as formidable as the newly authorized southern border fence is supposed to be against illegal migrants.
The interview process is irregular. A few questions about US history or the government are asked of the applicant. My wife was asked what are the 3 branches of government? What was the ship the Pilgrims came over on? I think the third was to name Florida's two Senators.

If I recall correctly, dear wife got 2 of 3 correct. I do seriously wonder if anyone is denied citizenship if they can't answer.

Uncooperative blogger has a differing opinion than my own.

I would make the test a requirement BEFORE you step foot in this country with a work or education Visa.

In an interview yesterday, a USCIS spokesman said the contemplated changes are necessary to pay increased administrative costs and to standardize an application that is subjective and varies across the country.

This is how it is done the immigrant pays the cost of processing. Congress does not appropriate money to pay the costs of processing citizenship applications; nor should they.
First of all why is a citizenship test necessary for someone to come here on a work or education visa?

Secondly, our embassies are not equipped to either do the classes UNB suggests or to administer tests to each person who would come in on those visas.

Thirdly, Congress appropriates money for the running of CIS. Among CIS jobs is to process immigrant's applicantions for citizenship.

Back to the Post article

“A fee review is underway,” Bentley said, “but no decision has been reached. I don’t know how they came about that.” He did not rule out the possibility that the fee could double, saying: “When we do the final analysis, we’re going where the math takes us. We have to recoup the costs of processing these applications.” Bentley noted that Congress does not appropriate money to pay the costs of processing citizenship applications.
Uncooperative Blogger replies-

Whatever it costs, the immigrant needs to pay it. We do not need to start off with welfare for people wanting citizenship; work for it.
The immigrants are paying for it through the $400 they send in. That isn't welfare at all. BTW the fees CIS charge has more than
quadrupled since I first did my wife's alien relative petition in 1989.

Does UNC ever think of the US servicemen who marry foreign nationals? $800 is a great deal of money to most of our fighting men and women. I have advocated in the past that our soldiers should get expedited service for their foreign born relatives. Some soldiers have to leave their wife and child behind when they PCS to their next duty station. The family being forced to live seperately for months or even a year. That often causes financial difficulty for the military member.

Disclosure- I met my wife while serving in the Navy. She had to remain in the Philippines for over two months after my seperation from the service.

In conclusion-

1- I do think a doubling of citizenship fees is uncalled for. A increase maybe, but I'd like to see CIS clean up its act first. This agency has a well documented history of wrongly enforcing the laws or just being bureaucratically incompetent.
2- The citizenship tests should be standardized.
3- Our military should get better treatment when dealing with CIS and Immigration. They are putting their lives on t he line for our freedom, and I feel helping their families is the least we can do. Immigrant relatives of these brave men and women shouldn't lose their rights if their spouse is killed in service of this country. That goes for ex-military also who work as contractors for the US government overseas. Like in Iraq.
4- I think much of the immigration debate is done by people who have little knowledge of how the immigration and citizenship processes work right now. Also the uproar over illegal immigrants is spilling over into legal immigration to America. Some of the changes that are being advocated, are unrealistic, unfair, will put burdens on both legal immigrants and people born in this country and are just pardon me, crazy. The illegal immigration issue does not yield itself to easy solutions. Much of the easy solutions being proposed, like ending birthright citizenship, are going to cause chaos for people these laws aren't intended for.

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Blue Star, Cao's Blog, Random Yak,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is CNN host Nancy Grace. From the Orlando Sentinel.

LEESBURG -- A crime-lab analysis of a cut window screen came back inconclusive, police said Wednesday as national talk-show host Nancy Grace announced she will broadcast her show from Leesburg to keep missing toddler Trenton Duckett's case in the limelight.

"We're welcoming anybody coming in to keep the spotlight on it," police Maj. Steve Rockefeller said.

With the two-month mark of the 2-year-old's disappearance tomorrow, police still have little evidence that would lead them to the boy, who reportedly was abducted from his mother's Windemere Villas apartment through a bedroom window Aug. 27.

Rockefeller said it is still "undetermined" whether the 10-inch slit made in the screen on the window above Trenton's bed was cut from the inside or outside of the apartment.

Police removed four knives and a box cutter from Melinda Duckett's apartment after her son's disappearance. But Rockefeller said investigators couldn't determine what was used to slice the screen.


Duckett, 21, shot and killed herself at her grandparents' home in The Villages on Sept. 8. She was later named the prime suspect in her son's disappearance.


Despite the dwindling number of tips -- only one or two a day -- coming into the police department, Rockefeller said Trenton's disappearance "remains an active investigation."

In addition to Grace, Rockefeller said investigators have received several offers from "armchair sleuths" -- mostly bloggers -- willing to search across the state.

Grace plans to air her show live Nov. 16 and 17 from a new Leesburg command center that Trenton's father, Josh, opened last week.

In an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel, Grace wrote, "Although the media spotlight has faded from Trenton's disappearance, Trenton's story has touched my and our staff's hearts."

She added: "There is still a chance Trenton may be alive, waiting to come home. I want Trenton's family to know others have not given up hope."
I've blogged about the Trenton Duckett story considerably. Read my posts here, here and here.

Melinda Duckett committed suicide one day after doing an interview with Nancy Grace. Some people blamed Grace's demeanor during the interview for the young mother's death. Saying Grace helped push the mother over the edge.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie hits the nail right on the head about Grace's latest interest in the Duckett case.

The CNN Headline News host, who has taken this case on as a personal cause, is making her way to Leesburg, where she'll be showing the simple folk how a real investigation is conducted.

"The police want to give Nancy special access to their helicopters" to search for the child, her public-relations agent stated in an e-mail, and then she plans to scuba dive "Lake Ocala" for his body.

Leesburg police "asked Nancy to come down" to find the missing boy, whose 21-year-old mother took her life after Grace badgered her unmercifully while taping a show.

Nancy has brought "some of the most important evidence to light" and is continuing to "uncover new evidence weekly," the young agent wrote in a breathless tone.

I love when New York publicity bunnies send messages to us hicks at the remote end of the continent. When I know one of their communiques is en route, I race out to the windmill and crank for dear life so I can generate enough electricity to fire up the telegraph. Sometimes they use big words, and then I gotta call teacher to help me.

Sigh. OK, you get the point.

Just so the truth is known, Leesburg police did not invite Grace to come here, and when questioned about it, the public-relations firm backed away from that claim. Leesburg Maj. Steve Rockefeller said Grace never contributed the smallest sliver of information to the investigation. There is no Lake Ocala.

As far as Grace's access to Leesburg's fleet of helicopters, that may pose a problem: There are none.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office, which has several, had this reaction:

"C'mon," chided acting Sheriff Gary Borders. "We're not going to put Nancy Grace in our helicopters. Not us. Absolutely not."

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said rides would "be on her dime."

So what is Grace doing here?

She's pursuing the same goal as always: ratings.

For the first 25 days of October, Grace's ratings were abysmal. With the exception of one or two shows, she has ranked fourth of the four cable news shows in the 8 p.m. slot -- far, far behind Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor. Typically, she has half the viewers that Fox attracts.

Her ratings jumped, however, when she got nasty with Melinda Duckett, the missing child's mother.

In mid-September, Grace averaged 689,000 viewers, well above the show's third-quarter average of 534,000 viewers, according to The Associated Press.
Its all about Nancy, not about a missing and probably dead boy. I emailed Lauren yesterday and she was kind enough to share the email she got about Grace's show.

The email shows how clueless these people are. Grace somehow thinks she can personally solve this case.

Nancy has already made 2 trips to Florida to investigate the missing child case and assist in the search efforts on her own, and has brought some of the most important evidence to light on her CNN Headline News show. She wants to find Trenton and discover what really happened in this case in order to bring closure to the family. She has the full support of Trenton's distraught father Josh and given this
special relationship, Nancy is uncovering more evidence weekly.
Nancy Grace will personally solve this case because she is smarter than all the local law enforcement. Yes and I know the winning lottery numbers this weekend.

For using a child's tragedy for personal glory and television ratings, Nancy Grace is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Note- A big thank you to Lauren Ritchie for her help. Particularly for sharing the above email with me.

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Bright and Early, Blue Star, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Outside the Beltway, Point Five, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid, Uncooperative Blogger,

Friday, October 27, 2006

Still dumb

Via Kim at Wizbang, I learned John Hawkins at Right Wing News has a list of House and Senate races to follow.

Connecticut: Ned Lamont
Maryland: Ben Cardin
Maryland: Ben Cardin
Missouri: Claire McCaskill
Missouri: Claire McCaskill
Debbie Stabenow
Montana: Jon Tester
Ohio: Sherrod Brown
Pennsylvania: Bob Casey
Tennessee: Harold Ford
Tennessee: Harold
New Jersey: Bob Menendez
Virginia: James Webb


(AZ-5): Harry Mitchell
(AZ-08): Gabrielle Giffords
(CO-07): Ed
(CT-04): Diane Farrell
(CT-05): Chris Murphy
(FL-16): Tim
(GA-03): Jim Marshall
(GA-12): John Barrow
(IA-01): Bruce
(IL-06): Tammy Duckworth
(IL-17): Phil Hare
(IN-08): Brad
(IN-09): Baron Hill
(NC-13): Brad Miller
(NH-02): Paul
(NM-01): Patricia Madrid
(NY-20): Kirsten Gillibrand
Michael Arcuri
(NY-29): Eric Massa
(OH-15): Mary Jo Kilroy
Zack Space
(PA-07): Joe Sestak
(PA-10): Chris Carney
Patrick Murphy
(PA-12): John Murtha
(VA-02): Phil Kellam
Darcy Burner
(WI-08): Steve Kagen

You'll notice the obvious typo of listing Senate races twice. I'm not going to dwell on that. However.......

Where is the Florida 22nd?
Where is the Florida 13th?

Both those races are close if you read my links above.

On the other hand, the Diana Irey challenge of John Murtha looks more than ever like the fantasy I said it was two months ago. According to a poll in this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, Murtha leads 57-30. That says to me that Diana Irey is toast.

On the other hand the Florida 13th and Florida 22nd candidates are seperated by 5-8 pts.

TFM isn't a big blogger, or the most articulate person in the world, but I'm far smarter than the fools and knuckleheads who continue to support Irey while at the same time forgetting the Florida 13th and 22nd. It may well end in the GOP losing control of house after November 7th. John Hawkins continues to earn the Knucklehead award I gave him.

Update- Florida blogger State of Sunshine has two excellent posts up on the upcoming election. Here is his evaluation of the House races, plus one for the Senate races. Both posts are well worth reading and I feel SOS is right about the GOP's chances on November.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Blue Star, Right Wing Nation, Stuck on Stupid,

All fed up

Palm Beach Commissioner Tony Masilotti has resigned.

WEST PALM BEACH -- Palm Beach County Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti on Friday said he plans to plead guilty in a federal investigation into abuse of power and secret land deals, admitting for the first time to wrongdoing and saying he is "truly sorry."

In a resignation letter to County Administrator Bob Weisman this morning, Masilotti said he will cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in their probe into a land deal in Martin County that enriched Masilotti and his ex-wife by $1.3 million.

"I will eventually plead guilty," Masilotti wrote.

Masilotti said despite accomplishing many of his political goals during his eight years in office, "I have fallen short and made serious mistakes of judgment for which I take full responsibility, and will pay a severe consequence. There can be nothing more important than the confidence a citizenry has in its government. I admit that my conduct has seriously eroded that confidence."

Masilotti did not specificy the charges he'll plead guilty to.

"I can only hope that my decision to resign, face my mistakes and cooperate with these authorities will result in mercy from the Court, and more importantly, forgiveness from the community I have served," he said.

The FBI investigation that led to Masilotti's dramatic downfall involved the South Florida Water Management District, which paid $43 million for almost 3,500 acres in southern Martin County owned by David and Jeffrey Lee. Tony and Susan Masilotti made $1.3 million through a complicated series of transactions related to the sale, but their stake was hidden. It came to light in divorce papers in January.

Masilotti was set to leave office Nov. 21, before abrupty ending his commission career three weeks short.
Chairman Masilotti is the second high profile Palm Beach County politician to resign in this disgrace in the last six month. Ray Liberti is the other.

Bob Norman at The Daily Pulp notes how it was Masilotti's divorce that brought to light the sordid land deals. That's just one more reason we don't need sealed court records. The truth comes out in the oddest of places.

Hope you like Federal prison Tony. You will deserve every minute of the time spent there.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog,

Just say no

From the Miami Herald-

Faced with near-unanimous condemnation and rebuke from Republicans, Democrats and even his political ally Gov. Jeb Bush, state Rep. Ralph Arza is clinging tenaciously to the power of office that he was given before he exposed himself as a political thug and racist bully.

Even so, it is Rep. Arza -- and not the outraged Republicans and Democrats who are doing all they can to unseat their colleague -- who holds the key to his own fate. Voters who are casting ballots early and those who go to the polls on Nov. 7 will have a chance to express their displeasure with Mr. Arza -- and they should do so by declining to vote in this race, unless a qualified (as yet unidentified) candidate is placed on the ballot.

Declining to vote in this race will send a message of disapproval of Mr. Arza's behavior.

In truth, unless Rep. Arza withdraws from the race, he likely will be reelected. Yet a ballot victory would be a purely egotistic exercise. Mr. Arza would be powerless to influence or pass any legislation because he has alienated friend and foe alike. Meanwhile, he will face a concerted effort to boot him out of the Legislature.

Prior to these developments, we recommended Mr. Arza for reelection as he was among the handful of South Florida lawmakers who drew only superficial opposition from write-in candidates. We now emphatically withdraw that recommendation. And we strongly urge voters to reject Mr. Arza's reelection bid by not casting a vote for state representative in House District 102.
Arza won a knucklehead award from me this week.

What the Herald did is highly unusual I agree with it. Arza should resign from office, his actions are disgraceful. However I wouldn't totally discount him as a legislator. Alliances are made every year to either pass or stymie legislation. Sometimes these have led to pairings of very strange bedfellows, Like Orin Hatch and Ted Kennedy. The Florida legislature is no different.

Hat tip- Rick at SOTP
Linked to- Blue Star, Bright & Early,

Rush hour

Some news from Poland. Did a conductor ask to see Duha's ticket?

Linked to- Third World County, Jo's Cafe, Bullwinkle Blog,

WARSAW (Reuters) - A Sudanese woman gave birth on a tram in the centre of Poland's capital, ensuring instant celebrity for her baby daughter, Polish media reported on Thursday.

Duha Ismail -- whose first name means "light" -- was welcomed to the world on Wednesday by photographers' flashbulbs and the scribbling pens of reporters. Warsaw Mayor Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz later visited her in the hospital.

"I was coming back from a meeting when suddenly the pain came," said Duha's mother, Sulafa Ismail, looking happy and healthy in a bright red turban, according to PAP news agency. "Everything happened so fast."

City officials will debate a proposal on Thursday to award Duha free lifetime access to Warsaw's public transport.

Sulafa Ismail, 37, came to Poland to study medicine 17 years ago, according to Polish media. She has lived in Warsaw for five years.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Sheldon Jacobson. He gets the award for the following.

Here's another thing to blame on Americans' expanding waistlines: Fat people use more gasoline.

Americans are spending more money on fuel these days in part because adult men and women on average are at least 24 pounds heavier than their counterparts were in 1960, a new study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found.

Collectively, today's automobiles are burning more gasoline to haul all that extra weight around -- about 1 billion gallons more annually, in fact, than they would if drivers today weighed the same as drivers did in 1960.

At recent gas prices of $2.20 a gallon, that adds up to $2.2 billion more each year.

"Our nation's hunger for food and our nation's hunger for oil are not independent," said computer science professor Sheldon Jacobson, who co-wrote the study, which will appear in The Engineering Economist.
The project, which looked only at noncommercial travel, was based on the simple fact that heavier cars use more gas.

"We took today's cars and driving habits, and substituted people of average weight in 1960," said co-author Laura McLay, who was a doctoral student working with Jacobson and now is an assistant professor of statistical science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 1960, the average adult male weighed 166 pounds and the average female was 140. In 2002, the averages were 191 and 164, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Apparently Ms. McLay and Professor Jacobson didn't look too hard. For check out this and this.

In 1960 a car's average curb weight was 3617 lbs
In 2006 a car's average curb weight is 3239 lbs.

What is bigger, the 24 human lbs gained or the 378 car lbs lost? Obviously the later, and therefore this study is bogus and more junk science.

Don Surber did the original research and I strongly suggest you read this blog post of his.(Thanks Don!) I did a little checking myself and found the second of the two weight links above. It took me approximately five minutes. What excuse does Professor Jacobson have for not finding it?

For passing off a badly researched science report as fact, Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Sheldon Jacobson is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Samantha Burns, Outside the Beltway, Stuck on Stupid,

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The first of two Florida Politics and Sex stories. From the Tampa Tribune-

TAMPA - A security camera perched near the outside bar at Jackson's Bistro captured a woman recoiling as Hillsborough County's chief tax collector kissed and touched her, her attorney said Monday.

The camera's images are part of a police investigation into whether Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden inappropriately touched the woman while she dined at the Harbour Island restaurant Oct. 12.

Her attorney, Jeff Brown of St. Petersburg, said Monday that Belden, 52, touched and kissed her on the cheek.

Brown said the tape also showed Belden placing his head on Julie A. Irwin's lap, where she was holding her dog, and that the tax collector, unprompted, kissed at least one other woman that night.

Tampa police spokesman Larry McKinnon said detectives hope to conclude their battery investigation this week. Police have released few details in the case.

Belden who lives with his son I think we can safely assume is heterosexual.

On the other hand, there's this article/column concerning Charlie Crist.

A young rising star in the Republican Party has boasted to witnesses of his sexual relationship with Charlie Crist, the frontrunner in the Florida governor's race who has repeatedly denied that he is gay.

The GOP staffer, 21-year-old Jason Wetherington, told friends at separate social functions in August that he had sex with Crist, according to two credible and independent sources who heard Wetherington make the claim first-hand.

Wetherington, who recently worked as a field director for U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris and currently works for state representative Ellyn Bodganoff's reelection campaign, also named a man whom he said is Crist's long-term partner, a convicted thief named Bruce Carlton Jordan who also recently worked for Harris in her long-shot Senate bid.
The author of this article is Bob Norman who also blogs at The Daily Pulp. He is also the author of this 2003 article on Mark Foley. I met Bob in person at this event a week ago.

While there is no proof that what Wetherington has said is true, it's clear that he said it. I first learned about his claims after receiving an anonymous e-mail on October 6. The e-mail was linked to a 2003 story of mine reporting that now-disgraced congressman Mark Foley was gay.

"Why don't you do the same story for another hugely visible FL politician running for office? Call if you want a starting point."

Immediately I knew the e-mailer was referring to Crist. For years, it has been rumored that Crist, the favorite to move into the governor's mansion after the November 7 election, is gay.

I was interested in pursuing the lead mainly because I've come to believe that any closeted politician in the Republican Party — which openly woos homophobes into its ranks while opposing gay rights — is fair game for the media.

Crist, for his part, has been moderate on those issues and supports civil unions. "I'm a live and let live kind of guy," he told me.

But the Palm Beach Post reported on Friday that Crist can be heard in recently recorded phone calls targeting voters saying, "I support a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriages, and I oppose adoption by gay couples."

I asked him about that, and he said he's always held those positions. I asked him if he thought it was fair for reporters to ask him about his own sexuality. "Of course it's fair," he said. "It's just happens to be wrong."

Many people aren't convinced that Crist is telling the truth. I am one of them, especially after reporting this column.
I don't know what to think. Go and read the entire column and draw your own conclusions. Crist's sexual orientation will not be the deciding factor in who I vote for on November 7th in the Florida Governor's race.

Hat tip- Mr C at Peer Review FL
Linked to- Cao's Blog, Third World County, Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, TMH's Bacon Bits,

From the Silly news desk

From the Tampa Tribune. Was he hiding behind the ketchup or the 6-pack of beer?

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation,

TAMPA - A man who fled from police hid inside a refrigerator early Wednesday, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police said they spotted Lazaro Sotelo driving a stolen vehicle near South Dale Mabry Highway late Tuesday. When police put on their sirens, Sotelo accelerated and ran red lights and a stop sign, the affidavit states.

Four miles later, Sotelo bailed from the car and ran inside a screened pool enclosure at 3008 W. Aileen St. He then hid inside a refrigerator in the home, the affidavit states.

Sotelo was arrested about 12:25 a.m. Wednesday. He was charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors, including grand theft auto.

Florida the rules are different here Chapter LVIII

A bear causes a school lockdown. Wouldn't throwing the animal several bags of cookies been easier? You got to love Florida.

Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Jo's Cafe, Third World County, TMH's Bacon Bits,

A bear that prompted a lockdown at Immokalee Middle and Immokalee High schools has been captured.

Students were unable to move between school buildings as wildlife officers try to sedate and remove the animal.

"The bear was spotted on the Immokalee Middle School campus around 9 a.m., then went across the street to the Immokalee High School campus," said Joe Landon, communications director for Collier County public schools.

The high school has an enrollment of 1,445 students, while the adjacent middle school has 1,121 students on campus.

Time to make whoopee?

Some news from South Korea.

As tends to be the case in disasters and crises, sales of condoms and reservations at motels surged in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test on Oct. 9. One online hotel reservations site reports that everything is completely booked up through the end of the month in what it calls an “exceptional” flood of guests. If there is apathy about security among Koreans, there is also a silent terror seeking release in sex.
On Oct. 9-15, the average daily sales of condoms across all Family Mart convenience stores was 1,930, a 19.9 percent increase over September’s daily average of 1,610. Compared to the year’s average until September of 1,508, that is an incredible 28 percent increase. Even when the sample period widened from Oct. 9-21, the average stood at a high 1,857. Amazingly, even now more condoms are sold than during the World Cup, which even at its zenith in June only brought daily averages only to 1,751.

Things were no different at other convenience store chains like GS25. Oct. 9-15 daily sales revenues from condoms stood at W3.54 million, a 14.8 percent increase over September and a 12 percent increase over the year’s average through September. Expanding again the sample period to Oct. 9-21, there was an 8.2 percent increase in sales. On days of the World Cup matches against Togo, France and Switzerland, sales figures from condoms were at an average of W3.18 million, only slightly above the norm.

Sales of butane gas and packs of instant noodles -- a sign that people are stockpiling -- also increased, but not to the same extent as condom sales.
When the next nuclear apocalypse movie is made, they should include scenes of people buying these vital supplies. What do you think?

Hat tip- James Joyner at OTB
Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation,

Another step on the road to disaster

From Golf World-

The ShopRite Classic, a fixture on the LPGA schedule for 21 years, has ended its ties with the tour in a dispute over when the tournament would be played. In a strongly worded statement released Wednesday that never mentioned LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens by name, tournament chairman Larry Harrison accused the tour of ignoring a commitment ShopRite Classic organizers say they had from previous tour leadership guaranteeing its date through 2008. The decision apparently ends an event that was one of the most popular among players because of its proximity to the Jersey Shore and the casinos of Atlantic City.

The standoff turned nasty in July when the tour slotted a new tournament in South Carolina -- the Ginn Tribute -- for June 1-3, one week before the McDonald's LPGA Championship for 2007. Harrison says that week was promised to him. The tour disputes that claim and offered several other dates, none of which were acceptable to the ShopRite organizers. Last month, the LPGA discussed the 2007 schedule at a players' meeting at the Long Drugs Challenge. On that draft schedule was an event listed only as "Atlantic City" slated for Labor Day weekend.

"In effect, there has been no true negotiation with the Tour, and no direct communication with the Tour commissioner or her staff throughout this process," Harrison said in his statement. "Rather, the tour, through its outside legal counsel, has simply offered a few undesirable and/or unworkable dates, of which only one was even remotely acceptable."

In a tersely worded statement Wednesday night, the LPGA challenged the accuracy of Harrison's version of events and hinted at legal action. "Harrison's statement is full of falsehoods and incorrect accounts," the LPGA statement said. "We've directed our legal counsel to contact Mr. Harrison's attorney and have him rescind the statement."


"We went up against the men's Open once before and it was a total disaster," he said. "No gallery, no press." July 4th weekend on the Jersey shore would be impossible because of the lack of reasonable hotel room rates for the players and the lack of availability of casinos for the two parties during the event. "And what kind of field would I get if we were between stops in California and Mexico?" Harrison asked.

The ShopRite Clasic is the second LPGA event to break its ties with the tour in a dispute over scheduling dates. The Wendy's Championship for Children near Columbus, Ohio, an event since 1999, pulled out when its late-August date was given to the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore. The tour has also lost stops in Atlanta and Las Vegas this year, while adding the South Carolina event as well as stops in Alabama, Arkansas and Thailand.

"Putting together a schedule is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube, when you think you have one side solved you turn it over and see that another piece is out of place," LPGA chief operating officer Chris Higgs told Golf World when Wendy's left the tour. "We have to consider what's best for the tour overall and those decisions are not always going to make everyone happy. We don't want to lose events, but we do need a certain level of cooperation."
This is an utter fiasco but I wasn't surprised by this news. It is just the latest in a long series of incidents involving tournament sponsors and LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens since she took over running the tour in 2005. Click here, here, here, and here for previous examples of this woman's incompetence. The LPGA players need to see to Ms Bivens firing and soon. If not, there may not be a US Ladies pro golf tour in 5 or 10 years.

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Blue Star, TMH's Bacon Bits,

Fumbles, Interceptions, Fire?

The Miami Dolphins 2006 season has been almost all bad news, but who would have predicted this?

A fire completely destroyed the office building that houses Miami-based Dolphin Digest, the Dolphins team publication, early Tuesday morning.

No one was injured.

Curtis Publishing, which also publishes Steelers Digest, Eagles Insider, (Florida) Panthers Insider, as well as entertainment publications - Live on Stage and Unrestricted - has chronicled the Dolphins since 1972.

Cohen, a Plantation resident, said that he is looking for a new permanent site, but a few of his employees have temporarily relocated to the BankAtlantic Center.
It's good no one was hurt, but do you think this fire should make the Dolphins' highlight film for the year?

Linked to- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Clash of Civilizations,

Love is blind till the money runs out

Some news from Stars and Stripes-

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An airman who said he went absent without leave from Osan Air Base to escape a possible court-martial and jail time got both Tuesday for the same act he hoped would keep him free.

Airman Christopher R. Neal, 21, of the 51st Communications Squadron, was sentenced to 10 months in jail and loss of pay after pleading guilty to being AWOL and to breaking restriction.

But in a pretrial agreement, Neal’s jail term was set at eight months. Because he was jailed for 69 days before trial, he’ll spend less than six months more in jail, the prosecution said.

He also was sentenced to loss of $500 per month for 10 months.

The Air Force court-martialed Neal on Tuesday before Lt. Col. Eric Dillow, military judge for the Pacific Circuit out of Yokota Air Base, Japan. Neal chose to be tried by judge alone instead of a jury.


Neal had been AWOL for 43 days when 10 OSI agents appeared suddenly at his apartment.

Neal said that while in pretrial confinement, he learned his girlfriend “had contacted them” and led them to him.

Prosecutor Capt. Felix Sutanto asked Dillow to give Neal a 10-month jail sentence, forfeiture of two-thirds of his base pay and a bad-conduct discharge.
Airman Neal is to blame for what happened to him, but as GI in Korea points out, not without the help of a juicy girl. These types of women is quite common around US overseas bases and were so when I was in the Navy. Military members are warned about them(I was when stationed at Subic Bay), but sadly some don't listen or are just naive. Which Neal was Stars and Stripes doesn't say, the airman is now paying the price.

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Wasek Safrah. He gets the award for the following.

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - A shopkeeper got so angry about the way a man had parked his car that he climbed into a forklift, placed the fork under the car and lifted it off the ground, police said Wednesday.

Wasek Safrah, 51, of Ossining, also punched out both the offending car and the man who parked it, said Lt. Brian Karst of the Carmel police. He was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and assault.

Karst said the episode began at about 5 p.m. Oct. 16 at a strip mall on Route 6 in Mahopac. Safrah felt the car, though legally parked, was blocking his access to a storage container or trash bin and got into a heated argument with the driver, who was an employee of another store and was no longer in the car. Police did not release that man's name.

The police report, issued Tuesday night, says Safrah then punched the side of the vehicle, denting it. Then he took the controls of a forklift in the parking lot, maneuvered its lifting mechanism under the car and lifted it upward. The car was not moved out of the parking spot, however.

"We don't know what his intention was," Karst said.

Karst said he did not know who owned the forklift, but it probably belonged to another of the businesses.

After lifting the car, Safrah allegedly punched the driver in the mouth. The victim was injured but not seriously, Karst said.

The car was eventually lowered from the forklift.

Safrah was released pending an appearance in Carmel Town Court, still to be scheduled. Neither the police nor the court had information on who might represent him. There was no phone listing under his name in Ossining.
LOL, Mr. Safrah better take some anger management classes or he won't have a long way to go to prison. Ossining is the home to the NY prison known as Sing Sing.

Wasek Safrah is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

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