noembed noembed

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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Still not enough

The latest US policy change in regards to North Korea.

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a novel effort targeting the lifestyle of North Korea's eccentric president, the Bush administration wants to make it tougher for him to buy iPods, plasma televisions, Segway electric scooters and more.

It is Washington's first-ever attempt to use trade penalties as a way of personally aggravating a foreign leader. They target items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government.

Kim, who orchestrated a secret nuclear weapons program despite international efforts to stop him, has other options for obtaining high-end consumer electronics and other luxuries.

But the list of proposed U.S. penalties, obtained by The Associated Press, aims to make Kim's swanky life harder: No more cognac, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles or even personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.

The ban would extend even to musical instruments and sports equipment. The 5-foot-3 Kim is an enthusiastic basketball fan; Secretary of State Madeleine Albright presented him with a ball signed by Michael Jordan during a rare diplomatic trip in 2000. Kim's former secretary, widely believed to be his new wife, studied piano at North Korea's Pyongyang University of Music and Dance.

``While North Korea's people starve and suffer, there is simply no excuse for the regime to be splurging on cognac and cigars,'' Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said Wednesday in a statement. ``We will ban the export of these and other luxury goods that are purchased for no other reason than to benefit North Korea's governing elite.''

Gutierrez said penalized items were ``carefully considered and carefully targeted.''
While Eugene Volokh says huh and Doug at Below the Beltway thinks Kim has been dealt a heavy blow, TFM notes two important items that still need to be banned.

Crayons and coloring books.

Now what would Kim do without those?(Cue the sarcastic laughter)

Linked to- Outside the Beltway, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

Not reassuring

Some news from the Florida Times-Union-

Jacksonville Naval Hospital officials Wednesday categorically denied a Navy wife's claim that she had been operated on with contaminated instruments.

Jennifer Backman, 35, filed notice of intent on Tuesday to sue the government because she said doctors used unsterilized instruments during outpatient surgery Aug. 30 to repair an umbilical hernia. Federal law requires that anyone suing the U.S. government give six months' notice.

The same day, the hospital's commander, Capt. Raquel Bono, refused to discuss the case, but issued a general statement expressing the hospital's commitment to patient safety.

"Under our procedures, it is inconceivable to use surgical instruments on one patient and then another," said Cmdr. Craig Shepps, the hospital's director of surgical services.

Backman said Tuesday she received a frantic call after her surgery and was told that contaminated instruments were used. She said she was advised by her surgeon to return to the hospital for antibiotic treatments and diagnostic tests.

Contacted Wednesday, Backman's attorney, Sean Cronin, stood by his client's claim. "The family has no reason to doubt the truthfulness of the Navy surgeon," Cronin said.

Bono did confirm that a call was made and Backman was advised to undergo post-operative testing but said she could not say any more about the incident because of patient privacy laws.

Bono said she called the news conference because of her concerns about the effect that media accounts of Backman's lawsuit might have on the hospital's reputation
. She was brought in as commander in August 2005 to help make changes at the hospital, which has been sued frequently in recent years.

In the year preceding Backman's surgery, there were about $71 million in settlements and judgments against the hospital.

I don't think Bono's or Cmdr. Shepps statements did anything to improve Jacksonville Naval Hospital's reputation. Their statements are either evasive or not re-assuring.(Inconceivable is not impossible) Rather Bono and Shepps statements combined with the history of settlements made by the hospital call into question any medical care given at this facility.

The Navy and or Congress should investigate this hospital and find out what exactly has been happening there and what needs to be changed in order that those serving in The Navy plus their families get the very best medical care. This country owes them nothing less and right now Jacksonville Naval Hospital isn't doing that.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

Color co-coordination

Someone in SW Florida is unhappy about a lime green painted house.

One new homeowner might have been "in love" with the color she painted her house, but the feeling apparently wasn't mutual for someone with a can of black spray paint.

The color — bright lime green — has drawn the attention and ire of neighbors since it was painted on the house last week.

Construction on the single-story Cape Coral home at Four Mile Cove and Southeast 16th Place, visible from Del Prado Boulevard, is near completion.

"If I flipped on a neon light, I'm pretty sure it would glow," Cape Coral Automotive manager Jeff Flesner said. "It's hideous."

Still, Flesner doesn't agree with the route someone took to express their color contempt.

Phrases including "No Alien Green," "Who paints their house this color?" "Bad Choice," and "Not in this Neighborhood," as well as a handful of profanities, were sprayed in black paint on the sides of the house sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Police spokeswoman Dyan Lee said officers were alerted to the damage around 9:30 a.m. Monday when a foreman arrived to work. She said the cost to repaint has been estimated at $500.

A subcontractor of Oyster Bay Homes, the Fort Myers-based company responsible for building, painted over it by 2:30 Monday afternoon.

That color is kind of hideous. Apparently the owner thinks otherwise.

According to property records, the home is owned by a woman named Gloria Leal, who did not return telephone messages or answer the door at her other Cape Coral home Monday.

But Cookie Kakabadse, color coordinator for Oyster Bay Homes, said Leal came to her several months ago with the color swatch already in hand.

"She's in love with that color, and we're a custom builder so we gave her what she wanted," Kakabadse said.

"I'm pretty sure she has no intention of changing it, but I'm disappointed that people would do that (vandalize). That's no way to treat a new neighbor."

Agrred Ms. Kakabadse. Whomever did the spray painting is a vandal. If caught the police should pursue charges against the person.

One neighbor made me laugh.

"My son said maybe he ought to paint his house purple now, just so it would match," said Walt McCarty, who lives with his son just a few houses down.
Purple is a great color for a house but my HOA would never approve it. Nor would my big boss, dear wife.

Just as long as I can keep my purple bath towels. Ok?

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe,

Help wanted

News from my hometown of Lantana-

LANTANA — John Earl Clemons Jr. started his night at a teen dance, hanging with friends, looking for a good time.

The evening ended with a police officer firing a bullet into the 14-year-old that could leave him paralyzed, his family said.

Clemons, an eighth-grader at Congress Middle School in Boynton Beach, can barely speak from his hospital bed at Delray Medical Center, family members said.

With no feeling in much of his body and the bullet still lodged inside, doctors don't know whether he will be able to walk again, the family said.
It will be terrible if this boy can't ever walk again. Still the blame appears to fall at John Earl's feet.

His brother and another relative said Wednesday that they are angry at John for what he did to end up in that hospital bed. They said he was stuck at a dance at The Palace roller skating rink on Lantana Road without a ride, so he stole a Dodge Neon, rode around town with friends and tried to run over officer Joel Shackelford.

"I'm mad at the police because they shot him, and I'm mad at John because he had no business stealing a car," said his brother, Kelvin Clemons, 14. "I feel sorry every time I look at him. I know how he feels."


The events that led to the shooting began Monday when Shackelford, Lantana's only motorcycle cop, drove two blocks out of city limits, after his shift ended, to keep following the stolen gold Neon.

At the end of the traffic stop, his Harley-Davidson motorcycle was smashed by the car and John Clemons Jr. had a bullet in him.
Note- The palace is a half mile walk from my house.

You do have to wonder about Officer Shackelford and whether he is suited to do police work.

Shackelford's record has since come into question. Two months ago, he fired at another car.
I blogged about that story here.

Even with her car being shot at and police chasing her, Katie Lee Vest still couldn't bring herself to hang up her cellphone.

While chatting away in her big, white blue-roofed Cadillac, police say the 24-year-old woman — who claimed she was pregnant — turned a suburban Lantana neighborhood into a stunt-driving course Tuesday while fleeing from a Lantana motorcycle cop after an attempted traffic stop. She drove off the street, between homes and into a fenced-in residential back yard in the Sea Pines neighborhood, police say.

Seemingly trapped, with the officer yelling for her to stop, police say she quickly reversed, nearly striking him. Officer Joel Shackelford's Harley-Davidson fell on him, but he managed to fire a single shot, hoping to strike the car's tire, said Lantana police Capt. Andy Rundle.
That's two incidents in a little over two months. There's more from today's Post.

According to his chief and his annual performance review, he is a good, dedicated cop who keeps his composure in stressful situations, has a positive attitude and bases his decisions on fact rather than emotion.

"Joel's a very well-respected member of the police department," Chief Rick Lincoln said. "He's a hard worker. He produces a lot of citations and arrests."

But the 38-year-old officer also had conflicts in the almost five years he has worked in Lantana. He was written up for a shouting match with a sergeant, for a vehicle crash he caused on duty and for failure to show up at traffic court, according to his personnel file.

In May, he made a comment to a defense attorney in court that prompted the bailiff to write a report about it.

At a routine hearing over a speeding ticket, defense attorney Bill Abramson successfully argued that Shackelford's radar gun was not calibrated to the latest standards.

Shackelford's response, according to the report: He turned to Abramson and said, "You're done."

Abramson asked him if that was a threat, and Shackelford replied that it wasn't.

The officer then added, "But you burned your bridges with me."

The report does not name Shackelford, but Abramson identified him as the officer.

"I've beaten a lot of cops on a lot of cases, and they don't turn to me and say 'You're done,''" said Abramson, who estimates he has handled 25,000 speeding cases.
If what the Post is reporting is true, I'd question Shackelford's suitability for police work. TFM has always maintained those in our law enforcement and legal system need to be held to a very high standard. Officer Shackelford at present doesn't look suited to serve the people of Lantana.

Disclosure- My wife knows Lantana Police Captain Rundle through her work as a church receptionist.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

Florida the rules are different here Chapter LXV

The South Florida MSM has trouble identifying cars. From the Miami Herald-

For the third time in three days, a Tri-Rail train has slammed into a car on the tracks -- this time a Porsche. The sports car was dragged hundreds of feet down the tracks, leaving it mangled beyond recognition.

The driver, fortunately, wasn't inside. He was able to bail out moments before impact.

The accident happened about 5 a.m. in Boca Raton near Interstate 95. m. The car was idling on the tracks at Southwest 18th Street.
Rick at SOTP noted this accident early this morning. Since then the Herald has re-identified the car.

For the third time in three days, a Tri-Rail train has slammed into a car on the tracks. The red 1993 Geo was dragged hundreds of feet south, leaving it mangled beyond recognition.
Only in South Florida can a Geo be mistaken for a Porsche. I can hardly wait for the day a VW Bug is mistaken for a Cadillac. Isn't this a great state or what?

Note- The accident took place less than two miles from where my parents lived in the 1980's. I know the area of where the accident occured very well.
Linked to- Bullwinkle, Basil's Blog, Blue Star, Bright & Early,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is pro golfer and NBC announcer Johnny Miller. A little while back I blogged about the large amount of mistakes in Miller's book 'I call the shots.' Here is a recap of what I wrote-

1- Lee Janzen won the 1993 US Open not 1994
2- Sevriano Ballesteros won 6 not 3 US PGA Tour titles.
3- Ed Fiori did not beat Tiger Woods in a playoff at the 1996 Quad Cities tournament. Woods finished fourth.
4- Valderama has NOT hosted ’several’ Ryder Cups. It hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup only.
5- Tiger Woods is said to have shot 16 under for the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach. Woods shot 12 under, its even stated he did so on the previous page!
6- Ernie Els bogeied the first hole of the 1994 US Open Playoff, not make a par. Miller compounds this mistake by saying Els who got a drop on that hole may have been helped by this ‘par’.
7- Annika Sorenstam was tied for the lead not one shot back when teeing off 18 at the 2003 US Open.
8- Craig Stadler’s disqualification for kneeling on a towel in a San Diego tournament happened in 1987 not 1983.
9- Ray Floyd lost the 1990 not 1989 Masters in a playoff to Nick Faldo.
10- Gary Player’s first major championship was the 1959 British Open not the 1959 Masters.
11- Tom Watson won five British Opens(75,77,80, 82, 83) not six
12- Jack Nicklaus started the final round of 1986 Masters 4 back, not 6 back.
13- Tom Watson did not win 2 AT&T championships at Pebble Beach. The tournament was the Bing Crosby Pro-am and not sponsored by AT&T when Watson won there in 1977 and 1978.

These mistakes are pretty bad and I have since found more in the book. However what wins Miller the Knucklehead is this little gem on page 224.

"I also won the San Francisco City Championship, the biggest local amateur tournament there was."
Unfortunately history teaches us otherwise.

1956 Ken Venturi
1957 Tal Smith
1958 Bill McCool Angie Vote
1959 Bob Sylvestri Dorothy Stamps
1960 Bob Sylvestri Linda Collins
1961 Verne Callison Jane Thomas
1962 Tom Dixon Jan Ferraris
1963 George Archer Jan Ferraris
1964 Ken Towns Jan Ferraris
1965 Walt Gilliam Jan Ferraris
1966 Larry Anderson Marie Strand
1967 Bob E. Smith Linda Collins Maurer
James Joyner pointed out this 2005 article that backs what I say.

The City Championship is as diverse as San Francisco itself. Hackers hitting the ball sideways play alongside more accomplished golfers who bomb it down the middle. There are flights for all abilities, but the Championship Flight is the one that grabs the headlines. It is there that many of the great ones cut their teeth. Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller, George Archer and Bob Rosburg, to name a few, all started their competitive careers trying to win the City Championship. Even Tom Watson, while a young psychology major at Stanford took a crack at it. But only Venturi and Archer among them was successful.
So Johnny Miller is a liar and this calls anything he says either on the air or in the book into question. Why should anyone believe what Miller says? Should NBC fire Miller like Notre Dame University did when George O'Leary was found padding his resume?

Those decisions aren't up to TFM but I do make Johnny Miller today's Knucklehead of the day.

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


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Everyone has their price?

From today's Palm Beach Post-

PALM BEACH GARDENS — The residents of the Bent Tree community in Palm Beach Gardens were loud and clear when the new Southampton townhouse community, just to their south, came to city council members for approval:

We want it to be two stories, not three, they said, with some pointing to developer greed as the only justification for the extra story.

But finally, an agreement was struck.

Some, but not most, of the buildings were reduced to two stories, and some changes were made to the architecture.

Another part of the deal was cash.

The Bent Tree Property Owners Association was pledged $25,000 by developer Hovstone Properties Florida, money that was later divided among 11 homeowners who were free to spend it however they liked.

Residents dropped their opposition. And the gift, made last year, wasn't publicly discussed.

Bent Tree couple Joel and Barbara Buschek, aghast at the payment that was hashed out between the developer and a few residents, recently moved out of the area, calling the city corrupt.

They were particularly disturbed by the silent acquiescence of their elected officials.

"The whole thing stunk," Joel Buschek said. "What they did was teach the homeowner's association you can operate in secret and get away with it."

Developers have routinely enhanced their projects in various ways to appease residents or elective bodies. Sometimes they add trees or bushes. Sometimes they include another patch of lawn. Sometimes, they make design changes. And sometimes, they make a payment in cash.

Bent Tree is just one example.
TFM is certain there are other examples, some of which were done under the table and have a good chance of never being discovered.

HOA boards are no different than elected politicians. If someone wanted to buy board member's votes, it can be done. Money plus power leads to corruption.

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

Fear of Muslims and Islam

Congressman elect and practicing Muslim Keith Ellison, plans to take his oath of office with his hand placed on a Quran not a bible.

Ellison is a faithful man but quiet about his religion. He said he was unaware of his potential as a groundbreaker in Congress until he was asked by a reporter after he won the party endorsement in May. But his faith has affected his politics.

Ellison will take the oath of office in Washington on the Quran. He will also, as he does every day, unroll his prayer rug five times a day, bend on his knees and face Mecca.
TFM has no issue with Ellison using a Quran. As James Joyner at OTB points out, the US constitution makes no requirement as to even a bible.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
There is also the little thing called the first ammendment and freedom of religion.

There a few people out on the internet who apparently have forgotten their constitution.

Dennis Prager writes-

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

A Palestinian woman holds the Koran during a Hamas rally against Israeli troops operation in northern Gaza strip November 3, 2006. Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian women acting as human shields between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen during a clash at a Gaza mosque on Friday, witnesses said, before the gunmen escaped. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA) First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?
I never heard of Mr. Prager before yesterday. On the other hand, Sister Toldjah who is on my blogroll, agrees with Prager.

This is how it starts. They can’t defeat us militarily, but they will most certainly try to defeat us using our own laws and customs against us.
Professor Bainbridge weighs in-

Prager's argument strikes me as fundamentally misguided. In the first place, Prager appears to be misinformed. He posits that:

... for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament ....

In fact, however, my understanding is that Jewish politicians and civil servants often take the oath of office by swearing on the Torah rather than the Christian Bible. (Anybody got any empirical evidence on way or the other?)
I looked for such evidence on the web but found none. That doesn't disprove what the Professor says.

Nevertheless this is about the constitution and US law. Mr. Ellison can take the oath in any way he wishes. Prager and ST are both terribly misguided in their views.

Sometimes I can't believe the venom out there in the mainstream conservative blogosphere. Whether its illegal aliens, liberal Democrats or Muslims, some just see this as a game they have to win. No matter how laws, people, or just common decency, get trashed in the process. Everyone is welcome to their views, but that's a two-way street that some people have apparently forgotten. Is this really hate and intolerance for anyone not in agreement with their own world view or just bad cases of xenophobia.

Shape of Days says if he was sworn in one day he would use a copy of Playboy. LOL, good choice. The Liberty Papers is also commenting.
Linked to- Adam's Blog, Cao's Blog, Right Wing Nation,

Justice for Martin Lee Anderson

From today's Sun-Sentinel-

TALLAHASSEE · Nearly 11 months after a teenage boy died following a manhandling by his overseers at a Panhandle boot camp, a beating that was caught on videotape and led to an overhaul of Florida's juvenile justice system, seven former guards and a nurse were charged Tuesday with manslaughter, a felony that carries a potential 30-year prison term.

``I'm finally getting justice for my baby,'' said Gina Jones, mother of Martin Lee Anderson, who was 14.

Prosecutors said her son died hours after guards choked, kicked and beat him when he collapsed in the exercise yard of the now-defunct Bay County sheriff's camp in Panama City on Jan. 5. He had just been sent to the camp for its regimen of military-style training and discipline after taking a joyride in his grandmother's car.

The death of the North Florida teen not only rattled the state institutions that are supposed to punish and rehabilitate minors, but led to the state-mandated closing of the Bay County facility and three similar military-style camps for children. A camp videocamera filmed the harsh treatment of Anderson, and the resulting tape, aired nationwide, put intense pressure on Gov. Jeb Bush, especially from blacks, for a thorough investigation into the black youth's death. In April, college students waged a two-day protest in Bush's office and a march on Florida's Capitol.

An initial autopsy conducted by Bay County authorities found that the youth had died of natural complications of sickle cell trait, a usually benign blood disorder common among blacks. That finding was greeted with widespread outrage and disbelief, and the special prosecutor subsequently named by Bush in the case, Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober, ordered another autopsy. That examination found Anderson's death was due to suffocation caused by the camp guards.

Anderson's death is a tragedy but is a witch hunt in progress here?

Bill O has two very lengthy posts that call the conclusions of the second autopsy into question. Click here and here. Both are highly technical but worth reading. The Anderson family deserves justice but so do the seven guards and one nurse. This case is far too complicated to be tried by the media, bloggers or public opinion. We'll just have to trust that 6 or 12 Florida citizens can do what is right.

Hat tip- A Cool Change
Linked to- Bullwinkle, Bright & Early,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee. She gets the award for the following.

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted "Allah" when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

"I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud," the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks -- two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

"That would alarm me," said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. "They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane."

A pilot from another airline said: "That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry."

But the imams who were escorted off the flight in handcuffs say they were merely praying before the 6:30 p.m. flight on Nov. 20, and yesterday led a protest by prayer with other religious leaders at the airline's ticket counter at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, called removing the imams an act of Islamophobia and compared it to racism against blacks.

"It's a shame that as an African-American and a Muslim I have the double whammy of having to worry about driving while black and flying while Muslim," Mr. Bray said.

The protesters also called on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw passenger profiling.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, said the September 11 terrorist attacks "cannot be permitted to be used to justify racial profiling, harassment and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans."

"Understandably, the imams felt profiled, humiliated, and discriminated against by their treatment," she said.
Congresswoman Jackson-Lee is a former Knucklehead winner.

This isn't discrimination, but a case of passenger safety. The Congresswoman is too blind or full of hate to see the obvious. Either that or she feels the need to grandstand for some warped political reason. Why that's necessary when she wins re-election with over 70% of the vote at minimum is beyond me.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Is it Just me? , Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the restaurant chain, International House of Pancakes. They get the award for the following.

QUINCY, Mass. - John Russo has been a victim of identity theft. So when he was asked to fork over a photo ID just to be seated at an IHOP pancake restaurant, he flipped. "'You want my license? I'm going for pancakes, I'm not buying the Hope diamond,' and they refused to seat us," Russo said, recounting his experience this week at the Quincy IHOP.

The restaurant now has agreed to reverse the policy of requiring customers to turn over their driver's licenses before they can order — a rule that was enacted to discourage "dine and dash" thefts.

WCVB-TV in Boston reported the Quincy restaurant's policy had been enacted without corporate approval.

IHOP Corp., based in Glendale, Calif., released a statement Monday night to WCVB that said an employee felt the policy could eliminate the problem of people leaving without paying.

"This was done without the knowledge or approval of management. ... We apologize to any guest who was inconvenienced," the statement said.

Russo said a security guard at the restaurant had "at least 40" licenses in hand when he arrived to eat.

"Identity theft is rampant. I wouldn't want to give my license, with my address or Social Security number to anyone that I'm not familiar with," Russo said. "I'm going just for breakfast."
I don't blame you Mr. Russo. If I was asked to do the same by any restaurant, I'd walk out the door before sitting down. I'm 45 years old and never once heard of a business with that policy.

Even though corporate has rescinded the policy, I doubt no one was aware of what was going on in Quincy. The restaurant manager has to be reporting to someone. For treating their customers like criminals, IHOP is today's Knucklehead of the day.

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


Monday, November 27, 2006

Male Birth Control

From the The London Daily Mail-

British scientists have developed a revolutionary pill that men could take as a one-off contraceptive just before a date.

The tablet would prevent a man from being able to impregnate a woman, but within a few hours his fertility would return to normal.

This would make it much more acceptable to men than other 'male pills' under development, which alter hormone levels and have to be taken over the long term.

It is also more likely to be trusted by women as they are not relying on their man having to remember to take his pill every day for it to work.

The hormone-free 'male pill' was inspired by two medicines already in use and so the scientists hope it could be on the market within as little as five years.

Experts believe it could transform family planning by allowing couples to share the responsibility for contraception - a role that traditionally falls to women.

The new contraceptive is likely to appeal to women who are uneasy about the female Pill's ability to raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks and potentially-fatal blood clots.
All medication comes with some risk or side effect. I'm sure this male contraceptive would have risks for men too and The Daily Mail hack writer is either too dumb or too biased to ever report those risks.

Not that TFM opposes use of contraceptives. Its a decision a man or a woman should make without outside interference.

Hat tip- Don Surber who points out death and birth rates and that a male contraceptive is hardly something people in the UK need. Maybe so, but is the drug's intended market just for people in the British Isles or for people world-wide?

I'm not picking on Don, but his idea to shorten gestation to six months is hardly feasible or likely. Babies need as much time in utero as possible. The survival rates for premature babies has greatly increased over recent years but doesn't come without risk or harm to the child. Babies born at 28 weeks which is like 6.5-7 months have an 85% survival rate. Dear Wife and I have learned the worst way possible about the other side of those stats for babies born that early.

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

World Domination

Some news from Australia-

SYDNEY (AFP) - Western nations must prepare for a future dominated by China and India, whose rapid economic rise will soon fundamentally alter the balance of power, former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn has warned.

Wealthy countries were failing to understand the impact of the invevitable growth of the two Asian powerhouses, Wolfensohn said in the 2006 Wallace Wurth Memorial Lecture at the University of New South Wales at the weekend.

"It's a world that is going to be in the hands of these countries which we now call developing," said Australian-born Wolfensohn, who held the top job at the global development bank for a decade until last year.

Rich nations needed to try to capitalise on the inevitable emergence of what would become the engine of the world's economic activity before it was too late, he said.

"Most people in the rich countries don't really look at what's happening in these large developing countries," said Wolfensohn, who is now chairman of Citigroup International Advisory Board and his own investment and advisory firm.

Within 25 years, the combined gross domestic products of China and India would exceed those of the Group of Seven wealthy nations, he said.

"This is not a trivial advance, this is a monumental advance."

Wolfensohn said that somewhere between 2030 and 2040, China would become the largest economy in the world, leaving the United States behind.

I agree with Wolfensohn in that China and India have the potential to be the most dominant world powers in another 30-50 years. Both countries , but China's in particular, are already making great strides as far as GDP growth.

There are however several potential problems that could cause Wolfensohn and others(Read Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's excellent book 'Thunder in the East') predictions to be off the mark. They include-

1- Rising Nationalism in Asia. Here is one example that I blogged about some months back. While this conflict is all rather silly and unlikely to start a war, there are potential danger spots like the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, or The China-Japan dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Most strategic experts would rate a Pakistan-India dispute as the one with the greatest potential to go nuclear. Such a conflict would be catastrophic but the potential for one can also be possible brake on economic growth in India. What investor wants to risk money in a part of the world with that level of danger?

2- Pollution. China's industrialization has come with few safeguards for the surrounding enviorment. Anyone who has travelled to this part of the world(And TFM has)knows just how polluted some parts of Asia are. Pollution of the air and water is a health hazard that could also dampen the region's potential growth.

3- Political stability. China is Communist in name only as the country practices more capitalism with every passing day. With growing economic freedom, the people of China are likely to want more political freedom also. The rulers in Beijing fear democracy and are likely to crack down on any threats to their power. All of this creates a high potential for instability and a potential damper on the country's growth.

India calls itself the world's largest democracy, but is reality a one-party state. One that has seen political assassination far too often.

Other factors that could hold back China or India include illiteracy, inefficient use of women in the economy, and health issues not related to pollution(AIDS is on the rise in this part of the world). China and India have great potential but many obstacles to overcome also before they become the world's dominant economic powers.

Linked to- Third World County, Right Wing Nation,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are The Port of Palm Beach and its director Lori Baer. They get the award for the following.

The Port of Palm Beach is billing taxpayers for up to $150,000 in repairs to a 4-year-old cruise terminal rather than pursue claims against the builder or architect, even though the building has leaked in rainstorms since it was new.

The port, attributing damage to hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in September 2004 and Wilma in October 2005, has received $58,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency repair funds and plans to apply for more.

But port staff and a cruise company tenant say the $27 million, ship-shaped terminal and six-story tower leaked before the hurricanes. They say the glass-skinned structure still leaks during storms as mild as Ernesto in August, when gusts got no higher than 49 mph.

But in its applications for FEMA repair money, the port did not tell the agency that the building had previous leaks. Lori Baer, port director since August 2004, signed the hurricane repair applications and said she was unaware of previous leaks. She blamed the recurring problems on harsh weather.

"All the damage that resulted was from Hurricane Frances" and the storms that followed, Baer said. "We were pounded for 20 hours and during much of that storm, I was at the port. It's difficult to put it on anything other than hurricane damage.

"If you think about doing a legal campaign with companies like that and an issue like this, you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars and probably years and it's not something I would recommend."

The port needed FEMA assistance because insurance deductibles were too high, Baer said.

The building was designed by Zeidler Roberts Partnership, based in Canada, and built by Catalfumo Construction of Palm Beach Gardens. Officials of both companies did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

A FEMA spokesman said applicants must disclose preexisting conditions. If FEMA finds a funding request invalid, the agency could demand its money back. No grants are final until a final inspection is completed, said Josh Wilson, a spokesman in the FEMA Florida Long Term Recovery Office.

Within a year after the signature building opened in 2002, leaks came through the roof or side panels and from operable windows, installed to meet Florida Building Code requirements to vent smoke, according to Carl Baker, a longtime port administrator and now a special assistant to Baer.

Catalfumo crews tracked down and repaired the roof leaks. The patches held until Hurricane Frances, then ceiling tiles started appearing water-stained again, Baker said.

As for the windows, they had been installed as a cost-saving alternative to venting smoke through air-conditioning ducts. The hurricane-resistant window panes on the building were too strong to break in event of fire.

"A fire ax pretty much bounces off," Baker said.

So the building needed a series of operable windows. But because of the persistent leaks, the windows were sealed and no longer open. What happens if firefighters can't break the glass? "Hit it harder," he said.

The building, which houses port administrative offices, U.S. Customs, immigration and the Palm Beach Casino Line, which operates the Palm Beach Princess casino cruises, was built to generate cruise line business. But those ships haven't come in, and the office rental fees and wharfage fees barely cover the building's construction debt and operating costs.
I suggest that you read the entire Palm Beach Post article.

The Port is one big white elephant and now we learn its grossly mismanaged to boot. It don't surprise me one bit. Anyone familiar with PB County politics also knows why the Port doesn't get Cataflumo to fix the roof. The family owned company is one of the biggest contributors to local politicians. No one wants to upset that gravy train, instead taxpayers get billed for the company's shoddy work.

Such is life in Florida. The Port of Palm Beach and its director Lori Baer are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

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


Sunday, November 26, 2006

First steps to fight smoking

Some news from Germany. I guess Karl wanted a smoke free enviorment.

Hat tip- Blue Star
Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Pirate's Cove, Point Five, Random Yak,

A young mum was stranded on her balcony after her eight-month old baby took his first steps - and locked her out.

Christina Meier, 19, spent two hours on her balcony in Augsburg, Bavaria, before her calls for help were answered and firemen arrived to rescue her.

Meier told local media: "My son Karl is not yet a year old and could not walk so I thought it was safe to pop outside for a quick cigarette. Suddenly I heard these footsteps and I saw him walking towards me through the glass.

"I was so proud I didn't even think about the self-locking door. And then he just shut it."

Black Friday or Red Friday?

From AP-

NEW YORK - The nation's retailers had a strong start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at mall-based stores. One big exception was Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which said it expects to report same-store sales in November below its already lackluster forecast.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks total sales at more than 45,000 mall-based retail outlets, total sales rose 6 percent to $8.96 billion on Friday, the start of the holiday shopping season, compared to the same day a year ago.

"Although we anticipated a solid consumer turnout for Black Friday, this data shows an even larger increase than expected as consumers proved they were willing to spend," said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, in a statement.

Wal-Mart, however, estimated it will post a 0.1 percent decline in same-store sales, or sales at stores opened at least a year, in November. That's slightly below its original projections for flat sales for the month, compared to the year-ago period. The results cover the four-week period that ended through Friday. Same-store sales are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health.

J.C. Penney Co. said in a separate statement released Saturday that the holiday shopping season was "off to a good start."

"We have seen brisk traffic in our stores, and our 'redbox gifts' selection is being well-received by customers," Penney said, referring to its holiday must-have items. It said that home entertainment, fashion jewelry, children's apparel, housewares, holiday decorations and women's shoes were among the most popular items Friday.

Wal-Mart and other major retailers are expected to report final same-store results for November on Thursday.
From personal observation, I have to wonder how strong retail sales were this weekend.

Dear Wife did most of the shopping this weekend, but I ventured out twice with her. Both trips were to a Sears store in Boynton Beach.(The same one I gave a Knucklehead award to). In spite of holiday promotions, including a 10% off the entire store sale, the store was no busier than normal. Other than during her Friday morning shopping, Dear Wife said the mall and shopping areas were hardly busier than normal.

It will be interesting to see if our observations match the retail sales figures for November.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Woman honor Thyself, Pursuing Holiness,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is PETA, the animal rights organization. They get the award for the following.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The pastor at Anchorage First Free Methodist Church was mystified. Why was the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chastising him? No animals are harmed in the church's holiday nativity display. In fact, animals aren't used at all.

People, however, do dress the parts — Mary, Joseph, the wise men, etc. The volunteers stand shivering at a manger on the church lawn in a silent tribute to Christmas.

The Rev. Jason Armstrong was confused by an e-mail this week from PETA, which admonished him for subjecting animals "to cruel treatment and danger," by forcing them into roles in the church's annual manger scene.

"We've never had live animals, so I just figured this was some spam thing," Armstrong said. "It's rough enough on us people standing out there in the cold. So we're definitely not using animals."

Jackie Vergerio, PETA's captive animals in entertainment specialist, said her organization tracks churches nationwide that use real animals in "living nativity scenes."

Seems the confusion started with the church's choice of phrase. PETA flagged Free Methodist's display as a "living nativity," and indeed, that's how the church describes it on its Web site.

To PETA, that means animals.

"Those animals are subject to all sorts of terrible fates in some cases," Vergerio said. "Animals have been stolen and slaughtered, they've been raped, they've escaped from the nativity scenes and have been struck by cars and killed. Just really unfathomable things have happened to them."

In the letter to Armstrong, Vergerio shared some sad fates of previous nativity animals — like Brighty the donkey, snatched from a nativity scene in Virginia and beaten by three young men. Ernie the camel fled a creche in Maryland but was struck and killed by a car. Two sheep and a donkey had to be euthanized after a dog mauling at a manger scene in Virginia.

Free Methodist's display is peaceful, Armstrong said. The congregation erects the stable. Members spread straw and don costumes. Some even dress as manger animals.
PETA's actions speak for themselves. Everyone is guilty by association, but how about this story from a year ago? PETA apparently needs to clean up their own house but first I make them today's Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Is it Just me?, Jo's Cafe, Pirate's Cove, Point Five, Random Yak, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Uncooperative Blogger,


Friday, November 24, 2006

Knucklehead Award Friday Part Twenty-Four

Our twenty-fourth and last Knucklehead is Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz. They get the award for the following.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Thursday blasted business tycoon Arkady Gaydamak for financing a free weekend in Eilat for 800 residents of the rocket-battered western Negev town of Sderot.

"The state of Israel does not allow rich men and philanthropists to gain control from the distress of citizens," said Peretz. "This phenomenon cannot continue. We will prepare an organized and established plan to alleviate these residents so they will not need to knock on the doors of philanthropists."

Peretz ordered the defense establishment and the Sderot municipality on Thursday to evacuate hundreds of children from the city and other towns in the Gaza envelope for a few days' respite in Givat Olga on behalf of the Association for the Welfare of Israeli Soldiers.


Known for his generous donations - particularly after paying for temporary accommodation for northerners who fled their homes during the war in Lebanon - the Russian-born billionaire announced earlier on Thursday he would charter some 17 buses and rent some 1,600 rooms in the southern resort city of Eilat for the benefit of Sderot residents.
Something is seriously wrong in a country's politics if being charitable gets you blasted by a public official. Peretz's behavior probably has something to do with his being the former head of Israel's Socialist party. He apparently despises the money Gaydamak has even if its being used to help people.(Just give it to the government instead for it always know how to waste spend money in the best way for the people they rule over) For that, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz is our twenty-fourth and last Knucklehead of the day. I hope you enjoyed this little festival.

Hat tip- David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Twenty-Three

Our 23rd winner is former Miami Dolphin Jamie Nails. He gets the award for the following.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jamie Nails was arrested Wednesday after Fort Lauderdale police said he had a rental vehicle that was three months overdue.

Nails, 31, rented a 2005 Chrysler 300 Touring from Quality Car Rental in Fort Lauderdale on June 6 and was supposed to return it Aug. 15, police said.

Quality Car Rental told police Nails did not contact them about delaying the return. Fort Lauderdale police found Nails at a Lauderhill home in the 5400 block of Northwest 64th Terrace about 3:30 p.m. and took him to the Broward County jail, charging him with failure to return a hired vehicle, a felony.

Nails was drafted into the NFL by the Buffalo Bills in 1997 and joined the Dolphins in 2002 but stopped playing in 2003.
Just brilliant! Mr. Nails must be either very dumb or very absent-minded. It don't matter, Jamie Nails step forward you are today's 23rd Knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Twenty-Two

Our Twenty Second winner is Melvin Leach. He gets the award for the following.

RIVIERA BEACH - A 35-year-old man who allegedly kidnapped and assaulted his neighbor was arrested Wednesday night after the victim called police from the trunk of her car, police said.

Melvin Leach, 35, broke into the woman's apartment, sexually assaulted and beat her, then forced her into the trunk of her car. He then drove to another location, where she quietly called police from the trunk and directed them to find her.

Leach confessed to the crime and indicated he may have attacked other women, police said.
First rule in kidnapping- Make sure the victim doesn't have their cell phone. Melvin Leach will time in jail to contemplate that mistake plus being today's twenty second Knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Twenty-One

Our Twenty first winner is Riccardo Paulin. Mr. Paulin was fined 10,000 Singapore dollars for uttering a four letter word on a plane. The word was bomb.

How very dumb and that makes Riccardo Paulin our twenty first Knucklehead of the day.

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A 65-year-old Australian man was fined S$10,000 ($6,423) by a Singapore court for uttering the word "bomb" on a flight to Indonesia, The Straits Times reported on Wednesday.

Riccardo Paulin, a retiree, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to having asked a flight attendant "Where do you keep the bomb?" on a flight operated by Singapore regional carrier SilkAir to the Indonesian city of Surabaya, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said he made the remark after trying to find space in the overhead lockers.

Paulin was charged under the United Nations anti-terrorism regulations, which carry a maximum fine of S$100,000 or up to five years in jail or both.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Twenty

Today's twentieth winner is UK Children's Minister Beverly Hughes. She gets the award for the following.

Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said.

Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children's future and the state must put them right, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said.

Their children's well-being is at risk 'unless we act', she declared.

And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new 'parenting workforce' to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and 'supported'.

The call for state intervention in the minute details of family life followed a series of Labour efforts to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve educational standards by imposing rigorous controls on the lives of the youngest children.
This is just a classic example of the nanny state run amok. Will parents be jailed for off key singing or not attending? This is just so laughable, and why Children's Minister Beverly Hughes is our twentieth Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Right Wing Nation


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Nineteen

Our nineteenth winner is actor/comedian Michael Richards. He gets the award for the following.

Richards, who played the wacky Cosmo Kramer on the hit TV show "Seinfeld," appeared onstage at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Kyle Doss, an African-American, told TMZ he and some friends were in the cheap seats and he was playfully heckling Richards when suddenly, the comedian lost it.

The camera started rolling just as Richards began his attack, screaming at one of the men, "Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f***ing fork up your ass."

Richards continued, "You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now motherf**ker. Throw his ass out. He's a nigger! He's a nigger! He's a nigger! A nigger, look, there's a nigger!"

The crowd is visibly and audibly confused and upset. Richards responds by saying, "They're going to arrest me for calling a black man a nigger."

One of the men who was the object of Richard's tirade was outraged, shouting back "That's un-f***ing called for, ain't necessary."

After the three-minute tirade, it appears the majority of the audience members got up and left in disgust.
The video is at the link. It's pretty disgusting and makes Michael Richards our nineteenth knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Eighteen

For the second time today, We travel to The Philippines for an award. Our Eighteenth winner is Erlinda Vergara of Bacolod City Philippines. She gets the award for the following.

A Hollywood thriller almost became a reality when a 41-year-old woman bound for Bangkok was arrested after more than 100 snakes and other deadly reptiles were found in her luggage by Customs and airport security personnel at the Manila airport.

Erlinda Vergara of Bacolod City was arrested at a baggage check-in counter at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Centennial Terminal at around 10 a.m. Tuesday. She was booked on Philippine Airlines flight PR 730.

Air travel marred by vicious reptiles is a new type of nightmare popularized recently by the movie "Snakes on a Plane’’ starring Samuel Jackson.

Customs examiner Cairoden Mangaron said he noticed something suspicious and seemingly moving inside Vergara’s big suitcase when it passed through a baggage x-ray machine.

When he opened the bag, Mangaron found 52 plastic bottles containing different kinds of snakes and reptiles. Some of the creatures were dead.

A partial inventory by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wildlife Trafficking Monitoring Unit agents at the NAIA Terminal II showed the creatures consisted of 50 monitor lizards, 39 cobras, two iguanas, 16 big vipers, and eight small vipers.

Theodore Agir of the NAIA-DENR-WTMU said the inventory was incomplete because some of the seized creatures were venomous and required expert handling.

Vergara later told police the suitcase was only entrusted to her by a friend from Bacolod City, whom she declined to name.
Sure Ms. Vergara. If I was facing time for something a 'friend' did to me without my knowledge, I wouldn't be protecting them. You Erlinda Vergara are both a liar and today's eighteenth Knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Seventeen

Our seventeenth winner is Steve Osborn. He gets the award for the following.

LaPORTE, Ind. - A Libertarian candidate who lost to U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar by more than 1 million votes in the Nov. 7 election has asked for a recount in 10 precincts.

Steve Osborn, who lives in LaPorte County's Scipio Township, filed a petition Tuesday with the Indiana Recount Commission seeking the recounts in precincts in Howard, LaPorte, Porter and St. Joseph counties.

Osborn, who ran for Congress twice before, received 168,773 votes — about 13 percent of the vote — compared with 1,171,256 for Lugar, who won his sixth term in the Senate. Lugar is so popular that Indiana Democrats did not field a candidate this year to challenge him.

Osborn had little to say Tuesday about why he's seeking the recount in the 10 precincts.

"I'll have more comments after the counts are done," he told The Times of Munster.

In his petition, Osborn included the $100 bond the state requires to recount 10 precincts, along with an extra $30 for postage costs. Additional recount costs would fall to taxpayers, and the state spent roughly $100,000 to retally a congressional race two years ago.

The Indiana Recount Commission must agree to certify Osborn's petition.

Kristi Robertson, the Democratic co-director of the Indiana Election Commission, said the recount commission will proceed with Osborn's request unless an attorney for Lugar's office files a counterpetition seeking to block it.

Lugar's campaign office had no comment on the recount.

In filing his petition, Osborn made no mention of why he is seeking it, she said.
I'll give a reason for Osborn's petition- He's nuts. Fortunately the State of Indiana will be saved from having this embarrassment for US Senator, but Steve Osborn won't go away empty handed. He is our seventeenth Knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Sixteen

Our sixteenth winner is The Atlanta Georgia Police Department. They get the award for the following.

ATLANTA — A civil rights activist representing the family of an elderly woman killed in a gunfight with police is calling for a federal investigation into her death.

The Rev. Markel Hutchins will go to Washington on Monday to deliver a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting that the Department of Justice and FBI review the shootout, Hutchins said in a news release Thursday.

Kathryn Johnston, who police said was 92, was killed Tuesday evening by narcotics agents. Authorities said the agents got a search warrant for her home after buying drugs from a man there that afternoon. Police said the plainclothes agents identified themselves, but when they knocked down Johnston's door, she opened fire and injured three of the officers.

All are expected to recover.

"This horrific incident has all the signs of an egregious violation of Ms. Johnston's civil and human rights at worst and police officers using poor judgment and unnecessary force at best," Hutchins said.

Johnston's neighbors and relatives have called the raid a case of mistaken identity. Her niece said there were no drugs in the home.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office has launched its own investigation, but said a preliminary review of the case shows the officers had a legal right to search the home.
Legal right or not, the raid went badly wrong. 3 officers shot and an elderly woman dead. This shouldn't have happened and most likely could have been avoided. Something also tells me we'll find out the police raided the wrong place or shot the wrong person? How many 92-year-olds can shoot a gun accurately alone hit three people?

The Police Department of Atlanta Georgia is our sixteenth Knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Fifteen

Our fifteenth winner is Florida Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough. He gets the award for the following.

One minute, state Sen. Gary Siplin was in jail Wednesday night, held without bail on a probation violation. The next, the charges were withdrawn against the Orlando legislator, and he was a free man.

"We'll talk about it at the proper time," Siplin said as he left the Orange County Jail about 9:10?p.m. "Thank you, Jesus. Praise the Lord. And glory be to God. My two kids in Palm Beach County are waiting on me for Thanksgiving."

The bottom line: He thought he was allowed to go to Tallahassee on official business. His probation officer said he didn't get permission first.

The bizarre series of events outraged some leaders of Orlando's black community. It all began at 4:45 p.m. when the Democratic senator was taken into custody for traveling to Tallahassee on official business this week without his probation officer's approval. It culminated about 4-1/2 hours later when he emerged from custody after Chief Judge Belvin Perry traveled to the jail and ordered his release.

In an extraordinary twist, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough asked Orange Circuit Judge Julie O'Kane to withdraw an arrest warrant, which he said was filed in error.

The move to release Siplin stunned O'Kane, who had issued the arrest warrant after a probation officer wrote that Siplin violated two supervision guidelines: leaving the county without permission to go to Tallahassee and failing to comply with probation instructions by giving advance notice and details of travel.

"The Department of Corrections asked that the warrant be dismissed," said Perry, who added that he spoke to O'Kane and McDonough on Wednesday night. "They said it was made in error."

Perry said he was told by McDonough that there was a misinterpretation of the probation-travel rules by two employees of the law firm representing Siplin and that a travel request may have been in the works.

Perry said Siplin's release was not a political deal and that he went to the jail because O'Kane was unavailable, he lives closer and was better-known to jail officials than O'Kane.
Why would anyone NOT believe politics was involved in Siplin's release? It's either that or favoritism. Siplin broke the rules of his probation. If you or I did the same our ass would be in jail still. The judge was even stunned by the request.

Just one more example of the broken and corrupt legal system here in Florida. Florida Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough is today's fifteenth Knucklehead of the day.


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Fourteen

Our fourteenth winners are Kelly Ripa and Rosie O'Donnell. They get the award for the following.

Kelly Ripa’s dispute with Clay Aiken’s behavior spilled over to The View when Rosie O’Donnell said Ripa’s reaction to Aiken was "homophobic." Ripa said she thought Aiken was disrespectful when, during an interview with Emmitt Smith and his partner from Dancing With the Stars, he put his hand over Ripa’s mouth. Ripa said she "didn’t know where that hand’s been." "That’s a homophobic remark," O’Donnell said during Tuesday’s show. Within minutes, Ripa was on the phone to the show defending herself. She said her comment had nothing to do with Aiken’s sexuality but was a reflection of this being cold and flu season. "It wasn’t anything homophobic," Ripa said. "Rosie, you know how I feel. You have to be more responsible. Not everything is homophobic."
This entire controversy(If it isn't staged for ratings. Remember this is sweeps month) is so stupid. A television cat fight between two women with mostly air between their ears. You can have them but TFM first makes Kelly Ripa and Rosie O'Donnell our fourteenth Knucklehead winners of the day.

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


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Thirteen

Our thirteenth winner is Reuters news service. I really have a bone to pick with Reuters. Here is the latest example of why.

PARIS, Nov 15 (Reuters Life!) - What's a television without its remote control? Not much, decided a thief in southwestern France who returned to the home from which he had just stolen a TV to pick up the remote control -- and was arrested.

The man robbed a retiree's house in the village of Mussidan, taking the TV set and some hunting rifles, police said. While the owner was reporting the theft at the local police station, the thief returned.

Alert neighbors tipped off the police and they caught the man red-handed.

"He came back to take the remote control," a local police spokesman said. "I guess there's daring and there's stupid."

Do you notice what is missing? The name of the thief. This would be perfect knucklehead material except that Reuters removed the person's name.

Reuters does this all the time. Here is another example.

LONDON — A 22-year-old man suffered internal injuries after lighting a firework he had inserted into his buttocks, paramedics said Thursday. The incident took place Sunday, when Britain celebrated Bonfire Night, traditionally marked with fireworks to celebrate the Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament in the 17th century.

Reports differed as to whether the man used a small firecracker or a more powerful rocket.

Either way, he suffered burns and other unspecified internal injuries in the incident in Sunderland, 275 miles north of London.

Katherine Shenton, a spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service, said a caller reported the victim was bleeding after the device exploded in his rectum.

Several of the man's friends recorded the incident on a mobile phone. The blurry images show a man bent over with his pants down and a white flash as the firecracker explodes.

Hysterical laughter follows, with someone shouting: "Ha ha ha ha" and then an expletive.

The Times newspaper reported the man was a soldier who recently returned from Iraq. He was thought to have been imitating a scene from Jackass: The Movie, a controversial film featuring a series of edgy pranks.

He is now recovering in a Sunderland hospital after sustaining internal injuries, including a scorched colon.
Some of you may remember it as this Knucklehead of the Day award. Thanks to the Times of London I was able to name this man.

There are other examples of Reuters taking names out of stories. This story out of Italy for one, or more seriously the London bomber story. Why does Reuters do this? I don't know if I'll get find out, but Reuters News Service is our thirteenth Knucklehead of the Day.

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


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Twelve

Our twelveth winner is Caribbean Pool Service and Repair. They get the award for the following.

A Riviera Beach pool-cleaning company is being accused of dirty dealing after it allegedly tried to bill customers more than $200,000 in illegal ''special cleanup'' charges in the wake of hurricanes Francis and Jeanne in 2004.

In a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's Office last week, Pool Companies, which does business as Caribbean Pool Service and Repair, is accused of charging some 1,700 South Florida customers an additional $45 to $250 on top of their regular maintenance fee.

Those who balked at the special hurricane fee were threatened with a lien on their property. The lawsuit claims Caribbean Pool eventually squeezed more than $170,000 out of its clients.

Calls to Caribbean Pool owner John Hynes, who is also named in the lawsuit, were not returned.

The Attorney General's Office said Caribbean Pools eventually filed 31 mechanics' liens against customers during that period, but the office could not confirm if all the liens were tied to the alleged scam.

Mechanics' liens are most commonly used when property repairs or improvements go unpaid. In this case, the state argues pool maintenance and cleaning chemicals do not constitute ''improvements'' and that the liens were illegal and abusive.

The state is asking for civil penalties of $10,000 per violation or $15,000 if the victim was disabled or a senior citizen.

The Attorney General began investigating the company in January 2005 after receiving complaints, including some from homeowners who said they had scrubbed their own pools after the storm but were charged anyway.
If this company loses the lawsuit, they should have to not just re-imburse their customers but put out of business also. Before any of that happens I make Caribbean Pool Service and Repair the twelveth Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Bright & Early,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Eleven

Our eleventh winner is The Orlando Expressway Authority. They get the award for the following.

The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority is moving ahead with plans a toll increase -- the first in 15 years.

The board approved setting up three public meetings next month to explain the need for an increase and to get feedback on the best way institute a new toll. It might be 25-cent increase for all users, for cash customers or during certain peak times.

All five members of the agency's board supported the idea that expressway may have to raise tolls by as much as a quarter to continue to meet the transportation demands of the growing region. Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, however, raised several issues about the need to "restore the public's trust" for the toll agency that has been hit with controversy before charging commuters more money.

Crotty said that a toll increase may be justifiable, but commuters must first understand the need and also trust the authority to use money properly.

Crotty previously expressed concern that the agency's Chairman Allan Keen approved a financial arrangement with political agitator and toll opponent Doug Guetzloe without the board's approval. The arrangement resulted in payments of $107,500 for a two- page report on why people dislike tolls.

Earlier this week, Guetzloe was convicted of a misdemeanor election violation and sentenced to 60 days in jail, three months of probation and $7,500 in fines.
The Expressway Authority has a serious credibility problem at present. and has recently undergone an audit. It would only be appropriate if it waited for the audit result but no this is Florida where the government usually puts the cart in front of the horse.

Orlando Sentinel Columnist Mike Thomas compares the toll increase to Enron making another stock offering. LOL but I wouldn't go that far. I will however make The Orlando Expressway Authority today's eleventh Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Bright & Early,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Ten

Our tenth winner is Philippine Congresswoman Faysah RPM Dumarpa. She gets the award for the following.

A Muslim congresswoman from Mindanao flared up when she was reportedly served a pork dish at the Shangri-la Restaurant during a dinner break Monday night at the House of Representatives in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

Investigators from Station 6 of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said the supposed slapping incident was triggered when a waiter served a pork dish to Rep. Faysah RPM Dumarpa of the First District of Lanao del Sur.

Complainant Virginia Fernando-Altamirano, 36, married, and a caterer of Shangri-la Restaurant at the corner of Times Street and West Avenue, Barangay West Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City said the incident happened between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Monday at the South Lounge of the House of Representatives.

Altamirano said Congresswoman Dumarpa confronted her when the waiter served her pork. Upon realizing that the lawmaker is a Muslim, Altamirano quickly apologized to her.

Dumarpa, however, allegedly disregarded Altamirano’s gesture and reportedly slapped and berated the caterer in the presence of her colleagues.

Dumarpa’s fellow lawmakers intervened and asked Altamirano to leave.

At a press conference later yesterday afternoon, Dumarpa gave her side, saying she felt "betrayed and insulted" when Altamirano denied there was pork in the noodles served House lawmakers.
Congresswoman that doesn't mean you can slap someone around. You're insulted fine, but your behavior was uncalled for and for that you Faysah RPM Dumarpa are today's tenth Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Pirate's Cove,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Nine

Our ninth winner is the University of Alabama. They get the award for the following.

In the solemn cathedral of college football devotion and instruction that is the Paul W. Bryant Museum here, a large painting dominates the main chamber. It is called ''The Sack,'' and it shows an encounter between a Notre Dame quarterback and a human locomotive in crimson and white.

''I've never been hit like that before,'' the quarterback, Steve Beuerlein, said after his near-lethal sack by Cornelius Bennett in 1986, in the University of Alabama's first victory ever over his team.

Daniel A. Moore, who painted ''The Sack'' and scores of other renditions of signal moments in Alabama football history, said he felt something similar last year, when his fax machine began to spit out a lawsuit from the university.

Mr. Moore's paintings, reproduced in prints and on merchandise, violated the university's trademark rights, the suit said. It asked a federal judge to forbid him to, among other things, use the university's ''famous crimson and white color scheme.''

Athletes, sports leagues and universities around the nation have become increasingly aggressive in protecting what they say is their intellectual property, and their claims have met with a mixed response from judges and fans. But almost no one here thinks the suit against Mr. Moore is a good idea.

''This lawsuit is the equivalent of the Catholic Church suing Michelangelo for painting the Sistine Chapel,'' said Keith Dunnavant, an Alabama alumnus and the author of ''Coach: The Life of Paul 'Bear' Bryant.''

A university spokeswoman, Cathy Andreen, declined repeated requests for interviews with university officials and lawyers, on what she said was the advice of counsel.

James Glen Stovall, who taught journalism at the university for 25 years, said only one sort of person would support the suit.

''I can see why, if you're sitting in a roomful of lawyers, you might come to that conclusion,'' Mr. Stovall said. ''But no one outside of that room would say: 'Hey, that's a good idea. Let's sue Daniel Moore.' ''
What an idiotic lawsuit. Mr. Moore is honoring the school's football tradition but some fools see dollar signs. The University of Alabama is our ninth Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Pirate's Cove,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Eight

Our eigth winner is James Michael Jackson, a police officer with the New Jersey state Department of Human Services. He gets the award for the following.

MANCHESTER, N.J. - A police officer who claimed he was conducting his own prostitution sting and strip search ended up being the one arrested. Authorities arrested James Michael Jackson, a police officer with the state Department of Human Services, and charged him with sexual assault and sexual misconduct for the so-called sting.


According to authorities, Jackson, 34, of Toms River, arranged through a service for a woman to meet him Wednesday at a local hotel in Manchester.

When she arrived, Jackson, carrying a badge and gun, told her she was under arrest. He made her take off her clothes and consent to a body cavity search before letting her go, said Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Martin Anton.

The prosecutor said Jackson overstepped his bounds as a law enforcement official when he placed the female prostitute under arrest and performed a strip search.

As a police officer, Jackson had authority to make arrests, but not through an undercover operation of his own, Anton said.

"And a male to strip-search a female is just not done," he added.

The woman reported the incident to authorities the next day, after she talked to law enforcement officers she knew who said Jackson's behavior was illegal.

Jackson had been a police officer with Human Services for about six years.

I don't work in law enforcement but know that a male doing a strip search of a woman just isn't done. James Michael Jackson should lose his job for what he did, but first he is today's 8th Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Right Wing Nation,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Seven

Our Seventh winner is the PGA Tour's Sony Open. They get the award for the following.

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Michelle Wie appetite for playing in men's tournament shows no sign of abating and she will kick off 2007 by competing in the PGA tour's Sony Open on her home island of Oahu.

Sony, one of the 17-year-old's key sponsors, granted Wie an exemption to play in the early-season event for the fourth straight year.

Wie will round off her 2006 campaign by playing in the Casio World Open in Japan against a field mostly comprised of home based male professionals.

She has failed to make the cut in six events of the PGA tour but did survive the halfway cull at an Asian tour event in Korea earlier this year.
CNN fails to note that Michelle has finished dead last in her last two men's events and would have made it three if not for her collapse at the John Deere Classic last summer.

The Michelle Wie playing with the men story has become a farce instead. It needs to be stopped, not just for pro golf's sake but Michelle's also. Her golf game is starting to show cracks. The Sony Open is only inviting Michelle because of her drawing people to the tournament. This is becoming exploitation, there is no other justification for what this tournament is doing. The PGA Tour's Sony Open is our seventh Knucklehead of the Day.

Update- Michelle shot 81-80 in the Casion World Open yesterday and today to miss the cut. Enough is enough already.

Linked to- Third World County, Right Wing Nation,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Six

Our sixth winner is The United Church of Canada. They get the award for the following.

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The United Church of Canada, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, has added another ``immoral'' act to a list including the Iraq war and gambling: drinking bottled water.

Prompted by an 18-year-old student from rural Ontario, the church urged its 3 million members in August to drink tap water instead. The church says water is ``God's sacred gift'' and should be available to all people and not exploited for profit.

The boycott has pitted the activist church -- representing about 10 percent of Canada's 32 million people --- against beverage giants such as Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. The bottled-water industry had $10 billion in North American sales last year, including about C$653 million ($572 million) in Canada.

``There is this insidious, creeping sense promoted by people who have a vested interest that it's better if you buy your water,'' says Richard Chambers, an executive minister in the church, based in Toronto.

``If a family has 50 dollars to spend on groceries, there is now a sense they should be spending eight or 10 dollars of that on a couple of cases of bottled water.''
Mr. Chambers you're not preaching religion but economics instead. If wasting money is a sin, we'd all be going to hell yourself included. So save the hypocrisy, but first I make The United Church of Canada the sixth Knucklehead winner of the Day.

Hat tip- Right Wing Nation
Linked to- Third World County,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Five

Our fifth winner is Lesley Harris. He gets the award for the following.

A 38-year-old Lake Worth man was arrested Sunday and charged with possession of child pornography and capital sexual battery on a child after a video of himself molesting an 8-year-old girl was found on his cell phone.

Lesley Harris, of the 3200 block of Kirk Road, called the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to report his cell phone lost on Wednesday, but earlier in the day someone had already turned in the phone to sheriff's deputies who recovered a short film clip that showed a white male's hand wearing a distinctive ring on his pinkie finger sexually molesting a girl.

The phone also contained a photo of the girl lifting her shirt up. Harris was arrested at his house after admitting the phone was his.

Following the arrest he also acknowledged that he was the man in the video and that he molested the girl in the bathroom of her home while her parents were home but believed he "didn't cross any sexual boundaries."
What stands out more, this man's crime or his stupidity in reporting the phone as lost? Don't matter, Lesley Harris is our fifth Knucklehead winner of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Bright & Early,


Knucklehead Award Friday Part Four

We have a rarity- Linked knucklehead awards.

Today's fourth winner is Associated Press. They get the award for the following.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A small black object that was found attached to the bottom of a woman's Jeep and prompted an evacuation of a three-square block area on Friday wasn't a bomb after all. It was a tracking device planted by the woman's husband.

A temporary shelter was set up at the Queen of Peace Church to house the 45 people who had been evacuated, while authorities investigated for more than two hours.

After learning the woman and her husband were going through a divorce, detectives learned that the woman's husband had hired a private investigator. He admitted attaching the tracking device to the woman's Jeep, Maynard said.

Bomb technicians used a robot to confirm the box was indeed a Global Positioning System device, Alachua County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Stephen Maynard said.

The names of the woman and her husband were not released.
Apparently the AP reporter doesn't read the local newspaper. This is the same story as the one I used for today's third Knucklehead. What the heck was this nameless AP reporter doing when he filed the above story? Not his job apparently.

For absent-minded and careless journalism, Associated Press is today's fourth Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Third World County, Cao's Blog,


Listed on BlogShares