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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.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Floyd Landis

If you wondered about why I haven't given him a knucklehead award, here is why. Like the racing bodies, I'll wait for the second test results. If they come back with a too high a level of testosterone, I will give Landis the knucklehead.

Right I 'm suspecting this will happen. A large spike in testosterone is not a normal occurence. In these days of drug testing, why do athletes think they can get by with cheating? I guess they're just dumb or arrogant or both.

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Bullwinkle Blog,

MADRID, Spain - Tour de France champion Floyd Landis officially requested the testing of his backup urine sample Monday in an effort to clear his name of doping allegations.

"We've sent the fax to the UCI this afternoon," said Jose Maria Buxeda, one of Landis's two Spanish lawyers, of the Swiss-based International Cycling Union. "Now we'll have to adjust to their calendar."

Landis tested positive for elevated testosterone levels following the 17th stage of the Tour de France, where he made a stunning solo breakaway in the Alps to put himself back into contention for victory after a poor performance the previous day.

If the "B" test is negative, Landis would be cleared. If it's positive, the 30-year-old American would face formal doping charges and could be stripped of his Tour victory and banned for two years.

Buxeda said he's not sure when the B test will be carried out at the Paris doping laboratory, though it could be sometime this week. Landis, who has returned to the United States, is willing to attend the analysis depending on the date, Buxeda said.

Landis's lawyers say they fully expect the backup test to confirm the original finding.

Landis, speaking in Madrid on Friday, said his test results had nothing to do with doping, and that the high level of testosterone in his body was the result of his natural physiology.

Testosterone is a naturally occurring male hormone that is banned when it is found in a ratio greater than 4:1 to another hormone, epitestosterone.

A real steam bath

The planet Pluto is warming up. It's a brisk about 400 below zero but getting hotter by the moment. Start making those vacation plans now. (Cue the sarcastic laughter) How does one know what the temperature is somewhere billions of miles away?

The answer- Much of science is really guess work. Take this for example.

Hat tip- Ultima Thule
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bloggin Outloud,

Astronomers at the University of Tasmania have found that the solar system's smallest planet is not getting colder as first thought and it probably does not have rings.

Dr John Greenhill has collected observations from last month's event when Pluto passed in front of a bright star, making it easier to study.

French scientists have shared the measurements they took in Tasmania that night, which indicate that the planet is unlikely to have rings.

Dr Greenhill says the results are surprising because they show Pluto is warming up.

"It looks as though the atmosphere has not changed from 2002, which is pretty surprising because we expected the atmosphere would freeze out as the planet moved further away from the Sun," he said.

"But so far, if anything, the atmosphere has gotten even denser."

[tags] Pluto, Global warming [/tags]

Where's the Dramamine? Part Four

This time it is the New York Times with inconsistent editorials. On June 23rd they wrote-

At the same time that Republicans are fighting to exempt the richest estates from taxes, they are blocking a raise for the nation's poorest workers.

Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully this week to raise the federal minimum wage, which stands at just $5.15 an hour. It has not been increased in nearly a decade, and at its current stingy level, the rate flies in the face of Americans' belief that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded. A minimum-wage worker earns just $10,700 a year, nearly $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. Since the minimum wage was first adopted, there has been a long tradition of bipartisan support for regular raises. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush all signed increases into law. Americans across the political spectrum strongly support the minimum wage, and believe it should be significantly higher. A recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 83 percent of Americans favored increasing the minimum wage by $2.

Nevertheless, since 1997 minimum-wage increases have regularly been blocked in Congress. The restaurant industry and other low-wage employers that make heavy campaign contributions have thrown their weight around with great success. A bill sponsored by Edward Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to increase the minimum wage by $2.10 over two years drew the support this week of 52 senators, including eight Republicans, but Republican leaders threw up procedural barriers. And in the House, Republican leaders are not letting a minimum-wage increase come to a vote, apparently because it would pass.

Just 23 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll. These dismal ratings are no surprise when Congress's highest economic priority is handing out tax cuts to millionaires and oil companies, and its one point of fiscal restraint is protecting employers from having to pay a decent wage to factory workers and waiters.
So the Times favors a minimum wage increase. As does TFM, I don't buy into the statistical arguments. Yes 2.1 Million workers make minimum wage or less(I was one of these briefly) but how many make very little above it and would affected by any hike. The wage hasn't been increased in ten years almost. Distinguished bloggers who I like, Don Surber and Professor Bainbridge oppose any increase. Are they in favor of any minimum wage at all? For if it shouldn't be increased, I'd argue it should then be eliminated.

Right now unemployment is very low, here in Palm Beach County its about three percent. Employers are having trouble finding employees. I just don't know how much of an effect an increase will have that. If an employer needs workers, they'll hire them. If they can do without, they won't hire.

Back to the Times. Today they wrote-

The two bills passed by the House last Friday and Saturday reflect a single Republican electoral strategy. Representatives want to appear to have accomplished something when they face voters during their five-week summer break, which starts today, and at the same time keep campaign donations flowing from special-interest constituents who are well aware that a great deal was left to do.

One of the bills was a pension reform measure. The other was a grab bag that contains three main items: an extension of the expired tax credit for corporate research; a $2.10 an hour increase in the minimum wage, to be phased in over three years; and a multibillion-dollar estate-tax cut. That’s the deal House Republicans are really offering — a few more dollars for 6.6 million working Americans; billions more for some 8,000 of the wealthiest families.

It is cynical in the extreme. Extending the research tax credit is noncontroversial, yet pressing. A minimum wage increase is compelling — morally, politically and financially — but Republicans generally oppose it. And the estate-tax cut has already failed to pass the Senate twice this summer. So House Republicans linked it to the research credit and the minimum wage, hoping to flip a handful of senators from both parties who have voted against estate-tax cuts in the past. Democrats who vote against the estate tax, Republicans think, can be painted as voting against a higher minimum wage.

This is an attempt at extortion. There is no way to justify providing yet another enormous tax shelter to the nation’s wealthiest heirs in the face of huge budget deficits, growing income inequality and looming government obligations for Social Security and Medicare.

As for the House’s pension bill, it is not the overhaul that Congress has long been promising. The promised bill would have meshed House and Senate versions of pension reform into a single bill that would have almost certainly passed each chamber. But the conference was fatally derailed last Thursday when House Republican negotiators, including the majority leader, John Boehner, refused to attend a meeting called by Senate Republicans to settle a few remaining differences. Mr. Boehner and his followers avoided having to vote — and lose — on items that other negotiators wanted in the final bill.

Once they had scuttled the talks, House leaders acted unilaterally, presenting a new pension bill on Friday. They said the new bill contained the provisions that had previously been agreed upon. But that remains to be seen, since the 900-page tome was passed within hours. It will be up to the senators to vet the bill. If they see fit to amend it, the negotiations will have to start all over again.

The Senate has one week before its summer recess. As the senators struggle to produce decent legislation from the House’s sham bills, Americans will see the truth: their representatives in the House went on vacation without doing their job.
The turnaround by the Times is cynical looking to me. It looks to TFM as if they're afraid a minimum wage increase would look good for the Republicans come November. Why else suddenly oppose the increase? The millions who get helped far outnumber those benefiting from an estate tax change.

Then liberals pay the poor lip service. Like Labor Unions and others who attack Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's low prices help the poor but the real issue isn't the poor but politics. The poor are just a tool to be used and discarded at any whim by them. Don Surber calls them pawns except I think the poor are used by both parties as such. Today's NYT editorial is just the latest example of it.

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Basil's Blog,

Big cats and common sense

The former Tarzan actor is in the news.

Steve Sipek can keep his exotic cats for the next year, as far as state officials are concerned.

Captive-wildlife inspectors this week renewed Sipek's commercial license to exhibit his two tigers, a lion and a leopard about a month after an inspection at Sipek's Loxahatchee compound.

Sipek, who gained worldwide notoriety two years ago after the highly publicized death of his escaped pet tiger Bobo, got two tiger cubs last year but was allowed to have them only if he obtained a commercial license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

That license requires Sipek to maintain a commercial enterprise and keep a log of visitors to his compound on C Road.


Several hundred people visited the animals between July 2005 and early 2006, according to an inspection report.

But federal officials have denied Sipek a license to legally exhibit the exotic cats because the facility failed to meet the standards of the Animal Welfare Act. Sipek is the subject on an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, according to spokeswoman Karen Eggert. She could not comment on the investigation but said the agency's focus is on the treatment of the animals.


Federal inspectors denied Sipek a permit because he had no veterinary staff and because of problems with wiring on some cages, Sipek said.
Amusing side note- Shortly after Bobo's death, my wife got a phone call at her work. Someone wanted to have a Catholic memorial service for Bobo!

The state says its ok but the federal government doesn't. The Sun-Sentinel editorialized.

How many red flags do you need?

Let's get this straight. One of Steve Sipek's tigers once mauled a woman painting his cage, then two years later escaped his pen and was shot dead by a state wildlife officer fearing for his life. Now Sipek's Loxahatchee compound -- home to four more big cats -- is being investigated for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.

With that probe still pending, Florida officials are nonetheless letting him keep the state license he needs to house the cats, but only if he keeps them on public display. So, despite the potential for harm, especially if the feds find the animals are being mistreated or housed unsafely, the state isn't keeping people away; it's actually making Sipek bring them on the property.

It makes about as much sense as allowing private citizens to house exotic cats in their homes to begin with. And it's about time the practice ends. The federal government must do what the state refuses to and put Sipek out of this crazy business.
I agree with the Sun-Sentinel, Sipek should be closed down. These animals are dangerous and wild, not pet like as portrayed in movies like Born Free. I have never favored privated persons owning these animals. Click here and here for examples.

Mark my words, it will take a tragedy before anything is done about it. Are the bureaucrats then going to say sorry to the dead person's family?

Open Post- Pursuing Holiness, Bullwinkle Blog,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Hizbollah. They get the award for using civillians in Lebanon as human shields in order to get propaganda victories. The latest example is the bombing of Quna that led to many children dying.

If you don't believe Hizbollah is at fault, read and view this. They proudly put their guns in neighborhoods. Its a direct violation of the Geneva Convention, but next to no one in the press is willing to call it that. Instead they give Hizbollah the victory they want by inaction. Hizbollah is a dastardly coward for they hide behind children to do their fighting. Moral equivalence is bullshit, do you ever see any non-terrorist group use these tactics.

For sacrificing the lifes of others rather than themselves, Hizbollah is today's knucklehead of the day.

Other bloggers discussing the events in Qana and or Hizbollah and its tactics- Kim at Wizbang, A Blog for All, Assorted Babble, Sister Toldjah, Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin,
Greg at Outside the Beltway,

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

QANA, Lebanon (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike killed 54 Lebanese civilians, including 37 children, on Sunday, prompting Lebanon to tell U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice she was unwelcome in Beirut before a ceasefire.

The raid on the southern village of Qana was the bloodiest single attack during Israel's 19-day-old war on Hizbollah.

As a wave of anger spread across Lebanon and the Arab world, several thousand protesters chanted "Death to Israel, Death to America" outside the United Nations headquarters in downtown Beirut and some smashed their way into the building.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said he would not hold negotiations before a ceasefire, scuppering Rice's visit.

Rice, who was in Israel and had planned to go to Beirut later in the day, said she was saddened by the Qana air raid, but stopped well short of calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Police, who gave the death toll, said the Israelis had bombed Qana at 1:30 a.m. (2230 GMT on Saturday), destroying a three-storey building where about 63 displaced people were sheltering in the basement. Many were killed in their sleep.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Horsing around

From the Sun-Sentinel

Wellington· Equestrians want the village to pay for a crossing guard at South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road during the coming winter season.

Protection for horses and riders is a top priority after several accidents and close calls in recent years, leaders say.

"Safety -- that's the short and long of it," said Michael Whitlow, chairman of the village's Equestrian Preserve Committee.

The Village Council is scheduled Aug. 22 to consider the committee's recommendation for a Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy to work the crossing six days a week, from Nov. 1 through March 31.

The intersection is near the grounds of the National Horse Show and Winter Equestrian Festival, two marquee events that draw thousands of horses and spectators.

While the horse community strongly urges assigning a guard to help horses cross South Shore, village officials have struggled this summer to balance a tight budget by making more than $10 million in cuts and project delays.

Still, equestrian officials said the government should pick up the tab -- expected to exceed $50,000 -- for the proposed Tuesday-through-Sunday position. The hours would be from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., for 128 days.
Wellington a community in western Palm Beach County has been well known for its horses and polo grounds. If I recall correctly, Prince Charles played polo there at least once.

The thing is, civilization has caught up with Wellington. Its not the sleepy town it used to be. The horses and the people who own them remain.

What is Wellington to do? If the horse owners want a crossing guard, let them pay for it. Either that or tell them to be patient when trying to cross the road. Just like any traffic on two feet.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Assorted Babble,

Elections in the Congo

This news has gotten very little attention.

KINSHASA, Congo - Millions of Congolese voted in the country's first multiparty election in four decades Sunday, the culmination of years of postwar transition that many pray will herald stability for the tumultuous central Africa region that Congo anchors.

But with militia fighters still raping and looting in the lawless east, former rebel leaders on the ballot and a leading politician boycotting the vote, persuading all parties to accept the results may be the toughest task of all.

Voters, including many casting ballots for the first time in their lives, feared wars that set central Africa ablaze could flare anew if Congo's democratic experiment fails.

Vote counting began after polls closed Sunday evening, but final results were not expected for weeks. Results will be hand tabulated and transported to Kinshasa by plane, truck and boat.

"Some say Africa is shaped like a pistol and Congo is the trigger," said Jean Kaseke, a 38-year old pastor heading up a line that formed before dawn at a polling station in the capital, Kinshasa. "If Congo can succeed, all of Africa can do it."

Congo's path to Sunday's watershed moment — the first multiparty elections for president since independence from Belgium in 1960 — has been one of turmoil and deep privation for Congo's 58 million people.

Some 25 million registered voters were also selecting a 500-member legislature to replace a national-unity administration arranged under peace accords that officially ended a 1998-2002 war.

President Joseph Kabila, now 35, became one of the world's youngest leaders in 2001 when he inherited power after the assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila, who ousted the corrupt, 32-year dictator Mobutu Sese Seko four years earlier in a Rwandan-backed rebel advance across the country.
A free election and getting most parties to accept the election is a good first step. True democracy isn't born overnight or without turmoil. A free election is a good first step. Governing while at the same time accepting peaceful opposition in and out of government is the next step. The Congo has seen too much blood shed for too long. Here's hoping the parties there see the wisdom to co-operate with one another. Fifty Eight million people deserve better.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bullwinkle Blog, Adam's Blog, Random Yak,

From the Silly news desk

Some news from Albania. Didn't these sunbathers here of the saying- When in Albania do as the Albanians do?

Open Post- Bloggin Outloud, Point Five, Third World County, Basil's Blog,

TIRANA (Reuters) - Albanian police were speechless when around 30 Scandinavian women went topless, shocking local bathers and causing an uproar in an Albanian beach resort.

"Police only watched ... they could not approach the tourists because they spoke no English," a local newspaper in the southern Albania coastal town of Sarande said.

Albanian mothers dragged their children away and police received a barrage of complaints over the Scandinavian tourists.

The Scandinavians left after two hours when their guide was informed that nude bathing was banned on public beaches. Nudity and topless bathing are still taboo in the poor Balkan country.

Florida the Rules are different here Chapter XXXVIII

The Broward County School Board owes back Property taxes. It is from a building they leased out to Bank of America and other offices. So they owe $65,368. Don't you just love Florida.

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

The Broward County School District will be slapped with a $65,368 bill for back property taxes on a Sunrise building it owns and leases, according to the Broward Property Appraiser's Office.

Bank of America, along with six offices used by lawyers and a title company, lease parts of a school district building at 7770 W. Oakland Park Blvd. While schools and other nonprofit organizations are exempt from property taxes, offices they might lease to a business are not, the Property Appraiser's Office said.

"It is another mistake," Property Appraiser Lori Parrish said. "This is our fault."

School Superintendent Frank Till said he did not know how long the businesses have leased part of the district's building, even though the property is listed as exempt on tax rolls.

Till said he was unaware of the irregularity until appraisers notified him this week.

"This is a whole new issue for me," Till said.

School Board member Marty Rubinstein, whose district includes the building, was surprised to hear about the tax bill, but said he intended to see the district pay it.

"If the property tax appraiser says the tax is due, and the law says the tax is due, then by God the bill should be paid," said Rubinstein, who, as a member of the county's Value Adjustment Board, helps resolve property tax disputes.

Inspectors with Parrish's office discovered nearly a quarter of the Sunrise building, or 12,565 of 53,906 square feet, was used by commercial businesses but listed as exempt. The Property Appraiser's Office on Friday asked the county Revenue Collection Division to bill the school district for $65,368 in back taxes, accounting for unpaid taxes for three years ending in 2005. The tab could arrive in the next two weeks.

Lawrence Grayson, a Bank of America spokesman at the company's headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., referred questions about possible tax discrepancies to Till.

"In general we are not supposed to pay taxes, but since we lease part of that property, it may be different. I don't know," Till said.

The school district in 2000 bought the complex on West Oakland Park Boulevard from Delaware-based Argora Properties LP, property records show.

Appraisers have asked the school district, which owns 375 properties, to provide copies of any lease agreements with businesses. Till said he only was aware of the arrangement with the bank.

Parrish blamed the oversight on the "humongous mess" she inherited from Rocky Rodriguez, who served as interim property appraiser from April 2004 through January 2005 after the death of Bill Markham. Rodriguez disagreed that the office was left in shambles.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Florida CFO Tom Gallagher. He gets the award for violating Florida ethics laws while in his current office. Mostly involving his owning stock in insurance companies while at the same time regulating those industries.

Note- Gallagher is currently a candidate for Governor. He is also a former Knucklehead award winner.

The Sun-Sentinel article is below and I suggest you read it. I think its apparent to an elementary school student that there was a conflict of interest but Gallagher doesn't care. Neither should Florida voters with the upcoming election in five weeks. Gallagher is just another corrupt pol who thinks rules don't apply to him. Gallagher's gubenatorial campaign is about dead. He trails Charlie Crist in both fundraising and polls by large margins.

Florida CFO Tom Gallagher may not become Governor but he will win another prize. He is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Samantha Burns, TMH's Bacon Bits, Right Wing Nation, Wizbang, Bloggin Outloud, Stop the ACLU, Point Five, Third World County, Assorted Babble, Freedom Watch, Blue Star, Madman Returns,

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- There is probable cause to believe that gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher violated ethics laws by owning stock in two insurance companies while he regulated the industry, the state ethics commission determined Friday.

The commission will determine later whether action should be taken against the Republican. Its next meeting isn't scheduled until after Gallagher faces Attorney General Charlie Crist in the Sept. 5 primary election.

When Gallagher posted his tax returns on his campaign Web site it was revealed he had traded hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock between 2002 and 2005, including shares of insurers Penn Treaty American Corp. and Conseco Inc.

Gallagher served as insurance commissioner until 2003, when he was sworn in as the state's chief financial officer. As CFO, Gallagher sits on the Cabinet which, along with the governor, oversees insurance regulation and several state agencies.

The commission's determination came after a closed hearing, but the panel confirmed the findings after Gallagher's campaign disclosed them.

Gallagher's lawyer, Richard Coates, said he was "dumbfounded" by the decision, describing the amount of stock Gallagher owned as minuscule. Gallagher held up to 7,000 shares of Penn Treaty, selling them for about a $7,200 profit, and 3,000 shares of Conseco, selling them for about a $1,000 loss.

The commission also found that Gallagher probably violated ethics laws by owning stock in Nextel Communications Inc. and EMC Corp. while they contracted with agencies the Cabinet oversees, but didn't find the need for further action. There was no reason to believe Gallagher knew about the agencies' contracts, Coates said.

The campaign noted that the commission didn't find enough evidence to suggest he misused his office or gave preferential treatment to any companies in which he owned stock.

Gallagher will not seek a hearing on the findings. That means he will enter into settlement discussions that usually result in admission of a violation and an agreement to a penalty, said commission spokeswoman Kerrie Stillman.

Earlier this year, Gallagher said he didn't think he was doing anything wrong when he decided to invest in the companies.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


Yesterday the Pentagon announced its intention to close The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center.

COLORADO SPRINGS, July 28 -- Facing new enemies in a different kind of war, the Pentagon said Friday that it plans to move out of the famous war room that was built beneath a mountain here in the 1960s with enough concrete to survive a Soviet missile strike.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will transfer surveillance operations from Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, an iconic Cold War venue depicted in such movies as "War Games" and "The Sum of All Fears," to an office building a dozen miles away at Peterson Air Force Base.

The Cheyenne Mountain war room, nesting more than 1,000 feet under the mountain and protected by iron blast doors weighing 30 tons apiece, is to be placed in a status the military calls "warm standby," which means it could be reopened in hours if a need arose.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department has spent about $700 million to upgrade early-warning systems at the Cheyenne Mountain center. A report this month by the Government Accountability Office said the upgrade has been "fraught with cost increases, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls."

Despite that upgrade, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command, created a group in February to consider moving the NORAD surveillance operation to Peterson. The study recommended the shift for operational and budget reasons, the Northern Command said in a statement Friday.

NORAD officials emphasized that the same surveillance work will be carried out, but without the enormous protective shield of iron, earth and concrete provided at Cheyenne Mountain. The military concluded that it no longer needed to be concerned about an intercontinental nuclear missile.

"Moving the missions from a hardened facility to Peterson AFB does not change the level of security," Keating told reporters Friday. "An assessment is underway to ensure that the security level is commensurate with threats."

"A missile attack from China or Russia is very unlikely," Keating said, according to a transcript of a recent interview with the Denver Post.
Back in my Navy days I knew a CPO who was assigned to Cheyenne at one time. He sometimes talked about life there but I don't recall any of it today.

The Cold War is over. China and Russia aren't threats. I think the days of a massive attack scenario are in the past but then who knows the future. The military will keep Cheyenne in mothballs for some future eventuality. All we can do is pray it will never be needed.

Hat tip- Below the Beltway
Open Post- Cao's Blog, Bloggin Outloud, Third World County,

Dumb and dumber in Mississippi

Politics doesn't belong in the courts.

First District U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker is being sued for breach of contract by his Democratic opponent in the 2006 election.

Ken Hurt, the Democratic nominee, filed the suit in Lee County Chancery Court Friday morning.

Hurt’s suit, which represents one side of a legal argument, alleges that Wicker has breached the “Contract with America” by running for a seventh term.

In signing the “Contract with America,” the Republicans’ 10-point legislative agenda they unveiled upon regaining control of Congress in 1994, Hurt says Wicker promised to vote for 12-year term limits on congressmen.

“Congressman Wicker’s entering a thirteenth year in Congress is contrary to his promise that he made in his initial campaign that he would serve no more than twelve years and would support a bill limiting Congressmen to no more than twelve years,” Hurt wrote in the complaint.

Kirk Sims, Wicker’s campaign manager, was dismissive of the suit.

“This lawsuit is frivolous and, quite frankly, a little nutty,” Sims wrote in an e-mail. “It is an abuse of the court system and removes what little credibility Ken Hurt’s campaign may have had.”
Congressman Wicker is dumb for not keeping his pledge. Ken Hurt is even dumber for taking this matter to court. It's a waste of any judge's time and therefore taxpayer money.

Wouldn't it be nice if the people of Mississippi voted for a write-in instead of these two scoundrels? That would send a message to both parties- Keep politics out of the courtroom.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Freedom Watch,

Who's the Ass?

Some news from Texas.

AUSTIN - Texans who make mocking donations to Gov. Rick Perry's campaign no longer have to worry about how their canceled checks will be labeled. Perry's campaign said Friday it will likely stop using the code "ASS 06" — short for "A Small Supporter" — on the canceled checks of small-change contributors who donated mere pennies in protest of the governor's support for a new business tax.

Political campaigns often code contribution checks to track what inspired the donation. Perry spokesman Robert Black said the checks were coded "ASS 06" because the donations weren't tied to a specific event.

"In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best choice for an abbreviation," Black said. "They'll probably be changed to something like 'SML' for 'Small' going forward."
The solution is as dumb as the original abbreviation. SML is small going forward? Why doesn't the Perry campaign admit they made a mistake in using that abbreviation?

Instead of telling the truth, the Rick Perry campaign prefers to remain an ass.

Open Post- Point Five, Madman Returns, Basil's Blog,

Up in smoke

Some news from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

A group pushing to legalize pot decided to rally in front of Congresswoman Katherine Harris' office last week. But it turned out that members weren't as motivated to lambast her as they had initially planned.

The Florida Cannabis Action Network had planned to criticize Harris, a Longboat Key Republican, for her opposition to legislation last week that would have allowed medicinal use of marijuana. But the group's leader, Anthony Lorenzo, said he lost his desire to pick on Harris, who is giving up her House of Representatives seat to run for U.S. Senate.

"She's only going to be around for another six months anyway," Lorenzo said.

Besides, getting Harris' name printed on signs would be a pain, he said.
Not as big a pain if Harris was elected to the Senate. I'm glad the protest was called off. With enemies like this, who needs friends.

Hat tip- Peer Review FL(who I borrowed the enemies line from)
Open Post- Bright & Early, Assorted Babble, Blue Star,

I feel faint

Does the Palm Beach Post editorial board read TFM? From a Saturday editorial.

First, Gov. Bush and his allies lined up Miami-Dade County School Board member Frank Bolanos to challenge Sen. Villalobos in the Republican primary. While Sen. Villalobos has been the voice of younger, moderate Cuban-Americans who aren’t obsessed with Fidel Castro, Mr. Bolanos recently voted to ban from Miami-Dade schools a book he considered too pro-Castro Cuba. A federal judge overturned the board’s decision.

Then, the anti-Villalobos crowd recruited an assistant principal to enter the race as a write-in candidate and help close out Democratic voters from what could have been an “open primary.” As The Miami Herald reported, Alejandro Rizo said, “If Alex Villalobos wants Democrat support, he can run as a Democrat.” Responded Sen. Villalobos, “For all the Republicans in my district who have kids in crowded classrooms — and that’s all of them — the choice will be pretty clear.”
The Democrat support quote comes from this Herald story. As to the write-in candidte, that comes from here.

Then here is my blog post that references the second Herald article from above.

Today's winners are Miami-Dade School Board member Frank Bolaños and American Senior High School Assistant Principal Alejandro Rizo. They get the award for their political maneuver to prevent democrats from voting in a State Senate race in Miami-Dade County. Bolaños is challenging the Republican incumbent and Rios a friend and financial supporter of Bolaños is running as a write-in. Since no Democrat is running for the seat, under state law Democrats could vote in the Republican primary. Except now Rizo's bogus bid prevents this.

What do these two think this is, some kind of banana republic? What Rizo did is legal but not right. These two are using a loophole in Florida's laws to prevent people from voting.
Funny that the Post and I share the same outrage together. I don't agree with much of the rest of today's editorial. The Bolanos-Villalobos feud Republican feud is not all that different from the Teresa LePore-Robert Wexler Democratic feud we had here in Palm Beach County for approximately four years. The Post apparently forgets that or just felt the need to bash Governor Bush and Republicans. I lean to the later.

Could the editorial just be a coincidence rather than a sign of the Post reading TFM? It is possible but I wrote this a year ago.

3- Nearsightedness. I once before blogged about Columnist/Editorial Page Editor Randy Schultz at the Palm Beach Post. In spite of having two other major newspapers in the area, one in a county only miles from his home, this newspaper man didn't know a bit about a scandal involving a judge in Broward County. Do newspapermen only read their own papers?
Last Friday I even had a visitor from the Post. From their Boca Raton bureau, or that was where the IP came from(Randy Schultz lives in Boca. He has stated so in his columns.). I saw this while checking out Site Meter. Unfortunately I didn't save that webpage.

Is Randy Schultz a regular TFM reader? Maybe he is addicted to my knucklehead awards. Come on Randy, admit it. Confession is good for the soul.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Assorted Babble, Right Wing Nation,

One elastic loaf to go

Some news from Iran.

TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.

The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly from Western languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words, because the Quran is written in Arabic.
See how evil Islam is. They want to do away with pizza!(Cue the sarcastic laughter)

No just an example of a former knucklehead winner needing to have his medications adjusted. I'd rather have President Ahmadinejad concerning himself with Farsi and pizza than Israel. The world is safer that way.

Hat tip- Poliblog
Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Stop the ACLU, Point Five, Third World County

Sam Walton just rolled over

Some news from China.

BEIJING (AFP) - US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores saw its first trade union formed for workers at one its 60 shops in China where it started doing business in 1996.

Establishment of the union was the initiative of some 30 Wal-Mart employees in the southeast province of Fujian, Xinhua news agency said Saturday.

For the past two years the world's biggest retailer had resisted efforts to set up local unions, which are all affiliated with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) which was established by the ruling Communist Party and claims some 150 million members.

Wal-Mart has always maintained its employees were free to set up unions if they wished and insisted it was "in total conformity with Chinese law".

But at the start of July, senior Chinese official Wang Zhaoguo, who is also president of ACFTU, singled out Wal-Mart for failing to establish unions at its stores while proposing to make it compulsory for foreign firms to set up unions for employees.

According to China's trade union law, all employees have the right to join ACFTU, the country's only legal trade union.


The nation's trade union law outlaws workers from forming independent unions or organising collective bargaining activities outside the ACFTU.

Since it arrived in China in 1996, Wal-Mart has opened 60 stores in 29 cities and is said to employ more than 30,000 people across the country.

It had to happen sooner or later that some Wal-Mart employees would unionize. China may not have been considered the likely place for it to happen at first glance, but if you think about it maybe this isn't so surprising. Communist countries have always prided themselves on their worker's groups.

Note- In the two years I worked part-time for Wally World, I never once heard talk about employee efforts to unionize. Then Florida is a Right to work state.

Open Post- Freedom Watch, Blue Star, Madman Returns,

One lunatic in Seattle?

From AP-

Authorities said a man walked into the Jewish agency on Friday and opened fire, killing one woman and injuring at least five others in what they call a hate crime. Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of homicide and attempted homicide, police said.

The gunman, who employees said claimed to be a Muslim angry at Israel forced his way through the center's security door after an employee had punched in her security code, said Marla Meislin-Dietrich, a co-worker who was not at the building at the time.

Staff members said they overheard him saying "'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,' before opening fire on everyone," Meislin-Dietrich said. "He was randomly shooting at everyone."

Bloggers already covering the news in Seattle include Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters, Cao's Blog, Stop the ACLU, James Joyner at OTB and Lorie at Wizbang to name a few. This is probably the story of one lone nutcase. The US has had a history of these as does every area of the world. Does that make a society all bad?

Read this post of mine before answering that question.

Open Post- Bullwinkle Blog, Adam's Blog, Random Yak,

Thank you Kuwait

Some news from the Tallahassee Democrat

A new, multimillion-dollar community-services center for the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross will be built in Tallahassee thanks to the Kuwait Red Crescent Society and the government of Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti organization, that country's version of the Red Cross, and the government are giving the American Red Cross $25 million - the biggest single donation it has ever received. The money will be spent to build American Red Cross facilities in Tallahassee, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, La., and Mobile, Ala., and purchase 15 emergency-response vehicles.

Chris Floyd, emergency-services director for the area Red Cross, announced the donation Thursday.

"It will be about all of us coordinating in one location the human needs of disaster victims," he said. "Everybody will have a place at the table."

Neal Denton, a spokesman for the national American Red Cross, said Kuwaiti officials visited the Gulf region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"It's obviously a very generous gesture," he said.

Floyd said he expects the building to be built within 18 months to two years. It will be designed to withstand hurricane-strength winds and have auxiliary power to operate during outages. He estimated the cost at $4.5 million.

The chapter will sell its current headquarters on Office Plaza Drive and use the proceeds for the new center. Floyd said it will be similar to the state's Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, where emergency officials coordinate response and recovery before, during and after hurricanes and other disasters.

God bless you Kuwait and The Red Crescent Society.

Open Post- Wizbang, Bloggin Outloud, Basil's Blog,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Spanish language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald. The El Nuevo Herald, the sister paper of the Miami Herald, gets the award for the following.

MIAMI -- The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper acknowledged Friday that it manipulated two photos in a montage that made it falsely appear that two Cuban police officers were ignoring prostitutes gesturing to a tourist.

The picture published June 25 in El Nuevo Herald combined two archived photos _ a 1994 photo of the officers by El Nuevo Herald photographer Roberto Koltun, and a 1998 Associated Press photo of the women by John Moore.

The two pictures were matched closely enough that it appeared the officers were chatting a few feet from the women, but the picture was not identified as a montage.

Executive Editor Humberto Castello said the publication of the picture without an identifying headline was an accident. The problems with the photo montage were first reported Thursday in the Miami New Times, an alternative weekly. A day later, El Nuevo Herald published a long explanation to readers along with the original photographs.

Castello said he found out about the error from the New Times story.

``Here there were two mistakes,'' Castello said in an interview in Spanish, ``one that the photos weren't properly attributed, the other was that it was not then clarified.''

The montage accompanied a story on a book by Cuban writer Amir Valle, entitled ``Jineteras,'' or ``Prostitutes,'' about the thriving industry on the island.

The original plan was to publish the two photos side by side but in different sizes and with the border between them blurred, Castello said.

``On the computer screen it looked good. But it didn't work. The two photos look pasted together on the page,'' he said. Castello said the editor in charge went on vacation around the time the photos were published.

The paper now plans to offer a seminar to its photographers, graphic artists and editors on ethics and design.

AP guidelines require its photos always tell the truth and prohibit altering or manipulating the content of a photograph in any way.
The New York Times could use a seminar on using photographs properly too. Accident or no accident, the El Nuevo Herald misled its readers and therefore are today's knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Samantha Burns, TMH's Bacon Bits, Right Wing Nation, Wizbang, Bloggin Outloud, Basil's Blog, Stop the ACLU, Point Five, Third World County,


Friday, July 28, 2006

Florida the rules are different here Chapter XXXVII

Reeboks for revolvers. You got to love Florida.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Bullwinkle Blog, Outside the Beltway,

Orlando -- Orlando police are offering new pairs of tennis shoes in exchange for guns today -- no questions asked, officials said.

The "Kicks for Guns 2006" effort, organized by police, Real Radio 104.1 and Reebok, is designed to take guns off the streets before they're used in crimes.

The event takes place at the Citrus Bowl's Lot C, at the corner of Tampa Avenue and Church Street. It runs from 7 a.m. to noon.

The Knucklehead of the Day award Part Two

Our second winner today is SUNY(State Univ. of New York) Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner. He gets the award for the following.

BUFFALO, N.Y., July 24, 2006—A professor at the State University of New York, Fredonia (SUNY Fredonia) has been denied promotion for publicly disagreeing with the university’s student conduct policies and affirmative action practices. SUNY Fredonia’s president later agreed to approve the promotion only if the professor would submit all of his public writings to prior university review. Professor Stephen Kershnar declined the offer and sought help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

“Professors must be able to publicly and frankly express their opinions if the ‘marketplace of ideas’ is to survive,” stated FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “SUNY Fredonia’s bungling attempt to suppress a professor’s criticism of university policies is both reprehensible and embarrassing.”

Kershnar, an associate professor of philosophy, was nominated for promotion to full professor in January 2006, with strong support from his colleagues, department head, and top administrators, because of his outstanding professional record. An outspoken member of the Fredonia community, Kershnar writes a bi-weekly column for the local newspaper, in which he questioned Fredonia’s affirmative action practices and examined the lack of conservatives in higher education. In 2005, Kershnar publicly condemned a new rule that targets students who fail to report violations of the student conduct code. He was quoted in a Buffalo News article saying the new policy would “turn the student population into a group of snitches.”

SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner issued a letter to the university community defending the conduct policy against “media misrepresentations.” Kershnar e-mailed the SUNY Fredonia faculty e-mail list on the following day to say that he had criticized—not misrepresented—the policy. Hefner replied to that e-mail by warning Kershnar, “You need to start acting like a responsible member of this campus community.”

On April 27, Hefner sent Kershnar a letter denying his promotion. Hefner explained that although Kershnar’s “teaching has been described as excellent,” he would not be promoted because of his “deliberate and repeated misrepresentations of campus policies and procedures…to the media,” which Hefner claimed “impugned the reputation of SUNY Fredonia.”

Kershnar told FIRE that at a later meeting, Hefner suggested that he would approve the promotion if Kershnar agreed to refrain from such statements in the future. In response, Kershnar drafted a contract to be in effect for one year, during which time he would submit his written materials to a “Prior-Consent Committee,” consisting of two other professors who would decide if his statements deliberately misrepresented the university. Hefner rejected Kershnar’s version of the contract, substituting a more stringent contract that would be in effect for an indefinite period of time, and that required Kershnar to get “unanimous consent” from a university committee for all writing regarding the university to ensure “the avoidance of any future misrepresentations” of campus practices.
In other words Kerschnar needs to kiss Hefner's ass. Hefner's partial turnabout just tells you how dumb he is. The free exchange of ideas should be the basis of education, but Hefner feels only ideas are right and worth expressing.

Joanne Jacobs calls this a case of insufficent toadying. I call it the failure of Kerschnar to kiss Hefner's ass. Herfner may not get his ass kissed but he will get one thing for sure. SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner is today's 2nd knucklehead winner of the day. Print this and put it on your office wall President Hefner. Hail Fredonia and the spirit of Rufus T Firefly!

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Samantha Burns, TMH's Bacon Bits,


Cat fight down under

No we're not discussing lesbian mud wrestling but this.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will today investigate ugly scenes involving North Korean players after they lost their Women's Asian Cup semi-final in Adelaide last night.

Trouble erupted deep in stoppage time when North Korean players thought they had equalised against China but the goal was disallowed for an off-side infringement.

Play continued but at the final whistle, and as the Chinese started to celebrate their 1-0 win, frustrations among the North Koreans boiled over with four or five surrounding Italian referee Anna De Toni and one appearing to push her.

Television footage also showed a player seemingly aiming a kick which missed De Toni as she and her assistants were escorted from the ground by security guards.

Korean players were also seen throwing plastic bottles which had been thrown onto the ground.

The AFC will scrutinise film of the post-match clash today and is expected to impose tough penalties.
As GI in Korea said, who of the fans in attendance would have thought it. They went to a soccer game and a Tae Kwon Do match broke out.

What this will do for China-North Korea relations and the five-way talks is anyone's guess. Kim il-Jong may demand a rematch.

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

Destined for the Smithsonian?

This bit of news hardly surprises me.

With rising cell phone use and vandalism and neglect taking their toll, pay phones are disappearing around the nation. Consumer activists and advocates for the poor have protested the drop in numbers — saying that public phones are necessary in emergencies and represent a lifeline for those who can't afford a cell phone or even a landline.

"If you have a cell phone, you hardly look for the pay phones," said 25-year-old Sayed Mizan, listening to his iPod on a subway platform. "Besides, most of the time if you see the pay phones, they're either out of order or they're too filthy to touch."

Public phone operators insist that the bad reputation of pay phones is undeserved — though they do concede that they have removed many stands in recent years due to falling use.

Nationwide, the number of pay phones has dropped by half to approximately 1 million over the last nine years, according to an estimate by the American Public Communications Council, a trade association for independent pay phone operators.

"If a pay phone isn't covering its costs, we take it out," said Jim Smith, a spokesman for Verizon, which operates more pay phones in New York than any other company. "Toward the late '90s, the wireless phenomenon really got some momentum. That really put the squeeze on the pay phones."

The drop in pay-phone numbers angers advocates, who are quick to point out that cell phones — and sometimes any phones at all — are prohibitively expensive for many people.
With less demand, pay phones had to become less common and have the price for using them rise. Its simple economics. The supply will dwindle if the demand isn't there. Other than when travelling through airports, I can't think of the last time I used a payphone.

I don't think payphones will become extinct. Just much more difficult to find.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award Part One

Again I have too many knuckleheads to pass up on.

Our first winners are JFK Hospital in Atlantis Florida and Neurosurgeon Jacques Farkas. They get the award for the botched surgery performed on Sam Sangounchitte in 1999. Dr. Farkas performed surgery he had never done before which eventually crippled Mr. Sangounchitte.

Medical and bureaucratic incompetence, plain and simple. JFK plans to appeal, but that don't matter to TFM. JFK Hospital and Dr. Jacques Farkas are our first knuckleheads of the day.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Samantha Burns, TMH's Bacon Bits,

A Palm Beach County jury on Thursday found JFK Medical Center liable for a neurosurgeon's mishap that left a Boynton Beach man in a wheelchair. The Atlantis hospital was ordered to pay $11.4 million in damages.

According to the complaint, Sam Sangounchitte in 1999 was operated on by neurosurgeon Jacques Farkas, who performed spinal surgery he had never done before using rods that the manufacturer advised should not be used in spinal surgery. The rods migrated into the patient's brain, severely injuring him.

Sangounchitte, 52, who was represented by attorney Nancy LaVista, sued JFK for allowing the surgery to take place and for failing to properly credential the doctor.

The complaint alleged that JFK only required proof of medical training to get privileges and placed no restrictions on what doctors could do in their operating rooms, in violation of federal law. Another reason why the plaintiff sued the hospital was because the doctor did not have any malpractice coverage, LaVista said.

Sangounchitte, a native of Thailand, worked as a jewelry salesman at Sak's Fifth Avenue and owned a bagel store before the operation.

A year after the surgery he began having tremors and losing his balance, LaVista said. He is now in a wheelchair, unable to walk.

"He has permanent spinal cord and low brain damage," she said.

The four-week trial was heard by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Amy Smith.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Road to Havana

Not a Hope-Crosby movie but this bit of news.

Cuban President Fidel Castro celebrated the 53rd anniversary of the beginning of his revolution with an invitation Wednesday: President Bush should visit his communist island and see for himself what a real national healthcare plan looks like.

During a two-hour rally attended by an estimated 100,000 people, Castro mocked the recent report of the Bush administration's Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which offered health, education and other aid for a democratic Cuba.

Citing an endless list of accomplishments, Castro said Cuba doesn't need a U.S.-designed social development plan. Cuba, he boasted, has an infant mortality rate of 5.56 per 1,000 births and more than 7,000 TV sets in Granma province elementary schools alone, according to Cuban government news websites

Don't mind me if I fail to wish him a happy anniversary. Isn't that child abuse having all those children exposed to televisions?

''I think there are I don't know how many thousands of citizens of this nation that have even reached their 100th birthday,'' he said. ``But our little northern neighbors shouldn't get scared: I'm not thinking of working at that age.''

Somehow I don't see Fidel working at 100 either. That's because he is either 6 feet under or wearing depends 24 hours a day.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration made its own plans to pour millions of dollars into hastening a transition to democracy.

''You'd have to tell Mr. Bush and others who are promoting this program to come to Granma to see what a true health, education and culture program looks like,'' Castro said.

Somehow Fidel I don't see the Bushes accepting your invite to Cuba. That's unless you have a free election. What do you have to fear? If Cuba is as wonderful as you describe, the Cuban people will elect you overwhelmingly.

So Fidel, what are you afraid of?

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


That knucklehead of a judge, Eileen O'Connor, is back in the news.

When Broward Circuit Judge Eileen O'Connor sentenced a prospective juror to four months in jail last year for failing to reveal he had been arrested, her decision provoked allegations of racism and double standards in the judicial system.

But on Wednesday, the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach backed the judge and upheld Stacey Forbes' conviction for criminal contempt of court.

The appellate judges said that because the jail sentence was within the legal limits, they could not overturn it. However, they said it was "harsh under the circumstances" and, listing cases where misbehaving jurors got lesser punishments, they suggested the judge could reduce the sentence.

Forbes' attorney, Bill Gelin, said he will ask for a reduction in Forbes' sentence. But the outcome of any such request will just be a point of principle: on Monday, another circuit judge, Michael Kaplan, sentenced Forbes to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to burglary and attempted burglary.

Gelin said he was disappointed he lost the appeal but was pleased the court agreed that the sentence was harsh.

In March 2005, Forbes was found guilty of contempt for failing to disclose during jury selection that he had prior arrests. One arrest happened just two weeks before he reported for jury duty. He served 30 days of the jail term before O'Connor released him on bond in April 2005 while he appealed.

Forbes told the judge he wasn't trying to hide his background, but he had problems reading a jury questionnaire. He said he was confused and thought he was being asked if he had been convicted of a crime. At that time, Forbes had been arrested twice but prosecutors dropped both cases.

In its decision, the appellate court referred to prior rulings in a case where a defendant did not realize the effect his behavior could have on the justice system, pointing out the need to balance "the need to preserve the integrity of the court system and the ideal of tempering justice with mercy when an offense is unwittingly committed."

Gelin said he plans to ask O'Connor to step down from handling the case because of a potential conflict of interest. In the controversy that followed her actions in the Forbes' case, the Fort Lauderdale branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed a complaint against her with the state's watchdog agency for judges, the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Marsha Ellison, local NAACP president, said her organization asked the commission to investigate allegations by unnamed sources published in South Florida newspapers that O'Connor did not disclose two employee discrimination complaints when she applied to become a judge in 2003. Several sources said the complaints were brought by attorneys -- one Jewish and one black -- when O'Connor was a supervisor in the civil division of the U.S. Attorney's Fort Lauderdale office.

The commission will not confirm or deny it is investigating a complaint until it decides whether to take formal disciplinary proceedings.
Harsh? As was well documented at the time, O'Connor's sentence for Forbes was unprecedented. She was within the law, but this judge is a menace.

O'Connor is also a liar as is shown here. She has no business being on the bench but if the Judicial Qualifications Committee or Florida State Supreme Court do anything, I'll be shocked. Our judicial system gives their own a slap on the wrist, and innocent people get jailed for being sent to the wrong courtroom. Justice in Florida is often one big clusterfuck.

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

Is that my aircraft carrier?

A World War II mystery may have been solved. A Polish Oil Company has come upon an under water shipwreck they believe to be the only German aircraft carrier, The Graf Zeppelin.

WARSAW, Poland - Poland's Navy said Thursday that it has identified a sunken shipwreck in the Baltic Sea as almost certainly being Nazi Germany's only aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin — a find that promises to shed light on a 59-year-old mystery surrounding the ship's fate.

The Polish oil company Petrobaltic discovered the shipwreck earlier this month on the sea floor about 38 miles north of the northern port city of Gdansk.

Suspecting it could be the wreckage of the Graf Zeppelin, the Polish Navy sent out a hydrographic survey vessel on Tuesday, said Lt. Cmdr. Bartosz Zajda, a spokesman for the Polish Navy.


During their time at sea, naval experts used a remote-controlled underwater robot and sonar photographic and video equipment to gather digital images of the 850-foot-long ship, Zajda said.


The naval experts were still waiting to find the name "Graf Zeppelin" on one the ship's sides before declaring with absolute certainty that it is the German carrier, Zajda said.

The Graf Zeppelin was Germany's only aircraft carrier during World War II. It was launched on Dec. 8, 1938, but never saw action. After Germany's defeat in 1945, the Soviet Union took control of the ship, but it was last seen in 1947 and since then the ship's fate has been shrouded in mystery.

Navy researchers plan to continue to examine the material they gathered during their two days at sea, but the analysis of the shipwreck will then fall to historians and other researchers, Zajda said.

The Graf Zeppelin will almost certain remain on the sea bed, he said.

"Technically it's impossible to pull it out of the water," Zajda said..
I would think so. 33,550 tonnes tons of scrap metal could be valuable but the cost of getting it off the floor of the Baltic would seem prohibitive.

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

Dreamland Chapter II

I may make this a recurring feature of TFM. Today's fantasy comes from Palm Beach Post Columnist Charles Elmore.

Happy birthday, Alex Rodriguez. If at age 31 you grow tired of the boos at Yankee Stadium, come home to South Florida.

Booing is not a big problem here. When the Marlins win a World Series every half-dozen years, it's just one sweaty bandwagon of love. Between title runs, you can throw sidearm past first base, second base and home in virtual privacy.

Think about it, A-Rod. Say goodbye to the Bronx jeers of "E-Rod." Leave behind your American League-leading 18 errors and your troubles at the plate and come to the place where fans either worship you or go snorkeling.

Admittedly, there are few signs you are going anywhere by Monday's trading deadline. Despite a whirl of rumors, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman says dealing Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami, is "not something even being considered." For their part, the Marlins say they do not anticipate any blockbuster moves.

Well, it's not quite as daunting as it appears.

The Texas Rangers, who signed the original $252 million deal with Rodriguez, have agreed to subsidize a big chunk of that salary though 2010. The Yankees are paying him about $15 million this year.

Even carrying A-Rod at the Yankees' rate, Florida's total payroll would be half of what it was in 2005. The Marlins would remain the most frugal club in baseball with a payroll of $30 million, substantially lower than Tampa Bay's $35.4 million.

The Marlins might have to give up Dontrelle Willis or Miguel Cabrera, but think of what they'd get in return: A reigning MVP with hometown roots on a team already outperforming expectations and pushing back toward .500.
Elmore's scenario is as wacky as the Katherine Harris one from yesterday. Marlin owner and Knucklehad winner Jeffrey Loria will not pay out a dime more for this team than needed. Besides ARod's addition wouldn't get the Marlins any closer to respectability. You need more than one high priced position player to do it.

Memo to Elmore- Don't write your column while daydreaming.
Open Post- Freedom Watch, Blue Star,

Twenty Six

From AP-

MILWAUKEE - Corey Pavin set the PGA's scoring record for nine holes when he shot a 26 on the front at the U.S. Bank Championship on Thursday.

Pavin, who was 8 under at the turn, broke the mark of four other players who had shot a 27 through the first nine holes, including Andy North and Robert Gamez, both participating in the tournament at the par-70 Brown Deer Park Golf Course.

Mike Souchak (1955), North (1975), Billy Mayfair (2001) and Gamez (2004) all equaled the mark, but Mayfair and Gamez both made the turn at 9 under.

Pavin birdied the first six holes, then needed two putts at the par-3 seventh after pushing his ball past the hole. He rebounded with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9, first by hitting a firm putt that dropped in the center of the cup, and then watching his putt on the ninth slow to a near stop before falling in.

Pavin hit just two of six fairways in regulation, but needed only 10 putts to get through the first nine holes.
Note- Andy North's 27 was shot at the En Joie CC. Since making the turn, Corey has shot even par for the next four holes. This about eliminates any chance of a run at a 59, the lowest 18-hole score in PGA history.

I've always liked Corey. Not a big man or big hitter, he got alot out of his golf game from 1984-96. The 1995 US Open Champ, Corey has only won one of his 14 career victories since then and the last was in 1996. Pavin also won the 1986 US Bank/Greater Milwaukee Open.

Open Post- Basil's Blog, Bullwinkle Blog,

Like giving Crack to a cocaine addict

Is how I sum up this news.

MANILA (AFP) - The United States has extended a 21-million-dollar grant to the Philippines to help bolster the fight against corruption, a government statement said.

The grant, extended through the US government's Millennium Challenge Corporation, will be channeled under a two-year program to the office of the Ombudsman, a special prosecutor for criminal cases involving government officials, and the finance department.

The program, which will be monitored regularly by Philippine and US officials, will focus on minimizing corruption, particularly in key financial agencies like the bureaus of customs and internal revenue, the government said.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, who oversaw the signing of the grant agreement late Wednesday, said that if the program is successful, the Philippines might get a larger assistance package of about 200 million dollars.
Corruption in the Philippines is rampant and reaches to the very top of the government. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos weren't the only ones and nothing has changed in the last twenty years but the names of the thieves in office. Read this and this. So giving 21 million to fight it is as good as the US government taking a match to it.

The question left remaining is how much of the 21 Million will end up in an account owned by Mr. Teves.

Open Post- Freedom Watch, Right Wing Nation,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award Part Two

No one that beautiful could be a Knucklehead.

Our second winner today is the Indonesian Islamic Defenders Front and its lawyer Sugito. They get the award for the following.

A MILITANT Islamic group has filed a police report against Indonesia’s Miss Universe candidate, accusing her of indecency.

Nadine Chandrawinata’s participation in the contest and display of her body in a swimsuit “is actually insulting for Indonesian dignity and women”, Islamic Defenders Front lawyer Sugito said yesterday.

Ms Chandrawinata did not make it to the competition’s final in Los Angeles on Sunday, which was won by Miss Puerto Rico, but she had drawn heavy media coverage in Indonesia.

Mr Sugito said the Islamic Defenders Front had also filed complaints against four people involved in sponsoring and organising Ms Chandrawinata’s participation.

Under Indonesian law, police would have to investigate whether there was sufficient evidence for a case under the complaint, and if so, turn their findings over to prosecutors for a decision on whether it merited going to court.

The offences carried potential sentences ranging from two to six years in jail, Mr Sugito said. The posing requirements of the competition offended the standards not just of Islam but of other religions, he said.
Just another example of religious extremism and intolerance. Mr. Sugito should be proud of Ms. Chandrawinata and not trying to have her jailed. Ms. Indonesia didn't win Ms. Universe but she's a winner in my book. As to The Islamic Defenders front and Mr. Sugito they are today's second knucklehead winners of the day.

Hat tip- Michelle Malkin. Below the Beltway, Blogs of War, are also blogging on Ms. Indonesia.
Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits, Blue Star,


Sitting Ducks

News from the Middle East-

JERUSALEM -- U.N. observers in Lebanon telephoned the Israeli military 10 times in six hours to ask it to stop shelling near their position before an attack killed four observers and sparked international anger with Israel, U.N. officials said Wednesday.

The U.N. observation post near Khiam came under close Israeli fire 21 times Tuesday -- including 12 hits within 100 yards and five direct hits from 1:20 p.m. until the peacekeepers' post was destroyed at 7:30 p.m., Jane Lute, assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping, told the U.N. Security Council in New York.

U.N. officials said Hezbollah militants had been operating in the area of the post near the eastern end of the border with Israel, a routine tactic to prevent Israel from attacking them.

Officials in the outpost called the Israeli army 10 times during those six hours, and each time an army official promised to have the bombing stopped, according to a preliminary U.N. report on the incident, which was shown to an Associated Press reporter on Wednesday.


The bombing put Israel on the defensive two weeks into its campaign against Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed ``deep regret'' for the deaths and dismay over U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's accusation that the attack was "apparently deliberate.''

Olmert told Annan in a phone call Wednesday that the attack was inadvertent and he promised a ``thorough investigation,'' his office said in a statement.

"It's inconceivable for the U.N. to define an error as an apparently deliberate action,'' Olmert said.
This story got a great deal of publicity yesterday. Mostly because of Kofi Annan's remarks.

Why would Israel bomb a UN outpost? How would Annan know the attack was deliberate? The MSM likes to editorialize on a regular basis, why aren't they asking these questions. The only one who has the answers about happened for certain are Israel and its military. There will always be some who will not accept the word of a party involved in an incident like this no matter what. Skeptics alwyas get the most press.

The bigger issue is, the UN's presence in Lebanon. Countries are calling for it to be increased in rder to stop the present conflict. But as some remind us, the UN has been there since 1978. The UN has had almost 30 years in the region and Hizbollah is still there. What does that tell us about the potential effectiveness of UN peacekeepers.

Yesterday's incident as James Joyner points out, is going to make UN members less likely to offer troops to police the area. For they will be what the title of my post says. Caught between two parties firing at one another. Who wants to be in that situation?

Open Post- Random Yak, Right Wing Nation,

Up front

Two hospital emergency rooms in Palm Beach County will start charging patients who visit the ER with non-emergency related illnesses. From today's Palm Beach Post-

Starting Tuesday, St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie and JFK Medical Center in Atlantis will require ER patients with non-emergencies to either pay upfront for care or be directed to an outpatient health clinic.

"This is another step to deal with the overcrowding in the ER," said Jim Kruger, St. Lucie Medical's director of emergency services. "There's nothing worse than coming to the ER and having to wait a couple hours or more to be seen."

JFK CEO Gina Melby said she hoped the new policy would have a dramatic effect on the overcrowding of county ERs.

"Our goal with this initiative is to make sure those patients who are sickest get prompt medical care and those who do not have a medical emergency receive information on how to get more effective and less costly treatment," she said.

Critics worry the new weeding-out system won't fix the overcrowding problem; it will merely put doctors in the awkward position of turning away patients they are trained to help. Further, it might cause patients to hesitate to get help when they really do have an emergency.

About 12 percent of St. Lucie's patients would be affected by the new policy, which excludes children under 5 and seniors, Kruger said.

JFK and St. Lucie Medical are owned by HCA Inc., the nation's largest hospital chain, which is instituting the ER policy at several of its 189 U.S. hospitals. HCA's Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce plans to adopt the policy in December.

Doctors say patients come into ERs daily for routine matters such as prescription refills, scrapes, toothaches and mild sore throats. These problems clog the ER and run up costs, they say, because high overhead makes it the most expensive place to deliver care.

JFK and St. Lucie Medical will join a small but growing number of hospitals across the nation in trying to divert patients with non-emergencies.

Nationwide, hospitals are reconsidering their legal and ethical obligations to treat everyone in the emergency room as the rolls of the uninsured rise and hospitals face more pressure to control costs.

St. Lucie and JFK say they meet their legal obligations because all patients will be
triaged by a nurse and their condition will be assessed by a physician. But if the doctor deems a patient's condition as not an emergency, the patient will be told to pay upfront for care or will be directed to an outpatient clinic.

For those without insurance, non-emergency patients will have to pay
$140 to be treated at St. Lucie Medical or JFK.

Dr. Jean Malecki, director of the Palm Beach County Health Department, which runs five health centers for low-income residents, said she had no problem with the new policy.

"Emergency rooms should be used for emergencies," she said.

But the approach has its detractors.

"I don't like it," said Dr. Michael Collins, director of the emergency department at Jupiter Medical Center. He said the policy may leave a doctor susceptible to a lawsuit if a turned-away patient is later found to be seriously ill.

"I don't want to be the doctor to look someone in the eye and say, 'I can't treat you unless you pay me,' " he said.
Ok before I get started, I have to disclose HCA is a former employer of mine.

I see several problems with this policy. The first of which is stated by Dr. Collins. While patients will get triaged and probably seen by a Physician Assistant, alot of the small problems they list are sometimes warning signs of much more serious problems. Does a ER want to take that risk if the patient can't afford to pay?

If you want proof of what can go wrong, read this. Eric Dolch is still in a coma a year later. Some of the symptoms mentioned in today's article can be signs of meningitis.

How strictly will a hospital enforce this? Doctors are more likely to err on the side of caution for fear of a malpractice lawsuit.

By the way, how much will the hospital charge? I can tell from past experience, how hospitals or medical facility can wrongly charge a patient. My wife had an MRI in April, JFK had my wife pay $130 upfront, but our portion of the bill came out to $70. The wife charged it, when I got notification of benefits I immediately called JFK's billing center only to get a run around. Then I called the local business office and had my credit card immediately refunded the difference.

I was lucky, because I paid by credit card. If you pay by cash or check, you'll wait and wait and wait..... for any reimbursement from the hospital. Trust me, been there and done that too with a medical provider.

Emergency rooms should be for emergencies or off hours medical help. The trouble is, not all emergencies can be immediately diagnosed. What do you think?

Open Post- Outside the Beltway, Third World County, Basil's Blog,

The Knucklehead of the Day award Part One

There are too many good knuckleheads to pass up on today.

Today's first winner is former Nobel peace laureate Betty Williams. Ms. Willams says she would love to kill President Bush.

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! She is Nobel peace winner, isn't killing someone a contradiction of that? Just another hate filled member of the left. TFM may riddicule the left, but I don't hate them. I just do this, I make Betty Williams our first Knucklehead of the day.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits, Blue Star,

NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W.Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren.

Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.

"I have a very hard time with this word 'non-violence', because I don't believe that I am non-violent," said Ms Williams, 64.

"Right now, I would love to kill George Bush." Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

"I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief. It's our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life."

Ms Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 30 years ago, when she circulated a petition to end violence in Northern Ireland after witnessing British soldiers shoot dead an IRA member who was driving a car. He veered on to the footpath, killing two children from one family instantly and fatally injuring a third.


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