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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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


From the Chicago Tribune

Prosecutors of former Gov. George Ryan asked today for permission for the father of six children who died in a fiery crash traced to corruption under Ryan to testify at his sentencing hearing next week.

The request was one of several issues discussed at a brief meeting between prosecutors, defense attorneys and a federal judge in U.S. District Court, Chicago, to deal with disagreements before Ryan's sentencing, scheduled for next Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick Collins signaled that Rev. Duane "Scott" Willis was seeking to address the court.

Six of Willis' nine children died in a fiery crash in Wisconsin in 1994 when a chunk of metal fell from a truck, striking the family's van and rupturing the gas tank. The trucker was an unqualified driver who received his commercial license by bribing an official in then-Secretary of State Ryan's office.

"Rev. Willis was a victim [of Ryan's corruption] in the sense that he was entitled to a good faith investigation" of the accident, Collins said.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer did not immediately rule on the issue. She asked Ryan's attorneys to submit their objection in writing.

Prosecutors proved at trial that Ryan gutted the secretary of state's inspector's general office in the 1990s.

Ryan served as secretary of state from 1991-99 before taking office as governor.

A jury found in April that during much of his term as secretary of state, Ryan doled out state leases and contracts to an inner circle of cronies, including his co-defendant, Lawrence Warner, who also was found guilty.


Though Ryan's exact sentencing range has not been released publicly, several sources familiar with the matter have said he faces 6 to 8 years in federal prison.

Pallmeyer has the ultimate discretion in sentencing.

Bradley Lerman, one of Ryan's defense attorneys, objected to Willis testifying at the sentencing hearing, suggesting that he send a letter to Pallmeyer instead.

Collins explained that Willis had requested that prosecutors ask Pallmeyer to allow him to speak at sentencing.

The prosecutor said that Willis would be the only witness for their side.
If you want to read the horrifying story of the Willis family, go here. Scott Willis and his wife Janet have an amazing faith in God. God bless them both.

As for Ryan, of we had true justice in this country, George Ryan would be put in a van and then set on fire. He obviously has no conscience, for he ran for and was elected Governor in 1998 four years after what happened to the Willis family. Ryan's firey death would be a message to all the corrupt politicians and public officials out there. That there is consequences for their acts. It will never happen for these same corrupt bastards make our laws and rule our courts. They will never let it happen to one of their own.

Hope you like hell George Ryan. That's where you're going after you die.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Blue Star, Median Sib,


Ernesto wasn't a hurricane, but Florida taxpayers will still feel its effects.

Closing schools for two days cost the district $4 million, with most of the money paying employee salaries for the county's largest employer. The district employs 21,616 people, including 12,025 teachers, nearly all of whom were paid for staying home and putting up hurricane shutters.

Students and teaches will make up the days on Sept. 21 and Oct. 20, which the school board approved months ago. Barring any other storms, the district won't get more time to prepare for the FCAT but district spokesman Nat Harrington said the loss of time likely won't hurt students.

"Every day is valuable, but teachers in the past have made up even more days and done well on the FCAT," Harrington said.
This emphasis on a test still over five months away makes me wonder about schools in Florida. Are we educating our students or teaching them to pass one test?

Assistant County Administrator Vince Bonvento, who oversees the county's disaster-response efforts, estimates the county spent about $100,000 preparing for the storm. That does not include overtime pay for sheriff's deputies and fire-rescue officials, which Bonvento said would be the county's largest expense.

The county spent roughly $36,000 on three truckloads of ice and three truckloads of water.
Didn't these guys hear what Groucho Marx said. "Just peel an onion, that will make your eyes water."

That was a sarcasm break brought to you by TFM. Now back to the Post article.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said overtime costs will be "minimal." Deputies were sent home once officials realized the storm wouldn't be as strong as expected. "We started ramping down on overtime costs, and the amount of units we had to have in place," Bradshaw said.

Fire-Rescue spokesman Capt. Don Delucia did not know Wednesday how much the agency will pay in overtime, but said about 120 additional paramedics and fire-rescue officials were called into work because of the storm. About 11 additional employees were needed at the 911 call center, Delucia said. Some of those employees and paramedics were sent home early, Delucia said.


It's unlikely any of those costs will be reimbursed by FEMA, Bonvento said. In order for that to happen, the president must declare the county or an adjoining county as a "federal disaster area," Bonvento said.
The article chronicles more of the expenses local government incurred to ready for Ernesto. It would be easy to criticize the National Hurricane Center for blowing the call on this storm. I don't criticize the NHC, weather forecasting will never be a perfect science in spite of the billions spent trying to long range forecasting already/ Unlike my friend Rick at SOTP, I don't think throwing more money at the problem will solve it either.

Government wasn't the only taking a financial hit from Ernesto. The private sector did as well too.

Ernesto cost the Keys $8.9 million after tourists were forced out Sunday afternoon, said the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
Businesses had to close and board up because of the storm too. To some workers it may have been a holiday, but there is a price.

Yet the price would have been bigger if Ernesto had been a hurricane. So we shouldn't complain and count our blessings instead.

Linked to- Third World County, Bright & Early,

Where's the dramamine? Part Six

Gas prices are falling.

Gasoline prices are falling fast and could keep dropping for months.

"The only place they have to go is down," says Fred Rozell, gasoline analyst at the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). "We'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving."

Travel organization AAA foresees prices 10 cents a gallon lower by the end of next week. It reported a nationwide average of $2.84 Tuesday, the lowest since April 20.
Here in Palm Beach County prices have dropped five to ten cents in the last weeks.

Bloggers James Joyner at OTB, Dr. Taylor at Poliblog, and Lorie at Wizbang have also blogged on the falling prices. Will this good news if sustained through November help Republicans at election time?

All of this speculation on gas prices dropping reminds me of this news from earlier in August.

NEW YORK ( -- In a blow to drivers already struggling with high gasoline prices, BP was forced to shut about 8 percent of the nation's domestic oil production for what seems to be a period of weeks after discovering "unexpectedly severe corrosion" in its pipelines in Alaska.

BP announced early Monday that the pipeline problems had caused it to begin the first shutdown ever in the biggest oilfield in the United States, Alaska's Prudhoe Bay. (Video:BP spokesman comments)

CNN's Todd Benjamin interviews a BP spokesman concerning a pipeline shutdown in Alaska (August 7)

Oil futures, already near record highs hit in July, shot higher on the announcement, and gasoline futures also rose.

The shutdown could be the tipping point that push gasoline prices to a record high, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at New Jersey-based Oil Price Information Service, noting prices are already close to record levels.

"Prices are likely to rise 3 to 5 cents a gallon for the next few days," he told CNN.
Kim at Wizbang said the pipeline news wasn't good news for gas prices. Lori now sees prices falling. Is Wizbang bipolar or what?(Time for sarcastic laughter)

I'm not picking on the guys and gals at Wizbang. What I am saying is, these experts sounded just as correct as the ones earlier in August. Who is to say which ones were right? Obviously someone is going to be wrong. You can find any experts or forecasters to predict what you want to hear. Just take it with a grain of salt like other prognosticators. Including TFM and his crystal ball.

Here's a gas price prediction for you- The price of gas won't be the same on election day as it is today. Now take that to the bank or Las Vegas whichever is your preference.

Linked to- Third World County, TMH's Bacon Bits, Right Wing Nation,

The Kiss of Death

Sports Illustrated has come out with their NFL predictions for 2006. Here is who they think will be playing in the Super Bowl.

I've followed the Dolphins since my discharge from the military. My football allegiances are torn between the Dolphins and the team I grew up following, The New York Jets.

Miami finished 9-7 last year, capped by a 6-game winning streak at year's end. I stick to what I said at season's end, Miami was a very over-rated team. Of those 6 wins, only San Diego and New England had winning record. The win in the week's final week against the Patriots was helped by the fact that New England rested much of its key personel plus the team not necessarily taking the game all that seriously. Anyone remember Doug Flutie's drop kick?

Dante Culpepper has joined Miami, and that's an improvement on the QB situation. Other problems remain, namely the team's aging defense plus a thin secondary that's been burned already during pre-season play. I'm not as skeptical about Miami's 2006 season as I was at the end of the 2005 campaign, but I don't see Miami making it to the Super Bowl.

As to Carolina, they seem as good a choice as any in the NFC but I feel that conference is pretty wide open.

My own Miami Dolphin prediction for 2006- 9-7 and a first round wildcard playoff loss.

Note- The title of this post refers to SI's jinx at picking Sports Champions. It supposedly began when the magazine picked the Cleveland Indians as the best team in baseball in 1987. Cleveland finished that season with the WORST record in MLB.

Hat tip- Stuck on the Palmetto
Linked to- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early,


Some news from the Sun-Sentinel.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.

Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: ``The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.''

Company officials had told employees in a series of meetings that layoff notices would be delivered electronically, spokeswoman Kay Jackson said. She said employees were invited to ask questions before Tuesday's notification on a company intranet site.

Derrick D'Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said he had never heard of such a large number of terminated employees being notified electronically. He said it could be seen as dehumanizing to employees.

``If I put myself in their shoes, I'd say, 'Didn't they have a few minutes to tell me?''' D'Souza said.

Laid-off workers got one to three weeks pay for each year of service, up to 16 weeks for hourly employees and 36 weeks for those with base bay of at least $90,000, the company said.

Is there ever a right way to tell an employee they are being let go? Employers are people too and find firings necessary but also both uncomfortable and when delivering the news tense situations. Simply for the fact that you never know how an employee will act.

Firing a person by email is impersonal, but I can also see why some companies will do it. For it avoids a confrontation. It still doesn't prevent an employee still with access to company property from retalliating in some way.

Not all that long ago I was fired from a job. I took a job in retail for some extra cash.(Tax and bookkeeping work is not always lucrative for me. Some years are better or worse) than others) My supervisor was a real jackass, the pay wasn't very good nor were the hours. I had a confrontation with my supervisor at the end of a shift. When I came back the next day I was told I was being let go. It didn't surprise me, I calmly said what I had to say to the human resources manager.(My supervisor wasn't there) I feel no great loss, my leaving that employer was inevitable because the work enviorment was just impossible. For in addition to my jackass supervisor, The HR person at this store was a liar.

If anything bugged me that day, it was the 20 mile round-trip drive I made to that store. I told HR she could have told me on the phone and saved me the trip. An email wouldn't have bothered me either. Technology like emails have become prevalent today, that employee news had to start being delivered that way. Doing firings or lay-offs in such a fashion was only inevitable.

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Cao's Blog,
Update- Strange Women lying in Ponds and Captain's Quarters are also discussing this news.

From the silly news desk

Some news from Germany. Was the cake Chocolate? For it is certain, these thieves are no angels.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Stuck on Stupid,

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two men broke into a supermarket depot in Germany and left with just a cake, authorities said on Tuesday.

"Sometimes people just come up with crazy ideas," said Hermann Schwichtenberg, a spokesman for police in the northern town of Itzehoe. "Now we've seen everything."

Police arrested the two men, aged 29 and 41, shortly after the late night break-in and recovered the stolen cake. A search of the men's flat uncovered no more loot.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Federal Aviation Administration aka FAA. They get the award for having one overworked controller on duty the morning of the Lexington Kentucky plane crash. By their own regulations, two controllers are supposed to be on duty at all times.

49 people are dead and maybe they wouldn't if the FAA was remotely competent. We'll never know if two controllers would have prevented the tragedy, but the FAA needs to take part of the blame.

For putting lives in danger and breaking its own policies, the FAA is today's knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Median Sib, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Third World County, Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits, Outside the Beltway,

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In the day leading up to the crash of Comair Flight 5191, a federal investigator says the air traffic controller on duty had worked for almost 15 hours and slept for two.

National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman, the lead investigator in the crash that killed 49 people, said in her final briefing before leaving Lexington Thursday that the controller had only nine hours off between work shifts Saturday.

That was just enough to meet federal rules, which require a minimum of eight hours off between shifts, Hersman said.

"He advised our team that he got approximately two hours of sleep," Hersman said.

It was the latest revelation in an investigation that has raised numerous questions about human error. Hersman said earlier this week that the plane crashed after veering down a wrong, shorter runway when the controller turned his back to handle administrative duties.

The commuter jet crashed Sunday morning, in the final hours of the controller's shift, while the pilot tried to take off from Blue Grass Airport.

The controller, a 17-year veteran whose name has not been released publicly, worked from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. He came back to work at 11:30 p.m. on the same day to begin an eight-hour overnight shift.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said the air traffic controller union approved the work schedule rules, and the FAA provides information about how to avoid fatigue.

"If they don't believe they're fit for duty, they're supposed to tell us that," Brown said. "You won't be penalized for not reporting for work."

The crash threw a spotlight on another practice aviation experts say goes on around the country: Small regional airports are sometimes manned by a single air traffic controller, even though federal rules require two.

The FAA has directed Blue Grass Airport and others like it to staff their towers with at least two controllers. But the FAA has acknowledged that only one was working Sunday in Lexington during the crash.

Ken Spirito, director of a regional airport in Peoria, Ill., said it is common for some late-night and early-morning shifts to be staffed with only one controller. Someone may call in sick or take a vacation, and the FAA usually decides to keep the airport open, he said.

"The mandate that is issued by FAA is only as good as the staffing levels at that particular tower," Spirito said.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said that at the time of the accident, there were only two other towers — in Duluth, Minn., and Fargo, N.D. — that were not following the policy to staff with two controllers.

"We have clarified the guidance for them," Brown said.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What is Hugo's handicap?

Some news from Venezuela.

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has promised a socialist revolution for the poor, on Wednesday criticized an ally's move to seize two golf courses to build affordable housing.

Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said the "national government does not agree with" the move by Caracas Mayor Juan Barreto, a Chavez loyalist, to take over the golf courses and two plots of land for the low-income housing plan.

Chavez, a former paratrooper who has promised a revolution to end poverty in the world's No. 5 oil exporter, has harshly criticized wealthy Venezuelans for their lavish lifestyles.


Barreto had issued decrees calling for the "forced acquisition" of two golf courses in neighbourhoods of Caracas, Venezuela's capital.

Critics said Barreto had not adequately demonstrated the city's intentions for the land as legally required in expropriation cases.
Since it is inconsistent with his other policies and beliefs, one has to guess Chavez likes to play golf.

Since he's either a Socialist or Communist, I bet Hugo Chavez hits the ball with a decided draw. Watch out for those duck hooks the next time you visit Caracas.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Blue Star,

How about pointy head?

Some news from the Tampa Tribune. Fluffy just doesn't seem to be an appropriate name for a baby rhinoceros.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Adam's Blog,

TAMPA - Busch Gardens is inviting the public to pick a name for a female white rhinoceros born Aug. 16.

Four choices are available at Dakarai, which means "happiness"; Imara, which means "strong"; Dakini, which means "feisty"; or Sabie, which is an African river.

It's the second rhino born at the park in its 46-year history, officials said.

She weighs about 100 pounds and joins her sibling Malaika, whose name means "angel." The birth brings the park's rhino population to 12.


That sums up Ernesto.

Ernesto surprised forecasters by failing to strengthen Tuesday before reaching the southern tip of the state, where it delivered drenching rain but none of the heavy winds or damage that had been feared. And even rains weren't that bad -- about half an inch fell at Miami International Airport as of early Wednesday.

State emergency response team chief David Halstead said initial reports indicated a relatively minor storm had gone through the Keys. But he cautioned that it was early and full damage assessments weren't likely to be completed until later in the day. Then, there could be dangers such as power lines down and road flooding.

Briefly a hurricane Sunday, Ernesto lost much of its punch crossing mountainous eastern Cuba. The decaying system made landfall at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on Plantation Key with 45-mph winds. It was expected to continue over Florida as a weak tropical storm and head toward the Carolinas and possibly strenghten. Its top sustained winds decreased to 40 mph and one of the highest wind gusts recorded was 58 mph in Key Biscayne.
Ernesto wasn't more than a minor squall where I lived. The wife and I slept through the night without interuption.(Unlike with Frances or Wilma) Dear Wife even went to work this morning.

The latest from the National Hurricane Center.


As I said earlier, I doubt we had 40 MPH winds in Lantana. Nor does it appear likely we will.

Ernesto was a fizzle but South Florida can't become complacent. We have three more months of hurricane season to go.

Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Bright & Early,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Liz and David Carroll Jr. They were foster parents to 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel. The Carrolls were arrested yesterday and charged in Marcus death. They are accused of leaving Marcus in a closet while the couple went to a family reunion. Marcus was dead by the time the Carrolls got home two days later.

This is one of those stories that just makes me sick. The Carrolls didn't have to be parents, if they didn't want Marcus, then return him to the authorities. Knucklehead doesn't do justice to these despicable human beings.

For neglecting a child in their care, Liz and David Carroll Jr. are today's knuckleheads of the day.

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

CINCINNATI - The foster parents who reported a 3-year-old developmentally disabled boy missing were charged Monday in his death, and the foster father was accused of burning his body.

Liz and David Carroll Jr. are accused of leaving the boy in a closet in their home just east of Cincinnati while they went to a family reunion in Kentucky on Aug. 4, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said.

Investigators believe Marcus Fiesel was dead when the couple returned home two days later, Deters said. David Carroll took the boy's body to rural Brown County and burned it, Deters said.

Authorities were searching Monday in rural Brown County, southeast of Cincinnati, for his remains, Deters said. He declined to discuss other details of the investigation that led to the indictments.

The couple reported the boy missing from a suburban park Aug. 15, saying he wandered off after Liz Carroll passed out because of a heart condition.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted the Carrolls on charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering children, and David Carroll was charged with gross abuse of a corpse.

The Carrolls were arrested separately and jailed Monday, he said. A message seeking information on their court appearances and legal representation was left Monday evening with the Hamilton County sheriff's office.

The boy's disappearance triggered a search that brought hundreds of volunteers. Police later questioned why no witnesses reported seeing Marcus in the park.

Marcus had the mental ability of a child 12 to 18 months old, David Carroll said. The boy joined the family in May and had a history of wandering off, he said.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ernesto blogging

Are you prepared? Tropical Storm Ernesto is on the way.

Meteorologists warned residents to brace for a two-day slog after Tropical Storm Ernesto washes ashore late today somewhere from the Middle Keys to Broward County, then curves across Lake Okeechobee toward Daytona Beach.

Winds will become increasingly gusty before reaching peak intensity late tonight in Palm Beach County and early Wednesday in the Treasure Coast, according to the National Weather Service. They won't completely calm down until sometime Thursday.

Ernesto's top sustained winds strengthened slightly to 45 mph early today as it emerged over the warm waters off Cuba, still well below its Category 1 hurricane strength of 75 mph Sunday, forecasters said. The threshold for a tropical storm is 39 mph.

Hundreds of miles of the state's densely populated Atlantic coast and the Keys were under a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch in Ernesto's path. A tropical storm warning was extended from New Smyrna Beach on Florida's Atlantic side and up to Bonita Beach on the Gulf Coast; a hurricane watch remained in effect along the same stretch of coastline.

Forecasters said a hurricane warning may be posted for portions of South Florida and the Keys later today.

By 5 a.m., the fifth named storm of the hurricane season was centered over open water about 230 miles southeast of Key West and about 235 miles south-southeast of Miami. It was moving northwest near 14 mph.
The forecasts at the National Hurricane center leave little doubt. South Florida is in for a ride.

Palm Beach County(TFM's home) is not under an evacuation order. Still if I were in a mobile home or low lying area I would move out. Your own safety is most important right now.

We'll do our last preperations this morning. Our shutters need to be secured and some things brought in from the yard. I'd say we're 75% ready. Dear wife will report to work this morning but its uncertain how long the office will stay open.

Other Florida bloggers talking about Ernesto-

Florida Cracker
Stuck on the Palmetto
Critical Miami
Eye of the Storm
Bright & Early
Babalu Blog

Any other Florida bloggers out there who are posting on Ernesto, link to me and send a trackback(or comment) and I'll link back. Good luck to all of us and God bless.

11 AM Update- Ernesto is sporting 45 MPH winds and is 170 miles southeast of Miami. With winds being felt as far as 140 miles from the storm's center, Florids should be feeling the effects of Ernesto now or very shortly.

I'll update this post as the day goes on.

7 PM Update- We're all secure here in Lantana. Ernesto is not strengthening as some predicted. That looks to be good news for Florida. We may still lose power, but damage may be minimal. Like Lantana had in the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne.

Linked to- Adam's Blog, Bullwinkle Blog, Planck's Constant,

Florida the rules are different here Chapter XLVI

Knucklehead Lee County School Superintendent James Browder is back in the news. A company was building a school in Cape Coral without having the proper bonds in place before starting work. This is a violation of Florida state law and left the Lee County School board potentially liable.

The biggest joke is how Browder says the audit report confirms that his administration works above board. What a joke, he broke the law. This man is as incompetent as he is idiotic. Isn't it sad a man like James Browder is in charge of a school district? I feel sorry for the residents of Lee County with school age children.

As I say you have to be a glutton for punishment to be a resident of Florida.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Outside the Beltway,

The Lee County School District violated a state law when it allowed a contractor to begin building a school before obtaining the required bonds, according to the school board's auditor.

But contractor Modtech Holdings Inc. stalled in obtaining bonds, despite the district's "due diligence" in requesting the bonds several months before the construction of Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary in Cape Coral began in May 2005, auditor Julie Nieminski said in a report issued Monday.

The audit was a response to a critical report school board member Robert Chilmonik issued in June, in which he said the district was rife with management errors, shady deals with vendors and a lack of discretion with taxpayer money.

Superintendent James Browder said Nieminski's audit confirms that his administration operates above-board and does use taxpayer money correctly.

"There was nothing in there I didn't anticipate," he said. "I'm very pleased with essentially what it discloses. It says there was no wrongdoing anywhere."

Chilmonik disagreed. He said the audit confirms what he has been saying all along.

"Number one, it's the staff's responsibility to ensure the contractors are bonded properly, and they didn't," he said. "Number two, they never notified us as board members that this happened. We were never told as a board that we were at risk."

Nieminski found that the district and individual school board members could have been at risk of liability for the weeks during which Modtech had not obtained payment and performance bonds. Modtech did not obtain its bonds until June 27, 2005, several weeks after it began building the school. The bonds were backdated to Dec. 10, 2004.

"In this particular situation, that risk did not materialize because the amount of payments to Modtech withheld was always more than the potential claims from the subcontractors," Nieminski wrote.

She added that the district has since changed its policy. Now, Lee will not allow a contractor to begin building a school until it provides the bonds and insurance certificate.

Jim Goulden, general manager at Modtech's regional office in Plant City, said he could not comment on the bonding issue because he was not with Modtech between December 2004 and May 2005.

"All I can say is that the project was properly bonded," he said.

Browder and several board members conceded this was an "oversight" and will not happen again.

"There was a snafu in regard to the bond, but look at all the other things in regard to how we were diligent," Browder said. "No operations money was being used inappropriately. This shouldn't be about whether there's a 'gotcha!' or not."

Board Chairman Steven Teuber said that, good intentions or not, breaking a state law is unacceptable.

"The fact is we did have a statutory violation," Teuber said. "I'm sure that will be reflected in reviews of Dr. Browder and his applicable staff. But it's one transgression. I'm not going to do something to throw the baby out with the bath water."

Board member Jane Kuckel said errors are inevitable given Lee's ambitious construction program, which is trying to keep up with the rapid growth of the district's student population.

"I firmly believe there was no intent to violate a policy," Kuckel said. "It was an oversight, but we can't allow that to happen again."

Simple Math

I just finished reading Michael Crichton's State of Fear.(I'll use SOF for short) This won't be a book review per se, but I'll make a few observations.

Note- I haven't read all of Crichton's work. The previous books of his that I did read are- Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Airframe and Rising Sun. Andromeda is my favorite of the above Crichton books.

SOF reads much like a movie script-

1- Our heroes escape multiple traps laid by the bad guys. I found tiring to be honest. Two of these escapes involved vehicles in the middle of the book and to be honest they got tiresome quickly.

2- There's a minor character that's made out to be such a complete imbecile you know he'll die. The character does just that, like many similar characters in disaster genre movies.

Crichton throws in ample amounts of science, most told in long monologue like dialogue by various characters. These are more interesting for the most part than the action scenes but do get repetitive near the book's close.

Then there is a blunder on page 545(hardcover editions). At first I thought Crichton may have made it deliberate. Characters(Even so called brilliant well educated ones) making mistakes under stress. Except it didn't play out that way in the book.

A tsunami is expected to travel 500 miles per hour in the book. An island is two miles away. On page 545 Crichton writes the tsunami will reach the island in 24 seconds.


I was reading this scene in a doctor's office. Without the need of a calculator I knew the math was wrong. I'll explain it now.

Note- TFM if he has any math skills at all, has always been good at multiplication and percentages. I can do any two digits times another two digit number in my head in a few seconds.

Ok I'm like Rain Man without the memorizing of phone books. LOL you always thought I was an idiot, right?

Something travelling 500 miles per hour will travel 8.3333 miles per minute. One fourth of a minute is 15 seconds. One fourth of 8.333 is 2.0825.

So the wave would have taken approximately 15 seconds not 24 as stated in the book and then played out in a scene afterwards.

The 24 second calculation would be perfect if the tsunami was travelling at 300 MPH rather than 500. Except for the fact that the little research I could find on deep ocean tsunamis puts their speed at 800 KM per hour or approximately 500 miles per hour.

So what happened? Did Crichton make a simple math mistake or a typo? I think it is the former because of how the novel played out after the mistake was made.

Crichton says he spent years researching th book. It shows too, as the book is footnoted throughout.

Note- SOF if you don't know deals with Global Warming. In a note at the book's end Crichton with tongue firmly planted in cheek, says everybody has an agenda but him.

If you read the book, you get the strong impression Crichton doesn't believe in Global Warming. For the characters in the book who believe in that theory are either the villians or the imbecile I mentioned earlier. Or maybe Crichton does believe in Global warming and the book is just a commercial ploy. Only Crichton knows the answer to that.

Back to the error I found. A best selling author and doctor making a simple math mistake who would have thought it? Did anyone else catch it or was I the only one?

No others had to see it. The funny thing is there is this scene in SOF where a speaker makes a 'mistake'. A room full of people mistake uttered except only one person found it noteworthy.

Hey I'm like one of Crichton's characters/ Which one is it? The Global warming researcher or imbecile.

Read the book if you haven't already. It is a fast read and despite its flaws an interesting read.

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

Spare ribs

From WPBF 25

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Authorities don't have any record of an August car accident in West Palm Beach involving New York Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano.

Pavano told the team the he was hurt when his car went through a puddle, spun out of control and hit a truck. He said he broke two ribs in the crash.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident may not have been reported to authorities. The West Palm Beach Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office have no record of it.

Pavano, a former Florida Marlin, hasn't played in the major leagues since 2005 due to injuries. He's scheduled for a medical checkup Tuesday, and remains on track to make his final rehabilitation start tomorrow for AAA Columbus at Durham.
Doing a Yahoo news search, I found this Newsday article.

Pavano said the car accident took place on the morning of Aug. 15, explaining that his car slid on a rainy road and crashed into a truck that was stopped at a stop sign.

He said he was not charged, and that no one called an ambulance. A spokesman for the West Palm Beach police department last night said the records department was closed because of the state of emergency issued for Tropical Storm Ernesto.
Here in South Florida, there are parts of a city that are incorporated and unincorporated. In the case of the former, West Palm Beach police would repsond. For the later, it would be the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Don't mind me if I am skeptical about Pavano's story.

Pavano had to be treated for his injuries. A hospital will ask if the rib injury was related to a auto accident.

If answered yes, a report would be made to Pavano's insurance company who would want a police report. Of course Pavano could have lied to the hospital.

Then there's the matter of the other vehicle. The truck was parked at a stop sign, so I'm concluding another driver was present. With damage done to a car and injuries being suffered, I for one would want it reported to the police. Even if a person offered to pay my damages out of his pocket. If injuries are involved, and even if you're in no way at fault, you want the police so to protect yourself from future legal trouble.

If the other driver was not present, by law Pavano would still have to report it to the police.

Based on the above facts, I don't believe Pavano's story.

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

Rev. James Fiore RIP

A friend of Dear Wife and I passed away yesterday. He was Rev. James Fiore, the Pastor of Emmanuel Catholic Church in Delray Beach Florida. He was 63 or 64 years old.

We knew Fr. Fiore from his days as a parochial vicar at the Catholic Church DW works at and where we also both attend mass. Father was very kind to my wife, particularly when she was pregnant with our son four years ago. He visited her at the hospital and was one of five priests in attendance at Daniel's funeral.

Father Fiore will be missed.

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Festus Mogae, the President of Botswana. He gets the award for the following.

HARARE (Reuters) - The president of Botswana offered Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe rare diplomatic solidarity on Monday by praising a leader largely shunned by the West over his policies.

Festus Mogae, who has at times broken ranks with African leaders by publicly criticizing Mugabe over Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, endorsed Mugabe's controversial seizures of white-owned farms for blacks as politically "necessary" and said the country's key agriculture sector would soon rebound.

Opening Harare's annual agricultural show, Mogae said Zimbabwe's agriculture -- whose output has fallen by over 60 percent in the last six years -- had great potential but the government must honor its pledge to ensure productive land use.

"Agriculture in Zimbabwe has unfortunately been disrupted by the necessary redistributive adjustments that have had to be made in favor of the majority of citizens," he said, adding that droughts and Western sanctions against Harare had also hurt the Zimbabwe economy.

Mogae said he had recently told a meeting of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization that Zimbabwe would soon become one of the top farming nations in the world.

"My prediction must be taken seriously," he said.

Independent experts predict Zimbabwe's farm sector will take many years to recover in the absence of crucial donor support, including training of new farmers.
Thousands of people are starving because of Mugabe's policies, but Mogae sees a need for social engineering. He's as crazy as his neighbor to the north.

For defending the indefensible, Festus Mogae is today's Knucklehead of the day.

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Outside the Beltway, Pursuing Holiness, Cao's Blog,


Monday, August 28, 2006

Ernesto Watch

That's the 3-day map for Tropical Storm Ernesto. As you can see it takes him right through the center of South Florida.

A hurricane watch has been posted for Southeast Florida from Key West to Deerfield Beach. Also part of Southwest Florida is in the watch area.

TFM lives just to the north of the watch area. But it looks probable we'll be in the Hurricane Watch or Warning Zone soon.

Any South Floridians should be preparing for this storm. We look to be in for a ride over the next few days.


Ernesto is forecasted to be a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane when it makes US landfall. But as is stated above, it could be stronger.

If you're interested in seeing what the Computer model tracks say, go here. They're almost unanimous, South Florida will be hit.

We'll start making our storm preperations. All South Floridians should do the same.

Eye of the Storm has some history of hurricanes that came on a track similar to Ernesto.

Florida Cracker and Stuck on the Palmetto are also blogging on Ernesto. Any other Florida bloggers talking about Ernesto, send me a trackback(Or leave me a comment) and I'll update this post with a link back to you.

This post will be at the top of my blog all day. Check in for periodic updates and say a prayer for all residents of South Florida.

11 a.m. Update- A Hurricane Watch has been post from New Smyrna Beach Florida southward.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog, Pursuing Holiness, Bullwinkle Blog,

Maybe all he wanted was a ride home

From Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. - John Mark Karr awaited his first court appearance in Colorado on Monday as a TV station reported that prosecutors decided not to bring charges against him in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey because his DNA failed to match genetic material on the 6-year-old girl's body.

Denver's KUSA, citing two sources close to the investigation, said that hair and saliva taken from Karr in Boulder after his arrival last week were tested over the weekend at the Denver police crime lab and that he was ruled out as the source of the DNA taken from the crime scene.

Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy's office did not immediately return repeated calls from The Associated Press. The Denver police declined comment. Karr's attorneys were with him in jail and were not immediately available for comment.

Karr was scheduled to make his first Colorado court appearance late Monday afternoon.
LOL, the media circus of last week shows the MSM is just a bunch of clowns.

Rita Crosby of MSNBC is already asking why the police didn't run any tests before bringing home back to the US! Get a life Rita.

James Joyner at OTB feels sorry for the Ramsey family
Linked- Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation, Basil's Blog,

Light Sentence

From Stars and Stripes

CAMP HENRY, South Korea — A U.S. soldier was sentenced to five months’ confinement Friday after being convicted in a court-martial of raping a close friend’s wife.

Pfc. Jason R. Warder, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, was allowed to continue his five-year career in the Army after admitting in court that a platonic relationship with the wife of one of his friends turned into a sexual relationship earlier this year.

One night when both he and the woman were drunk, he forced her to have sex, according to Warder’s statements in court.


Warder faced a maximum of life in confinement without parole and dishonorable discharge from the military. Shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, Gross sentenced him to five months’ confinement, five months’ forfeiture of $849 monthly pay and reduction to the Army’s lowest rank, E-1.
I agree with GI Korea, this is a very odd sentence. That's unless something is being left out of the above story. Sex offenders have traditionally been drummed out of the service after spending time in confinement. Instead Warder is being allowed to stay. Why? He was deployed in Afghanistan prior to the ROK, but that wouldn't appear to be a mitigating factor.

The Army couldn't be that desperate for soliders, can they?

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Bullwinkle Blog,

Jeff Reardon not guilty

From the Sun-Sentinel

WEST PALM BEACH -- A Palm Beach County circuit judge found former Major League Baseball pitcher Jeff Reardon not guilty by reason of insanity on Monday of robbing a jewelry store.

Reardon, who played in two World Series, was taking a dozen medications that impaired his judgment. Attorneys said Reardon was distraught over the 2004 death of a son and had been taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.

Defense attorney Mitch Beers, who used a voluntary intoxication defense, said the robbery episode, with Reardon's "thank you" and "please" on the note, was like something out of a Woody Allen movie.

Two court-appointed psychiatrists, along with two defense psychiatrists, concluded there was no reasonable or logical explanation for Reardon to rob a jewelry store.

After Judge Stephen Rapp's ruling was announced on Monday, Reardon said he was pleased and relieved. He had been worried about going to jail, he said.


Reardon is to return before Rapp in six months for a court-ordered review of his case.

My wife and I lost a son in 2003, so I partly sympathize with Reardon. I was very depressed(and angry) after Daniel's death. I also took anti-depressants but never once thought about holding up a jewelry store. Instead I started blogging.......

Is that another form of insanity?

I do hope Reardon gets his life together.

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

Driving School

Some news from China. I wonder who got the traffic ticket?

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Right Wing Nation

BEIJING - A woman in Hohhot, the capital of north China's Inner Mongolia region, crashed her car while giving her dog a driving lesson, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday.

No injuries were reported although both vehicles were slightly damaged, it said.

The woman, identified only be her surname, Li, said her dog "was fond of crouching on the steering wheel and often watched her drive," according to Xinhua.

"She thought she would let the dog 'have a try' while she operated the accelerator and brake," the report said. "They did not make it far before crashing into an oncoming car."

Xinhua did not say what kind of dog or vehicles were involved but Li paid for repairs.

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the State Premier of New South Wales(Australia) Morris Iemma. He gets the award for the following.

SYDNEY, Australia - Shocked by the number of teens seeking breast implants, Botox injections and nose jobs, the leader of Australia's most populous state has said new laws are needed to make it harder for young people to go under the knife.

The New South Wales state Premier Morris Iemma told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that the number of people under 18 seeking cosmetic enhancements had recently gotten out of hand.

"It used to be the case that the biggest question parents faced was whether to give their children permission to have their ears pierced," Iemma told the paper.

"Then it was tattoos. But, increasingly, parents are being asked to fund breast implants or a nose job as birthday or graduation gifts," he added.

The report said Iemma plans to introduce new laws requiring teenagers to get a referral from their doctor and undergo counseling before receiving plastic surgery.

Parental consent will also be required, and surgeons will be forced to offer a minimum one-month cooling-off period before conducting any procedure, the report said.
What business is this of Iemma what these teenagers do? Are they breaking a law? No. If they want to spend their money(How many teens really have cash for plastic surgery is beyond me) is their business. That's unless Australia has socialized medicine of course. Then I ask why is government allowing these elective surgeries? Parents and children are making these choices, and the government shouldn't be interfering. Plain and simple.

For having misplaced priorities, State Premier Morris Iemma is today's knucklehead of the day.

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


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Up is down, Down is up

That describes the City of Gainesville and the Irownwood golf course it owns.

Ironwood Golf Course, which the city has owned since the early 1990s, has continuously failed to bring in enough money to cover the costs of its operations. Though the city recently lowered fees to play at the course, attendance at Ironwood is still not increasing enough to break even.

Gainesville city commissioners are looking into cutting costs at the course, which is expected to need about $124,000 from Gainesville's general fund next year to cover its operating expenses.

The golf course cost the city about $377,000 in the last two years, according to the city's finance department.

Several years ago, the city scaled down the restaurant at the golf course in a cost-cutting move and city officials say the solution now is to attract more customers rather than continue trimming expenditures.

"It's a great golf course," City Manager Russ Blackburn said last month. "We believe we've cut costs as much as we can and still run a high-quality golf course."
Standard Boilerplate government response 101. Government is inherently wasteful, for its not driven by the market. I'm sure more costs could be cut.

Part of the challenge, for both Ironwood and the garage, is getting relatively new ventures on their feet, Blackburn said. Marketing campaigns and new types of events at the course could help make up for some of the loss, he said.

A city committee responsible for parks, recreation and cultural affairs has been assigned to look at the issue, though no recommendations have been made yet. The commission has also decided to look to public courses in other cities compare how public courses in other cities are faring.

Commissioner Ed Braddy said it is important to improve Ironwood's finances, but also noted the course provides a recreational benefit to city residents and offers events for low-income residents.

"I'm not content with where that's at and I'm continuing to push forward to make it break even," Braddy said. "But it is a recreational activity. We don't expect our swimming pool to make money, we don't expect our 'tot lots' to produce revenue."
First they cut fees, that didn't work, now they look at increasing them. I have a better solution(Selling the course would be the best way to end the money drain for Gainesville)- Outsource the running of the course. I make a bet a private company could turn a profit and still have a inexpensive muni course for the people of Gainesville to play.

Of ourse that would take a different mindset than shown above by the city of Gainesville. Do politicians and bureaucrats ever learn?

Linked to- Bright & Early, Third World County,

An incredible run

The Florida Marlins won their 7th game in a row today. That brings their record to 63-66 and they stand 4 games back in the wild card race.

This is incredible news on several fronts.

1- The Marlins traded most of their key personel last winter.
2- The present squad consists almost entirely of rookies.
3- In May after being swept by Tampa Bay, the team stood 10-30.
4- There is turmoil between the team owner and Knucklehead winner Jeffrey Loira and Manager Joe Girardi. Its so bad, Girardi was almost fired a few weeks ago and it looks unlikely if he'll be back next year.

Why would the last be happening if the team is surpassing all expectations this year? Here's the explanation.

Girardi is under contract through 2008. But his future became an issue Aug. 6 when Loria fired him, before being convinced to change his mind, after the two engaged in a shouting match during a game, according to sources with knowledge of the events.

The rift erupted when Loria, from his field-level seats behind home plate and next to the Marlins dugout, yelled at an umpire, prompting Girardi to tell him to shut up.
Loria will not endorse Joe Girardi past the end of this season. Girardi, an Ex-Chicago Cub is rumored to be headed to Chicago if the Cubs fire Dusty Baker.

As you could guess, the local MSM is already speculating about Girardi's fate. Today it was the Palm Beach Post's Greg Stoda.

It's difficult to envision Girardi managing the Florida Marlins next season with stench still lingering from his dugout/clubhouse episode with team owner Jeffrey Loria this month, and never mind the contract. Two more years might as well mean two more minutes, hours, days or weeks come final out of final game. Girardi will be sitting in the Chicago Cubs dugout as field boss or in the New York Yankees dugout serving renewed apprenticeship to Joe Torre next year rather than work a second Marlins season.

It took precious little time for Girardi and Loria to discover they can't co-exist.

Count on an agreement being reached as soon as possible upon conclusion of the season, after which Girardi and Loria gleefully will be rid of each other. That's almost as sure as another insultingly tiny crowd for the overachieving Marlins today against Milwaukee in Dolphin Stadium.

Loria, apparently, studiously avoided the subject when it came to giving Girardi much credit for Florida's surprisingly respectable performance this season.

"Managers obviously have some input during the course of the season," Loria said Saturday. "But what's important is the product put on the field by the baseball department as well. An amazing job was done by our organization before we started the season."

So who's next?

Girardi's departure, astonishingly, would mean there once again would be speculation about who might be the next Marlins manager. Weren't we just here? It was less than a year ago when Jack McKeon wouldn't say if he'd return to the job or if Loria wanted him to. McKeon, of course, disappeared to North Carolina and a consultant's position on the payroll.
I'm predicting Girardi will be gone next year. Loria's actions have shown he has both no baseball sense on the field or off. The man certainly lives up to the Knucklehead award I gave him.

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

Just say no to FPL

Kaizer Talib in Fort Lauderdale is trying to do just that. His home will be powered either through Solar energy or wind power.

After 11 days without power after Wilma, I'd love to do the same. The only problems being- The Homeowners Association and TFM's mechanical ability. See I'm much better at breaking than fixing things. LOL.

Linked to- Bright & Early, TMH's Bacon Bits,

They are called ''zero energy'' or ''off the grid'' -- homes that are free of local utilities. And architect Kaizer Talib wants his Fort Lauderdale home to join them.

Solar roof panels heat his water. Fiberglass tiles along his sea wall will heat his pool.

Solar electric panels are planned to provide energy for another 50 to 60 percent of his house, powering tasks like cooking, washing and drying.


And a 55-foot-tall windmill would go in front of his home. Talib hopes to sell any extra power generated back to FPL at half price, he said.

''Our goal is to produce all the energy for the home and then some,'' Talib said.

Talib's home, which he designed, is built around two ideas -- saving energy and doing as little harm to the environment as possible.

An extra layer of concrete poured around the house provides insulation. The white walls and metal roof reflect light and heat.

The air conditioner is Freon-free and uses up to 40 percent less energy than those with Freon, he said.

The stove uses magnetic fields to heat up metal pots for cooking, but it won't burn a piece of paper.

Talib said he first began looking into such energy sources during the 1973 oil crisis, when oil prices quadrupled and gasoline was rationed. Since then, he has been interested in the topic and designed ''energy conserving'' homes as part of his work as an architect. He recently got his first hybrid car. ''There are a lot of basic methods available around the world,'' said Talib. ``We have explored very little.''


More motivation came last year when Hurricane Wilma knocked out his family's power for two weeks. ''Even if I have only 60 percent of my power, it's still better than last year, when I had zero,'' said his wife, Bettina Lambrechts.

Creating such a home can be costly. Installing enough solar panels to power a 2,000-square-foot house would cost about $25,000, Talib said.

But Talib hopes that will change and state leaders will begin offering more incentives for using the new technology. Without financial help, homes like his will continue to be scarce, he said.

From the silly news desk

Some news from China. Those wild and crazy Communist funerals.

Linked to- Jo's Cafe, Samantha Burns, Stuck on Stupid,

BEIJING (Reuters) - Striptease send-offs at funerals may become a thing of the past in east China after five people were arrested for organizing the intimate farewells, state media reported on Wednesday.

Police swooped last week after two groups of strippers gave "obscene performances" at a farmer's funeral in Donghai County, Jiangsu province, Xinhua news agency said.

The disrobing served a higher purpose, the report noted.

"Striptease used to be a common practice at funerals in Donghai's rural areas to allure viewers," it said. "Local villagers believe that the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored."

Wealthy families often employed two troupes of performers to attract a crowd. Two hundred showed up at last week's funeral.

Five strippers were detained and local officials "issued notices concerning funeral management," Xinhua said.

Now village officials must submit plans for funerals within 12 hours after a villager dies. And residents can report "funeral misdeeds" on a hotline, the report said.

Lexington KY Plane crash

Sad and tragic news from Kentucky

A Comair plane crash at Blue Grass Airport killed 49 passengers en route to Atlanta.

There was one survivor, First Officer Jim Paulhinky, who is in critical condition at University of Kentucky Hospital.

Mike Gobb, the airport’s executive director, said the plane, a regional jet, had “difficulty on departure.”

Flight 5191, a Comair Delta connections flight, went down at 6:07 a.m. about a mile west of the airport, Comair said. The non-stop flight was scheduled to leave at 6 a.m. and arrive at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 7:18 a.m.

The plane crashed in a hilly, heavily wooded area on a working farm, one of many farms that surround Blue Grass Airport, said Chief Scott Lanter of the airport fire department. The farm is within view of the airport runway, he said. The site appears to be directly in line with the airport’s shorter runway.

Lanter said the plane is mostly intact, but a fire occurred.

At UK Hospital Paulhinky was quickly taken to surgery, a spokesperson said.


Versailles Road, where emergency vehicles have been stationed this morning, is likely to be closed for a significant amount of time, said Police Chief Anthany Beatty.

A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead agency investigating the crash, was expected to leave Washington, D.C., at 10:30 a.m. and will likely be on site by noon, said a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board. The team – called the Go Team – consists of investigators who specialize in various aspects of accident investigations.

The investigation will look at anything that could have contributed to the crash, including the pilot, aircraft and airport where a runway resurfacing occurred Aug. 17 to Aug. 19, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

“I’m sure that is something that would be looked at,” Bergen said

The resurfacing was the final phase of a $35 million improvement project that began in October 2003. The project added 600 feet of of safety area at each runway end.

During a morning press briefing in Cincinnati, Comair Chief Executive Officer Don Bornhorst declined to answer questions about whether the plane could have taken off from the wrong runway.

The crash site is not far from the the end of the shorter runway, which is roughly half the length of the major runway.

The basis for that theory is this.

The owner of the farm where Comair Flight 5191 crashed said the plane “obviously … used the wrong runway."

Nick Bentley said the plane must have used the airport's shorter runway, which is about 3,400 feet. The main runway is 7,000 feet

He said the plane hit an 8-foot fence between his property and the airport, and clipped several trees.

The smaller runway is for use by small aircraft, not commercial planes.

Bentley said he did not go the crash site, but he can see the fence from other locations on his land.

“He just got disoriented for whatever reason,” Bentley said of the pilot.

He said the crash location is a “straight line” from the start of the smaller runway to where the airplane landed on his farm. He said a friend called him at 6:20 a.m. and told him a plane had crashed on his property.

Bentley and his wife said no structures or horses on the farm were hit. He said the farm had some horses on it but was otherwise undeveloped.
Its too early to draw conclusions. Except we know many friends and family of those who died are suffering right now. God bless them all.

This is the deadliest US plane crash since November 2001 when an American Airlines flight went down shortly after takeoff from JFK airport in New York.

Note- On the Lexington Herald Leader message boards there is mention of a newlywed couple who was on board Comair 5191. They were heading to their honeymoon. I was not able to find an article corroborating this.

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


Is now a hurricane.

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Ernesto became the first hurricane of the Atlantic season Sunday with winds of 75 mph, and forecasters said it would strengthen as it headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, where it could menace a wide swath of coastline including New Orleans.

The storm could grow into a Category 3 hurricane by Thursday, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Category 3 Hurricane Katrina struck the city a year ago Tuesday.

"It's over nice warm Caribbean waters, and far enough off the coast of Haiti that it is still strengthening now," said Ron Goodman, a forecaster at the center.

The storm, moving northwest at 10 mph, was projected to make landfall in Haiti on Sunday afternoon, dropping heavy rain that could cause deadly mudslides in the heavily deforested country. Ernesto was expected to cross west-central Cuba on Tuesday night before continuing into the Gulf of Mexico.

"There will be probably be a restrengthening after it leaves the Cuban coast to a Category 2, and Wednesday night it will be west of Fort Myers as Category 3. That's the current thinking," Goodman said.

Ernesto was expected to bring rain and wind to southern Florida by early Tuesday, and the hurricane center encouraged the Florida Keys to monitor the storm. It was projected to strengthen off western Florida on Wednesday but the location of any U.S. landfall was unclear.
The 3-day forecasted track puts Ernesto's middle line to the west of Key West but Southeastern Florida is within the cone. So TFM and other South Florida bloggers will be following this storm over the days ahead.

This discussion at the National hurricane center got my attention.


Hurricane season might not be so quiet anymore.

11 a.m. Update- The new 3-day map has Ernesto's track shifted eastward, Palm Beach County is now in the cone.

Note to any Florida Bloggers- If you're following Ernesto also, feel free to link to me and send a trackback. I'll update my post with a link back to you.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog,

Conversion at Gunpoint

Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig were released this morning from captivity.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Militants freed two Fox News journalists on Sunday in the Gaza Strip, ending a nearly two week hostage drama in which one of the former captives said they were forced at gunpoint to make statements, including that they had converted to Islam.

Correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, of Washington, D.C., and cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, were dropped off at Gaza City's Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials. A tearful Centanni briefly embraced a Palestinian journalist in the lobby, then rushed upstairs with Wiig behind him.

The pair, who appeared to be in good health, then met with Palestinian officials, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The men left Gaza through the Erez border, crossing into Israel several hours after their release.

This is wonderful news for both of these men and their families.

The most curious(at least to TFM) about this news is briefly mentioned above but is also reported here. Wiig's and Centanni's conversion to Islam.

Both of the men were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, Centanni said.

"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni told FOX News. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."
Perfectly understandable Steve. Some how I don't think Allah or Mohammed believes in forced conversion. Do religious fanatics ever realize how they descecrate the religion they so fervently believe in?

Other bloggers also discussing this news- James Joyner at OTB, Bullwinkle, Michelle Malkin, Bright & Early, Kim at Wizbang, Captain's Quarters, Assorted Babble,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winner is The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration. They get the award for issuing and then mailing out approximately 230,000 checks to medicare beneficiaries. The checks averaged $231. Only one problem- CMS had mistakenly put these people on a list they weren't supposed to be paying medicare premiums. And of course the government wants their money back now.

Colossal bureaucratic bungling to the sum of 50 Million dollars. Both agencies are at faults, CMMS first for issuing the refunds and then SSA for mailing the checks. No one apparently gave thought to why this was being done, or they did so they didn't speak up. Don't matter, for bureaucratic incompetence, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration are today's knuckleheads of the day.

Linked to- Is it just me, TMH's Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog, Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Third World County, Samantha Burns, Stuck on Stupid, Right Wing Nation, Stop the ACLU, Uncooperative Blogger, Point Five,

So what's a mere $49,665,000 among friends? That's about how much was sent out by mistake to Medicare recipients after one big federal agency misinformed another big federal agency.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) distributed checks last week averaging $215 each to 231,000 Medicare beneficiaries to reimburse them for prescription-drug coverage.

Trouble was, the mailing was based on faulty information: CMS mistakenly placed those participants on a list of those who do not have money withheld from their Social Security check to cover premiums.

Of course, the pricey blunder was sent over to Social Security, the checks issued -- and now Medicare wants the money back. CMS has issued a letter of apology, plus a polite request to recipients to return the funds.

But not to worry, the glitch is fixed and all is well, said CMS spokesman Jeff Nelligan.

"Everything is under control. We moved immediately after we found there was a problem," he said yesterday. "Most importantly, no coverage has lapsed for any beneficiaries, and there will be no delays or disruptions. The letters advising people of the overpayment were already in the mail last weekend."

The number of people affected is relatively small, Mr. Nelligan said, constituting about 1 percent of the total beneficiary population. But some say the system is an accident waiting to happen.

"It's a mess, and this situation was inevitable," said Vicki Gottlich of the District-based Center for Medicare Advocacy, a watchdog group that gave CMS tepid reviews last month in an analysis of the new Medicare Part D, which offers subsidies for medications.

The report deemed both benefits and myriad regulations confusing and a source of frustration for Medicare participants since the plan took effect in January, Ms. Gottlich said.

"For the last eight months, we've helped people who have had premiums improperly deducted, or were charged for plans they didn't enroll in.

We've seen plenty of glitches already," she said. "This week's glitch is evidence that federal government systems can't support the complexities of Part D. We're particularly concerned that people will conclude they're not entitled to their benefits."

Meanwhile, CMS director Mark McClellan said yesterday that insurers who administer the drug benefit will continue to be paid for beneficiaries affected by the error, according to the Associated Press. About 5 million people pay monthly drug-coverage premiums by having money withheld from their Social Security checks.

Mr. McClellan also said the government can't make monthly premium deductions again until October. CMS plans to work with beneficiaries who face financial troubles because they either cashed the overpayment or can't afford multiple premiums withdrawn from a single Social Security check.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Let's Party!

From CNN

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- BellSouth Corp. (Charts), the No. 3 U.S. local telephone company, on Friday said it will immediately drop a $2.97 monthly fee for its high-speed Internet service after U.S. communications regulators threatened to question the charge.

Most customers would see the change on their bills within a week, but it could take up to six weeks to implement, the company said. It added that customers charged the fee dating back to Aug. 16 would receive a credit.

The Federal Communications Commission was poised to send a letter questioning the fee that replaced a surcharge for a government program that ended this month, a source familiar with the matter said earlier on Friday.
TFM has been a BellSouth high speed customer since last April.

Now how do I celebrate with that $2.97? Feel free to leave your suggestions in my comments section.

Linked to- TMH's Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog, Stop the ACLU,

How not to make friends(and do business) internet style

TFM sends out trackbacks to Open posts on a daily basis. One blog I've been doing this with(Probably longer than any other blog) is Basil's Blog. Thank you Basil for having these open posts.

Today I twice linked to Basil. I then used Haloscan to send my trackbacks. In each instance the trackback chunked. So I wrote Basil informing him of the problem.

Basil wrote back with a link to this post of his.

Is Dreamhost Trying To Piss Me Off?

I found this message in my inbox:


In an effort to lower the load on your server I disabled mt-trackback (that's often abused). There's still a lot of processes running under your user for the blog index so I am going to also go ahead and move you to another server. It should be seamless but just in case here is my direct email address:

[address omitted]


I've responded:

Trackbacks were disabled on my blog … and I don't like that!

I do NOT like the idea of features (and, yes, TrackBacks are a feature of my blog) being disabled without prior notice.

If it is your policy to not allow me to accept TrackBacks, I'd appreciate your letting me know in sufficient time to move my blog to a host that is acceptable and not encounter any downtime.

I eagerly await your response.

What the heck were they thinking? Trackbacks can be abused? You're telling me they just now, in August 2006, discovered that TrackBacks can be abused? What's next? Cigarettes cause cancer?
LOL, Basil is sounding more sarcastic than TFM!

If Dreamhost took this move unilaterally(Basil is waiting for a reply from their customer service), this web hosting company shouldn't be the choice for any serious blogger for they obviously think they know what is best for their customers rather than ask first. If Basil doesn't get some resolution, he'll probably be moving his blog elsewhere.

Most companies take their customer's needs seriously. They don't want bad publicity, for one disgruntled customer bad mouthing them is worth ten customer's praise. Especially when word can be spread easily on the internet via google searches and technorati tags.

If Basil doesn't get satisfaction soon, Dreamhost will be a Knucklehead of the day award winner. How's that for publicity?

Linked to- Uncooperative Blogger, Jo's Cafe, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation,

Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog

Memo to Associated Press

You have a PR agent working for you.

By CHRISTOPHER WILLS, Associated Press Writer

KISUMU, Kenya - Sen. Barack Obama and his wife took HIV tests before a crowd of thousands Saturday at a clinic in Kenya in an effort to battle the fear and social stigmas that have slowed progress in fighting the spread of AIDS.

Thousands of people gathered around the tiny mobile clinic in Kisumu, western Kenya, to see Barack and Michelle Obama tested for the virus that causes AIDS.

"If you know your status, you can prevent illness," Obama, the only African-American in the Senate, told the crowd. "You can avoid passing it to your children and your wives."

Some 1.2 million of Kenya's 32 million people were infected with HIV in 2004. Obama and his wife did not make public the results of their instant tests, but the senator said "we probably wouldn't be smiling" if the results were positive.

Some 700 people die each day from AIDS-related illnesses in Kenya, most in the west of the country, though the numbers of infected patients have declined recently.

In the Kisumu area, almost one in five is infected.

Obama said the country's government has done a better job than many others in Africa of acknowledging the problem and discussing solutions. But people's reluctance to be tested has slowed progress.

Thousands of well-wishers lined pot-holed roads to greet Obama as he began a journey to his ancestral home, Nyangoma-Kogelo, a tiny village in the rural west where his father grew up herding goats and attending tin-roofed schools.

Police held back the crowds and local politicians called for calm as Obama visited the AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis clinic run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

"I just want to say very quickly that I am so proud to come back home," Obama told the cheering crowds. "It means a lot to me that the people of my father, my grandfather, are here in such huge crowds."

His father, also named Barack Obama, won a scholarship to a university in Hawaii, where he met and married Obama's mother. The two separated and Obama's father returned to Kenya, where he worked as a government economist. He died in a car crash in 1982.

This was Obama's third visit, but his first since being elected a Democratic senator from Illinois in January 2005. His last visit to Kenya was in 1995.

Obama said he was looking forward to seeing his grandmother and uncle, who still live in the village, but that the trip was more than just a family reunion.

He said his relatives "understand that some of this is going to be dominated by spectacle, and they'll roll with it as I will roll with it."

He also planned to visit a project he helps fund, which helps grandmothers find money to take care of children orphaned by AIDS.
A senator travelled halfway around the world to do a photo op.(TFM could say some things about Obama and his trip. I'll just remind you of his recent knucklehead award)I'm not dismissing that HIV and AIDS in Africa are serious issues. They most cerainly are. It's the Senator I dismiss. For the trip's purpose looks to be more about himself than to help the people of Kenya.

You certainly get that impression reading the above story. The writing of Mr Wills is more centered around Obama than what he supposedly went to Africa for. Are the well known details of Obama's life news? Why does AP put a story like this over the wires as news?

Then I remind myself of this other AP hack and knucklehead winner. If this is a sampling of Wills work, he's as much a reporter as I am. He should take up PR work for a politician and save us from the tripe he passes off as reporting.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Bullwinkle Blog,


From the Sun-Sentinel

Authorities on Friday charged a 53-year-old woman with robbing the Grand Bank & Trust on May 25.

Nancy Smiley, who lives west of Lantana, allegedly drove a half-mile from her home to the bank, at 2000 Lantana Road, where she waited outside before forcing a teller to go inside about 8 a.m., the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

Smiley then demanded money from bank employees before she pointed a gun at the ceiling and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire, the FBI said.

Federal agents also suspect Smiley is responsible for the May 5 robbery of the Sterling Bank in the 2700 block of South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs, where a woman used a clown mask to conceal her face.

Smiley was being held at the Palm Beach County Jail without bond.

Ms. Smiley robbed the bank branch my wife and I do our banking at. I previously blogged about that story here.

I hope you like jail Nancy Smiley. For it should be a long time before you see freedom again.

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

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