noembed noembed

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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Lots of ghosts

The country of Cameroon is trying hard to regain the top spot on the most corrupt list.

Yaounde - Cameroon has been paying some 20 000 ghost workers on its civil service payroll at a cost of millions of dollars a month, the central African country's finance minister said on Thursday.

"To our great surprise, we discovered that 20 000 of the people on the government wage bill were ghost workers," Economy and Finance Minister Polycarpe Abah Abah told a news conference.

"Of these, 13 000 were already dead and the remainder were civil servants earning a double salary," he said.

A joint study by the ministries of economy and finance and of public service also found 10 000 fake pensioners.

The discovery of the 20 000 fake workers comes on top of 45 000 already discovered during a census last August.

Some 50 000 civil servants were laid off in Cameroon in the mid-1990s under pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to reduce a 200 000-strong public work force.

Some of those fired managed to get their names back on the payroll with the help of corrupt colleagues, officials say.

Foreign donors made tackling rampant graft a condition for cancelling billions of dollars in foreign debt last year and President Paul Biya has embarked on a well-publicised anti-corruption crusade.

Cameroon ranked 138 out of 163 countries on anti-graft group Transparency International's 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index. In 1999 it was ranked the most corrupt
I like how Minister Abah Abah acts surprised. Did you know Abah is Haba backwords. 45,000 fake workers in a nation of 17 million. I thought the Philippines was bad.

Also note this news. The publisher of an English language paper tried and convicted in absentia. What for? A series of stories on local corruption.

Don't worry Cameroon, you'll be back on top in no time.

Linked to- Adam, Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation, Webloggin,

Labels: ,

From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Russia. Maybe Putin can hire this guy to do heavy lifting at the Kremlin.

Linked to- Blue Star, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove, Samantha Burns,

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police have detained a 45-year-old municipal worker for stealing a bridge.

The 5-metre span metal bridge disappeared from a river crossing in the Ryazan region, east of Moscow. Police said they tracked it down to the man, who had used his work truck to remove it and then chopped it up and sold it for scrap.

In a statement, Ryazan region police called it "the bulkiest theft of the year".

Labels: , ,

Under fire

Some news out of Iraq? Is everyone sure it wasn't an unhappy Florida Republican that fired that RPG?

Linked to- Church and State, Leaning Straight Up, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,

WASHINGTON - A military cargo plane carrying three senators and a House member was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad on Thursday night.

The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire from three rocket-propelled grenades during the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan.

"It was a scary moment," said Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who said he had just taken off his body armor when he saw a bright flash outside the window. "Our pilots were terrific. . . . They banked in one direction and then banked the other direction, and they set off the flares."

Cramer and Martinez said they had just begun to relax about five or 10 minutes after the plane took off under darkness.

Crew members apparently communicated to the pilots as they saw the initial RPG fired from the ground, Cramer said. After the first burst, the pilots maneuvered aggressively and set off flares used for drawing incoming fire away from aircraft.

Once the flares lit up the sky, lawmakers said, two more RPGs were fired as the pilots continued maneuvering.

Martinez said he quickly put back on his body armor.

Capt. Angel Wallace, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, said she was not aware of the incident, and military public-affairs officials in Baghdad could not be reached.

Labels: , , , ,


*- For the first time in 2008, an LPGA Tournament will be played in Singapore.

SINGAPORE -- Taking a cue from the men's HSBC Champions event, the LPGA Tour announced a new Asia-based tournament to be added to the schedule in 2008.

The HSBC Women's Champions will take place Feb. 28-March 2, with a field of 78 players competing over four rounds of stroke play. Winners on the LPGA Tour, leading money winners from the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association (JLPGA), Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour, Ladies European Tour (LET), Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG), Duramed Futures Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and the top player from the continent of Africa will each qualify for the event.

"This event will bring together the champions from the LPGA and from the leading tours around the world and will showcase the global talent of women's professional golf," LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens said in a statement. "By bringing this event to Asia, we believe we are extending the popularity of the game."

The inaugural HSBC Women's Champions will boast a prize money of $2 million (with $300,000 to the winner), the largest purse for a women's event in Asia, and will be played at the prestigious Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore. Tanah Merah has already hosted a number of top class professional events including the Singapore Open, the Johnnie Walker Classic and the LPGA-sanctioned Lexus Cup in 2005 and 2006.

"I am really excited to hear about the HSBC Women's Champions," Korea's Se Ri Pak said. "The new location and qualifying criteria will make it a very exciting week. When my countryman Yong-Eun Yang won the men's Champions event, the papers called it Asia's Major, so this would be a fantastic title for me to win."
The LPGA normally treks through Asia late in the golf year. Will this event come after the tournaments in Hawaii?

*- Annika Sorenstam is going to marry Mike McGee. Congratulations. If the wedding takes place in Florida, am I invited?(Sarcastic laughter time)

*- Lorena Ochoa, after winning the last three LPGA events, is not on top this week in Springfield Illinois. Could it have something to do with her taking this week off? Hmm.......

Linked to- Adam, Bullwinkle, Morewhat, Right Voices,

Labels: , , , ,

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXLVII

You're travelling I-95 at night-time in Palm Beach County and traffic slows to stop. What's the cause? A boat on fire along the highway's shoulder. I thought those only happened at sea. Isn't this a great state or what!

'Welcome to the South Florida the rules are different here.'
'Hey what's the smoke.'
'It's only a boat.'
'Right along the freeway, isn't it just great down here.'

TFM as songwriter. Don't give up my day job, ehh?

Rick at SOTP is also commenting.
Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Perri Nelson, The World According to Carl,


Widow penalty class action

From the Orlando Sentinel-

A Venezuelan immigrant from Central Florida is among more than 80 widows who filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday, trying to stop U.S. immigration officials from deporting them. All were married to Americans who died before their petitions for residency were approved. Dahianna Heard, a Casselberry woman originally from Venezuela, is named as one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Heard told the Sentinel of her predicament last year when she found out that the killing of her husband, Jeffrey Heard, in Iraq also meant that she could face deportation. The couple's toddler, an American by birth, might have to return with her to Venezuela.

Heard was a contractor for a security company that was providing support for U.S. troops when he was shot last year during an ambush in Fallujah. They were about three months short of the immigration-law requirement for spouses of deceased U.S. citizens to have their visa petitions heard.

Dahianna Heard could not be reached Thursday, but her Orlando-based attorney, Ralph Pineda, said her appeals to U.S. immigration officials remain pending.

"The class-action means there are many plaintiffs who are similarly situated," Pineda said. "The lawsuit is saying this is an injustice because these are good marriages where the future of American children is at stake."

Attorneys for some of the estimated 85 widows affected nationally say the government has interpreted federal law too harshly.

If a couple have been married less than two years, and the application has been approved, the foreign-born spouse can seek a review that is considered on a case-by-case basis, according to immigration officials.

But if an application is pending at the time of death, "then it's not considered," said Chris Rhatigan, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Services in Washington.

Exceptions include widows of active military personnel as opposed to contractors, such as Heard.
I blogged previously about Dahianna Heard here. Our mindless government bureaucracy punishing women whose only crime is their husbands died before their papers were processed. They tried to immigrate legally and they get screwed by the immigration system. Doesn't it make me sick?

The courts aren't doing anything either, which leaves me to believe the class action suit will get nowhere.(This marks the first time I can recall my supporting one of these suits) Look at the gutless wonders of the 9th circuit in their most recent decision regarding Carla Freeman.

The widow penalty is a travesty. Those officials who enforce it are despicable.

Linked to- Blue Star, Rosemary, Third World County, The World According to Carl,

Labels: ,

Will the last Republican delegate left please turn out the light

Wyoming has become the latest state to change when it will have its 2008 Presidential caucus or primary.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyoming Republicans have jumped to the head of the pack in the nominating process, moving their delegate-selection conventions to Jan. 5 before even Iowa or New Hampshire vote.

While the move puts Wyoming first in the accelerated primary process, it is not expected to stay there as states continue to jockey for position. At stake for Wyoming Republicans on Jan. 5 will be 12 delegates to the national convention.

"We're first in the nation," said Tom Sansonetti, the state party's 2008 county convention coordinator. "At least for the next couple, three weeks until New Hampshire and Iowa move, which I expect they will."

Wyoming Republicans made the decision Saturday and announced it late Tuesday.
Wyoming isn't the first. Michigan made a similar move, its primary now scheduled for January 15th.

The reaction from the National parties is as predictable as ever.

As a deterrence, the Republican National Committee insists they will penalize states that schedule nominating contests before Feb. 5 by withholding delegates to the conventions next summer.

"The rules are very clear. Any state that holds its primary outside the window will be penalized delegates," said Republican National Committee spokesman Paul Lindsay, adding delegates would be allocated to states at the end of the year.

Sansonetti said Wyoming stood to lose half its delegates.
Sounds just like the threats to Florida. Given enough time, the only states with delegates at the convention will be Iowa and New Hampshire. Now tell me how that's good for democracy or the nation.

Hat tip- James Joyner at OTB
Linked to- Cao, Mad Pigeon, Pirate's Cove,

Labels: , ,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winner are Virginia Tech University President Charles Steger and Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine. Kaine gets the award for the following.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Tech officials could have saved lives if they had quickly warned the campus that two students had been shot to death and their killer was on the loose, a panel that investigated the attacks said.

Instead, it took administrators more than two hours to get out an e-mail warning students and staff to be cautious. The shooter had time to leave the dormitory where the first two victims were killed, mail a letter, and then enter a classroom building, chain the doors shut and kill 31 more people, including himself.

Even before the killings, the university had failed to properly care for the mentally troubled student gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, the panel found.

One victim's mother today urged Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to "show some leadership" and fire the university's president and campus police chief for their lack of action during the April 16 attack. Others demanded accountability for errors that were made.

Kaine, however, told The Associated Press that the school's officials had suffered enough without losing their jobs.

"This is not something where the university officials, faculty, administrators have just been very blithe," Kaine said. "There has been deep grieving about this and it's torn the campus up."
They're all torn up? How about the families of the ones who died Governor. They've lost their family members forever.

The report clearly says the University failed in its job. 32 people are murdered and no one is going to get fired? How many students and faculty need to be slaughtered before a President is held accountable? 100? 200? Tell me.

An eight-member panel appointed by Kaine spent four months investigating the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and issued its report late Wednesday.

"Warning the students, faculty and staff might have made a difference," the panel. "So the earlier and clearer the warning, the more chance an individual had of surviving."

The first victims were shot shortly after 7 a.m. It wasn't until 9:26 a.m. that the school sent an e-mail to students and faculty warning: "Shooting on campus. The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case." Cho opened fire inside Norris Hall about 20 minutes later.


"The alert should have been issued and classes should have been closed," the panel's chairman, Gerald Massengill, told the AP Thursday.

But the panel also concluded that a lockdown of the 131 buildings on campus would not have been feasible. And while the first message sent by the university could have gone out at least an hour earlier and been more specific, Cho likely still would have found more people to kill, it said.

"There does not seem to be a plausible scenario of a university response to the double homicide that could have prevented the tragedy of considerable magnitude on April 16," the report said. "Cho had started on a mission of fulfilling a fantasy of revenge."

The report detailed a breakdown in communication about the gunman, who had shown signs of mental health problems for years.

His middle school teachers had found signs of suicidal and homicidal thoughts in his writings after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. He received psychiatric counseling and was on medication for a short time. In 2006, he wrote a paper for his Virginia Tech creative writing class about a young man who hates students at his school and plans to kill them and himself, the report said.

The university's counseling center failed to give Cho the support he needed despite the warnings, including his referral to the center in 2005 because of bizarre behavior and concerns he was suicidal, the panel said. It blamed a lack of resources, misinterpretation of privacy laws and passivity.

Individuals and departments at Virginia Tech were aware of incidents that suggested his mental instability, but "did not intervene effectively. No one knew all the information and no one connected all the dots," the report said.

The report said the response by university and Blacksburg police to the dormitory shootings was well coordinated, and said the police response at Norris Hall was "prompt and effective," as was triage and evacuation of the wounded. But it also noted university police may have erred in prematurely concluding that the first two shootings were the result of a domestic dispute.

"As you read the report, it's clear that so many of the mistakes that were made result from a failure of leadership at the very top levels of the university," said Cathy Read, stepmother of slain freshman Mary Karen Read.
My heart goes out to the Reads who lost so much that April day and to the rest of the families.

Thirty two people didn't have to die if the University would have acted. Instead they took the course of least resistance, and people died for it. The very least that should happen is Steger being shown the door. For not doing that Governor Timothy Kaine you are the first Knucklehead of the Day.

Also note- Now its pretty clear why Kaine didn't want any family members on the investigation panel. He wasn't going to do shit for these people.

As damning as the report on Steger was, his press conference yesterday shows to be an unfeeling, unrepentant idiot.

RICHMOND, Va. - With anguished parents demanding his firing, Virginia Tech's president bristled at suggestions Thursday that he bears responsibility for the bloodbath on campus, calling it a crime "unprecedented in its cunning and murderous results."

At a news conference where he was grilled about an independent panel's conclusion that lives could have been saved had the school warned the campus sooner that a killer was on the loose, Charles Steger suggested there may have been nothing anyone could have done to stop the rampage by gunman Seung-Hui Cho that left 33 people dead.

"No plausible scenario was made for how this horror could have been prevented once he began that morning," Steger said.

He said he will neither resign nor ask the Virginia Tech police chief to quit, despite bitter demands by some of the victims' families that he and others be held accountable for the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

"In my view of the world, the buck stops at the top," said William O'Neil, whose son Daniel was among the students slain. "I think that in this case, his lack of leadership and his lack of compassion for the families is just astounding."

It took administrators more than two hours to get the first e-mail warning out after Cho killed two people in a dormitory. In the interim, Cho mailed off a video confession to NBC and then made his way across the Blacksburg campus to a classroom building, where he killed 30 more victims and committed suicide.

Steger said that during those two hours, administrators carefully considered how to deal with the first burst of gunfire, including a warning or a complete campus lockdown.

In the end, according to the report, administrators concluded that the shooting was a boyfriend-girlfriend dispute and that the gunman had probably left the campus. Also, the report noted, they were afraid of causing panic, as happened at the start of the school year, when the first day of classes was called off because an escaped murder suspect was on the loose near campus.

Asked whether he would have done anything differently that day, Steger said no.
Read that again, if he could have done anything, Steger wouldn't have done it. In other words he'd let 32 people die again. What kind of fool is this man? For being an unrepentant accomplice to murder, Charles Steger is our other Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, Church and State, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Webloggin, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mandatory Donation

What we call a tax here in the United States, South Korea 's Foreign Ministry uses another term.

Starting late next month, passengers on international flights taking off in Korea will be required to donate W1,000 for the global fight against poverty (US$1=W938). The donation will be automatically added to the ticket price. The Foreign Ministry said international flight passengers will have to make the contribution as the Korea International Cooperation Agency Act goes into effect on Sept. 30. But Korean children adopted in foreign countries and their patrons, children under two, flight crew and diplomats will be exempt from the mandatory donation.
Sounds like a tax to me. Actually exit or travel taxes aren't uncommon in Asia. The Philippines requires one to be paid by those exiting the country on airplanes. It is paid at the airport.

I wouldn't be surprised if the United States enacted a similar practice one day. What will we name it? The get lost tax?(Sarcastic laughter time)

Hat tip- Marmot's Hole
Linked to- Conservative Thoughts, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Webloggin,

Labels: , ,

Bad health care, bad reporting

From the BBC-

Japan's health minister has pledged to address the shortage of doctors in the country after a woman in labour was turned away by eight hospitals.

A ninth hospital refused to admit her even after she miscarried in an ambulance and her baby died.

The woman, who was in the sixth month of her pregnancy, lived just three minutes away from a hospital.

But she was forced to travel 70km (45 miles) by ambulance looking for a facility that would admit her.

The woman, who lives in the countryside, called an ambulance in the middle of the night because she was suffering from stomach pains and bleeding.

For more than an hour the ambulance crew tried to find a hospital to accept her. Eight refused.

Then on the way to a ninth hospital the ambulance crashed and the woman miscarried. The hospital then changed its mind and refused to admit her.

An official told ambulance staff that treatment would be difficult and they were already busy with an emergency operation.

Eventually, almost three hours after they first arrived to pick her up, the ambulance crew found a hospital that would take her.
What a tragedy has to die when there is health care available but no one willing to act. There is nothing worse for a parent than to lose a child.

I'm not going to use this episode to hammer national healthcare, because I'm well aware of fiascos in countries like the US which has private medicine. The trouble with national healthcare, is that medicine has to be rationed. There are only so many dollars for care, doctors, hospitals, for the government is either running people's healthcare services directly or indirectly. As someone whose worked in the healthcare industry and being a cancer, I know the many faults US care has. National healthcare isn't the answer.

Also note, the above article says the mother was in the sixth month and had a miscarriage. That is too late for a miscarriage, which take place no later than 20 weeks, which is part way through the fifth month(or fourth depending on how its counted by doctor and mother). Either the Reuters reporter or the source of his information needs to brush up on pregnancy.

Hat tip- Captain's Quarters
Linked to- Mad Pigeon, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , ,

Plea deal

Some interesting news from the Sun-Sentinel-

Attorneys for Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne met again Wednesday with federal prosecutors to try to reach a plea agreement in the two-year investigation of Jenne's public and private business dealings.

Tom Scott, the U.S. attorney from 1997 to 2000, has joined Jenne's defense team. Scott knows Jenne from their work in law enforcement and offered to work for no charge, said Jenne's other lawyer, Dave Bogenschutz. He would not comment on the Miami meeting.

Sources familiar with the investigation said prosecutors want to reach a resolution on the case by the end of this week or put it to a federal grand jury vote on whether Jenne should be charged.

Prosecutors and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating allegations of misconduct by Jenne.
Jenne's legal problems are well known to people in Southeast Florida. I agree with Bob at The Daily Pulp, that Jenne is an embarrassment that the Feds and Charlie Crist need to see removed from office. If Jenne makes a plea, his career as Sheriff must certainly come to an end.

I'm just wondering about the basis of the above Sun-Sentinel article. Unnamed sources were used as always. I doubt Jenne's defense team is talking, so we have to guess it comes from the Prosecutor's office. Or is it possible the Sentinel just hyperventilating in anticipation of some big news involving Ken Jenne? As I've chronicled more than once, the reporting out of Ft. Lauderdale leaves something to be desired.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle,

Labels: , ,

Costco crash

From the Palm Beach Post-

WEST PALM BEACH — As the son of a Baptist minister, 15-year-old Austin Gardner believes everything happens for a reason.

So when a Palm Beach County jury on Wednesday agreed that Costco Wholesale was not responsible for a traffic accident that claimed the life of his father, the suburban Boynton Beach teen was stoic.

"I told my God before the verdict that whatever it is I'll still praise you," he said minutes after the jury's decision was announced.

Just as his 36-year-old father was taken from him, his mother and two siblings in the 2000 crash in front of Costco's Lantana Road store, the jury verdict is simply another part of God's plan, he said.

"Whatever happens was meant to be," Austin said. "We just have to move on. We just have to keep on coping with life without my father."

The jury verdict meant that instead of as much as the $8 million their attorney requested, the family will get nothing from the retail giant.

Attorney William Johnson, who represented the Gardners, said he was stunned by the jury's decision that came at the conclusion of a four-week trial.

While acknowledging that Ron Gardner and others also were responsible for the accident, he said Costco ignored repeated warnings that its Lantana Road exit was dangerous. "I think they were looking at Ron Gardner who pulled out in front of a dump truck and not looking at what could have been done to keep him from going into a dangerous area," Johnson said.

Had Costco executives heeded advice from Palm Beach County traffic engineers and directed customers to an exit off High Ridge Road, Gardner would be alive today, Johnson told jurors during closing arguments.

"You would think a corporation would have some regard for the safety of its customers," he said.

Jury foreman Michael Kajano said after 10 hours of deliberation over two days, the two women and four men simply couldn't find the evidence to support the Gardner family's claims.

"We reviewed all the evidence, all the testimony. We reviewed it and re-reviewed it and weighed it all again," the Wellington engineer said. "Everyone on the jury offers their condolences to the entire Gardner family. It was a tremendous loss."
My condolences to the Gardner family. I however agree with the jury.

The Costco store in question is two miles from my home, and is passed every day of the week by either my wife or I on multiple occasions.(It's on the way to her work, which is also our place of worship). The warehouse store first opened in 1991, and when it did people could exit the store onto Lantana Road either to go east or west bound. To go East bound one had to turn left across a four lane road(which just narrowed from 6 lanes for traffic coming east) and was at the bottom of the bridge that crosses I-95.

As someone who drove by here, I always thought making the left turn out of the store to be an act of suicidal stupidity. High Ridge road, which has a traffic light is adjacent to the store and obvious to anyone who visits the store. Still people tried making the turn, and at least two people died as a result, one of who was Rev. Gardner.

Note- I'm fully aware about why the store's exits were designed as they were when Costco opened.

Bottom line- The store isn't at fault for Mr. Gardner's death. He made the poor choice of trying to make a dangerous turn on a busy highway.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle,


My results update

For those of you not in the know, it was discovered two days ago that my cancer has returned after a twelve year lapse. It is now in at least one lymph node of mine.

Before I get started I'd like to thank everyone who sent well wishes. They include Rick, Tere, Jim, David, Jo, Beth, The blogs Cao, Pirate, High Desert Wanderer, Bullwinkle, and Pink Flamingo, and others. Thank you so very much, I appreciate it.

Yesterday I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon. It was at 2:00 but I wasn't out of the office till nearly 3:45. A nurse removed my stitches and I was seen by the doctor.

It would have been nice to hear from the doctor. "Mr. Masochist we examined your head and found nothing but two half written blog posts, and twenty-three half written webfiction stories." Alas, the meeting didn't go like that. Instead we discussed the biopsy results and what's the next step. I did get a copy of the pathology report so to bring it to my other doctors.

A little background on my cancer, I had four malignant melanomas diagnosed and removed between Dec 1993 and December 1994. Three Clark Level II's that were minimally invasive, but one Clark IV that was deeper than the other three combined multiplied by almost three. Ever since I've undergone regular dermatological checkups(Every 3-4 months), once a year cancer checkups, and from 1997-2001 I got vaccine at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in California.

From 1995 till this summer I had no sign of cancer. From 2002-2004 I even stopped doing some of my checkups. My wife got pregnant in late 2002 and gave birth but our son died within 14.5 hours. I was depressed afterwards and let my checkups slip to the wayside.

In 2005 I suffered a pulmonary embolism. While hospitalized, an MRI was done and it showed lesions on my adrenal glands. To ensure my cancer hadn't returned, I went back to the oncologist for the first time in four years and had a thorough checkup (including a pet scan). Everything checked out as normal and since then I went back to having my regular checkups.

So my lack of checkups from 2002-2004 isn't to blame. That's why my primary care's discovery of a swollen node during a general checkup last month came as such a big surprise. 12 years had passed and I had gotten a clean bill of health in 2005.

On September 18th at 7:30. I'll have further surgery. A wider excision that will take out 10-20 more lymph nodes for biopsy. This operation will be done in-patient and under general anesthesia. I'll be out of the hospital hopefully on the 19th. The 18th is my wife's birthday and she was already scheduled to be on vacation at the time. I'll be off from blogging for the 18th and 19th at least. Anyone want to give out a couple of Knucklehead awards while I'm gone? Leave a comment, while leaving your email address where asked. I'll get back to you.

On September 6th I'm seeing my local oncologist Dr. Rothschild. He is already aware of what happened and wants to see me. He'll probably order diagnostic tests(Chest X-ray, full bloodwork, an MRI or Cat scan) to make sure the cancer is only in my nodes. Treatment won't likely be discussed till my second operation's biopsy results come in.

What are the treatments I will undergo? Radiation and chemo aren't done with Stage III melanoma. I'd either undergo interferon or some type of vaccine treatment. Either of which would cause me to need to travel. Possibly to Miami or Tampa Florida. This isn't too bad, I can handle either on a weekly basis.

The other and maybe best option, is my going back to John Wayne again. Its the best cancer center in the world for melanoma patients. The disadvantages to going to JWCI are the expense- A 3 day trip is required, one day to fly out, one day in CA and one day to fly back. Plus food, hotel, and transportation between LAX and Santa Monica. I did this from 1997-2001 with few complaints, but that was before 9-11 and air travel involves so much hassle today I don't look forward to it.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do. Since nothing can be done till after my 2nd operation and the results of it are known, its all conjecture at this point. I've been in touch with John Wayne, and I can get an appointment there and be re-evaluated to see if I'm eligible for treatment.

Physically I'm ok now, my surgical site is hurting some again because of the stitch removal. Mentally I am up and down. Yesterday I blogged and began writing my latest web fiction story. Escaping into the fictional worlds and characters I create seems to get my mind off the the trouble I have right now.

Because of the time needed for my treatments(I won't get very sick if at all from them), my blogging could drop off dramatically or be stopped all together. Right now its too early to tell just like with my diagnosis.

Thanks for listening.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Cao, Conservative Thoughts, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Webloggin,


The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Katrina Lynn Brooks. She gets the award for the following.

TAMPA - A 20-year-old mother has been charged with aggravated manslaughter after she left her 9-month-old son in a bathtub with running water while she conducted a drug deal in her living room, Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

On Aug. 3, deputies responded to the drowning of the baby, Gene Vincent Kent, at 10250 Tom Folsom Road.

Katrina Lynn Brooks said she put her son and 2-year-old daughter in the bathtub and turned on the water. She told deputies she then answered a knock at the front door.

Brooks stayed in the living room talking to the visitor for 25 to 30 minutes, Carter said.

The mother told deputies that when she heard the bathtub overflow, she ran and discovered her son floating, Carter said. The child was rushed to University Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Originally, Brooks told investigators the child was in the tub for only a few minutes, but the investigation revealed that he had been left for more than 25 minutes while she was in the living room discussing a marijuana deal with the visitor.
Unbelievable. Almost sounds like an old episode of Dragnet, where a child drowned while their parents got high on marijuana. Gene Vincent Kent is now in a better place but his mother, Katrina Lynn Brooks, is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, Conservative Thoughts, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Webloggin,

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No escape

Some news from Pennsylvania. Maybe Mr. Watkins should take up something simpler like card tricks.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bullwinkle, Perri Nelson,

SCRANTON, Pa. - A man accused of breaking into the Houdini Museum was unable to escape from police.

Officers said they apprehended the man about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, based on descriptions by three witnesses of two men seen fleeing from the museum. One witness told police he chased the men for several blocks. One man remained at large.

Charles Watkins, 25, of Scranton, was charged with a felony count of attempted burglary and misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and loitering.

Watkins was arraigned before District Judge Thomas J. Golden and lodged in the Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of $5,000 bail. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

"He's going to need more than Houdini to escape from this problem," said Dorothy Dietrich, museum co-founder and director.

Dietrich said nothing was taken or badly damaged in the break-in, and the museum devoted to early 20th century escape artist Harry Houdini was open on Tuesday.


Very wise

From the Orlando Sentinel-

A 17-year-old mother who disappeared after dropping off her 8-month-old baby girl this morning at an Apopka fire station is under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Firefighters at Orange County Fire Rescue Station 27 said the woman, whose name was not released, dropped the baby girl off at the station at 4:22 a.m. saying she could no longer care for her because she was now homeless.

Florida's Safe Haven law allows a parent to leave a child at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical station, remain anonymous and not face a criminal investigation for abandonment if the child is 3 days old or less and there are no signs of actual or suspected abuse.

Babies who meet the law's standards are transferred to a hospital for a medical evaluation and then placed in an adoption agency where adoption officials find parents already on a waiting list.

Orange County Fire Rescue spokesman John Mulhall said this morning's incident didn't meet those criteria.


"I think the mother did the right thing by not abandoning the baby in a hazardous place like a canal or a dumpster, but I can see why the authorities want to speak with her," said Nick Silverio, the leader of the foundation. "Hopefully the police will see if that mother is at risk."
It is sad when a mother gives up a child, no matter the method or circumstances. Because the bond between a mother and child is so strong, something extroadinary had to happen for the mother to break it. That the two would be homeless and without food, assuming what was told to firemen is true.

Not being a student of the law, I'm sure the mother probably broke some statute in giving up the girl. However I think she shouldn't be prosecuted or arrested. There are far worse things that could have been done to girl. Especially considering the following.

The mother provided firefighters with food and diapers before leaving the station.

On-duty crews performed a quick medical evaluation and transported the baby to Florida Hospital Apopka before turning her over to the state Department of Children and Families.

The child was in good health and dressed in clean clothing, firefighters said
The mother took care of the child when she had her. Her act of sacrifice shouldn't result in criminal charges. What do you think?

Linked to- Blue Star, Cao, Right Voices, Samantha Burns,


Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXLVI

A landfill as a South Florida landmark. Just keep piling up the garbage Marion County, you may soon have the highest point above sea level in the Sunshine State. Won't that be something to brag about, Mt. Trash! Isn't this a great state or what.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Morewhat, Perri Nelson,

NORTH MANATEE -- New York has the Statue of Liberty. St. Louis has its arch.

And in the coming years, one of Manatee County's most visible landmarks could be a 150-foot-tall mound of construction debris.

A landfill proposed for a site just a mile and a half from Tampa Bay could tower 180 feet above sea level on Manatee's northwest coastline, according to recently filed plans.

In a county that prides itself on having few high-rises, the dump's eventual peak would be among the first sights for visitors who enter the county from the north or across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

North Manatee residents, who have dubbed the proposed landfill "Trash Mountain," are fearful it will spoil their community's skyline and lower their property values.

"This is obviously going to be an eyesore," said Andrea Torkelson, who lives about four miles from the site. "People are going to drive over that (Skyway) bridge every day, and that's what they're going to see."

The landfill, proposed by Waste Management, would be opened on land now occupied by Airport Manatee, whose owners have agreed to sell to Waste Management if the dump gets government approval.

The landfill is only partway through a complex approval process, and still needs a sign-off from a few state agencies and final county approval.

It would cover 130 acres of a 300-acre site east of Port Manatee and north of the abandoned phosphate processing plant at Piney Point.


Will Chris Chambers be traded or released?

From the Miami Herald-

Despite some minor feelers to gauge the potential value of Dolphins wide receiver Chris Chambers on the trade market, Miami has no imminent plans to deal the team's No. 1 wide receiver.

Chambers also is not in danger of being cut, which can often be the assumption when a player with a high salary cap number is put on the trade block.

So while the NFL Network reported Tuesday night that Chambers' name was popping up throughout league circles as potential trade bait, it is highly unlikely he will be wearing anything other than a Dolphins jersey on Sept. 9 when Miami opens the season.

Had the Dolphins been able to get any interest from potential suitors, it would have been unlikely the two sides could have pulled off a trade anyway. The interested team would need to take on Chambers' cap hit of $7.3 million.

Also, Chambers is coming off of a disappointing season two years removed from a Pro Bowl. In 2005, Chambers reached the Pro Bowl with 1,118 yards on 82 catches. But last year, although in a different offensive system, he finished with 677 yards on 59 catches.

He also recently pleaded not guilty to charges of driving while impaired, but his case has yet to be decided. Should he face legal sanctions, Chambers could also potentially face discipline from the NFL. The open-ended situation is also a detractor for other teams.
I don't think Miami should trade or release Chambers. Ginn played well last week, but he's still unproven. Booker I feel is overrated. Miami traded or released their other two most productive pass catchers last year, Wes Welker and Randy McMichael. Cameron is trying to form his own team, but dumping productive players from the Saban era isn't the answer.

By the way, what's the source the Miami Herald is using to debunk the previous trade rumor? No one named or unnamed, quoted or unquoted, is mentioned in the above article. Did Dolphin reporter Jeff Darlington forget Journalism sourcing 101?

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Bright & Early,

Labels: , ,

Lost Dog

Some news from Mexico-

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An elite Mexican sniffer dog kidnapped five days ago was found abandoned in a Mexico City park on Monday and reunited with its police handlers.

Working on a tip, federal police found Rex IV -- a highly trained Belgian Malinois sheepdog with a string of drug hauls to its name -- tied to a tree in a park in the gritty Iztapalapa neighborhood, a Public Security Ministry spokesman said.

"When they realized the police were onto them, they abandoned him in a park," the spokesman told Reuters, adding that the dog's identity was confirmed by scanning an embedded electronic chip.

The dog, part of an elite drug squad, was snatched from Mexico City airport on August 22 while it was en route for an operation in the northern state of Sinaloa. The thieves left a black mongrel puppy in its travel cage.

Police only realized Rex IV was missing when the puppy turned up in Mazatlan airport, Sinaloa. They feared the stolen dog, which one official compared to an intelligence agent, could help smugglers find new ways to conceal drug stashes.

Rex IV was in good condition and back with his trainers, while two employees at the company in charge of transporting him and other police dogs have been arrested, the ministry spokesman said.

Rex IV is part of an elite Special Canine Unit set up in 2001 to help hunt down the gangs that smuggle South American cocaine and other drugs to the United States.
It's good to hear Rex IV was found is unharmed. Didn't these dognappers ever watch The Nanny? This missed a chance to ask for ransom! It was amusing how easy the thieves managed to get away with Rex IV. It almost sounds like a sitcom plot.

President Felipe Calderon has sent thousands of police and soldiers to northern and western states in a new crackdown on the cartels whose turf wars kill dozens each week.
Now Mexican President Calderon can claim to have cracked down on dognapping too. Taking a bite out of crime.

Linked to-Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

Labels: , ,

Where's the dramamine? Chapter Twenty-One

From the Miami Herald-

From CBS Channel 4-

If you go to the Herald's comments section, you get this headline.

Welcome to the South Florida MSM. Like the weather, the news is subject to change every five minutes.

A big hand to Rick and Alex at SOTP. They should get the credit for the work from this post that I borrowed from. SOTP is my favorite South Florida area blog.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Conservative Thoughts, Perri Nelson, Right Wing Nation,

Labels: ,

Not on your side

More Florida insurance news

Nationwide Insurance said Tuesday it plans to dump 39,000 homeowner insurance policies, including 6,200 in Palm Beach County and 2,000 in Broward County.

Two years ago, Nationwide began jettisoning 35,000 homeowner policies statewide and stopped taking on new property insurance customers. The company will finish the earlier round of policy cuts by mid-2008.

Earlier this year, State Farm Florida Insurance Co. and Allstate Floridian Insurance Co. said they were shedding 156,000 policies following busy hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005.

The Nationwide policy cuts will be made on customer renewal dates and start early next year, so affected homeowners can continue their coverage through the Nov. 30 end of hurricane season. The first notices alerting policy holders will go out in September.

The Columbus, Ohio-based insurer, the fifth-largest in Florida, also is dropping 1,600 commercial policies statewide but did not have a breakdown Tuesday of the cuts by county.

"It goes without saying that this is a difficult business decision, but one we need to make to continue to be there for our remaining customers," spokesman Eric Hardgrove said.

The announcement is yet another blow to Florida's reeling property insurance market.
In spite of politician promises, insurance carriers continue to leave Florida, in good weather and bad. Will Citizens Property soon be the last homeowner's insurance provider in the state? As I have stated previously, you can't force a business to issue policies in this state. A threat to not allow companies like Allstate to sell auto insurance if they don't sell homeowner's also, is mostly a bluff.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation, Webloggin,

Labels: ,

Welcome home Akiko

The Bradenton mother who along with her husband and children got themselves caught in an immigration nightmare, has arrived back home in Florida. Let this be one more lesson about how @#% ^ ! ICE is. Read about other nightmares here, here, here, and here if you want more proof.

Note that Keith Campbell sold his lawnmowing business while this was going on. The Campbells could be in financial problems because of our lovely immigration system. Doesn't it make you feel so proud of government bureaucrats that they need to protect us from Japanese housewives and fallen Iraq war veterans?

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Cao, Third World County,

MANATEE COUNTY -- A Bradenton mother says she is relieved to be back home following a battle with U.S. immigration officials that kept her and her children in Japan and separated from her husband for eight months.

The case of Keith and Akiko Campbell, which generated international media attention, ended with a decision by U.S. officials to issue the Japanese-born Akiko a rare hardship waiver.

Akiko Campbell and her two sons returned to their Bradenton home Friday.

"Being home, it was like I've been here the whole time but have just been through an eight-month nightmare," said Akiko Campbell, 41.

Problems for the couple started in 1998.

Federal immigration officials said Akiko Campbell committed fraud when she entered the United States in that year from Japan with a fiancee visa, even though she had already married Keith.

The couple say officials in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo told them to do so.

Akiko Campbell was denied permanent residency after that, though the couple continued filing appeals. She continued to live in the United States for nine years and had two sons, Leo, 4, and Micah, 18 months.

Finally, U.S. immigration officials told Akiko to fly to Tokyo so she could get a new visa, Keith Campbell said.

But when she arrived in January with her sons, she learned her visa would not be issued and, because the U.S. officials said fraud was involved, she would not be allowed to re-enter the United States for 10 years.

Keith Campbell, 47, now calls it "gestapo-type trickery." Still, he said he harbors no ill feelings toward the U.S. government.

"How can I be bitter at the country when everyone came together to get this done?" he said. "That doesn't hurt anybody but me if I'm bitter."

The couple did not not sit idly by waiting for the bureaucratic mess to untangle itself.

They doggedly kept at U.S. immigration officials and embarked on an aggressive media campaign to bring attention to Akiko's case. Their story has appeared in newspapers in more than 50 countries, Keith Campbell said.

Shortly before the U.S. government issued the waiver, Keith sold his lawn care business so he could travel across the country doing media interviews.

The two communicated using an Internet Web camera and through instant messaging, he said. Akiko, who lived with her parents during their forced separation, worried she might be stuck.

Labels: ,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Lauren Caitlin Upton. TFM isn't able to show videos, but click here to see Ms. Upton's interview. A big thanks to Bullwinkle.

Paul at Wizbang does break down the highlights for us.

Remember the questions was, why couldn't one-fifth of Americans locate our country on a world map. Let's break down her answer:

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps

and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa

and, uh, the Iraq

everywhere like, such as and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S.
Are you confused too? Is your head hurting yet? The people of the United States need Universal map benefits. For giving new meaning to term, 'Dizzy blonde', Lauren Caitlin Upton is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Amboy Times, Bright & Early, Cao, Conservative Thoughts, Leaning Straight Up, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Webloggin,

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I got my results

Of last week's surgery. A nurse from the doctor's office called around lunch-time. There was cancer in the lymph node. I'm scheduled for more surgery(more nodes removed) on September 18th. Just happens to be my wife's 46th birthday that day. What a present, right?

I still go back to the surgeon tomorrow for stitch removal and follow-up. The Thursday after Labor Day, I'll see my oncologist. He'll likely order diagnostic tests to ensure the cancer isn't any where but my nodes at present. I was due for my yearly checkup on the 24th of September to start with.

Going from no cancer for 12 years to having a recurrence is a big shock. Stage III melanoma stats aren't bad but they are much more iffy than Stage II. Then that's based if this is the only node with cancer, which we don't know yet. Five year survival rates range from 25-65%.

I'm depressed right now, and not in the mood for blogging. I may take a rest from it for a few days, or permanently. Right now I don't know. I guess I'll hang around a little longer, I need something to do. Ask me again tomorrow, that might change. LOL, maybe I'll be seeing my son Daniel again soon.

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Webloggin,

Labels: ,

Watering hole

Some news from Malaysia. This is great news for the people of Selangor. Then you have to believe what Minister Minister Lim Keng Yaik says about the find of an underwater cavern. A politician or government official would never lie in order to prevent a public panic, right?(Cue the sarcastic laughter)

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Blue Star,

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia has discovered an underground water basin as big as Singapore, dismissing fears that its most densely populated state Selangor will run out of water in three years, a government minister said.

The water cavern was found in Batang Padang area in northern Perak state, which can be tapped in the next two years, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Selangor, on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula, is facing a critical water supply situation, state-owned Bernama news agency reported in January, citing a study. To address the issue, the government planned to call an international tender next month for a 3 billion ringgit ($858 million) project to transfer water from eastern Pahang state to Selangor.

``We have found a huge amount of underground water in Batang Padang, a huge underground cavern, it is as big as the size of Singapore,'' Lim said. ``There won't be a water shortage'' in Selangor, he said.

The government also plans to build a water-treatment plant in a related, 2 billion ringgit project, he said. Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd., Selangor state's investment arm, will build the facility, he said.

Labels: ,

The return of the prodigal son

Kim Jong-Il's oldest son has returned to North Korea.

The eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-nam (36) has returned to Pyongyang and is working at the Organization and Guidance Department of North Korea's Worker's Party, an intelligence source said Sunday. The department is the key agency that controls all of the party, the military and the government of North Korea. This has prompted analysts to speculate about a reconciliation and the possibility that Jopng-nam, who has been living in exile in Macau, could inherit the leadership instead of his younger half-brothers Jong-chul (26) and Jong-woon (24), who were variously tipped for the succession.


In 2001, Kim Jong-nam was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport. He had been living overseas because he fell out of favor with his father. Nam Sung-wook, a North Korea specialist at Korea University, said, "Kim Jong-il could not ignore the existence of his eldest son Jong-nam. It seems that Kim Jong-nam is being given new weight, so North Korea has apparently entered a new phase in choosing Kim Jong-il's successor."
Is the writer of the above Chosunilbo article trying to be punny. GI at ROK Drop notes that Jong-nam is now the fattest man in North Korea(surpassing his father).

Jong-nam could have a long wait ahead of him. Kim Jong-IL is in his sixties, and despite the Fidel like rumors of poor health, could easily be ruler of the DPRK for many more years yet. Would Jong-nam be any different than his father?

Linked to- Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

Labels: ,

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXLV

In Florida there are many types of accidents involving either trains or cars. Here's a new one, a Amtrak train-forklift collision. Never heard of that one before. Don't you just love the Sunshine State?

Note- My condolences to the family of the forklift operator.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Conservative Thoughts, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson,

INDIANTOWN, Fla. -- Authorities said a man died after a New York-bound Amtrak train collided with a forklift in Palm Beach County.

According to police, a worker operating a Bobcat forklift near the intersection of Beeline Highway and Indiantown Road was struck by the train around 11:15 a.m., launching the equipment and operator into the air.

The forklift operator was found dead a few minutes after the impact, WPBF News 25 reported. Police said none of the 192 passengers or crew on the train, which was headed from Miami to New York City, were injured.


Fly me to Manila

From the Honolulu Advertiser-

Hawaiian Airlines said it plans to fly to the Philippines starting in March, in what could be the first of several new routes in Asia.

The state's largest airline said yesterday that it will fly at least four weekly flights between Honolulu and Manila, making it the only domestic airline to fly nonstop between the two destinations.

"We see tremendous opportunity to increase travel on this route in light of the deep historical and cultural ties Hawai'i has to the Philippines, Manila's large population of over 10 million people, its growing international business sector and substantial middle class with the inclination and means to travel," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's chief executive officer.

The move, which requires approval from U.S. and Philippine authorities, will allow Hawaiian to recall 11 furloughed pilots and hire additional flight attendants.
With Hawaii having a large Filipno-American population, I would certainly there would be a market for Honolulu flights. At this time, I think Philippine Airlines is the only carrier doing that route non-stop seven days a week.(Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

If Hawaiian Air is successful in getting these routes, they would become like another carrier Alaska Airlines that many people think of as a regional carrier. When in fact Alaska flies(or once flew) to stops in Russia and Mexico in addition to domestic routes.(Note I was singularly unimpressed with Alaska the one and only time I flew them. Waiting an hour for my luggage will do that.)

Linked to- Outside the Beltway, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Third World County,

Labels: , ,

Meaningless Endorsements

From the Palm Beach Post-

As Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pile up endorsements from local elected Dems, freshman U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, remains conspicuously unattached.

Mahoney, whose eight-county district has more registered R's than D's, says he - and his constituents - are waiting to be impressed.

"When I look at my district, I haven't seen anybody make a compelling case that's going to get people in my district excited. I haven't seen that in either party," Mahoney says. He says he's talked to Obama, Clinton and Sen. Chris Dodd about their presidential campaigns and to operatives for Sen. Joe Biden and "two Americas" decrier John Edwards.

Mahoney, elected with a slender 49.5 percent last year in the aftermath of the Mark Foley scandal, is one of the national GOP's top targets for defeat in 2008. The other local freshman Dem who represents a swing congressional district, Rep. Ron Klein of Boca Raton, hasn't endorsed a presidential candidate either.
Does the endorsement or lack of endorsement from matter to your average voter? To me, I could care less though I'm sure it matters to some people and can be used for fundraising purposes. To me I rather make the decision on who is the best candidate in any race, rather than rely on the judgment of others.

That Mahoney and Klein haven't endorsed anyone for the 2008 Presidential race, matters absolutely nothing to me.(I'm a registered Democrat and at the moment I'm leaning to Bill Richardson, even if I gave him a Knucklehead award once. Then I also gave ones to all the other leading Democratic candidates also at some time in the past too. How's that for endorsements?) Either of them could endorse a half Albanian, half Martian green lesbian female with two heads whose mother crashed at Roswell in 2008, and I'd shrug my shoulders. On second thought I'd probably make it big news on my blog first.

Note- I will admit endorsements can have some use. Like when Governor Crist recently had to fill a seat on the Palm Beach County Commission. In that case I'm glad the Governor didn't listen to local officials.

Linked- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer,

Labels: , , , ,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Michael Vick. He gets the award for the following.

Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty on Monday to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge.

In his written plea filed in court Friday, Vick admitted he helped to kill six to eight pit bull dogs and supplied money for gambling on the fights. He said he did not personally place any bets or share in any winnings.

At Monday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson asked Vick, "Are you entering the plea of guilty to a conspiracy charge because you are in fact guilty?"

Vick replied, "Yes, sir."

The plea agreement calls for a sentencing range of 12 to 18 months, but U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson is known for handing down tough sentences.

"You're taking your chances here. You'll have to live with whatever decision I make," Hudson said. He could impose the maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.

Hudson will sentence Vick on Dec. 10.
Vick gave a long apology yesterday, but bloggers myself included, question its sincerity. The suspended quarterback was lying to the public and NFL till just recently. Why believe him now.

Vick is finished as a football player for both 2007 and 2008, even if the judge gives him the lightest sentence. I predict it now- The NFL will re-instate Vick one day. In the meantime, I make Michael Vick today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Random Yak, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Webloggin,

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 27, 2007

Off to Sweden

Former Florida Panther Goalie, Eddie 'The Eagle' Belfour, in all probability won't be playing in the NHL during the 2007-08 season.

Swedish newspaper Sport-Expressen is reporting that former Florida goalie Ed Belfour is close to signing a deal with Leksand, a second-division team in the Swedish Elite League.

Belfour, who was Florida's starter for most of the 2006-07 season, found out there aren't many spots available for goalies in the NHL this offseason. The Panthers said they had interest in Belfour, but that was before they sent three draft picks to Nashville for All-Star goalie Tomas Vokoun hours before the 2007 draft began in Columbus, Ohio.

If Belfour signs, it would mark his first stop in a European pro league. Belfour, 42, set a Panthers record with 27 consecutive starts (the record had been 22) and went 27-17-10 with a 2.77 goals-against average last season.

Considered a Hall of Famer once he retires, Belfour has played 17 NHL seasons and is third with 484 career victories.

It's probable that if Belfour does sign to play overseas, he would have an out clause allowing him to return to the NHL.
Belfour did a good job last year with the Panthers. He did tire out at the end of the season, but this the result of his playing over 20 straight games in goal near season's end. At age 42 I still feel he can be a good backup goalie in the NHL.

Good luck in Sweden Eddie.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Leaning Straight Up, Outside the Beltway,

Labels: ,

Juan come lately

The child custody battle over a 4-year-old girl has finally hit the national wires. From ABC News-

A Cuban father allowed his young daughter to emigrate legally to the United States with her mother to find a better life. But months later, the mother has become incapable of caring for the girl and the father wants to take the child home.

It would seem a simple case, especially since the mother agrees her daughter should return to Cuba.

Yet on the eve of the trial, a judge has warned that it could "inflame the community," where the battle over Elian Gonzalez nearly eight years ago divided the city and became an international incident.

Testimony is to begin Monday over whether 32-year-old Cuban farmer Rafael Izquierdo can regain custody of his 4-year-old daughter whose name is being kept secret or whether she should remain with a wealthy Cuban-American and his wife who want to adopt her.
This story has already had its fair share of drama. First the Miami Herald advertising when and where a hearing was in place. Like the newspaper was deliberately trying to stir up a reaction in the local Cuban-American community.

Then there was this story last week. DCF claiming they don't have ANY record of the mother giving up custody.(Hat tip-SOTP) Another example of bungling by that agency.

My opinion on this custody case hasn't changed. If the mother is either incompetent or unable to care for the child, the father gets custody. He never signed his rights away, and the government shouldn't be taking them either.

Linked to- DragonLady, Morewhat, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,

Labels: , ,

Alberto Gonzales has resigned

It is about time.

CRAWFORD, Texas - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, ending a months-long standoff with Republican and Democratic critics who called for his ouster over the Justice Department's botched handling of FBI terror investigations and the firing of U.S. attorneys, officials said Monday.

The likely temporary replacement for Gonzales is Solicitor General Paul Clement, who would take over until a permanent replacement is found, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department planned a news conference for 10:30 a.m. in Washington. President Bush was expected to discuss Gonzales' departure at his Crawford, Texas, ranch., before leaving on a trip to western states.

Two administration officials speaking on grounds of anonymity said that Gonzales had submitted a resignation letter last Friday. These officials declined to be identified because the formal announcement about Gonzales was still pending.

A longtime friend of Bush, who once considered him for appointment to the Supreme Court, Gonzales is the fourth high-ranking administration official to leave since November 2006. Donald H. Rumsfeld, an architect of the Iraq war, resigned as defense secretary one day after the November elections. Paul Wolfowitz agreed in May to step down as president of the World Bank after an ethics inquiry. And top Bush adviser Karl Rove earlier this month announced he was stepping down.

A frequent Democratic target, Gonzales could not satisfy critics who said he had lost credibility over the Justice Department's botched handling of warrantless wiretaps related to the threat of terrorism and the firings of several U.S. attorneys.
I thought the US Attorney firings if not done for political reasons, was badly bungled at the very least. Gonzales should have resigned months ago, but even if he had it wouldn't and still won't quiet down Democrats.

Who will replace Gonzales? All I say to President Bush is this- Don't appoint this man.

Others blogging on the Gonzales resignation- James Joyner at OTB, Webloggin, Don Surber, Dr. Taylor at Poliblog, Sister Toldjah, Liberty Pundit, Michelle Malkin, Blogs of War, Hot Air, Kim at Wizbang, Gay Patriot, Below the Beltway, A Blog for All,
Linked to- High Desert Wanderer, Right Wing Nation,


Listed on BlogShares