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, November 30, 2007

Bribes Thai style

Guess what a politician is being accused of handing out to elderly male voters in that Asian country?

BANGKOK, Thailand - Vote-buying is an old practice in Thai politics, but one candidate for December's Thai election has reportedly come up with a new tactic -- handing out Viagra instead of cash.

The allegation, made Thursday by a campaign worker against a rival party, comes as rules about handing out favors to voters have become stricter than ever, barring even the distribution of free T-shirts and soft drinks.

Sayan Nopcha, a campaigner for the People's Power Party in Pathum Thai province just north of Bangkok, said the drug used to treat sexual dysfunction in men was being distributed to elderly male voters at social functions.

Viagra is supposed to be used only on a doctor's advice, but is generally available over the counter in Thailand.

"The politician is giving out Viagra to gain popularity and votes," said Sayan, a local government official whose older brother is the PPP candidate. "I think this is a very bad way of vote-buying."

He would not identify the candidate who allegedly handed out the pills.
That's unfair! How is one supposed to know if these bribes gave the candidate a boost at the poles polls.

Note- This all could be bs. It's an accusation being made by one party against the other. That doesn't mean the news can't be funny.

Linked to- Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Rosemary, Woman Honor Thyself,

Labels: , ,

Rudy Giuliani vs. Bill Clinton

Unless you been asleep, on the moon, or visiting Botswana, you probably heard how former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani billed taxpayers for the security and travel of his mistress, now third wife Judith Nathan. Richard Esposito at ABC News reports-

Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on “She used the PD as her personal taxi service,” said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.

New York papers reported in 2000 that the city had provided a security detail for Nathan, who became Giuliani’s third wife after his divorce from Donna Hanover, who also had her own police security detail at the same time.

The former city officials said Giuliani expanded the budget for his security detail at the time. reported yesterday that many of the security expenses were initially billed to obscure city agencies, effectively hiding them from oversight. The former officials told the extra costs involved overtime and per diem costs for officers traveling with Giuliani to secret weekend rendezvous with Nathan in the fashionable Hamptons resort area on Long Island.

When the New York City comptroller began to question the accounting, Mayor Giuliani’s office declined to provide details to city security, officials told today. “The Comptroller’s Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that due to security concerns the information could not be provided,” a spokesperson for the comptroller’s office said.
Giuliani called the reports a hit job and dirty trick. When politicians reply like that to allegations of misuse of office, I believe the allegations. That goes for members of any political party.

Does Rudy's use of his public office make him any different than Bill Clinton who carried on an affair with Monica Lewinsky when President? How do any Republicans who were outraged at Clinton reconcile supporting Giuliani?

Yes I admit Clinton, lied under oath. Giuliani probably lied to the public. Other than one of those being a crime, is it really different? I'd place a bet there is some statute or ethics rule that Rudy broke if its true about his mistress being shuffled about like she was.

Rick at Stuck on the Palmetto says-

The same people who were so famously outraged at Bill Clinton's indiscretions while in office are more than willing to vote for a conservative who is more liberal than some liberals and who used taxpayer money to help facilitate his extramarital affair while in office.
Rick is doing some generalizing about Republicans, and is off about how liberal Giuliani is compared to liberal Democrats, but he makes a point. Are some Republicans being hypocritical when supporting Rudy Giuliani for President?

By the way, if Oscar Wilde is right, Rudy may not be through having affairs. Who knows, but I think even Rudy supporters will say he tends to be secretive.

"A man who marries his mistress leaves a vacancy in that position."

Also talking about the latest Rudy Giuliani news- James Joyner at OTB, Poliblog, Betsy,
Linked to- Bright & Early, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

Labels: , ,

I'll drink to that

Too much beer is a cause of global warming.

Getting rid of vintage “beer fridges” – secondary fridges which many North American and Australian homes boast – could have a significant impact on household greenhouse gas emissions, suggests a new study.

Beer fridges are additional fridges that are generally used to keep beer and other drinks cold on top of a household’s primary fridge for food. One in three Canadian households has a second fridge, many of which are ageing, energy-guzzling models, according to Denise Young, a researcher at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Young suggests that getting rid of older models, in Canada at least, would have an impact on energy usage. Her study analyses industry data and the results of a national survey to look at the environmental effects of having beer fridges in Canada.

"People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles," says Joanna Yarrow, director of Beyond Green, a sustainable development consultancy in the UK. "Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people – let's hope it has an effect".
I'm not a person who denies there can or is global warming, my scientific background isn't strong enough to wade through the arguments from both sides. What may be at work is simple chaos theory. If one believes a butterfly flapping its wings can cause climate change, couldn't other factors be at work in regards to increasing temperatures?

If one is worried about the effect of storage of beer causing greenhouse gases, why not outlaw the sale of those beverages at sporting events? I mean it must take a great many refrigerators at stadiums to store the stuff. Besides it would cut down on the rowdy and often dangerous fans at these events.

Bottom line- People like Denise Young do a disservice to those who want to prove global warming is real.

Hat tip- Don Surber
Linked to- Blue Star, Church and State, Pirate's Cove, Populist,

Labels: ,

Give us your poor, your tired, your skinny

From The Guardian-

New Zealand has added another cruel cut to the myriad indignities visited upon those of larger girth: anyone with a dangerously high body mass index (BMI) is likely to be denied permission to emigrate there. Richie Trezise, 35, a Welsh submarine cable specialist, was initially rejected because of a BMI of 42 (25 or higher is regarded as overweight); he lost weight, but his wife Rowan, 33, has not found it so easy. For months she has tried to slim down enough to join her husband; if she can't do it by Christmas, he will have to give up his job and come home.

The government's reasoning is simple: it will take only immigrants of an "acceptable standard of health", ie those "unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand's health or special education services" (a requirement that raises the even more controversial possibility of applicants being turned down for mental health reasons). Obese people are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, strokes and high blood pressure; ergo, obese people are not allowed.


It can work the other way. Australia, famously strict with its entrance requirements and literalist about BMIs, last year refused citizenship to a healthy British woman who wasn't heavy enough.
If they're worried about a person's health, why isn't all potential immigrants required to have a comprehensive health screening? How about MRIs, Cat scans, Pet scans. No one should be allowed in if they have cancer. How about this- Tanned people aren't allowed. They are at risk for skin cancer.

Some will say a country has the right to choose who immigrates there and who doesn't. I'll also admit that yes, overweight people are costlier health maintenance wise. Do you think what New Zealand is doing is correct?

Hat tip- Overlawyered
Linked to- High Desert Wanderer, Perri Nelson, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

Labels: , , ,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Jason Coskrey and his employer The Japan Times. They get the award for the following.

Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times Online is our latest example of really bad golf journalism. The following article was written concerning the possibility of JLPGA golfer Momoko Ueda joining the LPGA Tour.

Japanese athletes have made strides on the world stage in a number of sports, including the Mao Asada-led Japanese dominance of the figure skating circuit, but Japanese golfers have yet to find any real consistent success internationally on the links.

Hisako Higuchi, who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, did win the 1977 LPGA Championship and two other tour titles some 30 years ago, but achieved her status primarily based upon her 69 titles in Japan. She only played part-time on the LPGA Tour.

Isao Aoki, best known abroad for his runnerup finish to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 U.S. Open, won one PGA Tour tournament, and is also enshrined in golf's hall. He won 51 JPGA titles.

While South Korea, led by Hall of Famer Pak Se Ri and 2006 LPGA Rookie of the Year Lee Seon Hwa, has prospered in the women's game, Japan has yet to produce any true crossover stars of its own.

Momoko Ueda, winner of five JLPGA tournaments in 2007, became the tour's youngest money-title winner ever this year at just 21.

Just a few years ago the hopes of the nation were placed upon Miyazato, a 14-time champion on the JLPGA. After a dominating showing in the LPGA Q-School, Miyazato was pegged by many to become Japan's first international golf sensation.

However, Miyazato has struggled at times and is winless in 54 tournaments
In the above article, Jason Coskrey was speculating about Momoko Ueda and whether she would join the LPGA Tour. Remember Ueda won the LPGA's Mizuno Classic earlier this month.

Coskrey makes a horrendous blunder in the above article. That no editor at the Japan Times caught the mistake, makes them co-winners today. There is a golfer Coskrey fails to mention.

She was born in 1951 in Hiroshima Japan

She won her first professional golf tournament in 1975. Ironically named The Mizuno tournament.

She won the JLPGA Championship in 1979 and won 8 JLPGA events in 1981 while topping the money list.

In 1982 this player won the first of her 17 LPGA Tour triumphs at The Arizona Copper Classic. Between 1983 and 1991 she finished in the top 10 LPGA money winners eight times.

She was 1987 LPGA Player of the year. The first international player to get that honor.

By the way she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.

Who am I talking about? None other than Ayako Okamoto.

A person being paid to write about the history of Japanese professional golfers playing in the United States should have the name Ayako Okamoto roll off their tongue in two seconds flat. Forgetting Okamoto when talking Japan golf is like a baseball writer not mentioning Babe Ruth when talking all-time homerun hitters. Coskrey deserves to be fired for his omission, for he is totally clueless in addition to not being able to fact check. These four words(LPGA, Tour, Japan, Golfer) in a google search brings up Okamoto in the top five hits.

For the latest example of horrible golf journalism, Jason Coskrey and his employer The Japan Times are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Hat tip- Mostly Harmless
Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself,

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Won't ever happen

The Charlie Crist for Vice-President rumor millis at work again

ST. PETERSBURG -- In its 162-year history, Florida has never had one of its own on a presidential ticket.

Could Gov. Charlie Crist be the first? Crist, who sat in the front row at Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, is the subject of growing speculation that he will be considered as a vice presidential pick in 2008.

Such speculation reflects not only Crist's popularity but also Florida's emergence as a political force.
First of all, Florida has been a state Presidential candidates couldn't afford to ignore since the 1970's. The state which in the 1940's or 1950's had exactly seven electoral votes, had grown to 17 by that time. Its rumored then Governor Reuben Askew was one of many democrats to turn down a chance at being George McGovern's running mate in 1972.

Al Cardenas, a former Florida GOP chairman who now works for Mitt Romney's campaign, said Crist is probably on every candidate's wish list.

"Gov. Crist is a young, attractive, popular governor in the largest purple state," Cardenas said. "There's no doubt that Governor Romney and certainly others will have him as a candidate for the job."

Florida is the fourth-most-populous state, behind California, Texas and New York. Among those Big Four, Florida is expected to be the most closely contested in 2008. And no candidate needs reminding of 2000, when Florida's disputed result decided the election.

"In the case of Charlie Crist, the big benefit there that I would see is not so much him, but his ability to deliver a pivotal state with a lot of electoral votes," said Kathryn Dunn Tenpas of the Brookings Institution.
Crist is genuinely popular in this state, and he's done a better job as Governor than I was suspecting. However I don't think he'll ever be a VP nominee. Why do I say that? The rumors that Crist is gay.

This South Florida blogger whom I've happened to meet, believes Crist is gay and wrote on the topic in this newspaper article. Crist's sexual orientation doesn't affect how I vote. I wouldn't hold it against Crist, the same could have been said for Mark Foley till last year's scandal unfolded. However the rumor, true or not, would almost certainly scare off any GOP Presidential candidate. Some of you may say, how did Crist get elected Governor then? You'd have a point, but Presidential and VP candidates are put under an even greater microscope. The rumors will certainly come to the surface, and this would nix any chance of Crist being chosen VP.

For much of the state's history, the words "Florida" and "presidential" or "vice presidential" candidate rarely appeared in the same sentence. It was not until 1960 that John F. Kennedy became the first presidential candidate to consider a Floridian as a running mate, said Gary Mormino, a history professor at the University of South Florida.

Kennedy passed over Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins for Lyndon B. Johnson and the Texas vote. But a succession of near-miss vice presidential overtures followed.
I'm pretty sure Mormino is naming the wrong Florida Democrat in 1960. For I recall reading in one of Arthur Schlessinger's books on JFK, that it was then Florida Senator George Smathers Sr. who was under consideration for VP.

That's ancient history. So will the talk of Crist for Vice-President become after next year's GOP convention.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , ,

Sending in the Swat team

The latest Philippine political drama.

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine troops and SWAT teams stormed a five-star hotel on Thursday that dissident military officers commandeered after walking out of their coup trial and demanding that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo resign.

Soon after the confrontation ended with the dissidents surrendering, the government announced a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew for the Manila area, with checkpoints set up and the military and police on red alert.

"The full force of the law will be meted out without any concession. Additional charges are being prepared to hold accountable those who committed new crimes," Arroyo said.

The military men and their civilian sympathizers — including former Vice President Teofisto Guingona — were later led in groups to police buses. It was not immediately clear if they were being arrested or taken in for questioning. Several journalists also were detained.


The trial for Trillanes and his co-defendants is over a 2003 insurrection in which troops commandeered a shopping center and hotel and demanded Arroyo's ouster.

Escorted by military police, who apparently did not prevent them from leaving the court, the defendants marched to the Peninsula hotel, pushed away guards at the entrance, and set up a command center in a second-floor function room. Armed guards were set up on stairways from the lobby.
I am no fan of Gloria Arroyo, as can be seen by the two Knucklehead awards I've given her. The latest of which was for the Presidential pardon Arroyo gave to former Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

Arroyo is just the latest in a long line of corrupt Philippine politicians. They plunder that country's treasury while most of the citizenry live in poverty or near poverty levels. Even if Arroyo is ousted, I expect little to change in Philippine politics. As my Tacloban born wife says, 'Same dog, different collar'.

Two problems I see with coup attempts even against corrupt politicians are.

1- They are undemocratic actions taken against an elected President. Who voted for these military officers to take over? The Philippines is not a dictatorship.

2- When these coups happen, often innocent people are injured or killed. Today was no different.

At least two people were injured during the assault on the Peninsula hotel. An armored personnel carrier, earlier used as cover by the security forces, was used to crash through the roped-shut lobby entrance.
I don't say this lightly, but these officers are cowards. If they had any courage, they wouldn't be using shopping malls and hotels to stage their protests or insurrection.

Coups are scary situations for ordinary people, and I know from personal experience. In 1989, my wife was called for her embassy interview before being granted a visa to immigrate to the United States. Her interview was December 5th, and I was scheduled to meet her in Manila on December first. On December 1st, Philippine Officer Gringo Honasan staged a coup against Corazon Aquino. I was en route at the time, and my Northwest Airlines flight was diverted to Seoul South South Korea. Leonita was in Manila waiting for my arrival. For parts of four days, I frantically tried contacting her as violence was happening in the Philippine capital. My wife was staying with relatives who had no telephone.(I had hotel reservations but Leonita had no means of paying for them. No credit card namely)

In addition to being scared for my wife's safety, I ran up hundreds of dollars in phone charges in a futile effort to contact her, plus had to endure days of eating Salisbury steak and sitting around in warm weather clothes while staying in a country where the temperatures barely broke forty. That isn't snark, but what went on for me between Dec 1-4 1989. Coup attempts often take innocent lives, over 100 people died in 1989 and not all were perpertrators of the coup or Philippine military members, and aren't something to be taken for granted. So think twice before wishing the overthrow of some unpopular politician(like Hugo Chavez) abroad. People going about their ordinary lives are going to get caught in the crossfire.

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Pirate's Cove, Rosemary, Yankee Sailor,

Labels: ,

Former Congressman Henry Hyde dead at 83

Hyde will most likely be remembered for his abortion stance and his work on Bill Clinton's impreachment. Controversial stands, but Hyde was called by the Almanac of American Politics 'one of the most intellectually honest members of Congress.' You could agree or disagree with Hyde, but either way he was worthy of respect. RIP.

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

WASHINGTON - Longtime Congressman Henry Hyde has died at the age of 83. The office of House Republican Leader John Boehner confirmed his death today.

The Illinois Republican steered the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and championed government restrictions on the funding of abortions during a decades-long House career.

Hyde had represented his suburban Chicago district for 32 years before retiring last year.

He'd been recovering in a Wheaton hospital after heart surgery and couldn't make the trip to Washington, D.C. earlier this month when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Labels: ,

That should have been an easy one

The South Florida child custody battle sometimes called Elian II looks to be coming to an end.

A 5-year-old girl at the center of an international custody dispute will remain in the ''sole custody'' of her Cuban father, who would stay in the U.S., under a negotiated settlement that ends a bitter, protracted courtroom drama.

Meanwhile, the girl's Coral Gables foster family will be allowed regular visits with the girl on alternating weekends, sources close to the negotiations told The Miami Herald.


The settlement, sources have told The Miami Herald, allows Izquierdo -- who raises pigs and malanga in Central Cuba -- to retain sole custody over the girl and places no significant restrictions on his parental rights over the child.

The Cubases -- a Coral Gables couple who have cared for the girl for much of the last two years, and adopted her older brother -- will be allowed regular visits on alternating weekends, at least until May of 2010, sources say.

In May 2010, Izquierdo would be permitted to leave the United States and return to Cuba with his daughter, sources say. If Izquierdo chooses to remain in the U.S. longer, or to seek permanent residency, the Cubases would be allowed to continue their weekend visits until Aug. 31, 2012.
Note- the girl's name is Rachel.

If not for politics, this case would have been decided long ago. Iquieredo is the girl's father, he never relinquished the right, therefore he gets custody of Rachel. End of story.

Alex at SOTP, who is Cuban-American, writes-

This is the best decision; the one that two families caring for a little girl were able to agree on, leaving politics aside.
I'm sure the Cubasas bonded with Rachel, and losing her is going to cause a great deal of pain. However that was the risk when they took custody. As long as the father was still alive, he could come back to claim Rachel.

I wish everyone well, Rachel most of all. God bless.

Linked to- High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Third World County, The World According to Carl,

Labels: ,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney. He gets the award for the following.

It is fitting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chose the U.S. Naval Academy for the venue of today's so-called Mideast peace conference. The reputation of that extraordinary institution in Annapolis has been sullied in recent years by a succession of rapes of young women.

Despite official efforts to low-ball its significance, Miss Rice's conclave is shaping up to be a gang-rape of a nation on a scale not seen since Munich in 1938, when the British and French allowed Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini to have their violent way with Czechoslovakia.

This time, the intended victim is Israel. As with the effort to appease the Nazis and Fascists nearly 70 years ago, however, the damage will not be confined to the rapee. The interests of the Free World in general and the United States in particular will suffer from what the Saudis and most of the other attendees have in mind for the Jewish State — namely, its dismemberment and ultimate destruction.
First someone give Gaffney a valium. These kind of diatribes are seen on the internet all the time. Heck I write them from time to time. A middle East conference or some golf writer forgetting a Hall of Famer isn't the end of the world, nor is it gang rape either.

Secondly, Israel isn't going to let itself be dismembered, nor would the United States permit it. Steps towards any kind of peace in the Middle East as James Joyner at OTB noted 'this is the Middle East. Progress is almost always made in baby steps, often followed by steps in the other direction.' It is absurb to correlate the lack of justice for a 19-year-old rape victim in Saudi Arabia, with the events of a regional peace conference. Yes I know the attitudes of many in that arab kingdom, but saying Israel is about to suffer gang rape is rhetorical excess, besides being far off the mark in regards to likely outcome of any peace talks. That's why I name Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney. Get yourself a blog Frank.

Hat tip- Dr. Taylor at Poliblog
Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Third World County, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


From AP-

SEOUL, South Korea An exploding mobile phone battery apparently killed a South Korean man in the first such known case in this gadget-obsessed country, police say.

The man, identified only by his family name Suh, was found dead at his workplace in a quarry Wednesday morning and his mobile phone battery was melted in his shirt pocket, a police official in Cheongwon, 135 kilometers (85 miles) south of Seoul, told The Associated Press.

"We presume that the cell phone battery exploded," the police official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said the phone was made by South Korea's LG Electronics, the world's fifth-biggest handset maker.
I'm only guessing, but this is probably some kind of fluke occurrence. Expect the chicken littles out there to add this to the list of daily worries. Like cell phone use causes brain tumors, laptop batteries cause fires etc etc.

On second thought, my laptop is feeling rather warm now. Maybe I should........

Linked to- Big Dog, Bullwinkle, Rosemary,

Labels: , ,

The Road to Dubai

Who says Europe doesn't copy America's bad ideas?

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Taking a page from the PGA Tour's new FedEx Cup format, the European Tour will produce a similarly styled points system, entitled "Race to Dubai" beginning in 2009.

The new schedule will culminate with the season-ending Dubai World Championship, featuring a $10 million purse -- the richest in the history of professional golf.

"The Race to Dubai will bring a new dimension to the European Tour, creating great drama and theatre throughout the year as all the best players in the world are given the opportunity to compete in the world's richest tournament -- the Dubai World Championship," said George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. "With the combined prize funds of the Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai we have the prospect of a player standing over a putt for $3,666,660."

The Dubai World Championship will include the top 60 players in the Race to Dubai -- formerly the European Tour Order of Merit -- comprising all events on The European Tour International Schedule. The No. 1 player will receive $2 million, the runner-up $1.5 million, and the third-place player $1 million, with prizes down to the 15th player, who will earn $250,000.

The inaugural event will take place Nov. 19-22, 2009, on either the Fire or Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.
If European players actively take part in it, The Race to Dubai could cause excitement. Fan interest on the PGA Tour is centered around the majors and Tiger Woods. From what I know about the European Tour fans, support is broader. I still think the Fedex Cup gimmick will be history in ten years or less. The Road to Dubai could have a brighter future.

Linked to- Adam, Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation,

Labels: ,

They can't be trusted

Some news from Australia. Maybe someone should check for stolen silverware also.

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Commonsense America, Pirate's Cove,

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Officials at Australia's Parliament House on Wednesday took down valuable artworks to keep lawmakers dumped in weekend elections from stealing them as they began packing up offices.

"We do make sure we take out all our artworks, all the Parliament House's art collection that are in people's offices, before too much disappears," said Hillary Penfold, the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Labor Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd on Saturday swept aside 11 years of conservative rule under John Howard. Dumped ministers and lawmakers from both sides of the political divide were on Wednesday vacating offices and removing classified files for disposal.

Penfold said many offices in the sprawling Parliament house were hung with significant artworks belonging to the national collection and on loan to MPs to decorate offices.

Pictures could also be inadvertently taken in the cleanup, she told local radio.

Labels: , ,

PODS Championship

The Tampa area PGA Tour stop could be in jeopardy beyond 2008. From ESPN-

Less than a year after signing on as title sponsor of the PGA Tour event near Tampa, PODS Inc., is considering asking out of its deal, putting the future of the tournament in question beyond 2008.

PODS officials asked the PGA Tour for an extension until the end of December on its decision to renew sponsorship of the PODS Championship beyond 2008 -- although PODS franchisees were originally told that the deal would not be extended beyond the March 6-9 event at the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Complicating the situation is the fact that the Clearwater, Fla.-based company is in the process of being sold, according to a PODS franchisee who did not wish to be identified.

Mark Calcavecchia won the 2007 event, which from 2003-2006 was called the Chrysler Championship and played in the fall.

The portable storage unit company signed a six-year agreement in January to sponsor the PODS Championship through 2012. But the company had an option to withdraw after two years.


The tournament was one of the big winners when the PGA Tour announced its new FedEx Cup schedule, which began this year. When the Players Championship moved to May, it created an opening on the Florida Swing; the PODS event moved from its former fall date.

But the tournament has had sponsorship issues. Started in 2000 as an opposite event to the World Golf Championships, the tournament first had Buick as a title sponsor before that car company gave way to Chrysler. After four years, Chrysler bowed out, leaving the tournament scrambling until securing PODS just weeks before the 2007 tournament.


PODS is contracted to sponsor the 2008 tournament, which will go on as scheduled.
Sponsors of pro golf tournaments come and go. In the seventies celebrity sponsors/associations were common. Today only this tournament still has a celebrity connected to it. Note that Bob Hope has been dead since 2003, but comedian George Lopez is sort of a unofficial host today.

More troubling than PODS possible cancellation, is the fact the tournament seems to have trouble keeping or getting a corporate sponsor. That makes me think this tournament, which I sometimes call the KJ Choi Championship for the Korean golfer has two wins there and a T-6 since 2002, will have an abbreviated history.

If the Tampa Bay area tour stop becomes defunct, what tournament would replace it on the tour schedule. Two long-time PGA Tour stops, The Texas Open(I believe is the 2nd or 3rd oldest non-major on tour) and the Walt Disney World event(which has been played since the early 70's), were relegated to the Fall tour after the creation of the Fedex Cup. It would only seem fair these tournaments would get a shot at returning to the regular season.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , ,

Broken moral compass

Ever hear the joke about the two oldest professions and why they have a great deal in common? From AP-

LONDON - Prime Minister Gordon Brown, caught in a scandal over donations to his Labour Party and stung by a string of woes, insisted Tuesday voters would judge him on a long-term record, not current crises.

Brown held a news conference the day after Labour's General-Secretary Peter Watt stepped down, acknowledging he knew a donor was channeling funding through associates to dodge transparency rules.

"The money was not lawfully declared, so it will be returned," Brown said.


"My moral compass says that what happened over these donations ... is completely unacceptable," Brown said. "That's why, the minute I knew that this was happening, I have taken action."

Smiling broadly as he was questioned by reporters, Brown claimed the public would conclude his response to recent turmoil has been correct.

"People will be able to look back, people will be able to see we took the long-term view, took the difficult decisions and then moved on," Brown said.
Giving the money back doesn't absolve Brown(or any politician) from taking donations that are unlawful. I don't care which party is doing it. In their quest to seek office or stay in office, all politicians prostitute themselves to raise funds. They seldom ask questions about who is giving it, candidates for office just want the dough. So stop feeding the press and public bs about moral compasses.

Brown, who just became British PM this year and first ran for political office in 1979, should know better. That voters can judge elected officials on any issue, past or present, that they wish to.

Note- The two oldest professions- Prostitution and Politics. What they have in common? 1- They both take money for a favor and they're both out to screw you.

Linked to- Adam, Outside the Beltway, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,

Labels: , ,

Too early

Some news from Italy. I suggest the neighbors move to the Philippines. The cocks start crowing there long before sunrise. Not to mention the cats making out on a neighbor's roof.

Linked to- Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Populist,

ROME (Reuters) - A rooster crowing at the break of dawn has earned his owner a 200 euro (142 pounds) fine in an Italian court after neighbours complained it was waking them up too early.

ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday that the rooster's owner in Bolzano province would appeal the sentence, supported by the local Farmers' Association, on the grounds that he needs at least one rooster to breed chickens.

Labels: , ,

Officers down

From the Sun Sentinel-

PAHOKEE - A massive search was underway Wednesday morning for a pair of suspects who stole a car in Belle Glade and led police on a chase that left two deputies dead and one seriously injured outside the city's downtown, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

The surviving deputy was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where he was being treated.

The chase started after a woman in Belle Glade called 911 at about 1 a.m. to advise that a neighbor's 1990 gold Toyota Camry was being broken into by two men. As deputies responded, they spotted the car traveling northbound on Route 715. A sheriff's sergeant authorized a pursuit, and three marked sheriff's patrol cars followed the car northbound.

Two other deputies deployed tire deflation devices on the roadway in front of the pursuit on Route 715. The suspects' car crossed over the devices. What happened next is under investigation.

Two deputies on the ground were struck and died at the scene. Another deputy sheriff in one of the patrol cars sustained serious injuries.


After the suspects' car came to a stop, the two suspects ran from the car into a nearby sugar-cane field.
You would seem to think it won't be long before the suspects are apprehended.

As the Palm Beach Post notes, these are the first Palm Beach County Sheriffs to die in the line of duty since 2002. It has been a rough year for law enforcement in South Florida. Rick at SOTP notes this marks five who died this year. One of whom, Chris Reyka, has his killer(s) still on the loose.

Linked to- Bright & Early, The World According to Carl,

Labels: ,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Washington Times newspaper. They get the award for the following.

Fort Huachuca, the nation’s largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.


According to the FBI advisory, each Middle Easterner paid Mexican drug lords $20,000 “or the equivalent in weapons” for the cartel’s assistance in smuggling them and their weapons through tunnels along the border into the U.S. The weapons would be sent through tunnels that supposedly ended in Arizona and New Mexico, but the Islamist terrorists would be smuggled through Laredo, Texas, and reclaim the weapons later.
Dr. Taylor at Poliblog made several good points when questioning this news on Monday.

Several things struck me as I read this. First, if there was evidence of a terrorist plan to attack a military base in Arizona, it would be all over the media. The 24/7 cable news nets live for this sort of thing. Second, and along the same lines, if such a plan had been found and halted, the Bush administration would be letting us all know of its success (not to mention the fact that Republican candidates for president would be jumping all over the story as proof that what we need is a strong defense and sealed borders). Third, why in the world would a Mexican cartel do business like this for a mere $20,000? That strikes me as chump change for even a low-level drug lord.
Terrorists getting help from drug cartels has been a subject of much fiction and Dr. Taylor is dead on perfect when saying what cartel would do this kind of business for $20,000? Especially since it would have negative ramifications for the drug smuggling business when uncovered or when the method of the attacks was discovered.

As we find out, the story is hogwash.

A plot by dozens of foreign terrorists who purportedly planned to attack Fort Huachuca with rocket propelled grenades and mines has proved unfounded, an FBI spokesman said Monday.

The threat, detailed by a local television station and The Washington Times after information was recently leaked to them, involved Iraqi and Afghan terrorists working with a Mexican drug cartel to smuggle themselves and weapons across the U.S. border.


But the attack never occurred and was the result of bad information, said Manuel Johnson, an FBI spokesman based in Phoenix.

“A thorough investigation was conducted and there is no evidence showing that the threat was credible,” he said.
The Washington Times deliberately or accidentally published a fabricated story. A few conservative bloggers fell for it, Captain Ed(Granted Ed was skeptical to start with) for one, but since the truth came out no one is going after the Times. Rest assured if the NYT did this, there would be a mass gang tackle by conservative bloggers. No such thing is happening now, why is that? Could it be that the Washington Times is a conservative publication?

For perpetuating a journalistic hoax, The Washington Times is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Note- A columnist at the Times is a candidate for tomorrow's award too. For this piece of work.

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Bright & Early, Commonsense America, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Missing grass

From the Orlando Sentinel-

The Florida Highway Patrol has found approximately 60 pounds of marijuana on Interstate 4 and are asking anyone who knows about it to give them a ring.

The two large garbage bags full of marijuana plants, valued at over $54,000.00 apparently fell out or were thrown out of a passing vehicle, Trooper Larry Coggins said. It was found in the area of McIntosh Road near Tampa, just east of Interstate 75.

The press release asks, "Anyone missing their bags of marijuana or knows how these bags made their way onto the interstate system is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at 813-631-4020."
Sure guys, go right in and pick it up. The FHP will give you a bonus too!

Linked to- Big Dog, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Yankee Sailor,

Labels: ,

Outside calling

The latest insanity from the hermit kingdom-

A North Korean factory boss accused of making international phone calls was executed by a firing squad in front of 150,000 people, it emerged today.

The manager was gunned down in a sports stadium in South Pyongan province after authorities claimed he'd installed 13 in a basement to reach the outside world, the Good Friends aid agency revealed.

And six people were also crushed to death and 34 others injured in an apparent stampede as they left after the execution, it was claimed.

The factory chief's death last month came as executions in the communist dictatorship began increasing after a seven-year decline in the number of people publicly killed.
That's just the official executions. No one is counting the North Koreans who die the result of famine, floods and other natural disasters, being political prisoners, and other assorted causes that were all the result of Kim Jong-Il's policies. Those North Koreans were just as easily executed as the factory manager.

Hat tip- Betsy
Linked to- Blue Star, Commonsense America, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

Labels: ,


The latest adventure in 2007 Miami Dolphins football.

PITTSBURGH - Not even an act of God, Joey Porter's spirited homecoming and Ricky Williams' long-awaited return to the NFL could alter the Dolphins' path to infamy.

All the 25-minute lightning delay at the start of Monday night's game did was delay the inevitable — a 3-0 loss to the Steelers on a mud-slick Heinz Field that resembled the chewed-up soccer pitch of Wembley Stadium, the site of last month's Giants-Dolphins eyesore in London.

The final score even resembled the defensive-minded soccer matches that often cause Americans' eyes to glaze over, and has the same effect on Dolphins fans this season.

Steelers kicker Jeff Reed atoned for a 44-yard missed field goal when he ended a short drive with the winning 24-yarder with 17 seconds left, marking the sixth game this season that the Dolphins have lost by three points.
I wonder how many non-Steeeler or non-Dolphin fans made it through the entirety of last night's game. It was a sloppy affair, but what do you expect after a rainstorm?

Note- I've only watched a few games played at Heinz field. From listening to the ESPN announcers, it seems the field isn't in very good condition even when dry.(It was said more than once, it was a tough stadium for field goals) Any Steeler fans out there who can confirm this?

Oh anyone else see the punt where the ball on the ground, planted itself like an undetonated missile?

The Dolphin season seems to find new lows every week. For the second week in a row, the team's offense hasn't scored a point. I'm optimistic about John Beck's chances of being a quality NFL quarterback. His stats last night, 14 for 23, 132 yards and no INTs were good in the conditions Beck had to deal with. Beck's stats could have been better too, for Miami receivers dropped at least two of Beck's throws.

Miami's defense, with the exception of the final Steeler drive, did a good job also. Pittsburgh had great field position for most of the night and couldn't find the end zone. On the other hand, the Dolphin D again couldn't stop a team late in the game.

Bad news- Another loss. Two more banged up running backs, Ricky Williams and Jesse Chatman(the later looked awful. 11 rushes for 17 yards. Jesse looking like he played hurt last night) and the continued failure of the defense when the team needs to make a stand. The running back injuries will certainly make it tougher for Beck to prove himself in the NFL.

Next week Miami plays the 2-9 New York Jets. If Miami doesn't win that game, I fear they won't win a game in 2007.(I'd say the chances are 50-50 or more after a loss to the Jets for a winless Dolphin season) Will Coach Cam Cameron survive such a disaster? Should he be kept on if Miami goes 0-16? I'm undecided. The causes of the Miami's decline are not just the result of Cameron's sometimes poor decision making. However Cam and GM Randy Mueller, are the only ones left for this debacle. Fairly or unfairly, they may pay the price for not just their bad decisions but other's also.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Rosemary, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , ,

Publicity Stunt

From the Palm Beach Post-

Stuart - A surgeon once named at the top of a Martin County Sheriff's Office list of parents delinquent on child support is now suing the agency and Sheriff Bob Crowder, saying they defamed him by posting his picture on their Web site and saying he owed more than $1.1 million in child support and alimony.

Dr. Robert Barbati, 56, was arrested in May 2006 on a civil contempt warrant, but a Martin circuit judge dropped the warrant and released him from jail after attorneys for him and his ex-wife said they settled their financial issues earlier that year.

Barbati, whose two children are now adults, claims in his lawsuit that he was never judged to have owed the $1.1 million or "a sum even close to that number."

Barbati, who practices in Martin County, is accusing officials of posting his name and picture at the top of a "Grinch Roundup" list in 2005 as a publicity stunt.
If I was Barbati, and what the Sheriff posted was untrue, I'd be unhappy also. The trouble I see, is Barbati is possibly buying himself much more bad publicity by going through with this lawsuit of his. He had to have been behind child support, which is inexcusible, at some point for the Sheriff to make the posting they did. Is suing for and winning fifteen thousand going to heal the doctor's reputation or rather cause it further harm?

The way I see it, its likely to be the later. Especially when people can now google search Barbati and find this post of mine.

Linked to- Adam, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,

Labels: ,

Washington Redskin safety Sean Taylor dead at 24

He died from wounds suffered early Monday morning. No doubt, Taylor was a talented football player who had off the field problems. Lets try to remember him for the former rather than the later. RIP Sean. I hope police catch your killer.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Rosemary, The World According to Carl,

MIAMI - Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died early Tuesday, a day after the Pro Bowl player was shot at home by what police say was an intruder. He was 24.

Family friend Richard Sharpstein said Taylor's father told him the news around 5:30 a.m.

"His father called and said he was with Christ and he cried and thanked me," said Sharpstein, Taylor's former lawyer. "It's a tremendously sad and unnecessary event. He was a wonderful, humble, talented young man, and had a huge life in front of him. Obviously God had other plans."

Taylor died at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he had been airlifted after the shooting early Monday, Sharpstein said.

Two carloads of mourners, including Taylor's father, arrived at the house Tuesday morning. They remained inside and did not speak to reporters. A single bouquet of flowers was left by a palm tree just outside a front gate. Beside the mailbox, an untouched newspaper lay with news of Taylor's shooting.

Doctors had been encouraged late Monday when Taylor squeezed a nurse's hand, according to Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' vice president of football operations. But Sharpstein said he was told Taylor never regained consciousness after being transported to the hospital and that he wasn't sure how he had squeezed the nurse's hand.

"Maybe he was trying to say goodbye or something," Sharpstein said.

Taylor, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft following an All-American season at the University of Miami, was shot early Monday in the upper leg, damaging an artery and causing significant blood loss.

"According to a preliminary investigation, it appears that the victim was shot inside the home by an intruder," Miami-Dade County police said in a statement.

But police were still investigating the attack, which came just eight days after an intruder was reported at Taylor's home. Officers were sent to the home about 1:45 a.m. Monday after Taylor's girlfriend called 911.

Sharpstein said Taylor's girlfriend told him the couple was awakened by loud noises, and Taylor grabbed a machete he keeps in the bedroom for protection. Someone then broke through the bedroom door and fired two shots, one missing and one hitting Taylor, Sharpstein said. Taylor's 1-year-old daughter, Jackie, was also in the house, but neither she nor Taylor's girlfriend were injured.

Police found signs of forced entry, but have not determined if they were caused Monday, or the previous burglary.

The shooting happened in the pale yellow house he bought two years ago. Eight days before the attack someone pried open a front window, rifled through drawers and left a kitchen knife on a bed at Taylor's home, according to police.

"They're really sifting through that incident and today's incident," Miami-Dade Detective Mario Rachid said, "to see if there's any correlation."

Born April 1, 1983, Taylor starred as a running back and defensive back at Gulliver Prep in Miami. His father, Pedro Taylor, is police chief of Florida City.

A private man with a small inner circle, Taylor rarely granted interviews. But, behind the scenes, Taylor was described as personable and smart — an emerging locker room leader.

"From the first day I met him, from then to now, it's just like night and day," Redskins receiver James Thrash said Monday. "He's really got his head on his shoulders and has been doing really well as far as just being a man. It's been awesome to see that growth."

After Taylor was drafted, problems soon began. Taylor fired his agent, then skipped part of the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium, drawing a $25,000 fine. Driving home late from a party during the season, he was pulled over and charged with drunken driving. The case was dismissed in court, but by then it had become a months-long distraction for the Redskins.

Taylor also was fined at least seven times for late hits, uniform violations and other infractions over his first three seasons, including a $17,000 penalty for spitting in the face of Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman during a 2006 playoff game.

Meanwhile, Taylor endured a yearlong legal battle after he was accused in 2005 of brandishing a gun at a man during a fight over allegedly stolen all-terrain vehicles near Taylor's home. He eventually pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to 18 months' probation.

Taylor said the end of the assault case was like "a gray cloud" being lifted. It was also around the time that his daughter was born, and teammates noticed a change.

"It's hard to expect a man to grow up overnight," said teammate and close friend Clinton Portis, who played with Taylor at Miami. "But ever since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew it. He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child."

On the field, Taylor's play was often erratic. Assistant coach Gregg Williams frequently called Taylor the best athlete he'd ever coached, but nearly every big play was mitigated by a blown assignment. Taylor led the NFL in missed tackles in 2006 yet made the Pro Bowl because of his reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the league.

This year, however, Taylor was allowed to play a true free safety position, using his speed and power to chase down passes and crush would-be receivers. His five interceptions tie for the league lead in the NFC, even though he missed the last two games because of a sprained knee.

"I just take this job very seriously," Taylor said in a rare group interview during training camp. "It's almost like, you play a kid's game for a king's ransom. And if you don't take it serious enough, eventually one day you're going to say, 'Oh, I could have done this, I could have done that.'

"So I just say, 'I'm healthy right now, I'm going into my fourth year, and why not do the best that I can?' And that's whatever it is, whether it's eating right or training myself right, whether it's studying harder, whatever I can do to better myself."

Labels: , ,

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Neurosurgeon J. Frederick Harrington and Rhode Island Hospital. They get the award for the following.

PROVIDENCE -- A doctor at Rhode Island Hospital started to operate on the wrong side of an 82-year-old woman's head on Friday, barely four months after a similar incident at the same hospital.

The Health Department today fined the hospital $50,000, noting that this was third wrong-site surgery at the hospital this year, and the fourth in six years -- all involving neurosurgery.

Friday’s surgery occurred at the woman’s bedside. The chief resident performed a procedure to remove blood that had pooled between the patient’s brain and skull on the left side. The resident, a doctor in the final year of neurosurgery training, began drilling a hole on the wrong side, realized the error, and completed the procedure on the correct side, the left.

The patient was in fair condition at the hospital late this afternoon.

The hospital notified the Health Department on Friday, and a Health Department investigation determined that no staff member present during the procedure verified the site as dictated by hospital policy.

“The repeated nature of these events suggests a system and culture problem with patient safety that needs to be addressed,” said a Health Department statement.

An 86-year-old patient arrived at the hospital emergency room three days after a fall, and was found to have blood between his brain and skull. Neurosurgeon J. Frederick Harrington didn’t check the CT scans to see which side to work on, and instead relied on his memory. Harrington drilled into the wrong side of the patient’s head, realized his error, and immediately operated on the correct side. The patient died a week later.
Three operating room mistakes and one dead patient. All they can do is fine the hospital 50,000. Isn't it disgusting? Unfortunately I can't pull these people's medical licenses. What can I do? I name Neurosurgeon J. Frederick Harrington and Rhode Island Hospital today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Commonsense America, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 26, 2007

I've been assimilated

As of today, I've become a member of the Bomb Squad also known as Wizbang. I'll be a contributor at both Wizbang Sports and Wizbang Politics.

I want to say thank you to Kevin Aylward for allowing me to join. It should be interesting working with Jim Addison at the Politics blog. Jim and I have sparred a few times but in a friendly way.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bullwinkle, Bright & Early, Commonsense America, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County, The World According to Carl,

Labels: ,

Waiting for a year (or more)

From the Sun-Sentinel-

Jaime Soto, of Sunrise, helped almost 500 legal residents file citizenship applications this summer. A looming fee hike was the stick; the opportunity to vote for the next U.S. president was the carrot.

But with a huge surge in citizenship applications to be processed, Soto now wonders whether all those people he helped will make it to the ballot box next November. He fears many will still be waiting for citizenship, forced to sit on the sidelines when elections roll around.

This concern has spread across the United States, especially among leaders of Latino groups that launched a campaign last week to attract new citizens to voter rolls. They warn that this summer's flood of citizenship applications is crashing into government delays and may prevent hundreds of thousands of would-be voters from registering in time.

"I feel frustrated," said Soto, president of the ProColombia Unida organization, which guides eligible immigrants through the citizenship process, among other services.

"We worked hard, with few resources," he said, referring to the scramble to help 487 immigrants apply for citizenship in the three weeks leading up to July's hefty fee increase. "If they don't vote, there won't be change."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported Wednesday evening that it had received 1.4 million applications for citizenship in the fiscal year that ended in September, double the previous year's total. Most of those came in before the fee increase, which boosted processing fees across the board and pushed citizenship fees to $595 per application, compared with the previous $330
Waits for people trying to get their immigration paperwork processed is not news to me. My wife, plus her sister and mother all immigrated to the US from the Philippines. For all three of them, the processing of their citizenship applications took approximately a year. That's from the date they mailed the application to swearing in. Take for instance my wife Leonita, she was sworn in on Jan. 25, 1994. She became eligible to apply for citizenship on Dec. 17th 1992.

I'll be one of the first to congratulate new citizens, but Mr. Soto's stated frustration is either imagined or comes out of ignorance. If anyone has a right to be frustrated, its those US spouses who marry a foreign national and then find themselves having to live separately while Immigration takes care of the I-130 petition. Often these involve US military members, who have to leave their wives behind in South Korea, Japan, Germany or elsewhere as they PCS to their new duty station. I left the Navy in the fall of 1989, four months after marrying Leonita. Leonita had to stay behind in the Philippines till her petition was approved. We didn't see one another for over three months.

So what legal immigrants deserve our sympathy? Those waiting for citizenship or those forced to live separate from their spouse? The answer should be apparent.

Linked to- Perri Nelson, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County,


From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Michigan. If Mr. Buckner can't tell the difference between those two animals, he has no business handling firearms. The next time it could be a human being.

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

A Michigan hunter may face criminal charges for mistaking a pregnant cow for a coyote.

Richard Buckner, 42, shot his neighbor's 1,400-pound breeding cow while reportedly looking for coyotes in the woods near his home, The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported Friday.

"I don't know how he hit a several-thousand-pound cow mistaking it for a coyote," Rory Heckman, Benzie County undersheriff, told the newspaper.

The cow had wandered away from its owners' land and ended up in the woods, owner DeAnn Mosher said.

"My husband thought that he should go through some therapy looking at repeated pictures of cows and coyotes because they look nothing alike," Mosher said to the Record-Eagle.

Officials said they want to charge Buckner with attempted larceny, reckless discharge of a firearm, property damage, attempting to take a game animal during closed season and hunting without a proper game license, the newspaper report said.


Planned escapes

From Indian Express-

SEOUL, NOVEMBER 19: Brokers here are busy selling what they call “planned escapes” from North Korea. Given enough money, the brokers say, they can now get just about anyone out of the dictatorial Stalinist state that human rights activists call the world’s largest prison.

A low-budget escape through China via Thailand to Seoul can cost less than $2,000, according to four brokers here.

North Korea’s underground railroad to the South is busier than ever because the number of border guards and low-level security officials in the North, who are eager to take bribes, has increased exponentially.

With the disintegration of North Korea’s communist economy and the near-collapse of its state-run food distribution system, the country’s non-elite population is in dire need of cash for food and other essentials, experts agree. “More than ever, money talks,” said Chun Ki-won, a Christian pastor and aid worker in Seoul, who has helped 650 people elude Chinese authorities and settle in Seoul.

Religious groups once dominated the defection trade in North Korea, but in recent years defectors themselves, many of them former military and security officers, have begun to take over.

These brokers, based in Seoul, use personal and institutional contacts to hire North Korean guides and bribe officials. The guides make clandestine contact with defectors, then escort them to the Chinese border.
During the cold war, Eastern Europeans paid to be smuggled out from behind the iron curtain or had family and friends who paid the expense. It is entirely reasonable to me that the same state of affairs is taking place in North Korea today.

I do find it interesting that a smuggler quoted a price for the above article. $2,000 seems pretty cheap for the risks involved. I wonder if that figure is accurate.

Hat tip- DPRK Studies
Linked to- High Desert Wanderer, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

Labels: , ,

Recruitment headaches

From Reuters-

LONDON - The success of the James Bond movies has given the British Secret Intelligence Service a recruitment headache -- too many cranks want to join MI6.

"I think it gives people a false impression of what working for the organization is actually like," the head of MI6 recruitment -- named only as "Mark" -- told BBC Radio One's Newsbeat program on Monday.

"So it does tend to turn up quite a lot of thrill seekers and fantasists and we're really not interested in them."

As well as dismissing the notion that spying was a never-ending life of fast cars, fast women and shaken not stirred Martini cocktails, "Mark" was keen to demolish another myth surrounding MI6.

"We don't have a license to kill -- we don't carry Berettas -- that's simply not true."
The popularity of James Bond movies goes back to the mid-60's. So if MI6 is getting crank applicants, you may think it has been happening for sometime. I don't recall which of the three Frederick Forsyth books it was that featured the character Sir Nigel Irvine, but I seem to recall the character once saying there are 'old spies and bold spies but no old bold spies.' People who take movies or even mainline television dramas(Take for instance ER. Don't get me started on how unrealistic the portrayal of medicine is done on the show) as resembling real-life, are out of touch with reality.

Maybe MI6 should require applicants to read the works of John Le Carre first. Some have called George Smiley 'the anti-Bond'. That may make future MI6 applicants think twice.

Linked to- DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Populist, Right Wing Nation,

Labels: , , , ,

Weekly Dolphins prediction

Miami(0-10) plays at Pittsburgh(7-3) tonight. This marks the second year in a row these teams have met in a nationally televised game.

Much of the talk revolving around tonight's game is how much will RB Ricky Williams end up playing. My guess is quite a bit considering that RB Jesse Chatman has a bum ankle at present. Either way, John Beck has to perform better than he did against the Eagles. There were good indications from the QB in that game despite of his 56.8 passer rating.

Bottom line- It will be at least another week before Miami wins a game this season. My prediction- Pittsburgh 21, Miami 14.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, The World According to Carl,

Labels: , ,

Today's lesson

From Reuters-

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian teacher has been suspended from school because of her extra-curricular activities as a porn star, local authorities announced Thursday.

The out-of-hours behavior of Anna Ciriani, who calls herself "Madameweb" in hard-core videos on the Internet and at erotic shows, was "not compatible with educational activity," the head of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia education authority said.

Ciriani, dubbed the "porno-prof" by Italy's main newspapers, said she never let her hobby get in the way of her teaching.

"My behavior at school has always been professional and irreproachable," she was quoted as saying by the AGI agency.

"I am a normal woman, with my family and my work as a teacher. I am (also) looking for transgression and sex."

Five years ago Ciriani was transferred from her post as teacher of Italian literature in a secondary school in the north-eastern town of Pordenone after students covered the toilets with nude photos of her downloaded from the Internet.

Since then she has been giving evening classes to foreign adult students in a nearby town.
I agree with the education official, there is nothing compatible with Ciriani's other line of work and her job as a teacher. Someone with common sense(which Ciriani appears to lack) would know for a teacher to be effective, they have to be respected by students. The actions of the students in Pordernone show that Ms. Ciriani has trashed herself in that regard.

I wonder what Ms. Ciriani was teaching in those evening classes. Feel free to make your own snarky comments.

Last but not least, Reuters named the teacher. I've long noted how the news service deletes the name of transgressors from their news stories. Has Reuters changed their policy or was this just a one shot affair?

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, DragonLady, Rosemary,

Labels: , ,

Marching Orders

From the New York Times-

MOSCOW, Nov. 24 — Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and opposition leader, was arrested Saturday and sentenced to five days in jail after trying to lead a march to the offices of the federal election authorities.

Mr. Kasparov was taken into custody during a scuffle between protesters and security officers on the route to the offices, where he had intended to present a letter asserting that the parliamentary election on Dec. 2 was biased toward President Vladimir V. Putin’s party.


On Saturday night, a Moscow judge ordered him to serve five days in jail for holding an unauthorized march. City officials had given his loose opposition coalition, Other Russia, permission to conduct a rally on Saturday, but not a march.

In a statement, Mr. Kasparov said the court proceedings had been “a choreographed farce from beginning to end.” He added, “It was a symbol of what has happened to justice and the rule of law under Putin.”
This retaliation against Kasparov is hardly surprising. Putin has taken measures after much smaller perceived threats to his power than the former chess champion.

Kasparov's jail sentence isn't the complete picture either.

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russian police late Friday raided an office of The Other Russia coalition led by former chess champion Garry Kasparov, hours before he was to lead a march in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin.

The coalition's spokeswoman Lyudmila Mamina told AFP that the police did not proffer any explanations for the raid in the office housing the party's website.

"They had no documents, acted on the authority of some secret decree, so they could not say what it was about," she said.

"They wrote down passport data of all our staff, drew a map of the office, and wrote down that they found nothing criminal, no drugs, no weapons."
A very sad state of affairs in Russia. The leaders of the country, The Tsar , Communists, Putin, have changed but real political freedom still barely has a pulse in the country. Other than another people's revolution, can anything be done to change the situation? I'm skeptical, sanctions have at best an erratic history of success. Secondly, most countries in the free world fear Russia because they still possess nuclear weapons. Who wants to say Russia is bluffing on their potential use, when the consequences for being wrong are so dire?

Hat tip- Dr. Taylor at Poliblog
Linked to- Bullwinkle, Leaning Straight Up, Third World County,

Labels: ,

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Utah Highway Patrol officer John Gardner. He gets the award for the following.

Dr. Steven Taylor at Poliblog sums things up nicely.

1) The officer is clearly of the opinion that the Mr. Massey should simply comply, no matter if Massey had legitimate questions. How about being professional and avoiding escalation? At worst, the officer could have simply noted on the ticket that Massey refused to sign–it isn’t as if that would obviate the charge. I will allow that it would have behooved Massey to be a calmer, but the notion that citizens aren’t allowed to ask questions of the police is absurd and anti-democratic.

2) The officer tases Massey without first giving a warning.

3) The officer later lies to his partner, as he says that he gave Massey a warning before tasing him, yet he did not.

4) The officer arrests Massey without reading him his rights. Indeed, even when Massey requests that he be read his rights, the officer refuses to do so.

5) The officer searched the Massey’s car without a warrant and sans probable cause (unless one takes a rather expansive view of “probable cause”).

One can fault Massey for trying to point out the speed limit sign, but there is nothing that Massey does that should require the use of the taser.
Also note how Gardner threatened Massey's wife. That was uncalled for. What crime had she committed to warrant being threatened with arrest? Oh she questioned his authority. That tells you exactly what was at play here.

Is the Utah Highway Patrol going to do anything about this rogue cop?

Massey filed a complaint with a local patrol office, according to Roden, the Utah Highway Patrol spokesman. Gardner has not been reprimanded for the incident and, Roden said, has not been disciplined for incidents in the past.

The department has a nine-page Taser policy, Roden said, and this is an incident that will be taken "very seriously."
It will get brushed under the rug rather than Gardner being fired for abusing his authority. Tasers can kill, this is just the most recent example. For being an out of control goon rather than a law enforcement officer, Utah Highway Patrol officer John Gardner is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, DragonLady, Leaning Straight Up, Rosemary, Third World County, The World According to Carl,


Listed on BlogShares