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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gambling on Florida

Is Rudy Giuliani pulling out of New Hampshire? From the New York Sun-

Rudolph Giuliani's decision to largely abandon the early voting state of New Hampshire and concentrate his efforts on the Florida primary three weeks later reflects an uncomfortable truth for the former New York mayor: The more he campaigned in the Granite State and the more he spent on advertising there, the more his poll numbers dropped.

Mr. Giuliani appears to be making a virtue of necessity by sounding the retreat in New Hampshire, where he continues to be outgunned by the Republican front-runner there, Mitt Romney, and where he has been beaten into second place by the resurgent campaign of Senator McCain.

He must now be sure to win Florida on January 29 to capture its large cache of delegates, as part of a strategy that sees him withdrawing from the smaller early states in favor of states such as New York, California, and Florida, which send large numbers of delegates to the nominating convention.
This is a risky strategy, but not illogical. Iowa and New Hampshire are tiny specks so far as the delegate count goes at the GOP convention. Florida, even after being penalized for moving its primary date, carries more weight. Dr. Taylor is right about this strategy when he says-

but it assumes that a win in Florida, and other early states, can counteract the positive press for the winners of the two early contests, and the commensurate negative press that the losers of those contests will receive.
You would hope as important an election as President would be decided on issues, not on horse race momentum. We do live in a real world. Giuliani for a long list of reasons, is no longer looking like the person I thought six months ago would be the Republican nominee next November. I've always felt the other candidates were better,(McCain, Romney, Thompson, and till I got to know him better Huckabee) but wonder how electable any of them are come the general election.

Linked to- Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Nomate Toate Kpea. He gets the award for the following.

The Health Department has put on probation the medical license of Dr. Nomate Toate Kpea, a dermatologist with five practices around the state, and has required Kpea to undergo a competency evaluation.

The state Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline found that Kpea misdiagnosed benign lesions as cancer and performed needless surgery, failed to completely remove a skin cancer, failed to properly train and supervise his advanced practice clinicians (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), advertised “with a tendency to deceive,” and prescribed human growth hormone without adequate evaluation of the patients.

In one case, the board found, an advanced practice clinician in Kpea’s office misidentified a skin lesion that was later found to be malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer that can be deadly if not diagnosed early.

Probation is a level of discipline that is stronger than a reprimand but less severe than a license suspension. Kpea can continue to practice, but he has agreed not to perform a method of skin-cancer removal known as Mohs surgery until he has completed his competency evaluation and undergone any training the evaluators recommend.
A misdiagnosis concerning malignant melanoma can have fatal consequences for the patient.(Remember I'm a melanoma survivor) The doctor allowed the biopsy to be done by personnel not trained to do that kind of work. That and the other mistakes made by Nomate Toate Kpea make him today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, DragonLady, Leaning Straight Up, Mark My Words, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County,

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Farewell to two friends

After some recent controversy, which I won't rehash at their request, Bloggers Rick and Alex who ran the South Florida blog Stuck on the Palmetto have ceased operations. I understand why the decision was made, that doesn't mean the South Florida blogosphere isn't poorer for what has taken place.

I first discovered Stuck on the Palmetto in July 2006. SOTP quickly becoming one of my daily and most frequent stops. They were the only other blog that I know of talking South Florida events and issues on a regular basis. Even I don't concentrate alone on South Florida, as can be seen by my many posts on National politics, Asia News, and Pro golf to name just three.

Rick and Alex's politics are much more liberal than mine, but that never kept me away from SOTP.(Read this post where I listed SOTP as one of my favorite blogs) I wish them both well in their future endeavors and I'm pretty certain that I won't be the only one missing their work.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, DragonLady, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County,

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No coup for Christmas

So says the chief of the Philippine armed forces.

MANILA, Philippines -- Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Monday that no coup attempt would spoil the Christmas season because rebel soldiers who tried to oust the government last month do not have the support of the troops.

"In spite of what happened, we can enjoy Christmas, celebrate Christmas. I hope there is no disturbance from those who want to grab power, but we are ready for that," Esperon told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy lieutenant, Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim, and members of the mutinous Magdalo group of junior officers seized the Manila Peninsula hotel in Makati City last November 29 to press for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for alleged corruption.

The attempted uprising was quelled bloodlessly with a military and police assault and the group was charged with rebellion before a Makati City court.
The November 29th coup attempt resembled something out of the three stooges. I mean who plots an overthrow of the government by taking a hotel? Well most of these men were on trial at the time for a coup attempt in 2003. Then they took a Philippine shopping center and another hotel.

My opinion of these plotters is pretty basic- They're a bunch of cowards. What do they do? They endanger innocent civilian lives through their actions. If these men had any honor, they'd try storming the Malcanang Palace. Then these men know what would happen, they'd all be shot dead. Instead they look for a soft target like a mall or hotel. They're no better than terrorists who do the same.

Note- Coup attempts are not funny at all, but very dangerous. In 1989, my wife was about to have her embassy interview in Manila in order for her to immigrate to the US, while I was flying to the country at the same time, when a bloody coup attempt began against Corazon Aquino. I spent several days stuck up in Seoul South Korea, frantically trying to call my wife. No one wants to be around these things, that includes your family members, when they happen. Unlike these recent comical efforts, the December 1st 1989 coup ended up with about 100 people dead.

Update- I should have remembered the significance of today. It marks 18 years(12-17-89) exactly since my wife Leonita arrived in the USA for the first time. She was originally scheduled to have a interview at the US embassy in Manila on Dec 4th and arrive in the US Dec 6th in 1989. Because of the coup, the interview took place on the 7th instead and Leonita left the country on the 17th.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, DragonLady, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County,

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AOL- Don't do me any favors

My very first internet provider was AOL and for over 12 years I stuck with them exclusively. In 2006 I left AOL(and went through merry hell to cancel my membership as others have. AOL membership can be compared to being in the Mafia. Once in, you can never leave, or so this company thinks. A recent legal settlement is supposed to have changed things but I don't know if it has.) and got Bell South DSL. I'm still with Bell South or rather AT&T after that company bought Bell South, but resubbed to AOL. It's my backup internet provider, which is a good thing because AT&T every so often goes offline down here in Florida.

One thing I liked about AOL was its multiple mailboxes. Since 2002, I've had six in operation. One is my main account, one is for my wife, and 4 others I use for mailing lists and other activities I'm involved with. These include Chess by email, webfiction writing, a cancer support group, and a support group for fathers who lost a child, a list for a game I used to actively play etc etc. Now I get mail because of Wizbang, I really need these mailboxes more than ever.

This morning I signed onto the computer and went to check my email. I did this on my desktop, which has AT&T only. I went to check my main mail account, and my writing account simultaneously(For right at this time I'm in the process of completing my latest sci-fi/fantasy webfiction. I'm emailing daily with someone who is proofing my story and another person who is giving me English to Japanese translations) using IE and Firefox at the same time. After signing in, a popup screen comes up. Still half asleep, I click the ok in regards to the popup for my writing account. Guess what my reward is? All my old email, instead of getting put in a separate account once opened, gets kept with my new mail. What the @#% ^!?

Fortunately I learned from my mistake and didn't repeat it for my main AOL account. That would be incredibly annoying, since that account gets a couple of hundred email a day sometimes. Since AOL saves your email for 30 days before it disappears, I could have thousands of emails in that account easily by the time the 30 days is up.

AOL supposedly said my email storage has been increased, yes but the process of finding emails that are important to me has become five times more difficult. Fortunately the damage is limited to my writing account, which because I don't always actively do that activity, has most of the email sent to it deleted.

Honestly this was a very dumb idea by this internet provider. Maybe I should dump AOL again(I can keep my email accounts) to show my displeasure. Then I'd have to undergo torture to get my membership canceled again. See I'm really The Florida Masochist.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, DragonLady, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County,

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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Congressmen Alcee Hastings and Jim McDermott. Hastings gets the award for the following.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, was one of only nine House members last week to vote against a resolution "recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith."

A Hastings statement said the resolution was "not about supporting Christmas. It was another sad attempt by conservative Republicans to skew the line between Church and State and impose their belief that America is a Christian nation."

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, who voted against a similar Christmas resolution last year, was absent for last week's vote. U.S. Reps. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, and Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, supported the resolution.
In all fairness to Hastings, eight other members of Congress joined him in voting the way he did. Including Congressman Jim McDermott who had this idiotic reasoning for voting no.

The veteran Seattle Democrat voted against a House resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas, but called it a protest against President Bush's veto of a children's health care bill.

"While the Republicans are passing a resolution celebrating Christmas, the president was vetoing health care for children. There's a little bit of irony going on around here," McDermott said Thursday.
I'd say there was a lot of stupidity happening here Congressman and I've been supportive of the S-chip legislation.

Hastings and McDermott have shown themselves to be both far removed from reality in addition to being partisan hacks. Even Christmas is some how about politics. I'd think most of the American public would disagree with these two. So do I, and I'm a registered Democrat.

Congressmen Alcee Hastings and Jim McDermott are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, DragonLady, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Third World County,

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekly Dolphins prediction

Baltimore plays at Miami this afternoon. Baltimore has lost seven in a row, Miami 16 in a row. Thirteen of which came this year.

Lets get to the point. Can Miami avoid the infamy of 0-16? If they are going to do it, it has to be this week with games against the Patriots and Bengals left. I'll go out on a limb with my prediction- Miami 17, Baltimore 13.

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Sunrise Elementary School Principal Issac Burgess IV. He gets the award for the following.

OCALA - A 10-year-old girl could face a felony weapons charge after she brought a kitchen knife to school with her steak lunch, the child's uncle said Saturday.

Marion County deputies arrested the girl Thursday at Sunrise Elementary School and took her to the Juvenile Assessment Center. School faculty had seen her cutting the steak with the knife at lunch. They took the knife away from her before calling the Sheriff's Office and her uncle.

Her uncle, Kenneth Thomas, said the child was distraught by the arrest.
I'd be distraught too. If I was Thomas or any of this girl's family, I'd be bringing this story to the attention of every major media organization there is. The Orlando Sentinel and Ocala Star Banner are a start, Wizbang is glad to help.

Rules to keep weapons out of school have a purpose. Using a knife on steak, I think that would tell anyone isn't a crime. Instead some brainless school officials call the police.

Note- Pencils, pens, even eyeglasses(Anyone remember the scene in The Godfather Part III?) and other items can be turned into dangerous weapons. However we do allow them into schools. We expect school officials to use common sense, which apparently no one involved with Marion County schools possess. This newspaper article has a school spokesperson give the canned response 'has zero tolerance for weapons on school grounds." Brains must be baned on school grounds too. For both articles clearly state, the girl wasn't threatening, just eating her lunch. Eating lunch is a crime in Central Florida!

From Sunrise Elementary School's front page

Do What's Right, Do Your Best, Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated.
This school's sorry administration doesn't practice what they preach. That and a absolute lack of intelligence and common sense cause me to name Principal Issac Burgess IV today's Knucklehead of the Day. Show that to students Mr. Burgess!

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Church and State, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Populist, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Samantha Burns, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Don't fear

I haven't disappeared, just taking a weekend off from blogging. There's the honey do list for me to work on, and some web fiction writing to keep me busy.

I'll be back Monday for sure. Have a good weekend.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Where do you stand?

When it comes time to take a leak. From the Mainchi Daily News-

About 40 percent of adult Japanese men sit on the toilet to urinate -- a staggering figure almost three times the number recorded in 1999 -- according to a survey by Western-style toilet manufacturer Matsushita Electric Works Ltd.

The survey of 518 men and an identical number of women whose ages ranged from their 30s to 50s showed that the younger the man, the more likely he is to sit down while peeing instead of the traditional method of standing up.

The 40 percent of men who sit while urinating is almost three times more than the 15 percent of men who did so when the company first started surveying toilet habits in 1999.

"Women hate it when urine sprays, so there appears to be an increasing number who are asking men to sit down on the toilet when they have to go," a Matsushita Electric Works spokesman said.
It always amazes me when people do surveys like this, or do a study like this one. Is it ever thought that maybe the men being asked are giving the answer the survey taker wants to hear.

I'll take the fifth as to my habit and won't take any further stand on this news. Though it may be interesting to hear what Wizbang contributor Kim thinks about this topic.

Hat tip- Japundit who says the study reveals nagging works.
Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Rosemary, Woman Honor Thyself,

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Someone don't love Lucy

The latest scandal from Africa-

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan security agents seized and erased a video showing the first lady slapping a government official, apparently angered because he introduced her by the name of a woman widely believed to be the president's second wife, officials said Friday.

Kenya's media regulator gave President Mwai Kibaki's office two weeks to explain the incident, which happened at the president's official residence during Wednesday's Independence Day celebration. The deadline means no response is due until after the Dec. 27 presidential election, in which polls show Mwai Kibaki is trailing and which is shaping up to be the closest in Kenyan history.

"We don't want to pre-empt anything but the complaint is a gross violation of press freedom," said Wachira Waruru, the chairman of the Media Council of Kenya.

The complaint was lodged by Kenya's largest media house, the Nation Media Group. The Nation said security agents erased photo and television images of Lucy Kibaki slapping the government official after he called her "Wambui" -- the name of a woman many Kenyans believe has been Kibaki's second wife for 30 years. Kibaki has denied he has a second wife.

In a newspaper interview later, the official said he had slipped, introducing Lucy Kibaki as "Lucy Wambui."
I can understand the official's mistake. There was one too many Lucys to keep straight.

Note how no response is required till after the Presidential election. The Kenyan people could have a say in regards to what they think of their first lady's behavior.

Linked to- Blue Star, Leaning Straight Up, Rosemary, Woman Honor Thyself, Yankee Sailor,


The incredible Tomas Vokoun

He scored his second shutout in three games as goaltender for the Florida Panthers last night versus the St. Louis Blues.

ST. LOUIS — The Panthers are going to have to learn that one goal is almost never enough to win in the NHL. But Thursday night, it was.

For the second straight game, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the second period and tried to make it stand up. This time, they did it.

Stephen Weiss knocked in the rebound off a Nathan Horton shot 1:10 into the second period and Tomas Vokoun stopped 33 shots to register his second shutout in three games and third of the season as Florida tied a franchise record with its fourth straight road win at the Scottrade Center.

The Panthers (14-15-2) have won four straight games on three previous occasions, the last of them coming in February 2003.

"It's nice to win," said Vokoun, now 7-0 against the Blues since the end of the lockout in 2005. "We're not in a position where we can give games away. We were two points out of last place in the league. We have to start winning on the road if we're going to go anywhere."

The Blues came into the game as one of the more productive teams in the league, having scored 13 goals in their previous three games and three or more in seven of their past 10.
After a slow start this season, it appears Tomas has come into form finally. This is good news considering how much Florida gave up to get the Czech born former All-Star goalie.

The way the Panthers have been scoring of late, Vokoun needs to shut out opposition teams. Florida has scored only 4 non-empty net goals in the their last three games. In spite of Vokoun shutting two of those teams out and allowing only one goal in regulation or overtime in the same three games, Florida is only 2-0-1 result wise.

Florida has a good enough team to win the Southeast Division. They have to start producing offensively.

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

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From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Oregon. The unnamed tow truck driver should move to Florida and work for this company. They tow cars owned by the police too.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Leaning Straight Up, Pirate's Cove,

GRESHAM, Ore. - A tow truck driver upset over a recent ticket tried to tow a police cruiser, authorities said.

The 32-year-old man was arrested after he hooked his truck to the marked police vehicle while an officer was responding to a domestic disturbance call, police said.

Authorities said the driver released the cruiser when another officer ordered him to. He later locked the doors of his truck and refused to cooperate, police said.

The driver then called the police station, "apparently unsatisfied with the police response he had generated when he tried to tow a marked police vehicle," according to a police report.

The manager of the tow company was summoned and eventually coaxed the driver into surrendering.

The driver was charged with unlawful use of a vehicle, obstructing governmental administration, interfering with a peace officer and criminal mischief.

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War, Democrats, Taxes

Pretty much the standard spiel heard from the democrats for a generation or more.

JOHNSTON, Iowa - Democratic presidential hopefuls called for higher taxes on the highest-paid Americans and on big corporations Thursday and agreed in an unusually cordial debate that any thought of balancing the federal budget would have to wait.

"We're not going to be able to dig ourselves out" of Bush-era deficits in the next year or two, said Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, one of six Democratic rivals sharing a stage for the final time before Iowa's leadoff Jan. 3 caucuses.

Asked about the importance of eliminating deficits, Democrats responded by criticizing President Bush's economic policies, including some of his tax cuts.

"I want to keep the middle class tax cuts" that Congress passed during President Bush's tenure, said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. But she said she favors raising taxes for the wealthiest.

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina readily agreed. "The truth of the matter is the tax policy has been established by the big corporations and the wealthiest Americans," he said. "What we ought to be doing instead is getting rid of those tax breaks."
This is an unpopular view, but I've believed the War on Terror has never been approached right from a fiscal standpoint. Whether it is not properly funding it, causing further requests to Congress by the President, or the fact little or no sacrifice has been asked from the American public. If we're fighting a war to preserve our way of life, it should be funded adequately. Namely raising taxes in order to do it. Wasn't there a income tax imposed during the civil war? Were not taxes raised to fund World War II? I think they were, if I'm mistaken feel free to correct me.

Linked to- Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,

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Don't cry for Argentina

A certain song came to mind when I read this news.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina's new president reacted furiously Thursday to accusations by U.S. prosecutors that an intercepted suitcase full of cash from Venezuela was meant to finance her election campaign, calling the charge "garbage in international politics."

Aides to President Cristina Fernandez accused Washington of using a "vile trick" to smear her government for its close ties to Venezuela's leftist leader, Hugo Chavez, who is campaigning to reduce U.S. influence in Latin America.

Fernandez, one of only two female heads of state in Latin America, suggested the charges might have been directed at her in part because of her gender.

"This president may be a woman, but she's not going to allow herself to be pressured," Fernandez said, glaring at the cameras. She denounced the U.S. criminal complaint, but did not address the substance of the charges — that foreigners secretly tried to fund her campaign.


Fernandez appeared taken off guard by the charge that surfaced just two days after her inauguration. Her opponents demanded that Argentine authorities take testimony from four men charged in Miami with orchestrating a cover-up with top Venezuelan officials after the undeclared cash was seized by Argentine customs.

It's not against Argentine law for foreigners to contribute to a presidential campaign, but it is illegal to do so secretly. It also is illegal to bring undeclared cash into the country.

In a Florida court Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors accused the men of being illegal agents of a foreign government and said recorded conversations indicated the scheme reached the highest levels of the Venezuelan government.

The Venezuelan-American businessman who carried the suitcase, Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, is not charged and appears to be a key witness in the case. He is named in an extradition request by Argentina, where he is wanted on fraud charges.
A man wanted by the law is involved with trying to bring money illegally into the country. Of course this was totally an innocent act. Don't you alsolove how the President says this is a result of her gender. I'll point out, crooked politicians come both male and female. Here are recent instances of corruption or allegations of corruption involving either male and female heads of state or a Prime Minister.

I don't know enough of the facts to prove or disprove President Cristina Fernandez allegations. Her playing the victim and my general cynicism when it comes to politicians and money, make me think the allegations are true. Feel free to disagree.

BTW I prefer Sarah Brightman to Madonna when it comes to singing 'Don't cry for me Argentina.' Lea Salonga is great too.

Linked to- High Desert Wanderer, Rosemary, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl,


The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are USCF Correspondence Chess Director(CCD) Alex Dunne and Corr. Chess(CC) player David Drevinsky. They get the award for the incident I detailed in this long post.

To summarize what initially happened. Drevinsky sent a postcard in the CC game we're playing on November 24th(It was Postmarked the 26th but David claims he mailed it the 24th)I'm in Florida, this player is in Massachusetts. Mail takes at least three days each way. A card if PMd on the 24th won't arrive in Florida till the 26th minimum.

Not hearing from me by December 5th, Mr. Drevinsky filed a time complaint. In violation of rules 10 and 13. The CCD then sends a threatening email to me without noting the violations of the rules. I fire back with a complaint that Mr. Drevinsky is being disruptive and abusive towards his fellow CC player and ask he be forfeited. Saying his complaint was so outrageous in order to gain a win by improper means, he should be punished appropriately with a forfeit.

I get this reply from Alex Dunne yesterday.

13 December 2007

David Drevinsky

William Jempty

Hi, Gentlemen !

The complaint by William Jempty is that David Drevinsky acted in an improper and abusive manner in their game in 04ENf02. Bill cites the following rules:

2. You are expected to act courteously toward opponents. The CCD will forfeit players who use abusive or insulting language or who are disruptive. In case of conflict, you should try to come to an agreement with your opponent.

10. If you intend to use more than 10 days on a single move, you must tell your opponent within one week of receiving his/her move. If you don't receive your opponent's reply within normal transmission time plus 10 days, send a repeat. Repeat moves must be labeled as such and must be included all information from the original move.

13. You may submit a time complaint when your opponent has exceeded his or her reflection time limits or has failed to respond to a repeat move within 10 days, excluding transmission time. Time complaints should include a full explanation of the facts.

Before I begin citing my decision I should note that Bill has decided to pursue this complaint of abuse even though the Tournament Director suggested he should drop the complaint. He then suggested that I could not be impartial because my actions are part of what has taken place. He further suggests that in a court of law or arbitration, I would not be allowed to pass judgment because of my involvement. Odd, then, that he seeks my ruling on the case, but I will cite the facts as I see them. I must agree with William on one point: I am directly involved in the case. That is the only way I can render a judgment, as I am aware of all three members in the dispute. This is my job as Tournament Director, to be involved so that I can render a fair judgment.

By my records, which are usually dated about 24 hours after the actual report, this is what happened. On June 14, 2007, David emailed me that he had not heard from William in some time. I sent William an email form letter to that effect, The form stated that a forfeiture was a possibility. As the time for forfeiture approached, I reminded William of his obligation to move. I don’t usually do that, but I was aware that William was actively playing other games and had a large game load. The usual procedure is that if the person late does not contact me or his opponent by a given date, a forfeit occurs. On 29 June, after my reminder, contact had been made again, by my records. Then on 7 November, 2007, David again noted he had not heard from William in some time (Bill’s emergency time out had ended on 25 October, though David was unaware of this). I again emailed William who responded, by my records, on 13 November. Then on 6 December, by my records, David mentioned again he had not heard from Bill. I sent Bill a note stating that a third late offense had occurred and that a fourth offense would be excessive and could result in a forfeiture.

It was to this note that Bill objected, but rather than follow Rule 2 and try to come to an agreement with his opponent, he filed an abuse complaint. As David had only requested Bill send him a move to continue the game, Bill’s reaction was unwarranted. In my opinion, there was no abuse committed by David who, at all times, has acted within the guidelines of Rule 2.

I find Bill’s complaint of abuse without substance. I trust both players can continue the game without malice. I further hope that both Bill and David understand that I have no interest in who wins their game, only that it is played and finished in the spirit of USCF correspondence chess, and that if it is an interesting game, the parties send it to me for possible publication."
Read that carefully I prove a player to twice violate the rules in filing time complaints, one time in outrageous fashion, and my complaint is unwarranted and without substance. What a crock.

Lets detail Alex Dunne's actions or lack thereof-

1- Sending out the complaint in the first place when it was obviously bogus. The CCD if anyone should know the rules by memory and seen with a glance Drevinsky was wrong.
2- Never admitting he was mistaken. This is the closet Alex came to doing that. In an email last Saturday he wrote-

David may have been quick on the trigger, and I may have not done the calculation necessary, but I do not know (even in a postal event) if players are playing by post or email, especially when all the communication between us is by email.
Even in a email game, which moves quicker, it should have been obvious to the CCD that Mr. Drevinsky jumped the gun.

Also note Drevinsky in an email and postcard since my filing a complaint hasn't apologized or admitted error. Instead he wrote this-

My repeat move was probably lost in the mail.
What's my reply? What CC player sends out a repeat barely 10 days after last hearing from a player almost 1,500 miles away? I never got any repeat. Based on Mr. Drevinsky's actions, you can add liar to the titles for this player.

3- Never acknowledging any of Drevinsky's violations. See my reply to #2 and Alex's letter above. He never says Drevinsky made any mistakes.
4- Taking no action, not even issuing a warning to Drevinsky. A time complaint that two other experienced CC players agreed was out of line, results in no penalty.
5- Not stating Drevinsky's last two time complaints are now considered void. Drevinsky withdrew the December 5th one. What happens if Drevinsky complains again? What is to stop him from making further complaints like the December 5th one?

From the beginning I felt Alex couldn't make a just or proper decision because of his personal involvement. For if not for his email of December 6th, we wouldn't be at this point. He blundered then, and blundered even more yesterday by calling my complaint unwarranted and not taking any action. It is apparent he can't accept his mistake and refuses to take action to rectify making even further mistakes.

For threatening a CC player with punishment when not enforcing the rules properly, USCF CCD Alex Dunne is today's first Knucklehead of the Day. For abusing his fellow CC player with an outrageous time complaint in violation of the rules, David Drevinsky is our second Knucklehead of the Day.

Note- I'm appealing the decision to the USCF Executive Director as the rules allow. So far to this date, Alex has refused to mail his correspondence with David Drevinsky in this game. He hasn't responded to two requests of mine. One of which was made a week ago.

By putting this whole sorry affair out in the open, I hope to warn other CC players about Mr. Drevinsky and his antics. This to prevent the player from trying it again while getting a CCD or tournament director to do his dirty work. Namely railroad an innocent player.

Update- Alex emailed me this morning to say he needs to get Drevinsky's permission before sending me copies of the email between the two of them. If Drevinsky doesn't reply or takes time, Alex will grant me an extension to file the appeal.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Learning Chinese

From the Daytona News-Journal-

DELTONA -- Joseph Negron is only a high school freshman, but already has his sights set on attending the University of Florida and hopes learning Chinese will help him win admission to the highly competitive school.

"It's one of the best languages to help me get in," said Negron, one of 24 students taking Pine Ridge High School's first Mandarin Chinese course this semester.

The Deltona school -- which also offers Arabic, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish -- is part of a growing number of American high schools offering Chinese and other "exotic" languages.

"It really is an explosion of interest in Chinese programs," said Marty Abbott, director of education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. "It really is the language to add right now.

"People are looking ahead and thinking the Chinese economy is going to be the economy to compete with in the 21st century," Abbott said.

Her organization based in Alexandria, Va., estimates between 30,000 and 50,000 American high school students are now enrolled in Chinese classes, compared to 5,000 at the start of the new century.
First how is a the the official language of the world's most populous nation exotic? Standard Mandarin is also spoken heavily in countries other than the People's Republic of China.

I'm all for the teaching of foreign languages in languages. Actually I think they should be taught far before a child is in secondary school. When it comes to speaking a second language, Americans lag far behind the rest of the world. Just take the nation of my wife's birth, The Philippines. English is taught in grade school. An American in that country can easily converse with over 90% of the population.

Other nations in Europe and Asia teach English at an early age. I think American schools would be wise to emulate this practice of teaching a foreign language at a young age. Whether it is Chinese, Spanish, Arabic or several others. Our children may well grow up needing the ability to speak other than English. One day there may be more English speakers in the PRC than the USA.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Pirate's Cove, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

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Florida the rules are different here Chapter CLXV

A twenty-four-year-old Florida man suspected of murder and about to be extradited back to the Sunshine State, prefers that his mother come pick him up at jail. Maybe Mr. Blackwelder wants to get just get a ten day suspension too if found guilty in the killing of George Anthony Stewart Jr. Don't you just love the Sunshine State?

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Pirate's Cove, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

Days after attempting suicide, a Florida murder suspect told a Georgia judge that rather than extradition to Florida or more time in a Georgia jail, he'd prefer to have his mother come pick him up.

That option isn't available, the judge told Timothy Craig Blackwelder on Wednesday, according to WALB-TV of Albany, Ga.

Blackwelder, 24, signed a waiver of extradition Wednesday and will face charges in the shooting death. He was booked into Tampa's Orient Road Jail on Wednesday night, with no bail set. He is expected to have a court appearance today.

On Friday afternoon, Blackwelder shot and killed George Anthony Stewart Jr., the father of twin girls, Tampa police said. Blackwelder drove off with Stewart's estranged wife, Brittani Stewart, police said.

Stewart, 22, told Tampa police she left her home with Blackwelder because she was worried about her safety. Blackwelder was apprehended in the Valdosta, Ga., area Saturday night and tried to hang himself Sunday night in the Lowndes County Jail, investigators say.

In court Wednesday, 14 guards followed him closely because of an escape attempt Tuesday.

"Last night at the hospital, they had to take the restraints off him to take care of some medical procedures, and he attempted once again to escape from our officers," Capt. J.D. Yeager of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office told WALB-TV. "And it took about eight of our people to restrain him at the hospital."

Yeager said he is happy to get Blackwelder out of his county's jail.

"There's a lot of manpower involved in a case like this," he told the television station. "It cost us. It cost us a lot more to house an inmate on a capital charge like this, especially a suicide and escape risk."

From April 2000 to January, Blackwelder served terms in a Florida prison for convictions of armed robbery, burglary of a dwelling and grand theft, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.

In a 2004 letter to a Hillsborough County Circuit judge, Blackwelder wrote he was ready to be released from prison and be with his family.

"I'm sorry for what I did, I was young and being stupid, but I larned my lessin since the '5' years I been locked up almost," he wrote.

Brittani Stewart and Blackwelder have known each other since 1998 and had lived together, court records show. She was granted a domestic violence injunction against him last month, Tampa police said.

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Schip bill vetoed again

This second veto comes approximately two months after the first veto by the President.

President Bush vetoed an expansion of the federally funded, state-run health insurance program for poor children for a second time Wednesday, telling Congress the bill "moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction."

In his veto message, President Bush calls on Congress to extend funding for the current program.

In his veto message, Bush said the bill is almost a duplicate of the proposal he spiked in October.

"Because the Congress has chosen to send me an essentially identical bill that has the same problems as the flawed bill I previously vetoed, I must veto this legislation, too," he said in a statement released by the White House.

The bill would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program by nearly $35 billion over five years, the same as the measure Bush vetoed October 3.

The president had proposed adding $5 billion to the program and said the version he vetoed would have encouraged families to leave the private insurance market for the federally funded, state-run program.

Democratic leaders said the new version addressed Republican objections by tightening restrictions on illegal immigrants receiving SCHIP benefits, capping the income levels of families that qualify for the program and preventing adults from receiving benefits.
Maybe saving 7 billion a year(You know the saying around Washington, a billion here and a billion there and soon we're talking real money) in a federal budget in the trillions is good policy, but I see it as more likely to be bad politics for the GOP in the 2008 Election. I said that while the Schip override vote was taking place last October. Namely that Democrats will use this to hammer republicans next fall in Congressional races. Look at the Republicans, they won't vote for children's health care.

That's an unpopular view of this legislation among conservatives, but I think I'm closer to the mark than they who say or think this will have no effect come November. We'll have to see who is right.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Pirate's Cove, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,


Blog Discipline

Saying the truth about an idiot judge can get a lawyer in bigger trouble than the judge's behavior does. From the Sun-Sentinel-

A defense attorney's law license is at risk because he posted an angry description on the Internet of embattled Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Alemán, calling her an "evil, unfair witch."Last week, as Alemán was on trial for alleged misconduct before the Judicial Qualifications Commission, The Florida Bar signed off on its finding that Sean Conway may have violated five bar rules, including impugning the judge's qualifications or integrity.

In the Halloween 2006 posting on a blog, Conway denounced Alemán for what he said was an "ugly, condescending attitude" and questioned her mental stability after, he says, she unlawfully forced attorneys to choose between unreasonable trial dates or waiving their clients' rights to a speedy trial.

Conway, a former Broward assistant public defender now in private practice, said Wednesday he feels justified in his comments.

"She was giving people one week to prepare for trial and as soon as the blog exposed it through powerful words she stopped it," he said. "And that's why I stand by what I did. Sometimes the language the bar approves of doesn't get the job done."

Conway, 36, also filed a complaint against Alemán with the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the state agency that polices judicial conduct, citing her "deliberate refusal" to follow the law and insolent behavior. Conway says he hasn't heard from the commission since a May 29 letter acknowledging his complaint.

Alemán was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

In the meantime, the judge awaits the outcome of her three-day trial for allegedly threatening to hold defense attorneys in contempt and refusing to remove herself from cases in which she had an acrimonious relationship with the defense attorney.

If she's found guilty, she could face anything from a public reprimand to removal from the bench. Likewise, if Conway is found guilty of violating bar rules, he could face discipline ranging from a reprimand to disbarment.
Knucklehead Judge Alemán looks destined to get nothing more than a reprimand. Because at the end of last week's hearing that's what Lansing Scriven, counsel for the Judicial Qualifications Commission asked for.

Alemán's inability to assess her own conduct called for the reprimand, Scriven told the commission's six-person panel.
While at the same time Scriven said "This is a judge who doesn't have the ability to see what others see."

I've stated repeatedly that Judges need to be held to a higher standard. They have too much power and can take people's liberty and possessions through their rulings. Alemán, as I said last week, deserves nothing less than being removed from the bench.

Now the lawyer who brings this woman's judgment into question, could face repercussions for stating the truth. I know there are bar rules, but muzzling people from calling out injustices is that just itself? Episodes like this tells you a great deal about the legal system today and how justice is a disgrace in much of this country. You'll be damned for telling the truth.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Leaning Straight Up, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is District Judge Sarah Bradley. She gets the award for the following.

THE Queensland opposition has called for an immediate inquiry into the sentencing procedure behind the gang-rape case of a 10-year-old girl whose nine attackers escaped jail time.

Nine males who pleaded guilty last month to gang-raping a 10-year-old girl at the Aurukun Aboriginal community on Cape York have escaped a prison term, with the sentencing judge saying the child victim "probably agreed" to have sex with them.

Cairns-based District Court judge Sarah Bradley ordered that the six teenage juveniles not even have a conviction recorded for the 2005 offence, and that they be placed on a 12-month probation order.

Queensland Attorney-General Kerry Shine today met with Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Leanne Clare to seek advice on whether the case could be successfully appealed under state laws, despite the deadline having passed.


“Under Queensland law a child under 12 cannot give consent to sexual intercourse.”

Liberal leader Mark McArdle said Mr Shine had no choice but to try for an appeal in the wake of community uproar.


Judge Bradley sentenced three men over the age of consent of 16 - aged 17, 18 and 26 - to six months' imprisonment, with the sentence suspended for 12 months.

Because the 28-day appeal period has expired, the sentences cannot be altered.

Judge Bradley said from her Cairns home yesterday that she considered the sentences "appropriate" in the case because they were the penalties asked for by the Crown prosecutor.


When sentencing seven co-accused on October 24 at Aurukun, Judge Bradley noted: "The girl involved was not forced and she probably agreed to have sex with all of you."

The four juveniles are aged 14 to 16 years. They and the adults come from some of the most prominent and powerful Aboriginal families on Cape York.

Two more juveniles pleaded guilty on November 6 to raping the child, and were also given probation with no convictions recorded.

The child victim, now aged 12, does not enjoy the elevated family status of her attackers, and has had to be removed from Aurukun and put with foster parents.

News of the non-custodial sentences has added to the violent hatreds that exist in Aurukun between families and tribes and which have played a part in recent brawls involving dozens of assailants, many armed with sticks and spears.

One of the adult rapists, Raymond Frederick Woolla, 26, is on the Australian National Child Offence Register following a conviction on March 29 last year for unlawful carnal knowledge of a female child - an offence committed after he was charged with the rape of the 10-year-old girl.
Probation for raping a 10-year-old. The judge should know what is too, and ignores that one of the men was a sex offender. Read the whole article, it will want to make you sick. Cairns-based District Court judge Sarah Bradley is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Casey at Wizbang
Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Leaning Straight Up, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wrong-way crash

A South Florida law enforcement officer is under investigation for a crash on I-95 last week.

State troopers and internal affairs detectives are investigating a Miami Beach police officer after his personal car was involved in a wrong-way wreck on Interstate 95 in Broward County.

Officer Jesus Barrenechea, 28, has been removed from road patrol and placed on administrative duty, according to a Miami Beach department spokesman.

''They notified us and we have an ongoing internal affairs investigation,'' said Miami Beach Sgt. Robert Hernandez.

Barrenechea, hired in 2001, was an afternoon patrolman in South Beach.

His car was headed the wrong way on Interstate 95 near Commercial Boulevard about 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 6, according to Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Mark Wysocky.

The driver of the other vehicle suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, Wysocky said.

Barrenechea was found walking ''close to the scene,'' Wysocky said. He has not been charged and troopers are still investigating.
Feel free to say I'm jumping to conclusions, but one has to be under the influence to be driving the wrong way on I-95. If Barrenchea was involved in the acccident, he wouldn't be the first recent law enforcement officer to cause an I-95 wreck by driving the wrong way on the interstate. Two brothers were killed by former FBI agent David Farrall in 1999. Farrall only got 90 days in jail after the Florida Highway Patrol botched the initial investiagation of the crash.

I hope authorities don't do a repeat with Barrenechea if the Miami Beach Officer was at fault December 6th.

Full Disclosure- I'm not exactly unbiased when it comes to wrong-way crashes involving government employees. Click here to get the full story of what happened to me in the 1980's.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Rosemary,

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Back to normal

Mail from Washington DC to Pyongyang must travel awfully fast. From Reuters-

SEOUL- Days after the U.S. president sent his first letter to North Korea's leader in a bid to further diplomacy, the communist state accused the American government on Tuesday of being reckless criminals trying to stir up war.

North Korea's official media slammed the United States for a recent deployment of fighter jets and other armaments in and around South Korea.

"Such moves are a part of the U.S. conservative hardliners' invariable hostile policy towards the DPRK (North Korea) and a reckless criminal act of chilling the denuclearisation process in the Korean peninsula and driving the situation into the brink of war," said the communist party mouthpiece, Rodong Sinmun.

Anti-U.S. diatribes of this sort are common fodder in the North's official media but this report comes after President George W. Bush made his first direct appeal to leader Kim Jong-il in a letter delivered last week.
It was only last month that the DPRK was thanking the US for its assistance in fighting off pirates. I remarked the event was unlikely to improve US-North Korea relations. Seems I was proved correct.

Hey TFM can be right twice in a day sometimes.
Linked to- Morewhat, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices,

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Mammograms aren't perfect

The same can be said about diagnostic tests. From AP-

CHICAGO - Doctors reading mammograms miss an average of 2 in every 10 cases of breast cancer, even for women with lumps and other symptoms, researchers reported Tuesday.

In a stark reminder of the limitation of the common diagnostic test, the researchers found wide variation in radiologists' ability to detect cancer in breast X-rays, with some missing as many as 7 out of 10 cases. In other words, the test's ability to detect cancer is strongly dependent on who is reading it.

"Women think mammography is perfect, so if they get a negative [normal] mammogram they think they're safe for at least the next year," said Diana Miglioretti, lead author of the study, which appears in this week's Journal of the National Cancer Institute. "The reality is, they shouldn't be falsely reassured by a negative mammogram."

That message was seconded by Dr. Leonard Berlin, chief of radiology at Rush North Shore Medical Center in north suburban Skokie, Ill., who was not involved in the study.

"You can have cancer and still have a normal mammogram," Berlin said. "If you have any sign or symptom, you need to pursue it. That's the bottom line."
One study doesn't conclusively prove anything. Medicine isn't an exact science. Disease will be missed, either by doctors,or just be undetected. My wife twice in a seven year period, had to have second tests after an original mammogram showed something questionable. Thanks be to God, the second tests were negative.

God bless all breast cancer survivors.

Linked to- Adam, Leaning Straight Up, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

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First Baby Steps

The 2008 Presidential race is under way.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The nation's presidential delegate selection process begins this week in Wyoming, where Republicans are choosing several people to attend county conventions next month where the national delegates will be chosen.

Volunteers for Republican candidates say they are working the phones to get their supporters to turn out at the GOP precinct caucuses, which began Tuesday and wrap up Dec. 20.

State Auditor Rita Meyer, a Mitt Romney supporter, said she's had to rely more on persuasion than her status when speaking with people who are undecided.

"I'm no Oprah, and I know it," she said, referring to the celebrity's endorsement of Democrat Barack Obama.

At the precinct caucuses, about a quarter of the delegates will be chosen for the GOP's county conventions Jan. 5. From there, 12 national delegates will be selected.

Wyoming Republicans voted in August to boost their profile by becoming the first state to select national delegates. Although the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses will be earlier, the state will not choose its delegates until much later.

Wyoming has paid a price for being early. The Republican National Committee is withholding half of its 28 delegates from the national convention.

Wyoming, however, can decide which delegates are withheld. As a result, all the delegates chosen at the county conventions will get to attend.
I wonder how many people outside of Wyoming are paying attention to this? If any of the major GOP candidates have campaigned in the sparsely populated state, I missed it.

Will results in Wyoming give us a taste of what will happen in January and February? The state is hardly typical of the rest of the country, but the same could be said of Iowa and New Hampshire. My guess is this will be little more than a blip on the road to finding out who the Republican nominee is.

Linked to- Adam, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,

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Lemon over Beck

The Miami Dolphin quarterback shuffle continues on.

A source close to the Dolphins told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday that Cleo Lemon will be the starting quarterback Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and may have already been given the job for the Dec. 23 game against the New England Patriots, too.

Lemon would replace rookie John Beck, who started the previous four games but failed to lead the Dolphins to an offensive touchdown. An announcement is expected from coach Cam Cameron today.

The Dolphins were 0-9 when they handed the offense to Beck with the intention of the move being permanent. Now with only three chances left to avert infamy as the only NFL team to go 0-16, the Dolphins have opted to go with experience.

"Even when we made that change (to make Beck the starter last month), we felt like we needed a spark," Cameron said at his Monday news conference, "and we were going to play the guy that we felt, at that time, gave us the best chance to win."

Cameron pulled Beck after eight snaps in Sunday's 38-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The second-round draft choice from Brigham Young was on the field for two possessions that both ended without a first down and a fumble that went for a Bills touchdown.
As much as I want Beck to succeed, he looked horrible against the Jets and at the beginning of the Bill game. I wouldn't put him in there against New England at all, but would consider playing the QB against Baltimore and Cincinnati.

Bottom line- There isn't much grounds for criticizing a change of heart by Cameron at QB. However I don't think either Lemon or Beck will win a game for Miami this year.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Rosemary,

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Big shoes to fill

Some news from Singapore. I actually heard of elephant boots before. A producer for a James Bond movie once ordered them, however they were never used.

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

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sexy Manolos or Jimmy Choos may top the wishlist of many women this Christmas, but huge waterproof boots were the ideal festive gift for two jumbo females at Singapore's zoo.

Vets on Wednesday fitted Asian elephants Tun and Jamilah with specially-made protective boots made from a durable, breathable fabric in a bid to relieve their chronic foot lesions.

Tun, 20 years old, has one front leg longer than the other. Her problems started when a male elephant in the same exhibit mounted her and caused her to buckle, the zoo said.

"The best solution we could think of was some type of protective boot that was durable enough for elephant wear-and-tear and possibly also waterproof," said vet Sonja Luz.

The zoo had previously used acupuncture and hot compresses to help with the pain before trying the huge boots on for size.

Making sure the elephants keep the footwear on, however, is a challenge, as the smart mammals quickly learned to undo zips during trial fittings.

"A foot of an elephant is very unlike that of a human's -- they weren't designed with shoes in mind," said Raymond Lee, footwear specialist at GORE-TEX, the firm that designed the booties.

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Ten dollars

This will certainly break people's wallets. NOT!

Palm Beach County commissioners on Tuesday imposed a $10 monthly medical premium on unionized workers, putting an end to free health-care policies for government workers in a fight that could signal turbulent times for labor groups.

Commissioners blamed state-ordered property tax cuts for the shift in health-care policy. And while not mentioning expiring labor deals with firefighters and sheriff's deputies, commissioners sent a broader message that they are adjusting their thinking when it comes to employee costs that totaled $924 million this year.

Labor leaders say they're already cutting back their expectations, agreeing to smaller raises, higher health-care costs and fewer perks.

"A lot of things we have been doing for the last 20 or 30 years, we simply are not going to be able to afford," said Commissioner Mary McCarty. "We're making a philosophical decision that all county employees are going to need to pay something for their health care."

The $10 premiums are the first time single workers have to pay in the county's health maintenance organization (HMO) plan, save for co-pays. Employees with a dependent or a family plan also were hit with 15 percent premium increases.
In a time of rising cost of both health insurance, and healthcare, a $10 charge sounds quite reasonable to me.

Dear wife gets her insurance through her work. Our premiums are over $110 a week. In addition my wife hasn't gotten a pay raise in nearly five years. If county workers are looking for sympathy over $10, they won't get it from me.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Pirate's Cove, Populist,

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She's #1

A poll says Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the most corrupt politician in Philippine history.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Filipinos consider President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the most corrupt leader in their country's history _ surpassing late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who allegedly stole billions of dollars during his 20-year rule, a survey said.

The nationwide survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia, released Tuesday (11 Dec), found that 42 percent of Filipinos believed Arroyo is the most corrupt president, compared to 35 % for Marcos.

The survey of 1,200 people was conducted 20-31 Oct as the government was embroiled in a bribery scandal involving a national broadband contract with a Chinese company. Arroyo was later forced to cancel the deal.

The Manila-based pollster's survey had a margin or error of 3 percentage points.

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo blamed the result on critical media coverage, saying the results show "what happens when media publishes accusations and insinuations against the government without bothering to verify or even ask for the basis of charges."

Marcos, ousted in the country's first "people power" revolt in 1986, was accused of stealing billions of dollars (euros) during his rule.

Arroyo's predecessor, Joseph Estrada, who was toppled in a 2001 popular uprising over allegations of corruption, was picked as the third most corrupt leader.
I give this poll as much credence as I give those who list President Bush as the worst President ever. Both I've been critical of, both I've given multiple Knucklehead awards to. However polls like this tell you very little. Recent history will always get recalled stronger than events years ago. With time, memory fades.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Leaning Straight Up, Right Voices,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Anthony Wayne Williams. He gets the award for the following.

RALEIGH, N.C. - A man accused of stealing a car in front of a police officer and television cameras in North Carolina has been arrested in Virginia. Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said Tuesday that 38-year-old Anthony Wayne Williams was arrested overnight in New Kent County, Virginia.

Television footage from Durham's WTVD-TV shows a man getting into a 2004 Honda Accord on Monday while the female owner talked with a police officer nearby. The officer ran to the car when it started to move, slapped the hood and told the man to stop. But he drove away.
Lights, camera, rob a car. Anthony Wayne Williams is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, Yankee Sailor,

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vistula oil spill

100 tons of fuel oil have leaked into Poland's biggest river.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Some 150 emergency workers and firefighters have contained a spill of approximately 100 tons of fuel oil that leaked into Poland's Vistula river after a pipeline malfunction, officials said Tuesday.

The oil spilled Monday from an underwater local pipeline linking a refinery in Plock, in central Poland, with its storage facilities, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) away, said Krzysztof Zalewski, spokesman for the state pipeline operator PERN.

The pipeline was closed and experts were looking for the source of the leak, he said.

Firefighters said there was no major contamination of the Vistula, and that no dead fish or birds were found in or around it. The spill occurred in the lower part of the river, near the town of Wloclawek.
For Poland's sake, I hope the spill can be contained. The Vistula is the country's longest river, it passes by many of the nation's biggest cities including Warsaw before emptying into the Baltic by Gdansk. The damage a spill can do can't be underestimated. Look at the pictures from this recent accident in South Korea.

Linked to- Adam, Bullwinkle, Morewhat, Yankee Sailor,

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Racing to the airport

Some news from Germany. No mention is made if the taxi driver got Mr. Schumacher's autograph.

Linked to- Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary,

BERLIN (Reuters) - Michael Schumacher can add the unofficial title of Germany's fastest taxi driver to his other achievements after taking over behind the wheel to get his family to the airport on time.

The retired Formula One champion drove the cab back to the airport himself after a trip out to the village of Gehuelz, near Coburg in southern Germany, left the family short of time to make their flight home, the Muenchner Abendzeitung newspaper reported.

"It was crazy having Schumi driving, with me in the passenger seat," the taxi driver was quoted as saying.

The seven-times world champion, who stopped racing last year but is still involved in the sport as an occasional tester for Ferrari, gave the driver a 100 euro ($146.6) tip on top of the 60 euro fare, the newspaper said.

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Citrus Canker Suit

A verdict was handed down yesterday.

Mendez, who led a Palm Beach County class-action suit of more than 40,000 homeowners whose citrus trees were destroyed as part of an aggressive state eradication against citrus canker to save the state's top industry, won his case for compensation.

County Judge Robin Rosenberg ruled that 40,937 homeowners who saw 66,468 trees destroyed in a program that ultimately failed to stop the spread of citrus canker are due "just and fair compensation" under the state constitution.

The Palm Beach County class-action suit, argued in court in October, is the first of a string of similar lawsuits. One is being tried in Broward County, and more will be heard later this year in Lee, Miami-Dade and Orange counties.

Under a January 2002 law, the government removed all citrus trees, whether they were healthy or infected, within 1,900 feet of any tree testing positive for the canker, a bacterial disease that creates lesions on fruit and stems that makes the fruit unmarketable. The government compensated residents with a $100 voucher for the first tree and $55 for each additional tree.
First, I was one of those people who lost trees and plants due to the 1,900 feet rule. So take that into consideration.

The next thing to happen will be a jury trial in March to determine compensation for people like myself. I don't expect any windfall, and other Palm Beach County residents shouldn't either. Class Action lawsuits bring plenty of money in for the lawyers and rarely anything of note for defendants. I don't expect this suit to be any different.

Bottom line- People may get a pittance for their lost trees, but will it make up for the costs passed on to taxpayers by this suit and others that will follow?

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Morewhat,

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Uninspired or undecided?

A recent poll show republican voters haven't made a final decision as to who to support in next year's Republican primaries.

Three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Republicans voters across the country appear uninspired by their field of presidential candidates, with a vast majority saying they have not made a final decision about who to support, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

None of the Republican candidates is viewed favorably by even half of the Republican electorate, the poll found. In a sign of the fluidity of the race, one candidate who had barely registered in early polls several months ago, Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is now locked in a tight contest nationally with Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

By contrast, Democrats are happier with their field and more settled in their decisions. For all the problems Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York appears to be having holding off her rivals Iowa and New Hampshire, she remains strong nationally, the poll found. Even after what her aides acknowledge has been two of the roughest months of her candidacy, she is viewed by Democrats as a far more electable candidate in the general election than either Senator Barack Obama of Illinois or John Edwards of North Carolina.
If I was a Repbulican, which I'm not, my vote would still be up in the air for next month's primary. Is it that unusual that GOP voters haven't made up their mind? Right now there are at least five serious contenders for the nomination. I think its just human nature voters are still weighing who to cast their vote for.

I do have problems with each of the candidates also. Some more serious than others. I think James Joyner is right when he says.

None of this is particularly surprising. Hillary Clinton has been the presumptive nominee since 2000 or so and her party is naturally chomping at the bit for a chance to unseat George W. Bush. By contrast, the Republican nominating electorate is divided among itself with no candidate who appeals to all sectors of the base.

Once a nominee emerges, however, that will cease to matter. While some Republicans will have difficulty summoning enthusiasm for any of the plausible nominees, few indeed will have trouble voting against Hillary Clinton.

True, but the outcome next November will come down to the centerists in both parties plus the independents. The GOP has to hope whoever the nominee is, they aren't uninspiring to these groups. Bob Dole was in 1996, and we know what happened in that election.

Linked to- Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

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Florida the rules are different here Chapter CLXIV

A fire breaks out at a Florida art museum destroying $100,000 of art to be destroyed. The cause? An advertising balloon. The Miami Herald informs us the balloon survived the inferno. Don't you just love the Sunshine state?

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Pirate's Cove, The World According to Carl,

An advertising balloon worth a few bucks may have sparked a fire that destroyed $100,000 worth of paintings at a Miami gallery overnight.

The fire was at Harold's Golden Gallery, 2921 NW Sixth Ave., part of the Wynwood Art District.

It started in a storage room where a number of paintings were kept.

It was caused, apparently, by an advertising balloon that bobs above the building, attracting customers.

The balloon was tethered to the building with a rope, tied near the weather head, a conduit through which electrical wires are fed into the building.

Ignatius Carroll, spokesman fire Miami Fire Rescue, said it appeared that winds had buffeted the balloon in recent days, causing friction where the rope tied it to the building. PVC pipe serving as electrical insulation was worn through, which caused a circuit breaker to blow out in the storage room, which ignited the fire.

When firefighters responded, flaming debris from the drop ceiling began to fall on them, forcing them to retreat until they could make sure the building was structurally sound.

It was. They put out the fire.

In addition to the $100,000 in destroyed art work, various other paintings sustained smoke damage that can be restored, according to Carroll.

The balloon was not damaged.


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