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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Perry Mason meets the internet

From the Boston Globe-

As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.

Was Lindeman Flea?

Flea, jurors in the case didn't know, was the screen name for a blogger who had written often and at length about a trial remarkably similar to the one that was going on in the courtroom that day.

In his blog, Flea had ridiculed the plaintiff's case and the plaintiff's lawyer. He had revealed the defense strategy. He had accused members of the jury of dozing.

With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.

The next morning, on May 15, he agreed to pay what members of Boston's tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement -- case closed.

The case is a startling illustration of how blogging, already implicated in destroying friendships and ruining job prospects, could interfere in other important arenas. Lawyers in Massachusetts and elsewhere, some of whom downloaded Flea's observations and posted them on their websites, said the case has also prompted them to warn clients that blogs can come back to haunt them.

*****

Elizabeth N. Mulvey, the lawyer who represented Vinroy and Deborah Binns and unmasked Lindeman as Flea, said she laughed when she read a posting at the start of the trial in which Lindeman nicknamed her Carissa Lunt, noticed that she bit her fingernails and mused, "Wonder if she's a pillow biter, too?"

But she was appalled that readers in the blogosphere who knew little or nothing about the case rallied to his defense.
Dr. Lindeman is free to state his opinions as is any blogger, but I would common sense would tell you that blogging on a trial that you're a participant in isn't a very prudent move. It will and did backfire.

Here is the ironic part of this story.

In April, before the trial began, he wrote about meeting with an expert on juries who advised him how to act when he was cross- examined. Flea was instructed to angle his chair slightly toward the jury, keep his hands folded in his lap, and face the jury when answering questions, slowly. "Answers should be kept to no more than three sentences," he wrote.

The consultant told him juries in medical malpractice cases base verdicts almost entirely on their view of a doctor's character.
If not for the settlement, Dr. Lindeman was about to get a dose of his own medicine for not listening to the legal advise he was given. Pun intended.

Hat tip- Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy
Linked to- Leaning Straight Up, Perri Nelson, Right Voices,

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Michelle Wie- Still not ready

This was her first tournament since injurying her two wrists-



Michelle Wie withdrew from the Ginn Tribute on Thursday after playing much of the first round with bandaged wrists and shooting 14 over par through 16 holes.

After Wie bogeyed the par-4 seventh, the 17-year-old star from Hawaii told an LPGA tour official: "We're not going to play anymore."

Her round included a 10 on the par-5 third hole.

She shook hands with her playing partners on the eighth tee and rode the cart back to the clubhouse with her caddie and parents.

Wie had not played competitive golf since missing the cut at the PGA Tour Sony Open in January.
To me just based on her score, it seems Michelle still has medical issues with her wrists. She would be best advised to stop playing golf and take as a long a rest as is needed to get 100% healthy. Otherwise Michelle's injuries could have long-term consequences.

I'm betting Michelle doesn't play the LPGA Championship next week. An event she came close to winning last year.

Linked to- Bright & Early, High Desert Wanderer, Right Wing Nation,

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From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Virginia. Did the teller say 'Have a nice day' to the would be robber?

Hat tip- Below the Beltway
Linked to- Amboy Times, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove,

In the annals of crime, the guy who tried to rob a Fairfax County bank by sending a note through the drive-through teller’s vacuum tube will not go down as one of the great evil geniuses.

But at least he didn’t hurt anybody. And he did escape — so he’s got that going for him.

The man pulled up in one of the drive-through lanes of a Bank of America branch in the Baileys Crossroads area just after 7 p.m. Tuesday. Then, boldly yet stealthily, he zipped a note demanding cash through the tube.

Perhaps equally, er, ingeniously, the teller simply sent the note back. Fairfax police declined to reveal the contents of the note or say whether the teller attempted any conversation.

Receiving his note back, sans cash, the criminal drove away from the bank, at 5707 Seminary Rd., perhaps to work on a more precisely worded note.

The would-be robber, who daringly disdained a disguise, was described as a clean-shaven man in his 20s. He did not show a weapon or imply that he had one. Police said they had a description of the vehicle but didn’t release it.

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Jenny Hansen Duramed Futures Tour player and Iraq war widow

Her husband Jeff, a Nebraska National guardsman, was killed in action in August 2006. Today Jenny is trying her luck on the the US women's rookie tour. She certainly has a big fan in heaven. God bless Jenny and all the war widows and their families.

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, StikNstein, Yankee Sailor,

Young Widow Turns Focus to Professional Golf
By Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour | More>>
Last Memorial Day, Jenny Hansen went through the motions of celebrating the national holiday just as many other Americans do every year. There were flags, fireworks, ice cream and neighborhood cookouts for the official kickoff to summer. And in her hometown in Cairo, Neb., a town of nearly 750 residents, everybody knew the ones who had served their country and the ones who were now serving overseas.

But Hansen's world in small-town America changed dramatically last August. She was working as a manager at an Appleby's restaurant, holding down the household while her husband, Jeff Hansen, served a tour of duty in Iraq with the National Guard. The former University of Nebraska-Kearney golfer had no way of knowing how much her life would change when the telephone rang at work one day and the soldier's voice on the line said, “There's been an accident. We need for you to come to Germany.”

So many thoughts raced through her mind as she stood amid the clanging hustle of the busy restaurant, clutching the telephone that had just delivered words too potent to completely process. She pondered the weight of the words and the nature of the accident. She thought of her husband waiting for her in a hospital bed, far from the homey comforts of Nebraska.

Jeff Hansen was a police officer in Kearney while Jenny was a college student. They had met at a college football game and hit it off. Jeff later asked Jenny if she'd like to go for a walk. The two had their first kiss at the fountain on campus. When Jeff proposed to Jenny during her senior year of college, it was on the 18th green after the final round of the 2002 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championship in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“Being with him was just easy,” said Hansen, 27, a rookie on the Duramed FUTURES Tour this season. “Jeff came and watched me play college golf and he loved it. He was simple and happy.”

But two weeks after the 9/11 attacks in 2002, the National Guard called him to serve in Germany as support for U.S. troops. Jeff asked if his deployment could be delayed. Jenny and Jeff were married on October 12, 2002, and he was deployed two days later on October 14th.

Jeff was sent to Bosnia, where he served for 10 months. He consoled his new bride and told her it was “not a big deal,” and that everything would be fine. When he returned home to Nebraska, he became a federal police officer and went to work at the local veteran's hospital.

“We were on the fast track,” said Jenny. “I had a great job managing the restaurant and he had a great job. We had bought a house, had cars, a boat and a dog. We were getting ready for the next thing.”

But the next thing was a new request by the U.S. Government. Jeff left for Iraq in October 2005. Along with so many other families in the area, Jenny said goodbye to her husband at the air base in Lincoln, Neb.

As a Cavalry scout, his job in Iraq was to go ahead of troops or units of soldiers to secure an area for others to follow. The job was dangerous and this time, Jenny knew her husband was using his experience as a police officer on a much larger scale than anything he had ever known back home in Nebraska.



“He was never scared to go,” she said. “In fact, he wanted to go and believed that's what he needed to do. He felt he was in Iraq for me, just as he was there for the children of Iraq. It was like he always had a bigger purpose.”

One of Jeff's duties in Iraq was protecting a specific canal. One night last August, he and three other soldiers drove their Humvee alongside the canal during a fierce sand storm. Suddenly, their vehicle hit a large sinkhole and the Humvee flipped over, pinning the soldiers under water. Jeff Hansen normally rode in the front of the vehicle, but when he was pulled from the water, he was in the rear of the Humvee where the other soldiers normally rode. The three other soldiers were rescued, which the U.S. Army believed were likely freed by the Nebraskan. Jeff was eventually airlifted from the accident scene, but that evacuation was hampered by the raging sand storm.

“They resuscitated him, but they couldn't save him,” said Jenny.

Jenny boarded the plane to Germany, not really knowing what she would find. She rode alongside her mother, Becky Deines, and Jeff's father, Bob Hansen. Jeff's mother had succumbed to cancer two months earlier, so the members of the two families clung to each other as they crossed the Atlantic, hoping for the best and dreading the worst.

“I convinced myself that he would hear my voice and it would be a medical miracle,” said Jenny. “When we got there, Army ministers briefed us on what we would see. I went into his room and he was lying there, hooked up to a machine. He had a scar on his chin and I kept touching the scar and just trying to believe it was all going to be alright.”

But in that hospital room, the soldier's bride and former NCAA Division II All-American golfer, came to a sudden crossroads in her young life. Gone were those easy days of dogs barking across whispering cornfields or shouts of touchdown triumphs for the home team. Gone was the laughter and the kiss at the fountain. Gone was the uncomplicated innocence of small-town America.

This was Germany, miles from home. This was war. This was the most unbelievable circumstance she could ever imagine. And now, at age 26, she was being forced to make the biggest decision in her life. Jeff Hansen, at age 31, had made the ultimate sacrifice. And as she stared across the hospital bed at the man with whom she had planned to spend the rest of her life, Jenny knew that her husband would never really come home.

“Sometimes, you just make a decision,” she said quietly. “It wasn't an option. I guess I can second-guess it for the rest of my life, but we found peace with the decision we had to make.”

The breathing ventilator was turned off. The family huddled together. An hour later, Jeff Hansen was gone.

“It was like he was waiting for it to be OK,” Jenny said.

Four days later, Jeff Hansen was buried with military honors at the Lutheran Church in Minden, Neb. A group called “The Patriot Guard” escorted the family to the burial services, keeping their roaring motorcycles between the family and anti-war protestors. It was surreal. It was numbing. It was something for which she could never have been prepared.

And then a letter arrived at Jenny's home. It was from Jeff. Weeks earlier, she had asked her husband what he thought about her trying to play golf professionally. She wanted to test herself and see if she had what it took to compete on the next level. Jeff had written to his wife to say that he was glad she had refocused on golf. The timing of the letter was uncanny. He was gone, but his words of support were as strong as ever as she struggled with what her future held.

“The letter told me to find the focus and dedication that I needed in my life and if there was something I wanted to do, to just do it,” she said. “I still read that letter all the time. I think Jeff wanted me to find new meaning in my life and to not be afraid to try.”

As chance would have it, Hansen traveled to the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship last October, where she met teaching professional and former LPGA Tour member Sue Ertl. Ertl was moved by the Nebraskan's personal story and her determination to begin taking bold new steps in her life. Ertl began working with Hansen as her golf instructor.

“It's easy to watch TV and to know there's a war going on from afar, but it's a lot different to know someone who's been personally touched by this and to see her make a life transition because of it,” said Ertl, an LPGA Tour member for 11 years. “I guess none of us can relate to what she's going through, but she's committed to chiseling out her new life. Jenny's using golf as a bridge between now and what's next.”

What's next for Hansen took her out of Nebraska. She earned playing status last November at the Duramed FUTURES Tour's Qualifying Tournament and moved to Florida to live with an aunt so she could practice and compete during the winter months. Hansen turned professional in January this year. She has gotten into tournament fields twice this season on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, missing the cut in both, but walking away with the assurance that this is a personal challenge she must attempt.

“I'm proud that she felt strong enough to be able to try this,” said Jenny's mother, Becky Deines. “Jeff always wanted Jenny to play golf and she knows this is what he'd want her to be doing. I don't want her to look back and say, ‘Why didn't I take a chance?' Maybe too, it will help heal the hurt and allow her to move on.”

Hansen knows that being successful on the Tour is a long way from her days as the individual champion of the 2002 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the 2002 NCAA Division II Western Regional Championship. She knows there is much to learn as a new pro. And she recognizes that there are still plenty of days when she longs for a life untouched by war and unmarred by heartbreak.

“You always know in a marriage there's going to come a time when you have to say goodbye, but you think you'll be in your 70s or 80s and that maybe you'll live with the loss for only a few years,” she said. “I'll deal with this for 70 years. You don't really move on. You move with it.”



Hansen wears her husband's military identification “dog tags” underneath her golf shirts and carries a Ping golf bag that has a digital military print on it. She has received some 3,000 letters, 20 handmade quilts and a gaggle of crocheted angels and butterflies from supportive military families and individuals around the nation. She appreciates each gesture and knows the last nine months would have been even more difficult without the help of others.

“I know things are going to be up and down for a while and I'll give myself time,” she said quietly. “But I don't feel like I walk alone. I have an angel walking every step with me. I know Jeff would be really excited about this.”

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Imposter II

The Azia Kim/Stanford Imposter story only gets better.

A young woman from Orange County who posed as a Stanford University freshman also simultaneously fooled the Santa Clara University's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program where she excelled in classes as a cadet.



Until she was discovered 10 days ago, Azia Kim, 18, spent eight months living at Stanford in two dormitories with unsuspecting roommates.

The Stanford Daily reported Tuesday that she used her guise as a Stanford student last fall to sign up for Santa Clara University's ROTC program, which accepts students from other campuses. Kim took military science classes at Santa Clara until March, said Bob Rosenburgh, spokesman for the Western Region Cadet Command at Fort Lewis, Wash.

Rosenburgh said Kim did not break any laws in participating in ROTC.

"She was not a contracted cadet, and ROTC is not an accredited course at Stanford, and that's where she slipped through the cracks," he said. "Reporting requirements at Stanford are nominal for ROTC. ROTC says they are looking to close that loophole with better communication."

Santa Clara University spokesman Karen Crocker Snell said she could not provide any details about Kim.
So two schools were duped by this young lady. I'm waiting for Law & Order to use this for one of their episodes. Bet you $5, Azia Kim will be white not Asian if they do.

Hat tip- Marmot's Hole
Linked to- Amboy Times, Bullwinkle, Jo, StikNstein, Yankee Sailor,

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Small samples and The Palm Beach Post

The results of a poll ranking Palm Beach County judges has come out.

Those bold rulings this year by Circuit Court Judge Jorge Labarga and County Court Judge Barry Cohen, respectively, did not hurt their standing among attorneys, according to a biannual poll by Palm Beach County Bar Association released Wednesday. Labarga and Cohen were among the most highly regarded judges.

Labarga, for example, has an excellent knowledge of the law, 81 percent of the respondents said. Almost the same number gave Labarga the same grade for diligence and preparedness, while more than three-quarters did likewise for impartiality.

A much smaller number of respondents rated Cohen, but nearly 95 percent said his knowledge of the law is excellent. Almost 93 percent said he is excellent in diligence and preparedness, while 86 percent gave him the same mark for impartiality.

The survey asked attorneys to rank judges and magistrates as either "excellent," "satisfactory" or "needs improvement" in nine different areas.

Only 499 of the county's more than 5,000 attorneys completed the survey, but that's a good percentage of those who frequently appear before judges, said Manuel Farach, president of the local Bar group.

Chief Circuit Judge Kathleen Kroll was more circumspect: The less-than-10-percent response "should make everyone cautious about drawing conclusions from these numbers," she said.

The Palm Beach County court system "has historically been viewed as one of the best in the state, and any analysis of our performance should keep that in mind," she added in a prepared statement.

Numbers professionals also cautioned against attaching too much meaning to the survey results.

Accountant Richard Rampell noted it is not a genuine statistical sample. Rampell often works with attorneys in forensic accounting cases and has appeared in court as a witness.

"We have to understand it's not perfect, but it does give some sense of the quality of the judges," Rampell said. "What confirms this for me is that the ratings are similar to what you hear around the water cooler from lawyers."
I agree with Mr. Rampell, the 10% sample is far small to draw any reliable conclusions.

That won't stop the Palm Beach Post from using these polls if they don't like a local judge. Let me remind you of Art Wroble.

It is rare for a circuit judge in Florida to face a challenger, much less a very qualified challenger. Fortunately for Palm Beach County, Circuit Judge Art Wroble is facing such a challenger.

Six years ago, Judge Wroble got on the bench by paying the standard candidate qualifying fee, which is 4 percent of the office's salary. A judge was retiring, and Judge Wroble lined up support early. When no one else filed to run, Judge Wroble had his robe without having to face the voters or, ideally, the much more stringent merit selection process.

In one term, Judge Wroble has shown that he doesn't belong on the bench. Last year, just 7.3 percent of lawyers responding to the Bar poll rated him as excellent in knowledge of the law. Nearly 70 percent gave him a negative rating.
So why does Randy Schultz and the Post editorial board use ratings that can be unreliable as the basis for whether a judge is fit or unfit for office? I guess if you have an agenda, anything goes and the truth be damned.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Cao, Pirate's Cove,

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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Chalk Ocean Airways and the FAA. Yesterday the NTSB released a report on the December 20, 2005 that killed 20 people. The airline's poor maintenance when combined with the FAA's lax oversight of Chalk, led to the disaster.

Twenty lives are gone, including three infants because an airline wanted to do its business on the cheap and our government let them do it.(Remember this FAA story?) That's all it takes to make Chalk Ocean Airways and the FAA today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Cao, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Perri Nelson, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, StikNstein, Yankee Sailor,


Poor maintenance, lax federal oversight and a sloppy corporate culture that didn't stress safety led to the fiery midair breakup of a Chalk's seaplane off Miami Beach in December 2005, killing all 20 aboard, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

"It glares at you: This was a poorly operated airline," board Chairman Mark Rosenker said.


A lawyer for the Fort Lauderdale-based carrier, which considers itself the nation's oldest airline, founded in 1919, disputed the NTSB's findings.

"It was not a fair assessment," said attorney Dennis O'Hara.

Shortly after Chalk's Ocean Airways Flight 101 took off from the Port of Miami on Dec. 19, 2005, its right wing snapped off and burst into flames. The 7-ton Grumman Turbo Mallard plunged into the ocean near a jetty.

Of the 18 passengers, including three infants, most were from the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, the plane's destination. Two crew members also died.

The safety board determined that cracks caused by metal fatigue at the point where the wing was attached to the fuselage led to the plane's disintegration in flight. The board blamed the airline for failing to detect the structural damage despite numerous warning signs, including fuel leaks, corrosion and a 16-inch-long crack in the fuselage's skin.

"This was an accident waiting to happen," board member Kitty Higgins said.

During a five-hour hearing in Washington, D.C., board members chastised Chalk's for underestimating the weight of passengers, using an average of 165 pounds per person when federal guidelines called for 190 pounds. That likely resulted in the airline routinely flying over maximum allowable weight.

Other factors that could have contributed to the accident were the plane's age -- it was 58 years old -- and the wear and tear of more than 40,000 takeoffs and landings, many of them into pounding surf, said Bill English, the NTSB investigator in charge of the accident.

"The ocean and the waves do increase the stress on the airplane," he said.

O'Hara, Chalk's attorney, said he was disappointed the safety board berated Chalk's corporate culture without having conducted in-depth interviews with employees.

"It was a very superficial analysis, yet they included it in their findings," he said.

He said the board failed to mention that another company, Frakes Aviation of Cleburne, Texas, was also responsible for maintaining Chalk's planes.

In its ruling, the board accused the Federal Aviation Administration of lax oversight. Notably, board members said, the FAA's principal inspector over the carrier had said he was comfortable with Chalk's maintenance program, even though there were numerous problems, including a lack of proper record keeping.

Also, in the year before the accident, Chalk's pilots had become increasingly concerned about what they thought was an anemic maintenance program, according to the safety board investigation. Three captains resigned, with one of them saying there was "blatant neglect" in repairing aircraft.

Board members said the FAA should have been suspicious of a number of operational problems, including the airline reportedly being in "financial distress" and overburdening some of its managers.

For instance, Michele L. Marks, 37, of Boynton Beach, captain of the flight, was named the airline's director of safety in the months prior to the accident, yet was too busy flying to fulfill her administrative duties, said safety board member Debbie Hersman.

"There were a lot of indicators before that accident happened that there were a lot of problems at that airline," she said.

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said his agency had no indication Chalk's maintenance program was inadequate. He said the FAA's principal maintenance inspector had made hundreds of checks on the company. He noted that under federal regulations, it is up to an airline, not the FAA, to ensure repairs are properly made.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Those are some mighty fine waffles

From the Tampa Tribune-

KEY WEST - Police in Key West say two women yelled at a Waffle House cashier and started to beat another woman over a $34 bill.

The women yelled at the cashier and told her that they weren’t paying their tab. According to police reports, when another woman tried to intervene, the two disgruntled customers started to beat her.

The women fled without paying their tab, but one of the restaurant’s cooks told authorities that the pair often visits the area.
This is the second recent story about trouble breaking out at this food establishment. I used to eat in these restaurants when visiting Orlando in order to play in tournaments. Even when I had steak and eggs, this was less than six years ago, with tip I didn't spend $10.

So what is going on with these people and or Waffle House?

Linked to- Jo, Random Yak, Right Voices, Samantha Burns,

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Misplaced security

From the Washington Post-


The U.S. Secret Service expects to borrow more than 2,000 immigration officers and federal airport screeners next year to help guard an ever-expanding field of presidential candidates, while shifting 250 of its own agents from investigations to security details.

Burdened by the White House's wartime security needs, the persistent threat of terrorism and a field of at least 20 presidential contenders, the Secret Service was showing signs of strain even before the Department of Homeland Security ordered protection for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as of May 3, the earliest a candidate has ever been assigned protection in an election season.

Its $110 million-plus budget for campaign protection -- two-thirds more than the record $65 million it spent for the 2004 election -- was prepared when the service did not expect to be guarding Obama or anyone else until January. The agency has already been forced to scale back its efforts to battle counterfeiting and cybercrime.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration has doubled the number of officials granted Secret Service protection, from 26 to 54, including top White House aides such as the chief of staff and national and homeland security advisers.

*****

Founded as part of the Treasury Department in 1865 to combat counterfeiting and tapped in 1901 as guardian of presidents, the service is best known for protecting individuals. By law, the agency guards presidents, vice presidents, candidates, their families and visiting heads of state. The president can also extend protection by executive memorandum.

But the service has taken on added homeland security jobs in recent years, such as screening White House mail and coordinating security at national events such as presidential conventions and Super Bowls. And while its budget has grown 50 percent since 2001, the number of agents, uniformed officers and support staff has increased by about 20 percent, to 6,500.
Security for those running for elected office is important. It is less than 40 years since Robert Kennedy, running for President in 1968, was assainated and George Wallace, running for President in 1972, was seriously wounded.

As always, that wise man in West Virginia proposes a common sense solution-

Still, with the major presidential candidates pulling in $20 million every three or four months, certainly they can afford their own damned security.

Taking thousands of workers off border patrol and airport screening makes America more vulnerable to terrorism.

Here is some free advice to the 18 candidates: Turn down Secret Service protection. And be very public about it. Cite this story. Make it plain that you are willing to put your life at risk rather than weaken America’s defenses.
The candidates could hire former British SAS also. There are plenty of those men working in private security across the Atlantic. Presidential campaign security meets globialization.

Don Surber is right, but our politicians are like feudal lords, they feel security is an entitlement for what they do for the people. All these candidates are millionaires, if they want to run, let them pay for security protection instead of US taxpayers.

Linked to- Big Dog, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Right Wing Nation,

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RubbeNECKing South Florida style

One of those only in Florida stories from the Sun-Sentinel-

POMPANO BEACH -- A man committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree along Interstate 95 near Atlantic Boulevard Tuesday morning, Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said.

Northbound rush-hour I-95 commuters were slowed by the sight of the man hanging from a tree to the right of the shoulder just north of the Atlantic Boulevard entrance ramp about 7 a.m.

Authorities temporarily shut down the entrance ramp while they investigated, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said. They also closed off a portion of the right lane. Traffic has since resumed its normal traffic pattern.
Hangings by the side of the road that cause a traffic jam, A whale necropsy on a Florida Keys beach. Isn't this a great state or what?(Sarcastic laughter time)

Hat tip- Rick at SOTP
Linked to- Amboy Times, Maggie, Morewhat,

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Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXV

Police are cracking down on vandals in the Orlando area, so vandals are fighting back. By taking aim at an unoccupied police vehicles. Don't you just love Florida?

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

Vandals fired shots at a parked Orange County deputy cruiser overnight possibly in retaliation for beefed up law enforcement in an area known for criminal activity.

Deputies were engaged in an area foot patrol at 12:57 a.m. near 20th Street and Parramore Avenue, just north of Kaley Street, when they heard gun shots.

When they returned to their parked vehicles, deputies realized one cruiser had fresh bullet holes and shattered windows.

"Someone either walking by, driving by or on bicycle fired three rounds into the unoccupied vehicle," said commander Tom Cockriel of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Cockriel said the vandalism to the deputy's cruiser might be in retaliation for increased law enforcement presence in the area.

"This is an area known for narcotics, concealed weapons calls and other criminal incidents. We've added more deputies in the area and because of that, some people who are doing that kind of business here are upset about it," said Cockriel. "It's their attempt at intimidation, but it does absolutely nothing for us. We'll probably step it [patrolling] up and be less lenient."

No one was injured, and deputies are considering the incident criminal mischief.

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Garbage in, Garbage out

From the Sun-Sentinel-


Palm Beach County teachers are facing two major uncertainties as school lets out Friday for the summer: A pay raise for next year and a possible skipped regular paycheck in August.

Negotiators ended talks Tuesday with the district and teachers union far apart on a deal for raises, and no follow-up bargaining sessions were immediately scheduled.

The Classroom Teachers Association presented a counter-offer of an 8 percent salary boost for the district's 12,400 teachers, which include about 8,000 union members. The union was seeking 11.1 percent in talks earlier this month, saying it refused to settle for the same 4 percent raise it got this year.

The school district proposes raises averaging 4.4 percent, up from an offer of 3.2 percent, depending upon experience and seniority factors. Officials say the district can't do much better because it received less new funding from the state for the coming school year.

"We're still in the same spot," union President Theo Harris said of the gap.

Officials on both sides are hopeful of reaching an amicable compromise on a technical payroll problem that would leave teachers without paychecks on Aug. 10, two weeks after their July 27 paychecks.

The district's nearly year-old PeopleSoft business operations computer system is designed to pay only employees who are actively in their assigned positions.

For the coming school year, teachers will still be on summer vacations on Aug. 10. The district can't run a normal payroll on that date, because teachers won't be working until Aug. 15. That's one week before the first day of school on Aug. 22.
In simple words, this is bullshit. The county can pay the teachers, if the people in payroll get off their fat asses and do their jobs. That includes the Superintendant of Schools Art Johnson and the Chief Finance Officer Joe Moore. The Peoplesoft payroll debacle has gone on long enough, its time for people to take responsibility and if not, resign and let someone who can do the job and is willing to do it, Do it! Excuses and more missing paychecks are not acceptable and shouldn't be to in anyone in Palm Beach County. The government of this county belongs to the residents here, not the elected morons and lazy incompetent bureaucrats who can't do even a simple job properly.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Planck's Constant, Right Wing Nation,

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Eighteen year wedding anniversary

Dear Wife and I were married May 30, 1989 in a civil ceremony in the City of Tacloban, The Province of Leyte in The Philippines. Hard to imagine there is a woman who can put up with me that long? Actually DW and I got married twice, we had a church ceremony on June 17th also in 1989.

Not all that much planned for today. The wife is having her teeth cleaned, and we're eating leftovers! How romantic, at least I'm not going to the podiartrist. Leonita and I will go to the cemetery later on to visit our son.

Linked to- Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Bullwinkle, Bright & Early, Cao, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Samantha Burns, StikNstein, Third World County, Yankee Sailor,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Mercury Energy. They get the award for the following.


The person who switched off power to an Auckland home, disabling vital medical equipment and leading to the death of a mother of four, could face charges.

Mercury Energy sent a technician to Folole Muliaga's home to disconnect the power as the family was behind on their power bill.

Folole, 44, was suffering from a cardio-respiratory complaint and needed oxygen from a breathing support machine to survive.

Family spokesman Brendan Sheehan says the technician who arrived at the house to disconnect the power supply spoke to Folole and she told him she needed electricity to operate the machinery. Sheehan says the technician said he was just doing his job, turned the power off and left.

The woman died a few hours after the power was disconnected.

The police are looking into what happened at the Muliaga house for a Coroner's inquest and say a criminal investigation could follow, depending on what they find.

*****

Mercury Energy says it keeps a register of customers who have provided proof they need power for medical reasons so their life line is never unplugged.

But, Folole Muliaga was not on that list. And the company says when its contractor went to the house he was never told she had a life-threatening condition.

"There'd been contact with them for the preceding seven weeks or so about an outstanding amount of around $160 to $200," says Doug Heffernan of Mercury Energy.
Killing someone for the almighty dollar. Its done all the time by people robbing stores or by energy companies, or the all mighty Catholic Church. The last of those, given a choice of paying for a diocese employee's insurance premiums who happens to be on hospital pregna bedrest or cutting off the mother's insurance, the church decided they rather have the money than help two human lives. The baby died by the way, the church has their money and the bishop who allowed this to happen(who ignored the father's phone calls) is now a Cardinal! Murder gets you places in this world, it also earns Mercury Energy the Knucklehead of the Day award.

Linked to- Adam, Big Dog, Bright & Early, Cao, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Samantha Burns, StikNstein, Third World County, Yankee Sailor,

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Somebody had a fire and didn't tell me!

From the Sun-Sentinel-


About 40 firefighters responded to a 1 a.m. Monday blaze in the attic of an assisted living facility, Atria Meridian, west of Lantana but there were no injuries, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue said.

A worker in the two-story facility, in the 3000 block of Donnelly Drive, called 911 for an electrical fire contained in the attic, Capt. Don DeLucia said. The fire was burning insulation between trusses in the attic and three units had to be evacuated, DeLucia said. It is unclear the extent of the damage and the fire is still under investigation.

About 15 trucks responded to the blaze and firefighters had to take turns battling the fire in tight spaces, DeLucia said.
Meridian is without electricity. I wonder what is being done with all the residents.

How close do I live to Atria Meridian? A quarter of a mile(That's if you're walking. By the crow flies, probably half of that), I pass by it when taking my daily walk. Leonita, who is a Eucharistic Minister at our Catholic Church, used to bring communion to residents there.

A big fire close to my house and I'm sleeping! Instead my Mother-in-law, who just returned from the Philippines on Sunday, began cooking Filipino food at 4 a.m. Life in Lantana, it isn't always boring.

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

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From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Wisconsin. Did the robber really think the employee would give him her number?

Linked to- Amboy Times, Jo, StikNstein,

MILWAUKEE - A thief found out the hard way that robbing a woman isn't the best way to capture her heart.

Two men robbed a U-Haul store around 3 p.m. Sunday, taking an unspecified amount of cash, according the store's owner. But instead of fleeing, one man lingered and tried to strike up a conversation with the woman he had just robbed.

"He stuck around and was trying to get the female employee's number," U-Haul general manager Patrick Sobocinski said. "She said he was just saying, 'Hey baby, you're pretty fine.'"

According to Sobocinski, one robber went behind the counter, put his hands around both employees' waists and demanded money.

The robber forced one employee to open the register and grabbed cash. Then he forced the workers to the ground and fled, but his accomplice waited for a few moments and then asked one clerk whether she'd go out with him, he said.

"She said he was saying, 'Can I get your number and go out sometime,'" Sobocinski said.

No surprise ending here — the woman turned him down, and he fled.

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Imposter

From the Stanford Daily-


Azia Kim was like any other Stanford freshman. She graduated from one of California’s most competitive high schools last June, moved into the dorms during New Student Orientation, talked about upcoming tests and spent her free time with friends.

Azia Kim allegedly climbed through this first-floor window in Okada to sleep during spring quarter. The 18-year-old was evicted after her ruse was uncovered Monday night.

The only problem is that Azia Kim was never a Stanford student.

Kim, an 18-year-old from Orange County who graduated from Fullerton’s Troy High School, lived in Kimball throughout fall and winter quarter. She lived in Okada, the Asian-American theme dorm, until Monday night, when University staff finally caught onto her ruse.
Some students believe Azia Kim did this because of parental pressures.

Anyone see Kim getting a television, movie or book deal out of this? See she may yet be sucessful, just not in the way Ms. Kim's parents planned or hoped for.

Hat tip- Joanne Jacobs
Linked to- Adam, Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Gary Olson Jr. of Anchorage Alaska. He gets the award for the following.

WASILLA, Alaska - A suspect in the theft of handguns from a Wasilla home didn't get far, according to Alaska State Troopers. He was found asleep in a vehicle parked in the home's garage, wearing a sweat shirt belonging to the woman who lives in the home.

Troopers on Sunday afternoon took a call of a burglary from Lisa Siepert, 38.

She reported that someone had entered her home and removed two handguns, food and alcohol.

When she looked in the garage, she found a strange man behind the wheel of her neighbor's vehicle.

Siepert told troopers the man was wearing her sweat shirt and that he was unresponsive.

Troopers said the suspect apparently entered the home, took the guns and broke the windshield of a pickup truck parked nearby to get inside it.

The suspect then went into the garage, broke windows out of the second vehicle and fell asleep inside.

Gary Olson Jr., 20, of Anchorage, was arrested.

He was charged with burglary, two counts of theft involving a weapon and two counts of criminal mischief.
Moral of the story- Take a nap before breaking into someone's home. Gary Olson Jr of Anchorage Alaska is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Blue Star, Bright & Early, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, StikNstein, Third World County, The World According to Carl,

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day


Don't forget our fallen soldiers today. All citizens of the United States owe these men and women a debt. We wouldn't have the freedom we have without their brave sacrifices.

God bless all our fighting men and women today plus their families.

Thank you to The Professor at Right Wing Nation where I borrowed this photo from.

Other bloggers with Memorial Day posts- Jo, Blue Star, My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Woman Honor Thyself, ROK Drop, Greta at Hooah Wife and Friends, Dave Schuler at OTB, Rick at SOTP, Sister Toldjah,

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More on Kellie Lim


Another article on the incredible Kellie Lim. It is worth worth reading. Boy I just wish I knew what medical school told Kellie not to apply. I'd give that University a Knucklehead award.

Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, Morewhat, DragonLady World, Leaning Straight Up, Mark My Words, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, StikNstein, Yankee Sailor,

When Kellie Lim was 8 years old and stricken with deadly bacterial meningitis, it was her blind mother who came to her hospital bedside every day and told her to fight.

The disease took both of Lim's legs, one arm and the tips of three fingers on her remaining hand, but she would follow her mother's directive by ultimately whipping it -- and just about every other obstacle that has come along.

On Friday, the former Warren resident, now 26, will graduate near the top of her class from UCLA medical school. She'll walk across the stage on prosthetic legs -- and right into a three-year pediatric residency program at the Los Angeles university.

"She was definitely one of my inspirations," Lim said of her mother, Sandy Lim, who died in 2004. "She showed me that even though one can have a major disability, it doesn't mean that life doesn't go on and that you can't conquer it."

Lim, a self-described tomboy and bookworm, said the meningitis put her in Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital for four months, although doctors never knew how she got it. Her younger brother, Tarring, also contracted the highly contagious ailment but didn't suffer any complications, she said. Lim's family -- including father Norman, a chemical engineer, and older sister Nellie -- all took antibiotics as a precaution.

After doctors amputated her limbs, including her favored right arm, an 8-year-old Lim was forced to learn to write and eat left-handed -- and to walk again.

"It took me a couple of years to even walk on my own," she said. "It was a long hard road, it was a lot of therapy, but I never had to repeat a grade."

Using a motorized wheelchair "separated her from the general population," Lim said, so she concentrated on her schoolwork. After graduating valedictorian from Warren's Fitzgerald Senior High School in 1998, she went on to obtain her bachelor's degree in biology and Asian studies from Northwestern University in 2002.

When it came time to apply for medical school, Lim said she called around to see if she would meet the physical requirements. One prominent university told her not even to apply, she said, although they later backed off that statement when she asked for it in writing.

"That fueled me to just do it," she said. "I'm not the type to let people tell me I can't do something."

While Lim uses prosthetic legs, she does not wear a prosthetic arm. She can give injections and take blood with one hand, despite missing three fingertips.

An allergy sufferer, Lim plans to become a pediatrician specializing in allergy immunology, which will require another three-year commitment. She said she treated patients in medical school with minimal assistance -- "maybe a hand here or a hand there."

As a doctor, "I think there will be situations where I will need some assistance, during some procedures, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for someone else's hand to replace the one I don't have," she said. "Just because people have both hands doesn't mean they have an innate ability to perform the procedure."

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Spyware maker Zango. They get the award for the following.


AN OUTFIT accused of having a long history of making spyware has sued PC Tools, the maker of Spyware Doctor for preventing its product from working.
Zango has sued PC Tools over the way that Spyware Doctor rated Zango's software. PC Tools says that the legal efforts are an attempt by Zango to influence its re-classification process. PC Tools, which ships with Google Pack gives Zango an elevated threat level rating.

According to Infoworld, Zango wants $35 million in damages, because Spyware Doctor removes Zango's software without warning users that it will be deleted.

Infoworld claimed Zango was formerly known as 180solutions. In November it paid $3 million to settle US Federal Trade Commission charges that its software was being installed deceptively on PCs forcing them to endure pop-up ads.
Talk about chutzpah. This company puts spyware on people's computers without their consent, and they're suing. Zango should be sued for millions instead by computer owners, maybe that will happen one day but in the meantime I make Zango today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Overlawyered
Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, Committees of Correspondence, DragonLady World, Leaning Straight Up, Mark My Words, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, StikNstein, Yankee Sailor,

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Associated Press can't read

Otherwise they wouldn't make the obvious mistake below.


Lim recently saw her childhood medical file, and learned that doctors had given her an 85 percent chance of survival.
Of course if you read Kellie Lim's story in the LA Times, you find out she had a 85% chance of dying.

That's a screen capture of AP's stupidity. By the time this is posted, the corrected version will be on the web.

If you're going to plagiarize other MSM's work Associated Press, double check what you're writing first.

Note- I called AP in Los Angeles with the correction. The person I spoke to is named Jeremiah. I don't know if he is the one who copied the article or not.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself,

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The incredible Kellie Lim


This young woman's story is amazing. A triple amputee at age 8, she is preparing to graduate UCLA medical school and then do her pediatric residency. Read the entire article below. It is truly inspiring. God bless Kellie Lim.

Update- For more on Kellie Lim click here and here.

Hat tip- Dr. Taylor at Poliblog
Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Maggie, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Point Five, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Shadowscape, StikNstein, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

Kellie Lim knows all too well what it is like to be a very sick child.

Struck with a ravaging bacterial infection that destroys limbs, she became a triple amputee at age 8 and soon faced a life of prosthetics, wheelchairs and often-painful rehabilitation.

But from that suffering, Lim forged a life of achievement. On Friday, she will graduate from UCLA's medical school and then will begin a residency program at the medical center there.

Her chosen specialty? Pediatrics, with a possible concentration later on childhood allergies and infectious diseases.

"Just having that experience of being someone so sick and how devastating that can be — not just for me but for my family too — gives me a perspective that other people don't necessarily have," the 26-year-old Michigan native said recently.

And of all the topics she sampled during medical school, only her work with children left her "smiling at the end of the day."

Lim carried out her medical training with a determination that awed her professors and fellow students and won her the school's top prize for excellence in pediatrics.

Opting not to use a prosthetic arm, she showed that she can perform most medical procedures with one hand, including taking blood and administering injections. She lives on her own in a Westwood apartment with no special features for the handicapped and drives a car with only one adaptation: a turning knob on the steering wheel. She is learning to swim, is trying horseback riding and even went tandem skydiving recently.

Lim, whose legs were amputated about 6 inches below her knees, gave up her wheelchair years ago and walks so well down the long and crowded hospital hallways — with a slightly bouncy stride — that new classmates and patients often don't have a clue for weeks that artificial limbs fill her shoes and pant legs.

She reluctantly will accept a seat during hospital bedside rounds when painful ulcers erupt on the skin that touches her prosthetics. (She has undergone grafts and additional surgeries over the years to help with the fittings.)



Colleagues say Lim's calmness in a hospital's hectic environment puts others at ease.

"With Kellie, at first you notice her hand is not there. But after about five minutes, she is so comfortable and so competent that you take her at face value and don't ask questions so much. She has an aura of competence about her that you don't worry," said Dr. Elijah Wasson, who supervised Lim during a rotation in internal medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar.

Lim attributes some of her gumption to her dreadful childhood bout of bacterial meningitis. The resulting toxic shock, with internal clotting and bleeding, wrecked her extremities, leading to the amputations. When she went back last year to the Michigan hospital to read her voluminous medical file, she found an evaluation stating that 8-year-old Kellie Lim had an 85% chance of dying of the meningitis.

Her parents urged her not to give up during her four months of hospitalization and the following years of rehabilitation. Just five months after she became sick, Lim returned to regular school in suburban Detroit.

Previously right-handed, she learned to write and do chores with her somewhat diminished left hand, having lost three fingertips on it to amputation, along with her entire right hand and forearm. She has been fitted with prosthetic arms, but does not wear one in public anymore and uses it at home just for rare tasks, such as assembling an IKEA desk by herself.

"I hate failing," she said. "It's one of those things that's so ingrained in me."

That view was intensified by another disability in the family. Her mother, Sandy, went blind in her 20s and, except for not driving, sought to continue as normal a life as possible in raising three children. She cooked, cleaned and walked the youngsters to school.

"She definitely was a great role model for me," Lim said. "It was hard for her to overcome her blindness, and I think she definitely instilled a strength in me."

Just before her mother's death three years ago, Lim promised her that she would finish medical school — a pledge she will fulfill when she and her UCLA classmates take the Hippocratic oath.

"She wanted me to be a pediatrician," Lim said, "and I know that somewhere out there, she knows I am going to be one."

Lim is a soft-spoken, gracious woman, but she can be fierce in resisting being typecast as a disabled doctor who should focus just on rehabilitation medicine. She also is reluctant to accept what she sees as unnecessary assistance, even if it sometimes takes her longer than others to get things done.

Neil Parker, senior associate dean of student affairs at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, recalled how Lim resisted some of his early efforts to adapt or substitute medical equipment for her. "I think at the beginning we were perhaps a little at odds because I wanted to help her a lot with what I felt she needed," he said. "She wanted me to help her, but only with what she was willing to use."

In some cases, that meant finding older equipment, such as blood pressure cuffs that seemed better for a one-handed person, or practicing IV insertions.

One hurdle involved percussing, the lung exam done by placing one hand on a patient's chest and using the other hand to tap on it. Parker suggested using a hand-held ultrasound machine, but Lim declined. Instead, Veterans Affairs experts in Westwood designed a short metal-and-plastic extender that Lim straps onto her residual limb to help with the tapping. It is not pretty, but it works fine.

Of course, Lim is not able to perform surgery or intubate a patient by herself. But those skills probably won't be needed much in her likely fields. "There are certain things she can't do, but there are a million things she can do," Parker said.



Lim was assigned, on her final medical school rotation, to the pediatric allergy and immunology division under the supervision of Dr. Robert L. Roberts. On a recent Monday afternoon, she did the preliminary interviews and examinations by herself, deftly taking notes, pointing a light into ears, listening to hearts with a stethoscope.

She made no attempt to hide the residual limb, which she skillfully maneuvered to hold down papers; following medical protocol, she briskly washed the right limb and her left hand before touching patients or instruments.

First came a 14-year-old boy, who despite severe asthma, allergies, nosebleeds and migraines wants to play more baseball. He displayed the closedmouthed shrugging of boys his age, but his concerned mother detailed his middle-of-the-night breathing emergencies. Lim soon spotted evidence in his nose of inflamed tissue and recent bleeding. After a consultation with Roberts, the youth was prescribed a trial of new asthma medicine.

The boy's mother, Karen St. Louis, said she and her family talked about the doctor during the drive home as a "phenomenal" role model: "The conversation was that you can do anything you put your mind to."

Lim's next patient that day was a heartbreaker: a 5-year-old girl born with severe immunodeficiencies and numerous other medical problems.

The tiny child, wearing a green pantsuit, white-and-pink sneakers and thick glasses, is not toilet trained and does not speak, though she seemed to understand what her mother told her in Spanish and English. Her parents, clearly devoted to her, worried about seizures she suffered during a recent vacation. The girl whimpered a bit while Lim examined her but did not resist. Roberts and Lim scheduled more testing.

With everything else going on, the girl's parents seemed almost oblivious to Lim's missing hand.

Out in the world, Lim's partial arm sometimes attracts odd comments and stares, but her patients have shown overtly negative reactions only a couple of times, she said. Some small children were frightened by it and had to be soothed. Lim said she knows that some parents may be wary of her and that she will have to prove her competence.

"I'm not going to force myself on them in any way, but it still affects me personally," she said. "It kind of wears you down a little bit."

Still, Lim clearly identifies with the struggles of families with very ill youngsters.

"It is amazing to see family dynamics like that," she said a few minutes after the girl left. "It's very tragic, but the parents love their kids and will do anything for them and know so much about them."

Her own parents, immigrants from China, loom large in her life. Besides stressing her mother's influence, she thanks her father, Norman, a chemical engineer who kept the family going — financially and emotionally — through its unusual burdens.

Lim also credits her older sister, Nellie, who was protective of her and supportive of her moves toward independence, such as attending college away from home, at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Nellie Lim, now an attorney in Michigan, recalls the family philosophy:

"It wouldn't do you any good to sit and cry about it. We just went on and kept doing what we had to do like any other family. You need to make dinner. Go to the basketball game. Go on vacation."

Kellie Lim recently completed the last assignments for her medical degree and took a four-day pre-graduation celebratory Mexican cruise with classmates.



And this spring she began taking swimming lessons at a public pool in Westwood, even though she had been afraid of the water. During a recent session, Lim took off her prosthetic legs and was lowered into the water on a mechanized chair.

At first, Lim relied on a blue Styrofoam "noodle" to help her float. Then her coach took it away so Lim could practice a dolphin-like propulsion that used her torso, her one full arm and the remnants of her legs to move up the lane with a force that had some other swimmers doing double takes. It was tough work, but most of the time Lim was smiling.

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Happy Anniversary to me

The Florida Masochist is two years old as of today. Pop the champagne. It all began with this post. Appropriately it was a Knucklehead award.


This will be an award I will give out as often as there are suitable candidates. It's for any idiot either in the news or just encounter where I live. Today's winner I find particularly outrageous.

Goes to any of the 12 members on the board of Goldstar Mothers who voted to deny Ligaya Lagman membership. This organization which is for mothers who lost children during the war, denied Mrs. Lagaman membership after her son Army Sgt. Anthony Lagaman died in Afghanistan. What was the reason? The rules for Gold Star Mothers says a mother must be a US citizen. Ligaya Lagman is a Permanent Resident Alien and her son was a US Citizen.
TFM has continued to be outraged by the stupidity of others. Seen in the over 700 Knucklehead awards I've given out since. Two years have passed and I still average only 300-400 visitors a day. This blog will never be mistaken for Captain's Quarters or Michelle Malkin or even James Joyner's blog Outside the Beltway. I've made a few friends along the way, James included. Lets see if I hang in here for another year. If I don't go insane first.

Don't say it. I'm insane already.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Maggie, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Point Five, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Shadowscape, StikNstein, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Menu Foods. Menu is the company known for the pet food debacle that's led the poisoning of pets across this country. If that wasn't bad enough, the company has began harassing pet owners who had brought suit against the company. I should have given this company an award a long time ago. So here it is, for the owners they killed or poisoned, Menu Foods is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Maggie, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Point Five, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Shadowscape, StikNstein, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

(May 26) - The pet food company that recalled six million cans of contaminated dog and cat food made repeated harassing phone calls to pet owners who had lawyers and said they didn't want to talk, even after a judge ordered it to leave them alone, court records show.

Lawyers from six of the more than 80 law firms representing clients who believed their pets were harmed by Menu's pet food brought a motion in federal court in New Jersey Wednesday seeking to stop Menu from "bullying" people who had called the company since the recall was first announced two and a half months ago.

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman in Camden, New Jersey agreed with them.

"It's one thing for two people to sit down at the table and voluntarily agree to settle their case, it's another thing to harass people on weekends through automated phone calls," Hillman said to Edward Ruff of Pretzel & Stouffer, Menu's lawyer.

Hillman entered a consent degree on Wednesday ordering Menu Foods to have no contact with anyone who believes their animal was injured by its product without a lawyer being involved.

Calls to Ruff on Friday by USA TODAY were not returned.

Menu Foods has hired Crawford & Company of Atlanta, an insurance adjustment company, to contact pet owners who called the company to report animal illnesses or deaths. Operators at the company directed USA TODAY to call back Tuesday after the holiday.

Jay Edelson, a lawyer with Chicago-based Blim & Edelson which represents over 400 owners, says he believes Menu has received close to 30,000 calls from owners across North America who claim their pets were injured.

At a previous hearing on May 18, the judge had cautioned Menu and Crawford that they should not contact people who had joined one of the lawsuits against the company. Legally, Menu cannot contact those plaintiffs directly but must go through their lawyers.

But affidavits presented in court on the 23rd showing that even pet owners who clearly told Crawford representatives they had retained a lawyer were being called both personally and by what the judge described as 'blaster' computerized phone banks, sometimes numerous times.

Ruff blamed the problem on the fact that Monday, May 21 was a holiday - Victoria Day - in Canada. Menu is based in Ontario, Canada.

Hillman was unyielding.

"It seems to me that Menu Food is out to do whatever Menu Foods wants to do in a way that could adversely impact the rights of (possible members of the class action suit," he said.

Menu's representatives asked owners to sign releases which waived their right to get advice from a lawyer," Edelson said.

"It appears that the company was engaging in a cynical strategy, designed to settle some of the strongest claims cheaply and induce pet owners to give up information it might be able to use to defend against others," his firm said in a letter released to pet owners on Friday.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Kelly Dowd, Mother to Dakota, Dead at 42

The mother of one of the best junior golfers in America, passed away this last Thursday in Florida.

Golf fans will remember Dakoda playing in last year's Ginn Open. The tournament giving the young lady a sponsor's exemption so Kelly could see her mother play. I lost my mom to cancer when she was only 53. God bless the Dowd family.

Kelly Jo Dowd, a cancer-stricken mother whose dream of seeing her teen daughter Dakoda play in an LPGA event was realized last spring, has died. She was 42.

She spent years battling breast cancer, which her family said spread to her bones and liver, and then to her brain in the final months of her life. She died Thursday night at her home in Palm Harbor, Fla., with her daughter and other relatives at her side.

"Kelly Jo didn't know how to quit," her husband, Mike Dowd, said Friday. "It was inspiring. The nurses said her heart was at 160 beats a minute for the last day and a half. She was fighting. That was Kelly Jo."

Her death came just over a year after seeing her daughter play in the Ginn Open in Reunion, Fla., when Dakoda, then 13, and her family went public with their story, even knowing Kelly Jo's death was expected. Shortly before the tournament, the family was told Kelly Jo would have only a few months to live.

*****

Earlier this month, Dakoda, now 14, failed to advance in qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open, clearly distracted by her mother's rapidly failing health.

*****

Dakoda Dowd, one of the nation's top-ranked junior golfers, was invited to play in the 2006 tournament by Ginn Resorts president and CEO Bobby Ginn, who lauded the Dowds Friday as "a special family whose story touched a nation."

"Kelly Jo Dowd inspired us all with her strength, courage and tireless efforts to educate both women and men about breast cancer, the disease that would eventually take her life," Ginn said. "Her zest for life and boundless enthusiasm in spite of her condition lifted countless spirits and should serve as a reminder to focus on what is truly important in life."

Dowd shot a 2-over par 74 on the first day, beating a number of major-championship winners, then shot 82 in the second round and missed the cut.



*****

The Dowd family chose to tell their story with hopes that Kelly Jo's plight — she ignored a lump for several months before being diagnosed with breast cancer — would be a strong reminder that women should be vigilant in doing self-exams and getting checked regularly.

*****

A memorial service will be held Tuesday at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater, Fla.

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Nipped in the boob

Some news from the Sun-Sentinel. This is one case of dog bite I've never heard and I bet none of you have either.

Linked to- Adam, Jo, Point Five,

A Fort Lauderdale attorney has sued a Boca Raton family for $1 million after he said their dog bit his left nipple.

According to the suit, William R. Cohen needs the money to pay for medical treatment, loss of income and for general damages for pain, suffering, physical disfigurement and "loss of sexual comfort and desire."



LocalLinks

Cohen, reached at his office Friday at the insurance defense and commercial litigation firm of Bohdan Neswiacheny, declined to comment.

The suit, filed Monday, claims that Steven Bushouse, his wife, Michelle, and father, James, are responsible for the March 31 bite at Mizner Bark, Boca Raton's dog park.

But according to the Bushouses, Cohen was at fault for grabbing their Jack Russell terrier during a doggie scuffle.

Taz, the 2-year-old terrier, was playing and running around during his first outing to the dog park at Military and Banyan trails, Steven Bushouse, 29, said.

"He's a typical terrier. They tend to be active and can be territorial, but that's normal," Michelle Bushouse, 28, said of her adopted pooch.

At some point that morning, Taz and some other dogs got into a tiff, which was quickly broken up. After a while the dogs got into it again.

"Then William Cohen decided to pick up my dog, and he in turn got bit on the nipple," Steven Bushouse said. "He was kind of like: `Ow. That kind of hurt.'"

The Bushouses said they didn't see blood on Cohen's shirt and he didn't appear to be seriously hurt. They assured Cohen their dog was vaccinated and exchanged their information to fax him a copy of Taz's records.

"I got his business card, and that's when I saw he was a lawyer," Steven Bushouse said.

The lawsuit claims Taz bit Cohen without warning and that the dog had a habit of "viciously biting humans." But Michelle Bushouse said Cohen grabbed her dog unexpectedly. Taz hasn't bitten anyone before or since, said Bushouse, who adopted the dog a week before he bit Cohen.

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Florida A&M University basketball coach Mike Gillespie Sr. He gets the award for the following.

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida A&M University basketball coach Mike Gillespie Sr. was jailed Friday on a misdemeanor stalking charge, police said.

Police said they were called Friday morning by a woman, who said she was stalked at work Thursday evening and again on Friday morning.

She had told authorities on May 15 of Gillespie's advances, but didn't want to file charges, hoping he'd stop contacting her, a police report said.

The report said police had investigated Gillespie several times since March 2005 on stalking complaints and warned him to stop his behavior. It was not immediately clear who made the complaints.

Gillespie's attorney, Tim Jansen, said he hoped to have the coach released sometime late Friday on $1,000 bond.

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Gillespie, 56, just completed his sixth season at Florida A&M by taking the team to its first 20-win season since 1988-89 and its second NCAA tournament appearance under his tutelage. He is married and has two adult children. His son, Mike Gillespie Jr., serves as his top assistant.

The school, which is already struggling with financial issues, released a statement saying it was reviewing the charges against Gillespie.
I blogged today about FAMU's more serious problems at present. Apparently not many people at this university are using their brains at present. What got into Mark Gillespie Sr's mind is beyond me, but one thing is certain, he is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

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