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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, July 31, 2007

Volcanic activity

In the Philippines, where else.

MANILA, Philippines - A volcano in the central Philippines spewed ash early Tuesday, blanketing fields and villages as far as three miles away, but there was no immediate sign of a major eruption, scientists said.

The 5,150-foot Mount Bulusan volcano has been showing signs of unrest with on-and-off ash and steam explosions since March 2006.

"We are keeping an eye on some villages in Juban and Irosin town. An ash explosion can occur there anytime," said Bella Tubianosa from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

She said the latest burst sent ash falling three miles west of the volcano, which is about 240 miles southeast of Manila.

Television reports said the ash column caused panic in the surrounding area, with residents running out of their homes.

Villagers have been warned not to venture into a 2.5-mile "permanent danger zone" around the volcano. Broadcaster ABS-CBN said the military was expected to enforce an evacuation of people from Bulusan's immediate vicinity.

The Philippine archipelago lies on the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire," where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common.
Mayon was rumbling late last year. The country of my wife's birth seems to spin from one disaster to another, if it isn't volcanoes, then nature supplies mudslides, typhoons, earthquakes, and if not nature its human created disasters involving political corruption and coup attempts. I love the Philippine people, but I could never live there full-time. Dear wife would agree on that point!

This is also further proof, that its never wise to open a business near mountains like Bulusan. Then as the saying goes, a sucker is born every minute.

Linked to- Adam, Bullwinkle, Third World County,

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The Golf Factory

Could this news mean even more South Korean lady golfers in the years ahead?

Cheaper green fees and increasing access to maritime leisure facilities could help reduce the country's service trade deficit, the government said yesterday.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy said that it will implement measures to promote the construction of golf courses and develop the country's maritime leisure industry in an effort to redirect outbound tourists to local destinations and cut service deficits. Last year, the country recorded $18.8 billion in service deficits, $12.9 billion of which was accounted for by overseas tourism.

The government plans to introduce measures to encourage the building of golf courses on farmlands in an effort to increase the number of golf courses and bring down green fees.
When discussing South Korea, you have to remember it is a small country. Over forty million people squeezed into an area the size of Indiana. Unlike the Hoosier state, the ROK has mountains. There just isn't all that much undeveloped real estate around.

Under current regulations, a 30 percent tax is placed on farmlands that are converted to other uses. Golf course operators are required to provide facilities such as showers and golf carts.

The government said that these regulations, coupled with the inability of the country’s 251 golf courses to accommodate sufficient numbers of golfers, are responsible for local green fees being much higher than in other countries.

More courses will facilitate a drop in green fees and keep local golfers in the country, stemming the rise of overseas golf trip related costs, the Finance Ministry said. The ministry added that $1.28 billion was spent last year on overseas golf trips, almost double the $650 million seen in 2003.
Frankly, I'm not all that keen on Government spending money on sports facilities or encouraging tourism.(To see how the government can make a mess of the later, click here. Don't forget Florida tax dollars being used to promote British rugby either.) Color me libertarian, I feel the government should be less involved, not more involved in what is strictly a business matter. If there's a demand for more golf courses in the ROK, then some entrepreneur will finance the building of golf courses on what used to be farmland. Why is assistance needed? Are the South Korean people clamoring for it, or just some developer?

Also The potential benefits are slim as Robert Koehler points out. Only 1.2 billion was spent by South Koreans playing golf overseas. The South Korean government could spend billions and its citizens still will go elsewhere for 18 holes.

If the Ministry of Finance and Economy goes through with its plan, we'll have to wait some years to see if it impacts professional golf in the US. With 45 or so South Korean lady golfers on the LPGA Tour already, I don't know if many more can be added.

Update- Just to clarify myself, I'm not saying there should be a limit on South Korean golfers on the LPGA. With players emerging from many corners of the world today, including home grown Korean-Americans like Kimberly Kim and Michelle Wie, South Korean golfers will find it a uphill fight to increase their numbers.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation,

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From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Stuart Florida. Passing obvious funny money at your place of work doesn't come under the heading of smart career moves.

Linked to- Dumb Ox, Morewhat, Outside the Beltway,

STUART — The edges of the counterfeit $100 bill were a little wide, so Malbin Caraballo borrowed a pair of scissors from the cashier Saturday at the car wash where he worked, returning them a few minutes later after performing the trim in his car.

Then he asked the same cashier to change the fake bill for five $20s, according to Martin County sheriff's records.

Distracted by a phone call and knowing Caraballo was an employee, the clerk said she made the exchange without checking the bill, but the boss checked it later and called the Martin County Sheriff's Office to report the bogus $100.

Video surveillance backed up the cashier's story and Caraballo was called in for questioning.

Caraballo tearfully admitted passing the bill, saying he needed the money to make a rent payment on his television set, and said his stepson actually printed the fake bill on his home computer.

Passing the poor quality bill at work was "stupid," Caraballo, 26, acknowledged to detectives.

A search was then conducted at stepson Ricky Herrick's home and sheriff's investigators and a U.S. Secret Service agent said they found more phoney $100s on sheets of paper along with some fake $10 bills. The agent seized about $850.

Herrick, 18, told investigators he had been printing the counterfeits for about three months and wanted to help his stepfather with his bills.

Caraballo was released from the Martin County jail on $2,500 bond on a charge of uttering a forged instrument. Herrick was held without bail on a federal counterfeiting charge.

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Would you like an ice cream sandwich instead?

From the Sun-Sentinel-

PEMBROKE PINES It began with the sounds of My Little Teacup being drowned out by a honking car Sunday evening.

By the time it was over, Patricia Turgeon says her ice cream truck had been robbed and coins were strewn all over the floor. And the once-trusting mother of three children plans to bring an ax handle the next time she sells snow cones.

"It's ridiculous," Sgt. John Jacob, a police spokesman, said Monday. "What's next? Robbing a lemonade stand?"

Turgeon, 37, figured it was a parent honking -- sometimes kids make their parents get in a car to pursue her after realizing she has passed. But the car drove off when a little girl skipped toward her van from a nearby house.

Turgeon didn't think about the car again until she turned a corner and saw its passenger waiting for her on the side of the road in the 15400 block of Northwest 14th Court.

He was wearing a black hat, black shirt and black shorts. And he had a gun, she said.

Give him the money, he said, pulling at the cash box. Turgeon held on. Quarters and dimes spilled on the floor.

Give him the money, he repeated, this time cocking the gun hammer, she said.

"I almost wanted to grab the gun because it looked like a toy," she said. "But I didn't want to take any chances."

Turgeon handed him the cash that she had earned earlier selling snow cones, ice cream sandwiches, and SpongeBob SquarePants ice creams with bubble gum eyeballs.

He fled in a light, possibly maroon, older model Toyota or Honda with a white front panel, authorities said.
First of all I don't know how someone can go around their work day listening to the music these trucks play over and over without losing their minds. Maybe they put earplugs in, who knows?

Holding up an ice cream truck? Just another rich episode in the crazy world of South Florida.

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

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Yes Boynton won't do

Palm Beach Post columnist Joel Engelhardt writes about who shouldn't be chosen to replace disgraced County Commissioner Warren Newell.

Looked at that way, the Heart of Boynton controversy makes Boynton Beach the perfect breeding ground for the successor to Warren Newell, who resigned from the Boynton-area District 3 seat in disgrace over allegations that he voted on deals that would help friends and associates. Consider the stalled Heart of Boynton as a line on the résumés of Mayor Jerry Taylor, a former aide to County Commissioner Mary McCarty, and Vice Mayor Jose Rodriguez.

On July 10, three weeks after disbanding its Community Redevelopment Agency board by a 3-2 vote - with Messrs Taylor and Rodriguez on the prevailing side - the city commission voted to end negotiations with Heart of Boynton developer Intown Partners. Intown failed to show that it had money for the project, commissioners said. Intown principal Samantha Simons argued in vain that without the city's financial commitment, her backer could not commit. When commissioners rejected her pleas, she lashed out.

Ms. Simons said Commissioner Ron Weiland took an unusual interest in her private dealings, asking when she was going to pay a lobbyist, former Boynton Commissioner David Katz. "My response to Commissioner Weiland," she said, "was 'David Katz doesn't work for me. Why should I pay David Katz?' "

The incident occurred in March, she said, but she didn't see fit to share it publicly until July - after the vote to dismiss her company. Sharing it in March would have been political suicide.
Go read Engelhardt's column in its entirety. There is just too many allegations of impropriety at present for Governor Crist to even consider appointing Mayor Taylor to replace Warren Newell. To be blunt, its time to appoint someone without prior political experience, and especially one not annointed by the local party hacks....I mean officials. The Palm Beach Post would probably say the learning curve would be too steep for such a Commissioner, but right now do we have any local politicians who aren't ethically challenged in one way or another? The more I read the news, the more the 'pay to play' culture looks to be the way our all our local officials work.

You can color me cynical if you want to in regards to all local elected officials.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness,

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Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXXXVI

Disgraced Lee County Sheriff George Knupp is pre filing to run for the same office again. This in spite of his once being indicted for perjury and having to subsequently give up his law enforcement certification. I don't know what's worse, Florida law allowing a crook to run for Sheriff or Knupp having the chutzpah to even try. Don't you just love Florida?

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Perri Nelson, Pursuing Holiness, Webloggin,

TAVARES - Former Lake County Sheriff George Knupp wants his old job back.

According to county election records, Knupp, 66, has pre-filed his intent to run for sheriff next year. Pre-filing means that the Republican can accept contributions and spend money on his campaign. But he still has to collect nearly 1,800 signatures or pay about $8,160 in qualifying fees before his name will appear on next year's ballot.

Knupp -- who filed the single sheet with officials on July 20 -- did not return a phone call left Monday at his Eustis home.

The former top cop accepted a settlement agreement earlier this year stemming from a 2004 grand-jury investigation that accused him of lying under oath. Grand jurors had been investigating how his office sold surplus vehicles.

Knupp was elected four times as sheriff, starting in 1988, before he was arrested Feb. 25, 2004, on a two-count perjury indictment.

As part of his settlement, Knupp was allowed to give up his law-enforcement certification, which isn't a requirement for elected sheriffs. Though he apologized in a 2004 open letter to Lake residents, saying, "I should have never been anything less than fully accurate," Knupp also said that he "did not intend to again seek election as your Sheriff."

While Sheriff Gary Borders has said he plans to run, officials say no one else has pre-filed for the slot.

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Briny Breezes- No sale

From the Palm Beach Post-

Two years after a wealthy suitor came courting, eight months after $510 million became too good a deal to pass up, and 17 days after the developer said it had "every intention of seeing this through," this oceanfront gaggle of mobile homes is back to square one.

Monday morning, just five days before a $500,000 deposit would have jumped to $5 million, Boca Raton-based Ocean Land Investments wrote a "Dear John" letter. It told the corporate board that runs Briny Breezes that it was calling off the deal to buy the 43-acre park - a deal that would have made many residents millionaires - and convert it to a resort.

Ocean Land said it had asked the board to push back Friday's deadline to Sept. 28 but was refused.

"It's heartbreaking," Vice President H. Logan Pierson said. He said there's a chance the deal could be revived, but a "very good possibility" Ocean Land will propose a more modest development - and offer a lower price.

Pete Fingerhut, a director of the corporation, whose shareholders are the residents, said directors voted unanimously July 20 to reject the extension. He said directors felt they could not alter a deal shareholders approved. He called the deal's collapse "a complete surprise."
If bets were taken, I still think Briny Breezes will be sold in my lifetime. The community is sitting on a prime piece of Palm Beach County real estate, its also a mobile home park in a hurricaen evacuation zone. A deal will be struck sooner or later.

Linked to-Adam, Bright & Early, Bullwinkle,

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Get well Chief Justice

From AP-

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts told President Bush Tuesday he was doing well after sustaining a seizure at his Maine vacation home, the White House said.

Bush called Roberts Tuesday morning.

"The chief justice assured him that he was doing fine," White House press secretary Tony Snow said. "The president was reassured."

*****

Doctors who examined Roberts after his seizure said they found no tumor, stroke or any other explanation for the episode.

Roberts, 52, had a similar, unexplained attack in 1993.

*****

By definition, someone who has had more than one seizure without any other cause is determined to have epilepsy, said Dr. Marc Schlosberg, a Washington Hospital Center neurologist who is not involved in the Roberts case.

Whether Roberts will need anti-seizure medications to prevent another is something he and his doctor will have to decide. But after two seizures, the likelihood of another at some point is greater than 60 percent.

Epilepsy is merely a term for a seizure disorder, but it is a loaded term because it makes people think of lots of seizures, cautioned Dr. Edward Mkrdichian, a neurosurgeon at the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch.

*****

The incident occurred around 2 p.m. on a dock near Roberts' summer home in Port Clyde on Maine's Hupper Island. He had just gotten off a boat and was returning home after running errands, Arberg said. Port Clyde, which is part of the town of St. George, is about 90 miles by car northeast of Portland, midway up the coast of Maine.

Roberts was taken by private boat to the mainland and then transferred to an ambulance, St. George Fire Chief Tim Polky said.

*****

Named to the court by Bush in 2005, Roberts is the youngest justice on a court in which the senior member, John Paul Stevens, is 87.

Roberts is the father of two young children.

Larry Robbins, a Washington attorney who worked with Roberts at the Justice Department in 1993, said he drove Roberts to work for several months after Roberts' seizure that year. Robbins said Roberts never mentioned what the problem was and he never heard of it happening again.
I have more than a passing familiarity. When young I suffered seizures and was placed on phenobarbital and dilantin for them. The seizures stopped by the time I was 10 or so, and with the exception of a blackout spell in 1989(probably due to stress), I've had no history since.

Right now The doctors are certain to be working hard in order to diagnose exactly what's wrong with the Chief Justice. I wish them good luck and to the CJ and his family. That adorable son of yours will be wanting his father healthy again.

Others blogging on this news- Poliblog, Michelle Malkin, Lorie at Wizbang, Pirate's Cove, Webloggin, Stop the ACLU, Below the Beltway, Sister Toldjah,

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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are blogger Michael Goldfarb and his employer, The Weekly Standard. They get the award for the following.


When the WWS and others first raised questions about the New Republic's Baghdad Diarist, the lefty blogs were mostly silent. Only one even mentioned the controversy, and that was to say the Beauchamp's story "has a faint whiff of bullshit about it."
It isn't just one lefty blog. As I've pointed out on two occasions, there is this left blog and TNR subscriber also who's been critical of the magazine. In this post saying, he hated to be on the same side as Michelle Malkin, and in another saying that TNR Editor Franklin Foer was not on a list of people he'd trust.

Left flank trackbacked to TFM on two occasions and I linked back on two posts of mine also. I first discovered Left Flank via milblogger ROK Drop.

So its two or more blogs rather than the one Michael Goldfarb says. So I emailed him about the mistake. What is his reply? From an email I got Sunday a.m.


"I said lefty blogs "were mostly silent", clearly there were a few that spoke to the issue, am I required to link to every single one?"
Yes Goldfarb said mostly silent but in the very next sentence wrote "Only one even mentioned the controversy". As you can see its at least two left blogs, therefore Mr. Goldfarb is wrong.

In spite of seven email exchanges beginning late Saturday evening and ending yesterday afternoon, Mr. Goldfarb has not corrected his blog.

What's one small mistake? You have to put it in the context of what Mr. Goldfarb is writing about. The New Republic and the validity of what its 'Baghdad Diarist' Scott Thomas wrote in three articles for the magazine. Mr. Goldfarb is hammering TNR(and I believe the magazine deserves it) for printing things that are in all likelihood false. Then at the same time Mr. Goldfarb can't correct one of his own mistakes.

Remember there is this post too of Mr. Goldfarb's. It mocked how the NYT and TNR went back and forth over the words 'certainty' and 'near certainty'. Funny how someone criticizes the choice of words of others, when he so careless in the use of them himself.

To paraphrase one blogger, You could say that Mr. Goldfarb's post has more than a faint smell of hypocrisy.

The trouble is, Michael Goldfarb's blogging sins run deeper than his failure to make one correction. Last Monday this letter from FOB Falcon appeared on blogs, including The Weekly Standard's.


I am a U.S. Army officer and have been stationed at FOB Falcon, Baghdad, Iraq since October of 2006. I am currently still here. The stories that "Scott Thomas" describes are completely fictional. From some of the things he talks about I am led to believe that this individual may possibly be in my unit since we are the only ones with Bradley Fighting Vehicles and I recall the child cemetery that was uncovered in our sector while constructing a Combat Outpost.

First: I have never seen a woman on the FOB that was disfigured. FOB Falcon is full of combat Soldiers (men). There are very few female Soldiers on the FOB. After being here a year surrounded by men, I can tell you what every woman on this FOB looks like. IF there had been a woman with burns covering her face, and IF some undisciplined Soldier(s) had done something like described in this guys story, he would have been dealt with swiftly and harshly. The dining facility here is small and usually crowded. Any NCO or officer that had heard or seen someone committing this type behavior would have immediately approached that group and reacted to that situation. Those Soldiers would have had UCMJ actions taken against them. No one I know, NCO, officer, or even lower enlisted, would have tolerated this.

Second: There was a children's cemetery unearthed while constructing a Combat Outpost (COP) in the farm land south of Baghdad International Airport. It was not a mass grave. It was not the result of some inhumane genocide. It was an unmarked cometary where the locals had buried children some years back. There are many such unmarked cemeteries in and around Baghdad. The remains unearthed that day were transported to another location and reburied. While I was not there personally, and can not confirm or deny and actions taken by Soldiers that day, I can tell you that no Soldier put a human skull under his helmet and wore it around. The Army Combat Helmet (ACH) is form fitted to the head. Unlike the old Kevlar helmets, the ACH does not have a gap between the helmet and the liner, only pads. It would have been impossible for him to have placed and human skull, of any size, between his helmet and his head. Further more, no leader would have tolerated this type of behavior. This type of behavior is strictly forbidden in the U.S. Army and would have made the individual involved subject to UCMJ actions.

Third: When the U.S. Army takes to the streets on patrols we do it deliberately, with task and purpose. "Thomas" describes the Bradley slowing down and 'jerking' suddenly to hit dogs. This just isn't possible. If he is slowing down, then the vehicles behind him are slowing down, and there is a gap created between him and the vehicles in front of him. This would violate standard operating procedure (SOP) and make the convoy more susceptible to attack. While no one that has been to Baghdad can deny that there are large packs of wild dogs roaming the streets, to think that that is all a Bradley crew is worried about is absurd. The streets are also filled with IED's and EFP's. They line every street and and every corner. They are the number one killer in Iraq. When we travel in convoys, dogs are not our concern. We watch the streets, we look at curbs, we look at rocks, we look at windows for snipers and trigger men, we don't look at wild dogs. Also, if this guy is driving a Bradley, how is he marking his "dog kill count" in a green book. Again, any leader would have corrected this action immediately, not only because it is subject to UCMJ action, but mainly because it endangers the lives of every man in that convoy.

In a final note I would like to say this. The U.S. Army today is the most disciplined and professional Army in the history of the United States. This is the only war in our nations history where we have not instituted the draft to fill our ranks. Every man in the service today is there because he volunteered. The stood up in the face of danger, knowing we were at war, and said "I'll go". Most of these men are on their second deployment in support of the War on Terrorism, some are on their fourth and fifth. After five years of war with an increasing number of casualties, longer and more frequent deployments, and no end in site, these brave young men continue to volunteer their services, many of them reenlisting. No other Army in our history has been able to do that without the draft. Our military men and women today are true professionals, they are truly America's best and bravest. While there are some bad apples and non-conformist in our ranks, we are quick to identify them and remove them from the service. The author of this story is a bad apple. He is trying to get attention by telling wild stories. He too will be identified and removed from the service.
The author of this letter asked to remain annonymous. Mr. Goldfarb posted it to his blog at 12:52 p.m. on July 23rd.

However I knew about this soldier as early as the Sunday evening July 22nd. I knew of the letter Mr. Goldfarb published over an hour and a half before he even published it. How is that?

There's a blog, Blue Star Chronicles. The blogger's first name is Beth. While talking about the Blue Star blog, I'll use Beth's name.

Beth and I have traded a few emails over the last year or so. She has Open trackback festivals I always link to.

On Sunday night, Beth saw one of my posts on Scott Thomas and The New Republic. She was angered by it, and said she knew someone at FOB Falcon. I wrote Beth on Sunday night.


The story says the woman was a contractor. I"d suggest you write about what you know of Falcon at your blog, and then send a link to The Weekly Standard Attention Michael Goldfarb and say you have a friend at Falcon in the header. Here's the email-

wws@weeklystandard.com

If he or she can do any of this, even better. Drop me a note if you write anything too. I'll link over to you.
That's exactly the email I sent Beth, with two minor fixes. To protect the identity of the soldier. Those parts are in bold. Beth replied back to me both Sunday night and on Monday morning. Beth's Monday email, time 10:51 a.m. says


I got this response to my email with permission to post it on the condition his name and email are not published. I prefer he not be identified (soldier's identity deleted)- just on the outside chance someone would want to cause problems for him.
In that same email Beth sent me a link to her post containing the above letter from FOB Falcon. Note- There's no time stamp on Beth's post to prove it was published before Mr. Goldfarb's but I have copies of both Beth's email to me, and the soldier's email to Mr. Goldfarb which included a CC copy to Beth. Michael supplied me with that copy.

I didn't immediately blog about the soldier's letter, but did blog about it on Tuesday morning.

What I'm getting to is Michael Goldfarb didn't link to Beth in his Monday June 23rd post, even though she was the proper source of the soldier's email. In an email from Mr. Goldfarb to Beth, he promised to link to her blog. He didn't, which Beth wrote to me about in a Tuesday June 24th email.


William,

Thanks for the link from your story :) Michael Goldfarb seems to have forgotten that he told me he'd link back from his story (grrrr). Oh well. I see that email is getting picked up all over the place.
What do you call a blogger who promises to link and doesn't. Or takes material another blogger helped supply but doesn't give credit to? Alot of word come to mind, liar is one. Thief is another. There's a third word that is a big sin in journalism. It starts with a P. This was the second bone I had to pick with Mr. Goldfarb and what prompted my original letter last Saturday evening. One of the replies I got from Michael is below.


I don't understand what I'm supposed to be looking at…I don't understand what you think I've done wrong, and I don't understand how I could have stolen an email that was sent to me, but I'm not sure there's anything more I can do here to demonstrate that I acted in good faith.
He promised a link to Beth, who without her help would have never gotten the email directly to start with, then didn't fufill his promise. I see lots of bad faith and lies or broken promises. How about you?

Near the end of our email exchanges, Michael did change course if briefly.


I'll meet you half way…I've added the link to Blue Star where the letter appeared, as perhaps I should have done when I first posted—I forgot to do so at the time, as I told Beth I would, and for that I apologize.
Michael supplied the link on Sunday afternoon. For a while I considered letting the matter drop. He made the fix etc. The trouble is, I felt as if I was making a deal with the devil. It bother my conscience, so after telling Mr. Goldfarb I wouldn't blog any more, I informed him again Sunday night I would.

Feel free to state your opinion on my course reversal. I did at least inform Mr. Goldfarb in advance, whether you agree with it or not.

Yesterday I wrote this post to mark a milestone at The Florida Masochist. In that same post, I gave a small preview of what I'm writing today.

A few hours later, I got a blog visitor via technorati. The person was from Boston Massachusetts area, where Mr. Goldfarb lives. Note- TFM is rarely a hotbed of web activity, I normally get 20-40 visitors an hour when my blog is busy. It's easy to note one single visitor when I'm online.

So I sent him another email, to remind him I will give him today's award. This is the reply I got in return.


I'll delete the link to bluestar so you can make your case more fully.
Rather childish in my opinion. He isn't hurting me, but Beth at Blue Star. Then alot of Mr. Goldfarb's actions are questionable.

From my earliest days I started blogging, I've given credit to other bloggers when due. I freely hat tip some blogs many times a week, Stuck on the Palmetto and Outside the Beltway more often than any other non-Open TB blogs around. I think I been more than fair when giving credit, though I did have this dust up with blogger Florida Cracker. Click here, here and here to read about it. I'll let you pass judgment.

Beth deserved credit, Mr. Goldfarb promised to link, didn't do so for over five days in spite of his promise, than unlinked less than 24 hours after linking. All because he's pissed at me. What does that tell you?

Bottom line- What I see here, and I've seen it before from bloggers right and left, are people with an agenda. Facts that disprove what they say are ignored or twisted. Mr. Goldfarb has a problem with TNR, heck I have one too. The difference is I didn't leave a post up or not correct one, that is misleading and untrue. How hard would it be to make one small fix to the post? Very simple but Michael isn't doing it and I've got a snagit copy of his webpage and his emails to prove it.(and all are available for anyone to see) This is a person who will lie to make a point, and won't correct it when caught. What does that tell you about Michael Goldfarb? Maybe your reply would be 'Color me unimpressed", which this Michael stated in reply to this journalist's misguided article and followup reply. Only others journalistic mistakes are worth noting to Michael, because he's never wrong. Ha!

Note- TFM has been wrong plenty of times, probably more so than Mr. Goldfard. I'll admit to them, correct my posts or leave the person's rebuttal up in my comments section. Click here and here for examples.

For lying, journalistic hypocrisy, plus broken promises and bad faith to another blogger, Michael Goldfarb and his employer The Weekly Standard are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Conservative Thoughts, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Is it just me?, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Webloggin,

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Former NFL Coach Bill Walsh dead at 75

He was an NFL coaching legend.

SAN FRANCISCO - Bill Walsh, the groundbreaking football coach who won three Super Bowls and perfected the ingenious schemes that became known as the West Coast offense during a Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 75.

Walsh died at his Bay Area home early Monday following a long battle with leukemia, according to Stanford University, where he served as coach and athletic director.

Walsh didn't become an NFL head coach until 47, and he spent just 10 seasons on the San Francisco sideline. But he left an indelible mark on the United States' most popular sport, building the once-woebegone 49ers into the most successful team of the 1980s with his innovative offensive strategies and teaching techniques.

The soft-spoken native Californian also produced a legion of coaching disciples that's still growing today. Many of his former assistants went on to lead their own teams, handing down Walsh's methods and schemes to dozens more coaches in a tree with innumerable branches.

Walsh went 102-63-1 with the 49ers, winning 10 of his 14 postseason games along with six division titles. He was named the NFL's coach of the year in 1981 and 1984.
I got to see the first of Walsh's three Super Bowl wins in person. My father knowing Cincinnati Browns owner Paul Brown's brother-in-law(Ironically Walsh was an assistant under Brown once), who when not able to go to the game, gave the tickets to Dad instead. The game, a 26-20 49er win, was a pretty good one so far as the Super Bowl is concerned.

Walsh also coached at Stanford in addition to supplying the NFL with a large number of head and assistant coaches. Many of whom are still working today. Bill Walsh will still leave his mark on Pro football even after his passing. RIP.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

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Donna Duffer sentenced

The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors bureau scandal is winding down.

WEST PALM BEACH - Donna M. Duffer was sentenced to 10 years in prison today, after admitting she stole almost $1.6 million from the county's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Duffer, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft over $100,000 and one count of money laundering over $100,000. Working as the bureau's controller, Duffer forged 225 checks over three years to help pay for her online gambling addiction.

She also was ordered to make restitution for the total amount of the theft, and was immediately imprisoned.
I have never understood how someone can pay restitution while imprisoned. Someone enlighten me if you can.


Most of the money Duffer stole should have been paid to the IRS. As of September 1, the bureau will owe about $1.2 million in back taxes and penalties to the IRS.

Duffer's attorney, B. Sue Foreman, called witnesses to show that Duffer has an illness called pathological gambling. Witnesses who have met Duffer and helped her during her Gamblers Anonymous classes say she has accepted responsibility and seems committed to getting better.
Ten years, when faced with up to sixty years in prison, seems sufficient sentence to me when it comes to embezzling taxpayer money. Even a gambling addict has to face pay back one day.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, The World According to Carl,

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200,000


Today we had a milestone visitor to TFM. It took this blog a little over two years to get there.

I'm probably too snarky, too incoherent, too dumb, or any of another half dozen descriptions, to ever have a high traffic blog. The most monthly visitors TFM ever had was in September 2006, mostly due to the Mark Foley scandal. A little over 15,000 people came to the blog. October 2006 was almost as busy and was the month TFM had its 100,000th visitor.

Of late I've been in the 11,500-12,500 range. Page views coming in at 16500-17500 a month. I don't have many regular visitors. I do get a lot of google traffic, like the screen capture to the left. My posts on Kellie Lim still bring me traffic on a daily basis.

For the few comments I get, and the light traffic that comes here, I often ask if I should give up blogging. For the mean time I'll keep on doing it. If only to keep some members of the MSM honest. People at the Palm Beach Post sometimes read this blog. Tomorrow I'm going to hand out a Knucklehead that will be very unflattering towards a publication and a blogger who works for them. Apparently they feel any lie that supports their position is justified. This in a blog post questioning another publication reporting on events in Iraq. The hypocrisy of these two is astounding, but to me not surprising. I've written the author, and he refuses to correct the post in question. I got six email from him yesterday to back it up besides other proof.

The same blogger also made a post that smells like plagiarism, for the source was provided to him by another blogger. A promise to the source to link to them in order to give credit wasn't done for over five days. This was only corrected yesterday, but it took my hammering Michael Goldfarb in a series of emails, to make it come about. Like with his lie in another post, I got emails to prove what I'm saying. The email Goldfarb printed would have never been sent to him, without my and Blue Star's involvement. My part was very small and unknown to Goldfarb till yesterday, but Beth at Blue Star deserved credit.

Sadly some people in the blogosphere and the MSM, will lie and walk all over anyone they consider insignifigant. Tommorow Michael Goldfarb and The Weekly Standard are going to be hit back as hard as this little blog can. Sounds like a mismatch and probably is but I'm going to say what needs to be said. Stay tuned.

Linked to- Blue Star, Bullwinkle, Cao, Is it just me?, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Right Wing Nation, The World According to Carl,

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No Change

Some news from the Philippines-

MANILA, July 30 Asia Pulse - The Philippines has offered to host a continuation of the talks among the six countries on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said Saturday.

In his closing remarks after presiding over the 40th Meeting of the ASEAN Standing Committee held Saturday at the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC) here, Romulo said that the Philippines is "aware of the precarious situation in the Korean Peninsula, which continues to grapple with the danger of nuclear proliferation.".

Romulo said that it is in the interest of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to support the Six-Party Talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"For this reason, the Philippines has offered the Six-Party members, all of whom are attending the ARF, the opportunity to continue their dialogue if they wish to, here in Manila," Romulo said.

Five of the members of the Six-Party Talks are also full dialogue partners of ASEAN. They are the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

Along with North Korea, the other member of the Six-Party Talks, the five are attending the 14th ARF.
Its a nice but meaningless offer from the Philippines. The talks could take place on Mt. Everest, 1,000 feet beneath in the front yard of my in-laws Tacloban home, the outcome is unlikely to change. Kim Il-Jong sees posession of nuclear weapons as a safeguard against attack by either the US or South Korea. The Knucklehead in Pyongyang is right, as long as the threat is there, he's secure. Dictators are very insecure by nature, their self preservation is almost always their #1 goal.

History has shown us that Pyongyang will promise changes in trade of some concessions. When North Korea gets what it wants, the stalling begins.

Bottom line- As much as we dislike it, the world is going to have to have to live with a nuclear North Korea.

Linked to- Big Dog, High Desert Wanderer, Is it just me?, Right Voices,

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Contact sport

Bicycling can be dangerous for your health in South Florida. From the Miami Herald-

Police were looking for a truck with county government markings after a hit-and-run accident involving a bicyclist.

The cyclist was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in serious condition. He was expected to live.

The cyclist was believed to be riding east on Quail Roost Drive (Southwest 200th Street) at about 127th Avenue when he was struck about 8 a.m.

A witness said the vehicle was a white pickup with Miami-Dade County markings. Police canvassed the neighborhood but could not locate the truck. Four blocks of Quail Roost were blocked off by the Florida Highway Patrol as police checked for tire tracks and other evidence. Since it is a state road, FHP has joined Miami-Dade police in the investigation.

The cyclist was apparently wearing heavy construction boots, which were left at the scene after he was taken away. It was not clear if he was wearing a helmet.
The twist on this often heard tale in Florida is the vehicle involved being government property. Usually the car doing the hitting is either driven by an elderly person who's half blind, or someone in trouble with the law or fearing arrest.(An illegal alien)

Both my younger brother and father got struck by cars when out biking. Neither was seriously hurt. I however had a 'run-in' with a government vehicle. A car I was driving in 1980 or 1981, was hit by a dizzy broad working for the Florida DOT. She was driving on the wrong side of the road. When there were only two lanes! In my case, the woman didn't leave the scene of the accident. Lucky or unlucky me.

Sometimes I feel the only place in Florida is one's home.

Linked to- Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, The World According to Carl,

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Foiled

Some news from Poland. Knowing how some people feel about their mother-in-laws(I get along great with mine.), was Krystyna Zbyszynska's daughter-in-law hoping for a crash landing?(Cue the sarcastic laughter)

Linked to- DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Is it just me?, Right Wing Nation,

WARSAW (Reuters) - Krystyna Zbyszynska, 84, became Poland's oldest parachutist when she made her first jump with her daughter-in-law, news channel TVN24 reported on Sunday.

"I survived World War Two and wasn't afraid, so what's there to be afraid of now?" she said after clambering out of her jumpsuit this weekend.

"Babcia (granny) Krysia is not your ordinary gran," explained one of her teenaged granddaughters.

"She tells me I'm not playing my music loud enough and comes into my room and wants to dance."

Asked whether she planned another jump Zbyszynska, from the northern city of Olsztyn, told the channel: "Yes, the day I turn 100."

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Upheval

From NPR-


Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday vowed to stay in office, despite a humiliating election that saw his Liberal Democratic Party suffer its worst defeat in a half-century and could have implications for relations with the U.S.

In a vote for half of the seats in the upper house of parliament, the electorate voiced its outrage over a series of political scandals and the loss of millions of pension records - a serious blunder in this rapidly-ageing country - stripping the LDP of its majority in the 242-seat body.

"To pursue reforms, to build a new country, I have to fulfill my duties as prime minister from now on," Abe said, acknowledging, nonetheless, that a Cabinet reshuffle was in order.

But the vote is a sign the electorate is angry. It was a terrible defeat for the prime minister a mere 10 months after he took office, succeeding the charismatic and popular Junichiro Koizumi.

The LDP remains in control of the lower house and thus still controls the government, but Sunday's defeat was a clear sign of Abe's tumbling fortunes and a dramatic reversal of the stellar support he enjoyed when he took office less than a year ago.

******

Phil Deans, a professor of Politics and East Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo, said Abe's mission to make Japan more assertive on the world stage is out of touch with the electorate.

"His nationalist agenda just doesn't have that much appeal. Most Japanese people don't care that much about revising the constitution and changing Japan's international role," Deans said.

The Democratic Party of Japan, or DPJ, now the largest party in the upper house for the first time in half a century, celebrated its victory. Democratic politician Yukio Hatoyama spelled out the vote's significance.

*****

The DPJ now controls the legislative agenda and can block government bills, ushering in a period of political gridlock. According to Koichi Nakano, an associate professor of political science from Sophia University, the opposition control of the upper house could cause more friction over Japan's alliance with the U.S., which had been especially close under Abe and Koizumi.
Abe has been a staunch US ally but the election results were more likely due to economic factors and recent corruption scandals in Japan's ruling party. Maybe the Japanese people finally had enough of politics as usual.

How did Kanako Otsuji, Japan's first openly lesbian candidate for the upper house, fare in the election?

TOKYO (Reuters) - The first openly gay candidate in Japanese national politics failed to win a seat in upper house elections on Monday, but vowed to continue her fight for minority rights.

Kanako Otsuji, 32, backed by the main opposition Democratic Party, had campaigned in front of rainbow-coloured flags, with loudspeakers declaring to passers-by she was a lesbian.
Ms. Otsuji is still young enough to try again. Try, try again as the saying goes.

Also discussing the election results in Japan- Captain's Quarters, Poliblog,
Linked to- Bullwinkle, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove,

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Grave mistake

From the BBC-

The 11 politicians who died while being held by Farc rebels were killed during an accidental clash between factions, Colombia's intelligence chief has said.
Andres Penate said intercepted communications showed the left-wing movement had shot dead the hostages after coming across another rebel unit.

Thinking they were security forces, commanders ordered the hostages to be killed rather than let them be rescued.

The Farc said in a statement that they were investigating the incident.

The group had previously insisted the politicians were killed in crossfire when an "unidentified military group" attacked their jungle camp in the western Valle del Cauca region on 18 June.
FARC is investigating. Are they pretending to be a government agency? For its normal bureaucratic speak to say 'we're investigating' after a fiasco or tragedy occurs.

Which is exactly what happened in Colombia. Ultimately the responsibility for the deaths falls on FARC. They were holding these men in violation of the law, if not they would be alive today.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?

Hat tip- Dr. Taylor at Poliblog who thinks the incident may have large ramifications in regards to Colombia's politics.

Linked to- Blue Star, Cao, Morewhat,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Guardian reporter Richard Norton-Taylor. He gets the award for the following.

Ministers insisted that British secret agents would only be allowed to pass intelligence to the CIA to help it capture Osama bin Laden if the agency promised he would not be tortured, it has emerged.

MI6 believed it was close to finding the al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan in 1998, and again the next year. The plan was for MI6 to hand the CIA vital information about Bin Laden. Ministers including Robin Cook, the then foreign secretary, gave their approval on condition that the CIA gave assurances he would be treated humanely. The plot is revealed in a 75-page report by parliament's intelligence and security committee on rendition, the practice of flying detainees to places where they may be tortured.


The report criticises the Bush administration's approval of practices which would be illegal if carried out by British agents. It shows that in 1998, the year Bin Laden was indicted in the US, Britain insisted that the policy of treating prisoners humanely should include him. But the CIA never gave the assurances.
"In 1998, SIS [MI6] believed that it might be able to obtain actionable intelligence that might enable the CIA to capture Osama bin Laden," the committee says in its report. It adds: "Given that this might have resulted in him being rendered from Afghanistan to the US, SIS sought ministerial approval. This was given provided that the CIA gave assurances regarding humane treatment." British intelligence made a similar request in 1999, and obtained the same response from Whitehall, but in the event MI6 did not provide the information.

But 1998 and 1999 were not the only times Britain had Bin Laden in its sights. In January 1996 the Home Office wrote to him when he was in Sudan. The letter, seen by the Guardian, advised him that Michael Howard, then home secretary, had "given his personal direction that you be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence...would not be conducive to the public good."
Anyone notice the mistake? All the events took place in the 90's but Norton-Taylor names Bush as President. He wasn't elected till 2000! For making the reporting blunder of the day, Richard Norton-Taylor is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Kim at Wizbang
Linked to- Big Dog, Blue Star, Cao, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Is it just me?, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, The World According to Carl,

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Breakthrough

Calendar girl Natalie Gulbis finally got her first LPGA victory.

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France - Natalie Gulbis finally can be known for winning, too. Famous mostly for her looks through five-plus seasons on tour, Gulbis broke through Sunday, winning her first LPGA Tour title at the Evian Masters with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Jang Jeong of South Korea on Sunday.


Jang and the 24-year-old American finished the fourth round tied at 4-under 284. Gulbis had a final round 70, and Jang birdied the last hole to finish with a 72.

"Obviously it was meant to be for me," Gulbis said. "Before the playoff, I was very upset at myself because I felt like I had given away this tournament. I thought I needed to get to 7 under to win and I end up at, what, four? Going in today, I never thought that four under would have won this tournament."

Jang, the 2005 Women's British Open champion, birdied three of the last four holes to tie Gulbis.

The tall, blond Gulbis has been one of the best-known players on the LPGA tour. She sells a calendar on her Web site featuring shots of her in athletic apparel and swimwear, has a reality show on The Golf Channel and her digitized likeness appears in Tiger Woods' eponymous video game.

But until Sunday, she was never a champion.

"What does it mean? How long do you have?" Gulbis said. "I was really close last year when I lost a playoff and coincidentally it was right after the Match Play. It was like deja vu" coming off the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship last week.
Note Natalie's two playoff appearances have come against South Korean ladies. One against a player nicknamed 'Peanut' and yesterday's against a player some call 'The Little Giant'. Both ROK ladies standing barely 5' tall. Anyone else see a trend?

2005 British Open Champ Jang who has been in the top 15 three of the last five British Opens and no worse than 26th since 2002 has to be among the favorites next weekend. Write that down Ron Sirak.

At the first extra hole, the 18th, Jang missed the green with her second shot, but Gulbis did not.

*****

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was one shot behind and tied for third place with Juli Inkster of the United States and Shin Ji-yai of South Korea. Ochoa had six birdies in her closing 68, but dropped a shot at the last hole. Shin finished with a 72.

Inkster, the leader by two shots after the first three rounds, finished with a 75. She had three bogeys in the last five holes and three-putted the par-5 18th after reaching the green in two. Had she won, Inkster would have become the oldest player to win an LPGA Tour event.

*****

Gulbis started the day four behind Inkster and had birdies at the first, sixth and ninth. Out in 33, she was 5 under and shared the lead with Shin.

*****

Gulbis, who won $450,000, gave part of the credit for her win to a back injury two months ago that forced her to take a month off and make some adjustments.
Congratulations to Natalie on her first LPGA win. Want to bet she makes the cover of Golf World this week? Natalie is still overrated in my humble opinion, mostly because the Golf MSM mistake her looks for talent on the golf course also. That's not to say Natalie won't have a productive LPGA career. One thing is certain. We can stop making analogies between Natalie and Anna Kournikova.

Linked to- Big Dog, Bullwinkle,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Federal Bureau of Investigation aka the FBI. They get the award for the following.

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- A federal judge Thursday ordered the government to pay more than $101 million in the case of four men who spent decades in prison for a 1965 murder they didn't commit after the FBI withheld evidence of their innocence.

1 of 2 The FBI encouraged perjury, helped frame the four men and withheld for more than three decades information that could have cleared them, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner said in issuing her ruling Thursday.

She called the government's argument that the FBI had no duty to get involved in the state case "absurd."

Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of the two other men who died in prison had sued the federal government for malicious prosecution.

They argued that Boston FBI agents knew mob hitman Joseph "the Animal" Barboza lied when he named the men as killers in the 1965 death of Edward Deegan. They said Barboza was protecting a fellow FBI informant, Vincent "Jimmy" Flemmi, who was involved.

The four men convicted on Barboza's lies were treated as "acceptable collateral damage" because the FBI's priority at the time was taking down the Mafia, their attorneys said.
This is outrageous, innocent men are sent to jail knowingly for a crime they didn't commit. by the chief law enforcement agency in this country. Anyone still alive who had a part in this miscarriage of justice, should be tried for false imprisonment. I doubt it will ever happen, but I do make the FBI today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Amboy Times, Blue Star, Cao, Church and State, Commonsense America, Conservative Thoughts, Dumb Ox, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Point Five, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Stuck on Stupid, Third World County, Webloggin, Woman Honor Thyself, The World Accoding to Carl,

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Miami Dolphins news

First round pick Ted Ginn agreed to a contract with the team.

Barely skirting the noon deadline for all players to report on the first official day of training camp, Dolphins first-round draft pick Ted Ginn Jr. agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Dolphins and deftly averted the wrath of team owner H. Wayne Huizenga.

Two sources confirmed that Ginn received approximately $13.5 to $14 million in guaranteed money.

"It's great to be here on time in camp with my players and get it rolling,'' Ginn said.

Ginn made it in time to attend a mandatory team meeting at 1 p.m. Practice begins tomorrow at 8:15 a.m. and Ginn said that his sprained foot is fully healed and ready to go full speed.
The signing drama is over. Now we have to see if Ginn lives up to the expectations. I still think he could be another Johnny Lam Jones.

On the other hand, this Dolphin transaction looks hopeful.

DAVIE - Before the morning practice of Saturday's first day of training camp the Dolphins acquired former Oakland Raiders tight end Courtney Anderson off waivers. They also cut safety David Lofton, son of Hall of Fame receiver receiver James Lofton, to make room for him.

Anderson, 26, was a seventh-round draft choice of the Raiders in 2004. In three seasons, the 6-foot-6, 270-pounder has started 28 games and has 62 receptions with 763 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, Anderson started 11 of 16 games and had a career-high 25 catches for 285 yards and two scores.

With former Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael now with the St. Louis Rams, Anderson will vie for a spot on the roster with fellow tight ends David Martin, Tim Massaquoi, Jason Rader and Justin Peelle.
Anderson is an underacheiver, but his size and ability give the Dolphins some reason for hope he'll be able to fill the hole at tight end. The other alternative, David Martin, has had an injury filled career. Even when healthy, Martin hasn't produced much.

Bottom line- The news is good but I don't expect Miami to have a .500 or winning record this year.

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

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Going nuts or Bull elephant control

Disney is exporting a rather odd type of medical assistnace.

When I was last in South Africa, I was lucky enough to visit one of the big wildlife reserves. But was upset to learn that the elephant population was doing too well for its own good. The herds were expanding at such a rapid rate that they were outgrowing the preserves and wandering off into nearby villages, where they were likely to encounter angry residents who wouldn't hesitate to kill them. Last year Disney sent vets from Animal Kingdom to the Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa where they performed vasectomies on four bull elephants in hopes of controlling the exploding elephant population. Now, they are returning to the same area to perform laparoscopic vasectomies on six to 10 bull elephants.
The Orlando Sentinel even has the video.(Edited of course)Will PETA get mad at Disney or applaud the corporation? Stay tuned.

Linked to- Blue Star, Jo, Perri Nelson, Third World County,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is The Bay Pines VA Medical Center. They get the award for the following.

ST. PETERSBURG - Officials at Bay Pines VA Medical Center were told the condition of a critically ill cardiac patient before their emergency room refused to treat him on June 26.

But a doctor who made the decision did not realize the man, a Bay Pines employee who later died, had collapsed on the Bay Pines campus.

A hospital nurse was told in a call from a paramedic that the man, 51-year-old Mark A. Surette, had collapsed on Bay Pines property. But she was confused because paramedics usually do not ask permission to bring patients to the emergency room, the hospital said.

"The nurse misunderstood," said John Pickens, regional spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Surette, a 25-year VA employee, collapsed of a heart attack in Building 24, perhaps 200 feet from the hospital emergency room.

Since he wasn't a veteran, confused paramedics asked Bay Pines if its emergency room would treat Surette. Paramedics were directed to take him to St. Petersburg General Hospital, three miles away.

Surette was pronounced dead at that hospital, about 41 minutes after 911 was called.

Bay Pines and county officials say they don't know if the delay cost Surette his life. But Surette's family is outraged.

"Nobody ever told us they refused to treat him," said Surette's daughter, Erica Bailey, 23, of Minot, N.D. "Then to find out they knew how sick he was and still turned him away, it just blows my mind."

*****

The VA did not identify the doctor who decided against treating Surette or the nurse who took the call from a paramedic.
Utter stupidity and a man is dead. This shouldn't have ever happened, a person suffering a heart attack needs immediate medical care at the nearest hospital or medical facility. For failing the community they are supposed to serve, The Bay Pines VA Medical Center is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Adam, Amboy Times, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, Church and State, Commonsense America, Conservative Thoughts, Dumb Ox, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Stuck on Stupid, Third World County, Webloggin, Woman Honor Thyself, The World Accoding to Carl,

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Go to work, Go to jail

From the Miami Herald-

A Miami-Dade County Jail officer came to his workplace in time for his 3 p.m. shift. One problem: He was handcuffed.

Michael Anthony Johnson, 21, who has been a corrections officer since January 2006, was arrested Friday and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, less than 20 grams. Wearing a white tank top, he was booked into the main jail at 3:03 p.m.

He was arrested by Miami-Dade police at Southwest 112th Avenue and Quail Roost Drive. Details of his arrest were not immediately available, Miami-Dade police said.

Hall will be relieved of duty, said Miami-Dade corrections spokeswoman Janelle Hall.
I doubt Mr. Johnson feels very relieved at being in the Miami-Dade general prison population. Who knows, considering the all too frequent misdeeds of South Florida law enforcement, Michael Anthony Johnson feels right at home.

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

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Ludy Alviar. She gets the award for the following.

The Philippines will get two typhoons in August, the state weather bureau told reporters on Thursday, saying it was a lucky news for alleviating the dry spell in a supposedly rainy season.

This was less than four typhoons previously forecast to hit in August, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) senior forecaster Ludy Alviar said.

"There is a high-pressure area in our territory and it prevents the low-pressure areas that generate typhoons from forming. We are just hoping we'll be lucky enough to get two storms in August," Alviar said in an interview on Manila's dzBB radio.

Alviar said the Philippines was initially expected to experience three typhoons in July, but none of these weather disturbances passed through any part of the Philippines.
Typhoons are never a lucky experience for the Philippine people. They bring death and destruction to a country where most people live in poverty. Alviar must live in some kind of scientist dream world, because I can't understand how she doesn't understand what typhoons do to the country she lives in. I do, and I only spent a few years living in the country twenty years ago. That experience taught me plenty.

For mistaking mayhem for good news, Ludy Alviar is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Bright & Early, Cao, Conservative Thoughts, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Random Yak, Right Voices, Samantha Burns, Stuck on Stupid, Third World County, Webloggin,

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hurry up and wait

From the Palm Beach Post-

FORT LAUDERDALE — Passengers flying out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport next week should expect significant delays because of a runway closure to make drainage improvements. The south runway will be closed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. During these times, the majority of the airport's 900 daily departure and arrivals will be made on the north runway. The crosswind runway may also be used to relieve backups. Airport spokesman Greg Meyer said he couldn't estimate the length of the delays, but passengers should arrive early to avoid problems.
I understand why airline passengers should arrive early. In my pre-9/11 travel days I used to get to the airport 60-90 minutes ahead of time and because of my frequent flyer status, always got in the short line.

FLL is going to have runway work, and this will cause delays. I understand that, but why should passengers get to the airport any earlier? Just in order to stand around and pay for overpriced food and drinks? The planes will be delayed departing, but it shouldn't interfere with check-in.

Trust me I flew over 400,000 flight miles between 1996 and 2002.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Conservative Thoughts, Webloggin,

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More pay to play

The allegations against West Palm Beach officials still remain. Now accusations are being made against a Boynton Beach official.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday began reviewing documents and statements taken during a six-day police investigation into a developer's "pay-to-play" allegations against Boynton Beach Commissioner Ron Weiland.

Boynton Beach Police Chief Matt Immler said in a statement Wednesday that statements taken from Samantha Simons, president of Intown Partners Inc., and Barbara Rudd, vice president of Intown, were turned over to the State Attorney's Office along with documents the developers provided police. Simons' testimony before city commissioners July 17 was also handed over to prosecutors.

The developers say Weiland asked for payment for David Katz, a former city commissioner who lobbied in favor of Intown.

The State Attorney's Office now has jurisdiction over the case, said spokesman Michael Edmondson, adding, "We've had a number of individuals provide information to our office."

Edmondson would not specify who or how many persons had stepped forward with information regarding the allegations.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement received information from the State Attorney's Office on Wednesday regarding the case, said department spokeswoman Paige Patterson-Hughes.

*****

Intown was chosen last year as the developer the city would negotiate with to revitalize the Martin Luther King Jr. corridor in the Heart of Boynton. Katz, who was on the commission from 1993 to 1995, lobbied on behalf of Intown, although he was never hired to do so. The city ended talks with Intown earlier this month and began negotiations with a competitor, Auburn Group.

After the talks ended, Simons alleged that Weiland asked her during a March 14 meeting, "When am I going to pay David Katz?"

Katz now works as a lobbyist for Auburn Group.
It will be interesting to see where the State Attorney's investigation goes. The question I have is- Will the feckless Barry Krischer get to the bottom of any corrupion that occurred? I don't have faith in the ability of the Palm Beach County's State Attorney.

I do think this is just further proof that Governor Crist shouldn't appoint Jerry Taylor to the vacant County Commission seat number three. There is too many allegations of monkey business in Boynton Beach City government at present and the last thing needed is another disgrace to be added to the County Commission. Warren Newell and Tony Masilotti were enough in TFM's mind.

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

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Here take my shoes

Don't faint, but I like Broward County Judge Jeffrey Levenson.

FORT LAUDERDALE , Fla. — Flip-flops are not acceptable in Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson's courtroom. So he lent his loafers to a defendant who would have had to take the stand in his jailhouse sandals.

Michael Fernandez, 22, was mistakenly brought to his trial Tuesday on cocaine-trafficking charges in his jail uniform, said defense attorney Jim Lewis.

Deputies eventually delivered Fernandez's court clothes, but his shoes were still missing. Levenson then offered his own shoes to wear during testimony.

"He took off his black loafers and said, 'Use these,'" Lewis said. "And sure enough, they were just about a perfect fit."

Levenson said he didn't give it much thought.

"I take great pains to ensure that the defendant's custody status is not disclosed," the judge said. "I just wanted to make sure he was covered. I guess I didn't really think about it, I just acted."

Jurors acquitted Fernandez. He was released from jail later that day, but was still in the flip-flops, Lewis said
A Judge who will lend a criminal defendant his loafers gets the seal of approval from TFM. Just one question remains.........

Will Judge Levenson ever wear these footwear again? Stay tuned......

Linked to- Bright & Early, Perri Nelson, Webloggin,

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A plane is a plane

From AP-

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines, the first carrier in the world to fly the new Airbus A380, will auction all seats on its inaugural flight on eBay, and donate the proceeds to charities, the airline said Wednesday.

The history-making return flight to Sydney on the double-decker jumbo jet will take place in October, Singapore Airlines said in a statement. The actual date of the flight will be fixed soon, after final notification from Airbus about the delivery date, the statement said. "In response to requests from people all over the world to be passengers on the first flight, Singapore Airlines will auction the seats on global online marketplace, eBay," the statement said. The auction will begin some weeks before the flight, it said without elaborating.
Even if I could afford it, I wouldn't pay extra to be part of airplane history. The A-380 has been much hyped, but at the same time had production problems. In the end airline customers and airlines themselves will give the plane a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Dear Wife and I once had the pleasure of flying Singapore Airlines. We flew round-trip from Manila to Singapore in 1998. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.

SIA lived up to its reputation as the #1 airline in the world. The service was incredible, from the red carpet for 1st class passengers(The wife and I were flying business and paid like $400 a piece extra to fly 1st), to the excellent food served on board(You wanted more!) to the priority baggage for 1st and business class passengers. Your bags were first off the plane. I enjoyed my time with Northwest, but priority baggage tags too often meant last off the plane or when the wife traveled to Poland, meant left behind in Amsterdam.

From 1997 to 2001 I was a Gold or Platinum Frequent flyer with Northwest Airlines. I flew on everything from thirty year old DC 9s and 727s to modern 747's.(An oddity about Northwest. They had no 737s, the most common commercial aircraft in the world, in their fleet. I don't know if thats still true. Sometimes I flew Continental who had a codeshare agreement with NW, and in doing so flew on board a 737.) Most of the time in Business or First Class because of my FF status.(or mileage upgrades from the many miles I accumulated) The big planes are nice to fly on, I always did prefer NW's DC 10 service to LAX when travelling to Los Angeles. Then much of that was due to my always getting first class upgrades. With more Frequent flyers than there are 1st class seats, upgrades were far from automatic for me on other planes flying between Northwest's hubs and LAX.

Bottom line- The type of plane rarely matters to the average airline passenger going from Point A to Point B.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove,

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Scott Thomas Beauchamp

The New Republic, with the permission of the author, has revealed the identity of the Baghdad Diarist who wrote 'Shock Troops'.

As we've noted in this space, some have questioned details that appeared in the Diarist "Shock Troops," published under the pseudonym Scott Thomas. According to Major Kirk Luedeke, a public affairs officer at Forward Operating Base Falcon, a formal military investigation has also been launched into the incidents described in the piece.

Although the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published, we have decided to go back and, to the extent possible, re-report every detail. This process takes considerable time, as the primary subjects are on another continent, with intermittent access to phones and email. Thus far we've found nothing to disprove the facts in the article; we will release the full results of our search when it is completed.

In the meantime, the author has requested that we publish the statement below. --The Editors


My Diarist, "Shock Troops," and the two other pieces I wrote for the New Republic have stirred more controversy than I could ever have anticipated. They were written under a pseudonym, because I wanted to write honestly about my experiences, without fear of reprisal.

Unfortunately, my pseudonym has caused confusion. And there seems to be one major way in which I can clarify the debate over my pieces: I'm willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name.

I am Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a member of Alpha Company, 1/18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division.

My pieces were always intended to provide my discreet view of the war; they were never intended as a reflection of the entire U.S. Military. I wanted Americans to have one soldier's view of events in Iraq.

It's been maddening, to say the least, to see the plausibility of events that I witnessed questioned by people who have never served in Iraq. I was initially reluctant to take the time out of my already insane schedule fighting an actual war in order to play some role in an ideological battle that I never wanted to join. That being said, my character, my experiences, and those of my comrades in arms have been called into question, and I believe that it is important to stand by my writing under my real name.
--Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp
So the soldier has stepped forward(Well with that name he would have almost likely been identified with time. Ace claimed to be on verge of outing who the diarist was.), so one mystery has been solved.

Observations-

1. The New Republic still has to prove the truthfulness of what Private Beauchamp has written.
Mr. Foer said in ABC News report yesterday-
As for the specific accounts in the stories, Foer said that the articles were rigorously fact-checked before they were published. "We showed the stories to people who'd been embedded in Iraq to make sure that it all smelled good. We talked to one of the members of his unit to confirm the woman, a female contractor. We talked to a medic who'd served in Iraq to make sure that a woman could be in an FOB. We spent a lot of time with him on the phone asking hard questions."
TNR went to other journalists(Embedded) to verify military facts? Why does that still untrusting of Foer and TNR in general? How hard would it have been to verify the story with soldiers? Walter Reed Hospital and other military bases(Walter Reed, Ft. Myer, Bethesda Naval Hospital etc etc) are only minutes away from the magazine's offices.

Then remember what TNR Editor-in-Chief Martin Peretz once said about journalism- "a profession that is complacent, self-righteous, and hopelessly in love with itself."

2- What Private Beauchamp wrote now should be easily verifiable. If true, Beauchamp and other soldiers will be facing the business end of the UCMJ as OpFor points out. If false, TNR's reputation has taken another big hit and Beauchamp's non-fiction writing career is over.

BTW Private Beauchamp has his own blog. So he calls himself Sir Real Scott. I'm the Florida Masochist. Bloggers take all sorts of names. LOL.

3- Many of Beauchamp's accusers, including GI in Korea aka ROK Drop and Grayhawk at Mudville Gazette are Iraq war veterans.

I don't think it will be long before we have answers to how accurate Beauchamp's writing is. Last reminder- TFM has been a New Republic subscriber off and on since 1980. My subscription has been continuous since at least 1994 to present.

Also talking about Scott Thomas Beauchamp- Betsy, Michelle Malkin, A Blog For all, Blue Crab Boulevard, Hot Air,
Linked to- Big Dog, Cao, Third World County, Webloggin,

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