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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.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A walk in the Park

Second year player Inbee Park made the US Open her first win on the tour. Inbee winning by four shots.

Inbee, who is a few weeks short of her 20th birthday, is the youngest US Women's Open Champ ever. The youngest winner of the US Open before today was South Korea's Se Ri Pak. Pak winning the 1998 US Open. In Bee like so many of the other players from the ROK say Se Ri Pak and her success on the LPGA was what inspired them to play pro golf.

In Bee made it look pretty simple today. Two birdies to start off the round, and after double bogeys by Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer on the Par five 2nd, all of a sudden Park was up by two shots.

It did get interesting for a while. Especially after In Bee made bogeys on holes 6 and 8 to bring her back to a tie for the lead. The turning point was a par saving from 15 or 20 feet on the difficult 9th. After that Inbee soon regained the lead and was never in serious danger again. Helen Alfredsson of Sweden finished in solo second four shots behind Park. In a tie for 3rd one shot further back were Lewis, In-Kyung Kim and Angela Park.

Other news, thoughts, observations,

*- Annika Sorenstam holed her approach on 18 for what COULD BE her final shot in US Open history. She hitting a 6-iron into the cup from 199 yards. What a way to go out if Sorenstam doesn't play in the Open again.

*- Stacy Lewis shot a final round 78 today. To be honest, I don't think she lost the tournament. Lewis played play as bad as her score says because the conditions today were tough. Winds blowing at times 20-30 MPH. I'm predicting Lewis will be back in contention for a LPGA victory within a year.

*- Lewis' winnings today won't count towards the sum she needs to gain a spot on the LPGA Tour. See the tour doesn't count money at the US Open when determining if a player exceeded the amount required.

Which really makes no sense to me. The Open is the toughest test of golf on tour. So the money is worth more for a 3rd there, than say a 3rd in Rochester. Therefore I think its a better indicator of whether a player should get a card or not.

When asked who set this policy, an NBC announcer(I think Dottie Pepper) said 'no comment'.

*- There's another LPGA policy I'm going to question in a post tomorrow or later this week. Should a Naturalized US citizen(Angela Park) be allowed to compete for a Solheim Cup spot? LPGA policy at this time doesn't allow it. The screwball thing is, a Naturalized citizen can qualify for the Curtis Cup(and has at least once) and the Junior Solheim Cup! If they can play for the Junior, why not the professional then? I'll address this and the reasons given for the policy.

*- Paula Creamer collapsed today. I'm not going to speculate on why she can't bring home a major yet. Stu at The Waggleroom compared Paula's collapse to Greg Norman's at the 1996 Masters and Michelle Wie at the 2005 Women's US Open.

I think I got a better comparison. Gary Player's final round 77 at the 1978 US Open. Why do I say this?

A- Paula entered the final round one shot out of the lead. So did Player. Norman and Wie entered the final rounds of their tournaments either in the lead by themselves or tied.

B- Creamer and Player both finished tied for 6th in the tournaments I'm comparing. Norman finished 2nd, Wie out of the top 10.

C- Player and Creamer were under great amounts of pressure. Gary Player because he was the 1978 Masters Champ and therefore the only player with a chance for a grand slam. Creamer because she has been anointed the best player on tour without a major by most of the press.

Norman had won majors before the 96 Masters. Wie hadn't won tour, major or otherwise. I think Player in 78 is a better analogy to Creamer today than either Wie or Norman.

*- With their third win in the last four LPGA events, I think we can safely say the South Korean slump is over on the LPGA Tour.

*- For the first time, I saw why Paula Creamer has been teapot by some members of the media. After a bad or indifferent shot on the back nine today, Paula put her hands on her hips. The teapot pose as somebody called it.

*- I don't recall Johnny Miller making any insulting comments today but he did make a clueless comment. Towards the end of the round Miller saying women's golf is more popular in South Korean than men's golf. It's been that way since Se Ri Pak won the LPGA Championship in 1998 at least. Where has Johnny Miller been the last ten years?

To close I'll quote what AP's Doug Ferguson said in the concluding paragraphs of his coverage of today's final round.

There were so many possibility for great story lines going into the final round — Lewis and her remarkable recovery from back surgery that almost ended her career before she got to college; Creamer, looking poised to finally get a major to go with her marketing campaign; Alfredsson, who blew a six-shot lead at the Women's Open in 1994, now with a chance for redemption at 43.

Instead, it was Park who stole the show by simply playing the best golf.
There were many potential story lines today but Inbee certainly did steal the show. She was a deserving US Open champ and she will be in the winner's circle again.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

We won't get off

I doubt you will read about this happening in the United States.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Fifty-two passengers on a Chinese airliner whose flight was cancelled due to bad weather refused to disembark and instead spent the night onboard before finally leaving to their destination, local media said on Friday. The passengers boarded for their 8 p.m. (1:00 a.m. EDT) flight from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Yantai, but after more than three hours of sitting on the tarmac, the airline cancelled the flight, the Beijing Morning Post said.

"Most of the about 200 passengers disembarked to complete flight transfer procedures, but a Mrs. Shi was one of 52 passengers who refused to get off," the newspaper said.

"Mrs. Shi said that she and her colleagues had to get to Yantai for a meeting, they were on a very tight schedule, and could not accept the cancellation of the flight."

At 3 a.m. the airline finally told them they could take a 7.30 a.m. flight to Yantai.

"The passengers said that in the 12 hours or so they spent on the aircraft, the crew provided continuous service, and all along offered food and drink," the report said. Chinese media frequently report stories of badly behaved passengers refusing to get off delayed aircraft or running amok at airports following delays, but also criticise airlines for not giving enough information to passengers about delays.
The crew stayed around to give them service. Just incredible, if it's true.

Some 20 years ago I was flying from Florida to the Philippines with connections in Dallas and Los Angeles. My plane left the gate in Dallas around 5 p.m. We didn't take all till around 8:30. The presence of thunderstorms in the area, preventing my flight(and others) from taking off.

This was in the days when passengers could smoke on board. When we finally took off, passengers cheered. I don't remember anyone getting angry about the delay. If they did, it was kept to themselves.

Today if a airline keeps passengers confined to a plane for 3.5 hours or no matter what the reason, it is likely to be on the evening news. The lawsuits to follow soon afterwards. Have times changed that much?

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I'd stick with my maiden name then

After two rounds of play, Angela Park is leading the Women's US Open by one shot. Park, who is of Korean heritage but born in Brazil and grew up in California, was last year's Rookie of the Year.

One of the golfers one shot back is Minea Blomqvist. Minea had more than a few interesting things to say at a press conference yesterday.

The 23-year-old from Finland was hilarious during her interview, although there's some Swedes that won't be laughing when they see her comment. She was asked that Swedes say Finns talk funny, so does she think Swedes talk funny?

"I always tell a story that why Swedes are so good in the golf (is) because in golf you need empty mind, and there's nothing going on in their heads," she said, smiling. "So that's why they play good."

Blomqvist also had people cracking up when she mentioned her boyfriend, Roope Kakko, is a fellow pro golfer from Finland. But there's a problem with his surname.

"Kakko means (feces) in Finnish," she said. "So I'm not very happy about that if we're going to stay together."
If I was Minea, I'd get a new boyfriend or have the present one change his last name. Either that or to avoid a Scandinavian civil war, marry a Swede. Preferably one whose head isn't empty or have a last name meaning shit.

Who said pro golfers aren't colorful?

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Goodbye Olli Jokinen

In return for trading their team Captain and all-time leading scorer, Florida gets a petrified starfish and a bag full of potporui*two defensemen . From the Palm Beach Post-

Olli Jokinen insisted he wasn't bitter, but his words said otherwise.

The Panthers' captain and all-time leading scorer said Friday night he got the trade he had come to expect when General Manager Jacques Martin dealt him to Phoenix for defensemen Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton and a second-round pick in this weekend's draft.
The player Florida selected with the draft pick was-

Name: Colby Robak

Position: Defenseman

Team: Brandon (WHL)

Height/weight: 6-3/194

Birthplace: Dauphin, Manitoba

Career highlights: No. 13-ranked North American skater and seventh-rated defenseman in a draft deep with defensemen. ... Was Brandon's only 16-year-old rookie in 2006-07. ... Was a member of Canada's gold-medal entry in the World U-18 tournament in April.

Quote: "He (has) lots of good tools. He's a big kid, gets around the ice real well. All his basic skills are strong. He played real well for us." - Canada U-18 coach Pat Quinn
Another defensemen. I haven't a clue about how good Robak will be. All I know is it will be sometime before Panther fans know themselves.

How about the defensemen Florida acquired.

Ballard, 25, clearly was the key to the deal. Martin said the 5-foot-11, 208-pounder fills what he had identified as the team's No. 1 off-season need, a puck-moving defenseman. He was taken 11th overall by Buffalo in 2002.

"He's a real competitor, a real gritty player," Martin said. "He's in your face. He's physical. He's a great skater, moves the puck. He's just a solid all-around defenseman."

Darren Pang, the Coyotes' TV analyst and former NHL player, gave Ballard a glowing review.

"An extremely competitive player who basically puts his heart on his sleeve every time he steps on the ice," Pang said. "He's a model for great skating (and) a wonderful character guy. They got a wonderful hockey play in Keith Ballard."

Boynton, 29, was a first-round pick by Boston in 1999 who plays with an edge. He is also expected to earn a spot in the Panthers' top four.
Like Robak, I know little about these players. Both were in the western conference, and I seldom watch games played by teams(also rans) like Phoenix unless they are playing Florida.

Florida has traded their best scoring threat for two players who seldom put pucks in the net or even assist on goals. These better be two great defensemen to fill the scoring void the Panthers have now.

Note- Florida has a young and upcoming player named Shawn Matthias. Florida GM Jacques Martin must be hoping for Matthias to fill the gap Olli's departure creates. For I wouldn't be counting on veterans like McLean, Dvorak, or Zednik to pick up the slack. They've proven what they can do in the NHL, which is far less than Jokinen.

BTW I like Shawn Matthias, but he is as of yet, untested but for a few games in the NHL.

What's the reason given for trading Jokinen?

Martin downplayed talk of a rift between himself and Jokinen and said there was nothing personal involved in the trade.

"I enjoyed working with Olli. He's an excellent player," he said. "I look at improving our hockey club and never looked at things from a personal standpoint. I wouldn't have made the trade if I didn't feel it was good for the organization."

Asked about the rumored rift, Jokinen replied, "We're definitely not going out to dinner. It's a different relationship than I had with Mike."
Mike is Mike Keenan, former Panther head coach and Martin's predecessor as Panther GM. Keenan, who is now with Calgary, was the person mostly responsible for the Roberto Luongo trade which was a fiasco for Florida. My gut feeling is the Jokinen trade we be regarded similarly in a short time.

BTW Florida acquired Luongo and Jokinen in the same trade with the NY Islanders eight years ago. Only seems appropriate Florida return the favor by letting these two key players get stolen back?

Back to why Florida traded Jokinen.

Martin said the bottom line to the deal was he addressed his team's shortcomings on defense, which were apparent last season when the Panthers led the league in shots against for the second time in three seasons.

"Last year, I indicated that I would improve our goaltending and we have no regrets there," he said. "We acquired a goaltender (Tomas Vokoun) who gives us a chance to win every night.
Florida has no lack of defensemen, including a very good to excellent one in Jay Bouwmeester. After that you have Bryan Allen, Karlis Skrastins, Cory Murphy, Mike Van Ryn, Magnus Johansson, Wade Belak, Steve Montador, Branislev Mezei, Jassen Cullimore and a couple of other warm bodies.

I'm counting Belak and Montador as defensemen. They are also forwards, and Martin likes to play them there. Truth is, both players don't score enough to be even 3rd or 4th liners in my book. Belak is there to hit and intimidate players, which he's fairly good at, however he puts pucks in the net once every four or five years.

Florida had injury problems at defensemen last year, Van Ryn, Mezei, and Murphy missing large chunks of the season. Set aside Montador and Belak, I don't see Florida hurting if Bouwmeester, Allen, Murphy, Van Ryn, and Skrastins stay healthy. What's the big need for Ballard and Boynton?

Martin seems to like acquiring defensemen. Allen came in the Luongo trade, Cullimore was signed or traded for during last off season,Johansson was acquired during last season as was Skrastins and Belak. Didn't these players shore up Florida? If they didn't, what does that tell us about Martin's ability to evaluate players. Will he any better with Boynton and Ballard.

Palm Beach Post hockey writer Brian Biggane has something interesting to say at his Panther blog.

One league executive, who team was rumored to be among those pursuing Jokinen, called the former Panthers center "a dog" late Friday night and said any talk of sincere interest on the part of his team was "a plant."

Panther fans today are bemoaning Jokinen's departure, many insisting they won't renew their season tickets as a result. But the league view on Jokinen is he's a player who lost his motivation after Mike Keenan headed out of South Florida and has been on a steady decline ever since.

I liked Jokinen and still do, as a person. He was always helpful with the media. But as the old saying goes, if you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem. It's no coincidence the Panthers never made the playoffs during his seven years in their uniform.

We read and heard so much about Sidney Crosby and his leadership a few weeks back. Jokinen was not a good leader. First guy off the ice almost every practice. Very involved with his own issues. A negative influence for Nathan Horton who, with his significant role on the team, pulled down everyone else.

"This isn't a guy you want on your team," the league exec added.
Biggane relates Jokinen's habits only after Florida deals him. Why wouldn't a reporter paid to cover a sports team not relate the truth about a key player? So that key player keeps talking to the reporter, but isn't the reporter supposed to report the whole news?

I'm not a big Brian Biggane fan, so I'd take his Jokinen revelation with a large lump of salt. The annonymous NHL executive doesn't help persuade me of what Biggane is writing either. Couldn't the reporter find at least one person in the NHL willing to go on the record about how Olli really is?

Bottom line- I think the Florida Panthers have made another bad trade. ESPN's Scott Burnside once called Florida the most dysfunctional franchise in the NHL. I have a hard time disagreeing with Scott, and I'm a big Panther fan.

*- I borrowed this wisecrack from baseball stat man, Bill James. He used it a long time ago to describe some MLB trade.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Wislet Baptist and Marissa Kaulsky. They get the award for the following.

PALM BEACH GARDENS -- A couple used a stolen 2006 Ford 250 as a battering ram to break into a pharmacy and steal a stash of narcotics, police said.

Wislet Baptist, 18, of Delray Beach, and Marissa Kaulsky, of Boynton Beach, were charged with grand theft and burglary. His bail was set at 35,000 this morning. He told Judge Paul Moyle that he is a student and doesn't have a job. The judge also ordered him to undergo a substance abuse evaluation.

According to police the truck was stolen from Lantana on Tuesday morning.

On Wednesday, it was banged up in front of Gardens Drugs, used to push in the store's front door and windows, police said. Surveillance video showed a man and woman go into the store and pry open a cabinet containing prescription drugs then run off. Police tracked down their identity after she left a cell phone in the truck.
Wislet Baptist and Marissa Kaulsky will never be mistaken for Bonnie and Clyde(Never heard of Bonnie leaving her cellphone at the bank, did you?) but they are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

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To serve and protect....our own

Some members of South Florida enforcement seem to think they are above the law. Even worse, law enforcement who break the law down here have colleagues who are willing to help them. Possibly including a city's chief of police. Here's the story of Jesus Barrenechea.

Seven months after a wrong-way Interstate 95 crash injured three women in Oakland Park, a Miami Beach police sergeant turned himself in to authorities to face charges.


Jesus Barrenechea, 28, met with investigators at the Broward County main jail Thursday morning and was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, driving on the wrong side of the road, failing to render aid, grand theft over $100,000 and making a false insurance claim.


Authorities say Barrenechea drove south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Commercial Boulevard on Dec. 6 and collided head-on with an SUV carrying three women. The women received minor injuries.

According to investigators, Barrenechea fled down a nearby embankment, but was picked up by authorities in the 4100 block of North Andrews Avenue, questioned and released.

According to the arrest report, Barrenechea filed a false insurance claim with Geico, saying he was asleep in the passenger seat that morning, but was too drunk to remember who was driving. Troopers said he filed an insurance claim and received more than $24,000.
He left the scene of an accident but Jesus Barrenechea was released. How generous of the police. It also sounds like they never bothered to check if Barrenechea was drunk when first apprehended. Either that or they did, and let him go. Wouldn't be the first time a South Florida policeman was allowed to walk away after being found DUI. You or I would be arrested.

I blogged about this accident when it first happened. Here is part of what I wrote-

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

I hope authorities don't do a repeat with Barrenechea if the Miami Beach Officer was at fault December 6th.
We don't know yet if police botched the investigation or not, though like I wrote above, I just have suspicions. What we do know is that members of the Miami Beach police department which employs Jesus Barrenechea, were non-cooperative at best with investigators or at worst deliberately tried to obstruct the investigation.

But it wasn't an easy investigation.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers complained in charging documents that colleagues of arrested Sgt. Jesus Barrenechea skipped out on depositions and likely lied throughout the case.

Cpl. Richard Nardiello, the FHP's investigator in the case, wrote that two Miami Beach officers called to testify in the investigation lied or were untruthful and two others never showed up for a deposition, despite a subpoena. He wrote that even Police Chief Carlos Noriega didn't return his calls of complaint.
Another case of a South Florida policeman having enablers on his side when trying to evade justice. Jesus Barrenechea's case isn't as bad as the David Farrall story. Just because no one died, nor did law enforcement try to blame the victims this time around. It is still troubling what is going on at least so far as the Miami Beach police goes. Some members of that branch of law enforcement think they are above the law, and others willing to cover or assist for those who are. If they will lie just over a traffic accident, what else are they being deceitful about?

Note- Since a accident that took place in the 1980's involving someone driving the wrong way, I've had a phobia about such accidents. My incident invovlved an employee of the Dept of Transportation, who then tried to use her sex appeal to get her sympathy. It got the dizzy broad(Earning that title for driving on the left side of a 2-lane road. She had to be dizzy, a car is coming at you in the opposite direction, wouldn't that seem to tell a person they aren't driving where they should be?) ticketed instead.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is Miami Dolphin WR Ted Ginn a draft bust already?

Some idiot analyst named Dan Arkush at Pro Football Weekly thinks so.

2007: WR Ted Ginn Jr. / Dolphins
2006: LB Ernie Sims / Lions
2005: CB Carlos Rogers / Redskins
2004: WR Reggie Williams / Jaguars
2003: DT Kevin Williams / Vikings
2002: DT John Henderson / Jaguars
2001: WR Koren Robinson / Seahawks
2000: LB Brian Urlacher / Bears
1999: LB Chris Claiborne / Lions
1998: RB Fred Taylor / Jaguars

And the loser is … Ted Ginn Jr.

The verdict is definitely still out on Ginn, but draft experts far and wide continue to question the wisdom of his selection in last year’s draft over Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn, who eventually dropped into the Browns’ lap at the No. 22 spot. Truth be told, Ginn is victimized in this context by what must be considered a pretty solid cast of candidates. Robinson, who no doubt has had his share of baggage, was given consideration, but he had his moments during his time in Seattle, especially his second season, when he gained 1,240 yards receiving and averaged just under 16 yards a catch. Reggie Williams also was considered based on his mediocre track record in his first three years with the Jags, but it appears the light might have finally gone on for him last season.
I didn't defend the Ginn selection when it happened. Not because the Dolphins passed over Brady Quinn(who I'd remind everyone that the book is still out on. Quinn spending 2007 riding the Cleveland Browns bench and throwing 8 passes for the entire season.) but because Miami didn't concern address its most pressing needs. Finding players for a aging defense. This is what I wrote at the time.

I stick to what I said before, the Dolphins should not draft Brady Quinn. Rather the team should either pick

1- DT Amobi Okoye


2- LB Patrick Willis


3- Trade down

Miami has the oldest starting defense in the NFL. Its time to upgrade it.
Willis was AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2007.

The age of the Dolphin defense was known going into the 2007 and finally showed last year. One South Florida sports columnist jumped on the 'why didn't Miami pick a defensive player' bandwagon about six months after the draft.

Ginn wasn't the right move for Miami, but is he a bust at this point in his career? I watched every single game Miami played last year. Ginn returned one kick for a TD and had two more taken back by penalties. His 34 receptions for 420 yards and 2 TDs is hardly impressive(Ginn had his best game in the season finale against the Bengals may I note) but you have to remember how pathetic the Dolphin QB situation was last year. I ought to know, I watched every minute of every 2007 Miami Dolphin game. Did Dan Arkush?

As to some of those other number nine picks, Koren Robinson and Chris Claiborne each lasted just four years with the teams that originally drafted them. I hardly think that's what the Seahawks and Lions were hoping from these players when they were selected at #9 in their respective drafts. A strong case can be made for both Claiborne and Robinson as draft busts.(Claiborne is out of the NFL entirely at this moment)

The jury is still out on Ginn as much as it is on Brady Quinn. It is downright stupid to call Ted Ginn after only one NFL season.

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Move over Michelle Wie Part V

I introduce to you Allisen Corpuz-

Erin, Wis. – Not long after signing her scorecard and chatting with a few reporters, Allisen Corpuz walked down the steep slope behind the 18th green and approached her father. Marcos and Allisen then embraced in a long hug, knowing this historic journey had come to a conclusion.

Rounds of 81 and 88 put Corpuz nine strokes off the match-play cut, but in the grand scheme, that did not matter. For the past two days at Erin Hills, the Kapolei, Hawaii, fifth-grader had entered the record books as the youngest qualifier to compete in a USGA championship. Whatever happened afterwards was simply gravy.

At 10 years, 3 months and 9 days, Corpuz shattered the previous mark of fellow Hawaiian Michelle Wie, who achieved the feat eight years ago in this same event, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. While Wie, the 2003 WAPL champion and 2004 runner-up, did advance to match play in 2000 – she lost to Cindy Lee in the first round (3 and 2) – Corpuz, who attends the same Punahou School in Honolulu, fell a little short.


Corpuz could be next. A little more than six years ago, Corpuz asked her father for a simple birthday present. She wanted to play golf and join her father and then-6-year-old brother on the links. Since that simple request, Corpuz has risen quite quickly in the junior ranks. Four years ago, she captured the 6-and-under division at the Junior Worlds in San Diego by seven shots. More recently, she’s won back-to-back U.S. Kids World Cup titles in her age division (2006 and ’07).

Three weeks ago, the 5-foot, 111-pound Corpuz carded an 80 during her 2008 WAPL qualifier in Kauai. It was good enough to be first alternate behind Cyd Okino, who first qualified for the WAPL at 11. But on June 9, Okino won a U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier in Hawaii, which gave her an exemption into the WAPL, along with the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur. That opened the door for Corpuz to grab Okino’s qualifying spot since the USGA automatically holds a few WAPL spots open for those who qualify for the Women’s Open.

It was a good-news, bad-news situation for Corpuz. The good news is she was making history. The bad news was she had to miss her Junior World qualifier. Fortunately, her father, Marcos, found another qualifier in the Los Angeles area that takes place next Tuesday, giving Corpuz time to fly back to the West Coast and compete.

“I think it’s really cool,” said Allisen of qualifying for the WAPL at such a young age.
Yes it was pretty cool Allisen. I hope to read more about your golf accomplishments in the years ahead.

Allisen goes to the same school, Punahou, as Michelle Wie did before graduating last year. I think Allisen is modest enought not to be angling for any Nike deals in the near future.

Talking about Michelle Wie, she's teeing it up in this week's Wegaman's LPGA. In spite of her off 2007, Michelle is still talking about her dream of qualifying for The Masters.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Will Golf World's Ron Sirak please pick up the white courtesy phone?

The Golf World editor and writer doesn't make a mistake this week as much as an error of ommision. In an article about Yani Tseng's win at the LPGA Championship last weekend, Sirak writes-

The closest any player from Taiwan had come to winning a major was T.C. Chen in the 1985 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills. He had a four-stroke lead in the final round then unraveled after a double-hit on a chip shot. Tseng saw the shot on TV the week before the McDonald's and marveled because "that's not really a hard shot," she laughed, blaming the double-hit on poor technique. "But don't tell him that," she said, laughing more.
True Chen lost by only one shot, but he isn't the only Taiwanese golfer to come that close to a golf major.

May I present Lu Liang Huan.

1971 – Lee Trevino wins his first Open(British) as little-known Taiwanese player Lu Liang-Huan – affectionately known as “Mr Lu” – comes within a stroke of an incredible victory.
So in fact Chen and Mr. Lu came equally close. If Mr. Sirak answers my page I'll suggest he take some remedial lessons in golf history.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

No brainer

A long overdue change in immigration procedures.

CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Foreign spouses of U.S. servicemembers stationed overseas no longer must fly to the United States to obtain citizenship, according to a new law and Department of Homeland Security officials.

Representatives of the department’s Citizenship and Immigration Services can now interview and swear in command-sponsored foreign spouses and children at their overseas stations, officials said Thursday.

On May 29, Zita Choucan became the first military spouse to obtain citizenship under the new law at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany.

Officials are now reviewing their case loads in South Korea and Japan for applicants who may qualify, said Kenneth Sherman, Citizenship and Immigration Services field office director at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

"We’ve already identified two cases in Japan and one possible case in Korea," said Sherman, who oversees citizenship applications in both countries.

The new procedure granting citizenship at duty stations was approved in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Bush signed Jan. 28.

Spouses must still go through a background check and all of the same procedures they would while seeking citizenship in the United States, Sherman said.

They also must hold permanent resident-status "green cards" for at least three years.

Adopted children applying for citizenship must have a parent who is a U.S. citizen and has spent at least five years in the United States.

Time spent at an overseas duty station counts toward that five years, according to the law.

The new law sounds like a blessing to Darrell Thomas, safety officer for the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu, South Korea.

Thomas married a South Korean woman 10 years ago, and they’ve dealt with hassles along the way when moving to different duty stations because of her nationality.

She had been thinking about getting U.S. citizenship, but under the old system, Thomas would have had to pay for plane tickets, hotels, food and other expenses to send his family stateside for the citizenship interview and test, he said.

"That’s a fairly good chunk of change," Thomas said.

"This should reduce my cost tremendously. … If I can just drive down to Seoul, that’s a no-brainer for me."
For foreign born spouses of US service personnel, the hassles can be many. Take for instance once the spouse gets their green card. They are supposed to reside in the United States but if they're husband or wife is stationed overseas, the spouse must carry a copy of husband/wife's orders when re-entering the US. That or you can be denied re-entry.

Another problem these spouses face, is where to apply for their citizenship. Lets say A is married to M, who is stationed at an AF base in Texas. A applies for citizenship to the immigration processing center that handles Texas. Then M gets new orders, say for Virginia. That's a different processing center. You know the spouse would have to begin the application process all over again? My favorite milbogger shares some of his experiences in a blog comment here.

Once again I say our service people deserve to get expedited processing(including having to pay lower fees) when it comes to any immigration matters they have. They are putting their lives on the line for their country. I feel it is the least we can do.

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Where's the dramamine? Chapter Twenty Six

From the Tampa Tribune-

Three children and two adults were transported to hospitals this morning after the driver of a Mustang ran a stop sign and crashed into a van carrying five people in Polk County.

The children, ages 3 to 7 years old, suffered life-threatening injuries and were transported by Bay Flight, according to a Polk County Fire Rescue spokeswoman.

A 38-year-old woman and another adult, unidentified, were transported with less serious injuries, according to Fire Rescue and the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Mazda van, driven by Richard Wheeler, 40, of Lakeland, was carrying Camille Wheeler, 38; Katherine Wheeler, 7; Hope Wheeler, 5; and Regan Wheeler, 3, was traveling southbound on County Road 35A about 8:50 a.m.

A Mustang driven by 40-year-old Joseph Dziadon, also of Lakeland, was northbound on Old Kathleen Road at the same time, passing other vehicles, the patrol report says.

The Mazda ran the stop sign at the intersection of CR 35A and Old Kathleen Road, hitting the right rear passenger side of the van, which overturned, according to highway patrol.
The car that causes the accident goes from being a Mustang to a Mazda in less than 175 words. Nice work Tampa Tribune, does anyone proofread before publishing a story?

On a serious note- Say a prayer for the Wheeler family.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Now that's health care

The latest reform to come to Cuba since Raul Castro took over.

HAVANA - Cuba has authorized sex-change operations and will offer them free for qualifying citizens, an official said Friday. The move is the latest in a series of changes implemented by President Raul Castro since he succeeded his elder brother, Fidel, in February. Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela, heads Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, which strongly backs the new policy.

Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer signed a resolution approving sex-change surgery, said an official at the center who spoke on condition of anonymity because the measure has not been formally published. The resolution will be posted on the Internet on Saturday, the official said.

The procedure would be available to Cubans for free as part of their country's health-care system.

The sex education center has said previously that 28 transsexual Cubans have asked to undergo the surgery and that Cuban doctors have trained with physicians from Belgium to prepare for the procedures.

According to the center, a clinic for transsexual health will be created to perform the procedures, but it was not clear when it will start operating.
Toasters, computers, now sex changes. What's next in store for the people of Cuba?

All joking aside, I think Cuba has another reason for opening this clinic. They will start selling GRS(Gender reassignment surgery) to non-Cubans. As it stands, most people wanting GRS travel to places like Thailand for that surgery. The last time I researched it(For a web fiction I was writing), there weren't many options here in North America. Montreal, Neenah Wisconsin, Oregon and maybe one or two other places. Also note the physicians teaching the Cuban doctors come from Belgium. Belgium was another place people went for GRS.

Unless travel restrictions are relaxed, few Americans will be making the trip to Cuba for surgery. I'm all for easing up some on Cuba for our present policy isn't working. Change won't happen till some US President takes a unpopular stand. Obama maybe, if he's elected. McCain is less likely because Cuban Americans vote heavily Republican.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. They get the award for the following.

A pendant in the shape of an antique Colt 45 pistol almost landed Marnina Norys in the hoosegow on Monday.

The 39-year-old Toronto resident was caught by alert Kelowna Airport security wearing the 1.75-inch sterling silver pendant on a chain around her neck.

"That's a replica," an unidentified security agent told the harried traveller as if she would understand that replica weapons, even miniaturized pieces of jewelry, are not allowed.

Her jewelry posed no threat, responded Norys, and could hardly be used to hijack an airplane. "It's what it represents," said the agent.


"How do you know it wasn't a real gun?" asked Guy, a security agent with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, who also declined to provide his last name.

"Who knows if there is a gun that small that can shoot bullets? You don't know that. They followed the rules."

Anyone who tries to get through airport security with a piece of jewelry that looks like a miniature knife, spear or any other weapon would be told the same thing, he said.
This whole story is hysterical. Go to the link above and read it in its entirety, plus this followup one. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has since apologized for their stupidity but I'll still name them today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy

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Golf World's Ron Sirak is an imbecile Part II

In a preview of this week's LPGA Championship, the clueless nitwit writes-

For dark horses consider impressive rookies Na Yeon Choi and Yani Tseng, as well as Juli Inkster, who turns 48 this month and just needs to remember that she is a great putter to win again.
A Hall of Famer, barely a month separated from losing a tournament in a playoff, somehow qualifies as a dark horse? That is laughable.

The laughs aren't done yet. Sirak's article is datelined Maryland, where the tournament is taking place. How does a sober golf reporter not know a player he's writing about isn't even in the field? Inkster isn't, she's back in California in order to attend her daughter's junior high school graduation. I heard of Inkster's plan to skip the LPGA Championship at least a month ago. It was also reported in last Sunday's Baltimore Sun.

Anyone tell me why Golf World lets this idiot cover the LPGA?

For further examples of Sirak's cluelessness, click here, here, here, here.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Move Over Michelle Wie Part IV

A 18-year-old South Korean won the Ladies German Open today.

MUNICH, Germany – South Korean teenager Amy Yang shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Ladies German Open by four strokes.


Yang, an 18-year-old who had a course-record 63 on Saturday, finished with a 21-under 267 total for her first victory as a professional. Sweden’s Louise Stahle was second at 17 under, and Gwladys Nocera of France was another stroke back in third.
This isn't even Yang's first win in a professional golf tournament. In 2006 she won the ANZ Ladies Masters in Australia. An event considered a major championship by the golfers from down under. Yang is also the leading money winner on the LET(Ladies European Tour) so far for 2008. Next week is the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock. Yang, who only has non-exempt status on the LPGA Tour, would be a good long shot pick for the LPGA. At present Amy looks unlikely to be in the field.

Michelle Wie was also playing in Germany this week. How did she do?

Michelle Wie had a solid final round to finish sixth.


Wie shot 67 to finish 14 under, the first time since the Evian Masters in July 2006 that she completed a tournament under par – a streak of 13 events that included seven missed cuts.
Michelle Wie shot 4 straight rounds under par, by far the best golf she has played in two years. So is Michelle back? I'd wait to see how she plays at the Wegman's in three weeks before passing judgment. Michelle was given a sponsor's exemption to play in the Rochester New York LPGA Tour stop.

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