Saturday, April 16, 2005

Saturday Puppy Pic

I'm having trouble posting a current picture of Wyatt, so I thought I would treat you to a picture from our cruise last November

This is what I woke to the first day we arrived in Haiti. This is a cove we were anchored in. A tender came and took passengers to the town of Labadee. Dale and I chose not to go as it would be difficult for him to walk and taking his wheelchair was just something I didn't want to think about, so we enjoyed to views. And they were very nice. The pictures don't do them justice.

Image hosted by

I have another photo I'd like to post, but I can't get it to properly size. I'll post it when I get it to the right size. The one above, I'll try to resize a bit bigger. It just doesn't do justice to Haiti.
Saturday Ramblings

Howard Dean, head of the DNC, has announced that the Terri Shiavo case will become part of the DNC platform in 2006 and 208. He hates Republicans so much that he'll use a dead woman to further the party's platform. Nice.

Mickey Kaus thinks he know why Senator Kerry hasn't signed his SF-180 to release his military records. Find it here. He might be on to something.

The Minuteman Project is still going on. Sean Hannity will be broadcasting from Arizona, I think Monday. Look, this project is a band aid at best. We're not going to stop the influx of illegal aliens from Mexico by having a relatively small group of people patroling the Arizona/Mexican border. But, at least someone saw and issue that needed light shined on it. Because a group of citizens began patrolling the border, the government sent more Border Patrol officers to the scene. Homeland Security can best be described as a joke until we get the borders tightened up.
Sarah Michelle Lunde

I was afraid that the news would be bad. It’s been a week since Sarah went missing and today a body was found about a half mile from her home. The Hillsborough County Sheriff, David Gee, held a news conference where he said he had spoken to the family and told them there was a high degree of probability that the body was Sarah.

The terrain where the body was found is swampy and difficult to travel through. It’s a former fish farm. This part of Florida has more than a few fish farms; it’s become a very profitable industry. Many of the fish you eat, especially those bought in supermarkets, are farm raised. In any case, the chances that Sarah lived, if indeed it is Sarah, for more than a few hours are slim. Most of the time, sexual predators don’t want to leave a living witness, especially when the victim is a child. He knows how the public will react.

If this is indeed Sarah, the best we can do is to first remember that she had a difficult life and now it’s over. She hadn’t had contact with her father in ten years. I don’t know details of why, but she was in the foster care system for a time. That in itself is a difficult situation. Her family seems to be somewhat dysfunctional. I won’t say more than that until I have more facts, but that seems to be the kindest way to put it right now. But, even so, her life should not have ended the way it did. She was thirteen years old and should have been looking forward to high school, proms, homecomings, college, boyfriends, a husband, a family of her own, and everything else that each one of us dreams of. Sarah was robbed of her future and her dreams. By someone who was so selfish that he couldn’t think past his own desires and reasons. And no reason is good enough to explain why this young life was taken.

I don’t know who took Sarah, and probably raped and murdered her. It’s up to the Sheriff’s Office to put together a case with solid evidence that will convict whoever the creature is who could do such a thing. It will be up to the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney’s Office to use that evidence to prosecute someone. And believe me, the Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office will do everything they can to put someone behind bars. Many of them are parents and every time they have to deal with the death of a child, it hits them hard. It makes them think about their own kids. And it will affect even those who weren’t involved in the search. I know; I’ve been there.

It hurts us almost as deeply as it does the family and friends. We’re in law enforcement because we want to help and to protect innocent lives. And this time we failed. Maybe through no fault of our own, but we’ll feel it just the same. Our job is to protect the Sarah’s of the world. And we couldn’t.

And so, the detectives will work as hard as they can to find the person responsible and take him to trial. They will make sure that his civil liberties are not violated, as Sarah’s were, so that he will get a fair trail. They will make sure that the evidence is solid so that a jury of his peers will be able to convict him and sentence him so that justice is served.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fair Tax Items

I have discovered a need for more revenue, and not being the Federal government, I can't raise taxes, print money or do anything that the government does to bring in money. So, being something of a capitalist, I am in the process of adding some items for sale that relate to the Fair Tax issue. I'll hopefully have bumperstickers, window clings, refrigerator magnets, coffee cups and the like. Maybe t-shirts.

In the meantime, perhaps you would like to visit my other site, The 50 Reasons I Support the Fair Tax and learn more about the FTA. Here's the link.
Tax Day

It's April 15th and if you haven't filed your taxes yet, you have until midnight to either get them in the mail, filed electronically, or request and extension. Did you pay enough in taxes? Do you think you should pay more? Maybe like most of the rest of America, you think you paid too much.

Wouldn't you like to make April 15th just the day between the 14th and 16th? Nothing special about the day, unless it's a birthday or anniversary or other special day for you. It can be like that.

HR 25 and S25 have introduced into Congress as the
Fair Tax Act. It would repeal the 16th Amendment which created the Income Tax and abolish the IRS. You would no longer file taxes. No more 1040's. "C" would be just another letter of the alphabet instead of a tax form.

No more FICA taken from your paycheck, Regular or Medicare. No more withholding. The money you earn you will keep. What a concept!

You will "pay" your taxes based on what you purchase. If you buy a new item, you will pay tax on it. If you buy a "used" item, you will pay no tax at all. This is a consumption tax. You are taxed on what you consume (buy).

You will get a prebate each and every month deposited into your bank account to pay for the taxes you will pay on the basic necessities of life. A married couple with three kids would get a different amount ($487) than a single mom with three kids ($327) (5 family members as opposed to 4). And yes, it's fair. It's based on the number of people in the family instead of income. Don't forget, that single mom might be a doctor or lawyer and the parents a waitress and a car salesman.

Everyone who buys an item will pay taxes - American citizens, illegal aliens, foreign tourists, and anyone who doesn't have a traditional job where taxes are taken from their paychecks (criminals such as drug dealers, prostitutes, thieves, burglars, and shoplifters).

Everyone will pay the same rate of tax, from Joe and Jane Sixpack to the Bill Gates of the world. If you buy an item in America, you will pay the same tax. The difference will be if you buy a "used" item or a new item. If you want to buy a new car, say a $25,000 vehicle, you will pay the same tax rate as a Bill Gates who can buy a $100,000 vehicle.

Taxes will be collected the same way they are today. The retailer or service provider collects a state sales tax and remits it to the state Department of Revenue, or whatever it’s called in your state. When the National Retail Sales Tax (NRST) – The Fair Tax – is passed, the retailer or service provider will collect whatever tax is due and remit to the Federal government when they remit taxes to the state. Considering the amount of time saved by not having to prepare and file a Federal Income tax form, I think that it would be well worth it.

I believe that there will be an added benefit down the line. Forty-three states now have a state income tax. When the citizens of those states see the benefits of a consumption tax rather than a tax on income, I believe they will begin to petition their state governments to repeal the state income tax and go to a full consumption tax. Think of the benefits, you will no longer pay the state every payday, you will no longer pay the Federal government every day and you will pay taxes only on what you buy.

You will "own" your own money. You will be able to spend the money that was previously taken from your paycheck any way you choose. You can put it in the bank, you can pay off a mortgage, send your kid to college, buy a house, take that dream vacation you've wanted to take, or whatever you want to do. It’s your money. It will be your choice on how you spend your money. Unless you bury your money in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar in the backyard, it will help the economy. And I don’t know anyone who does that.

I know you will have questions, so go to Americans for Fair Taxation and see if you can get your questions answered. Or go to my sidebar and look for Income Tax Reform - The Fair Tax. Maybe one of the links will help you understand why this is such a good idea.

Freedom of choice. It's a good thing.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Nepotism in Politics?

Nepotism is favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business or in today's news, politics.

I'm not sure that nepotism is wrong, especially if the relative is paid equal to or less than others doing similar jobs. For instance, if the child of a politician is paid the same amount as another paid volunteer, who is not a relative, what is the problem? I would be willing to be that most politicians pay their relatives less than they would pay someone they hired outside the family. Yes, there are times when a politician abuses the system, that's what you need to bring into the light. Another reason people hire their spouses and kids is because they can trust them and depend on them in a way you can't depend on employees you hire "off the street".

I was watching FoxNews this evening. Something like 39 members of Congress have hired relatives. Where is the outrage about Barbara Boxer hiring her son? Or Joe Lieberman hiring his son and daughter? But let Tom DeLay hire his wife or Dick Cheney's daughter run his campaign and it's the worst scandal that ever was. Here and here are lists of politicians and what their family members were paid. Believe me, there's more to this than just nepotism.

This thing about nepotism is that the relatives of the politician really have to be careful that they don't do something that can hurt the politician or make him look bad. Kofi and Kojo Anan illustrate this point. Kofi should have kept his boy in line, but didn't. Not gonna speculate on why, but he obviously didn't. Kojo made some bad choices and is paying for it.

My first job was working for my mother. She was an office manager and her boss asked if I could work vacation relief during my summer vacation from school. She really didn't want me working there. Not because she didn't think I would do a good job, but because she didn't want to look as if she was hiring her family. My brother was already working there and a few years later, his wife would work part-time. Her boss said that he didn't care what anyone else thought. He knew that we would be good employees and he would hire as many of us as he could. By that time, he pretty much had hired us all. My dad even pitched in occasionally.

How about taking trips paid for by lobbyists? I'd say that's more worrisome than hiring relatives. Here's a story from my own state of Florida. See if you would vote for her again.
American Troops Cleared in Italian Hostage Shooting

You might remember that journalist Giuliana Sgrena was kidnapped by Iraqi terrorists. Last month she was freed, probably after a payment by the Italian government. The car taking her to the Baghdad airport was fired upon by US forces when it failed to stop when ordered to do so at checkpoints. An Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari was killed trying to save her life. Ms. Sgrena later accused US forces of trying to kill her.

A joint American-Italian investigation has reportedly found the soldiers acted properly in firing on the car.

When you're in a war zone, and you're ordered to stop at a checkpoint, you darn well better stop. If you don't stop, you risk being shot at. Unless the military has changed, they use real bullets. Real bullets kill. The ones responsible for the death of Nicola Calipari are the people riding in the car. The driver of the vehicle could have stopped at any time. He was in charge of the vehicle. Unless, of course, someone was holding a gun to his head, then that person bears the responsibility of the intelligence agent's death. Not the soldiers at the checkpoint. They were doing their jobs, what they were trained to do. I feel confident that had they meant to kill her, they would have. Like she's important enough to kill.

This is the statement issued by the Army on the night of the shooting: "Vehicle traveling at high speed refused to stop at a check point." [The soldiers] "attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots-when the driver didn't stop the soldiers shot into the engine block which stopped the vehicle."

"I think that is a lie," says Sgrena.

What's the lie? That they attempted to stop the vehicle? That they used hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and firing warning shots? That they fired into the engine block? That the vehicle stopped when they shot into the engine block?

It's also entirely possible that Ms. Sgrena, even though she was present, doesn't know what really happened. She might have been sleeping, planning a reunion with friends and family, beginning to write the story of her captivity, or deep in conversation. In any case, just because she was in the car, doesn't mean she was aware of what was happening around her.

Remember, Ms. Sgrena is a reporter for a Communist newpaper. She would be, of course, very diligent in reporting the facts. And she would be sure that the facts portrayed American soldiers in the very best light.

Uh huh....and the Dems will conceed that they lost the election because they just didn't get enough votes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sarah Michelle Lunde

Image hosted by

Thirteen year old Sarah Michelle Lunde of Ruskin, Florida has been missing since Sunday morning. I don't know how I missed this. No Amber Alert was issued, so the authories apparently have few clues as to how she came to be missing.

There are 24 registered sexual offenders in the area. Police have spoken to all of them and one is in custody on unrelated charges, and has the attention of the authorities.

From the Bay News 9 website:

Investigators are focusing on a three-square-mile area around Lunde's home. Anyone with information about Lunde's whereabouts is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200. Anyone who wants to volunteer in the search effort can call 813-247-0455.

For those who don't know Ruskin, it's a small, rural, bedroom community south of Tampa. Many of your tomatoes come from this area.

Let's hope and pray this has a better outcome than the recent case concerning Jessica Lunsford.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

You know, I have a fairly high tolerance for stupid. I see it everyday. I've been guilty of being stupid. I've sometimes been an overacheiver in stupidity. There have been times when I thought I could give graduate classes in stupid.

Today we have college students throwing pies at conservative speakers, people coining slogans and anti-Bush sentiments, others selling T-shirts, coffee mugs and the like all calling for various political figures to kill themselves.


Let me make two points clear:

First of all, under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, they have the right to express themselves. What I think of what they have to say is only my opinion, which I also have the Constitutional right to express.

Second, it doesn't make a difference to me if any of the above incidents (pies, hate speech, sales of various items calling for someone to kill themselves) are directed at liberals or conservatives; Republicans or Democrats; Christians, Jews, or Muslims; blacks or whites; or any other group or individual. I have a high sense of right and wrong and my sense tells me this is wrong, not to mention stupid, no matter who it's directed at or why.

As far as I am concerned, it all comes under hate speech in one form or another and it's wrong. Don't tell me that it's "all in fun." It's juvenile behavior and it's not attractive in people who are supposed to be mature, thinking adults. It's especially annoying to me when it comes from those who want to either lead or influence those who lead our country. It really annoys me to see people who should be setting examples for others to be engaging in such pathetic, juvenile, moronic behavior.

I wrote in a previous post about throwing pies at speakers and how it could escalate from pie-throwing, something we can all giggle at, to someone using a baseball bat, a knife, or even a gun. One thing I forgot about was that throwing pies is also a violation of civil rights. A pie thrown at a speaker interfers with the speaker's right to Freedom of Speech. It also interfers with the rights of the people who came to hear the speaker. They have been prohibited from hearing what they came to hear.

If I were in the audience when such an event occurred, I think I would be looking for an attorney the next day. I'd file civil charges against the pie-thrower and maybe the venue for not providing better security. It becomes a Freedom of Speech issue. I believe I have a Constitutional right to hear the speaker. With luck, he or she would pay a higher price in cash than they would in jail or fines if they were convicted of a criminal charge. And I know enough about civil law and judgments and liens that I could tie the pie-thrower up for at least the next twenty years paying off the judgement. And it would be for the principle of the issue, not the money.

I used to think that when someone said it "wasn't for the money, it was the principle" that it was really for the money. I've learned that's not always true. Sometimes it is the principle that's important.

One definition of failure is when you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Substitute "stupid" for "failure" and you have the mind set of those who are throwing pies, coining slogans, and selling items advocating the death of various political figures. It's just stupid and can lead to a dangerous. slippery, slope.

Wasn't it Justice Holmes who said that the right to free speech ends when someone yells fire in a crowded theater? Isn't pie-throwing sort of like yelling fire? They both end in chaos and mayhem. Both are disruptive; audience members have been subjected to fear - wondering if they are going to be victims of a violent event. Audience members are deprived of hearing the event they were expecting to hear.

Forrest's mama was pretty smart. Stupid is as stupid does.

Says it all, I think.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Florida Bloggers

I've been updating my Florida bloggers blogroll. I've added quite a few and removed some that haven't been updated in months or for some reason can't be accessed. Some I left off because they are photoblogs. I might add them later on. Nothing against photoblogs, but that's not what I'm looking for right now. I'll be checking to be sure the links are good and go where they are supposed to go over the next few weeks. There are a LOT and I have only so much time.

If you are a Florida blogger and would like to be added, leave me info in comments. If you don't want to be on this blogroll, please let me know and I'll remove you posthaste. Don't want to step on toes here in my Little Corner.

Considering last summer, I thought it would be nice to have links to other bloggers so we can keep tabs on each other, maybe know who is live blogging during storms and so on.
Good Grief

One of the reasons voters elect their Congressional representatives is because they believe that person will bring goods and services to their state. This is referred to as "pork" and it's not necessarily bad. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia has made a science of it. He's managed to bring more than $1 billion (yes, that's billion with a "b") dollars to West Virginia over the years. Citizens Against Government Waste has dedicated a page to him and had named him "King of Pork."

So, in honor of their senior senator, the legislature of West Virginia in 1997, erected a statue in the Capitol rotunda of homeboy Robert Byrd. Did I mention that this is violation of WV state statute stating that no statute shall be erected of a government official until 50 years after his death? I wonder if anyone took that into consideration when a check using taxpayer money was written for the statue. It's said that the hands on the statue are pointing toward the pockets of those looking at the statue. I have never seen the statue, so I can't say.

I know several people from West Virginia and they are not stupid. They are not the stereotypical caricature of the illiterate, shine-swilling, gap-toothed, in-bred, hillbilly one hears of in those stupid jokes about the denizens of West (by God!) Virginia. Perhaps the average West Virginian doesn't know about the state law against statues of living (or dead less than 50 years) government officials. Perhaps even some members of the WV legislature don't know. But there has to be someone, somewhere who did.

Oh, something else. A lot of the pork projects that came to West Virginia has Robert C. Byrd's name on it. Literally. Here's a list:

Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope
Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam
Robert C. Byrd Drive, from Beckley to Sophia (Byrd's hometown)
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia
Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Center
Robert C. Byrd Technology Center at Alderson-Broaddus College
Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, near Princeton
Robert C. Byrd Bridge between Huntington and Chesapeake, Ohio
Robert C. Byrd addition to the lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling
Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove
Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships
Robert C. Byrd Expressway, U.S. 52 near Weirton
Robert C. Byrd Institute in Charleston
Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing
Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse
Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center
Robert C. Byrd Federal Building
Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex
Robert C. Byrd Library and Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center
Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center
Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to the veteran's hospital in Huntington
Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Hardy County
Robert C. Byrd Scholastic Recognition Award
Robert C. Byrd Community Center in the naval station, Sugar Grove

I don't know if this is all inclusive or a partial list. It really doesn't make any difference to me. You know, I had a thought (believe it or not) when I was looking at this list. Some of these projects are of the type that are usually funded by the person they are named for (scholastic, community centers) and others are named for a person after their death (Federal buildings and courthouses). Not always, but usually. Perhaps some of these scholastic projects were funded with Byrd private money? I don't know. Just throwing it out there. I wonder how many of these projects got funding because they were named for Senator Byrd. I wonder how many of these projects were named because it was suggested that by naming it for Senator Byrd, funding would become available. Don't know, and not saying anything.

Just wondering.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Mae Magouirk Update

Miss Mae has been airlifted to the University of Alabama-Birmingham according to her nephew Ken Mullinax. She is receiving receiving food, fluids, cardiac care, and neurological help.

I posted on Miss Mae on Friday. I've learned a little more about Miss Mae and how she came to be in the hospital in the first place. Apparently she suffers from a aorta dissection (don't ask me what that is, I've never heard of it). As does her sister. It may come to a place where she needs surgery but it's not now.

From all I have read about Beth Gaddy, the granddaughter who had her admitted to the hosice and then arranged that feeding and hydration be stopped, she had the best of motives. Apparently she felt that it would be in Miss Mae's best interests, and that Miss Mae was ready "to go home." Until I know differently, I won't say that her reasons were anything but pure.

My only question is that since it was contrary to Miss Mae's Living Will, why was this done at all? People have Living Wills for a reason: so that their loved ones will know what their wishes are if they can't speak for themselves. Ms. Gaddy and the Probate Court judge apparently decided that Miss Mae didn't know what she wanted, and the Living Will was worthless, or that Miss Mae had changed her mind and couldn't change her Living Will. I don't know what transpired between Miss Mae and Ms. Gaddy. In my opinion, the court, Ms. Gaddy, and the hospice were all wrong in going against a written document which expressed Miss Mae's wishes.

And why was she admitted to a hospice. Apparently, Miss Mae was not terminal. Isn't that what a hospice is for? To help the terminal during their last days? If she had gotten to a place where she didn't need hospitalization, but needed care, an assisted living facility would be the place where she should have been placed.

Very curious.

World Net Daily link