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calendar   Tuesday - February 28, 2006

Entrepreneurs Of The Day

Those crafty Belgians! You gotta hand it to them. After their recent failure to smuggle bars of soap into France fell flat on its face and attempts to smuggle beer into Germany just plain fell flat, they have finally hit upon an idea that will make them rich. Smuggling Coke bottles into the Netherlands. All together now .... I’d like to teach the world to sing .. in perfect harmony ....

imageimageBelgians Take Coke Bottles to Netherlands
February 28, 2006, 11:22 AM EST

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP)

Thrifty Belgians are causing a headache for Dutch supermarkets by gathering large numbers of plastic Coca Cola bottles and bringing them across the border to the Netherlands to collect the deposit, Dutch media reported Tuesday.

The scheme takes advantage of a recent move by Coke’s Dutch arm to introduce new bottles that are identical to the ones used in Belgium—but the Dutch bottles carry a euro0.25 (US$0.30) deposit.

While the Netherlands’ NOS television reported that Belgians were bringing bottles across the border in “massive” numbers, a Coke spokeswoman downplayed the story. “There are incidents, but I probably wouldn’t use the word ‘massive’,” Marte van Esser said.

Coke raised its Dutch prices by 30 to 40 percent on average Jan. 30, when the bottles were introduced. The company is attempting to recover from a two-year price war in Dutch supermarkets that left its products selling near the same price as in-house brands.

Sija de Jong, a spokeswoman for the supermarket industry group CBL, said she doubted any bottle-returners were becoming millionaires. “It’s a sporadic phenomenon, but it’s obviously an annoyance for the supermarkets,” she said.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 06:38 PM   
Filed Under: • EUro-peons •  
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Supremes Nix RICO For Protesters

Typical liberal bullshit. Scream freedom of speech violation whenever anyone tries to tell them they’re full of crap. But if anyone protests against their agenda like abortion they file a lawsuit claiming racketeering and extortion to shut the opposition up.

I’m getting just about fed up with all this hypocricy from the Left. This whole lawsuit was absurd from the git-go and should have been thrown out of court when it first came to trial - and the jerks who filed this suit should have been sentenced to thirty days hard labor for disturbing the sanity of the entire human race.

What we’re talking about here is ... a failure ... to communicate ...

imageimageSupreme Court Backs Abortion Protesters
Feb 28 10:25 AM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON (BREITBART)

The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.

Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the 7th Circuit had asked a trial judge to determine whether a nationwide injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence absent a connection with robbery or extortion

The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 decision by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.

Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress did not intend to create “a freestanding physical violence offense” in the federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act. Social activists and the AFL-CIO had sided with anti-abortion groups in arguing that similar lawsuits and injunctions could be used to thwart their efforts to change public policy or agitate for better wages and working conditions.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 06:07 PM   
Filed Under: • AbortionJudges-Courts-Lawyers •  
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Older Than Dirt

Guess who was:

52 years old at the time of the 9-11 attack on America
50 years old on the first day of Y2K
48 years old when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash
46 years old at the time of Oklahoma City bombing
45 years old when O. J. Simpson was charged with murder
43 years old at the time of the 93 bombing of the World Trade Center
41 years old when Operation Desert Storm began
40 years old during the fall of the Berlin Wall
36 years old when the space shuttle Challenger exploded
34 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
34 years old during Sally Ride’s travel in space
32 years old when Pres. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
30 years old at the time the Iran hostage crisis began
27 years old on the U.S.’s bicentennial Fourth of July
25 years old when President Nixon left office
23 years old when Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot
20 years old at the time the first man stepped on the moon
19 years old when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated
16 years old during the Watts riot
14 years old at the time President Kennedy was assassinated
10 years old when Hawaii was admitted as 50th of the United States
8 years old when the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 was launched
4 years old at the end of the Korean War

(Hint: he is a famous, debonair, handsome ship’s captain who runs a blog)

Click here to find out how old you were when history was made.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 04:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-Stuff •  
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Collective Bargaining

Question: How many underpaid, overworked government employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Both of them.

In all seriousness, there has never been a more pampered, benefit-laden job in history. It takes an Act Of Congress to fire a government employee. Their retirement and medical benefits package is something ordinary Americans can only dream of. They don’t need collective bargaining. What they need is a swift kick in the ass like Ronald Reagan did to the air traffic controllers union.

What’s wrong with pay-per-performance or merit-based promotion? In the civilian world that is the rule, not the exception. Why should the “servants of the people” be any different? Who, in their almighty wisdom, decided they should be protected from their own lazy work habits and promoted annually for just showing up every day and keeping a chair warm?

I’m sorry but this is a sore subject with me. I have done an awful lot of government contracting for the Department Of Defense over the years and our work was delayed and pushed into cost overruns on nearly every project by some “Silly Service” creep jerking everybody around, either on requirements or design. Nepotism is rampant and the infighting between various government employees on any project was a sight most mortals should not have to endure.

Collective bargaining is nothing more than an excuse to keep them organized to protect their utterly useless jobs. What they really need is a collective smack up side of their pointy little heads. Grrrrr ....

imageimageCourt Blocks DOD’s New Rules for Workers
Collective Bargaining Hurt, Judge Says
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

(WASHINGTON POST)

A federal judge blocked the Defense Department from implementing much of its new personnel system yesterday, handing the Bush administration a major setback in its efforts to streamline work rules and install pay-for-performance systems in federal workplaces. In a 77-page decision, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the Pentagon’s National Security Personnel System (NSPS) fails to ensure collective bargaining rights, does not provide an independent third-party review of labor relations decisions and would leave employees without a fair process for appealing disciplinary actions.

“Taken as a whole, the design of these regulations appears to rest on the mistaken premise that Congress intended flexibility to trump collective bargaining rights,” wrote Sullivan, who noted that the new regulations “entirely eviscerate collective bargaining.” The ruling marked the second time in six months that a federal judge has stiff-armed the Bush administration in its ambitious plans to rewrite federal personnel rules to curtail the power of labor unions, more strongly tie pay raises to job performance, and make it easier to hire, promote and discipline federal employees.

The two court decisions mean the new systems at Defense and the Department of Homeland Security—each more than two years in the making, and affecting nearly 800,000 civilian employees—appear destined either for lengthy court appeals or time-consuming revisions. Also in limbo are the administration’s plans to overhaul federal pay at agencies government-wide.

The American Federation of Government Employees and 12 other unions representing more than 350,000 defense employees sued in November challenging the new system. The unions argued it would gut collective bargaining and that Pentagon officials did not meet their obligation, spelled out in the 2003 law that paved the way for the changes, to consult with employees’ representatives in crafting a new labor management system.

“This is a big win,” said AFGE President John Gage. “I think the judge very clearly showed in his decision that this was not collective bargaining by anybody’s definition.” AFGE Assistant General Counsel Joseph Goldberg said the ruling “eviscerates the core of NSPS, leaving but a hollow shell of provisions that simply cannot stand on their own.” It was unclear yesterday whether the Pentagon would appeal, or how the decision would affect the department’s long-term plans to change its pay system, which was not addressed in the lawsuit or the ruling.

“Our attorneys are reviewing Judge Sullivan’s decision at this stage to determine what our next steps will be,” said Joyce Frank, a Pentagon spokeswoman. In August, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled against a similar system at the Homeland Security Department, faulting it for undermining employees’ rights to collective bargaining. Collyer blocked implementation of new rules on labor relations and employee appeals, which led DHS officials to delay a new pay system as well. Sullivan cited Collyer’s ruling throughout his decision. DHS has appealed.

Meanwhile, the administration has urged Congress to consider legislation to replace the 15-grade General Schedule pay system government-wide with one that sets broader pay ranges and relies on more stringent annual job evaluations in handing out raises. Bush officials say such changes are necessary to make agencies more effective, and that new personnel systems at Defense and Homeland Security are essential to making both more nimble in the struggle against terrorism. Unions have contended that the changes are about gutting the power of unions, not improving national security.

- More on this story here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 02:54 PM   
Filed Under: • Judges-Courts-LawyersUnions-Labor •  
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Loose Lips Sink Ships

Picture this ... the year is 1943 and word leaks out that the US has broken the German and Japanese codes. Leaked to the NY Times, no less by disgruntled opposition party members in D.C. The Times sues the War Department for full disclosure. The Japanese and Germans read about it, change their encryption methods and millions of US servicemen die as a result.

Would the Times have actually done that? Probably not because back then every American understood that there were evil people in the world who had already killed thousands of Americans in a vile sneak attack and who wanted to kill the rest of us, therefore secrecy was important until the enemy could be defeated. Things are much different nowadays. Now we are faced with evil people in the world who have already killed thousands of Americans in a vile sneak attack and who want to kill the rest of us. Huh ... ?

imageimageNYT Sues Pentagon Over Domestic Spying
Mon Feb 27, 2006 06:11 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters)

The New York Times sued the U.S. Defense Department on Monday demanding that it hand over documents about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program. The Times wants a list of documents including all internal memos and e-mails about the program of monitoring phone calls without court approval. It also seeks the names of the people or groups identified by it.

The Times in December broke the story that the NSA had begun intercepting domestic communications believed linked to al Qaeda following the September 11 attacks. That provoked renewed criticism of the way U.S. President George W. Bush is handling his declared war on terrorism. Bush called the disclosure of the program to the Times a “shameful act” and the U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into who leaked it.

The Times had requested the documents in December under the Freedom of Information Act but sued upon being unsatisfied with the Pentagon’s response that the request was “being processed as quickly as possible,” according to the six-page suit filed at federal court in New York. David McCraw, a lawyer for the Times, acknowledged that the list of documents sought was lengthy but that the Pentagon failed to assert there were “unusual circumstances,” a provision of the law that would grant the Pentagon extra time to respond.

The Defense Department, which was sued as the parent agency of the NSA, did not immediately respond to the suit. McCraw said there was “no connection” between the Justice Department probe and the Times’ lawsuit. “This is an important story that our reporters are continuing to pursue and of the ways to do that is through the Freedom of Information Act,” McCraw said.

The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires the federal government to obtain warrants from a secret federal court for surveillance operations inside the United States. But the Bush administration says the president as commander in chief of the armed forces has the authority to carry out the intercepts and that Congress also gave him the authority upon approving the use of force in response to the September 11 attacks.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 07:58 AM   
Filed Under: • Media-Bias •  
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Denial

I don’t get it. The result of Hitler’s “Final Solution” was witnessed by millions of US, British and Soviet servicemen in the years after WWII. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Tragic reminders of the effect of uncontrolled bigotry and racism. Not just against Jews but also homosexuals, gypsies and mental defectives. It was a blight on the human race that we have yet to live down.

Now, sixty years later, insane leaders in the Middle East are claiming it never happened, entire terrorist organizations are dedicated to the destruction of every living Jew on the planet and now ... a British historian goes over to the Dark Side. Why are these people so obsessed over Jews? It makes no sense whatsoever. Jews haven’t started a major war since Jericho. Jews don’t preach hatred of other people or religions. Yet down through history, Jews have been the “red-headed stepchild” of the human race. Blamed for darn near everything bad. Why?

It has always been a mystery to me because I have several Jewish friends and have known dozens of Jews in my life. I could detect no evil mind-control, money-grabbing conspiracy in any of them. In fact, they were all just like you and me and nearly every other person on the planet ... with the exception of the insane, irrational people who possess a blind, burning hatred of them or just plain ignorance like Mr. Irving below.

Please, somebody enlighten me. What am I missing here? What does the human race stand to gain by denying evil? When are we going to learn that the only to stop evil is to fight it. Over and over again, if necessary ....

imageimageIrving Repeats Holocaust Denial
February 28, 2006

VIENNA, Austria (BBC)

Jailed British historian David Irving has again said he does not believe Hitler presided over a systematic attempt to exterminate Jews in Europe. During his trial in Austria, Irving said he had changed his mind over claims the Holocaust did not happen. But, speaking from his cell, he asked BBC News why, if such a programme existed, “so many survived”.

He is appealing for a reduction in the three-year jail term. Prosecutors are seeking for it to be lengthened. The Austrian state prosecutor’s office said it believed Irving’s sentence was too lenient in light of a possible sentence of up to 10 years. The prosecutor also deemed the sentence too light because of “Irving’s special importance to right-wing radicals”, a spokesman for the office said.

The historian pleaded guilty in his one-day trial in Vienna on Monday. In his trial, the 67-year-old admitted that in 1989 he had denied that Nazi Germany had killed millions of Jews. Speaking from prison, where he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours each day, Irving told BBC News he now believed there had been isolated cases of Jewish people being gassed during World War II.

However, he added that “Hitler’s own involvement has a big question mark behind it”, before repeating his belief that an extermination policy did not exist. “Given the ruthless efficiency of the Germans, if there was an extermination programme to kill all the Jews, how come so many survived?” he said.

The charges against Irving arose from comments he made in Austria in 1989 denying the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz. Austria is one of 11 countries with laws against denying the Holocaust. The historian previously said that he doubted the Holocaust’s existence until he saw the personal files of Adolf Eichmann, the chief organiser of the Holocaust.

“I said that then based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn’t saying that anymore and I wouldn’t say that now,” Irving told the court. “The Nazis did murder millions of Jews.”

In the past, he had claimed that Adolf Hitler knew little, if anything, about the Holocaust, and that the gas chambers were a hoax. Irving’s lawyer has said his client is unlikely to serve the full three-year term because of various factors, including his age.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 07:19 AM   
Filed Under: • OutrageousRacism and race relations •  
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Pearls Before Swine

The residents of Cleveland, having decided there’s no news currently worth wasting time on, have decided to go back and re-investigate claims that their police force is being made fun of right beneath their noses. Cleveland police officers responded with a resounding “SOOOO-EEEEEEEEE”.

Not to confuse the issue for Clevelanders but when I was in the Air Force, several of the base Security Police (SP) had black ballcaps with the letters “P.I.G.” in huge white letters on the front. When asked what that stood for they always responded with, “PRIDE-INTEGRITY-GUTS! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?” For some unknown reason, no one ever called them pigs ....

imageimageDoes Cleveland Police Logo Contain Image Of Pig?
Union President Says Claim Of Pig Image Not A New One
February 27, 2006

CLEVELAND (NEWSNET-5)

You see them driving around everywhere, but have you ever taken a closer look at a Cleveland police cruiser? Some people are saying that there’s a hidden image in the logo on the side of the car. A recent newspaper article did some editing, taking away bordering and edging on an image of the logo—and the result was the image of a pig, reported NewsChannel5’s Tracy Carloss.

NewsChannel5 took the pig image to the streets, to find out what Clevelanders thought about the image. “Yeah, now that you point it out, it does look like a pig. Wow, that’s funny, sort of,” said Lakewood resident Jennifer Carrico. Clevelander resident Nick Zalonis said, “I never noticed it before ... I think people are being paranoid, really. If you read too much into it, I guess it would look that way.”

The Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association said the logo is a silhouette of the police department badge, which dates back more than 100 years. It’s a part of their history, and this is not the first time in history that the pig image has come up.

“We had that in the academy. Every 10 years or so, someone comes out saying something like that. There are a lot bigger issues other than what our badge looks like,” said CPPA President Steve Loomis.

The logo dates back to the late 1960s when the department revamped their look. Right after the Hough Riots, it was changed in an attempt to change the face of the police department. NewsChannel5 spoke with some Cleveland police officers, none of whom were bothered by the logo or the claims.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 06:55 AM   
Filed Under: • Odd-Strange •  
Comments (18) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

Excess Baggage

image

Paul Combs—Tampa Tribune


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/28/2006 at 06:38 AM   
Filed Under: • HildabeastHumor •  
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calendar   Monday - February 27, 2006

My Friend

imageimageRobert B. Kerr
(1948-2006)


Robert was born May 13th, 1948.  He would shoot me if he knew that I revealed his true age. He was always very sensitive in that area.  Bob was the oldest of 3 boys born to Elizabeth and David Kerr.  He was born in Wishaw, Scotland, which is just south east of Glasgow.

The family came stateside in May of 1957 and made Buffalo our permanent home.  Before graduating from high school, Robert became a US citizen.  He was proud to be an American.

Robert was a Regents graduate of Riverside High School, class of 1966.  Out of school, he enlisted in the Navy, which he proudly served from 66 - 72. Upon release from the service, Bob began employment with Moog.  He was a computer/ electronics technician.  He became the service tech for the Eastern seaboard.  Bob was often dispatched to areas to realign or reprogram machinery that most people could not fathom where to begin.

Bob moved from the Buffalo area to the Dayton area in the late 70’s.  He continued to work for Moog until the early to mid 80’s at which time, he began doing free lance/ self employed work in the same trade through the early 90’s.

Bob then worked at F&P, which was doing robotics work in connection with Toyota.  He stayed with this employer through the early part of 2000.

He was a proud American and took an active interest in everything impacting our country, although he never forgot his Scottish roots.  Robert was able to turn his accent on and off at the drop of a hat and took enjoyment in doing so. 

He was a generally a quiet man, who was sentimental and took things to heart.  He was the type of person that would “Look before you Leap” He thought about what was said before doing so.  Many people do not understand the power of their words but Robert was one of those people.  He will be sorely missed by all. 

I can not believe the number of people that Robert touched on a day to day basis. Robert did not have an actual phone book with numbers and addresses.  This was too average run of the mill for Bob. Everything was on his PC and he has a number of on-line friends from all over the world, including the UK and Australia to name a few.

Robert was definetly one of a kind.  His sense of humor was something not everyone could keep up with but will be one of his traits that I miss most. There will not a funeral in Ohio but rather a memorial service here in Buffalo.  We are set to schedule a date for this sometime today or tomorrow with the funeral director.  This has taken the entire family by suprise and has been a difficult time for all.  My mother is still is a state of shock/denial with regard to how incident occurred.

Your well wishes and condolences mean so much to me and my family.  As arrangements are made for the memorial service in Buffalo, I will keep you posted.

-- Bill Kerr


Memo From The Skipper: For those who missed Sunday’s posting, Bob (StinKerr) passed away last Wednesday while en route to visit his family in Buffalo. He was found dead of a heart attack in a rest area off of I-71. Bob has been one of our favorite members here for the last two years and he will be sorely missed.

I have tried to continue posting today because I know that’s what Bob would have wanted. He was always thinking of others, never himself. It is hard to maintain my sense of humor and remain interested in worldly things right now. I can only imagine the sorrow Bob’s family must feel.

Such a kind, gentle soul as Bob should not have had to meet God in a lonely rest area in the middle of nowhere all by himself. I am a little annoyed at God right now for doing it that way. I suppose He had His reasons. Regardless, we forge ahead. Ours not to question why, etc.

Some members have inquired about setting up a fund in Bob’s name to donate to a worthy cause that Bob would have liked. Suggestions have included a fund to send packages to our troops overseas, a donation to the American Heart Association and one person even sugggested a fund to buy every sailor a bottle of the finest Scotch. Bob would probably laugh at that last one but I’m open for ideas. Talk amongst yourselves and let me know what you want to do ....

Update: Time will pass but Bob will always be with us in the Kerr Clan tartan behind the inspirational quotes at the top of the page.

May the best ye’ve ever seen
Be the worst ye’ll ever see
May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal
Wi’ a tear drap in his e’e
May ye aye keep hale an’ he’rty
Till ye’re auld eneuch tae dee
May ye aye be jist as happy
As we wish ye aye tae be.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/27/2006 at 07:17 PM   
Filed Under: • Personal •  
Comments (25) Trackbacks(1)  Permalink •  

Teacher Feature Two-Fer

Just when you thought it was safe to back onto the playground ... two more “predators” appear and gobble up our youngsters. On the East Coast this time - in the Carolinas ... one North and one South. The only thing I got to say about this latest episode is .... we sure have gone downhill in the quality of our predators lately.

Now I know these two gals ain’t the best lookin’ peaches on the tree but DANG! Listen up, all you teenage boys out there .... if this is the best your “little head” can get you involved with then it’s about time to learn how to use the big head for a change. Trust me on that one ....

imageimageTeacher in Student Sex Case Held on Bond
Saturday, February 25, 2006

LAURENS, S.C. (AP)

A former fifth-grade teacher accused of having sex with her 11-year-old student was ordered held on $100,000 bond Saturday. Prosecutors had wanted Wendie A. Schweikert, 36, jailed without bond, saying she was a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Schweikert was arrested Friday on two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor after the boy’s mother accused the teacher of having sex with him at school at least twice, said Laurens Police Chief Robin Morse.

The former teacher admitted in a statement to having sex with the boy, Morse said. Schweikert, who resigned from her job at E.B. Morse Elementary School on Friday, did not speak during the hearing, and did not have an attorney. The boy’s mother tried to tell the judge how shaken her son was, but was choked back by tears.

The boy “wanted his mother to tell the court he was scared,” prosecutor Jerry Peace said. “He is terrified that the defendant will get out on bond.” A man who answered the door at Schweikert’s home Saturday would not comment. Laurens is in northwestern South Carolina.

imageimageTeacher Arrested For Alleged Sexual Relationship With Student
February 23, 2006

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WRAL-TV)

A Wayne County teacher has been arrested and charged with a felony for allegedly having sex with an 18-year-old male student. Laurie Spurlock, 36, of Goldsboro, a teacher at Charles B. Aycock High School, turned herself in to authorities Thursday afternoon after the Wayne County Public School System asked the sheriff’s office to investigate.

The relationship was reported to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office as having occurred between mid-September 2005 and January 2006, but the alleged accusations against Spurlock did not occur on school property, according to authorities.

Spurlock, who is listed as an English teacher on the Wayne County school system’s Web site, was charged with two counts of felony sexual offense with a student. Secured bond has been set at $15,000.

The case, according to the sheriff’s office, is still under investigation.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/27/2006 at 06:28 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimeSex •  
Comments (40) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

End Of The Line

After ten years, more lawyers than you can count and one expensive trial after another, the Drama Of Greed comes to a close tomorrow. The rich ol’ sugar daddy kicked the bucket ten years ago and the battle between the Big Boobied Bimbo and the Old Boob’s Brat finally ends. Who will get the money and who will get the shaft? Place yer bets, ladies and gentlemen. The Supremes will wrap up this monetary quagmire tomorrow. Stay tuned ....

imageimageAnna Nicole Smith Drama Nears Its Supreme Finale
Feb. 27, 2006 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AZ CENTRAL)

The decade-long saga of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, her late tycoon husband, his adult son and a multimillion-dollar inheritance will be argued at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. What otherwise would be a dreary probate dispute testing federal and state court jurisdiction has drawn international tabloid interest because of Smith, an exotic dancer turned 1993 Playmate of the Year and reality-TV star.

“She is planning to attend,” says Smith’s lawyer, Kent Richland of Los Angeles. Despite the fodder for comedians, the case offers the justices a chance to resolve a difficult question of the scope of federal judges’ authority in certain probate cases.

Typically, state courts have jurisdiction over probate matters, but federal courts can have authority when a dispute involves large sums of money and parties from different states. Over the decades, federal judges have ceded some of that authority to local courts for matters involving wills and estates. The question for the Supreme Court is when federal judges can intervene in such disputes.

Smith married Texas oilman Howard Marshall in 1994 after meeting him at an adult club where she was a dancer. She was 26. He was 89. (She is referred to in the court filings by her real name, Vickie Lynn Marshall.) Howard Marshall died in August 1995, 14 months after their wedding. According to his widow’s legal papers, Marshall’s assets had been held in a trust that designated his son, Pierce, the primary beneficiary.

After Howard met Smith, he created a separate trust for her benefit, the filing said. Smith asserts that Pierce “suppressed or destroyed” the documents related to assets designated for her. In his appeal on behalf of Smith, Richland urges the high court to rule that any exemption from federal jurisdiction for probate matters is narrow and never covers bankruptcy-related cases.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/27/2006 at 06:11 PM   
Filed Under: • Corruption and Greed •  
Comments (13) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

Cheeseburger To Go!

When last we left our Doofus Dictator he had pitched a hissy fit and declared he would starve himself to death by going on a hunger strike. That was eleven days ago and sure enough Ol’ Sodomy didn’t have the guts to go through with his threat. You might say he was broken by “the mother of all hunger pangs”.

Fair enough. Feed that sorry SOB a plate of pork chops and ham hocks. Then take his sorry, whining ass outside and shoot him. This is the last time I’m gonna give this order so make it so. Don’t make me come over there and pop a cap in this miserable excuse for a human being for you ....

imageimageSaddam Ends Hunger Strike Before Trial Resumption
Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:09 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters)

Saddam Hussein has ended a hunger strike he began earlier this month to protest against the conduct of his trial, his chief lawyer said on Monday, a day before the ousted Iraqi leader is due back in court. Saddam, on trial since October for crimes against humanity, complicated already chaotic proceedings at the last hearing on February 14 by saying he and seven co-accused were refusing food.

“The president maintained his hunger strike for 11 days but was forced to end it for health reasons,” Khalil Dulaimi, who met Saddam for seven hours in Baghdad on Sunday, told Reuters. The 68-year-old former president has accused the court of forcing him to attend hearings that he wished to boycott.

Dulaimi said U.S. prison officials overseeing Saddam’s custody had contacted defense lawyers over the hunger strike to “prevent any adverse health impact.” He said the ex-leader had lost some weight but gave no details.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said Saddam’s refusal to eat was in protest at being kept separate from his co-defendants in holding cells at the court before proceedings began.

“During the last two sessions he was isolated from other defendants before attending the court room,” he said. “He was put in a special room with basic services.” Moussawi said court officials would change the arrangement. Dulaimi said Saddam showed “high morale” when he met him alone to deliberate defense strategy after his lawyers walked out of the trial last month in protest at court proceedings.

The defense team was banned from meeting Saddam after the walkout, but chief judge Raouf Abdel Rahman has lifted the ban to enable Saddam’s lawyers to return for Tuesday’s hearing. Saddam’s defense team had accused Abdel Rahman of bias and had said it would not return to court until he resigns. Dulaimi said he would ask the court to postpone the next session, citing worsening security in Iraq. More than 200 people have been killed since a Shi’ite mosque was bombed on Wednesday.

“We hope the court will ... postpone tomorrow’s hearing for the sake of preserving the lives of lawyers, witnesses and everyone concerned,” Dulaimi said. The trial has been buffeted by the killing of two defense lawyers and charges of political bias. Two months ago the previous chief judge quit, complaining of government meddling.

Prosecutors will now devote two days to reading documents from Saddam’s era in power, the last evidence that will be heard before specific charges are formulated, court sources said. The memoranda, letters and court orders will allegedly link Saddam and his co-accused to the deaths of 148 Shi’ites from the town of Dujail in reprisal for a 1982 attempt on his life there.

The tribunal is then expected to recess for another two to three weeks while are drawn up. Dulaimi said the defense would present a formal case against Abdel Rahman on the grounds that his Kurdish background meant it was difficult for him to show impartiality. Saddam, who ruled Iraq for three decades, faces death by hanging if convicted.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/27/2006 at 05:47 PM   
Filed Under: • Iraq •  
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The Show Must Go On

Into every life, now and then, a little rain must fall. Sometimes it pours. The trick is to get out your towel, dry yourself off and ... go have a party. You can’t stop bad things from happening. All you can do is suck it up and laugh in the face of adversity. New Orleans is doing just that ... at least as best that city can at the moment. The parades have been going on all last week and Fat Tuesday is coming up tomorrow. Beads and boudin. Bourbon and gumbo. Now that’s how you bring a city back to life ... not with a wake and a funeral but with a celebration of life ...

New Orleanians Find Something to Celebrate
February 27, 2006, 11:12 AM EST

NEW ORLEANS (AP)

Tourists and locals stood side-by-side—in some spots 6 to 8 feet deep—as two of the Carnival season’s biggest and glitziest parades rolled through a city struggling to reclaim some of its famous fun. “It’s very special,” said Barbara Sykes, who flew in from Irving, Texas, where she’s been living since Hurricane Katrina. “It’s part of my heart, my blood.”

The prelude to Mardi Gras—or Fat Tuesday—brought party-hungry crowds to New Orleans’ traditional parade route Sunday, nearly six months after Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city and dispersed more than two-thirds of the population.

Mardi Gras “is just a symbol of the fact that New Orleans is going to come back,” said Stephanie Hall, 28, a city resident. “New Orleans has always done what it wants to do and it’s gonna come back whether the country wants it to or not.”

A threat of thunderstorms Saturday prompted a one day delay of the Krewe of Endymion’s parade, which followed the Krewe of Bacchus through the Uptown neighborhood on Sunday night. Three smaller parades were held in the afternoon.

Lori Caswell, 34, of Chesapeake, Va., said this is her first time participating in the festivities and she was surprised by the number of people involved. “It’s a blast,” she yelled, above the screams of children seeking beads. “It’s like no other fun I’ve ever had.”

Caswell’s friend, Yvette Hairston, said she was glad the parades drew so many people back to her hometown because it’s a sign that people are putting money back into the economy.

“It’s a sign there’s life here,” she said. “It’s a rebirth.”

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/27/2006 at 05:08 PM   
Filed Under: • Climate-WeatherPhilosophy •  
Comments (8) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

Is It Safe Yet?

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Bill Schorr—United Media


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/27/2006 at 04:50 PM   
Filed Under: • Humor •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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