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Quick Hits

Another lovely day and another “Quick Hits” post (replete with the obligatory Rule 5 girl.) “Quick Hits” are where we take a look at items of interest that are comment worthy, but don’t have enough “meat” to be a full fledged post.

Our first stop is in Tampa, Florida:

A man convicted of three counts of manslaughter while driving under the influence is now suing the estates and families of the people he killed.

David Belniak had drugs in his system and never braked when he slammed into the back of a family’s car stopped at a red light on Christmas Day 2007. Three people died.

This seems to be a bad joke, but it isn’t.

The suit asks for the victims’ relatives to pay Belniak, 38, for his “pain and suffering … mental anguish … loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life” and the medical bills he got as a result of a crash he pleaded guilty to causing.

Authorities said Belniak was driving between 75 and 85 mph when his pickup smashed into the back of McWilliams’ Chevrolet Tahoe. The SUV crumpled. Gerard Bassi died at the scene. Denise Bassi died in surgery that day. Linda McWilliams was taken off life support a week later.

Authorities said Belniak had alcohol, Xanax and evidence of cocaine in his system.

This is a two-fer for us. First, we can’t wait for members of the Ron Paul Collective who say anything they do to themselves is fine and all drugs should be legal to defend Belniak’s actions.
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Rock For The Ages – An Abbreviated Version.

Normally we would take this time in our series to go into the history of a group who influenced Contemporary Christian music. To be honest with you, no group really struck our fancy this week. For some reason we were less than inspired with the groups that are in our publishing queue for this series.

As this is the first “Rock for the Ages” post of 2012, we thought Big Tent’s Revival’s “Two Sets of Jones” would be appropriate for deciding what path we all will take in the upcoming year.

And besides, we like the contrast of the accordion, guitar and the piano.

Sometimes less is more.

Enjoy.





Quick Hits

A new “Quick Hits” post and a Rule 5 boxer will help usher in the New Year.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has told the sponsor of the “Redneck Olympics” to stop using the term “Olympic” as the USOC has exclusive rights to the word.

Uh huh. Because we all know events like “mud runs, tire popping, bobbing for pigs feet and toilet seat horseshoes” are easily confused with the 100 meter dash, synchronized swimming, and gymnastics. (To say nothing of an Olympic torch being the same as a plastic pink flamingo on fire.)

We understand the idea that the “Olympics” wants to protect its brand name, but there is no confusion here or devaluing of the word “Olympic” when used by someone else. Given the USOC hits everyone for money and believes “America doesn’t send athletes to the Olympics, Americans do,” Americans have a stake in the name as well.

At least Harold Brooks, the sponsor of the Redneck Olympics, has a sense of humor about the whole thing:

Brooks says he’s planning on selling t-shirts that read “Redneck ________” with a picture of the word game hangman next to it. He says if the U.S.O.C. asks what goes in the 8 blank spaces after the word “Redneck” he’ll say it’s “Bull****”.


A Marine with no criminal history is facing a 15 year sentence for carrying a concealed weapon.
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Quick Hits – A Christmas Edition

Once again we have some items of interest and for this holiday season, a Christmas Rule Five lady.

It has been a tough year for the iconic “Toys for Tots” program. The Marine administered program provides toys for underprivileged children through monetary donations and donation of toys throughout the country and has been a model of accountability and trust during its 64 year history so it is sad to see some of the stories coming out of the organization.

In Brevard County, Florida, a Toys for Tots area coordinator and volunteer of 16 years recently stepped down from the organization after admitting he had lied about his military service record and an investigation into the alleged rape of a 16 year old girl.

In Chicago, the Toys for Tots program was rocked by what appears to have been an embezzlement this past spring of funds marked for the purchase of toys this holiday season.

These types of setbacks are difficult to comprehend much less for the charity to deal with. After all, what kind of lowlife steals money intended for toys?

While it is easy to focus on the slimeballs, we should also applaud the people who have helped with the issues. In Florida, the Marines told the volunteer he was essentially no longer welcome in the program and thereby demanded accountability for the actions of a volunteer. The Marines did not wait for the result of the criminal investigation. In their eyes, lying about military service was enough to demand he walk away.

In Chicago, an anonymous donor stepped in and gave $25,000 to the charity to make up for the embezzled funds.

A generous donor stepped forward today, saving Christmas for a local charity after an alleged theft left organizers unable to buy toys for thousands of needy Chicago-area kids.

A man came in with a $25,000 check to cover the missing amount, said Toys for Tots Chicagoland treasurer Janet Malpede.

The donor’s only stipulation? That he remains anonymous and that the gift be in memory of Sid Luckman, the Chicago Bears quarterback during the 1940s who led the team to four championships.

After news became public this week, the phone has been ringing constantly, Malpede said. Beyond the $25,000, others have made generous offers, including a donor who gave $1,000 in toys through Target, Malpede said.

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Quick Hits.

Another edition of our running series of news of note, plus a “Rule 5” picture.

This week we are going to look at people with “chutzpah” defined as “unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall, audacity; nerve”.

The City of Pittsburgh received a $40 million dollar gift from the Bill Gates Foundation to help improve their education system.

The school system proceeded to spend a third of the gift on consultants.

Two years after Pittsburgh Public Schools received $40 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase teachers’ effectiveness, the district has spent or allocated nearly a third of it on consultants and contractors, mainly from outside the state.

Administrators told board members that they need consultants to perform specialized work outside the expertise of district personnel.

The first thing to notice is that the school system claims it doesn’t have the expertise to make things better. That is quite a change from the usual cry from unions of “no oversight” and “we know what we are doing.” The school system can’t have it both ways. It cannot claim on one hand that it needs outside help and then on the other hand claim monitoring and input from outside groups is not welcome.

The district anticipates spending about $19 million by the end of next year, about 68 percent of it on consultants. It must use the money as outlined in its grant application: increasing teacher effectiveness through more comprehensive evaluations and creating better learning environments. The end result, the district told the Gates foundation, would be higher-achieving students.

Nineteen million dollars that won’t help the city school system at all. But it will pad the accounts of consultants.

Remember, it is all “for the kids.”


Brian Terry was a border patrol agent who was killed in a shootout along the Mexican border. According to AzCentral.com,
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Quick Hits

Another in our series of posts that are just quick summaries on items of interest. (Plus a “Rule 5” woman on the side.)

In a case of “it sounded like a good idea at the time,” a ride at the Broward County Fair in Florida has spawned a bit of a controversy. The name of the ride is “Zyclon,” which is German for “Cyclone.” Not a bad name until you remember “Zyclon B,” the name of the gas used by Nazis to kill millions in World War II concentration camps.

“Of all the names in the world, why do they need to name rides that?” said Rita Hofrichter, a Holocaust survivor who works at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Hollywood. “It’s upsetting to me to come across that, as a survivor. I lost my whole family in the gas chambers, particularly in Auschwitz.”

While we understand the feelings of those who are against the name, we cannot outlaw every name simply because of some distant association. There is a huge difference between a fun ride at a county fair and a killer gas.

However, we do admit the following company could have done a little better research:

The German word has caused problems for businesses in America before. A company sought to trademark appliance names that used the word Zyklon in 2002, according to an Associated Press report at the time. The appliances included coffee machines and gas ovens.

Yikes.


Part of capitalism is that when there is a void in the market, someone or something will step into that void and fill it. Such is the case with the labor dispute that is occurring in the NBA. With the lack of professional basketball, a group has banded together and formed a topless basketball league.

You read that right. A female topless basketball league.

This morning it was revealed they want to form a basketball league of topless dancers to attract attention to the sport while the NBA saga drags on after nearly five months of crisis.

Rick’s Cabaret group’s league, consisting of dancers from their 23 clubs, has reportedly said a former NBA star will be announced next week as coach of the New York team, which will unveil its uniforms – we’re suspecting some of the most minute ever seen on a court -next week as well.

And we thought the Lingerie Football League was silly.

Somehow when we read about this story, our mind went back to the sport bra ad campaign staring tennis player / model Anna Kounikova.
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Quick Hits

Here we go again with another round of “Quick Hits” – interesting tidbits that deserve to be talked about.

The people at PETA have launched a lawsuit in San Diego against SeaWorld claiming the orcas SeaWorld has are in fact slaves and therefore a violation of the 13th Amendment.

Jeff Kerr, PETA’s general counsel, says his five-member legal team — which spent 18 months preparing the case — believes it’s the first federal court suit seeking constitutional rights for members of an animal species.

The plaintiffs are the five orcas, Tilikum and Katina based at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., and Corky, Kasatka and Ulises at SeaWorld San Diego.

This is obviously a publicity stunt, but what we can’t figure out is how it took PETA a year and a half to come up with this ridiculous argument.

We also are having trouble wondering how PETA plans on getting the whales to testify in court.


The country of Hungary is considering jumping on the bandwagon of taxing industries that are more successful in order to prop up less successful ventures.

According to Variety, Hungary is considering taxing porn in order to support so called “art house” films.
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Quick Hits

Another in our series of quick comments on stories in and around the world.

UPDATED TO REFLECT NEW INFORMATION ON THE AFT / DOJ “FAST AND FURIOUS” CASE.

ABC News reports the government has paid benefits people that are deceased. The amount is staggering.

The federal government has doled out more than $600 million in benefit payments to dead people over the past five years, a watchdog report says.

Such payments are meant for retired or disabled federal workers, but sometimes the checks keep going out even after the former employees pass away and the deaths are not reported, according to the report this week from the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general, Patrick McFarland.

It is important to note that this is not a failure of the Obama administration. It is not a failure of the Bush administration. This is a failure of the Federal government – the same group of folks that says it need more and more tax dollars in order to keep paying benefits to (dead) people.

This type of failure of the system is not isolated and is an on-going and continuing issue:

Last year, government investigators found that more than 89,000 stimulus payments of $250 each from the massive economic recovery package went to people who were either dead or in prison.

While the amount is small in the total of the budget, (both in percentage and dollar amount) this is the type of waste conservatives look at and say “there is no need to raise more taxes when we should be working on eliminating the waste first.


There is no way to sugar coat the next story. Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress.

Period.

The end.

New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his statement to Congress.

On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

Yet internal Justice Department documents show that at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing Fast and Furious.

The referenced memos are below:
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