Friday, December 31, 2010

Washington Nationals want Dominican pitcher Severino to rest until spring training

12/30/10, Caracas, "The (Dominican pitcher) Atahualpa Severino may not play as reinforcement in Venezuela with the Caracas Lions of refusing his major league organization, the Washington Nationals,
  • said today in a statement Venezuelan team.
Although he had arrived in Caracas and was practicing for his debut in the semifinals with the current league champions, the Washington Nationals decided that Severino should rest
  • to prepare for spring training in February.
Severino was with the Licey Tigers in their country of origin (Dominican Republic), where pitching 20 games in which struck 16 strikeouts in 14 sections and seven walks. He left a record of 0-2 and ERA of 9.64. In triple-A Syracuse and was the winning six with three losses, efficiency of 3.34 (25 chapters clean 67.1) in 54 games, 46 guillotined and 29 walks.
  • Strengthening Dominican pitcher Armando Gabino fellow, and his debut and will remain in the workforce of the hairy along with newly recruited American outfielder Tike Redman."
from El Nuevo Diario, "Washington Nationals from playing in Venezuela to the Dominican Severino" google translation from Spanish. original Spanish


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Mariano Rivera at Rangers-Coyotes game, 12/16/10

Al Trautwig interviews Mo briefly, asks if he contacted the Red Sox or the other way around. He says they called him. grab video

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NFL fined Tampa bars for showing Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games

12/30/10, "The NFL won't have a single home-market television blackout going into its last week of regular-season play, but the 23 blackouts that preceded Week 17 can't be shrugged off. Those 23 blackouts eclipsed last year's 22 and are the most the NFL has had since it hit 30 in 2004. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • went an entire season without showing a home game in their own market.
For perspective, the team -- owned by billionaire and Manchester United owner Malcom Glazer and still contending for a wild card spot in the playoffs -- had the NFL fining Tampa bars for streaming games from the Internet and busloads of
  • fans traveling more than 100 miles to Fort Myers to watch games.
There were times this season, especially during games against the defending champion New Orleans Saints, the division-leading Atlanta Falcons and the Pittsburgh Steelers that this organization was almost
  • willing fans away from Raymond James(RJF_) Stadium."...
from The Street.com, "NFL blackouts a black eye as season ends" via Lucianne.com

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Global warming on windshield

'Global warming' written in snow on UK windshield. photo Daily Mail, 12/25/10

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bill Lajoie in Red Sox front office during Beckett/Lowell/Mota trade

Bill Lajoie who recently passed away, was interviewed on XM MLB 175 on 11/29/05 shortly after the Beckett/Lowell/Mota trade.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bill Lajoie now on XM

Currently assisting Larry Lucchino in managing the Red Sox moves, longtime baseball manager and evaluator Bill Lajoie discusses current events. He notes that Red Sox farm director and scouting director are meeting every day, facilitating the enormous flow of information. He says if you want to be a GM, expect to be on the phone all the time. 11/25/05, on the Red Sox Beckett, Mike Lowell, Mota trade: "This trade was a collaboration of front office executives Bill Lajoie, Jeremy Kapstein, Jed Hoyer, Peter Woodfork, Ben Cherington and Craig Shipley."...(MLB.com)
  • (The interview took place in the 12-1pm hour)

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wind turbines have to be heated or they freeze up, costing more to operate than they generate

Wind turbines have to be heated in cold weather or they freeze up, so they cost more electricity to run than they generate.
  • 12/28/10, "In percentage terms, how much electricity do Britain’s 3,150 wind ­turbines supply to the ­National Grid?Is it: a) five per cent; b) ten per cent; or c) 20 per cent?...
The correct answer is: none of the above. Yesterday afternoon, the figure was just 1.6 per cent, according to the official website of the wholesale electricity market. Over the past three weeks, with demand for power at record levels because of the freezing weather, there have been days when the contribution of our forests of wind turbines
  • has been precisely nothing.
It gets better. As the temperature has plummeted, the turbines have had to be
  • Consequently, they have been consuming more electricity than they generate.
Even on a good day they rarely work above a quarter of their theoretical capacity. And At best, the combined output of these monstrosities is equal only to that of a single, medium-sized, gas-fired power station. To make matters worse, Yet the Government is ploughing ahead with plans to erect 12,500 of these War Of The Worlds windmills in the sea and across our green and pleasant.
  • Some of them will be up to three times the size of the present structures. Every time I drive up to North Norfolk, another crop of turbines has sprouted from the soil, disfiguring the scenery for miles around....
Billions of pounds are being wasted on these worse-than-useless blots on the landscape. We’d be ­better off spending the money on snow ploughs. While we’re on the subject of snow, Britain’s most tenacious ‘climate change denier’ Christopher Booker, occasionally of this parish, has just revealed
  • the real reason why this country was so ill-prepared for the Arctic weather.
Airports, rail operators and local authorities all subscribe to the Met Office’s long-term forecasts. And over the past few years, the Met Office has become evangelical
  • about ‘man-made global warming’.
Every weather forecast is now extruded through the prism of so-called climate change, even when all evidence points to the fact that the Earth is actually getting colder. The Met Office’s predictions are based on a computer model which assumes ever-rising temperatures — so much so that it forecast that this winter would be significantly milder than the past two years. Even though the winters of 2008 and 2009 were ferociously cold,
  • they were dismissed as ‘random events’.
  • The Met Office put the odds on a third harsh winter no higher than 20-1.
Those responsible for keeping our transport network running were stupid enough to swallow this bogus, optimistic forecast, and consequently failed to make proper provision for the blizzards which duly followed.
  • This, of course, was the same Met Office which predicted a ‘barbecue summer’ shortly before Britain was hit by gales and widespread flooding.
For this wildly inaccurate and deliberately skewed service, the British taxpayer is charged a staggering
  • £200million a year.
Needless to say, the head of the Met Office is not even a weatherman. He’s a leading ‘climate change activist’ who buys into the propaganda pumped out by the fanatics at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) — exposed for blatantly suppressing evidence which contradicts their messianic belief in ­‘global warming’.
  • Back in 2000, the CRU’s Dr David Viner told The Independent that winter snowfalls would soon be a thing of the past.
Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,’ he predicted confidently. Even when they are proved wrong, the warmists will never admit it. They simply move the goalposts
  • which is how global warming morphed into ‘climate change’.
You can’t argue with them. That’s because ‘climate change’ isn’t a ­science, it’s a religion. Sceptics are trashed as heretics. As I write, Sky News is spotlighting a project on Humberside aimed at brainwashing ­children into believing that wind is the fuel of the future....Call Me Dave bangs on about all the jobs which will be created by the ‘green economy’ — ignoring the fact that The defining characteristic of all fanatics is that they have no sense of the ridiculous. According to the BBC, Town Halls across the country have been appealing to owners of 4x4s to offer lifts to ‘essential staff’ during the cold snap. These would be and kill polar bears. You couldn’t make it up. Let them slip and slither their way into work. I shall be saddling up the SUV and tilting at windmills."


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Dead model at August Busch IV home had heart issue

12/27/10, "An aspiring model who died at the home of former Anheuser-Busch chief executive August Busch IV had a rare heart condition, according to her ex-husband.

Adrienne Martin, 27, was found dead at Busch's suburban St Louis home on December 19. The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Saturday that Dr Kevin Martin, a doctor of osteopathy who practises in Cape Girardeau, said he diagnosed his then-wife with a heart rhythm disorder in 2002, just after they married.

  • Martin said his wife didn't tell others about her condition, called Long QT syndrome, and he hadn't talked to authorities about it.

The newspaper also reported that it took someone at Busch's mansion more than 40 minutes to call 911 after Adrienne Martin was found dead at 12.30pm local time, according to the St. Louis County medical examiner's office.

  • Busch, 46, hasn't commented publicly about Martin's death. Police who responded to the scene did not disclose her death until four days later - after the newspaper reported it on its website, STLtoday.com.

Busch's lawyer, Art Margulis, said Busch and others were at the mansion when Martin's body was discovered. The lawyer said Martin was Busch's girlfriend and there was "absolutely nothing suspicious about her passing, and it's a tragic and untimely death of a young person".

Officials said an initial autopsy was inconclusive and did not reveal signs of trauma to her body or obvious natural causes of death. A ruling stating the cause of death is expected after results of toxicology tests come back. That could take up to six weeks.

  • St Louis County forensic administrator Suzanne McCune had said there were no signs of trauma or illness, and an overdose was among the possible causes of death.

"She was against drugs," said Timothy Carlson, who until earlier this month employed Martin as his assistant.

Carlson, president of the local MTO Clean franchise, said one of the last tasks she performed before leaving the job was selecting a company to administer drug testing for Carlson's staff at the home and commercial cleaning company.

Martin was a former Hooters waitress and aspiring beer advertising model who was working on her master's degree in art therapy counselling. She and Kevin Martin, who divorced earlier this year, have an 8-year-old son, who was with relatives in Springfield on the day she died.

  • Kevin Martin said he met Busch "months ago," and that Busch called him on December 19 to tell him about the death.

"We also both think the world of August," Martin said. "He is a good man."...

When Busch took over as chief executive of the family business in 2006, Anheuser-Busch owned roughly half the US beer market thanks to its Budweiser and Bud Light brands.

  • Two years later, the business was sold to Belgian company InBev in a $52 billion deal that created the world's largest brewer.
  • Busch is a member of the InBev board but has no role in day-to-day operations.

In 1983, Busch, then a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, left a bar near Tucson, Arizona, with a 22-year-old woman. His black Corvette crashed, and the woman, Michele Frederick, was killed. Busch was found hours later at his home. He suffered a fractured skull and claimed he had amnesia.

  • After a seven-month investigation, authorities declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Two years later, Busch was acquitted on assault charges resulting from a police chase that ended with an officer shooting out a tyre on his Mercedes-Benz."

Model photo from MichaelSavage.com. August Busch IV photo Bloomberg. story via MichaelSavage.com


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Saturday, December 25, 2010

San Francisco Giants radio voices said to have new six year deal

12/25/10, San Francisco Giants radio said to have new deal of "$5.5-6 million over six years, averaging out to almost a million per season, or what Edgar Renteria called an "insult." I don't think the Both got substantial raises."
  • Commenter to Rich Lieberman post:
"Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoy Kuiper and Krukow and hope they get the financial deal they want. However, and it's a little however, Kuiper's call of the end of the World Series was not his best moment as he said, "for the first time in 52 years the Giants are World Series Champions!",

  • when in fact he should have said SF Giants.

In actually it was the first time in 56 years that the Giants were champions. This call ranks with the great Lon Simmons call of Willie Mays' 600th homerun when he threw in the "bye bye baby bonanza" phrase that was a promotional give-away at the time. Rich I think I have too much time on my hands."...

from Rich Lieberman 415 Media, "The Contract Number$ on Kruk and Kuip's New Deal; Merry Christmas" (I'm assuming each one gets $5M+. ed).

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Star over Bethlehem

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sirius XM Radio gains on 'Net Neutrality'

12/23/10, "Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares are on the rise again, following the FCC’s ruling on net neutrality. The reasons for this are simple. The idea of Free Unlimited Mobile Internet Radio is dead. Usage charges that will now be imposed by wireless carriers for bandwidth hogging applications such as the popular Pandora Radio, will guarantee Sirius XM’s dominance in the audio entertainment space for years to come."...

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Time to declare an emergency against NOAA Fisheries management

8/23/10: "Since her appointment to head the NOAA by President Obama, Lubchenco, who had been an officer of the Environmental Defense Fund and a leader of the Pew Oceans Commission, has pushed to convert the fisheries into commodities markets under a management system known as catch shares.
  • In a statement to the Times soon after her confirmation by the Senate, Lubchenco's office said her goal was to see a "significant fraction of the vessels ...
  • removed."

With the stocks rebuilding strongly, fishermen wonder at the need to reduce the size of the work force."...

The effect will be the elimination of the small-business fisherman and the creation of blue-collar serfs in the crews of massive fishing factories. Catch shares has other warts as well -- see for example the Ecotrust Canada piece, "A Cautionary Tale About ITQ Fisheries."

In my opinion, catch shares -- given decent management, restrictions on who can buy shares, and, most importantly, reasonable allocations -- is a viable management technique. However, no management technique will work (be it catch shares, days-at-sea, or jigging with tinfoil) with an ideologue in charge, Peter Principle underlings, and malicious catch allocations.
Dr. Brain Rothschild, the highly respected fisheries scientist of UMass Dartmouth, in a radio interview on WBSM, said that allocations (catch limits) were slashed 30% to 50% from the previous year. He further stated that in his opinion, allocations could be raised 30% without impacting the science.
  • The deep cuts in allocations alone would have brought fishing to a virtual halt, and the imposition of a technique that neither NOAA management nor the fishermen understood just aggravated the situation.
That the results were clearly predictable does not make them any less disastrous. Seventy percent of the fleet has not left the docks since the hammer fell. This is plainly an emergency.
The midterms evidently shook Obama and Dr. Lubchenco. On 4 November, just two days after the elections, NOAA issued a press release, titled "NOAA Policy Encourages Catch Shares to End Overfishing and Rebuild Fisheries."
  • The release gives every impression that they plan to rush implementation before the 2012 elections.
The press release describes catch shares thus: "[A] fishery management tool that has shown it can help rebuild fisheries and sustain fishermen, communities, vibrant working waterfronts and culturally important fishing traditions."
  • This description continues the disinformation that catch shares cures the ills of the fishing industry. Nonsense. It does not. The press release ignores the most important elements: capable administration and limiting the allowable catch.
Dr. Lubchenco did not introduce appalling mismanagement to NOAA, but she has made America acutely aware of it. NOAA was ineffective on the Gulf oil spill, and NOAA fisheries has been an outright disgrace, given incompetent management (that word again), corrupt disposition of funds generated by fines and property seizures from fishermen, and vindictive enforcement of regulations. Dr. Lubchenco has vigorously tried to downplay and cover up the scandalous law enforcement revelations.
Enter Gary Locke, the Secretary of Commerce. Locke is nominally Dr. Lubchenco's boss, but he is not sufficiently simpatico to blend with the Obama-Lubchenco axis. Locke, obviously embarrassed by NOAA's performance, committed to several corrective actions aimed at the fisheries law enforcement scandal. He appeared on Maine Public Broadcasting on 27 September, where he said:
They [the NOAA fisheries law enforcement problems]'ve been allowed to persist for too long of a time, some going back -- and some of the issues and the cases raised and the complaints -- going back as far as 2001, but all of these problems are going to end on my watch as secretary of Commerce.
Governor Patrick of Massachusetts has asked Locke to consider steps to alleviate the problems. Mayors Land of New Bedford, MA and Kirk of Gloucester, MA have also solicited Locke's assistance. He has agreed, with conditions. The following set of short-term and longer-term actions are essential.
  • Declare an emergency in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) and increase the allocations (catch limits) to offset the emergency created by the impetuous and poorly understood imposition of catch shares.
  • Declare a moratorium on any extensions of catch shares pending resolution of the long-term actions.
These would significantly improve the industry's outlook without impacting the sustainability science, but I fear that Locke's watch 12/23/10, "NOAA's catch shares fisheries debacle," American Thinker, Mike Johnson Comments to AT article:
  • "Pegasus66
Slowly but surely the mid-size and small food producers, on land and sea, are being put out of business through REGULATIONS based upon collectivist laws. Prices will go up, supplies will shrink and the government will be expected to feed us. ... Fishing, like ranching and farming, breeds independent-thinking folks who value the work ethic and classic Americanism. No wonder their base of production/survival is being purposely eroded by various government agencies. It is a frightening thought that fishing "rights" could be sold to foreign interests and eventually collectivised under giant corporations."...
  • "jmc
Why does this sound so familiar? This idea has features that sound so much like the carbon-credit trading scheme that already fell flat on its face, just another way to put Big Government in control over Private Enterprise. "


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Communist China prohibits publishing of English words and phrases, must use Chinese at all times to preserve language

12/22/10, "Chinese newspapers, books and websites will no longer be allowed to use English words and phrases, the country's publishing body has announced, saying the "purity" of the Chinese language is in peril.

The General Administration of Press and Publication, which announced the new rule on Monday, said the

"It is banned to mix at will foreign language phrases such as English words or abbreviations with Chinese publications, creating words of vague meaning that are not exactly Chinese or of any foreign language," it said.

  • "Publishing houses and the media must further strengthen the regulated use of foreign languages and respect the structure, glossary and grammar of the Chinese and foreign languages."

GAPP said companies which violated the regulation would face "administrative punishment" without offering specifics.

English abbreviations such as NBA (National Basketball Association), GDP (gross domestic product), CPI (consumer price index) and WTO (World Trade Organization) are commonly used in Chinese publications.

  • They are also often used in everyday conversation, and government officials routinely use the abbreviations at press conferences.

The body left a small loophole, stipulating in the regulation that "if necessary", English terms could be used but must be followed by a direct translation of the abbreviation or an explanation in Chinese.

One editor at a Beijing publishing house told the China Daily that the new GAPP regulation could actually result in reduced understanding."...

12/22/10, "China bars English words in all publications," AFP, via Breitbart, Drudge

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pedro says air travel most difficult part of being MLB player

Dec., 2010, Dominican Republic: "Pedro was warned that we would not talk about antics, or Cooperstown, or withdrawing it (though they are unavoidable issues), but trivial and bizarre things that happen in the game and in the lives of the players.
  • Asked if a player after finishing their day at eleven o'clock on a Friday, and play at one pm on Saturday, could go drinking at a nightclub as one who does not like things, told us that no, it was not prudent at all.

However, we mentioned the case of David Wells, who is said to be drunk threw a no hitter, but he (Peter) doubted that was true about the "JUMO" total. He said that the most detested of their profession are the air travel, which is no life to live for about seven months working on a case almost daily, going from one state to another.

  • Realized that the tax issue is a real headache and the most expensive state for a player is California, where they occur in the mother.

On the subject of beating opponents, he said, without any subterfuge that he was one of the most feared, but never hit anyone because he gave a home run or end up in a game bateándole freely, to him who won won, period, but that there are times when you "brush" or hit an opponent.

  • He told us that on one occasion, in a game between Boston and Cleveland, someone beat Jose Oferman. Pedro won the game as two zero and Oferman advised to leave it like that, but he said no, that was hit. It would face in that inning with Roberto Alomar, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez.

It was a mess, says Pedro, because if he hit Alomar, it was his friend and Latino just like him, if he hit Jim Thome, would say that hit the gringo, and much less he could give his compatriot and friend Manny Ramírez.

  • Spoke after the game, and Puerto Rican congratulated him and told him it was okay, so should make their teammates, defend theirs. He said that he had hit, but at least he did hitting him in the buttocks, where the pitch is felt less.

We talked about the cabal of the players, pointing to Raul Mondesi as one of the goats, can be returned if you set foot in a step that should not (eg the white line) and return to the path. He also talked about the jokes in the dressing room, how the players their salaries paid, and I stress, Santica, La Vecina Colmado Ke, I shouted that if the players do not do as some employees Creoles, who sold the salary before collect."...

Dec. 2010 (estimated date), "Pedro Martinez loves planting pigeon peas on his farm," Merengala by Joseph Cáceres. Dominican Republic, DiarioDigital, google translation from Spanish. photo from DiarioDigital

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Damaso Marte gives tips to Dominican kids

12/21/10, Santo Domingo: "Major League Baseball Children and Youth of the Reserve Bank, held a farewell ceremony and celebration of the fruitful year of the organization, including a chat with the pitcher of the New York Yankees, Damaso Marte, who had a great turnout Players and family.
  • The left-hander who is active in local baseball with the Licey Tigers, explained to the children and youth about the importance of Christian faith and education for their formation as exemplary citizens in society, to become better citizens.

In the farewell ceremony our children from the baseball league was delighted with the presentation of a youth group made a presentation of dances and songs suitable for the occasion. Our children were very excited about this activity.

  • Baseball League in 2010 Banreservas developed an extensive program of activities and exchanges with renowned sports organizations in the country and abroad.

Attendees participated in several different raffles for sports such as tennis, socks, belts, shirts and balls. At the end of act was a toast of pizza and soft drinks.

from "Marte is involved in awarding BanReserva Baseball League," Hoy, by Gustavo Rodriguez, google translation from Spanish, photo from Hoy

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June 2009 'Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative' requires all travelers to carry ID including US citizens

Should the All Star Game be moved out of the Western Hemisphere? "More than 18 months after U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors were supposed to start enforcing stringent ID requirements at the nation's land borders,
  • millions of travelers are still being admitted without passports or other secure IDs, a new government audit shows.

An Office of Inspector General report released Monday found that CBP remains unprepared to fully implement the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which officially took effect in June 2009 and

  • requires all travelers, including U.S. citizens, to carry passports or one of a handful of other forms of secure ID.

In the first eight months after the requirements took effect,

CBP internal policy, issued shortly before the implementation deadline, only required travelers who provided improper paperwork multiple times to undergo added inspection, resulting in additional screening for about 9,000 people based only on their lack of documentation, according to the report.

Auditors singled out Texas for having the lowest compliance rate in the country, with nearly 1-in-10 travelers — 1.1 million people — arriving at Texas land borders

  • without proper identification during the period of the review.

Critics warned that the failure to fully implement the more stringent ID requirements, mandated by Congress as part of its response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks,

  • amounts to a security vulnerability.

Until the new travel document requirement is fully enforced, OIG's auditors wrote, the agency "continues to incur risk" that it will admit travelers falsely claiming to be citizens of the U.S., Canada, Bermuda and Mexico.

"This report highlights why our nation's border security must be our first priority," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in response to the OIG's findings. "The WHTI requirements have been in place for over a year, and it is unacceptable that

  • the administration failed to ask for adequate resources needed to fully comply with the mandate."...

CBP spokeswoman Yolanda Choates declined comment on the report Monday. In a written response to OIG, a top CBP official said that "despite OIG's characterization, all travelers have to satisfy, and will continue to have to satisfy, the inspecting officer of their identity, citizenship and admissibility prior to their admission to the United States."...

According to the report, the agency does not yet have a date to fully implement the WHTI requirements.

'Transitional phase'

The agency has been phasing in implementation of the requirements since 2008,

  • when U.S. citizens used to be able to enter the U.S. with an oral declaration of citizenship.

During a "transition phase" travelers were required to show a government-issued photo ID and another document showing proof of citizenship or a valid passport.

  • As of June 1, CBP required all travelers to show a passport or other form of specific, secure ID.

According to the OIG, CBP received $365 million in funding in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to implement the document requirements at land ports of entry. CBP made significant technology improvements and added nearly 300 additional CBP officers during those two years specifically to help implement WHTI requirements.

The report raised several practical concerns about CBP's ability to fully implement the requirement. OIG auditors estimated that

  • if all travelers without proper IDs were sent to secondary inspection for added scrutiny, it would cause severe backlogs at the ports of entry.

The number of people sent to secondary inspection, where inspectors refer travelers who raise suspicion,

  • would increase by an average of 73 percent at the 49 busiest land ports if the requirement was fully enforced.

In its response to the OIG, CBP officials said that not all travelers lacking the proper documentation need to be sent to secondary inspection in order to be properly screened.

Critic calls policy 'lax'

Janice Kephart, with the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter border controls, said the WHTI was designed to provide several layers of security that would help identify someone who means to do the U.S. harm, such as a criminal or terrorist. The policy currently in place in the ports is "extremely lax," she said, and falls short of the original security goals outlined under the initiative."...


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paul O'Neill's famous sister Molly today on WNYC spoke about her new cookbook

Paul O'Neill's sister Molly O'Neill was interviewed on WNYC radio today in the 1pm hour about her latest cookbook, "One Big Table." WNYC is the local PBS/NPR affiliate in Manhattan. She said Paul loved New York, loved the Yankees, is a fabulous cook, and looks forward to great restaurants in New York when he visits.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Saudi King may consider providing alternate downtown location for Ground Zero mosque

12/19/10, "A Manhattan lawyer with ties to the Saudi royal family is sounding out officials and community leaders about a plan to move the controversial Ground Zero mosque to the West Village.
  • Attorney Dudley Gaffin is claiming King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia might want to buy shuttered St. Vincent's Medical Center and transfer the mosque to a new Islamic cultural center he would build on a plot at the site, say sources who have heard Gaffin's pitch.
The king, worth more than $20 billion, would also save the hospital, reopening most of the units that closed when St. Vincent's filed for bankruptcy on April 14, the sources said.

They say that Gaffin, who heads his own firm in lower Manhattan, is floating the idea to gauge what the reaction might be -- and to ready a bid to rival the Rudin Organization, which is trying to snap up St. Vincent's in bankruptcy court with an eye on tearing down six hospital buildings for luxury housing.

  • "He's asking what it would take to put in a bid," said one community leader who did not want to be identified.

"He says the king wants to do this as a p.r. move -- to save the hospital and move the mosque away from the World Trade Center site," the source added. "He wants to show that Muslims can do good works."

"[Gaffin is] talking about the Saudis," said another source, a politically connected lawyer. "I don't know if any conversations have taken place [with them]."

  • The cost would be at least $300 million -- the combined amount that the Sisters of Charity, which owns the hospital, owes the biggest secured creditors, GE Capital and TD bank.

"He wanted to know what it would cost," said the community leader.

Gaffin said the mosque and cultural center would likely be built in a space now occupied by a shuttered nursing facility on 12th Street, just east of Seventh Avenue.

  • Sources said Gaffin claimed to have broached the topic with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but reps for both denied it."
No one here has heard of this," said Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna.

Gaffin sought legal advice on the matter from former council member Herb Berman and revealed the plan to the Coalition for a New Village Hospital, a group of doctors and nurses trying to resurrect St. Vincent's, the sources said.

Gaffin's nephew, Ariel Barkai, said he's pals with a Saudi royal and was asked to pitch the idea to his friend but declined. "There were some discussions -- somebody's trying to save the hospital," said Barkai. "But the Saudis never hired us."

Reps for Abdullah, one of the world's wealthiest men, did not return calls seeking comment.

The 87-year-old king is currently in town after recuperating from back surgery he had at New York-Presbyterian hospital on Dec. 3.

  • Abdullah previously said he would not get involved with the Ground Zero mosque.

Developer Sharif El-Gamal wants to construct a $100 million mosque and Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero, but the project has gotten bogged down amid controversy and financial woes.

St. Vincent's sprawling campus includes a 758-bed teaching hospital. Most of those injured on 9/11 were treated there -- as it was the closest level-one trauma center. In the aftermath of the attack, it became a gathering point for friends and family of the missing, and a fence near the hospital displayed hundreds of photos of victims."

via Weasel Zippers


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tampa group collecting signatures to support referendum against panhandling

A citizen group in Tampa, Florida is collecting signatures to support a referendum against aggressive panhandling. St. Petersburg banned the behavior in June, 2010, so offenders have moved to Tampa. The Tampa City Council has refused citizen requests to put a referendum banning panhandling on the March, 2011 ballot. Signatures must be received by the Tampa City Council
  • by December 27th:
"http://www.choosewestshore.com/files/panhandling_petition_form.pdf People are trying to get an initiative on the ballot for the March election concerning panhandling. If you are a resident of the City of Tampa, you may print out this petition and mail it in by Dec 27, 2010. The pdf document is two pages and they have to be printed on the front and back of a single page. Signing the petition does not constitute a vote for the measure, only a request to put it on the ballot. Here is the letter I got from the Westshore Alliance about this issue:
  • A citizen initiative is underway to put the issue of panhandling and soliciting in Tampa city limits to the voters in the March election. In order to be included on the ballot, 18,000 signed petitions must be delivered to the Supervisor of Elections by December 27, 2010. Signing and delivering a petition is not a vote for or against a ban of panhandling or solicitation in Tampa; it is simplya petition initiative to place the measure on ballot so Tampa voters can decide the issue.

Here is a link to the petition. Following are instructions for completing and submitting the petition.

  • Only City of Tampa registered voters can sign and submit a petition.

  • The petition is two pages long but it must be printed on a single sheet of paper front and back.

  • Fill out name, address, zip code, voter registration number or date of birth; sign and date the back and have a witness sign.

  • Completed forms can be dropped off or mailed to the Westshore Alliance, 3109 W. Dr. MLK Blvd., Suite 140, Tampa, FL 33607 by the close of business on December 26.

  • Only original forms will be counted; e-mail or fax copies cannot be used.

If you intend to distribute copies of the petition to employees of your company, we suggest that your employees complete the petition on forms that you provide and return them to you in advance of the Dec. 26th date.

The Alliance has heard from many member companies and individuals that something must be done to curb the proliferation of solicitors and panhandlers on traffic medians and road rights of way. If you and others in your organization are in agreement, this is your opportunity to take a step to address this issue.

Ron Rotella

Executive Director

Westshore Alliance


  • 12/17/10, Tampa City Council members cited high unemployment and costs of enforcing a ban.


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Saturday, December 18, 2010

WikiLeaks show bribes and corruption still dominate Dominican Republic

12/18/10, Santo Domingo: "WikiLeaks has been responsible for giving the worst blow for many years to the image of cleanliness of the Dominican government to open diplomatic cables Americans in Santo Domingo that involve state officials in alleged extortion and gross investment.
  • Suddenly, Andrés Vanderhorst, the man who became "big" in the shadow of Jacbo Majluta, has been placed in the public pillory for one of the cables WikiLeaks by pointing a U.S. diplomat as an alleged corrupt cash payments required in terms of millions of investors.

It has also been mentioned, almost in the worst way, Felix Jimenez, one of the founders of the Dominican Liberation Party, which came close to imitating the voice of Professor Juan Bosch, the historic leader of the organization.

  • Several cables presumably prepared by the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, published by WikiLeaks and published by the Spanish newspaper Elpais.com, knees placed the image of cleanliness of government to corruption practically reproached, which would be involved frontline staff administration.

These officials, in the publication, obstacles would force foreign investors to pay bribes and others simply require that they pay money to allow the establishment of companies.

  • WikiLeaks has put in trouble the government of Leonel Fernandez will now have to speak clearly on these allegations.

Another detail is that it has reinforced the widespread perception that corruption is the norm in government."

  • ####

ORGE MARIRRODRIGA Madrid - 17/12/2010 [/ B] / Elpais

The United States believes that the climate of corruption in the Dominican Republic to foreign investment left at the mercy of government officials demanding bribes in a "bold" in a country where surveys show that people accept this kind of facts.

Some U.S. investors have even received threats, and corrupt officials have been promoted to positions of greater responsibility.

The complaints are directed against the Dominican government, "which is successful in attracting investment through good public relations with rhetoric in favor of business, and even signing contracts with favorable terms for foreign investors, when in fact the outlook for investors is embroiled with foreign brokers and a corrupt legal framework conducive to satisfy the whims of public officials, "according to reports sent to include Washington.

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo is particularly the case echoes of the securities firm Advent International, whose executives explained to U.S. officials in mid-2009 for the inconvenience, threats and demands for bribes suffered when purchased Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom), licensee management from airports in the Caribbean country. It was the first of many investments that Advent intended to do in Dominican Republic and was formalized in October 2008. "Only seven months after \ [one of the officers of the company] told a political counselor of the embassy that Advent would make no further investment in the country and helped reinforce Aerodom in six or seven years," said in a report Charge d'Affaires Richard Goughnour.

Aerodom owners, as related by the embassy, pointing to an official, Andres Van Der Horst, director of the Airport Commission, the government body that oversees the operation of the concession. After several very negative reports by the commission, Van der Horst demanded that the airport free storage of agricultural export products, a sector in which the Dominican official has family interests. Given the refusal, the directors received the visit of General Jaime Bears, who placed a gun on the table, said: "I come to settle an outstanding account between you and my boss." Soon after, reports the cable sent to Washington, Van der Horst explicitly demanded a bribe of five million Dominican pesos, about $ 143,000. The complaints came to some ministers, who acknowledged that the official was corrupt. Finally took action on the matter the president, Leonel Fernandez, who said he would be instructed to retract Van der Horst. Aerodom owners stressed that the involvement of Fernandez was "helping." Today, Van der Horst is director of the National Competitiveness Council (This is a confusion, because this is the son of the officer in question and who has never been on the Airport Commission. Note TODAY) and Advent International is managing the Santo Domingo airport.

Corruption for an ethanol plant. In another report, Ambassador Robert Fannin relates the odyssey that Forbes Energy Company went through in 2008 to get the permissions of an ethanol production plant, with 700 million dollars, would be one of the largest foreign investments in the country and the largest private nature in the field of biofuels in the world. \ [Managers] are facing unnecessary delays interpreted as indications for bribes by government officials. Also had two requirements have direct high-level officials for cash payments." According to the cable, the former minister of tourism, Félix Jiménez, offered to pave the way in exchange for 10 million dollars. An assistant defense minister made a similar request. To complicate matters further, the document reflects the concerns that the project can be held hostage to the rivalry between two senior officials, Radhames Segura, vice president of the Dominican government agency utilities and Minister of Economy, Temistocles Montas, "in those which are rumored to have presidential ambitions. "

Ambassador Fannin expressed in the document concern the fact that Jimenez Minister to be appointed ambassador to Washington and intends to revoke the visa of entry into the USA for corruption. Jimenez was removed from government in 2008 and was not nominated the U.S. ambassador, since it occupies Roberto Saladin. The company was finally able to start business.

The reports sent to Washington on corruption in the Dominican Republic extended in time and in 2007 highlights how a survey reflects the general tolerance of the population to this type of practice. 82% of Dominicans then considered corruption as tolerable and 67% had a family member or friend who had paid bribes to speed up administrative processes. At the same time the U.S. reports explain the various legal measures adopted by Leonel Fernandez, who came to power in 2004 to combat corruption. And a cable states in its conclusions:

"While corruption has more impact than ever in the minds of the Dominican population, there has been little real progress in the fight against it. The culture of impunity is weakening, but the prospect of effective punishment has not progressed much. ""

12/18/10 from Primicias Digital, "WikiLeaks gives the worst blow to the RD government," by Robert Vargas. google translation from Spanish.


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