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Systematic Problem

There is a major problem in Florida even when the police do manage to make a mental health arrest [Baker Act], and not much is being done to correct it. Just today the local paper reported: Baker Act patient escapes, calls taxi, heads to Destin.

The local hospital is owned by HCA, and HCA hospitals in Florida have a rotten record on keeping people who have been ordered held in a facility for mental evaluation from walking away. If they can’t or don’t want to confine these people, they shouldn’t apply for the contract to supply the services.

If your actions have been obvious enough to actually be confined by a Baker Act proceeding, you are dangerous to yourself or others. The purpose of the confinement is to protect people while the best course of action is determined. Some people just need their medication straightened out, other need to be confined to the secure state facility. Until that is determined, the individual is a “ward of the state” and the state is responsible for them.

I assume it will take a major law suit before any real reform takes place. I hope it doesn’t involve mass murder.

March 11, 2009   4 Comments

On The Local Front

I located the Florida Sheriffs Association biography of Charles W. “Charlie” Morris (R), and it turns out I didn’t forget he was retired military. According to the timeline he was caught in Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney’s reduction in force after the first Gulf War and pushed out after 18 years, two years short of retirement. Cheney targeted people who were one more enlistment from retirement to be sure that they weren’t eligible for any benefits.

Fortunately the Air Force is part of the Social Security system, because Charlie only has 16 years in the state law enforcement retirement system, and, if he isn’t re-instated, that’s another retirement option that is gone. With no cash flow, by the time this trial is over, he will have lost all of his “encumbered” real estate holdings, so he is in deep yogurt regardless of the verdict.

In a related story, the Northwest Florida Daily News has more detail on the Sheriff’s Office shakeup. My initial reaction is two make-work jobs.

The Pensacola Beach Blog notes how bad the timing of the arrest was for Morris, because the Chumuckla Chucklehead, AKA Congresscritter Jeff Miller, had a $500K “enforcement technology” grant in the recently passed budget bill. Miller is, of course, a Republican fiscal conservative who doesn’t believe in earmarks or pork barrel spending. I haven’t got a clue as to what Charlie wanted, because our deputies would never be confused with geeks. Frankly I think they switched to Glock auto-loaders because revolvers were too complicated for many of them. I would really love to see that grant proposal.

March 11, 2009   Comments Off on On The Local Front

In Other News

Ambassador Chas. W. Freeman, Jr., former President of the Middle East Policy Council, has just withdrawn himself from consideration for the National Intelligence Council. Juan Cole has the text of Freeman’s reasoning.

The bottom line is that he doesn’t want to put up with the infantile tantrums of AIPAC and the Likudnik apologists anytime anything is said that doesn’t support the policy position for the right-wing whackos that currently control Israeli policy.

I see no special relationship with Israel. I haven’t seen a single incident in which the United States has benefited from supporting Israel. The only time there has been significant movement in the Middle East peace process was when Jimmy Carter implemented an even-handed policy.

I would like to see supporters of Israel providing some real facts to justify the US taxpayers’ money being sent to Israel, and an end to this pointless favoritism.

March 11, 2009   4 Comments

One Of Those Days

funny pictures of cats with captions

Rookie musher, Nancy Yoshida (3) finally made it into Rainy Pass and scratched.

It was the logical thing to do after losing both runners on her first sled, one runner on the second, and having a dog run off.

In the search for the dog, a volunteer had a snowmobile crash and the machine had to be cut apart to get the driver free.

Maybe next year.

Update: On a happier note, Aaron Burmeister (56) was the first team into McGrath and won the Spirit of Alaska award.

March 11, 2009   9 Comments

Race Day 4 – Iditarod

Iditarod mapThe first dozen mushers are beyond Nikolai and the trail to McGrath. The first one to McGrath wins the Spirit of Alaska award that includes a custom spirit mask and a $500 air freight credit for PenAir.

Those in 13 to 31 places are in Nikolai. The rest are spread out back to Rainy Pass with the exception of Nancy Yoshida (3), who is in last place and has to await a new sled.

The temperature climbed to 40° in Nikolai today which is not good for the dogs or the trail. The dogs are better off at 20° and below. They will actually have heat related health issues at 40° and mushers will have to switch to running at night and resting during the day. Climate change is going to force the race to be scheduled earlier in the year. The warmer weather is going to turn the trail into slush during the day and a skating rink at night.

This is the current list of teams as of 12:46am CDT:

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March 11, 2009   Comments Off on Race Day 4 – Iditarod

In Memoriam

March 11th, 2004, Madrid

Arms of Madrid

Nuestros profundos condolencias en vuestra perdida.

Todos somos Madrileños.


BBC In Depth

March 11, 2009   2 Comments