July 31, 2005

AlGore-vision replaces NWI tonight at midnight

Al Gore's CurrentTV replaces Newsworld International tonight at midnight, ET.

Programming is expected to be akin to CBC's artsy program ZeD, with amateur videos produced by viewers and art students.

With it's demise, we lose yet another news resource in this nation.

I expressed my disappointment to DirecTV's VP of Programming, Bob Marsocci this past week.

Mr. Marsocci --

My name is Michael King. I'm a freelance writer and columnist based in Atlanta. I've also been a subscriber to DirecTV for the past couple of years.

Overall, I've been very pleased with DirecTV, and find the service and quality far superior to the service I received previously from Comcast Cable (and in it's earlier guises, AT&T Broadband and MediaOne). The quality of the signal and the variety of networks (both new and old) have been very enjoyable for both me and my family.

The one area that I have a concern in is in the arena of international news. Previously, I was able to watch CNN International's programming (at least on weekends), along with news from Newsworld International. Over the past eight months both services have met their demise on DirecTV. With the end of NWI next week, a view of the news from overseas that many viewers have looked forward to watching will have been silenced.

I understand that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has approached DirecTV about continuing to offer some form of news from their auspices following the demise of NWI, but was turned down.

On behalf of many viewers who depend on international news from outside American borders, I ask that you please reconsider your decision. In addition, I'd like to suggest three additional international news services: CNN International, BBC World and SkyNews.

CNN International's return would provide a level and type of international news service that viewers have come to expect from CNN.

BBC World's round-the-clock news coverage would provide news quality that is considered to be second-to-none by many; and as evidenced by BBC World News viewership on PBS stations around the US and on BBC America, domestic viewers would be very interested in receiving programming from BBC World. International travelers already are familiar with BBC World's programming, as they are available to travelers worldwide.

SkyNews is already available in many English-speaking nations around the world, and as a sister company to both DirecTV and Fox News Channel, would provide additional product and content from NewsCorp. SkyNews has won multiple awards for their programming, and it's value as an international counterpart to Fox News is immeasurable. Programmers at FNC already recognize the value of Sky, given the amount of simulcasting Fox News has done of SkyNews programming during the recent London terror attacks.

Please reconsider your decision not to offer additional international news to American viewers. Not only would you provide service to an underserved viewer base, you would offer content that is not presently available on Dish Network or on many cable television systems in the United States.

Thanking you for your consideration, I remain,

Sincerely,

Michael H. King
Mableton, GA

I've yet to hear from Mr. Marsocci, but all I'm honestly expecting in return is a form letter.

They don't give a flying fart as to what we, as viewers, want.

(More coverage from Wizbang & others)

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Peanut Farmer says Guantanamo gives terrorist "excuse" to attack US

Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking at the Baptist World Alliance conference in Birmingham, England yesterday, said that the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was an "embarrasment," and gives terrorists an "excuse" to attack the United States and US-allied nations.

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

Carter said, however, that terrorist acts could not be justified, and that while Guantanamo "may be an aggravating factor ... it's not the basis of terrorism."

"What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people," Carter said Saturday. "I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people."

"I thought then, and I think now, that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and unjust. And I think the premises on which it was launched were false," he said Saturday.

Jimmy, don't pretend to speak about the "will of the American people." A significant number of Americans do support the war on terror, your bitch-and-moan fest notwithstanding.

You want to speak for those who don't, that's your business. But don't presume to speak for me.

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July 30, 2005

Plug pulled on controversial play about KKK

A controversial play about Ku Klux Klan rallies held in Stone Mountain, GA has had it's plug pulled before it's scheduled performance August 29, because the play's director felt the opening monologue was in "bad taste."

The play, written by black playwright Calvin Ramsey, was an accurate portrayal of the annual KKK rallies held for many years, first on top of Stone Mountain, then, in later years at a field near the base of the granite monolith.

On the nights the Ku Klux Klan held rallies near the poor black neighborhood of Shermantown in Stone Mountain, the residents could hear the racial epithets and hate-filled language lash the air, loosed through big loudspeakers in a nearby pasture.

Now, a play about one of those rallies, in 1940, has sparked controversy and the cancellation of the performance at a small theater in the Atlanta suburb.

The owners of Art Station had agreed to stage a reading of "Shermantown — Baseball, Apple Pie and the Klan" on Aug. 27, but pulled the plug after the director decided the opening monologue was in bad taste.

Director David Thomas said this week his board was in agreement that the play, by Calvin Ramsey, was the wrong play at the wrong time in the wrong place.

"The language in the monologue is not only racy, it's inciting, and slanderous about Jews and Catholics," said Thomas.

"We have been in this community for 20 years and work hard to build a relationship with the people who live here. We didn't feel this is appropriate material for our stage."

Ramsey's play is about a salesman from out of town who finds himself in the historically black Shermantown neighborhood of Stone Mountain the night of one of these annual KKK rallies.

Sue Ellen Owens, director of the DeKalb History Center, who is funding the play, says the history is important, and is working to find another venue for the play.

"Although some parts of the play may make the audience uncomfortable, the events and strong language are indicative of the times," said Owens. "You have to look at history, warts and all."

Reverend William Morris, who was born and has lived in Shermantown 77 years said Friday he didn't understand the controversy. "There's nothing offensive about it," he said. "It's the way it was."

It's sad that so many people are so mired in political correctness that they will do whatever is necessary to whitewash accurate portrayals of history in order to assuage their self-worth, and in some cases, self-guilt.

The past is not always pretty. But learning from the truth of our past will help us all grow in the future.

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July 29, 2005

Sharpton slams blacks for supporting Democrats blindly

In what for him is an unusual stance to take, Al Sharpton blasted blacks Thursday, for what he called blind support of the Democratic Party in general, and former President Bill Clinton in particular.

Sharpton's diatribe came in a speech at the Urban League's annual conference in Washington.

"The whole network of incarceration (of African-American men) happened under this president and the last president. So it wasn't just George Bush. Bill Clinton -- I wish Hillary had hung around -- Bill Clinton built a lot of jails and passed the omnibus crime bill," Sharpton said shortly after Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had addressed the same panel discussion, entitled "The Black Male: Endangered Species or Hope for the Future?"

"And just because Bill can sing "Amazing Grace" well doesn't mean the omnibus crime bill was not a bill that hurt our people," Sharpton told the several hundred people gathered at the Washington Convention Center.

"We must stop allowing people to gain politically from us if they're not reciprocating when dealing and being held accountable," said Sharpton, referring to the allegiance that African-American voters maintain to the Democratic Party.

"As long as we allow people to get elected off of us and deliver nothing to us, then part of our problem is that we have such low political self esteem," he said. "Every time we give them support for no support, we add to the marginalization of black men."

Sharpton said the situation has "gotten so bad that we hold black leaders accountable and give white leaders a pass."

Sharpton challenged the negative images of blacks created by the media and motion pictures, pointing in particular to the newly-released movie "Hustle & Flow," which features Terence Howard as a Memphis pimp-turned-rapper.

In my opinion, Sharpton is certainly moving in a positive direction -- especially when compared with Jesse Jackson, but Sharpton is still out for himself, everyone else be damned.

No matter how he dresses himself, he's still suspect in my book.

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CAIR bullies people into submission

Islam's presentation as a "religion of peace" is coming across as incredibly bogus in light of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) bullying of management at Disney-owned radio station WMAL in Washington.

WMAL has "suspended indefinitely" conservative radio talk show host Michael Graham pending an "investigation" of an opinion Graham presented on the air July 25.

Curiously, this comes behind the beginning of CAIR's concerted and well-defined campaign of contacting WMAL advertisers, asking that they exert pressure on the Disney-owned station regarding some sort of punishment of Graham.

Graham's on-air comments that have excited CAIR include: "Because of the mix of Islamic theology that -- rightly or wrongly -- is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam's name with impunity, Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn't have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don't support terror will step forward and re-claim their religion."

I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Graham. Believers in Islam around the world have been exceedingly silent regarding the constant and increasing levels of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam. The voices of dissent from within have been miniscule at best since 9/11.

Ironically, on July 28, CAIR announced a "fatwa" or religious edict against Islamic terrorism, a scant four years after the 9/11 terror attacks.

It sounds to me like CAIR is trying to clean up their own muddling mess in order to make them look better in light of their bullying of Disney. As much as CAIR tries to dress it up, until and unless they can take a stronger and more legitimate stand against Islmaic terror both in America and across the globe, CAIR looks more like a complicit organizations trying to justify terror than a moderate voice of reason trying to help rehabilitate their religion and religious zealots.

(More coverage from Michael Graham himself, Michelle Malkin & others)

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WMAL Washington suspends Michael Graham for anti-Islamic comments

WMAL radio talk-show host Michael Graham has been "suspended indefinitely" by the Disney-owned radio station pending an "investigation" of comments critical of Islamic terrorists. The suspension apparently comes at the behest of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who vehemently protested Graham's on-air statements.

Graham's comments -- which were his opinion -- caught the ire of CAIR officials.

"Because of the mix of Islamic theology that -- rightly or wrongly -- is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam's name with impunity, Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn't have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don't support terror will step forward and re-claim their religion."
CAIR has issued multiple releases condemning Graham's opinions, and indicating that someone with those opinions shouldn't be employed by Disney. CAIR is orchestrating a concerted campaign of contacting WMAL's advertisers, in order to have them pressure WMAL to get Graham fired.

And apparently they have succeeded.

I guess Disney only believes in a talk show host having an opinion of his own when it doesn't piss off CAIR or some other group of hand-wringers.

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Helen Thomas promises seppuku if Cheney runs for President

White House columnist (and resident Stone Troll) Helen Thomas is promising to commit suicide if Vice President Dick Cheney runs for President in 2008.

"The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."

Thomas added, "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."

"Run, Dick, Run!"

All Helen needs is some industrial strength prune juice. Her constipation is showing.

(More coverage from Wizbang & others)

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July 27, 2005

Shuttle fleet grounded; foam still a problem

NASA released a tersely-worded statement early this evening that indicated that the Space Shuttle fleet was being grounded until further notice. This after foam was observed falling from the shuttle's external tank during yesterday's launch.

While the US space agency said the foam did not damage the shuttle on Tuesday's launch, a spokesman said that future flights are on hold until the problem is corrected.

"Until we're ready we won't fly again," said Bill Parsons, space shuttle program manager.

While thus far, no major damage has been detected to Discovery, a decision regarding potential repairs to the orbiter will be made later this week.

If Discovery cannot be reliably repaired, rescue options would include sending up Atlantis with plenty of spare parts, or sending the Discovery crew back two or three at a time in Soyuz capsules.

This news, of course, scratches the September scheduled relaunch of Atlantis.

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NY woman sues over GTA sex scenes

A New York woman has filed suit in federal court against Rockstar Games and their parent company Take-Two Interactive.

85 year-old Florence Cohen is upset that the previously M rated game (17 and over) Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has been revealed to have graphic sexual content that can be unlocked with codes available on the internet. Cohen is seeking unspecified damages both for herself and on behalf of "consumers nationwide."

Florence Cohen of New York, said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the game's manufacturer, Rockstar Games, and its parent company, New York-based Take Two Interactive Software Inc., engaged in false, misleading and deceptive practices.

She sought unspecified damages on behalf of herself and all consumers nationwide, saying the company should give up its profits from the game for what amounted to false advertising, consumer deception and unfair business practices.

Cohen said in the suit that she bought the game in late 2004 for her grandson when it was rated "M" for mature, for players 17 and older. According to the suit, she directed that it be taken away from her grandson, which was done.

The game was released in October with an "M" rating. After a storm of negative publicity about the hidden scenes, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, an industry group responsible for rating games, changed the rating to "AO" for adults only.

While I fault Rockstar for including the graphic sexual content, which can be unlocked with the "Hot Coffee" mod code available on the internet, I get the distinct impression that this woman -- and her ambulance chasing lawyer -- are more interested in a quick payday than they are interested in justice.

This sounds like a case where "loser pays" legislation would be well used.

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New Chicago skyscraper to be nation's tallest

A new 115-story skyscraper in Chicago would take the title of America's tallest building away from Chicago's Sears Tower if it's built.

The Fordham Spire is planned for Chicago's lakefront adjacent to Navy Pier. The 115-story building would rise 1,458 feet without it's spire -- 8 feet taller than the Sears Tower. With the spire, the building would top out at 2,000 feet, eclipsing the under-construction Freedom Tower in New York. The Freedom Tower's height (with antenna mast) will ultimately be 1,776 feet.

The proposed Chicago skyscraper, designed in a twisting shape like an enormous drill bit, is designed by the Spanish-born architect and engineer who designed the Milwaukee Art Museum addition and the Athens Olympic sports complex.

No financing for what would be a hotel and condo tower has yet been arranged, said (developer Christopher) Carley, the chairman of Fordham Co. The new building would be called the Fordham Spire.

Construction would not begin until there are sales agreements for about 40 percent of its units, Carley said. He said he'd like to break ground in March and complete the building in four years.

The world's tallest building presently is Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan. The height of the Burj Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is a closely guarded secret, but it is believed that it will be more than 2,300 feet when completed in 2008.

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July 26, 2005

Police car barrels through brick wall in LA chase

 

 

This morning, a Los Angeles police chase resulted in a California Highway Patrol car careening out of control and through a brick wall into a furniture store when the officer driving couldn't negotiate a tight, high-speed turn.

The chase was broadcast on Los Angeles television stations (what else is new?), and had been picked up by Fox News Channel for viewing by the remainder of the nation.

A man who led police and California Highway Patrol officers on a wild chase from Downey to Watts early Tuesday is in custody and being held on a $1 million kidnapping warrant, authorities said.

Enrique Reyes, 27, was wanted on the warrant, which was issued out of Los Angeles, and faces other probable charges in connection with the chase, said Downey police Sgt. Jeff Calhoun.

The driver got out and ran after a tire blew on the getaway vehicle, but he was arrested a short time later, according to CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos. The Associated Press reports that a woman in the vehicle also is being held as authorities try to determine if she was a kidnapping victim.

A CHP officer whose cruiser barrelled through a building wall and into a Walnut Park furniture store after he failed to negotiate a hard right turn was not injured, Villalobos said. Officials later said the crash may have been caused by a mechanical error.

The officer only suffered minor injuries. Reyes was captured a short time later when his car broke down.
(Linking to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam)

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Rocketing back to orbit...

Discovery's made it to orbit.

Now comes the next step.

Under a blue, nearly cloudless sky, the spacecraft lifted off at 10:39 a.m. ET, as scheduled.

"Liftoff of space shuttle Discovery, beginning America's new journey to the moon, Mars and beyond," said George Diller, the voice of shuttle launch control.

I don't think anyone will quit holding their collective breaths until Discovery makes it home in a couple of weeks.

Spaceflight Now is carrying constant real-time mission updates.

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Russia's biggest spammer spammed to death

Russia's biggest spammer, Vardan Kushnir, was found dead Sunday, according to Russia's Interfax agency.

He died from repeated blows to the head.

Sounds like one of his victims finally got to him.

I don't wish ill on folks, but for this one? Good.

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July 25, 2005

Chicago criminal court judge: "No all white juries"

Cook county Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay has indicated that she has a rule: No all white juries in her courtroom.

So what is she going to do on those occasions that an all-white jury pool is made available, go grab the first two blacks she sees on the street to fill out the jury pool?

"Folks, you all know I have a rule; I don't seat all white jurors," Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay said as a jury was being picked to hear a murder trial last month, according to court transcripts.

Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel Jr. said last week that he had recently been made aware of the remarks Clay made.

Clay admitted they were "indelicately stated" and said she regretted being blunt. But it is her view that qualified African-Americans were being left off juries without good reason, she said.

"I try to preside over jury trials in a fair and impartial way--that is always my goal," Clay said. "I carry out all my duties and responsibilities with that goal."

Clay, who is African-American, made the remarks in chambers before three separate trials, according to transcripts reviewed by the Tribune.

I guess she really wants to make sure that there are exactly one or two blacks on each and every jury that comes in. Does this mean that she's going to send an all black jury out, or an all Hispanic jury out? I doubt it.

So much for a judge being professional and unbiased. Then again, this is Chicago we are talking about. Apparently (and to swipe a classic quote), "that's the Chicago way."

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Ricky Martin: poster child for Israel's erradication?

In her new column, syndicated columnist Debbie Schlussel points out that UNICEF goodwill ambassador Ricky Martin's swing through the Middle East is doing wonders for placating those who would destroy the nation of Israel.

Previously, I've written about the Arab Children's Congress, an anti-Semitic, anti-American hate-fest held each year in Jordan--featuring Muslims and Arab kiddies from around the world. Ostensibly, the conference is about promoting tolerance and understanding, but it's really about training them young on hatred for Jews, Americans, and Westerners. The conference is funded in large part by Dubai. Several of the 9/11 hijackers carried Dubaian documents and used Dubai bank accounts to fund their "activities."

Last year, Angelina Jolie attended as a guest of honor, hung out with the haters, and made out with Queen Noor (see photos here). This year, the offender is the ambiguously gay Ricky Martin, as a UN Childrens Fund Goodwill Ambassador.

Looks like Martin has now cut his already-dwindled-to-almost-nothing audience to an even smaller slice: gay Palestinian terrorists.

Ricky Martin says his Ricky Martin Foundation "is working to combat child pornography and prostitution worldwide." No word on whether it also works to combat celebrity political prostitution.

If you translate the Arabic words on the scarf that Martin is wearing in the image here, it says "Jerusalem is ours," and shows Israel as a part of Palestine; in otherwords, let's get rid of everyone in Israel that isn't Palistinean.

My guess is that Ricky is too clueless to know that, though.

Just a smile and thumbs up.

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"Funeral Crashers" - the update; Knoll "apologizes"

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll is sending a formal apology to the family of a dead Marine in Indiana, PA.

Last week, Knoll, without an invite, attended the funeral of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, passed out her business card and claimed that the state government was against the war on terror.

Sunday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said that a written apology would be sent to Goodrich's wife. No word though, on whether the raving moonbat Lt. Governor's hand was soundly slapped or not.

Curiously, Knoll's letter of apology starts out with the words "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE." That sounds to me like something written more for the press and general public than any kind of legitimate apology letter to the family she insulted.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

....

LT. GOVERNOR CATHERINE BAKER KNOLL LETTER OF APOLOGY HARRISBURG:

....

If my regard for his family’s grief was seen another way, it is thoroughly regrettable. The fact that you have been offended deserves and receives my most profound apology.

Translation: "Oops. I thought you were stark raving moonbats like me. My bad..."

I don't believe her half-assed apology for a minute. She's only sorry that she got caught.

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"All aboard!" The Roberts smear train is loading on track 22

As liberals across the nation scrabbled for an attacking handhold against Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, they challenged him on his possible membership in the Federalist Society, a Washington-based group of conservative lawyers formed in the early 80s to combat percieved liberal legislation from the bench. According to the AP, Roberts' name was on a 1997 list of members.

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts declined Monday to say why he was listed in a leadership directory of the Federalist Society and the White House said he has no recollection of belonging to the conservative group.

The question of Roberts' membership in the society — an influential organization of conservative lawyers and judges formed in the early 1980s to combat what its members said was growing liberalism on the bench — emerged as a vexing issue at the start of another week of meetings for President Bush's nominee on Capitol Hill.

Democratic Senators are already making noises about demanding that the White House release all of Roberts' writings. The White House, so far, has indicated that no such release is forthcoming.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to ask for such material for its hearings. But some Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, have urged the White House to release "in their entirety" any documents written by Roberts.

Citing privacy and precedent, Fred D. Thompson, the former Tennessee senator guiding Roberts through the process on behalf of the White House, said Sunday the Bush administration does not intend to release everything.

Material that would come under attorney-client privilege would be withheld, Thompson said, calling it a principle followed by previous presidents of both political parties.

"We hope we don't get into a situation where documents are asked for that folks know will not be forthcoming and we get all hung up on that," Thompson told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Though no one on the Democratic side of the Senate has formally indicated an intent to filibuster Roberts' nomination, the continued carping from the usual suspects hints at a possible power-play by some liberals as the hearings begin in earnest.

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July 24, 2005

Buy an Al Gore inaction figure at your favorite toy store!

"What rolls down stairs,
Alone or in pairs,
Rolls over your neighbor's dog..."

Look! It's an Al Gore inaction figure! New from Blammo!

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July 23, 2005

Is nothing sacred? Moonbat politician crashes Marine's funeral

Marine Staff Sergent Joseph Goodrich was laid to rest in his hometown of Indiana, PA this week. Goodrich was killed in Iraq, and was being mourned by his family and friends proud of his sacrifice. Also present were his fellow police officers from McKeesport and Indiana County.

Oh. And one Democratic Lieutenant Governor who took the opportunity to campaign against the war.

Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll flashed her business card and claimed that "our government" is against the war. Goodrich's family members, like his sister Rhonda Goodrich, were incensed by Knoll's callousness and political grandstanding.

She (Knoll) sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.

"Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."

She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.

"Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."

Asked to comment on Goodrich's complaints about Knoll's conduct at the funeral, the aide said that "would be inappropriate."

"Inappropriate." Y'think!?

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July 21, 2005

TS Franklin forms off Florida coast

Tropical Storm Franklin has just formed off of the Florida coast.

The storm is in the Northwest Bahamas. Sustained winds are near 45 MPH, and the storm is expected to strengthen quickly.

Tropical storm warnings are up for Eluthera, New Providence (including Nassau), The Berry Islands, The Abacos, and Grand Bahama Island. There are no watches for Florida yet, but don't be surprised if something doesn't go up within the next 12-24 hours.

NASA is watching this system closely with hopes that it does not interfere with the planned Tuesday launch of Discovery.

As of 8P ET, Franklin is moving to the northwest at 14 MPH. The projected storm track has the storm literally turning in circles off the Florida coast through at least Tuesday.

Stay tuned.

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