Thursday, April 30, 2009


OK, I give up! Everybody's asking what REALLY happened Tuesday and I have thought I should keep it private. But, in the interest of full disclosure, here it is:

1--gag hook, left grunge; seven iron shoved, viagra chip (tense for more than four hours), two putts
2--flip hook, left grunge; four iron shoved into Sherwood Forest; pitch shot over green into upper deck, another viagra chip; two putts; Sulk
3--Snow shovel push off tee with a four iron; dropkick sickly seven iron into hazard (no splash, pike position, Russian Judge Screwed me or I would have won the ball diving contest); Lob wedge to five feet, one putt;
4--Watch Bob Ace; spastic-shove nine iron, non-neuropathy pitch to 6 feet, make putt straight down Matterhorn
5--Death Grip hook into right trees; Hack rescue club onto fairway; sickly sand wedge layup; Carlos Marmol slider 8 iron to left fringe; two putts
6 --Big Looping Hook into Blockout forest: Grunt low hook out to right with three iron; wedge to 25 feet, lipout for two putts
7--Crush drive in middle; swing 8 iron somewhat like torque wrench and leave it short right; some kind of scissorhands, terrible chip to about 12 feet; two putts, both demonstrating peripheral neuropathy
8--Crush drive into wind on wet fairway; Accidentally thump four iron onto green; Never scare hole with a Jerry's Kids birdie putt;
9--Throat-closing pushed 8 iron right of bunker, somewhere near Palmyra; hack lob wedge somewhere on green, putt accidentally falls into hole
10 -- Pitiful bunt right; pullhook; spastic pitchdump into bunker; bunker shot to six inches, make putt.
11 -- Pedro Martinez curveball into the left Kutara Depression; jerk lob wedge up somewhere in the neighborhood; putt somehow stumbles into hole;
12 -- Four iron to right fairway; wedge to four feet; hit first putt too hard; sulk.
13 --Spinout no-motor-skills-but-plenty-of-force power hook into left rhubarb; cut beautiful four iron to middle of green; three freaking putts, sulk
14 --power choke-shove into right spinach; fat four iron that somehow stumbled onto green; two putts.
15 --hit 8 iron fat; take divot about the size of Ecuador and leave it way right; Nudge ugly pitch shot to ten feet; shove first putt way right, hits rock or punch mark and accidentally goes into hole; smile
16--Large Drive right fairway; screaming mallard four iron into left bunker; blast to 8 feet; miss easy, straight putt while making it look hard; sulk
17--(Nasty Rain begins) Toe Hook into left Gazunga; hybrid to 150 markers; totally indigestible, retch-inducing, thin rightward seven iron to right rough; gouge Sand Wedge out to 20 feet; mishit putt but also misread it--they canceled one another out and putt went in. Stopped sulking
18 -- Hit 4 iron off tee for the safety of motorists on 36th St and cleverly fly it into right rough, tree line; 8 iron over a tree somehow stumbles onto left edge of green; two putt by Braille

I knew you'd want to know.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Today I played in a golf outing at Westview. Anybody curious enough to inquire would know it is pretty much an annual thing, planned ages ago. Secret Squirrel Photography of my car is not necessary to prove I was there. I witnessed a hole-in-one and my name will probably be posted in any writeup in the paper.

The Guy who made the hole-in-one is an old friend, is 72 Years Old and it is his FIRST!

So, yes, news happened at Westview today on the fourth hole: Bob Harris, 7 iron from 128, dunked. On a golf scorecard, ones are easy to add up.

That's NEWS.

Oh, I made three from the right rhubarb: hacked a lob wedge to 15 feet and greased in the putt....but that's not news. I missed all the par three greens.

Would you like to hear about my great bunker shot on ten, my brilliant approach on 12, sizzling second shot on 13, super tee shot on 16, "three point range" putt on 17? I didn't think so.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


NFL Draft is this weekend. It is immensely popular. Even non-draftniks follow the first couple of rounds. It is interesting. Still, it almost raises the issue whether man has a dark side that responds to the ownership of human beings. Is this just a polite, well-funded way to feel the same things the slave traders felt?

It's all good fun......isn't it?

This is pretty much my annual post on this topic--I guess we can feel a little better the first draft choice this year was a white guy.

Friday, April 24, 2009


A very valued friend read my recent piece on NOT limiting campaign contributions and invited me to come to a LWV meeting and hear a speaker who held a contrary view.

The speaker was talented, pleasant and well informed. We had a chance to talk afterward. It's always fun to find areas of agreement with someone who doesn't completely share your views. It was a great experience and I thank the league for the opportunity....which also included seeing some old friends.

I'm still not for contribution least in legislative races...but I'm better informed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Didn't agree with much of the B-43 anti-terrorism strategy but I was sure pleased when BObama said repeatedly that he didn't want to look backward at the decisions made during the post 911 era.

Then Patrick Leahy started grumbling and then started grumbling and now we're leaving it up to Eric Holder (The guy who couldn't even stand behind the correct legal advice he gave President Clinton in 2001) and maybe a super-duper Warren Commission.

44 said he wasn't going to criminalize polemics and he appears to be doing the Pontius wash.

Just very disappointing. I kind of like it when guys actually do what they run on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


One has to suspect Nightline is reading UMRBlog. No sooner do I post on age yesterday and last night Nightline runs a story about old folks in Japan. Coverage included a 92 year old barber, cutting hair for 77 years and still going strong, a 77 year old martial arts master cleaning younger clocks and a 74 year old top selling male porn star. Fortunately, none of them has to petition for retention.


Recently, I was involved in a "lost squad member search" for a small military unit. Ultimately we found the guy and a good time was had by all.

Suddenly (well, actually, it took far too long) it dawned upon me that people google themselves from time to time and If I put some identifiers up here once in awhile, they might find themselves for me.

Now I realize it's not very compelling reading for those of you who show up here looking for something else so I won't do it very often:

Let's start with Three today:

Larry Teasdale, son of FBI agent Oscar Teassdale. Larry's probably mid-forties. Moved in his junior high years from Quincy to Katy, Texas.

James Miller, Barrington Illinois High School Class of 1960. Lived on Oak Knoll Rd. Joined the Marine Corps after High School and located after he got out of service in Southern California. May have become a professional musician. Multi-talented guy. Be about 67 YOA now.

Maki Saxton, U.S. Marine, about 1965-1969. From Berkley, California. Father was a professor at UC/Berkley. Would be about 60 now. Spoke excellent Vietnamese and French and pretty good Tagalog.

As I said, I'm sure this is just riveting for the reader. It's an experiment. Cut me a little slack here.

Monday, April 20, 2009


There is a judge in the northern part of the state. He is good at his job, attentive, energetic, fair and universally appreciated by the lawyers and parties who appear before him.

Under the Illinois scheme, he would just run for retention, get more than 60% of the vote and keep right on judging. The only problem is he is 75 years old. There is an Illinois Law that says judges over 75 cannot run for retention (Based on what medical research?).

Here's the real kicker. A lawyer who is NOT a judge can be over 75 and RUN FOR JUDGE.

So this good judge's option is to get kicked off the bench and then RUN FOR HIS OWN SEAT.

This is not the first time this has come up. There was an instance of it fairly close to the Basin.

Age Discrimination is a bad idea. Age Discrimination, unevenly applied is a worse idea.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Went to an office supply store to buy something really exotic, like a pen refill and a little cover stock paper. I could not have been in the store ten minutes.

Of course, that was about eight minutes too long. I happened upon a couple looking at pencil sharpeners--pencil sharpeners, for God's sake! They were probably about 50 YOA and seemed civilized enough at first. Then they exploded. They were having a freaking all out war, a divide-up-the-retirement-fund-we're-splitting-the-sheets war over which freaking pencil sharpener to buy.

People! Get a retractible pencil and take this somewhere else. If I wanted to hear families fight, I'd go to WalMart!


Friday, April 17, 2009


A bright fellow named Daniel Bastean writes a lot of letters to the editor. Many of them are founded on documented facts and are very thought-provoking. His input provides a valuable service in shaping views on national issues and local views as well. I don't think I'm acquainted with him but I'm interested in his views.

Yesterday, however, he stepped on some of his own body parts.

He wrote a letter to the editor suggesting that an ASA who is also a school board member was:

A) in incompatible positions

B) had somehow played a role in convincing the SA to write a request for an AG Opinion about whether a County Board Member/School Board member was holding incompatible positions.

If Mr. Bastean had evidence of (B) above, I'm sure he would have marshalled it. If he's making allegations based upon assumptions, I respectfully suggest he say so. It's a pretty serious allegation to be making with no evidence.

But I'm more interested in (A) above. A County Board member would vote on putting referenda on the ballot, would vote on contracts which might come up with School Boards and might even vote on Sales Tax diversions for schoo purposes. A county board member might vote on Support services for schools from the Sheriff's office.

An Assistant State's Attorney has decisional power over none of that. An ASA works on the files he or she is assigned. Once assigned the ASA has a duty to exercise independent judgment to follow the law and obtain a lawful outcome. The ASA never has any decisional authority over any of the votes listed in the preceding paragraph.

In other words, the two offices could not be more different. So, to suggest the County Board/School Board Member and the ASA/School Board Member stand in the same shoes relative to compatability is just absurd on its face.

Bloghost Note: Please grasp that this is not a post about the SA's decision to ask for the AGO, the timing of that decision, the merits of the possible incompatibility or the character/Effectiveness of the School Board Member/County Board Member. I have no interest in hosting a pelfing session about "BN's a good guy/bad guy" or "BN shouldn't be on both board's" or even the SA's motives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Cardinal fan always seems to want to minimize or criticize the role of Tony LaRussa in the team's recent successes.

I don't know how many games' difference a manager makes over a 162 game season but, whatever that difference is, LaRussa gives his teams all the edge there is. Compare him to your generic Ken Macha or Dusty Baker and it doesn't take long to grasp the difference. Or just listen to the guy talk. He's always got a clear concept of what he wants to do for the next six minutes, six games, six weeks and probably six years.

The only manager in the Bigs I actually pay to watch manage.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


BObama is liberalizing visitation and transfer of funds into Cuba. On its face, his modest change sounds sensible. The other side of the coin, though, is that ten previous Presidents, in basically the same fact situation have maintained a fundamental embargo.

Have the facts changed that much or is Obama just smarter than the other ten guys? Beats me.

Educate me, dear reader.


Harry Kalas, Mark Fidrych and Marilyn Chambers all die on the same day.

I'll bet nobody had Fidrych or Chambers in the Ghoul Pool.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Let's say I make $100,000.00 a year. You make 250,000.00 per year.

We each decide to contribute one percent of our income to a legislative race. I wanna give mine to the democrat. You wanna give yours to the Republican. I can. You can't.

Even though we each made our money lawfully, you can't give your one percent because it exceeds the arbitrary limit the Clean Gene's have decided is evil.

My speech is perfectly legal. You one percent Free Speech is restricted, because the goody two shoes crowd has decided you're too rich. You and your candidate are punished because you have been more financially resourceful and successful than me.

When self-appointed ethicists decide good speech from bad speech, we're in trouble, kiddies.

And, yes, I know our "reformist" Governor likes this crapola. I hope I have a choice with more sense soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Play hard and keep your head in the game until the end. You never know when your opponent might fold up.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Dear Mexican Leaders:

Whenever you guys take time off from ruining your formerly wonderful cities, like Ciudad Juarez, you pop off about how there is "shared responsibility" between you and the US to fight your drug gang problem.

Your reasoning is twofold: First, you say, the addicts with money are in the U.S. and, if there were no money, there would be no drugs or gangs; and, second, most of the guns that your thugs use to kill each other and relatively few honest cops who actually fight drugs come from the U.S. Amazingly, some US journalists actually buy this crap.

With all due hemispheric respect, your reasoning is cowflop. Since the dawn of man, there has been addiction. It doesn't really matter where the noses and veins are, there will be money for drugs. That you have excessively uncivilized dope dealers and poor enforcement has nothing to do with the venue of the users.

More than half your manufacturing comes from U.S. companies. Are your people sending any of their wages back here as "shared" bounty? Almost all of your medicines come from here. Does that mean we have "shared responsibility" to make sure you get them to all your needy people? Naw, that's an internal Mexican national issue, right? So gun runners pierce your country. That's my problem exactly how?

Shared responsibility sounds to me like "Vietnamization" and I didn't care much for that "shared responsibility" program either. It's your country. Your people have to decide whether they want a hellhole or not. You're a democracy, right?

This taxpayer is not prepared to "share" any responsibility for your unchecked greed, violence and corruption. We've got our own drug gangs to worry about.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


If you have been in here before, you know I was never happy with Blackwater's role in the Bush administration. But I have never gone so far as the hard lefties and said that the existence of Blackwater is some kind of Clear and Present Danger to our society. Private "use of force" organizations have always had a role to play in civil society (Jack Bauer's current plight notwithstanding).

Now we have the Somali pirates. These Jolly fellows hold folks hostages and commit piracy on the high seas. Let's imagine a couple of things:

First, that we staff a tanker with blackwater guys and make it a rank target for our boys. You think a few casualties and a former seal placing shape charges under their little dinghy might deter future adventures? I do.

Second, Blackwater has an intelligence capability. Imagine, if Blackwater guys know where these pirates' Mommas live and children play. Imagine they know where they park their land rovers whilst they're out at sea. Just imagine the dialog: "I will let your captain go for $2.2M american. It must be within four hours!" "Well, Bunky that's interesting. Your four year old daughter is at the Mogadishu Community Center right now. She's got the cutest little blue slip-ons. They're a nice contrast to the red laser dot on the back of her head. Suit yourself. You want terrorism? We'll give you terrorism. Oh, yeah, that blue corolla you gave your Mom? Might want to tell her to crawl underneath it and take a look before she cranks it up. You know the undercarriage on those things is so easy to get at..." Now why don't you just take the nice captain back to his ship and get in your little boat and go fishing or something. Nobody has to die today but that's kind of up to you."

"Oh, and one other thing: I've got this swell sat-phone here. If I dial a certain number, it kind of gets the little glob of C-4 stuck on the bottom of cute little dinghy excited. You might want to be real gentle with our Captain because if he's hopeless, well be dialing for dollars. Of course, if you send a diver out to inspect the bottom of your cute little dinghy, don't expect him back. Those spearguns and our former Navy SEALS can ruin a guy's whole day."

A non-state role for Blackwater and the creeps get what they deserve. Everybody wins, Give or take a pirate.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Skipping any parocial considerations for a moment, I think the local aldermanic races contain a warning for area democrats and a little bit of encouragement for area republicans.

White House, State House, Congress and Governor's mansion all occupied by dems. Where the candidates were both presentable, the voters voted for diversity and opposing views (Republicans).

Who knows where that sentiment will be in 20010 and 2011 but it's a clear instruction manual to the Republicans, find some talent and you have a shot, and a clear warning to dems, your candidates need to be prepared to make the case for their retention/election. In other words, the two party system is alive and well here and the presumption, for now, might be the tie-breaker lies with an energetic and prepared Republican.

The good news for dems is that the warning shot was fairly modest and there is time to adjust, upgrade, improve and plan.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Yesterday, the news is all agog with the the Tea Party. I criticized the Tea Party a little bit for being non-specific and for being dovetailed with the personal ambitions of GOP politicians.

Still, they are correct to point out that our Gov't at the state and federal levels is a damn site less responsive than it used to be and there is an absence of understanding of those of us out here in "Flyover and Flush" country. The longest journey starts with a small step. They made theirs. In broad strokes, that's a good thing.

But then today, what's the news? Less than half the registered folks (not to mention those who didn't even bother) will show up to vote tomorrow. Maybe that explains why politicians often feel they can represent their own views and convenience. Apathy doesn't provide much direction, does it.

On the other hand, if those folks showed up to vote, would they be at all informed as who deserved their support. It's a modern paradox. Uninformed and uninterested in the information age.

Bitter juxtaposition of news shots, no?

Sunday, April 05, 2009


This stumbled into my mailbox the other day.

These are they guys who are going to lead our education system to excellence?

Maybe they should review their position on "retakes."

Click anyplace on the image to see it larger or clearer.

This is one side of post card. Good thing they didn't have more space to work with!


Well, they had the "Tea Party" yesterday (tragically missing was Mark Baker: "for families and against taxes..")

To get there, the anti-tax protesters walked on tax-supported sidewalks, were protected by tax-supported policemen, drove on tax-supported streets and highways and finally arrived a tax-provided, tax-supported and tax-maintained public land, owned by a taxing body.

With the aid of all these tax-supported activities and assets they then protested taxes. Peachy. The question kind of asks itself: Which ones?

Are there good taxes and bad taxes. Should there have been no public lands, streets, sidewalks, safety professionals to enable this protest? Since they were at the site of the last few historic flood fights, I wonder if they all opposed the use of taxpayer funds to keep the flood out of the public water supply just down the street.

Maybe the gesture would have been more meaningful if they found some zero tax footprint location for it.

It was a good thing ol' Davey was there, though, to keep an eye out for "convicts". I, for one, missed the camo look and the obsession with children in the park.

Friday, April 03, 2009


After five minutes of utterly failing to find a "convict" in Mayor Spring's contributor's list, mumbling about nursing homes and saying folks were "under investigation", (after a break for advertising and a farm report--adequate for texting from the loyalists) a person's name was trotted out as having been "convicted" of a DUI.

Mary, who was doing a fair job up until then, offered her own opinion that the claim was factual and Bellis was finally able to grunt out that was, in fact, who he was talking about (Never mind that he had earlier stated "convicts" in the plural and that he made specific reference to nursing homes.). They then identified this person's familial relationship to the the mayor.

The problem with that is this: even a cursory review of the regularly kept records of the courts around here would have yielded the fact that the gentlemen has never been convicted of SQUAT. He may be red meat for the local GOP but the facts are the facts.

Here's the advice: Run, do not walk, to the nearest word processor and microphone and get your apology out to this gentleman. It wouldn't hurt to ask him nicely not to sue your ass off, while you're at it. His family lawyer is really talented and knows how to spell "Defendant."

For future reference, Rule One: Look stuff up before engaging mouth.

Oh, and, Mary, next time let your guest answer the questions, or not, as he chooses. I know it was like interviewing a doorstop but wait for him to poop into his own mess kit.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


For years, the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice has been a shining light. Their job is to make sure the Government in General and the Justice Department in particular follows the law and avoids any kind of self-trading. It has been uniformly civil-service protected and non-partisan. It's only bias was rooting out corruption and prosecuting it vigorously to deter further corruption.

Interested lawyers would uniformly feel the battle against the Public Integrity Section would be hard fought within the rules. Judges deferred to the section and it's argument because of its reputation for being "down the middle".

The Ted Stevens case has blown that apart. Failure to turn over exculpatory documents is a well known duty for prosecutors. It is difficult to believe the failure by PI was inadvertent.

Why does it matter? Public Integrity was an argument against Special Prosecutors. Public Integrity could take a hot case, even against and administration official because they were built to be honest and incorruptible.

This is a slow-growing virus that will almost certainly politicize the criminal justice system and nobody wins when that happens.

I'm not minimizing the impact on Mr. Stevens. He was cheated out of an opportunity he can probably never get back. Still, the bigger victim is clean government and public confidence in our ability to administer justice.

I know this is not as big a deal as who stole a yard sign, but I thought somebody should bring it up.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Girl Transformed by Facial Surgery
Daytona Beach News-Journal ^ | October 24, 2005 | LINDA TRIMBLE

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 2:58:21 PM by Sabramerican

Girl Transformed by Facial Surgery Benefactor helps family get help for their 11-year-old daughter.

By LINDA TRIMBLE The Daytona Beach News-Journal

DELTONA -- Susan and John Macklefresh are still adjusting to their daughter's new world, where 11-year-old Joanna can play outside, go to school, visit a friend or stay overnight at grandma's without her parents or a nurse tagging along.

"We're not checking on her every 15 minutes to make sure everything is all right," said John Macklefresh. "Maybe every 16," his wife said with a laugh.

It's a habit born of years of medical crises that began when Joanna was born prematurely with a large benign tumor that distorted her face and affected her neck, mouth and lymph nodes, making it difficult for her to breathe or swallow.

Five surgeries over the past two years -- including the August removal of the tracheal tube Joanna had needed for breathing since she was an infant -- have now turned her life around.

Everything changed after a chance encounter two years ago between Joanna and Morris Esformes, a Chicago rabbi who owns the DeLand nursing home where Susan Macklefresh works as a licensed practical nurse.

Esformes saw Joanna, who was visiting her mother at work.

"I took one look at this kid and my heart broke," he said in a telephone interview from Chicago.

Esformes learned from Joanna's mother that several surgeries and chemotherapy had failed to shrink her tumor significantly and Central Florida doctors were giving her parents little hope for improvement.

"Everybody wrote her off; there was no chance she would look like a normal kid," Esformes said.

Saying he's "ferocious when it comes to kids," Esformes wasn't ready to settle for that outcome.

He insisted the Macklefreshes gather Joanna's medical records and arranged for Dr. McKay McKinnon, a world-renowned plastic surgeon and personal friend at the University of Chicago Hospital, to review her case.

McKinnon "told me by the time Joanna is 18, she can run for Miss Florida," Esformes recalled.

Telling the Macklefreshes he would pay for anything not covered under their health insurance, Esformes took the family to Chicago in February 2004 for their first meeting with McKinnon.

"We never asked anybody for anything. It was hard," Susan Macklefresh said of Esformes' offer. "He really didn't give us an option. He said `I'm not doing this because I have to. It's a gift and I'm doing it for (Joanna).' "

"You never met anyone with more confidence," John Macklefresh recalled of that first meeting with the doctor who would reshape his daughter's face. "It felt like somebody was standing behind us tossing the bricks off our shoulders."

After talking at length with her parents about the surgical options, McKinnon turned to Joanna to find out what she wanted him to do for her. She asked him to fix her misshapen lips.

McKinnon agreed but said there were bigger priorities first. Even so, McKinnon took time to begin reshaping Joanna's lips when he first operated on her in April 2004.

Susan Macklefresh thinks it was the doctor's special gift to his young patient. Joanna has undergone five operations in Chicago altogether to remove the tumor and part of her tongue, reshape her jaw and lips, align her teeth and remove the tracheal tube.

Additional surgery is expected to close the hole from the tracheal tube and remove scar tissue.

In the meantime, the Macklefreshes and Esformes are savoring the changes in Joanna's face and her life.

"The satisfaction is beyond the scope of my understanding," Esformes said. "This was saving the quality of life of a human being and giving her a chance to live a life like you and me."

"What good is money if you can't do the right things with it," said Esformes, who has paid bills totaling "over six figures" for the Macklefreshes so far. He credits God with giving him the "wisdom and tenacity" to get Joanna the help she needed.

"It's been miraculous," Susan Macklefresh said, while conceding she and her husband don't quite know how to show their appreciation for all that Esformes has done for Joanna. "How do you thank a man who does that?" John Macklefresh said.

No question. This kid should do the right thing. Write a check for $2.4M to a Quincy Nursing Home and remutilate her face.

McScrewdriver knows the bad actors from the good ones. He has ruled on this one. Cough it up, kid!

Pate Phillip and Lee Daniels are next.


OK, here is the current turf. The general idea of Television ads is for them to run on television.

The nice TV folks, however, like to get a check before they run ads. As a consequence, you may not have seen the package of the challenger's TV ads. It could be because he has spent his money on reprinting unreadable letters from folks who are no longer involved in city government. It could be because he has spent too much on postage and production to mail out hate pieces (Who wrote that thing?). Anyway, I thought you might like to have an overview. Producers always name these things. Since I don't have the names, I just supply my own names.

The first one has the candidate sitting and talking about.........well, I don't really know what it's about. He's sitting on a stool and and I can't concentrate because I'm trying to figure out whether that is actually a "Members Only" jacket. I call that one "Members Only"

The Second one is the famed "Screwdriver" ad. This is the one where he says he loves families and hates relatives. Who can't identify with that?

The Third is McScrewdriver, wearing camo, walking in a park talking about children. I use police terms to describe this one as "Suspicious Male Near Swing Set".

There you have it. Coming to a TV near you, maybe.