Social Commentary, Uncategorized, US military, VA (Veterans Administration), Walter Reed Medical Center

A Dose of Reality Rather Than The Perception Created ……

A Dose of Reality Rather Than The Perception Created ….

My friends and I recently made a pact that we’d take a ride up to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the tombs of fallen US military servicemen and women. It’s something that I’ve done twice before, once back in 2003, for a second time in 2005 and then again in 2007. Each time , as solemn as the occasion has been I can’t help but wonder how the families of these fallen heroes might have been different had they not died in the service of their country. Having spent eight and a half years myself in the British military (Royal Marines) serving in a number countries , I’d like to think that military service molded me in some ways into the person I am ! I’ve seen the horrors of conflict up close and personal when I served in Ireland during the troubles there when the United Kingdom was seeking an accord between the IRA and the Protestant led region of Northern Ireland , whose loyalties were to the monarchy and the UK government .


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Slide show for your perusal .

Our visit which I hope will take place some time in mid to late August will be something that I will be looking forward to __ with a great deal of solemnity. Whenever possible I have devoted much of my time volunteering with other work colleagues in assisting veterans seeking to obtain benefits that somehow has been denied to them by the bureaucracy of the federal governmment . And as many of you know , dealing with the government at any level from the local leveln on up can be as cumbersome as trying to push a boulder up a steep incline unaided . The VA ( Veterans Administration) to my mind in spite of the claims made by certain members of Congress or the Senate that their budget has risen steeply over the years, what they have failed to addresss is the very fact that those increases have been curtailed by severe cuts in other areas of the budget of that agency . Now we are informed that the Walter Reed Army Medical Center will soon be closed and that the facility’s operations will transferred elsewhere to other medical establishments around the country. As prestigious as the facility is said to be there are parts of it that from its facade that would give the impression that it is a dilapidated building about to be imploded . But such are perceptions created about the military veterans being given the best available care when in reality nothing could actually be further from the truth .

Having visited Walter Reed on several occasions in order to see wounded veterans and provide some support to these men and women I have felt that there can be so much more that could be done to make the lives of these individuals a great deal better . What might be even more intolerable upon one of my visits there , was to find that the many of inhouse facilities were not up to par and expected of a medical facility . The Walter Reed Medical Center is the oldest medical establishment within the Veterans Administration and it has been in use for over a century meeting the needs of the the US military . The rest rooms within certain areas of the facilty failed to work properly , you had a shortage of trained staff to meet the needs of the patients in residence . There has been continuous debate as to the fact the budget ($132 billion) of the VA has seen stark increases over the past few years but what both Senate Veterans Affairs Comittee and House Veterans Services Committee has failed to acknowledge is that they have made and steep financial cuts .

I’ve long held the contention that the members of the House and Senate have never been sincere when they state they care about the well being of the members of the US military . Meaningless sound bytes and little action if anything has me wondering why all the bullsh_t from these elected officials when they’re so full of crap to begin with ? And with that in mind it will be interesting to see what statements will be forthcoming from the Secretary of the VA , retired Army General Eric Shinseki once the House and Senate meander to an accord concerning the debt ceiling crisis and the undoubted cuts that will be made to the Veterans Affairs Department’s budget .

Now we all know that as contentious as the ongoing “debt ceiling” deliberations have been between President Barack Obama and the members of both the House and Senate much of which has been along political partisan lines . The one thing that cannot be overlooked has been the intransigence shown by both sides in trying to resolve this matter intelligently . While wrecklessness seems to be the norm , rather than showing creativity , intelligence and intuitiveness we have seen that neither side really have an idea how best to resolve this matter . Meanwhile we have members of the President’s cabinet chiding other countries as to how best to deal with their economic woes , whereas here in the United States members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee show about as much insight on the issues as a blind man in the midst of a sandstorm searching for water ! It is now bad enough that you have both political parties rather than show some common sense merely act like immature children , name calling and attritbuting the non-action due to the other side’s intransigence ——- when in fact it is there for the public to see that neither side knows what the hell they are doing and that they are simply making this more than a political hot potato by seeking to gain some traction without actually reaching an accord in trying to solve this issue. Not unlike they have typically conducted business ever since the 112th session of Congress came returned to work and prior to that .

With a little less than a week with a deadline set of 2nd August beore the government officially could default on its debts for the very first time in its history , it’s rather asinine to think that under the four previous Presidents prior to Barack Obama’s first term in office the country’s debt ceiling had been raised in excess of fifteen times ! But here we have the Congress repeatedly berating each other over this issue . It is obvious that they have learned nothing and will continue to learn not a god-damn thing ! And it certainly hasn’t helped the situation with the rather now idiotic stance being taken by new incumbents in either legislative chambers who claim to be fiscally responsible when we now find out that many of them having sworn to continue with “pork barrel” spending on pet projects have simply done about face and made sure that the constituencies they represent will be funded with tens of millions of dollars for what in some cases are meaningless projects merely to appease their ” backers” and monetary donors who just happen to be business with deep pockets and a great deal of political clout by way of their use of lobbying firms . But yet we are led to believe that these legislators went to Washington promising change ? The only thing that has in essence that has changed has been the names on doors of the offices where they have replaced their predecessors and not a great deal else ! It’s business and usual without a great deal of anything at all having been achieved .

Now while I am not naive enough to think that there should not be cuts in the budget of the Veterans Administration I would like to think that the cuts that will undoubtedly be made will not be as steep and severe whereby the acute needs of the men and women assisted will become a major cause for concern. It certainly is bad enough when one realizes that in the city of Los Angeles alone there are now over 9,000 homeless military veterans and shocking number of them in question are some of the most recent to have seen action both theaters of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Meanwhile you have a city Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa whose biggest concern appears than the opportunistic photo opportunities of getting as much air and face time in the media , is to try and lure an NFL franchise to his beloved city , rather than actually take care of his city’s most dire needs . If you think that the figure mentioned is said to be extremely high in terms of the homeless veterans within the city of LA then consider what it might be in a city the size of New York ? Somehow reality then might really begin to set in as to the plight of these individuals .

A number of years ago I wrote a solemn piece concerning the plight a US military serviceman ( the piece was first published within Fox’s sports forum ) Marine Staff Sgt Carmelo Rodriguez whose story had also been documented by CBS News in their national evening broadcast . That soldier would later die but the sheer lack of real assistance provided to him by not only local authorities at the state and federal levels was marked indictment of system that is now systematically broken and wherein mere lip service is only paid by members of Congress and at the state level when it comes to the plight of military veterans .

I know now that over the coming weeks should this debate not be solved to everyone’s satisfaction then the ramifications will be far reaching beyond anything that any of us could have imagined. We all support the military and with good reason but herein lies the caveat we show support but how much support is actually given to them when they need it most ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the issue of the military servicemen and women who are now more often than not being left to fend for themselves with little assistance if any being on hand from the federal government much less at the state level ? By all means simply a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ………..

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Walter Reed Medical Center the US military’s oldest medical facility which is due to close this year having been in service for over 100 years . Many part of the center has fallen into dilapidation and disrepair causing a great deal of consternation amongst the public as well as servicemen and women who have availed themselves use of the facility over the years. The VA itself has stated that it was time for the hospital to close given the numerous problems that have arisen in recent years . …. ( Media Defense Industry)

(2) Thousands of Christmas wreaths are nestled against headstones in Section 27 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 15, 2005. Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Arlington to place more than five thousand donated Christmas wreaths on head stones in the cemetery. The 14th annual wreath laying event is a result of Worcester Wreath Company owner Morrill Worcester’s boyhood dream of doing something to honor those laid to rest in the National Cemetery . Courtesy of ….

(3) Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) (L) speaks as former Washington State Governor Gary Locke (C) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (R) listen during his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Capitol Hill March 18, 2009 in Washington, DC. Locke will become the 36th Commerce Secretary of the United States if confirmed. Murray also is the chairperson for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee . Getty Images North America / Alex Wong ………..

(4) House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner center (D-CA), Melinda Darby (R), former Executive Director of the Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs Senior Oversight Committee, and Sara Wade, the wife of a wounded Iraqi veteran, participate in a roundtable discussion on the military and “wounded warrior” care, in Washington on September 22, 2009. Filner is the ranking Democrat and chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee . UPI/Kevin Dietsch …….

(5) U.S. President Barack Obama (2R) makes a statement on the SAVE (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) program with Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag (L) and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gen. Eric Shinseki in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on December 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. The award is given to Federal employees who submit ideas for saving the government money. He also applauded the Senate’s vote to end a Republican filibuster aimed at blocking health care reform. Getty Images North America / Pool resources ……


Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death , Liberty At Present Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be …….So One Guesses Death’ll Have To Do ?

Baseball, Basketball, Boston Celtics, Football, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Heat, MLB, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, Social Commentary, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

Now For The Good News ………………..

Now For The Good News ………………………

Well perhaps the biggest story of the weekend had to be that the death of Osama Bin Laden had finally bitten the dust after a covert operation by the US military that took out the terrorist who was being harbored in Pakistan just outside the nation’s capital of Islamabad . What I find somewhat ironic is the mere fact that the attack took place so close to a military academy where many of Pakistan’s top military officers are trained in amongst other things military strategy and the use of intelligentsia in warfare . So much for that nation being a willing ally on the war on terror , the government of Pakistan and its military have been complicit and suborned Bin Laden’s safe refuge but in reality Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush were too damn afraid of saying …….. what in reality anyone who had one iota of common sense had known all along as ….. they simply didn’t want to alienate the Arab world in particular those countries who they state were their allies on the war on terror. Well now that the head of the snake has been chopped off the question remains where do we go from hear ? There there are likely to be retributory acts of violence in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death and you can be sure that any one of a number of organizations that were aligned with Al Qaeda will want to assume the mantra and doctrine of the terrorist group. And what does this now for Bin Laden’s most trusted follower Ayman Al-Zawahiri who is now likely to assume control of the terrorist group. Will he also be pursued hopefully with as much tenacity as Bin Laden was ?


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Having had several friends (with the US military) serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a younger sibling serving in Kabul with the British military I’ve got to say that this news was most welcomed. And having served myself on active duty as a member of the Royal Marines I have to say that warfare is nothing to shy away from even when you’re thrust into the midst of it at a young age. For those who are still serving and those about to serve the country in whatever undertaking being thrust upon them I’d just like to say thanks and remain safe !

Well on to things just as heart warming I hope , and that’s the sporting landscape as it now appears to be. After three utterly monotonous and boring days thankfully the NFL Draft is finally over ! Seven rounds and some 250 plus picks by the NFL’s teams and already questions are being raised as to who the winners and losers are ? Hell who the fuck knows who will be ultimately a winner and who’ll be a loser ? Until these players actually hit a field , play a first down in the NFL regular season it’s mere speculation and conjecture . Good , and although I watched none of the draft coverage by ESPN I can only surmise that the analysts and hosts on hand had a great deal to talk about . This much I do know there’s only so much one can take of Chris Berman , Mel Kiper and Todd McShay without wanting to blow a damn gasket !

It goes without saying that while everyone is said to be feeling all warm and fuzzy with the Draft , consider the stupidity of the situation of the NFL at present ? The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Susan Nelson’s original verdict in favor of the players and in effect the NFL lockout remains in place . Judge Kermit Bye’s decision which has literally thrown a cog in the works and as of now although this apparently looked upon as a major problem . Anything that in essence prolongs this stoppage makes the whole issue of the 2011 season starting on time now seems even more remote. The NFL team owners for one thing are said to be happy that Judge Bye’s decision went in their favor as it now gives them the upper hand they will in this ongoing effort. If anything as this all plays itself out the fans are becoming even more disgruntled with the present situation as they’re being alienated by the stupidity that’s now being shown by both parties . The NFLPA through their own spokesman have stated that the decision was merely a partial victory for the league and they’ve vowed to fight on during in this ongoing episode. Any bets that there will actually be football by the opening week of September 3rd the opening weekend of the NFL season ? I wonder what odds are now being laid in Vegas at present ?

The NBA postseason continues with its usual bluster and the Miami Heat seem to be intent on making quick work of the Boston Celtics with Dwyane Wade showing why it is that the regular season 3-1 series loss and meetings between the two teams meant absolutely nothing. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals Wade and his team literally took the Celtics to task on their home court at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , comfortably winning the game 99-90 . Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 38 points and who was also ably assisted with 25 points from teammate James Jones . And though it’s early days yet , expect this series to be a highly competitive and physical one . Would you expect it to be anything else ?

Ah, how the rich tend to look for sympathy when their plight can’t be seen in a happier light . Over the weekend Frank McCourt gave an interview as to his impending plight now that the league hierarchy has essentially taken away the reins from him as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner. Now as good as the team has been playing of late with both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp at present having All Star caliber seasons. I can’t help but wonder what might happen should the team going into something of tailspin and start to lose consecutive games or for that matter series !

McCourt for his part when pressed by the journalist as whether or not he had in fact had contravened any league rules in the conduct of the Dodgers’ day to day business dealings was adamant he and no other executive had done anything that has contravened any league mandated rules . In the eyes of Frank McCourt it appears it is a matter of perception as to what those rules might be and whether or not any were actually broken. The Dodgers’ owner stated that Bud Selig’s appointed intermediary former US ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer and he had a very cordial meeting and that Schieffer stated that it would not be his intention of interrupting the working environment of the ball club . Can’t say that if I were in Schieffer’s place I’d have said anything to the contrary , given the fact that the Dodgers are in a financial mess and anything coming from out of the beleaguered owner can’t be viewed as having a bearing on the truth as we know it to be at present. This episode appears to be heading for what one might view as a contentious situation as McCourt has vowed to fight any intention of the league hierarchy to force him to relinquish the reins in owning the team. Personally, from a fan’s standpoint whether or not Frank McCourt retains control of this team I couldn’t at all care , because I’ve always been of the opinion that MLB baseball and the team owners are a clueless bunch of individuals ! . Were they passengers on the Titanic I believe that they’d have been making comments on how wonderful the iceberg that they were about to hit is , rather than realizing the impending disaster that is within their midst . I’ve had one patron of my site state that baseball is lucky that it doesn’t have a labor issue to resolve but here’s the caveat to his thought. It is indeed true that the MLB doesn’t have a labor issue to deal with but what it does have is a financial quagmire that’s about engulf it like quicksand has ben known to entrap an animal and stifle it of its very life blood . At present the owners and league hierarchy are too dumb to admit that fact until they’re actually up to their necks in quicksand . And when that happens we could very well see them looking them looking for a life jacket with none to be found.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

Picture and slide show details .


(1) Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama Bin Laden (center) are seen here delivering one of those rather radical Islamic fervent anti West statements . Bin Laden’s death now leaves something of a vacuum within Al Qaeda but it appears Al-Zawhiri will assume the role as the organization’s leader . Now word as of yet officially as whether or not the US government will go after Al-Zawahiri with the same fervor . …….

(2) At least they had something that they had to agree on and that the death of Bin Laden was a necessity . President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush are seen at the White House on the day Obama succeeded Bush at President . AFP/Reuters/ Gil Hughes ……

(3) Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, center, talks about this year’s NFL Draft after it concluded his is flanked by head coach John Fox, right, and general manager Brian Xanders during a news conference at the football team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(4) James Hill standing with Kermit Bye (left), judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. Vande Walle at the ABA 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. West Law Publishing .

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 1: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat shoots against Ray Allen (20) and Glen Davis (11) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat hshoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ……..

(7) Paul Pierce (34) , Jermaine O’neal (7) , Ray Allen (20) , and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ………….

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier heads toward first after hitting a single during the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California . With that single, Ethier completed a 27-game hitting streak. The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Padres 7-0 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …………

(9) Chad Qualls (50) of the San Diego Padres and catcher Nick Hundley celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(10) Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres skips away from the tag of Dioner Navarro (30) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to score a run for a 6-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……..


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Social Commentary, Sports, Spring Break

Rohypnol The Drug of Choice …………….

Rohypnol The Drug of Choice

It’s strange and disturbing and it’s happening at an alarming rate but it’s something that’s overlooked by the public and press alike. Here in the state of Florida which has become the epicenter for college students once Spring Break comes around.

Female  college  co-eds  let  their    hair  down  somewhat   during  Spring  Break  in  Daytona  Beach  ,  Florida  .     photo  appears   courtesy  of   Orlando Sentinel / Hugh  Jennings  ..................
Female college co-eds let their hair down somewhat during Spring Break in Daytona Beach , Florida . photo appears courtesy of Orlando Sentinel / Hugh Jennings ..................

Here’s a rather disturbing fact , in the cities of Daytona Beach , Panama City , St Petersburg , Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale over the past five years , there has been over 375 sexual assaults. Of those less than 36 have brought about or led to the indictment and prosecution of the defendant. Something of a minuscule number don’t you think ? If you think that is an alarming stat ? Then consider this , in large part those indictments came about because the District Attorney’s office in each wanted a plea deal in order to gain a verdict. Of those cases that did go to trial the defendants were found guilty with the overwhelming DNA evidence playing a part in the case being brought to satisfactory conclusion on the part of the prosecutors .

Panama City Police meet up with a crowd of students during spring break. As you can see alcohol plays a part in the problems that can arise in the most innocuous of situations.

Courtesy of United Press International

Florida sees rash of spring-break rapes ….

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., March 17 (UPI) — Six alleged rapes in Florida have occurred during the first week of spring break, Daytona Beach police said.

One rape allegedly occurred in a men’s washroom at Ocean Center on Sunday, during which the victim could not get a good look at her attacker because he held her hair while he raped her, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. No one has been arrested in that incident.

Reported rapes usually are on the rise in March because of spring break, the News-Journal said.

“All of last year we had a total of 41 sexual assaults. Here we have six in one week,” said police chief Mike Chitwood.

In another incident, 26-year-old Donco Mitrov of Daytona Beach is accused of raping a woman who was drunk when he met her. He allegedly plied her with more alcohol and raped her twice in the hallways at a beachfront hotel, police said.

Mitrov was charged with sexual battery and released from jail on $20,000 bond, police said.

The other four rapes happened behind a beachfront restaurant, at another hotel, and one after a woman met a man at a nightclub and invited him to go with her, the police chief said.


What I find alarming about this all is that there are people out there wanting to excuse the inexcusable as it concerns Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger . As many of you may now well be aware, the Milledgeville PD and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation -(GBI) have halted their ongoing investigation for the time being. This came about because the alleged victim in the sexual assault for which the NFL player is the primary suspect has failed to attend an appointed interview with the investigating officers. Now we can attest to the fact the player has shown poor judgment but what is now clear is that people are still looking to defend the indefensible as it concerns the player. Is anyone really of the opinion that each and every allegation thus far is without warrant against the player ? How many times is it that Roethlisberger expects us to believe that each time the sex was consensual ? There are only so many ways that a cat can be skinned ! And there are only so many times that a lie can be spun in order to create the perception of truth.

Courtesy of Associated Content

Why the Spring Break Rape Total in Daytona Beach Will Keep Rising …

By David DiSalvo of Associated Content

The first official week of Spring Break was a violent one in Daytona Beach, where six rapes were reported in as many days. Bearing in mind that only a fraction of total rapes are reported to police, the actual number is unknown but no doubt much higher—and we’re only a week into the season.

Of the six reported rapes, all but one involved alcohol and/or drugs. Three of the victims were unconscious when assaulted. Only one person has been arrested so far.

A volatile set of factors combine in Daytona this time of year (and, of course, not just in Daytona). Take the impulsive and risk-prone tendencies of teens and early twentysomethings, combine with an atmosphere marketed as a massive free-for-all, and add generous amounts of alcohol and drugs—and you have a story that for many isn’t going to end well.

Daytona isn’t an especially safe city aside from Spring Break, but with the annual pilgrimage it becomes one of the least safe cities in the country. According to, the incidence of rape in Daytona Beach is 3.39 times higher than the national average. The occurrence of all violent crime is 3.09 times higher than the national average. 84 out of every 100,000 people in Daytona are raped annually.

The website, which ranks how safe cities are around the nation, gives Daytona a 1 out of a possible 100. These statistics aren’t helped by the fact that during Spring Break, the normal population of around 66,000 swells by anywhere between an additional 100,000 – 200,000 people.

Last year, 41 rapes were reported to Daytona police during Spring Break. If the FBI is correct and only 37% of rapes are reported, then we can assume that more than 120 women were raped during Spring Break at Daytona Beach last year. All signs indicate that this year is going to be worse, and the victims are getting younger. One of the first six victims was 14 years old.

The NFL and the Steelers’ front office have been about as proactive in dealing with this situation as the government has been in dealing with the financial meltdown of the economy. Asinine utterances such as there’s ….” an upswing in productivity shows that the economy is in good health “. Well if that upswing is no more than one tenth of one per cent , then that can hardly be considered a healthy sign. But figures can be spun any way that you want it to be spun. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union counterpart NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have remained ominously silent while this and under such disturbing behavior has gone on around the NFL. But what else ought we to expect from a league whose primary concern is to make money and very little else ? It’s not as they’ve ever viewed crimes against women committed by their members as something that warrants their undivided attention. The number of players within the NFL that we’ve either seen involved in cases of either domestic violence or sexual impropriety in some type of crime may seem minimal but it has become more common place than you think. Primarily because many of the incidents end being unreported or in a number of cases where it has gone to trial the defendant has either pled guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid jail time. Somehow in some way when Goodell then deems fit to get involved he ends up making the situation seem somewhat more unbearable with his lackadaisical response.

In many of the cases where the female victims in the sexual assaults were involved . The drug ‘rohypnol’ was used in the preponderance of the cases. And rohypnol or more commonly known as roofy’s was placed into the beverage of the victim. In most cases it was alcohol , which in of itself is enough of an inhibitor . But here in lies the dilemma, many of the students who embark upon Spring Break , congregate in the aforementioned cities as well as places such as Cancun , Acapulco to have fun. Well , when fun then becomes the nightmare of sexual assault , an arrest and the violation of a victim. What’s left for many to debate about ? Two families will forever be intertwined by the events that have taken place.

And while there’s no suggestion to believe that Ben Roethlisberger instituted anything of that nature with regard to the allegations. Let us not pretend that things of this nature do not happen. Repeatedly we’ve either read or seen such events being reported. And unfortunately in many cases the police are sometimes unable to press charges because the victim is either unable or unwilling to face her attacker and make a positive identification.

My condemnation of Roethlisberger stems from the asinine decision made by the player. The same player who placed himself in harm’s way in a motorcycle accident , lied to his coach and the organization about the events that took place. Never mind the fact that the player broke the law in the operation of the bike. The operation of the vehicle without a valid license and registration. And people believe that there’s a cause for concern. When your character comes into question because your behavior indicates that your grasp of the truth is to lie. Then it would suggest that the player believes that he can act as he pleases without being at fault. Now comes the real issue if Goodell and Smith can’t even be proactive in dealing with the actions of its members . Then how the hell can the fans or the public at large have faith in the NFL ? Never mind the fact that we’ll tend to see the travesty that’s perpetrated within the justice system when the prosecutors tend to plea down crimes that are the most heinous in nature.

As a bye note Washington Wizards’ guard Gilbert Arenas will only serve 30 days incarcerated at a halfway house after having pled guilty in his gun violation trial . Somewhat of a light sentence don’t you think given the gravity of the charges faced ? Arenas if you remember brought with two loaded and unlicensed weapons to the Wizards’ locker room at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. An altercation took place between he and teammate Javaris Crittenton and the two brandished their loaded weapons at each other. Arenas’ lawyer Kenneth Wainstein in his deliberations to the District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin , stated that the player …”is remorseful for his actions and that he’s now turned his life around”. Make of it what you will but Arenas in a recent statement bragged about the fact that he had as recently six months ago, had as many as 500 weapons in is home. Many of them semi automatic and unlicensed. Did I miss something here , concerning Arenas and ‘his demeanor’ ?

Washington   Wizards'  player  Gilbert   Arenas   seen here  with his  attorney    Kenneth  Wainstein  as  they  enter  the Superior  Court   Courthouse  in  Washington  D.C.   photo  appears  courtesy of    Associated  Press  /Anne  Heisenfelt ..................
Washington Wizards' player Gilbert Arenas seen here with his attorney Kenneth Wainstein as they enter the Superior Court Courthouse in Washington D.C. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press /Anne Heisenfelt ..................

But alas, this is the society we live in , where idiot athletes are idolized for all of the wrong reasons ! As Barkley once said ……….”I’m not a role model “. Perhaps someone ought to tell Charles we know that but how the fu_k are we suppose to view them ? When they themselves go out of their way to create the image courtesy of their managers, agents and endorsers to foment an image that’s pristine and above reproach. ? Take note Tiger Woods you’ve done some very bad things and still are doing some bad things . Like you’re still in complete denial Tiger !

NB: Stories reported concerning the rapes that’ve taken place in Daytona Beach, mirrors what is now going on statewide and across the country , at the various spots that students congregate for spring break. Bear that in mind as the stats shown here , are only for this year so far.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………


Pat Metheny ………..This Is Not America ……… them to the movie ‘The Falcon And The Snowman’


Arts & Entertainment, Music, Social Commentary

What I’m Listening To At Present ! The Roots ………..

What I’m Listening To At Present ! The Roots ……………

For those of you who know me from our days within the Fox domain blogging our hearts away on what we then might be of interest to others. Well, you all might know that I’m not cut from the same cloth as other English guys you may well have come across in a social setting. For one I don’t hold true to the concept that we’re all pasty faced English guys who are all about soccer , fish & chips (quaint English delicacy- palatable to some but not to others),cricket and rugby. My interest far exceeds those boundaries in sports, socially and politically. I strive to be appreciative of both sides of an argument when it is being properly framed. But the one thing I for one can’t tolerate is just sheer downright stupidity in any form. Granted , we all have our foibles , some good and some bad . But that’s what makes so unique as human beings. We’re all so different from one and another and that’s to appreciated , rather than be denigrated and look down upon !

When it comes to music , I think I’m as eclectic in my tastes as it comes. My influences range from classical to r & b, to jazz old and new , reggae , rock , rap, hip-hop , African and Far Eastern music. I think when you’re appreciative of different artistic cultures . It offers you a somewhat more appreciative look at the world in general. That’s not to say that art , in terms of music that should be one’s lone guide or choice. But given the fact that the arts no longer seems to be appreciated by a government that is now more prone to showing its true colors in terms of bi-partisanship and ridding itself the arts and certain areas of education. It makes me wonder what the legacy will be for our descendants in the future ?

Musically speaking , as I alluded to earlier , I love various formats of music and its ever changing genre from one moment to the next. While I’m at work and poring over business stats and other various pieces of work related information. I’ll always have some music playing in the office. Today , my colleagues will have to bear the burden of having to listen to The Roots . To read their bio just click here . Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the content matter as much I have done ?


‘You Got Me’ ….. The Roots feat’g Erykah Badu




‘Don’t Say Nuthin’


‘The Next Movement’


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….

Marine Staff Sgt Carmelo Rodriguez, Social Commentary, War On Terror

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death , Liberty At Present Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be …….So One Guesses Death’ll Have To Do ?

Eight  years  on,  the  War  On  Terror  and we’re   still  seeing  that  things  haven’t   changed  as  to  how  the  US  treats  its   returning  heroes.  And   how  the   one   government  agency   that’s  meant  to  be  there  to  assist  them  treats them.   The 

Veterans’   Administration  (VA) or  VA  as  it’s more commonly  known  has   become   a  cumbersome   bureaucratic   behemoth , whose  gargantuan   size   is  too   good   for  it   to  be   useful.  When  it’s  not   tied   up  in  administrative  paperwork.   Then   its   ineptitude   in   dealing   with  the  men  and   women  of   the  military   can  be   best  described   as   insulting.  


Marine  Staff  Sergeant  Carmelo Rodriguez    .........
Marine Staff Sergeant Carmelo Rodriguez .. Rodriguez died in his amongst his family. picture appears courtesy of Paul Winslow ..........




Recently  the  story  of   Marine  Staff  Sergeant   Carmelo  Rodriguez   became   a  media   story  that   could  not   be  ignored.   Rodriguez  who  has  served   his country   with  honor   and  distinction  in  Iraq   succumbed to    skin cancer (melanoma).    While  the   illness  on  the   face   it   is   very   serious .   In  Rodriguez’s  case   it   was  something  that   could’ve   been  avoided   had   he   been    treated   with   due  diligence  from  the  medical   staff   not   only   in  Iraq .  But  also   here   upon   his   return   stateside  in  New  York  City.  We’ve   all   opined   on  what   we   perceive  to  be   wrong    with   the   healthcare   system    in this  country.  But  nowhere  is  also  more   acute  than within  the  Veterans  Administration.






The   outcry  of   the  situation  at  the  Walter  Reed  Medical   Center  in  Washington  D.C   should’ve    provided us   with   enough  of  an  insight  as  to  underlying  issues   that   this  particular   government   agency  has.    But  surely  the  men  and   women  of  the  military   past  and  present    deserve   a  whole  lot  more  than  they’re   being   provided  with  at  present.   It  seems  that   with  each  Presidential   candidate   all  we   tend   to  hear   are   promises   that   are   made   on  the   campaign   trail.    But   having   ascended  to  the  highest  office   in  the land.   That  promise   suddenly  becomes   something  a    forgotten  memory.   Granted  the   budget   provided  to  the  agency   has   increased   in  small   increments.  But  nowhere  near    the  rate  whereby   it   really   makes   a  dent   in  the well being   for   the   young  men   and  women  and   older   veterans   who’ve   served  the   country   with   distinction.



Family members of Staff Sgt Rodriguez. picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters/ Chris Duncan ............




I’ll  point   out  that  the   case  of   Staff  Sergeant  Rodriguez  though  not  an  usual  one.  It  points   out a  severe  lesson   for  us  all.  As  much  as  we  malign   the   healthcare  industry.  As  a private   concern  it’s   described  ‘as second  to  none   the  best  in the  world’.    However   we’ve  seen the  bureaucracy   there  as   well  as  the  wan toned  waste.   In  the  case  of the  service  men  and   women   it’s  placed  in the  hands  of  the  federal  government.  And  there  it’s  not  as  if  it’s  marginally  better.  One   would  feel that  when  it  comes  to  dealing  with  the  medical   treatment  of   our  service men and  women .  Then  it  ought  to  be  of  the  highest   standards   possible.  The   sacrifices  that  they’ve  made     should   ensure  them  of  that.  It’s   the  least  that  the   country    can   do   to  honor   the  sacrifice  made and  the  bravery.



Some  of  the  stories  that’ve   come   out   of   this   agency   have  been  horrifying  to  say  the  least.   Not  least  of  which   has  been  the  one   emanating   from  a   veterans’  hospital  facility  in  Miami.   There  the   staff  it’s  alleged   were   reusing   instruments  that’d  been   repeatedly used  for   colonoscopies .  They  weren’t  being   thrown  away  much  less   sterilized   but   repeatedly   used   on  patient  after  patient.   Now  one   could  feel   slightly  aghast   at  these  allegations.  But it is   indeed   true  and   the  fact  that these   patients   were   being   exposed    to  such   things  as  HIV,  hepatitis  B or  hepatitis  C.    Well  that  leads  me to  believe that  either   we’re  not  as  compassionate  about   these    servicemen and  merely   only  pay  them  lip  service  as  and  when  we  please.   Or   if  anything   the   administration  is   greatly   understaffed   and   not  well   equipped  enough  to   deal  with  all  of  the  inherent  problems.     I’d   like  to   think  that   it’s  indeed  the  latter  ,  rather  than  the former   at  this   juncture.




For   Carmelo   Rodriguez   the  luxury  that  should’ve  been  afforded  in  terms   of   proper   health  care   were  shortcomings.  And   filled  with  misdiagnosis  and   plain   incompetency  at  varying  levels  within   the  administration  and  medical  staff  alike.   But  then  it’d   remiss  to  cast  the  dye   on  all  of  the health  care   professionals   involved  in   trying  to  assist this   soldier.  As   there   were   times  when  is  his   best  interests  were   at  the   heart   and  soul  of   trying  to  make   his   situation  better.   Some  tried  in  vain  to  assist  as  best they   could.   However  for  every  step  taken   forward    there  were  two   taken  back .    And  it   is  those  inconsistencies   that   were   few and   far  between  that   made   his  plight   in  the  end   so  unbearable. 




When  first   diagnosed   some   ten  years  ago  by  an  army   doctor. It  was  noted  that  his   skin  was  somewhat  abnormal  in   color.  The  doctor  noted  what he   thought to be   melanoma   on  Rodriguez’s right   buttock.    He  was   treated  as  prescribed  for  what  was  then   felt   was  just a  mild   form  of  melanoma. .  And   it  was  felt   with   proper   medication   the  ailment  could  be  treated  satisfactorily  without   any  major  reoccurrence  of  the  malady.  Eight   years  on   and   the  now  platoon  leader  is   serving   in   Iraq   and  his   very  health  is   now at  risk.    Somehow  having  informed  the   medical  staff   there  in  the  field .   They    state  to   Rodriguez  that   his   ailment  is   nothing   more  than  a  sever  rash   brought   on   by  the  conditions   in the  field.   The  heat   and   humidity   are  given   as   the  main   cause   for  this.    Rodriguez   explains to  them   that   this  can’t  be  as  he’d  been  diagnosed   before   with  having  a  mild   form  of melanoma. He’s  treated  in  the  field   and   told   basically   that  if  there’s  a  reoccurrence  then  they’ll   do  a  biopsy  to   further   see  what   the  problem  may  well  be.    



Semper-Fi ........Duty ,honor and country these are proud values to live by ............




On  leave   to  be  with  his   family  in  the  latter   part of   2007  to be  with  his   family   in  New York .  Rodriguez   is  taken  gravely  ill  and  his health  has  worsened.  The  rash  as   described   by  medical  personnel  is  now  full-blown   melanoma    that  has begun  to  spread  throughout  his  body   affecting  his   renal  system.  The   cancer   has   affected  this   5’11”  190lb  individual  that  within  a  matter  of  months   his   weight   has  dropped   to  unimaginable   proportions  given  his   size. One  might  suggest   that  this   coming  over  such  a  short   period  of  time   isn’t   possible.  But   given the  fact  that   Rodriguez   continued  with  the  prescribed  medication  given  to   him  in the  field.  Who   really knows  the   ravages  that  his  body  had  been   going   through  at the  time.    Misdiagnosis   notwithstanding   and   the   very   fact that  his   records  were   somehow   either  mislaid   or    just   held  up  within  an  archaic  recording    system.   It   only  adds  to   ire   of  what’s   now   coming   out   concerning  this   situation.   





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