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 ….

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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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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 ?

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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 ……….. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(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 . mediadefenseindustry.com …. ( 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 Wikipedia.com ….

(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 ……

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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 ?

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Baseball, Brett Favre, Bud Selig, Casey Anthony trial, Jose Baez, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Roger Clemens, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized

It’s Now The Talk Of The Town ……….


It’s Now The Talk Of The Town ………

So even with the aftermath and idiocy of what has taken place within the Ohio State athletics department it would appear that the stupidity of the school’s AD Gene Smith simply knows no boundaries as to his own idiocy ! . In his most recent public statement Smith made it clear that the he would like to see the return of Jim Tressel to the realms of coaching within collegiate football. Unless I’m mistaken were it not for the actions of the beleaguered and embarrassed coach the school might not have encountered the numerous problems created because of his web of lies , deceit and total lack of accountability by himself , his coaching staff and the players under his tutelage . Now with the school having to vacate all of their victories from the 2010 season as well their Sugar Bowl appearance victory it seems rather asinine that Gene Smith would actually seek to try and negate the damage done by Jim Tressel . Less we forget also , in the aftermath of Tressel’s departure the school would lose Terrelle Pryor as he sought to forgo his final two years of collegiate football. The player has made himself available for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft and become a client of uber-agent Drew Rosenhaus .

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Well last night at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles with all of the glad handing and back slapping was about to take place as ESPN staged the ESPY Awards at the famed auditorium. For all of the pomp and ceremony that was about to be thrust upon the viewers of the event nothing could be more self serving than this pompous and rather odious garbage that simply gives the broadcast outlet another chance to show how bereft of credibility and creativity within this particular organization. With a slew of professional as well as collegiate athletes on display awaiting to hear their names to be announced for a variety of nominations in several sports’ categories . Suffice to say that this is meant to be the sports world’s answer to the Oscars and as we can all bear witness to that particular event gives us every reason to ask the question …….. why ? . From my own personal standpoint the whole event is a complete waste of time and merely a way for the broadcast outlet to air a few hours athletes thanking each other and their maker while actually saying not a God damn thing ! Mind you host Seth Meyers in part made the event memorable with his lambasting of the Miami Heat and the mere fact that the team’s ” Big Three” tend to show up and play only three quarters of a game . Not to be left out of this also were the members of the New Jersey Nets and in particular Kris Humphries whose upcoming to nuptials to reality star Kim Kardashian could very well be the closest thing to the receiving of a ring that the player is ever likely to get that is not associated with the winning of the NBA title .

But really is anyone interested in who ESPN believes ought to be “The Male Athlete of The Year “ much less “The Best NBA Player” ? I can assure you of this if a poll were to be taken of 1,000 people on the streets there wouldn’t be a conclusive result bearing out any of the conclusions derived from last night’s winners much less some of the nominees in question !

With the Roger Clemens’ trial now set to take place it was interesting to read the statement made by the player’s chief legal counsel Rusty Hardin who asserts that Clemens would not be taking the stand in his defense trial for perjury and the obstruction of justice. With the prosecution having lined up litany of current and former players to testify and prove their case it remains to be seen what course this federal trial will take . Certainly the Justice Department wouldn’t have pressed ahead with this trial having indicted the player on the aforementioned charges . Amongst the prosecution’s chief witnesses are Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens’ former personal trainer Brian McNamee . The latter for whom credibility will most certainly come into question and whose own testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee left a great deal to be desired at the time. The player , himself wasn’t without his own problems given his own testimony to the very same governmental committee .

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Rusty Hardin (L), attorney for Roger Clemens, smiles as he leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


It seems so totally asinine to think that the MLB hierarchy would seek or should I say absolve itself all responsibility when it comes to dealing with the players who have as such brought the game into disrepute . But when one considers the mere fact that Bud Selig has failed to show a backbone nothing at all should come as a surprise ! We have the so called purists who now simply believe that the game is still at its very best in all of its guises , from the competitiveness of the divisions to the financial well being of the teams . Perhaps when the team owners and general managers as well as the MLBPA (union) have begun to pull their heads out of each others’ assholes to wake up and smell the coffee then perhaps we may well see all of the parties come to some sort of common accord rather than their continued buffoonery !


I decided rather than heading home last night to stay overnight at the girlfriend’s home in Orlando . The fact that I commute from my home (distance of 56 miles) in Central Polk County most mornings to head into the downtown area of the city was of no real joy over the past few weeks , given the animosity on display with protesters outside the courthouse while the Casey Anthony trial took place . In the aftermath of the acquittal of the defendant and the over the top celebrations that took place with Jose Baez and his associates’ after their client’s acquittal by the jury left a great deal to be desired . What might have been even more contemptible was the mere fact that Baez was seen high five-ing an associate at a local bar across the road from the courthouse , with all of this being caught on camera by the national press and paparazzi . The lawyer himself was fully aware of this but I would have thought Jose Baez having an adjunct office a mere two miles away from the courthouse it would have been prudent to undertake the celebrations there and away from the prying eyes of the media and public at large ! In doing so those celebrations along with the now angered throng of public protesters who had gathered at the courthouse can only have angered those present and who witnessed the lawyers’ celebrations. I am not about to decry Jose Baez for his antics but I would merely point out that he may well now have to deal with some backlash from those who may well have felt that his client got away with murder .


At the end of the day this was a trial that bore the resemblance of an idiotic charade from start to finish ! The prosecution flubbed this case and were made to look like bumbling idiots by simply relying far too much on forensic evidence that did little to help their case . Instead , rather than seeking to attack the character and of the defendant and the numerous lies told by her family members . with each and very passing moment they relied far too much on a group of professionals in various scientific fields of forensic pathology and medicine to brow beat and bore the jurors to sleep but also leave the judge presiding over the case with a sense of deja-vu. (Think of the OJ Simpson murder trial all over again and remember how that charade ended ? ) But herein lies the caveat to this case all along , the jurors had been left with no other option but to find the defendant not guilty because there was little to suggest all along that the Casey Anthony had deliberately gone out of her way to murder her child, Haley Anthony . However , what was abundantly clear to anyone with an ounce of common sense were the mere the facts as they were being presented by the prosecution should have warranted that the defendant should have gone on trial for manslaughter , rather than first degree murder . But you would now be hard pressed to find anyone within the State Attorney’s Office (9th District) willing to admit that they had made a mistake in how the case presented and tried . The only saving grace in this all may well be the fact that there will be a civil suit brought against Casey Anthony by several groups who assisted in the search of her missing child , for which we now know that she the was the victim of an untimely death at far too young an age .

I can’t but wonder what will now be achieved by the state shutdown in Minnesota by Governor Mark Dayton . The state now has a $ 5 billion budget shortfall and with the shutdown has come the furloughing of state employees and in some cases the firing of state employees . Mark Dayton has had to contend with two bipartisan legislative chambers who if anything have only their self interests at heart, rather dealing with many of the acute issues Minnesota state now faces. .

Now while this idiocy continues Zygi Wilf and his associate partners who own the Minnesota Vikings have to be wary of the fact that the organization will face a hard task in persuading the state legislature that they need to pass the bill that will finance the building of the proposed $1.55 billion state of the art facility for the team. I’ve always found it rather bewildering to think that the NFL while having a fund to assist the teams in the building or refurbishment of their stadiums , in large part the majority of team owners will seek to obtain assistance from the various governmental agencies in the cities where they reside . Mind you this particular endeavor takes place in each of the four major professional sports. Consider this also , NASCAR’s executives were aided to the tune of some $250 million by President Barack Obama’s now infamous “stimulus package” .


Through an affiliate corporation ISC (International Speedway Corporation Inc) the governing body of the sport was aided with those funds to refurbish several of the race tracks that they own across the country . Considering the dearth of dumb ass spending that is undertaken by the federal government on pork barrel issues” that simply favors the pet projects of the members of the House and Senate should anyone be at all surprised by this ? I can only surmise that it is somehow better to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on several race tracks than it is to actually put either more police officers on the streets or even make sure that more money is steered towards education ? God knows nothing would indicate or suggest otherwise that the country is well on the way to not producing a highly intelligent and capable work force for the future than to have Bubba and Cletus chewing on tobacco and telling you why it is that Lil’ E and Smoke are two biggest things to happen in the sport since Dale Earnhardt Sr died . I don’t know that is meant to be enlightening for the public in general nor do I favor the idiocy then shown and still being shown by the current administration and two legislative chambers of Congress !

Clearly if the Minnesota Vikings are not able to persuade the state legislature that it is imperative for them to approve this finance bill then it is quite clear that the organization may well have to relocate . Zygi Wilf and his partners having hired a lobbyist to present their case and now must await on a decision as to the course that the vote will take . But given the current economic environment and the mere fact that the projections of the costs of this facility had sky rocketed from its original estimate of $1 billion to the now $1.5 billion it is hard to see how the state can actually justify this as being a prudent way to spend money when it faces such a massive deficit. Mark Dayton , the Democratic governor of the state has implored the members of both legislative chambers that cuts have to be made and also that some taxes will have to be increased but as usual with all issues as it relates to taxes and spending one can never find the right answer to the problem !


It does seem strange however that while Conservatives are so vehemently opposed to tax increases , they are also against cutting the tax loopholes that have assisted major corporations in deferring their taxes by up to five years and at the same time one loophole that is often overlooked ………… it is where it now allows US corporations to reincorporate oversees and totally avoid paying any form US income tax at all . At the same time those very same corporations conduct business as usual within the continental United States unperturbed by any legislation by the Congress . And though I feel that the Democrats are just as blatantly stupid as their rivals when it comes to dealing with the economy it does give credence to the very fact that neither side has a clear idea as to what actually needs to be done !


The Minnesota Vikings to my mind are better served in actually getting their act together on the playing field rather than looking for the building of a multi purpose facility wherein they will no doubt over charge the fans for the privilege of attending their home games . And given last year’s implosion (6-10 record ) by the team and all of drama that surrounded Brett Favre is there anyone now at all willing to take any type of odds on how this team will now fare this upcoming season ? I would dare say that the newly installed head coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff are in a for another tumultuous ride . In the aftermath of last season’s implosion and meltdown with all of the drama and idiocy of seeing four veteran members of this roster go to Favre’s home and plead with the veteran to make one more return to the NFL might well have been one of the more asinine events to have taken place within the league in years . For the life of me I have yet to hear anyone explain succinctly why it is that they felt that the Vikings were even being mentioned as worthy favorites for the Superbowl to begin with ! Especially those analysts within ESPN and Fox who have simply looked upon Favre so favorably as if he were some sort of deity . I tend to wonder whether or not Mark Schlereth and Chris Mortensen can for one moment take their lips away from Favre’s ass without suffocating because it looks as if sucking the crap produced from the player’s anus might well be life sustaining for the duo !

Given the failure of the team last season and the very fact that there seems to be no consensus as to who the starting quarterback will be it is imperative that Leslie Frazier has an idea as that player it will be when the team undertakes its start to the season . The choices are Rhett Bomar , Tarvaris Jackson , Christian Ponder , Patrick Ramsey and Joe Webb . Of that quintet of starting quarterbacks Ramsey is the most experienced but the nine year veteran , shown that given the chance to start he hasn’t the command or leadership qualities to enhance the play of the team. Joe Webb if anything when given the chance showed that he was capable but the mobile quarterback isn’t something that seems to be endearing to Leslie Frazier and his staff. And though I don’t believe that Christian Ponder would appear to the answer to the Vikings’ problems at the position I do somehow get the feeling that if all else fails he will be thrown in at the deep end !

From an offensive standpoint this team has all of the prerequisite weapons to be competitive . And with the likes of Sidney Rice , Adrian Peterson , Visanthe Shiancoe , Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin . Defensively the team has had its problems but if anything that can situation can be put right by defensive coordinator Fred Pagac .


In the ensuing weeks as the NFL stoppage continues it will be very interesting to see what transpires concerning the Minnesota Vikings and the decision that will be made by the state legislature . So much is made about the economic downturn but it appears that even when the hardest hit are the impoverished somehow it seems to be the most wealthy amongst us who always end up profiting from the shambles and disaster that is left in the wake of such an event . Care to think how Zygi Wilf will end up a winner even if the vote sought isn’t in his club’s favor ? Needless to say that every assistance will be given to the team by the league should the Vikings seek to relocate or perhaps use a temporary facility while some form of compromise can be reached . Funny that sort of situation never seems to arise for the most desperate amongst us !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you’d deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !


Alan aka tophatal …………. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact tophatal ……. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) From left to right Ohio State university President Dr E Gordon Gee , former head football coach Jim Tressel and the school’s athletic director Gene Smith addressing the press in light of the scandal that embroiled the university in several scandals. This led to NCAA sanctions will cost the school multiple scholarships as well as having to vacate of the football team’s victories for the 2010 season. AP Photo ……….

(2) Members of the Dallas Mavericks (L-R) Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea, Brian Cardinal, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, pose with their ESPY Award back stage after being named “Best Team” at the 2011 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, California, July 13, 2011. Reuters / AFP ……

(3) Seth Myers cast members of NBC’s Saturday Night Live and who hosted the 2011 ESPN ESPY’s award from the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles . AP Photo / Chris Howard ….

(4) WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 14: Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (R) leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images …

(5) Rusty Hardin (L), attorney for Roger Clemens, smiles as he leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images …..

(6) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 16: NFL players lawyer Barbara P. Berens (L), linebacker Ben Leber(notes) of the Minnesota Vikings, NFL players lawyer James Quinn and former NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith leave court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 16, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners that followed a breakdown of labor talks between the two in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …

(7) Vikings owner Zygi Wilf met with Gov. Mark Dayton ( foreground) on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The two met concerning a deal for which the team owner envisions a new facility to be built at the taxpayers’ expense within the state of Minnesota . This scenario has changed vastly from what had been envisaged by the governor . Courtesy of MPR Photo/Tim Nelson ……

(8) Kurt Coleman (42) of the Philadelphia Eagles tackles Visanthe Shiancoe (81) of the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Vikings would defeat the Eagles 24-14 .—- Getty Images North America / Jim McIsaac …..

(9) Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick, left, is tackled by Minnesota Vikings’ Antoine Winfield in the first half of an NFL football game, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Michael Perez ……

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NB: At the time of the completion of this piece it was announced that a mistrial had been declared in the Roger Clemens’ trial . To read more about this simply click on the link provided . Judge declares mistrial in Clemens’ case

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Minnesota Vikings profile

Minnesota Vikings schedule 2011 ___ subject to change

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Alex Rodriguez, Allan 'Bud' Selig, Andy Pettite ., Barry Bonds, Baseball, Jose Canseco, MLB, Roger Clemens, Rusty Hardin, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports Econmics, Steroids in baseball, US Attorney General Eric Holder

Who’s On First And Which As_hole Is Running Things As Of Now ?


Who’s On First And Which As_hole Is Running Things As Of Now ?

Well the MLB season is but a week away from Opening Day and already the game and league looks as if it’s off to a rocky start. In the US Federal Court system former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds has now readily admitted that he did in fact use anabolic steroids and HGH in a statement released by his attorneys late Monday evening at 6 pm EST. The player on trial for obstruction of justice and also five counts of perjury faces up to eight years in prison, quite possibly more and perhaps a monetary fine , may well see this as his last act of truth on his part . The fact of the matter , is for close to seven years Bonds has proclaimed his innocence stating that he never knowingly took steroids or any illicit substance without knowing what those drugs actually were . The player claims that his former personal trainer Greg Anderson told him that the drugs , pills , liquids he was ingesting were in fact flax seed oil and a number of other natural supplements. Pardon me for saying this but if at this juncture Bonds expect the public to take him at his word, the veracity of the claims now being made then in fact from the very start he knew that in order to try and evade telling the truth he simply chose to tell a lie in order to profit from his professional exploits monetarily.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now I’ve heard many fans state that they don’t care if the players were in fact cheating by using steroids but I’d simply put forth this question would you be prepared to purchase a car if you knew that it wasn’t mechanically sound be it new or pre-owned ? Then why in hell’s name would you want to purchase a ticket to see a player who’s cheated the fans the public and even himself ? For far too long the problem with baseball is that the owners , general managers , the MLBPA and the players themselves have simply chosen to turn a blind eye to their many problems be it through the cheating of the players or the financial mismanagement within the game overseen by the league hierarchy led Commissioner Bud Selig. And if anyone is any doubt as to the financial viability stability of the game. Now we can all attest to the fact that Selig claims the game is now steroid free but in reality even the commissioner can’t be sure as to the veracity of those claims. I mean this is very same individual who now in large part knows that in large part at least 60% of the teams within baseball are struggling to show some some form profitability.

As to the pending Bonds’ trial I don’t feel that it’s now really necessary to delve into the case any longer. However , the worrying thing about this all has been with number of adjournments and US Appellate Court has led to an exorbitant cost in the case Justice Dept who prosecuted this case from the very beginning . I’d like to think that the US Attorney General Eric Holder and the district attorneys nationwide who are his subordinates use the same sort of veracity in trying cases when it comes white collar crime , major felonies such as homicides , sexual crimes and the upcoming terrorist trials be they through the USCMJ with a military tribunal prosecuting the case on the part of the government and in some cases military attorneys and criminal attorneys representing the defendants. With in excess of $15 million having been spent on the investigation and ongoing trial of Bonds I’d like to think that the public will be getting some sort of accountability from the federal government. But that’d be to expect there to be some veracity forthcoming from government what they wish to let the public know and how much they know at any given moment.

Given that Bonds’ trial is still in its early stages with the jury just having been chose and yet to be seated I do believe that there’s still a possibility and the player and his attorneys could very well seek some sort of plea agreement even with the trial in its early proceedings. Were the player to plead guilty at this juncture it would save the taxpayer a great deal of money rather than once again tens of thousands being spent over again all to no avail, in actually attaining a guilty verdict. But then again we’ve a government who’s burned through money the way that a drunken sailor on furlough would seek some pleasure while on leave.

Apart from Bonds’ trial the public still has to deal with upcoming Roger Clemens’ trial that in shape or form just has to be as comical as that of Bonds’ own prosecutorial dealings. Again we have a player who at each step of the way has chosen to apportion blame for his own misdeeds by blaming others. If it wasn’t his former Yankees’ teammate Andy Pettitte whom he claims has misquoted him when the player told members of Congress in a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing that Clemens told he’d used anabolic steroids . Clemens’ even had the temerity to throw a family member under the bus when during a congressional hearing after his former trainer Brian McNamee claimed that he’d taken a several vials and syringes to the player’s home to inject him with HGH . Clemens says he doesn’t recall such an incident but he had indicated that his wife had taken several doses of botox prior to a fitness photo shoot that both were participants in. McNamee’s own integrity has come into question because much of his subpoaena testimony at times wasn’t that credible . But what in large part may well have sunk his own credibility and integrity because of his narcissistic and somewhat less than candid demeanor . And even though Clemens’ Texas based lawyer Rusty Hardin has pled his client’s innocence and states that Clemens is a victim of venomous slander and libel at this juncture given what we’ve seen of the player’s actions and his sworn testimony gives little credibility to the stance he’s taking.

Clemens like his peer Bonds is a multiple award winner having won the Cy Young Award seven times over the course of his now suspect career. And although many purists still see the player’s on field accomplishments as being historic and setting a precedence . Against the backdrop of the ” steroid era” and the allegations which have since engulfed Roger Clemens I seriously doubt that anyone would seriously believe that the player or his achievements will ever be taken seriously. To my mind if Clemens is to viewed as being one of the faces of the steroid era along with players such as Bonds , Mark McGwire , Rafael Palmeiro , Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco then Greg Maddux has to be seen as the face of all that was right with baseball during that era as a pitcher and player throughout much of that era and during the post steroid annals.

The game’s image has never been as low as it has been than during labor stoppage of 1994 </b when the season was essentially shut down because neither the union or league hierarchy could agree on a collective bargaining agreement. That lockout proved to be costly for the league and even in light of the summer of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa when the duo led the onslaught for Roger Maris then single season home run record of 61 . The figure has since been surpassed by Bonds with the total of 73 and the player also owns the all-time home runs tally of 762 . Another record that may well have the dubious distinction of being frowned upon and having asterisk placed at its side.

There are and will be so many accomplishments in during the steroid and post steroid era that will come into question in spite of the current drug policy instigated by the league. And I’ve no doubt even in spite of a player’s integrity and character whatever the feat accomplished many will question its veracity . This much I do know that in spite of Bud Selig and that of the league hierarchy’s insistence the game is still fraught with danger and that the next major fallout as it relates to the use of steroids is just around the corner. Alex Rodriguez for years pled his innocence as to the illicit use of steroids only to admit years later that he did indeed use steroids thereby embarrassing himself the New York Yankees’ organization and once again the environment of baseball. When questioned as to the allegations that he may well have been using as recently as 2007 , the player through his legal representatives denied those claims even with the advent of his name being associated Orlando based medical professional Dr Anthony Galen who’s now under indictment by the Justice Department for the illegal trafficking and sale of narcotics to athletes within the world of the NFL , NBA as well MLB . Those investigations by the Justice Department are still ongoing and it remains to be seen what the outcome of the resultant investigations will as the department works in conjunction with the FBI on the case .

While I’m no illusion that the players have to be held accountable for their actions what I’m indeed at a loss to explain is why the sheer ignorance shown by Commissioner Bud Selig , league hierarchy , the owners , general managers , players , coaching staffs and the MLBPA (union) itself in trying to clean up the image of their game when the rumors were rife that there was indeed rampant and illegal use of steroids within the game. Either they chose to ignore the obvious or they were as naive as many of us now believe them to be . The idiocy shown by all parties who took part in the congressional hearings leads me to believe that it was actually combination of both ! And it hasn’t helped that there are fans out there as well have been complicit in this madness because by their thinking we simply ought to let the players do as they please . Well take this into account , while those fans may well have made their outlay to attend the games what in essence have they got back in return that they would even think to be tangible in terms their monies’ worth ? If you merely condone the player’s actions be it the lie or the fact that they’ve simply done nothing wrong in cheating by the use of steroids then in you in fact condone what the game had become and that in essence was the sport was rampant with cheating and wherein everyone associated with it other than the fans profited greatly from a financial standpoint . In return do the fan gain anything ? And what of the young kids out there who see the behavior of the players , many of whom they view as their idol ____ and then think that it’s OK to behave in such a manner not when it just comes to the sport of baseball but then they then think that way way when it comes to their every day lives. Is that really the example that anyone really wants to see being set ?

From my own standpoint I believe all parties concerned have been negligent and complicit in the charade under which the game was played throughout much of the late eighties , well into the late nineties and even into the early part of this decade. The game is still a mess from many standpoints , the steroid era notwithstanding as you have a hierarchy , set of owners and a union whose understanding of being financially prudent rests somewhere between having their heads up their ass while a disaster and engulfs them and they’re looking for some way allay any oncoming tragedy. You needn’t look no further then baseball’s own form of socialism now in place as it relates to their asinine revenue sharing scheme that allegedly benefits the small market teams that repeatedly year in and year out can barely make ends meet . Bud Selig in his alleged infinite wisdom sought fit to have a process in place whereby teams with a payroll in excess of $140 million a year would be taxed at a rate of anywhere between 15-20% on an incremental scale of their gross payroll in order to alleviate the financial shortfalls of those small market teams . However that tax sharing revenue scheme isn’t working in the way that the commissioner envisaged with many of those organizations rather than using that money to bolster their respective teams’ playing staffs ______ the owners and executives instead have actually pocketed those sums as if it were some financial windfall by way of an executive perk and bonus. Doubt my word ? Then merely look at the actions of Bob Nutting and Jeffrey Loria the respective owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins ? They in turn still plead poverty as the financial well being of their organization but have benefited greatly from Selig’s rather odious scheme . And Bud Selig , himself isn’t to be left out of this equation at all because as commissioner between 2006-2009 he was compensated to the tune of $68 million ($68 ,000,000) in cumulative salary , all while a number of teams around the league are said to be struggling . Someone is certainly getting the short end of the stick if not the shaft ! It’s most certainly not anyone within the game of baseball ! Care to guess who ? It’s you the fans who willingly choose to spend your hard earned cash in support of teams who simply don’t care about your well being one iota !

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view picture in its original
formatted size .

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Picture gallery for your perusal

As to the impending fate of both Bonds and Clemens what thoughts if any do you have and how do you feel that the justice system is the best place for what might fitting punishment based upon the players’ presumption of guilt or innocence either way ? It’s plain to see were it left in the hands of the games hierarchy things couldn’t be any better or worse dependent upon one’s point of view because baseball’s way of handling things can be best described as being inept and comical to say the very least ! Chime in with a comment on this topic and your hopes this season with regard to the game of baseball and how you view the chances of your team and others within the league ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

MLB News ………..

🙂

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Bonds arrives for the his trial at the US District Court for Northern California where the trial will be presided over by Federal Judge Susan Illston . AP Photo Paul Sakuma …………..

(2) A pensive Bonds attends the second day of judicial proceedings in his obstruction of justice and perjury
trial case . Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ……

(3) Brian McNamee, left, in 2008, is expected to testify against Roger Clemens, right, at Clemens’s upcoming trial. McNamee has said that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. AP/Reuters -Pool photo/ Chuck Kennedy …..

(4) In this picture file from 2008 : Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens (L) and his attorney Rusty Hardin (R) walk to a meeting with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Capitol Hill , February 7, 2008 in Washington. According to reports, Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee’s lawyers have claimed they have physical evidence corroborating McNamee’s claim of the pitcher’s use of steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens is due to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week. Getty Images North America/Johnathan Ernst ……..

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Rosa Acosta

Eye candy ……………… Rosa Acosta

Amber  Rose

Amber Rose …………… The best sex she’s ver had she says is with herself ? I’d have love to have seen that !

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Ray Charles …………………. “You’re Cheatin’ Heart” . Rather apt don’t you think as it concerns not only Bonds and Clemens but the players all caught up in this asinine charade and farce ?

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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.

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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 cityrating.com, 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 Neighborhoodscout.com, 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 ……………………

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

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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 ?

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

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‘Star’

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‘Don’t Say Nuthin’

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‘The Next Movement’

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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 cbs.com/ 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-his-aunt-sister-and-cousins
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
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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