A few stories I’m following today: An open thread

Before I head out to the Bay and daddy duty today I wanted to share a few stories that attracted my interest, some of which we’ve previously blogged on.

Nowdy wondered a few times this football season why I didn’t blog on St Stanislaus QB Dylan Favre as I had several posts on him during the 2008 football season. The reasons were many such as not having a life the past 8 weeks due to having a 2 sports son (pee wee football/soccer) and it seemingly raining every Friday night down here for the past 6 weeks. (I guess I truly am a fair weather fan when it comes to football at my Alma Mater) That said I did manage to take in a few games one of which was the clash involving my second favorite High School Football team, the Forrest County AHS Aggies (Congrats to the Aggies on beating West Lauderdale) and last night’s SSC playoff win over Quitman. Watching Dylan Farve play over the past few years has been a real treat. Though he lacks the height to be on the major college A recruiting list someone in college football will end up with a great QB.

Last night the Dylan and the Rocks converted a 3rd and 17 with a pass that would be the envy of half the QB’s in the NFL – a throw on a rope that hit the receiver in the hands in stride. I’ll let Al Jones at The Sun Herald take it from there:

Along the way, St. Stanislaus improved to 10-1 for the first 10-win season in school history, and Dylan Favre continued his onslaught on Mississippi high school passing records with three-single season records.

Favre set records for single season offense yards (4,903 yards), single season touchdowns (47) and touchdowns responsible for (58).

The Rocks now travel to Columbia next week in the second round.

“It was a good win,’’ SSC coach Forrest Williams said. “Now, onto the second round.’’

St. Stanislaus took the opening kickoff and drove 89 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard scoring pass from Favre to Joe Klein at the 8:37 mark of the first.

The drive saw Favre convert a third-and-17 from the Rocks 27 with a completion to Boomer Scarborough to the Panthers 38.

I’m in Columbia a good bit professionally so I’ll recommend 2 local restaurants that are very good for those that will be in town early enough to dine before the game.

Fran Ginn’s Backdoor Cafe is located in Columbia’s picturesque downtown area. Since I am a foodie of the highest order and degree I’ll add IMO there is no place in Mississippi with better restaurants per capita than the Bay-Waveland area. The Backdoor could easily compete with the best of the restaurants in the Bay. Fran is especially well known for her homemade desserts, especially the Carmel cake.

Ronnie Lott’s Jacks Family Restaurant on the bypass (the google website URL is incorrect) is a great place to find some stick-to-your-ribs country cooking. It is a favorite of the local blue-collar crowd and for good reason as the food is very good. The parking lot is small but don’t let a filled lot scare you off as the place seats well over 100. There is parking across the street at the donut shop if the main lot is full (which it normally is everyday the place is open).

Next up is the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, specifically the dedication of the new building which is part of a major expansion there. The dedication attracted an all-star crowd including vets such as Bert Stolier, Mickey Rooney and George McGovern and celebrities such as Tom Hanks. We’ll be coming to visit the new attractions very soon. John Pope reports for the Times Picayune:

The 70,000-square-foot structure dedicated Friday cost $60 million. It has a restaurant — the American Sector, the latest culinary outpost of chef John Besh — as well as the Stage Door Canteen, which is designed to evoke, through period costumes and music and live performances, the clubs on the East and West coasts where GIs could rub elbows with celebrities before shipping out.

Also in the as-yet-unnamed building is the Solomon Victory Theater, a 250-seat house showing “Beyond All Boundaries,” a 35-minute movie that uses a host of special effects, including lights, fog, simulated snow and cca rumbling floor, to give viewers a taste of what soldiers felt during the war.

Hanks, a longtime museum supporter who is the film’s executive producer and narrator, said at a pre-ceremony news conference that the movie shows history “in a brand new way” and gives visitors “a tactile appreciation of the war.”

The movie will revitalize the museum, Stolier said. “People will want to come back. (The moviemakers) have done a great job.”

But because the presentation is so effective in showing what combatants endured, “you’ll walk out of that room determined to work even harder for peace,” said McGovern, an opponent of the war in Vietnam who was the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 1972. “You’ll never be able to glorify what those men and women went through.”

I’ve never understood the glorifying of plagiarist Stephen Ambrose. I’ve known about Ambrose since I was in my late teens as I personally knew another history professor at UNO. His major academic talent in those days was self promotion which his later life proved he was very good at doing. None of his collegues respected him back in the day, so his “borrowing” of other’s materials without attribution did not surprise me when the news broke.

Next up is Dollar Bill Jefferson and the stiff price he may pay for his crimes. The US Attorney plans to recommend 27-33 years at the Grey Bar Hotel for Dollar Bill next Friday. Jonathan Tilove at the Times Picayune has the details:

Jefferson, 62, will be sentenced by federal Judge T.S. Ellis III on Nov. 13.

The prosecution’s sentencing memorandum suggests that Jefferson, who served 18 years in Congress, may have hidden resources and “poses a significant risk of flight,” and ought to be immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after sentencing at the Alexandria, Va., courthouse.

If Ellis follows the U.S. attorney’s office recommendations, Jefferson would face by far the longest prison term ever imposed for congressional corruption, dwarfing the sentences meted out in such famous scandals as Abscam, Koreagate and Wedetch.

Next up is Judge Joan Benge and the in-depth report from the Times Picayune on her ouster from the bench. I thought some of the commentary on the story was very good though I remain undecided if the punishment truly fit the act:

Benge, a Kenner resident, was snagged by the FBI in 2001 during its investigation, known as Operation Wrinkled Robe, of corruption at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse. Then-Judge Ronald Bodenheimer, Benge’s colleague in the Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office before they were elected to the bench, was a target of that investigation.

FBI agents secretly recorded telephone conversations between Bodenheimer and Phillip Demma, then a reserve deputy who had a personal injury lawsuit pending in Benge’s court.

The lawsuit stemmed from a minor wreck between Demma and another motorist in Metairie in 1998 in which Demma claimed he cracked a tooth. Through wiretaps, the FBI caught Demma urging Bodenheimer to sway Benge’s ruling in his favor. Demma wanted Benge to award him $20,000.

Both sides in the case agreed the other motorist was at fault, and Benge had only to decide whether the wreck caused Demma’s cracked tooth and, if so, an award amount.

After the Nov. 29, 2001, trial, the FBI recorded a conversation in which Benge called Bodenheimer to discuss an array of judicial matters that included the Demma case. Were it not for Demma’s attorney, John Venezia, Benge told Bodenheimer she would give Demma nothing, according to the conversation transcripts.

Yet, a week later, Benge awarded Demma $4,275. Weeks later, at a Christmas party, Benge told Venezia that she awarded Demma money only because of him. The Judiciary Commission suggested Benge was repaying Venezia for his monetary support in her judicial campaign months earlier.

Bodenheimer, whom Benge considered her judicial mentor, later pleaded guilty to federal charges unrelated to the Demma case and received a 46-month prison sentence. Demma also pleaded guilty to federal charges, including to conspiring with Bodenheimer to fix the case.

Benge was never charged with a crime, but the FBI and federal prosecutors provided the Judiciary Commission last year with information gathered during the Wrinkled Robe investigation for review of possible ethics violations. The commission initially opened a file on Benge after reading accounts of Demma’s guilty plea in The Times-Picayune in April 2003.

While the attorney who prosecuted the case recommended Benge be suspended without pay for six months, the commission said she should be removed from the bench.

Finally from the mean streets of blogging I offer this. You gotta give Alan props for leaving the comments up and for highlighting the Main Street Justice piece. Outing a blogger is a big no no here at Slabbed however and is something we’ll never do.

Finally from the even a broke clock is right twice a day file I offer this. The Fort Hood tragedy was horrific beyond description. Even worse IMHO is stereotyping an entire religion based on the actions of one of its very troubled adherents. Mankind is unfortunately most capable of very dark deeds whether it be companies like State Farm, Nationwide, Farm Bureau,  Allstate, USAA etc hosing homeless policyholders, or European Christians gassing millions of Jews and other undesirables in the 1940s. The ignorance on display in some of the comments to the post represents a classic case study in cognitive bias also known as burying your head in the sand. To the extent weaker minds have fallen for the meme on Muslims and violence means to me Osama Bin Laden and his ilk are actually winning the war from a propaganda standpoint. Simply put, fostering a wider conflict where it does not in reality exist serves the purposes of our enemies.

On tap for tomorrow, AIG’s financial woes continue to worsen and a few insurance Commishs clearly see it. Of course we’ve been all over it for months.  Happy Saturday to the Slabbed nation.


18 thoughts on “A few stories I’m following today: An open thread”

  1. SOP: Before you cry any “crocodile tears” for former Judge Benge, you need to READ Chief “Injustice” Catherine “Titty Thimble” Kimball’s written opinion, which is available on the Internet. You will learn “details” which have been sorely lacking in the coverage of “the Times-Pick-Your-Nose” on the subject of Benge. In short, there was NO FACTUAL BASIS for ANY award to the plaintiff in the case which brought Benge down, not even a penny (or a sou). In other words, Benge’s award, which was for a “pittance” anyway was based SOLELY on who the plaintiff’s lawyer was. This is all spelled out in mind-numbing detail in “the Thimble’s” written opinion. Benge CORRUPTED “the System”, and I predict that she will not only lose her law license, but she will be charged criminally.

  2. Hey. I don’t like football and if you lived in Tampa Bay, FL you’d understand why. 🙂


  3. Great post, Sop…and you covered SO MUCH ! How does your head hold all that brain? (ha ha).

    “Operation Wrinkled Robe?” That’s very creative; I like it. It’s ashame that one would put their livelihood on the line like that (if it’s true that is and, apparently, they have it on tape). I could see if someone was impaired or drunk doing something that would cost them their livelihood, but in the middle of the day @ the courthouse! come on.

    I wish everybody well though, really. And you’re totally right about people casting aspersions about religious faiths cuz of the tragedy @ Ft. Hood.

    Enjoy your game. I’m getting ready to write a science paper on gravity….fun fun….it’s all for a greater cause though. 🙂


  4. “Finally from the mean streets of blogging I offer this. You gotta give Alan props for leaving the comments up and for highlighting the Main Street Justice piece. Outing a blogger is a big no no here at Slabbed however and is something we

  5. O.K. Let me dip my toe in “politically incorrect” waters. I was BANNED from NMISSCOMMENTOR for allegedly “racist” comments. I don’t want to be banned from SLABBED. However, I disagree with the notion that criticizing the “rag-head” who perpetrated the Fort Hood Massacre constitutes condemning an entire religion. I have “freedom of speech” here in America, and unless the owners of SLABBED wish to engage in the same sort of CENSORSHIP that Freeland (and his liberal F#%k friends) over at NMISSCOMMENTOR engages in, I plan to continue exercising my constitutional right. So: All Muslims are not terrorists, but it would appear that most terrorists (in this country, at least) are Muslims. It is, therefore, an act of self-preservation to regard these people with a fair degree of suspicion, at least until one can identify them as “friendly” or “unfriendly”. Allowing Major “Rag-Head” (or whatever his name is) to wear a U.S. Army uniform in the face of MILITANT comments which have been attributed to him during the past year or so was LUNACY. Major “Rag-Head” was decidedly “unfriendly”, and should have paid a price for his unfriendliness, in which case a lot of people would still be alive and unwounded. Now permit me to exercise my First Amendment rights: The Muslim religion is a “gutter” religion. It has no “central authority”, like the Pope, from whom clearly defined dogma emanates. Mullahs in Najif or Bagdad, or New York or New Orleans, can tell their congregations whatever the hell they want, all in the name of “religion”. (What happened to “Thou shall not kill?). And the KORAN, which contains numerous contradictions, means different things to different Mullahs, and doesn’t have to be followed, anyway, because the KORAN can be modified or re-interpreted by something called “HADITHS”, which is – get this – “oral tradition”, and more particularly “the words of Mohammed”, which no one alive today was around to record (it was forbidden to record the words of the Prophet in writing). In short, THIS IS ALL BULLSHIT, and the hierarchy of the Muslim Religion, just like Christians and Jews, are interested in one thing, and one thing only: Staying in power, which today (21st Century) means Holy War, against the infidels, namely US. Thanks to SLABBED for allowing me to exercise my First Amendment rights. I look forward to exercising my Second Amendment rights sometime soon, against people who deserve what is coming to them.

  6. And by the way, SOP, European Christians did NOT gas millions of Jews, Nazi’s did. The Party of Hitler, the National Socialists. While Hitler was baptized a Christian, he became his own “religion”, and the German people contributed as willing participants (And you know what, SOP? Given the chance, THEY WOULD DO IT AGAIN!). Uncle Adolph didn’t go to Church on Sunday, and neither did those who wore the red, white and black armbands. At least one “Muslim” killed 12 (the number keeps “changing”) innocent people on Thursday, and wounded many others. If my calling him a Muslim offends anyone, I really don’t give a shit, and I hope that “rag-head” Muslim dies a slow and painful death.

  7. Back to the $4,275 jury award that jdg threw her career away for….the amt alone is proof enough it was a nothing case (a chipped tooth?)….she allegedly did it cuz of campaign contributions that were made. Not being sexist, but its usually you guys that do STUPID STUFF like this (ha ha)


    P.S. Ashton, and to think that army major was a psychiatrist! My 1st job was for a psychiatrist and after 2 yrs I switched to attys….still a nutty field, but not quite as bad.

  8. Thanks, Shirley, it’s a “work in progress” but hopefully the major changes will be done in the next few days.

  9. Sop: How’s that head feeling about right now after that big game last p.m.? I’m sorry but I’m sitting here in tpa thinking about your headache w/two young sons and a wonderful wife and just getting this “feeling” that you have a headache….did your team at least win?


  10. sop: you said “2 sports son”….i took that to mean you had 2 sons…guess you only meant one right?


  11. Mr. O’Dwyer: I’m certain we all know how you feel about this now – ok? This is what makes AMERICA BEAUTIFUL – we are afforded the unique opportunity to give, hold and state our opinions. That is a beautiful thing….and we have lots more to be thankful for. Don’t worry, you know, as well as anyone being an atty., know that the Major will get what’s coming to him in DUE PROCESS. Now I know you might not be a big believer in due process right about now and at times in life a lot of us are not (me included) but, you know what, Ashton? WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND – it really does. And when they say “karma is a bitch” (whoever “they” are)it’s a true fact. People may not realize it when it’s coming back for them at the time it’s coming back for ’em and actually happening, but it doesn’t miss a beat.


  12. In their excellent study: “Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K.” (funded by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – 2009), authors and researchers Gartenstein-Ross and Grossman conclude that “spiritual mentors” are one of the components which lead to “religious” Muslims committing terrorist acts. Now there is “breaking news”, from Europe of all places that links Major “Camel Piss” to a mosque in Great Falls, Virginia in early 2001, when the same mosque was the “religious center” for two of the 9-11 hijackers. The radical cleric who was the Imam at the time has, gratefully, returned to Yemen. His brand of religion was so radical that he was “banned from Britain” (I’m really not making this up!). Keep your eyes on who Major “Goat Shit” counted in his number of “spiritual mentors” and “spiritual advisors”, including particularly a DENIER who has already told the MSM that there were no “signs” that Major “Dung Beetle” was prone to violence against infidels and American soldiers. This particular individual’s claim to fame is his “leadership” over the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen. (Have any of you ever been to Killeen? Ain’t much there, other than strip joints, pawn shops, “dirty-book” stores, and money-lenders. A real coincidence that “the Muslim religion” would be persuaded to establish a presence in a place like Killeen, Texas, the largest Army Base in the Country).

  13. tx sop and one son is plenty! I’m sure happy w/mine…he’s off playing football while mom’s here watching Lifetime (I know it’s a woman thing), surfing the net and perusing my science & psych. homework – which now that this 2:00 movie is over, i can really study.


  14. There’s a BBC interview on the Internet with a “young American” (Caucasian) who is a “recent convert to Islam”, namely: REMEMBER THIS NAME: Duane Reasoner, Jr. who, it turns out, was being “mentored” by Major “My son is a good Muslim amd could not have done this!” at the local mosque in Killeen, Texas, the home of Fort Hood. Reasoner says during the interview, words to the effect of: “I cannot and will never condemn him the shooter] because he is my Muslim brother!” and, when speaking of the innocent victims of the shootings (over 100 rounds were fired, meaning that if handguns were used, as is being reported, the shooter had to stop shooting and re-load, several times (so much for “He just ‘snapped’ due to the ‘pressure’ of facing deployment.”said: “I don’t pity them; they were soldiers who were going to kill Muslims.” I sure hope the FBI is “listening” and that they pick up Mr. Reasoner, Jr. of Killeen for questioning.

  15. I apologize for being a “boor”, but as a former U.S Army Officer, who served during the Vietnem Era (but wasn’t sent to the RVN – we had “too many” Second Lieutenants when I graduated from law school with an ROTC Commission in 1971, and we were already “pulling out”), I am fascinated by this multi-faceted story. The U.S. Army FAILED the victims at Fort Hood, and we don’t yet know who the Army’s co-conspirators were. Maybe we’ll NEVER find out, because the “investigation” by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will be participated in by the Army and the FBI (as well as the CIA), who will essentially be investigating themselves – not good, Larry! But I have a “new” spin on the story which may seem “off-the-wall”, but has “some” plausibility: Try this: The Army and the Military Industrial Complex, which KNEW about Major “Arabian Horse Shit” for 6 months or more, DID NOTHING, actually “welcomed” the shootings, because they are preparing America’s anti-Muslim sentiments for “support” for the impending Israeli attack on Iran, which the U.S Army is assisting in planning and executing. With the public “tiring” of the war in Afganistan, and a set “timetable” for pulling out of Iraq, an “expanded” war in the Middle East involving Iran would be a “hard-sell” – but not if it’s against those “dirty Muslim supremisists”, who deserve to be wiped off the face of the Earth, and who constitute a threat to Israeli existence. (Remember, America, we’re in this one, together – that’s us [Israel] and you [America]). The U.S. Army just finished a “military drill” in Israel, which involved @1500 personnel, many “high ranking”. Are we being “prepared” for something? So, while this admittedly is a “conspiracy theory”, it is not so implausible to be beyond possibility, particularly when one asks how in the “heck” could a radical Muslim be allowed to continue to wear the uniform of a U.S. Army Officer, and shoot up as many people as he did ON THE BASE! Next point: I am no shrinking violet when it comes to expressing opinions, and although I am sometimes wrong, I am never in doubt. So let me make a prediction: The shooter will NEVER leave the hospital in San Antonio (you didn’t even know he’d been moved from Killeen to San Antonio, did you?) ALIVE. Dead men tell know tales. Just ask Lee Harvey Oswald. WHERE WAS THE GODDAMNED FBI?

  16. I can’t think of a more appropriate time and place to begin a good piece of science literature… snow on the ground… my faithful dog at my feet, bathed in the warmth of the yule time log in the fireplace.

    I am looking forward to visiting this forum regularly.

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