February 28, 2011

Must be stressful living so close to Oklahoma

Dwight D. Eisenhower's birthplace is now the divorce capital of the U.S.


There's no one left to ask

What was it like?

What was it like in the trenches? What was it like in all those places whose names have faded in the dusty recesses of memory, places like Ypres and Gallipoli, Verdun and the Marne? What was it like to fight the war that was supposed to make the world safe for democracy?

There's no one left to ask.


February 27, 2011

Good for thee... so long as its good for me

Interesting... an avowed constitutionalist making a very articulate argument for... limiting constitutional rights?

Hmmm. How'd that happen?


Remember Bernie Madoff?

Bernie Madoff may easily be the King of all Ponzi artists, but he isn't the only scammer in this story. Efforts are underway to recover as much of the losses as possible and return the money to the victims, but unfortunately those victims may well find themselves sipping thin gruel. The lawyers, it seems, are skimming the cream.

"The army of lawyers and consultants helping to recover funds from Bernard Madoff’s $19.6bn fraud stands to earn more than $1.3bn in fees, according to new figures that detail the cost of liquidating the huge Ponzi scheme."

The link will redirect to the Financial Times registration page before allowing you to view the content. The FREE level of registration is all that is required. 

Sunday Funnies


February 26, 2011

Judicial ethics

The fundamental principle that “no man may be a judge in his own case” was articulated by Lord Coke in the seventeenth century, yet inexplicably we still allow Supreme Court justices to be the sole judge of themselves on recusal issues.

A group of law professors, over 100 strong, are urging Congress to draft recusal rules for Supreme Court justices. The high court panelists are the only members of the federal judiciary not already subject to such a code of ethics.

Considering some recent activities by a few of the justices, it will be interesting to see where this goes.

Music brief

T-Bone Burnett

Palestine Texas, with John Mayer on guitar.

Earlier Baghdad - - Burnett recorded this tune several years ago with studio musician accompaniment. This version from the 2006 album, The True False Identity, is all T-Bone.


February 24, 2011


Let's get serious about airport security
Bob Poe | Feb 22, 2011
In the '80s, I was probably the worst racquetball player in Juneau, Alaska. The way I played racquetball is a lot like the way the United States, and now apparently Canada, are practicing airport screening. In short, I always reacted to where the ball was, not where it was going. Good racquetball players anticipate where the ball will be next. 

Recently, I visited with a young man who emigrated from Israel to Canada, where he is now CEO of a security company based on a very different approach. His argument is effective security is based on a discipline of constantly anticipating where the threats are trending, not where they have been. Airport security based on a reactive, politically correct, mollification of public concern to what has happened does us no good. Rather, airport screening needs to be based on an intelligent anticipation of where threats are going to come from next. 

Now, admittedly, I know nothing about national security, but I’m pretty sure Alaska Representative Sharon Cissna does not represent a national security threat. Nor has she ever harbored the thought of bringing something aboard an aircraft that would endanger her fellow passengers, the crew, or national security. Recently, breast cancer survivor Sharon Cissna was invasively searched, after a full body scan mind you, at the airport in Seattle, because her prosthetic breast raised the concern of airport screeners. As a personal decision she chose to take a three-day ferry ride to return to Juneau rather than subject herself to further embarrassment from a full body pat down. I know Ms. Cissna, and my guess is she never raised the point she was an elected Representative in Alaska, and if you’ve ever met her, you know she doesn’t possess a threatening bone in her body. 

I’m married to a breast cancer survivor. Together we’ve been through this experience. I know the pain, humiliation, disfigurement and emotional challenge my wife continues to experience. Sharon Cissna, as do more women than we realize, has been through this challenge. The wonderful news is they are still alive today, when decades ago they would not have survived this tragic disease. We forget many don’t; our sister-in-law just succumbed to breast cancer after nine years of fighting this tough disease. This is where it brings it home for me. 

But breast cancer aside, America’s common sense in airport security has been lost for some time. Big news, the U. S. is now considering doing away with code Orange because it serves no useful purpose. Really? When was the last time you based your travel plans on whether the nation’s airports were under some color-coded threat? 

When the full-body scan machines became a point of national debate, most travelers in the U.S. and Canada said they were willing to submit themselves to yet another indignity in the interest of overall safety. My wife and I were among them. If these machines ferret out the next underwear bomber, the TSA can look at my body scan all day long if they really need to, but really, Sharon Cissna? The same thing happened recently to a seventy-something woman at the Calgary airport. Where does this end? 

One of the reasons Americans were supportive of the TSA is that passengers would no longer be subjected to the whims and other antics of private contractors. The TSA would be a professional government program that would constantly keep the security of the travelling public as their highest priority. 

The TSA has many good managers -- I personally know some of them. But if they don’t get focused on this needless, insensitive, abusive embarrassment of our travelling public, support for these more invasive screening technologies will quickly wane. 

Common sense is neither; it’s not very common and there aren’t very many people practicing it. So when airport security’s screening of Representative Cissna at the SeaTac airport was so aggressive that she chose to take a three-day ferry ride to Alaska rather than travel by air, something needs to be changed. 


Bob Poe has had a 28-year career in both the Alaska private and public sectors, including serving four governors in top posts at the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Department of Transportation and Alaska International Trade. He ran as a Democrat in the 2010 gubernatorial election and left the race prior to the primary. 

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch. Alaska Dispatch welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail 


Absurdism illustrated

This story is splashed around the sphere, but for those who may visit this blog and not the others I felt it important enough to repeat.

Sully had a post yesterday with an embedded video depicting the vicious two on one assault and robbery of an openly gay man by a pair of homophobes. The video is of a news report and includes security camera footage of the beating.

That tattooed fellow right there at the end is a real piece of work… testimony to what the breeding of hatred with stupidity and hypocrisy can produce. Take a closer look...

The tat reads, “[Thou] shall not lie with a male as one does with a woman. It is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22.” Listening to the man make a selective reading of the Bible to justify brutal, criminal assault, and then proudly displaying his inked bicep can only be described as comical. This is especially true when considering what is written in the very next chapter of the same book:

"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:28"

Hemant says it best

"Ah, suddenly it all becomes clear to me! He’s not an ignorant man clumsily using the Bible to support his prejudices! It’s a brilliant meta-joke, using delightful self-reference and blinding irony. Perhaps he’s gay himself and is using the tattoos to make a sharp-witted statement about the true meaning of morality, tolerance, and religion.

… judging by his TV interview, he hides his intellect well.

On a more serious note, I can’t think of a better way to illustrate the inconsistency involved when people cherry-pick passages of scripture.”

On a positive note the assailants were apprehended and will likely be plying their antisocial homophobia in a whole new arena in the very near future.


February 23, 2011


Forney doctor's license suspended after patient's death

Staff writer
Published 22 February 2011 11:06 PM

The Texas Medical Board said Tuesday that it has suspended the license of an 88-year-old Forney doctor for improperly prescribing medication, including to a woman who died of an overdose Jan. 1.

Dr. Annie Christine Z. Walker may appeal the temporary suspension, and another disciplinary hearing is set for Monday. Walker could not be reached for comment.

In an order issued Friday, the board said Walker did not keep records on seven patients, plus three family members, to whom she prescribed controlled substances. The order said Walker is physically impaired, is unable to dress herself and unable to walk unassisted but said she still saw about six patients a week.

Forney police said they are investigating the Jan. 1 overdose death but would not release any information about the case, including the name of the woman or where the death occurred.
The drugs being prescribed were not identified in the medical board’s order.

To issue a temporary suspension, the board must determine that a doctor presents a threat to the public if he or she is allowed to continue practicing medicine. Such suspensions occur once or twice a month.

According to the order, Walker saw patients in her home, including 14 over the course of two weeks in January. The order said Department of Public Safety records indicate that Walker wrote 1,241 prescriptions to 143 patients from Dec. 1, 2009, through Jan. 20, 2011. She charged $20 per prescription given.

There was little evidence, the medical board said, that any exams occurred in the case of the deceased woman, identified as “Patient A” in the order.

Walker “said she diagnosed Patient A with back pain, depression and anxiety, solely based on the fact that Patient A told her that was the problem,” the order said.

The woman was prescribed medication in her name, as well as her husband’s and daughter’s names.

Walker has surrendered her Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substance certificate, her DPS registration certificate and 41 prescription pads. At least one of the prescriptions was signed but not filled in, the order said. Walker reportedly kept the pads unsecured in her home.

Medical board records show just a handful of past actions taken against Walker, including two instances in the late 1990s when Walker’s license became delinquent because of non-payment. In 2003, she paid a $1,000 fine because she failed to complete continuing education as required to maintain her license.

Walker, who received her medical license in 1948, is a longtime Forney resident. She was the 1939 valedictorian at Forney High School and went on to study at UT Southwestern Medical School, where she graduated in 1948.

She returned to Forney a few years later, when, according to a 1950
Dallas Morning News story, the town built a new medical clinic to lure her away from Parkland Memorial Hospital. The town had been without a doctor for about a year at the time Walker, then known as Dr. Christine Zarafonetis, returned home.

February 20, 2011

Sunday Funnies