A dog’s service is never done

❝ Sully, the service dog of former President George H.W. Bush, spent Sunday night lying before Bush’s flag-draped casket in Houston.

Jim McGrath, spokesman for the Bush family, tweeted out a photo on Sunday night, captioning it “mission complete…”

❝ Sully became the late president’s service dog in June, a couple of months after former first lady Barbara Bush died.

The yellow Lab was trained by America’s VetDogs, which places service dogs and guide dogs with veterans, active-duty service members and first responders.

Our fake president would likely forbid such dedication — if he thought he could get away with it.

$9 billion succession war clouds over funeral of Sai Baba

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Politicians, Bollywood figures and other mourners paid homage to Indian holy man Sathya Sai Baba Monday amid fears of a fight over his $9 billion trust legacy.

The spiritual leader’s body lay in an air-conditioned glass casket with gold plating in the main meditation hall of his Prasanthi Nilayam ashram to let the expected hundreds of thousands of followers pay their last respects, officials said.

Sai Baba, 84, died Sunday of multiple organ failure in a hospital near the south Indian ashram…

Giant screens placed near the ashram gates projected images of his body, evoking cheers and tears among the people waiting to get inside, The Indian Express reported.

Sai Baba was known for conjuring jewelry, food and vibhuti, or sacred ash, out of the air, which devotees saw as proof of his powers and skeptics called sleight of hand.

His gentle demeanor, Afro-style hair and embrace of many belief systems beyond his eclectic blend of Hindu and Muslim beliefs attracted an estimated 6 million active and 33 million passive followers, including former presidents, generals, film-industry luminaries and sports stars. His Sathya Sai Organization, which seeks to help people recognize the divinity within them, maintains more than 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 130 countries worldwide…

Sai Baba left no trust heir, raising fears of a custodial “succession war” over who would now manage the $9 billion.

He left enough money behind to fund a small country. Who knows where it will go, now?

Coppers deliberately ram sheriff’s car in funeral motorcade

A sergeant with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department is upset, claiming an Albuquerque police officer intentionally rammed his unit during a motorcade, sending his two daughters in the backseat to the hospital with neck and back pain.

Albuquerque police say the officer had to block the sergeant’s unit from entering the motorcade in order to protect the motorcycle officers zipping up and down the procession for traffic protection.

The crash happened Monday night on I-40 westbound near the San Mateo overpass. Sgt. Larry Tafoya told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that he was following the motorcade that was transporting the remains of Deputy Dean Miera who was killed in a crash last week…

Commander Eric Garcia of APD’s traffic unit says Tafoya wasn’t following motorcade protocol and that his unit needed to be blocked to protect the motorcycle officers. Garcia says Tafoya tried entering the motorcade late…

Undersheriff Jimmy Salmon sided with the Albuquerque Police Department. “In no way, shape, or form do we believe that the Albuquerque Police Department did anything wrong,” Salmon said…

Tafoya, who’s been in law enforcement for 20 years, told KOB that he plans on contacting an attorney. He also claims Albuquerque police never followed up with him on the crash or voiced any concern for his family.

Life in a 3rd World state. Here these guys are – in a funeral motorcade for an officer who lost his life in a traffic crash – driving into each other over “protocol”.

They could have added to the week’s death toll if they tried just a little harder.

Funeral home stops the “grim eater”

A New Zealand funeral home has stepped in to stop a fake mourner who was attending up to four funerals a week to stock up on food, even filling up tupperware containers to take home…

Harbour City Funeral Home director Danny Langstraat told local newspaper The Dominion Post that the “grim eater” appeared at up to four funerals a week in March and April to enjoy the finger food but clearly did not know the deceased.

The funeral company grew so concerned that it took a photograph of the man, thought to be aged in his 40s, and distributed the picture to its branches.

“Certainly he had a backpack with some tupperware containers so when people weren’t looking, he was stocking up,” Langstraat told the newspaper.

He said the man was “always very quiet and polite, and did as the rest of the mourners did in paying his respects.”

Langstraat said the man stopped coming after one staff member took him aside and told him he could come to funerals but could not take food home with him.

Har. Having spent a few portions of my life poor enough to steal peanut butter, I can appreciate the ingenuity.

I wonder what the funeral director normally does with any excess food remaining after the sad gathering?

Home Burial alternative to rules from the religion-as-business crowd

When Nathaniel Roe, 92, died at his 18th-century farmhouse here the morning of June 6, his family did not call a funeral home to handle the arrangements.

Instead, Mr. Roe’s children, like a growing number of people nationwide, decided to care for their father in death as they had in the last months of his life. They washed Mr. Roe’s body, dressed him in his favorite Harrods tweed jacket and red Brooks Brothers tie and laid him on a bed so family members could privately say their last goodbyes.

The next day, Mr. Roe was placed in a pine coffin made by his son, along with a tuft of wool from the sheep he once kept. He was buried on his farm in a grove off a walking path he traversed each day.

It just seemed like the natural, loving way to do things,” said Jennifer Roe-Ward, Mr. Roe’s granddaughter. “It let him have his dignity.”

Advocates say the number of home funerals, where everything from caring for the dead to the visiting hours to the building of the coffin is done at home, has soared in the last five years, putting the funerals “where home births were 30 years ago,” according to Chuck Lakin, a home funeral proponent and coffin builder in Waterville, Me.

The cost savings can be substantial, all the more important in an economic downturn. The average American funeral costs about $6,000 for the services of a funeral home, in addition to the costs of cremation or burial. A home funeral can be as inexpensive as the cost of pine for a coffin (for a backyard burial) or a few hundred dollars for cremation or several hundred dollars for cemetery costs.

The Roes spent $250.

RTFA. Thoughtful, useful, productive. It’s something I’ve considered and the best I came up with before reading this article was pre-paying for cremation – and having my ashes turned over to my [much younger] wife to do with as she wishes. I kind of prefer widely scattered fertilizer, myself.

Big-hearted R.I. bill would let gays have funeral rights

The Rhode Island state Senate has passed legislation allowing “domestic partners” the right to claim each others bodies and arrange funerals.
The bill would apply to both homosexual and heterosexual couples, defining domestic partners as those in an “intimate, committed and exclusive relationship,” The Providence Journal reported Wednesday.

Gay marriage is now legal in four of the six New England states with New Hampshire and Rhode Island the holdouts. A number of other bills have been introduced in Rhode Island to either ban gay marriage or extend partnership or marriage rights to homosexuals, but the all except the funeral bill remain stalled in committee.

During legislative hearings on the bill earlier this year, Mark Goldberg described spending weeks trying to arrange the release of his longtime partner’s body for cremation. He said state officials refused because he and Ron Hanby were neither related nor legally married until a state Department of Human Services employee went to bat for him.

“I felt as if I was treated not as a second-class citizen, but as a non-citizen,” Goldberg said.

How can some of these bureaucrats justify their pitiful existence? The biggest and best favor they could give the state is – NOT coming to work.

British court will consider Hindu funeral pyres – UPDATED

The High Court will consider a legal challenge from a 70-year-old Hindu today that would allow him to have an open-air cremation when he dies. The judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice will hear a case brought by Davender Kumar Ghai, founder of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society, who wants the law changed to allow traditional Hindu funeral pyres in Britain.

Newcastle City Council has refused him a permit to be cremated in line with Hindu ritual, arguing that a pyre outside a crematorium is prohibited by the 1902 Cremation Act.

Although there have been Hindu cremations in the the past in Britain, in recent years the authorities have become stricter about enforcing the rules. There are more than 600,000 Hindus in Britain and many families pay thousands of pounds to fly the bodies of their loved ones to India for a traditional cremation.

Three years ago the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute after Mr Ghai organised a funeral pyre in Northumberland for Rajpal Mehat, 31, from India.

Hindus believe that cremation is essential to free the soul from the body after death. The dead person’s oldest son is usually expected to light the fire. Monks and children, having no children of their own, are sometimes buried instead of cremated. The pyre must take place at a site on which the sun shines directly at noon and which is close to running water.

Yup. Let’s expand the precedence of religious law over secular, national law. We followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have a few rituals of our own we’d like to introduce – in the States and the U.K.

Or does the number of member of a religion – registered to vote – enter into the equation?

UPDATE: The High Court has ruled against Mr. Ghai’s request.

Number of Northern Ireland terrorists is tiny

Police say the number of republican dissidents trying to wreck the Northern Ireland peace process is about 300.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde told the BBC that intelligence clearly showed the numbers intent on violence was a tiny proportion of the population. His comments came after three members of the security forces were killed in two separate attacks one week ago.

Nine people have now been arrested over the murders of a policeman in Craigavon and two soldiers in Antrim.

Det Supt Farrar said the killers had made an unsuccessful attempt to burn-out the getaway car after the murders. “As a result, we now have a number of forensic opportunities that we are exploring,” he said.

Sir Hugh told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “Of course, the threat is very dangerous, that’s been evidenced in the last week, but it’s a very small group. “Three hundred people in a population of 1.7 million people puts it in perspective but it’s a threat we take seriously.

A small number of nutballs can still endanger very many law-abiding citizens. The KKK proved that in America.

As long as unity in peaceful political processes can be maintained by the major parties, life and change will proceed in all of Ireland.

Killers may have to pay funeral costs

Killers could be ordered to pay for the funeral expenses of their victims under legislation drafted by the Scottish government.

The measure, expected to be introduced in the Scottish Parliament next month as part of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill, would apply to those who cause fatal car crashes as well as those convicted of homicide, The Scotsman reported Saturday.

“We aim to give criminal courts more flexibility to award compensation against an offender, and update the remit of compensation orders so they can reflect changes in the means of the offender, and be used to pay funeral and bereavement expenses to the relatives of a deceased victim,” said Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary. “If supported by parliament, these important changes will help more victims and their families.”

Some victims advocates don’t support the measure. I do.

But, then, I don’t pretend to be a nice guy.