Thursday, August 31, 2006

Feo, Fuerte y Formal

Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford.

Born: 1MAY1916 in Quebec, Canada, became a naturalized US citizen in 1939.

Joined USMC 1942, and was NCOIC of a camera crew at Normandy Beach. He and his crew also documented Dachau concentration camp after its liberation by American forces.

He was discharged from the USMC after WWII with the rank of sergeant, the Medaille de la France Libre, and the L├ęgion d'Honneur.

On 30DEC1958, Ford enlisted in the Naval Reserve, served 30 days of active duty in Vietnam while advising Marine Combat Camera Teams in the Mekong Delta, earning the Navy Commendation Medal and the Vietnamese Legion of Merit, First Class.

He retired from the Naval Reserve 1OCT1978, at the rank of Captain.

Captain Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford, USNR (Ret) passed away 30AUG2006.

For those Gentle Readers who may not be familiar with Capt. Gwyllyn Ford, he made a movie or two under the name Glenn Ford.

Requiescat in Pacem, Captain.

LawDog

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This ought to be interesting to watch.

Does anyone else think California is starting to look a lot like a train wreck that is inevitable, but hasn't quite happened yet?

They're about to pass a law to place an "enforceable limit" on greenhouse gas emissions, and have already rammed the highest minimum wage in the country down the throat of businesses.

However, the prize on the cake is SB 840 a/k/a the California State Universal Health Care System. If Gov. Schwarzenegger doesn't veto it -- and he has made noises about vetoing it -- SB 840 will replace all, let me repeat that: ALL private health care plans in the State of California with one gigantic Government-run, statewide bureaucracy, which every person in California will be required to be a part of, and every person, entity, corporation, business and piglet will be taxed to support.

It is, in plain, simple English: Socialized medicine.

*sigh*

Personally, I'm of two minds about this. One part of me is quite happy about this, as it will give me a giant, stinking, smelly catastrophe to point to the next time some elected jackass starts making noises about "universal healthcare".

"America needs some form of universal healthcare", snivels Pat Congresscritter.

"You think so? There's California. Take a look, and then take a good, long drink of Shut The Hell Up."

The other part of me isn't quite so happy about this, because I bloody well know that when things go down the khazi, a whole bunch of those California idiots are going to wind up in Texas.

Hell, a lot of them are already here.

And just as sure a God made little green apples, those bloody idiots are going to do their best to do the same thing to Texas that they did to California. And why anyone would believe that something which fails miserably in California is going to work any better in Texas is completely beyond my powers of comprehension, I mean, face it: I don't mind if you screw your State into a bloody cocked hat -- it's your State, knock yourselves out -- but I do mind people who screw up their State, then run from the screwed-up State because it's so miserable, and proceed to do the exact same screw-job to the new State.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, does anyone else get the feeling that California is about to go over the edge?

LawDog

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Surely they're not that dumb.

Got some reader feedback concerning the story about Pearl and the steaks; seems some folks find it a little difficult to believe that critters are actually that stupid.

*snort*

I'm here to tell you that plan of Pearl's was rocket science compared to some stunts I've seen pulled.

When I got into peace officering, I had dreams of matching wits with the kinds of Bad Guys that I'd seen on Monday Night crime stories. I thought the standard cunning, crafty, and devious critter as portrayed by Hollywood was the norm.

I even had some doubts that I'd be up to the task of matching some of these criminal masterminds.

Hah!

There is a theory going around that criminals commit crimes because they are too lazy to earn an honest living.

I hate to break the news to you, but near as I can tell the Mark 1, Mod 0 Critter (Generic) commits crimes because he is too damned dumb to do honest work.

Seriously.

Those faces you see every week on
America's Dumbest Criminals are not the dumbest criminals -- they're your normal everyday Standard-Issue criminals.

My paw to God -- you can ask Reno about this -- in our jail at this moment we have a critter who just wrote a letter to the Prosecution's Main Witness against him. In this letter, the critter has gone into graphic detail about the retribution he will visit upon the witness if said witness testifies against him.

He then wrote that the witness could go ahead and tell the police about the threats, because it would be the witnesses word against the word of the critter, and the critter would deny ever having threatened the witness.

He then signed the letter, dropped it into an envelope, licked-and-sealed the envelope, hand-addressed the envelope to the witness and personally handed it to the mail officer.

*blink, blink*

In my county, anyone who has been arrested for a class 'B' misdemeanor or higher must go through what is called 'magistration'. That is where a judge tells the subject what he or she has been arrested for, reads them their rights and sets a bond.

We recently started using a video set-up to do this -- the inmates sit in a room with a camera and a TeeVee and talk to a judge in another building with his own camera and TeeVee.

These cameras and microphones are connected to a DVD recorder which is always on.

Reno and I tell these people to keep their mouths shut. We inform them of their right to remain silent, we inform them that they are being recorded, and we inform them -- firmly -- that the DVDs can be sub poena'd by anyone.

After all that, we still get critters who stand up and say things like:


"Officer 'Dawg, how can they charge me with distribution when I was only holding a couple of pounds of weed?"

"Don't worry, bro, they ain't got [deleted]. I hid the [insert description of stolen goods here] in Big Poomba's storage, and the Task Force will never think to look there!"

"Officer Reno, do you think the judge would give me a PR Bond? I didn't really mean to hit anyone when I was shooting up the house, I was just trying to scare the folks inside."

*sigh*

We've got a dealer who's sold meth to the same undercover officer driving the same vehicle six times in a row. Which isn't so bad, except that the last time the dealer walked up to the truck, he says "Hey! I know you! You busted me before!"

To which the undercover cop responds, "Yeah, but I didn't mean it."

Critter pouts, "Man, you really hurt me with some of those things you said when you testified against me the last time."

Cop says, "Hey, man, sorry about that, but you know my bosses -- they get kind of single-minded about this kind of thing. Got twenty dollars worth?"

Critter digs around his BVDs, "Yeah, hang on. Here you go ... oh, [deleted] you're going to bust me again, aren't you?"

I swear to Shiva sometimes I think the State of Texas needs a "Not Guilty By Reason of Stupidity" verdict.

Oh, well, if they were smart, I'd be out of a job.

LawDog

Monday, August 28, 2006

Meditations on Entitlement

Amarillo is just about in the middle of the United States. If you're going from one side to the other on I-40, you're going to hit the 'Rillo at the halfway point.

Since Old Man Murphy likes to smack folks with Bad Events somewhere around the midpoint of any trip, Amarillo has a large number of folks stranded with no means to go any further.

So, I'm pulling into a truck-stop on the east side of Amarillo and as I drive under the overpass, I see a man and a couple of sub-teenage kids sitting on the concrete slope of the overpass, holding a sign that said:

Hungry.
Broke.
Please help.
God Bless.

After I fill up, I get three sub specials from the deli, and as I scoot under the overpass, I stop and hand the meals to the man and his kids.

I am an adult, so I don't expect thanks for this sort of thing, but I was in no way prepared for the man to look at me, draw himself up to his full height and icily exclaim, "What's this?"

I look significantly at his sign, look back at him and say, "It's food."

He glares at me and snaps, "We don't want food, we want money."

Friends and neighbors, this is a sore spot with me. I'm a big fan of the old axiom, "Beggars can't be choosers."

I figure if you're hungry enough to set aside your pride and beg, then you're hungry enough not to be picky about how -- or what -- gets you fed.

I have rules about this sort of thing: If you come to me and say that you're hungry, but don't offer to work or trade for the food, I'll feed you a meal if I have it to spare, but that's it.

If you come to me, say that you're hungry and ask what you can do in exchange for a meal, I'll feed you and give you a $20 for the road, if I have it.

If you come to me, say that you're hungry and demand that I feed you, well, buddy it just ain't your day. You're either going to take your ingrate arse the hell away from me or one of us is going to get badly hurt, because I will be damned if I'm going to give you any food or money.

Just for a second, that beggar came awfully close to wearing those meals, but I looked past him to his kids, set the bags on the concrete, and said, "There is food, feed your bairns" and started backing to my pick-up.

That two-bit waste of DNA had the nerve to bow up at me, and snarl, "What, you too good to give us money?! We don't need your charity!"

Folks, if I give a stranger any-damned-thing at all, it's charity. Food, money, fuel, a ride, it doesn't matter -- it's all charity.

Totally flabbergasted, all I could do was climb into my pick-up and drive away.

Sweet Mother Mary, what has the world come to?

I'd like to thank the Great Society and the New Deal of the New American Liberals for convincing people that not only is getting money for free not an act of charity, but is actually something to be expected; that there is no shame to be had in sticking out your paw and expecting strangers to happily -- if not gratefully -- drop money into it.

We have an entire generation, hell, an entire culture, that expects -- demands -- that those who have must give to those who don't have, and that this is the Right and Correct Way Of Things. That this is not, in any way, to be thought of as charity, lest the ego of the beggar suffer damage.

Ye Gods.

And it's getting worse.

*sigh*

When my legions of flying monkeys complete my Quest for World Domination, there's going to be whole hell of a lot of changes around here.

LawDog

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bad victim! Bad, bad victim!

There's nothing quite like getting ambushed by a buzzard to let you know that your week is about to take a header down the khazi.

Especially when the buzzard is the size of a Boeing jet and made out of ball-point-pen ink.

I had walked into the main room of The Feedlot in search of nothing more exciting than a chicken fried steak dinner and a gallon of iced tea, but the main room of the restaurant seemed to have been replaced by a jail-house tattoo of a buzzard staring down into a bloody huge canyon of cleavage ...

I took a couple of steps back, looked up and groped for my pepper spray as Pearl -- Big Mama's youngest daughter and Opal's baby sister -- squinted down at me through the haze of smoke generated by the panatela cigar dangling from the side of her mouth.

"Mister 'Dog," said Pearl, removing the stogie and thumping about two inches of ash onto the carpet, "Put'cher butt inna seat. You drinkin'?"

"Pearl!" yelped the voice of the restaurants owner.

Pearl sighed, rolled her eyes at the ceiling, replaced her panatela, and -- while making suggestive pumping gestures with a closed fist (tattooed with the word "l U V E") -- sing-songed, "Welcome-to-the-Feedlot-smoking-over-there-non-smoking- over-there-would-you-like-something-to-drink."

I stood there for a moment, taking in the mini-skirt, fishnet stockings, engineer boots and spaghetti-strap halter top that revealed enough pen ink to be a monument to the Bic corporation, not to mention waaa-aay too much of six-foot-four-inch, 340+ pounds of Pearl.

"What?" she grunted, planting a fist -- this one bearing the word "H a T F" -- on one hip.

"Umm," sayeth I, more than a bit flabbergasted, "You got a ... job?"

"Yeah," she snarled, "Mother[deleted] down at the Parole Office got a little [deleted], an' tryin' to prove he a man. Told me I hadda get a job, or he gonna revoke my [deleted]."

I looked at her, "The horror."

"Got that [deleted] right." She turned and clomped off through the tables.

I made my way to my usual seat, to be joined by Joe Bob, the owner of The Feedlot.

"You've got to do something."

"I am going to do something," I murmured, "I'm going to eat a chicken-fried steak."

"No, 'Dog, you've got to do something about her," he jerked a
surreptitious thumb at Pearl, who was fishing around elbow-deep in her bra, "She's driving off my business." Pearl jerked a kleenex from the depths of her decolletage, gave it a brief examination, and dropped onto a table next to a (formerly napkinless) customer.

"Private contracts between private citizens are not my business, Joe Bob. You hired her; you want her fired, you do it."

"Now, see here, 'Dog, my taxes pay your salary..."

"Yes," I interrupted, "Your taxes -- personally -- pay about 1/5500th of my salary. That's about 2 dollars per year. Here's your two bucks worth: In a fight, Pearl goes for the wedding tackle; you might want to keep that in mind."

Silence, as we watched Pearl pick up a plate in front of a customer, cock a finger under her thumb, flick ... something .. off the plate, and thump the plate back down in front of the customer.

"Do you want me to beg?"

"I'm not going to fire your employee. That's your job."

"I'm begging you."

"Nope."

"I'll pay you."

"Not going to happen."

Long silence as the other waitress set my steak dinner in front of me.

"If she kills me, where are you going to go for another steak like that, huh?"

I chewed appreciatively, "To whichever diner hires your cook."

"You'll be sorry when I'm dead."

"I'll cry and tell nice lies about you at the funeral. Pass the pepper, please."

Joe Bob snarled wordlessly at me, and then stomped off to the office.

To my surprise, dinner was uneventful (compared to other run-ins with Pearl), the rest of the shift was quiet, and I went to bed happy.

About 0445, the phone rang.

"Mmhprg, drizl?"

"'Dog," said the midnight dispatcher, "We've had a break-in at The Feedlot. Sheriff said to meet him there."

"Unkfd."

I threw on some clothes and pulled up in front of The Feedlot about the same time as the Sheriff. Bubba, the night deputy, and Joe Bob met us at the door.

"I checked the alley at 0300 and the door was shut. I came back at 0430 and the door was standing open. I've cleared the inside, and Joe Bob says the only thing missing is three boxes of steaks from the walk-in freezer."

I squinted at Joe Bob, "Did you fire her?"

"Who?" grunted Sheriff.

"Yeah, I fired her last night at closing. No thanks to you, by the way."

"He hired Big Mama's Pearl as a waitress," I said to my sleepily blinking boss, "Decided he made a mistake and wanted me to fire her for him."

"Moron," grunted the Sheriff, "Anybody know where Pearl is staying these days? I think we might want to have a chat with that girl."

As if on cue, a 1970-something primer-grey Buick no-door pulled into the parking lot of The Feedlot, and Pearl eased out of the drivers seat through the gaping hole where the door used to be.

"'Mornin', Mr. Randy, Mr. Joe Bob. I done heard about the thievin' and I know some people who know some people and I thought since you was a nice man 'n' all, I'd get you a couple'a box of steaks to replace the ones that done got stoled."

She lifted two white boxes out of the back of the Buick and placed them on the trunk lid.

"Now, Pearl," murmured the Sheriff, laying a hand on a box, "That's almighty neighborly of you."

I'm sure that it was random chance that caused the Sheriff's hand to cover the orange-and-white sticker that read: "Deliver to The Feedlot, Bugscuffle, Texas".

I nodded, wandering up on the other side of Pearl.

"Hey," said Joe Bob, "That's ... OW!"

"Sorry, Sheriff," said Bubba, "I seem to have accidentally stepped upon Joe Bob's foot."

"Now, Mr. Joe Bob, I done bought these here boxes at twenny dolla's each. Just to show there ain't no hard feelin's 'tween you 'n' me, and 'cause you is in a bad way right now, I'll sell 'em to you at twenny each. I won't take no profit, 'cause I like you."

"Well, now, Pearl," smiled the Sheriff, "That doesn't seem hardly right. Tell you we're going to do. Seeing as how Mr. Joe Bob can't lock up his place, we'll take these steaks down to the office so they'll be safe. While we're there, I'm going to write you a receipt for the boxes, and we'll get the town Good Samaritan Fund to pay you fifty dollars for this good deed."

"That's awful nice of you, Mr. Randy," sayeth Pearl, as Bubba gathered up the boxes and put them in the back seat of his cruiser.

I smiled real big at Pearl, and held open the back door of the Sheriff's cruiser as -- with every indication of courtesy and manners -- the Sheriff gently took her arm, patted her hand and led her to his car.

"Are you blind?" bellowed Joe Bob, as he waved one of the stickers from the steak boxes in our general direction, "These are my own [deleted] steaks! Are you [deleted] stupid enough to pay her for the [deleted] steaks she [deleted] STOLE?!"

*sigh*

Things went rodeo from there.

Pearl planted her feet as the Sheriff attempted to shove her at the backdoor of the cruiser, I jumped forward and snagged a good grip on her other arm, and the night deputy came sprinting at us, unlimbering his can of OC.

I fired a solid knee-strike into Pearl's thigh -- which would theoretically distract her from what we were attempting to do -- but she was apparently too busy batting the Sheriff across the parking lot to notice. Seeing as how Plan 'A' was well-and-truly Paws Up, I knee-struck Pearl a second-time, and attempted a take-down.

Unfortunately, right after the knee-strike hit, I felt her arm straighten out, and then she got my full and complete attention -- along with a huge paw-full of the bifurcation of my jeans.

She yanked up, and I was more than happy to jump whichever way she was wanting to go. Unfortunately, I bobbled the landing a bit, and hit the parking lot at Pearl's feet.

Bubba lined up on Pearl's face with his can of OC, but held fire as the Sheriff jumped up onto Pearl's back and snaked an arm around her neck. She dug her chin into her chest, blocking the Sheriff's choke, reached out and got a paw-full of Bubba's face, and proceeded to throw him bodily across the parking lot, turned and started lumbering to her car.

Seeing no other choice, I reached up and wrapped both my arms around her leg, forcing her to drag me along.

She took about four steps, then stopped to try to pull the Sheriff off of her back, and I took the opportunity to weasel my slapper out of my vest pocket, then she started dragging me in a circle, while I held on for dear life.

Bubba pulled himself out of the gravel, took a couple of steps and then kicked the hell out of Pearl's other leg, rocking her and giving me the chance to wrap my legs around her leg and start beating the absolute whey out of her thigh with my slapper.

Between Bubba yelling, "Get down!" between kicks to her left leg, me wrapped like a rabid spider-monkey around her right leg while pounding it with a lead weight, and the Sheriff furiously trying to lock that choke in -- it was only about another five minutes before Pearl gave up the fight.

We got her 'cuffed and stuffed into the back of the Sheriff's cruiser; and we're taking stock of the various injuries, when Joe Bob bounced over just as excited as a litter of puppies.

"Holy [deleted]! That was better'n Monday Night Wrasslin'! That was like ... like ... a comic book! Wow!"

"Joe Bob," muttered the Sheriff, trying to staunch a gushing nose, "You are a moron. I oughta flat whip your butt. Go home, get something to lock your diner up with and come get your steaks at the office -- later. Let's go."

I swear: that was the shortest serious fight we ever had with one of Big Mama's offspring. I'm kind of proud.

LawDog

Friday, August 25, 2006

Voila!

Okay, first things first: To the right, you should be seeing the first picture of the sprog.

The last time we did this, it was a wee bit more of a surprise. This one's older brother still had a week or so left on the timer when he got a bit impatient and I got a phone call at work, saying, "Congratulations! You're an uncle!"

I headed over to the hospital, hoofed it up to the maternity floor, asked for the room at the nurses station and trundled down to visit.

The fact that I was in full uniform didn't really dawn on me until later.

The new daddy took the opportunity to go get some sleep, so I sat in the room for a while making appropriate noises at the kid while mama dozed.

I didn't find out for a while that a couple of the nurses saw a fully-uniformed officer sitting in the room, and came to an understandable, yet completely erroneous conclusion: they assumed that new mama was a jail inmate.

Of course, once I discovered this, I didn't help matters much -- after the snickering stopped -- by telling every staff member who walked into the room that mama was the prime suspect in a Federal Grand Mopery case.

What can I say? I'm shameless.

Anyhoo, I get off work for this one (wearing my S.O. uniform), drive over to the hospital, step off the elevator, and before I can even open my mouth, five nurses point down the hall and tell me the room number.

Apparently Little Mother fully briefed the nursing staff, so as to avoid a repeat of the "Grand Mopery Suspect" bit again.

Oh, well. Foiled again.

Life is good.

LawDog

North Texas/Southern Oklahoma Public Safety BBQ Cook-Off.

Couple of friends of mine over at Wichita County S.O. put a fund-raising group together, called "The Wichita County Sheriff's Posse". Each year they pick a local charity, and then spend the year raising funds for that charity.

October 14, they're going to be hosting the 1st Annual North Texas & Southern Oklahoma Public Safety BBQ Cook-Off.

If you're involved in Public Safety -- Fire Department, Hospital, Police Department, Rescue Squad, Sheriff's Office, anything having to do with the safety of the Public -- and you know your way around ribs, beans or brisket, why don't you consider swinging by the BBQ Cook-Off?

If you can't cook, but you know a Public Safety-type group that can, consider shooting them an e-mail heads up about this.

Good food for a good cause.

LawDog

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The clan increases.

0730 this morning. Baby boy; 6lbs, 3 ozs; 18 inches. Limbs, digits and everything else all present or accounted for.

Picture and funny story to follow.

LawDog

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Second accusation of racism

This makes twice that someone has read one of my stories and come to the conclusion that I am racist.

And I have always thought that my stories involving Brigadier-Captain Azikiwe would get me slapped with a racism tag, but so far it's been a law enforcement story both times.

I wonder why this is? I had thought that maybe the occasional reader would see "Texas Peace Officer" and find me automatically Guilty Of Racism Until Proven Innocent due to the Southern Cop Stereotype, but I don't really see any clues in this story to point to me being a Texas cop.

How odd.

And I hate to break it to her, but while that story involves some violence, it doesn't come close to the level of 'sickening' that I am capable of.

The pen that writes humour can, if it so wishes, produce tales of violence that have given people nightmares.

Mr. Critter lived a violent life of crime. He lived by violence and he died by violence. That is a fact. Getting your hanes into a half-hitch over it isn't going to change that fact in any way.

And that, as they say, is that.

Blogging may be light the next couple of days, folks. Looks like I am set to become an uncle again by way of C-Section either tomorrow or Friday -- coincidentally enough by the same sister-in-law that set me straight the last time a reader labelled me a racist.

How's that for a co-inky-dink?

See y'all when I see you.

LawDog

Britain, I knew ye when ye were great.

Some poncey little sheep-shagger in England wrote in to the communications regulating authority (OfCom) snivelling because -- wait for it -- Tom the Cat in the old Tom & Jerry Show was smoking in two episodes of the 1960's era classic cartoon series.

I shall now pause to give the Gentle Reader time to recover from the absolute shock regarding the very idea of a 1960's cartoon smoking a cigarette.

Turner Broadcasting was contacted by OfCom regarding the -- two -- complaints by that one individual, and was apparently advised that similar evils were being displayed in episodes of Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones.

OfCom has happily noted in its news bulletin: "... proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation,"

Just out of curiosity, is there nothing else in the whole of Brittania that might be of more concern to the health and morals of the children than a CARTOON CAT SMOKING?!

Yes, the pen-and-ink drawing of a cat is smoking a massive stogie, and this is a Bad Thing, healthwise.

It is, however, maybe not so bad a thing as the various pen-and-ink stars getting blown to bits with a grenade; cut into neat cubes by a chain-link fence; set on fire; crushed; punctured by a large weight; and drowned -- all in the same episode (which is a particular favorite of mine).

Children the world over realize that while it is funny for the cartoon mouse to run the cartoon cat over with a lawn-mower, they shouldn't do the same to Little Brother. They understand that dropping the anvil upon the head of the mouse Is Good, but dropping an anvil upon the head of the neighbor next door is Not So Good.

If children can figure that one out, why the hell do we think they can't -- with a bit of guidance -- figure out that smoking isn't something you want to do?

Nope. Someone -- one bleeding heart with apparently waaa-aayyy too much time on his paws -- has to get his knickers into a knot over petty bushwa, and the Brit Gummint has to Step In And Do Something.

Couldn't just send two officials over to his house: "We are in receipt of your memorandum, and we understand that you have taken offence over the sight of a cartoon cat smoking a cartoon cigarette. We have just had a Meeting on this matter, and we have concluded that you are just going to have to get over it, old boy."

Nooo. Got to go politely murmur a bit of courteous coercion to the owner of the cartoons and encourage said owner to check every-sodding-cartoon for examples of the Evil Weed, so that said depictions may be edited away.

If Mumsy and Popsy are smokers, or Nana is a smoker, or if Uncle Ned is a smoker, one would tend to think that hiding a cartoon cat's nasty nicotine habit might not have the anti-smoking effect that might be wished for.

*sigh*

Not that we're any better -- Spielberg should have been drawn-and-quartered for the digital editing of guns in the Anniversary Edition of E.T. -- but for some reason this censoring of childhood cartoons is just flying all over me something fierce.

So, we edit the evils of smoking out of classic cartoons. Don't want the idols of children to be caught smoking.

Tell me, is Winston Churchill still an idol for school-children, or is he unacceptable these days? If he is still considered someone for children to look up to, shall we expect the CG elimination of that huge cigar he was always masticating by this time next week?

Surely if Tom Cat, Scooby-Doo and Fred Flintstone should not be seen by children smoking the Vile Weed, that should also hold true for some old Prime Minister.

"It's for the Chhhiiiilllldddrreennn!" Sweet Shivering Shiva.

Somebody stop the ride -- I want off.

LawDog

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

BUGGER!

Stupid magic elf box.

I just spent an hour putting together a scribble on the Fox News team missing in Gaza. It was pithy. It was quotable. For once, I was pleased with it.

Gone.

The idea is from Michelle Malkin, she's not altogether happy with the lack of response to this story from non-Fox-News Mainstream Media, the disinterest in the story from just about everyone, nor the vicious, psychotic giggles from certain areas of the political spectrum.

Her idea is to get the story running through Blog World, and see what shakes loose.

Now, I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier when it comes to Things Computerical. People think I am being witty when I refer to the computer as the Magic Elf Box, and speak of sacrificing chickens to appease the spirits that live inside.

Not so much.

Apparently, my magic elves don't get along worth a damn with Ms. Malkin's magic elves, or I offered up the wrong variety of Kentucky Fried at start-up, because after a good hour -plus of brain sweat, I did the clicky linky thing using her Trackback thingy, my elves talked to her elves, my elves had a snit, and then my elves hauled off and ate my post. All of it. Gone.

*sigh*

It was a thing of beauty, too.

A quick-and-dirty recap:

On Monday, August 14 2006, persons unknown used two large trucks to entrap and block a clearly-marked Fox News vehicle within spitting distance of the Palestinian Security Service HQ. Once the Fox vehicle was immobilized, multiple gunmen emerged from the trucks and kidnapped 60-year-old American reporter Steven Centanni and 36-year-old New Zealand freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig.

Nothing has been heard regarding the fate of the two men since then. No press releases, no claimed responsibility, nothing.

I waxed poetic regarding the fact that the Fox News site was still running Mr. Centanni's bio, complete with the stated facts that Mr. Centanni was an embedded journalist with a SeAL team during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and that he was the first western journalist to arrive at the scene where the 101st did the needful to Udey and Qusay Hussain. I opined that those kinds of things might not sit too well with Johnny Terr.

I meditated thoroughly upon the fact that ex-hostage Jill Carroll is all over the MSM simply because she has written a book about her captivity, yet two journalists currently being held captive merit absolutely no mention.

I held forth at length regarding the character, scruples, ancestry and probable deviant habits of those who would wish further harm upon these two men simply because they work for Fox News. I used three- and four-dollar words.

Anyhoo -- all gone.

Ms. Malkin thought it might do some good to nudge the MainStreamers a bit and see what runs out from under the rocks.

So, go forth and nudge.

LawDog

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shut up. Sit down. Be silent.

You know, I'm not a big fan of the Media, but I've not actually descended into active hate.

Yet.

Various MainStream Media lawyers are demanding that the arrest warrant for John Mark Kerr, and any other records involving the Jon Benet Ramsey murder investigation be unsealed, so that the MainStream Media may look through the records for themselves.

I have a answer for that. It involves the lawyers and the MainStream Media comitting anatomically improbable sexual acts of moderate deviancy upon themselves.

Allow me to reveal a quote from the filing:

"There is great public interest to learn whether the arrest of John Mark Karr solved the case after a decade or is yet another `mistake,'"

So, if I read this correctly, the MainStream Media wishes to decide for themselves whether the murder of JonBenet Ramsey has been solved.

Silly me, here I was under the impression that that sort of thing would be settled IN COURT.

This is yet another example of the Media getting too big for its britches.

Tell me, truly, if -- and that's one big 'if' -- the judge unseals these records and lets the Media sniff around and "learn whether the arrest of John Mark Karr solved the case", what then?

What happens once the Media decides that the case has -- or has not -- been solved?

Yeah. They're going to start running their fat mouths. Headlines. Op-Ed pieces. Special music on CNN. Repeating the same damned soundbites every fifteen minutes for the next two weeks.

How the hell -- I ask you -- how the hell do you guarantee an impartial jury (Amendment VI, US Constitution) when 24 hour news channels and internet news sites are blasting their opinions everywhere you look?

"In a democracy, in an open society, there's scrutiny of public officials, and how can there be scrutiny without information?" said John Temple, editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News.

Who the hell decided that the "rights" of an "open society" trump the right of the accused to a fair trial?

Who the hell decided that the "rights" of an "open society" trump the rights of the family of the victim to the closure of a trial without wondering what effect media spin had? And where was I when this meeting was held?

Listen to me: you want to scrutinize public officials? Knock yourself out -- AFTER any trial is done. Everything is public record then, go forth and conquer.

Until then, do everyone a favour and limit yourself to doing your sodding job, and let the investigators, judge and jury do theirs.

There are details in those records which only the investigators and the killer know. There is no need for the General Public to know these details. And let us face the truth -- once the Media knows it -- EVERYONE is going to know it.

"But, LawDog," I hear you say, "Surely the Media will handle this case with the discretion it deserves."

Yeah. Sure they will. Just like the New York Times used its discretion on the story concerning the wonderfully successful tracking and apprehension of international terrorists by way of electronic fund transfers.

Jumped right to the top of the tallest tower they could find and brayed the details to the Universe (metaphorically speaking), didn't they?

This bunch of hacks with delusions of adequacy won't be any different. Five minutes after they find out a detail that only the killer would know -- the whole rotten planet will know.

Sod the lot of them.

You want to solve crimes? Go to a police academy, then join a department. Work your way up to investigator. Deciding guilt or innocence is not -- despite any grandiose self-delusions -- your purvue.

So. Take your filings and your demands, fold them until they're all points, and then shove them up your various fundments until the lot of you gag.

And while you're gagging, you can wait like everyone else and report the conclusion -- just like everyone else.

*spit*

LawDog

Cor...

I'd like to extend a paw of greeting to the readers from The Other Side of Kim, The Barking Moonbat Early Warning System, and The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

All three Internet heavyweights saw fit to mention my little scribblings on their respective pages today, and as a result my poor SiteMeter is probably running for its life right now.

Appreciate it, folks. Hope y'all enjoy the scribbles.

LawDog

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Paw of Approval

Traditionally, one should not be caught away from your house without a knife and a way to make fire somewhere on your person.

Following this rule has generally made life easier for me -- in all senses of the phrase -- but I have come to the conclusion that one should add "and a light" to this axiom.

There are those who would argue that having a way to make fire with you pretty much takes care of the light situation, but in the Century of the Fruitbat* present time, there are more situations where a flaming torch simply makes the situation worse, than there are where a flaming torch helps.

So. Some kind of flashlight is advisable.

For last year or so, I've been dinking around with a couple of portable light sources which have actually managed to impress me.

The first is the Photon Micro-light II with the white LED. This handy little darlin' clips onto your keychain slick as a whistle, is smaller than a quarter, and is bright enough to light a dark hallway for a decent distance.

Once it's on your key-chain, it pretty much goes unnoticed until such time as you need it, and you'd be surprised what kind of needs you can come up with. My brother and I have used Photon II's to signal each other across a mall parking lot, and I've locked mine in the 'ON' position, looped some fishing thread through the key-chain hole, and lowered it behind counters and into pipes looking for things.

The battery has been good for ~ a year, and is replaceable. At about $16.00 these things are a bargain.

While the microlight is a jolly decent bit of kit, there are times when one simply must have a bigger flashlight than the little Photon, and in this we are fortunate in that there is simply an un-ending parade of miniature lights to choose from.

The flashlights powered by lithium batteries are the current darlings of the lighting world, and for good reason: lithium batteries have a shelf-life of ten years or so, and the lights they power put out an amazing amount of light.

They do have a couple of minor drawbacks, though. While my Surefire 6P puts the sun to shame, when Surefire says that the batteries are good for about 60 minutes, they aren't kidding. That little Surefire runs like a top for the first 60 total minutes; at 60 minutes and thirty seconds the beam starts to get dim, and at 61 total minutes the batteries are dead and the light is out.

Also, running it for any extended period -- say more than 30 seconds -- and it gets HOT. One minute of constant 'on' gets you raise-a-blister temperatures.

Great for back-up to a regular flashlight, and great for searching rooms, but maybe not so good for every-day utility.

My little sister, bless her heart, gave me an iNova X5, as a present.

Folks, this little light is neater than kitten toes. It is powered with the same two lithium battery types that run my Surefire, but with five high-output white-light LED bulbs, the X5 is rated for 20 hours of total use, rather then the one hour total of the Surefire, and the X5 hasn't ever gotten warm enough to notice since I started using it.

It's been dropped in a swimming pool, dropped off of a house, and used in yawara drills without a whimper.

I wouldn't give up my Surefire for it -- the beam isn't anywhere as concentrated as the beam of the 6P, and the beam doesn't seem to have the same kind of range and distance as the 6P, but it's put-it-in-your-pocket-and-forget-about-it small, tough, and pretty much beats my old Mag-Light in every category except skull-thumping ability.

You may find something that suits you better -- and if you do, you should stick with it -- but if you're looking for compact, powerful little lights, you might cast an eye towards these two, they won't do you wrong.

LawDog

*Obscure Terry Pratchett reference. Sorry about that.

Friday, August 18, 2006

That didn't hurt -- for long.

One of our long-term critters -- part-time dope dealer, occasional thug and full-time poster child for retroactive abortions -- has now become an object lesson.

Apparently, Mr. Critter developed a decidedly one-sided romantic fixation upon the teacher of one of his legion of off-spring. The object of his affections, not appreciating what a singular honour becoming Critter's Baby's Mama # 134 would be, nor desiring such, turned him down.

Mr. Critter seems to have missed the subtle hint contained in the phrase, "Stay the hell away from me!", because early on the morning in question Mr. Critter decided to pay a visit to the home of said Object Of His Affections.

Finding no one home after repeatedly hammering on the door and screaming, Mr. Critter departed the premises, only to return shortly.

As he began to resume his obnoxious activities, the neighbor of the schoolteacher, a middle-aged gentleman whose wife occasionally babysits the infant daughter of the schoolteacher, walked next door to inform Mr. Critter that the schoolteacher was out of town on vacation and to kindly desist from raising Cain on her front porch.

Mr. Critter promptly whipped a large silver-coloured revolver from his waistband, struck the man across the face with the barrel, knocking the neighbor back and down to one knee. Mr. Critter then proceeded to advance on the neighbor, pointing the gun at him him and loudly screaming: "You want a piece of me, mother****er?! Huh?! You want a piece of me?! I'll **** you up, you ho-ass mother****er! You want a piece of me?!"

Down on one knee and unable to retreat, the CHL-equipped neighbor skinned his Glock 23 and neatly whomped two .40-calibre slugs through Mr. Critter's brisket. (The detective taking the statement said, "I guess that'd be a 'Yes...'")

Mr. Critter had the good manners to drop the unloaded Daisy BB pistol with which he had armed himself and expired.

The officers handed the neighbor a receipt for his Glock and told him to come down to the station and pick it up when the Grand Jury was done.

I love Texas.

Ladies and gentlemen, while the first rule of gunfights is to have a gun, there are two corollaries to that rule:
a) It should be loaded; and

b) BB guns don't count.

LawDog

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blarg.

My eyeballs feel like they're packed in hot sand, my joints ache and the back of my throat is dry.

I'm coming down with something. Bloody hell.

In lieu of actually, you know, thinking, here is something I wrote during the height of the Katrina after-mess, when we were getting evacuees -- no, we weren't -- there's a busload due in the next two hours -- no, it went to Amarillo -- then what's that parked at the community center -- wrong load of evacuees -- oh ...

Anyhoo, here is what I wrote on The High Road way back when:

Random yacking from an exhausted LawDog.

1) The only people responsible for the safety of you and yours -- is you. Nobody, not the local government, county government, state government, federal government or the United Nations, nobody owes you survival.

Take it upon yourself to be ready. If you can't protect you and yours for a week, then start figuring out how you're going to do it.

Mother Nature is a bitch. Accept it. Not only that, but she is shacked up with Old Man Murphy, and they both hate your guts. Personally.

Once you understand this simple concept, take an honest look about you. Do you live in Tornado Alley? If so, sooner or later there is going to be a tornado addressed to you. Accept this, and plan for it. Do you live on a fault line? Sooner or late there is going to be an earthquake. Accept this fact and plan for it. Same thing for living in dry forests, below sea level or anywhere else that has been the subject of a Discovery Channel disaster special.

Take simple medical training. Self-taught, if nothing else. Take rescue classes, wilderness survival classes and learn how to swim. If the only thing you can do is read the Boy Scout Handbook, then read it cover-to-cover every year or so.

2) If you are in, or wind up in, a de facto leadership position, then LEAD. Leaders have to do the most difficult, simplest, and most important task during a crisis: they must lead.

You must be calm. You must give the appearance of being in complete control, even if --especially if -- you aren't. You are there so that all the people under you who actually get things done, can look to you and think: If he's calm, then things must be under control. That way each person under your command can take heart and do the million tiny things that add up to getting, and keeping, the situation under control

If you don't think you can keep your mud in a ball during a crisis, then step down from your leadership position.

And I'll give you a hint: bursting into tears on national television, or spewing obscenities on national television is not keeping your mud in a ball. Once your people see you losing your grip, then they loosen their handle on the situation, and their subordinates come unwound, so on and so forth until the whole situation snowballs into a complete cluster****.

More than likely you will wind up with survivors/refugees/displaced persons or whathaveyou wandering about.

If you find yourself with a large group of the above, give them something to do. Do not let them sit and stew on the situation. Grab them, and have them make shelters. Move the elderly. Pitch tents. Dig latrines. Dig graves. Pour tea. Fold towels. Anything. Have them do something and keep them doing something until the situation resolves itself or command passes.

Give your group identity and purpose, impose order and do not allow your group to devolve into anarchy. Use short, simple tasks:
"We're going to the field and erect these tents."
"Now, we will dig 30 latrine pits."
"We will now help everyone move into the tent city."
"Now, we will go to the Wally-World, where we acquire and distribute food, water and medical stuff."
"Now, we will keep watch in rotation on the tent city until morning."
"It is morning, we will now clear the streets between this Dome and the airport to ensure that vehicles can move between the airport and our tent city."

Simple, easy tasks. If their minds and bodies are busy, it is better for everyone involved.

That's all for now. I'm off to bed.

LawDog

I learned the basic principles of leadership at my fathers' knee. PLDC and BNCOC in the US military sharpened these lessons and 13 years as a deputy sheriff polished them nicely, but the basics were passed down by Dad.

I had thought -- foolishly -- that this sort of thing was common sense; "Idle hands being the devil's playground" and all that. I was utterly amazed by camera footage of parts of New Orleans with some semblance of authority present -- and citizens just milling around. Not doing a thing except worrying and fomenting trouble.

My father would have -- I have seen him do it -- wangled shelters from some one. Tents or some-such, from the military, if nothing else. And he might have borrowed an NCO or three, if the military was handy.

Then, he would have made every swinging Richard in the Superdome who was physically capable of doing some kind of work, pitch those tents.

He'd have worked those folks from can-see to can't-see, and not only would they have been too tired to get into mischief, but they'd've increased the safety, comfort, and general level of civilization of everyone there at the same time.

Doing something about the problems, and in that doing something, helping the group as a whole, is what a large percentage of humans instinctively want to do in a crisis. It's what they need to do.

Most of them simply require someone to tell them to do it, and point them in a direction.

Unfortunately in these modern times, people seem to think that "help" involves counseling, and requires "time-outs" and "coming to terms" with the situation.

I guess so, but all that is to be done after the fan has finished flinging the manure. You can counsel, pat-hands and empathize on National TeeVee after civilization has returned.

Up until that time what is needed is someone who can say: "You and you -- get off your arses and grab that tent. You, stop snivelling and give them a hand. Take the tents over to that flat ground."

"You and the rest of your pack, grab those shovels, go over to the far side of the parking lot and start digging trenches. Five feet deep, two feet wide and as long as you can make them."

It's not fun. There will be no rewards. You will have to make tough decisions and stand by them.

Why should you do it?

Because someone has to.

*blink, blink*

Goodness, I didn't intend to get off on a rant. I'm off to bed now.

If I don't blog for a day or so, it's because the 'flu, or West Nile, or whatever, is kicking my furry butt. Give me time and some chicken soup and I'll pop back.

LawDog

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You have the right to SHUT UP!

Had a gentleman picked up last night for Fail To Appear on a traffic infraction issued by a DPS trooper for 112 in a 65 last January.

I go and fetch the gentleman from the jail and stand him in front of the bench, the judge tells him that this a formal hearing, he has the right to have an attorney to aid him in his defense, so on and so forth.

Then the judge produces the warrant with the citation stapled to it, hands it to me, I give it to the gentleman and the judge tells him that he can enter a plea of "Guilty", "Nolo Contendre", or "Not Guilty". He goes on to say that if the gentleman pleads "Guilty" or "Nolo Contendre" the judge will hit him with a fine that he can either sit-out in jail, pay or make other arrangements to deal with, and if he pleads "Not Guilty", the judge will set him a bond and a court date.

The gentleman contemplates for a bit, then nods in agreement.

The judge asks him which plea he would like to enter with the court.

The gentleman ponders.

The judge waits, then gently prompts him, "Sir, what plea do you wish to enter?"

The gentleman looks up with his brow all scrunched up, "I'm ... not sure."

The judge blinks at him, sighs, and says, "Sir, there is a copy of the citation in front of you. Do you own the car listed on the citation?"

"Yes," sayeth the defendant.

"Okay," responds the judge, "There is a signature on the citation. Does it resemble your signature?"

"Pretty much," is the response.

"Okay," continues the judge, "If there is a doubt that you received that citation, you should plea 'Not Guilty' and request a trial."

"It's not that, Your Honour, it's just that I was doing so much dope that month that everything after Christmas is pretty hazy."

"Okay, court will set a bond in the amount ...what?"

I feel my eyebrow slide up.

"I was smoking so much hash, that I honestly can't remember anything that happened that week."

"Sir, I can not advise you, but you should ruminate on the fact that it is never a bad idea to exercise your right to remain silent. That's a hint, by the way."

"Wait ... had I met Two-Step then? It might have been ecstacy."

"Sir, it is in your ..."

"No. No, I remember, now. I started doing the ecstacy in February, so it was hash. I think. Unless ..."

"Sir!"

"Your Honour," I said, "A moment?"

Not waiting for a reply, I stepped in front of the defendant, smiled real big and said, "You need to think about shutting up."

The defendant gave me a puzzled look, "You want me to lie to the judge? I thought that was an offense?"

"I want you to shut up."

"But ..."

"Shush."

"I..."

"Shush. Your honour, I believe that the defendant is ready to enter a plea. 'Guilty'. 'Not Guilty'. Or 'No Contest'. In the traffic case."

"All right. How do you plea? To the traffic case."

"Well, I guess ... he can't tell me to shush! I have rights!"

"Yes," said the judge, firmly,"And one of those rights is the right not to incriminate yourself."

The defendant nodded. The judge waited a bit.

"Now, to the reason why were are all gathered here: how do you plea to the speeding ticket?"

The defendant took a deep breath. The judge nodded encouragingly. I sighed in relief.

"I can waive any goddamned right I want to."

The judge gently, and with the greatest of precision and care, laid his gavel on the bench, placed his elbow on the bench and performed a classic Migraine Salute. I considered the tactical application of police brutality.

"Sir," grated the judge, firmly kneading the bridge of his nose, "The next words out of your mouth better either be: 'Guilty'; 'Not Guilty'; or 'No Contest'."

"I have my rights ..."

"You have the right to SHUT UP! No, you cannot waive any rights! I will not allow you to waive any rights! I require you to assert your rights! I order you to flaunt your rights with your head held high! Now plead and get out of my courtroom!"

"Umm."

"Any word coming out of your mouth that isn't 'Guilty' or 'No Contest' will be considered a plea of 'Not Guilty'."

"No contest?"

"The court accepts your plea. Five days. Goodbye. Good luck. Don't ever darken my doorway again."

"Wait, can you actually ..."

"Deputy. Clear the court. Good day, sir."

*snicker*

I love Traffic Day at JP court.

LawDog

Meditations on emergency training

Show of paws: how many of my Gentle Readers have ever taken a CPR course? How many have taken the upgraded course with the AED block?

Next time you're at the mall look around. Sooner or later you're going to see a yellow or red box attached to a wall, probably near the food court. More than likely, that red or yellow case will be an Automatic External Defibrillator. Neat, huh?

Know how to use it?

More to the point, should it become necessary to use it on a loved one, do you want to already know how it works, or would you rather a) take a Time Out and read the instructions; or b) hope someone else knows how to use it?

Yeah. Thought so.

Once you have taken the Red Cross CPR/AED course, consider taking a First Responder course. They're usually 40 to 60 hours long -- two to three weeks at four hours a night, five nights a week. A First Responder course will teach you to look at scenes differently, force you to learn some new skills and introduce you to some people outside of your normal social circle -- which is always good.

When I suggest this sort of thing in the paint, people normally tell me that they aren't interested in getting involved in other folks' problems.

This is an attitude I frankly don't understand, but it's not really the point. If your child dives head-first into the wrong end of the swimming pool are you going to know what to do, or are you going to wing it?

"Winging it" is never the right answer. You need to know what to do. You. Yes, there are people on the far end of 911 who know what to do, but they have to get to the scene, they have to get to your child, and you're already there. Want to wait?

I'm willing to bet that a family or two (or a neighborhood) in post-Katrina New Orleans wouldn't have minded one of their own having First Responder skills. Those Gentle Readers in Tornado Alley might find First Responder training might come in handy sooner-or-later ...

A First Responder course is worth the money and time spent, if only to work your brain, or to network with local public safety folks.

Personally, I by-passed the CPR and the First Responder course and jumped right into EMT-Basic, but that might be a little more gung-ho and involved than most folks need.

It was fun, though.

LawDog

Monday, August 14, 2006

I have been gifted with a digital camera.


Let us test this little gem out...

Hey! It works!

Above, you should be seeing a picture of the latest addition to Rancheria LawDog. Looks like two of the girls don't quite trust him yet, and are keeping a close eye on him.

And he's a puppy. Look at the size of him, compared to the black-and-white cowdog/terrier on the right.

He's going to be huge.

*sigh*

Oh, well.

LawDog

Casey Sheehan's grave

In the interests of fairness -- I do attempt to be a gentleman occasionally -- I must point out that the grave of Casey Sheehan now has a proper headstone.

Of course, as with anything involving Mama Moonbat, there was much weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth (in front of the cameras) and bald-faced lies before this got accomplished.

SPC Sheehan fell in battle on Palm Sunday, April 4, 2004.

American soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed and pinned down in the fierce fighting of Sadr City. Unable to exfil, and being cut to pieces, the unit called for a rescue.

Casey Sheehan volunteered for the Quick Reaction Force put together for that rescue. Eight men died on that rescue mission, Casey Sheehan among them. They went down fighting.

In April of 2006 -- two years later -- with her allies and accomplices getting a minor case of the heebie-jeebies regarding the un-marked grave, Cindy Sheehan attempted to explain to the Media why she had left the grave unmarked.

She blamed it on the Government and the owner of the mortuary, Steve Nadeau.

Of course. It's always someone elses fault, she's always the innocent victim, yackety, yackety, yackety...

Mr. Nadeau fired back, explaining on national TeeVee that he -- himself -- had absorbed all costs of Casey Sheehan's funeral that weren't covered by the military and other private citizens.

On 25 May, 2006, not haivng any other choice, Mama Moonbat finally put a headstone on the grave of her warrior son, and issued this statement:

"It is important for the rest of Casey's family to have one, I guess the pain of seeing it etched in marble that he is dead is another pain I will have to deal with."

It's always about her, isn't it?

Anyhoo, she further stated that the headstone was "very expensive" and that the "government should have paid for it because of its responsibility for his death."

All you had to do was ask, you stupid daft cow:

"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world."

Took me all of 3 seconds on Google to find that.

But, what is one more lie from Cindy Sheehan compared to the thousands she's already told?

So. The final resting place of Casey Sheehan has been marked. It just took two years, as much publicity as could be wrung out of the process, and a couple of brazen lies to get it done.

LawDog