Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Dear LawDog"

A Gentle Reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, has sent me a passionate, eloquent, elegantly researched missive as to why the $700 billion dollar bailout is vital to these United States. This communique is ended with the question -- entirely reasonable -- as to what it would take for me to support the bailout.

The answer to that question is simple:

To paraphrase R. Lee Ermey's immortal character in
'Full Metal Jacket' -- I want the common courtesy of a reach-around.

If you're going to do me to the tune of "my fair share" of 700 billion dollars, I want something in return. I don't want pretty pillow promises; I don't want vague "You'll probably get something nice in a couple of years -- we hope"; I want it now.

If Congress presents legislation for a 700 billion dollar bail-out, with the provision that all Federal Welfare Acts will be repealed at the same time ...

Okay, you've got my support.

Quid pro quo, Gentle Readers. Something for something.

If Congress presents legislation for a 700 billion dollar bail-out, with the added provision that the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 are repealed ...

Okay, you've got my support.

That's what it's going to take.

You put your heads together and come up with 700 billion dollars worth of meddlesome, unConstitutional, pork-barrel, ignorant, illogical, crap Federal laws -- you tie their repeal to the bail-out -- and we'll talk.

Until then -- no. You do not get my support.

Now, I'm going to go hand-write letters to my Federal Congresscritter, my Federal Senatecritter, the Republican National Committee, and the Democratic National Committee expressing -- politely, firmly, and with as much eloquence as I can summons -- exactly how angry the thought of a $700 billion dollar bail-out makes this voting tax-payer.

LawDog

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

EMStock

Some time ago, our very favourite litter jockey paramedic invited me to pay a visit to this years EMStock (pronounced "Em's-stock") down in Midlothian, Texas.

Everything was going better than fine until I left MattG's place -- and then things just kind of, well, went right to hell.

As a simple fer instance, I had no idea that I35 betwixt Denton and Ft Worth is actually a parking lot. And a single-lane one at that.

That's the kind of mission-critical information that ought to be disseminated a bit more widely, I think.

Of course, I topped it off by getting lost. In Midlothian. Texas.

Which, in and of itself, is not a total loss, because when -- out of a complete disregard for my gender stereotype -- I stopped and asked a knowledgeable-looking local for [deleted] directions, I got the following, priceless response:

"Hayes road you say?"

*scratch, scratch, spit*

"Well, young fella, I don't rightly think you can get there from here."

Ellis County isn't that big, Gentle Readers.

20 minutes later I am forced to resort to summonsing the almighty Road Gods to provide assistance* they kindly draw my attention to the little 'EMSTOCK' signs posted regularly along the road, and ten minutes later I'm at the EMStock site.

Only nine hours after I left home on a three hour journey.

Anyhoo, I'm there, and I'm not exactly sure where to start, so I spot a helpful looking gentleman and announce, "If I were a Louisiana swamp-rat by the name of Ambulance Driver, where would I be lurking?"

And Gentle Reader Wes replies, "I think I know who you are."

I'm here to tell you, that's right spooky, that is.

Finally got to meet AD and Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire face-to-face, chatted with a couple of Gentle Readers, listened to some of the funniest war-stories I've ever heard, swapped jokes, appreciated some good music and generally relaxed in the company of some really salt-of-the-earth people.

Got to shake the hand of Dr Bryan Bledsoe, who has literally written the book on paramedicine; and the lovely LaFemme showed up to charm one and all.

Unfortunately, I missed Mr Fixit, who had to leave before I was able to arrive. Ah, well. Next year.

As a side-note, Nana had once relayed to me -- in hushed tones -- of a certain legend regarding some of the -- minor -- architectural details of the Waxahachie County Courthouse and the lurid story regarding said details.

LaFemme was quite willing to play chauffeur and tour guide and I am happy -- I think -- to report that I do believe that the architectural side of the legend seems to be completely true. Erm.

Ahem.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening, and one that I've probably needed for a while.

I think I shall plan on attending next years EMStock, and if you are involved in some way with EMS, I shall hope to see you there.

LawDog

*Best done by pulling onto the shoulder of the road, heaving a Rand-McNally atlas in a random direction, followed by stomping in circles while shrieking imprecations skywards. Use sparingly.

Reflections on the bailout

Earlier I posted an article concerning my views on the proposed Bailout.

Several of my Gentle Readers commented upon that article, including several comments that the 'Bailout' wasn't really going to cost us anything, and that we might actually make some dosh off of it.

I find that assertion that the 'Bailout' wouldn't cost us anything to be rather interesting.

Check my logic here.

The money that Congress throws around like confetti mainly comes from taxes. Indeed, that seems to be the explanation as to why the Federal Government takes money out of each and every one of my paychecks.

At gunpoint, I might add, but that is a rant for another time.

So. If the proposed 700 billion dollars is coming out of the money held by Congress; and if most of them money held by Congress comes from taxpayers ...

Is this 700 billion dollars being donated by a foreign government? Is this 700 billion dollars a generous gift from space aliens? Is God going to dump 700 billion dollars on the Capitol steps?

Because -- near as I can tell -- unless that 700 billion dollars is coming free from an outside source, seems to me like that 700 billion dollars is coming out of the pockets of taxpayers.

In which case 700 billion dollars costs the taxpayers about, oh, let's see here ... 700 billion dollars.

It has been gently suggested that actually what is meant is that the 700 billion dollars will, indeed, come out of taxpayer funds, but that over some time that 700 billion dollars will be recouped through investments in the "revitalized financial market".

Hmph.

Okay, then, when can I expect my cheque?

My "fair share" of that 700 billion dollars is either coming out of the taxes I have already paid, or taxes that I will be paying. I don't have a choice in that. The Federal Government WILL take my money.

I don't have a mortgage to be saved. I don't have any loans -- I was a responsible adult and paid them all off -- I don't have any US investments, my credit card balance is zero, and my retirement is through the County government.

So when do I get my "fair share" of that 700 billion dollars back? When should I expect that cheque in the mail?

LawDog

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What's the Swiss version of "YEEEE-HA!"?

Jet Wing Wearer Crosses English Channel.

This afternoon Yves Rossy, the Swiss Airline pilot and former fighter jock, strapped a folded 121-pound carbon-fibre wing to his back, ignited the four kerosene-fueled jet turbines mounted to it and stepped out of a perfectly good aeroplane 8,200 feet above Calais, France.

The wing snapped open, the jets kicked him up to an average speed of around 125 miles per hour, and ten minutes later Yves Rossy was hauling butt over the white cliffs of Dover.

Anyone who would feel compelled to ask why he would attempt such a thing would not understand the answer.

Here's a video of one of his earlier flights over Switzerland:


Very well done, sir. Very well done.

LawDog

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meditations on The Bailout

The big topic of conversation around the coffeepot at work is The Bailout. Seems like everyone wants to know what I think about the Fed Gummint's proposal to spend $700 billion dollars to rescue a bunch of financial-type folks.

Before I start opining, allow me to be perfectly clear:

As far as I'm concerned "Economics" is as much a science as phrenology -- for the same reason. Where one claimed to be able to decypher the mysteries of personality by reading bumps on the head, the other claims to be able to decypher the mysteries of the economy by reading bumps in the market.

Frankly, once you get past the basic, "I have this. You want this. What will you give me in trade?" into more complicated stuff, I strongly suspect most economists are making it up as they go along.

However, since economics bores me to tears, I could be greatly mistaken.

Anyhoo, two things come to mind as I read about the Great American Bail-Out.

In my line of work (law enforcement) I have become very suspicious about deals involving money in which one party insists upon rushing the other party(ies) through the process. Folks, if there's a great deal of money on the table (and there is ... about $700 billion) and the other guy says that there either isn't enough time to read the fine print; or don't bother reading the contract because you won't understand it -- well, the odds are jolly good that somebody is probably about to get scammed.

The second thing that comes to mind is the plain and simple fact that this financial crisis -- for lack of a better word -- is the result of a whole bunch of conscious decisions made by a whole bunch of alleged adults.

Somebody had to make the conscious decision to apply for a loan that they couldn't possibly afford. Somebody had to make the conscious decision that approving that loan was a Good Idea. Somebody had to make the conscious decision that buying up a whole bunch of these bad loans Made Perfect Sense.

They were wrong. Those conscious decisions they made were bad decisions, and Bad Decision Have Consequences.

Unless, of course, the Federal Government gets involved.

So, my personal feeling about The Great Bailout is that Congress is about to go through my wallet at gunpoint (again) and give (more) of my hard-earned money to a whole bunch of alleged adults (not me) who monumentally -- and with their eyes wide open -- cocked things over.

And -- quite frankly -- I'm getting bloody tired of my tax dollars paying for screw-ups that I didn't make.

It grows ... irksome.

LawDog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Whew.

Tole is off the respirator, albeit still groggy and more than a bit grouchy.

When the Dilaudid isn't having him seeing rabbits, alien infiltrators and the occasional Soviet agent (sometimes all at once) he can hold a fairly lucid conversation -- so we're pretty certain he's going to be okay.

Well, that, and when his wife came in and gave him a hug, he cleared first base and was well to rounding second afore she could get loose.

*snerk*

I'm not sure who blushed brighter, his lady or his mother -- who happened to be sitting at bedside.

They should have already moved him to a regular bed, or tending to it first thing in the morning.

That's a load off my mind, and I'm for bed and the first good nights sleep I've had in a bit.

I'd like to thank you all for your prayers and your good thoughts. They meant more than you'll ever know.

Back to your regular blogging tomorrow.

LawDog

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pegging the suckmeter

What am I, an albatross or something?

First Tolewyn went into the hospital. All well and good until sometime through a colonoscopy when he apparently decided all on his ownsome to stop breathing.

That put his butt into ICU on a ventilator for the last three? Four? days. Damnfiknow. They unhooked him this morning, but he's still having some problems with that whole "air-exchange" thing, so he's back on it. They're going to try again tomorrow.

The day that Tole hauled off and red-lined, a fellow member of the Sheriff's Office, an officer that I respect a great deal, showed up at the ER at two in the Ay Em with crushing chest pains radiating down his arm, along his jaw and back around between his shoulder blades.

Verdict? Hello, massive Acute Myocardial Infarction!

One percutaneous coronary intervention with a wee stent, little bit of down time in the Cardiac Unit, and he's back home.

This afternoon I'm doing my Pee Em check on Tole, when I run across Reno bringing his wife to the ER. She may be having a gall-bladder attack.

Sweet shivering Shiva.

LawDog

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Smile, Mr. Orwell

Back in May of 2006 I did a couple of brief riffs on Automatic License Plate Recognition technology.

It was my belief then -- and is my belief now -- that ALPR technology is too overreaching.

To put into simpler language the potential for abuse of ALPR technology is far greater than the potential for good.

There is no reason at all to have a database that shows anyone -- much less the government -- the physical location of every car in your area once a day.

Or twice a day, four times, what ever.

Yes, I realize that the ALPR system will vastly improve the number of stolen vehicles located.

Yes, I realize that other crimes will be solved -- although not nearly as many as are claimed -- by the ALPR systems.

I also realize that power corrupts; I realize that Mission Creep Is Inevitable; and -- most importantly -- I realize that government safeguards on stored private data and personal information are
ALWAYS loosened, NEVER tightened.

The invasion of privacy, coupled with the staggering potential for abuse -- both official and personal -- means that the ALPR database systems need to be drowned at birth.

I understand that there are some folks out there who don't hold with my bleak outlook on this system.

Fortunately -- or not, depending on where you live -- Great Britain has chosen to guinea-pig the system for us.

Seems like the British government is going to use their ALPR system to track 50 million plates per day -- and hold that information in a searchable database for five years.

Do note, if you would, the part about officers being "encouraged to fully and strategically exploit the database to reconstruct the whereabouts of drivers".

My particular favourite, however, has to be this quote:

Companies bidding to run the pay-as-you-go driving schemes have been asked to come up with a system to impose a minimum charge on motorists.

The charges would be imposed at all times and not just on the busiest roads or during rush hours.

The proposals are part of Government plans to encourage more people to use public transport or walk to fight rising obesity levels.
Remember what I said earlier about official abuse? No doubt "the chiillll-dreeennn!" were used as the excuse -- but excuse or no, this is official abuse.

And I can't wait to see what other official abuses uses for the ALPR database the British Government will come up with.

Think it can't happen here? Think our money-grubbing city, county, State and Federal governments will be able to keep their paws out of this brand-new shiny money-pot?

Yeah.

LawDog

Paw of Approval

After the somewhat ... interesting ... events of last years Opening Day of Dove Season (three catfish, eight crappie, and several stray bluegill) I didn't venture forth into the fields this Labour Day.

Partly, I think, this is a bit of a reaction to a lifetime of shooting. When I first started shooting at about age 10, I was using a .22 rifle and the adults who were shepherding me didn't think that a .22 rifle required hearing protection -- and hearing protection was never used while hunting.

Matter-of-fact, it wasn't until I joined the Army at 18 that I regularly used hearing protection at all.

Now that I am in my fourth decade, I have become conscious of how much hearing I have lost over the years -- and I miss it. To the point that I am rabidly protective of the little hearing that I do have left.

Trouble is, hearing protection and hunting just don't quite go together. Trust me, nothing gets you the odd looks quite like hunting the Southwest Texas desert with a .30-30 and a pair of blue plastic earplugs sticking out of your head.

*sigh*

Anyhoo, this weekend I picked up a set of Radians Inner-Ears on sale, and when Corky and Reno called to ask if I wanted to go blasting dove, I decided this was a good time to test them out.

I walked about playing bird-dog while they hunted that evening and I am happy to report that the Radians seem to do exactly as they advertise.

Road noise from several miles away was easily heard, as was whirring of air over dove wings and a truck-stop burrito making it's way through Corky's gut.

Wind noise could be a bit of a problem if you turned so that the wind hit the units, but some creative positioning took care of that quite nicely.

The important part, though, was that gunfire was muffled.

I do believe that hunting is back on the list of activities.

Radians Inner-Ears get the LawDog Paw of Approval.

LawDog

Embrace the suck

My brother-from-another-mother Tolewyn is currently stuck in the hospital.

What he thought was a bit of hiatal hernia mischief turned out to be a romping case of pancreatitis.

Bit of a sticky time there, but he seems to be doing somewhat better -- the punch-it-yourself morphine pump is taking the worst of the pain off.

Friday we'll see what needs doing.

LawDog

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Interview cancelled

When I mentioned creeks rising, I didn't mean it literally.

I was supposed to do an interview tonight over at TxFellowship, but it seems that my host got cross-threaded with the hurricane response.

We'll reschedule that interview for a later date, but in the meantime fingers crossed for Mark and his loved ones.

LawDog

Thursday, September 11, 2008

11SEP2001

It has become an iconic vision: two towers, sometimes just one, smoke and dust billowing out of holes gaping in the sides. There are some views that have a blurred aeroplane entering the frame, but most do not.

There are video versions, usually showing the surreal, almost slow-motion collapse of a once-mighty building.

Often these iconic images are accompanied. The still photos given headlines: "Bastards!", "Terror!", "Infamy!", "Why?!"

The video images have music. Dramatic music, or patriotic music, or sad music.

The World Trade Centre is the symbol of the murderous attack upon the United States that fateful day.

A powerful symbol, don't get me wrong.

However, the World Trade Centre was a building -- or buildings, if you want to be more precise. For all that it has become a symbol, it was -- it is -- still only a building.

There is no mother's love for a building. No one carries a building under their heart for nine months. And though we say that we care for buildings, when it come right down to it, there are none who would replace their children, their flesh-and-blood, for the concrete and steel of a building.

For me, the symbol of 11SEP2001 is not the burning World Trade Centre. The iconic image of that fateful day is not the collapse of hundreds of tons of concrete and steel and wood.

To me, what defines the horror of that day is a brief video clip taken by an unknown news crew. After all this time, I'm not even sure if the video clip in my memory still matches what I actually saw on the television that day.

But this short series of images is my truth of September 11, 2001.

It is a video shot of the burning towers, and in the background, a woman's voice is commenting, rambling, trying to deal with the absurdity of a terror attack on US soil. Something in the screen catches her eye, and she begins to describe the debris thrown out of the building by the aeroplane's impact. Office supplies, I seem to remember her stating, as the camera zooms in on something falling.

Only ... it isn't office supplies.

It is a man. I remember that he is dressed in a light coloured shirt, and dark pants, but no jacket. I remember the detached, monster part of my brain noting that he hadn't bothered to take off his tie.

He's tumbling as he falls, arms and legs flailing at the air in absolute panic stricken terror; the lady narrating suddenly realizes what she's looking at, and gasps, "Oh, my God."

And he still falls -- because he has hundreds of feet left to go before he hits the hard, uncaring asphalt.

Hundreds of feet left to think whatever thoughts he's going to think before he dies. And he knows he's going to die.

We don't see him hit, because the cameraman snaps his lens, his electronic witness, back to the floors where the red and orange flames lick hungrily through the windows, and just before the video feed ends, I hear a voice -- too strangled to know if it belongs to a man or a woman -- say, "They're jumping."

Maybe this isn't as palatable an icon as the Twin Towers. Maybe it's too messy, too violent, too evil for our sanitized, 30-minute Hollywood world.

But it is the reality of what happened that day. Innocent people going about their mundane, everyday lives were viciously and savagely slaughtered by a pack of sociopathic misfits.

Let us not forget that mother's children were butchered by the thousands on this day seven years ago.

Let us not forget that the evil that allows men -- convinces men -- to commit such acts of slaughter is not only still among us ... but in some places this evil is celebrated; in some places this evil is tolerated; in some places this evil is forgiven.

Let us not forget that while buildings
fell -- human beings, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, loved ones -- died.

Above all, let us simply not forget.

LawDog

Monday, September 08, 2008

Simple is often powerful

By way of, well, everybody, we received the following video:



Be sure and watch it until the end.

Powerful, powerful stuff.

Thanks to the World Wide Web that one video is going to go viral -- by the number of times it showed up in my Inbox I'd bet it already has -- and I am somewhat stunned by the fact that in our post-Internet world this is the kind of thing that can have an actual affect on an election -- if not outright make or break one.

One citizen with a $100 digital video camera, a $29.99 Internet connection and a free YouTube account is able to not only produce a video that has the best political propaganda masters swearing into their iced mochachinos, but he has been able to show it to millions of people and have thousands more aid him in passing it around.

God, I love living in the future.

LawDog

EDIT: YouTube has completely bolloxed the link, so the direct URL to the video is here.

LawDog

Things learned

I never really considered The Gecko Story as one of my better efforts, but from the comments and e-mails it seems to be fairly popular.

I hate to admit it, but I've slated that story for a pretty thorough re-write a couple of times in the past.

Huh.

Ah, well.

LawDog

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Quick question #2

Apparently the story of Mr. Johnson was more popular than I had been led to believe.

Hrm.

Okay, given the same parameters, which of the next two is the preferred story:

The Ratel Saga (pt 1; pt 2; pt 3; pt 4; pt 5; and pt 6); or

The Squeaks Adventure (pt1; and pt2).

Again, thanks in advance.

LawDog

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Quick question

If you had to choose between the story of Mr. Johnson; or the story of the Pink Gorilla Suit -- which one do you prefer?

Thank you in advance.

LawDog


Louisiana Update #2

Peter drove four miles into town to find a tower he could bounce a cell signal off of. Communique was brief and to the point:

"Tree fell on house. Soaking wet. Bloody awful night."

He says that the damage isn't too bad, but that it's still pounding down rain.

More updates as they arrive.

LawDog

Monday, September 01, 2008

Update from Louisiana

Just got a cell-phone call from Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man -- he's okay, but Gustav has knocked out the local phone service, with the local power grid probably to follow, so blogging from thataway is going to be scarce for a bit.

He says that the winds are gusting fairly smartly, but not nearly as bad as they had feared, with intermittent annoying rain.

Stay frosty, Peter.

LawDog

Don't go there

I woke up this morning to a great deal of hullabaloo regarding the running mate of the presumptive Republican candidate for POTUS.

Seems like the McCain/Palin camp, in order to discredit some really slimy allegations regarding the Palin's youngest child, have announced that the Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.

I am reminded, as I read some of the far-left nutcase reactions to this announcement, of another 17 year-old girl. This teenager -- young lady -- had fallen in love with a man.

It didn't matter that this man was not only married, but was the father of an infant son by his wife -- who was again pregnant with their second child.

I say that this apparently did not matter to this young lady, because she promptly became pregnant with this man's child.

Much like the Palin's daughter, this woman-child was seventeen and unmarried when she conceived. It stands to be seen if the father of Miss Palin's child is married with children -- but the resemblance between the two is there.

The young lady of whom I am referring; the young lady who was three months with child before marrying the never-divorced father of her child -- is, of course, Ann Dunham -- the mother of Barack Obama.

*scratch, scratch*

I try not to give unsolicited advice to those who are neither kith, nor kin, but it would be in the best interests of their candidate if the Democrats simply let this story die.

LawDog