Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rocket Has Signed

I heard that Roger Clemens has signed with the Astros to pitch, not just a rumor this time. According to the terms of his contract he will not have to show up on days when he’s not pitching, not go on road trips unless he’s scheduled to pitch and from now on he only needs two strikes on a batter for an out; just rumors. He’ll be back on the mound in about two weeks. The official news will be made public in about an hour ( 10:19am at present )

According to terms of his contract Roger won’t be required to show up at the news conference either. Rumor has it that he will only stand on the mound, a player to be named later will do the actual pitching.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

No more tears for Saddam, save them all for Mayada

Kathleen Parker wrote an op-ed with that title (linked via title bar) worth a moment of your time.

“. . .Saddam is "resolute," while we are to infer that he is brave in the face of death and loyal to his countrymen. He's ready to die, he said, and he'd stand firm again were his country to be invaded.

Fortunately, I was all out of hankies as this story hit the wires. Also, providentially, I happened to be reading a book that allowed me to maintain perspective even as others apparently were wilting in the presence of lunatic grandiosity. (emphasis added)

The book is called Mayada, Daughter of Iraq, by Jean Sasson, and tells the story of a woman journalist, Mayada Al-Askari, who was arrested and tortured in 1999 along with the other "shadow women" of cell 52 in Baladiyat prison.”

Our “drive by media”, that group of journalists who have aligned themselves with our enemies rather than support anything that might show George W. Bush in a positive light, have delighted in the release of stories and photographs depicting the depravity of a few guards. These media hacks would have us believe that the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison was equal to or greater than the torture which was imposed by Saddam and his henchmen on those unfortunate enough to be jailed in Iraq under his regime.

If you tell a lie long enough it becomes the same as the truth.
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Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Observation

I got some neat pictures in my morning email from my friend Richard Sutton. They were in slideshow format as I had a chance to enjoy someone else’s artistic talents. These photographs were prize winning quality studies of nature that permitted my thoughts to ramble.

One of the first pictures was a collage of water droplets caught in stop action mode, the surface of the water from which they had momentarily separated themselves, hovered over and reflected that image; only to return in the blink of an eye was entrancing. I captured those images and then broke them down into four separate individual images and saved them in my picture files; taking one of them and placing it as background wallpaper on my monitor until I find another to take its place.

It’s Memorial Day, a day to reflect on the ultimate sacrifices made by those valiant soldiers in the never ending righteous cause of freedom. Each one of them was a living breathing individual with dreams, desires, hope and fear; no different than any of us who have been provided a chance to achieve our dreams, our desires, hope and a chance to overcome fear.

How easy it might be to overlook one of them; some private first class buried over there on the edge of this massive cemetery we call earth. His marker blending in with the thousands before, his empty shell of a body long since turned to dust, his life cut short while guarding some unknown trench miles from home and those he loved. Did he die from a single bullet in the twinkling of an eye or did his struggle to breathe extend his suffering until his organs gave up? When he died, was there a family to miss him, a wife, a special girl he planned to one day marry and start a family? I have no idea and can only expect that he was not so different than anyone else; except that he died while in the process of defending my right to obtain those same desires.

I was studying the droplet suspended above the surface of the water. It occurred to me that a particular water drop’s momentary individuality was worthy of my attention, the wonderfully intricate display of colors expressed that moment and separated that moment for all time because someone recorded it on film. ( my dictionary lists film as an ancient medium used to capture pictures in the era prior to digital technology )

Ponder those departed spirits, those who have fallen in battle or those who died long after the end of conflicts; the unknown Private First Class, the Master Sergeant, the clerk typist, radio operator, cook’s assistant and every other member of the unified efforts to defeat the enemies of freedom. Were not their lives at least as important as that single drop of water, which was for a moment worthy of our attention, and then was gone from sight?
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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Constitutional Amendment on Marriage

An Open Letter to the United States Senate

I have been informed that the Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment which would define marriage in legal terms; to clearly identify that union as only between a man and a woman. This vote has been scheduled to take place on June 6th.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints issued a document on September 23, 1995, which codified several issues regarding how the family unit was of paramount importance, “The
Family: A Proclamation to the World”. (linked via title bar). Elder Russell M. Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned several key issues in his talk, “What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest” presented at General Conference in 2005. Here are some of the key statements within that document that he pointed out:

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”

“Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”

“Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

“The disintegration of the
family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

And the last words of the
proclamation express the simple truth that the family is “the fundamental unit of society.”

Please consider this information as you take a stand to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage; specifically as a sacred union between a man and a woman. Limit the damage done by activist judges intent on the destruction of the family unit as a sacred entity.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sorry, Haven’t Got My Other Flag Yet

Memorial Day is Monday and all I have is my American Flag. This is the flag that was given to my grandmother after my grandfather died; having served his country honorably in WWI. I have another flag in my closet, complete with a few empty shell casings tucked into the folds of the familiar triangle. The flag was given to my wife when her father was buried a few years ago; he also served our country honorably during WWII.

I remember the uniformed soldier played Taps on a trumpet and a small group of soldiers gave him a 21 gun salute at the end of the service. Lucy picked up some of the spent cartridges and placed them into the folded flag as she wept; we wept, for the loss of a good man. ( I find myself drying my cheeks even now)

Monday I will display my American Flag; letting it hang from the permanent hooks that I’ve anchored to the front of my home. I’ll watch Alan Ladd, Audie Murphy and John Wayne films, have a hot dog or a hamburger while eating my potato chips and sipping an ice cold Dr. Pepper. I plan to mow and edge my yard, sweep the driveway and spend time with my family and neighbors, all of them American citizens regardless of their race or religion.

To the Senate of the United States of America, more particularly, those who have made a travesty of our country’s borders; pay attention to what I am about to say. I live in Texas and Texas has a border which defines where Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico touch my state. Now, those folks up in Texarkana may be a bit confused about where that line passes; but in general, there isn’t a Texan around who would say, “I’m from Texas or there about”.

I was born in Oklahoma; but, thank heavens, I made my way to Texas. We don’t have a fence or a wall built up along the state borders ‘cause most of the time we agree on how things oughta’ be done. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Texas opened its border with Louisiana and let some of those folks in without checkin’ their ID; maybe that was a mistake, but if it was a mistake we did it for the right reasons. The folks in New Mexico got left out in the heat too long so they think they’re still in Texas; we cut them some slack since they mean well.

All that havin’ been said; we also have a fair stretch of land that touches Mexico. The last time I looked at a map, Mexico was not part of the United States; it bein’ a farn’ country and all, so we keep an eye on them rascals. I read where they evin’ have their own president, Vicente Fox, goin’ round talkin’ to folks in California and sayin’ things like, “We come in peace”, “Can we mow your yard” and things like that. I got a couple of things to say to Mr. Fox, “Remember the Alamo!” would be first followed by, “Get your tortilla lyin’ butt back across the border afore’ we really get pissed.”

I don’t plan on buyin’ no damned Mexican flag to hang next to my American flag. I don’t plan on goin’ down to Mexico anytime soon; you know, driving across at one of them border crossing points where the line in the sand has been defined, and then havin’ to drive back through that same check point on the way back to see if I bought too much at the local flea market.

Ya’ see, I’m an American citizen; I live here legally and think that those who live here ought to live here legally too. I put in a fence around my yard to let my neighbors know where their yard ends and mine begins; didn’t ask them if it was okay since the fence is on my property and I was payin’ for that fence. Maybe somebody needs to explain how borders and fences work to the Senate. That oughta ‘bout sum up my feelins’.
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Haloscan back on line

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

I figured it was time to get Haloscan back up and working; having lost it back when my blogsite crashed. I'm sorry that all the comments that were there got tossed in the cyber trash can; oh well....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Act As If Ye Had Faith

I caught the last few minutes of Paul Newman’s role as Attorney Frank Galvin and his closing argument presented to the jury in the movie, The Verdict. That one scene had to be one of the best performances I’ve had the pleasure to watch, having seen that movie a couple of times I continue to be captivated by those words, thoughts painted so perfectly.

A troublesome thought came to me as I listened to the words; that we as citizens are tired of being lied to by our elected representatives. We also think of ourselves as victims unable to control our destiny. We have begun to doubt ourselves, our beliefs; we doubt our institutions and our laws. We elect folks to stand up for us in Washington only to find that they abandon our desires and leave us with only a prayer, that they might do something which is right, it is a fervent and frightened prayer that we fear is not being listened to.

Several issues have been toyed with by the House and Senate; illegal immigration and the need for defined borders to safeguard our sovereignty, how to protect ourselves from the Islamo-fascist terrorist intent on the destruction of our way of life, run away tax and spend policies which would include scrapping the current Income Tax and IRS in favor of the Fair Tax or consumption tax as has been outlined by John Linder ( R) Georgia, individual property rights which seem to have been destroyed and lastly, the definition of marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman. I just mentioned several important issues which have been politicized rather than dealt with on the basis of black and white, right or wrong mandates.

We are tired of being lied to, treated like serfs on the Master’s land as if we’re unable to understand the intricacies involved with legislation and why simple things have been made impossibly complicated. Let me explain some simple issues that need to be addressed.

Thomas Sowell had it right when he pointed out that “the debate about immigration legislation is not being talked about honestly”, which I mentioned in a previous post earlier today.

Throw away any currently proposed legislation that is being batted back and forth which mixes illegal immigration, a defined border and any mention of amnesty or guest worker programs. These issues, when combined into one body of thought intentionally distort any plan of action to the point of damaging any hope of correcting the problems associated with them. The most important issue of defining our national border, especially that which connects us so easily with Mexico, must be fixed. It must be stated for all the world that the United States of America will not tolerate entry by any means other than at a proper and established door. Until that issue has been addressed there is no sense in discussing how to deal with those who have entered this country illegally or what steps should be taken to reject or absorb those folks into our society.

My own opinion regarding those who have entered illegally are not entirely written in stone; those who’ve had children here in order to have them born, supposedly, as natural citizens of the United States with future options which include automatic amnesty for their illegal alien parents, and migrant workers here only to make a better wage. My lack of faith in those elected would tend to make me distrust their motives as they contemplate a blanket policy which would welcome all these illegal aliens from Mexico and points south, as immediate United States citizens. I believe that the temptation by those seeking elected positions would view these folks as “potential voters to be catered to” rather than as criminals who have flaunted our laws.

I might favor some form of lenient measures which would permit certain “refugees” to remain, to continue their lives inside our borders without the threat of prison or expulsion under some rather rigid guidelines. These refugees would have to declare allegiance to the United States of America and enter a “yet to be” newly established “Alien Work Force Paymaster Program” whereby all monies earned by them would first be taxed to help pay for the millions of dollars which have already been spent through the various wealth redistribution programs such as Social Security, Welfare and Medicaid.

Those who entered here illegally and wish to stay would forever relinquish any chance of becoming a citizen; having lost any chance to vote or to take part in that government which they chose to thumb their noses at. These individuals would not be eligible to receive social security or other welfare payments regardless of whether or not they have paid taxes since they could not have legally obtained the proper documents it would have to be assumed that any documents; social security card numbers, driver’s licenses and such had been obtained illegally as well.

One exception to the permanent relinquishing of any hope for rights of citizenship might be a voluntary 2 year tour as a member of our armed forces. At the end of such a tour of duty that person would be eligible for full privileges and citizenship. It is my intent to make it clear that any thought of adding poor ignorant voters by granting amnesty to illegal aliens is out of the question which might sway the judgment of those less than honest who are holding elected positions.

I will not get into the corrupt income tax system that we are burdened with, wealth redistribution as it turns one person’s earned money into another’s entitlement via the many give away programs, private ownership of property or the other issues which I lumped together, at least not at this time. The suggestions I have offered may or may not be practical; they are no worse than some of the garbage I’ve heard coming out of Washington. I do plan to send a copy of this to my congressional representative and both of my Senators. I suspect that I’ll receive a standard form letter thanking me for my interest; at least I will have spoken my mind to them.

I’ve included the text of Frank Galvin’s closing argument below along with a link ( via the title bar) which will permit you to listen to that in MP3 format.

“Well...You know, so much of the time we're just lost. We say, "Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true."

I mean there is no justice. The rich win; the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead, a little dead. We think of ourselves as victims -- and we become victims. We become weak; we doubt ourselves; we doubt our beliefs; we doubt our institutions; and we doubt the law.

But today you are the law. You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, in fact, a prayer, I mean a fervent and a frightened prayer.”

In my religion, they say, "Act as if you had faith; faith will be given to you."

If we are to have faith in justice we need only to believe in ourselves and act with justice. See, I believe there is justice in our hearts.
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Thomas Sowell on Immigration Legislation

I stole all of this from Chas Compilation, no reason to change anything since he got it right the first time… Please read his post for the rest . . . (linked via title bar)

“Thomas Sowell points out how the debate about immigration legislation is not being talked about honestly. An excerpt:

...Let's return to the question of what would happen if border control legislation were to be voted on separately from amnesty legislation, instead of in the current package deal.

First of all, we would find out who is serious about border control, especially if the question of amnesty (by whatever name) is postponed for some definite period of time, in order to first see what happens at the border before taking that irrevocable step.

Who would lose anything by this separate consideration of the two pieces of legislation? The country would not lose anything. Neither would the illegal aliens already in the country.

The biggest losers would be politicians. They could no longer be on both sides of the issue by voting for a package deal but would have to stand up and be counted on border control.”

My advice would be to contact your elected representatives and turn up the heat. Let these folks know that they are messing up big time with this issue. Do it today.

Caribou, It’s What’s For Dinner

Yesterday I heard Hillary Clinton solve the energy shortage issue; a brilliant and detailed plan that will make life better for all of us. She had just gotten out of the “Way Back Machine”, the one that was highlighted on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show as she addressed the National Press Club meeting. Sherman and Dr. Peabody escorted her directly to the podium as she shared her insight, her solution to the high cost of gasoline and how to make the dollar stretch far enough for the little people. I’ve linked to Rush Limbaugh’s site which had a partial transcript of that speech via the title bar.

“The 55 mile speed limit really does lower gas usage, and wherever it can be required and the people will accept it, we ought to do it. But there are other things that we ought to do it. At every gas station, there ought to be a little sign which says, "Have you checked to see if your tires are inflated to the right pressure?"

"If you do that you also save gas mileage. I mean, there are things that can be done.”

Thank you Hillary for that powerful message and your leadership as our nation is faced with energy shortages and dependence on foreign sources of fuel. That took extraordinary courage and character.

I have a better idea, one that might not be so popular, that might provide the necessary incentives to become independent from foreign oil by taking advantage of the resources currently available. It has been explained that the oil reserves off the coast of Florida are equal to or larger than those in the Middle East. There is enough oil in the northern reaches of Alaska’s ANWR region to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It has been suggested that alternative energy, such as wind generated electricity, could reduce our dependence on oil in areas which naturally lend themselves to such production. Why then, have we not tapped into these existing supplies?

Well, the folks in Florida claim that their beaches are far more important than any oil that might be found off their coast. The environmentalists have woven a tapestry of fear and destruction which they claim is directly tied to the exploration and drilling of oil. The Manatee and Caribou could never survive if Big Oil were to invade those areas. Our coastlines would be covered with oil slicks and the bird population would be devastated. Our visual serenity would vanish like the Dodo bird if we were to install hundreds, make that thousands of wind turbine electric generators along the New England coast. Isn’t that about the sum of it?

Here’s my idea, not the solution; but an incentive program to ignite a proper awareness in the minds of those who fit into the previous paragraph. The solution will only come about when the United States becomes energy independent; which means that we will have to have our own oil and other forms of energy that permit us to live in a life style conducive to and supportive of that which we have come to enjoy. It does not include slowing down to 54mph in order to save a third of a penny, sitting in a cold apartment with the thermostat set 5 degrees colder in winter or setting it 5 degrees warmer in the summer time in order to make ends meet. Our energy policy should be geared toward meeting and exceeding the demands placed on it and when that has been achieved the price of that energy will naturally stabilize.

The first part of my incentive program, maybe it should be “insensitive” program, would be to place a specialty tax on gasoline, say 3 dollars per gallon, in those states which have shown a reluctance to support our becoming energy self sufficient. This would be paid directly to those states which are taking all the risks, doing the dirty work so that the entire country will benefit.

I would start with Florida, their having been the most recent state to deny the rest of the country huge oil reserves that are located just off their coast. I think it would be fair to say that if Florida were to allow Big Oil to tap into those oil fields and permitted to build the necessary refineries that produce the commodities that we all use, then it would take our country one step closer toward the goals I’ve mentioned.

I would place that same specialty tax on the folks in New England, more precisely those in Massachusetts where that blow hard, the honorable Senator Kennedy, alias, “The Swimmer”, shot down the idea of having wind turbine generated electricity because it would spoil the waters he uses for sailing and ruin the view there at Martha’s Vineyard. I guess those folks all go sailing because they can’t afford gasoline powered rigs.

Next on that list of areas to impose the incentive specialty tax would be Alaska, which is really just a large extension of the California Left Coast line. Excuse me for a moment while I put another rack of Caribou ribs on the barbeque, “Got any more Heinz Ketchup for those burgers, Hun?”, sorry, where was I. ANWR, shamwar, ( forgive my poor attempt at Yiddish) that’s how I see it; oil is what makes the economy work and you have to get it out of the ground first. Until we find a better way we’re stuck with oil and the risks that go with each and every part of that production.

“Hey, I’ve never had Caribou before; ya’ know, it does taste just like chicken…”

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An absolutely remarkable 2 minute commercial.

And you thought those people that set up a room full of dominos to knock over were amazing... There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in the film. Everything you see really happened in real time exactly as you see it.

The film took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something, usually very minor, didn't work. They would then have to set the whole thing up again. The crew spent weeks shooting night and day.

By the time it was over, they were ready to change professions. The film cost six million dollars and took three months to complete including full engineering of the sequence. In addition, it is two minutes long so every time Honda airs the film on British television, they're shelling out enough dough to keep any one of us in clover for a lifetime. However, it is fast becoming the most downloaded advertisement in Internet history. Honda executives figure the ad will soon pay for itself simply in "free viewings". (Honda isn't paying anything to have you watch this commercial!).

When the ad was pitched to senior executives, they signed off on it immediately without any hesitation - including the costs.

There are six, and only six, hand-made Honda Accords in the world.

To the horror of Honda engineers, the filmmakers disassembled two of them to make the film. Everything you see in the film (aside from the walls, floor, ramp and complete Honda Accord) is parts from those two cars. The voiceover is Garrison Keillor.

When the ad was shown to Honda executives, they liked it and commented on how amazing computer graphics have become. They fell off their chairs when they found out it was for real. Oh and about those funky windscreen wipers... On the new Accords, the windshield wipers have water sensors and are designed to start doing their thing automatically as soon as they become wet. It looks a bit weird in the commercial.

Turn up the sound and click on title bar to view the ad.

Thanks to my friend Bricks for sending this along.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bush Peso

Last week Mark over at Cutting Edge of Ecstasy was kind enough to link to one of my articles and so it’s my turn to repay the favor. He has a couple of good ones up so just go visit.

Here’s something to hold you over till payday…
( linked via title bar )
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Monday, May 22, 2006

"It's just fiction", not!

"It's just fiction", I once said when asked how I felt; referring to Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. I thought it was a wonderfully written piece of fiction that deserved high marks for entertainment. I never considered it to be on an equal footing with scripture, something which would have had an impact on my testimony of the Gospel; after all, “It’s just fiction”.

The news media, to include the Hollywood trash peddlers, have had a field day exploiting the book, fact or fiction, it didn’t matter how it was handled; it was making a bunch of money. I’ve lost track of how many television specials sprang up to cash in on the sudden interest in Gnostic beliefs, phony French ancestral files, Holy Grail myths and the possible connections to Jesus Christ. These investigative reports filled prime time slots, all in the name of “clarifying” myth from truth.

I got the distinct impression that while these shows claimed to be open minded investigations, they were in fact fulfilling an agenda item of the Left; casting doubt on the foundations of Christianity. The manner in which the information was provided, as strictly “facts” was delivered as a skillful and intentional impeachment of Christian beliefs, no different than the way a trial lawyer destroys any testimony given by a witness. If those listening to the “testimony” had to rely strictly on the information obtained from the media sources, they would have no choice but to doubt the Gospel truths because the information has been tainted by the manner in which it was presented.

There are many who claim to be Christians, having been born into a Christian family, attended church services and taken a cursory glance at the scriptures on occasion. Their knowledge of the Gospel is limited as is their testimony of the truths found therein, truths which can only be gained by the witness of the Holy Ghost. These people are most susceptible to attack because their foundation of spiritual strength has never been established. Those workers of spiritual destruction, those who have chosen to follow Satan, are willing accomplices in the destruction of those teetering on the edge of belief.

I have enjoyed the performances of many fine actors and actresses in what used to be called the entertainment industry. I have to wonder if these folks have signed on the dotted line and sold their eternal souls for a handful of silver, no different than Judas who later hanged himself after he realized what he’d done.

I used to think that Tom Hanks was one of the best; maybe he still is, until he signed with the movie, Philadelphia. He lent his name, knowingly or not, in support of the homosexual agenda and the so called fight against the HIV plague. He performed to the top of his ability and there was no doubt that he deserved to win awards for his acting. That movie’s success along with the name Tom Hanks may have been the opening of a door, one that had been closed to other shows and actors because of the “taboo” on the subject of open homosexual activity until that point, when other actors of lesser known status could then portray homosexual tendencies without fear of canceling their careers.

This is not an attack on homosexuals; simply an observation, one that has been brought out by their own admission. I watched a show documenting the public’s acceptance of homosexual activity in the entertainment industry. It was aired on PBS or one of the discovery channels, not so different than the “fact finding” shows relating to the Da Vinci Codes. In that short documentary it became evident that the screen writers of today are intent on undermining Christian core beliefs one at a time and that the movie, Philadelphia had been a key element in providing legitimacy to that cause.

Now we have the movie, The Da Vinci Codes, a blockbuster if ever there was one bringing millions upon millions of dollars to the box office. Guess what, Tom Hanks is out in front, sleuthing the clues that will unravel and finally prove all the darkest of secrets of a false religion, Christianity; built one lie at a time in order to empower the clergy, to make them rich, to enslave the masses. Thank you very much; think I’ll pass on this one; “It’s not just a piece of fiction”.

I would like to thank DL at TMH Bacon Bits for his article (linked via title bar) that reminded me to put my thoughts down on this particular issue. I know that I’ve read several articles and that I could mention and thank many others; all the same, DL got me off my butt.
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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Civilian Traffic Enforcement Officers

Houston, Texas

Mayor White has proposed training civilians to assist the understaffed Houston Police Department as a possible solution to some of the traffic problems in and around the city. ( link in title bar )

Police Chief Hurtt, working closely with the mayor has no firm plans as to how such a project might work. “I’m just trying to save my job by currying up to the Mayor” or something like that escaped his lips in an off the record remark.

“The new "civilian traffic enforcement'' program would be modeled after an ongoing training program involving about 100 people for duty at parades and other special events, Hurtt said. The program will spare the city from having to pay the officer’s overtime, he added.”

“McDonalds and other fast food industry specialists have proven that any idiot can work a cash register; all we have to do is change a few things, put pictures of a stop sign, a red light, a radar gun for these CTE’s to identify as they issue traffic tickets.” Chief Hurtt added that most of this was a publicity stunt to take some of the heat away from a recently implemented automated camera enforcement policy which has come under fire recently.

“We needed to add several million dollars to the City budget and what better way than to have a money machine located at every intersection working around the clock three hundred and eight five days a year.” He then added, “These cameras never call in sick, never talk back, never accidentally shoot innocent bystanders, and never ask for a raise”.

When reminded that there were only 365 days in a year Chief Hurtt simply shook his head and blurted, “Whatever…”

Friday, May 19, 2006

Senate Votes that Mormonism is the National Religion

A controversial statement is rumored to have been added to the immigration amendment Thursday afternoon as the Senate quietly approved, by a narrow margin of 53 – 47, an historic measure making the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the national religion. Senator Hatch, author of the add on legislation, had originally used the words “official religion” and explained that “official” would have signaled an exclusionary tone, something which would have caused red flags all over the place.

Senator Hatch explained that citizens who planned to be permitted to vote in future elections would need to “lengthen their stride”, as he put it, and adhere to a more rigid policy. “I’m not saying that other religions are bad; only that American citizenship is sacred and without having a balance of temporal and spiritual character traits as have been provided in the Mormon experience the government would be left in the hands of heathens.”, stopping momentarily, “…as you can see, it has already achieved that status.”

After a spirited debate, the Senate voted to insert, what has been dubbed the “Joseph Smith” statement, that the federal government "shall preserve and enhance the role of Mormonism as the Christian religion of the United States."

Critics of the legislation have stated that this violates the constitutional separation of church and state, claiming they wish to continue their personal habits; to lie, cheat, steal, covet and so on down the list. “Being an American has come to mean freedom from responsibilities and I for one plan to continue that grand tradition”, Senator Kennedy reportedly proclaimed as he stumbled from a local bar. Another enraged critic, holding a brandy in one hand and a lighted cigar in the other had to be escorted out of the newly dedicated “Brigham Young Wing” of the White House where President Bush was hosting a group of missionaries for lunch.

President Bush refused to make any statement to the press regarding this startling new legislative measure; however, he clearly was wearing a new CTR ring on his finger and was also wearing a tie tack in the form of the Washington DC temple.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hispanics Speak Out

A tip of the hat goes to my “Uncle Jim” who sent this via email. You want my opinion; I think we should continue to bury our heads in the sand, ignore the issue and hope it goes away, isn’t that the way our elected leaders have treated Illegal Immigration? (I took the liberty of correcting some typographical errors while at the same time leaving the text as it came.)

In a message dated 4/14/2006 7:36:34 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, CNickRun writes: "You old white people. It is your duty to die."


Augustin Cebada, Brown Berets; "Go back to Boston! Go back to Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims! Get out! We are the future. You are old and tired. Go on. We have beaten you. Leave like beaten rats. You old white people. It is your duty to die. Through love of having children, we are going to take over".

Richard Alatorre, Los Angeles City Council. "They're afraid we're going to take over the governmental institutions and other institutions. They're right. We will take them over . . We are here to stay ."Excelsior, the national newspaper of Mexico, "The American Southwest seems to be slowly returning to the jurisdiction of Mexico without firing a single shot."

Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, University of Texas; "We have an agingwhite&nbs! P ( printed as it came… your guess is as good as mine ) ; America. They are not making babies. They are dying. The explosion is in our population . . . I love it. They are shitting in their pants with fear. I love it."

Art Torres, Chairman of the California Democratic Party, "Remember187--proposition to deny taxpayer funds for services to non-citizens--was the last gasp of white America in California."

Gloria Molina, Los Angeles County Supervisor, "We are politicizing every single one of these new citizens that are becoming citizens of this country. . I gotta tell you that a lot of people are saying, "I'm going to go out there and vote because I want to pay them back."

Mario Obledo, California Coalition of Hispanic Organizations and California State Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Governor Jerry Brown, also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, "California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn 't like it should leave."

Jose Pescador Osuna, Mexican Consul General , "We are practicing 'La Reconquista' in California."

Professor Fernando Guerra, Loyola Marymount University; "We need to avoid a white backlash by using codes understood by Latinos . . . "

Are these just the words of a few extremists? Consider that we could fill up many pages with such quotes. Also, consider that these are mainstream Mexican leaders.

THE U.S. VS MEXICO: On February 15, 1998, the U.S. and Mexican soccer teams met at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexican even though most lived in this country. They booed during the National Anthem and U.S. flags were held up side down. As the match progressed, supporters of the U.S. team were insulted, pelted with projectiles, punched and spat upon. Beer and trash were thrown at the U.S. players before and after the match. The coach of the U.S. team, Steve Sampson said, “This was the most painful experience I have ever had in this profession."

Did you know that immigrants from Mexico and other non-European countries can come to this country and get preferences in jobs, education, and government contracts? It's called affirmative action or racial privilege.The Emperor of Japan or the President of Mexico could migrate here and immediately be eligible for special rights unavailable for Americans of European descent. Recently, a vote was taken in the U.S. Congress to end this practice. It was defeated. Every single Democratic senator except Ernest Hollings voted to maintain special privileges for Hispanic, Asian and African immigrants. They were joined by thirteen Republicans. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have repeatedly stated that they believe that massive immigration from countries like Mexico is good. They have also backed special privileges for these immigrants.

Corporate America has signed on to the idea that minorities and third world immigrants should get special, privileged status. Some examples are Exxon, Texaco, Merrill Lynch, Boeing, Paine Weber, Starbucks and many more.


Did you know that Mexico regularly intercedes on the side of the defense in criminal cases involving Mexican nationals? Did you know that Mexico has NEVER extradited a Mexican national accused of murder in the U.S. in spite of agreements to do so? According to the L.A. Times, Orange County, California, is home to 275 gangs with 17,000 members; 98% of which are Mexican and Asian. How's your county doing?

According to a New York Times article dated May 19, 1994, 20 years after the great influx of legal immigrants from Southeast Asia (1st:PLACE), 30% are still on welfare compared to 8% of households nationwide. A Wall Street Journal editorial dated December 5, 1994 quotes law enforcement officials as stating that Asian mobsters are the "greatest criminal challenge the country faces." Not bad for a group that is still under 5% of the population.

Is education important to you? Here are the words of a teacher who spent over 20 years in the Los Angeles School system. "Imagine teachers in classes containing 30-40 students of widely varying attention spans and motivation, many of whom aren't fluent in English. Educators seek learning materials likely to reach the majority of students and that means fewer words and math problems and more pictures and multicultural references."


When I was young, I remember hearing about the immigrants that camethrough Ellis Island. They wanted to learn English. They wanted to breath free. They wanted to become Americans. Now too many immigrants come here with demands. They demand to be taught in their own language. They demand special privileges--affirmative action. They demand ethnic studies that glorify their culture.


Send copies of this letter to at least two other people, 100 would be even better. Help us get the word out.

California Coalition for Immigration Reform
5942 Edinger, Suite 113-117
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Phone 714 921 7142

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mezuzah Protection

It’s a little thing that can be found at the entry way to a home, placed about eye level on the right edge of the door way in Jewish homes. It’s called a Mezuzah; how that's pronounced properly I couldn’t say; but it has its history going all the way back to the time of Moses. Mezuzah, as explained in the scriptures, are passages of the law written on tiny scrolls, enclosed in a small container and nailed to the right door post or gate, as an ordinance of remembrance.

I suppose I need to thank Sister Parker for preparing last weeks Sunday School lesson. Here’s a link to Deuteronomy chapter 6:

“And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

They serve a grand purpose; to remind any and all who either enter or leave by that door, who they are, where they come from and where they are going in the eternal scheme of things. Each Sunday we take part in an ordinance called the Sacrament. We eat the broken bread and drink the water; symbols of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us, as a reminder of those covenants we made at the time of baptism. It would seem that God has provided some fairly simple means of reminding His children of covenants made, the means of having them return to Him. It would also seem that we must be a fairly stupid species, having to be reminded at each and every turn lest we forget such important lessons; oi! ( I’m counting on one of my readers to correct my spelling )

How many of us have had our parents get our attention as we were going out the door, where we would be away from their presence, look us square in the eye and with all the admonition that can be summoned while raising one eyebrow speak these words, “Remember who you are.”? Wouldn’t it be a better world if more parents reminded their children each day as they went off to school, “Remember who you are.”? In this day and time I suppose it would be nice if the parents knew who they were too, many having missed the lessons taught in the scriptures, the important spiritual truths which bind each of us to the eternities.

I thought it might be a good idea to place something like a Mezuzah on the front of my computer’s monitor; glue it to the edge in a prominent place. Isn’t that computer a doorway into the world, a world of many dangers to the spirit, no different than stepping out my front door and leaving the safety of my home? The more I think about it, that’s not such a bad idea. If there’s a run on Mezuzahs down at the local store you can blame it on me. I can see it now, demand out pacing supplies as the price doubles and then triples on Mezuzahs; millions of computer monitors are protected, oy!

I went online to find where you can purchase a Mezuzah and borrowed the picture from a website, ; a long list of Jewish jokes hit me as I read their home page, “Have you got any cups for left handed people?”….
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Monday, May 15, 2006

Power Plus MPG Gasoline Additive Testimonial

One of Lucy’s friends started selling a gasoline additive that he said would give us an edge with gasoline prices soaring; something that would get us much better gas mileage.
The stuff is called Power Plus MPG, manufactured exclusively for DreamLife Products, 888-429-8216, , and comes in capsule form. I was instructed to put several capsules in the gas tank after having topped off at the gas station, run two full tanks through and then take the truck in to have the fuel filter changed to give it optimum performance. I had been averaging about 14mpg, as I reset that function each time I fill up; with some hope of increasing that figure. That was the middle of last week.

Friday, two thirds into that first tank of gas, I noticed an unpleasant odor when I would start the truck, like something in the A/C ducts that might have been drawn in from the engine compartment after shut down. I drove some more and each time I started up the odor was present. I then noticed the “check engine light” had come on. I checked the gauges and noticed that I had used quite a bit of gasoline, more than normal for the miles driven and so I clicked the overhead readout; “11mpg”, not exactly what I had been told to expect. Saturday was the same only the odor was more pronounced. I called my regular mechanic only to hear it ring; must be nice to have Saturday off.

I had to wait until Monday for my trusted mechanic to open his shop, put the fancy diagnostic computer tool on my truck and tell me what the problem was. He waited while it went through the self checking and then told me he would need to drain the rest of the gasoline that had been corrupted, clean out the fuel lines, the injectors and put in a new fuel filter. I am supposed to drive around with a tank of fresh gasoline for a day or so and hope that clears the reading for the oxygen sensor and some other sensor or they will have to be replaced too.

So here’s my testimonial for Power Plus MPG, give me a refund on the remainder of the product I purchased and I will give you a full “ten count” to get clear from my view while I go in the house and load up my gun. If you’re still here when I get back outside I suggest you swallow some of those additives and hope like the dickens that they work better in you than they did in my truck.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Awesome Building Technology

I’ve mentioned in the past that I enjoy getting to and from my house by going around the back of the neighborhood via the golf course. Over the past year, on one of the lots, there has been activity and so I’ve been curious as to what was being built.

The land was cleared and an area was set aside for what looked like a foundation; the sand being molded to a specific rectangular shape. Some of the more affluent folks live in that area and have built guest houses, barbeque facilities or huge garages on the land directly behind their palaces and my guess was that a similar structure was about to go up since the size of the “foundation” was smaller than would accommodate a house.

About a month ago a huge wrought iron fence was installed, complete with two fancy automatic retractable gates and a horse shoe shaped cement driveway; still no foundation where the ground had been prepared. That area went undisturbed while shrubs and trees were hauled in by the truck load and placed on the land. Several were planted while others, some Magnolia trees, were left on their side for some reason. Each time I drove by I wondered why they were leaving the Magnolia trees there to die, as if they’d miscounted and had purchased more than could be planted. I had to wonder what was going on in their minds; almost as if they’d done it all backwards, trees and shrubs, the fence, the driveway before putting in the structure.

This morning on the way to church the gates had been rolled back, a car was in the driveway and some folks were sitting in lawn chairs under those newly planted trees. Lucy laughed that maybe the house was invisible; not at all sure why she’d even said such a ridiculous thing.

I read a Sci-fi short story by Heinlein years ago where the houses had interesting geometry, rooms extending out in such a way as to be physically impossible to build without some trick. Wow; it dawned on me that the house had been built already in such a way as to be invisible. The sand, below where the foundation would have been poured concrete, had been poured, only with some invisible aggregate. The frame had been established with some technological breakthrough material that reflected light, much as a stealth aircraft deflects scanned radar beacons. These people were already living in the house that was probably full of neat modern furniture, oriental rugs, plasma televisions on every wall and state of the art kitchen appliances. The bathrooms have self cleaning showers, tubs and toilets. The bedrooms have deep pile carpets with heart shaped sculpted designs while the study and library were all finished with Brazilian hardwood floors. The only reason we were able to see these folks was because they’d come outside to enjoy the morning air, read the Sunday paper and relax in the yard.

I wonder what they do for a living; silly thought, the must be retired.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This is what I’ve longed for…

My daughter bought a CD, South Pacific and let me enjoy it. I have the movie on laser disc, precursor for the DVD for you wondering what the heck that is, and so I’m familiar with the music. I was sitting back enjoying these tunes while doing my chores on the computer and they snuck back into my emotions.

There is one tune where Emil and Nellie are thinking to themselves about the possibility of love as they gaze out from Emil’s home across the vista before them. Nellie is wondering how a sophisticated Frenchman might find a hick from Arkansas interesting while Emil has similar reservations, “Officers and doctors probably pursue her…” There he is feeling close to that dream, the one that has been in his heart dormant since his wife died, wondering if love could happen again. He looks at his home set on the hill with the Pacific Ocean as a back drop, the young woman with whom he has with him, having the picture in his mind of what paradise is as he sings, “This is what I need, this is what I’ve longed for, someone young and smiling here upon my hill. . .”

Last Sunday was Fast and Testimony day and as I sat there I kept hearing part of that in the back of my mind, “This is what I need, this is what I’ve longed for…”, and I kept trying to figure out how it had anything to do with my testimony. There were far too many folks in line to share their own testimonies and so I decided not to add to that line, still not sure what I might add to the spiritual moment of another. I make a fool of myself often enough without putting a microphone in front of me, much less when I haven’t thought out in advance, at least to some degree, what I might say.

Tonight as I listened once more, “This is what I need, this is what I’ve longed for…”, it came to me that my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the completion of that thought that I’d had last Sunday. I know, it was a love song, an expression written for a musical. I must be a cock eyed optimist or something as I write my thoughts and expect anyone with half a brain to make the same connection I just did.

Taking it a step further, another tune comes to mind, “This nearly was mine”. Wouldn’t it have been a shame had I not listened to the Spirit as it directed me to join, to learn of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be sealed in the Temple of the Lord for time and all eternity with Lucy? “One partner in paradise, this promise of paradise, this nearly was mine…” To think such thoughts cause my emotions to overflow with gratitude that I did join, that we have each other and that the promises of paradise are not something we nearly had; instead, they are within our possession. “This is what I need, this is what I’ve longed for…”
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America Once Beautiful

I wrote this for a friend of mine, Jahn, after noticing that he was fed up with flag waving and celebating of our national holidays; his jaw clenched in anger as he remembered how far we have fallen from that great experiment in human independence. I’ve linked to his article in the title Bar.

“I'm in danger of going postal on the next person who starts spouting off about this being "the land of the free". We haven't been free in a lot of years.”

I appolgize for an entire country which has lost its way. I appologize for elected congressmen, senators, presidents and supreme court justices who haven’t the backbone or courage to make difficult descissions and instead have provided everyone with mediocrity rather than putting forth the effort required.

I appolgize for the “greatest generation” who, now that they have reached the winter of their lives have lost their independent spirit; chosing instead to become dependent and weak, relying on AARP and expecting government hand outs rather than taking responsibility for their own lives.

I appologize for my own generation for failing to properly learn the lessons taught by every generation that went before, warning us to be fierce individuals unwilling to settle for mediocrity, falling for the old line, “It’s not that bad” or “It’s for the greater good that you must relinquish your individual liberties”.

I appolgize for the generation that follows mine, those young people who have been left adrift with only their “feel good” attitudes because teaching them the truth was too much work and some might have gotten their feelings hurt when they found that not everyone can finish first. Last on the list, my appologies to Mary Bates for butchering one of my favorite American hymns.

O Beautiful, that land we loved
And how it used to be
Our freedoms and our liberties
Are but a memory

America, America
A country without God
Consumed with lust and and spineless men
Our dreams lost in the fog

O beautiful perfection gained
Our lot in life provided
As now we walk, our heads hung low
Content with laws imposed

America, America
Is this our destiny?
May God forgive us, now we pray
Our nation’s gone astray.

Oh beautiful, that single ray
That shines above all else
Where one man’s passion must be heard
Amid all the unrest

America, America
There is no time, wake up ‘fore it’s too late
Find wisdom and your faith in God
We still can choose our fate.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What’s the Cut Off Date?

I attended a meeting of the Greater Houston Locksmiths Association this evening as I prepare to meet the State of Texas mandatory continuing education requirements in order to keep my license and remain in business as I wrote last week. ( linked via title bar ) They would appear to be a group of independent locksmiths intent on preserving their means of making a living through a unified effort, not much different than myself.

My name was brought up and I was officially voted in as a member by those present. I paid my dues for the remainder of the year and turned in all the forms; a neat looking passport photo that I got at Walgreen’s last night which is the same one on my blogsite, a copy of my Texas Locksmith license, a couple of T. F. Stern & Co. business cards and a couple of pieces of our letterhead. I was able to sit in on a class that counted as one credit hour toward that mandatory continuing education requirement, “How to fix what goes wrong”.

The instructor had an official class outline, showed various specialty tools that would get most locksmiths past a rotten situation; broken key extractions, removing pieces of broken drill bit from a lock, improved lock pick sets and things like that. He managed to poke a hole in his finger with one of the sharp ended tools; nothing like being a locksmith. Everyone who was there for the class signed the back of the roster form so that the credit could be documented and recorded by the Education chairperson.

During the meeting a general reminder was made regarding a benefit fund raising raffle that was being conducted to defray the medical bills of a fellow locksmith who’d had his leg amputated. There was going to be some kind of drawing in the near future and tickets for that raffle had to be purchased before the next meeting. One fellow sitting next to me had missed part of the announcement as he blurted out, “What’s the cut off date?” I thought it was a poor choice of words under the circumstances as I clipped his arm with my elbow and muffled my inappropriate laugh.

I wonder if this group of folks is ready for my sense of humor. What’s that line, “I’m not sure I want to be a member of any group that would have me”?

Well, I signed up to take the necessary classes over the next several weeks that will cover my. . .; maybe I should start that part over, . . .that will complete my mandatory continuing education requirements. There’s a two hour block of instruction that will attempt to explain the operations of the DPS/PSB, those folks who now run our every day lives and business operations contrary to the free market system which I’d come to love in the past; that should be simply marvelous, as Billy Crystal would say. I wonder, will I have to check my pistol at the door?
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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Give me a brake!

I spotted this in today’s comic strips and immediately thought of one of my blogger friends, Cerberus ( linked via title bar ). He wrote about his experiences with putting together a proper and legal photo spread line up in one of his articles last year; wish I had a direct link to that particular article. He did a good job of explaining how to do it right and then went on to show how he’d had some fun with the district attorney by making a few major changes to his photo spread, having pasted arrows around the picture of the suspect to aid in his identification. You should be able to click on the comic strip picture to enlarge for easier reading. Posted by Picasa

Visiting Hours

My son in law’s mother is in the hospital after having been through some major surgery. No need to go into details other than to say that she has been moved from ICU critical care to the next level, meaning that she has responded favorably and is no longer considered critical.

Lucy and I showed up to visit an hour and a half too early, not knowing the visiting times, that and the fact that she had just been moved from ICU and they were in the process of that move when we arrived delayed our ability to meet with her. Instead we visited with the folks who were in the ICU waiting room.

Maybe that was what we were supposed to be doing all along. These folks were waiting to visit their own friends and relatives; those who’d been hit by 18 wheelers, in terrible automobile accidents and things like that. I could see the desperation of thought in their faces as they talked on telephones, explaining to others what was going on, the odds of survival according to what the doctors had explained and the unsettled moments of having to sit around in a hospital waiting room.

I noticed one fellow, an older gentleman about my father’s age, reading his Bible. It had been highlighted with various colors. I could see that he was gaining comfort as he read and took in the message before him. I mentioned that so many folks have a brand new Bible in their homes; but for some reason they must think it more valuable if it never gets opened. I explained how it’s much the same as if they’d gotten a letter from their father in the mailbox and taken it in the house; never wanting to find out what was inside as they placed the important letter on the table to let everyone know that they had one.

We talked about Sunday School lessons and I explained that we had our lesson on the Book of Numbers, going over the information in chapter 24. I asked if he’d ever read the Book of Mormon and he said he hadn’t. I then asked if he’d like a copy and he nodded that he would like one. I’ll have to get the missionaries to deliver him a copy during the week, having left him my business card and hoping that he’ll give me a follow up call.

There was a young woman that reminded me of one of my daughter’s friends. I told her so and we got into a conversation about how it’s nice to have a “twin” somewhere else that makes folks think of them. The next time she walked by it was almost spooky how much she looked like the other young woman and she smiled at having recognized my double take.

Lucy and I did eventually get to go visit, having to put on disposable aprons and gloves. While we were at bedside I noticed a sign that warned about Latex intolerance and we were then told not to touch her unless we changed into a different kind of glove. I hadn’t planned on doing surgery or any kind of exam so I saw no need to change gloves; a short visit was all I intended from the get go.

We could have spent the evening at home watching television or any number of things; but I’m pretty sure that Lucy and I were supposed to spend that time visiting all those people, strangers and family alike, sharing ourselves as good listeners to tales of sorrow and, not to be denied, my own ability to share a good story, a joke or even the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

No Stone Left Unturned

PRILEP, Yugoslavia (AP) - Outside a small Macedonian village close to the border between Greece and strife-torn Yugoslavia, a lone Catholic nun keeps a quiet watch over a silent convent. She is the last caretaker of the site of significant historical developments spanning more than 2,000 years.When Sister Maria Cyrilla of the Order of the Perpetual Watch dies, the convent will be closed by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Macedonia.

However, that isn't likely to happen soon, as Sister Maria, 53, enjoys excellent health. By her own estimate, she walks 10 miles daily about the grounds of the convent, which once served as a base for the army of Attila the Hun.

In more ancient times, a Greek temple to Eros, the god of love, occupied the hilltop site. Historians say that Attila took over the old temple in 439 A.D. and used it as a base for his marauding army.

The Huns are believed to have first collected and then destroyed a large gathering of Greek legal writs at the site. It is believed that Attila wanted to study the Greek legal system, and had the writs and other documents brought to the temple. Scholars differ on why he had the valuable documents destroyed -- either because he was barely literateand couldn't read them, or because they provided evidence of democratic government that did not square with his own notion of rule by an all-powerful tyrant.

When the Greek church took over the site in the 15th Century and the convent was built, church leaders ordered the pagan statue of Eros destroyed, so another ancient Greek treasure was lost.

Today, there is only the lone sister, watching over the old Hun base.

And that's how it ends: No Huns, no writs, no Eros, and nun left on base.

Don’t blame me for this one; Richard Sutton sent it, all I’m doing is passing it along.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Missing Evidence or Missing the Point?

I was reading an article, Attorneys Claim Crucial Evidence Missing In DWI Cases, on the KPRC website ( linked via title bar) this morning, a follow up to a long line of attacks on the Houston Police Department’s DWI Task Force. Today’s article comes out and boldly makes the accusation that officers make marginal arrests and distort evidence in order to increase the amount of time they spend in court. According to the article, to avoid having evidence which might harm their case; it is implied that evidence has been destroyed in order to increase the amount of time in court. The local 2 News Troubleshooter team has been focusing on overtime pay issues which they believe are related to court appearances; specifically as are associated with officers working the DWI Task Force.

"If it's a stumbling, falling-down drunk, that man's going to plead guilty and that officer's never going to make any money on that case. If it's a close call, that officer's going to be down at the courthouse, sleeping for a couple of days getting time and a half,"

{. . . }

"This is an active task force that is out making hundreds and thousands of arrests each year and I can only imagine how many people have been deprived of having their evidence preserved for a jury to decide later,"

You really need to read the entire article to hear the insulting manner in which the integrity of the entire judicial system has been demeaned. This is not to say that one of the bonus perks of working the DWI Task Force is not the extra income that can be made; rather, it is the implication that officers are intentionally arresting innocent citizens, charging them with DWI, placing them in jail in order to spend excessive amounts of time in the court room, at time and a half, in violation of a sacred oath taken to uphold the law the day these officers put on the badge.

When I was working as an active Houston Police Officer one of the most satisfying arrests, if that is the right word for having accomplished something worthy, one of the most satisfying arrests was a DWI. I would observe a vehicle driving in a manner which gained my attention, follow it long enough to justify stopping it on suspicion of DWI, interview the driver to corroborate and further make a case for DWI, and then transport that suspect to the central testing facility for a breath test. The result of the breath test was, in my opinion, proof positive that my arrest was valid. In the event that the breath test results came back below the minimum percentage required by law; that suspect was taken home and all charges were dropped. If the suspect refused to take the test State law provided that my observations were sufficient to file charges; the same applied to a refusal to have a blood test. From the time I spotted the suspect to the time I had verification that I’d been correct was accomplished in short order and I could return to patrol duties.

I had no fancy dashboard mounted camera to corroborate my observations. I had a notepad and kept a record of my conversations in order to later transfer that information to the official police report. In the event of a court appearance I would testify to what was in my notes and the police report. It was never assumed that I had destroyed any evidence by virtue of the fact that no video, with or without audio, was presented.

I wish I’d had such a neat tool to record my observations; the continual adjustments of a vehicle unable to hold a lane, the extreme recovery moves followed by slow drifting and yet another extreme recovery. I could have recorded some very interesting recitations of the alphabet by folks who you’d have thought would have no trouble with such a simple challenge.

I had one fellow, a vice president of an oil company, who was having trouble distinguishing his lane from the curb for several blocks. I recorded his answers in my note book, “A,B,C,D,. . .J,L,. . . R,Z”. He came to court and pleaded not guilty; blaming his erratic driving on the fact that it was a borrowed sport utility vehicle with a different feel than his regular vehicle. I would have paid good money to have that on a recording; something to play for my 4 year old grandson now that he has a firm grip on the complete alphabet, just to watch his reaction to a grown man tripping over an alcohol saturated brain. No, the falling down stumbling drunks don’t all plead guilty, sorry.

I’d have paid good money to have a dashboard mounted camera record the DWI going down Kempwood, bouncing off one curb and then crossing both lanes to hit the other curb for a mile or so, all at about 4-5mph. I had a rookie in the driver seat that night and we were having trouble getting this fellow to pull over. He was in an industrial area at the time; but approaching a residential area with much more potential for disaster when I made the decision to get out of the police car and run along side the suspect vehicle so that I could rap on the window and get his attention. He thought I was Superman, the fog in his head caused him to believe he was driving at the posted speed of 45mph and he was amazed that I was able to keep up without being winded. He plead not guilty too, telling the judge that all those empty whisky flasks on the floorboard were an accumulation from several months. No, not all the falling down stumbling drunks admit to being a danger to society, sorry.

There were times during the secondary testing phase at central where I did have the added benefit of everything being on video camera. The suspect would be asked to perform a standard set of minimal coordination skills, read a paragraph and things like that. I remember being told to remove damaging evidence, things which would sway a judge or jury, when possible. These items were baseball style caps with slogans; “Don’t ask me how many beers I’ve had, I’m drunk”, “I drink, I fish and I drink some more”, “Budweiser”, and other character statements that would or could be damaging to the suspect were they to be viewed in open court.

I could go on and on; but in the interest of time and space will state without hesitation that the only reason I ever placed anyone under arrest for the offense of DWI was because they were driving a vehicle on a city street under the influence of alcohol. I never considered the fact that I would be paid to go to court in order to increase my income; quite the contrary, I would be in court, when I should have been at home and in bed sleeping, to justify the arrest that I’d made. It was a matter of pride that I’d performed my duties in a manner that would be approved of by those who paid my salary. It would seem that if the system has flaws which enable certain officers to make a small fortune incident to their original duties, then repair the system; but be very careful about tarnishing their integrity.

The lawyers and the Troubleshooting team have missed the point; police officers arrest suspects for having violated laws. The more evidence that can be introduced to validate an arrest the better; accumulated lawfully and under the scrutiny of everyone from his immediate supervisor, the District Attorney’s office, the judge and jury and last but not least, to include even that person who was arrested. If at any time there is the hint of impropriety on the part of the police officer’s evidence, the arrest process grinds to a halt and the suspect is released. If further questions arise which would indicate neglect or intentional alteration of evidence then Internal Affairs would handle each as a particular investigation.

I had to answer to an Internal Affairs complaint which had been lodged against me by a fellow I’d arrested for DWI. The claim was that I’d beaten him so badly as to require him to be transported to the hospital because his leg was no longer able to hold him up. I had no recollection of such and so I requested that Internal Affairs review the video taken in the DWI interview room; there was no evidence of any damage to the suspect at that point as he was able to perform basic walking skills, even though intoxicated. I then requested that Internal Affairs review the video taken of all prisoners who enter the Jail; again, no evidence of any damage to the suspect was found. I suggested that the suspect had received his injuries after having left my custody and to look elsewhere. I was so glad that a mechanism such as a video recording was able to back up my insistence that I had not mistreated the suspect. I wish Internal Affairs had used the same logic; their dismissing the complaint as “Not Sustained” rather than “Unfounded” or “Exonerated” left some doubt as to my handling of the arrest. This was a minor technicality and hardly related to padding court overtime or attempting to limit the available evidence; however it does show how backup systems are in place during the booking of a DWI suspect.

Truthfulness and Integrity are not optional character traits for Police Officers of the Houston Police Department. The insinuation that any one officer would intentionally violate the sacred trust given by the citizens is a serious accusation; one which requires immediate action; however, the shotgun approach used by the Troubleshooter team at KPRC sinks far below the level of professional reporting and journalism expected by the public. If there is a complaint to be made, make that complaint through the established and respected avenues already present. The entire Houston Police Department has been slandered by a blanket of innuendos and contrived postulations in order to impress us; with what, the fact that some police officers make gobs of money by attending court.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mandatory Continuing Education in Texas

I wrote my thoughts regarding the licensing of the locksmith industry and posted it last March ( Business Licenses – Jump for Joy, linked via title bar). I have recently been informed that those wonderful comrades, isn’t that what you call the communist bureaucracy who run our lives now, the Texas Private Security Board has implemented their mandatory continueing education portion as proposed in that all inclusive piece of legislation that covers everything from security officers, guard dog handlers and even locksmiths. It must have past under my radar or I’d have written about this sooner.


(a) This section does not apply to a noncommissioned security officer.

(b) The commission shall recognize, prepare, or administer continuing education programs for license holders, commissioned security officers, and registrants. The commission shall set the minimum number of hours that must be completed and the types of programs that may be

(c) A license holder, commissioned security officer, or registrant must participate in the programs to the extent required by the commission to keep the person's license, commission, or registration. A license holder, commissioned security officer, or registrant shall submit evidence of compliance with the commission's continuing education requirements in a manner prescribed by the commission.

Somewhere that translates into 9 hours of “industry related” mandatory training, at least that’s what I was told. A young locksmith “wannabe” told me that he failed the locksmith test the first time he took it. One set of questions he had trouble with had to do with the proper feeding and care of guard dogs; no, this was on the locksmith part of the test. I can only hope that my guard dogs, Roxie and Missy, won’t snitch me off when the commission checks out their dog food bowls. “Kibbles and Bits, Kibbles and Bits; we want Kibbles and Bits or we’re going on a work slow down! No barking at the garbage men, no barking at the mailman and you can forget not chasing the neighbor’s cat up the tree.”

I have to take a one hour class in Ethics, given by the State of Texas. Forgive me while I take my head out of the trash can and wipe the edges of my mouth. This must be something like what goes on in the prison system. “Hey kid, heard you got caught stealing cars. Next time you go for a ride remember to wear gloves, burn the car when you’re through so you leave no evidence and for goodness sakes, kid, don’t get caught next time.” The State of Texas is going to teach ethics; hell, let’s go for broke and teach religious doctrine too. “Okay, so you lied a little, everyone here in Austin lies; it’s how you spin that lie that makes all the difference.” I think that covers my thoughts about the State of Texas teaching a locksmith about ethics.

Locksmiths have to earn an additional 8 hours of classroom training each year, maybe it’s every other year, to keep their State issued license. This is all backwards; at least the way I see it. I need to be able to complete each job to get paid. If at the end of the job the customer pays the agreed upon fee; then it would seem natural or even logical that I performed the skills necessary. If I want to stay involved in the locksmith business I have no choice other than to stay informed of those changes which have taken place in the industry. If I don’t educate myself I won’t be able to do certain jobs; it’s that simple. For the State to mandate any course curriculum is insulting to any locksmith who plans to stay in business under the natural laws of supply and demand.

That having been said I talked with some friends in the business and found where I might obtain these mandatory classes being offered so that I might jump through some of those Lillipution hoops, balance myself properly on that pole and lay prone at the feet of those most important State monitors. I’d say, “Yowsa, Boss.”; but that’s not politically correct.

I’m reminded of the fellow, a retired Army JAG officer, who was teaching law at a university. Changes from the higherarchy determined that only those who held a Masters Degree could remain in their employ. As many of their staff did not have their Masters, a period of time was given that they might obtain the necessary course hours. He was told that he needed certain basic courses in law that were not on his resume prior to achieving those requirements.

On his first day of attending class the instructor handed out the list of required reading along with the other goals for that block of credit hours. The instructor noticed that the name of the author of the main book, the book that contained most of the instructional material for the class, that name was the same as the retired Army Jag officer sitting in class. “Are you related to the author?”, he asked, hoping that it would be his father or perhaps an uncle.

“I wrote that book.”, was enough to convince the instructor that an awkward situation had been established.

I feel somewhat the same as I sign up for a course in basic automotive locksmith work; one that I will be required to take every year if I am to remain a licensed locksmith in the State of Texas. I understand that it will be a hands on class, taught at one of the auto auction storage facilities. I will do my best to learn tips of the trade from some of the other locksmiths; there are many things I can learn from others. My guess is that I will swap 8 hours of mandatory instruction for 8 hours of potential business. I could sign up for a block of hours in IC (interchangeable core) an area which I have no interest in, nor do I have any customers with a need for that particular ability since I specialize in automotive locksmith work and leave the rest to full service locksmiths. Maybe I could show them that I qualified with my pistol so that I could carry a concealed handgun under provisions of the retired police officer laws; better than trying to convince them I know how to train guard dogs.

In the mean time I’ll start practicing my vocabulary; “Nos vedanyas, commerade.”, “Heil!” and let’s not forget, “It’s for the good of everyone.” Then there’s always Morgan Freeman’s line to the grocery store manager after making parole, “Boss, can I go make water?”, from the movie Shawshank Redemption and then there’s the line from another movie, The Outlaw Josie Wales, where the last of the Confederate soldiers have been turned over to the Union Army. “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s rain'n.”

Getting the Swell Head

I got a call from one of the employees at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. She needed keys made and programmed to her Ford Taurus. When I completed that job I stopped by the ticket window so now Lucy and I will get to see the Cardinals in July.

I figured since I was out that way I would stop by H. L. Flakes, the place I purchase most of my locksmith stuff. I’d bought a part for a specialty tool over the phone so that I could cut the 2006 Impala key on my A-1 Pak-a-Punch hand held key cutter; except they’d sent me the wrong piece. The right part was in stock and all I needed to do was make the exchange. I knew that I also needed some replacement inventory along with some of those fancy keys with the built in remote controls. I ended up spending a small fortune and only had a lunch sized sack to hold it all.

While I was there one of the owners came out and wanted my autograph on the April issue of ALOA’s Keynotes, one of the national locksmith publications. I’d submitted one of my blog articles and the editor must have liked it. A guy could get the swell head if that happened too often. This was the second time an article of mine got published; guess that makes me a professional writer. I’ve linked to the newest article in the title bar; here’s the one from last year.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Real Entertainment

We’ve been enlisted to baby sit our grandchildren for a bit. Our 8 month old granddaughter, Jocelyn, is teething and we found that pretzels are her favorite. I used to enjoy Milk Bone brand dog biscuits; kind of a funky taste that I never considered to be exceptionally odd to nibble every now and then; but pretzels have taken over first place over the years. Last night we gave her a couple of small pretzels; one for each hand.

Roxie, our large white puppy is torn between being jealous of the baby getting so much of our attention and being protective of her all at the same time. Lucy was sitting on the living room floor holding the baby on her right leg while Roxie had her head resting on the other leg. Jocelyn would put a pretzel in her mouth and chew on it a little, let it swing out toward Roxie to look at and then, just as Roxie thought it had been offered as a treat, Jocelyn would snatch it back and chew some more.

This unintended tease went on several times, Roxie’s jowls had drool hanging down 3 inches in anticipation of the treasured pretzel prize only inches away. Jocelyn managed to sweep the pretzel through one of the elongated drool formations on its way back for her to chew on; but Lucy decided that Roxie had waited far too long, teased beyond reason and placed the pretzel in Roxie’s mouth.

I went back and found a blog from last year when we acquired Roxie. At the time we didn’t know she was about to litter; ignorantly believing that she had just littered. I linked to that article in the title bar so you can see what a beautiful puppy she is.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dr Phil's Test: I’m a 41

I got this in my email from my friend Steve Sanders. No reason why it wouldn’t be just as interesting as a blog article.

Here you go. Try this! Don't forget to send your score back to the person who sent it to you...BE HONEST!

Below is Dr Phil's test. (Dr. Phil scored 55; he did this test on Oprah - she got a 38.) Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out!

The person who sent it placed their score in the e-mail subject box. Please do the same before forwarding to your friends (send it back to the person who sent it to you.)

Don't peek, but begin the test as you scroll down and answer. Answers are for who you are now...... not who you were in the past. Have pen or pencil and paper ready. This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 simple questions, so...grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.
Make sure to change the subject of the e-mail to read YOUR total. When you are finished, forward this to friends/family, and also send it to the person who sent this to you. Make sure to put YOUR score in the subject box.

1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon &and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head downe) very slowly

3. When talking to people you..
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with..
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted......
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) whiteg) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are..
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have ! dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 64. (a)
4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d)5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your companybecause of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see! you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go totheir head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust In your friends, but equally that it takes you along time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Now forward this to others, and put your score in the subject box of your e-mail ( comment section ), like this: "Dr. Phil's Test, I'm a 47