Just a few ramblings from a confused guy. Former military, former cop. Husband. Father. Student. Role playing gamer, on intermittent weeks. Avid reader. Internet addict. Small "l" libertarian. Too many others to mention. The views and opinions expressed herein are my own, and do not reflect those of any official agency or government or species. Names have been changed to protect the guilty; God protects the innocent as a matter of course.
“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”
"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Other than that, I'm spending the day doing homework, so no real post til maybe tonight.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
No, I mean when the case is straightforward, there is no question of the subject's guilt and the police did everything by the book. Then the job of a good attorney is to do everything they can to mitigate the punishment and put their client in the best light before the judge.
These are the cases you see after a bit where they don't call their client to testify, and they frequently don't even call on us to do so - pleading guilty or no contest, stipulating that the evidence is sufficient and hoping for as brief a summary as possible so that the judge doesn't increase the punishment due to what is often offender stupidity.
Unfortunately one of the gentlemen I had in court this week did NOT have an experienced attorney.
Again, there was no question of his guilt - I'd caught him driving drunk, the stop was perfectly legal, his tests were horrible and he made every incriminating statement he could without me even asking questions. Add to that the marijuana he had sitting in the car and told me about, and the attitude he displayed & comments he made during the arrest (and yes, all that stuff gets written down, if not recorded folks) and this was pretty much a slam dunk case. Given that this was his second DUI in a short period the knowledgeable attorney would have done everything possible to beg for mercy from the court and try to keep him from getting too much time to serve.
Instead this attorney (new to the job) tried to fight every little step of the way. They didn't even do a good job of that - no relevant case law, no attempts to try to get his statements thrown out as somehow inadmissible, none of that. Just weak attempts to twist some of my words around for what I observed, and even weaker attempts to tell the judge one thing was said when even the judge would look at her and say "No, they testified to X, not Y." Add to that she put her client on the stand, and pretty much handed him the shovel to dig the hole deeper. Testifying to things like "I really don't remember what all I said that night because I was drunk." does NOT help the situation, trust me.
All in all, it was almost painful to watch. Between what happened that night & the two of them not helping the situation in court he got pretty close to the maximum time to serve for everything, as opposed to something in the middle of the range.
Hopefully some of the other attorneys take her under their wing and teach her these lessons before too long, for the sake of her clients.
Monday, January 26, 2009
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold..."
I will share a bit of a thought that's been percolating lately - hope to get some comments back & maybe it will help me think it through further.
As a nation, the U.S. has become deeply divided IMHO. Label & call it what you will - Republican/Democrat, Conservative/Liberal, East/West Coast & Flyover states - the point is, there seems in my observations to have become an incredible gap in our outlook as a nation towards what is right & proper in society and in government.
No, the point of this post is not to argue any one particular side, just looking at the gulf in general.
As the past few elections have demonstrated we are split pretty much down the middle. The Reagan landslide was the last real strong electoral win, since then it has almost turned into a fight on either side of "who am I voting against?" But despite what either side professes, neither group has held a clear majority mandate in terms of public opinion and votes.
A great many people view us in the middle of a number of Constitutional and other crisis. Again, this is from both sides - whether you look at fears of the Second amendment supporters under the Obama administration, or the Patriot act and other Bush administration anti-terror initiatives. Again, both sides feel that the other does not see things logically, and there is no room for compromise.
Add to this the fact that our elected representatives seem to generally not care what their constituents are saying, and are either just voting the party line or channeling some unknown evil (look at the Congressional approval ratings, as well as the financial bailout packages being passed despite overwhelming public opinion against them to reference the above).
We have a growing number of residents of this country, legal and otherwise, who have little interest in acclimating to or blending with our culture, our language or our society. Arguably in fact you have large elements who are more interested in establishing a different nation and or religion where this one now stands.
Finally, again on both sides, you have people who are more than willing to take to the streets and use violence to push through their agenda -- more so on one than the other it seems, but that is again my opinion. Should their candidate, their legislation or their interests not advance they are ready to intimidate, shut down businesses and use any other means available to reshape things as "they" feel is right.
Now, to go along with this - there are even foreign intelligence agencies and analysts preparing for a possible collapse of the U.S. not just economically but socially. Some more serious than others but the mere fact it is being looked at at that level is an interesting change.
So... my question/thought is:
How much longer does the United States have as a viable, single entity? Have we reached our peak as a nation and are we ready to go our separate ways? And, if so, will the split be an amicable separation or an ugly, violent divorce?
I am of the opinion that the country my children see twenty years from now will not be the one I grew up in - but beyond that I am not sure yet...
I welcome your comments and thoughts for my reflection.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Your International Spy Name is Dr. Danger
Your Code Name: Punchline
You Reside in: Amsterdam
Why You're a Good Spy: You're sneaky
Saturday, January 24, 2009
But I find it awfully curious that yet again we have an "assault weapon" incident right when a certain party is getting all set to start the legislative push. Seems awful convenient to me.
Like Tam always says, don't worry it's "for the children."
follow-up to the follow-up
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Which also meant that my partner could leave the work kennels & come stay at home with us starting today... So I brought him home this afternoon.
So far he is adjusting well - wants to know when we can go work again, as he is full of energy and bored after a couple of days off... That and figuring out his new digs, and deciding what he thinks.
Dakota - not so much. Less than pleased already to be sharing me with another animal when I came home smelling like a dog; actually bringing one home, into his yard was pretty much beyond the pale in his book. So he's spent his outside time trying to assert his authority through the fence separating the two (with Helix not really caring what this other dog thinks), and throwing a snit with me and pouting to let me know he's hurt.
Ah well, hopefully he will adjust soon.
The kids? Couldn't be thrilled more - what a shock!
Monday, January 19, 2009
I apologize for the unacceptable experience.
I would really like to find out why the tech was late and why no one called you back as promised. Will you please provide the phone number associated with the account?
I will make sure your experience is shared with our local leaders so that you'll have a better experience next time.
National Customer Operations
January 19, 2009 12:24 AM
I have responded to his email and will keep everyone updated on any reply or resolution. I am more than willing to give the company a fair chance to respond and address the issue - and if they make that effort I also want to make sure to publicly note it and give them credit for such; since I publicly criticized them that is only fair.
So, I'm looking forward to the response.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Comcast displays the suxorz...
First thing this morning that the kiddos give me a moment I go ahead and unplug/disconnect etc the offending electronic device, shift desks around to clear a path for new wires and all that - all in preparation for our little replacement at some point.
Of course, you all know where this is going already...
Yep - 2pm rolls around, and no technician in sight. My wife calls on the phone at about 2:30 while I'm running to feed the dogs at work & gets a "Oh, he's running late, you're the next house on the list he should be there in about 30 minutes."
So, we wait some more... About 4pm I start to bypass "frustrated" and move towards "annoyed" - so I call up again. This time it's a customer service representative promising to call the dispatcher & have them "get right back to me" with an ETA or a reschedule - which I explain politely my dislike of, given we have been without service for almost 24 hours AND have scheduled our day around this. He grovels etc. appropriately swearing my phone will be ringing any moment with news.
5pm still nothing... I'm working on dinner for everyone in the oven, and have bypassed all my levels heading straight to "pissed off" - so I call up the old Comcast demons yet again. To get stuck on hold. Each minute passing I am crafting my discussion for the supervisor on my problem with not only no service, no technician, but now not even the courtesy of a return call. And I wait. And wait. And wait.
Finally at about 545 the tech pulls up just as I'm trying to wrap up dinner. Good sense takes over, for once, and I let my wife deal with him swapping out the modems while I cook, so as not to express my displeasure prior to the service being completed. It takes him about 15 minutes to get everything done (which I could have done myself, but they get to overbill users every month for service so they can do the gorram work on a trouble call) & he wraps up as I watch him and do the router reboot he can't get straight while my family eats.
So - all said & done, yes we have internet service again, but I am still heartily displeased with Comcast today... just another in a list of too many episodes of trouble lately, so I am considering again switching to the Verizon FiOS system soon - we will see. One way or another I definitely am planning a disgruntled email to their complaint department once I have rested on it a night.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Cold weather coming here tomorrow - same stuff everyone else has been dealing with, so I shouldn't gripe.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Day two, or just one continued
Thanks for the well-wishes folks - unfortunately, while I got them they appeared to bypass the little girl involved :( Yep - she had another rough night last night, waking up in the middle of the night screaming & then just a short nap before up again for the day. This was on the tale end of me working late yesterday so I was already running sort on rest.
My wife did take her to the pediatrician today in an attempt to get things sorted out - unfortunately, she got one of the "less than good" ones, who didn't do much more than annoy everyone involved. UGH. Fortunately with me being on dayshift now, my wife at least gets a little help on the nights from me; but we need to figure out something soon for everyone involved.
Then, to continue today... dang it was cold! Spent the majority of it outside both working with my dog and helping others get certified, and I couldn't tell you the last time I've been this cold. Cold, tired, stuck outside all day - add water and I would have thought I'd reenlisted or something. AND, the group decision was made to "work through lunch and get off early" - we all know how that usually tends to turn out... Yep, not off early, and me hypoglycemic and moody. I know, my own fault - I should have been smart enough to take along a meal bar or something, but I was thinking it would work right for once.
Rolling out from there I headed to campus to pay tuition for the semester and pick up my textbooks. Unfortunately everyone else apparently needed their books today as well; what has always been a five minute in & out for me at the campus bookstore ended up being a line 20 minutes long. With me stuck in the middle of a gaggle of sorority prosti-tots discussing their various lack-of-GPAs affecting semesters, and who was going to what party where tonight and that the parents weren't paying for more clothes yet... The only thing keeping my grumpy butt from erupting in a snark explosion was the fact that I knew I was skewing the whole demographic & harshing their mellow (a line of 100 well-dressed preppy larva, and the one old guy in 5-11's and a camo goretex jacket after a day of dog training, spot the cop in this crowd). The fun continued when I get to the front of the line... yes, one of my books doesn't exist in their system. Never mind that I just took it off of THEIR bookshelves, in the section set up for one of THEIR classes... they can't find it by barcode, stock number, title/author or anything else... apparently I sneak into random bookstores to pay for strange books I bring in from other places or something. So, that added another twenty minutes to my fun.
But wait, there's more. Stop by the grocery store to pick up stuff for Kyleigh and dinner fixings for the whole family. Attempt to make it a quick visit... head over to the nice & short "you scan, you pay and you bag it" line to handle my five items. And I end up behind the guy who #1 - scans everything & then puts it back in his cart; #2 - pays for his entire order with what appears to be quite a savings in coins over the years; and #3 - THEN takes the time to carefully bag everything when all is said and done...
So yes, I'm a bit bitchy & moody tonight. BUT - when I got home I did get some great time with both of my children, I got to start a new book with Jacob for his bedtime story, and I got to sit quietly with my wife and even have sentences where we were both conscious and not rushed. Hopefully that is just an early sign that tomorrow will be better.
Monday, January 12, 2009
In other news, just realized the last novel in the Burke cycle by Andrew Vachss has been published :( I had to look back and think to realize that yes, it has been 18 books long - just doesn't seem that way. I've been reading them since his first one in 1985, and have always liked them - rather rough and gritty at times, but in a realistic manner. So - I'll have to find this one & add it to the collection.
Off to work for the day, hoping to survive the dog running me around again.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Well, I can only say, similar madness reflected here in Virginia. Fortunately, I was more there to windowshop than anything else.
Yes, ARs, AK-clones, Glocks etc. were all available at the show - not in huge numbers, but not empty racks. However - prices had bypassed the roof & were headed for orbit on a Saturn V trajectory. Anything possibly affected by a return of the '94 laws was similarly priced. Even saw a few of the new US made AUG clones and the PTR/HK91 clones - both priced again about double list.
Magazines - much of the same - anything hi-cap was at least 50% higher than what I saw it at last summer. A number of dealers even had signs up in various forms of "No haggling, stuff is hard to find, take what you can get."
P-mags - almost impossible to find, and priced double list. AK mags - lots of surplus beat up stuff for high prices, don't even ask about the Bulgarian good ones.
Even FAL mags STARTED at 15 dollars for used.
77-grain 5.56 - non-existant, as was cased 5.56 or 7.62x51 (unless you like Wolf steel-case, in which case I saw ONE vendor with some). Pretty much everything was in the 20 round boxes & not a lot of those.
"Tacti-cool" gear - plenty of cheap, imported nylon like at any show. The quality stuff was again almost impossible to find - although prices hadn't jumped like the other stuff. Saw a couple of things from Eagle, a few of the other good brands - but not even a lot of Blackhawk stuff around. On the other hand, the Chinese apparently are still sewing & exporting like no one's business...
The vendors I know well enough to talk to said it's mostly just troubles getting inventory in right now. A lot of people aren't even taking back orders right now, as they have no realistic idea when they might get filled.
Soooo - makes me glad I have what I already do, and am not desperately trying to stock up as some are. It will be interesting to see what the next few years hold for the industry as a whole. A lot of new companies formed in the past 8 years given the need for military and contractor gear and equipment - and I have a feeling that 5 years from now about 70% of those will have folded. Even with the law enforcement, recreational shooter & airsoft market crossover, I just don't think there is enough money going to be left going around to keep all of it open - so it will be survival of the fittest as it were.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wait & see
I haven't weighed in much, either on here or at work, due to a lack of facts (I know, waiting for all the facts is an anathema online, but I'm trying it...) Personally, I would like to wait to pass judgment until we have more information released from both tape and subjects involved.
The one interesting "allegation" I have heard made is that the officer might have been thinking he was drawing his TASER and pulled a firearm by mistake. Now, I can weigh in on this one as a certified TASER instructor. Our training for agencies and individuals is that the TASER be worn opposite the firearm for just this reason - it is not located in the same spot, the draw is different, everything involved should be a conscious knowledge of which tool you are using.
I can't say how BART carries their TASERs, having found no reliable pictures or information at this point, and not willing to spend hours on the Google-fu today on it. However, I am willing to bet they follow this procedure and so I'm not sure as to the validity of this reason - but we will wait and see.
Makes me glad yet again that my most recent incident was clearly justified and cleared both internally and publically very quickly.
Unfortunately, the usual suspects have already passed judgement; and the usual miscreants are already using this as an excuse to riot, complain and wreak havoc throughout the Bay area. Along with the fact the normal "Blame Booosh, and none of this will ever happen again in 12 days" crowd trumpting about...
Certainly puts into perspective some of my griping at getting out and training and working in our measly little Richmond winters.
and, you can call me a slacker all you want, but IMHO - if you're willing to go out to commit crime at 20 below, I'm willing to let you do it...
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It actually worked out nicely for my wife, who had an old friend in town - it let them chat while I helped with Jacob, and then they ran out and did a bit of shopping together while I attempted to get him to nap... but at least it took some of the stress off of her trying to manage both the munchkins along with entertaining.
Then I did up some chili & cornbread for everyone to enjoy as a dinner and finally got the wee ones off to bed... now I'm just hoping for a few hours of non-social quiet time to let my head ease up some, and hope that I'm more up to things tomorrow...
Monday, January 5, 2009
Yep, unlike the real cooks such as Brigid, who use actual recipies and crap, I pretty much just make it up as I go & use what has worked in the past... so my technical knowledge is a bit shaky. And my lovely wife loves Food Network and can soak up the information like a sponge, but strongly dislikes playing in the kitchen (although when she does, the results are always yummy!) So between us, we were unsure...
Thanks to the Google & all, now I know - brining lets the cells hold more water from the salt, while a marinade uses the acids to break the cells down for tenderness.
Hmmm makes me think more now why each has a place & which I prefer for what... good to know!
The little one does have some teeth coming in on top of things, which is part of her problem - hoping the Tylenol and later bedtime help with things and she has another night of full sleep. Though for my wife's sake, I hope she makes it past 6am this time.
My own sleep was a bit better as well, though I'm still working on my "body clock" as it were. Just going to take a bit to adjust and figure out my best routine.
Still no cop stories to add - being off the road for a bit does that to you, and none of my old shift have gotten into anything good that I can even live through vicariously. I do have bomb squad training going on tomorrow, so maybe we can do something fun and/or stupid to be worth sharing.
Other than that the big weekly event is my inlaws are getting set to head back to Africa, so I'm doing a nice steak dinner for everyone tomorrow night. Picked up the slabs of beef today & will have everything set, then fire up the grill when I get home - it always amazes me that some folks stop cooking outside when September rolls around... I figure if I can still find the thing then the snow can't be too deep!
Sunday, January 4, 2009
So, not so much on the blogging right now, sorry.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Nice to see the other side portrayed
Friday, January 2, 2009
Had a nice day here. Got up early and got a pot of chili going, then spent some time with Jacob while my wife ran some errands as Kyleigh napped. Then I took Jacob with me on work errands - picking up uniform stuff, things for the dog & all that. It let me get the stuff done today, plus let him spend time with me which he always loves. Then it was time to drop him off, go feed & clean the dogs at the kennel, and come home in time for family time & dinner - after all, Kyleigh wasn't going to miss HER daddy time either, and let me know it!
We got the kids to bed, did some simple household stuff, and I enjoyed a quiet evening in the living room as my wife got the chance to unwind as well before she went to bed. Now I'm going to hang out for a little bit myself & then off to bed.
Domestic quiet, sorry nothing more to report today... but I'm alright with it.