Friday, November 30, 2012

Not a soft and fuzzy world

When I was in graduate school, I was telling some of my fellow students a story about 911 abusers, and one in particular. This patient used to call 911 at 3 am from the payphone outside of his favorite bar, and complain of chest pain. When we arrived at the hospital, he would get off the stretcher and walk across the street to his sister's house. He would also call when he had no money for food. The hospital would give him a sandwich, and he would then leave. In all, he was transported by EMS to the hospital an astonishing 284 times in a calendar year. He once broke into a fire station and stole uniforms and personal items, and was caught by the police walking down the street in a firefighter's uniform. One afternoon, he was found by a patrol officer, floating face down in a pond, having fallen in while intoxicated and drowned. We had ice cream and cake that night to celebrate his passing. The world is a better place without this welfare and resource abusing loser.

When I told that story, the other students and a professor who was there were horrified that we could be so callous as to celebrate a person's death. I was told that we should be nice to everyone, and remember that people can be down on their luck, and that we are all one month's pay from being in his shoes. I asked, "what we should do when a patient tells me to suck his dick?"
The professor, "You should tell the patient that we will not stand for that sort of language."
I say: "Then the patient tells you to kiss his ass."
The professor says, "Well, then you tell him that if he continues to behave that way, you will fire him as a patient."
I tell her, "You know that in emergency medicine, the law says that I have to treat him no matter what, don't you? The patients know this, and they know that they can have a lot of fun with you, especially if they know you are a pushover that will take whatever they dish out."
 The professor, "Well, that is why I never worked in emergency medicine."

And therein lies the problem. There are a lot of people who would and could never do your job, have no idea how to do your job, and have never seen what you have to do to accomplish it, yet are just filled with helpful advice and opinions on how you should be doing your job.

This reminds me of a scene in the movie "Demolition Man"

Squad Leader: Simon Phoenix! Lie down with your hands behind your back.
Simon Phoenix: What's this? Six of you. Such nice, tidy uniforms. Oh I'm so scared!
[the Police Officers look at each other]
Simon Phoenix: What you guys don't have sarcasm anymore?
[Police Officer talks to his automated assistant]
Squad Leader: Maniac has responded with a scornful remark.
automated assistant: Approach, and repeat ultimatum in an even firmer tone of voice. Add the words, "or else". 

To all of those people, I have a message: Until you have done that job, you have no idea what it is like, dealing with the trash of society. Many people out there do not act like those who operate in polite society. They respond to courtesy and polite language as a junkyard dog does to fear: that is, they see it as a sign of weakness, and will exploit that weakness to their own advantage.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More than meets the eye

Many on the right were quick to condemn the unions for running hostess into bankruptcy. Of course, like most issues, there is another side to the story. It seems that the union in question actually agreed to take a pay cut in order to help stave off bankruptcy the time the union contract came up for renewal in 2004. Shortly thereafter, the executives of Hostess received substantial performance bonuses and large raises.

Fast forward to 2012, the union refused to take a pay cut, fearing that the money that they surrendered would simply be used again to reward executives. It seems that the fears were not totally misplaced, with executives getting a bonus equal to 75% of their annual pay:

The update on the sale process came as Hostess also received approval to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million for meeting certain budget goals during the liquidation. The company says the incentive pay is needed to retain the 19 corporate officers and "high-level managers" for the wind down process, which could take about a year.

In fact, earlier this year, the CEO of the company saw his own pay rate TRIPLE to $2.5 million per year, and other executives received 80% pay raises. Blaming the union because they won't take a pay cut, but holding the executives who gave themselves huge pay raises harmless, is the epitome of cluelessness. 
Anyone want to take bets as to how many of those corporate officers will receive high paying jobs at the new companies?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Doomsday Preppers

This evening, I sat and watched the show for the first time. One of the families was a prepper group that was preparing for a New Madrid earthquake event. They were pretty well set up with food, farming, honey bees, and a decent skill set. They had a prepper community of about 30 people in the area that traded skills and supplies. There was one main flaw in their preparations: security.

They claimed that they ethically did not want to have guns and ammunition like the "right wingers" and said that their main security was being part of a nurturing, friendly community of people who would support each other. They said that should a marauding band of armed people come to take their stuff, they would feed them and offer to trade with them. If that failed, they claim that they will poison the attackers with the food supply, or cut their throats while they sleep.

That tells me that it is not an ethical issue about violence, but a fear of inanimate objects. It also tells me that since they have no way of protecting their food and supplies, they will not keep them for very long.

I also concluded that the preppers in this show make the prepping community look like a bunch of idiots. From the 400 pound guy running around his yard with a rifle, to the family that was building a bunker to defend against a world wide tornado swarm, this show make preppers look like a bunch of loons. Maybe that is because the first rule of prepping is to keep a low profile, and the only preppers who would go on such a show are the dumb ones.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The extent of the problem

When the US federal government spends money, expenses are officially categorized in three different ways:

Mandatory spending includes entitlements like Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, etc. which are REQUIRED by law to be paid.

Interest on the debt. 

Discretionary spending includes nearly everything we think of related to government– the Military, all of the Alphabet agencies, the courts, Federal prisons, foreign aid, food stamps, welfare, bailouts, etc.

The two categories that must be spent every year are the interest on the debt, and mandatory spending. That totaled about $2.5 trillion in FY 2011.

The government took in about $2.3 trillion in tax revenue in FY2011. Even if the rest of government had been shut down, we would still have a $200 billion deficit. With the discretionary fund, this resulted in a deficit of $1.3 trillion.

What does this mean? This means that the government could confiscate 100% of the income of the top 1% of wage earners (anyone who makes more than $340,000 a year), and there would still be a $300 billion deficit.

In fact, increasing the taxes of all Americans by a third (133% of last year) would still require that all government discretionary spending be cut in half.

Does anyone here think that we can fix this?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Here we go

My local gun store opened at 7 a.m. this morning. By 8:30, they had sold 15 AR15 rifles, their entire inventory. Also, there are no magazines to be had, and they are running out of ammo. They also told me that calls to their distributors have revealed that all black rifles and their magazines will be back ordered for the foreseeable future.
I wonder how many of the people buying these guns today voted for Obama yesterday.

(I voted for Johnson.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Being a post whore, there is a topic that is guaranteed to get hits: Sex. A recent study showed that women's sexual appetite falls as a relationship ages, while the appetite of men remains constant.

This creates a bit of a question in my mind: For women, as the "shiny" wears off, her desire to have sex diminishes. Does this mean that this predisposes women to have an affair with a new male, who would presumably trigger increased desire, or does it mean that the man who has the same desire as he always had will be predisposed to an affair with a woman that still desires sex?

In other words, are we as humans biologically designed to preclude monogamy?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Safety question

So we all know the four rules:

  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

My question is this:
When is it acceptable to violate any given rule? For example:
A gun isn't loaded when it has a chamber flag in place. In SWAT training, we have our firearms inspected to ensure that they are not loaded, a chamber flag is placed, and no loaded magazines or ammunition is allowed in training. We then spend the rest of the afternoon pointing guns at each other for training. This violates at least two, possibly all four, of the rules.

Every time you carry in a shoulder holster, you violate rule 2. Can you violate rule two if the action is locked open? If not, then how do you put your weapon in the case? Approach the firing line? Attach a suppressor? If you have a firearm that has the action locked open, and there is no magazine in the well, is it a sin to sweep someone?

For rule three, how can you disassemble your Glock?

My point is that there are times when the rules don't apply. Where is that limit?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Death penalty

I used to be in favor of the death penalty. My opinion has changed over the past few years: I am in favor of the death penalty in theory, but after seeing the innocence project and the Duke Lacrosse case, I am of the opinion that our legal system is too corrupt to ensure that we are not executing the innocent.

Maurice Patterson was convicted of murder in 2002 for a fight where the victim was stabbed 14 times. Three people witnessed the fight, fleetingly and in the dark, and a fourth witness claimed to have seen a man with blood on his hand hiding from the police. All four witnesses identified Maurice Patterson in a live lineup weeks after the attack, but they only testified regarding these identifications after being threatened with Contempt of Court.

A bloody knife was found near the scene and sent to Orchid Cellmark for DNA testing. STR test results excluded Patterson, indicating a mixture of the victim’s profile and an unknown profile. Comparison to the State CODIS DNA database revealed that the unknown profile belonged to a drug addict with a history of violence. Though the State Police Forensic Science Center had been notified that the sample included the victim’s blood, this information was never directly communicated to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors continued with the case against Patterson regardless of the exculpatory results.

Robert Wilcoxson and Kenneth Kagonyera served almost 10 years in North Carolina prisons for a murder they didn’t commit before a three-judge panel overturned their convictions on September 22, 2011, based on DNA evidence proving innocence.

In this case, a man was killed during a home invasion, and police managed to secure confessions from the two defendants. Three bandanas and two pairs of gloves were located on the side of the road near the Bowman residence and were collected by deputies as evidence in the case. The bandanas and gloves found near the crime scene were submitted for pre-trial DNA testing. Results excluded all six co-defendants, however this information was never turned over to Kagonyera or Wilcoxson’s attorneys.

Sure, we have DNA and such, but when the system is so corrupt that exculpatory evidence is "lost" or buried, we are executing the innocent. That makes us all as a society guilty of murder.