Friday, December 31, 2010

Legal confusion

There seems to be some confusion, some of it deliberate, about Florida's "guns in parking lots" law. The law allows citizens who possess a valid Concealed Weapons permit to keep firearms in their vehicles without fear that they can lose their jobs for doing so. It prohibits an employer from taking any action against an employee for having a firearm in his car, or for refusing a search of his car that is intended to look for weapons.

Exempted from this law are employers that operate certain types of businesses, like nuclear weapons plants and explosives manufacturers. This is where the confusion begins. Disney has stated that they have a policy that weapons are prohibited in the theme park areas, and this is enforceable because of that clause. To clear this up, lets take a look that the clause and what it means. The exemption clause reads:

(7) EXCEPTIONS. The prohibitions in subsection (4) do not apply to: (snip irrelevant parts)
(e) Property owned or leased by a public or private employer or the landlord of a public or private employer upon which the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage, or transportation of combustible or explosive materials regulated under state or federal law, or property owned or leased by an employer who has obtained a permit required under 18 U.S.C. s. 842 to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in explosive materials on such property. (Emphasis added)

Since Disney is not in the PRIMARY business of handling or manufacturing explosives, the bold part is where Disney claims to derive the ability to exempt itself from the law. This is where the deliberate obfuscation comes in. The permit that is issued pursuant to 18 USC 842 is a permit issued by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to manufacture and deal in explosives. Disney has such a permit, as they use it to purchase wholesale Class C explosives (fireworks) for their daily fireworks shows. This would seem to place Disney firmly in the exempted class of employers. Until you dig.

Disney's permit to manufacture explosives only covers a specific piece of property, the property where the explosives are stored and handled. In the county plat book, the Disney resort area is not one contiguous piece of property, but is divided into hundreds of smaller plots of land. This is probably done for tax reasons, and to avoid fire codes that would prohibit handling explosives on the same land where operating theme parks and hotels. Since this is the case, an employee working at the EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom resort, or at any of the hotels in the Disney area would not be on the same piece of property where the employers is licensed to handle the explosives. Thus, Disney should not be exempt on any property not covered by the explosives permit.

I believe that this is the case that was being made by Jon Gutmacher when he was representing Mr Sotomayor in his lawsuit against Disney. We will never know, because Disney settled the case out of court to avoid losing, and the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

As an atheist, I celebrate Christmas. To me, it is a holiday that allows us to get together with our friends and families and bond with them. Regardless of if you are an Atheist, Agnostic, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or any other religious stripe, we should all endeavor to get along for one day a year.

Merry Christmas

Edited to add: Thank you to all who commented on this blog, wishing me a Merry Christmas. I was unable to respond, as I was working, and we do not have internet access at work. Again, thank you. I hope the coming year brings all of you happiness and prosperity.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ponzi Schemes

A Ponzi scheme is an investment that promises large returns on investment, and accomplishes this by paying current investors using the money of subsequent investors. The perpetuation of a Ponzi scheme depends on a constantly expanding set of new investors. For this reason, all Ponzi schemes are destined to fail as the ever increasing amounts of money needed to maintain the scheme outstrip the ability of the scheme to attract new investors.

Since the money in such a scheme is used to pay previous investors, it is never invested in monetary vehicles that expand the money pool. For this reason, growth in the funds can only be executed by growth in the pool of investors. That is exactly how the Social Security system functions. The money that is in the Social Security trust fund must by law be invested in Treasuries. For this reason, there is no money in the Social Security Trust fund, just a file cabinet filled with government bonds. Trillions of dollars in IOUs. 

This works well until the incoming "investors" begin to inevitably be outnumbered by the recipients that need to be paid. The only reason that the Social Security system has lasted as long as it has is simply due to scale, but even this has run out. For the first time since its inception, Social Security is being paid out in greater amounts than it is taking in. The collapse of this Ponzi scheme, as with all such schemes, is inevitable, and in this case, imminent.

Simply stuffing these funds into a figurative mattress by loaning the money to ourselves, and then spending it on social projects makes as much sense as a man standing in a bucket and attempting to lift himself off the ground by feverishly tugging on the handle.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where do Mexican crime guns come from?

According to the Washington Post, they come from the United States:

No other state has produced more guns seized by police in the brutal Mexican drug wars than Texas. In the Lone Star State, no other city has more guns linked to Mexican crime scenes than Houston.

Of course, that is a bit of a misdirection, as others have shown. However, why isn't anyone talking about taking the guns away from the US Border Patrol, in light of this story?

A Mexican woman is under arrest after agents at the Andrade Port of Entry discover a stolen gun in her possession.
The 25-year old woman was taken into custody on Saturday after agents at the border discovered the woman had a gun they say belongs to the US Border Patrol.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SVT revisited

What is Supra Ventricular Tachycardia? I think that I did a good job explaining it here. The problem that brings this up again is yet another nurse who thinks she needs to school the dumb paramedics.

I was recently training a new paramedic, and I showed him a picture of a Sinus Rhythm at a rate of 180 beats per minute. I told him that he was, for the purpose of this discussion, working at the first aid tent of a marathon, and that this was the presenting rhythm of a marathon runner who was complaining of dizziness. I use this scenario often as a training aid, and this medic, as new medics invariably do, identified the rhythm as PSVT and stated that it should be treated with 6mg of Adenosine. I asked why, and he told me that PSVT is any rhythm that has an origin above the ventricles, and a rate of over 150 beats per minute.

I pointed out to him that while SVT is technically any tachycardia that occurs above the ventricles in a purely literal sense, it is important for clinicians to recognize that what we refer to as PSVT is a dysrhythmia, and that there is not any set heart rate that separates Sinus Tachy from PSVT. The only way to tell the difference is to do a good patient assessment.

A nearby RN overheard, and attempted to tell me why I was wrong, and that 150 bpm is the standard for defining SVT.

I asked her why she felt I was incorrect in saying that the aforementioned marathon runner is probably in Sinus Tachy. This rhythm is a response to the normal metabolic demands of the runner's body. A person taking a stress test has similar responses. (After all, the target heart rate for a stress test is usually over 150 beats per minute)

Instead of answering, the RN tried to tell me that the AHA defines SVT as all tachycardias that originate above the ventricles and have a rate over 150. Sigh. Where does the AHA say that?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Clean Air=Global warming???

ALL-CLEAR IN THE STRATOSPHERE: Earth's stratosphere is as clear as it's been in more than 50 years. University of Colorado climate scientist Richard Keen knows this because he's been watching lunar eclipses. "Since 1996, lunar eclipses have been bright, which means the stratosphere is relatively clear of volcanic aerosols. This is the longest period with a clear stratosphere since before 1960." Consider the following comparison of a lunar eclipse observed in 1992 after the Philippine volcano Pinatubo spewed millions of tons of gas and ash into the atmosphere vs. an "all-clear" eclipse in 2003:

Keen explains why lunar eclipses can be used to probe the stratosphere: "At the distance of the Moon, most of the light refracted into the umbra (Earth's shadow) passes through the stratosphere, which lies 10 to 30 miles above the ground. When the stratosphere is clear, the umbra (and therefore, the eclipsed Moon) is relatively bright. On the other hand, if the atmospheric lens that illuminates the Moon becomes dirty enough, light will be blocked and the eclipse will appear dark."

This is timely and important because the state of the stratosphere affects climate; a clear stratosphere "lets the sunshine in" to warm the Earth below. At a 2008 SORCE conference Keen reported that "The lunar eclipse record indicates a clear stratosphere over the past decade, and that this has contributed about 0.2 degrees to recent warming."

This story reproduced from (emphasis added)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Protecting us from felons

It is a crime for a person who has been convicted of a felony to possess or own a firearm or ammunition. Many would think that this is a wise law, as we certainly do not want people who are dangerous criminals running around with guns. The problem that I have, is that we have redefined "felony" to mean some pretty silly things. For example:

In Texas, it is a felony to own more than 4 sex toys (chapter 43). 11 of the 2,324 acts that the Texas Legislature thinks are worthy of being called felonies, making you so dangerous as to prohibit your ownership of firearms, have to do with acts that you can commit with or to an oyster. Here is the entire list of felonies for Texas.
In Utah, it is a felony to go whale hunting in a rented boat.
In Colorado, incest is a class 4 felony, punishable at the maximum by life in prison. If either participant is under 21, it becomes a class 3 felony.
In Montana It is a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail.
In Florida, it is a felony to access WiFi without permission. There was a man who was convicted in 2005 of using a man's WiFi without permission.

These are the crimes that are used to justify removing your civil rights.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Now for something completely different

This article about the redneck society states that you might be a redneck, if you think it is called "duck tape" instead of "duct tape." The redneck society page says it as well.

Well, if you call it "duct tape," you are wrong.  The trademarked name for the tape is actually "Duck Tape." It was invented during world war two by Permacell, a division of the Johnson and Johnson Company and was used to seal American ammo cans against water. The resulting tape was nicknamed "Duck Tape" for its ability to repel water.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

EMS delivery systems

EMS in the United States is provided in one of five ways: fire service, private, third service, public-utility and hospital-based.

The fire service model is where EMS is run by the fire department. The personnel who staff the ambulances are usually cross trained as firefighters, and assume those duties at fire scenes. Since most fire departments in the country who follow this model are seeing 80% or more of their calls as EMS runs, having firefighters sitting around, waiting for a fire seems inefficient. So while there are no fires, they are put to work running EMS calls.

The advantage to this system is that it is more efficient to minimize the amount of down time that crews have and put them to work. The disadvantages to the system are that 1) most of the personnel would rather run into burning buildings than clean up grandma's feces filled diapers. 2) If one of these people rises to the level of chief, you get an entire EMS agency that focuses more on the 20% or less of the organization's responsibilities, and virtually ignores the primary mission of EMS, and 3) To adequately serve potential patients, EMS resources must be matched to meet demand. Fire departments have historically deployed ambulances using a fixed neighborhood station model, and many continue to use 24-hour shifts. This results in lower efficiency, with too many resources during non-peak times and non-peak neighborhoods, and not enough resources during non-peak times and in non-peak neighborhoods.

The next government run system is the 'third service' model, in which EMS is run as a branch of local government as a stand-alone service. Like its public-safety counterparts, it is completely owned, financed, and operated within the local government structure. The advantages here are that everyone in the EMS organization is charged with and working on the delivery of emergency ambulance service, and management is directly responsible to local officials.

The disadvantages here: As with all government run models, it is common for third-service and fire-based organizations to be evaluated by a level-of-effort approach instead of performance outcomes. This means no repercussions exist if the service underperforms. Poor performance is often addressed by simply adding resources. Another disadvantage is that control of expenditures is dependent on the local government's budgetary and managerial processes. This makes it difficult to keep spending appropriate, as the people doing the budgeting are either invested in the process (the EMS chief) and spend too much, or they know nothing about EMS delivery (the city commission/mayor's office), and spend too little.

There is private EMS, which is where a private company provides EMS service to the community, and is funded entirely by user fees, billed to those who use the service. Since the model also provides the more lucrative non-emergency transportation between hospitals, private homes, and nursing homes. In combination with lower wages, less opportunity for advancement, and higher expectations for productivity, the provider can usually make EMS profitable. The advantage here is that this service costs the taxpayer very little, but the disadvantages here are that significant oversight is required to prevent the company from cutting too many corners, and that employee turnover and burnout rates are generally high.

There is the "public utility model," where the EMS agency acts like a public utility like the electric company. They are a for profit service that is contracted by the local government to provide service to the community, and they are paid a fee by the local government, and also bill the people who are transported to the hospital. The majority of the funding (if not all of it) is through these user fees.The advantage here is that the contractor is held to a standard, and if they do not live up to that standard, they can be replaced.The disadvantage is that this is a variation on the "for profit" system, and the disadvantages here are the same.

Similarly, hospital based systems see the same difficulties as the PUM and the for-profit models. In my area, there were two hospital based ambulance services, but they only did the more profitable interfacility non-emergency transports. A few years ago, one was replaced by a contract with Rural Metro. The other is still there, but is still relegated to interfacility transports.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Eric Sheptock has been homeless since 1994 when he last held a job, but he has a cellphone, 4500 friends on Facebook, and gets 1500 emails a day. He does it all by using free computers, begging for cash, and being paid to speak about how the government doesn't do enough to help homeless bums.

Sheptock won't take a job that would compromise his advocacy efforts or the long hours he spends tending to his digital empire, he says. In other words, the man is a professional parasite. He gets up every morning from the same bed in the same shelter, showers, gets a free breakfast, and spends the next 6 hours surfing free internet.

There are 6500 others just like him in DC. The only thing that makes him unique is the fact that he spends his days complaining that people and the government don't do enough to give him better free stuff. At 50 years old, he hasn't had a job since he was 25 years old and quit his job to be a crack addict. He first came to Washington DC to protest the Iraq war.

If you subsidize something, you get more of it. I say that it is time to stop feeding the strays with government cash. If a private charity wants to pay for these leaches to loaf all day while complaining that you aren't giving them enough, that is the charity's business. I for one, think that we have funded enough of this. If he can spend his days surfing the net and lobbying government officials for free cash, he can get a job.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Benefit cuts.

There is still a lot of talk about how public employees in general, and firefighters in particular, are overpaid. I have touched on this in the past. This talk often mentions how firefighters make large amounts of money. While it is true that there are firefighters in Central Florida that make $48,000 a year to start, let's look beyond the surface to see just how we arrive at that amount.

A firefighter who works a 24 on/48 off schedule works 2912 hours per year, which averages out to a 56 hour work week. According to Federal law (the FLSA) that firefighter gets overtime for all hours over 53 in a week. So, this overtime premium adds 156 hours to his pay, meaning that the firefighter is paid for 3,068 hours. If we divide the firefighter's $48,000 annual salary by that number, we see that the hourly rate for this firefighter works out to $15.64.

Now let's look and see what a firefighter working for a private company works out to. A private employee gets overtime at 40 hours. This means that a 24/48 schedule results in an overtime premium of 832 hours, which means the private firefighter receives 3,744 hours of pay per year. Paying that firefighter even $14.50 an hour would mean that he would make $54,288 a year.

A paramedic with no fire training starts at an average of $14 an hour in the Orlando area. Some jobs pay more (hospitals) and some pay less (theme parks). My department currently starts firefighters at about $40,000 a year ($13 an hour), but they must be Paramedics to get that rate of pay.

Every year for the last 10 years, we have had our pay and/or benefits cut. In my opinion, that is why we are seeing a serious decline in the quality of our people. This year, my department is talking about severe cuts to our pension plan, and is making deep cuts to our other benefits, including health.

I am considering leaving the EMS field to pursue other endeavors. Maybe I can get my master's degree and go be a Physicians Assistant.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gun hysteria

Monica Sliva has a psychological problem. She complained because a Christmas tree store had a Santa Clause sign with a gun painted on him. Watch here

Friday, December 10, 2010

Don't bring a Taser to a gun fight

Brandon Lyles' first record of wrong doing came to the attention of authorities in 1999, at the age of 18. Since that time, he has been arrested for 7 felonies on seven different occasions, and convicted four times. Lyles spent 8 of the 11 years of his adult life in jail. The third time was for armed burglary, theft, and dealing in stolen property. The crimes were committed while he was still on probation. He was sentenced to six years in prison. He served less than a year, and was released on parole. Counting "time served" during the trial, he was out less than six months after being convicted. Of his third felony. (It's all here: look up the record for yourself)

Just a couple of weeks after being released, he was arrested again, for burglary, two counts of theft, and misdemeanor criminal mischief. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years. Seven years later, he was again released. A year after that, he was stopped for a traffic infraction by Brandon Coates. No one really knows exactly what happened after that, but what is known is that Deputy Coates tried to use a Taser, and was shot twice in the head and died. Brandon Lyles was later found dead of an apparently self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Some observations:

1 A man convicted of four felonies is still getting out of prison early? Even if one is armed burglary? The reason is because jails are overcrowded with non-violent offenses for owning the wrong plant. Get rid of drug laws, so the animals can be in cages where they belong.

2 If he is willing to kill a cop, what would that armed burglar do to you or your family?

3 Gun laws do not work to prevent criminals from getting weapons.

4 A gun will not help you if you are complacent and are not ready to be more ruthless than your opponent. When the time comes, do not hesitate. Shoot him as many times as it takes to put him down.

It doesn't add up

I went to the Doctor's office yesterday, and the copay was $25. I handed the woman two $20 bills, and she had to use a calculator to figure out how much change I was owed.

We left there and went to lunch at Chik-fil-A. The bill for lunch was $13.31. I handed the lady $14. She accidentally typed in $13, and the register display indicated that there was still 31 cents due. She handed me 31 cents in change. I pointed out her mistake, and she got flustered because she didn't know how to make change. I finally had to tell her that she owed me 38 cents. Instead, she made me return the 31 cents, called a manager over to override the last transaction, and did it all over again.

Can't anyone perform even simple math anymore?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some more family history, the early days of WW2

My Uncle John was just 16 years old on December 7, 1941. As we all know, the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on that day. My Uncle John (really a great Uncle) decided that he was going to defend his Country. He went to town and waited in line at the closest military recruiter's office. By the time he got into that line, he was so far back, it took him three days to get to the front of it.

Once in the recruiter's office, he lied about his age to enlist in the United States Navy. He was then sent home and told that the military was not equipped to handle the sudden influx of new recruits, and he would have to wait his turn. A week later, he was on a train headed for boot camp. I am not sure where he went to boot camp, but I remember that he said that it was less than a month long.

Uncle John was put on a ship as a passenger, and arrived in Pearl Harbor Hawaii in the first week of February. He was amazed that there was still so much destruction from the attacks that had happened just three months earlier. He was there only a few days when he was assigned to his first ship, a destroyer. Three weeks later, it was sunk out from under him. He was rescued, and was sent to a second ship, and two years later, that ship was sunk out from under him as well. His actions won him a purple heart and a couple of other citations that I cannot recall.

He stayed in the Navy after the war, and eventually retired in 1967, after 25 years of service. He was 41 years old. He remained in Norfolk for the rest of his life, working at the Navy Shipyards until he retired a second time in 1982, at the age of 56. He was classified as disabled.

I went to visit him several times during the 5 years I myself was stationed in Norfolk. He was a personable guy with a lot of interesting stories. He is dead now, as the greatest generation slowly fades away. Today is a day of remembrance. December 7, 1941. The day our greatest generation rose to the call of their nation.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A bit of family history

This is always the one day of the year that I feel a bit sad. Today is my father's birthday. He was born on this date in 1941, just three days before Pearl Harbor. He died in 2005, at the age of 63. I suppose that I should count myself lucky to have had him as long as I did, seeing as how he watched his own father collapse and die in front of him on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana when he was a small child.

Growing up in the 1940s without a father was tough. This was the era when women were not welcome in the workplace, and single parents were nearly unheard of. His mother did what she had to do, and moved into a poor neighborhood in New Orleans and tried to provide for her children as best she could. She made sacrifices, and eventually remarried to a man who had the means to care for my father and his older sister.

It was no wonder that my dad grew up to adore his mother. So much so, that after her death in the early 1980s at the age of 63, he insisted that he would not live longer than his mother. A bit over two decades later, he would get his wish. I am just glad that he got to see his own grandchildren, and that my children used to get spoiled by him. My son tells me that his favorite memory of his grandfather was being taught how to fish.

When I was a child, we would attend family reunions that required convention halls. Living in South Louisiana used to mean growing up in traditional Catholic households, where it was not unusual to have seven or eight siblings. The generation of my parents was the first generation to stop this practice. This meant that I literally had hundreds of adult relatives as a child. There are entire towns in Louisiana where I am related to nearly half the town, even if only by marriage. It was not unusual to ask a woman on a date, and later discover that I was her third or fourth cousin. I used to joke with my mother and tell her that anything outside of first cousin was fair game.

On my father's side of the family, only his older sister remains as my last blood relative. On my mother's side of the family, there remains only my mother, her two siblings, and my great aunt. I lost several older relatives in the past year, as the last holdouts from my grandparents' generation dies off.

So, it is this particular day each year that I feel a bit like I am approaching that point in my life when I must think about my own mortality.Soon, that feeling will be replaced by the joys of celebrating Christmas with my own family, and even though my own children are grown up and following their own paths, I can still play the nice Uncle to my nephew and three nieces, while dreaming of the day that I can teach things to my own grandchildren.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I can't call for help

The US government is considering requiring cars to have technology installed that prevents cellphone use in the car. The stated goal is preventing drivers from being distracted. Here are some questions:

What if I am in an accident? Carjacked and crammed into the trunk? How do I call 911?
What if I am a passenger? Is my phone still going to be blocked? Even in a taxi? What if I am a Senator in a Limo?

The government is also looking to require backup cameras in all new vehicles, because 292 people a year are killed when they are backed over. This will cost about $2.6 billion to install in the 16 million cars sold in the US each year, which works out to about $9 million per life saved, even if you assume that the cameras will eliminate all such deaths.

I am looking at the Constitution, and I don't see where that power has been granted to the government.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things happen so fast...

I was walking out of a local grocery store while doing my weekly grocery shopping, when I a woman entering the store lunged at me and punched me in the stomach, and then ran past me into the store. A woman just outside the doors told me that the woman had been running around and screaming at other people outside. Since my wife was still in the store, I turned around and followed the woman inside, to find her talking to a man who was obviously with her.

Once the man's back was turned, she looked right at me and stuck her tongue out at me. They then walked out of the store. Witnesses to the attack told my wife and I that this woman must be crazy.

My reaction time was a little slower than I would have liked, and I thought about what would have happened had I defended myself. Would her husband have come to her aid? Would I have had to draw a weapon at that point?

My new J frame

I have a safe full of 1911s and Sigs. I have examples from Kimber and Colt. There are Sigs in every major caliber residing there. Multiple Glocks as well. I have the major calibers well covered: 9mm, .45 ACP, .357 Sig, .40 S&W. The problem here is that it is hot here in Florida, and it is difficult to conceal many handguns. My most easily concealed handgun is a Kimber Ultra Carry II,which is a Commander-sized 1911, or perhaps a Sig 229 in either 9mm or .357 Sig. 

I decided that I needed a more concealable pistol, so I bought a Beretta 3032. Although I like the easy concealability of the pistol, I haven't been completely happy with this choice, mostly because the .32 ACP cartridge is a little underpowered (in the neighborhood of 125 foot pounds). I wanted more.

So this weekend, I went out and bought a J Frame Smith and Wesson, namely a model 642 +P with the "Centennial" hammerless frame. The 5 shot hammerless revolver should be ideal for pocket carry, and with the .38 SPL +P loads coming in at about 200 foot-pounds, I think that this will be a better choice for defense. (Speer GDHP 125gr +P leaves a 1 7/8" barrel at 875 fps, giving a muzzle energy of 212 foot pounds) This will give me more options when it comes to carrying in Florida's hot climate and casual dress styles.

I took the revolver to the range, and I noticed a few things:
One, the sights suck. I don't think that will be a problem, since this is a pocket pistol with a 1 7/8 inch barrel, I am not planning on engaging anything past shooting distances of 7-10 yards.
Two: It shoots about 6 inches high at 10 yards. This is actually related to problem one, I think. Now I am nowhere near being a great shooter, but I can generally shoot a seven shot 4 inch group in 5 seconds with my Ultra Carry at 10 yards. I don't think this is a shooter problem, but I could be wrong.
Three: Recoil is rather snappy. I think this is mostly due to the 15 ounce weight of the weapon, combined with full power loads. Law of physics, there.

Now all I have to do is find some carry options and leather. I know pocket carry is in this little pistol's future. What about ankle carry? OWB? Anyone have any suggestions for good holsters?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Higher education

In one of the classes I am taking, we are discussing user fees. This is a class for college seniors, and so you would think that the students in this class would at least be able to spell, and perhaps even form a basic sentence. The post that I am about to quote is from an online discussion of user fees, and this particular post concerns user fees charged by animal control for picking up stray animals. Read the post of one of my fellow students:

This is very benefit to the Pinellas County Animal Shelter charger citizens for picking up animals or surrendered to the agency. The bad news the agency are taking risk of taking animals who could have been infect with diseases or anything else. A fee of $20 is not much but I don't mind surrendered animals to the agency as long the animals are taking care for. I would not consider picking up with raccoon because they could have rabbies and most of them are very aggresive. Now, citizens must pay a fee for having the service taking animals away from their property. I see no wrong for this but I would like to keep animals off my property. Instead of having the service pick up the animals, It would be best to set a trap or a cage to capture the animals myself. I have a trap cage that will trap raccoons from coming to my property. Once the raccoons are capture in the cage, I would send the animal back to ther service. I was wondering do the service are letting these animals go since they have no responsible for their well being. A cage caputing raccoons is the best option of having the service do it for you.
Wow. Just wow. Our country has lowered standards to the point that this is the work of a college senior.

EDITED TO ADD: The student is an English speaking student. The last name is Bell. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

The cause of the first Thanksgiving

How did the first Thanksgiving happen? It was a celebration of a big harvest at the Plymouth colony. The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony had organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally. Each person got an equal share of the total production of the entire colony, and they truly followed the idea of "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability."

What happened here is that it wasn't long before people figured out that they got their share no matter how much or how little they worked. The colony was soon at the brink of starvation. This went on for two years, until as Governor William Bradford said in his diary: "So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented... The colonists began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, (I) (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."

In other words, they switched from communism to a private market. The results were dramatic. The next year (1623) the crop was so plentiful, they decided to celebrate with the feast that is now known as Thanksgiving.

"This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."

What Plymouth suffered under this plan was what economists today call the tragedy of the commons. The problem has been known since ancient Greece.  As Aristotle noted, "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."

If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in it, each person has an incentive to do as little as possible and take as much as possible because what one fails to take will just be taken by someone else.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The end of the Fourth Amendment

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis (all 3 of you) know that I have long commented on the attacks that are regularly made on the Fourth Amendment. It is finally dead.


Eyes still a gangsta, yo

The guy from this post three years ago was my patient again yesterday. This time he got his stupid gangsta ass stabbed by a rival gang member. Idiot.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's your job

For those of you who do not work in EMS, it may come as a surprise to learn that we in EMS very rarely saves people who have no pulse when we arrive. In 22 years, I have saved about 20 people out of the hundreds that I have performed CPR on. Nine of those saves have been in the last five years (three of them were the same guy on three separate occasions). By save, I do not mean that I got a pulse back only to have the patient die three days later in the ICU (like my father did), I mean that the patient went home to his family and lived a normal life.

For that reason, I have always admired those agencies that rewarded providers for a job well done, and gave them some recognition when they have a "code save." My agency is not one of them. I got an award for exactly one of those saves. Just one. It was in March of 2008 that I saved the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor's fishing buddy. I got an award for that one. Most of the time, when I ask about recognizing outstanding performance from a paramedic, I am told, "Why should I reward you for doing your job? I can't believe that you paramedics always want applause for doing what we pay you to do."

Every time a firefighter saves a kitten, he gets a write up in the paper. Isn't it about time paramedics got the recognition that they deserve?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rubbin, touching, squeezin

By the TSA, with apologies to Steve Perry, the Constitution, and your civil rights.
(to the tune of Journey's Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin)

You opted out, but you wanna fly
Just then, we said we'd try
Rubbin', Touchin', Squeezin, your backside

If you opt out, all by yourself
You meet, with someone else
He'll be rubbin, touchin, squeezin, your backside.

We're at the airport, every every day
You gave up all your rights
Oh what can I say?
You're at the airport

It won't be long yes, till we're at home
like your lover, we'll we'll touch your bum
Then we're rubbin, oooh we're touchin, we're squeeezin, another

We tear your ticket up
Oh every day
We tear your rights apart
Oh, what can you say?
Cuz' we'll arrest you, we'll no fly you,
just shut up, take it, and try not to cry

na, na, na, na, na, na....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Free house?

Probably not, but here is my story:
I bought my home in April of 2007 for about $240,000. I was intending to live there once I married my fiance. Together, we were making $110,000 a year, and we could easily afford the $1800 a month payments. The problem was that the bottom fell out a year later.

Being an employee of local government, my income is based upon an employer who derives income from local property taxes. Since property values were falling like a stone, our hours were being cut. By September of 2009, we were making $20,000 a year less than we were when we bought the house. Worse, the house was now worth less than half of what it was when we bought it. To make matters worse, my wife's student loans came due, and she lost her job a month later. Stuck with a falling paycheck and a depreciating asset, we made the decision to declare bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy, my mortgage bank provided copies of my promissory note and mortgage, stated that they were the owner of the mortgage and the note, and asked the judge for permission to begin foreclosing on the house. This is where things get interesting.

I had intended on returning the house to the bank as soon as they foreclosed on it. I figured that would take six months, at the most. They filed a foreclosure suit against me, and provided me with copies of the note and mortgage as proof to the court that they were entitled to foreclose on the house. The only problem? The note in the foreclosure was a different piece of paper than the one they gave the bankruptcy court. It turns out that my note and mortgage were sold to Fannie Mae in 2007, and my mortgage bank was just servicing the loan- that is, taking my payments and forwarding them on. Who knows which mortgage company Fannie Mae sold it to after that, no one knows. In other words, they committed perjury. (For my Republican/Conservative readers: Remember that perjury was considered to be enough of a crime to impeach President Clinton, so don't lecture me on how requiring that a mortgager not fabricate things in court is just a "hyper technical" legal loophole.)

I sued my mortgage bank, and they have agreed to settle out of court. It looks like they are going to write me a large check. The rub here is that no one knows who owns the rights to foreclose on my home. Until someone can prove that they are the one with the right to foreclose, I live here for free. We are at 15 months and counting.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Buy a truck, get a rifle

A Sanford car dealership is offering a voucher for a free AK-47 type rifle for customers who buy a truck. Already there is PSH over the deal:

 Ginetta told me they're doing this as a salute to veterans, but maybe they should have asked a guy next door at the VFW hall.  "Them guys next door that are giving away AK-47. I was shot 14 times by that rifle. It's a hell of a rifle. Kills a lot of people. They've got no business giving those rifles away."
What are the odds that the very rifle that shot you, a machine gun by legal definition, is the same one they are giving away? Not a chance. This is the semi-automatic copy of that particular rifle, you tool. Yes, because the rifle LOOKS like the one that an enemy combatant shot you with, it should be illegal.

In observance of that, I offer you the list of weapons that should be made illegal:

Walther PPK
The M1 Garand (The Germans called them the Selbstladegewehr 251(a))
The M1 Carbine ( (The Germans called them the Selbstladekarabiner 455(a))
The Colt Model 1903 was carried by some Japanese Officers
The Mosin Nagant
1917 Enfield (used by North Korea)
Springfield 1903 (used by N Korea)
Lee Enfield (N Korea)

Instead, I give Kudos to the dealer for supporting the Second Amendment. You could also note that the quote that is supposedly from the VFW hall is not attributed to a person, which in my mind likely means that the reporter made that quote up, especially considering that the VFW hall is not "next door," the nearest one is over 5 miles away.

Friday, November 12, 2010

South Fulton tactics in Broward County

Not long ago, I talked about the South Fulton Fire Department. This is the town fire department who provided fire services to the surrounding area, if the homeowner paid a membership fee. In one well publicized case, they allowed a house to burn down because the homeowner had not paid the fee.Many people, including firefighters, blasted them for refusing to provide services to a community that had not paid for those services.

Now it comes out that the Sheriff of Broward County, Florida is doing the same thing with regard to the City of Lauderdale Lakes. It seems that the city is $6 million behind on their payments to the county for police and fire protection, so the Sheriff is transferring those services to the parts of the county that actually pay for them.

Where are the people shouting that the police and fire should respond there anyway?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Negligent Discharges

They say that there are two types of gun owners: those who have had a negligent discharge, and those who will have a negligent discharge. A negligent discharge is when the gun goes bang without you intending it to. By that definition, you can count me as being in the group that has experienced a negligent discharge. Twice. No one was hurt. Why? Because I was careful to observe basic safety rules. Sorta. Let me explain. First, just so we are on the same page, let's review those rules:

1 Assume that all firearms are loaded until proven otherwise, and treat them accordingly.

2 Do not place your finger inside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

3 Do not point the gun at anything you do not want to destroy, and that includes remembering that bullets do not always stop when they hit even an intended target. Know what lies beyond your target.

You can violate one of these rules at a time, and there will never be a problem. Some examples:
Rule one can be violated, and as long as you don't violate the other two, you are OK. Rule two is routinely violated during dry fire practice. Rule three is routinely violated when holster carrying, as my muzzle points at things whilst the gun is holstered.

Both of my negligent discharges were the result of violating rules one and two simultaneously. One of the two resulted from a violation of all three simultaneously. I shot a large hole in my bedroom mirror. It was the result of dry fire practice where I was drawing and firing at the critter in the mirror, and when I was done, I reloaded my pistol. Then I did what I had been doing for the past 20 minutes. I drew and fired into the guy in the mirror.

About a year later, I was at the range, and pulled the trigger on what I thought was an unloaded gun, and it surprised me when it went bang. It was pointed downrange, so no harm- no foul.

That was over 20 years ago. I have not had a single mishap since then, and I hope that I never will. I can help that by always being careful and following those rules.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The innocence of youth

My son got a speeding ticket back in August. He didn't pay it. He recently found out that his license was suspended two weeks ago. I asked him why he hadn't paid it, and he told me that he thought they would send him a reminder letter before they actually suspended his license.

He will be spending the day paying the ticket, the late fee, and the reinstatement fee. He is young, and I am trying to remember if I was that bone headed when I was his age, but I can't remember back that far.

Friday, October 29, 2010


A man reports that he was shot in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Orange County, FL. Pine Hills is a known drug and crime infested area, called "Crime Hills" by locals. I am not surprised in the least. This is a neighborhood that people are wise to avoid after dark.

This is very near where the Central Florida Fairgrounds are located. Gun dealers have been robbed leaving the gun shows there, and last year a cop was killed during a robbery at an ATM machine just down the street. I used to work for a couple of ambulance companies that are located in the area. I never went there in my POV if I was unarmed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moron- er, I mean- More on who gets my vote

I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils and being told that it is the only game in town. I am tired of hearing that I am throwing away my vote unless I vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. I will no longer vote for someone because that person promises to kill this country at a slightly slower pace than the other guy. Doing so is throwing away your vote in my opinion.

In the Florida Senate race, I voted for Alex Snitker, the Libertarian Candidate. His platform is very close to my beliefs.
For Governor, I voted for Rick Scott, mostly because he supports Florida Open carry.

The independent Jim Lewis got my vote for Attorney General, mostly because Gelber supports Obamacare, and wants to sue the Legislature for violating a state constitutional requirement to fund a "high quality" public education system, while Bondi wants to stamp out gay marriage, as if that were any of her business.

I voted no on every single amendment proposal except amendment one, mostly because they all involved raising my taxes for the benefit of others.

Douche and Turd

>I voted today. As I looked at the ballot and thought to myself that the people on there were all I had to choose from, I vomited in my mouth a little. South Park has it right: Every election is a choice between a douche and a turd.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One at a time: A range report

There are many who claim that Liberals are stupid and illogical, especially when it comes to gun rights. I would agree that some of them are. I would also say that some know better, but deliberately hide the truth to fit an agenda. Some Liberals realize that the right to defend one's life and health from attack, aided by the right to keep and bear arms, is just as important as other human rights.

However, it is my opinion that the vast number of people who say they do not like guns or are afraid of guns, do not have this opinion because of logic, they have this opinion out of ignorance. I am not saying this as an insult, as I know a few people who think this way, and they are pretty intelligent people, who in many cases, will listen to reason and can be convinced to change their mind. Let me give you a couple of examples:

There was Julie. She was a fairly liberal, college educated Jewish woman that I dated for about two years. When we met, and she found out that not only did I own guns, but actually routinely carried one, she nearly went ballistic. She was especially concerned that it was legal to carry a gun into a bank, because an armed person might rob the bank. I pointed out to her how illogical her position was, and how a having a gun doesn't make you a bank robber any more than having a computer makes you a hacker, and told her: "So a person is about to rob a bank, when he realizes that it is illegal to have a gun in a bank, and so he goes home and gets a job?"

A year or so later, she told me that I was one of the least violent people she had ever met, and that I had totally changed her opinion on gun owners. Even though she now has no interest in owning a gun herself, she is at least no longer antagonistic towards gun owners, and has seen the light.

There is Jennifer. She has been a friend of mine for about 10 years, and is a 30-something college educated professional who works in the medical field. She is a self described Liberal, and until she met me had never even seen a gun before, except on TV. I took her to the range last night, and she genuinely enjoyed it, even though she tells me that she would not care to own a gun herself.

I made jokes, and put her at ease. I told her that for safety reasons, it is customary for first time shooters to dress like Catholic Schoolgirls, so that other shooters know that they are new and are careful around them. She laughed, and then said, "Not a chance." 

A little gentle persuasion, and a trip to the range to shoot a Sig Mosquito, and she is hooked. I gave her a lot of encouragement, a quick safety lecture on the four rules, and let her shoot the less powerful guns ( Sig Mosquito and a Glock 19 with subsonic ammo). Couple that with a large target at 7 yards, and she did well. She grinned like a Cheshire cat. All of her shots were in a 6 inch group, and she kept the target to show her Liberal family and friends. After,. we went to dinner, and she told me that she had been afraid and nervous all day, and now saw that there was nothing to be worried about.

Perhaps I will take some of her liberal family and friends shooting as well. No matter what, I will not start them off on a scary hand cannon or large bore moose gun. No, I have a Sig Mosquito, and a Ruger 10/22 that is used specifically to teach people new to guns that shooting can be safe and fun.

That is how you win the fight. Many Liberals are smart, conscientious people who will make the smart, logical choice, if the information is given to them in a non confrontational, non intimidating way. We will win the fight for our rights, because logic and reason is on our side.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scene Safety

How many safety issues can you spot in this picture? This picture was posted on the internet by some responders who though it made them look "cool." It was reposted by another responder as an example of what not to do. The response to this was defensive and immediate. People from the offending department circled the wagons, and began demanding the picture and comments be removed. Then it got nasty:

Watch what you say and post on the internet, right?? Just sayin... Not the brightest idea to bash an FD you share a response area with, especially when you sometimes work at that joint station. Accidents happen.
 I responded that the comments there sounded like a threat. The response?

It's not a threat, I'm quoting what was said earlier about being careful what you put on the internet. I personally would never post something to make another dept look like crap, and I would expect that if I did such a thing a supervisor would approach me and tell me to take it down. People make mistakes, take a long look at yourself before you point fingers at others. I've seen guys from other department make mistakes and I'm not going to air it out on the internet and post pictures.
 So the message I get from this is that we would rather punish and threaten people who point out the mistakes instead of correcting them. Safety is everyone's responsibility, and if we ignore it so as not to make waves, we will never improve. That is how people get hurt.