Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Public Service Announcement

In today's day and age with all the incidents of identity theft and fraud I was rather surprised to hear about this but here it is for one and all.

Believe it or not the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington all provide their voter registration rolls to this website registered by 

I was surprised when it was brought to my attention that my full legal name, date of birth, home address (with handy accompanying Google map), phone number, etc. were all available online to anyone, whatever their purpose, to use as they see fit; Try to persuade me to vote for Hillary or perhaps just open a Macy's card so they can buy their little woman pretty things.

I did a little playing around and now know Silverfiddle's full middle name (if I knew it before I must have forgotten, but I know it now!).  It also listed his wife and daughter.  I looked up an old buddy of mine from Rhode Island and can assure you he's a decent man... as he has both his parents living with him (a fact I didn't know until I used this website).  

Now yes, in many states voter registration rolls are public records... but the laws governing such things are ancient and decrepit, predating felonious people taking out credit cards in your name, all online without benefit of Id checks or any of that silly nonsense.

If you live in one of the states listed above it might be beneficial if you were to log in, search yourself, click on your name... and when the page comes up, scroll down to the bottom and opt-out.  They will ask for an email address, but I keep a valid one handy that I never go into for just this very purpose... giving nosy people an email address that they will accept while never having to be bothered with it again. This won't get your name off the website but it will at least reduce your address down to your town/zipcode, get rid of your phone number, and reduce your date of birth to only the year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Debate or Debacle?

Did you watch it?  What did you think?

My honest opinion?  Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, no matter who wins, we lose. 

What was the outcome? I think The Onion captured it best in their headline:

Open-Minded Voter Waits Almost 5 Minutes Into Debate To Decide Who Won 

I think Clinton stuck to her script and it was noticeable, her performance seemed well-rehearsed which I don't necessarily think is a good thing.  I think Trump also missed a lot of wide open opportunities to score points, but I also think he stayed on message and think he has more of a chance of changing peoples minds about him than Clinton does, whether he accomplished that for the better, I don't know.

Listening to Trump's law and order speech shortly into the debate made me think of Pappy O'Daniel in O Brother Where Art Thou.

Hillary Clinton was exactly as I expected her to be... I think I'll go take a shower now. 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

How to fix the police

Believe it or not, police relations with citizenry haven't always been good as illustrated in the 1850's poster above.  The first truly modern uniformed police force was instituted by Louis XIV, hence the distinctly French name "police".  The police were initially the enforcement arm of the sovereign and there was a lot of resistance to enforcement.

Our modern police forces are believed to be based upon the creation of the Metropolitan police of London, created by Sir Robert Peel and heavily influenced by the philosophy of Jeremy Bentham.  They wear blue because at the time the military of the state wore red.  They were to be distinctly separate and recognizably, not an arm of the sovereign.  The philosophy was "Policing by consent".

There are nine Peelian principles:

1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

2. To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

3. To recognize always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

4. To recognize always that the extent to which the cooperation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately with the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

5. To seek and preserve public favor, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humor, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

The statement outlined above in bold is the principle that Sir Robert Peel most often and loudly tried to hammer home.

8. To recognize always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

9. To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

Now that I've outlined the basics I'll offer you a few ideas of my own for you to build upon.

Federalizing the police is the most stupid idea I've heard, it moves the power and authority of law enforcement even further from where it belongs, with is with the people.  Recreating the original problem of police, that of being the oppressive enforcement arm of the state underline the principle that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.  A National Police Force will, in my opinion, only make matters worse. Now for some of my ideas:

1. The position of police chief should be an elected position similar to that of Sheriffs, acting independently of municipal government.  The position of police chief should also be easily and readily subject to recall by the people. 

2. Not all police need to be armed.  We should take an example from our English brethren and separate routine policing from armed policing.  There are five countries that do not arm their police officers when on routine patrol.  Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand.  In Iceland roughly 1/3 of the citizenry is armed, it's police are not, they had their first police shooting in 2013. In 2014/15 there were 5,647 "Authorized Firearms Officers" in England out of roughly 125,000 officers.  London has the most with 2,122 AFOs on a force of 40,788.

3. Police need to get out of cars and go back to walking a beat.  This will of course necessitate more police and consistent with #2 above, they should not be armed.  Today, the most common interaction between the public and the police is in enforcement, that needs to change.  The public's most common interaction with the police can not be only when they get stopped, ticketed, fined, or arrested.

4. Police who are armed should not ever remove their weapons from their holsters unless they are going to fire them.  Unless you already have a legitimate reason to shoot someone you should never draw your weapon.  Drawing a weapon should have to meet the same rigorous legal reporting requirements and justification as shooting it.

5. Murder or attempted murder of a police officer in the line of duty should be an automatic capital offense, no other sentence, no plea deal, if you're guilty, you are dead.

Well, I've thrown out a few ideas, what are some of yours?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hello Dolly

Given the 9 Million in presales for Bette Midler's revival of the Broadway Musical, here is the original:

If you're interested in tickets

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charlotte & Tulsa

Well, what do you think?

In Tulsa an unarmed man with a stalled vehicle was shot by police, although perhaps there was PCP in the vehicle. Officers believed the man had a gun, none was found.

In Charlotte, an armed man (at least according to the police) was shot and killed waiting for his child's bus. According to the police he was observed exiting his vehicle armed and returning to his vehicle before police intervened.  

A key question is why?  North Carolina is an open carry state and the 4th circuit court of appeals has previously ruled (2013) that the open carry of a firearm does not constitute a legal reason for the police to stop a person.

Honestly, in the vast majority of cases I do not think these shootings racially motivated.  I find it hard to believe that a black officer working for a black police chief had a racist motive behind his shooting of a black suspect. The problem lies in why was he suspect at all?  The police were not there for him, he had done nothing illegal, the police had no reason to challenge him at all.

The circumstances that we are in are dire, we are afraid of the police (at least some of us are), and the police are afraid of us... nothing good can come from this situation.  On one side you have questionable police tactics and on the other, well the response doesn't help the situation at all does it?

In a free society it is not incumbent upon the people to adapt to the state but for the state to adapt to the people.  The police can not be permitted to react to an armed citizen with lethal force, they can not shoot someone simply for being armed, and they certainly can not shoot someone for simply being uncooperative.  These are the hallmarks of an oppressive police state, let us not forget that the charter of the police is to serve the citizenry, not the state, they are on the street to protect the citizenry, not themselves.  

While I disagree with the BLM movements interpretation of events we should all be outraged at how readily our police resort to lethal force.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The More Things Change

The more they remain the same

The former secretary of state's agency appointed 194 donors who had given either to her family's foundation, her political campaigns, or both, or were affiliated with groups that had.  Those donors represented nearly 40 percent of the 511 advisory appointments the State Department made during Clinton's tenure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not on the Radar

Ahmad Khan Rahami

Multiple trips over the years to Afghanistan and Pakistan to include weeks in Kandahar and in the Taliban stronghold of Quetta.  This was followed by almost a year in Pakistan April 2013 - March 2014.

What do you need to do to get on the Radar? Blow something up?


Monday, September 19, 2016

El Lay Times: Trump +7

The USC/LA Times poll has Trump at 47.7 and Clinton at 41. The remaining majority of mainstream polls are all within the margin of error, some with Trump ahead, some with Clinton, and a few calling it a tie.

In the LA Times poll by age:

18-34                         46.8 Trump - 38.4 Clinton
35-64                         47.4 Trump - 41.3 Clinton
65+                            49.3 Trump - 43.2 Clinton

By Education:

High School or Less  55.9 Trump - 35.3 Clinton
Some College            49.0 Trump - 38.6 Clinton
College Grad             48.7 Clinton - 38.3 Trump

By Income:

Less than 35K          47.6 Clinton - 39.2 Trump
35-75K                     53.1 Trump - 36.2 Clinton
over 75K                  48.7 Trump - 40.7 Clinton