Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mosquitos

GACK! I have no idea what is popping out of that thing's ass. I never knew mosquitos had an ass or that it could pass Christmas tree ornaments. It looks like it is crapping little mosquito bowling balls. Whatever it is, I hope it hurts.

All mosquitos feed on nectar, but only the female mosquito needs the protein found in blood to lay her eggs. So when she feels in a motherly way, she starts looking for someone to feed on.
She left her purse in the ladies room. I've seen many of these swarming around in bars on warm summer nights.

The average life span of a mosquito is only about a month but some species can last through the winter as eggs, larvae or pupa. The males usually die a few days after mating or when they run out of beer, whichever comes first.
Since about half of their life cycle is spent in the egg, larva and pupa stages, the biting, annoying adult stage of the females usually only lasts for about two weeks or until they hook up with a divorce attorney.

Here is a site that shows the life cycle.

It is just prior to laying her eggs when the female mosquito needs blood. Depending on the species, they can lay a raft of 40 to 200, even 400 eggs every third day! One adult female mosquito living for two weeks can produce anywhere from 200 to 1,600 eggs.

I figure one of my ankles is responsible for about a thousand new baby mosquitos after just one night. I should have a cover charge.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Camping


This is where we've been the past week, about ten miles from the St. Lawrence river in a camp on the shore of Three Mile Bay, part of Lake Ontario. The weather hasn't been all that great but who cares. We got enough sunny days to have some fun and the rainy days we kinda just snuggled in, did some jigsaw puzzles, read books and relaxed. I did a little blogging and just relaxed.


That is not sand you see near the water. It is s solid rock shelf that extends for hundreds of yards on either side of us and out into the bay. The water is pretty shallow and the wind whips it up pretty quickly. Three Mile Bay is known for good sailboating. The harbors around here are loaded with them.


It's a two bedroom camp with a nice kitchen, dining area and sun room. The owners live next door and keep it well maintained. There was one draw back; when we had severe thunderstorms on Thursday the place leaked.

The water jugs on the refrigerator are for drinking water. You can cook and bathe with lake water but we were warned not to drink it.


We had everyone up here on Tuesday and Wednesday - it was a real blast. Had to put up a tent but my grandson and his Dad are real outdoor types and they like it that way. The dog you see, Cinders, belongs to the people next door.


We are leaving tomorrow morning but we intend to come back. If not here, then further on down the Bay near a place called Sackets Harbor.


Sackets Harbor was the most active military base in the U.S. during the War of 1812. After the end of the war, a 106-gun Ship of the Line, the USS New Orleans, remained unfinished in the ship builder's docks. It was never launched. They covered it over and it sat there for over seventy years; it was finally scrapped in 1883.

UPDATE:
I just got back from the supermarket. I had to buy some anti-itching lotion else I'd go mad. The first five days at the lake I didn't get a single insect bite. When I woke up Saturday morning my ankles were swollen and covered with bites. Those dang mosquitoes or whatever kind of bug they were had a feeding frenzy below my knees. I just counted thirty bites on only one side of my left ankle.

Whenever there's multiple or repetitive wounds like that, there's usually some kind of sex involved. I feel sick and debased .... and so used. They may have been Anopheles clintoniae mosquitos. I'll look for stains and cigar stubs in my socks to be sure.

National Felony League

It appears that the National Felony League, the NFL, has indefinitely suspended Michael Vick.

In disciplining Vick, commissioner Roger Goodell said Vick's admitted conduct was "not only illegal but also cruel and reprehensible" and regardless whether he personally placed bets, "your actions in funding the betting and your association with illegal gambling both violate the terms of your NFL player contract and expose you to corrupting influences in derogation of one of the most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player."

Activities that were "not only illegal but also cruel and reprehensible" and blah blah blah blah blah.

It appears that the "most fundamental responsibilities of an NFL player" are to make money, make more money, makes lots and lots of money, makes tons and lots and scads of money for the NFL owners and screw the corrupting influence crap which is really a scream. He was not exposing himself to corrupting influences, HE WAS THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE!

The NFL could have made a powerful statement by permanently suspending Vick but they balked as usual and Vick sooner rather than later will return to making millions of dollars for his TBA owner off morally challenged Americans.

Convicted felons are not permitted to vote in most states of the Union, but they can appear in front of millions of people, influence the nation's youth, make commercial endorsements that show being a convicted felon has an up side by viciously slaughtering animals for the pleasure of gamblers playing professional football.

Vick has also plead to the killing of dogs that did not perform well in "testing sessions".

"Peace, Phillips, and Vick agreed to the killing of approximately 6-8 dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road and all of those dogs were killed by various methods, including hanging and drowning. Vick agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of Peace, Phillips and Vick."

I wonder how Vick would have reacted if Arthur Blank had him strung up by his balls after screwing up a few passing plays at training camp?

And Vick's lawyers are spinning away like mad.

"While Mr. Vick is not personally charged with or responsible for committing all of the acts alleged in the indictment, as with any conspiracy charge, he is taking full responsibility for his actions and the actions of the others involved," the defense team said in a written statement after the plea agreement was filed.

"Mr. Vick apologizes for his poor judgment in associating himself with those involved in dog fighting and realizes he should never have been involved in this conduct," the statement said.

Poor judgement, eh? The 22 page Summary of Facts issued by the federal prosecutor has this to say:

"Most of the Bad Newz Kennels operation and gambling monies were provided by Vick..."

But then goes on to state:

"...Vick did not gamble by placing side bets on any of the fights. [...] did not receive any of the proceeds from the purses that were won by 'Bad Newz Kennels.'"

Then an experienced Richmond, VA, lawyer, Brian Grossman, states:
I think that the gambling issues will not be nearly as important at sentencing for Mr. Vick as the issue of cruelty to animals," Grossman said. "I highly suspect the language in the summary of facts regarding gambling was negotiated by Mr. Vick's attorney's to address the NFL's issues about gambling."
George Dohrmann of Sports Illustrated has a good perspective on Vick's gambling/not gambling deense:

He put the money up. He lost money if his dogs lost. However, Vick says he didn't win money if his dog won. Can one be a gambler if one never takes any winnings? Defenders of Vick could argue he was simply putting up money for his friends to gamble, that he was (if this is even possible) only half a gambler.

Whether or not he placed side bets could be viewed as irrelevant because betting on the dogs alone constitutes gambling. But I have no doubt Vick's lawyers fought to get that line in the statement. It allows Vick to say he didn't bet, to deny gambling, even if he did place bets of a different sort. It's a seed of doubt for Vick supporters looking to sow a defense.

The only thing missing is Vick appearing on national TV, pointing his finger at the camera and saying, "I did not have sex with that pit bull."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tongue In Cheek


"Uncle Muhjub, is that a fatwa in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?"



Shamelessly stolen from the dissident frogman.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Myth of Gun Control: Britain's Experience

While efforts are afoot in America to limit law abiding Americans' access to firearms, specifically handguns, England has already done just that. And they are reaping the whirlwind. From the Telegraph:

The number of young people prosecuted for firearms offences has soared by 20 per cent in the past five years, it was revealed earlier this month.

In 2001, 1,193 youngsters under age 21 went to magistrates courts on gun related charges.

By 2005, that had risen to 1,444. The statistics come after a recent wave of gun crime in Britain’s inner cities, with many victims not even out of their teens. Shadow home affairs minister James Brokenshire said: “The rise in gun crime demonstrated by these figures is alarming.”

England dis-armed its civilian population over a decade ago, yet gun violence is escalating. And it is rising in a population that should have difficulty in accessing such weapons - youth.

In April Bernard Hogan-Howe, the chief constable of Merseyside Police, insisted new laws to make reporting information on shootings and possession of guns a 'duty’’ were essential because people were too scared to come forward.

Mr Hogan-Howe, in the running to be the next Metropolitan Police commissioner, said the wall of silence protecting the increasing number of young people drawn into gun crime had to be broken.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said Britain should adopt laws similar to those in Australia "where people have a duty to report information about gun crime to the police".

But he called on the Government to push them further and apply them to firearm victims too frightened of reprisals to press charges.

Wait a minute. English citizens are not allowed to own firearms anymore so how can there be a gun crime problem? So the problem has been redefined.

It isn't just the possession or use of guns in the commission of a crime anymore. The problem is now the people who are terrified of thugs with guns.

Those dirty bastards! How dare they be afraid now that the nanny state has saved them from gun violence! Ingrates! The victims "wall of silence" must be broken, shattered! Teach these ingrates a lesson!

After reading this, I expected Monthy Python's comedy group to burst out of my computer. This is beyind bizarre.

"The challenge is people who survive do not want to complain and the best witness is quite often the victim who can provide a description and motive," he said.

"By refusing to help it can put the investigation on to the back foot."

Let's see if we can get this straight; "The challenge is people who survive..." So if they don't survive there's no problem? Outstanding! The solution is simple. Ban all gunshot victims from receiving medical care at the National Health Service hospitals. This will have gun crimes under control in no time.

His comments come as police chiefs voice growing frustration at the difficulty in tackling gun crime among youths. Mr Hogan-Howe told the newspaper his force was already evicting families that harboured children who possessed guns, and moving them to other areas.

Here in the U.S., several states have reintroduced predators (such as wolves) into parks and game preserves. It sounds like this idea has caught on with the Brits too. I'm sure the unarmed citizenry is overjoyed at this prospect of sharing their habitat with new predator species. Perhaps if the coppers distributed pamphlets on where to report such sightings the locals would be a bit more enthusiastic.

His officers are also instructed to stop and search suspects regularly. The chief constable, who attended a gun crime summit at Downing Street in February, said such initiatives were leading the way in stamping out the problem.

So the Brit's response is predator relocation and gun crime summits. If they are stamping out the problem, then why are more laws required? Then why are police taking action against...
victims?

The Moral Equivalency Express

The Michael Vick apologists are busy. He hasn't even been sentenced and already there's movement to reward him for his "indiscretions."

ATLANTA -- An NAACP leader said Michael Vick should be allowed to return to the NFL, preferably the Atlanta Falcons, after serving his sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation.

Please have your luggage and boarding passes ready, here it comes, the Moral Equivalency Express.

"As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football," said R.L. White, president of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter."

How do you rehabilitate a 27 year old millionaire who enjoys seeing dogs rip each other to shreds so that other equally insane people can bet on the outcome? The old Michael Vick used his fortune to finance an underworld network of animal cruelty. Welcome the new Michael Vick with a two by four as he starts his parole.

Not only did he fight the dogs, he breed them for this explicit purpose, hired people to run the operation for him and killed dogs that did not perform to his expectations. Maybe the NAACP is pleased that Mr. Vicks' operation strove for doggie excellence in this fashion.

The NFL already has an image problem with its spoiled bad boy jocks. What part of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970) don't you understand Mr. White? Vick faces charges under the same statute used to prosecute gang bangers and street thugs. But let's send a message to these young people by making excuses for athletes who break the law, hmmmmm?

"We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."

Just like the hours of enjoyment Mr. Vick brought to his dog fighting customers, eh? I'm sure Mr. Vick just lives to entertain people all over this great country of ours. With this kind of commitment, I'm sure that Mr. Vick will find another venue for his "special" kind of entertainment. Perhaps something involving baby seals or kittens this time.

White said the Falcons quarterback is a human being who has made a mistake and should be allowed to prove that he has learned from that mistake.

When is forcing dogs to tear each other apart for the amusement of other equally flawed humans a mistake?? A mistake is when that shelf you just hung isn't parallel to the floor. A mistake is when you forget to add an egg into the pancake batter mix. A mistake is when you mow over your wife's rhododendrons. Initiating, managing and profiting from a criminal enterprise is not a mistake. It is a purposeful act of will involving intent and planning. There is no mistake about it. Mr. White's mistake is he thinks that every one reading this tripe is going to swallow it.

On Monday, Vick said through a lawyer that he will plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

So Mr. Vick simply hired the wrong contractors to build the Michael Vick "I HEART Puppies" Animal Hospital and Petting Zoo? His hired bozos then make the mistake of turning it into the Bad Newz Kennels; a Virgina-based Auschwitz for pit bulls. Fifty-three pit bulls were taken from his property and may have to be out down. So many mistakes, so little time to make them.

Three Vick associates have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and say Vick provided nearly all the gambling and operating funds for the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting enterprise. Two of them also said Vick participated in executing at least eight underperforming dogs, raising the possibility of the animal cruelty charges.

More mistakes of the Charles Manson variety.

White said he regretted that the plea deal will mean all the facts of the case might never be known.

"Some have said things to save their own necks," White said. "Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he had killed a human being."

White said he does not support dogfighting and that he considers it as bad as hunting.

"His crime is, it was a dog," White said.

What does throwing two enraged beasts into a pit and watching them kill each other have to do with hunting? This is not hunting! It is bloodlust and money - killing and gambling. I can't believe I'm reading this. The facts of the case are what's driving Vick to a guilty plea.

If it was Joe Six Pack who got arrested for this, we wouldn't be hearing about whether or not he should be returning to his mail route. He'd be picking out shower curtains with his new cellmate.

And others feel the same way.

What Goodell has done, shrewdly and effectively, is to tap the mood of the country and use it in creating his mandate. Just as in the late 1960s and '70s, when a collective energy existed to empower the players with more freedom of movement, greater salaries and post-career opportunities in baseball, now there is momentum for the disciplining of today's elite who believe their checkbooks elevate them beyond the reach of the public, responsibility and the law. The common attitude today is that players are out of control, above accountability, empowered to be absolved of responsibility by the teams that pay them and the leagues that publicly condemn abhorrent behavior but refuse to administer proper sanction.

Amen to that and a H/T to blogbuddy Guido.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Just Shoot Him

Wilkes-Barre,PA:

Newport Township part-time police officer was working as an escort when he was arrested in a prostitution sting at a Wilkes-Barre motel on Friday, according to arrest papers.

Levi Gibbon Jr., 40, of East North Street, Wilkes-Barre, was charged by the state police Organized Crime Unit with a single count of prostitution. He was arraigned before Hanover Township District Judge Joseph Halesey and released on $5,000 bail.

Newport Township Solicitor Richard Shiptoski said Gibbon has been suspended without pay until resolution of the charge, a third-degree misdemeanor.

Gibbon couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Someone should reach him with a baseball bat.

*shakes head in disgust, walks away.*

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

He Blew It

For two years I watched Michael Vick and the Hokie's shred the SU defense. Now I watch this talented and flawed young man shred his own life. From the NY Sun:

Less than two months after he turned 27 years old, Michael Vick likely ended his football career yesterday. He had no other choice.

Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, announced through his lawyer that he will plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges and confess to a longtime involvement in the grisly underground world of dogfighting. That confession will almost certainly end the National Football League career of a player who just a few months ago was among the most marketable stars of America's most popular sport.

We've rented a cottage on Lake Ontario this week (yup there's wifi here) and while taking a walk yesterday we met one of our neighbors. While talking to him his two dogs (little more than pups - once a mixed breed Golden Retriever and the other a Dalmatian) were playing and wrestling with each other right next to us. Growling, snarling and play biting each other, my wife got a little upset, particularly when one had the other by the throat.

It didn't bother me; I knew they weren't trying to hurt each other, that's how dogs play. But if it was for real I would try to help the owner stop it. I cannot imagine betting on a dog fight - watching these beasts maim and kill each other. And when I speak of Vick's character as flawed, that's what I mean - enjoying this horrid spectacle implies a degree of cruelty in his nature that is disturbing. And his younger brother, Marcus Vick, also manifests some of the same character flaws that Vick the elder does. Marcus was thrown off the Hokies football team last year after assaulting an opposing player and committing a series of crimes. You have to wonder about the Vick family.

Vick agreed to make the plea in exchange for a lenient sentence, and he is expected to serve a year or two in prison, meaning he will be a free man some time in 2008 or 2009. But Commissioner Roger Goodell will not welcome Vick back to the NFL when he gets out of jail. Goodell will certainly suspend Vick from the league for at least a year beyond his prison sentence, and even if the league eventually lifts its suspension, this wouldn't happen until, at the earliest, the start of the 2010 season.

Maybe yes, maybe no. What Vick has done is anger an implacable enemy - the liberal do gooder PETA people.

Goodell has said suspended players need to earn the right to be reinstated. In Vick's case, earning that right would entail showing genuine remorse for his involvement in dogfighting, speaking out publicly against it, and making large donations to animal rights groups. In the best-case scenario, the NFL might allow Vick back when he's 30 years old and hasn't played football in more than three and a half years. At that point, any NFL team that signed him would bear the brunt of protests and boycotts from animal rights groups. Even if the league allows him to play again, no team will want him.

First off - let's get this straight; it's not a right, it is a privilege to play in the NFL. We don't need anymore invented rights. The word we need to examine is "restitution;" it is not about earning a non-existent right. Restitution is proof of repentance, but it is difficult to determine the sincerity of these actions. We see jailhouse conversions all the time, some are sincere, some are not. God alone accurately judges the heart; we look to an individual's actions to gauge his heart.

And that's just based on what is known right now. Although his plea deal ensures that this won't get worse for Vick from a legal standpoint, the NFL is conducting its own internal investigation, and it could find that Vick violated the NFL's prohibitions against gambling. As part of their guilty pleas, all three of Vick's co-defendants signed statements saying that Vick supplied their operation (which they called Bad Newz Kennels) with money to gamble on dog fights. The standard NFL player contract contains a clause entitled "Integrity of the Game" that says gambling activities that "bring discredit to the NFL" can result in a lifetime suspension. There's no evidence that Vick gambled on football, but gambling on dogfighting is enough to make Goodell kick him out of the NFL forever.

I find the dogfighting more troublesome then the gambling. But Vick's troubles may be just beginning. It looks like federal prosecutors are examining RICO charges against the former quarterback.

Pleading guilty was the right choice for Vick, however, because the evidence against him was strong and the charges he faced were severe. Federal prosecutors said they had seven eyewitnesses prepared to testify against Vick, including all three of his former friends who were indicted along with him last month. Prosecutors were also said to be preparing racketeering charges that, with a conviction, would have put him behind bars for a decade or more.

RICO prosecutions are the feds' favorite legal tool to put away violent street gangs. The sentencing options are very restrictive, RICO targets usually do serious time. Local thugs fear RICO not only because of the time, but also the location where they do the time. A homie from Philly does not want to spend the next fifteen years in Blank Stare, Utah.

But I think some deals have already been made in order to secure Vick's guilty plea. And I suspect that those deals involve his possible return to the NFL.

Still, Goodell must be relieved that Vick pleaded guilty. The only way this could have gotten worse for the NFL is if the case had dragged on and been a daily distraction during the regular season. There were reports last week that if Vick went to trial, two of his Falcons teammates would be called to testify. It's hard to imagine that a trial wouldn't have further tainted the NFL's image.

I suspect that Vick plead out based on some assurance that he might be able to return. Neither the NFL nor Atlanta's owner, Arthur Blank, wanted a trial that would drag this spectacle before the public in horrifying detail and also possibly implicate Vick's teammates. And Blank cannot be pleased that he appears like a fool after committing $130 million to purchase the services of a felon.

THE NFL has just sacked one of the NFL's most prolific quarterbacks. It now remains to be seen if the feds decide to boot his ass through the goal posts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We Owe Them

In this Sunday's Post Standard, Hart Seely writes a powerful story about a local man who has tried to serve his country as best as he can and has ended up with nightmares. His father, Kamal Mere, is a Palestinian who, at age 15, left his home in Jerusalem right after the Six Day War. Two years later he had settled in Chicago and in 1985 moved to Syracuse where he opened a business on the City's south side. I remember the business. This story is about his son, Naiel Mere.

Naiel joined the US Army five days after the WTC attacks. Eighteen months later he was in Iraq serving as an interpreter. His plans to serve his country were derailed when a rare skin disease forced his separation from the Army in 2004; he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service. Within six months (December 2004) Naiel had signed up with Titan Corporation (later L3 Communications) - a defense contractor that supplies interpreters to the US Armed Forces.

Maiel was back in Iraq.

He assisted in enlisting Iraqis as civilian interpreters, or "terps" as they're called, but it soon became apparent that he was also signing them up for an early grave. The Post Standard continues:

"At $1,050 a month, a "terp" could earn more than many Iraqi doctors. But if identified by insurgents, interpreters and their families became prime targets.

"In mid 2005, the enemy began to pinpoint translators as a tactical weakness in the U.S. force. Without its interpreter, the patrol could not understand a reasonable request or heed a critical warning. The insurgency wanted to send a message to anyone who was thinking of helping the United States."

I'll give credit to Seely, he provides a well written story and identifies the insurgents as what they truly are: "the enemy."

Naiel witnessed the deaths of hundreds of terps. He knew most of them. He was identifying the bodies at the morgue. He made death payments to the families.

"I would try to keep it professional. I would apologize for the loss. I would get down on my knees and I'd count the cash out in front of them. I'd fold it, and I'd stay on my knees to keep respectful. Then I would put the cash in their hands. And then they would just go crazy..."

This is not a fun job, I don't care how much they pay you. Because of the terrorists penchant for murder, Iraqis in record numbers are trying to get into the U.S. The U.S. State Department has agreed to allow 7,000 Iraqis to immigrate here in 2007, a mere pittance. So far the actual number allowed is far, far less.

"In March, eight Iraqis made it to America. One more came in April, and another in May according to the government. In June and July, 120 Iraqis arrived, signalling a rise.

Over those two months the U.S. took in 1,484 Iranians."

If this is accurate, it is astounding, appalling. What is with our government? Kirk Johnson, a former information officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development states:

I'm beginning to think that even the president of the United States can acknowledge our responsibility, and yet nothing would happen, because our government is so incompetent.

"We've been so cowed by this mantra of security threats that an Iraqi who works for us on Wednesday could go home Wednesday night and have a family member assassinated an be forced to flee the country. And on Thursday we view him as a potential terrorist. [...] It's a horrible indictment on who we are as a country, that we could forget our friends so quickly."

I almost agree. These government ingrates don't forget their friends, they ignore them. It is politically expedient to allow these people to die, just like they did in Viet Nam. If they live it is an embarassment.

But others do not forget. Like the surrounding Arab nations who are waiting to see if the U.S will cut and run again. Unlike our politicans, they won't forget for a thousand years.

If we continue to do this, we won't have a true friend left in the world. No one will trust us to go the distance.

And they will be right.

Naiel returned home after suffering what appears to be a nervous/emotional breakdown. After a close friend bled to death during an attack he could couldn't stop crying. But he has not stopped trying to help his terps. He writes,he sends emails. And he refuses to forget.

"Just like we owe our soldiers, we owe the translators. [...] They have sacrificed their lives, like soldiers... What are they going to get in return? A certificate? A coin? Well, that's not enough... We need to help them. We need to get them out of there."

This Palestinian American shows more virtue than many of our politicians who have lived in this country for generations.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

On Vacation

We rented a cottage on Lake Ontario for the week and I can't wait. We leave tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be beautiful. We're all stressed out and need some time to fish, swim, boat and just relax. We'll be about 10 miles from the Canadian border.

No, we're not going there to be closer to Canada's universal health care system.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Better Ask Around

This in:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Businesses and government in the U.S. city of Newark -- under pressure after execution-style killings of three college students -- have earmarked $3.2 million to help police combat future crimes, Newark's mayor said on Tuesday. Mayor Cory Booker said the security would include gunshot detection technology, which uses sensors to pinpoint a source of gunfire, and 50 additional surveillance cameras.

The mayor's political future has been clouded after three students were shot in the back of the head and killed in a primary school playground 10 days ago. A fourth victim survived a shot to the face.

The shootings have drawn national attention and sparked heated debate on the city's gang violence, because the victims, two men and a woman aged between 18 and 20, were promising students and good citizens.

"This new technology will enable us to zero in on the location of gun fire, so we can quickly dispatch police and other emergency responders to the scene," said Booker in a statement.

The key words in this article are in the first paragraph: "under pressure."

I think this response is more about a politician(s) in trouble than an anti-gun violence initiative. This technology has been around since the mid-90's. It was developed during the Viet Nam War and is based on sensors that triangulate the sound (the software can also differentiate between gunshots and fireworks) and issue coordinates. The sensors can be mounted almost anywhere and the monitoring equipment and software is usually positioned in an emergency communications center such as 911.

These systems are rather expensive. Before Newark invests perhaps millions in such a system, they'd better ask Rochester, NY, about this. After spending over a half million dollars, it hasn't helped them that much.

We evaluated such a system. We didn't bother seeking the funds to acquire this technology.

It may or may not help Newark, I cannot judge this. There may be some short term improvements. But don't be surprised if after a few years they find out that they may have been better served spending these funds in other ways.

We're All Gonna Die - Part II

Now we can date the beginning of the Global Warming scam as BG - Before Gore.

This is just so rich, I'm laughing my ass off.

From the Washington Times, Inside The Beltway section:

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all.

"Reacting yesterday to word that certain European governments and officials are suddenly trying to abandon their costly "global warming" policies, Royal Astronomical Society fellow Benny Peiser, of the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University in Great Britain, recalls the teachings of Marcus Aurelius: "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

I think I just wet myself.

UPDATE:

I'm kinda interested in how the temperatures were recorded way back when. I sent a email to NOAA asking if they have any information how the recording was done and how many sites were in use. I imagine that they just assigned people in various locations to take a thermometer reading at given times of the day.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Olfactory Memory

When I was in the second grade we lived in East Meadow, Long Island. Next door to us was an Italian family - I can't remember their names. But I remember the Italian food. The mom would cook an Italian dinner for my Dad every now and then. The aroma of one dish in particular used to drive me crazy. I recognize the dish now as stuffed manicotti, but I could never place what made it smell the way it did; I have had it at restaurants and it never smelled the same. It just smelled so delicious - my Dad never shared a bite with us kids.

Over forty years later I finally got to smell that aroma again and it was like I was eight years old.

It's Locatelli Perino Romano cheese.

I make my wife buy it now.

It's $12.49 a pound.

I don't care.

If they made perfume out of it I'd buy that for her also.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Measurements

There is an air pollution control monitor at the intersection of Almond and East Adams Sts. in downtown Syracuse. This is one of the busiest intersections in the entire County and the sensor reflects that assessment as it measures CO (carbon monoxide) emissions produced by automobile engines. Of course all the State sponsored construction on Rt. 81 and hospital construction, parking garage construction over the years has affected traffic patterns and caused periods of long waits at this intersections traffic lights, thus affecting CO monitoring. But the State uses that data to determine measures needed to reduce atmospheric pollutants.

My point is this, there are other factors that can affect monitoring activities that may or not be taken into account by the agencies who report on the activities of these measuring devices.

Is there a bias in sampling the worst area in the County? No, I don't think so. You want to know how bad the pollution is in any given area so you'd expect that a sensor at the point of high concentration of CO makes sense. But what about other measurements?

As a young man, I used to ride my motorcycle pretty much non-stop from April through mid November (until the snow got bad). One of the environmental variables you are very sensitive to while riding a motorcycle is temperature. At night I would ride my 1968 BMW R60 from visiting friends out in the country to my apartment in the city. As soon as I got near the city line I could feel the air warm up significantly. Why was this?

The answer is simple. In any city there are many more structures and materials that act as heat banks, storing up the sun's energy during the day and releasing it at night. Concrete and asphalt are very good at this and the more roads and large buildings the city has, the more heat energy is stored and then released once the sun goes down.

Coyoteblog has a post on global warming that linked to this effort to inspect the sites where the feds measure temperatures across the country. Looking at some sites through the critical eyes of coyote blog, we can find problems in their positioning. The monitors are near buildings and air conditioning units that emit heat. Look at the following photos. The white finned canisters are United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) temperature monitoring devices.

This is a USHCN climate station in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The sensor is situated near several large air conditioner heat exchangers. These heat exchangers were moved from the roof of a nearby building and placed on the ground.
Heat exchangers cool off the refrigerant in an a/c unit by blowing air through cooling ducts that circulate the refrigerant. These units give off a tremendous amount of heat. To get an idea of the heat transfer from the refrigerant to the atmosphere, just put your hand behind a 5,000 BTU window A/C unit. The units in the picture are many times more powerful.

The proximity of the A/C units must affect the nearby temperature sensor. Of course the sensor showed a giant spike once the a/c units started blowing hot air toward it as displayed in the graph. Poof! Instant global warming!
Next, Coyoteblog covers this USHCN monitor located in Tucson, AZ. Notice how the sensor is situated right next to a building and on top of an asphalt parking lot.

In Tucson the temperature can reach over 110F in the summer. This building and the asphalt will radiate heat all night long even as the area's overall temperature cools.
But even better, look what is situated directly across from the sensor on the other side of the parking lot.
These are very large heat exchangers blowing their discharge at the sensor from only about 25-30 feet away.

The USHCN might as well have stuffed the damn thing in a pizza oven.

The National Weather Service has field operations manuals that provide instruction on site preparation and reporting. Here is an excerpt.

Metadata is an essential part of climate information. This ‘data about data’ covers simple things like units of temperature to more complicated descriptions of site characteristics. Objective measures of any conditions that can bias instrument measurements must be consistently and readily made and reported.

Nope, no bias here, just move along now, nohing to see.

But there is more. The NASA/GISS database of national temperature readings has been revised. The claims by Al Gore that this decade produced historic temperature increases is now official kaka. The ten hottest years in the US have been changed to 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939.

Three of the top 10 are in the last decade. Four of the top ten are in the 1930's, before either the IPCC or the GISS really think man had any discernible impact on temperatures. Here is the chart for all the years in the data base:

Pay close attention to the period between 1920 and 1940. Why isn't Gore and the rest of his hysterical acolytes screaming about these years?

There are still almost 1,000 USHCN temperature monitoring sites that need to be inspected by people who do not worship at the altar of global warming. Surfacestations.org has a list of all the USHCN monitoring stations across the country (here). Perhaps some readers who know how to interpret the coordinates can give it a play and document some nearby site characteristics for evidence of bias. I read the chart and couldn't make much sense of it. I learned to use coordinates from GIS pin mapping s/w which uses an eight digit coordinate system. Sorry, no addresses, but Map Quest has a lat/long function that will help you locate where the sensor is. Good luck.

More Guns

Wayne Rausch, the Sheriff of Latah County, Idaho, has just endeared himself to me.

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — The sheriff of a north-central Idaho county where a shooting rampage left four dead and three wounded last May wants more people to obtain concealed weapons permits and carry guns, including on the University of Idaho campus, to improve public safety.

After an incident like that, this guy has the guts to come out and speak against the politically correct atmosphere that contributed to this outrage.

"In my opinion, if there were more students with (concealed weapons permits), the world would be safer," Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch told the Lewiston Tribune on Tuesday. "Just because we (law enforcement officers) are charged with protecting the public, doesn't mean the public shouldn't be able to protect itself."

Amen and amen brother. Cops only protect the public while we are physically there. Until we get there, you guys are on your own. Conduct yourselves accordingly.

Why We Fight

While browsing the Rottie Bark, I came across this link to a story at Michael J. Totten's blog. It is about an interview with an Iraqi interpreter who works for the Americans. He gives his reasons why he does not want the Americans to leave.

After reading this I realize I have no clue what it is like to be raised in a totalitarian political system, an absolute dictatorship. As a retired cop I cannot relate to a system where the police (granted not all of them) are uniformed thugs and murderers. Does not compute, I can't wrap my head around it. The butchery and depravity is beyond me.

The journalist, Michael J.Totten, is asking the questions to an interpreter nicknamed "Hammer."

QUESTION: Tell us about living under Saddam Hussein.

ANSWER: It was crazy life, like feeling safe inside a jail. If they sent you to an actual jail nothing changed. They arrested everyone, literally everyone, for no reason and sent them to jail for two weeks just so they could see the jail.

I went there three times. The first time because I worked for a movie company. They sent all of us to jail. It had nothing to do with me.

I was given a three year sentence. My family has money, so I paid the judge 50,000 dollars. I gave it directly to the judge, plus four new tires for his car and a satellite TV. He gave me a three month sentence instead of a three year sentence.

He scratched “3 years” off my sentence and wrote “3 months” in by hand.

They sent me to Abu Ghraib. I saw so many things. If you want me to talk about that I would need a whole newspaper.

QUESTION: Tell us a little about Abu Ghraib.

ANSWER: On the bus to the jail I didn’t have handcuffs. I asked why. The guard said “Look behind you.”

The first guy behind me got a 600 year sentence.

The next guy got six hanging sentences.

The third guy was sentenced to be thrown blindfolded out of a second story window. Twice.

Another guy f*cked his mother and sisters three times. He was freed on Saddam’s birthday.

Another guy had his hand cut off.

There was this last guy. He went to the market with his wife. She waited in the car when he went to buy something. When he came back to the car his wife was screaming. Two guys were in the car with her. One held her arms and the other was raping her. He grabbed his AK-47 and chased them away. They ran to their car and he shot them. Their car blew up. They were mukhabarat [Saddam’s secret police]. He got a death sentence. On his second day in Abu Ghraib they killed him and sent the mother- and sister-f*cker free for the fourth time.

The guards who ran Abu Ghraib sold hallucinagenic drugs to prisoners for money.

They forced me to take them.

You need protection in there. You find someone and give him drugs and cigarettes. You pay off the guards to just punch you in the face or move you to a different cell instead of kill you.

I was freed 26 days after I arrived, on Saddam’s birthday before I finished the three months.

I can’t live with this nightmare anymore.

QUESTION: What’s it like out there now for the average Iraqi?

ANSWER: If you give average Iraqis electricity right now it will be enough. This is the most important thing. Give them power for seven days in a row and there will be no fights.

After the US came and Saddam fell they earned 3 dollars a month. Now they earn between 100 and 700 dollars a month.

Giving them electricity would reduce violence. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself what would happen to this Army base if the power was cut off forever and the soldiers had to spend the rest of their lives in Iraq. Do think think these soldiers would still behave normally?

Iraqis are paid to set up IEDs. They do it so they can buy gas for their generator and cool off their house or leave the country. Their hands do this, not their minds.

TV is the most interesting thing to Iraqis. They learn everything from the TV. Right now they only have one hour of electricity every day. Do you know what they watch? Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera pushes them to fight. If they got TV the whole day they would watch many things.

Their minds would be influenced by something other than terrorist propaganda. Right now they have no electricity. They have no dreams. Nothing. And Saddam messed with their minds. For more than 30 years he poisoned their minds.

You can’t understand Iraq because you can’t get inside their mind. When you get
inside their mind…it is a crazy mind.

QUESTION: What will happen if the Americans leave next year?

ANSWER: Rivers of blood everywhere. Syria and Iran will take pieces of Iraq. Anti-American governments will laugh. You will be a joke of a country that no one will take seriously.

I will kill myself if it happens. I am completely serious. The militias will hunt down and kill me and my family. I will beat them to it by killing myself.

I worked for the U.S. government for four years. Everyone who works as an interpreter for four years and gets a signature from a General or a Senator gets a Green Card. My hope is to get this somehow. I will do anything for this.

I am doing this for my son. Everything for my son. I don’t want my son living here getting into religion and militias and Al Qaeda. I want my son to be free, to have a girlfriend, to get married, and to be a good citizen.

QUESTION: Why is there peace in Kurdistan but not in this part of Iraq?

ANSWER: The Kurds got rid of Saddam earlier. They fought against Saddam just like the Shia fought against Saddam, but the Kurds won their war and the Shia lost. In 1991 the Americans were heroes to the Kurds, but they disappointed the Shia and left them to Saddam. They were not reliable. So the next time, in 2003, some Shia thought they should get help from Iran. They know Iran is not going anywhere. Iran is a more reliable ally than the Americans.

The Shia never forgot being abandoned by the Americans. They talk about this all the time, still. They know the U.S. will leave Iraq and they will face Al Qaeda alone.

Shia people here are very simple, very easy. They are easy to control. They don’t need too many things. Just electricity, rights, a decent life, a good opportunity to get a job.

QUESTION: What is the worst thing you have ever seen in this country.

ANSWER: 60 guys from Al Qaeda kidnapped an interpreter’s sister. She had a baby boy, six months old. They raped her, all 60 guys. Then they cut her to pieces and threw her in the river. They left the six month baby boy to sleep in her blood.

We found him on a big farm south of Baghdad. All that was left was his legs and his shoes. The dogs ate him.

I don’t want this for my family.

These people are like animals who came from another planet.

And the libs were crying about underwear party hats and naked pyramids.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Land Mine Pixies Are At It Again

There isn't alot of information available yet, but the discovery of several landmines hidden in a Canadian culvert is bad news no matter how you spin it. Thank God someone found them.

Landmines Found In Creek, The London Free Press
This mine, likely an anti-vehicle model, experts said, was found by two teens out with their mother and dog for a walk Friday. A bomb-disposal team found another nearby yesterday.

STRATHROY -- A country creek where children swim, fish and frolic was instead swarmed by police yesterday as Canadian Forces explosives experts detonated two live landmines. The mines, found in a culvert that runs under Inadale Drive between Strathroy and Mt. Brydges, appeared to have timers and were likely the type used to blow up tanks, Strathroy-Caradoc police say.

[...] The creek is popular with families, so police suspect the mines were put there to maim and kill, or in callous disregard of that possibility. .

Someone got their hands on really punishing explosive devices. Two of these mines were recovered near each other. Strathroy-Caradoc police Sgt. Mike Overdulve was interviewed for this story.



The potential for devastation was evident yesterday as a military team detonated the mines from a safe distance. The force of the blast ripped bark and limbs from a tree and sprayed water so high it could be seen by observers a kilometre away.

"I could feel the percussive force," Overdulve said, "It was 100 times louder than any fireworks you ever heard."

Seven centimetres thick and 25 centimetres in diameter, the mines appear to be the kind used to disable tanks.

"We can't definitively prove that, but that is the direction we are leaning," Overdulve said.

After the detonation, the explosives experts found debris "consistent with timers," he said.

I am a realist, not an alarmist, but who would have the motivation to do this? This incident occurred in Middlesex County, Ontario. It is north of Cleveland, Ohio on the Canadian side of Lake Erie and directly due east of Flint, Michigan.


Strathroy-Caradoc (Strathroy merged with the Town of Caradoc in 1998) is a small community of about 13,500 souls. The biggest thing that ever happened here was in 2004 when the train station was burned down. Some teens were charged with the arson. Because of Cuddy Farms, Strathroy favors the reputation as the turkey egg capital of the world.


Not exactly a terrorist hotbed.