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March 24, 2009

PA Firefighter Disgraces the Profession

A former "Firefighter of the Year" in Coatesville PA has been arrested on arson charges according to Philly.com.

Robert F. Tracey Jr is the alleged perp. Arsonists are among the most sick and dangerous persons in our society. If this guy is convicted I pray he does hard time for many years. If he is guilty he not only shamed his family and community but his fellow firefighters as well.


March 21, 2009

Three Oakland Police Officers Killed Today


Oakland Police Department lost three sergeants today in two separate (but related) gun battles.

The Oakland Tribune has details of the tragedy here.

The three slain sergeants have been identified as Erv Romans, Dan Sakai and Mark Dunakin. A fourth officer was shot and is in critical condition. The fourth officer is John Hege, age 41.
All our prayers to Officer Hege.

God rest the souls of the dead officers. May their families find peace in time.

Update: Officer John Hege has died.


Is This A Joke?

If this is real I will not sign and I know very few who will.

UPDATE: Apparently it is not a joke. As a matter of fact the movement is loosely called the "Obama Revolution", something I'm not sure is necessary at all.
Read about the less than stellar response the kids got here.


March 19, 2009

Congressional Contract Busting

Congress threw a tantrum today and sidestepped the Constitution in their zeal to punish TARP recipient AIG.

The object of their affections centered on AIG employee retention bonuses.

Executive bonuses for a few top personnel in the company came to light in recent days. Once the issue became front page news the President teleprompted to us his outrage, denounced the bonuses and proclaimed the contractually obligated payouts would not stand.

Just as swiftly the senior U.S. Senator from N.Y. Chuckie Schumer went on the air saying if the bonus recipients did not turn back the money they would be taxed the entire amount.

With record speed the House of Representatives worked up a bill that taxes the employees 93% of the bonus amount. The bill is headed for the Senate tomorrow where there is no scheduled committee hearings, just straight to a vote.

We can argue the competence of some of the bonus recipients but that would dismiss the larger issue, these awards or bonuses were contractual.

It looks like we have a government that has no problem running over contract law.

Even larger than the issue of legislation sponsored contract busting is the witch hunt atmosphere brewing in D.C..

This is state sponsored witch hunting. Watch as this expands to every company that accepted TARP money.

(Bank of America is defending their employees from Government snoops at the moment)

The Democrats have set the stage to review every bonus or reward for service, contractually ordained or not, to be scrutinized by a legislative committee.

The net effect is the best and brightest will avoid working for firms that accept government TARP funds. I think there are more than 250 financial firms that took government money, many actually forced to do so.

Every day in every one of those hundreds of firms bonuses are negotiated, i's dotted and t's crossed by attorneys. The only way to be competitive in business is to reward top talent. Ivy League MBA candidates readying for graduation this May are shaking over this. 200K in tuition and a scholastic lifetime of academic achievement for what?

Who would willingly go to work for a company where their work contract can be held up to public scrutiny, possibly putting them in personal danger AND their bonuses are taxed 90%.

How can B of A, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, or J.P Morgan attract the best and brightest when witch hunting interloping politicians are looking over their shoulder?

I am cynical by nature but I don't want to turn into a conspiratorialist. If I were I would think this is the first shot off the bow towards a full fledged takeover of our financial system and beyond. Numb us now so the pain of nationalized health care will be blunted.

Side note, I was listening to a Columbia University Medical School professor speak on the television the other day saying up to 1/2 of the doctors he knows want to retire, now!

Wonder why? Don't think past the obvious, they see the nightmare of national health care in the distance. Are we ready to wait 8 hours in line for a chest X-ray?

I'll quit ranting in a minute.... Let's agree these AIG bonus recipients don't deserve the money. Setting that aside if I was one of these executives I'm dialing up my lawyer tonight.
If it took my last dime I would litigate this to the U.S. Supreme Court and quick (before that branch of the government is compromised) and fight the fight our Founding Fathers would expect.

Finally, AIG shipped between $23 billion of the TARP money to foreign banks? Where is the outrage? I'm not proud of a government that goes out of its way to hurt American citizens yet overlooks taxpayer money going to French and German bankers.

How much of the money headed off our shores is destined for employee bonuses?


March 15, 2009

My Email Was Compromised By Chinese Hackers

My personal email was hacked and the criminals who subverted my account represent a Chinese based company named ---Beijing GLOBSEASON International Trade Co., LTD.--

Their hackers entered my GMAIL account somehow and deleted all my contacts after sending everyone on my contact list an advertisement for their business.

Even more amazing they reset my email signature and set my account to "Vacation Setting".

To all my contacts, casual and otherwise I apologise for any inconvenience caused by email sent to you by these commie criminal thug hacker POS's.

I hope this two bit hacker loving "Globseason" goes broke and those responsible for hacking my email account spend time at some point in a Chinese gulag.

Here is the email they attached as a signature and sent to all my contacts:

New shopping new life! How are u doing these days?Yesterday I found a web of a large trading company from china,which is an agent of all the well-known digital product factories,and facing to both wholesalers,retailsalers,and personal customer all over the world. They export all kinds of digital products and offer most competitive and reasonable price and high quality goods for our clients,so i think we you make a big profit if we do business with them.And they promise they will provide the best after-sales-service.In my opinion we can make a trial order to test that. Look forward to your early reply!The Web address: www.globseason.......comE-mail: globseason@188......comMSN : globseason.......@live.cn

March 14, 2009

Victoria Fires: Satellite Imagery of Affected Towns

The bushfires in Victoria State have subsided and homeowners are already rebuilding.

Twitterer Bushfires points to these satellite images of the towns of Marysville, Kinglake, Kinglake West, Churchill, Flowerdale, Murrindindi and Callingee taken 5 weeks after Black Saturday.


March 09, 2009

Tent Towns, First Responders Can/Should Help

UPDATE: March 25, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opens up county fairgrounds to tent city dwellers!
As more Tent Towns, or homeless encampments spring up the greater society will have to pitch in to help our less fortunate neighbors.

The term Shanty Town originated during the Great Depression when unemployed had nowhere else to live. The article above points to the rapid growth of homeless by the swift growth of these makeshift cities.

Have a look at the video below. It's hard to believe we are at a point where the working class are being forced to tents on the outskirts.

This situation will get worse before it gets better. Doing nothing is not an option. The "new" homeless cannot organize by blogging or Twittering but those of us that still have a roof over our heads can and should lend a hand.

First things first. Tent City residents need security and proper shelter. They need food, clean water and sanitation facilities. At a minimum they should receive the same attention a welfare mother of three living in section 8 housing receives.

How can first responders help? Police and fire/EMT should patrol these camps daily, maybe hourly. Firefighters can enlist local churches to donate canned goods, toiletries and clothes.

This is not the stereotypical drug addict/drunk/dropout homeless group that generally make up the homeless set. These are the new homeless and will appreciate a cop positioned in a squad car watching out for them.

To any firefighter reading this suggest to your crew tomorrow you take a ride around town and look for your homeless camp. You know you are the ones to do this. Take a look at the video again and ask how you or your department can help. Department leaders distinguish themselves at a time like this.

When it comes down to it most of us are a few paychecks away from Tent Town!

Update #2: It might be a good idea to tap into AmeriCorps NCCC based in Sacramento to assist these homeless citizens. To quote CNBC's Rick Santelli, "Are you listening President Obama"?

March 03, 2009


My youngest had it first, then oldest with the stomach variety. I got it and it sucks. I did get the Flu shot back in October but we all know that is a 50/50 proposition. I get the shot every year but fortunately I have been Flu free for 10 years or more.

Saturday morning I woke up with severe congestion. I looked around for some antibiotics to self medicate but everything in the medicine cabinet had expired. I don't have a spleen so I don't take chances with secondary infections. Spleen less persons are susceptible to bacteria not encountered before they lost their spleen.

Bad news for me, I had to line up at the urgent care clinic. The place was packed and we were all there for the same reason. I waited 2 hours to see the one doctor on duty. She listened to my chest and within 3 minutes I had a prescription and was out of there.

During the 2 hour wait I sat in the outer lobby, not wanting to sit in a germ laden waiting room begging to get whatever else might be crawling around. While I was waiting I asked the pharmacist wandering the halls what this Flu was all about.

Pharmacists are always more willing to share details doctors avoid and here is what I was told about this Flu.

It starts in the throat, enters the chest in a couple of days. Half the patients experience gastrointestinal issues in time. The upper respiratory symptoms can last up to 4 weeks. While I was waiting for my meds a young man was quizzing the kind pharmacist about how to hasten recovery. He was told Mucinex, the expectorant not the suppressant.

Day 5 and I am getting better. Appetite is back and the fever threatening last night did not develop into a sheet drenching nightmare.

I searched Twitter for "Flu" and found others sufferers talking about it.

Google has a great feature for tracking the Flu with Google Flu Trends.

Twitter and Google tell us this bug is widespread.

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March 01, 2009

Fast Moving Fires Burn Numerous Homes In Texas

News from the Chron that fire has claimed up to a dozen homes in drought stricken Texas.

Follow Twitter Search and Google News or InciWeb for updates.

Fire season never really ends. The Interagency Fire Center reports the 2009 year to date totals in the U.S. is 3,140 wildfires and 80,617 acres burned.

Over 5,200,000 acres burned in the U.S. last year.