Monday, July 13, 2015

Yet another open letter to all locksmiths

I’m directing this to the newly appointed member of the Texas Department of Public Safety/Private Security Bureau (DPS/PSB), the Honorable C. D. Sims, an accomplished locksmith in his own right; however anyone associated with the Locksmith Industry is invited to consider what is presented.   There’s been a burr under my saddle, so to speak, ever since the locksmith industry was hog tied into being licensed so many years ago and placed under (the thumb of) the DPS/PSB with Not One Single Locksmith on that governing board. 

Forgive my sense of history; but we fought a war over the idea of taxation without representation. 

Saying it’s about time a locksmith was on the DPS/PSB would be an under statement; so without wasting any more time, C. D., (the rest of you Honorable board members might want to pay attention as well), how about addressing an issue which has been ignored or didn’t seem important to those who have gone before you.

Mandated continuing education hours in order to maintain an existing Locksmith License

I wrote an article back in 2010, Subjects of Texas, regarding the increase of mandated continuing educations hours required by the DPS/PSB in order to maintain a valid locksmith license.  At the time all locksmiths, regardless of how many years they’d been active in the Locksmith Industry, all were required to include 8 hours of locksmith related courses, taken only via approved instructors in the State of Texas; however, that increased to 16 hours without any justification. 

What I wrote then still applies:

The DPS/PSB cannot justify its expensive and time consuming requirements, and I might add; requirements which do not serve to protect an unsuspecting public from scoundrels posing as legitimate locksmiths because those individuals who have acquired a locksmith license are not a threat and never were a threat to an unsuspecting public. The DPS/PSB has hijacked a part of the private sector and enslaved them with petty Lilliputian rules and regulations which serve only to guarantee permanent employment for DPS/PSB employees; a typical bureaucracy and drain on an already weak economy.    

On more than one occasion I’ve submitted a proposal to the DPS/PSB, along with this same suggestion through the Greater Houston Locksmith Association (GHLA), to the effect that licensed locksmiths who have been performing their skills for 10 years or more should be exempted from mandated continuing education courses in order to maintain that license. 

This isn’t to say that locksmiths intending to stay up to date or ahead of their competition should not endeavor to improve their skills via continuing education courses which are available in a wide number of important areas; only that the State of Texas should have no say on what should or should not be mandated once a locksmith has proven his or her skills for 10 years or more.    This recommendation fell on deaf ears and was not acted upon.

Recently an article by George F. Will appeared in the Washington Post, The 110 year-old case that still inspires Supreme Court debates.   That particular case was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1905 Lochner decision which dealt with unionized bakeries attempting to mandate, through government intervention, the number of hours small family owned bakeries could work in order to compete in the market place under arbitrarily contrived figure set by the unions and passed along by the State. 

The Lochner case found in favor of the small bakeries, specifically individuals going about, as best they could, supporting themselves and determining for themselves, how many hours to work, sleep or maintain a healthy work environment.   

While the ruling was not unanimous, it did establish, or more accurately, re-established and “affirmed the United States’ foundational doctrine: Majorities cannot legislate away individuals’ constitutional rights for preposterous or protectionist reasons.”  

In a recent opinion concerning occupational licensing in Texas, Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court said:

“Lochner meant that government must prove the public necessity of its restrictions of economic liberty. Sensible judicial deference to government regulations does not require judicial dereliction of its duty to gaze skeptically on government’s often ridiculous rationalizations of them.   Since the New Deal, when courts abandoned protection of economic liberty, government has felt no obligation to produce evidence of the rationality of its restrictions. So, disreputable reasons go unchallenged.”  (emphasis added)    
So I once again turn this unsavory mandated continuing education issue back to you Honorable members of the DPS/PSB.   
Can the State of Texas, specifically the DPS/PSB PROVE the public necessity of its restrictions of economic liberty?  Mind you, locksmiths have already PROVEN they are capable and trustworthy by virtue of the fact they have already obtained a Locksmith License.  It is up to the State to PROVE that individual locksmiths cannot continue to serve the public without the additional hours of mandated continuing education courses.  
Unless it is the board’s contention that locksmiths forget most of what they have learned over a lifetime’s investment in their chosen area of specialty, then it's pointless to rationalize this ridiculous and expensive waste of time and effort on any ‘journeyman locksmith’, a mandate which produces no measurable added security for the public.
The State of Texas should not be in the business of violating any individual’s God given rights of doing what they can to support themselves and their families.   It’s time to eliminate mandated continuing course requirements for any licensed locksmith with 10 years or more experience.
 T.F. Stern

 Locksmith License # B12254

T.F. Stern & Company 

Serving the Houston Metropolitan Area Since 1978

15707 Autumnbrook Drive
Houston, Texas 77068

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Labor Day Raffle 2015

Labor Day Raffle 2015

This Raffle Has Been Cancelled 
If you have not received your refund please 
contact me
First Prize: Vintage 1999 BMW Z-3 Coupe

Second Prize: 2 Round Trip Air Fair tickets to any where Southwest Airlines flies in the Continental United States

Third Prize: Mossberg 22 cal AR Look-Alike Rifle

Drawing to be held on Labor Day 2015  -  Need Not Be Present To Win

Winners will be notified by phone/email and their names will be published on Facebook and here at this site.

Winners must pick up prizes in person in Houston, Texas (arrangements to be made upon notification of winning).  Winners are required to present their matching ticket stub.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Celebrating What?

I started to write a short comment, something to do with preparing to celebrate the 4th of July.  Oh, well, as often happens; a different avenue presented itself.   Speaking of different roads to go down…

With all the changes in accepted public attitudes is it any wonder some folks are calling for the destruction of long revered symbols from the past? 

Young rabble rousers have been challenged to stomp on the American Flag, same sex marriage was found to be a God given right in the constitution according to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court; albeit the use of the term 'God given' was not used, only that it was a 'right'. 

The Confederate Battle Flag was found guilty of racism and banished to the same closet with the Washington Redskins logo as it clearly has no place in society today.

The odor of cooking of bacon bothers followers of Islam enough that some restaurants have been forced to remove it from the menu; mustn’t antagonize our Muslim neighbors who have been so tolerant of others. 

Rumor has it there’s a lawsuit attempting to force a remake of the movie, Paint Your Wagon.  Instead of Clint Eastwood’s character, Partner, butchering the tune, They Call the Wind Mariah, a local Imam wants it redone as They Call the Wind Sharia…; claims that because of Islam’s long standing contributions to the founding of America, a claim which Obama has often referred to as part of America’s great heritage…(forgive me; I’m cleaning off some excess residue from my brown shoes while writing.  Yes, I’ll go to great lengths for a pun)

While were busy changing things, let’s go for the gold…What say we get a new National Anthem, one that is all inclusive, something that matches the debauchery which has become acceptable in society?

Cole Porter had a life style that shocked civilized society not too long ago; but his extraordinary talent permitted such indiscretions.  In our day he might have trouble keeping up.  Porter wrote this catchy little number and it took off like a bat out of hell back in his day, Anything Goes

Can’t you just see an Olympian stand on the winner’s block, the new National Anthem of the United States of America played as the Rainbow Flag is spotlighted for all the world to acknowledge our accomplishments.  The athlete turns his/her back to the camera, drops his/her drawers and moons everyone.  That folks, could very well be our destiny.

While eliminating any and all references to the grand and glorious history that made America Home of the Brave and Land of the Free, the Twenty Dollar Bill could easily have a woman’s image on it; perhaps Madalyn Murray O'Hair; and you can bet the farm by the time this happens our money will cease to have In God We Trust engraved on it.

As this rant comes to a close it’s only appropriate to follow with another tune, one that reflects my doing a face palm,  Look What They’ve Done to My Song

Before our history is completely wiped clean, removing from our memory the ramblings of some old White guys, sometimes called our Founding Fathers…

Let us prepare to celebrate our Independence Day, keeping in mind many high school graduates believe that July 4th is the day Hot Dogs were first sold at a televised baseball game; take a moment to appreciate that once upon a time most folks understood that individual liberty was paid for by men who mutually pledged to each other their Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor; and none of this could have happened without Divine Intervention

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Open Carry Laws present challenges

We went to the local Verizon store this past weekend, a chance to upgrade my cell phone and take advantage of Father’s Day specials.  Lucy already had a Verizon account so by dropping my T-Mobile service and switching I’d get a new phone and save money to boot.  The store was fairly busy and we had to wait for a salesperson. 

I’d barely learned to use my old phone; what was I thinking as I tried to figure out the new technology, technology my kids and grandkids know all about. 

There was a uniformed Houston Police Officer working security so I introduced myself as a retired cop and exchanged pleasantries while waiting.  I asked him if there had been any special training for officers to deal with the new Open Carry Law which goes into effect at the first of the year and was a bit surprised when he said there had not.

The officer was a two year veteran; in other words he could still be considered a rookie… that coming from an old guy who retired from the department about the time this kid was born.  He wore the new dark blue uniform which I’m not a fan of it makes officers look less approachable, more militaristic; but that’s just my opinion. 

I mentioned my concern that the Department hadn’t provided additional training for street officers in dealing with the general public as the Open Carry Law went into effect.  The mindset of a street officer upon seeing a weapon has to be prepared for the worst while treating the situation with Kid gloves.   I can hardly wait, sarcasm button engaged, as future stories hit the Houston Chronicle, “Officer Shoots Citizen For No Reason Other Than He Saw A Legally Permitted Pistol”, or some such headline.

Here’s a movie clip from, Lethal Weapon, with Danny Glover playing the part of Roger Murtaugh, an ‘old head’ cop being assigned a new partner, Martin Riggs, a ‘burn out’ with possible mental issues played by Mel Gibson.  Their first meeting didn’t exactly go off well.  Riggs, waiting to meet his new partner, was sitting on the edge of a desk and took his pistol out to wipe it off, not really thinking that drawing a gun in a police station might cause unintended results.

Murtaugh, who’d been half way paying attention to the unknown suspicious looking individual, alerted those around him, “Gun!” 

Everyone in the office went into high alert mode as Murtaugh focused on the potential threat, went to take Riggs down; but Riggs being more efficient in take down methods had Murtaugh on the floor in a heartbeat.

“Hey Murtaugh, meet your new partner.”

Cops are in for a tough time as they have to re-train their minds and methods as pertain to a public which now will have Open Carry.   

Any police department that doesn’t have a plan, a policy with basic guidelines dealing with individuals walking about with weapons that are perfectly legal…that department is in deep doo-doo. 

There’s a story out of Gulf Port, Mississippi, which highlights one of the challenges; individuals who take Open Carry to extremes just to show they can.  Apparently these two…trying to decide what to call them; Bozos, Clowns, Ass Clowns (getting closer)…mind numbed jerks (getting warmer), future Darwin Award participants (Bingo!).

“According to authorities, the two men walked into the Walmart on Highway 49 around 8 p.m.  Witnesses said the man holding the shotgun was actively loading and racking the firearm.”


“Cox (police chief in Philadelphia, MS) said the new law does not allow someone to walk down the street with a gun in hand.  This is considered brandishing a weapon, which is still a crime, he said.”

Police officers are going to run up against all manner of folks who are legally carrying firearms; wouldn’t it be a good idea to offer training for both officers and the public on the best way to keep from starting a remake of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral?

What about the public’s perception of how police officers are going to treat average law abiding citizens who take advantage of their right to Open Carry?  This is all new territory and there’s plenty of room for miscommunication by citizens and/or police, trampling of perceived God given rights in the name of  making the public safer; the list is endless and full of opportunities to get someone killed.

One thing is sure; the courts will have plenty of happy lawyers filling their bank accounts while we’re sorting out the details one by one.

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for everyone.  Open Carry was signed into law to protect an individual’s God given right to own and bear arms; it’s not a permit to act like a fool and scare your fellow citizens half to death.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Politically Correctness Or Else

It seems I annoyed a couple of tender souls on Facebook by posting a joke that didn’t pass their Politically Correct test.  There isn’t much can be done for folks who have no tolerance for anything other than total compliance with Political Correctness and my trying to explain this to them is like…here we go again, another opportunity to annoy and alienate…trying to explain this to them is like trying to teach pigs how to sing.  

As the famous Sci-fi author Robert Heinlein pointed out,  “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

Over the years that line about teaching pigs to sing became quite popular as a means of explaining wasted efforts.  In more recent times the Politically Correct portion of our society has taken umbrage with the line, turning it into a direct insult on those who are unable to understand the principle involved in time management or humor. 

I recall inserting Heilein’s quote in a discussion with some leftists who started off a discussion with the intent of getting their feelings hurt.  I obliged them and they got their feelings hurt, imagine that…

This morning I watched a fascinating short video of a young boy playing with a large Manta Ray, an innocent moment where two of God’s creatures were able to enjoy each other’s presence.  The video’s audio led me to believe the conversations in the background were in Spanish; could be some other language that sounds like Spanish, not really an issue since the video itself would appeal to anyone speaking any languge.

My warped sense of humor often permits an odd thought to ramble and so I left the following comment; as a joke and not intending to provoke anything other than a mild groan from anyone stumbling upon it.

If you’re wondering…the stingray also speaks Spanish.  How do I know this?  Hadn’t you noticed….just another wetback.

You’d have thought I called Mohammed a pedophile and drawn a picture of him molesting young children prior to slitting their throats and leaving them to drown in their own blood simply because they’d been Christians.  

Instead of seeing a crude joke brought out by the fact that the Manta Ray did indeed have a wet back…Noooooo; this was a deeply insulting remark intended to anger illegal aliens, those poor wretches living south of our border.  

Here is the short story that accompanied the video:

This boy has developed such a trust and friendship with the most unusual creature.
He is able to pet the creature and feed it out of his hand, and even introduce it to his friends. The creature hangs out and waits for the boy when interruptions take time away from each other.  The creature is a stingray. The largest sting ray is a manta ray, which can exceed 20 feet wide and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. This ray is not a manta ray.  Some sting rays have a poisonous stinger that is used defensively when threatened. Humans are most often stung when the inadvertently step on a sting ray while walking in shallow water. Hint: while wading where sting rays are known to exist, shuffle your feet through the sand to avoid stepping on one and getting stung.

Here is a transcription of the comment section:

·                                                          T.F. Stern If you're wondering...the Stingray also speaks Spanish. How do I know this? Hadn't you noticed....just another wetback.
Like · Reply · 1 · 4 hrs

Juan Ozuna Sr. Was you're stupid comment really necessary !?!? Idiot !!!
Like · 1 · 2 hrs
T.F. Stern Juan, get a sense of humor before entering the Facebook community; you'll have a lot more fun.
Like · 1 hr
Thomas Kotkowski TF Stern, racist commentary is never funny no matter who makes it or the platform used to push the hate.

How is it that you find derogatory comments like that funny?

I have a good sense of humor sir and your comment was disgusting and demeaning to many people. Therefore not so not funny or intelligent.

Educate yourself to the word before you use it. That would make Facebook a lot less ignorant.

"Wetback is a derogatory term used in the United States for illegal foreigners, most commonly Mexican and Central American nationals, especially to those who have illegal immigration status in the U.S."
Like · 1 · 19 mins
T.F. Stern Thomas, I grew up in a different era, one where folks didn't have to be politically correct, shove it where the sun don't shine. If you don't like my sense of humor then move along.
Thomas Kotkowski Hey The Tea Party, I am a Tea Party supporter and solid capital "C" conservative.

This type of nonsense destroys the message and allows the false narrative of the Tea Party being racist to be advanced by Liberals.

I urge you to pay attention to some of the ignorant commentary on this page and correct and or refute it so it can do no damage to the Party.

We have enough issues without compounding them by allowing blatant racist comments to go unchecked.
Like · 1 · 8 mins · Edited
Thomas Kotkowski TF Stern I grew up in America where folks respect each other regardless of who they were.

You are a racist pig that does not represent me or the Tea Party that I support.

Racist comments are racist PC has nothing to do with it.

In fact I will also report your ignorant comment to Facebook.

You sir are pathetic.
Like · 1 · 10 mins
T.F. Stern Thomas, So what you're saying, as a staunch conservative who would never in any way suppress another individual's free speech or impose your own limited set of values on anyone, that kind of staunch conservative who could easily be mistaken for a leftist or statist who lacks tolerance for any opinion which doesn't fit perfectly with his'd like to silence anyone who doesn't agree with your politically correctness, your inability to overlook any unsavory sense of humor. I feel sorry for you; but worse, you fall into the category of modern censorship which is destroying freedom. Take a hike.
Like · 9 mins
Thomas Kotkowski So your racist comment is my fault?

Yup nice try but you made the racist statement not me.
Like · 1 · 7 mins
T.F. Stern Thomas, I take it you're not going to vote for me when I run for office...
Like · 7 mins
Thomas Kotkowski Unfortunately Juan Ozuna Sr. This guy has no respect for anything.

Another racist pretending to be a Conservative.
Like · 1 · 5 mins
T.F. Stern Thomas, What I did was make a joke. If you didn't like it then don't laugh. If you disagree with my sense of humor then ignore me. What you're attempting to do is become an internet censor, denying anyone a chance to express a thought because YOU find it offensive.
Like · 5 mins
Thomas Kotkowski TF Stern, what you did was make a racist comment, attempting to be funny, by using a racist term that is offensive to many folks in America.

You seem to be bright yet not bright enough to see how ignorant your comment was?

Racism and racist commentary is never funny. period.
Like · 2 mins
T.F. Stern Thomas, All your vitriol reminds me of Sam the Eagle from the old Muppet show. If there was a way to post that image here in this comment thread I would...
Thomas Kotkowski We wonder why the Tea Party is portrayed, in the Liberal media, as being racist?

Look at your attempt at "humor" and ask yourself how you could ever think that was funny.
Like · 1 min
Juan Ozuna Sr. Its all good tough brotha Thomas Kotkowski, yes im of Mexican decent, but a PROUD U.S. ARMY VETERAN 100% AMERICAN FIRST, more american than this racist POS...

Now add to this wonderful exchange of thoughts a couple of entries that are on Facebook

Juan Ozuna Sr. doesn’t have any problem posting an image of the White woman, Rachel Dolezal, caught pretending to be Black, all the while holding down a position of leadership in the NAACP.  Isn’t that rich?  But I'm the racist...

And then there’s Thomas Kotkowski’s Facebook entry which slanders a goodly portion of the world’s population who happen to be Muslim; but then who cares, they’re Muslims…child raping, child murdering, child marrying Muslims so they’re okay to hold up to ridicule.  

So I now award Juan Ozuna Sr. and Thomas Kotkowski the Muppet Show’s ‘Sam the Eagle Award’ for making sure nothing is said that might offend anyone.

Good Day!