Friday, July 30, 2010

Amnesty One and Two

Call it coincidence if you will; but the Fox News website had an interesting combination of headline stories laid out one above the other. The first, Investigators Recommend Rangel Get Slap on Wrist , was close enough to, Lawmakers: Amnesty Plan in the Works? …close enough to the casual observer one might come to the conclusion these were the same story.

“The investigative panel looking at alleged violations against House rules by New York Rep. Charlie Rangel recommended a “reprimand” for the longtime lawmaker, Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, a member of the panel said Friday.”

Is it any wonder congress has low approval ratings? At the very least Rangel should have to vacate his seat and forfeit his retirement; but that’s okay, congress is making him sit in the corner for a few minutes and apologize to the class.

The other headline should run shivers down your spine as the Obama administration wants to bypass the will of the people and steam roll illegal alien amnesty on through without the use of legislation and against the will of the people.

“A group of Republican senators has written to top immigration officials in the Obama administration asking them to reveal whether large-scale plans are under way to provide a so-called non-legislative version of amnesty.”

“The lawmakers cite an 11-page draft document written by staff to the director of the Citizenship and Immigration Service that says they are reviewing several executive orders and other mechanisms that effectively would serve as a substitute for comprehensive immigration reforms.”

So much for government of the people by the people…at least at Concord a shot was fired. A complete take over of the government has taken place by an alien invader posing as an American citizen; and I’m not referring to the brouhaha over Obama’s questionable birth certificate. There have been several articles indicating or leaning toward the idea that Obama and his minions simple don’t act like they grew up loving the same America we do; but none better than, A Stranger in Our Midst , written by Robert Weissberg, Professor of Political Science - Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana.

“After auditioning countless political terms, I finally realized that the Obama administration and its congressional collaborators almost resemble a foreign occupying force, a coterie of politically and culturally non-indigenous leaders whose rule contravenes local values rooted in our national tradition. It is as if the United States has been occupied by a foreign power, and this transcends policy objections. It is not about Obama’s birthplace. It is not about race, either; millions of white Americans have had black mayors and black governors, and this unease about out-of-synch values never surfaced.”

I’d recommend you read the entire article, chopping it here and there doesn’t do it justice; however, his summation is worth repeating:

“Perhaps subconsciously, Obama does remind Americans of when the U.S. was really occupied by a foreign power. A Declaration of Independence passage may still resonate: “HE [George III] has erected a Multitude of new Offices [Czars], and sent hither Swarms of Officers [recently hired IRS agents] to harass our People, and eat out the Substance.”’

Obama thinks Arizona is the enemy, taking them to court for trying to protect its citizens from dangerous illegal aliens. Arizona citizens overwhelmingly passed legislation that provides a means for local law enforcement to take the place of sorely lacking federal assistance, state legislation which mirrors federal law. Now we find Obama has been working overtime, in the shadows, trying to do an end around congress to make all those illegal aliens future voters by executive order; the whole thing stinks to high heaven. Tar and feathers might be more appropriate for Charlie Rangel than a “time out” like they do in grammar school; what do we do to a president who disregards our constitutional form of government?

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, July 29, 2010

Statists Distrust Everyone

There’s an AP article by Rodrique Ngowi about competitive lock picking in the Houston Chronicle that caught my eye, one of those less than front page items off to the side intended to make you look at another advertisement. Go read the linked article; it’s enlightening and fun.

Imagine for a moment what kind of hobbies these folks have; midnight safe cracking for jewelry, discount untitled auto sales or slightly used electronics and office equipment at significantly reduced prices; almost forgot, cash only please. As a locksmith I pick locks; but mostly I fit replacement keys for when they get lost, that’s what my customers want.

The State of Texas regulates my industry ; but I may have mentioned that previously. The skills I’ve developed could easily be misused. I’ve chosen to stay within the boundaries established by the commandment, Thou Shalt Not Steal ; at least so far, a wicked sneer forming in the corner of my mouth as I pull the whiskers of a mustache I’d shaved off years ago while looking stage right.

Okay, now that I have your attention I should add how these folks are, for the most part, honest hard working folks who happen to have learned some interesting skills. There’s nothing illegal about picking locks as long as you own the lock or have permission from the rightful owner. Ah, “therein lies the rub”; how do we know these folks stop picking locks when they aren’t competing with one another?

“…the sport worries some law enforcement authorities, like James Pasco of the National Fraternal Order of Police.

‘“I’m sure that they are having a good time and I’m sure that the vast majority of people engaged in it are just puzzle solvers of a sort, (but) you run the absolute risk of educating criminals who might be inclined to pick locks for illegal purposes, you know,” Pasco said.”

Did you catch that, “absolute risk of educating criminals”? Well, duh; life has its share of risks. This is the same mindset of folks who don’t want law abiding citizens possessing firearms because you never know when one of them will use that weapon illegally to rob, harm or murder one of his/her fellow citizens.

Statists would have everyone sign on to the idea that through some magic wand, which only they have control of, all the little bumps in the road can be smoothed away, you and your family will be guaranteed safety. You have to forfeit God given rights; that’s all you have to do, really. They know better how to provide a world free of danger and if you believe that line I have some ocean front property in West Texas you might also be interested in purchasing.

The statist’s goals started out to license lock picks or guns or…, fill in the blank to cover the danger of choice; crime will disappear and everyone will be safe. That didn’t work so the next step was to have everyone turn in their lock picks or guns. Oh my, that didn’t work either; there are still criminals with lock picks or guns. The next natural step is to go door to door and confiscate the remaining lock picks and guns; then the community will be totally safe. History has shown these steps never protect honest citizens from criminals; it does however strip honest citizens of tools which they had every right to possess in the first place.

I used to visit the Abracadabra Magic Shop on Saturday mornings when I was a police officer working the downtown business district of Houston. Saturday mornings were slow to the point of boredom so my partner and I found ways to amuse ourselves; what better way than having amateur magicians practice their slight of hand in preparation for their next show.

One autumn day after a dry ‘Blue Norther’ had pushed through we happened to stop by for a visit with our young magicians. They were eagerly anticipating a visit from a prospective out of town magician, one who could make their cash register sing if they could show him enough stage props to make it worth his while. There were all manner of incendiary devices placed strategically on their display case’s glass top which were used as distractions while other slight of hand tricks were going on; nothing like show business.

Unfortunately the lack of humidity had not been taken into consideration. An accidental static discharge from our friend’s fingertip set off a chain reaction of flash paper which happened to be next to an aerosol can of spray paint. The heat generated was sufficient to explode the can, breaking the glass display case top and so on down the line until all the incendiary items had ignited and filled the shop with smoke.

Our friend lost an eyebrow and small patch of hair as the momentary blast of flames shot past his forehead. All his hard work went up in smoke, literally. Adding insult to injury some busy body called the fire department to report an explosion.

The arson team came out looking for violations of the city code; samples of residue were collected and marked for future criminal prosecution. My friend was eager to assist while trying to explain what each item had been prior to being set off; but the investigator was a hard nosed veteran and wanted to be left alone.

There was some sort of residue, a grayish-white blast pattern on the wall directly behind where the display case had blown up. The investigator scrapped off a small portion and placed it into a clear plastic envelope; my friend desperately tried to explain what it was, only to be told to be quiet. The fellow then placed the tip of his finger on the residue, took a sniff while lifting his brow to the unknown substance he’d been unable to identify. He placed the finger tip on his tongue hoping for a telltale trace of illegal evidence that could be used against the Abracadabra magicians.

It was at this moment I noticed my friend breaking out in uncontrollable laughter, holding his stomach as he bent over in a horse laugh. The arson investigator didn’t see what was so funny; this was a serious criminal investigation.

“That’s where the show doves were caged. When the stuff went off it scared them; I mean they were really scared.” The blast pattern was the natural elimination caused by scared doves sprayed on a wall.

I’m sure this has something to do with statists trying to make the world safe, to get rid of any and all items which might be dangerous or could be misused for criminal intent or just plain stupidity. I can see a picture in my mind of an arson investigator tasting bird excrement; priceless. At what point do we say to the nanny state, “Enough!”? Life happens along the way; it’s what we signed up for and nobody gets out alive.

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”.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Diversity and Tolerance

A leading headline this week has to do with Julea Ward, a student expelled from Eastern Michigan University’s graduate student counseling program because she held to her Christian belief that homosexuality was not moral. I guess this falls into the lefts all encompassing “diversity and tolerance” unless that diversity and tolerance has to include Christian values.

“The university contended she violated school policy and the American Counseling Association code of ethics.”

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh didn’t agree with the lawsuit filed by Julea Ward; instead finding for Eastern Michigan University and upholding the expulsion. Jeremy Tedesco, legal counsel for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund said, “It’s a very dangerous precedent”, the court’s decision “upholding an extremely broad and vague university speech code”.

God’s laws are restrictive and not conducive to many activities condoned by a diverse segment of our morally bankrupt society. Is it any wonder that an institution run by the left would find Christian values incompatible?

The American Counseling Association’s stated mission is to “enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity”.

It might have been a momentary flux on my computer’s monitor; but the word “diversity” appeared to make the whole sentence sag, as if it out weighed everything else. We must have diversity; nothing humans do can be judged as sinful because there is no sin. Those who claim there is a God are mean spirited and make people feel bad.

“… if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.” Alma 42:20

There are many who claim the time for America to call itself a Christian nation has passed, that we’ve risen intellectually and have no need for such a crutch. This is what happens to a nation when it lowers its standards in order to be diverse and tolerant.

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”.

Monday, July 26, 2010

FILOA has an address

Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America was started tongue in cheek so to speak, a rant against the establishment. That having been said, the idea of having a formal association of fiercely independent locksmiths meant it had to reserve an address on the internet. We now have two addresses, three if you include the blogger address listed under my account. With any luck these locations will be up and running soon; until then the only one working is the Blogspot account.

We had a successful membership drive in July; we now have two members. I joke about things like this; but we had to start somewhere and the future is bright. Drop us a line and maybe by August we’ll have enough to form a committee. At this very moment we are assembling a webpage and have secured a server,

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” Alma 37:6

There’s a line from the movie Forrest Gump that fits well. After he’d been out all day on the boat and all he had to show for his efforts were a couple of shrimp, “…a few more and you’ll have enough for a shrimp cocktail.”

I was thinking of an old time locksmith who would travel around the country putting on shows to help fellow locksmiths, Hank Spicer. Hank would have jumped at the chance to be part of this new organization. I don’t know if he’s still among the living; he’ll be the first honorary lifetime member teaching others how to accomplish basic locksmith skills and all he offered our trade/profession. Maybe we’ll have a column dedicated to technical articles intended to help, a “locksmith corner” to honor Hank; like I said, this is a blank page so far and almost any idea is worth considering at this time.

I haven’t mentioned anything about membership dues; not my favorite topic. I’m not doing this for a profit in spite of my capitalistic character; how about $ 15.00, a voluntary fee to help cover the cost of the website? Send money orders or make your personal checks payable to: Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America; no credit cards at this time.

Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America
c/o T. F. Stern & Company Locksmith
15707 Autumnbrook Drive
Houston, Texas 77068

With your membership you will get free access to our website; hint, it’s free to anyone who happens to find it on the web. If you act quickly your membership number will only have one digit; easier to remember and something to brag about in years to come. We will also accept articles to be shared along with pictures ( in JPG format ).

Once the site is up and running modifications will be made to separate sensitive information from general public areas to prevent improper use. We’ll be looking into legal consultation and web management skills as the site grows.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Apparatchiks and News Media

Rush Linbaugh, on his radio talk show yesterday, used a term which defined major news sources like CNN better than most, Apparatchiks . It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find Apparatchiks’ meaning linked to the former Soviet Union and other Communist states as our major market media have been pushing their leftist agenda for years.


1. Unquestioningly loyal subordinate: a subordinate who is unquestioningly loyal to a powerful political leader or organization

2. Communist functionary: a member of the administrative organization or staff apparat of the Communist Party in the former Soviet Union and other Communist states

Rush and others had been referring to propaganda networks; ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN as the “drive by media” for lack of a better term; but Apparatchiks, now that seems to fit, and if the shoe fits… Apparatchiks; is that a gender based term, one which only applies to “info-babes” or does it cover pretty boys in their stuffed suits as well?

Not long ago there was talk of licensing journalists to insure integrity. I’m not sure; but having to obtain a license to express opinions might be in conflict with our constitution, the 1st Amendment comes to mind. I could be wrong…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress is considering legislation which would give the president a switch to turn off the internet in time of national emergency. What constitutes an emergency and when does such an emergency cancel out 1st Amendment God given rights?

What would happen if a totalitarian regime gained control of the presidency and had a rubber stamp Congress; a stupid question, duh…it’s already happened. Wouldn’t such powers give that president control over what the public views, hears or reads?

An article in the Huffington Post adds another sticking point when it comes to government involvement in journalism; should government assist media outlets with tax payer’s money? An historical account of legislation going all the way back to 1792 intended to help provide printed material via the postal service through reduced rates was offered as justification for continued government support; however, internet connectivity provides instant communication of news items and competition to printed publications at a considerable savings.

“Government subsidies for the media, which are not widely known but are a long-running source of revenue for publishers, are quietly vanishing just as the industry is struggling to remain commercially viable, according to a new report released Thursday.”

Is the role of government to guarantee any private concern a place in the market? Are newspapers and magazines entitled to permanent existence via government subsidies or should they have to compete with any and all news outlets the same as any other entity? Many feel some companies are too big or too important to fail; GM comes to mind along with certain financial institutes on Wall Street. What happens when the news is controlled by those in office?

“In an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal last month ( article dated 1/28/10), News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch argued that government aid may actually be a threat. “The prospect of the U.S. government becoming directly involved in commercial journalism ought to be chilling for anyone who cares about freedom of speech,” he wrote.”’

Thank you Rupert Murdock; but instead of chilling I’d use is Orwellian. The power grabbing that has taken place over the past year or so is frightening for anyone who values our constitutional form of government. The tenuous balance of powers between the judiciary, legislative and executive branches were to limit the amount of damage government could do to individual rights under the constitution; however, limitations on government only work when a majority of the citizenry are disciplined enough to maintain a republican form of government.

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

For some reason America the Beautiful came to mind, going over the dream which rests in my soul. It feels more like a fond memory now, something which could have long endured but has evaporated with the light of day.

The Senate will vote in the near future on Elena Kagan’s nomination to fill a Supreme Court opening; having gone through the motions of an in depth investigation of her qualifications. Kagan has argued against 1st Amendment rights, claiming corporations shouldn’t be permitted to express an opinion in the political arena through pamphlets. This one expression of disdain for one of our most basic rights should have disqualified Kagan; what kind of damage will her long term appointment do to other 1st Amendment applications?

Apparatchiks; yea, that pretty much covers Congress and most of the big news media outlets. We can wake up each morning and watch the news, read the paper and even the internet; but will we be informed with news or propaganda carefully edited by those in positions of power?

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

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”.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The New Financial Overhaul Bill

It’s Wednesday and Obama is supposed to sign the new financial overhaul bill passed by the Democrats , a bill filled with new regulations. The content of the bill is not widely known; but as with other pieces of legislation, we’ll have to wait until it’s signed into law to find out the particulars.

“Large, failing financial institutions would be liquidated and the costs assessed on their surviving peers. Borrowers will be protected from hidden fees and abusive terms, but also will have to provide evidence that they can repay their loans.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if the pot calling the kettle black was held to the same standard? Congress with its inability to work within a budget would be liquidated. Taxpayers would be protected from hidden fees and abusive terms and Congress would have to provide evidence they could repay everything being spent.

Rumor has it one section of the bill calls for the elimination of red colored ink on negative spending. Favored substitute colors have yet to be announced; however a reliable source claimed Michelle Obama was leaning toward lilac. Looking at so many negative figures on the nation’s spread sheet has turned the public’s attitude against the Obama administration and Congress; red is definitely not a friendly color.

Public schools have found red ink causes poor students emotional stress and have substituted softer colors in order to make them feel better about themselves as they become potential members of society. The same concept will be implemented on congressional budgetary items previously referred to as deficit spending; in the future such negative spending will be called “potential growth spending”.

In other news, Obama and his advisors have decided to change the name of the nation’s capital from Washington to something more upbeat. From now on Congress will meet in the Emerald City. A parade will be held in conjunction with Green Day to celebrate the limitless powers usurped by the Environmental Protection Agency. Dorothy, Tin Man, Scare Crow and Cowardly Lion will be attending, a reminder that any group of fools are capable of success. The car of choice for this year’s Parade Marshalls is the all electric Chevy Volt. Toto will lead the way followed by a Horse of a Different Color; pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I’m not sure about where to file this article; under government and history or more appropriately, fairy tales and other fiction.

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”.

Saturday, July 17, 2010



We took our three mama Hobo Kitties to the clinic the other day to be spayed and get their shots. ( If you click on the link there’s a picture of Silver Bubba and Headbuttr’) The clinic offered a discount rate for feral cats as a public service; over two hundred dollars cheaper than our local veterinarian charges for each animal so it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Lucy picked up the wire cages on Thursday and did all the trapping that evening while I was working at the temple. We must be living right as this part went off smoothly. The clinic furnished pieces of cloth cut to fit over the cages which kept the frightened Hobo Kitties calm all night; that and I’d promised we were taking them to Disney World.

We dropped them off at the clinic at 7:00am Friday morning. Lucy filled out the forms as the lady behind the desk labeled each cage ‘F1’, ‘F2’ and ‘F3’; ‘F’ as in Feral. She then asked if they had any given names; we added Silver Bubba, Shadow and Headbuttr’ to their unofficial temporary aliases.

The clinic would spay, check and clean their ears for mites and get their rabies shots; all three Hobo Kitties came to right at $ 140.00, a very reasonable charge. They have a policy on feral cats to clip the tip off of one ear; not very much, just enough to identify them as spayed feral cats.

I can see them in a police line up with other neighborhood cats charged with disturbing the peace, “You, yea you with the funky looking ear, step forward. Okay, is that the cat that was hoopin’ and hollerin’ outside your window last night?” Spayed cats won’t be out getting into that kind of trouble or at least they won’t be adding to the stray cat population.

We have them locked up in the kitchen nook for another day giving them a chance to heal before setting them free. Shadow, the most feral of the three had gone on a hunger strike the moment she got trapped. She never ate the tuna fish bait and refused to eat anything, not even a small bowl of milk; we were becoming concerned for her well being.

This evening I opened the back door near where the three mama Hobo Kitties were; lifting the cloth cover at the end of their cages so they could see out the door where their kittens were playing. I called out to see if any of the kittens wanted ‘treats’; a magic word that got their ears going, even the mama kitties, the ones which had been ‘clipped’.

The two little ones which belong to Silver Bubba, the ones we call Mark and Baby Bubba , are the least afraid and came to over to the cages for treats and to rub noses with the ‘prisoners’. The other kittens were close enough to gather treats which I scattered just outside the door. All the mama kitties wanted treats, even Shadow decided to end her fast; a major sigh of relief knowing that she was finally taking nourishment.

Tomorrow after we get home from church we’ll give them their freedom and hope they have sense enough to take it easy and heal the rest of the way. In a couple of months we’ll round up all the little Hobo Kittens, all eight of them. We enjoy watching the kittens and how they interact; but being responsible neighbors includes putting a halt to their promiscuity and never ending population explosion.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Useless Auto Theft Statistics

This past week the Houston Police Department released a list showing the most popular cars stolen during the previous month. I may have seen the news blurb on KPRC; but it was printed on the Montgomery County Police Reporter’s website . The information provided is pretty much useless; data regarding year models stolen should have been included.

I called HPD’s Auto Theft Division and asked for a detailed list of vehicles stolen, a list showing year models. The only person available was a receptionist; that in itself is telling. I explained how most of the newer vehicles used fancy electronic keys intended to prevent auto thefts; ignition systems which only respond to an authorized key. HPD’s report didn’t specify what year models had been stolen leaving some doubt as to whether or not fancy electronic keys actually prevented auto thefts. He explained how that information wasn’t easily obtained, at least not in Auto Theft Division and transferred me to the Public Relations Division where yet another receptionist could not answer my questions; but did take my phone number and promised to have someone call.

Transponder technology has altered the way cars and trucks are stolen. Thieves used to force an ignition switch to the start position and drive off into the night; nothing like waking up to find the pieces of broken window where your car used to be. That changed when electronic measures were integrated with mechanical keys. Each key must be programmed to the vehicle’s on board computer or the car won’t start; nearly impossible for most thieves to bypass. Now you walk out expecting to go to work and the locks are destroyed, your key won’t go in the hole; a hammer and wide blade screw driver having made the locks useless. The fact remains; the fancy anti-theft key system worked, your vehicle never moved and the thieves only got your radio and toll road change.

Last month, according to HPD’s report two vehicles topped the list; 132 Ford trucks and 116 Chevy trucks were stolen. That’s nice to know; but what year Ford trucks were stolen, it makes a difference. In 1998 Ford started putting transponder key systems in their F-150 line of trucks. Chevy has a similar transponder anti-theft system in most of their newer trucks as well. Of the 132 stolen Ford trucks and 116 Chevys, which ones had anti-theft transponder key systems? Which stolen vehicles had keys left in the ignition or were they actually part of a robbery where the owner was confronted with force rather than somebody stealing the vehicle through cover of darkness or stealth?

There are two basic categories for auto thieves, three if you count the ones who can only steal a car if the keys are left in the ignition while you’re inside the store purchasing this week’s lottery ticket. Some auto thieves only know how to steal older vehicles, the kind where brute force is used on the ignition. These are the same folks who destroy vehicles equipped with newer anti-theft technology designed to prevent this type of theft; too stupid or lazy to upgrade their minimal thieving skills.

I make a living bypassing fancy key systems; but I’m a licensed locksmith providing my skills for the rightful owner of vehicles. Auto thieves with advanced skills are the ones I want to know about. These folks are sharp and could probably make an honest living if they redirected their skills and stayed within the law; but they’d rather steal cars and truck so we call them thieves. They’ve figured out how to beat fancy anti-theft systems, bypassing programmable keys which were supposed to prevent cars or trucks from starting. This information was left off the police public service report.

There should be a breakdown of statistics to indicate which specific vehicles are being targeted, which vehicles are prone to theft and which ones actually are more difficult to steal. It wouldn’t be fair to let this fall between the cracks, “stay tuned for news at eleven” isn’t that how they tease us each night?

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”.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Report to Homicide Division

When I was a young police officer with only a couple of years experience, being told to report to the office hardly ever meant you’d done a great job. “Report to Homicide Division”, goodness, what did I screw up this time? I’d gotten back from vacation and the note was waiting the minute I stepped in the door.

Upon arrival, (that’s standard cop talk you’ll find in most incident reports), upon arrival in Homicide a detective wanted to know why a very specific Colt 357 Magnum pistol, a pistol with my initials and badge number scratched inside the handle had shown up at a double homicide. There was no doubt about the pistol having been marked as evidence; the scratches were exactly where police officers were trained to place them as a way to identify them in court; that was my handy work, I may have smiled for half a moment.

You might ask how I remembered that pistol or the details of the incident so easily; it was an unforgettable kind of day, the kind you see on television shows except it was real.

It happened on a gray Sunday afternoon in front of the Green Hornet Lounge; which just happened to be across the street from the Black Panther’s headquarters. My partner and I, using our patrol car as cover, had to square off on a fellow when he threatened to shoot; he stood at the entrance of the bar while a light rain fell.  All manner of excited people had been jumping out of windows to avoid being shot moments earlier followed by a second exodus when other shots rang out inside the place. I won’t list all the details; let’s just say it took my partner and I the better part of four hours to complete the reports after booking two suspects.

It was a beautiful pistol, the best I’d ever tagged into the property room. Most other pistols I’d taken away from folks fell into the ‘Saturday Night Special’ category; that pistol stood head and shoulders above any I’d ever recovered.

The detective wanted to know why there was no record of that pistol having been logged into the property room or why there was no incident report in records division showing that pistol by serial number. He had lots of questions which he needed answered; but I’d been on vacation in Colorado up in the mountains and unavailable; hence, “Report to Homicide Division”. Mostly he wanted to know how it was used in a double homicide instead of being in the property room since it sure looked like it was marked as evidence.

Do you remember the Arlo Guthrie tune, Alice’s Restaurant? The singer goes on and on about getting arrested for littering in a small town. Eight or so minutes into the song he explains that the tune isn’t about Alice’s Restaurant; it’s really an anti-war movement song.

“You can get anything you want
at Alice’s Restaurant…
You can get anything you want..
at Alice’s….Restaurant…”

Today’s article really isn’t about an old homicide investigation; but it might take some time to get there. Arlo said it best after the fifth of sixth chorus had gone by, “I’m not tired…..or proud...”, as he started another set.

One senior police officer involved in my training preached “keep good records”. If you make a report involving an arrest or place items of evidence into the property room keep a copy in your files. He explained how that report along with any notes taken at the scene of a crime would be part of the court process and it would make remembering details much easier a year or so down the road.

I was grateful to have followed his advice as I called home from there in the Homicide Division. Lucy picked up and I explained how my file system worked and that I needed an incident report which nobody else seemed able to locate. A few minutes later she was reading the information; incident number, date, location, arrested suspects names, evidence tagged and so on. The report I’d kept and filed away also had copies of the original dispatch slip, property receipts for the two pistols recovered and supplement reports for both pistols which had previously been reported stolen. I breathed a sigh of relief and was told to bring everything back to Homicide. I’d done a good job and wasn’t in trouble; somebody else was in big trouble, not me.

A couple of days ago one of my car dealerships called and needed a key for a 2007 Nissan Maxima, the kind that uses a ‘Smart Key’. You’d think after being a locksmith all these years I’d feel comfortable about such an endeavor; you’d be mistaken, I hadn’t done a Maxima in quite some time and had recently upgraded from an older style key programming computer to one which I was less familiar with.

There have been so many changes in the way keys are made and programmed I keep the manufacture’s manual handy each and every time. The directions were fairly clear and very complete; except the instructions work on the assumption that each step taken results in a positive result and that all reported successful steps actually were successful.

If you’re not familiar with the newer lock systems, Nissan has a proximity by pass which tells the car when an authorized “Smart fob” is present which permits starting the vehicle without the use of a key; just turn the knob or push a button depending on which model is involved. Once the mechanical key was completed the information was copied onto the expensive transponder key with its matching “Smart fob”; kind of a sword and scabbard set up.

An interesting part of programming a 2007 Maxima was that a properly cut key will not turn the ignition switch until part of the programming is completed, the part that unlocks the ignition turning knob via the computer. There were five steps which had to be done precisely and I was doing the operation for my first time on equipment which I was still learning about; a painfully slow process of learning.

“You can get anything you want
at Alice’s Restaurant…
You can get anything you want..
at Alice’s….Restaurant…

I found out that just because my programming computer displayed “successful” didn’t necessarily mean it was so. I’d programmed the transponder key; but when it wouldn’t turn the ignition switch knob I began to doubt so I repeated that part of the procedure; it refused to turn and the afternoon heat was becoming unbearable.

I called technical support and explained what wasn’t working and a simple piece of information was given, one which was not in the manual. If for any reason a failure presents itself the entire process must be repeated, to include steps which had previously been completed successfully and which didn’t seem to make sense repeating.

The new information was correct and the job was completed. The first thing I did was write notes in the manual. It might be a year or so before another 2007 Maxima has need of my skills; it will be so much easier next time. Keep good notes; a great lesson I learned long ago and continue to use.

“You can get anything you want
at Alice’s Restaurant…
You can get anything you want..
at Alice’s….Restaurant…”

Remember Alice, and the restaurant? This article isn’t about Alice or the restaurant. It’s not an anti-war movement piece or even about an old homicide investigation. I’ll go a step further; it isn’t about making keys for a 2007 Nissan Maxima either.

This is about the State of Texas mandating locksmith continuing education hours so a journeyman locksmith can continue to make a living doing what he/she’s been doing for years. This is about individuals being subjects of the state; a far cry from consent of the governed.

I just completed an eight hour block of mandated continuing education instruction on Morals, Ethics, Rules and Regulations for the sole purpose of renewing my locksmith license, my right to work in what’s supposed to be a free market system. If you believe the free market system exists I have some water front property just outside of Waco.

Some pencil pushing bureaucrats in Austin think locksmiths are a threat to society either through incompetence or lack of character. The mandates include eight hours of continuing education, with at least one hour of Ethics training each time the calendar turns over. The other courses can be anything security industry related regardless of your special skills or application within the locksmith industry. Four hours of an approved course I took were geared toward security guards; but since the Department of Public Safety/ Private Security Bureau has one tent to cover a wide and varied set of industries the subject matter and questions asked on the test apply equally to guard dog handlers and locksmiths.

The State of Texas has no method for crediting time spent actually improving locksmith skills, On Job Training if you will, time spent learning how to operate new key machines, programming computers or taking into consideration how each new vehicle differs as compared with prior models. It has been my experience that such skills require weeks or even months to acquire; multiple opportunities to reinforce information which cannot be gained on one or two attempts. Locksmiths face a wide range of challenges; pencil pushing bureaucrats in Austin shouldn’t be one of them.

“You can get anything you want
at Alice’s Restaurant…
You can get anything you want..
at Alice’s….Restaurant…

Walk right in
It’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad tracks...”

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”.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Humanitarian Aid Shipments to Gaza

The stage is set for yet another assault on Israel’s blockade of Gaza. This time it’s a Libyan “charity” shipment of food and medical supplies which will challenge the embargo intended to keep militants from resupplying Hamas with rockets and mortar rounds under the guise of humanitarian aid.

“Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has called the ship an “unnecessary provocation,” saying goods for Gaza that don’t have military uses can be delivered through the Israeli port of Ashdod, following a security check.”

It would appear reasonable and prudent for Israel to protect it self from its enemies by keeping Hamas from importing military goods through its many supporters via the open sea. Israel isn’t trying to starve those living in Gaza by cutting off food and medical supplies; they are taking a measured approach to security, protecting its citizens from attack. A safe harbor has been established where legitimate charity shipments may dock, offload and be properly checked; why then would the Libyan ship want to create an international incident?

Maybe it has to do with that last shipment, the ‘peaceful’ flotilla from Turkey that tried to run the blockade. The news media had a field day portraying Israeli commandos as murdering thugs, taking out defenseless aid workers.

What the news media didn't report might be of interest; but who cares about facts when you can sway public opinion with half truths? According to an article by Burt Prelutsky some minor details regarding the content of that humanitarian aid shipment were not reported by any of the major media outlets.

“Well, for openers, the “humanitarians” were affiliated with Hamas, and they were armed with knives, chains and iron pipes. But in addition, what the Israelis discovered when they unloaded the cargo of the Mavi Marmara in the port of Ashdod, was that tucked away behind the sacks of flour were crates filled with bazookas, mortar shells and missiles, along with a million euros to be used for financing terrorist activities.”

I went by Wal-Mart this past week for the large economy size bag of Purina Cat Food to feed our Hobo Kitties . Never once did I consider waltzing on over to the sporting goods area of the store where I could hide an assault rifle along with several boxes of ammunition under the huge sack of cat food and smuggle them out of the store; but I’m not a member of Hamas either. Come to think of it, I don’t think Wal-Mart sells ‘assault rifles’, maybe shotguns and hunting rifles; my apologies if it offended anyone.

I’ve heard a rumor there might be as many as 6 or 7 dishonest people in the Houston area so it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Wal-Mart to employ minimal security measures like having customers go through check out counters to have items rung up by a cashier or have security officers at the exit doors to verify sales receipts. Most folks shopping at Wal-Mart wouldn’t take something without paying; however, those who try to avoid security check points as they flee into the parking lot and dodge security officers, they might be hiding something.

Getting back to Libyan humanitarian efforts to run Israel’s blockade, what purpose is served? Well, if you just fell off the turnip truck then maybe you’ll believe what Youssef Sawani, executive director of Qaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation claims.

“Sawani said Amalthea’s volunteers and crew do not “want to cause any provocation” with Israel and only want to reach Gaza to deliver the aid, most of which was donated by Greek companies and charities. He declined to say how those on aboard would react if Israel does not allow the ship into Gaza, saying only “let’s be optimistic and have positive expectations.”’

You want that translated, “We hope to have lots of news media present to show Israeli commandos doing what they do best, lots of screaming and blood. When that’s over, with any luck, nobody will notice fifteen boxes of long range missiles hidden under the tarp marked ‘hospital supplies’ or the others filled with RPG’s”. Humanitarian aid, yea; I believe that, and the check’s in the mail.

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”.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Trouble Right Here in River City

Somebody must have put in a pool table, look at all the trouble we’re in now. Heck, it’s gotten so’s a body can’t offer up a proper prayer or teach school without raisin’ up a ruckus.

That Music Man feller’ passing through warned us about having a pool table; should’ve listened to him. Look what’s happened to our country; ever since our youth have been “Fritterin’ away their noontime, suppertime, choretime, too Hit the ball in the pocket”. Instead of pulling weeds from the garden or patching the screen door, you’ll have, “young ones peekin’ in the pool hall window after school”. Yes Sir, somebody must have put in a pool table.

“Ya got trouble, folks, right here in River City
with a capital ‘T’
and that rhymes with ‘P’
and that stands for ‘pool’.”

Ya’ don’t believe me? Take a look at what happened when somebody prayed during a session of congress, offered a blessing in the name of our Savior over in North Carolina .

“A North Carolina pastor was relieved of his duties as an honorary chaplain of the state house of representatives after he closed a prayer by invoking the name of Jesus…He had been invited to lead prayer for an entire week but his tenure was cut short when he refused to remove the name Jesus from his invocation.”

I suppose there might be some folks attending sessions of congress who’d feel uncomfortable or offended hearing the name of Jesus. Satan has plenty of his followers passing legislation these days.

The University of Illinois fired a professor, one assigned to teach Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought. Professor Ken Howell, a Catholic, was fired for teaching the tenets of the Catholic Church, that homosexuality was/is immoral and then added he believed that was correct doctrine, An unidentified student complained to the administration, considered Professor Howell’s added opinion “hate speech”. Howell had emailed all his students to help prepare them for an upcoming test, “teaching his students about the Catholic understanding of natural moral law.”

“Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another.”

Many students have fragile emotions and are unprepared for interacting in the world where he/she might have to face the fact that not everyone has the same beliefs or set of core values; but, Ann Mester, an associate dean at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Howell's e-mail justified his firing.”

How do you get to be an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences without having a functional brain? Perhaps, just perhaps, someone should check under Ann Mester’s fingernails for telltale signs of pool table lint or traces of cue stick chalk.

“Friends, the idle brain is the devil’s playground, trouble!

Oh, we got trouble
Right here in River City
Right here in River City
With a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for ‘pool’
That stands for pool
We surely got trouble
We surely got trouble
Right here in River City
Right here

Gotta figure out a way to keep the young ones
moral after school.”

There are folks who can’t stand the fact that “In God We Trust” is printed on our money, emblazoned on 30% of Indiana state license plates or placed in many classrooms of public schools. The mystical separation of church and state is the penumbra used to assault the mention of religion in public, something which is not in the constitution; but which the Supreme Court declared must be in there somewhere because Thomas Jefferson wrote the line in a letter,

“In Indiana, the American Civil Liberties Union is waging a legal battle over the state’s “In God We Trust” license plates, which now appear on over one third of all passenger cars statewide since its introduction at the beginning of this year, according to the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles.”

If you read the historical background regarding “In God We Trust”, the record would lead back to 1864 when it first was stamped on the two cent coin . It has since been added to other coinage and printed money.

Our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner , is the result of a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, “Defence of Fort McHenry”.  The words “And this be our motto, In God is our trust” are plain to see and yet many folks claim the phrase is a modern contrivance signed into law on July 30, 1956 by then President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Separation of church and state is the contrivance, an attempt to rewrite our Creator out of American history.

“Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and the Golden Rule?
Oho, we got trouble
We’re in terrible, terrible trouble
That game with the fifteen numbered balls is the devil’s tool
Devil’s tool
Yes, we’ve got trouble, trouble, trouble
Oh, yes, we got trouble here, we got big, big trouble…
…with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for ‘pool’!”

Yes, Sir, somebody’s putting pool tables in towns across this land, corrupting our youth for several generations. We’ve reached the point where closing a prayer in the name of Jesus Christ is cause for dismissal, teaching basic Christian principles is a “hate crime” and “In God We Trust” is offensive; that’s my two cents worth!

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, July 08, 2010

Journalistic Credibility

Something caught my attention while browsing news articles on the internet this morning, a story explaining why CNN got rid of a journalist who’d been with them for 20 years because she wrote something on Twitter which was politically incorrect, something which might put her work ethic in a bad light. Imagine that; CNN’s concerned about journalistic credibility; kind of makes me all teary eyed.

“CNN has fired Octavia Nasr, a senior Mideast editor, after her post on Twitter about the death of one of the forefathers of Hezbollah raised concerns at the network about her journalistic credibility.”

Maybe MSNBC should be taking notes, do a little house cleaning; very few would miss Keith “I’m not a liberal; I’m an American” Olbermann’s fair and unbiased political journalism as memories of the last presidential coverage come to mind. (You have no idea how hard it was to write the last half of that line without choking.)

There is a difference between reporting the news and journalism; I don’t think there’s been anything close to the news in years; each “news outlet” puts a spin on every story to achieve an objective, biased in some way toward an agenda which favors the station’s view. If all the big news media outlets fired everyone for a lack of journalistic credibility we’d be watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island or Leave it to Beaver; there certainly wouldn’t be much else to watch in the evening.

This past week KPRC in Houston has been showing tar balls on the Texas coast, a never ending environmental waste of time to let everyone know that drilling for oil has destroyed your trip to the beach. What would we do without having several minutes on each newscast dedicated to showing a reporter picking a tar ball from the water’s edge, one that came from BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster?

A red flag’s waving in the back of my mind, one which asks, if the news media is spending so much time driving home this one point, showing me their right hand; then what are they not showing me, the information not being shared that’s in the left hand? Forgive my skepticism; it’s come from years of observing human nature. When somebody wastes an inordinate amount of time repeating a known fact; most of the time there is a much more important fact, one they don’t want to be well known.

During the last presidential election coverage major news outlets would talk on and on about was how smooth, how articulate and sharp Obama came across while avoiding mention of his ties to American hating social radicals, communists and home grown terrorists. Once Obama was elected they pretended to be surprised that his closest friends shared a common thread; they all hated main stream American values based on the free market and constitution, amazing!

There’s a “translate” button on my monitor which presents itself when surfing the internet, “This page is in English – Translate it using Google Toolbar?” Why it’s there is beyond me; English is the language I already speak.

I still need to figure out a way to stop a couple of Japanese porn distributors from leaving spam in the comment section of my articles. I didn’t know what they were selling for the longest; even the free translation into English sounded like instructions on how to put a bicycle together, “Possession section in resident in Mo non fixed law…fixed law... During one organizing…three minutes such as large…two.” If you click on their link it takes you to a “Girl Sex” page with pictures of half naked oriental babes; sorry, no bicycles offered.

Bruce Willis had a line in the movie The Fifth Element that came to mind. He used it when the woman with orange hair fell out of the air, punched a hole in his cab and started jibber-jabbering in some language he didn’t understand, “Lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English”. Wouldn’t it be nice to hit the translate button when it came to the news?

“Today beach goers have to be careful as hundreds of tar balls washed ashore. Samples were taken and sent off for testing to verify if they came from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.” Now hit the translate button, “We’ve been telling you for years how evil capitalists like BP don’t give a rat’s hind end about the environment. All they care about is making money. If we don’t stop Big Oil companies from drilling in the Gulf you won’t be able to go swimming any more. Sea Gulls and endangered turtles will be covered in slime until they die a slow painful death while your little children are forced to watch”.

Let’s try that with Obama’s recent statement regarding illegal immigration , “I’m ready to move forward, the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward, and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem,”

Now hit that translate button, the one that we all wish worked to clarify what’s been offered, “I’m going to ignore ‘fly over America” because I don’t really care what their views are regarding the protection of our borders and the sovereignty of the United States of America. I’m speaking on behalf of our world citizens who look to the American tax payer to support a life style they had only dreamed about while escaping their own corrupt third world government regimes. I’m talking about registering 15 million or more future Democrat voters who will become a permanent lower class dependent on big government for nearly anything they need. I’m talking about holding power until my buddy George Soros and the New World Order folks get hold of this sad excuse of a nation and turn it into just another mediocre member state, a chance to atone for all that democracy crap we’ve been spreading over the last two hundred years.”

You can see why that translate button has yet to be fully implemented; “You want the truth, you can’t handle the truth!” There I go again, borrowing lines from movies to make a point; interesting since the topic had to do with guarding a wall.

A Few Good Men touched on the subject of border protection; but clouded the issue by linking that necessary function of government with a homicide that had been covered up. The fact remains, guarding the border is necessary and yet Obama and many others in positions of power have avoided doing what the public expects and demands.

“You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!”

Obama and his administration don’t like America because it stands for individual freedom and liberty and they certainly don’t intend to pick up a weapon and stand post to defend our borders. They want Change in the worst way, and I really do mean in the worst way. They don’t want Arizona enforcing laws intended to keep illegal aliens out of the country, keeping future “amnesty granted Democrat voters” from reaching the polls.

The news media makes it all sound like Republicans are trying to keep the poor in their place, deporting families, closing the border and generally being mean spirited. Starving children living in third world squalor could be American citizens enjoying the blessing we take for granted if not for conservatives depriving them of their rights, Tea Party members full of hate who lack compassion.

I’m still asking myself why CNN fired one of their journalists; because she admitted to admiring a founder of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization determined to exterminate Israel? She should have gotten a regular news anchor spot, a chance to express the prevailing attitude of the left. CNN might not say it out loud or in public; but the way they take sides it would appear they like Muslims more than Jews, or could I be mistaken?

Obama’s White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, stood in front of a microphone and camera where she announced Mao Tse Tung was one of her “favorite political philosophers”, a man responsible for murdering millions in the name of progressive government. Obama didn’t call for her resignation or demand she be fired. It would appear Dunn fits in quite well; being a revolutionary communist makes her a perfect spokesperson for the Obama administration. Who needs a translation button when the message comes in crystal clear? Now that’s journalistic credibility!

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”.