Monday, October 29, 2012

NO Blogging Till Sandy Passes

Between the town and county Emergency Management Agencies, the Red Cross and other emergency commitments, there won't be anything till after Sandy passes.

Stay safe.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spending a Saturday with Things That COULD Go BOOM!

I  had the opportunity to attend a training session on tanker truck roll-overs today, and it reinforced what had already been my own personal SOP (standard operating procedure): if I see a hazardous material placard, I'm beating feet and letting the younger guys -- who have hazmat Operations or Technician training deal with it. I don't want to step in a puddle of methyl ethyl badstuff.

And if you see any of these on the back of a wrecked truck, or if you see smoke or anything else dripping/leaking/oozing/seeping out of a truck with one of these, don't get near it. Go call 9-1-1.


Any truck bearing any of these is NOT somewhere you want to be if you haven't been through a ton of training. I've been doing this kind of thing for 30+ years, and never had the desire to play with stuff that could kill me.

Not that the absence of a placard is any guarantee of safety. Depending on which year it is, the largest transporter of hazardous materials is WalMart, UPS or FedEx... and those are in quantities below the threshold for placarding.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Too Good To Pass Up

Okay, I've been trying to be a good boy and cut back on the political diatribes, but this one was just too good. I think even if you're a Republican, if you're honest, you'll have to admit this is pretty funny. Plus, it shows that Obama's been listening to Jeff Foxworthy.


As Foxworthy's buddy Larry the Cable Guy would say, "I don't care who you are, that's funny right there."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Love It!

This past weekend, Knox and Waldo Counties in Maine held a joint exercise, simulating a plane crash into Penobscot Bay.

Best part of the whole story?

Ray O. Sisk of the Knox County EMA was the director of the event, and assisted in organizing the various agencies and the volunteers to ensure the exercise was as effective as possible for everyone involved.

According to Sisk, the volunteers were mostly people that they had worked with in the past, and included members of the Ragged Mountain ski patrol as well as some members of the Waldo county government.

“We call them 'red shirts,'” said Sisk, as an homage to the Star Trek actors who were known for being victims in every episode.

You can't make this stuff up.

I hope Gary doesn't mind if I link to him.

Oh, Christ, Not Another One...

Just saw on that an off-duty police officer for Prince George's County, MD, was killed in a car crash.

Prince George’s County Police have confirmed the death of PGPD Officer Kevin Bowden who was killed this afternoon in his take-home cruiser in an off-duty crash on Route 5 in Clinton, Maryland. Officer Bowden was 28-years-old and had been on the police department for six-years. He leaves behind two young children.

Obviously, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Officer Bowden, as well as the occupant of the other vehicle and his/her family.

I am hoping desperately that the cause of the crash will be something "legitimate" instead of a tragic outcome of an on-going problem of cops driving like lunatics in take-home cruisers.

The Miami Police Department recently fired one Fausto Lopez, after Lopez was chased by a Florida Highway Patrol officer and removed from his vehicle at gunpoint. Lopez had been driving at speeds of about 120 MPH during the 7 minute pursuit. Bear in mind, 7 minutes at 120 MPH yields a 14 mile chase. Lopez had been clocked operating in excess of 90 MPH over 80 times. In three months. Or about once a day.

Apparently, Lopez's excuse for the last trip was that he was late for an off-duty job. Uh-huh, right.

When I was a cop, if any of us had been caught driving over 90 MPH while off-duty, even once, we would have been fired, arrested, and charged. I don't even want to try to imagine what would have happened if we had been caught doing 90+ every day for three months.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that Officer Bowden didn't pay the ultimate price because he was a speed demon. I hope to Christ it was a sudden mechanical failure, or a kid darting in front of his car, or the driver of the minivan swerving to avoid a pothole or something. ANYTHING other than another cop being a fool, simply because he could.

We won't know the cause of the accident until the investigation is complete. Until then, I'm giving Officer Bowden the benefit of the doubt.

R.I.P., Officer Bowden.

Apropros of Nothing...

Michelle Malkin (nee Maglalang) was born to Phillipine parents residing (illegally?) in the United States. This makes her an "anchor baby" (one who can facilitate immigration for relatives), which is something the conservative movement abhors.

Dinesh D'Souza was born in India, which makes him a dusky-skinned furriner, something the conservative movement abhors.

Why are the conservatives listening to either of them?

... After A Word From Our Sponsors...

Up here in Maine (and across New England, I'm sure), we've been treated to a new commercial from Dish Network, featuring a bunch of Bostonian-Americans discussing something called -- apparently -- the "hoppah." I haven't heard such thick Boston accents since Jack Kennedy.

This led me to wonder... does Dish do variations of this commercial for different regional accents? I tried calling Dish to find out, but the not-so-nice young lady at their call center called me an "@sshole" before she hung up on me.

Next up, we have a commercial from Little Tikes, for some new flying toy, with a typical Little Tikes theme song (couldn't find the exact commercial, but this one gives you the general idea):

Then, we were treated to the new Toyota Prius commercial: 

Am I the only one discouraged by the fact that Little Tikes sounds more grown up than the freakin' Prius?

Are you telling me the only way to sell a car is to sing like a 5-year-old?

Quickie Medical Call

We had a call a while back, at the local upholstery shop, for a guy caught in an automatic slipcover machine.

We called the hospital the next day, to follow up.

We were told he was fully recovered.

Musical Drum Hit Rim Shot Joke Cymbal Choke

I'm Not The Only One

Chris Kaiser has a guest post at Life Under The Lights.

Chance Gearhart, a paramedic in Tennessee, wraps up his article thusly:

As EMS we need to always remember that we are Patient Advocates. Our patients deserve us to always stand up for what is best for them. Apathy should never stand in the way of proper patient care. [original emphasis]

The quote below is not from the guest post, but it does an excellent job of summing up what all of us owe the public:

One of my EMS truths is that while there may be boring calls and calls that are less than exciting, there are no “routine” calls. There is no EMS patient that doesn’t deserve the absolute best that we have to give them. Every single patient we take into our care, be it a scheduled dialysis transport or a simple discharge from a hospital to a nursing home deserves to have professional, competent, and caring EMS providers taking care of them. They all deserve our best care, our best assessments, our best comfort, our best compassion, and most of all, our simple act of caring about them as a person and a patient. Never forget that, you may just save a life during one of your “routine” calls.

Go read the entire thing.

Kaiser, by the way, is one of the more influential EMS bloggers around. He, along with the other medical bloggers I've mentioned (and, I'm sure, virtually all medical bloggers) seems to be as disgusted with those few of our brethren who screw us all. Not that I'm putting myself in his class, of course, but it's nice to know we're all on the same page.

[This has nothing to do with this post, but I just noticed that Blogger's spell-check function -- BLOGGER's, mind you -- does not recognize the word "blogger." < sigh > ]

FEAR and Loathing In The Military

First we had the "Oath Keepers," a bunch of military and law enforcement types who claimed for themselves sole jurisdiction over interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. These guys -- and gals -- felt that they and only they understood the intent of the Framers, and that they and only they had the right to decide what orders to obey and what orders to disregard. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Oath Keepers as an organization active in the "Patriot" movement. According to the SPLC, "Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines." As such, they are loosely affiliated with other anti-government movements, such as Sovereign Citizens, Christian Identity, Redemptionists, various militia groups, Tax Deniers, the Neo-Nazi movement, and racist groups. The Patriot movement is also closely connected to the Tea Party movement, which was confirmed by Mark Potok, of SPLC:

[T]there's a lot of cross-pollination between the movements. Richard Mack, for instance, is a former Arizona sheriff and Patriot hero who has given dozens of major talks to Tea Party groups. We've also seen Patriot conspiracy theories -- like the idea that FEMA is building concentration camps for American Patriots -- get into the Tea Parties." [personal correspondence from Potok to the author, May 25, 2012]

Now we have a group of "brave" military types calling themselves FEAR -- "Forever Enduring, Always Ready" -- who decided to overthrow the United States government through a campaign of terror and political assassinations (they funded this noble movement the way most of these yahoos do, by committing petty crimes like burglary, although at least this bunch didn't sell meth, another favorite fund-raiser for the anti-government crowd). FEAR is "an anti-government militia largely made up of active-duty and recently discharged American soldiers," according to SPLC, part of the lunatic fringe that believes in the "New World Order," the "Zionist Occupation Government," and black FEMA helicopters hauling all the God-fearing, patriotic white American citizens off to concentration camps in Arizona.

Ten of the group, in an effort to maintain security, whacked a young couple in Georgia, fearing the male, 19-year-old Michael Roark, a military veteran and erstwhile FEAR member, had betrayed the group. Roark's girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York, was also murdered, apparently just for being with the "traitor."

As is usually the case with these "brave warriors," as soon as they were arrested, they started singing like canaries, betraying their "brothers," their "comrades in arms," in an attempt to save their own worthless skins. "Forever Enduring," my ass.

Once again, we have people to whom we have entrusted the national security of the United States betraying that trust in the interest of their perverted views of what constitutes a "normal" society. Unfortunately, we are the ones who paid for the training they will use to subjugate all of us, we are the ones who furnished their weapons, and -- worst of all -- we are the ones who tacitly encouraged their lunacy by not stepping on them as soon as their true nature started to show.

Losers in Lauderdale

In his series of Travis McGee thrillers, author John D MacDonald referred to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, as "Fort Lauder-damn-dale."  It appears four Ft Lauderdale firefighters have been arrested in a sordid little scam involving -- surprise! -- fraudulent recertification training records (see my previous rants here and here). These four losers decided sitting through a recertification class in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (I've also seen it listed as Advanced Cardiac Life Support) was less important than whatever they wanted to do instead.

And what exactly is ACLS? Here is the course content from the American Heart Association website:

• Key changes in advanced cardiovascular life support, reflecting the 2010 American  Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care
• Basic life support skills, including effective chest compressions, use of a bag-mask device and use of an (AED)
• Recognition and early management of respiratory and cardiac arrest
• Recognition and early management of peri-arrest conditions such as symptomatic bradycardia
• Airway management
• Related pharmacology
• Management of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and stroke
• Effective communication as a member and leader of a resuscitation team
• Effective Resuscitation Team Dynamics
This is a paramedic-level training program, what with the pharmacology aspects (there is also a scaled-down version, "ACLS for EMT Basics" that I took, which was fascinating).

As a prospective patient, I would say that this skill set would be kinda critical for, oh, I don't know, maybe, SAVING MY LIFE?

Yet these four firefighter/medics, these MORONS couldn't be bothered.

This is what I had to say two years ago:

You may wonder what the big deal is. It's this: we're talking skills and knowledge needed to save lives. We're not talking about missing the latest changes to the Tax Code, or a fast-breaking tech bulletin on Toyota's acceleration issues here. We're talking life or death. How to calculate the appropriate dosage of the appropriate medication for your infant based on size and weight, or remembering how to correctly interpret an ECG strip or perform an endotracheal intubation successfully. You know, the stuff that will keep you alive so you can walk your daughter down the aisle at her wedding and bounce your grand kids on your knee.

The thing is, I don't know if he is truly a lazy bastard, or if he got in with the wrong crowd (as our parents used to say), or what. Whatever the reason, he has made our jobs harder, by violating the trust the public had in us.

It is even more true today.

Do today's civil servants have ANY understanding of the trust placed in us? Do they not understand that we have the citizens' very lives in our hands?

I don't know if this is a carry-over from the "me generation" or what, but it seems that too many folks in emergency services are in it just for what society can do for them, and their eventual career prospects, rather than what they can do for society. (Gee, where have I heard that concept before?)

And yet, it's not just an American problem, for in Australia, we see that medics have been stealing fentanyl -- a powerful painkiller 100 times more potent than morphine -- from ambulance drug stocks... and apparently have been doing so for years.

Is this why we are losing so many of the more dedicated medics (and cops and firefighters) around the world? Are the "good guys" looking around and seeing themselves surrounded by maggots who aren't fit to shine our boots? Are they seeing these scum becoming more and more prevalent, and even advancing into command positions?

I can tell you that the decent folks in these fields are getting more and more worried about being contaminated by the arrogant putzes in the field. And yes, the lying, thieving losers are a very small minority (I hope), but they are the ones getting noticed, the ones getting the press coverage, the ones tarring us with their feces-encrusted brushes.

I'm not a paramedic, I'm an EMT-Basic (mostly because I never had the roughly $10,000 for the medic course, nor did I have the 2000 hours free time), so I cannot do all the "Johnny and Roy magic" that Justin Schorr, Kelly Grayson, Michael Morse, Mark Glencourse, Chris Kaiser or the other paramedics can do. I can "only" do BLS skills... like CPR and giving you aspirin when you're having a heart attack and stopping your bleeding, and stuff. BUT... the instructors in both my ACLS for Basics class and the "Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support" (PHTLS) course said, "BLS skills save more lives than ALS skills."

Of course, all of this is moot if the patient cannot survive until we get there. Take a CPR/first aid class. They're available through the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Emergency Care and Safety Institute, American Safety and Health Institute, and a host of others. If nothing else, call your local YMCA, YWCA, or fire department... they can tell you who's running courses in your area.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eleven Simple Words

A couple of days ago, I did a post about a prostitution case going on here in Maine. A local businessman and a Zumba instructor were charged with promotion of prostitution and engaging in prostitution, respectively (along with dozens of other misdemeanor charges). Some of the alleged johns objected to having their names released to the media. My comment then was, "[...] if you don't want your name in the papers, don't break the law."

This case -- especially the refusal to release the client list -- has made this a national news story. Brian Williams spoke about it last night on the NBC Nightly News (probably the best-known prostitution case since the Secret Service yahoos down in South America).

The judge in the case originally allowed the names to be released, but no addresses, to protect the privacy of those involved (some of the charges against the alleged callgirl and... manager[?]... include invasion of privacy, for recording the encounters).

Today, the judge announced that middle initials and addresses could be released, with the concurrence of John Does 1 and 2:

Kennebunk police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee said he had been inundated with calls from people with names similar to those on the list released Monday. Police re-released the list Tuesday morning with the addition of middle initials.

It certainly makes sense, especially since we have a lot of folks here in Maine with very similar names.

One of those names, by the way, happens to belong to a former mayor of the City of South Portland, James A. Soule, now residing in Fort Myers, FL. (The position of Mayor in South Portland is largely ceremonial). Another is Donald Hill, the now-former hockey coach at Kennebunk High School. Hill joined the coaching staff in 1993. Here in Maine, high school hockey holds the same status as high school football in Texas: it's damn near a religion.

It's a shame that so many reputations are being destroyed as a result of this case: the businessman, who was a well-respected insurance agent, the Zumba instructor, the Mayor, the coach, but they all learned one simple lesson the hard way. If you don't want to see it on the front page of the newspaper, don't do whatever you were thinking of doing.

This kinda goes back to another recent post, about public employees screwing up. Maybe I'm old-fashioned (hell, I know I am; the lovely yet talented Mrs618 tells me so often enough), but it seems to me that if you are going to be a public employee, whether fire chief, cop, medic, mayor, high school coach, whatever, you need to hold yourself to a higher standard of behavior.

Public employees should be role models. We should be the ones the youth of today aspire to be tomorrow. Face it, the heroes of our generation -- Mickey Mantle, Andy Granatelli, Scooter Rizzuto, Whitey Ford -- they're all gone, replaced by useless scum like Michael Vick and Mike Tyson, who are basically athletically-gifted thugs. But what of the other heroes of our time? When I was a kid, we all wanted to be cops or firemen. Very few aspired to be President (as Dennis Smith pointed out in Report From Engine Co. 82, being President was a birthright). None wanted to be an investment banker. Hell, that profession didn't even exist!

There are still kids today who want to be cops, or firefighters, or medics, or members of the military. These are time-honored professions, and have historically been a stepping stone for social advancement over the last couple of centuries. If we want to keep these traditions alive, we must act accordingly.

Am I saying a cop cannot accept a cup of coffee, a donut, or the ubiquitous free apple? No, I see nothing wrong with a little "thank you" to those who risk their lives for us. What I do object to, however, is the current trend of civil servants (who are neither civil nor servile) taking it upon themselves to be the arbiters of what is proper and just. And by civil servants, I mean all who (at least theoretically) serve the public, whether paid or volunteer.

Cops who view free meals at luxury restaurants as their due, firefighters who raid department treasuries, mayors who patronize prostitutes, football coaches at state universities who molest their young players... these are the people we expect our children to emulate? Good God, no.

Groups like the Minutemen and the Oath Keepers should have no place in American society, yet in some parts of the country, they are a major player -- if not the major player -- in local law enforcement and the military. Should our youth grow up to be like these cretins? Hell, no.

Do I have all the solutions? Of course not, I don't claim to. Hell, I don't know if I have any of the solutions, other than one that should be blindingly, glaringly obvious to everybody: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Eleven simple words.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Leroy Jethro Gibbs Head Slap To My Fellow Professionals

FireGeezer has been running a series of articles on "promotional opportunities," openings in the upper ranks caused by various malefactions perpetrated by the incumbents. Usually -- but not always -- the offenses are various forms of embezzlement, theft, misappropriation, and other naughty uses of the department's resources.

As a volunteer firefighter/EMT whose department enjoys magnificent support from the taxpayers in town, I have to say something to the officers betraying the public trust:


With the economy the way it is these days, fire departments are favorite target for budget cutters: "they jes' sit there in th' fire house, snappin' they suspenduhs, takin' them trucks to go shoppin', an' why we need so many a them, ennyways?"

We need the public to trust us, to believe that when we ask for things, it's because we need them, not because it's cool to have these toys.

The economy is, as John McCain once said, "cratering." As a taxpayer, I want my money to be used effectively, for my benefit, and for the community's benefit, not the private benefit of some thieving officer. I want to know that my local fire department has the personnel, the training, the tools and equipment, and the ability to save MY life. I want to know the local ambulance has the fentanyl or morphine I need after a car crash, instead of finding out some junkie medic drew it out and refilled the ampule with water.

But this is reflective of an even greater problem in emergency services.

We think we're entitled to whatever we want, or want to do.

We're not.

Over the past year, there have been stories of firefighters flipping off photographers during a parade, firefighters having prostitutes in the fire station, medics stealing drugs, cops kicking handcuffed females because they felt "threatened" and a pile of other assorted crap.


Those of us in public service -- no, let's call it by it's correct name, CIVIL service -- have a responsibility to the public. Yeah, when I was a cop, I hated it when some citizen said "I pay your salary." Yeah, maybe the guy was an ass, but. BUT HE WAS RIGHT.

We get (hopefully) better-than-average pay, better-than-average insurance benefits (face it, how many burger flippers, investment bankers, or politicians get killed in the line of duty?), and worse-than-average working conditions, schedules, and uniforms.

In return, we owe the community that pays us. We need to do the best job we can; they deserve our best efforts. But what happens? We lie, we cheat, we steal. And then we wonder why the public doesn't love us anymore?

Back on June 13, 2011, Justin Schorr, the Happy Medic, posted a video of the funeral procession for SFFD Lt. Vincent Perez and FF/PM Anthony Valerio. In the video, a young boy, dressed in  kid's bunker gear, salutes the fallen as the trucks go by. Go. Read the post, watch the video, and come back. And don't try to tell me your eyes were dry at the end. The kid gets it. He really gets it. And not because his dad is a firefighter and his mom's a cop, he gets it because he was raised right, to respect those who sacrifice for others. (And, yeah, I was proud to see the Red Cross ERV [Emergency Response Vehicle] at 2:44).

If we want to be worthy of this child's respect, we have to EARN it. Not be being greedy, or cheap, or crooked, or slimy, but by being the best cops, firefighters, and medics we can be.

That child deserves no less, society deserves no less, and, you know what? WE deserve no less.

4.5 Earthquake, Southern Maine

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck southern Maine about 7:12 this evening. According to the local NBC affiliate, people called reporting the quake from as far away as New York City.

Now, we're hearing that the quake went from 4.5 to 4.6 (and remember, each full digit is an increase of 10 times the previous digit; i.e., a 5.0 is ten times as powerful as a 4.0) and is now at 4.0.

Either way, I didn't feel it. Guess this means I gotta lose some weight.

Oh, and there are no reports of injuries, fortunately.

What Happened in Vegas Didn't Stay in Vegas...

Back on September 14, FireGeezer ran a post about a traffic crash in Vegas that killed 4 and injured 8. The driver of the car was identified as 23-year-old Gary Lee Hosey, who apparently has a long history with Clark County law enforcement agencies. He also apparently has no drivers license.

Reports indicate Hosey was travelling about 100 miles per hour (as estimated by a cop gassing up his cruiser moments before the accident occured). The car hit a pole and went airborne before crashing into a bus stop shelter, where the four vitims were waiting for their bus. Three pedestrians were also critically injured, as were the five occupants in Hosey's vehicle (well, his girlfriend's vehicle, to be precise).

Blood and breath tests indicated Hosey had been drinking (his BAC was well above the 0.08 limit) and also showed marijuana in his system. Unlike every other drunk driver with JACOB Syndrome (Just A Couple Of Beers), Hosey claimed to have only had one.

In just the last two years, Hosey had racked up charges of marijuana possession, obstructing a public officer, lewd conduct, and larceny. Now he can add four counts of felony DUI causing death.

Now, what makes this sorry case blogworthy, other than the death of four innocents?

It seems to me that the system in Clark County failed. It failed the dead, it failed the injured, it even fail Hosey.

I suspect we'll find that Hosey came from a broken home, might very well have been abused as a child, and just generally had a crappy life. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't excuse what Hosey did, and it certainly doesn't justify it, but -- assuming that's the case -- the poor kid didn't have a chance in life. But, that said, once it became obvious that Hosey was a lost cause, somebody should have locked him up. Even a few months might have been able to get him help. If nothing else, if his little butt had been in the slammer in mid-September, four folks would still be alive, eight others wouldn't be injured.

And there wouldn't be two little girls asking, "when's Gramma coming back home?"

It was his choice to smoke a blunt, pop "a" Bud (yeah, one, sure...) and get behind the wheel, especially without a license.

On the other hand, now maybe we can lock his ass up.

"Missippi" Madness, and Teabaggin Looney Toons

First, when I lived down in Memphis, everybody ( or "evurbodda") referred to the state directly south as "Missippi." So there.

A friend sent me a link to an article in the Jackson (MS) Free Press, in which a reporter interviews three Teabaggers down there. One in particular is quite enlightening (if one can use that term about Missippi). Janis Lane (a female-Murrican) says:

Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I'd much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them.

Because women have the right to vote, I am active, because I want to make sure there is some sanity for women in the political world. It is up to the Christian rednecks and patriots to stand up for our country. Everyone has the right to vote now that's 18 or over (who is) a legal citizen, and every person that's 18 and over and a legal citizen should be active in local politics so they can make a change locally, make a change on the state level and make a change in Washington, D.C. [emphasis added]

That's right, folks, a female -- you know, with the magical ladyparts that have "ways to try to shut that whole thing down" -- says that women should not be allowed to vote. And she's gonna vote for people who will revoke her right to vote.

Which brings me to a somewhat fuller discussion of an update to an earlier post. Bryan Fischer, neanderthal leader of the equally neanderthal American Family Association, says that women should never be in any position of authority, leadership, or any position of power whatsoever. One commenter had this to say:

Ok, Jesus was the biggest sexist and bigot of them all. I have no problem saying it. At least Jesus has the fact that he's not real to hid behind. A pity that Fischer can't have the same fact... [snip] All I can say is, now that we women have our freedom, we are NOT going back to second class citizens. I will get in the kitchen only when I have this man's dick in the oven, and I would gladly and happily server it to him on a hotdog bun.

And good ole Bubba's response:

And you're a perfect example why women should be kept illiterate and barefoot in the kitchen, preferably chained to the stove.

Lessee, vote for the revocation of my own rights and go back to being worse off than a slave? Makes sense to Maybelle Bubba-ette.

Oh, sweet baby Jeebus, would ya PLEASE friggin secede, already???

Jurassic Pork Strikes Again

UPDATE: from JP: Dude, I didn't write that article. I made it quite plain that Gary Cohn wrote it and I merely crossposted it for Barb O'Brien at Mahablog at her request. My apologies to all involved.

My old buddy Jurassic Pork has an article at Welcome Back To Pottersville that you just simply have to read. It concern the "compassionate conservatism" of one Willard "Mitt" Romney. And how ole Mitt screwed over a guy who worked for one of the many companies the BainBorg assimilated.

Go read it.

And ask yourself why anyone with a net worth of less than a million bucks would vote for this heartless scumbubble.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Religious "Freedom"

Update: see below.

I came across an interesting piece in The World this morning (I stuck in the link, but you'll need a subscription to view it). The October 19 issue refers to a column in Canada's The Globe and Mail. In that column, Doug Saunders writes:

In country after country, whenever people assert their self-proclaimed religious freedoms, “terrible things tend to happen.” The concept has been invoked by Indian Hindus to justify killing Muslims, by Sri Lankan Buddhists to imprison Hindus, by Israeli Jews to deny Muslims’ citizenship, and by Egyptian Islamists to oppress Coptic Christians. In many places, religious freedom refers to the right to restrict women’s freedom. [emphasis added]

Hmmm, what are the far-right evangelicals demanding here? "Religious freedom." And how do they want to utilize this freedom? By banning all abortions (except those under the "sodomized virgin" rule), even for rape victims (“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. [. . .] I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”). By making it legal to pay women less than men. By eliminating access to birth control and cancer screenings.

Saunders uses examples from places like India and Sri Lanka. It's scary to realize that those same third-world situations apply here.

So, in effect, what they're asking for is the freedom to deny us our freedoms. In the name of religion, of course.

Update, 10-16-12, via Tengrain at Dependable Renegade:; Bryan Fischer explaining how the Bible says women cannot be put in a position of authority over men.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

To Print Or Not To Print...

... that is the question...

Here in Maine, we're currently dealing with a small prostitution ring, allegedly run by an insurance agent and a Zumba instructor. The cops say they have "The List" of more than 150 johns, including "several prominent community figures." A bunch of lawyers are trying (desperately) to keep "The List" under wraps, to protect the guilty.

"We think there's a really important principle at stake here: These people are presumed innocent. Once these names are released, they're all going to have the mark of a scarlet letter, if you will," Schwartz told reporters outside Biddeford District Court after filing the notice.

But it is apparently okay to identify the alleged prostitute and the alleged pimp/business manager/mastermind.
One of Schwartz's clients, John Doe 1, described himself in an affidavit as a disabled person who has children and is a productive member of society. He said the nature of the charge against him is so "notorious" that it would severely harm his reputation and his family and professional relationships.

"I am deeply concerned that a public spectacle will be made of the allegations as they pertain to me. I am also concerned that I will be prejudiced by reading the 'list' if it is published by local media," John Doe 1 said in the document.
In other words, "don't identify me cause everybody will think I'm an immoral crook for going to a hooker."

I look at it this way. If promoting prostitution is a crime, and engaging in prostitution is a crime, and soliciting prostitution is a crime, then, if you're going to publish the names of the pimps and hookers, you ought to publish the names of the johns. "But they haven't been convicted of anything," I hear you say. Hey, guess what? Neither have the other two. "But we can't expose them to public ridicule," you say. Whoopie, the other two have already been exposed.

What all the noise boils down to is this: "I'm rich and powerful, and I go to hookers, but I don't want to be held responsible for my actions."

Got news for ya, Jackson... if you don't want your name in the papers, don't break the law.

Data Breaches

We've all heard horror stories about commercial entities not taking sufficient steps to safeguard their customers' information. TJX (parent company of TJ Maxx), Hannaford Brothers Supermarkets, TD Bank, all sorts of people have been experiencing data breaches (even the Social Security Administration and -- not surprisingly -- the TSA). Many folks in the security field are trying to figure out better ways to protect this information. Believe it or not, this may be one place where the private sector really might be the solution.

Think about this:

Your company, XYZ Bank and Trust, holds confidential information on hundreds of thousands of customers. We're talking names, addresses, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. You keep all this information on unencrypted tapes because (a) you're lazy, and (b) you don't want to spend a couple of thousand bucks on encryption software. Then, one day, you discover that the tape has vanished between Office A and Office B. Investigation indicates that the manager at Office A asked her teen-age son to drop the tape at Office B en route to pick up his girlfriend. Your customers have their information at risk.

As Karl Malden used to ask, "What will you do? What will you do?"

Here's a nice, easy solution. Fine the business a mere $100.00 for each customer potentially affected. This fine, by law, must come out of owner's or shareholder's equity, not general operating expense (which promptly gets passed right back to the consumers affected by your laziness). The cost of any credit monitoring comes out of owner's or shareholder's equity. Prohibit the bank from raising interest rates charged and from reducing interest paid, for a period of two years. For particularly egregious offenses, double the fines.

Not all that bad, right?

TD Bank managed to expose the information of 267,000 customers. That would be a fine of $26,700,000. Out of the shareholders' pockets. You think the shareholders would make sure that never happened again?  Damn straight they would.

You want to really drive the point home? Fines and costs come out of executive compensation. Start with the highest paid official of the corporation, deduct all but $50,000*, and put the withheld funds towards the fines. Do that until all fines and costs have been covered. Maybe hold an extra 50% in escrow, just in case. The execs will make goddamned sure those tapes are constantly monitored.

One more twist, if you're feeling REALLY evil: if any customer's information is misused, post the same information from the executives, including Social Security, and prohibit them from changing Social Security or bank account numbers for six months.

Hit the lazy thieving bastards in the pocketbook, and they'll start paying attention.

* Some of the executives may complain that they can't live on $50,000. Point out that that's a LOT more than many of us make, and welcome them to the 99%. They'll have to sell the BMW, the Rolls, the yacht, and the Montana ranch? Cry me an effin' river, dude.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Something New. Well, Sorta...

I've mentioned once or twice in the past that I've been in emergency services for a number of years. When the lovely yet talented Mrs618 and I returned to Maine, I finally had a chance to get on the local VFD (most of the last thirty years, I've lived in areas with career FDs) and retake the EMT training.

The EMT was due, in large part, to Randy Cassingham, whom I've cited here a number of times, but also to a number of the medical bloggers out there, the guys (and gals) like Kelly Grayson, aka Ambulance Driver; Chris Kaiser (Life Under the Lights); Mark Glencourse (formerly of 999Medic, who has moved on to greener pastures); Justin Schorr, the Happy Medic; Hydrant Girl (all the times I've been banged up, I never had a medic as cute as she is); Epijunky at Pink, Warm, and Dry; and TS, aka the Urban Paramedic (who has also retired, and whom I have mentioned in the past).

But perhaps the blogger most responsible -- however you want to take that -- is Captain Michael Morse, of Providence Rescue 5. His blog, Rescuing Providence, reminded me that there still are good people out there, people who care, who give a damn. He also showed me that one can have bad stretches, where one doesn't seem to care... until "the one call"... the one that makes you whole again, that gives you the energy to get your ass back in the fight.

I've been reading Rescuing Providence daily for several years now, and leaving occasional comments on his posts, and the other day, he said I should have a blog, because my "heart is ... in the right place." I don't know if I would go quite that far, Cap, but I learned many years ago on the PD that the senior officer, like a wife, is always right.

Oh, and why haven't I blogrolled any of these excellent sites? Because when I first started this blog, way back in 2005(!) and later when we moved to Maine, I wanted to try to keep the two parts of my life separate, the political beliefs (which, if you've ever read me, you know tend to lean to the left) and the public service (where many of my brethren tend to lean to the right... sometimes, the very far right).

But, you know, looking back over the years, I can see where bits and pieces managed to sneak in between the diatribes and rants. I can see where the frustration has come in (especially when writing about cops), but I can also see where some little bits of hope have filtered in too.

If I post on any calls -- fire or EMS -- I will tell you a few things right now:
  • ALL names, details, locations, etc, have been changed (I live in a very small community, where it would be too easy to ID a victim, and I don't want to run afoul of HIPAA); most will be based on things I dealt with years ago, in other states.
  • Any police calls involving me will, by definition, have occurred prior to 1989, when I left the field.
  • Most of the time, I'll be discussing other peoples' calls, or the administrative/political impact of decisions affecting the emergency services world.
  • Who knows, I might even go back to some of my excruciatingly long posts on terrorism, the TSA, response, public safety, preparedness, or the legal system.
Anyway, if the new posts are popular, thank Captain Morse. If they suck, blame me.