Same Story, Two Different Verses

First off we have a department taking action (thankfully) about an excessive force situation.

Back in June, Officer Jesus Martinez was caught on camera by a witness straddling and handcuffing a panhandler who was face down on the ground.

Martinez was seen roughing up the man, and later told the department that he had to use pepper spray because the man was resisting arrest.

Police say in the video it’s clear that the man is in extreme pain. A second witness told police that Martinez tackled the panhandler after they exchanged words.

An investigation by Internal Affairs found that Martinez used unnecessary and/or inappropriate force. He was arrested and charged with Official Oppression, which is a Class A Misdemeanor.

Martinez was also fired from the department, where he had worked since 2006

 

Of course not mentioned is what has happened to other people in the city since June. I applaud the city of Dallas for taking steps to right the wrong. But I do have to ask the antis “Do you think the police would be LESS violence, LESS brutal if the people were unarmed?”

I don’t think so.

Next up we have news from my home town

ARLINGTON – The Arlington Police Department has opened an internal, criminal investigation into the possible illegal sale of accident reports to lawyers and injury clinics.

One department employee has been placed on leave as allegations swirl about an illegal business-solicitation ring.

Yep, seems some ‘unnamed employee’ was providing attorneys and medical clinics with information they shouldn’t have.

I also applaud the city for acting on this. Given the time frame, this really is acting fast on information. Still makes you wonder what other information has been compromised, what other data has been passed on to unscrupulous people?

So I’ll ask the antis “Do you think the police would be LESS corrupt if the people were unarmed?”

This types of problems are not unique to America, they are not unique to this time and place. Time and time again we’ve seen that basic human nature has not changed, not in this country and not in the thousands of years of documented human history. These are just two of the many examples of why the average person should not be disarmed. There has to be a final check on the abuse of power; that check has to stay in the hands of the individuals.

 

Please join the conversation.

It Is Not “Just….”

…poverty. Or ‘gun control’ or health care.

A recent exchange on another blog really highlighted this for me and I believe it is one of the greatest issues with people who blog only occasionally about issues. And even some of the people who delve deeply into the issues either don’t get it or gloss over the fact.

The issue on the other blog was about poverty and how we, Americans, aren’t doing enough to address the issue. Well, rarely is a problem singular or isolated in nature.
I pointed out how the laws, regulations, rules, etc create such a huge hurdle and administrative burden that few people can successfully start a new company or keep one going for more then a few months.
I pointed out how our education system is failing; due to the leftist policies implement over the decades.
I pointed out how our tax system is already skewed heavily and that increasing the progressive nature of the system moves our country toward socialism.

Many people forget to consider the impact or the direction which the moves takes our country. Or they deliberately discount the foundation behind our objections. “Oh come on, who doesn’t want to help feed the hungry”. No one but if it means we exist in a socialistic society the price is too high to pay.

I’ve started trying to point out this when I engage online. Maybe this is something that should be obvious and is to many others but I think it needs to be done.

Which brings me to my last “Just….” as in “Just another blog saying the same thing as many others”.

Please don’t let that stop you from saying it anyways. Don’t let it stop you from commenting; either on blogs or news media sites. All too often the silent majority is just that- silent. We need to speak up; to show those that have the same beliefs they are not alone. To show those who believe differently that we are paying attention, that we do oppose their ideas. Not their right to have them but where those ideas will take our country.

We need to raise such a strong consistent voice that it can not be ignored.

Speak up folks, don’t be afraid of sounding like an echo chamber. I’ve been amazed how one person can phrase things in a way to encapsulate the problem or solution better than everyone else has…..on a subject that just about everyone talks about.

Speak up folks, if for no other reason then the fact we can say “We told you what we wanted, we told you what would happened if you did this” if the time comes.

 

Please join the discussion.

Harness The Power…..

of the media spinning the election results. If I could just figure out where to put the wires, we could harvest mega-watts of electricity from the spin.

Good question. It’s always dangerous to speak of a country of 319 million as having a singular will, or of an election expressing that will. That’s particularly true when only about 40% of eligible voters show up for midterm elections. Like every party that wins, the GOP will claim that “the American people” have endorsed its agenda in full, and therefore if President Barack Obama stands in its way, then he’s thwarting the public’s desires.  We’ve established that the public is fed up with a Congress seemingly incapable of getting anything done. The trouble is that the voters — unanimous in their abhorrence of gridlock — just delivered a result almost guaranteed to produce more gridlock.  To be fair, there was one party assuring them that their votes would do just the opposite. Republican candidates promised voters that they’d stand in Obama’s way, and also promised that they’d “get things done,” sometimes in the same sentence. As The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reported last week, “these two seemingly contradictory messages are at the heart of Republican Senate campaigns across the country. I’ve heard them from candidate after candidate.”

I wonder if Mr. Waldman has ever even considered the idea that the people are getting tired of a Congress that keeps pumping out new law, new regulation, new restriction, new fees and taxes. That ‘gridlock’ in this case is the Republicans finally waking up (to a very small degree) to that fact.

It’s one thing to vote Republican because it’s the party that reflects your beliefs. But if you’re voting Republican because you want to see Congress become more conciliatory and productive, you really should have been paying closer attention the last six years.

That’s because obstructionism hasn’t been an accident, or a reaction to moves on Obama’s part that Republicans found objectionable. It was a strategy they employed from the outset. Literally on the day Obama was inaugurated, Republican leaders gathered over dinner and made a decision to oppose everything he proposed, to deny him both substantive progress and whatever political benefits might accrue to a president who looks like he’s accomplishing things.

I did vote for the Republicans because they have been reflecting my beliefs (at least lately) — stop growing the government. And most importantly stop growing the government in the direction that people like President Obama want to take it. It isn’t amazing how now Waldman is pushing for a conciliatory and productive; I wonder what his views where when either George Bush was president. Did he argue the Democrats should go along and get along?

And it worked. What was the result of six years of unprecedented filibusters, debt ceiling crises, a government shutdown, 50 futile Affordable Care Act repeal votes, endless conspiracy theorizing and a dramatic increase in general buffoonery? Republicans took back the House in 2010, and have now taken the Senate.

Voters rewarded their misdeeds by returning them to power.

Love how trying to stop the run away borrowing and spending is a misdeed. How trying to turn back an incredible over reach of the government (Affordable Care Act) is a misdeed. And ‘endless conspiracy theorizing’ — man that simple phrase dismissing the scandals plaguing the administration should produce about 5 megawatts just by itself.

Perhaps Mr. Waldman should spend a little more time reading the output of the company that pays him

October 2011 - Investigators uncover memos indicating Attorney General Holder had known about Operation Fast and Furious for close to a year, not a few weeks as he had stated in May 2011.

And maybe he could talk to the family of Brian Terry or Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

I’m sure that attempt could end power the country for a couple of weeks. Of course the EPA might step in and stop it — the CO2 from all that hot air would be dangerous to the environment. Let’s not forget other minor scandals like the IRS targeting conservative organizations, hacking reporter computers and so on.

I wonder what the next two years are going to bring from the media. How are they going to cover President Obama’s apparent inability to work with the opposition….heck, his inability to work on anything other then his golf game.

Please join the discussion.

I voted…..and for Prop 1 I Voted NO

Texas makes it fairly easy to vote early; the polls are even open on Sunday. So after church, I stopped by and cast my vote.
As usual, I voted for those I believe will support a small government. Or at least not growing it as fast as possible.

On the ballot is a state-wide Proposition

“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.”

Let’s look at what the Proposition does and then I’ll explain why I voted against it.

The additional transportation money would come from directing a portion of the state’s annual oil and gas production tax collections to the State Highway Fund. Currently, the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) receives 75 percent of the state’s annual oil and gas production tax collections that exceed the amount collected in fiscal year 1987, when it was created. If approved by voters, half of the money currently destined for the ESF would be dedicated to the State Highway Fund. The remaining half would continue to build the unspent balance of the ESF. According to estimates from the Texas Comptroller, if voters approved the Constitutional Amendment $1.7 billion would be transferred in to the State Highway Fund in the first year alone.

Okay….First reason is right there — it takes money that is supposed to be dedicated to the Economic Stabilization or “Rainy Day” Fund and directs it to transportation projects such as roads and bridges.

Second reason;

(c) Not later than the 90th day of each fiscal year, the comptroller of public accounts shall transfer from the general revenue fund to the economic stabilization fund and the state highway fund the sum of the amounts described [prescribed] by Subsections (d) and (e) of this section, to be allocated as provided by Subsections (c-1) and (c-2) of this section. However, if necessary and notwithstanding the allocations prescribed by Subsections (c-1) and (c-2) of this section, the comptroller shall reduce proportionately the amounts described by Subsections (d) and (e) of this section to be transferred and allocated to the economic stabilization fund to prevent the amount in that [the] fund from exceeding the limit in effect for that biennium under Subsection (g) of this section.Revenue transferred to the state highway fund under this subsection may be used only for constructing, maintaining, and acquiring rights-of-way for public roadways other than toll roads.

Breaking down the politician weasel wording; Each legislative session the politicians would vote for a ‘floor’ on how little money has to stay in the Rainy Day fund and then split any money (remaining  above and beyond that) and new money into the Rainy Day fund and the State Highway fund.

So letting the politicians decide how much we should keep in the rainy day fund is a bad thing (more on this later). Related to this is the tendency of politicians to vote against appropriating the necessary amount of money for the important projects and then use other money to prop it up.
Sorry folks, if the State Highway fund isn’t getting enough money; the answer is simple; either vote for more taxes or stop spending money wastefully.

 

Lastly,

The constitutional amendment would provide significant progress in addressing the state’s unmet transportation needs by providing $1.7 billion in the first year alone. However, this amendment alone does not “solve” Texas’ transportation funding challenge. Experts say Texas has at least $5 billion in unmet transportation needs each year. This measure is expected to provide $1.7 billion annually to address these transportation needs.

Yeah, won’t come anywhere close to solving the problem but it would siphon even more money off from the Rainy Day fund. Yes, this is the final problem — the Rainy Day fund is a political slush fund that politicians tap on a regular basis and it needs to stop. NOW.

I feel we need to vote against every transfer of money out of that account. I think we need to hold politicians accountable for its depletion. Our recent history in the last 5 to 10 years shows how rocky the economy can be. We need to be prepared, as individuals and as a polity, to weather uncertain or hard times.

So, that is why I voted against it.

What do you folks think; would you vote for or against?

 

I’m Realizing….

….how spoiled I have been in the past.   For example, gas prices:

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average unleaded price at the pump this week is $2.89, a drop of 10 cents from a week ago. The national average now is $3.08.

AAA says of the metropolitan areas in Texas, drivers in Dallas-Fort Worth are paying the least at $2.80 while motorists in Corpus Christi pay the most at $2.92.

 

In many locations in the DFW area, gas is selling at $2.69 per gallon. Recently, in other locations I paid $3.25 per gallon.

And if I can take a moment to talk to Texas Drivers, I would appreciate it. Now, I’m not going to let you folks off the hook. Far from it, I have good reasons to keep reminding folks of the rules of the road. I found out, recently just how much worse it could be.

I have complained about distracted driver’s in the past; people with their noses stuck in electronic devices. I found a place where they don’t have ‘distracted drivers'; they have people so far out in LaLa Land that they only occasionally remember they are in a car.

I have complained about people being slow off the mark at stoplights; I found a place where people wait until the yellow light comes on to start across the intersection.

I have complained about people who wander into my lane on the road; I found a place where people don’t understand the meaning of those lines on the road. I could go on but right now, I’m going to relax, mellow out and remind myself how much I really like Texas.

 

 

Let’s Talk About Timing

This comment, one of many like it, regarding the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson Mo. really shows that the writers spend way too much watching television legal dramas and cop shows.

The fact that the Ferguson Police didn’t release a police report until weeks after the incident, which was full of redactions, and under pressure from the Department of Justice leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

 

 

I will be one of the first people to get onto police departments about releasing information; all too often they decide what the people ‘needs to know’ instead of freely releasing information. But in this case I really don’t think the criticism is warranted.
Turn it around — let’s say it was Michael Brown under suspicion of murder; how many people would want information released the next day, eh?

Part of the blame for this is the unfair consideration given to the timing of an officer making a statement. Many jurisdictions allow an officer 2 or 3 days to make an official statement. Somehow I just don’t see those same officers giving you or I that much time before we wandered in to make an official statement. Nor do we get to review the official videos, transcripts, etc before making our statements.

That said –  is it fair to take 7 days to release a police report on the shooting? Absolutely. Make sure you get the facts straight, make sure the information hasn’t been misunderstood (Can anyone say NBC and “effing coon”?) — this goes for both sides of the equation. I don’t want the police casting blame on someone who doesn’t deserve it and I don’t want the police being tried in the press — by the government statements at least. We can’t stop the race-baiters and media outlets from doing that but we can control what the government does.

We have enough reasons for criticizing the government; let’s not make up more especially when it just stirs people up with imagined slights.

Please join the discussion.

 

 

 

 

Still Less Than A CHL

Mike Norman, opinion writer at the Star-Telegram, is whining about the Voter ID law. If anyone has been following the law in the media, you know it has been a confusing tale. One court strikes it down, another re-instates it. It’s been going back and forth at the legal equivalent of a ping pong match.

In fact, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi found the requirements “draconian” and ruled last week that the voter ID law passed by the Legislature in 2011 discriminated against African-American and Hispanic voters.

And, according to the evidence in a nine-day trial, that’s what the Legislature wanted.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brushed those findings aside — didn’t even address them — on Tuesday in ruling that because voting is just days away, the state should be allowed to enforce its voter ID rules as planned.

And to be frank, I am very conflicted on whether or not I want the courts to strike this down.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I think having to show ID is a good idea. This is a right that only exists because a person is a member of the polity; so showing proof of that is not violating a fundamental right.

Where I get my confusion is how we, gun owners and pro-rights supporters, could use the case.

 

It’s not hard to get the proper ID, proponents say. But evidence showed that for hundreds of thousands of Texans — disproportionately, African-Americans and Hispanics who are poor — it is difficult.

For them, the travel time to the nearest Department of Public Safety office to get a free ID card is 90 minutes or more. When they get there, they must have the proper documentation, which typically includes a certified copy of their birth certificate.

If they were born in Texas and can make an in-person visit to the proper records office and know how to ask for it, they can get a birth certificate for the cut rate of $2 or $3.

If they need to get it by mail, need to correct errors in their certificate, were not registered at birth or need a certificate from another state, the cost is at least $22 or as much as $47.

Those costs led the judge to declare the new voter ID law an unconstitutional poll tax, although that was not the primary focus of the trial.

Emphasis mine in the above paragraph. I looked up Taxi cab rates in the Dallas Fort Worth area and assumed about 60 miles travel in 90 minutes round trip. At $2.25 for initial charge and $1.80 per mile; that works out to about $110. Add in the $3 charge in person cost to get a Birth Certificate and round up to about $115 dollars.

Still less than the basic costs of a Concealed Handgun License at $140. Plus the $10 for the fingerprints, something the Voter ID does not require. Plus the $10 or so for Photos. Plus the $35 to $150 dollars for the class, Plus the $5 Proficiency Test fee. Even if we double the costs for the taxi instead of bus fare or getting a friend to take the person to get their birth certificate — it still is less burdensome than getting a Concealed Handgun License. And let’s not forget that each and every applicant for a CHL has to have a valid form of photo identification already !!!!!!

 

In fact, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi found the requirements “draconian” and ruled last week that the voter ID law passed by the Legislature in 2011 discriminated against African-American and Hispanic voters.

Hence my dilemma. If it is based on cost and burden; it should be clear that having to get a license to carry in public would have a greater impact on African-American and Hispanic voters. But of course that assume the judge trying the case would apply the law in a logical, rational and consistent basis. Most of the time I haven’t seen that happen when we are talking about restrictions on 2nd Amendment issues.

 

I think that the legislation will get around, eventually, to making Open Carry legal with a license. Then it is a short stride from there (huge hurdle but small step) to Constitutional Carry. So I’m not putting too much hope on the courts forcing the Legislation to act.

So how do the 3 or 4 people still reading this feel? Should we require a photo id for voting? Do you support the courts striking down or keeping the Voter ID law?