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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Mark Wilson

Take a moment from your busy Fat Tuesday to remember the brave men who put their lives on the line in trying to stop David Arroyo from killing his son and wife. While many law enforcement officers made a good account of themselves that day (in particular Smith County Sheriff's Deputy Sherman Dollison, although there were many others), one man stands out because he was a civilian who just happened to be a sheepdog who moved to the sound of the guns:

From his loft above Rage Salon and Don Juan on the Square, Mark Wilson, 52, has a bird's-eye view of the shootout between gunman David Arroyo and law officers in the street below.

Wilson, who has lived for about nine years in an apartment overlooking the Smith County Courthouse, is known to many who work or frequent the restaurants and nightspots in the heart of the city. A former firing-range owner and firearm instructor, he has taught people how to use a gun to protect themselves and others.

Armed with a Colt .45-caliber revolver, Wilson makes his way down to Spring Avenue and the east side of the square. Arroyo is firing his semiautomatic rifle at sheriff's deputies and others at the courthouse and apparently does not see Wilson move closer.

On the sidewalk in front of Levines Department Store, Wilson shoots at the gunman.

Arroyo slightly stumbles. A witness remembers seeing "white puffs of powder-like substance" come from Arroyo's clothing.

After taking his shot, Wilson crouches behind a Chevy truck parked in front of the store. The truck belongs to Arroyo.

When Arroyo walks to the driver side of the truck, Wilson, who is only a few feet away, pops up from the other side and fires.

Wilson does not know that Arroyo is wearing a bulletproof vest and other protective gear. Wilson's shots do not take down the gunman.

Instead, Arroyo "wheeled around to his left and fired at least one shot (at Wilson)," recalls witness John Allison, an acquaintance of Wilson. "Either Mark got hit at that moment or he stumbled back because he disappeared behind the truck out of my view (from Regions Bank building).

"The shooter immediately walked around the truck and I saw him aim his weapon to the ground (where Wilson lies) and shoot three times," continues Allison.

Wilson is shot in the head.
Mark Wilson proved that fateful day in Texas that he would not stand by and watch his fellow citizens be gunned down in broad daylight outside a courthouse. By engaging Arroyo he traded his life for that of Arroyo Jr who would have been finished off at point blank range if not for Mr. Wilson's actions (sadly Maribel Estrada was killed by her ex-husband's opening shots).

Read all six parts covering the day's events. Next time you think, "But something like that could never happen near me" remember, before 24 February 2005 no one had ever opened up with a rifle in front of the court house in Tyler, TX either.


Monday, February 27, 2006


Sensible Gun Control Saves The Day!

Sure enough, sensible gun control protects yet another citizen:

Anthony Bennett of Detroit said he was just about to enter Zion Hope Baptist Church in Detroit when he heard an unholy sound from inside -- gunshots. Kevin L. Collins, 22, of Detroit had shot and killed a woman in the church, destroying the feeling of sanctuary as churchgoers panicked and crawled under pews.

He also wounded a girl in church and shot a man in an attempted carjacking nearby, police said. He later killed himself.
Oh wait, no it didn't. All Michigan's law against carrying weapons in Church did was to ensure that there were zero law-abiding citizens ready to save innocent lives. Way to go Michigan Legislature.

(via 2 Valuable / America, The World, and Us)


Friday, February 24, 2006


New London Update

It's been quite a while since I've mentioned the eminent domain situation down in New London (links to some of my previous posts are at the top of the page). The reason is that it's been pretty quiet, at least judging by the lack of media coverage. Michael Cristofaro was kind enough to send along an update on his particular situation, and it's not pretty. Here's what's going on...

Mike owns a 2-family house in Ft. Trumbull (one of those targeted by the city of New London using eminent domain powers) in which he and his family occupy the 2nd floor. They have rented the 1st floor for the past few years to a woman (I don't know her name). Apparently she's been a problem and they finally had her evicted. However, when they did so Mike tells me that Michael Joplin (the president of the NLDC) allowed her to move into an apartment he owns, apparently not charging her rent (make of that what you will). He then allowed (by what means I'm not exactly sure) another person to move into the 1st floor apartment without Mike's consent. Mike tells me that the former tenant simply gave the keys to the new tenant, who is buddies with her boyfriend.

This is where the story takes a turn for the worse. Mike says, "[The] NLDC has sent me a letter saying I have no rights [to choose who occupies the 1st floor of my house] and that the only reason we are still there [on the 2nd floor] is that NLDC has not used there right to evict us from the property." The truly disturbing part is the identity of the person who moved into Mike's house. His name is Christopher McKenzie and here is why this is a serious concern to Mike and his family. That's right, as far as I can tell the NLDC allowed a convicted sex offender to move into the 1st floor apartment of the 2-family house owned by Michael Cristofaro against his will.

I have tried contacting the NLDC to get their side of the story, but I have not yet received a reply. If they do respond I will be more than happy to present their side of the story. For now, having not personally spoken to Mr. Joplin I cannot say whether or not he even knew of this individuals background, let alone what he motives are if he does. But I'll tell you, this situation really sucks. These homeowners didn't do a single thing wrong. It was nothing more than their misfortune to be living on a bit of land that the City wanted. When they refused to sell, the City simply decided to take it so they could 'increase their tax base'. This kind of thing isn't supposed to happen in America.


Thursday, February 23, 2006


Support Denmark

For what its worth, I want to express my support for the Danish people in general and those directly involved in the publication of the cartoons in particular. While I do not think that it's polite to insult one's religion (more on this below) I am a firm adherent to the philosophy expressed by Voltaire in his famous statement that, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

So, my bottom line is that had Muslims expressed their collective outrage by boycotting the entity responsible for the insult (the Danish newspaper), writing letters to the editor (including the Egyptian newspaper that originally published the cartoons) and generally found ways of making their opinion known that did not involve rioting, burning things and killing innocent people...I would have fully supported them. However, I will never support or concede to demands that I curb by right to free speech just because someone gets upset nor will I condone the craven response by many hypocritical MSM outlets in this country who found it in their multicultural hearts to publish images of Piss Christ and the like, but would never dream of insulting Muslims by republishing these stupid cartoons.

While my efforts in this space are admittedly but a mere ripple of a ripple in the blogosphere, let alone the world at large, I lend my support to the Danish publisher, cartoonists and citizens as well as all those who have been threatened with violence and/or death for exercising the basic human right of free expression. I second Michelle Malkin (and that of many others) in urging everyone to Buy Danish.

That's the positive part of this post. Ready for the negative half?

Like I said, I think it's rather rude to insult one's religion. Over the past few weeks (or however long this crap has been going on) I've been telling myself that I have not posted the cartoons for this very reason. However, as I've given the issue more thought it has occurred to me that I may very well be using politeness as a weak excuse. The thing that really brought this to mind was seeing this shirt (which I mentioned previously). I went through the thought process of I-want-one --> No-that-would-be-rude-to-innocent-Muslims --> Am-I-really-just-afraid-to-wear-it? So, while I may not spend the $19 to buy the shirt I will post the cartoons here because I think the principle of free speech, in this specific case*, trumps that of minding my P's and Q's. As things stand, if you are Muslim and offended by what follows please feel free to let me know that you're angry. But please include a statement that indicates that while you disagree with what I say you would be will to defend to the death my right to say it (and remember that the 'West' is not the first to produce such images).

Images borrowed from Michelle


* I say "in this specific case" because of the massive and widespread attempts by groups of Muslims to stop the exercise of free speech/expression by threats (and actual) physical violence. Again, had these riots never happened I would have expressed my disgust that anyone would wantonly insult an entire religion (as with Piss Christ, etc.) and that would have been the end of it. Alas, it is not so.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Port Ownership Flap

Big Lizards has a modest proposal for taking care of the whole port ownership issue. From what I've seen, the Dubai government would only own and manage the day-to-day operations of the port and have nothing to do with port security. I agree with those opposed to the deal that it raises the possibility of terrorists using the set up to smuggle in things we'd rather keep out...but then I'm not sure that the current system is completely without holes.

Anyway, check out Big Lizard's proposal and give it some thought. I have to admit that I wouldn't mind seeing the Democrats painted as Arab-o-phobic phonies. Here's to hoping that the whole thing blows up (politically) in their collective faces.

(BL link via Patterico)


Don't Live In Denial

The (previously mentioned) raping scumbag trucker who grabbed a woman on I-84 in CT has had bail set at $1 million.

This most recent article includes something for which I would like to publicly thank the unidentified woman who was victimized by this dirtbag. Thank you for sharing some of the details of your ordeal. I have no doubt that talking about it is an extremely difficult thing to do and so I hope you know that your candor is appreciated.

I also want you to know that nothing I write here, or anywhere, will ever be intended to disparage anything you may or may not have done before, during or after this assault. My sole purpose for commenting on this topic is to help people face reality, specifically that there are bad people in this world who absolutely cannot be reasoned with. Those bad people will take advantage of anyone who is unable to physically resist, and so it is incumbent upon all good people in the world to prepare to do just that.

It is the details of the account that I want everyone reading this to focus on. I know that it's a very uncomfortable thing to do, but living in denial is no substitute for being prepared mentally and physically to face such a situation. Here's what happened:

It was her first day at a new job as a buyer, a promotion at the company where she has worked for years. She had picked up Chinese food at a place in Tolland and was in plenty of time to pick up her two young daughters at day care.

When she saw the man waving, she stopped and rolled down her window. The hood of his white 18-wheeler was up, and it seemed he was having truck trouble.

"I was talking to a friend on my cellphone, and I said, `Call me back.'"

The truck driver told her he needed to use her cellphone, but first he asked her to help him with his truck by getting in and holding down the clutch.

"You're on your exit, you're almost home. You're comfortable. Life is good," she said, now shaking her head at the decision to help him. But everyone she knows has stopped to help a stranded motorist on that rural portion of the highway.

She got into the truck and noticed she could reach the clutch. Later, she would realize it was because her attacker was short, only 5-feet-6. A moment later, he attacked her.

"He pushed me in, and I was still holding onto the steering wheel," she said. "I could feel the pistol in my back."

She could hear cars driving by, locals on their way home from work. But no one else stopped. She hoped someone would recognize her car.

Meanwhile, her son called her husband and said, "Mommy hasn't picked up the girls from day care."

She was always meticulously on time, and her husband knew something was wrong. He got into his car and headed to the day care.

When the attacker forced her into the truck, the woman struggled with him, but he struck her on the side of the head and ear so hard she saw stars.

She pretended to be knocked unconscious. But opened one eye as she lay there.

Then she spied her cellphone, which had fallen in a crack of the center console during the initial struggle. She saw a pen and tried to grab it, thinking perhaps she'd stab him with it, but she fumbled it and it fell. Finally, she clutched the phone and dialed 911. She screamed for help.

He struck her in the face. He took the phone. And he blindfolded her and tied her hands and feet after that. She remembers the reek of a sickly cologne, and that the inside of his truck smelled like maple syrup.

Then, the truck began to move. It left the exit ramp before state troopers could get to the spot where the 911 call was made..

"OK, I'm dying," she thought to herself. "How is he going to kill me? Is it going to be torture?"

Her arms tied, she prayed.

When the truck stopped, her attacker took off her pants and sweater. She knew what was going to happen next.

"You try to think of someone else, anything," she said softly. "I told him I had AIDS and he punched me."

He put on a condom to avoid his DNA being detected, she said.

After the rape, he told her he was going to "dispose of you because I don't want to go back to prison."

"I bargained for my life. I told him I never saw him," she said. "I told him I won't tell anyone. You bargain."

He told her to go to sleep, and the truck began to move again.

"I just laid there. I prayed from that point," she said.

The truck stopped near the truck stop at Exit 71. She recognized where she was. She could hear trucks passing by.

Her attacker untied her feet, allowed her to put her pants and sweater back on. Then they walked up a hill to some trees. He tied her hands to the front of a tree, and warned her he'd kill her if she moved. But as soon as she heard the truck start, she began working on the rope.

It didn't take her long to get free. Shakily, she grabbed a cigarette from her pocket, lit it and began to walk down the hill for help. The first vehicles she saw were all tractor-trailers. She was terrified.

Finally, she saw a car coming down the road near the truck stop and she stood in front of the driver, waving crazily, the way her attacker had.

"I was just raped," she managed to blurt out. Then the tears came.
These words paint a terrible picture...but go back and read them again. Try to put yourself in her shoes. I know it's difficult not only because it really is an uncomfortable exercise but also that it's easy to think that something like this could never happen to you. You're not alone:

"It's like a movie. You think it doesn't happen to real people," she said. "But it does."


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Pop Quiz

Wearing which of these t-shirts is more likely to get you killed?

Anybody want to take a guess?

(Mohammad t-shirt, Flying Spaghetti Monster and FSM background)


Monday, February 20, 2006


Sheep, Wolves And Sheepdogs

I mentioned this essay over a year ago, and yet every time I run across it I am deeply moved. I couldn't help but share a bit:

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
Where did you want to be that fateful day? It's a question we should all face becuase you never know if someday you will be on that plane.


Gun Safety In Schools

Logistical issues aside, I like it!

Class, this is a gun. Let's learn how to use it.

An effort is under way to add a course on gun safety and marksmanship to the state's [OH] curriculum for high schools, in essence using the schools to familiarize children with firearms. The lesson would be offered as a one-semester elective that could be used to satisfy graduation requirements.
Sounds like a great idea. Even if you're against guns and think they should be completely banned, the fact is they are not. Therefore, there is the chance that your child will run across a gun (say, at a friend's house). What with your child do? Will s/he know how to be safe, or have you set your kid up for tragedy?

Do I even need to point out the irony in this statement?

"I really think it's something that's better left in the hands of parents," said Bob Scott, superintendent of Avon Lake schools. "Even couched as gun safety, it would be too divisive. I don't know if it's the school's position to get involved."
...unlike sex education, which is obviously something better taken out of the hands of parents by the government. Right?

(via Alphecca)


Sunday, February 19, 2006


Best Of Homespun

This week's Best Of Homespun Bloggers is up. Check it out.


Where Does It End?

This is truly disturbing:

CHICAGO — Surveillance cameras — aimed at government buildings, train platforms and intersections here — might soon be required at corner taverns and swanky nightclubs.
"We require shopping centers to put railings on stairs and install sprinkler systems for public safety. This is a proper next step," says Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who sponsored the ordinance.
Yeah, Kev. That's exactly the freaking problem. We allow the government to dictate what a private property can, cannot and must do on his own property and now where are we? I guess right where you want us, huh?

Can you imagine a more Orwellian quote than this:

"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"
Oh, I don't know Ray you stupid ass. Maybe it's none of your freaking business where I go or what I do! Maybe I don't want my betters in the government keeping tabs on me if I decide to get a quart of freaking milk in the middle of the night.

I don't know. This whole surveillance thing is really starting to get to me. The underlying problem is not the surveillance, per se. Really, the thing that drives me absolutely out of my skull is the pitiful apathy that such intrusive abuses of government power are met by the 'public.' How many generations is it going to take for the 'adults' to know no different than being watched all the time?

Read 1984. It'll make you toes curl*.

Will it do the same to your children? How about your grandchildren?

Wake up Chicagoans. Wake up Londoners. Wake up, for the love of freedom.

Giving up freedom to a benevolent government does nothing more than insure that the table is set for the despot when he ascends the throne. Make no mistake about it, it will happen. Would you feel any better about it if it happens to your grandchildren rather than to you? If so, please see the asterisk below.

You want to know the answer to: Where does it end? I'll tell you. It ends where we draw a line in the sand...or it never ends.


* If you read 1984 and do not feel the bile rising in your throat please find another country in which to contribute to the loss of freedom.


Saturday, February 18, 2006


Sergeant Brad Kasal

Blackfive, as usual, has some great posts about a battlefield hero: Sergeant Brad Kasal. Read 'em.

Notice anything about this picture?

He's wounded, being carried out of a house in which he just killed some bad guys and take a look at where he has his trigger finger. I know it's a small thing. I just couldn't help but be (further) impressed.

(Photo borrowed from NPR)


Cheney's Got A Gun

This is hilarious (since everyone lived, of course).

(via War On Guns)


Slight Of Hand Working Well

Looks like Gov. Rell's little slight of hand that I've metioned twice before (the car tax/property tax switcheroo) is working out great for her. Here's the plan:

Rell’s proposal calls for the state to spend nearly $500 million a year to compensate municipalities for lost car tax revenue.

The compensation program would be funded by shifting $435.6 million the state gets each year in casino revenue and adding another $61 million out of the state budget.

To help cover the holes that would be left in state finances, Rell wants to end the property tax credit on the state income tax, to save $325 million a year. Anticipated increases in other tax revenues would add another $173 million annually to state revenue to cover the rest of the financing.
And yes, the voter of CT love the smoke and mirror act:

According to the poll, Rell would beat DeStefano by 70-16 percent if the election were held now. Her advantage over Malloy was almost exactly the same, at 70-15 percent.

In a hypothetical Democratic primary match-up, the poll found that DeStefano was preferred by registered Democratic voters over Malloy by 38-19 percent.

35 percent of all Democrats surveyed said they remained undecided.

The survey found that 59 percent of voters still don’t know enough about DeStefano to have an opinion about him, and 83 percent said they didn’t know enough about Malloy.

Campaign spokesmen for the two Democrats dismissed Rell’s massive lead in the polls as the product of her far greater name recognition and predicted that her advantage would certainly diminish as the 2006 election campaign moves into high gear.
Yep. Long, ugly campaign ahead. Sir Winston was right.


Friday, February 17, 2006


Another Argument For Self-Defense

If only the victim had been prepared to defend herself this scumbag could have been arrested for attempted rape after being released from the hospital...or not charged at all upon arriving at the morgue.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) -- A Florida truck driver was arrested Friday and charged with the abduction and rape of a woman who was attacked earlier this month after being flagged down along Interstate 84 in Ashford.
He allegedly flagged down his victim on an Interstate off-ramp on Feb. 6. She told police that when she stopped to help, he dragged her into the cab of his truck, raped her, then left her tied to a tree in the woods.


Fetal Surgery Pic


(Via Dappled Things)


Thursday, February 16, 2006


Sonic Hedgehog Teenage Deterrent

Does anybody else find this creepy?

Shopkeepers in central England have been trying out a new device that emits an uncomfortable high-pitched noise designed to disperse young loiterers outside their stores without bothering adults.
"The noise can normally only be heard by those between 12 and 22 and it makes the listener feel uncomfortable," she added.

Once in their early 20s, people lose their capacity to hear sounds at such a high pitch.

"It is controlled by the shopkeepers. If they can see through their window that there is a problem, they turn the device on for a few minutes until the group has dispersed," Davies said.
Totally aside from any potential abuse, this thing is just plain creepy.

Seems to me that there might be a better way of solving this problem, in just two easy steps: 1) enforce laws against, as they say, yobs doing yobby things and 2) stop preventing people from defending themselves. But hey, what do I know...I'm just an ugly American.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Election Year Politics

The other day I had occasion to rip a bit of proposed legislation suggested by Gov. Rell concerning taxes. Now the powers that be have had a "summit" to address the issue of increasing violence in Connecticut, specifically gun violence. There were not a ton of details in the articles I found, but the general consensus appears to be that the black market has been "flooded" with guns, which is leading to violence (pay no attention to the violent criminals behind the curtain!).

From the info that's out there regarding this closed-door "summit", I have to give Jody Rell at least some credit (although that is subject to change if my fears are confirmed, as I'll discuss below):

The two mayors [New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Stamford Mayor Dannel P. Malloy] called for the passage of legislation that would require the reporting by gun owners of lost or stolen guns, a measure that Perez asked Rell to endorse during their meeting.

Rell said she would study the measure, but sounded a skeptical note: "Most of the guns [traced to violent crimes] are not necessarily falling in the category of lost or stolen guns."
Exactly! Here's the thing. The make, model and serial number of handguns sold in CT (and long guns sold by FFL dealers in CT, although not private transactions) are already recorded and kept on file. I don't know whether there is a law requiring that lost or stolen guns be reported (I've never come across one), but even if there isn't, a gun recovered after the commission of a crime would be quite easy to trace if it had been legally bought in CT.

So...what's the deal here? This measure proposed by Rell's potential challengers is one of two things; either they're feel-good proposals meant to drum up support from the Left or they're just part of more comprehensive gun control measures these two favor but haven't talked about yet. Of course, Rell herself might be a gun-control wolf hiding in wolf-dog clothing:

Rell said at a news conference afterward that most of the discussion was about how to take guns off the streets and keep them out of the hands of children, including whether loopholes in the state's gun laws need to be closed.
Admittedly, these "loopholes" might just be the author's way of referencing proposals similar to the one mentioned above (mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns)...but since the phrase is used with respect to Gov. Rell specifically (who, according to the first article did not immediately endorse the mandatory reporting proposal) it makes me wonder. To add to my worry regarding what "loopholes" Gov. Rell is referring to, she also said this:

"In all candor, what we are seeing right now are a number of guns that are not registered. They are not necessarily stolen or lost," said Rell. "We don’t know where they’re coming from." The governor said renewed efforts are being made to track the weapons to their sources.
The only thing that might fit the bill as a "loophole" would be the lack of an official gun registration program in CT.* Other than that, the gun laws in CT (in terms of restricting access by children and buying and selling) are relatively strict already. Of course, I suppose we could always go to a '1-gun-per-month' or some other unfairly restrictive load of BS. Let's hope not.

If anyone figures out what she's actually talking about please drop me a line. Dang, I much prefer it around here when guns are not a topic of political conversation. The laws aren't all that bad right now...but this state is way too Blue for me to be comfortable if guns become a campaign issue. I'll be keeping my ear to the ground.


* As I mentioned at the outset of this post, gun sales are recorded and the pertinent info (buyer, make, model, serial number, etc.) must be maintained by the gun dealer for something like 10 years. There is, however, no government run registration database such as exists in NY, CA, MA, IL and maybe a few others. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric, this lack of registration is a good thing as they inevitably lead to confiscation. Just as [once] Great Britain and NYC.



Kevin at The Smallest Minority has a great (and quite long) piece about underlying cause(s) of violence in our country and others. It's an impressive bit of reasoning and research, as always.

My synopsis: Strong family guided by strong, traditional, morals is the single most important thing for the health of society and individuals therein.

There's much more to the post than that, of course. I just find it interesting (in a depressing sort of way) how much effort it takes to convince some people that their grandparents were right.

Good job Kevin. Keep it up.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Hey Rowland, Wanna Go Out For A Beer?

Oh, never mind:

HARTFORD -- Ex-Gov. John G. Rowland returned to his West Hartford rental home Monday afternoon and checked in with federal probation officials to begin his four months of post-prison home confinement.
Although it's not mentioned in this article, I caught a news report this morning on the radio alerting me to the breaking story that Rowland claims his days in politics are over. Thanks for the update John.


You know, this whole thing still pisses me off. I know politicians are generally slimy (with very few exceptions), but it still gets my blood boiling when I think about the betrayal of our trust and the pettiness of his crimes. If his post-confinement quotes are sincere, looking through the bars may very well have allowed him to see the light...but then he is a politician:

"The hardest part for me was knowing how hard it was on my family. Whatever day I was having was not nearly as bad as the effect it was having on my wife and kids," he said. "It doesn't matter what the food is, it doesn't matter what the routine is, it doesn't matter whether I can do something or not do something ... the hardest part is being away from your family and not being able to be part of their lives on a daily basis."
So...what you're saying is that a few 'free' vacations and a new deck (or whatever) on your cottage weren't worth 10 months hanging with the homies in the clink? Well, thanks for the update you POS. Turns out there are literally millions of people in this country (and world, for that matter) who have managed figure out right from wrong without the benefit of being a dirtbag.

For the record:

Technically, Rowland pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to deprive the state of "the intangible right to the honest services of its governor" and other public officials. In plain English, that means that he and Chief of Staff Peter Ellef steered more than $100 million in no-bid contracts to companies controlled by the Tomasso family. Tomasso, in turn, gave Rowland free and cut-rate vacations and improvements to his cottage in Litchfield County. Rowland also admitted to not paying more than $35,000 in federal taxes on that ill-gotten swag. Federal prosecutors indicted Ellef and the Tomassos in September.


Monday, February 13, 2006


Espionage To Firefighting

Do you ever get an auditory hallucination of a needle bring dragged across a record when you're reading something and you hit a totally unexpected disconnect? This article will do that to you:

In 1951, Savage recalls meeting two men who took him to a nondescript location and presented him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. They offered him a job as a counterintelligence agent.

"They told me that they could offer me a career and all the education, adventure and travel, and money I could want. Of course I said yes," Savage said.

For over 20 years, Savage moved from country to country, not staying in one place for more than two years at a time, working as a "spy catcher."
"Espionage is a very serious business. It is a very dangerous job, being captured and capturing spies. But it was much more exciting than what you see on television."

Savage retired from counterintelligence in 1973, and began a career working on behalf of diversity.
Hey man, all I can say is: Don't mess with the Fire Board Commission. They will put your butt in a sling.



Jeff Goldstein (Protein Wisdom) is one of the funniest bloggers out there...if you happen to share his sometimes odd sense of humor. I do. Do you?

[And for the record, no, I did not see it coming.]


Sunday, February 12, 2006


Doc Russia

There are only a few people in the world to whom I would trust my 6. Doc Russia is one, and I've never even met him. Read the post. You'll understand why.


Friday, February 10, 2006


More On The (Proposed) Repeal of the CT Car Tax

Today's Hartford Courant has a follow up article on Gov. Rell's proposed slight of hand tax cuts. The majority of the discussion makes me realize I'd never make it as a politican. Well, maybe I could make it, but I'd have to find some public funds to pay for a personal assistant who could feed me by hand because there's no way my hands would ever again feel clean enough to touch my own food. Just read it, you'll see what I mean.

The article goes into some details about Rell's plan, but I think it's pretty much all summed up in the very last paragraph (but, of course, readers of this blog are ahead of the curve because you got the bottom line from yours truly two days ago):

"To characterize this new grant as a significant increase in state aid to municipalities is a bit curious, as the proposal really is a substitution of one source of revenue for towns [the car tax] for another [reimbursement of towns by the state for the loss of car tax revenue]," the group said. "The towns' financial position is not significantly changed" from the current system.
It took a "think tank" to figure that out? Welcome to election year politics.


Thursday, February 09, 2006



I haven't commented on the cartoon thing, but I wanted to at least help get the word out about this:

I promised you in my previous post to bring you the images of the Egyptian newspaper, Al Fager (as pronounced in Egyptian Arabic) that published the Danish Cartoons five month ago on Oct 17, 2005. Here is below the front page where the Prophet Muhammed(PBUH) cartoon from Jyllands-Posten was published.
The scanned images are right there. Assuming they're real, I seriously hope the whiners will just shut up now. I've had about enough.

(via One Hand Clapping)


Good News For Freedom...Potentially

Could CT's smoking ban be struck down?

Restaurants and bars owners are subject to the ban. Casinos and private clubs - such as golf and yacht clubs, veterans’ club halls and orders of the Moose - are not.
The ban is titled "An Act Concerning Second-Hand Smoke in Work Places." It purports to protect employees in particular against the effects of secondhand smoke, which, during a typical eight-hour shift, can amount to ingesting up to 20 cigarettes' worth of nicotine. On that, both sides seem to agree.

What is at odds is the state's selective imposition of the ban.

Attorney Jan C. Trendowski, representing a band of bar owners, said the smoking ban has created a dramatically unequal playing field.

"Our ban allows smoking in a lot of restaurants and a lot of bars, and bars smoking in a lot of other restaurants and a lot of other bars," Trendowski said. "The only difference is who owns them."
So, we have a ban on smoking...but only in certain establishments. Attorney General Blumenthal would have you believe that this is a simple case of "line drawing" by the legislature. After all:

What we have before us on the table is a perfectly justifiable effort by the legislature to address a public health issue.
Really? So what about the employees of casinos and private clubs? Aren't their lungs important too? And where is the evidence that 2nd hand smoke is harmful. Yes, it can exasperate asthma and other respiratory problems. But does it actually lead to cancer or primarily cause lung disease in non-smokers? I don't think that question has been answered. Combine that with the fact that the people of CT have not specifically delegated to the legislature the power to 'address public health issues' and all this really amounts to is the government imposing its will on private business owners. Nothing new, but something that should be fought at every turn.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006


BS Meter In The Red

This article starts out sounding absolutely great (if, like me, you happen to be a small government type):

Gov. M. Jodi Rell wants to eliminate municipal car taxes and cut the state's public utility taxes by 25 percent, two moves she says will save Connecticut residents millions of dollars a year.
I mean, jeeze. I only pay a few hundred dollars a year between car and utility taxes so I'm expecting a serious check.

All right, so maybe I only entertain myself. Anyway...here's where the hand waving comes in:

Under Rell's car tax plan, kept as a secret until moments before her address to a joint session of the legislature, the state would reimburse cities and towns for the money they would have received from residential car tax bills.
Just so we're clear. The state is going to force towns to stop collecting car tax...and then reimburse them for the loss of tax revenue. And that reimbursement will come from the money tree at the capitol. Or, my state taxes. Whichever turns out to be real. Boy, I feel better already.

Here's a telling quote from the Gov:

"Starting this July, you will no longer have to write a check for your car taxes. It will be a thing of the past," she said, receiving especially loud cheers from R[INO]epublican legislators.
I guarantee that is the most honest thing you'll hear from a politician this year. The point of this move is not to decrease the tax burden on CT residents. Rather, it is a move designed to make Gov. Rell (formerly second fiddle to former Gov. Rowland, now a convicted felon) look good in an election year. And you know, it'll probably work. One of the ways our government (state and federal) has managed to consolidate so much power is by instituting invisible taxes. How many people out there know how much they gross in a year? I bet 90% of our country's taxpayers have absolutely no concept of how much money the government skims off the top.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If every adult American had to sit down each spring and write a check to the state and federal governments for the exact number of dollars s/he is currently paying there would be armed revolution. There'd be no messing around with waiting until the next election year. There wouldn't be any recall votes. Nope, just straight up rioting. This car tax -cough-reform-cough- is nothing more than another BS, slimy, dirty slight of hand by a politician who wants to get reelected.

Now for the last little zinger:

The $497 million car tax plan, touted by the administration as the highlight of Rell's budget, would be paid for with casino revenues and by eliminating the property tax credit, the $350 deduction homeowners can take on their state income tax returns. Some Democrats groaned when Rell said the popular credit would be scrapped.

Genuario said he believes many more taxpayers will be able to benefit from the car tax elimination than the property tax credit. Renters are not eligible for the credit, and not everyone who owns a home receives the full $350 credit because it is based upon income levels.
Well, I'm with the Democrats on this groan. I've got no problem with tax cuts, generally anywhere they can be had (as long as they're real, of course). The question here is what we're really going to accomplish with the elimination of the property tax credit. As things stand, homeowners really do receive a benefit on their taxes and everyone pays car tax. Now, our esteemed Republican(?) Gov is proposing that we 'repeal' the car tax (without actually decreasing the tax burden due to the state reimbursement of municipalities) while pulling the proverbial landscaping out from under homeowners foundations by eliminating a true tax break.

Is it just me or some something seriously stink?

One final note. It seems that the only real tax reduction in Rell's proposal is with respect to the public utility tax (by 25%), the estate tax (which would be a good thing) and the corporate surcharge (which currently stands at an outrageous 25% on top of corporate income tax). I hope these measures make it into law, but this car tax trick sticks in my craw. Unless I'm seriously missing something, my opinion of Jody Rell just took a plunge. Of course, tax breaks are worth no more than the slime-spattered legislative letterhead they’re printed on (which, come to think of it is probably pretty expensive) unless they are combined with spending restraint. Somehow I doubt spending cuts are on the table. We'll see.


The Destruction of Our Government

No, I'm not advocating any such thing but rather suggesting that it's already happened. I know, I know. Ours is the worst form of government...except all the others that have been tried (apologies to Mr. Churchill). Southern Pundit has a very well written post about the most neglected Amendment to our federal Constitution, the 10th. Check it out:

The federal government is bloated beyond all reason. The Founders, not even the Federalists who supported a stronger central government, would approve of the monstrosity we have created. Furthermore, the ideas the Founders had are so different from our own that I’m not convinced that if they were alive today to run for president that anybody would vote for them. Everybody on the right talks about returning to the values of the Founding Fathers, and I agree with that. But I wonder how many of us truly comprehend what that means. James Madison and John Adams both would’ve supported doing things that would infuriate both conservatives and liberals in our current modern context. From what I’ve read of the Founders, I can give a pretty good idea of what returning to their ideas would mean. Let’s make a list:
I am under no illusions that I will live to see anything like changes sufficient to our government that would satisfy me. And to a certain extent, I'm not even sure that going back to exactly what the Founders set up is a good idea. After all, had the Civil War gone the other way we might very well, as Bill Quick suggested, be talking about the battle of Baltimore and the chemical warfare attack in Cleveland.

Regardless, the current situation is disgusting and harmful to our nation. I, for one, have had enough of choosing the lesser of two evils. While I agree with Bush on many things in theory, he and I differ in the real world. To put it simply, his domestic policy makes me want to alternately puke and revolt.

So, what are my choices? Since Zell Miller won't be running for president, voting Democrat is out. Republicans? Hum. McCain. Not a chance in Hades. He might as well be a Democrat. Ditto Giuliani. Good on some topics, but might as well be a Democrat on others. I would go for Condi, but I'm not holding my breath that she'll run. The other choices are generally abominable. The Greens and Independents are generally nutjobs and the Libertarian party is essentially hyper-leftists who are for small government.

I guess that makes me a small 'l' libertarian without a Party that satisfies me. Unfortunately, our choices in government are pretty limited. Even if something completely different is desired by many people, the chance of that being provided are low because of the inertia that must be overcome for a new (unaffiliated and unbeholden) player to enter the race and actually compete.

All in all not the most promising of outlooks. Of course, this is still the best dang country in which to live...but it will only retain that title so long We The People manage maintain control. Let's not follow the example being set by our brethren across the pond.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Alternate Spellings Of L-O-S-E-R

Alternate Spelling #1: L-O-W-E-R-Y

The outspoken Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, ripped into President Bush during his short speech, ostensibly about the wife of Martin Luther King Jr.

Alternate Spelling #2: C-A-R-T-E-R

Former President Jimmy Carter later swung at Bush as well, not once but twice. As he talked about the Kings, he said: "It was difficult for them then personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretaps." The crowd cheered as Bush, under fire for a secret wiretapping program he ordered after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, again smiled weakly.

Later, Carter said Hurricane Katrina showed that all are not yet equal in America.
Well, it's not like this is a new thing from the Left.



Posting has been extremely light these days, and to the 3 or 4 people who noticed (and were upset) I apologize. It's been a combination of life being busy and getting fed up with certain aspects of the world.


I just finished watching the Firefly series the other night. In a word: Awesome. I'm not the biggest Sci-Fi fan in the world, but I have never seen better. I'm not going to give anything away other than a few very general comments.

First, they have satisfied my biggest pet peeve that is generally violated in movies and shows involving the vacuum of space. Namely, that it is a vacuum and, therefore, there is no sound. Something about the shot of Serenity accelerating at the end of the opening credits is just perfect.

Second, the characters are great. To some extent they could be viewed as hackneyed in the sense that they cover a somewhat typical spectrum of personalities and specialties. Of course, any barebones crew of a space ship would need at least (and probably not more than) one of each type of person (i.e., pilot, engineer, doctor, etc.), so it's all right.

Third, the show is brutally honest. By that I mean the level (and type) of morality is far more realistic than most TV shows and movies I've seen. Again, without giving too much away, there is a great scene when a truly evil man has been defeated and is on his knees. The good guys (including the ship's crew) are standing there, waiting. The woman the bad guy had primarily victimized walks up, says a few words (that would give away the scene so suffice it to say she's pretty straightforward) and then kills him with one shot. Frontier justice.

Fourth, the show gains all sorts of points (as was Joss Whedon's goal) by keeping the idea of space and travel through it "accessible". This is not Star Trek or Wars where there are a bunch of (oddly, oxygen-breathing) alien races, phasers and huge military-style spaces ships. Rather, the crew of Serenity flies a beat up old junker (although reliable) space ship and use recognizable guns that shoot bullets. One battle prep scene features a .357 magnum, lever-action rifle, some sort of semi automatic carbine, a 1911 (as I recall) and assorted other 'modern' (or rather 'ancient') weapons. Energy weapons are not completely absent, but they are used only by the oppressive government (the Alliance).

Fifth, the sad fact that Fox canceled this show means that the final episode leaves an awful lot of story untold. You'll definitely want to watch the movie Serenity, which was made as a direct result of Firefly's take off in (cult) popularity after it's cancellation.

So...I will soon be taking my own advice and getting my hands on a copy of Serenity.


Friday, February 03, 2006


"Racial Epithets"

I would appear that insults are an arrestable offense in Connecticut:

Jennifer Farrelly, 19, of East Windsor, has been charged with ridicule on account of race, creed or color and second-degree breach of peace. Farrelly's boyfriend, Eric Satterlee, 22, of Ashford, was charged with breach of peace in the incident.
Oh, I guess it's not just insults, but specific insults against particular protected groups.

Now I'm as much against racism as anybody...but are laws like this really necessary, or even Constitutional (and here I'm referring to the Connecticut Constitution, since I'm not convinced the Federal Bill of Rights should apply to state law)? I realize that yelling "Theatre" in a crowded fire should not be allowed, but insulting someone...I just don't know. By way of analogy, do you think for a second that 'a person of African decent' would be arrested for calling me "White Boy"? Humm...

Aside from the theoretical implications of this alleged case of arrestable insults, it would appear that the facts might be a bit more complicated:

Farrelly denied using racial epithets when she was interviewed by police, saying Byrd caused the dispute by ridiculing her for parking her car far away from the drive-through window, the warrant states. Byrd's supervisor told police that Byrd should not have been working the drive-through because he had gotten into a similar incident with another customer, the warrant states.


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