To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Can Anyone Shoot Off Leash Dogs? Or Just Cops?

Quick re-cap of the most recent dog-killing-by-cop story. Police report here.

--Off-duty city cop takes his department issued dog for a walk in Druid Hill Park. By the officers own statement, he sees a large dog (turns out to be a pit/mastiff mix) peeing on a bush. He sees no owner near.

--Off leash dog then "looks" at officer and his dog. Cop attempts to walk away to avoid a situation.

--Off leash dog then moves in the direction of the officer and his dog -- he "barks loudly", and "lunges" in what the officer describes as an aggressive move.

--Cop "fears for his life", takes out his department issued glock, fires a round in the dog's head killing him instantly.

--Owner runs up screaming immediately after and identifies the dog as her own.

So those are the basic facts of what happened, according to the officer's own statement. Even if you took his version of events at face value, there doesn't seem to be any legitimate reason that the officer should have feared for his life and taken the deadly action that he took. The dog "peed", "barked", and opened his mouth. No biting, or pouncing on the officers dog.

Bottom line, the officer was scared by a big dog and acted on impulse, making a huge mistake. WITH A FUCKING FIREARM. If we switched places with the officer and it was a normal citizen who took this action, we can be sure that charges would have already been filed (as they should be). Since it's a cop, the BPD will most likely hope that this news finds its way out of the cycle after this weekend and everyone can go back to their normal day-to-day lives without consequences. Except, you know, the owner who lost their dog.

Admittedly I'm a dog lover. So I'm biased against people shooting dogs for no reason.
But I can't understand how anyone can be OK with police officers needlessly firing their weapons in situations where someone else could catch a bullet. Shouldn't that get a reaction from people even if you don't give a shit about dead dogs? You would hope so.

P.S. The Baltimore Sun doesn't do the truth any favors by washing over this story by originally publishing a blog post with the title "City police officer shoots, kills dog in Druid Hill Park after attack" They have since changed it (after I pointed out that there was no attack) to "City police officer shoots, kills dog in Druid Hill Park after saying he was attacked"

There was no attack. By the officer's own admission there was no fucking attack. A big dog barking does not equal an attack that you can respond to with bullets.

Here's hoping that owners keeps this alive and sue the shit out of everyone involved, because the consequence for illegally having your dog off leash shouldn't be a bullet to the head.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Social Security Employees Really Worried About Level of Service Provided To You. Really. I'm Not Making This Shit Up.

Ugh.
Social Security Administration employees rallied outside the agency's Woodlawn headquarters and offices across the country Wednesday in a union-organized protest against proposed budget cuts.

Workers shouted "furlough Congress" after hearing an American Federation of Government Employees leader say cuts in a House-approved budget would be the equivalent of workers taking off an entire month without pay.

Congress is five months into the current fiscal year but has yet to pass a budget. The version passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would reduce total spending on all agencies by $61 billion compared with last fiscal year.[...]

It's unclear whether Social Security officials would spread the cuts out by operating with fewer workers constantly or closing offices on certain days, said Witold Skwierczynski, who heads an American Federation of Government Employees bargaining unit that represents about 30,000 Social Security employees. Either way, the result would increase the time it takes for Americans to resolve problems, have claims processed and get approved for retirement and disability checks, he said.

"It would have a severe impact on the level of service," he said in an interview before the rally.
Maybe the Social Security Administration operates in an efficient, effective manner. I wouldn't know, all they do is steal my money, but I'd guess that the SSA functions like any government agency and probably has some room for customer service improvement. Either way, as an PR approach, if you're representing government employees I wouldn't advise bringing up your customer service during the conversation. Ever.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"I get to school by 7:45 a.m. and I work until 4:30 or 5:00. At least one night a week, I stay later than 5."

If you are attempting to sell me that you should continue to pay NOTHING into your pension plan and health care premium, perhaps you should craft an argument that doesn't hinge on how hard your job is because you have to work 8 hours a day. THAT'S A NORMAL FUCKING WORKDAY LADY.

Let's meet this teacher in question:
Dear Friends,

I don't normally like to talk about my private life,
Did I mention that this was an article in a fucking paper? Because it is. She doesn't like to talk about her private life, except when she writes articles in fucking papers. It's like how I don't like talking about my sexual fetishes.

I am a second-year teacher. I work in a rural school district in Wisconsin. Many of my students come from poor families. Some of them live in the trailer park near our school or down the street in the subsidized apartments.[...]
The people who live here are hard workers and proud. But they can't afford the cost of educating their children.
She works in the village of Marshall, outside of Madison, WI. The median income for a household is above $51,000/yr. Only 2.7% of families live below the poverty line. I'm not really sure what this means other than she's a liar. Also I hate google. Google made me look at this.
And now we come to Walker. His proposal to have public workers pay more than 5% of their salary into the state pension and double their share of health care costs will not save my district any money.
Well...that's just...outrageous?
My district has never required us to pay anything into the pension or for health care.
Yeah, that's pretty standard in today's workplace. A fully paid for pension, employer paid health care premiums.
People accuse state workers of having cushy jobs, with exorbitant benefits, job security and fantastic salaries.
That would be me, yes.
So while admitting this makes me uncomfortable, I'm going to do it so you can see just how ridiculous that accusation is: My salary as a second-year teacher, with a Bachelor's degree and one class short of a Master's degree, is....$36,000.
Maybe I missed a beat somewhere. Am I suppose to feel sorry for you because you make more than I do? I'm confused. You don't pay for your health care, you have a state funded pension plan that currently allows you to retire at 57, and receive half of what your top pay was, and you want me to feel bad for you? No, sorry. Go fuck yourself.
Walker's proposal would cost me about $400 a month.
I don't really believe her math, assuming everything she writes is the truth. If she makes $36,000/yr and is asked to start putting 5% of her salary towards her pension that works out to $1,800/yr divided by 12 months is $150/month. Assuming she isn't currently paying anything towards her health care premium that would mean she would be paying $250/month for health care under the governor's budget proposal. This I don't believe. For a single person within a group plan (I'm assuming she's single because, well, because I saw this) $250/month is unheard of. That would be crazy high.
Frankly, I won't be able to survive. Because not only do I have the usual debt -- mortgage, car payments -- I owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Getting a Master's degree is actually kind of pricey, but I assume you want a highly educated teacher in the classroom, right?
Actually, no. I don't think a Pre-K teacher needs a Masters degree. That's fucking stupid.
I'm not sure how Walker thinks reducing the salaries of thousands of workers like me is going to save the economy. With that kind of wage reduction, I won't be able to buy new clothes, go to movies, go out to eat, go to happy hour, buy Christmas presents, buy birthday presents, get haircuts or buy pet food. I won't be able to replace my 20-year-old furnace or my 20-year-old kitchen cabinets. I already gave up cable and I drive a used car with more than 140,000 miles on it. So it's clear I won't be buying any iPods or iPhones or anything else shiny any time soon.
Oh, so clearly you own a fucking home. Poor people don't buy homes.

My cube mate is a single mom. She makes what I make, if not less. One day I was complaining about being poor as I was eating some fancy sandwich from Panera. She said, "Robert, poor people don't eat Panera." She was fucking right.

Lady, poor people don't own homes. Poor people don't go to the movies. Poor people don't go to fucking happy hour. Poor people don't buy ipods, or replace cabinets that are 20 years old. You are not poor.
I suppose I could get a second job to supplement my reduced income.
I suppose you could. Most people I know who aren't highly paid professionals work two jobs. It sucks. But when you think you need more money, or you ACTUALLY need more money, you don't have a choice.
I get to school by 7:45 a.m. and I work until 4:30 or 5:00. At least one night a week, I stay later than 5. I'm supposed to get a half hour of "duty free" lunch every day, but I usually spend that time helping students or prepping for a lesson. There are some days when I don't eat lunch at all.
OH MY GOD. YOU TOTALLY WORK 8 HOURS A DAY. SOMETIMES YOU EVEN STAY LATE???
By the time I make it home, I am so exhausted, I usually drop on the couch and fall asleep by 9 p.m. I can't even stay awake to watch the news to see what Walker is going to do to us next. Getting a second job? It would probably kill me.
No. It wouldn't kill you. Heart disease may kill you. Diabetes may kill you. Working more than 8 hours a day won't kill you.
I don't want to leave my students. Because the truth is, teaching kids is a fantastic job. This past week, I taught a four-year-old how to spell his name. I taught another child how to sound out words, so he could start reading a Dr. Seuss book on his own. And I took my class to the planetarium, where they got to gaze in awe at the planets, moon and stars. The universe, they decided, was a pretty special place. Watching them, for a little while I felt it was.
Nice to see you making use of that Masters degree. You can spell BOBBY and read Dr Suess.
I hope you will join me in a candlelight vigil on Tuesday and Wednesday on the steps of the Capitol. Like thousands of other teachers, I am a dedicated and hard-working public employee, so I won't make it there until after the school day ends. I don't want to miss a single day away from my students.
"I don't want to miss a single day away from my students" -- Headline today at Fox -- Union Protest: Wisconsin Teachers Calling in Sick en Masse

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Wait, Holy Fuck It's December 8th

Belated Thanksgiving greetings to you all. I hope yours was as pleasant as mine, spent at the soon-to-be in laws. It was great. I got to watch one hour of shitty football on a Clinton-era TV before participating in one of the more awkward dinners of my life. It made me miss all those Thanksgivings in college I spent alone with a Stouffer's frozen lasagna, a bag of pot and a handle of whiskey. Can't wait for Christmas.

Other rants: I've been pretty successful as of late at not getting a new job. It's not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of fucking work to keep applying to jobs and going through the whole interview process where I have to sound motivated, all the while pretending that I didn't google the guy who's interviewing me and find his geocities website from 8 years ago full of his poetry.

I'm allowing this guy to judge me? Where did I go wrong? I always imagined by this time in my mid-20's I would be filthy rich answering to no one but the smart jewish guy that I let run my finances. That's it. Just filthy rich. I didn't really think through that plan too well.

The new job has become more pressing as they keep laying people off at my current employer. I'll give everyone a tip about how you can tell if your company isn't doing well -- They keep laying people off. And you know who suffers the most from these layoffs? Me.

It really isn't fair to make me deal with old ladies crying, unless I did something like have sex with them and now they regret it. Which I've totally never done in the workplace. But when I had nothing to do with creating the tears, it's really unfair to make me be in the same room. I have no clue how to handle situations like this. What are you suppose to say?

"Look lady. I wouldn't worry, the labor market for a 50 year old woman with just a high school diploma is really looking up. You'll find a job in no time."

Instead I just sit there in my chair, shaking my head saying "this sucks". I'm very compassionate. Can't we do these layoffs off site? Or after work? You need to do them on a Tuesday at 11:30am? Worst timing ever.

Look, I realize I'm fortunate to have a job. Really, my life is pretty great when compared to the African version of me who is somewhere in West Africa complaining about how it's awkward when his village mates get their arms hacked off by a machete wielding madmen. I would just rather have a non-shitty job. I don't think that makes me too greedy.


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Morning Links

Those guys over at the TSA sure do have a good grasp of the public mood: 'TSA to investigate body scan resister'.

And remember, if you choose not to allow the Feds to take a picture of your naked body you're really just being irresponsible. Says the TSA chief in Sand Diego:
“It really is irresponsible to encourage anyone to opt out of a technology that is there in place specifically to protect the public.”
As always, you're too stupid to know what's good for you!

'Congressional freshmen vow not to party like it's 1994'. Fuck as many hookers as you want incoming Republican freshmen. All I ask is that you attempt to restrain federal spending.

PG County cops implicated in black market cigarettes and booze ring.

If you're going to have a nickname, Merchant of Death is a pretty cool fucking nick name to have.

Your Android phone might soon double as your credit card. Which would be sweet and all, but I'm looking forward to the day a headline reads, 'Your Android phone might soon be able to receive phone calls before the incoming call goes to voicemail'.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Can We Just Please Pay College Players and Get Over This Nonsense?

Two stories in the sports media that are currently driving me fucking crazy -- 1) How violent the NFL has gotten+concussions are really bad. & 2)The Cam Newton pay to play scandal and any other NCAA players getting paid scandal.

I don't really have anything new to say on the NFL thing. I think anyone who whines about how dangerous the NFL has gotten and how we need to do something about the violent/cheap hits, is a fucking pussy. Don't watch the NFL. Women's college basketball just started, tune into that shit.

I'm not eager to see someone die on the field, but that doesn't mean I want to turn the league into a two-hand touch pusssyfest. That would be dumb. So let the players play. Hopefully in this upcoming round of collective bargaining the players association manages to get some concessions from the owners like guaranteed money and expanded rosters. That would be nice for them. But most of these guys get paid fairly well to do a job they love. It's a choice. So if you don't enjoy watching 250lb men run into each other at top speed then maybe you should tune out. It won't happen -- the NFL is more popular than ever -- but nothing is stopping you from watching some shitty 80's movie on the WB network on Sunday afternoons instead of football.

As for the NCAA...



FUCKING PAY FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL PLAYERS. The NCAA just signed a new 14-year TV deal for the basketball tournament worth...10.8 BILLION DOLLARS. That's a truckload of cash. None of which trickles down to these players who are responsible for those deals being made. Merchandise is sold, sky boxes at the stadiums are sold, cash comes in from bowl games and additional media contracts. There's all this cash floating around the industry and it would be beyond silly to think that the players wouldn't want a piece of it. They deserve a piece of it. Most won't make it rich in the NFL or NBA, and they are being used by the NCAA to make everyone but them rich. The NFL and NBA have labor rules in place that REQUIRE their future employees to go through colleges first. If someone wants a shot at professional sports they have to make a stop at college athletics first.

But that's just my opinion. I don't think it's fair that players don't get a monthly stipend. But the real reason you change the status quo is because you can't keep the "corruption" out of college. Agents will find a way to pay the players. Schools and alumni will find a way to take care of the players. The people hurt in this current system are those that follow the current rules. It doesn't create a level playing field when you have schools and coaches who play "clean" and those that don't. It frustrating as a fan to know this. So even the playing field. Take away the power from schools that will compensate players and agents who will influence players. Give players a cut of the jersey's they sell, plus a monthly stipend to help pay the bills. It's not like there isn't enough money floating around.

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Morning Links, FOP Rant

Drugs in sandals.

Drugs in buttons.

Is the recent backlash against the TSA for real? Naked pictures, harmful radiation and sexual harassment in front of hundreds of strangers is all it took for the public to push back?

Can we trade the disgusting images for the hefty tax? I'd take that deal.

Ugh. Fucking cops. Wouldn't it be great to get to vote on proposed salary cuts and raises at your place of work? Would you ever say yes to a pay cut?

"Well boss I've thought this over, and I agree. I do shit for work and the budget looks tight this year. Go ahead and take a couple percent off my salary."

And it's my goddamn money they are fighting over. Why the fuck don't I get a say in their salary and benefits? I certainly don't think any BPD officer deserves anymore money than they are getting. The starting salary of $43,000 is plenty, plus annual increases, the ability to add regular overtime that bump your annual income up to the high 5 or even 6 figures and a million plus pension that's going to bankrupt this fucking city.

Your job isn't that dangerous. (the last officer to die at work from something other than an automobile accident was in 2007) None of you live in the city you work in, and a lot of you are downright shitty at your job. When the average salary for a resident in Baltimore is in the neighborhood of $28,000 and the city is broke, you're going to lose some of your bounty. Or maybe you won't, because everyone is stupid. But you're not entitled to keep it, that's for sure.

/longer rant than anticipated
//should have been a post

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