Sunday, 27 October 2013

09:25 – Barbara just talked to Frances. Al had emergency surgery yesterday to fix a bowel obstruction caused by a twist in his small intestine. The surgeon removed his appendix while she was at it. She got the bowel resectioned before it burst, but apparently peritonitis was imminent. Al is in ICU, but doing very well. He’s sitting up and talking, and even took a tech-support call on his cell phone from another driver who was having trouble getting the Wi-Fi working on his bus. I suspect that may be the first tech-support call ever handled by a patient in ICU. They may move Al to a regular room today. He’ll probably be in hospital for another few days and then off work for most of the rest of the year, but everyone is pleased at how well things have turned out. Barbara is going to head over to pick up her mom this afternoon and take her to visit Al.


12:56 – The FBI is investigating the police shooting of that 13-year-old boy in California. I’m at a loss to understand why. As far as I’m concerned, that boy should be a favored Darwin Awards Candidate. If I’d been the cops present, I’d have shot him, too. I’d have shot him a whole bunch of times. I’d have kept shooting him until I was sure the threat had been eliminated. Carrying around a pellet gun that looks very much like an AK-47 is going to draw attention. Ignoring the police when they ordered him to drop the weapon, instead turning towards them and raising the barrel, goes beyond stupid.

19 thoughts on “Sunday, 27 October 2013”

  1. What a relief that things were resolved so quickly and effectively. The advancements since I was a kid are nothing short of miraculous. When I was in grade school, I remember being puzzled by the fact that no one wanted to go into the hospital, because once that happened, few came back out, alive. I had thought that the hospital was a place where things got fixed, not a place to die. But the fact was that if one of my friends’ grandparents went into the hospital, few came back out.

    Your family has had enough medical problems this year. Hope the rest of it is problem-free and Al is back to normal quickly.

  2. If that’s what the kid did, then fuck him. Good riddance; didn’t get a chance to pollute the gene pool further. And where were his parents to allow him to have that and tote it around the streets? Fuck them, too.

    45 here today and mostly overcast, but a nice fall day anyway. Mrs. P. and MIL are in Fort Myers, Floriduh for the week. Daughter is probably studying at the McGill University library. Son and DIL and grandkids probably out at an apple orchard or pumpkin patch again down in my old stomping grounds of central Maffachufetts. Sorta ironic.

    I am working on taxes, shelving, and a board meeting later, where we’ll divvy up the pahts of the continent that we each will rule with a combination of velvet glove and iron fist, but mostly the latter, haha. Actually I’m too old and rickety to rule the kittens here and am damn fortunate to be able to put my pants on in the morning and tie my shoes.

  3. I don’t know why the FBI is involved either. The kid must have been a minority of some type.

    Any guesses on how Obummer is going to spin the NSA clusterfark? I love how Bild is reporting that Obummer knew Merkel’s phone was tapped in 2010 and did nothing. Blaming Bush only goes so far. Welcome to the US of A! Obummer has made us the laughing stock of the world. At least Bush was labeled as a “cowboy”. Obummer’s a pussy in world negotiations.

  4. I read the story, but I note that it’s told pretty much only from the police perspective. Sorry, I don’t buy the story as written – I hope there’s a dash-cam video. Consider:

    – Most serious pellet guns look very much like real weapons. Heck, they *are* real weapons.

    – It’s clear from the article that the boy’s back was to the police.

    – They yell at him; he turns to look. Logically, the gun turns with him.

    Claiming that “the barrel was coming up” could very well be ass-covering. It is entirely possible that the cop panicked. Certainly, the number of shots fired supports this idea.

  5. Let’s say Joe Ordinary Citizen saw the kid with what appeared to be a “dangerous assault weapon”, ordered him to drop it, and shot him when he didn’t. Would that be a justified shooting? Would the stupid pigs and grandstanding DA and senile judge agree it was a justified shooting?

    Unless you’re happy to set up the stupid pigs as a different, better class of citizen, you need to be careful about applying different standards to their behavior.

  6. I am working on taxes, shelving, and a board meeting later, where we’ll divvy up the pahts of the continent that we each will rule with a combination of velvet glove and iron fist, but mostly the latter, haha.

    Have you been watching “Revolution” on NBC? Maybe it is on Netflix now. Very good show about some morons who manage to shutoff the electricity world-wide using … The show is set 15 years after the dieoff in the USA with the Monroe Republic, Georgia Republic, the Plains Savages and the Texas Republic. It is in the middle of the second season now. BTW, the most popular weapon? The machete with a hand guard as ammo is very difficult to get anymore.

    Actually I’m too old and rickety to rule the kittens here and am damn fortunate to be able to put my pants on in the morning and tie my shoes.

    You know, I find that putting my pants on one leg at a time really helps cut the severity of that task down. And, wearing pullon Justin boots eliminates the shoe tieing requirement. I wear a 10.5 EE (they are a size short, normally I wear 11.5E):
    http://www.amazon.com/Justin-Original-Work-Boots-US/dp/B003XF6918/

  7. We have got a saying here in the Great State of Texas, “Better to be judged by 12 than carried out by 6”. Just saying. I would never convict anyone that shot someone pointing a gun at them. Or what they thought was a gun.

    Hey Bob, good news on your BIL. I had one of my employees have that problem six years ago. She lost two foot of her large intestine plus was off for a month. She now has problems with stomach upsets on any spicey food. But, she is still walking this planet and raising her boys. I believe that our medical care here in the USA is still the best in the world. Especially for such a large heterogeneous society.

  8. Heck I have problems with spicy food these days that I never had when younger; it may not be her intestinal dissection. I love Indian food (the subcontinent, not the American redman’s food) but just cannot tolerate anything but garlic anymore.

    I agree that given the size of our country, we do not have a bad health system, but those with money go where the best are. Payton Manning went to Europe for his fixes; Ray Manzarek went to Germany for his incurable cancer. BTW, Lou Reed died this morning.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/arts/music/lou-reed-dies-at-71.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

  9. From yesterday by ech:

    ” I was thinking of setting it up as a NAS box in a slimline case, as it has integrated graphics (which we didn’t use). What would be a good linux package for that?”

    I bought a modest Netgear ReadyNAS capable of handling 2 drives and cheaper than the QNAPs. Built like a tank and with hot-swapable drives amongst other things. It is a dedicated system designed specifically for the task, runs 24×7, kept up-to-date with simple processes, runs an ARM CPU and draws very little power.

    In my view, unless you want to play with Linux or any other OS, nowadays it is better to just retire older hardware.

  10. Agreed on the old hardware front. We spent money refurbishing a 4 year-old tower built around an Asus motherboard. Just after we did that, something popped on the motherboard, and it is a basket case now. If it is more than about 4 years old, I jettison it. I am keeping my one 7 year-old Asus laptop with a FireWire port. FireWire is super-rare now, but we still need to move video from tape to computer with FireWire, so I will keep it until we abandon magnetic tape or it dies.

    A few of our competitors have abandoned tape for cutting DVD’s on location or using SD cards in pro-sumer equipment. We sometimes get their end product later to edit for the courtroom, and have found that their methods drop frames—sometimes up to as much as a second or more. High-end Hollywood and TV equipment—although reliable and free of that type of problem—is out of our league, so videotape continues to be our bedrock of reliability.

    As far as NAS, I had an HP Microserver in here a while ago. No video card and not for the faint of heart to configure (really needs OFD-like experience), but rock-solid once properly set up. Accommodated up to 5 drives with room for SSD and USB booting. Was using Ubuntu Server on it, booting off a USB memory stick. I was offered much more money for it in working order than I paid, so I naturally accommodated. I am without NAS at the moment; making do with several external USB drives. The HP claimed 35 watts at idle, but I had no way of measuring to see if that was true.

  11. For what it is worth (probably not much) I grew up in this county. 70’s and 80’s when it was still heavily agricultural with the seasonal migrant workers. We didn’t have politically correct names then and for as much as local farms and vineyards would have been crippled without them they were heavily resented.

    You never wanted to get pulled over by any law enforcement, naturally. The sheriffs dept was generally accepted to be worse than any of the local agencies.

    I recall them particularly hard on anyone who had a darker complexion. Growing up I spent so much time in the sun I looked more Mexican than white. Both parents warned me, separately, against pissing off deputies once I reached driving age. Told me there would be no ‘verbal warning’ and I’d better expect a nasty ticket and some verbal abuse if I got pulled over.

    Things are almost certainly different now but I can’t say I was particularly surprised that it was an older deputy and a brown kid.

  12. What’d I say? I have been predicting this for years. We ARE going to see it eventually. Then the US Constitution gets re-written for real. By easily bought-off Dumkopfs.

    The world is now connected in a way that things are being equalized—and that will never change unless technology actually disintegrates. China no longer has the cheapest labor—meanwhile, the US is approaching China’s labor rates. The US will ultimately not be the richest. In fact, we have had a significantly higher share of world wealth for a long time, and that is now going to find its way to S. America and Africa—among others.

    Generally, we in the US are going to be poorer than we were, as our wealth leaves and everybody has less, while every one of our lawmakers does the wrong things to cope with this. I have long predicted that—barring some transforming energy discovery that makes energy a quantum cheaper—personal transportation via cars will not survive pervasively in the US any more than it exists in Europe. It is already unaffordable for most people. In my youth, everyone bought new cars—even relatively poor people. Nowadays, since I returned nearly 4 years ago, I only know one person who has bought a brand-new car, and he is a single-guy farmer who recently sold his land accumulated over 3 generations stretching back to the early 1900’s. He is truly rich. Even my middle-class friends buy used cars, not new.

    When I lived in Boston during the ’80’s and ’90’s, they contracted the rail system, instead of expanding it. Now, it is expanding. In Florida, they would not even debate rail transit; now, not only did they debate it, they voted on it. It was defeated this time, but the day is fast approaching when it will succeed. Cincinnati is building rail streetcars downtown right now.

    And not only can individuals not afford cars, but municipalities, states, and the Feds cannot afford to maintain the roads. It is perfectly obvious that the roads here around me are in worse shape than they ever have been during my life. I have 15″ tires, and need 18″ to traverse the crumbling pockmarks in the roads here that are essentially unavoidable. When I was last in S. California, I was literally shocked at how bad the roads were between Riverside and San Diego. California once had roads other states would kill for when I was younger. No longer.

    New roads? Yeah, there is a proposal in Indiana to build one going east-west in the northern part of the state. Going to be free? Not on your life. Whatever they build—if it actually gets built—will be a toll road. Start adding tolls to unaffordable cars, gasoline, insurance, repairs, and personal transportation has not got a chance of survival in the long run. Big problem as I see it, will be that lots of people will be driven from operating cars by the expense, before a public transit infrastructure is in place. Those people ain’t gonna be happy campers.

  13. RE: the 13 year old shot by the police.

    FWIW: Latest info says it was an Airsoft Rifle, not a pellet gun. Supposedly he was taking the rifle back to the friend who owned it. Was wearing a hoodie and walking away from the police when they came up behind him. He never saw them. According to the police tape it was 10 seconds from the time they first yelled at him until they shot him. Several of the shots hit him in the back before he turned around completely.

    So you’ve got someone walking down the street, hears someone yell at him (muffled by the hoodie?), starts to turn around to see who it is and is shot multiple times.

    So yeah, I can see why the FBI would at least look into it.

    Remember the recent shooting of the guy standing in the street. Police said he stood up and lunged at them with a knife and they had to kill him. Neighborhood video showed he did no such thing. He was just standing there, no knife, and the police shot him. Cop has now been fired and will be charged.

  14. And not only can individuals not afford cars, but municipalities, states, and the Feds cannot afford to maintain the roads

    The wife and I are driving 2005 cars by choice. We could afford new vehicles but choose to save that money. Her Honda Civic has 80K miles, my Ford Expedition has 132K miles. But, they are both in excellent shape and start and drive well. The Expedition is heading to Abilene in the morning for her uncle’s funeral. A good man, Korean war veteran and strong in his faith.

    The best roads that I have been on in the last 5 years are tied between Alabama and Florida. Both have higher gasoline taxes and their roads are awesome. Texas and Louisiana has not raised their gasoline taxes since the 1980s and the roads are the pits. Texas’s population is exploding and we are actually arguing about how to pay for the serious road congestion without even discussing higher gasoline taxes. We are actually converting oil well roads from asphalt back to gravel for cheaper maintenance.

  15. Building toll roads in Australia is a good way for a company to go broke, sometimes serially.

    In Sydney an E-W tunnel was built under the city that has had to reduce its tolls and abandon some street closures (designed to funnel drivers in to the tunnel rather than drive for free on the surface).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_City_Tunnel

    In Brisbane this tunnel was built on time and on budget but isn’t getting enough traffic to make it viable:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clem_Jones_Tunnel

    The shares in the operating company are now worthless. I think it would be a very risky move for a company to build and operate a tollway.

    There were very severe losses during the construction of this tollway, also in Brisbane:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airport_Link,_Brisbane

    A lot of “mums and dads” thought they saw a bargain, invested in this project but didn’t read the fine print. The awarding of tenders was basically corrupt. There’s no toll on this road at the moment but one will be introduced in a few months, when it is expected that traffic numbers will fall precipitously.

    On many of these toll roads there is no longer a facility to pay the toll in cash, you need some sort of e-tag. Just what I need, instead of thinking about the places to see I have to sort out which e-tags to get.

  16. My car is only 15 months old, but I’ve only had three in 33.5 years, always bought new.

    In 1980 I got a Chrysler Sigma, 2 litre, manual gearbox. Traded in in 1993 (with 247,000k on the clock) on a 3.8L automatic Holden Berlina, traded in July 2013 (with 150,000k on the clock) on a 2.5L manual AWD Subaru Forrester. It took me months to get used to driving a car with a manual gearbox again.

    “Getting old is hell.”

  17. Population decrease is going to help road congestion a little, but it is not possible to relieve congestion in most big cities by building more roads. In the old parts of Indy, streets cannot be expanded. In the new parts to the north, even though there are California boulevards carved into the former farm land there, it still takes well over a half-hour to traverse from the east side of town to the west. And because of near constant congestion, it is not much faster using the Interstate ring road on the northside.

    But the real thing that is going to motivate a move to better public transit is affordability—both for the individual and governments. We spent $7,000 on one car in 2000, the last year before moving to Germany. This year, I am already over $7,000 on my current car, and getting close to the $9,000 average that Americans now spend on each car they own. For two of us, it cost only $600/each for a yearly transit pass in Berlin proper and $850/each in far out Strausberg. Never did we wish we had a car in Berlin—which would have been a much slower means of transit than the trains and subways, with no parking at all at downtown destinations.

    As US wealth drains, eventually, cost will drive government from building and maintaining ill-affordable roads to much cheaper rail transit.

  18. As US wealth drains, eventually, cost will drive government from building and maintaining ill-affordable roads to much cheaper rail transit.

    Not gonna happen in Houston. 8 million people in 6,000 square miles. 10+ million per mile to build track. Rail cars are 3 million each. Houston is getting ready to add 50 miles of track and trains for a total of $3 billion.

    BTW, Houston has 3,000+ buses running almost 1,000 routes (total swag on routes). The equivalent train miles would be 20,000+ miles????

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