Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Newspapers, television news and other media outlets outsource a good deal of their reporting to the wire services. Not only is it a great source of filler, but it provides timely leads to breaking news. The end result is that you can pick up a paper from any corner of the world, practically, and read the same story damned near word for word.
Here's the AP wrap up of granny's story:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- A North Miami woman has been sentenced to 14 months house arrest for leaving her two grandchildren alone in a car while she was gambling.
A Broward judge handed down 54-year-old Jeanne Shahan's sentence Monday. She had pleaded guilty to felony child abuse, misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and misdemeanor leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.
Authorities say Shahan left the children unattended inside a car parked outside Mardi Gras Gaming in August 2008. A witness saw the 2-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy in the car and told the casino's security.
We read over things like this, or hear a television news anchor repeat them, and we nod and think the evil granny got just the punishment that was coming to her. The story passes through our conciousness like so many others – barely disturbing our morning coffee. Most people won't give this story a second thought, unless they've spent a little of their childhood inside cars parked outside casinos.
I know all about waiting for other people to gamble and/or drink while I sit in the car and wait. I did this quite often, and frequently willingly. My patience was often rewarded with a roll of nickels or a treat of dinner. Inside the car was usually the safest place for me at the time.
I don't remember being left in the car before about ten years of age. From ten to seventeen, I grew accustomed to having to wait outside an establishment barring people of my age from entering. In some respect, I was in the car because I was not allowed in the safer environment inside. The best intentions can backfire in unknown ways.
Of course, my story is more than forty years old. Attitudes have changed and become more fearful. What seemed OK to do then, doesn't seem OK to do now. Why is that? Maybe part of our attitude change came from stories like this one from AP. Stories that seem neat, clean and complete.
As you can read in the links below, there is a lot more to the story than AP represents. Why these people were at the casino, how long the children were in the car and what the weather was like are not addressed very well even in the details I uncovered. For example, the kids were in the car but could have gotten out of the car at any time. Apparently, the weather was fouled by a tropical storm so the nearly fifteen year old boy chose to remain inside the dry car.
What strikes me as odd is how leaving a teenager alone with a two year old becomes a crime only if they are left inside an automobile. Grandma could have left the kids at home and everything would have been kosher unless the baby had died. In that case the news would surely point out that granny left the kids alone while she gambled. What if she left them alone while answering an IRS summons?
People hire kids “nearly fifteen” years old to babysit all the time. What's the difference if mom and pop go off for dinner and a show, but granny decides to pull a few slots?
If we conveniently forget the presence of the teenager, a Florida law passed in 2007 makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to leave a child younger than the age of 6 alone in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The law makes sense because a child younger than six would have trouble getting out of the car. The law doesn't apply here, though.
Instead of the second-degree misdemeanor, the local gendarmes got granny to plead guilty on two misdemeanor counts and one felony count of child abuse! That's right, granny is a felon. I wonder what they threatened her with to get her to cop those pleas?
This case is blown out of proportion and you need to read all the links to see just what a procedural disaster went on. There are laws, civil codes and regulations but there are also policies, protocols and procedures that must be followed especially if your job happens to involve public safety. Granny appears to have fallen victim to a number of good people just doing their jobs.
Let me give you my elaborated overview of the case.
We know granny was driving her grandson and her boyfriend's two-year-old daughter around Fort Lauderdale when she decided to stop at a casino. It was the afternoon of Tuesday, the nineteenth of August, 2008 and a tropical storm was unleashing a torrent of rain, cooling the south Florida heat.
Granny went inside to get her “bank card” and we presume she stayed for more than an hour while gambling (according to investigators.) Meanwhile, the teen and the toddler were stuck in the car – it being too wet emerge outside. Early reporting said the windows were up, never mentioning rain. No doubt they were rolled up and down repeatedly to contend with window fogging and horizontal drizzle.
At some point in the hour or so the kids were in the car, a good Samaritan reported the children's presence to casino security. Security officers moved the kids inside the Mardi Gras Gaming facility in Hallandale Beach. A casino representative said, “the children seem fine” although one of the security guards reportedly said the young girl was wearing a jacket and was sweating profusely. The teenager told a reporter later that he “maybe sweated a little bit, but not really at all."
The kid told security about his grandma and they were able to locate her, although they don't mention what she was doing when found. Most likely, they called her name on the intercom system and she appeared where she was told to go. That's how you find people in casinos, you know.
Somewhere along the line, someone called the authorities in line with proper procedure. Naturally, the children were taken to the hospital by ambulance since no one wanted to take any chances with the health of a minor (or exposure to lawsuits). Whisking the kiddies off for “observation” cleared the way for arresting granny on two counts of aggravated child neglect.
Maybe leaving your teen to babysit a toddler while in the car was stupid, but it wasn't obviously unlawful – just a few “catch-all” clauses hidden under Florida state law were enough to compel granny to confess. Once police have a confession, sentencing usually follows. (Never talk to the police.)
It wasn't what this lady did that was so bad, but where she did it – inside a car. What is so terrible about kids sitting in a car? Had she left the kids on a park bench or inside a movie theater, would she still be arrested? Haven't all parents done something similar at one time or another? You know they have.
Why granny then? Was it just to cover their asses for making a big deal by hospitalizing the kids?
I think it's just procedural puddingheadedness or what might be termed politically correct policy policing. There wasn't any applicable law against what granny did, but still there was this hysterical reaction that seemed to run an automatic course from the first report of “kids in a car” all the way down to required sentencing.
If the teenager had been eighteen, would it be OK for him to sit in the car with a two year old for an hour? Probably, although the casino wouldn't want the insurance risk. Isn't that what nearly all laws are about, the protection of property? Why if someone had been hurt the city or the casino or likely both may have been sued! Let's make an ordinance outlawing anyone sitting in parked cars – for their own protection, of course.
August 20 2008 arrest reporting:
Local circus same day (once with video):
Local media aftermath just AP:
Casino response 22 August 2008:
Sunday, July 19, 2009
So how did the world get so fucked up?
A little common sense would go a long way towards unfucking things, wouldn't it? But there's the problem right there in the name for it. It's common sense. It's what the common man would do.
The problem is our leaders don't think of themselves as commoners. Nope, they're the elite. They went to the best schools, worked for the best companies and now they're repaying their debt for living in privilege by looking out for the interests of the common man through public service.
That's their spiel, though. They are merely public servants implementing the will of the people. If you don't fucking like it, vote for change.
Politics. Who really has time for politics? Isn't that why the whole representative republic was set up in the first place? We elect some dipshit who is supposed to deal with all this stuff for us while we kick back on the couch and watch TV. That's the design, isn't it? Once in a while we have to get the fuck up and vote on who is supposed to represent us, but other than that it's Miller time.
The trouble is the cats you're forced to vote for. In the big elections where you actually know something about the candidates you hold your nose and pick the least offensive person. In the small elections, you hardly know anything about who does what except for which party they're in.
In America we have a two party system. That doesn't mean there are only two parties, it just means that if you're not in one of the two big political parties, you're not going to have any representation in government.
Now, don't get excited about that because isn't really isn't that big a deal. All it means is that under the rules of the two party system, you're a loser. Had you joined one of the two big and popular parties, you would have the pleasure of watching your candidate win, occasionally. Not that it matters.
Why doesn't winning matter? Because, there is no law that says politicians have to actually represent their constituents. The only option you have is to vote against the motherfucker, but look who he's running against! The other option in our two party system is usually just as bad.
When you vote for the lesser of two evils, what do you think you get? Evil, folks. Pure evil.
But the elites are smarter than us right? They went to the most prestigious, most expensive schools. Surely they are the most qualified to run the world, after all their families have been running the place for centuries and the world's still here. Mostly. Give or take a few million people.
They're constantly patting themselves on the back and giving each other pay raises over the way they've made civilization so uncivilized. The worst of them have been patted on the back for so long they think they're nobility. No shit. Queens and kings and stuff like that. If you didn't have the luck of being born into it, you could always be knighted for a small fee.
If you can get in, the game is easy. Just lie, cheat and steal – you can leave the killing to the hired help.
The elite. What a fucking joke. No one's laughing cause it's all true. You can't make this shit up, you can only point it out. Whether or not anyone else see what you're pointing at isn't as important as pointing at something in the first place. People who point shit out used to be called journalists, but now they're just fucking comedians.
The real journalists are too busy reciting their lines to do any reporting. Besides, reporters were outsourced to AP and UPI a long time ago. Did you know you can run your own newspaper just off what comes over the wire services? Shit, they've got it damned near automated by now just like their fucking web pages.
The whole damned web is data-driven websites tracking your every click in order to provide a friendlier, more personal service. If I wanted personal service with my website, I'd read it at a whorehouse. Personal fucking service – who do they think they're kidding?
It's all part of the police state that has been authorized by the nanny state as the politically correct response to whatever the fuck happened on 911.
Where was the common sense response to 911? The official report, published years later, had a one word executive summary: clusterfuck.
That's it. It was officially a clusterfuck. The government bungled every written procedure they had in place. Massive incompetence. Who could have predicted nineteen nitwits with box cutters could do so much damage?
I know about the so-called conspiracy theories and who really knows who is right? But, we can ask why no one in charge expressed any common sense in their responses to this tragedy.
Imagine. You're walking along the street when suddenly there's a large explosion and you look up to see a huge fireball blasting out of one of the World Trade Center towers. I think you'd know you're instantly in an emergency situation. You'll want to get safe, then you might think about what you can do to help the poor bastards in the middle of that.
At this point 911 is a local emergency, headline news throughout the nation, yes, but still just a horrible incident. Once the second plane hits the other tower, anyone with a brain knows they're under deliberate attack. It's terrorism.
Once the dust settled on the day, our leaders used uncommon sense when deciding to quickly clean up the mess and reopen Wall Street for the good of the economy. Not that the economy was that good before 911, it wasn't. Just clean it up and get back to business while the government hunts down the evildoers.
Just clean it up? Clean up all the evidence of a crime scene? They trucked it away so fast they used human flesh to fill in pot holes. Now every time you bump down the street in a New York cab you can think of your Uncle Louie. I'm not shitting here, look it up.
They shipped the steel off to China for Christ's sake. I wonder who got the money?
Folks, there were thousands of good reasons to study the evidence of this crime. Common sense says you cordon off the scene of the crime and investigate the evidence. CSI says the evidence never lies.
And yet, before one page of the official report was written, all of the evidence disappeared. The 911 commission was not commissioned at all until fourteen months after the attacks. Even then, the first idea was to let Henry Kissinger head it up. The stink of that idea even sickened Kissinger, so much so that he withdrew from the nomination. The spotlight would draw too much attention to the associates of Kissinger and Associates.
Fourteen months of delay followed by a whitewash, that was the official government investigation of 911. Nothing to see here, move along.
But folks, this is how it has always been. The common man can't handle the truth. Anyway, if we told him then everyone would know – even our enemies!
But 911 is just one example of how fucked up things are. Look at the economy. Now look who's involved in fucking that up – same guys as fucked up 911, isn't it? Isn't it? Same fucking guys!
Or their fucking brothers, or their cousins or their goddamn brother-in-laws. The same guys running the government are the same guys running the banks, the insurance companies and those god damned international think tanks.
Generations of uncommon men have led us to where we are today. It's been going on a long time. Mark Twain got in a lot of trouble for suggesting the Stars and Stripes be replaced by the Skull and Crossbones. Imagine what a country we'd have with an honest government.
Still, all the world's not totally fucked up. If there's no profit in something, our fearless leaders usually ignore it until they figure out a way to monetize it. That's the beauty of derivatives, you know, they are a way of deriving economic value from something that is utterly without value. A neat trick of monetary alchemy.
We still have our families and our friends, though. We love them. We know what's important.
Of course mom works all the time and dad only makes half what he used to, but we love 'em.
You can't help it if you're born poor. That just means you have to work hard and pay your taxes.
Hey, somebody has to empty the trash, farm the food and sell the PlayStations. You wouldn't want George W. Bush putting the brakes on Chevrolets, would you? Maybe Cadillacs, not Chevys.
No, the elites need us to do their work, pay their salaries and suck their dicks. Everything in society was designed just so the rich get richer and the rest just get replaced. Another generation of debt slaves programmed to keep civilization profitable. A world designed to grind the common man to dust.
Common sense? Where has it gotten us? It's not even part of the design.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Reading the mainstream media, it appears “they” (and we know who they are) are trying to frame the next Congressional Act as the second try, indeed the sequel to the first (since nothing before Obama appears to count. Does anyone still remember TARP?)
Congress may be on its third strike, but it accounts for less than two trillion of the nearly fourteen trillion dollars weaseled out of the United States government since last September. The other twelve trillion or so – I love how I've learned to toss around trillions of dollars as if I have any comprehension whatsoever of how big a number a trillion really is – were handed over to the bankers to divvy up.
Between the Nobel laureates arguing for a large stimulus and our so-called representatives fear of total economic collapse (and subsequent loss of control!) we are looking at what Saddam might have called the mother of all economic bailouts.
This time, there will be more than scraps for Main Street.
Any idiot can see that what has so far been tried has failed and even Joe Biden believes the economy is worse than feared earlier. Not that anyone with the power to do anything is going to do any more than enrich themselves and their friends, but it's nice to hear them admit things are nearly as bad as they seem.
Admitting you were wrong about something is an improvement over the last stage of puppets. I guess we're back to the good old days when the government paid us lip service while rigging the system.
I'm sorry, I don't see how this works. How does borrowing more money get you out of debt?
Let's just print up a bunch of cash and spend it all right now on whatever the hell we think we need.
Fine. Good. Done. How's your fiscal hangover?
Once our big party is over it'll just be more National Debt. How big can it get and how long can we carry the load before we collapse? How much of our country are we willing place in hock or sell outright? The bankers always want collateral, you know. How long until they own it all?