Thursday, June 16, 2011

Okay, Weiner's Gone Now.......

........a loss of a very talented individual that never hesitated to say what needed to be said in congress.  I will miss him but he was an idiot beyond politics and rendered himself useless in the causes he held dear.  His next trial is in his marriage and I hope that isn't another 24 hrs a day news cycle event.

Sooooo, how come Vitter is still in office?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 Day Reprieve Upsets "Kill" Schedule

Texas Justice Dept Photo; Cleve Foster
Mr Foster (pictured) was scheduled to be executed this evening in Texas and got a 30 day reprieve from the US Supreme Court to allow time for a review on specifics of the case against him.  A reprieve for different reasons was sought in Texas but denied at all levels and apparently not considered in the reprieve from the SCOTUS.

The reprieve from Texas wasn't about guilt or innocence but about a change in the execution procedure to substitute pentobarbital for sodium thiopental as it is no longer produced in the US.  Apparently the change was made without consulting Pharmaceutical or medical professions in order to meet the scheduled execution date (today).

Mr Foster is bad guy.  He's probably guilty of the murder he was convicted of (although there is some the first link) but that doesn't excuse hustling this thing just to meet a damn schedule!  Now that there's a 30 day stop because of the SCOTUS ruling,  I wonder if the Texas Dept of Justice will use it to review their "kill" method?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

One Hundred Years After, Something You Need to Know

Friday, March 25th marks the 100th anniversary of the "Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire" where 146 people, 129 women and 17 men, mostly Jewish and Italian immigrants 16 to 23 years old, either leaped or burned to death as a result of a fire when their escape was blocked by locked doors on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Asch Building.  The scene was horrific;

One Saturday afternoon in March of that year — March 25, to be precise — I was sitting at one of the reading tables in the old Astor Library... It was a raw, unpleasant day and the comfortable reading room seemed a delightful place to spend the remaining few hours until the library closed. I was deeply engrossed in my book when I became aware of fire engines racing past the building. By this time I was sufficiently Americanized to be fascinated by the sound of fire engines. Along with several others in the library, I ran out to see what was happening, and followed crowds of people to the scene of the fire. A few blocks away, the Asch Building at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street was ablaze. When we arrived at the scene, the police had thrown up a cordon around the area and the firemen were helplessly fighting the blaze. The eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the building were now an enormous roaring cornice of flames.
Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle Waist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.
The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines.
LABOR UNIONS:  We needed them then and need them now.

In the Triangle Factory tragedy, locked doors blocking exits were an effort to stop union organizers.  In the aftermath of this event the International Ladies Garments Workers Union (ILGWU) was formed as was the American society of Safety Engineers, which later precipitated OSHA.  If you think unions aren't important because you aren't in one, then think again.  Unions gave all labor, union or not, advantages like the 40 hour work week, health and retirement benefits, and safer working conditions.  Unions provide labor a collective voice that is not otherwise available to counter unfair labor practices by management.  Without this voice, labor is reduced to the odd solo voice in the wind and carries little or no weight against unfair practices which even in today's working environment can create an environment for accidents and loss of life.  The cost for unfair/unsafe labor practice, at home or abroad, is something we all pay one way or another....for some, as those in the Triangle Factory, it's life or death.  Something to keep in mind in light of recent events in Minnesota.

H/Tip to Tengrain and Blue Gal

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Flying Fortress over Willis

Heard the unmistakable sound of radial engines overhead this morning and a little later while running some errands saw a B17 low over the south horizon.  Montgomery County Airport lies there so I took the short trip over to see what I could see.  I didn't have quality video gear with me (which makes since as I don't own any!) so I took these two videos with my cell phone. 
Quality being what it is I've attached is photo of the actual machine in the vids.

75 years ago, the Boeing Airplane CompanyB-17 for a contract that called for 200 of the aircraft, and by the end of production, Boeing had built a total of 6,981 B-17s. The Douglas Aircraft Company and the Vega Aircraft Corporation (a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Company) together built another 5,745 B-17sBoeing. designed the under license from
“Texas Raiders” was built in 1944 by the Douglas Aircraft Company at their Long Beach, CaliforniaU.S. Army Air Corps as B-17G-95-DL 44-83872. Her fuselage number was 2987, and factory number was 32513. Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) had past, and the USAAC did not have a need for more of the heavy bombers, so on July 21 of 1945, all 20 of these Douglas B-17s were transferred to the U.S. Navy to serve as PB-1W Patrol Bombers. B-17GU.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics Number (BuNo) 77235. plant. Built under contract number AC-1862, she was one of the last 20 B-17s built by Douglas and was delivered on July 12, 1945 to the #44-83872 was assigned the the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics Number (BuNo) 77235.

Only 13 - 14 of these left flying today so it was a rare treat to see first hand.  I stuck around after taking the videos so I could savor the visual event without being hampered by aiming a phone and it did a few more takeoffs and landings.....very cool!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fisting, No it Aint What You Think, It's Worse

I don't watch Beck, and I've tried......really, just in the interest of the "train wreck" aspect of it all....sad but compelling, Charlie Sheen like, if you will.  I find this idiot  (Beck, not Sheen...well Sheen too but that's another issue)  more offensive than Hannity or even Limbaugh, and that's saying something.  Regardless, dig this.... shamelessly ripped off from Joe. My. God.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Opression, Better late Than Never

I can't handle this sort of pressure.  Besides all my other problems, shortcomings, and faults,  acquired through years of practice and patience, now it seems I'm oppressed for being a white male as well.  I guess it's easy for this sort of thing to sneak up one.  Fortunately, others are out there on the vanguard to spot these things for those of us that don't have the advantage of previous oppression in our heritage.  The newly formed "Former Majority Association for Equality" is that vanguard.   Catchy F/Book logo!

They're a Texas based non-profit group in San Marcos offering $500 scholarships to white male students as we are now part of the minority here in Texas.  Probably Obama's fault as the last census results show non-Hispanic whites only make up only 45% of the population.  The scholarship doesn't appear to apply to white females even though they are probably a part of that 45% but hey, that only means I still get to oppress someone while I'm being oppressed........take that my white sisters...and get me a beer dammit!

On the positive side, my recent absence from blogging I owe to my return to college.  Willis can now not only get a scholarship, soon I'll be able to pack heat on campus as well!  About time dammit...every fetus should have the right to bear arms.

Texas,  what a country!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Miss Me Yet?

NO...Not Now, Not Ever, thanks so much for asking!

In December 2008, during this idiot's lame duck period (one could argue that, in deference to ducks, the "lame" portion of his administration started in 2000...but I digress), he issued a stack of "sweeping" rules for health care workers allowing them to refuse to take part in any care they considered contrary to their religious beliefs. 

"The astonishingly broad and far-sweeping reach of the regulations extended beyond reproductive healthcare, such as sterilization and abortion, to cover areas such as end-of-life directives, care of patients with HIV, and even use of psychiatric medicines"

The Obama administration has issue new regulations to fix this final kiss off from from GW.  

Small but important things happen from time to time.  Sometimes even in favor of people over beliefs. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Texas' First Execution for 2011

Tim Adams is the convicted man to be executed tomorrow.  See the post prior to this one for details on his case.  On the face of it, I never really had a problem with the death penalty.  I always felt comfortable with at least the notion that if I was ever in a jury where I had to make that choice, I could do it without losing sleep.  The facts would always be clear enough.   Not so much any more.  I heard a quote by actor George Hamilton a while back, something to the effect "That now that I'm old enough to finally get my head together, my ass is falling apart" which seemed appropriate one begins to comprehend that there are always mitigating circumstances to any situation.  In Tim Adams case, those mitigating circumstances should allow his death penalty to be commuted to "life".

I've attached some quotes to show how some famous folks feel about this...

"People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty ... I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court.

"Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years with time off for good behavior?" NY State Senator James Donovan, speaking in support of capital punishment.

"I like it the way it is." Comment by Governor George W. Bush of Texas at the time that a law prohibiting execution of the mentally disadvantaged was defeated.

"Capital punishment is our society’s recognition of the sanctity of human life." Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

"The death penalty is a poor person's issue. Always remember that: after all the rhetoric that goes on in the legislative assemblies, in the end, when the deck is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to die in this country." Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J.

Update:  The "mitigating circumstances" were not as I thought they were.  See the update to the previous post.  And, this was the second execution this year for Texas...not the first as stated in the title.  My feelings about the death penalty remain unchnaged and the quotes still seem appropriate.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Any Killing is Too Much

This is Timothy Adams, age 42.  He's scheduled to be executed here in Texas on February 22nd after being convicted of murdering his 19 month old son in Houston on February 20, 2002.

Adams and his wife were having problems and a few days before the date of the murder, his wife left him taking their child with her. She returned on the 20th to pick up her belongings and was confronted by Adams.  She called the police but during the confrontation, Adams shot at her.  She fled leaving the child behind.  In a stand off with police, Adams was suicidal though was eventually talked into surrendering and was arrested. His child had already been shot.

Adams really screwed up, I mean criminal level type screw ups.  Shooting at someone, even if you miss would seem to be "attempted murder" or similar (willis is no lawyer)....accidentally killing someone other than your intended victim is hardly a good defense.  Adams admitted guilt when he was arrested and also plead "guilty" at his trial.  He had no prior criminal record.  Regardless, at the sentencing portion of his trial he was determined to be a risk to society (by the jury) which is a prerequisite for the death penalty in Texas and there wasn't "mitigating evidence" to warrant a life sentence.

Adams has a father, brother, sister and 20-something old son from previous marriage all begging for commuting the death penalty. Additionally, at least three of the original jurors also agree with this sentiment based on further knowledge of Adams history and no disciplinary infractions since incarcerated.

A very sad story where nobody wins.  I question why the death penalty is the default option when "prerequisites" to it are met and "mitigating" evidence isn't apparent?  Seems to me that "life" would be the default sentence until the absolute certainty of mitigating circumstances are not an issue....after all, death is pretty fucking absolute isn't it! I've been on a criminal jury before and know you get pulled in and out of the courtroom while they decide what you can legally hear.  What happens if "mitigating circumstances" become apparent after conviction or worse, aren't even heard?  Why is the jury allowed to decide a penalty like "death" without hearing everything?

More importantly,  why are we killing people? 

Update:  willis had this wrong.  This guy apparently held his child hostage and killed him in cold blood not an accident as I stated in the original post.  The accidental angle was an interpretation of the reports I read before posting this.
I don't agree with the death penalty regardless.  It doesn't look like it was a real deterrent in this case.