Archive for August, 2008

Dave Titus: Not a Team Player

So, if you’ve been following the preparations for the Republican National Convention here in Saint Paul, you probably know that there are questions about the number of officers needed to maintain law and order during the event. The Saint Paul Police are coming in for some criticism over staffing levels, and while some of it is from Ramsey County’s “Sheriff Bob” Fletcher – and thus ignorable – the men and women in blue are taking criticism from closer to home: one of their own.

Dave Titus is the president of the Saint Paul Police Federation, which – presumably – means he was elected to that position by a majority of his peers. Assuming that’s true – and that there are no Chicago-style politics at play – Titus’ endless parade of cynical comments criticizing and second-guessing his department’s leadership could hint at morale problems in the department. If you search on the web, or in newspaper archives, you have to hunt very, very hard to find anything nice that Titus has said about his department, ever. Since the RNC announced Saint Paul as the site of the 2008 convention, he’s had little but scorn and contempt for his department’s preparations.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, Security | on August 19th, 2008 | Comments Off on Dave Titus: Not a Team Player

The RNC is Coming: Are You Prepared?

Two weeks from today, the glorious mediapathic celebration of the illusion of choice that is the 2008 Republican National Convention kicks off here in friendly little Saint Paul, Minnesota. Yeah, two weeks left before the excrement hits the air-circulation system. Among other things, that means now is the time – if you’re going to do it – to prepare for the predicted chaos and mayhem that could engulf the Twin Cities area.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on August 18th, 2008 | Comments Off on The RNC is Coming: Are You Prepared?

Hear That? It’s Thousands of Angry Mythbusters Fans

Hear that noise? It’s thousands of angry Mythbusters fans, yelling about the last-minute postponement of new episodes of the show. A new episode – on “viral internet videos”, of all things – was announced for yesterday evening, and heavily promoted by the Discovery Channel over the past week. Yet it didn’t air – viewers instead saw a rerun of the old “Pirates Special”. The only announcement, as far as I can tell, was this deeply-buried post on an internet forum, made around ninety minutes ahead of airtime. The announced episodes for this week and next week are postponed indefinitely; the season picks up – supposedly – on the 27th of August, with the episode previously scheduled for that time.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on August 14th, 2008 | Comments Off on Hear That? It’s Thousands of Angry Mythbusters Fans

Rats: Beat ’em, Eat ’em

In a story that seems straight out of a Terry Pratchett novel, a politician in India is encouraging people to eat rats. According to Vijay Prakash, doing so would benefit not just the bottom-tier Musahar caste he suggests eat rodents – an abundant and hitherto-untapped source of free or very cheap food – but also the rest of the country, by helping control the rat population, and thereby preserving the country’s grain stocks – half of which, apparently, gets eaten by rodents every year.

It’s brilliant, kind of: Kill two birds with one stone, and everyone benefits – except, I guess, the rats.
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Published in: General | on August 13th, 2008 | Comments Off on Rats: Beat ’em, Eat ’em

Hysterically Paranoid Overreactions for $200, Alex

Not to go on and on and on about far-Left activist groups today, but this report from a local activist group just makes me shake my head. A young woman – recently arrested for blocking the entrance to a Minnesota weapons manufacturer during an anti-war “direct action” – had two law-enforcement officers visit her home and – OMG! – talk to her mother. Now, obviously – because going to your home is completely outrageous when someone wants to talk to you – this visit was merely an act of “intimidation”, a thinly-veiled threat that “we know where you live”. (Because, again OMG!, it’s not like that’s public record once you’ve been arrested, or anything.) Worse yet, one of the officers, finding the subject of this outrageous intimidation tactic not home, left his business card with the girl’s mom, and asked that the young arrestee call him. Before leaving, the jackbooted oppressors of the free and righteous delivered a totally ominous threat: “It’s alright if you want to do civil disobedience, but please don’t smash any windows.” I know, isn’t that just so unreasonable?!

Now, the anarchists, activists, and anti-authoritarians – the few, the proud, the hysterical; the itchy, the scratchy, and the unwashed – are quite rightly painting this kind of outlandish behaviour as “harassment”. And, you know, silly me, at first I doubted them. Really, I did. But then I did the unthinkable – I consulted a dictionary, to find out what harassment really means:

Harassment, noun.

1. Persistent attacks and criticism causing worry and distress;
2. To deliberately pester or annoy.

Synonyms: torment, molestation

So, see, it really is true – this young arrestee was indeed persistently attacked and criticized, made to worry and feel distress. It’s also obvious from this account that she was, indeed, deliberately pestered and annoyed, even though she wasn’t home at the time.

I mean, really! My only question is why she and her friends have chosen to damage their credibility by describing the preposterous act of torment with the emotional and over-the-top term “harassment”, when “molestation” is not only more accurate, but more restrained. I mean, come now, nobody with two brain cells is really going to believe you were “harassed” by the police, young lady – but I’m positive that nobody would doubt you if you said you (and your mother!) were molested by the pigs…

Language really is important, dear. Please learn to use it to your advantage, otherwise people might not take you as seriously as they could.

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on August 12th, 2008 | Comments Off on Hysterically Paranoid Overreactions for $200, Alex