Monday, March 30, 2009

Criminals Prefer Unarmed Citizens!

I guess we're just counter-cultural and/or primitive out here in the sticks. Any miscreant showing his face at our home will be met with warnings, curses, and supersonic lead. But mostly supersonic lead.

Casino Pessimism...

From Sign On San Diego, an article that sounds a bit pessimistic about the prospects for the Jamul Indian Casino. From the article:

Federal recognition is required for tribes to receive federal aid and participate in government programs. It's also necessary to conduct gaming.

For a tribe like Jamul, the Supreme Court's decision “raises questions about the status of the land,” Indian law expert Kathryn Rand said.

“Those questions might ultimately be decided in favor of the tribe, but . . . they are dependent upon the particular circumstances surrounding the tribe's recognition and the land taken into trust,” said Rand, a law professor who co-founded the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota.

Rand said she would expect state and local officials – who have battled Jamul's plans to build a casino – to raise those issues.

Good. Jamul with a casino would be forever changed for the worse...

Good vs. Evil...

Reader Linda I. sent in this photo of a 3 foot long King snake that's just about finished with his lunch: a smaller rattlesnake. The only part of the rattlesnake that's still visible is the rattles, and I'm sure those didn't last long!

Many people have such a fear of rattlesnakes that they tend to brand all snakes as vermin. The reality is that we have more good snakes (King snakes and gopher snakes, especially) than bad snakes (if you subscribe to the notion that rattlesnakes are bad). Rattlesnakes are especially good at controlling the populations of small rodents, so they're not entirely evil themselves – but if your pets or small children have the run of your yard, you might find it hard to think of rattlesnakes as anything other than a mortal enemy...

Jonny Dallo's Real Sentence...

An anonymous reader sends this word:
I just want to say about the whole Johnny Dallo situation that on your blog it says he got a year and he did but, I just want to say that at the end of it all--he didn't even serve that he barely served 2 1/2 months for killing Jodi and now he's getting married. Well just to let you know the 1 year came down to that. What ever sentence anyone gets it doesn't mean that's the time that there really going to serve it gets cut down.
Assuming this is accurate (I have no way to verify it), it gives the appearance of “justice” being purchased.

If you don't remember the Jonny Dallo case, read my previous posts on the matter. The short version: Jonny Dallo, a repeat traffic offender, was travelling down Campo Road (State 94) at around 100 MPH around 4 am on June 28, 2006. He rear-ended Jodi Burnett's pickup while she was in the left-turn lane, killing her. Jonny Dallo's father is a wealthy local businessman. Jonny was charged, but the case was plea-bargained down to a guilty plea for involuntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to one year in jail (a travesty all by itself).

Now this news.

Somehow I don't believe that I'd end up so lightly punished, were I to find myself in Jonny Dallo's position...

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's UP?

From my mom:
There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is 'UP.' It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this up is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I'll wrap it UP, for time is UP, so time to shut UP!
It all makes sense to me!

Local Burglaries...

Kimberlee Quarles, who is a neighbor of ours, wrote to make us aware of some burglaries occuring in the area. An excerpt from her blog post, with recent incidents:
AS OF MARCH 18, 2009

Prior to March 10

A man was knocking on doors in the neighbor hood asking for work. He gave one of them a flyer that supposedly had his name (James Merson) and contact information. This man spoke with [a resident of Jamul Highlands] for some time and claimed to have worked for a local contractor. When the resident checked with that contractor they were told noone of that name had ever worked there. Both the resident and I called the phone number on the flyer, 619-342-8964, and it is not in service.

The home at 14782 Olive Vista was robbed twice in the week before March 10. Eleven guns, jewelry, tools, etc. were stolen.

There has also been strange activity at the end of Jamul Highlands – men fiddling with the lock on the gate up there, unknown vehicles hanging out, and groups of illegals coming through.

Tuesday, March 10

Our home at 2875 Jamul Highlands was burglarized sometime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. I have been told there were a total of four burglaries that day, but the only address I have for another home is 3028 Jamul Highlands. The woman at that home told me she was only gone from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the house was broken into during that time.

Thursday, March 11

A Hispanic male in camouflage clothing and a lime green hat with several large bags obviously full of items was observed hanging around near 3025 Jamul Highlands. I called it in. The deputy responded quickly but the man was gone. I believe the deputy spoke to the woman there.

In the afternoon an attempted burglary occurred at 3191 Jamul Highlands Road .

Friday, March 12

Late in the afternoon two Hispanic males (probably in their 20's) with shaved heads in a white Silverado truck, lowered and with rims, went aft er a young teenage boy who lives on our street, chasing him on his expensive “50" dirt bike (so close they almost ran him down) from the dead end of Jamul Highlands all the way down the road and then chasing him on foot when he went off onto the dirt road near 3025 Jamul Highlands. A young man at a nearby house intervened and asked the men what they were doing, but apparently they did not respond and instead got back into the truck and took off. The young man followed them up Lyons Valley Road and was able to get their license plate number, which is CA 7W49564, and went home. This same truck was seen on Jamul Highlands shortly after but left when they saw they were being observed by the same young man.

I have been told that the Sheriff’s Department checked the plate and the vehicle belongs to someone in Valley Center . I checked with the neighbors at the end of the road and they do not know anyone or have anyone visit their home of this description. There seems to be no reason why these individuals would be in the area (especially several times) or why they would chase a boy, other than possibly to stea l his dirt bike. Someone at the dead end of Jamul Highlands can watch the comings and goings of our neighborhood from that vantage point.

Monday, March 16

I have been told that as of this date, there was a third attempt to break into a home at 14782 Olive Vista.
Read Kimberlee's entire post for all the details.

Command-Line Fu...

Here's a site that any geek will love: Command-line-fu. It lets anyone post their favorite command line hacks, and then the readers vote (up or down) on them, or comment on them. The idea is to organically find the most useful hacks, and to let you find the hack you want very easily.

Cool stuff, in a very geekly way...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Photo Contest Finalists...

From the Sony World Photography Awards. See them all here.

Quote of the Day (II)...

This is a soothing balm for a citizen feeling much abraded by the shenanigans of most of the politicians on the national stage:
We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government. We are not requesting more money for normal day-to-day operations of government as part of this economic stimulus package. In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government.
Who said that?

Sarah Palin, yesterday, as she rejected over $400M of bailout money targeted for her state of Alaska.

Make all the fun of her you'd like to. In her actions, she continues to make more sense than nearly everyone else, including (most especially) that collection of buffoons and bozos in Washington who are so busy stealing your money to spend it on their favorite porky projects. And she's not at all afraid to take an unpopular position to do the right thing.

You go, girl. If you run again, you'll get my vote...

Quote of the Day (Extended Edition)...

First, the one-liner:
Why do we never hear calls for Hamas leaders to be charged with war crimes?
This is from a most interesting speech by Rupert Murdoch. Here's his conclusion:

My friends, I do not pretend to have all the answers to Gaza this evening. But I do know this: The free world makes a terrible mistake if we deceive ourselves into thinking this is not our fight.

In the end, the Israeli people are fighting the same enemy we are: cold-blooded killers who reject peace, who reject freedom and who rule by the suicide vest, the car bomb and the human shield.

Against such an enemy, I will not second-guess the decisions of a free Israel defending her citizens. And I would ask all those who support peace and freedom to do the same.

And you can (and should!) read the whole thing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Reader Larry E. writes:
So, where did I go wrong?

I wonder about this. I know people that try to “live for today” and I always thought they were foolish. I was busily saving for retirement. Saving and investing to provide security for my family rather than buying the next boat or RV.

Clearly I was wrong.

What I should have done was take out a couple hundred k in equity when I refinanced. This way I’d currently be upside down on my loan and maybe get me a little of that bailout. AND have that boat and RV.

What I should have done it take a nice trip to the Bahamas instead of stuffing money in my 401k so it could be stolen while regulators looked the other way.

What I should have done is by a nice motorcycle or that new flat screen instead of putting money in my savings account where it could actually evaporate as the government devalues the dollar (and therefore the value of my labor) by passing out billions like candy.
I've had similar thoughts myself. Trouble is, the largesse is unsustainable if too many people act on such feelings. Printing money (whether we do it, or the government does it) can't create real wealth. Rewarding the idiots and cheaters, whether with freshly printed money or with money stolen from actual producers, can't create real wealth either. These truths are so self-evident that I can't conceive of anyone denying them – and indeed, the Obama administration and their fellow leftists don't deny them with their words.

But they do with their actions...

Tom Paine on YouTube...

From my cousin Mike:

While there's a lot in this rant I don't agree with, it's a great rant.

In recent days my hopes for the political future of America have all boiled down to really just one thing: the hope that the bumbling, radical-left Obama administration will finally jog enough Americans out of their political apathy that we actually can throw the bums out.

I know, I know, I harbor wild fantasies...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Dying Newspapers...

A fascinating article by Clay Shirky. A sample:

Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.

When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.

As a society, we need journalism – but we don't need newspapers. The quality of journalism, in general, has been declining for 20 years or so. Newspapers these days, with rare exceptions, certainly aren't delivering it. So where's it going to come from?

Clay Shirky asserts that not only don't we know, we can't know – not for a while, at least. Not until the Internet revolution has settled down a bit...

The lack of quality investigative journalism opens a door of opportunity for political operatives, by reducing the risk of discovery when they're doing something nefarious. Which means that the Internet revolution and its impact on journalism may actually be bad for our near-term political circumstances.

Revolutionized journalism? Faster, please...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jamul Casino Update...

Good news for opponents. Here's an excerpt from the latest Lakes Entertainment filing (even more detail at the link):
Lakes has contracts to develop and finance a casino to be built on the reservation of the Jamul Indian Village (the 'Jamul Tribe') located near San Diego, California. This project has been delayed due to various political and regulatory issues related to access to the proposed casino site. Because of these issues and the increasingly uncertain financial and credit markets, during the fourth quarter of 2008, Lakes reduced the value of its assets associated with the project. Although the value of Lakes' assets related to the Jamul Casino project were significantly lowered, Lakes currently expects to continue with the project. Lakes acknowledges that significant risk exists related to this project. However, the Jamul Tribe has the two basic requirements to eventually build a successful project - federal recognition as an Indian Tribe and Indian land eligible for gaming. Lakes has concluded that it is not currently in its best interest to terminate its involvement with the Jamul Casino project altogether. Lakes will continue to monitor the status of this project.

Net unrealized losses on notes receivable relate to the Company's notes receivable from Indian tribes, which are adjusted to estimated fair value based upon the current status of the related tribal casino projects and evolving market conditions. In the fourth quarter of 2008, net unrealized losses on notes receivable were $18.8 million, compared to net unrealized losses of $1.3 million in the prior-year period. The net unrealized losses in the fourth quarter of 2008 were primarily due to the recognition of the loss associated with the project with the Jamul Tribe in the amount of $11.8 million, discussed above. Lakes also recognized an impairment on intangible assets and land held for development related to the Jamul project in the amount of $20.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2008. Unrealized losses on the notes receivable from the Shingle Springs Tribe related to the Red Hawk Casino were approximately $6.6 million, and resulted primarily from a decline in projected interest rates and an increase in the discount rate associated with this project as a result of financial market conditions.
I've highlighted the key qualifiers in the report. Remember that in filings such as this one, the company will spin every event in the most positive language their auditors and lawyers will let them get away with. My own interpretation of the above, minus the spin:

“This turkey is almost done. Unless a miracle occurs, we're going to wrap it in newspaper and bury it.”

This thing is going south in a hurry. Couldn't happen too soon for me...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Foldin' State...

Mark Steyn manages to make me smile, even as he laments what's happening to California:

The Times of London put it this way: “Arnie Schwarzenegger Joins the Ranks of Girlie Men.”

Quite. As is well known, the Terminator has been unable to terminate anything — not even the impact study group studying the impact of expanding the Department of Impact Studies. The man who walloped his predecessor for fiscal profligacy has managed to preside over a California budget that’s expanded 40 percent (so far) since the good old Gray days. Sacramento is piling on an extra million-and-three-quarter dollars of debt every hour, 24/7. The Golden State is a foldin’ state, going out of business — a far cry from when Ahnuld arrived as a penniless immigrant in a land of plenty. Now he’s an immigrant of plenty in a penniless land. Another Californian actor-governor famously observed that “we are a nation that has a government, not the other way around.” In Collyvornya, it’s the other way round. Doing your ’08 tax return? If you’re expecting a refund, Sacramento’s stopped the check: Instead you receive an IOU saying they’ll get around to it when they can. On the other hand, if you owe them money, don’t expect reciprocal treatment. As the governor’s celebrated catchphrase has it: “Ah’ll be back — for more of your money.”

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Memorable Insults...

A collection of excellent and memorable insults, forwarded by my mom:
The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor: She said, "If you were my husband, I'd give you poison," and he said, "If you were my wife, I'd take it."

Gladstone, a Member of Parliament, to Benjamin Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, sir," said Disraeli, "On whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy."
Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." -
Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
Abraham Lincoln

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend . . . if you have one."
George Bernard Shaw (to Winston Churchill)

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second . . . if there is one."
Winston Churchill (in response)

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
Paul Keating

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge."
Thomas Brackett Reed

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork"
Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts . .. for support rather than illumination."
Andrew Lang

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
Groucho Marx
Oh, how I wish I had the ability to cast such lovely insults!

Interesting Take on BHO...

From someone I'd never heard of before: Anne Wortham, professor at Southern Illinois University. Here's the complete text of her column:

Fellow Americans,

Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul’s name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival – all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn’t look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration – political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

I would have to believe that "fairness" is equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.

Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of 125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park, Chicago irrationally chanting "Yes We Can!" Finally, I would have to wipe all memory of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists, editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead – and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.

So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a black man to the office of the president of the United States, the wounded giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over – and that Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy men. Jimmie Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statists in the suburbs can feel warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a black person. So, toast yourselves: 60s countercultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Berkeley. You have elected not an individual who is qualified to be president, but a black man who, like the pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to – Do Something! You now have someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. But you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine – what little there is left – for the chance to feel good. There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.

Your happy obliviousness...

Well, That Didn't Take Long...

Less than 60 days in office, and already the BHO henchmen are coming after our guns:
Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 - Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to prohibit a person from possessing a firearm unless that person has been issued a firearm license under this Act or a state system certified under this Act and such license has not been invalidated or revoked. Prescribes license application, issuance, and renewal requirements.
Prohibits transferring or receiving a qualifying firearm unless the recipient presents a valid firearms license, the license is verified, and the dealer records a tracking authorization number. Prescribes firearms transfer reporting and record keeping requirements. Directs the Attorney General to establish and maintain a federal record of sale system.
Prohibits: (1) transferring a firearm to any person other than a licensee, unless the transfer is processed through a licensed dealer in accordance with national instant criminal background check system requirements, with exceptions; (2) a licensed manufacturer or dealer from failing to comply with reporting and record keeping requirements of this Act; (3) failing to report the loss or theft of the firearm to the Attorney General within 72 hours; (4) failing to report to the Attorney General an address change within 60 days; or (5) keeping a loaded firearm, or an unloaded firearm and ammunition for the firearm, knowingly or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child is capable of gaining access, if a child uses the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury.
Prescribes criminal penalties for violations of firearms provisions covered by this Act.
Directs the Attorney General to: (1) establish and maintain a firearm injury information clearinghouse; (2) conduct continuing studies and investigations of firearm-related deaths and injuries; and (3) collect and maintain current production and sales figures of each licensed manufacturer.
Authorizes the Attorney General to certify state firearm licensing or record of sale systems.
There's no doubt in my mind that should this bill make it into law, within a few years it will be well-nigh impossible for ordinary citizens to own guns – despite the clarity of our Constitution on that point. There won't be a ban, and hence no Constitutional issue. Instead, the bureaucracy will simply make it incredibly difficult and expensive to get (and stay) qualified to own a gun. Most citizens will either give up, or will own their guns illegally at great risk to themselves and their families.

For my part, any Senator or Congressman who votes for this bill will never get my support. Not that they care much about that...

Sound off to your congresscritters, even if you have to hold your nose and avert your eyes while writing their name on the envelope or email. I wrote to Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein – if I can do that, you can write yours...

Orlosky Acquitted...

I don't know any more than what this article says – but this much is plain: “Bob” Orlosky is now cleared of all charges. He claimed that he killed Charles Crow justifiably, in defense of himself and his property – and a jury of his peers agreed with him.

This case is very troubling for residents out here, from both the perspective of those who champion the right of self-defense, and from those who believe that Orlosky either deliberately murdered Crow or grossly over-reacted to an imagined threat. The former have very clearly won the day...

The Marines: GWB vs. BHO...

I can't help but wonder how these Marines would react to BHO were they unconstrained by their decorum and military obligations...

Friday, March 6, 2009


Last December, a Marine fighter jet crash-landed in a San Diego neighborhood. The pilot ejected safely, but his jet plowed into a home where it killed four members of a single family. The surviving member of that family (the father, who was at work at the time) humbled all of us here with his immediate and very public forgiving of the pilot.

The Marines launched an investigation. Yesterday they made the results public, and those results surprised just about everybody – they called the crash “avoidable” and held those responsible fully accountable. Some careers are over, and a very clear message has been sent to other Marines. Peggy Noonan (WSJ) has the best writeup I've seen, including this summary:
This wasn't damage control, it was taking honest responsibility. And as such, in any modern American institution, it was stunning.
Stunning, indeed. And so refreshing, coming during the massive finger-pointing exercise accompanying the financial crisis.

I wish the Marines were in charge of that!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Credit Crisis, Explained...

Reader Peter M. (in Estonia!) sends along this excellent visualization about the causes of the current credit crisis:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.