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You Can’t Go Home Again

At least, I cannot…

I happened to be visiting a medical specialist near my old stomping grounds Friday last – where I  owned a home for eighteen years.

No, I didn’t drive by the old house.  Too many memories, besides, they completely fixed it up and changed it (I have been by before).

When I left the doctor’s office, I headed South to the next major artery.  This happened to be near John’s Uniforms and Police Equipment, previously recounted in these pages.  I worked there many moons ago as the de facto holster guy.

And it wasn’t there!

Rather something was there – Skaggs Public Safety Equipment and Uniforms.  I knew Johnny retired some years back, but had not known he sold the place!

An era has passed.  The ‘Green Machine’, used by John, Senior to manufacture western shirts and class A wool police uniforms (with sap pockets) for over forty years is obviously no longer in use.

And seeing this made me a little sad…

I didn’t drive West to observe Martin’s Uniforms (Johnny’s friendly enemy with whom they exchanged stock for many years) because I’d been by there a while back and saw it was now Ace Uniforms.  I don’t know (or particularly care) if Ace is still there.

Back when it was John’s versus Martin’s was the pre-Internet world.  And most other uniform emporia across the country were closed shops by the local police departments.

I have many fond memories of helping newly-minted cops in various varieties obtain uniforms, gear and holsters.  And listening to their ‘war stories’ around the communal store coffee pot.

But no longer.

The times.  They are a changin’.

Rule 27

When Windows 10 has an update, if you are on a schedule, DON’T DO IT!” 😠

I was doing my morning routine, getting the PC ready for the next exciting installment of Guffaw in AZ, when a message appeared from Windows, offering me an update, or a post-ponement of said update.

It was early, I figured, “what the Hell…”  

TWENTY MINUTES LATER it reads ‘Working on updates 17%, Don’ the turn off your PC.  This will take a while. 

With the added joy of ‘Your PC will restart several times’ at the bottom of the screen!

GRRR

(But wait, there’s MORE!)

after about an hour…

FINALLY, it finished about an hour and a quarter after it began.  It would be nice if Windows warned you in advance of the time sink involved in a requested procedure!

Of course, I have additional commitments, so the planned blog post will have to wait…

Sigh…

Low Batts! 

I’ve been sharing my roommate’s 2006 Honda Element, since two months ago my 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue was officially declared dead (or at least unsafe to drive).

I have decided to donate the Olds to an appropriate charity.

BUT, there are always ‘issues’ with cars.

A couple of weeks ago, the trusty Element started balking when the key was turned.

And we REALLY need at least ONE car that functions…

So, I took it upon myself to solve the problem. Having few auto mechanic skills did not bode well for me (this is where Dave the mechanic laughs).  I envisioned buying a discount battery and having difficulty with the installation – what with a fused hip, arthritis, chronic pain and all.

And low funds were also an issue (my roomie not having yet returned to work after her surgery).

At length, I did my due diligence and discovered my choices were from around $50 for a refurbished battery (with a warranty months in length) to over $200 from the dealer.

I settled for around $150.  THEY do the installation of the new battery – with a FIVE YEAR replacement warranty.  Done @ mechanic shop I trust.

Five years is phenomenal in the Valley of the Sun, where two or three is the usual rule!  The aforementioned Sun kills auto batteries here.

Now, I can go get groceries.  Albeit significantly fewer than I originally planned.

It’s always something…

Phoenix Delays Sanctuary Policy Amid Mounting Pressure After JW Report

(from Judicial Watch, in part)

Phoenix Delays Sanctuary Policy Amid Mounting Pressure After JW Report

Days after Judicial Watch exposed a new policy banning Phoenix police from contacting the feds after arresting illegal aliens, alarming pressure on the city council and chief of police has forced officials in Arizona’s largest city to postpone the order. Crafted at a Hispanic advisory committee that promotes open borders, the policy also prohibits officers from asking about suspects’ immigration status. The new policy’s two principle measures violate key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and leave the city vulnerable to costly lawsuits.

In the aftermath of Judicial Watch’s story, which included a copy of the Phoenix sanctuary Immigration Procedures, police management is backing off and reconsidering the ramifications. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Judicial Watch that Phoenix Police Department brass is worried about getting sued under an Arizona law that states the following: “No official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” The measure also states this: “If an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States is convicted of a violation of state or local law, on discharge from imprisonment or on the assessment of any monetary obligation that is imposed, the United States immigration and customs enforcement or the United States customs and border protection shall be immediately notified.”

Following Judicial Watch’s initial report, the chief of the Phoenix Police Department, Jeri Williams, issued an unusual and unprecedented Employee Notification System (ENS) delaying the new sanctuary order. The ENS was titled “Operations Order 4.48 Revision” and states the following: “Operations Order 4.48, which provides direction regarding immigration related issues, is still being reviewed and revised.  The anticipated effective date, July 10th, 2017, is no longer achievable. The final revisions should be completed within the coming weeks.  A new effective date will be shared once the policy has been finalized.” Williams is Phoenix’s first female police chief and agency sources tell Judicial Watch she tried to quietly implement the sanctuary measures, perhaps hoping they’d go unnoticed. Earlier this year the chief, who was hired last summer, alluded to her stance on immigration enforcement in a local newspaper article questioning whether Arizona’s 325,000 illegal aliens trust the police. Chief Williams is quoted saying this: “We maintain open communication with our diverse residents and want to ensure that our crime victims and witnesses feel comfortable and confident when reporting crimes to our officers. As your chief, I commit to you that racial profiling will not be tolerated.”

The Phoenix Police Department has about 3,000 officers that were permitted to use “sound judgement” at any time under the agency’s longtime immigration enforcement policy. That allowed front-line officers to directly contact federal immigration officials involving criminal illegal immigrants. Under the revised policy, all contact with federal immigration partners must be funneled through a single Violent Crimes Bureau (VCB) desk sergeant who will document all immigration related data and give authority to call ICE. “This will bottle-neck the process,” according to a veteran Phoenix law enforcement official who added that the new policy was generated without any input from rank-and-file. Arizona law enforcement sources also told Judicial Watch that no other restrictions of this kind and magnitude regarding a federal crime are found in Phoenix Police Department policy. Officers continue to have the discretion to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Postal Inspectors, U.S. Marshalls and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) without fear of violating department policy.

If an illegal alien is arrested for a state crime, officers in Phoenix would no longer be allowed to take them directly to ICE for deportation and document the crime in a report if the sanctuary measures get adopted. Taxpayers must fund a mandated booking into county jail under the new rules, which state; “if there is a federal criminal charge and the person is under arrest for a state and/or local charge/s…the person will be booked into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office…” Keep in mind that Maricopa Sheriff Paul Penzone doesn’t like honoring ICE holds on jailed aliens and considers illegal immigrants “guests.” The new Phoenix Police Department rules also eliminate a table showing state immigration enforcement laws as well as documentation of police contacts with verified and/or suspected illegal aliens, a troublesome change that omits valuable city crime statistics.

Besides forbidding questioning suspects regarding place of birth, country of citizenship and legal status in the United States, the postponed Phoenix policy says that transportation of illegal aliens to ICE by officers has been eliminated for civil immigration violations unless the illegal alien “consents to a transport.” Both restrictions violate key provisions of a 2010 Arizona law known as Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB1070). Open borders and civil rights groups fought the law in federal court and succeeded in getting rid of many of its mandates but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld two key clauses in Section 2 of the measure. The first, requires law enforcement officers to determine a suspects’ immigration status if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally. This grants officers the discretion that has just been stripped in Phoenix. The other clause in Section 2 allows state law enforcement officers to transport illegal immigrants directly to federal custody. The new Phoenix sanctuary measure, also replace the term “illegal alien” with “a person unlawfully present.”

Judicial Watch will continue investigating Phoenix’s efforts to provide illegal immigrants sanctuary and has filed public records requests for the police department’s communications with third-party groups pushing for the now-paused policy change.

What if metropolitan areas decided to create ‘free zones’ for other criminals?  Burglars, armed robbers?  Something less violent?  Forgers, counterfeiters?

(I know, reductio ad absurdum much, Guffaw?)

Especially, if it impacted national security and sovereignty?

How should the federal government react?

I only bring this up as Phoenix is in my back yard (or I theirs…)

(I know, only questions today…)

Apologies for the poor copy/paste – it was the only way I could get it all in.

The Bagel Company 

As recounted here a number of times, before I became a credit card fraud investigator (for almost 22 years) I worked in a number of jobs.

FORTY, to be more precise!

One of those many jobs was a commercial bagel bakery.  I needed work; they were there.

Not to far from my house.

Who knew they had bagels in Arizona?!

So, I was hired.  Again, second shift.

Most of the rank and file were Latino, with a few American Indians mixed in. We all got along, although I’m pretty certain before they were employed, most of the ethnic types had no idea what a bagel was.   😛

I worked there a few months. The bad news was I came home after midnight, often smelling of yeast and onion.

The good news was whenever there were overruns, the workers could take home free bagels.

Dozens of them! 

Our freezer was often overloaded.

It was hot,  busy work. And I thought I had a future there.

But, it was not to be.

The (then) wife took a job which required some overnight travel. This meant someone had to be available during the day for Molly.   For day care and school.

And I had to change jobs for something with a day shift.

John’s Uniforms it was!

HK HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN DEBT

(from TFB)

German Firm Heckler & Koch Reportedly €170 MILLION in the Red

Via a press release published earlier this month, German gunmaker Hecker & Koch announced it had reduced its financial debt to a mere €170 million (~$194 million US), thanks to an equity increase of €50 million via a capital shares increase. With this, the company will issue approximately 6.6 million new shares, backed up by a capital injection of €50 million, and assistance in refinancing its 9.5% Senior Secured Notes at significantly lower debt. According to the release:

These funds will be provided initially in the form of a shareholder loan to be converted into share capital during the share capital increase to meet the time line of the refinancing of the 2011 9.50% Senior Secured Notes. Minority shareholders of H&K will have the possibility to subscribe for new shares on a pro-rata-basis and on the same economic terms against payment in cash.

Being almost two hundred million dollars in debt does not necessarily mean the German firm is in dire trouble, however, as they have recently gained significant contracts that will help offset this burden. Chief among those is the French AIF contract, estimated to be worth over €300 million ($342 million US). The revenue from this contract alone could offset the debt of the company, which as of 2013 was pegged at slightly higher than the company’s net worth. How the company’s finances will shake out, though, isn’t easy to predict, especially given the outstanding $27 million lawsuit from Orbital ATK over the failure of H&K to deliver XM25 CDTE grenade launchers. Still, the company being in debt to the tune of the entirety of or higher than their net worth does raise cause for concern, if they cannot significantly offset or restructure that debt.

Now, I know there are those among you who will cry “GOOD!”, having suffered the slings-and-arrows of their notoriously poor customer service, especially in the civilian market.

Obviously, the civilians aren’t the only one’s who have suffered…

I have no skin in this game.  The closest I was to owning an H & K was a Century Arms H & K 91 knock-off, with original internals and furniture.  She worked and shot well (when properly lubed).  I liked her.

But, she went the way of the missing vault along with the rest of the collection.

I’m a capitalist.  If a company cannot provide proper delivery or customer service, they deserve to fail!

Perhaps, if there is another incarnation, they will have learned that?

A lesson from Colt?

A.M.A. (Against Medical Advice)

Or rather A.G.A. (Against Guffaw’s Advice)!

A while back, my friend Borepatch (who definitely has a right to such opinions in such matters) wrote regarding the acquiring and use of Siri, Google Now, Cortana or Alexa.

Or their fellow travelers.

I warned my roommate of such folly.

BUT, she is addicted to newfangled gadgets (as best she can afford them)!

(And, it IS her home, and she supplies the Wi-Fi…)

THIS arrived in the mail yesterday.  Apparently, there was a sale

It’s an Alexa (Echo) device (‘courtesy’ of Amazon)

(aka, “the electronic hockey puck of EVIL!” – spoken in Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart voice)

Sigh.

There’s a cartoon somewhere (unfortunately, I couldn’t find it) showing government agents discussing how citizens will place wiretaps/bugging devices in their own homes voluntarily, and will allow them to record conversations and Internet activity with ease!

They were gleeful!

I am not.  😦

Sigh.

 

Incoming @ 0400

I usually fall asleep between 1120 and midnight.  And arise between 0600 and 0700.

(NO, this is not an invitation to call!  I’ve my morning shower-dress-meditation ritual)

Rarely am I disturbed. (Insert joke here)  Except, of course, the battle sometime between 0130 and 0400 between my bladder and I.  Who IS Master of my bladder?  (It’s apparent, not me!)  😛

ANYWAY, my roomie and I share a ‘Jack and Jill’ bathroom.  And, with her sleep schedule, sometimes I hear her in the loo.  Sometimes I hear her TV.

This is not usually any big deal.

BUT, last night, after my traditional loss of the battle of wills with my bladder, I returned to bed, anticipating a return to sleep in a minute-or-so.  When BOOM!  Followed by yet another BOOM!  And another!

It was a bit after 0400.

I thought ‘great – I awakened my roomie’ and she turned on her television.  And was watching The Battle of Britain, or The Guns of Navarone! 

Too loudly.

But I was in error.

Usually, when she does that (a rarity) she hears the error of her way and turns it down in a few minutes.  The noises continued, unabated for at least twenty!

And, I knew it wasn’t yet Independence Day!

So, I bailed out of bed, listening to the ongoing explosions, crossed the no-man’s land of the bathroom, and rapped on her door.

Yes?  She replied.

I opened the door slightly and asked, “Is it you making all this noise, or is it the neighbors?”

She answered, “It’s the neighbors.  And I’ve already called the police on them!”

😛

About ten minutes later, the booming stopped.

Video gaming?!  The neighbor is a young woman who seems to have a revolving door of male roommates.  Perhaps this was one of them?

ANYWAY, back to sleep I went (at around 0500) and rolled out a bit after 6.

Somewhat tired.

I hope to get an afternoon nap later today.

Sigh.

Dangerous Things For Kids!

(from The Art of Manliness, in part)

Even though the modern world isn’t any more dangerous than it was thirty or forty years ago, it feels like a more perilous place. Or, more accurately, we inhabit the world today in a way that’s much more risk averse; for a variety of very interesting and nuanced reasons, our tolerance for risk, especially concerning our children’s safety, has steadily declined.  So we remove jungle gyms from playgrounds, ban football at recess, prohibit knives (even the butter variety) at school, and would rather have our kids playing with an iPad than rummaging through the garage or roaming around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, as we discussed in-depth earlier this year, when you control for one set of risks, another simply arises in its place. In this case, in trying to prevent some bruises and broken bones, we also inhibit our children’s development of autonomy, competence, confidence, and resilience. In pulling them back from firsthand experiences, from handling tangible materials and demonstrating concrete efficacy, we ensconce them in a life of abstraction rather than action. By insisting on doing everything ourselves, because we can do things better and more safely, we deprive kids of the chance to make and test observations, to experiment and tinker, to fail and bounce back. In treating everything like a major risk, we prevent kids from learning how to judge the truly dangerous, from the simply unfamiliar.

Fortunately, we can restore the positive traits that have been smothered by overprotective parenting, by restoring some of the “dangerous” activities that have lately gone missing from childhood. The suggestions below on this score were taken both from 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), as well as memories from my own more “free range” childhood. If you grew up a few decades back, these activities may seem “obvious” to you, but they’re less a part of kids’ lives today, and hopefully these reminders can help spark their revival.  While each contains a element of danger and chance of injury, these risks can be thoroughly mitigated and managed by you, the parent: Permit or disallow activities based on your child’s individual age, maturity level, and abilities. Take necessary precautions (which are common sense and which I’m not going to entirely spell out for you; you’re a grown-up, not a moron). Teach and demonstrate correct principles, and supervise some practice runs. Once you’ve created this scaffolding of safety, however, try to step back and give your child some independence. Step in only when a real danger exists, or when your adult strength/dexterity/know-how is absolutely necessary. And don’t be afraid to let your kids fail. That’s how they learn and become more resilient.

In return for letting your children grapple with a little bit of healthy risk, the activities below teach motor skills, develop confidence, and get kids acquainted with the use of tools and some of the basic principles of science. Outside any educational justification, however, they’re just plain fun — something we’ve forgotten can be a worthy childhood pursuit in and of itself!

23 Dangerous Things You Should Let You Kids Do

Unlike many of you out there, I grew up in a city.  And, my Dad was largely absent.  I was given boundaries, though.  Don’t cross these streets; Don’t play with these kids;  Let us know where you are;   Be home for dinner @ 6 o’clock.

Other than that, I was pretty much left to my own devices.  Playing in old abandoned houses and construction sites, climbing into open manholes and irrigation conduits.  Picking through discarded trash for treasures.  Making rocket fuel and fireworks.  Dissecting unexploded fireworks.  Dirt clod fights.  Rubber band guns with projectiles!

I wasn’t foolhardy, but I wasn’t a namby-pamby either!

I remember when my Dad’s .22 rifle went missing.  He accused me of taking it, but was most upset I hadn’t asked! (I didn’t take it – it was stolen and later recovered by the PD)

From what I’ve observed, most kids (and most adults) don’t play outside or explore anymore.  Instead, they are inside getting carpal tunnel…

(And not in the traditional way!  😛 )

Toss your kid outside, without their electronics.  And tell ’em not to return until dinner-time.

They might learn something!

But, The Gov’t SHOULD Support The Arts, Right?

(from FNC)

Feds Spend $20,000 on Musical About Illegal Immigrant Lesbian

Via Billy

Socialist theater group has received $461,000 from

the NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $20,000 for a musical about a lesbian illegal immigrant who is in love with an ICE agent.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe, a self-described socialist theater group, received the funding in the first round of grants awarded under the Trump administration. Jane Chu is the current chairman of the NEA, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama in 2014.

The musical is entitled “WALLS!” and stars a “bad hombre,” mocking a phrase used by Trump to describe criminal illegal aliens during a presidential debate.

Our tax dollars at work!
I do wonder if the uproar would be the same if they were portrayed as a heterosexual couple, though…
Regardless, I do understand this is a drop in the bucket, compared to FISA funding to continue to spy on law-abiding Americans, and military spending.
(Or rather, I assume so, as most intelligence funding is clouded in secrecy.)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…