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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!

George Romero & Martin Landau RIP 

It’s sad when a purveyor of a childhood memory is taken.

Sadder still when two are.

I’ve never been a big horror movie fan, falling for the less obvious thriller genre. But I recognize talent when I see it.

1968’s Night of the Living Dead began resurgence of horror films, many of whom were directed yet again by Mr. Romero.

The man had talent and style.

Martin Landau was a character acting fixture in my childhood, even when I didn’t know him by name. 

The Untouchables, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, I Spy, Mission Impossible (on television) and North By Northwest and Ed Wood (in the movies).

And many other works…

I was never a Space 1999 fan, though…

He could play both charming and lethal.

I shall miss him

RIP Gentlemen 

You Have A Constitutional Right To Take Photos Of Police, Federal Court Affirms

Photographing and filming police officers in public is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment. That’s what a federal appeals court unanimously affirmed this week in cases involving Philadelphia officers retaliating against citizens pointing cameras at them.

Slate reports that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was for two cases. In one, a woman named Amanda Geraci was restrained across the neck by a police officer while trying to film the arrest of an anti-fracking protester. In the second, a Temple undergraduate named Richard Fields was handcuffed and prosecuted after trying to film officers breaking up a house party.

A District Court previously had ruled that both Geraci and Fields had engaged in “conduct” only and not “expressive conduct,” and that therefore their filming wasn’t a First Amendment “freedom of speech” issue. But in Friday’s ruling, the Federal Appeals Court disagreed.

“Every Circuit Court of Appeals to address this issue […] has held that there is a First Amendment right to record police activity in public,” the judges write in their opinion. “Today we join this growing consensus. Simply put, the First Amendment protects the act of photographing, filming, or otherwise recording police officers conducting their official duties in public.”

“The First Amendment protects actual photos, videos, and recordings, […] and for this protection to have meaning the Amendment must also protect the act of creating that material.”

“We ask much of our police,” the judges write in the closing statements. “They can be our shelter from the storm. Yet officers are public officials carrying out public functions, and the First Amendment requires them to bear bystanders recording their actions. This is vital to promote the access that fosters free discussion of governmental actions, especially when that discussion benefits not only citizens but the officers themselves.”

So there you have it: police officers don’t have the right to squash free speech by ordering you to stop shooting photos of them in public.


Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Elvert Barnes and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

h/t John Gwillam, Facebook

IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Don’t you always hate it when Rights you believed to be self-evident truths have to work their way up the judicial chain just to be affirmed as valid?

Of course, this hasn’t yet reached The Supreme Court(!)

Who knows?

The Opioid Crisis 

There has been much media attention of late regarding ‘the opioid crisis’.

This is directly parallel to the the so-called Drug War.

Or ‘gun violence’.

Those who wish to insert governmental controls into private actions often label (insert issue here) as a ‘crisis’.

President Nixon started the War On Drugs in 1971. Here 40 years later, billions of dollars later, thousands have been incarcerated, and little illegal drug commerce has been stopped.

And numerous States have decriminalized and/or medicalized previously illegal drugs.

People continue to be shot en mass in Illinois and elsewhere.

And people with legitimate prescriptions are being squeezed more and more because their physicians and pharmacies are. 

By the ‘well meaning’ federal government.

A recent study noted that something like a whopping 1% of those who have opioid prescriptions are abusing them.

The lions share of abuse comes from those who steal, smuggle and illegally obtain such drugs.

Are you surprised?

I’m not.

I sometimes take a relatively low dose narcotic, which I get through a legal prescription, to deal with my chronic pain. I know others who take a much higher dosage than I, who must constantly wrestle with the increasing pressure on the medical community.

While the bad guys make billions from illegal users, largely unchecked.

Read between the lines.

 

Sore Loser?

(from TFB, in part)

GLOCK VICE PRESIDENT: “Continue MHS, Don’t Settle for SIG”

– Glock Asks Army to Keep Testing Pistols

Glock isn’t done yet: Despite being passed over by the Army and having their protest of the MHS contract rejected by the GAO, Glock is still hoping for a chance. In a recent interview with Matthew Cox of Military.com, Glock Vice President Josh Dorsey spoke out against the Army’s decision to adopt the SIG Sauer P320 as the new M17 Modular Handgun System. Dorsey’s comments, excerpted below, express dissatisfaction with the Army’s selection process:

“This is not about Glock. This is not about Sig. And it’s not about the U.S. Army,” Dorsey, a retired Marine, told Military.com. “It’s about those that are on the ground, in harm’s way.”

It comes down to “the importance of a pistol, which doesn’t sound like much unless you realize, if you pull a pistol in combat, you are in deep s***.”

“So one of the least important factors as they said in the RFP would be the price; that is what became the most important factor,” Dorsey said.

“So let’s think about that for a minute … you are going to go forward making that decision now without completing the test on the two candidate systems that are in the competitive range? Does that make sense if it’s your son or daughter sitting in that foxhole somewhere?”

I recommend readers click through the link to read the whole thing.

Ultimately, the question of whether SIG Sauer’s P320 handgun will meet Army requirements seems, at the moment, moot. In the face of a 13-year-long procurement process, a suite of already mature competitors, and a $100 million dollar price difference between the bids of the two companies, Glock’s argument for a continuing competition seems thin. There certainly is an argument that Glock’s offering was indeed superior, especially given that Glock was evidently able to satisfy both full-size and compact requirements with a single configuration. However, this must be weighed against the consequence of more time, effort, and money spent to procure a weapon that may not be substantially better than the one already selected. If the Army has made a truly grievous error in procurement, or if there was foul play, then certainly the results of MHS should be re-examined. If, on the other hand, the US Army selected the best deal out of several satisfactory pistol offerings, then re-opening the competition seems unnecessary.

I’ve no dog in this fight.  I’ve never been in the military, but I have paid taxes.  I’ve owned Glocks; I’ve owned Sigs.  I’ve no financial interest in either company.

I like them both, sufficiently.

If it were up to me, we’d still be issuing 1911s…

TFB’s last couple of lines state it best:

If the Army has made a truly grievous error in procurement, or if there was foul play, then certainly the results of MHS should be re-examined. If, on the other hand, the US Army selected the best deal out of several satisfactory pistol offerings, then re-opening the competition seems unnecessary.

Amen!

 

Florida Got It Backward

TWICE!

(from Wirecutter)

Florida arms tax collectors

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “A Central Florida tax collector says a new policy will allow his employees to openly carry firearms while they work,” The Associated Press reports. “Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg told the Orlando Sentinel that according to Florida law, he and his employees are considered ‘revenue officers’ and are exempt from the state’s ban on the open carrying of firearms while performing their duties.”

The rationale behind the move is to save taxpayers money by eliminating the need to hire private security.

“Tax collector Joel Greenberg says he is a ‘big believer in the Second Amendment,’” letter to the editor writer Gordon Crawford points out in the Orlando Sentinel. “If that is truly the case, he would know that this constitutional amendment was put in place to protect the public from government tyranny, not to arm the government.”
MORE
-JD

Not to mention, just this past week, a Floridian judge backed-off of the State’s Stand Your Ground Law.

We must remain vigilant, People!  ‘They’ aren’t done yet.

They should understand, neither are we.

OK, So Which Is It? 

As my Dad used to say, “I used to be young and foolish; I’m not young, anymore!”

I remember going to a local pizza parlor chain with ‘Gramp’, my beloved maternal grandfather.

We’d split a sausage pizza; he’d get a draught beer (Schlitz?) – me, a soda. (I was a kid).

But he’d always say,” We’re going to have an apizz.” 

And, I thought he was weird and corrected him.

Well, I was wrong. 

Gramp was from Hamden, Connecticut, arguably the birthplace (New Haven area) of (thin crust) American pizza!

There are businesses there advertising APIZZ, not PIZZA!

As there have been for over one hundred years. 

Turns out, the Italian immigrants who settled this region were from Naples, and made Margherita  (thin crust) pizza.

And called them ‘apizz’.

8. APIZZA

Perhaps less well-known, although no less delicious, is New Haven-style pizza, known in local vernacular as apizza. New Haven-style is thin like New York pizza, but if you walk into an apizza parlor and order a “plain,” you’ll get one without mootz (pronounced as foots), or mozzarella.

Apizza and mootz both come from the dialect of Naples immigrants who arrived in the area in the early 1920s. Apizza is pronounced uh-BEETs, with a silent final A.  (Mental Floss)

While we’re on the subject, some parts of the country call them ‘pizza pies’.

3. PIE OR PIZZA?

While to east coasters, it might feel perfectly natural to say “pie” when referring to a whole pizza, not so for those in other regions. In an informal poll I conducted, “pie” was described by west coasters as “pretentious” and “only something someone in a movie would say,” while one Brooklynite described those who didn’t use “pie” as “heathens.” The reason for this sharp divide is unclear. (Mental Floss)

Others, no mention of pie (some places think you are requesting a dessert!)

Great.  Now I’m hungry, with no pizza places open (0730 AZ time)! (And this is the 5th largest metropolitan area of the United States!  A travesty!)

Doesn’t matter, I’m broke, anyway…

Happy Independence Day

Today is the 241st anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from the tyranny that was the British crown against the colonies.

And, it will be celebrated with fireworks, picnics, barbeques and other family get-togethers.  Some parades and even some solemn remembrances.

We should acknowledge this day, but we should also remember tyranny never stops, and government never stops growing unabated.

YES!  WE HAVE A BILL OF RIGHTS! – but how many of them are forgotten or stepped-on today?

Freedom of Speech?  Hardly.  Colleges and university restricting or stopping speech with which they disagree WHOLESALE!

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms?  I will acknowledge much improvement has happened over the past 20 years in this area, but we must not sit on out laurels.  Just this past week, the Supreme Court declined to hear how possession (carrying) of weapons outside the home factors in.  Leaving an erroneous District Court finding to stand.

Search and Seizure?  Do we even have a Fourth Amendment, anymore?  Blanket wiretapping of cellular phone and Internet communications.  DUI checkpoints.  The TSA.  Anyone see any warrants affiliated with these actions?

Trial by a Jury of one’s Peers?  Seriously?  How often?

And don’t even get me started on seizure of assets and jury nullification!

I thank God that we didn’t elect Barack 2.0 (aka Hillary).  This doesn’t mean that the current White House occupant is close to being a diamond in the rough.

He is a populist, and certainly NOT a libertarian!  And surrounds himself with statist conservatives.

We have won some battles, but are nowhere close to winning the war.

The quote “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is often mistakenly attributed to the Irish lawyer and politician John Philpot Curran and frequently to Thomas Jefferson.

In fact, Curran’s line was somewhat different. What he actually said, in a speech in Dublin on July 10, 1790, was:

       “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

And, according to Jefferson scholars there is “no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ or any of its variants.”

Whoever said it, it is TRUE!  Stay vigilant, My Friends!

Happy Independence Day

 

Supreme Court Declines To Take Carry Case

(from NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS VOLUME 24, NUMBER 26, in part)

Supreme Court Declines to Take Carry Case, but Gorsuch Casts a Solidly Pro-Gun Vote

Gun owners received disappointing news on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that effectively let stand California’s “may-issue” permitting regime. The upshot of this decision is that law-abiding Californians in many areas of the state will be effectively denied the right to “bear” arms in public for self-defense.
But there was a silver lining to this development as Justice Neil M. Gorsuch – President Trump’s pick to replace the late, great Antonin Scalia – came out strongly in favor of the Second Amendment by joining a dissent from the court’s decision penned by Second Amendment stalwart Justice Clarence Thomas. Gorsuch’s participation in the dissent confirmed that he, unlike so many of his colleagues in the federal judiciary, is indeed prepared to take the Second Amendment seriously.
The underlying case was Peruta v. San Diego. The plaintiffs had complained of being arbitrarily denied concealed carry permits, the only way for law-abiding persons in California to exercise the right to carry loaded, operable firearms in public for self-defense. Each plaintiff met all the qualifications for a permit but one: they could not show an extraordinary need for self-protection that distinguished them from the general population, as required by licensing officials in their counties of residence.
The case therefore presented the court with an opportunity to clearly state whether or not the Second Amendment extends its protections beyond the home. Indeed, the three-judge panel that originally heard the case in the Ninth Circuit recognized that its defining issue was “whether a responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
The panel answered that question affirmatively, stating: “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.” The panel also noted that it was California’s own decision to make concealed carry permits the only lawful path to do so. It therefore held the plaintiffs could prevail with “a narrow challenge to the San Diego County regulations on concealed carry, rather than a broad challenge to the state-wide ban on open carry ….”
After the panel’s opinion was published, the full Ninth Circuit voted for a larger en banc panel to rehear the case. The en banc decision, however, avoided the real issue presented by the case and held that “the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.” It therefore summarily disposed of the plaintiffs’ claims without confronting the question of whether the Second Amendment applies beyond the home at all.
The Supreme Court majority, as is typical, did not issue an opinion explaining why it refused to review the en banc decision. Its refusal to do so does not, however, represent an endorsement of the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning or holding. As commentators have mentioned, federal appellate and state courts of last resort have come out different ways on the scope of the Second Amendment’s protection for carrying outside the home, and these disparate outcomes are not affected by the Supreme Court’s decision this week. The court may simply have decided, for example, that it did not want the differences between the panel and en banc approaches to the case to cloud the issue presented for its own resolution.
Whatever the majority’s thinking, the opinions of Justices Thomas and Gorsuch came through with vivid clarity in a sharply worded dissent from the decision to pass over the case. “At issue in this case,” Thomas wrote, “is whether [the Second Amendment] protects the right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.” They called the en banc court’s resolution of this issue “indefensible” and “untenable” and asserted it was “not justified by the terms of the complaint, which called into question the State’s regulatory scheme as a whole.” They also opined that that “[h]ad the en banc Ninth Circuit answered the question actually at issue in this case, it likely would have been compelled to reach the opposite result.”
Thomas and Gorsuch additionally chided their judicial colleagues for treating the Second Amendment as a “disfavored right.” Thomas explained:
The Court has not heard argument in a Second Amendment case in over seven years—since March 2, 2010, in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742. Since that time, we have heard argument in, for example, roughly 35 cases where the question presented turned on the meaning of the First Amendment and 25 cases that turned on the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. This discrepancy is inexcusable, especially given how much less developed our jurisprudence is with respect to the Second Amendment as compared to the First and Fourth Amendments.
The dissent also contrasted the plight of the average citizen who must largely provide for his or her own security with that of government elites “who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force.” The Framers, Thomas wrote, “reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it.”

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!

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…