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Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

Thursday Tea Bag

No, I haven’t turned into a teabagger.  This is one of my periodic “bag” posts, a collection of links and short observations that by themselves wouldn’t get a post of their own.

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As a motorcycle rider, I’ve always thought there’s something wrong with law enforcement and the courts when it comes to cagers who kill or maim bikers. Reckless and negligent drivers aren’t always investigated or arrested; even when they are, judges often dismiss the charges.  Well.  I obviously didn’t know the half of it.  This article, Here’s Why Drivers Get Away with Murder in NYC, almost took my breath away.  It’s far worse than I thought!

The article convincingly demonstrates that the NYPD isn’t interested in investigating vehicular homicide or manslaughter, even in egregious cases. No, that’s not exactly right … I’m being too harsh. According to the article NYPD will get off its ass and investigate cases where drivers have killed pedestrians and bicyclists, but when drivers merely leave pedestrians and bicyclists crippled for life, NYPD couldn’t care less.

Hey, it just occurred to me that I’m not only a motorcyclist, but a pedestrian and bicyclist too!  And an experience I had with an enraged motorist while I was riding my bicycle recently suggests the Tucson police aren’t much better.

Note to self: if hit by a car while walking, running, or biking, don’t bother to call police unless dead.

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A friend sent me a link to this Daily Kos entry: “The Right protests naming of USS Gabrielle Giffords…I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, should we?“  The writer is reacting to a Daily Caller article about a retired admiral who objects to naming a new US Navy littoral combat ship after the former congresswoman.

I first thought the writer used an awfully broad brush, painting that poor admiral as “the right.”  His objections didn’t strike me as political, one way or the other.  My own heart, which is a nice shade of commie pink, beats in sync with the admiral’s.  I think any serviceman or woman who died for our country should be ahead of Gabby in that particular line … but rereading the entry I see the writer was actually talking about reader responses to the Daily Caller article.  Here’s a representative comment:

These people despise the military and make a mockery of it by trashing its traditions and honoring people who are not worthy.  If she had run in front of a bunch of children to catch a bullet to save them, she still wouldn’t have been worthy of a Navy ship naming.  They just don’t get it.

And another:

Gabby Giffords would never have had a ship named for her if she wasn’t Jewish.

Okay, now I see what the dKos writer was talking about. Jesus.  Good thing Gabby’s not black, too, or the Daily Caller comments section would be as toxic as the one under Fox News’ report on the death of Whitney Houston!

Uh, don’t click that last link if you still believe in the inherent goodness of humanity.

Did you click anyway?  Well, now you know why I will never, ever, under any circumstances, even with a gun to my head and my family held hostage, vote Republican.  Republicans aren’t just in bed with these mouth-breathing assholes … they are these mouth-breathing assholes.

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Here’s one of the worst articles I’ve ever seen in a newspaper: Poseur doubted self, hurt others.  It’s about yet another guy who posed as a military hero and didn’t get away with it.  What makes me so mad about the article is the wall-to-wall moralizing.  The reporter gives us the who, but then goes off the rails speculating about the why, completely losing sight of the what, the where, and the when.  Most readers probably want to know how the impersonator got caught.  I certainly did.  You can read that article from one end to the other, but you’ll never find out.

I don’t really have much to say about these “stolen valor” types.  A few years ago, when I was driving buses, we hired a guy who claimed to be a former Navy Seal and later turned out to be nothing of the sort.  I particularly remember a close friend from high school … talented, smart, tons of potential … who went down that path, making up lies about himself in order to impress a girl.  After high school I didn’t see him for six months or so; when we met again he was with the girl, who believed he had lived an entirely different and more exciting life than the one I knew about.  It was a thoroughly awkward meeting.  It was obvious he’d been avoiding me because of all the lies he’d told that girl; he was terrified I’d say something and bring the house of cards down.  I kept my mouth shut, much to his relief, but I never wanted to see him again after that.  What he did totally creeped me out.  It was like finding out my best friend was a child molester.

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“Nothing for the best years of your life” — that’s the title of this article warning high school kids about military recruiters and the bullshit promises they make.  Certainly kids need to know that, and the article is written at a level they’ll understand.  I remember being shocked at the tall tales a Navy recruiter once told my daughter … she’d be a nuclear engineer in no time at all, get out in four years and step into a high-paying job in the booming nuclear energy sector, oh and they’d throw in Chinese language instruction and a PhD at no extra charge … but I barely remember the lies my own recruiter told me.

I just want to say, as a counter to the frankly anti-military tone of the article at the link, that I thought I got a lot in exchange for the best years of my life.  I saw the world, did important things, learned great skills, met wonderful people … and not least have a great pension and one of the best health care plans around.  Not only that, the years I gave the military were the best years of my life because of the military.  I’d do it all again tomorrow, and the day after that.  Just sayin’.

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Finally, some good news: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who tried to detonate a bomb aboard a packed airliner as it was preparing to land in Detroit on Christmas day in 2009, was today sentenced to life without parole.  I say thank goodness the military hustled him off to a black site overseas and tortured a confession out of him, then kept him locked up far away from American shores until the secret tribunal could find him guilty and determine his punishment.  Now he’ll spend the rest of his life chained to a post at Camp Delta in Gitmo, where he’ll be no threat to the homeland.

Good grief, imagine if he’d been arrested by civilian police, jailed, and tried in an American city … Detroit, say.  He’d probably be walking around free today, drinking coffee at Starbucks, planning his next attack.

Wait, what?

© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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