Thursday, July 31, 2008

In The End

A man died the other day out in Katy, TX. He was at his computer and died in the chair where his wife found him. The police arrived and did their investigation. One officer looked on the walls and noticed several certificates and degrees. On the far right was a Doctorate of Philosophy. The man was a doctor. It brought to mind some interesting points. No matter how hard one works, or what he has accomplished, in the end all those papers are good for are decor. On the other hand, one has to do something with their life. Instead of wasting it, put it to good use. There is time for play, and time for work. However one has to mix the two just right to be happy and sane. One of the officers thought of taking some time off and do something fun. After all, looking at the dead man in the chair, time is limited.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Terrible Tragedy

Yesterday the news was abuzz with the death of Dr. Wesley Gustafson Jr. from a police chase.

Chronicle Story posted July 29 @ 1:43am

KPRC Story posted July 29 and updated at 7:48am

A Memorial Villages Officer spotted a vehicle matching the description of one involved in recent burglaries. The suspect fled. While fleeing down Richmond Avenue, the suspect struck two other vehicles before hitting the doctor as he was exiting a parking lot. Certainly nobody likes to hear of an innocent person hurt or killed in a police chase (well maybe except for the news media). I am willing to bet money the officer who was after this suspect feels terrible. What irks me is the usual media angle to somehow pin the blame on the officer. Usually the chronicle champions the argument of letting the inmates run the prison. However, in this case, the chronicle has a more detailed story than KPRC channel 2.

KPRC reports;

"The suspected burglar's identity has not been released, but police said he will face a felony murder charge."

The chronicle reports:

"The man who hit Gustafson while evading police, Danny M. Shipp, 38, of New Orleans, will be charged with felony murder, said Harris County prosecutor Warren Diepraam."

KPRC quoted a friend of Dr. Gustafson "We can follow people until (they) run out of gas, but today an innocent man died," friend Dick Tindal said. "I think that's terrible."

While I sympathize with Mr. Tindal, sadly he is not being realistic. He is right, this is terrible. Nobody should be hurt, or killed in a police chase, especially an innocent civilian. The reality is, whenever we step out of the door and get into our cars, we are taking a risk. When you are driving down the street in your car, you have a higher risk of being injured in a crash with another citizen than in a police chase. All people can do is be careful. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep checking those mirrors and in both directions. May Dr. Gustafson rest in peace, and may the criminal who killed him rot.

We Don' Need No Stinkin' Surance

Today the Houston Chronicle has a story titled "Many Texans Lacking Auto Insurance." My gut reaction was "duh!" Ask any officer who patrols certain parts of Houston (southwest, northeast, etc) what percentage of motorists they stop do have insurance. However, one fact that wasn't mentioned in the story and I'm sure it's because most people do not know this. Some insurance companies are selling coverage to people without driver's licenses. In fact, some insurance companies are insuring drivers who only have the Mexican consulate ID cards. I have yet to see what happens when one of these people crash and they want to file a claim.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheapest Gas in Awhile

This is the cheapest I've paid in a while.

My Bad! Wrong Pedal!

Why yes it was a woman driver!
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Fortunately nobody was hurt in Katy as this woman hit the wrong pedal and a Petco store. Poor woman stood there embarrassed after it happened.

Trouble With Houston Police Marshall's Office

Houston reporter Isiah Carey has posted two articles about how Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Vicki King wants to disband the city Marshall's office.

June 17 Post
HPD isn't saying they are going to lay off the officers in the Marshall's office. They say they are going to have them reassigned. Now, many veteran officers who land a good day shift with weekends and holidays off become creatures of habit. They are very resistant to change, especially if it means losing such a sweet work schedule. Their argument (to justify their existence) is about clearing the over 1 million HPD warrants that are active.

July 23 Post
In this post, someone sent Mr. Carey an anonymous email claiming racism. When all else fails, play the race card. After all, that has become the status quo.

Let me inform you on how "clearing warrants" works. An officer comes into contact with somebody on the streets (i.e. traffic stop, person stop, call for service, etc.). The officer checks the person (either by ID card, driver's license, or date-of-birth) through the local, state, and national databases looking for warrants. If the person is wanted, the warrant shows up. Now, the officer cannot arrest and haul the person to jail at that point. The officer must get confirmation of the warrant. This consists of contacting the law enforcement agency that wants the person arrested and brought to their jail. The officer (or their dispatcher) contacts the other agency and informs them they have a person who their computer says has a warrant. A representative of the warrant's originating agency goes to their file cabinet looking for the actual paper warrant. If the warrant is there, then the representative tells the officer/dispatcher that their warrant is active and they want the person in their jail. The officer is informed the warrant is "confirmed" and then the person is placed under arrest and taken to jail.

Now, in the first post, Mr. Carey asks Chief King about the 35,000 warrants cleared. However, I can promise you that the HPD Marshall's office did not locate all of these people on their own. The majority of these fugitives were arrested on other charges, or stopped on the street and checked by street officers. Someone at the Marshall's office answers the phone, gets the person's information, and goes looking for the paper copy of the warrant. I can tell you that in 2007, someone answered the phone 35,000 times and looked for 35,000 paper copies of warrants.

Now, with HPD under the gun for their manpower shortage, and for their massive overtime spending, what sense does it make for about 70 police officers to be paid to do a job that a handful of civilian clerks can do? Do people want more officers on the street? Do people want more detectives handling their cases? This seems to me, more of a case of HPD wanting to shift resources and complacent officers resisting the change to keep their nice work schedule. I can certainly understand a veteran officer not wanting to start over with a lousy shift and lousy days off. However, it's ultimately about how to best utilize police officers to serve the citizens.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Same Story, Different Details

Houston Chronicle's Story

KPRC's Story

story posted at 7:34am. With nearly a 2-hour time frame, why does the The story here is some fool gets into an argument with a guy at a store, pulls a gun and shoots the other guy dead. He shoots at the clerk, but fortunately he's behind a bullet proof screen. Gunman then walks into the parking lot, shoots at other people. He then carjacks a Lexus which he crashes afterward. A Pct. 1 deputy constable is nearby helping a stranded motorist. Gunman points the gun at the deputy. The gunman tries to steal the patrol car and winds up fighting the deputy, and two wrecker drivers who were kind enough to assist. After getting the man in custody, he dies. I bet we'll find he was under the influence of a potent mix of drugs (or maybe just one). I have to give credit to the chronicle's Anita Hassan. She did an excellent story, detailed, leaving really no ifs, ands, or buts. However, the KPRC story is lacking in a couple of details. To be fair I checked the times. The chronicle story posted at 5:51am. Why did the KPRC story fails to mention the guy tried to steal the patrol car and fought with the deputy?

I Thought Black Was an Adjective

Well, thanks to the rampant PC madness, apparently now just the use of the word 'black' is offensive in Dallas according to Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley. A white man uses the term 'black hole' to make a comparison about the way tickets are handled. To borrow a Larry Elder term, Victicrat John Wiley took offense. Watch the video, and the lunacy here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Want This Fool For a Neighbor?

I just have to copy the whole story from KHOU's website;
Click here for KTRK's story. staff report

PASADENA, Texas -- There are lots of ways to get rid of bugs, but blowing up one’s home is probably not high on that list.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Pasadena man Sunday.

The man reportedly left bug bombs in his apartment to get rid of pests, but he forgot to turn off his gas.

While he was gone, the gas ignited and blew out several windows.

Part of the ceiling also caved in as a result of the blast.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

I don't want this fool to move in next to me!

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Contract Deputy News

Once again the contract deputy program is back in the news. What I found strange in the chronicle's article is a seemingly turn around for County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. Read this other blog post to take a look at the turn around. First, here are the nuts and bolts of the contract deputy program;

A neighborhood, or a utility district enter into a contract with the county for extra patrol. The district (meaning neighborhood, business, and utility for my purpose) pays somewhere around $56,000 (a ballpark figure) to the county who assigns a deputy (sheriff or constable). The deputy is contracted to spend 70% to 80% of their working time in the district. Granted, a lot of the job there is public relations, but, the deputy patrolling is a peace officer and bound by the same rules, laws, etc. as are all peace officers in Texas.

This naturally leads to critics' arguments of (1) this only benefits rich neighborhoods, (2) residents of the districts are unofficially exempt from law enforcement actions, (3) people who do not live in the neighborhood are 'hassled,' (4) the deputies are 'owned' by the homeowner association/MUD/business district/etc.
Many lower class neighborhoods have a contract deputy due to MUD taxes.
District residents complain all of the time about being ticketed, or arrested by their 'neighborhood' deputy
It's still a free country. Deputies cannot arrest or detain anyone without cause.
Boards are told all the time that there are issues the deputy cannot get involved in and to handle it themselves.
Also, many unincorporated areas would not have a police presence (unless someone dialed 911) if it weren't for contract deputies.

The crux of this story if the sheriff's department. They are short handed and have been for years. The simple solution would be not to enter into a contract unless sufficient personnel are available. The majority of the contract districts are patrolled by constables. This does unnecessarily created bad blood between many in the sheriff's department and constable's departments. Apparently unknown by many, constables are police officers. They were the original police force in Texas (before statehood). Nowadays, constables generally serve civil papers, however constables have full police powers and can (and do) make arrests. Remember, it was constables who arrested Sheriff Tommy Thomas' son Brent. It was also constables who arrested Houston Mayor Bill White's daughter for driving while intoxicated. There are two schools of thought on this. Some say to integrate the sheriff's department with all of the constable departments (can someone tell me, does the sheriff's department still not recognize peace officer certifications outside its own academy). Others say to let the constables handle the contract deputy programs and let the sheriffs handle the rest of the county. Either way, both departments serve essentially the same purpose. Certainly no disrespect to the sheriff's department, but they are not the only topping on the pizza despite what many of them may think.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yeeee Hawwww!!!!!!

Remember when I commented on the this story? I knew then the so-called world court was going to butt in and say Texas should not execute Jose Medellin. As predicted, the world court has sided with the convicted rapist-murderer. However, true to Texas tradition, the execution is on! Since these stories are more about the impotent world court, I'm posting a photograph of the girls who were raped and murdered by this thug and his friends. From the chronicle article;

"The Mexican government reasons that "the paramount interest in human life is at stake..."
How about the lives of these two girls? How come Mexico nor the UN seem to care about what happened to them?

Randy Ertman, father of Jennifer Ertman is quoted, "The world court don't mean diddly! This business belongs in the state of Texas. The people of the state of Texas support the execution. We thank them. The rest of them can go to hell."

Amen Randy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chronicle Campaign Ad

Late Precinct 7 Constable A.B. Chambers with Constable May Walker in 2005

Today the Houston Chronicle has this nice puffy piece about Democratic DA candidate Clarence Bradford, the former chief of HPD. The reason I call it a campaign piece is the whole story reads about Bradford. Not to mention the only reference to his Republican opponent is "oh yeah, he is running against Pat Lykos who is an aggressive campaigner, but poor Bradford has had bad days." Go ahead and read the piece for yourself. However, I did notice one glaring problem with the story.

"The county never has elected an African-American to a law enforcement job."

What is Mr. Bernstein up to? Mr. Bernstein has forgotten about the 1973 election of AB Chambers as the first black Constable in Harris County. He was defeated later in 2001 by Perry Wooten, who wound up being charged with abuse of power and theft by a public servant and convicted (a friend of mine was in court and witnessed Wooten walking in proclaiming "Perry Wooten in da house!" Like a damned rapper, but that's another post for another day). Then, the voters of Harris County Pct. 7 elected May Walker, Harris County's first black, female constable. So Mr. Bernstein, just where did you get your information from?

MUFON Reports UFO Near Crawford

World Net Daily has this interesting piece about an unidentified flying object spotted in Erath County, near President Bush's ranch.

"Most of the time, the object moved at approximately 60 miles per hour, but at one point accelerated to 532 miles per hour in 30 seconds and then slowed to 49 miles per hour 10 seconds later."

I wonder how much gas goes for in outer space?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lewis Blacks' "End of the Universe"

I just had to post this. Believe it or not, most Houstonians scratch their heads also.

The Naughty Professor Indeed

In another email scandal, Ronald Ayers, an economics professor at University of Texas as San Antonio is in a little hot water. Remember when I said in previous posts that private sector company emails should be compared to public servant emails to illustrate hypocrisy? Well, as an example I cite Professor Ayers. He apparently has an appetite for his female students. While any red-blooded heterosexual male can certainly understand, however personal ethics and one's superego needs to step in and say "down boy!" Click here to read some of his emails. Make for some very interesting reading. Looks like he doesn't have much respect for women regardless of their situations (personally whether she be a stripper, or a lawyer, treat her like a lady) Sounds like something an anonymous sex blogger would write, not a professor using company email.

Ghost Driver?

Someone sent this in to the Coast to Coast website claiming they got a ghostly figure in their car. I don't know where this is, but from the stickers on the windshield, it is somewhere in Texas. Personally, I don't see anything. Although if I wanted to believe something was there I'm sure I could make out a face somewhere. The story is here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A man returned to his Harris County home from the airport. While unpacking his suitcase he finds a bag with a white, powdery-type substance. He has no idea what this could be and he isn't responsible for it being there. He then does what any decent citizen does, calls the police. The police arrive and determine the substance isn't cocaine. Unable to test substances they call Hazmat out. Two big hazmat trucks arrive and the street is blocked off. Neighbors are gathering on the sidewalk asking the officers and rescue personnel what is going on. Since the situation is unfolding and the substance unknown, nobody can give an answer. The homeowner is understandably embarrassed about all this attention. His wife is contacted (who is still out of town) and asked if she put anything in his suitcase. She says no. Hazmat personnel suit up, go into the house and test the substance. The result; crushed laxative tablets! Come to find out, the wife crushes her laxatives and bags them for easy travel. Imagine that poor man's further embarrassment to realize the police and hazmat blocked off his street for laxatives. The police will probably be back at that house when the wife returns home.

Zombie Dog!!!

This movie was made in Houston by a group of friends and a filmaker. Because two of the people in this are friends of ours, I just had to share it.

From the 4th of July

After I got off from work, my wife had me stop by a cul-de-sac in a Fort Bend County neighborhood where they had purchased about $200 worth of fireworks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For All To See

Today, the Houston Chronicle has posted the salary of just about every public servant in the Houston-Harris County Metrolplex. Now, the initial reaction of many public servants is anger. Common courtesy tells us that it is impolite to ask what people make. However, since public servants' salaries are paid for with tax dollars, that money has to be accounted for.

One has to ask the question. Why did they do this? The caption underneath the photographs reads "are your tax dollars well spent?" I'm not referring to an elected official, or the head of Metro, HISD, or the Toll Road Authority. I'm referring to the lay people who get up everyday, work an 8 hour shift and come home. Look at some of the "peons" and you'll see how little they make. Take for example K, an assistant clerk and his 2007 yearly salary was $19,115. So, is the chronicle asking is that tax money well spent? I have a theory, and just a theory. Public servants make easy targets. While their positions put them under a lot of scrutiny they are held to a higher standard. However, what the chronicle, and a large portion of the public fail to understand is that if you compare the work habits of public servants and private workers, you'll find remarkable similarities. It also exposes the hypocrisy of the chronicle and a large number of the public. When a public servant leaves his/her post to run through a drive thru window to get a quick meal, it's reported as "taxpayer waste." When a reporter or sales clerk does it, it's no big deal. When a public servant's email is scrutinized, it makes news. I bet you half my salary that all work emails have the same issues, especially reporters' emails. For many people, it is easier to open others' closets and expose their skeletons while keeping their own doors nailed shut. There is also a tendency to think that public servants do not have mortgages, families, and bills to pay. The tone of many chronicle (and other news organizations) is that public servants should work harder for less money and benefits. They have another article about paid overtime for the Houston Police Dept. and the Sheriff's Dept. The news wants people to be outraged at the amount of paid overtime. Now, if these overtime programs ended today, there would be far less officers on the street. There would be fewer patrols, peoples' reports would be left unwritten, and response times would increase dramatically. Now, many people are thinking "oh so what, if you don't want your name and salary to be public record, go to the private sector!" Yet, these same people would have a coronary if their full names and salary were posted for all to see. So, in the interest of fairness, let me ask a question. Is that money you spend on the chronicle well spent? Is that time you spend watching TV news well spent?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Only One Side of the Story

It's not often I criticize KPRC news coverage, but sometimes it happens. In this story, channel 2 boasts that you'll only see it on their station. Some guy was video taping a driver who couldn't stay in his lane. Now, obviously there is a problem with this driver, he is a danger. Eventually an HPD officer pulls him over, then lets him go. The caller is outraged;

"We're paying the police officer's salary and they're letting drunks go!"

First off, I'd like to toss a quarter in this guy's face and say "here's a refund now shut up!"
Second, he does not know what exchange went on between the officer and driver. Many times, have officers pulled over someone driving like this assuming they were drunk. Upon actually contacting the driver (which the guy filming did not), sometimes it is learned the driver has other problems (too old, cell phone, medical condition, etc). However, the guy who called it in is absolutely convinced the driver was drunk and that's all there is to it.

Then, channel 2 goes to its embedded lawyer, Brian Wice who says;

"He (the officer) was there and we weren't," Wice said. "The fact that that officer ultimately concluded based upon their experience, training and expertise that no further investigation was needed, while somewhat dismaying to the Good Samaritan and maybe to some of us, ultimately that's a decision that we don't have the right to second guess."

Thank you Mr. Wice.

However, that doesn't seem to satisfy channel 2. At the end of the video the reporter says the driver was "20 feet from his home." That certainly does not excuse drunk driving. Many people have been arrested for DWI on their home streets. What channel 2 didn't do, was find the officer who actually made the stop and ask if the guy was drunk or not. The spokesman isn't going to know. A simple question to the actual officer who made the stop can either put this to rest, or open a can or worms.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Michelle Obama Opens Her Mouth...Again

Lone Star Times has this little piece about an excerpt from a Michelle Obama speech. According to the post, she was talking about the issue of gay marriage and said;

"It’s not just about positions that you take. It’s also about the leadership that you provide on these issues. Barack has the courage to talk to skeptical audiences, not just friendly ones. That’s why he told a crowd at a rally in Texas that gays and lesbians deserve equality. And you can imagine in Texas that that crowd got a little quiet."

The way I see it, she's stepped in it again. While trying to portray all of Texans as yokels, she used the crowd who wanted to hear her husband speak, as an example of the "backwoods" mentality of Texans. So, what does that say about her feelings in regards to her husband's own supporters.