Close is not good enough

When you dig yourself a 38-7 hole by the end of the 3rd quarter you don’t really have much right to expect a win. Reeling off 23 unanswered points in the 4th quarter looks impressive, but you still lost 38-30.

This team was sluggish in the first half tonight and on fire in the 4th quarter. In its first game it scored ten points in the 1st quarter and only two field goals the rest of the game. It needs to figure out how to put together a sustained effort for 60 minutes.

Small towns: they ain’t all Mayberry

This is appalling. It’s a blatant misuse of the criminal justice system designed to keep small towns afloat and paying their public employees. Radley Balko of the Post has done yeoman’s work outlining just how poorly governed the citizens in St. Louis County are and have been. Moreover, he’s explained the history behind it, describing the various moves of whites and blacks over the last century.

Drive along an approximately 10-mile stretch along the east-west Route 115 (also known as the Natural Bridge Road), and you’ll cross through sixteen different municipalities. At some points along the route, you’ll find one town the right side of the road, and a separate town on the left. There are similar stretches along St. Charles Rock Road (also known as Route 180) to the south, along I-70, and along the I-170 bypass. The town boundaries are drawn in such a way that each municipality in the area gets a stretch of highway, which can be a lucrative source of revenue. “Theoretically, you could be driving home from work on this road, and if you have expired tags or no inspection sticker, you could get pulled over 16 different times in 16 different towns, and written up for the same violations each time,” Harvey says.

Written up and liable for not-insignificant fines from each municipality. It’s almost unbelievable. The obvious solution is for St. Louis (the city) to absorb a lot of these itsy-bitsy places, but each one has a mayor or manager, a council or committee and an ability to appoint people to jobs including judge, prosecutor and sheriff.

There are too many towns, and not enough taxpayers to sustain them. How to fix that problem is another matter. There has long been a movement in St. Louis to merge the county with the city. That movement has picked up steam recent years as advocacy groups like Better Together have pushed proposals to merge a number of public services. But real change would require a good portion of these towns to merge with other towns, or to dissolve themselves entirely. That would require the town councils or boards of aldermen to vote themselves out of a job.

Yeah, lots of puffed-up small-town pols who like the authority they’ve got, small as it is.

The headline for this article is “How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty.” It’s long but well worth your time to read.

Beware the “militia”

Lovely. Idiot “militia” members from out of state confronted scientists studying bat populations in Southern Arizona recently.

It happened Aug. 23 in the Gardner Canyon area near Sonoita where the small group of conservationists was out in the middle of the night conducting a wildlife population survey, in this case, counting bats.

Nobody was hurt during the confrontation, but the incident has law enforcement taking notice.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada say the militiamen were on ATVs. They were carrying weapons and were wearing camouflage.

“Obviously, they mistook them for smugglers or illegal entrants,” says Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada. “They were armed. They put a spotlight on them.”

Good thing the scientists didn’t have a passel of rabid bats to set on these stupid clowns. It would have served them right. And doesn’t Arizona have enough loony armed right-wingers who want to hunt border crossers? It certainly doesn’t need visitors from Colorado coming down to help.

The local sheriff wasn’t amused.

Sheriff Estrada says Santa Cruz County does not welcome border militia groups.

“These people that are completely out of their environment. They really don’t know the area. They don’t know the terrain. They have little knowledge of the dynamics of the border. So it can be a real problem,” Estrada says. “We really don’t want them here.”

“It can be a problem for them. It can be a problem for the people, just like in this particular case. Things could have gone terribly wrong,” Estrada says. “They really don’t accomplish anything. They really don’t. With about 1,000 Border Patrol Agents here in Santa Cruz County, a little group of any militiamen are not going to make any difference at all. As a matter of fact, they’re going to get in the way and they could get hurt. Or they could hurt somebody else.”

Oh boy

Headline, Hindustan Times:

Al Qaeda announces India wing, race against ISIS for jihadi supremacy

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri on Wednesday announced the formation of an Indian branch of his militant group he said would spread Islamic rule and “raise the flag of jihad” across the subcontinent.

In a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahri also renewed a longstanding vow of loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, in an apparent snub to the Islamic State armed group challenging al Qaeda for leadership of transnational Islamist militancy.

Zawahri described the formation of “Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent” as a glad tidings for Muslims “in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir” and said the new wing would rescue Muslims there from injustice and oppression.

Glad tidings, huh? Well, there’s no denying that there are some Buddhists in Burma/Myanmar who are persecuting Muslim minorities. The other locations I don’t know about.

I suppose it would be too foolish to say “Yo, Zawahri, if you want to challenge IS, do it in Syria and Iraq and leave those poor other countries alone.”

Mom had a birthday yesterday

And we’re threatened unto pain of death lest we mention the number of years she’s celebrating. Think of a number related to pianos.

Anyway, we had a three-bone rib roast, homemade mashed potatoes, leaf spinach, fruit salad, and spice cake for dessert. It was all delicious.

Two questions: First, why is it that I can only find frozen spinach in leaf form in a box? Every one or two-pound bag of spinach in the freezer case contains chopped spinach. Why is that?

My second question: why do grocery stores listen to consultants? The Navy Commissary closed for three days last week to do a store “reset.” What that meant was “flip the contents of all the aisles so what the customers have been finding on 8A, for example, is now on 13B.” What idiot persuaded the Commissary officer that that would be a good thing to do? About the only things that remained in the same place were the meat, dairy and frozen goods sections: too costly to pick up and move all that chilling and frozen equipment, I imagine.

The other dog survived

As did this one.

Abby the suspicious

Abby the suspicious

It’s funny. The first seven or eight months we had Abby she barely barked at all, spent most of her time indoors, and generally was a pretty timid dog. The subsequent eight or ten months she’s gotten accustomed to being outside and barking at the passersby. Now she seems to play a game of “surprise the walkers” by lying doggo (heh) until they get right next to the fence and then barking like a mad thing for a few seconds. It must amuse her to make them jump.

Responsibility!

My neighbor’s daughter is getting married this afternoon/evening, and her parents are staying overnight in Waikiki after the wedding and reception.

They’ve asked me to dogsit their Jack Russell terrier tonight and tomorrow morning. I haven’t done this in 30 years.

What could possibly go wrong?

Waikiki under water by 2100?

It’s entirely possible.

…a new report from the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant program states that islands in the Pacific might be unrecognizable in the coming years as climate change makes them hotter, arid, stormy and even disease-ridden.

Disease-ridden? Yes. Diseases like cholera and dengue fever which thrive in hot climates might become commonplace.

But the biggest scariest part of the study tells us that

Perhaps the most obvious change around the state will be the rise in sea levels, which have risen about 0.5-1.3 inches per decade throughout the last 100 years. The study projects this rate to accelerate, resulting in a 1-foot to 3-foot rise (or possibly more) by 2100.

There’s a nifty interactive map at the link which shows a worst-case scenario of a 6-foot sea level rise. If that were to happen Waikiki would flood, downtown Honolulu would be under water, and the ocean would reach as far inland as Moilili, the neighborhood between Waikiki and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

If you’re going to come visit us, make it soon.

Kids and Uzis?

I’m sure every one of you has heard about this story of a gun instructor accidentally shot to death by a 9-year-old girl. He was showing her how to fire an Uzi. An Uzi!

This is an Uzi:
IMI_UZI

This is a 9-year-old girl:
9yearold

What idiots thought the one should be handed to the other with live ammunition chambered?

It’s appalling. I shudder to think how traumatized that poor little girl is and will be for a long time to come.