Daily Archives: July 27, 2008

Don’t Taser me, Bro!

Our School Board has sent out a survey to parents, asking if they “support a school resource officer at the high school”. The Board eschewed the use of such inflammatory language as “armed and tasered” because they apparently feared that using the more accurate description might alarm parents and cause them to withhold their support for a program the Board itself obviously endorses. “School Resources Officer” sounds so benign – officer Friendly, there to help students find their lost textbooks, perhaps coax a stray kitten from a tree or maybe help out with a tough homework assignment. The reality is that at least one such officer tasered a kid last year for kicking a chair and tossing a water balloon – a dastardly deed, but, speaking as someone who lobbed 1/2 a grapefruit across the Student Center at a group of visiting educators way back in 1971, hardly a capital offense.

The trouble with giving cops toys like Tasers or, God help us, lots of really cool SWAT Team equipment is that, sooner or later, they’re going to want to use it. I say, if we’re that concerned about a Columbine at the High School, either arm the teachers or take the taser away from the cop. Someone might still get killed, I suppose, but the temptation to use non-lethal force beyond a head-lock would be removed.

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Over-sized houses

I had to reset my computer’s P Ram yesterday (don’t ask) and it seems to have killed my ability to import photos. Drat – I was planning to start adding photos today, beginning with a picture of a new house under construction at 247 Riverside Avenue. Well, maybe later. In the meantime, if you’re in the neighborhood, take a look at this place. It might not be a bad looking house in another location on a larger lot but it’s replacing an 1800′s farmhouse that had been set far back from the road and, no doubt because of lot-size restrictions, the builder has stuck a huge garage on the end facing the street. The total effect is just butt-ugly, is what it is, and it annoys me to think that it doubtless complies with all applicable FAR regulations. It’s precisely here, where the street scape is threatened, that FAR rules should operate to save us but they don’t. FAR is a complex, ineffective and costly mess, and yet, the more this is pointed out and solutions proposed, the tighter Franklin Bloomer and his friends on the land use commission grip their creation. Pride of authorship is a good thing; so, too, is the ability to admit when you’re wrong.

Update
Figured out the photo thing (for today, anyway)

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The polar bears are drowning! (next year)

Alaska is experiencing its coldest summer ever (in recent history, I presume). Climate experts have rushed to explain that this says nothing about global warming and boy, watch out for next year, but as one commentator notes in the linked article, how come every cooling phenomenon is attributed to natural causes and every warming spell is blamed on humans? It’s embarrassing data like this that caused the almost-subtle switch last year from “global warming” to “climate change”. Once the terminology was changed, everything that happens on earth can be blamed on people who live in 26,000 sq.ft. homes and fly private jets to Bali – oh wait, that’s not right.

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Amazing News

The New York Times hasn’t done much reporting on the surge in Iraq’s success but suddenly it’s catching up with what less mainstream sources – .bloggers in Iraq, primarily – have been noticing for months: things are getting better. Oil production is up from 1 million barrels a month to 18 , and the Shiite militias are weakened, for instance. Why this sudden outpouring of good news? It could be that the Times has finally noticed what’s been going on, I suppose, but I suspect that the paper, like all Obama supporters, wants to get Iraq behind him. His (continued) opposition to the surge, so clearly wrong in retrospect, makes him look like the inexperienced naif that he is, notwithstanding his photo-ops with various world leaders last week. But if Iraq’s “so yesterday”, then let’s move on to things that really matter, like raising taxes on the “rich” and ruining our health care, the only things Obama fans really care about anyway.

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