Wednesday, 12 January 2011

News from the Capital

There are two bills moving around the house and I suspect both will pass over the next month....which arrive because of the Tucson episode.

First, there's this bill to make it a crime to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of elected or high-ranking federal official at a publicly announced event.  That's the length of three baseball fields and I think they can probably get all the Democrats in the House and maybe a quarter of the Republicans to agree on this.  As for being practical?  Well....as long as you can catch the guy while in the act of penetrating the 1,000 ft circle....it might work.  But the question is....who exactly will be walking around to monitor folks and ensure a lack of weapons?

The one curious part to this.....is that if Senator Snuffy shows up for a townhall meeting and State Trooper Ricky stands at the door and catches someone entering with a pistol on their person....it's a federal crime and felony.  If convicted, you couldn't ever buy another weapon.  So even if you were acting innocently and just carried the weapon for self-protection.....you would be screwed for the felony conviction.

The second proposal is a bill to install a Plexiglas enclosure to protect the House floor from gallery viewers.  There's a belief that somehow....a nut could get past security with a weapon....and rein terror down onto the floor of the House.  I would give this a 50 percent of passing.  This might be another good idea but it'd have limitations.

I've come to notice over the past year that alot of Congressmen and Senators show up behind the Capital building to give quick speeches to reporters.  So they are making themselves more accessible in order to get their parties theme or word out.  Just tossing an enclosure up into Capital building will fix one threat only.....and leave another dozen totally open.

The Cellphone Story

At some point in the last couple of days....Governor Jerry Brown....new placed governor of California.....woke up and was told that the state was paying for 96,000 cellphones for state employees.  It's roughly $20 million a year that they spend on this bill.

You can imagine the shock on Jerry's face, and then he reacted.  He wants that trimmed quickly down to half that number.  He's willing to accept 48k cellphones max.

You can imagine the reaction across counties and the state level.  A bunch of folks are asking themselves who will cough up the cellphones.  For example, the California state parks group....they have to be standing there and trying to decide who is important enough to dump phone service on.  Naturally, the park managers will have to keep theirs....but the chief of sanitation will probably be told to lose his.  This would then create various problems with Ranger Chief Jill who wants some site cleaned up ASAP but she can't find clean-up dude Larry and will have to wait until the end of the day to tell Larry to attack some site for cleaning.

I'm guessing various road maintenance teams will be told to dump their cellphone but then the boss will never be able to contract until the day is finished.

Six months from now....everyone will be upset about this lack of communication (that they got used to), and want cellphones for everyone.

I don't know how folks state employees in Bama have a cellphone compliments of the state.  My guess would be maybe a thousand statewide.  It's probably at the higher end of management and the state police mostly.  This idea of every single office having a state-provided cellphone just hasn't happened.  I'm guessing it's mostly because the budget in Bama just doesn't allow for such a massive expenditure.

I'm guessing most other states are the same way.

I went out and checked the total number of state employees in California.  If you count the college professors and all of the oddball characters....it's around 208k employees.  So basically, we are saying that almost one out of every two employees...had a cellphone.  Did the college professors all have one?  I'm doubting that but I'm guessing most of the management staff at every state university had one.

For Jerry Brown....he just saved $10 million a year.  I admit....it's a small amount of money but if you start with this, and then start talking about vehicles....it adds up.  Then you start talking about furniture, computers, coffee machines and such.....you just might find a trend to save the state.  And frankly....they need a whole lot of saving.

The Truth About Paranoid Schizophrenics

For about 72 hours....I've been watching this Tucson episode unfold.  There are a number of things that amaze me.  One of them....is what sets off a paranoid schizophrenic person.  Based on a number news media folks....rhetoric by talk radio, Limbaugh, Beck and a hundred other folks....set this kid off.  If only they had been silenced....then he would have been ok and normal (well....they don't suggest this, but it must be so).

I sat and read up on paranoid schizophrenic folks.  It's interesting what will set them off.

Tunes of Johnny Cash.  A bell ringing.  A minister in the midst of a hell-fire and brimstone discussion.  Katie Couric discussing menopause in women.  A Coke commercial.  A Pepsi commercial.  A clip of the Hindenburg crashing.  The sound of a waterfall. Old ladies on the street talking about pumpkin pie.  Anything from the Beatles.  A fire truck passing.  A dog barking.  Watching jeopardy.  Watching a Tom Cruise movie.

After a while, you come to realize that paranoid schizophrenic folks could be triggered with just about anything.  It doesn't take just talk radio or Limbaugh to set a guy off.

In fact, you quickly realize that if there were a mere 100k of these paranoid schizophrenic folks walking around the US....your life is in danger at any moment of the day.  Just tagging conservitive talk show hosts won't be enough.  We'd have to isolate ourselves from anything that produces sound or imagery.  Only then....would we be safe.

Course, the other way to approach this....is to identify all of the paranoid schizophrenic folks in America, and lock them up.  I realize this is a radical approach and that crazy people have rights....but if anything can trigger a guy to go nuts (even a lady in a tube top)....then we just plain aren't safe, period.

Just an observation.....you know.