Thursday, March 31, 2005

Daydreaming and Real Estate

This one's up in Raymond, New Hampshire.


This 2,700+ sq ft hip roof colonial home boasts a farmer's porch,
a brick fireplace w/granite mantle, hearth and keystone in the
living room. The master suite features a luxurious whirlpool bath,
double vanity, and walk-in closet armory. Listed at $394,900.


Do the Math

DEAD HORSE BEATING ALERT


Today's MGCSS (with DHBA in full effect, of course) comes not from the gang-ridden communities of Roxbury, Mattapan, or Dorchester, but from the "relatively" crime-free Boston neighborhood of Allston/Brighton.

Police responded to a call for an armed robbery at 77 Warren St. March 15 at 10:40 p.m. The two female victims told police they were walking on Warren Street when they were approached by an unknown man, who displayed a silver automatic pistol. The suspect pointed the gun at the victims' heads and said, "Give me your wallet, your jewelry, your cell phone. Give it all up or I'll pop you!" the victims told police. One victim gave the suspect $110, police said. The suspect made the victims face Franciscan Children's Hospital and fled on Warren Street, police said. Police searched the area to no avail.


Violent criminal with gun trumps two defenseless women. Who knew?

Sady Edgardo Suazo, 27, of 22 Adamson St., was arrested and charged with attempted breaking and entering of a residence and car at 75 Adamson St. March 16 at 6:30 p.m. The victim told police Suazo followed her home from a neighborhood market and was leaning on her fence as she got to the front door. The victim said Suazo then began turning her apartment doorknob and shaking the door, trying to get in, police said. The victim called police, but Suazo was gone when they arrived.


No call for alarm here - I'm sure Mr. Suazo was just out collecting for his kid's youth soccer league. Geez, some people can be so paranoid. [/sarcasm]

Police responded to a call for an armed home invasion at 21 Quint Ave. on March 18 at 12:22 a.m. The 28-year-old victim told police that three unknown men kicked in the rear door of his apartment while he was sleeping at about 8:45 p.m. One of the suspects entered the victim's bedroom with a crowbar, told the victim to lie face down on his bed and stated, "If you make a move, I'll blow your head off," the victim told police. The victim remained face down and did not see the other two suspects but heard them talking, police said. The suspects raided the victim's bedroom and apartment for about 45 minutes, taking $2,000 worth of goods, including a cell phone, 25 DVDs, three watches, a gold chain, a wallet and $200 in cash.


Which would you prefer in this case? A .45 caliber handgun or a 45-minute home invasion while under the threat of death at the hands of the local crackhead union?

Timothy R. Taylor, 33, of Brooks Street, was arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property on Brooks Street March 18 at 1:07 a.m. The victim told police that her live-in boyfriend and father of her child used a rock to smash in the rear door and enter the apartment. Four hours earlier, the victim had filed a police report stating that Taylor threatened to kill her and take the baby.


Rock control - NOW! Rocks have no sporting purpose. No one NEEDS a rock. Did you know you're 43 times more likely to kill yourself than an intruder if you keep a rock in the house? This new generation of high-powered and easily concealed rocks can penetrate car windshields if dropped from a highway overpass. Clearly, there is no place in a civilized society for rocks. You want to own a rock? Become a landscaper.

An Irish immigrant reported a robbery to police at the intersection of Harvard and Commonwealth avenues in the early morning hours after St. Patrick's Day. The victim told police he was walking with a friend March 18 at 2:15 a.m., when four unknown men attempted to have a conversation with the victim using a poor Irish accent. The victim told the men that they were not Irish and to leave him alone, police said. The two white male suspects, about 24- to 30 years old, then yelled out "Police," grabbed the victim's friend, forced him to the ground and robbed him, the victim told police. A third white male grabbed the victim, forced him to the ground and took his cell phone. The victim fought back and was able to keep his wallet, police said. A fourth suspect, described as a 24-year-old Asian male, about 5-foot-9, wielded a broken bottle to hold off the victims and then escaped in a taxicab, police said.


Four against two? Doesn't sound fair to me, but that's the way Mumbles likes it, apparently. So deal.

A 27-year-old female reported an armed robbery at the intersection of Union and Winship streets March 18 at 2:30 a.m. The victim told police that an unknown man displayed a silver handgun and demanded her purse. The suspect shoved the gun into her side, took her bag, which contained $2 and personal papers, and told her to start walking down the street. The suspect then fled up Union Street, police said. Police searched the area to no avail.



Is anyone else starting to see a pattern here?



Let's run the numbers.

6 incidents of violent crime against unarmed, defenseless victims...

in a 1 square mile area of one of Boston's "safe" neighborhoods...

over the course of 4 days,

with 4 of these incidents occurring

over a span of just over 2 hours.

Welcome to the fantasy world of gun control.


Rest In Peace

Terri Schiavo has passed away. May she, and everyone involved in this incredible saga, find peace.


Worst Self Defense Argument Ever

Hands down.

LOWELL, Mass. -- A Lowell man is convicted of the 2002 slaying of another man who was shot while standing naked in the shower.

[snip]

The defense said Santos killed in self defense and there will be an appeal.


Tax the (Other) Rich

From the man who once said he'd pay a million dollars to see John Kerry win the White House:

Matt Damon: Mass. is failing in film industry

Actor and Oscar winner Matt Damon said his home state is losing out on millions of dollars in revenue from movie and TV productions that other states are claiming because they provide creative financial incentives and a unified marketing effort that he says do not exist in Massachusetts.

In a wide-ranging telephone interview last week, Damon weighed in on the confusion fueled by dueling film offices in Massachusetts and the state's lack of tax incentives to entice big-budget productions to the region.


What else should he expect from a state wholly under the control of tax-and-spend liberals, oops, sorry, "progressives" for whom taxing people for driving into downtown Boston is "outside the box" thinking?

Massachusetts refuses to offer "creative financial incentives" to its own residents and business owners (unless, of course, they're members of a local union extortionist lobby). What makes people think they'd be willing to extend such benefits to out-of-state interests? And, some people think that the solution to problems like this lies in expanding the influence of Bay State liberalism at the national level with a candidate like John Kerry in the Oval Office?

I don't think so.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Defenseless Woman Stabbed in Chinatown

A woman was stabbed tonight on Tyler Street in Chinatown during a robbery attempt. This story is just breaking - will post more tomorrow.

Such is life in the Defenseless Victim Zone. Congratulations, Mr. Mayor, Senator Barrios, Representative Toomey, and the rest of you useless hacks - your "plan" is working.

The day I leave this Marxist hellhole, I'll be sure to drop trou so the lot of you can kiss my pale white ass as I'm walking away.



Pucker up, fellas.


Mmmmm...Pie.

Bloggers and pistol-packing parents, Analog Mouse (of the now-defunct blog, One Little Victory) and her hubby, Professor Rhodar, are now co-blogging over at Liberty and Pie. Stop by and say hello.

Also, be sure to congratulate her on her recent nomination to serve on the Board of Directors at her local gun club. Good job!


Gun-Fearing Wussy of the Day

We have a winner! Today's featured bedwetting, anti-gun wussbag is Newtonville resident, Jeffrey Charles, quoted in this article in the Newton TAB comparing the number of licensed gun owners in Newton to that of some of the surrounding communities. We'll get to Jeffrey in a moment, but we begin with this wonderfully biased opening paragraph by TAB writer Amanda McGregor, who gets the "GFW of the Day" first runner-up prize.

The next time you think about cutting someone off while driving along Washington Street, or agree to let your child play at the house of a family you don't know very well, consider this fact: More than 1,200 Newton residents are licensed to own a gun.


Implying, of course, that licensed gun owners are a collective threat to society, likely to start shooting up schoolyards in town with even the slightest (if any) provocation. It's a wonder people like Ms. McGregor here can muster the courage to leave the house with all these maniacal killers running free.

To the credit of the Newton TAB, they do include this quote from Don Kusser, a regional coordinator for the National Rifle Association:

"They don't seem to throw the book at people who misuse firearms," said Kusser, membership chairman of the Braintree Rifle and Gun Club, which he said has many Newton members. "If you're looking at the people being arrested for gun violence, show me how many of them have a license."

He continued, "If I live in Newton, and I put a sign in front of my house that says, 'Gun-free zone,' and the person across the street has one that says, 'NRA member,' which house is the criminal going to pick? ... It is my Second Amendment right."


And now for the opposing viewpoint from our winner (put you tinfoil helmets on for his one).

But Newtonville resident Jeffrey Charles still wonders if owning a gun is more dangerous than not.

"Most people who pull a gun get killed," said Charles, adding that he would insist that a family dissemble any weapons before allowing a child to visit the home. Owning a gun is "... just another way of getting another kid killed. I don't even think lawful people have any business owning a gun."


Fuck you, Jeffrey. Pull what's left of your malfunctioning head out of your ass and take a much-needed breath of reality. And don't even think about forcing me and my family to live in your sad, delusional world. Your refusal to accept any responsibility for your own well-being is just plain sad. You want to subject your personal sovereignty to the whims of others? Knock yourself out. Just don't get all bent out of shape if others refuse to get in line with you.

One more quote of note. Our second runner-up prize goes to Joyce of Newtonville:

"Why would you need a gun here? There's not that much crime around here."


So much for "guns cause crime", I guess.


This is "Progressive"?

We are LONG OVERDUE for another "tea party" in town. May I suggest we start by throwing this euro-socialist wannabe jackoff of a city councilor into the harbor?

Fee eyed for those who drive into Hub


A city councilor is looking to turn Boston into a commuter toll zone so that people who drive into the city would have to pay to enter.

Saying the half-million commuters who drive into Boston each day are major contributors to traffic and parking congestion, Councilor Paul J. Scapicchio wants the city to look into requiring passes costing $1 to $5 daily and catching scofflaws by installing cameras to record license plates of cars crossing over from the suburbs without the passes. Today, he will ask for a council hearing to explore the idea.


Memo to Councilor Scapicchio: Go piss up a rope!

I'm seriously at a loss for words here. How can anyone honestly look at this plan and think it's a good idea? Paying for the privilege of driving into a city that's already plagued by construction detours, potholes, and leaking tunnels? Sounds fabulous, where do I sign up?

This hack, Scapicchio, was on the "Blute and Scotto Show" on WRKO this morning, defending this Orwellian scheme as some kind of courageous "outside the box" thinking. And, when asked why he wanted to impose another tax on Boston drivers, he was ready with this all-too-predictable response:

I wouldn't title it a "tax".


It terrifies me to think about what Councilor Scapicchio and the rest of these flunkies would consider "inside the box" thinking. As pissed off as I am right now, I would like to take a moment to thank Councilor Scapicchio for providing me with this additional incentive to get my family out of Boston (and Massachusetts) as soon as humanly possible.

Now read this story from the Boston Herald:

Sobering study slams stagnating city

Boston needs fixing.

And it's not just the Big Dig that's the problem.

A new study says a broad array of problems, from the high cost of housing to the low quality of education, has the Hub on a collision course with the kind of stagnation not seen since the 1950s.


Hey, I have an idea! Let's charge people a "fee" to enter the city. That'll get them coming back in droves. And people are wondering why Massachusetts was the only state to lose population from the last census count.


Sticker now available at the
mAss Backwards store


Monday, March 28, 2005

Defending a Woman's Right To Choose



Just one of the new items added to the mAss Backwards store at Cafepress.com. All proceeds to go to a VERY worthy cause. Trust me.


Friday, March 25, 2005

See You Monday

Blogging is now officially on hiatus until Monday. We're packing up the kids and driving north to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Maine for the Easter weekend.

I'll leave you with this rather, um, descriptive tribute to the greatest Easter confection known to mankind - Cadbury Creme Eggs



The true wonder of the Cadbury Egg is it's luscious, sweet, sticky, slimy candy yolk. Nobody is really sure what to classify it as, but more people would be open to oral sex if bodily fluids tasted this good. The yolk is quite gluish - you could easily tack up posters with the stuff. In effect, the two broken pieces of chocolate shell serve a miniature dishes so you don't have to get the crap all over your fingers. Some, like myself, don't even bother eating the chocolate afterwards. I mean, you just ate Heaven's Yolk -- how's a piece of flimsy chocolate going to top that?


Have a good one.


More Morons in the News

Two juveniles arrested after pizza ploy by police

BOSTON (AP) -- A Boston police officer turned pizza deliveryman and nabbed two would-be robbers last night.

It all started when the owner of a Roxbury pizza shop told police he had just received an order from an apartment where his deliveryman had been robbed the week before.

So, according to police, an undercover officer decided to pose as a deliveryman and see what happened when he arrived with the pizza. A number of other officers were sent to wait outside.

Police said the "deliveryman" rang the doorbell and announced "pizza" several times. When the door opened and he stepped into the foyer of the apartment, he saw two people dressed in black, wearing masks and holding knives.

The officer revealed his true identity and arrested the suspects with the help of other officers who rushed in.


Man, if cars ran on stupid, the debates in this country over drilling in Alaska and wind farms off the coast of Nantucket would be rendered moot.

But, it's not just morons in the news. Here we find one writing the news.

The blast from the 38 mm handgun produced a surprisingly strong kick, one that caused Audrey Sementilli to shake her head as she placed the pistol back on the counter in front of her.


With an inch-and-a-half barrel diameter? I would think so!

UPDATE: OK, I know I had already signed off for the weekend, but in the interest of journalistic integrity, I couldn't let this important update wait until Monday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has "corrected" their earlier mistake from the story above.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly noted the caliber of the handgun fired by Audrey Sementilli. The corrected version appears below.

The blast from the .38 mm handgun produced a surprisingly strong kick, one that caused Audrey Sementilli to shake her head as she placed the pistol back on the counter in front of her.


Yeah, THAT'S better.

UPDATE: The third time's a charm!

The blast from the 38 caliber handgun produced a...


Pretty quick too. If only Dan Rather and CBS could be so efficient in the corrections department.


Some People Never Learn

Rule #1 - Don't bring a knife to a gunfight.

Or, in this case, a boxcutter to a gun shop robbery.

Man Tries to Steal Gun to 'Rescue Schiavo'

SEMINOLE, Fla. -- A man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo," authorities said.

Michael W. Mitchell, of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall's Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.


Fucking idiot. Have fun in prison, asshole.


Life Imitates Monty Python

But, then again, when doesn't it?

Woman pelts robbery suspect with bananas

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Crystal Senger stopped at a convenience store to buy pop and cigarettes, and she saw the clerk being choked in a robbery attempt. She ran to call for help. Then she started throwing bananas.

Senger, 19, said she grew up playing organized baseball, and used those skills to pelt the suspect in the head with every banana she threw, from about 10 feet away.

"I was seven-for-seven," Senger said in a telephone interview Thursday. "They were green bananas -- not the ripe mushy ones -- so they hurt."

Senger said the suspect, who police said was intoxicated, was stunned from getting hit by the flying fruit.




While on the subject, be sure to check Entertainment Weekly's Top-20 Monty Python sketches. Good stuff.

(EW link via Viking Pundit)


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Quotes of the Week

Jason at The Kallini Brothers does quite a number on this frighteningly dimwitted op-ed piece from The Nation, written by one Ari Berman. You only need to read this one sentence, though, to sum it all up.

"Oh, I get it. You're retarded."


Read the whole thing. You won't be disappointed. Also, on a somewhat related note, from Say Uncle:

One man's common sense is another man's kiss my ass.


Well put.


For the Math Geeks

Given:

A + B = 5

and

A x B = 3


Solve:

A^2 + B^2 = ?


UPDATE: Oops...that should be "A x B = 3". My bad.


More Food For Thought

Why is it in this country, that when a 14-year-old girl attempts to get an abortion without the consent of her parents, she is referred to as a young woman...

This bill puts young women's lives at risk, makes criminals out of caring physicians, and affects the care of all patients,'' Warren Seigel, a doctor and member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, told the panel.


...while a 19-year-old man, arrested for illegally carrying a loaded handgun on the subway, is a teenager?

A Hyde Park teenager was ordered held on $2,500 cash bail after his arraignment Monday on charges he carried a loaded handgun on an MBTA Red Line train Sunday, the Suffolk district attorney's office reported. Brandon Abercrombie, 19, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition for allegedly boarding a train at Andrew Station with a gun inside his waistband. He is due back in Boston Municipal Court April 12 for a pretrial hearing.


Globe link via reader Seth. Though, as I was posting this, I thought the name "Brandon Abercrombie" looked familiar. This is the same punk from the Boston Herald Article in my last Weekend Wrap-up post.

Thanks anyway, Seth. It's good to see people are paying attention.


I'll Take "Kids Who Kick Ass"...

...for $400, please, Alex.

Student reinstated after suspension over smoking principal photos

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A high school student who caught his principal apparently breaking a state anti-smoking law on film was suspended after he posted the photos on the Internet.

But the school district on Wednesday reversed course, wiping Eliazar Velasquez's suspension from his record, and saying the principal was not setting a good example for students.

Velasquez, a sophomore at Central High School, snapped pictures of Principal Elaine Almagno apparently smoking a cigarette outside an open school door earlier this month. Smoking within 25 feet of a school building violates state law.

Velasquez then posted the pictures on a Web site and distributed fliers at school telling students where to find the photos. On the site, along with the photos, was a message criticizing Almagno.


From Eliazar's website:

I got information from a certain individual that Ms.Almagno had a small spot behind the school where she liked to smoke at almost every day after school. I checked out the spot before school started and spent the rest of the school day looking for the best view to commit my deed. I wasn't able to get any good spots from inside the school, so I would have to risk coming out into the open to get the shot, but it was well worth it. I sneaked around after school until she finally came out with another teacher(who wasn't smoking) to have a friendly chat, and a smoke. I had to be real careful, since there were still people walking about. I hid behind a wall and took as many pictures as I could(I even got one where she was looking straight down at the camera!), and took off with my goodies.


OK, this might not exactly be the next "Rathergate", but this kid rocks! Good job!


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bay State Lawbreakers and Lawmakers

More "progressive" bullshit legislative efforts emanating from Beacon Hill today. And once again, our good friend State Representative Timothy "It's for the Children" Toomey Jr. is leading the charge. From the Boston Herald:

Pols pitch driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

Bay State lawmakers pushing to allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses say the move will not only help them get to their jobs but will improve government efforts to track them.


TRACK them? Fuck that. What say we DEPORT them and tell them to get in line with the rest of the folks trying to LEGALLY enter the country. If these people HAVE jobs, as Rep. Toomey claims in this article, then that will surely help them on their way toward gaining status as a LEGAL immigrant.

"Other states are doing it," said Rep. Timothy J. Toomey Jr. (D-Cambridge), who has filed a bill to allow the move.


That's your argument? "Other states are doing it"? Are you serious? You sure you want that standard to rule the day?

You want to know what else "other states" are doing, Tim? They're allowing law-abiding citizens to legally carry concealed weapons without interference from liberal asswipe politicians such as yourself. Have a look. There are currently 35 states that are "shall issue" with regard to the issuance of concealed carry permits. Clearly then, following your feeble-assed reasoning, we need to jump on board with that program. I mean, for the children, and all.

Hello?

Hello?

Still with us, Tim?

"My point is they're here. They're working. They're paying taxes. From a public safety viewpoint, we'll know who these individuals are."


But if "they're working" and "they're paying taxes", wouldn't it stand to reason that we already know WHO they are?

Toomey said 150,000 illegal immigrants in Massachusetts are driving without insurance or a license because they don't have a Social Security number.


So, they don't have Social Security numbers, driver's licenses, green cards, or any form of government-issued ID, yet they're "paying taxes"?

I don't think so.

And certainly not the same income taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, or any number of "fees" the rest of us law-abiding folks are paying. Any bum with a buck and a quarter in his pocket can go down to the 7-11, buy a cup of coffee, and "pay taxes".

You're going to have to do better than that, Tim.

Sadly, this pathetic inability to embrace reality is par for the course for Representative Toomey and his ilk up on Beacon Hill. From this previous post back in February we were treated to his brilliant ideas for funding some newly proposed crime fighting initiatives:

"We want to be tough on crime, but we also want to be tough on the causes of crime," said Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios, D-Cambridge, co-chairman of the committee said. "We've lost our way and lost our focus on preventing youth violence."

[snip]

He said he hopes to work with the Romney administration to find the money for the proposals. The House chairman of the committee, Rep. Timothy J. Toomey Jr., D-Cambridge, said one possibility is to increase licensing fees on firearm identification cards and gun purchases.


Driver's licenses for criminals who shouldn't even be IN the country to begin with? Good. Gun licenses for responsible, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens? Bad.

Up yours, pal.

State Representative Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., S-Cambridge


(link via Wizbang)


The Terri Schiavo Controversy

(in five words or less)

Thank God she's not black.


Inside Dirt - Vol. 3

Stories from the Big Dig they don't want you to hear.

My commentary on this Boston Herald article was going to be just another stand-alone post on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Big Dig, but I figured I might as well include it in my Inside Dirt series. Chalk it up to it being a slow news day on the local front, I guess.

Again, these posts are based of my personal experience and observations from my time spent on the Project. Agree? Disagree? Think I'm full of crap? Let me know. Comments section below is open 24 hours a day.

Patchwork early fix failed in Big Dig tunnel

Big Dig managers failed in their attempts to fix defective tunnel walls a few years ago, raising questions about maintenance costs and the likelihood of a permanent repair.

[snip]

The failure of those efforts is significant because the ability to implement lasting repairs will determine whether taxpayers end up shelling out more money to maintain Interstate 93 tunnels after contractors leave town.


And people blame the rising cost of HOUSING on the recent decline in the state's population? Yeah, right. I'm sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with people choosing not to participate in the taxpayer-funded Big Dig bailout program coming down the pike.

While project officials prepare repair plans, state and federal investigators are asking how inspectors for Bechtel and Modern Continental failed to identify and correct the problems in the first place.


Hmmm...I wonder.

(Bechtel Project Manager Keith) Sibley said yesterday he does not know why inspectors missed the defects. "The only answer I have is that the defective material is more readily distinguishable at this age of the tunnels," he said, explaining that unsound clay and other trapped materials may have been mistaken for concrete.


That's the ONLY answer you have, Keith?

As much as I respect Keith Sibley, and consider him one of the "good guys" in this fiasco, I can't help but feel that his answer here is rather disingenuous.

As Keith Sibley and project construction managers well know, there are several ways in which defective material or voids in the concrete can get trapped in the concrete slurry walls. The most common, and easily detectable (and avoidable) of these are as follows:

Substandard slurry mix used to support the walls of the excavation prior to and during concrete placement: If the slurry fails in this regard, the walls of the excavation can break up, sending chunks of soils and clay into the concrete as it's being placed. Field testing for the quality of the slurry is easily performed on-site with a minimal amount of effort on the part of B/PB Material Technicians working in conjunction with the B/PB Field Engineering staff.

Failure to confirm clean bottom of excavation prior to concrete placement: Before any concrete can be placed for a slurry wall panel, it is the responsibility of the B/PB Field Engineer to test the soundness of the bottom of the excavation. This is done by lowering a line with a metal weight on the end down into the hole and bouncing it off the bottom. If the bottom of the hole is "clean", you will feel the "thud" of the weight on the hard surface. If there is material on the bottom that would require additional effort by the contractor to remove, the softness of the clay or soil can be felt as well. This is something I've done on numerous occasions. It's not rocket science, but it requires the experience to know what you're doing and what you're looking for.

Failure to properly monitor the elevation of the top of concrete and bottom of tremmy pipe during placement: Concrete is placed in the wall panels via a tremmy pipe, which consists of several sections of pipe connected together and extended down to the bottom of the excavation. The concrete flows down the pipe and displaces the slurry upward as the placement progresses. When there is sufficient concrete in the hole, the pipe is raised and a section is removed, and the placement continues. It is critical that there be sufficient concrete in the hole to ensure that as the pipe is raised, the bottom end remains submerged in the fresh concrete. Should the pipe come out of the concrete at any time then the fresh concrete will mix with the slurry, creating a void of structurally unsuitable material. Again, this is not rocket science, but the process requires close monitoring by a competent Field Engineer to guarantee a quality end product.

If at any phase of the construction, these three activities are not closely and competently monitored, it should come as no surprise if the resulting end product proves to deficient.

The FIRST thing that should be looked as these investigations start to pick up steam are these field inspection reports. Was the work properly inspected and documented? Was the person signing off on these inspection reports qualified to do so? Were corrective actions taken if deficiencies in the work were noted?

These are the questions officials SHOULD be focusing on. Let's put an end to the finger pointing, pull these inspection records, and get some friggin' answers already. The taxpayers deserve nothing less that complete disclosure of all project records pertaining to this defective work.

See these previous posts for more "Inside Dirt":

Introduction
Volume 1
Volume 2


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Business as Usual in Meningrad

Stop me if you've heard this one before (as usual, the DHBA is in effect).

Thug slashes elderly woman, robs lottery winnings

An elderly woman trapped in the narrow entrance of her building was slashed in the gut by a robber who may have wanted her lottery winnings, police said.


Well, thank heavens this woman was unable to defend herself. We wouldn't want the violent criminal population in the city to suffer any decline now, would we? So, thanks to our dickless leaders and their anti-gun rights agenda, we now have a woman in the hospital recovering (thank God) from a stab wound and an armed, violent thug out roaming the streets, lying in wait for his next unarmed victim.

Fucking splendid.

"She was just saying she had been stabbed," the distraught woman said. "She had a towel around her stomach ... This is supposed to be a safe neighborhood." [emphasis mine]


Well, free people are supposed to be able to defend themselves from those who would seek to cause them harm. But, that hasn't stopped our "progressive" leaders from doing everything in their power to render that impossible.

Apparently, their solution involves handing over your money (or your car, your body, your children, etc.) at the first sign of trouble, taking your stabbing like a man, and to quit complaining about it. Now, shut up and get in line - we're the government and we're here to save you from yourselves.

Fuck that, thank you very much.


Inside Dirt - Vol. 2

Stories from the Big Dig they don't want you to hear.

Well, here it is. The second in a series on the tax dollar sinkhole we here in the Bay State "affectionately" call the Big Dig. These posts consist of my personal observations from my years working on the Project. See these previous posts for more information:

Introduction
Volume 1

I won't promise a massive "smoking gun" with every post. In fact, some of these may seem, at first glance, to be somewhat trite and rather mundane. But at the end of it all, after you've had time to absorb all the information presented here, the resulting big picture will both amuse you and cause you to roll your eyes in disbelief. You will find that your own personal amusement level will be directly proportional to the amount of real estate between you and Massachusetts (Boston in particular), and inversely proportional to the percentage of your tax dollars that makes its way into the Bay State coffers.

Got it? Good. Now, let's move on.

Vol. 2: Riding The Wave of 80's Technology into the 21st Century

Flashback to the early 90's. The Project was starting to pick up steam, and with the accompanying increase in manpower and project expansion throughout the downtown area, project management began looking for ways to streamline some of the ways things got done.

One "innovation" of the day was a relatively new concept, known as e-mail.

The first "e-mail" program used on the project was little more than an interoffice messaging system - DOS-based, white-on-blue text messages, you get the idea. Anyway, one day I sent a friend of mine a message asking if he was going to come to a party my roommate and I were throwing.

Now, my friend here, whose language tended to run on the colorful side, had just finished reading "Trainspotting". Let's just say that some of the, um, vernacular from the book found its way into his reply - including such phrases as "let's get together later and butt heads like a couple girlies, you dos cunt".

Normally this wouldn't be an issue, just him being himself, but the geniuses who set up the e-mail program put as the default entry at the top of the address list "ALL EMPLOYEES". And, as we found out, if you accidentally hit ENTER twice when selecting the name of the addressee from the list, it selects this "ALL EMPLOYEES" default option. And if you send the message without noticing what you've done...you guessed it. Real good system [/sarcasm].

Fortunately, he was able to get the folks at the help desk to delete the message from the server, but not until someone in the AA/EEO office opened her e-mail and read what she must have determined to be the most vile hate speech she had ever encountered, triggering a sexual harassment complaint against my friend and me. We were dragged in to a big meeting with human resources personnel and our department managers (who could barely contain their laughter over how frigging stupid and over-blown the whole issue was).

The end result of all of that was that the e-mail in question didn't necessarily amount to sexual harassment, and we each received a slap on the wrist "warning" not to do it again. But that's not even what this post is about. It's only a brief introduction to set the stage for what happened next on this wave of technological advancements on the Big Dig.

A few years later, the project really got "high-tech" (yes, I'm being sarcastic again). The project upgraded all their workstations to Windows 3.1, Windows NT, and eventually Windows 95. Never mind that most of the computers were piece-of-junk 386's and 486's that had to have extra memory installed just to run Windows 95, that's a whole separate issue for another day.

The big news at the time of this supposed "upgrade" was that now our e-mail accounts were good for sending and receiving, who'd have guessed it, e-mail. The domain name bigdig.com was secured by the Project for its website and e-mail server.

Now, this was still, in Big Dig terms, a fairly new technology, so a helpful memo was distributed to help employees become familiar with using their e-mail. This memo was in the form of an FAQ sheet, with one of the questions going something like this:

"I want to give my friends my e-mail address. How do I know what it is?"

The answer then explained that one's e-mail address was your project username - at- bigdig.com. Needless to say, folks began to use their e-mail...A LOT. And this is where the story gets good.

When the Big Dig was looking for an e-mail service provider, some IDIOT, with apparently no knowledge whatsoever on the subject, awarded the contract to what MUST HAVE been the lowest (read: rock-bottom) bidder. How do I know this? Well, it wasn't long before this company started billing the Project for their services.

Lo and behold, and much like the groundwater downtown, the billings for e-mail service were through the roof. The e-mail service plan signed onto by the Big Dig was one that charged a low monthly fee (hence the low-bidder part), BUT also charged on a per message basis. And how were the message charges calculated? BY FILE SIZE.

What's that, you say? A friend of yours just sent you a funny picture? CHA-CHING!

And you thought it was so funny you had to forward it to a dozen friends and family members? CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING! CHA-CHING!

So, now, after only a short period of time, the Project was facing bills in the thousands of dollars for employees' personal e-mail - the very same e-mail messages that were sent and received using the Project's specific instructions on how to give your friends your e-mail address for just this purpose.

Corrective action taken? Bill the individual employees and actually insist that they pay for these charges. I heard from reliable sources at the time that some individuals' e-mail "bills" were in the four-digit range. Like so many things that I talk about from my days on the Dig, I WISH I was making this up.

I know that some people actually paid up. I also heard that others essentially advised the Project on what they could do with their "requests for payment". And apparently, enough people chose this second option, and the Project dropped the issue and didn't pursue any further collection efforts.

There are some records to go looking for, Attorney General Reilly. Start building your case by developing a pattern of incompetence and piss-poor decision making on the part of Project management. The information is out there, you just have to know where to look. But what do I know?

This is my story, and I'm sticking to it. Again, these posts are based on my personal experiences and observations from my time spent on the Project. If anyone wishes to call into question the accounts contained herein, the comment section below is wide open - have at it. Should any of my recollections of events prove to be inaccurate, I will be more than happy to publish a correction or retraction.

Well, kids, it's getting late and I want to get this post up before going to bed, so I'll cut it off right here. I'm not sure what I'll have up for my next installment. I may just continue this topic of the Project's information technology woes. We'll see. Good night.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Long Duk Dong

Sorry, couldn't resist the title there. In fact, I'm sorry for even posting this.

Found! The longest bird penis ever

North American scientists have discovered the longest bird penis ever - a 42.5cm organ belonging to a duck.


Yes, you sickos, there is a picture accompanying the story.

The authors write that this species is "promiscuous and boisterous in their sexual activity", which means that there is likely to be stiff competition by drakes to be the father of ducklings.

One finding in support of this idea, they suggest, is that the drake's penis has a brush-like tip, which they say the males probably use to scrub the sperm of previous mates from the female's oviduct.


There's a Ben Affleck joke in there somewhere, but I ain't goin' there.

(link via Kallini Brothers)


Straight Shooter

Here's an very interesting piece from this week's Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, centering around Boston Police Officer (and firearms instructor), Billy Kennedy, and the policies of the BPD concerning the use of lethal force. It's a bit lengthy, but it covers a lot of information, and is well worth the time to read it. I'll post just the opening paragraph here to tease you in.

Straight Shooter

To this day, Billy Kennedy doesn't quite know why he's alive and Roy Sergei isn't. When Ted Jeffrey Otsuki, a career bank robber, came running out of an alley and pointed a gun at him one night in 1987, Kennedy's instinct was to press himself against the wall of the Back Bay storefront where he and Sergei, a pair of Boston cops, had given chase. The shots whizzed past in an instant 13 in all. "I felt the bullets go by my face," Kennedy recalls. "I fired a round at Otsuki. Then two people came up. He got behind them. I pulled my finger off the trigger. He went around the corner, and I couldn't see him."


My one criticism would be of some of the statistical comparisons therein, but aside from that, I found it well-written and extremely non-biased, given its source.

And it's not every day you open the Boston Globe and see this.


Weekend Wrap-up

Well, this weekend in The Hub was one big MGCSS (surprise, surprise). Let's kick things off with these three items from the Boston Herald:

Four dead in weekend of `no respect'

Officials are on edge after a murderous weekend in the Hub left a beloved correction officer and three others dead.

[snip]

Lang allegedly stabbed Dever multiple times in the chest, face and neck outside Sullivan's Pub in Charlestown early Saturday.


Police said a man and woman were shot several times on Dorchester's Longfellow Street just before 10 p.m. Friday.


On Friday, 17-year-old Tacary Jones of Dorchester was confronted by a group of teens and shot dead in broad daylight on an MBTA bus on Columbia Road.


"No respect for human life," Menino said of the fatal MBTA bus ambush. "That's one that really concerns (me) especially on a bus."


Not too much respect for our "common-sense" gun control laws either, eh, Tom?

Let's continue, shall we?

Thug stabs BMC nurse


A Boston Medical Center emergency room nurse wound up as a patient yesterday morning when a man she startled in an employee break room pulled a knife and stabbed her in the side, police and hospital officials said.

[snip]

Police gave up the search after about two hours when it was determined the suspect had bolted moments after the stabbing, McCarthy said.


It's always nice to hear stories of large, psychotic individuals randomly stabbing people a hundred yards or so from my office.

And finally, this comforting tale.

Teens taken in for trading weapons on T

A group of teenagers who allegedly passed around a gun and knives on the MBTA Red Line were arrested yesterday after a rider told police, a source said.

[snip]

A search yielded a .357 revolver and two knives. Brandon Abercrombie, 19, of Hyde Park was arrested for possession of a gun and two other teens were issued summons for possessing knives, T police said.


No doubt, Brandon purchased that gun legally in Vermont. I blame Ben & Jerry.

Violent thugs shooting and stabbing folks at will, guns and knives being traded on city buses like Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and all of this taking place in one of the country's top-five havens of oppressive gun control laws. Any guesses on what the soon-to-be proposed "solutions" will consist of?

Beuller?

Beuller?

OK, that might have been a rhetorical question.

Hold on to your sombreros, yarmulkes, toques, and turbans - I'm about to go way out a limb here (again). The new over/under for the latest knee-jerk reaction from our statist flunky politicians calling for additional restrictions on the legal possession of firearms in Massachusetts is officially set at 0.99 days. I have every bit of confidence that State Senator Jarrett Barrios or some other nitwit in a position of power will open his or her misguided, ill-informed yap sometime in the next 24 hours and call for additional CSGC legislation, and that said legislation will, of course, be utterly useless.

Any takers?

Meanwhile, on the lighter, happier side of the weekend...

Sunday was range day. Jay, who blogs over at North Georgia Dogma, drove down through the bowels of the People's Republik to join me at the AFS range in North Attleboro. We put his pistol collection through the paces, including his newest acquisitions, his NAA Mini-Mag, and his Ruger Single-Six (both .22LR revolvers).

The line-up for the afternoon consisted of (Jay, correct me if I've got any of the details wrong):

- NAA Mini-Mag (.22LR)
- Two-shot Derringer (.38 sp) [duly noted - thanks, Jay]
- Ruger Single-Six (.22LR)
- Colt Police revolver (.38 sp) - Jay's grandfather's service revolver (and a damn fine handgun)
- Ruger Security Six (357 magnum)
- Smith & Wesson Airlite snubby (.357 magnum)
- Smith & Wesson SW99 (.40 SW)

One observation, I have never used the word "cute" to describe a handgun. That is, until, I saw the Mini-Mag up-close and personal-like. To paraphrase Johnny Hinshaw, it can be a handgun, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl!

I'll leave it up to Jay to post the rest of the details, if he feels like it. Suffice to say, a good time was had by all, especially the local paper clip population (inside joke, don't sweat it).

Have a good Monday, all.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Enough Already!

As if selling (not to mention buying) pretzels and grilled cheese sandwiches that look like the Virgin Mary on eBay wasn't ridiculous enough, now it's come to satanic turtles and holy roasting pans.

MICHIGANTOWN, Ind. -- Could it be... Satan? A central Indiana pet shop owner says a turtle that was the only animal to survive an October fire has developed an image of Satan's face on its shell.

[snip]

Dora has produced a DVD of the turtle's story that he plans to auction on the Internet. He will also offer the winning bidder the chance to buy Lucky off-line.


Susan McGuinness, of Dorchester, said the burnt label on her roasting pan looks like the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus. She spotted the metal "miracle" just before she put the pan in the dishwasher on Sunday.

[snip]

McGuinness said she will probably sell the pan on eBay.


Damn! I took a dump last week that looked just like Ernest Borgnine. But, like an idiot, I went and flushed the toilet. I bet that bad boy would've brought me at least five bucks.

UPDATE: Then I Saw Her Face...

Disregard everything I wrote above, and tell me this piece of paneling on my office wall isn't a spitting image of the Virgin Mary suckling the baby Jesus. Granted, she's also holding a Captain America shield, but that just makes it all the more, um, unique - and extra super-valuable.



WOO-HOO! I'm rich!


Tire Iron Maiden

Well, you can't turn on your radio in the Boston area today without hearing about this story out of Andover, Massachusetts (the title of this post was a suggestion from a caller to John Depetro's show on WRKO this morning).

An irate Andover housewife was freed without bail on assault charges after a case of snowball rage allegedly prompted her to chase down some kids with a tire iron and a can of pepper spray.


I'll hold off (for now) on commenting on the incident itself. I've heard too many varying accounts of the incident to make an accurate assessment of what actually transpired. I will, however, comment on this aspect of it:

NewsCenter 5's Jack Harper reported that Marie Needs, 48, was released after denying charges that included assault and battery with a tire iron and unlicensed possession of mace.


Now, for the benefit of my out-of-state readers who might be wondering why the hell one would need a license to carry pepper spray (and missed it the first time I posted it), I refer you to the FAQ page of the Boston Police Department's website.



I hope that clears things up for you.

UPDATE: 100% legal alternative for Massachusetts residents - no license required. To borrow a phrase...heh.


Thank You, Massachusetts

Jealous 'stalker' held in slashing


Love the 'scare quotes' around the word 'stalker'. As if it was just an amazing coincidence he was there to greet her as she stepped off the bus.

Proclaiming death was her "destiny," a man obsessed with a Brazilian woman inflicted a terrifying slashing as the woman stepped off a bus in Woburn on her way to work yesterday morning, police said.


Remember...guns cause crime.

Sheila-Costa's face was slashed about 7:30 a.m. as horrified commuters on Route 38 looked on.


Yes! "The Plan" is working! No doubt, somewhere, State Senator Jarrett Barrios is patting himself on the back this morning for a job well done.

Sheila-Costa worked at Maid Brigade on Green Street. Her boss, Bill Allen, said Sheila-Costa told co-workers she was afraid of Figueroa and feared he would harm her.

[snip]

Mahoney said Sheila-Costa tried to get a restraining order against Figueroa in Chelsea District Court on Wednesday but was unsuccessful because she did not know his last name.


"We're the government, and we're here to help."


Dibble Control Now!

For the children!


Fashion Statement

My "Rosie" t-shirt from GOA showed up in the mail yesterday. Just in time for Sunday's trip to the range.

Then I'll wear it for a stroll down Centre Street in JP, around Coolidge Corner in Brookline, and for a quick latte in Harvard Square. That'll really bring out the tolerant side of the local libs.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Quick Question

What's Iranian for piñata?

(link via BadPatty)


Gun Crime in Rozzie - Who Knew?

This MGCSS comes from my neighborhood of Roslindale, and serves as yet another shining example of the logic (or ridiculous lack thereof) that's been driving the gun control movement in this state for the last 30 years or so.

Cops bag SUV trio on drug, gun charges


A shooting victim named "Dirty Marvin" tumbled bleeding out of an SUV to the feet of Boston police Tuesday night as his pals sped off in a bumbled attempt to save their own skins.

Jose Mow, 17, Carlos Moore, 19, and Renaldo Cox, 17, didn't get far before police pulled over their Ford Explorer and allegedly found a handgun under the back seat, as well as six bags of pot.

The episode began shortly before 7:45 p.m. Tuesday when Mow and Donald "Dirty Marvin" Livingston, 30, allegedly walked in one door of the Archdale Community Center in Roslindale and emerged from another to gunfire.


So, here's another incident of gun crime taking place less than one mile from my house. But, according to the Boston Police Department licensing authority, the mere presence of violent crime in my community is not reason enough to allow me to carry a gun to protect myself and my family from gun-wielding drug dealers in my neighborhood.

They tell me, though, that if I've been the actual victim of gun crime, then I might be considered for the issuance of a carry permit.

I wonder if that was the reason for issuance Dirty Marvin and his friends put down on their LTC applications.

I guess all I have to do is start hanging around down at the Archdale projects with a big roll of 20's in my hand, and hope I suffer a minor enough gunshot wound so that I'll still be alive to take my LTC application in to BPD headquarters once I'm discharged from the hospital.

Seems a bit odd to reward those who knowingly engage in reckless behavior and to punish those of us who live our lives in a responsible manner by depriving us of our Constitutionally- protected rights. But this is Boston, Massachusetts - why would I expect anything less?


Mayor McCheese (D-Philadelphia)


Here Come the Feds

US attorney eyes Big Dig allegations

Top prosecutors in US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan's office have been gathering information about the leaks in the Big Dig tunnels and allegations that the Turnpike Authority has withheld documents from independent specialists who tried to learn more about the problem.

[snip]

(Retired Judge Edward M.) Ginsburg said the prosecutors were also interested in whether key documents detailing the construction history of the tunnels are missing. Engineers working for Ginsburg's team late last year said that when they sought to learn more about a massive leak that erupted in the tunnel wall in September, they found the paper trail about the construction and repair history of that section of the tunnel incomplete.

"They were interested in missing documents," Ginsburg said.


You don't say.

Two scenarios immediately come to mind.

(1) Construction deficiencies were noted (by a qualified B/PB inspector) at the time the work was performed, but deliberately dismissed by Project higher-ups, allowing the substandard work to proceed.

(2) Construction deficiencies were NOT noted at the time the work was performed, because an unqualified B/PB inspector had no idea what he or she was looking at.

Can't say either of those gives me the warm and fuzzies?


Whale Oil Beef Hooked

Here's wishing a happy St. Patrick's Day to all my readers of Hibernian persuasion, as well as those who just like getting out of work around noon to go get stinking drunk in the middle of the day. Just don't let me catch you with a plastic cup of rat piss beer with green food coloring in it.

If beer isn't your thing (regardless of pigmentation), may I suggest a glass (or three) of Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey.


Sláinte!


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Inside Dirt - Vol. 1

Stories from the Big Dig they don't want you to hear.

As promised, here is the first installment in a series of posts detailing my personal observations from my years on the Big Dig (see this post for additional information). As we prepare for takeoff, please fasten your seat belts, return your seats to a full upright position and secure the tray to the seatback in front of you.

The finger pointing has kicked into high gear over the disaster we call the Central Artery/Tunnel Project here in Boston (aka: The Big Dig, the Project). With every news story that comes out, the authorities seem to be getting closer and closer to the heart of the matter. Whether they actually figure it out is another story altogether. That is where yours truly comes in. Consider these posts a Public Service Announcement of sorts.

From the Boston Globe (03/16/05):

AG probes Big Dig firms; Romney rips Amorello

Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly has opened a fraud investigation of Big Dig contractors Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and Modern Continental Construction Co., focusing on what Reilly called poor oversight and shoddy work that left the tunnels plagued with leaks, defective walls, and damaged fireproofing.


More on the "poor oversight" issue later - and pay attention, because THIS is the heart of the problem, of that I have no doubt. But, back to the Boston Globe article for now.

Reilly disclosed the probe on a day of intense reaction to yesterday's Boston Globe story in which highly regarded tunnel engineer Jack K. Lemley, who led the investigation of the project's leaks, said he can no longer say with confidence that the Big Dig is safe to drive in.


Now, Mr. Lemley is not declaring the tunnel to be unsafe, per se, but this recent change in his assessment of the Project comes on the heels of an apparently deliberate attempt by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA) to prevent investigators from gaining access to certain project record documents.

Romney said he is especially concerned about Lemley's statement that the Turnpike Authority had blocked his access to key documents and data related to the hundreds of leaks in the Big Dig's tunnels.

"This is intolerable," Romney said. Referring to Amorello, he said: "The culture of obstruction and coverup starts at the very top."


Now, if they are referring to the documents I think they are (or at least the documents they SHOULD be focusing on), it will spell BIG trouble for the higher-ups in both the MTA and Project Management Consultants, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff (B/PB). This is where the issue of poor, or outright incompetent oversight comes into play...BIGTIME.

Reilly, meanwhile, said his fraud investigation would be carried out under the state's false claim act, which was established to root out corruption in government contracting. The statute makes it a crime for contractors to submit invoices or other demands for payments for work that was not done.

[snip]

"It can be a criminal matter," Reilly said. "Bechtel was hired to design it and oversee the management, including the work of Modern Continental, and they didn't do their job. That's where our focus is."


So, how does this oversight take place?

The Project, from the beginning, was divided up into many smaller projects, or contracts. These contracts would then individually be put out to bid, and awarded accordingly. This means the work on adjacent tunnel sections could be performed by different general contractors, both under the direct oversight of B/PB inspectors. There was nothing wrong with setting the project up this way. In fact, it makes perfect sense to have the oversight and inspection work done by a single agency, for reasons of coordination and consistency.

Let's look at what happens at ground level (or below ground, as the case may be). Every Big Dig contract has a field office for its B/PB staff, out of which a majority of oversight and record keeping is performed. The typical B/PB field office staff consists of a Resident Engineer, a Lead Field Engineer, Field Engineers (number depends on the scope of the work), Office Engineer, Claims and Changes Coordinator, and administrative personnel. Again, this is the "typical" field office set-up, and not a standard set-in-stone across the Project.

As work progresses, it is the responsibility of the Field Engineers to review the contract documents, and approved shop drawings and material submittals, to ensure the work is done in accordance with the specification requirements. For instance, if a concrete drawing shows epoxy-coated reinforcing bar, and the contractor were to try to cut corners by using plain steel rebar, it would be the job of the Field Engineer to alert the Contractor and make sure the error was corrected prior to signing off on the work.

As I mentioned previously, I worked for Bechtel on the Big Dig in varying capacities. I worked as a field engineer for one of the four contracts that make up the Leverett Circle Connector Ramp. Side note: of those four contracts, the one on which I had oversight responsibilities was the only one to receive a passing grade on the initial Federal Highways (FHWA) inspection.

Now, what do you suppose would be the qualifications a job candidate must possess to be considered for the position of Field Engineer? It should be a no-brainer - a degree in civil or construction engineering might be a good start. Actual experience in the construction industry and familiarity with materials and methods used on the Project would certainly be an asset to someone seeking such a position.

Well, as the project transitioned from the design phase to the construction phase, they started hiring for these positions based on such criteria. Early construction work on the Project included the South Boston Haul Road, downtown utility realignment, the immersed tube Ted Williams Tunnel, and other contracts outside the mainline tunnel downtown.

As the work progressed and the scope of the Project grew, the size of the B/PB staff increased accordingly, in all facets of the work (e.g. procurement, administrative support, finance and accounting, engineering and design, and construction). Then one day, the inevitable happened - political correctness reared its ugly head.

Suddenly, "diversity" was the big buzzword. The Project began holding mandatory diversity awareness training seminars for ALL project personnel. As a result, meticulous records were kept detailing the numbers of women and minority employees in every department, and at every pay grade. Some of this, I believe, was carried out under the guidelines established for public work receiving federal funds. To some extent, the Project's hands were tied when it came to complying with these requirements coming out of Washington.

As efforts to maintain the proper employment quotas stepped up, these tracking efforts yielded an interesting observation. The actual construction jobs (i.e. Field Engineers) were held by an overwhelming percentage of, you guessed it, white males. Clearly some kind of a racist conspiracy was at work here (that was sarcasm for those who might have picked up on that). But, rather than encouraging more qualified women and minority candidates to apply for these position, a more direct strategy was put into place.

A subsequent plan was kicked off to promote, from within, women and minority employees into these important positions with seemingly little regard to their qualifications or educational background. If you were a woman or minority working as a secretary or other administrative support position, and thought it would be neat to put on a hardhat and walk around downtown, the jobs were yours for the taking. Just sign up for an in-house class on how to read blueprints, or have the right connections and - PRESTO! - you're a qualified construction field inspector.

Now, come on folks. Honestly, what's more important? A diverse work place where we can be exposed to all sorts of wonderful people from varying cultural backgrounds (read: gender and skin color) or having a qualified group of individuals (regardless of gender or skin color) overseeing the largest tax-payer funded transportation construction project in the country?

Back now to the records being sought by the Attorney General's office.

If I were Tom Reilly (shudder), I would go after the B/PB Field Engineer's Daily Reports. All Field Engineers are required to keep a field book of hand-written notes, recording in detail the work that took place on that day, any and all deficiencies observed, and whatever corrective measures were implemented in the field as a result thereof. These notebooks then become part of the official project records.

In addition to these hand-written notes, the Field Engineers are required to input all the pertinent information into the computer records stored in the Project database. The software used by the field staff then generates a hard-copy printout of the Engineer's Daily Report, that has the Engineer's name printed on it and is signed by the Engineer. These reports are typically filed chronologically in large three-ring binders.

Should the AG get his hands on these reports, and the contents therein made public, it would come as no surprise to me to see the names of unqualified individuals on the reports covering the tunnel slurry wall construction activities at the locations where the now-known deficiencies have come to light. Note: If, upon review of these particular records, my claim here proves not to be valid, I will be the first to acknowledge that and immediately publish a retraction.

I won't name names here or offer other specifics, but it stands to reason if unqualified employees are "fast-tracked" from the position of secretary or office clerk to that of a Field Engineer, responsible for day-to-day oversight of construction activities, it would be grossly unrealistic to expect anything but substandard oversight as a direct result of that individual's promotion.

The Big Dig has turned into the biggest sham in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And the worst part of all of this is just how preventable this entire mess was from the beginning. The day the project fell victim to political correctness, and embraced feel-good, do-nothing policy (not to mention a certain disregard for public safety) over responsible and judicious use of taxpayer's money, was the day the battle was lost.

And, I'm just getting warmed up here. Future posts in this series will tend to be more light-hearted, intended mostly for entertainment purposes. That doesn't mean they won't involve the irresponsible misuse of your tax dollars. It just means you might actually be able to have a laugh at some of this B.S.

Next up - Vol. 2: Riding The Wave of 80's Technology into the 21st Century


More Big Diggings

Before I get my Big Dig post up later this afternoon, I thought I'd offer this one up as an appetizer.

Fellow Bay State blogger, Wave Maker, whose resume includes time served as General Counsel of the MBTA, has this post up on his dealings with the Big Dig, and the complete lack of anything resembling aggressive (to the point of ridiculous) cost-controlling measures.

During 1994, I had the occasion to advertise for a position in the law department for an attorney experienced in construction contract law. I received many resumes, one of the better ones coming from an individual who was working as one of the construction contract staff attorneys for the Central Artery project. I invited him in for an interview. During the interview, I asked him a rather mundane, and obvious, question, and a strange conversation ensued. As best I can recollect, it went somthing like this:

"So," I said, "tell me what it is that you do down there at CA/T."

He looked at me queerly, and said "Can I be frank?"

"I certainly hope so, in fact, I expect it," I assured him.

"I don't do anything," he said. He looked at me, embarrassed, and almost apologetic. "That's why I'm here. I'm going crazy down there, playing solitaire all day long." He shrugged. [emphasis mine]


I don't doubt his story for ONE second.


That Reminds Me

Back when I was studying civil engineering at a Boston-area university, (circa 1986 - the conceptual days of the Big Dig) this joke was making its way through the engineering department.

Q: How do you depress the Central Artery?

A: Have it listen to Mike Dukakis.


Ahhh...Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love Ridiculously Asinine Knee-Jerk (emphasis on "jerk") Politicians.

Mayor Declares City Violence A Crisis

Within the past eight days there have been 21 homicides in Philadelphia, including three in the late-night and early morning hours after the prosecutor made her appeal Monday.

[snip]

(Philadelphia Mayor) Street has declared the violence throughout the city a crisis and as a result has ordered the full review of police department policies and has suggested a full moratorium on the issuing of gun permits.


Ignorant asshole.

(link via KABA)


Buckle Up, Folks

The Inside Dirt (stories from the front line of the Big Dig they don't want you to hear) - Vol. 1 will be on-line today. Probably later in the afternoon or early evening.

UPDATE: This post will go up sometime after 6:00 PM tonight. Sorry for the wait.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Who Watched '24' Last Night?

Good stuff!


And Still More

It's shaping up to be quite the day for GFW-inspired drivel in our local papers. This first item comes from The Patriot Ledger:

Thanks to the vigilance of the gun lobby, a person on a government terror watch list can sashay into a gun shop and buy a weapon.


These are the same watch lists that were used to prevent Senator Ted Kennedy from boarding a plane - must've got mixed up with the "do not drive" list - and to issue alerts to airlines regarding suspicious passengers on-board the aircraft up to an hour AFTER the plane has taken off. There are many issues to be resolved concerning the government's use of "watch lists", but using them to regulate the legal sale of firearms through licensed gun dealers isn't one of them.

I mean, if the person in question IS a terrorist, it's not like there's a massive black market out there from which his organization could purchase pretty much anything they want - for considerably less than retail.

And, echoing the same tired rhetoric, is this letter to the editor of The Republican from Jerry Belair of Springfield, Massachusetts - another proud graduate of "The Ponch and John School of Firearms".

It's too easy for terrorists to get guns in the U.S. It is comforting to know that our U.S. House of Representatives is protecting our nation's citizens from the "threat of terrorism" by prohibiting the issuance of driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.


I particularly like Jerry's use here of "scare quotes" around the phrase "threat of terrorism", but not around the phrase "undocumented immigrants". It's always good to know right off the bat where someone's coming from.

These same venerable congressmen, in kowtowing to the National Rifle Association, have taken no action to prevent terror suspects from legally acquiring firearms...


Well, Jerry, in your opening paragraph, you acknowledge that Congress is acting to prevent illegal aliens from getting government-issued identification cards, a pretty damn good first step to prevent them from purchasing firearms from any gun shop in the country, if you ask me.

...including .50 caliber rifles capable of piercing armored vehicles at distances of two miles...


Yeah, like if given a set of surgical tools, I'd be "capable" of performing brain surgery. And if you and Jarrett continue copying off each others papers, I'll have to separate the two of you for good. And no recess!

...and 5.7 and .50 caliber handguns capable of piercing body armor.


Brilliant cut-n-paste job there. What happened, Jerry? Was the foam frothing out of your mouth as you were trying to type this shit interfering with your ability to work your mouse properly? And, hey, any chance you could send me some information on where I can get me one of those 5.7-caliber handguns? That thing must ROCK!

We can only imagine how many terror suspects bought guns from unlicensed sellers at gun shows where no application process is required.


Would you feel better, Jerry, if the transaction took place in a run-down crackhouse across town? Or in the back of a van in the parking lot at Denny's. Where are the cries for legislation closing the "Denny's Parking Lot Loophole"? Come on, people, think about the children!

But, hey, I'm sure Jerry is just a regular guy, a concerned citizen just like you or me. Maybe he just doesn't know any better. I mean, it's not like he's the legislative chairman of Stop Handgun Violence or anything.

Twit.


Here's a Shocker

U.S. charges 18 in Russian weapons-smuggling plot

NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. authorities on Tuesday announced the arrests of more than a dozen men on charges of attempting to smuggle Russian-made military weapons into the United States for sale to terrorists.

Eighteen men of various nationalities were charged by federal prosecutors for attempting to smuggle into the country arms that ranged from shoulder-fired missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, U.S. Attorney David Kelly said at a news conference in New York.


What? No .50-caliber rifles? No semi-automatic rifles? No magic detonating bullets capable of penetrating even the most rotund of Kennedy's?

And, you mean to tell me terrorists could actually acquire these weapons on the black market, foregoing any and all licensing requirements and government-mandated background checks?? Say it isn't so! I'm SHOCKED.

Why, this means that all the sniveling little dipshits like Senator Barrios here, in all likelihood, don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Or worse, that they know exactly what they're talking about, but have no moral qualms about using this blatantly transparent facade of anti-terrorism rhetoric to accomplish their goal of depriving law-abiding Americans of their constitutional right to bear arms.

I mean, why let silly little details like facts and logical thought cloud your thinking when you have hyperbole, lies, and fear-mongering in your corner?


Here They Come

This piece from Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson is almost too stupid to be worth mentioning, let alone responding too. But, don't worry. That's not likely to prevent me from doing just that. Yes, the standard DHBA is in effect. Here we go. I'll try to be brief.

Gun victims need more than prayers

A man fires away at a church in suburban Milwaukee, kills seven people and himself...


Wisconsin does not allow its law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons for self defense.

An inmate in Atlanta who was headed to court brutally beat a courthouse deputy for her gun, kills four people...


Law-abiding citizens, licensed to carry concealed weapons in the state of Georgia are not permitted to do so in courthouses.

A man in Chicago kills the husband and mother of a judge, eventually kills himself...


Chicago has a complete ban on handgun possession (unless you're a criminal, of course)

In Columbus, Ohio, a man came onstage at a heavy-metal concert and shot dead a guitarist and three other people...


One of the men in the audience was legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Ohio, but not in that nightclub.

In all of these tragic stories, the shooters were virtually guaranteed of being safe from return fire from someone defending his or her life and those of the people around him. Mr. Jackson, naturally, blames the guns for the crime, and is living under the false hope that it will be possible to rid the world of guns, and live in peace and harmony with our fellow man.

Mr. Jackson is an idiot.

At the heavy-metal shooting, the assailant had so much ammunition that one music fan, who was trapped in a corner, said, "I have no doubt that if that cop wouldn't have killed him, we would have all been dead."


Derrick, why not quote the guy who could have saved lives had he been allowed to carry his firearm on his person that night? You wouldn't be leaving out that little tidbit of information on purpose, now, would you?

I do give Mr. Jackson partial credit for this observation.

The victims get devotionals and prayer. But that is all they get. There is certainly no political action.


However, I suspect we have vastly differing views as to what that action should be.

Continuing on, he proceeds to discuss how Chrysler and General Motors should be responsible for the nation's drunk driving fatalities involving the motor vehicles they produced.

And what total piece-of-shit Boston Globe column would be complete without a good old-fashioned, outright lie, designed to scare the public into following along like blind little sheep.

But with the assault-weapons ban expired even for machine guns, stopping the proliferation of potentially cop-killing guns seems a long ways away on Capitol Hill.


Like I said, almost too stupid to be worth mentioning.

Feel free to e-mail this jackass at jackson@globe.com.


That Didn't Take Long

In this post from yesterday, I set at 1.5 days the over/under until the newest gun control proposal showed up in response to the Boston Herald story that (gasp!) criminals are still finding ways to get guns and roam the city with relative impunity armed to the teeth. If you took the "under" on the 1.5 days, please proceed to the cashier's window to cash your winning slip.

State Senator Jarret Barrios was on the 'Blute and Scotto' show on WRKO this morning pimping the Massachusetts version of the .50-caliber gun ban (aka: GBDJ). Now I know this may come as a surprise to some of you, but the good senator had absolutely no friggin' clue what he was talking about.

Among the talking points raised by Sen. Barrios, regurgitated nearly word-for-word from the bun-banners playbook were:

This ban is necessary, because in Massachusetts it's far too easy for these weapons to be purchased over the internet. If anyone has the website address, please forward it to my attention. My tax return is due back any day now.

This ban is necessary because these guns can turn a liquefied natural gas tanker into a roaring inferno from a distance of 2,000 yards, engulfing half the city in a ball of flame.

They can also "shoot down airliners" at the same distance.

Terrorists, when looking for such weapons, will be heading in droves to gun stores, instead of having more powerful, and far less expensive, weapons illegally smuggled into the country.

These are "bazooka-style" weapons.


Ted Kennedy would be quite proud, young grasshopper.

Well, you get the picture. The senator took some phone calls from some of the show's listeners, who (surprise, surprise) were infinitely more knowledgeable on the subject than he. He emphasized repeatedly that he is not a "gun banner", citing his belief that hunting is a "noble profession"(?). And that this is merely a piece of "common-sense" "gun safety" legislation.

Memo to Senator Barrios:

GO FUCK YOURSELF.

By his, um, "logic" then, affordable, smaller guns that are actually used quite frequently in the commission of violent crime would surely present a greater public safety risk than unwieldly, expensive guns that might possibly someday be used in such a manner. That being said, why should anyone doubt that .22-caliber target pistols are on his list of guns to go after in the future (or pump-action shotguns, which are capable of cutting nuns and orphans in half)?

Give these bastards an inch, and they'll take 2,000 yards.

Here's my post from last May on Sen. Barrios' enlightening Boston Globe op-ed piece demonizing the eeeeevil "assault weapons" back when the "assault weapons" ban was the GBDJ.

Wanker.


Who Said It?

This week's pop quiz consists of a pair of quotes from a prominent figure in American politics. All you have to do is identify the source. Simple enough? Good, let's begin.

Who said it?

"[D]elays can only be described as an abdication of the Senate's constitutional responsibility to work with the President and ensure the integrity of our federal courts."

"When the Founders wrote the Constitution and gave the Senate the power of advice and consent on Presidential nominations, they never intended the Senate to work against the President, as this Senate is doing, by engaging in a wholesale stall and refusing to act on large numbers of the President's nominees."


Give up?

(link via Rodger)


Monday, March 14, 2005

Ask and You Shall Receive

Channel 5's latest forum is up asking the following question:

How Do You Grade Sen. Ted Kennedy?

Discussion Started: 03-14-2005, 12:32 PM

Sen. Ted Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate for decades. How do you grade his work? Has he been effective? Has he represented you well? Is he responsive?

Share your opinion.


Responses received thus far:

This can not be a serious question.

sapien 03-14-2005, 12:45 PM


How about lame? Or pompous comes to mind? How about tired? Has been?

sapien 03-14-2005, 12:45 PM


Ob This is going to be great! I can't wait to read the posts! At last a topic that will awaken everybody up.

goeasy 03-14-2005, 12:47 PM


He's a hasbeen. A useless slug. Has done nothing for his state and less for his country. Wait till Hanscom is closed down and then ask what he's done besides blame Bush and Romney for the ills of this country. and state.

daswede 03-14-2005, 12:58 PM


And those are just from the first 26 minutes. This promises to be highly entertaining.

UPDATE: Hey, they posted my answer.

"I'd go with AT LEAST a CAT 16G."


Time to Ban Driving in Boston

As a follow-up to this previous post, check out the headline from the cover of today's Boston Herald.



Personally, I'd have gone with "Illegal Possession of Firearms on the Rise Despite City's Stringent Gun Laws", or the no-brainer "Gun Control in the Bay State Does Nothing to Thwart Violent Crime". But, that's just me. I certainly can't expect the local papers to be so accurate and honest in their coverage.

Now, what's the over/under on when we can expect to see the follow-up news story, op-ed piece, or press release calling for even more restrictions on the licensed gun owners in the Commonwealth? As if somehow, such measures would have an impact on the problems facing our law enforcement officers, as reported in the Herald.

I'll put it at 1.5 days.

And if the cops in Boston feel they are at a greater risk these days, because of the rise in the number of violent criminals driving around with their guns "cocked and locked", how do they think those of us with no right to carry guns or wear body armor feel?