Thursday, October 29, 2009

Police Officer Suspended for Ticketing Mayor's Son


STOCKTON -- A traffic stop involving a young officer and the son of a small-town mayor has the whole town talking. The mayor of Stockton tried to fire the officer for issuing his son a ticket.
Cpl. Joshua Rowell told KSL News he was just doing his job. He said he acted professionally when he wrote the driver a ticket and was shocked when he was suddenly asked to hand over his badge.
Rowell is a new member of the five-man Stockton police force. So, last Tuesday he didn't think twice about pulling over a driver in a small white car for avoiding a DUI stop.

"He didn't have a driver's license, so I issued him a citation for that," Rowell explained.
He didn't think twice, that is, until he handed the ticket to the court clerk.
"She looked at it and said, ‘Hey, you know you just gave the mayor's son a ticket?' And I said, ‘Oh, crap,'" Rowell said.
He said he had never met the driver, 29-year-old Jared Rydalch, before. He said Rydalch told him he was out looking for his dog, and asked him to tell the other officers to not pull him over again.
"I told him, ‘No. If I see you driving around again, I'm going to pull you over again,'" Rowell said.
Rowell said he knew there was trouble when, about 20 minutes later, he found the chief of police in the mayor's truck in a heated discussion. Then he said the mayor, Dan Rydalch, rolled down the window and demanded he get in his truck. When he refused, Rydalch abruptly fired him on the spot.
"He told me, ‘All right, I want your badge in the morning,'" Rowell said. "I tried to defend myself and say, ‘First of all, look, he was breaking the law. Second of all, I didn't know he was your son.'"
Shortly after the incident, Rowell was told he was suspended without pay, indefinitely.
"The mayor, I think, was wrong," said Stockton City Council member David Durtschi.
According to Durtschi, not only was Mayor Rydalch out of line, the council stands behind Cpl. Rowell. In fact, the town is so upset about the mayor's actions, many of the citizens are trying to change their write-in ballots for the upcoming election.
"I think the mayor did make a mistake," one Stockton resident told KSL News.
Another said, "I was very shocked, very shocked, because I thought it was a little extreme."
As for Rowell, he just wants the job he loves back.
"There's no more respectable position than a police officer, in my mind," Rowell said.
We tried repeatedly to get ahold of the mayor.
Another Stockton city council member, Kendall Thomas, told KSL News the mayor is conducting the investigation into any wrongdoing in the incident and has not consulted any of the council members. A special council meeting is scheduled for Thursday night to discuss the incident.


This is ridiculous. This mayor needs to be fired immediately. Notice above where it says that "The mayor is conducting the investigation into any wrongdoing in the incident and has not consulted any of the council members..."

WTF?! The mayor is conducting it? Can anyone say "conflict of interest"?

The mayor should be fired for, and charged with, Official Misconduct. Ridiculous. I grew up in a small town, and I thought the politics there were bad. But seriously.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bailouts DID help...but at what cost?

Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General in Charge of oversight for the bailouts, essentially a government watchdog, is releasing a report today in which he gives a blunt assessment for the TARP bailouts started under Bush and expanded by Obama: The Bailouts saved our economy, but cost us more in the long term.


[Barofsky] said the $700 billion bailout for the financial industry played a major role in rescuing the economy over the last year but also engendered anger and distrust among Americans because of secrecy and confusion about the way the program was handled...

"Despite the aspects of TARP that could reasonably be viewed as a substantial success," he wrote, "Treasury's actions in this regard have contributed to damage the credibility of the program and of the government itself, and the anger, cynicism and distrust created must be chalked up as one of the substantial, albeit unnecessary, costs of TARP."

Barofsky said public suspicion was fed by Treasury's decision not to require banks to report how they used their rescue money and its "less-than-accurate" statements describing the financial condition of nine large banks that benefited from large infusions of aid...

Overall, Barofsky said the cost of preventing a financial collapse fell into three categories:

•Taxpayers: The government has spent more than $454 billion through TARP programs. Forty-seven TARP recipients have paid back nearly $73 billion. That means more than $317 billion remains available. The program is set to end Dec. 31, but the administration could seek an extension until next October. Despite the repayments several of the program are not expected to yield returns to the taxpayer, including a $50 billion mortgage modification plan and some of the money injected into auto companies.

•The integrity of the industry: Many firms considered "too big to fail" last year, and thus in need of government assistance, are even bigger now. "Absent meaningful regulatory reform, TARP runs the risk of merely reanimating markets that had collapsed under the weight of reckless behavior," the report sates.

•The credibility of the government: Barofsky wrote that public antipathy for the bailout is fueled by "the lack of transparency in the program." Over the course of the year, Barofsky has called on the Treasury Department to seek more information from banks on how they use their taxpayer assistance.

Basically, the bailouts worked in the short term. But because of government ineptitude and all the secrecy, distrust has been seeded instead of consumer confidence, which is what was really needed for the market to correct itself. A full disclosure and better oversight in the bailouts would've helped, but both Bush and Obama almost gave the money away without really looking at the causes of the collapse; in essence both Presidents merely put a bandaid on an infected shotgun wound, when what we really needed was to fix the root of the problem and cover the wound. We should've given the bailouts and broken up the "too big to fail" companies to make sure it never happened again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mexico City puts Police on Diet

From the Associated Press:

Mexico City Puts 1,300 Overweight Officers on Diet

Some Mexico City cops are taking a bite out of more than crime. The Mexican capital is putting its 1,300 of its heaviest police officers on a diet, concerned about rapidly expanding waistlines in the force.

At least 70 percent of the 70,000-member force is overweight, said Nora Frias, the city's Public Safety deputy secretary for citizen participation. The diet program will start with the officers with the most serious weight-related health problems.

"We can't tell them, 'Don't eat sandwiches and tacos,'" Frias said. "What we can tell them is if you eat one sandwich today, if you eat three tacos today, then balance it with some vegetables."
She said officers will be given blood and cholesterol tests to determine a personalized diet plan for each.

Mexico is quickly catching up with the United States as one of the world's fattest countries, according to the Mexican government. Nearly half of Mexico's 110 million people are overweight, and the number of fat children has climbed 8 percent a year over the last decade.

I just thought this was funny. That's all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obama's Gay Dodge

I saw this on Republicans United today. Here's the whole article if you want to read the entirety (I'd recommend it).

Obama's Gay Dodge
by Meghan McCain

...On Saturday night, President Obama addressed the largest gay-rights group and promised to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military, emphasizing that his commitment to achieving equal rights was “unwavering.” The support he received from the crowd was overwhelming.

But my response to this speech and my message to the gay community is this: Stop rewarding the president’s speeches. Because for me, that’s all it is—pretty words delivered by a beautiful orator.

Obama offered no timeline for phasing out this policy and, as usual, no real specifics. But the president verbalized his commitment to ending it—which is not insignificant. Unfortunately, I am a bottom line type of girl and I see no bottom line here. During the election, Obama pledged that the very first thing he would do as president would be to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Although I thought it was an ambitious promise, I believed him. It's now almost a year into his presidency and other than making speeches, nothing has happened.

Let me tell you a little something about what I know about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: I have two brothers serving in the military and as far as I’m concerned, when an Arabic translator is kicked out of the military for being gay, it quite literally makes my brothers and our troops less safe. For me, Don't Ask, Don't Tell isn't just an equality issue. It is also a national-security issue...

Now, I cannot speak for my brothers, but I know many men and women who serve in the military. Let’s give them more credit. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, I suspect it could be said that there is no homophobia in foxholes either. I find it hard to imagine that when a soldier is in a Humvee fighting terrorist insurgents, that the thing on his mind is who his fellow soldier chooses to sleep with when he’s off duty.

What’s more, the gay community can no longer place all the blame of marriage equality and Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Republicans. Yes, the Republican Party has a long way to go. But right now, we have a Democratic president and a Congress with a Democratic majority. The Republican Party can no longer be the only scapegoat for the arrested development of gay rights in this country. This is a president who made promises to the gay community—hold him responsible.

Of all the things I worry about in my life, my country's national security is by far at the forefront. I am a daughter of a famous military hero and the sister of two soldiers. Mr. President, Don't Ask, Don't Tell makes my family and this country less safe. Put a timeline on repealing it, stop making speeches, and show me the bottom line.


I think this says it all. Republicans are generally pretty tough on gays, but Democrats squarely shoulder the blame right now. And "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is ridiculous and does harm our national security.

Friday, October 9, 2009

W.T.F. Obama wins Nobel Peace prize?

What the...?! Don't get me wrong, I think Obama is alright, whatever, but the Nobel peace prize? C'mon! For what?!?!

Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. I mean, yeah, I'm proud that our President got it, that the USA got it, but seriously? Obama has done nothing to deserve it. In fact, he would have had to have been nominated by February 1st, 11 days into his presidency! (thanks Tao)

He was awarded the prize for "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Really. What efforts?

For ending the war in Iraq? Oh wait, we're still on Bush's timetable for withdrawal. For ending the war in Afganistan? No, we're putting more troops there. Oh, that's right. For beating the taliban out of Afganistan. Wait again, they control more now than before! And we're sending drones into Pakistan now to fight them! So yeah, Obama sure ended war, the antithesis of peace.

Maybe he got it for closing Guantanamo. Oh, nevermind. He hasn't done that, either. Maybe for ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Nope.

I've got it! His speeches have brokered peace in Israel between Israel and Palestine! Oops, they are still killing each other!

Damn. Obama sure hasn't done much of anything after all. He sure deserves the peace award.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Democrats vow to ban domestic violence as ‘pre-existing condition’

From CNN wire:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Top House Democrats on Tuesday slammed insurers who claim that domestic violence is a pre-existing condition that can be used to deny coverage to battered women.
They pledged to incorporate a ban on the practice in the health care reform legislation currently winding its way through Congress.
Forty-two states have already passed such a prohibition, according to a recent report from the National Women’s Law Center. Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming and the District of Columbia have not, however.
“Think of this,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “You’ve survived domestic violence, and now you are discriminated (against) in the insurance market because you have a pre-existing medical condition. Well, that will all be gone.”
A spokesman for an association representing health insurance companies backed the proposed change.
“No one should be denied coverage because they are a victim of domestic abuse,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans.

I for one am glad about this. This makes perfect sense. I've said it before, just a few posts down, that our current system is broken and needs to be fixed. We may have the best healthcare in the world, but our system for paying it is sub-standard, and as examples show above, sub-human. We need to fix our health insurance system with more regulations and enforcing the ones we have on the books. No denying coverage for that "pre-existing" nonsense. If you pay your health insurance, you are covered. End of story. That is healthcare reform I could vote for.