The big news is Miami-Dade spending $9 million in salary for hours its employees were doing union work. Well, maybe. No one knows for sure because Miami-Dade doesn’t ask the union to account for those hours.
Since I live in Tampa, I took a look at this part. Almost $367,000 for FY16. Again, no accountability as to what union members were doing during those “release hours”.
So, my question is why should I be forced to pay through my tax dollars for public employees to work for the union, which definitely doesn’t have my interests as a taxpayer at heart?
Due to his father’s new job, I have been designated as the new chauffeur for my nephew to his Boy Scouts meeting. I fully intend on using the time waiting for him to either A) get caught up on comics or B) getting some writing done – both of which I can do on my tablet.
The other fun bit is that the boy is now old enough for different audiobooks than those we listened to when he went to Cub Scouts. I’ve already started him on Hardcore History’s “Ghosts of the Ostfront” series.
These are folks who dropped everything, hitched up their boats, and drove for hours on the chance that they can rescue people in their darkest hour. Not because someone was paying them or they were forced to at gunpoint, but because of an altruistic desire to save lives. One guy in the article reports rescuing forty people. Forty Frickin’ People.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m generally optimistic when it comes to people.
The Trump administration is reversing an Obama administration decision and opening up the spigot for police agencies to receive surplus military equipment. What could go wrong?
Well, let’s look back at SWAT team histories. Originally they were developed for dealing with very specific, low occurrence, high threat situations. In that context, it makes sense to have a group available. Except the only place where SWAT teams are regularly taking down heavily armed bad guys is on television. Instead, SWAT teams are doing drug raids. And it’s not like they’re hitting the Cocaine Cowboys of 1980’s Miami.
Giving military equipment to police encourages those police to find new and inventive ways of using them. Usually in the highly violent world of SWAT.
I got something that I haven’t gotten for about fifteen years – a jury summons. It’s been even longer than that since I sat at the courthouse waiting to be called. That got me to thinking of what has changed in my thinking since the last time I sat in the pool.
1. I started carrying a gun on a regular basis. That alone has radically shifted my worldview, but then I attended trainings and started learning about the legalities of self defense – and the intricacies of the legal system.
2. I don’t have the automatic deference to police that my younger self had. Because of the powers that a police officer are granted, I’m more likely to hold them to a higher standard.
3. I don’t trust forensics as much as I used to. Some forensic tools, such as DNA testing, were developed through rigorous processes, and are generally reliable. Others, such as handwriting and hair analysis, were developed in crime labs, and are less reliable. Then there’s the small item of the numerous lab scandals.
4. I no longer expect the heroic prosecutors and scumbag defense attorneys. If anything, I don’t trust either side. Probably about as much as I trust MSNBC and Fox to present their cases.
And now I have to go through my EDC and start yanking out stuff that is not allowed at the courthouse. That may take a bit.
For my birthday last month, The Brother bought me the Windows version of Scrivener. I’d heard a lot about from the Mac users, so I was willing to give it a shot. I also picked up the iOS version, because I do a lot of my writing on my iPad and iPhone. Here’s what I’m liking so far:
1. The project folders – everything you need for your writing project can be stored in a folder, including text, PDFs, pictures. You can be as extensive or as concise as needed.
2. Syncing – So far, linking Scrivener and Dropbox has allowed seamless syncing across all of my writing platforms. This was an issue when I was using Byword and Editorial, as I would occasionally get conflicting versions from different platforms.
My biggest issue with Scrivener right now is that it does not support markdown. Part of it is that I’ve been writing in markdown for the past few years, so it’s instinctive, but another is that I don’t have to go looking for buttons or highlight text when I want to do bold or italics. Really important when writing on the phone.