Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back again

Yes, it's been a while since I've been blogging, it's been crazy at home and at work. My wife and I are finally into our new house with all of the "extras" like deck, fence, A/C, etc. almost complete. Just waiting on the actual fence (the posts are in) and we will be done.

Congress is full of shit. No other way to put it. Pass an "anti-gambling" bill that makes exceptions for online state lotteries and for horse race wagering is bullshit. Either it's against the law to gamble or it isn't. What makes gambling on race horses any better or more moral or less addicting than poker? What personal skill is there in betting on horse racing anyway? More skill than reading an opponent post-flop overbetting the pot when you hold TPTK?

That's why I hate politics. I loved politics growing up. I always thought I would run for office some day. Governing, I love. Politics, I hate. I can't stand the thought of having to make promises and "deals" to get a chance to actually be electable. And the system just feeds on itself. Term limits don't work, but neither does sending the same person back to office for 30 years. Everyone hates patronage, but no one wants to be the one to give up the pork.

Are we heading to a great big dissolution of the American, or even global, economy? I worry about it. The politicians don't dare give their constituents bad news, because we as a society believe we are entitled to anythign and everything we want. Sacrifice, community, hard work -- those are all dirty words now. Find a way to make a quick buck? Go for it. Ethics? No such thing. Morals? Please. It is your unalienable RIGHT to feel good and no one has a right to make you feel bad.

Somewhere this country decided that RIGHTs no longer required responsibility. And politicians spend more time catering to special interests than to looking out for the good of society as a whole. America is a young civilization. But nothing lasts forever. The Roman Empire didn't. Sumeria, Egypt, Babylon...all fell by the wayside.

I hate complaining about something without offering some semblance of a remedy. But I don't know how to fix it, and quite frankly, I don't think it can be fixed. We're on the downslope. Could last 50 years, could last 500. Could last 5. We could be citizens of the North American States before the end of our lifetimes. People in their 80s now lived through a major depression, a world war, countless conflicts, inventions, etc...nothing stays the same for long. It would be foolish to think that America is any different.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Lie

We recently lost a local police office, volunteer firefighter, and former student in my dad's class. He was chasing a speeding motorcycle, and crashed during the pursuit. The suspect is "facing charges of aggravated second-degree manslaughter and aggravated criminally negligent homicide. They're both new laws that include the aggravating factor of a police officer as the victim. To prove manslaughter, prosecutors will have to show Carncross was aware that driving too fast would put someone at a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death, and that he disregarded that risk. To prove criminally negligent homicide, they'll have to show he failed to perceive a risk that he should have. State police likened the charges to a case elsewhere in the state, where a defendant was charged with homicide when a firefighter died responding to the defendant's false fire alarm. Troopers did not have specifics on that case. "

Now, I'm all for protecting officers from violence and making them as safe as possible. And since they often get sued when a pursuit leads to the crashing and death of the suspect, I can see why the legislature has tried to give the officers the same "protection" in reverse. But, to me, a fireman responding to a false fire really doesn't have a choice per se, they go where the fire alarm is. The police officer, in this case, had a choice. He had a choice of if and how fast to pursue. The crash had nothing to do with the suspect directly. He was home (or almost) when the officer lost control of his SUV (because lord knows, SUVs are never prone to tipping over at high speeds on curved or bumpy roads). In one statement, he claims he didn't even know about the death until the TV reports started. There are claims now that he admitted that he knew a trooper was pursuing him, but those claims haven't been proven, and furthermore, those sport bikes go so fast it is entirely possible that he didn't know the officer was in pursuit, only that he passed the cop while he was doing 130+ mph.

Then, while police tried to investigate the next day, since the area was popular for motorcyclists and especially for speeding, they had trouble getting fellow riders to cooperate. Now, the DA is suggesting further legislative action. "It ought to be against the law to lie to the police," he said. "God forbid the Legislature ever get off their duffs and pass a law that says it's a crime to lie to a New York state trooper."

Now, this law has already been tested in a case where a man was being pursued in a foot chase, and the policeman was hit and killed by a driver while crossing a street while in pursuit. The judge decided the suspect could have reasonably known that his actions in fleeing could have resulted in injury or death to a pursuing officer as he ran through busy streets. Maybe so. But a biker going 100+ mph past a cop may not even realize that he was being chased. Some of those sport bikes go almost 200+ mph, and the trooper cars don't come close to that.

Regardless, as much as I think the guy was an idiot for going that fast and he should be punished accordingly, to try to send him to prison for 7 years minimum because an officer rolled his SUV seems a bit much to me. Stuff happens. My best friend from high school was killed when a county work truck hit his car under slippery conditions. Car safety, and driving behavior, is a pet peeve of mine, especially drunk driving. String this biker up for doing 150 mph, I'm all for it. Let some Shawshank inmates take a few laps at his oval, that's fine with me. But blaming him for causing Craig's death is overkill. He didn't hit him, he didn't make him roll his SUV, he didn't even specifically know Craig was chasing him. What's next? Any speeding conviction can lead to prison terms since "you should have known" that it was possible for a cop to chase you, and in that chase, the cop could potentially be injured or killed? It's human nature to want to place blame for tragic, senseless events. But it's not always possible.

Just a few days later, another former student of my dad's was killed in a car accident. His buddy was speeding down another bumpy, curvy road, got a lot of air, and lost control upon landing. He was 18 (the cop was 25). You can blame the driver for this one. He knowingly was speeding, and it cost his friend his life. The driver survived, and now has to live with it. But the DA isn't holding press conferences announcing charges that could lead to prison time for him (thank god).
I guess the moral is this. Stay at home, locked in your basement, because if any action you take can lead to prison terms for what could potentially happen, we're all in trouble.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Right to Bear Arms

I've never been a fan of guns. I don't hunt, and I don't rap, and so I don't see the need for them. It's rare I see a story about a citizen who owned a gun and successfully defended themselves (or their family members) from an intruder. It's quite common to find stories about innocent civilians (or their family members) hurt or killed by someone accidentally discharging a weapon. Maybe its a media bias, but it seems that the "need" for regular law-abiding citizens to have guns in their house is limited, if it exists at all. I know the Constitution allows it, but you have to admit, GW (the First) wasn't toting around automatic weapons across the Delaware.

Just today, I find this story at the Denver Channel
And the young father wasn't legally allowed to have guns in the first place. Luckily his son survived. But how many don't?

Unfortunately, the bell has been rung. There's no way to keep weapons off the street any more than you can keep drugs off the street, booze from minors, enraged drivers from behind the wheel, or a myriad of other issues that lead to a senseless waste of life. You can't legislate morality.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What? Me Comment?

I used to be a gamer and poker player; now with marriage, house, dogs, kids, school, etc. I seem to never have the time. I don't know why I thought full time work with full time coaching and full time school was a good idea. But it will be over in another year plus, so it's time to start refocusing my energies and keeping up with poker, sports, news, and everything else I used to do in my free time.

And then write about it.

So, for the initial post, I guess I'll focus on poker since that's the one thing outside of my "normal" life that I have had a little time for lately. Not as much as I used to do, but I play about once a week in a "team" poker event from members of Full Tilt Forum. And I am starting a new "team" poker league in the near future that combines elements of team scoring with individual performance. We'll see how it works out.

Last night, played in the team Stud 8 event. Could not catch at all. Went out third to last, very disappointed, but I hate Stud 8. Last week's match was Omaha 8, and I didn't fare a whole lot better, although I've done well at O8 in the past. I counted 5 times that I held a huge advantage into the final card, and I lost them each. Oh well, that's poker. After my miserable showing last night, I signed up for the $10 O8 MTT. Saw a few fellow forumers on there, AmSlim, Clovis, Slippo...I made it to 25th out of 140+, only 18 paid though. Won a huge scoop early, had a few other small wins but kept getting really bad cards. And when I did play for cheap, I couldn't hit anything. Needed a miracle on my last hand to stay in, but didn't get it.

This one guy, he was playing all sorts of crap and kept catching all night long. He was near the chip lead when I busted out (thanks to him). I don't know if he was screwing the dealer, but he kept pushing and catching. I've never seen anyone catch so much in a MTT. I was at his table the first half hour or so, and then again from about 1:45 to 2:05 in. People kept getting pissed at his play, but I knew I could bust him if I could make a hand, I just never made a hand against him. And a few times I played multiway pots with him, and folded after the flop, I'd see I would have been way ahead after his huge reraise to another player, and then would have lost on the river (of course, assuming all the cards came the same way if I had stayed in, but you know what I mean).

Oh well. That's poker. Hopefully I'll get back to playing more frequently now that I am getting settled into the new house, and this upgrade at work will be done this weekend. I need to get my bankroll back up though.

So, more on poker, and news, and sports to come.