Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baltimore Criminals are Dolts

I've blogged on a possible solution to the drug wars in Baltimore. This recent episode where eighteen people were shot is a whole new outrage, and it's completely over the top.
When I wrote about how the Mafia running crime in Baltimore might be a better thing than the mess we have now, I hadn't seen anything like this. Civilians, women and children shot in an attempt to kill one guy, ostensive leader of one of the two warring gangs. This war is unique because the West side is beefing with the East side. We all know who the families are.

There is an important point to consider here. Many people don't care what the body count in Baltimore is. That's because the people getting killed are involved in the drug trade, and so who cares if they get shot? One can make this argument, and many would. But what about the friends and relatives of the drug dealers? Are they fair game? To at least one of the warring drug families, the answer is clearly yes.

Have we ever seen the Mafia do a hit like this, shooting civilians? Not to my knowledge. They kill soldiers and bosses when they shoot. Not children, not non-combatant women.

Baltimore, your organized criminals are third-rate chumps. Shooting civilians? Please. Is this is an expansion of the war, taking it to the non-drug trade people. I hope not.

Doesn't ANY responsible, competent criminal organization want this business? Hell, at this point I'd take Hamas. They're decent smugglers and at least they know how to sell stolen cigarettes. I'm sure they could rise to the occasion and do at least as good a job of retailing heroin, with much less shooting, than these hyper-violent idiots we're stuck with.

Ultimately, to stop this stupid violence, heroin and other drugs must be legalized, taxed, and regulated, just like liquor. Are there any gang liquor wars now? Of course not. What woud be the point?


Trabant being trailered in Hunt Valley.

I wonder if most Trabants get from place to place on trailers...
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Ford Roadster

Got these pictures of what I think is a 1930's (1932?) era Ford Roadster on 695 near Greenspring Ave. Clyde Barrow wrote to Henry Ford about the Ford V8 that was in this car and the larger sedan. Barrow had a pretty good sense of humor and irony (...when I could get away with one...freedom from trouble...).

Tulsa, Okla
10th April
Mr. Henry Ford
Detroit Mich.
Dear Sir: --
    While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasen't been strickly legal it don't hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8 --
Yours truly
Clyde Champion Barrow

You can see my Miata reflected in his pristine paint.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

More Miatas Like Mine

Each year between 1994 and 1997, Mazda created a special, or "M", edition of the Miata, the best selling sports car in history.
My 1995 M Edition in Merlot Mica paint in a light snow. There were 3,000 of these made.

I traveled to Houston, TX to get this one. It's my easy project car. To be made perfect, it needs a new top, the wheels refinished, and some paint. A new engine is in the future, but this one pulls like new at 200,000 miles so no rush there. It's a perfectly functional and fun daily driver right now.

I'm driving along on the Baltimore Beltway today and spot another 95 M just like mine. Remarkable in itself to see one, but he waves enthusiastically and follows me off the highway, so I stop in a gas station, and he follows me in. He's Lenny, and we have a nice chat about how great these Miatas are, check out each other cars, and I make a new friend.

13 years ago when I had my first Miata, nearly every Miata driver would give a friendly wave as we went by each other. We were all so jazzed about having this great little car. Now they are so mainstream, especially the NC's, that instead of them mostly being owned by enthusiasts, they seem to be owned by regular folks who can't fathom why someone is waving at them from the same car they are driving. I guess it's the price of success.

It was nice to meet Lenny today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let's Indite Cheney and His Henchmen

Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States August 8, 1974. He resigned because he tried to use the CIA to stop the FBI from investigating the illegal activities he put into motion known collectively as the Watergate Scandal. It turns out it's illegal to try to use the CIA to obstruct justice, and he was about to be impeached for breaking the law.

It looks like it's also illegal for a sitting vice president to order the CIA not to brief congress about a major intelligence program, whether it's been operationalized or not. Dick Cheney ordered the CIA not to brief congress on at least one of these programs. He broke the law.

War making, the decision to go to war, fabricating and manipulating intelligence, along with the manipulation of public opinion, and ordering torture all look to have been Cheney's responsibility. Forming his own analytic group within DIA to fabricate intelligence, co-opting George Tenet, waterboarding people to try to get them to admit to weapons of mass destruction being produced in Iraq, abandoning diplomacy at every chance in favor of force, tricking or coercing Colin Powell into lying to the UN about Iraq (how Cheney did that remains a mystery), the Pflame/Wilson smear, marginalizing Congress, Good Lord, is there anything the man has done in office that is not illegal, underhanded, ungentlemanly, misguided, weak-minded or wrong?

Let's indite Cheney and the lawyers that wrote the "tortured", torture is OK memos, starting with Addington and Yoo.

Uh-oh, there are un-American views being touted. Shout them down!

We're number one! We're number one!

We chant it, but we're not number one. It's true we pissed away trillions of dollars on a misguided war with Iraq. But fifty million uninsured souls and a corrupt government, hijacked by a paranoid vice president hiding at an undisclosed location don't make for number one, it's "number two".

If I wanted a government with unbridled executive power I could live in North Korea. Too bad Cheney couldn't figure out how to deal with them. Nuclear weapons are real  weapons of mass destruction. North Korea has them, Iraq never did, but Cheney/Bush never did a thing about that except the wrong thing, which was invading Iraq. I guess negotiating or dealing with clever Koreans was too hard for them.

Today, 25% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, and that number is trending down. Goodbye neocon morons. Can we get some ordinary decent Republican criminals like Nixon in your stead? At least Nixon was smart enough to hire Henry Kissinger, bail from Vietnam, go to China, and make detente with the Soviets.

You neocon dolts were just crude criminals.

Merlot Rolls Royce

We had a showing today, so I tidied up the house and vacated as usual. Went down to the local Barnes and Noble to kill an hour and found this.

It's a merlot colored Rolls Royce. I don't know which Rolls it is, I'm not up on old Rolls Royces. Parked my merlot Miata next to it and shot this.

If I had time, I might have photoshopped in some white chevrons on the Rolls.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Todays Activities

No time for deep thinking or writing today. Gotta sell this house. So today I:

Ran a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.

Photographed the entire house for the listing (photos here, I'll leave it to the realtor to pick the ones she likes).

General house prep for sale.

Good luck to us.

Buy our house.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

House on the Market

The sign guy came by this morning, so we are on the market, for the second time.

I powerwashed the deck, and it looks brand new. Dining room is painted and we just have to run a couple of boxes to Goodwill and put some stuff away and we are ready to show.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Score: Bob 2, Crickets 0

If you shoot crickets today, you'll shoot people tomorrow.

Crickets or people, yes, if they invade my home.

One shot kill with the Umarex. These crickets are sturdy.
This one is pretty much intact, but he is dead
and his right leg is off.

My wiley scout Kim spied this one in the southeast corner of the living room. I got him with one shot from the usual five feet away. Ex-cricket.

Kim scouts pretty well, but she's not down with the cricket eradication program.
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Baltimore, Leaderless; The Mafia Could Run Things

We're leaderless in Baltimore City. I'm not talking about political leadership, Baltimore has plenty of that, and they do a pretty good job. That includes the police - I think the Baltimore City Police do a very good job, and in a city with our murder rate, the police are a component of the political dynamic.

Compare Baltimore to Boston. In 2008 there were 282 homicides in Baltimore, and 63 in Boston. The insufferable Boston sports fans and their awful grating accent aside, Boston is the more livable city. Why is that? It's not Boston's crappy weather, nor is it their people. The difference is that Boston has Luigi Mannochio.

Mannochio runs the Patriarcha crime family, part of the Mafia. He lives in Providence, RI, but Boston organized crime traditionally has been managed from Providence.

Wikipedia says this about him:

Manocchio was promoted to boss of the Patriarca family following the imprisonment of many of the organization's other leaders. He has been described as a "shrewd, opportunistic old-school leader who excels at keeping a low profile" and is considered "tough and capable, and is well respected among the New York Crime Families."

Put simply, the man provides competent, adult leadership to the organized criminals in Boston and the rest of New England. And that's the difference between Boston and Baltimore.

In Baltimore, our organized criminal element is made up of many small crews that operate on one street or one housing complex. Some are larger. But there are far too many crews, and they are constantly struggling against other similar crews, fighting over control of drug corners. They shoot each other, several hundred times a year. Worse, they often murder witnesses to their murders of rival drug dealers. These gangs are virtually all run by children, by which I mean boys in their early 20's.

Bodie Broadus' corner where he dealt drugs and was killed.

The Black Gorilla Family (BGF) is the only organized gang I've seen that has grown men (men in their 40's and 50's) in leadership positions. One could hope that they could take over drug dealing across the entire city and reduce the violence to Boston-like levels. But Rod Rosenstein, our very competent and perfectly educated United States Attorney who does his job very well, recently hammered BGF with a very damaging indictment, and I imagine they may well be finished in the near term. So we go back to business as usual.

Bodie's corner.

Why don't we negotiate with the Mafia about managing things in Baltimore?

Let's invite them to come to Baltimore, and organize the city.  My suggestion would be to make three territories: west side (including Park Heights/Pimlico), east side, and southern, with southern additionally having control of Annapolis.

As in other Mafia run cities, no violence would be tolerated without approval from the bosses, and the bosses would collaborate on that approval. After some initial pushback from the little child gangs we have now, we'd be down to less than 100 murders the first year, and less after that.

We need some pragmatism here. The Mafia understand that violence and murder bring police attention, and that's why they survive today - they keep the violence level down, the people don't complain, and the Mafia do their business mostly unmolested by police. This is a lesson our Baltimore criminals can't seem to learn. If you stop shooting each other, the police will leave you alone.

Whether they know it or not, Americans expect their crime to be properly managed, and Baltimoreans deserve no less. Let's get with the program. If we can give tax credits to businesses that treat their employees like crap to stay in the city of Baltimore, certainly we can bring in a competent organization like the Mafia and incentivize them to manage crime, reduce murders, and improve quality of life in the city. The Mafia are no worse, and arguably better, than the corporations Baltimore courts.