Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks For People Like This And That We Find Them Among Ourselves

Here is a link to an article about an American to whom and for whom owe thanks. I am thankful to him for his sacrifice, he lost a son. I am also thankful to him for his outstanding service to the sons and daughters of others in our military. We all ought to be thanking him and others who serve. We owe them all a great debt of gratitude and we owe thanks that they have been placed here among us.

All the best,
Glenn B

Happy Thanksgiving... all here in the good old US of A, regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity and so on. This is a holiday for all, not only a Christian Holiday as some believe it. After all, the native Americans who celebrated it with the Pilgrims were not Christian. Granted, George Washington was Christian and it was he who proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving thus in essence establishing this as a national holiday and as a day that we should all be thankful to our creator for what we have been given of earth's bounty. It is truly amazing how few times George Washington is brought into the picture by so called historians when it comes down to his influence on our nation celebrating this holiday. They simply seem to forget all about him and the proclamation (click on image to enlarge to readable size) he made, on October 3, 1789, in the capital of our nation - New York City. Many people today seem to think that the official Thanksgiving holiday was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt. That is simply not true; he simply set the day as the fourth Thursday in November.

Regardless of how or why it was first celebrated and then turned into a national holiday, I have to say it is absolutely my favorite current national holiday. It could only be surpassed by Halloween and Ground Hogs' Day if they were ever made into national holidays. In fact, the bestest all time holiday of forever is absolutely Ground Hogs' Day (love the movie too). One of these days, when that little booger sticks his head out the hole, I am going to blast him and have woodchuck for dinner (yes there is some influence from Caddy Shack there).

But I digress, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Tomorrow, I will be busy baking apple pie, making the stuffing (bagel, potato bread, whole grain bread, English muffin, tart apples, green onion [scallions], sliced almonds, cranberries [used to use raisins] and lots of butter with hints of some spices like cinnamon added to the mix), preparing and cooking the bird (all 18 plus pounds, the wife did say to get a small one and that was the smallest one they had at Costco today) and possibly making some of the side dishes (although the missus may be doing that). We have a load of butternut squashes left over from our garden and I am hopeful she will make her recipe of that, it is out of this world delicious. I will also be imbibing some finer spirits as I do so. After our dinner, I am going to visit my mom and bring dinner to her.

I always enjoy Thanksgiving. It is truly one of the finer celebrations of them all and one that all should celebrate even if not religious. While most will give thanks to God for what they have, you can also give thanks to nature, or even to your bread winner, for the good things provided to us.

Enjoy your day, enjoy your dinner, hopefully you are spending it with loved ones as am I. For me, the only thing that can make the day better is if they show The March of the Wooden Soldiers (originally called
Babes In Toyland) on TV and I get to watch it; it was a Thanksgiving Day regular all throughout my younger years. Already corny by the time I was a young child, it was released in 1934 over 20 years before I was born, but it was and remains one of my all time favorite movies. Now that I think of it, I may have to check NetFlix to see if I can download it. Of course, Thanksgiving is not complete without also listening to Alice's Restaurant if you live up this way. Local NYC radio stations used to play it every Thanksgiving, and probably still do, at 12 noon. I get a kick out of this song; it is a good one and then again its views of the draft and pointless wars do agree with my views at that, though probably not for the same reasons. If you have never heard it, give it a listen but mind you it has strong liberal political overtones. It was a pointed barb aimed at the government and the draft and later seen to have been aimed at conservatives even though liberals started the war and prosecuted and escalated it then tried to blame it all on the conservative who ultimately ended it. Typical liberal BS to do that but the song is a good song. Mind you also, it is a long song, a really long one at about 18 minutes.

Thankfully, Babes In Toyland has no overt political overtones even though it deals with war of a sorts if only on a fantasy level. Mostly, and more importantly, it is simply a nice story about right winning out over wrong and about being able to tell the difference between the two. It was from a time when it actually may have been simpler to tell that difference while Alice's Restaurant came at a time when it was not so simple. Alice's Restaurant makes you think about right and wrong too, it's just not quite as easy to decide what is right and what is wrong while listening to it. Whatever, both are or were Thanksgiving traditions for me - then I grew up. Funny, I still like them both but as always, I like The March of the Wooden Soldiers best. It too bad it is not always as easy to tell the difference between right and wrong in the real world as it was in Toyland. Yet, each Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I have mostly gotten it right throughout my life.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Glenn B

Speaking of TSA...

...a friend sent me this image in an email today and I thought it to preciously funny not to share it with you. It is a collection of TSA bumper stickers. Click the image to enlarge it.

All the best,
Glenn B

My Chance To Interact With TSA... a regular airline passenger, as opposed to me flying armed as an LEO, will be coming up in about 2 weeks or so. My wife and I are going on a cruise and we will be flying to the cruise departure city. Since the cruise is going foreign, I will not be armed. It is likely I will not carry my federal credentials either. So, I imagine, with the black cloud that follows me, I will be randomly selected for whatever is the full extent of a TSA search at that time. Should I or my wife need to be searched, then all I can hope is that the TSA personnel will act professionally and courteously. I have had some dealings with pretty unprofessional TSA personnel when flying in my official capacity but those are the exceptions, most - the great majority - are very professional. Lately, with all the fire they have been under, from the very same people they are trying to protect, they may be somewhat on edge by now.

As for me, I do not agree with current TSA search and profiling policies and procedures. I would much rather see them do things a different way, as a matter of fact I would much rather see TSA disbanded and private concerns take over their role. That being said though, I will abide by their security protocols for my flight, that is too a point. I will not allow myself to be scanned. I have spent way too much of my life around airport x-ray machines and receiving x-rays in doctors' offices and had way too many sunburns as a kid. Various forms of cancer have afflicted my family members. I do not need any excess radiation. If need be I will opt for the patdown.

Being that I have been an LEO for over 31 years now, I know how to perform a proper patdown. I know the difference between a legitimate patdown and improper groping. I will not stand for the latter but in truth I do not expect it. I think many folks who are patted down have over reacted when describing how they believe they were improperly groped. I do believe though that it is quite possible that they may have been searched in violation of their rights in some instances. Plenty of people have complained of TSA agents placing their hands inside their garments and touching skin. A patdown does not include reaching into someone's under garments and feeling their private parts from the inside of the clothing, a patdown is done from the outside of the clothing. About the only exception without first having PC or or having already detected something from the outside, for reaching inside, is that during a patdown an officer is allowed to feel the inside of the waistband. A patdown also does not include the removal of any clothing except for things like a coat and shoes. You keep on your pants, shirt, socks, etc. Removal of clothing is a strip search and requires certain legal elements. If it is going to go beyond a patdown for me, you can bet I will require, with courtesy and respect for the TSA agent, that they do it in a private area where others cannot watch. If they decide to do a strip search you can bet they best have probable cause to do so.

Of course, they will not have any cause to search me, not within reason anyway, so I do not anticipate anything like what I just mentioned. I do not have any prosthetics, do not have any metal inside my body like pins or screws or hip replacements, will not be carrying anything that will set off any alarms, will not be acting suspiciously, did not buy my ticket at the last minute, will not be nervous, will not be antagonistic, will not be carrying any prohibited items in my carry-on luggage or in my checked luggage and will have my itinerary with me. I will act reasonably and respectfully, and will expect the same toward me.

If I have any problems, I will not act like an asshole. I will maintain my composure so as to be able to get on my flight because I want to go on this cruise that was paid for well in advance. It is only the second cruise my wife and I will have been on and the other was to Canada, this one to warmer climes. I will note everything that is done improperly, that is if anything like that is done but again - I do not expect it. I will note badge numbers, names, descriptions of those involved. I will request a supervisor if I think something is improper. I will request a manager if it needs to go beyond a supervisor. I will contact an attorney if I am harassed and I will also contact my representatives in Congress and the head of the TSA and their equivalent to their Internal Affairs office. all that only if something happens that is really an egregious violation of my rights. again, I do not expect such but if it happens their is recourse. I will not scream and moan and argue at or with the TSA screeners. I will not make a scene. I will not call the press. I will not post videos on FaceBook or YouTube or Twitter about it.

That is my plan should my rights be violated or should I be abused in any manner. If something like that happens I will truly be shocked but I will let you know.

All the best,
Glenn B