I’m coming off the end of a seriously busy week that’s seen me traveling (locally) a bit more than usual so I was ready to just unwind a bit when I got home this afternoon. A quick grab at the mailbox after parking the car, I began sorting through the mail even as I walked in the door. I noticed the weekly Loudoun Independent in the stack and flipped it to the front to catch the headlines. This local paper is small but it’s got some great reporting and the editorial writings of one of the sharpest men in the local news biz, John Geddie.
I wasn’t prepared for the headline under the grainy black & white picture on the front page.
John Jay Geddie, 70, a journalist and newspaperman, died Aug. 22, 2007 at Inova Fairfax Hospital from kidney failure and pneumonia related to the treatment of cancer. He was a long time resident of Sterling, Va.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Shannon LaNelle Geddie of Sterling and a son, John L. Geddie of Reston, a brother Michael Geddie of Kilgore, Texas, as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, and friends.
I’ve mentioned this man several times in my posts here over the past couple of years. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot some e-mails back and forth with him – and he was cantankerous on occasion, as his publisher at “LoudounI” said of him in her editorial – and I always found him to be forthright in his opinion and well spoken in his expression of it. As much as anyone can do so with a connection as thin as a line of e-mails, I am mourning his passing tonight and the loss that passing represents to those of us whose lives he entered, even if only for a few paragraphs a week.
To his family and close friends, my sympathies. To his fellow newspaper colleagues, please be assured that at least this fellow Loudouner appreciates your determination to soldier on as John himself did when his good friend (and mother of the current publisher) Beth Miller passed on. We grieve with you and we wish the best and better news for you to come.
The Bush Administration wants the 9th Circuit to deny a motion filed by the Teamsters that would halt a “demonstration program” that would allow about 100 Mexican trucks to deliver their cargo anywhere in the country for the next year. The Teamsters are arguing that this would represent a safety issue to the driving public. The Administration says the trucks would have to adhere to the same legal requirements as domestic truckers – in some cases those requirements would be even more strict.
I’m glad to hear that, and it would be the bare minimum requirement for me to offer any support for the program. However, the truck is just 1 part of the equation. The bigger part, to me, is the driver. The truck must be inspected and cleared, yes, but the driver must be equally so. The driver should be clearable, just like any other visitor to the US, should have a passport and carry it at all times within the borders of the US, and should pass a basic driving skills exam before he’s allowed to so much as sit in his truck idling while on American soil. That means, by the way, that he must know English well enough to pass that exam given in English. If he doesn’t, then he is every bit the menace to navigation that the Teamsters say he is.
Finally, the driver must be tracked. He’s here to deliver his cargo and then get back to Mexico. He’s not here to sightsee, visit some long-lost cousin, or ditch his truck somewhere and mingle in with the rest of us without going through the proper immigration channels. Guarantee me that this process will be followed with violators seriously smacked around and I’ll give it the thumbs up. Anything less and I’m with the Teamsters – put this “demo” on hold until these issues are handled.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) has apparently returned from his “support the troops” trip and has issued the statement his people said he’d give after allegedly assaulting an airline employee at Dulles International airport earlier this month. After his office called the reports of his actions “factually incorrect” and “ridiculous”, Filner only had this to say on the matter:
Filner, D-Calif., offered few details of the Aug. 19 incident in a three-sentence statement issued after he returned from a week in Iraq.
“I was tired after a delayed flight and frustrated by the subsequent further delay of the entire flight’s baggage. But I did not want things to turn out as they did, with offense obviously taken and much misunderstanding,” the statement said.
“This is an episode that I regret and hope to move beyond.”
Yeah, Bob, I’m sure everyone involved “regrets” the episode. I’m sure the employee you strong-armed (a woman, not a man as I had implied in my earlier post) “regrets” the episode. What I’m not hearing is you apologizing and saying you won’t do it again. What we’re also not hearing is how the earlier reports were “factually incorrect.” What facts were incorrect, sir? Or was that your office spewing out whatever weasel-words are in the current playbook you guys use in preparation to distract everyone from the fact that you penetrated a secure zone at an airport?
Said action would have seen me get arrested and charged criminally, by the way. You, on the other hand, appear to have walked away from it.
I’m glad now that the employee filed against you herself. It seems pretty obvious we’re not going to see the law applied to you any other way.
The recent death of Genia Shcheglova at the intersection of Algonkian Parkway and Countryside Boulevard was a tragedy that has sparked some debate in this part of Loudoun County. This is the second pedestrian death at this intersection this year, the first being Melanie Yost back in January. Losing people so young is difficult for a community to accept, to say nothing of their close friends and family. In situations like this, there is a tendency to grasp for both reasons that it happened and solutions to prevent another such occurrence.
To date, the proposed solutions have centered around lowering the speed limit and constructing additional crosswalks. The unpleasant truth regarding both of these fatalities is that the pedestrian was crossing the street against the light. Whether they were in a crosswalk or not is immaterial – they were in the road when they should not have been. Lowering the speed limit is likewise immaterial. Both women would have been killed as easily at 35 mph as they were at 45 mph. The argument that lowering the speed to 35 would provide the driver more reaction time is misplaced. The reaction time is only valuable if the driver can actually see the person in the road where no one was supposed to be. This is the crux of the problem at that intersection.
I live in Countryside. I pass that intersection literally every day and I understand completely why a driver would strike a person crossing that road at night, against the light, and inside the crosswalk. Approaching that intersection from the West, the driver is coming downhill. At the moment the driver crests the hill and comes into visual range of the intersection, the vehicle is actually above the level of the signal light. As they approach, they descend and are traveling directly toward the light. In short, the signal is shining directly into their eyes. The road beyond that signal is not lit and is therefore masked almost completely by the signal light. The green light, in particular, is bright enough to obscure the crosswalk that sits just beyond it. With no available light past the signal, I submit that there is virtually no chance to see a person crossing against the light.
What is needed here is a streetlight positioned to illuminate the crosswalk. I’m not suggesting that we install enough lights to turn night into day throughout that intersection, but we can install one or two and tailor the lighting to fall on the crosswalk itself. Lit in this fashion, a driver approaching that intersection at night would have visual contact with a person crossing that road and that contact is the key to avoiding more pedestrians being hit and possibly killed.
I would like to urge the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and VDOT to plan and install such lighting as soon as is practical with an eye on lighting the area that needs lit while keeping the light to a minimum.
Border Patrol chief says Border Patrol’s job doesn’t include stopping illegal crossings or narcotics
A Border Patrol chief at one of the nation’s most dangerous Southwest border crossings says the agency’s mission doesn’t include apprehending illegal aliens or seizing narcotics — perplexing front-line agents and angering a congressional critic of illegal immigration.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” Carlos X. Carrillo, Border Patrol chief of Laredo, Texas, told guests at a town-hall meeting Thursday. “The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop illegal immigrants. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop narcotics. … The Border Patrol’s mission is not to stop criminals.
“The Border Patrol’s mission is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country.“
Emphasis mine, at least in the text of this blog. The emphasis on denying the responsibility for halting illegals from crossing our borders and for halting the illegal importation of illicit drugs belongs solely to Mr. Carrillo. And that emphasis should, frankly, be considered a tender of resignation from the Chief, effective immediately.
The head of the Border Patrol, David Aguilar, says that Mr. Carrillo’s comments were “taken out of context.” If that’s true, perhaps Mr. Aguilar can either provide the transcript of Mr. Carrillo’s comments in total so the rest of us can actually see the context he’s saying is missing or explain to the rest of us what context there could possibly be that make Mr. Carrillo’s comments less emphatic than they appear. Because when I read those comments, it seems clear that Mr. Carrillo is saying that stopping illegal immigrants ain’t his job. It seems clear that he’s saying that because, you know, he said that.
“Our mission is to protect our country’s borders from all threats,” Mr. Aguilar said. “Our highest priority is keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering our country.“We have never, nor will we ever, decrease or minimize our aggressive efforts in enforcing the rule of law.”
That’s good to hear, but that is most certainly not what Mr. Carrillo had to say on the subject. He didn’t say that the CBP’s job was to do all that with priority given to terror-related operations. He said that CBP’s job was terror-related operations, period, with those other activities falling into the “not my job” category. But we’re supposed to trust that he’ll really give “aggressive efforts in enforcing the rule of law” real attention?
Taken from the CBP’s web site, here’s their mission statement:
Perhaps Mr. Aguilar should send a copy of this to Mr. Carrillo and ask that he read more than just the 3rd paragraph. The citizens of the United States deserve Border Patrol Chiefs that are committed to their mission – their whole mission. If Mr. Carrillo can’t find that within himself, then he should seek employment elsewhere and let someone who can take the lead that he appears to abdicate.
Meanwhile, a more serious response from Homeland Security than a dismissive “oh, he was taken out of context” is in order. I would hope they provide one, and soon.
No, that headline’s not a joke. Ed Morrissey over at Captain’s Quarters has the details.
Following an Instapundit link to a story on Popular Mechanics this morning I ran across this story about an MIT effort at wireless power delivery. The concept isn’t new but it’s a fascinating implementation with some real promise if the technology pans out.
The idea is to have transmitter and receiver coils on your various electrical devices. The transmitter coil generates a magnetic field from your electric grid that will be picked up by the receiver coils and turned back into electricity. The result is that you can set a coil-equipped lamp down anywhere in the source coil’s range and turn on the light without having it plugged into the wall. The same would be true of your laptop or cell phone charger – they’d supply power to the device via the coil and not via a power cord.
This has tremendous possibilities. As a homeowner, I’m constantly looking at projects in the house where I could use a wall outlet or an electrical circuit in a place where none currently exists. I have the experience to install those myself, but running a completely new circuit through the walls of my house can be a project in itself. Being able to deploy something like a sconce light or ceiling fan without tearing up drywall to run a new circuit would be wonderful.
As a network engineer, however, my very first thought when I read this story was “How would I secure the access to the coil so it runs my stuff and nothing else?” In other words, how could I keep someone from setting a receiver coil down outside my home and leeching power from my electric grid? Like wireless internet, the transmission of this magnetic field doesn’t just stop at the walls of my home, so being able to hook up to the power from outside is far more than just “likely.” It’s absolutely doable. Wi-Fi has various methods to secure the access such as encryption protocols and access lists. But those methods don’t block reception of the actual radio signal, they only halt someone receiving that signal from actually using it to access the network. Are such methods even applicable when the transmission itself is the important part?
There are cases where people are getting arrested for hooking on to an unprotected wireless internet access point and I’ve written about my feelings on the matter before. If someone takes it upon themselves to operate a transmitter that allows the signal to extend past his property and makes no effort to secure the access to that service, how is it theft when someone accesses that service from outside the owner’s property? I don’t think it is which makes securing this “WiTricity” idea a critical feature and not just a bonus.
It’s still a fascinating technology and bears watching.
I’m usually pretty well acquainted with aviation programs developing new aircraft but I have to say this one slipped under my radar. The aircraft was being developed by DuPont Aerospace and was called the DP-2. A twin-engine VTOL jet, it was being developed with a mission in mind to deliver up to 48 combat-ready troops to a distant battlefield at jet speeds and land them vertically on the field.
Think of a combination of a Harrier and a pickup truck.
What’s amazing about this one is that the Pentagon – and particularly the Army, the target customer – didn’t want it. In the face of that lack of demand, the program still got funded for 20 years to the reported tune of $63 million. As of today, the program has been cancelled.
The cutoff comes two months after the plane, the DP-2, was excoriated at a congressional hearing as a boondoggle pushed on the Pentagon by Hunter, R-Alpine, even though it has never passed a major technical review in 20 years of testing.
I can understand why I never heard of it now. It never passed a tech review in 20 years. I’m glad they came to their senses and killed the funding.
Grunion was last heard from in July 1942 when she radioed about heavy Japanese activity in her patrol zone off Kiska Harbor. She was ordered to return to base but never made it and was not heard from again. The searchers took video imagery using a remote piloted vehicle and made note of severe implosion damage that shows Grunion was crushed by water pressure. What exactly caused her to sink will be investigated using the footage taken.