Save The Giraffe

Seriously. Just when you think the world can’t get any nuttier, it turns out we could lose the Giraffe. It says a lot about the imbalance of our times that killer coyotes are roaming the suburbs eating dogs while the gentle, leaf-munching Giraffe — our planet’s tallest animal — fades away.

The Times: “Giraffe numbers have plummeted by 40 per cent in the past 15 years and some species could become extinct in a ‘forgotten’ natural tragedy, the world’s leading experts have warned.”

“People love giraffes but they’re taken for granted.” — Dr Julian Fennessy, director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation

giraffe

Secret Service or Cell Service?

You read it here first. A new Homeland Security report on September’s White House intruder found exactly what a Trail Mix contributor wrote about here just after the incident.

According to The New York Times the federal report “said that Omar Gonzalez, the man charged in the incident, could have been stopped by a Secret Service officer who was stationed on the North Lawn with an attack dog. But the officer did not realize that an intruder had made it over the fence because he was sitting in his van talking on his personal cellphone.”

On the day after the intrusion we published a letter sent months earlier by Trail Mix friend and former DEA agent Michael Grimes to the head of the White House Security Detail:

At any given time, and within my view from any location around the White House, I see at least one, if not more, uniform officers with their heads down playing with an electronic device. I have seen as many as three officers, standing together, and every one of them had their heads down and not paying a bit of attention. I have walked to within just a few feet of these officers and not one will look up. This is not only disgraceful, it is downright dangerous.

Michael E. Grimes is a retired DEA agent, the owner of Criminal Investigation Techniques, which provides training, risk assessment and consulting services to law enforcement agencies.

Durst: One Man, One Vote

Will Durst
Will Durst
Will Durst on the Texas voter ID law (upheld on Saturday by the Supreme Court):

“Whiners. Bounders. Ingrates. Talking about the incessant griping and sniping currently buzzing over long overdue Republican reforms requiring citizens to produce a government issued ID before casting a vote. From the outcry you’d think the GOP was organizing competitive kitten clubbings. Again.

Face it, the problem isn’t not enough people voting: it’s too many people voting. Time to go back to literacy tests and poll taxes. Restricting the vote to white male Protestant landowners. They’re the ones who run the country. The ones with the most to lose. Oh sure, the constitution states that voting is a right, but it’s also a privilege. Barnacles don’t determine where the whale swims, do they?

Freedom isn’t free. And the rich have the resources to pay for elections. We could set it up so the more they spend, the more votes they get. Until eventually the guy with the most money ends up running things. That’s they way they did it in Europe and they turned out okay. What the hell, we’re at least halfway there.”

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed political comic based in San Francisco. He is the author of Elect to Laugh! A Hilarious, Common Sense Guide to American Politics

Hillary: Take The Money Or Don’t Run

She’s got to run or piss off every Democrat out there. Because whether by design or coincidence, party donors are refusing to commit to anyone else until Hillary Clinton reveals her decision. Time is running out for any other Democrat to muster the resources for a credible campaign. Few, including Joe Biden, can even afford a few nights in Iowa without substantial funding. Hiring qualified staff is almost out of the question. What a huge disservice this would be to her party if Hillary doesn’t run, unless she makes it clear immediately that she isn’t running.

More Nukes?

Help me understand. Why are we spending a trillion dollars on upgrading our nuclear arsenal? And why is the president who campaigned against this, and partly won the Nobel Peace prize for championing nuclear disarmament, now green-lighting this?

The New York Times provides this answer: “With Russia on the warpath, China pressing its own territorial claims and Pakistan expanding its arsenal, the overall chances for Mr. Obama’s legacy of disarmament look increasingly dim, analysts say. Congress has expressed less interest in atomic reductions than looking tough in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Moscow.”

And in an editorial NYT says,”There has been little debate among members of Congress and the public about the decision by Mr. Obama and Congress to pour billions of dollars into new nuclear weapons systems — even as other government programs have been cut significantly.”

Hey nation, this seems worth discussing.

Secret Service: No More Texting

Here’s one idea for how another intruder jumped the White House fence and made it inside the mansion before the Secret Service nabbed him — maybe the agents were too busy playing with their cell phones, as described in this letter to the head of the agency’s White House Security Detail sent a while ago from a friend and former DEA agent Michael Grimes:

“I am writing to you about what I see as a lapse in physical security surrounding the White House.

I am a retired federal agent and have planned and executed many raids/assaults in my 30 years of service. I am a part time resident of Washington and frequently walk to the White House.

Omar Gonzalez in Secret Service custody after jumping White House fence on Sept. 19
Omar Gonzalez in Secret Service custody after jumping White House fence on Sept. 19
At any given time, and within my view from any location around the White House, I see at least one, if not more, uniform officers with their heads down playing with an electronic device. I have seen as many as three officers, standing together, and every one of them had their heads down and not paying a bit of attention. I have walked to within just a few feet of these officers and not one will look up. This is not only disgraceful, it is downright dangerous.

I assure you that I would be quite capable of planning and executing an assault on the White House grounds by overpowering the guards when at least half are not paying attention by using their electronics. I am aware that someone would sound the alarm but this is not the point.

These people are not being paid to text with their friends or Google for some place to spend a day off.”

— Michael E. Grimes is a retired DEA agent, the owner of Criminal Investigation Techniques, which provides training, risk assessment and consulting services to law enforcement agencies, and the author of Informants – A Guide for Developing and Controlling Informants.

Boots On The Ground

Hey America, have you figured out that we are starting another war in the Middle East that will put untold numbers of our young men and women at risk? Because that is what is happening. Perhaps this is necessary but finally we need to invoke the Constitution and have a full debate in Congress, and come to a national consensus. Otherwise, this Administration is taking us into war without our consent because these air strikes in Syria are not going to achieve the stated objectives. Which our civilian and military leaders know quite well. Computer bombs look great on CNN but they do not win wars. We are on the slippery slope to sending troops and we must  understand that, and agree to it if we agree. We cannot let another President start a war without our consent.