Rants and raves

In San Jose Inside’s weekly open forum, comments on any topic are welcome


  1. The Santa Clara City Council will consider certifying the EIR for the stadium this Tuesday at 7pm at the Council Chambers.  Amazingly the naysayers have discovered there will be traffic and noise impacts. For football games??

  2. How come the results of a recent study, by a UCLA social scientist, indicating the SJPD shows no racial bias in the arrests it makes, were not published in the San Jose Mercury? You can bet if the study results showed a racial bias the Mercury would have made it front page news. The Mercury editors, and reporters Sean Webby and John Woolfolk in particular, are so blatantly one-sided as to eliminate all sense of journalistic integrity and objectivity within the consumer of the article.


  3. I don’t know who wrote this, but a friend of mine just sent it to me. It is beautiful and I wanted to pass it on to you.


    The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

    I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

    My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

    My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

    My son slumbered softly, safe in my arms,

    I was happy to be blessed with all of their charms,

    Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

    Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

    The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,

    Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

    My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

    Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.

    In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,

    So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

    The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,

    But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

    Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

    Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

    My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

    And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

    Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

    A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

    A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,

    Perhaps American, huddled here in the cold.

    Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

    Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

    “What are you doing?” I asked without fear,

    “Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!

    Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,

    You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

    For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

    Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

    To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light

    Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,

    I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”

    “It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,

    That separates you from the darkest of times.

    No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

    I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

    My Gramps died at ’ Dieppe on a day in December,”

    Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”

    My dad stood his watch in that Korean Land ‘,

    And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

    I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,

    But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

    Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

    Something red, white and blue, … an American flag.

    I can live through the cold and the being alone,

    Away from my family, my house and my home.

    I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

    I can sleep in a trench with little to eat.

    I can carry the weight of killing another,

    Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

    Who stand at the front against any and all,

    To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

    “So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,

    Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”

    “But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,

    “Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?

    It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,

    For being away from your wife and your son.”

    Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

    “Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

    To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,

    To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

    For when we come home, either standing or dead,

    To know you remember we fought and we bled.

    Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,

    That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

    May you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • The reference to Dieppe has me puzzled.

      Dieppe was behind the lines in WWI.

      There was the Battle of Dieppe in 1942, which was the first time American troops were in combat in Europe in WWII, but there were only about 50 of them (3 were killed). The majority of the troops involved were Canadian. And it was in August.

      I suppose it was something personal to the author.

      This news item from a couple of days ago is relevant:

      “The last surviving US veteran of World War I has urged members of Congress to rededicate a Washington monument to the memory of his fellow combatants.

      Frank Buckles, 108, said the US capital needed a symbol to honour all those who fought in the Great War.

      A bill, named after Mr Buckles, proposes to rededicate an existing memorial on the National Mall in honour of all Americans who fought in WWI.

      More than 100,000 Americans lost their lives during the campaign.” (BBC News)

  4. Does the family live in Afghanistan? They must because according to the posse comitatus act it is illegal for the U.S. Military to operate within our borders. Soldiers on our streets doesn’t make for warm fuzzy feelings. That is called martial law. How bout peace for christmas, not “piece” for christmas.

  5. You might want to read

    1) The Posse Comitatus Act and Related
    Matters: A Sketch – Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress – http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS20590.pdf

    ” Military Coverage
    Navy and Marines. The Posse Comitatus Act proscribes use of the Army or the
    Air Force to execute the law. It says nothing about the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast
    Guard, or the National Guard. The courts have generally held that the Posse Comitatus
    Act by itself does not apply to the Navy or the Marine Corps. They maintain, however,
    that those forces are covered by similarly confining administrative and legislative
    supplements, which appear in the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive.
    Coast Guard.

    The Posse Comitatus Act likewise says nothing about the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is a branch of the armed forces, located within the Department
    of Homeland Security, 14 U.S.C. § 1 (as amended), but relocated within the Navy in time
    of war or upon the order of the President, 14 U.S.C. § 3. The Act will apply to the Coast
    Guard while it remains part of the Department of Homeland Security.

    “On the other hand, the National Guard is creature of both state and federal law, a
    condition which as the militia it has enjoyed since the days of the Articles of
    Confederation. Courts have held that members of the National Guard when not in federal
    service are not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act. Similarly, the DoD directive is only
    applicable to members of the National Guard when they are in federal service. “

    2) The Myth of Posse Comitatus – http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/articles/Trebilcock.htm

    ” But does the act present a major barrier at the National Command Authority level to use of military forces in the battle against terrorism? The numerous exceptions and policy shifts carried out over the past 20 years strongly indicate that it does not. Could anyone seriously suggest that it is appropriate to use the military to interdict drugs and illegal aliens but preclude the military from countering terrorist threats that employ weapons of mass destruction? For two decades the military has been increasingly used as an auxiliary to civilian law enforcement when the capabilities of the police have been exceeded. Under both the statutory and constitutional exceptions that have permitted the use of the military in law enforcement since 1980, the president has ample authority to employ the military in homeland defense against the threat of weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands.”



    The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior US diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene in another devastated Gulf. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. Officially, the company boasted of its forces “join[ing] the hurricane relief effort.” But its men on the ground told a different story.

    Some patrolled the streets in SUVs with tinted windows and the Blackwater logo splashed on the back; others sped around the French Quarter in an unmarked car with no license plates. They congregated on the corner of St. James and Bourbon in front of a bar called 711, where Blackwater was establishing a makeshift headquarters. From the balcony above the bar, several Blackwater guys cleared out what had apparently been someone’s apartment. They threw mattresses, clothes, shoes and other household items from the balcony to the street below. They draped an American flag from the balcony’s railing. More than a dozen troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stood in formation on the street watching the action.

    When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, “We’re on contract with the Department of Homeland Security.” Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, “He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary.” The man then held up the gold Louisiana law enforcement badge he wore around his neck. Blackwater spokesperson Anne Duke also said the company has a letter from Louisiana officials authorizing its forces to carry loaded weapons.

    “This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government,” says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal.”

  6. “‘People are very interested in the piece,’ stressed Mary Rubin, a senior project manager for the San Jose Public Art Program, which has already spent months on the subject.”  This is a comment about a mural @ SJC that may fall to the wrecking ball.

    If Ms. Rubin is a Senior project manager, there must be project managers who report to her.  They must have others below them reporting to them; and they, in turn, report up line to deputy directors and directors, no doubt.  SO, how many folks are actually on the payroll in the Public Art Program?  What is the total payroll?  Since there is relatively little public art, I’d guess they all sit around the water cooler trying to think of something constructive to do.  OOOPs, no! , they deal with “art”  Ars gratia artis.

    In lean times such as these, that entire dept. and the entire Dept. of Cultural Affairs need to get the axe, so that we can actually have decent public streets, for instance.

    These folks will sit around FOR MONTHS wringing their hands about this condemned mural, all while drawing great salaries, and benfits I’d kill for.

    When will the mayor and the council wake up to FISCAL REALITY???!!!

  7. Another driving pet peeve of mine; When you are barrelling along in the left lane and you notice that the traffic in the right lane is slow or stopped, something ought to click in your brain and make you wonder why THEY’VE slowed down. Slow Down.

    A woman was walking across Blossom Hill Rd. last week. The drivers in the right lane stopped to let her walk across. Some 19 year old in the left lane just kept sailing along and hit the unseen pedestrian as she stepped out from in front of the car that was blocking her view. No laws were broken, and she wasn’t charged with anything, and rightly so, but how easily this accident and tragic death could have been avoided.

  8. I agree.  Maddening and irksome.

    And this is just one variation on this same, insanely dangerous scenario.

    Variation #1:  Diamond lanes.

    Every afternoon during rush hour, the right two lines of Highway 85 slow to a creep-and-beep crawl.  Meanwhile, mindless doofusses in privileged Priuses whiz down the diamond lane at maximum amperage oblivious to the fact that someone on the right lane is sooner or later going to change lanes into the diamond lane, thereby creating a cataclysmic heap of flaming, sparking, electrically charged wreckage.

    Variation #2.  Bike lanes.  Several times a week, eco-sensitive do-gooders in fancy spandex biking pants, with designer fanny packs full of pristine alpine spring water, ride two or three abreast in what are laughingly called “bike lines” and obliviously cruise through intersections inches ahead of conscientious American drivers driving sturdily built American sedans carrying precious American school children attempting to make right turns into crossing streets obstructed by the spandex clad do-gooders.

    Variation #3.  Freeway on-ramps.  More often than not, whenever I get up to speed on a freeway on ramp in preparation for entering the flow of traffic on Highway 85, I see in my rear view mirror, the rapidly closing frontal aspect of on otherwise non-descript passenger vehicle about to dock with my rear bumper.  At the last instant, the non-descript vehicle veers one, two or more lanes to the left, accelerating like a space shuttle with solid rocket boosters in full roar.  It’s a mystery to me why these suicidal doofuses never consider the possibility that some other vehicle might be accelerating or decelerating into the same lane space at the same time from any of several directions, and thereby creating yet another heap of flaming freeway debris and incinerated doofuses.

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