Saturday, March 31, 2012

Legs are optional

A sorry face book update from my daughter, and responses from friends and my son.
Her post was about being approached by a John, despite her conservative manner of dressing, and the fact that she's NOT stationary on a corner. Apparently this is not the first time.
My son's response was something like, "Have you seen what those guys will pick up? They will go for anything with legs, but even that is optional."

It's little consolation to my daughter. She's been offended, and rightfully so, but...

In our country, we are continuing the "indoctrination" of people. I heard a guy today talking about how we've had a ruling from the Supreme Court that is a "win win for everyone, but a lot of people just don't see it yet".
Oh good...Someone else telling our community what's good for it.

Our area Councillor Harvey was also quoted as saying he'd support brothels. Good idea Harvey, but...

Harvey... I like you. I may not always agree with you, but I do think you actually consider your opinions. I must protest, and disagree on this one, in fact Harvey, you'll be seeing me at the first Committee Meeting where you consider putting a brothel anywhere near me or in the West End aside from an industrial area. Your thinking seems to be hatched in a vacuum this time. Let's go for a walk Harvey. Just you, me, and all the readers.

Let's go from your house, down the block to Sargent. The thing is, we're going to walk  the lane between Simcoe and Home, OK? What do we see?

Aside from unkempt yards the Bylaw officers ignore, trash that has been there, in some cases for almost a year (yes Harvey, I'm talking about that TV) a keen pair of eyes will spot the colourful objects discarded promptly after using. They are yellow, red, and "natural". Condoms, and their recognizable "Lifestyle" packaging.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the crack whores in the area are being "safe", and as much as I like the idea of having the girls ply their trade in a nice, respectable building, with clean sheets, and a washroom facility, I'm just not sure the girls who "assisted" the "customers" with their "needs" and then dropped the condom in the lane next to the fence (pick a fence... any fence) are going to be moving to the newly established brothel.

These "ladies" are concerned about getting their next rock, or where they can score some more meth. Who thinks the brothel Madam will be tolerating girls who can't make it to work because they are all strung out, doing the "crank walk", talking to the "person" next to them (who may even be themselves in an out of body experience) in an animated, loud fashion? Hands up... c'mon... just you Harvey?

I'm sure that even the congregation of Mission Church would embrace the idea of a brothel if the girls would stop doing deals in the doorway, or around the corner of the lane in the parking lot, except that they already KNOW that "trolling" the low track for a BJ won't stop because there is a legal brothel somewhere else in the area.

The notion that the "girls" are out on Ellice and Home next to Papa Guidos will suddenly be able to have a "safe" environment by virtue of legalizing a brothel is so ludicrous that it could only be subscribed to by some white bread, silver spoon, suburban living twit who hasn't been to the area and only knows what goes on by reading the paper. Actually living in the 'hood makes a difference in your thinking, and recognizing that these "girls" are un employable in a brothel makes you realize that it is NOT a cure to the "evils" of prostitution.

At the head of the line for "maybe you need an education" are the avowed feminists who applaud this type of thing. An article in the Montreal Gazette  http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Feminists+celebrate+prostitution+ruling+step+forward/6385998/story.html has a number of interesting ideas... none of which translate into a safer work environment for the local crack hoe.

Next we'll be thinking, "Maybe give them crack... or meth... then they won't have to "solicit for the purposes of prostitution" ".

Ya. Great idea. Maybe give them food too, and bus fare, and smokes, and alcohol...

In the end these girls will remain on welfare, because they can, they will turn tricks because they can, and they will continue to "supplement their income" as self employed sex trade workers, regardless of the hand outs society will offer them. Until they decide to clean up their lives and get out of the mess they are in, we will enjoy their colourful condoms, the "Lifestyle"wrappers, the late night cruising, the unwanted propositions from Johns trolling the street... and maybe one day you'll read about me, having smashed the window of a passing car because the occupant spoke in an unwanted, unsolicited, and disrespectful manner to my wife or my daughter as they exercised THEIR RIGHT to walk down the street.

Where are these feminists when these women are held hostage in their own homes, not wanting to go out and get groceries at the Safeway because of unwanted advances? Why is it that I won't allow my wife to go to the Husky or 7-11 on Ellice to buy a lotto ticket or get 250ml of milk after dark? (I suppose the same feminists would argue that I'm oppressing my poor wife).

The feminist will answer that Sweden has the answer. Make BUYING sex a crime. Ahh! Excellent idea! Choke off the demand side of things.

While I'd take that idea over  the current "it's illegal to TALK about exchanging sex for money" laws, the current law really does prohibit the "low track trolling" we have a problem with right now, and can result in charges to both offenders. Isn't that FAIR? That BOTH parties are found to be engaging in an illegal act?

When OUR RIGHTS as members of the community are disregarded, we have a problem, and Harvey, if you want a guy to pick a fight with on this issue... you just wait.

I'll make the time, I'll walk to every house, I'll get every signature I can, and I'll do whatever I need to to fill the gallery with people who are AGAINST your idea that this is a "good thing". Not because I'm a prude, not because I'm naive, not because I have a certain religious belief I feel the need to foist upon the poor disenfranchised women plying their craft behind my house, not because I don't understand that the "complex social issues are disentangled from patriarchal moral norms", not because I know that there are men out there who really need to buy the service because they clearly can't get a woman in any other way to satisfy their needs...

No, I'll fight you because all you'll be doing is ADDING to the sex traffic in the area already, and be doing NOTHING to make the community safer for the women in my life, who deserve to be able to walk to work or school without the thought of a John approaching them... ever.

How about you stand up for their rights Harvey?


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Disraeli Freeway. The story is full of holes.

This post has been a while in the making. I was almost disappointed when the regular media picked up on the story of Kaitlyn Fraser again. I’m not disappointed that they reported on it… just what they reported. Typical pablum . This post is a little long, so we’ll stray from the norm and add pictures. I know I always find it easier to get through a story if there are pictures to look at (think Dr. Suess).
These reporters go to school for this sort of thing. I can only hope their stories are gutted on the cutting room floor by their editors and the reporters are left feeling deflated at having constructed a really great piece, but that it wasn’t heard as a result of their higher ups not wanting to cause mass hysteria… but I doubt it.
I recall one TV station sending out a team to take video of the bridge and showed on the evening news the very rusty guard rails with flaking rust spots and peeling paint. Guess what folks… that’s NOT the problem area.
You don’t have to be real smart to know that when a guard fails, it fails at it’s connecting point, or at it’s weakest link. (whichever fails first)
I’m not an engineer. I’m not a reporter. I am one of the great unwashed who listens, reads, and watches the news with a critical mind, and I am getting even more critical as I see the MSM  never really taking ANYONE to task for telling a story that clearly has no merit.

Let’s review some recent quotes.
"The bridge was definitely safe," said Mayor Sam Katz. (CKY)
“I want to assure you that the guard rail on the Disraeli bridge (uh) has performed very well (uh) as a safety feature on that bridge ever  since it was constructed  circa 1960” said Brad Sacher (CKY)
Sacher said the rail was not replaced earlier since it had been frequently inspected and well maintained. (FreeP)
"The fact that it doesn't meet current standards doesn't mean it's unsafe," Sacher said. (FreeP)

Now I have no real issue with what Sacher said. What I have an issue with is what the reporters DIDN’T press him on, and what he DIDN’T say.  The line, “The fact that it doesn't meet current standards doesn't mean it's unsafe," needs to be checked with a question like, “So are you saying that the guard is in the same condition it was when it was built?”
After all, Sacher told us the only reason they haven’t replaced the guard earlier was that it had been frequently inspected and well maintained.
This is where I start to get a little out of my depth… you see, I don’t know anything about bridges, and my idea of maintenance is clearly very different than that of Mr Sacher. He is a trained professional, with (as I understand it) a Professional Engineering Degree and is licensed to practice in Manitoba, possibly elsewhere too. I am in NO position to question Mr.Sacher, as I just don’t have the edumakasion.
I drive this thing often… I couldn’t possibly guess the number of times in my lifetime I’ve been over that bridge(s). I remember the metal grating that covered it originally… and here is where things start to get interesting for an un edumakated clown like me.
Without knowing how Dominion Bridge designed the bridge, I wonder if the concrete decking added too much weight, and if that’s a reason for it’s early demise. The addition of a concrete deck, also added salt and sand, which likely accelerated the rusting of the various components that make up the bridge. Think about it. You can’t spread salt and sand on an open deck bridge, and the steel deck is clearly FAR lighter than concrete.
“What?”, you ask, “Rust?”
Oh yah… this thing has got rust. Lotsa rust.
 I don’t think I’ve ever walked the bridge before today… both directions, and let me tell you, this puppy shakes. Yes, I know all bridges have some deflection, but this thing… shakes.
A review of my walk.
The southern section over the CPR mainline has a“new” vehicle barrier as you approach the curve heading north.

This was obviously added for a reason. Photos of this show that the horizontal rails are clearly not fastened to many of the posts. The nuts and bolts are gone, presumably since December… when it was all last inspected. I’m no expert, so I can’t tell you if the missing nuts and bolts are superfluous to the entire assembly, or if they are required.  Pictures don’t lie, and I didn’t take photos of the same post twice. You be the judge.

It would appear to a regular joe, that a vehicle hitting these two rails would cause them to separate from their current parallel lines and either cause the vehicle to get wedged between them, or in a worst case scenario, push the upper rail down, and catapault the vehicle over the guard.


Further along our walk, there has been a guard added horizontally to the original metal rail. I’m going to call it a rail, because I don’t think this is a guard in its current condition. Today, this rail serves to keep pedestrians from falling off the bridge, but vehicle? I’m not so sure. I know I don’t want to try it.
I guess a question I’d ask is… why is this area special? Clearly the additional horizontal member was deemed necessary, acting to tie the various parts of the assembly together. Was this really the ONLY area of the bridge(s) that were deficient and required this reinforcement? When was this added, and why hasn’t it been found necessary to add this sort of additional support to other sections as the bridge has aged and deteriorated further?

Numerous posts are visibly rotted right through their webs, and some are rusted right through the flanges. The posts are encased in the concrete sidewalk, and also fastened to the horizontal deck members with a plate/bolt connection. There is a metal “skirt” that is flapping around in numerous locations, clearly a result of extensive rust. I don’t believe this skirt is a structural component, but the fact that it’s so badly rusted is indicative of other problems.

Did I mention the sidewalk?
This thing is atrocious. There are literally ankle breaking holes in it where you can see right through. I know, “Big deal. They’re probably control joints. It’s common to see through a bridge in areas.”
Ya… you keep telling yourself that. Again, pics don’t lie, and while I do wear an x-large glove, my hands are not gi-normous.







 There are areas where I was amazed at the repairs and the obvious ingenuity of the crews  doing their job in keeping this bridge “well maintained”. Again, I’m just a guy who spouts off, knowing little of what he speaks, but I was surprised at the creative use of spray foam for sidewalk repairs.
On the bright side, I did not see any duct tape.
Yes, I am guilty of destroying the City’s infrastructure, I picked those pieces of foam apart with my finger nails.











Another thing I noticed were the many missing covers on the light standards connection access points. Just reach in and have a “Jolt”! For a few moments, I thought I was in Mexico, the only place I’ve ever seen such blatant disregard for obvious safety. There’s little point in having a five sided nut to keep people out of these things in other locations, as there’s clearly no danger.Since these things have been missing for some time, and clearly, it’s not a problem worth fixing I have to believe that this isn’t a problem.,,. if this was a safety concern, I’m assured that it would have been looked at.



As we complete our crossing of the “closed” side of the south span on the north bound side we can leave the wretched sidewalk and take a peak at what we’re walking on. To my dismay, the sidewalk is supported by wooden purlins, wedged into place above the fairly sketchy looking deck support “C” channels.  If this is “well maintained” then I… oh never mind, I’m not a P. Eng., so I’m not qualified to comment. After all, Sacher said it was all OK, who am I to argue? I’m curious… if a vehicle was up on the sidewalk as a result of leaving the roadway, are those 3x8’s capable of holding that weight?

While looking at every post and rail section, you can see some of the “maintenance work” that has seen flanges and reinforcement added to the posts, connections between the rails and the posts, and in areas, plates welded over the sidewalk, attached to the control joints and/or the bottom of the rail. While this work is visible, it is by no means extensive, or prevalent.

The south bound side of the bridge crossing the river is likely the worst area I saw with respect to the rusted posts. In the area where the crash/fatality occurred, almost every single post was and IS STILL clearly rusted through the web.
 This picture where my keys go through the flange was also taken on that stretch. 



Note the visible holes due to corrosion on the far post as well, and the flowers located where the rail failed below. This is typical of almost every post along this area. Remember though, the Mayor said it’s safe, so there’s no need to be concerned.
I know Sam is going on the info he’s been provided, and I’m guessing he hasn’t walked this bridge lately.




Why this section has seen so much more corrosion, I don’t know, but to my untrained eye, this part of the rail assembly is completely inadequate. Oops… there I go again, with my opinions. Sorry Brad, I don’t have a pinky ring, and you do. That makes you right, and me…unable to comment as a result of knowing too little.

I’ll offer up that almost a third of the posts have serious rust issues, rendering them (IMO) almost useless as a vehicle guard. I didn’t count them all, and I didn’t photograph them all (but I did photograph MANY) but then, that’s not MY job, is it?

Let me provide some opines and beliefs of my own, even from my sorry state as a simple minion. There’s no engineering, no professional opinion, no consultant review…this is all provided free of charge.
I 35 W, Minneapolis
·         I believe the guard rails WERE ONCE in a condition that me the safety requirements of 1960.
·         I believe that the bridge is “safe” insofar as total collapse is concerned, but I think the way it shakes, buses and anything other than passenger vehicles should be re routed.
·         I believe that the bridge was once capable of carrying the original designed loads, plus a reasonable safety factor, but then I believe the 35W bridge in Minneapolis, and the de la Concord overpass collapse were also on bridges that were “inspected regularly” and “well maintained”.
·         I believe that the rail is capable of providing the safety Brad Sacher says it will, but limited to a pedestrian throwing themselves at it. His quote that I provided at the outset is vague, and can be interpreted to mean  “preventing a car from crashing through it”, but he doesn’t actually SAY that, does he? (Weasel words, provided to him by the City lawyer no doubt)
Before we continue to the next bullet, have we ever once heard someone give us any empirical evidence of a load test done to these rails, or state what they are designed/expected to provide safety from? I’ve never heard anyone say that these rails are supposed to prevent a vehicle from passing through them, so “safe” with no context as to the expected performance is a non sequitur.
·         I believe that the rail should never even come into use, as we should all remain on the roadway, and drive to conditions at all times.
For a brief history lesson, check out http://westenddumplings.blogspot.com/2008/09/disrespected-disraeli.html
Mr. Christian has another great, informative post on the historical background of one of our City’s greatest achievements… a Freeway you can go 60 km/hr on.

Mr. Christian told us that the bridge took 30 years to plan, and for that time spent planning, we received a structure that has only lasted for 52 years. It’s been in poor shape for most of my life.  The Louise and Redwood bridges, both over 100 years of age are capable of carrying the weight of a cement truck, but if an errant driver ever wandered onto the “freeway”… it's still a major truck route. I'm not so sure about the wisdom of that.

The “new” bridge is NOT of my liking. The public consultation process was (in typical Winnipeg fashion) completely ignored, and this “new” plan by Plenary Roads was force fed citizens. Wait until they ask for more cash to fix the rotting supports of the old bridge that they were planning to use for the “new” pedestrian bridge. Would you think it a good idea to place a brand new  bridge on fifty year old concrete piers that are needing repairs? Spalling concrete, exposed re-bar… sure there’s very little weight, but deterioration of the concrete won’t just stop because there isn’t as much loading on the pier. Deterioration is like a curved graph. Once it starts, the curve increases in it’s slope dramatically.
I get not spending money on a structure you KNOW is going to be torn down. I understand not wanting to create panic and fear by telling people it needs to be closed, or limited in traffic as was suggested recently  http://www.globalwinnipeg.com/Pages/Story.aspx?id=6442592604 but to keep telling us everything is A-OK just further erodes our belief in anything Public Works , or our mayor tells us.

“Do not be alarmed. You are safe. You are in no danger”
Heard over the public address system of the Costa Concordia 45 minutes before rolling onto its side. Only then did people hear “Abandon ship!”

Too late.
 Trust your instincts, not what you’re fed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"If you don't agree with me, you like kiddie porn"

What sort of clown says something like this?
I sorta liked Vic Toews, until I heard this stupidity, spoken from the floor of the House of Commons. Don't take my word for it, let Vic tell you himself, "He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers".
Nice.  Vic was defending his latest Crime bill, claimed to make the world a safer place for children, protecting them from online predators.
His line was (sort of) stolen from George W. after 9/11, W was referring to the US foreign policy and frankly, Canada must have been viewed as being "against" our best friends... good on Canada.
This is borderline fascism, so I guess I should quote a fascist.  

" What good fortune for governments that the people do not think."
Adding to the fray of mis information and propaganda while claiming to clear things up and tell people the "truth" is the Vancouver Deputy Police Chief.
Apparently, this pillar of trust (who couldn't coordinate security at a Stanley Cup viewing, nor send officers to the disruption in a timely fashion, nor charge people for their crimes in any less than almost 9 months) thinks this Bill is a-OK. He comes out defending the bill saying,

 "This bill does not allow police to monitor emails, phone calls or Internet surfing at will without a warrant, as has been implied or explicitly stated,"
 
Umm... not exactly true... and he was speaking FOR the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs. You'd hope he would get his story at least a little closer to reality. 
The bill says,

17. (1) Any police officer may, orally or in writing, request a telecommunications service provider to provide the officer with the information referred to in subsection 16(1) in the following circumstances: 

(a) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that the request cannot, with reasonable diligence, be made under that subsection; 

(b) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the information requested is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and 

(c) the information directly concerns either the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.

What else does this "esteemed" Deputy Chief say?

"The global internet, cellular phones and social media have been widely adopted and enjoyed by Canadians, young and old. …These new technologies are also being used as a safe haven for criminal activity — identity theft, child and sexual exploitation, gangs, organized crime and national security threats," he said.

Why stop there? Why only internet, cellular and social media? Why not open my mail and tap my phone without a warrant? Why not place surveillance audio equipment in my home to record conversations? Why not just come in the door and check things out in person? Why would you need a warrant for those things assuming you are believing there is an "urgent situation"?

Here in Winnipeg, Police have already been circumventing a need for a warrant. Remember Constables Jess Zebrun and Peter O'Kane? Forgot them? What, so soon?

These two "officers of the law" were charged with perjury after allegedly lying to a magistrate about how they got information about a whack of coke in a room at the Westin. It is alleged that they lied to a hotel employee about a kidnapped girl, got into the room, took a "sneak-and-peak" and when asking for a warrant to go arrest the drug dealer, claimed they got their intel from an "informant". (They were acquitted on a technicality)

THESE are the type of Police I want to be protected from. The guys who read my blog, where I say things like, "Chief Hair-Do should get his boys to close up the drug houses in the West End instead of ticketing people for having too little washer fluid." and think they can now track my IP address for anything they might want to "fish" for.  Don't think it can happen? 

"Oh no... not in MY Canada!"

Ya right. 

Winnipeg Police are no less excited than Vancouver Police about the new Bill. 
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/cops-back-internet-snooping-140407113.html

What I really like is the name of the Bill. It's called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act  (http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/media/nr/2012/nr20120214-1-eng.aspx) Or is it?

“ What?”, you say, “An official government page couldn't possibly be lying to us... could it? Not in MY Canada!” Ya right.

  If you look at the Bill itself, that same name is provided in the section called "short title", but then RIGHT BELOW that, the REAL title becomes clear.  Investigating and Preventing Criminal Comunications Act .
 (BTW, the word "comunications" was copied right out of the PDF document, so don't tell me it's spelled "communication... I know.)

Sure, some pin head could say, "That's just the title of Section 1", except that neither sections 2 or 3 have titles.

This act is a complete erosion of our rights, and to quote Ben Franklin,

"They that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."


Vic goes on to pontificate about how hard Police have a time at investigating "these types of crimes" alluding again to the exploitation of children, but his own example is SO lame he should have been embarrassed to have even used it. 

“In just one wrenching example from the Kingston Police, as reported in the Kingston Whig Standard, Det. Const. Stephanie Morgan received information via the Internet that an individual might attempt suicide.
When she approached an Internet service provider for help in locating the individual, she ran into a brick wall.
"In that case, the Internet service provider refused to give us that information because of the person's privacy," Morgan said"To this day, I don't know who that person was who sent the message. I don't know if they really were in distress or if they later committed suicide. I think that would not have happened if this legislation was in place."

OK Vic. Was this child going to commit suicide because they were exploited on the internet? Nope... this was one example where a Police officer might have attempted to prevent someone from possibly harming themselves... maybe. These are the same Police who don't have time to review surveillance tapes to solve crimes, but now they want to monitor social media, or even if they don't monitor it, they want to be able to follow up on "tips". 

Vic is getting older... he says he has proposed the Bill, but doesn't even know what's in it. The first time I skimmed through it I found Section 17, but Vic didn't even know it was there! Honestly... I'm not making this up! I couldn't!  WHAT ARE WE PAYING YOU FOR VIC? 
Honestly?

Here's my theory about how this Bill came about.

People, (not saying people like me, just saying...)used to be able to steal satellite TV, oops, access "free to air"  by downloading codes from a site. These codes could be written to a flash drive and installed on a satellite box, and voila! "free satellite" including all the movie channels... everything. Bell, Star Choice, sports, hockey...( ya... that too). 
To combat this, Bell and the other service providers had a code written that is much more difficult to hack, but it's been done. Problem is, it changes so you have to stream the hacking info from a site to your box as it changes or your program gets scrambled. Bell wanted to have this piracy stopped, but couldn't go after the people doing it.They didn't have to tools (or laws) in place to allow it.

So what’s my point? Let’s see if the Bill can make it for me.

327. (1) Everyone who, without lawful excuse, makes, possesses, sells, offers for sale,
 imports, obtains for use, distributes or makes available a device that is designed or
adapted primarily to use a telecommunication facility or obtain a telecommunication
service without payment of a lawful charge, under circumstances that give rise to a reasonableinference that the device has been used or is or was intended to be used for that purpose, is
(a) guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than
two years; or 
(b) guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2) If a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or paragraph 326(1)(b), in
addition to any punishment that is imposed, any device in relation to which the offence was
committed or the possession of which constituted the offence may be ordered forfeited to
Her Majesty and may be disposed of as the Attorney General directs.
(3) No order for forfeiture is to be made in respect of telecommunication facilities or
equipment by means of which an offence under subsection (1) is committed if they are
owned by a person engaged in providing a telecommunication service to the public or
form part of such a person’s telecommunication service or system and that person is not
a party to the offence.
(4) In this section, “device” includes 
(a) a component of a device; and
(b) a computer program within the meaning of subsection 342.1(2).

Not in MY Canada!

Ya... right.

BTW, that first quote, the one from the fascist, remember it?

"What good fortune for governments that the people do not think."

Adolf Hitler 

Sign the petition against Bill C-30 at  http://openmedia.ca/StopSpying