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Legal confusion

There seems to be some confusion, some of it deliberate, about Florida’s “guns in parking lots” law. The law allows citizens who possess a valid Concealed Weapons permit to keep firearms in their vehicles without fear that they can lose their jobs for doing so. It prohibits an employer from taking any action against an employee for having a firearm in his car, or for refusing a search of his car that is intended to look for weapons.

Exempted from this law are employers that operate certain types of businesses, like nuclear weapons plants and explosives manufacturers. This is where the confusion begins. Disney has stated that they have a policy that weapons are prohibited in the theme park areas, and this is enforceable because of that clause. To clear this up, lets take a look that the clause and what it means. The exemption clause reads:

(7) EXCEPTIONS. The prohibitions in subsection (4) do not apply to: (snip irrelevant parts)
(e) Property owned or leased by a public or private employer or the landlord of a public or private employer upon which the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage, or transportation of combustible or explosive materials regulated under state or federal law, or property owned or leased by an employer who has obtained a permit required under 18 U.S.C. s. 842 to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in explosive materials on such property. (Emphasis added)

Since Disney is not in the PRIMARY business of handling or manufacturing explosives, the bold part is where Disney claims to derive the ability to exempt itself from the law. This is where the deliberate obfuscation comes in. The permit that is issued pursuant to 18 USC 842 is a permit issued by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to manufacture and deal in explosives. Disney has such a permit, as they use it to purchase wholesale Class C explosives (fireworks) for their daily fireworks shows. This would seem to place Disney firmly in the exempted class of employers. Until you dig.

Disney’s permit to manufacture explosives only covers a specific piece of property, the property where the explosives are stored and handled. In the county plat book, the Disney resort area is not one contiguous piece of property, but is divided into hundreds of smaller plots of land. This is probably done for tax reasons, and to avoid fire codes that would prohibit handling explosives on the same land where operating theme parks and hotels. Since this is the case, an employee working at the EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom resort, or at any of the hotels in the Disney area would not be on the same piece of property where the employers is licensed to handle the explosives. Thus, Disney should not be exempt on any property not covered by the explosives permit.

I believe that this is the case that was being made by Jon Gutmacher when he was representing Mr Sotomayor in his lawsuit against Disney. We will never know, because Disney settled the case out of court to avoid losing, and the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

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Merry Christmas

As an atheist, I celebrate Christmas. To me, it is a holiday that allows us to get together with our friends and families and bond with them. Regardless of if you are an Atheist, Agnostic, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or any other religious stripe, we should all endeavor to get along for one day a year.

Merry Christmas

Edited to add: Thank you to all who commented on this blog, wishing me a Merry Christmas. I was unable to respond, as I was working, and we do not have internet access at work. Again, thank you. I hope the coming year brings all of you happiness and prosperity.

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Ponzi Schemes

A Ponzi scheme is an investment that promises large returns on investment, and accomplishes this by paying current investors using the money of subsequent investors. The perpetuation of a Ponzi scheme depends on a constantly expanding set of new investors. For this reason, all Ponzi schemes are destined to fail as the ever increasing amounts of money needed to maintain the scheme outstrip the ability of the scheme to attract new investors.
Since the money in such a scheme is used to pay previous investors, it is never invested in monetary vehicles that expand the money pool. For this reason, growth in the funds can only be executed by growth in the pool of investors. That is exactly how the Social Security system functions. The money that is in the Social Security trust fund must by law be invested in Treasuries. For this reason, there is no money in the Social Security Trust fund, just a file cabinet filled with government bonds. Trillions of dollars in IOUs. 
This works well until the incoming “investors” begin to inevitably be outnumbered by the recipients that need to be paid. The only reason that the Social Security system has lasted as long as it has is simply due to scale, but even this has run out. For the first time since its inception, Social Security is being paid out in greater amounts than it is taking in. The collapse of this Ponzi scheme, as with all such schemes, is inevitable, and in this case, imminent.

Simply stuffing these funds into a figurative mattress by loaning the money to ourselves, and then spending it on social projects makes as much sense as a man standing in a bucket and attempting to lift himself off the ground by feverishly tugging on the handle.

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Where do Mexican crime guns come from?

According to the Washington Post, they come from the United States:

No other state has produced more guns seized by police in the brutal Mexican drug wars than Texas. In the Lone Star State, no other city has more guns linked to Mexican crime scenes than Houston.

Of course, that is a bit of a misdirection, as others have shown. However, why isn’t anyone talking about taking the guns away from the US Border Patrol, in light of this story?

A Mexican woman is under arrest after agents at the Andrade Port of Entry discover a stolen gun in her possession.

The 25-year old woman was taken into custody on Saturday after agents at the border discovered the woman had a gun they say belongs to the US Border Patrol.

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SVT revisited

What is Supra Ventricular Tachycardia? I think that I did a good job explaining it here. The problem that brings this up again is yet another nurse who thinks she needs to school the dumb paramedics.

I was recently training a new paramedic, and I showed him a picture of a Sinus Rhythm at a rate of 180 beats per minute. I told him that he was, for the purpose of this discussion, working at the first aid tent of a marathon, and that this was the presenting rhythm of a marathon runner who was complaining of dizziness. I use this scenario often as a training aid, and this medic, as new medics invariably do, identified the rhythm as PSVT and stated that it should be treated with 6mg of Adenosine. I asked why, and he told me that PSVT is any rhythm that has an origin above the ventricles, and a rate of over 150 beats per minute.

I pointed out to him that while SVT is technically any tachycardia that occurs above the ventricles in a purely literal sense, it is important for clinicians to recognize that what we refer to as PSVT is a dysrhythmia, and that there is not any set heart rate that separates Sinus Tachy from PSVT. The only way to tell the difference is to do a good patient assessment.

A nearby RN overheard, and attempted to tell me why I was wrong, and that 150 bpm is the standard for defining SVT.

I asked her why she felt I was incorrect in saying that the aforementioned marathon runner is probably in Sinus Tachy. This rhythm is a response to the normal metabolic demands of the runner’s body. A person taking a stress test has similar responses. (After all, the target heart rate for a stress test is usually over 150 beats per minute)

Instead of answering, the RN tried to tell me that the AHA defines SVT as all tachycardias that originate above the ventricles and have a rate over 150. Sigh. Where does the AHA say that?

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Clean Air=Global warming???

ALL-CLEAR IN THE STRATOSPHERE: Earth’s stratosphere is as clear as it’s been in more than 50 years. University of Colorado climate scientist Richard Keen knows this because he’s been watching lunar eclipses. “Since 1996, lunar eclipses have been bright, which means the stratosphere is relatively clear of volcanic aerosols. This is the longest period with a clear stratosphere since before 1960.” Consider the following comparison of a lunar eclipse observed in 1992 after the Philippine volcano Pinatubo spewed millions of tons of gas and ash into the atmosphere vs. an “all-clear” eclipse in 2003:

Keen explains why lunar eclipses can be used to probe the stratosphere: “At the distance of the Moon, most of the light refracted into the umbra (Earth’s shadow) passes through the stratosphere, which lies 10 to 30 miles above the ground. When the stratosphere is clear, the umbra (and therefore, the eclipsed Moon) is relatively bright. On the other hand, if the atmospheric lens that illuminates the Moon becomes dirty enough, light will be blocked and the eclipse will appear dark.”
This is timely and important because the state of the stratosphere affects climate; a clear stratosphere “lets the sunshine in” to warm the Earth below. At a 2008 SORCE conference Keen reported that “The lunar eclipse record indicates a clear stratosphere over the past decade, and that this has contributed about 0.2 degrees to recent warming.”

This story reproduced from spaceweather.com (emphasis added)

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Protecting us from felons

It is a crime for a person who has been convicted of a felony to possess or own a firearm or ammunition. Many would think that this is a wise law, as we certainly do not want people who are dangerous criminals running around with guns. The problem that I have, is that we have redefined “felony” to mean some pretty silly things. For example:

In Texas, it is a felony to own more than 4 sex toys (chapter 43). 11 of the 2,324 acts that the Texas Legislature thinks are worthy of being called felonies, making you so dangerous as to prohibit your ownership of firearms, have to do with acts that you can commit with or to an oyster. Here is the entire list of felonies for Texas.
In Utah, it is a felony to go whale hunting in a rented boat.
In Colorado, incest is a class 4 felony, punishable at the maximum by life in prison. If either participant is under 21, it becomes a class 3 felony.
In Montana It is a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail.
In Florida, it is a felony to access WiFi without permission. There was a man who was convicted in 2005 of using a man’s WiFi without permission.

These are the crimes that are used to justify removing your civil rights.

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Now for something completely different

This article about the redneck society states that you might be a redneck, if you think it is called “duck tape” instead of “duct tape.” The redneck society page says it as well.

Well, if you call it “duct tape,” you are wrong.  The trademarked name for the tape is actually “Duck Tape.” It was invented during world war two by Permacell, a division of the Johnson and Johnson Company and was used to seal American ammo cans against water. The resulting tape was nicknamed “Duck Tape” for its ability to repel water.

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EMS delivery systems

EMS in the United States is provided in one of five ways: fire service, private, third service, public-utility and hospital-based.

The fire service model is where EMS is run by the fire department. The personnel who staff the ambulances are usually cross trained as firefighters, and assume those duties at fire scenes. Since most fire departments in the country who follow this model are seeing 80% or more of their calls as EMS runs, having firefighters sitting around, waiting for a fire seems inefficient. So while there are no fires, they are put to work running EMS calls.

The advantage to this system is that it is more efficient to minimize the amount of down time that crews have and put them to work. The disadvantages to the system are that 1) most of the personnel would rather run into burning buildings than clean up grandma’s feces filled diapers. 2) If one of these people rises to the level of chief, you get an entire EMS agency that focuses more on the 20% or less of the organization’s responsibilities, and virtually ignores the primary mission of EMS, and 3) To adequately serve potential patients, EMS resources must be matched to meet demand. Fire departments have historically deployed ambulances using a fixed neighborhood station model, and many continue to use 24-hour shifts. This results in lower efficiency, with too many resources during non-peak times and non-peak neighborhoods, and not enough resources during non-peak times and in non-peak neighborhoods.

The next government run system is the ‘third service’ model, in which EMS is run as a branch of local government as a stand-alone service. Like its public-safety counterparts, it is completely owned, financed, and operated within the local government structure. The advantages here are that everyone in the EMS organization is charged with and working on the delivery of emergency ambulance service, and management is directly responsible to local officials.

The disadvantages here: As with all government run models, it is common for third-service and fire-based organizations to be evaluated by a level-of-effort approach instead of performance outcomes. This means no repercussions exist if the service underperforms. Poor performance is often addressed by simply adding resources. Another disadvantage is that control of expenditures is dependent on the local government’s budgetary and managerial processes. This makes it difficult to keep spending appropriate, as the people doing the budgeting are either invested in the process (the EMS chief) and spend too much, or they know nothing about EMS delivery (the city commission/mayor’s office), and spend too little.

There is private EMS, which is where a private company provides EMS service to the community, and is funded entirely by user fees, billed to those who use the service. Since the model also provides the more lucrative non-emergency transportation between hospitals, private homes, and nursing homes. In combination with lower wages, less opportunity for advancement, and higher expectations for productivity, the provider can usually make EMS profitable. The advantage here is that this service costs the taxpayer very little, but the disadvantages here are that significant oversight is required to prevent the company from cutting too many corners, and that employee turnover and burnout rates are generally high.

There is the “public utility model,” where the EMS agency acts like a public utility like the electric company. They are a for profit service that is contracted by the local government to provide service to the community, and they are paid a fee by the local government, and also bill the people who are transported to the hospital. The majority of the funding (if not all of it) is through these user fees.The advantage here is that the contractor is held to a standard, and if they do not live up to that standard, they can be replaced.The disadvantage is that this is a variation on the “for profit” system, and the disadvantages here are the same.

Similarly, hospital based systems see the same difficulties as the PUM and the for-profit models. In my area, there were two hospital based ambulance services, but they only did the more profitable interfacility non-emergency transports. A few years ago, one was replaced by a contract with Rural Metro. The other is still there, but is still relegated to interfacility transports.

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Parasite

Eric Sheptock has been homeless since 1994 when he last held a job, but he has a cellphone, 4500 friends on Facebook, and gets 1500 emails a day. He does it all by using free computers, begging for cash, and being paid to speak about how the government doesn’t do enough to help homeless bums.

Sheptock won’t take a job that would compromise his advocacy efforts or the long hours he spends tending to his digital empire, he says. In other words, the man is a professional parasite. He gets up every morning from the same bed in the same shelter, showers, gets a free breakfast, and spends the next 6 hours surfing free internet.

There are 6500 others just like him in DC. The only thing that makes him unique is the fact that he spends his days complaining that people and the government don’t do enough to give him better free stuff. At 50 years old, he hasn’t had a job since he was 25 years old and quit his job to be a crack addict. He first came to Washington DC to protest the Iraq war.

If you subsidize something, you get more of it. I say that it is time to stop feeding the strays with government cash. If a private charity wants to pay for these leaches to loaf all day while complaining that you aren’t giving them enough, that is the charity’s business. I for one, think that we have funded enough of this. If he can spend his days surfing the net and lobbying government officials for free cash, he can get a job.