Archive for firefighters

How Do You Run For Office On:


Question Mark 2

Here's what's facing the Republican Party in the next elections:

How do you run on forcing a government shutdown?

How do you run on defunding Obamacare and removing 30,000,000 PEOPLE from receiving health care?

How do you run on cutting $39,000,000 from the food stamp program (SNAP) depriving 6,500,000 kids and 170,000 veterans of food assistance?

How do you run on cuts of 18 percent for federal firefighting efforts?

How do you run on cuts to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget by $5 billion.

Question Mark

How do you run on refusing to end job killing sequester cuts?

How do you run on walking away from Immigration Reform?

How do you run on taking away minorities rights to vote?

How do you run on climate change denial?

How do you run when you vote to take away control of women's bodies and their reproductive rights?

How do you run when you claim "I think there are senators who are going to find Jesus and do the right thing."

How do you run when you defy 90% of the population asking for gun purchase background checks?

Republican Suicide 2

You call yourself a Republican, cross your fingers, kiss your ass good-bye and then end it all with a prayer.

RIP GOP. Even Reagan can't save you now.


9/11 Redux-- First responders: Radios failed during #NavyYard massacre


failure to communicate

Sadly, very very sadly, there is a piece in The Hill that is all too reminiscent of an old post of mine, "Hey Rudy, can you hear them NOW?" Here's an excerpt:

On September 11th, 2001, this was heard from a police helicopter hovering over the World Trade Center:

''About 15 floors down from the top, it looks like it's glowing red,'' the pilot of one helicopter, Aviation 14, radioed at 10:07 a.m. ''It's inevitable.''

Orders were given to evacuate. There was just one hitch. One fatal hitch:

Yet most firefighters never heard those warnings, or earlier orders to get out. Their radio system failed frequently that morning. Even if the radio network had been reliable, it was not linked to the police system. And the police and fire commanders guiding the rescue efforts did not talk to one another during the crisis.

At least 121 firefighters died as a result.

That was over a decade ago. Heartbreaking. Infuriating. Fixable.

Not so fast:

Radios for federal firefighters and police officers failed during Monday’s mass shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard, according to union representatives for first responders.

Union officials said police and firefighters resorted to using their cellphones and radios from D.C.’s emergency responders to communicate with each other during the attack. [...]

After the first shootout with the gunman, one officer found his radio’s battery was dead, while another officer could not receive a signal from his radio and was unable to call for help. That forced them to use an officer’s cellphone to call others outside the building, according to Meely. [...]

[Anthony Meely, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Naval District Washington (NDW) Labor Committee], who was on the scene at Navy Yard and took part in the search for a potential second shooter, said problems with their radios have been “a known issue” on the base with radio batteries not being able to hold charge and being unable to receive signals inside buildings.

The union representative said he thought it was “sad” that police officers had to use a cellphone to call for help.

Firefighters + police + problems with their radio signals = Disaster-in-waiting. Preventable disaster-in-waiting.

It's 2013. 2001 was twelve years ago. After twelve long years, lives are still at risk from the same type of communication problems that existed on September 11, 2001. This is mind-boggling. And it is also unacceptable.

You'd think fixing something this crucial to the safety of our first responders and those whose lives they try to save would be a priority, wouldn't you?


The Doonesbury about stoned firefighters


marijuana you must be high

Because I lerve our readers. You're welcome:

doonesbury stoned firefighters marijuana

Garry Trudeau does it again.

Now we'll have to contend with the anti-weeders believing that firefighters regularly toke up on the job. You just know that's how they'll interpret this strip, right? They'll have to understand that in this case, they only got blazed because of the impact of what the blaze blazed.

And if you understood any of that, you're high.


WI Gov. Scott Walker suggests stripping police and firefighter union rights


walker koch call

Why, it was only yesterday that I posted about how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and county staff collaborated after a teenage boy was killed by a 13-ton concrete panel that fell on him. Oops! Where's all that conservative compassion we used to hear so much about, hmm?

Now Scotty is once again doing his best to make himself as unappealing as possible by further alienating workers, the middle class, union members, Democratic voters, the usual. He's talking about extending the state ban on public sector union rights to police and firefighters. He must have gotten a call from one of the Koch brothers.

Then he backtracked the next day, because-- surprise!-- that plan bothered a few people.

Via the Wisconsin State Journal:

At a public event in Milwaukee on Monday, Walker said he would consider expanding the law, and that police and fire workers may now be willing to forgo union rights taken from other government workers — collective bargaining, paycheck dues withdrawals and arbitration to settle disputes with management.

“I think now, for those areas, having seen that the world didn’t come to an end for other municipal employees, there might be a greater opening going forward because they’d say, ‘Hey, you know, things worked out,’” Walker said at the annual Governmental Research Association policy conference.

Leaders of two police unions said their members wouldn’t accept any such change, and they believe the governor knows that.

I'msorrywhat?! "The world didn't come to an end for other municipal employees"?! Interrobang!

Nahh, those workers and their families are just dandy now that you yanked their rights out from under them, making it impossible to improve their situation, their lives, their livelihood as well as their children's, destroyed their dignity, all while spitting on democracy and Wisconsin families. Pfft, big deal, no skin off Scotty's nose.

Family values my ass.

Those union slobs and their kvetching. Honestly.

There you have it, voters: Walker 2016. Some might say he was appealing to his base. I say he is as appalling as his base.

Here's what else Scotty had the unmitigated gall to say: "The position I pushed is not unlike the principle that Franklin Delano Roosevelt — not exactly a conservative — pushed as well when it came to public sector collective bargaining.”

Yes, he said that. No, I'm not kidding.

Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the state AFL-CIO, didn't take kindly to that either, saying (among other things), "Scott Walker is drowning in a jobs deficit and to compare himself to FDR is laughably delusional.”

Truer words were never spoken...


Firefighters under investigation by department for appearing with Pres. Obama. "It leads us to question the chief's motives."


obama firefighters dc

When President Obama held a news conference last week, he was surrounded by men and women in uniform to make the point that austerity (spending cuts) doesn't work (it doesn't). He was trying to emphasize the impact such cuts would have on police officers, firefighters and other first responders. As it is, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have already been laid off.

In fact, “we have never cut government jobs when we were trying to save the economy. Until this time.”

And now something else happened that usually hasn't. Until this time:

(CNN) - Washington firefighters who stood with President Barack Obama at a public appearance Tuesday are now under investigation by their department. [...]

The White House sent a request to the International Association of Fire Fighters, said Ed Smith, president of DC Fire Fighters Association Local 36. Firefighters are routinely requested for events such as 9/11 memorial ceremonies and it has "never been a problem," Smith said. "It leads us to question the chief's motives."

Smith is right, something doesn't feel kosher about this.

DC Fire & EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says he's not considering any disciplinary action.


VIDEO: "We have never cut government jobs when we were trying to save the economy. Until this time."


see ya smaller

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Rachel Maddow poignantly addresses who exactly the people are who Republicans insist on firing, on laying off, on eliminating sources of steady work, on denying employment, income, and therefore health care and education opportunities. Those people for whom many on the right show such obvious disdain are public sector workers who have (or had) jobs as real as any private sector workers have (or had).

Yet the GOP has reveled in slashing "government workers" as if they are something less than, as if their jobs aren't really jobs at all, as if there is something inherently inferior about what they do to get by.

And by get by I mean feel secure, and by feel secure I mean also offer the rest of us a degree of security by way of the services they provide to this country.

But busting unions and privatizing America is the goal of those on the right. Their priority? Profits over people. Power. Livelihoods and economic "certainty" be damned. Oh, and of course, denying President Obama any victories ever at the risk of assuring him a legacy of *gasp!* success (too late).

An appreciation by Rachel Maddow:

"We have never cut government jobs when we were trying to save the economy. Until this time."

"Good luck, officer, see you around!"

"We lionize and celebrate the people who teach us our multiplication tables and fix our streets and keep us safe at night and rescue us from fires. We lionize and celebrate them justly as we should, and then in record numbers, we can them, [!] hurting them and hurting us as a country. Not every public sector worker's gonna win the Medal of Valor like those eighteen heroes did at the White House today.

"But there is reason to appreciate them, both in the heroic individual specific, and in the aggregate, for what they do for us every day."

public sector job losschart graph public sector jobs bush chart graph public sector job loss Obamachart public sector job loss presidents


Guns 'n' hoses: Four firefighters shot, two killed after responding to NY house fire (VIDEO)


guns cartoon arm teachersVia.  How sadly ironic this cartoon is.

Fire stations now need armed guards, too, right Wayne LaPierre? And maybe a few traveling sharpshooters for the firetrucks?

 There are no words left... all I've got is, this is just appalling. Here are some details via Raw Story:

[F]irefighters who responded to a structure fire in Lake Road early this morning found themselves fired upon by an as-yet-unknown assailant. [...]

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering, who teared up during the press conference, told reporters that two firefighters responded to the call on the engine and two responded in their personal vehicles. One managed to flee the firefight on his own, but the other three were pinned down and two were rescued by SWAT. Firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka and Michael Chiapperini (also a lieutenant with the Webster police department) were found dead at the scene, Theodore Scardino was shot and was in surgery at the time of the press conference and Joseph Hofsetter was injured... The shooter is believed to be deceased at the scene...

Updates at the link.

UPDATE via the Denver Post: Holy crap...

Police in New York state say a man who ambushed firefighters had served 17 years for manslaughter in the death of his grandmother.

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering says 62-year-old William Spengler was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Police say he set fire to a car and house to lure firefighters to his house on the shore of Lake Ontario early Monday.

This has got to stop, or at least slow way down. It's a systemic problem, one that can start to be remedied at the court level. That means, of course, electing presidents who nominate federal and Supreme Court judges who differ greatly from the likes of Scalia and Thomas. And electing Congress members who will support that president.

Of course, common sense gun safety laws wouldn't hurt. (Understatement)

guns n hoses