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Thursday links

  • One might ask why the FBI had these training materials in the first place, and whether they plan to throw out the attitudes (yeah, riiiiiight) or just the paperwork.
  • You probably already know Tess Pennington’s online series 52 Weeks to Preparedenss. But it’s always worth a link. And soon? A book!
  • Bovard: “First wheat, now health care.”
  • Drone Studies. A new college major. That is &^%$# repulsive.
  • Security: a crypto-nerd’s imagination vs what would actually happen. S, who sent this, noted that these days they’d probably dispense with the drugs.
  • Extremely cool tips for getting the most out of your tiny living spaces.
  • RFID chips move aside. The RFID tattoo is here. (SO much more stylish, don’t you agree?)
  • I have no idea whether John Wayne actually came up with these five rules to remember in life. But if he didn’t, he should have.
  • Carlos Miller notes, “Police can shoot people, tase people, pepper spray people, harass people, steal from people, lie to people and arrest people on unlawful charges and they still get to keep their jobs.” But there are limits, you know.

Smiling, cuddling pit bull


  1. water lily
    water lily March 29, 2012 4:38 am

    It’s funny you posted the pit bull photo today.

    A couple of weeks ago, I met an absolutely adorable pit bull and loved him. And then just the other day, my friend and her three dogs were attacked in front of her home by a stray pit and her tiniest dog needed 3 surgeries for a broken pelvis. The other two dogs are doing better, and the friend is bruised, but she’ll be okay.

    The owner of the pit bull is not claiming him.

    I don’t blame the pit bull. It’s the owners fault for letting him run free and not training him properly. The other day a holistic vet said that when pit bulls are not fed food with enough protein, it can contribute to aggression in them, just like it can contribute to skin allergies in other dogs.

  2. Pat
    Pat March 29, 2012 5:46 am

    How is it that an animal (pit bull) so inherently sweet-tempered should end up in a fighting factory? And how is it that an animal with such a reputation for viciousness should remain so sweet in spite of its abuse? I should read up on the pit bull’s history.

    On the FBI files: “Other slides told agents to “never attempt to shake hands with an Asian” and “never stare at an Asian.””

    This may have been taken out of context; either that, or the instructions re: Asians weren’t adequately explained to agents. Perhaps shaking hands with, and staring at, Asians aren’t considered polite in their culture.

  3. R.L. Wurdack
    R.L. Wurdack March 29, 2012 6:26 am

    Interesting that they’d point to an abuse by FDR to support an abuse by Obama. Also interesting that the same group that argues the constitution has time-variable applicability would posit an opinion that’s 70 years old….

  4. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 7:10 am

    Pat — Only a very general rule, but pit bulls tend to be loving to humans but not to other dogs. My Robbie (a pit mix) is an angel to me, but I’m sure if my other dogs and the fosters who’ve been through here could talk, they’d use words more like tyrant, bully, or devil.

    I agree with water lily, though: “bad” pit bulls are the fault of humans. WL, I hope your friend and her dogs all make a complete recovery. That must have been terrifying.

    I carry pepper spray on neighborhood dog walks because people around here tend to be irresponsible with their dogs. But the only actual attack I’ve seen was by, of all things, a Lab mix. Fortunately, it attacked a rough-tough man walking his dogs. The man grabbed it by the collar, hoisted it into the air, and gave its owner a huge cussing out. That dog lives on my block; it’s terrifying and I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot it dead if I had to.

  5. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 7:13 am

    Pat — might be true that the Asian thing was taken out of context. But given the content of its other materials (both those described and those we’ve laughed at online), I’m not inclined to give the FBI any charitable assumptions.

    R.L. Wurdack — So damned true about using one horrible government precedent to try to create another. Ain’t that just the way it works? As to the Constitution’s time-variability — also true, except of course that the one undying truth of the Big C as far as government is concerned is that it ALWAYS authorizes bigger, more powerful government. Always has, always will.

  6. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 29, 2012 7:19 am

    “bitting”? I knew someone who had some very sweet pit bulls. Dumber than a guinea pig (which are about on the same brain level as dead sponges), but sweet. 😉

  7. Matt, another
    Matt, another March 29, 2012 7:52 am

    Got a full blood pit and a half-pit and a pit that lives up the street that regularly comes to visit. They all get along and play and have never been truly aggressive to our family. The pits generally sound the alarm and go look for reinforcements when danger threatens. One of them was actually outsmarted by a pair of guinea pigs, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. They are still smarter and more loyal than any politician. I’ve never met a pit that wasn’t highly trainable.

    The propensity towards being used for fighting dogs comes from their heritage. My readings suggest they were originally bred as catch-dogs on our early frontiers (when the colonials were pushing into and past the Appalachians). They’d be sent after cattle, pigs etc and would catch one and hold it until told to release. They were bread mostly as sight hunters (movement) and to be tough and tenacious so they could handle the punishment of underbrush and getting the dickens knocked out of them when hanging onto a bull or angry sow. Those traits are great for a fighting dog, but terrible when not trained effectively.

  8. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty March 29, 2012 8:01 am

    The most intelligent – and dangerous – dog I ever handled was a full blood Akita. I worked with her from the time she was 6 weeks until she was 7 months old, but it was not going well. She was good to me, but very hard to control unless left in a kennel. Aggressive and territorial, she was a danger to everyone who came to the farm.

    She simply could not accept me as the “Alpha,” and needed a man with greater strength and “presence.” I’m glad I was able to place her with a good one.

    I raised and trained Labradors for 17 years and never saw one with an aggressive bone in its body. Even the males didn’t fight…. they’d just stand and sneer at each other. :0 Wonder what your neighborhood lab bully is mixed with.

  9. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 8:12 am

    Matt, another — Outsmarted by guinea pigs? Oh, do tell! (And thanks for the background on the breed; I’d never heard that.)

    Also need to correct myself. I said that Lab “encounter” was the only attack I’d ever seen in the neighborhood. Not really true. We’ve had loose dogs charge us several times while out walking — including one tiny hellion who broke from his chain and forced one of my dogs to “dance” by biting at her legs. (That dog and mine just hate each other.) But that Lab mix (and I have no idea what else it’s mixed with) is the only one I’ve seen that charged with deadly intent and could actually have killed or seriously wounded a dog or a human.

  10. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 8:17 am

    MamaLiberty — I’ve heard Akitas can be that way. And I once had a similar experience with a shepherd mix. Raised her from the time she was three weeks old (when we pulled her, her mom, and her littermates out of a trash pile where they’d been living). I loved that dog and I know she never had any bad handling. But by the time she was a year old, she was impossible. Aggressive to all other dogs and to all strangers. Back then, there were few rescue options and no such thing as dog behaviorists (or at least not within the reach of ordinary folk). I ended up having to have her put down. Glad you found a strong leader for your Akita.

  11. water lily
    water lily March 29, 2012 9:20 am

    When my friend Andrea and her 3 dogs were attacked, she tried to fight the pit bull off. But she couldn’t stop it from grabbing her smallest dog.

    I think that pit bull is a mixed-breed.

    At this point, Andrea and two of the dogs are recovering, but Andrea is badly shaken emotionally. She’s a very gentle person. The third dog is done with her 3 surgeries, and will have a long recovery period. (a very tiny dog.)

    I’m not against pit bull dogs. But so many people don’t know how to deal with them, that they’ve ruined the breed. I heard a story where a man bought one as a puppy and kept it locked in a dark closet half-starved so they could be a “good guard dog.” Someone found out and turned the person in, thank goodness.

    They say that pepper spray makes an attacking dog more aggressive? I carry citronella spray. I don’t know whether it works any better. Maybe a large stick and a firearm might work best. When I get my puppy I may have to start carrying again.

  12. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 10:38 am

    water lily — What a horrible story. I can just feel Andrea’s terror and helplessness.

    I agree with you; that dog has a pit-bullish look but is surely a mixed breed.

    Somewhere online there’s a site with photos of about 20 different purebreds and a challenge to identify the pit bull among them. While most people (and surely most reporters) would call them all pit bulls, I clicked on six or seven and never found any actual pit bull.

    ADDED: Here’s that page

    This is good, too

  13. Ellendra
    Ellendra March 29, 2012 11:55 am

    One of my favorite actors, Cliff Simon, raises money for “bully breed” rescue. One of the many things I like about him.

  14. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 12:03 pm

    Ellendra — Never even heard of Cliff Simon. But now I’ll make a point to find out more about him.

  15. EN
    EN March 29, 2012 12:15 pm

    My son’s both have pits, and expensive ones at that. They were bread as catch dogs (Mat’s dead on, that’s there origins and if you’ve ever seen a catch dog work you’ll understand why halfwits fight them) but are smaller than most so-called pits I’ve seen, which are often times mixed with larger Argentine Dogos. My youngest finally had to get rid of his little female because she was just “MAD” when it came to other dogs. He had her trained, read books, did all kinds of stuff, but she just could not get along with other dogs. She was a sweet little female with humans, but dogs outside of her “pack” (he has two other dogs) were not accepted. My son remarked that she was a “lawyer waiting to happen”. And she loved to get out and go look for other dogs. She was the sweetest pit with humans you’ve ever seen. The real problem with pits is their bite strength. They are catch dogs, and what’s required is they grab the prey and hand on. They can ruin a 250 lbs boar’s day, so it’s not likely they will have a hard time with a small dog… or cat, but best to leave those stories out of mixed company.

  16. Karen
    Karen March 29, 2012 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the pittie picture! I printed it off for a friend who has a pit mix. Rufus is the sweetest thing, both with people and other dogs. The friend recently built a house and when it was done, the insurance agent came to see it and rewrite the insurance from construction to permanent. Rufus greeted his profusely, and the agent returned the playful affection. He asked what kind of dog Rufus was and when my friend replied pit mix, the policy was cancelled on the spot. Honestly, my hermit toy poodles are more dangerous and less well trained. Like anything else, we hear the one horror story on the news and nothing about the million gentle loving non-stories.

  17. Matt, another
    Matt, another March 29, 2012 2:53 pm

    Well Claire, since you asked…

    New Years Day 2009, just after sunrise. Wife and I were walking our three dogs in a small local park, about 4 acres. The park itself is in a section of town best described as once a nice area to live in. We were there early so we could let our dogs free range and roam the park. I was in one area of the park, my wife in another with our Pitbull/Yellow lab mix Honi. Honi is lovingly referred to as our meth-lab. Wife found a box under a tree and called out to me wondering if it might be a bomb. I stayed on my side of the park and suggested she kick it and see. She declined. So, I made it around the park to where she was and noticed the box. It looked a little worn and tattered, damp in the morning dew and had probably been there all night. About this time the intrepid Honi decided it was safe enough to give the box a sniff. Something ran out of the box, and under her nose and back into the box. Gave Honi quite a fright. Honi sniffed the box again with the same result. It was then we noticed it was a large fluffy guinea pig that came running out. Honi spent the next few minutes trying to figure out where the guinea pig was coming from and going too. Never did notice the door that had been cut into that box. We wound up picking up that box and carrying it and the guinea pig(s) home with us. Come to find out there were two guinea pigs in that box, the pregnant female and her male partner who was blind. Honi got used to having the guinea pigs around, but still looks suspiciously at small boxes.

  18. Ellendra
    Ellendra March 29, 2012 8:49 pm

    Claire: Cliff Simon played Baal on the TV series Stargate SG1.


  19. Claire
    Claire March 29, 2012 9:01 pm

    Ellendra — Yeah, I looked him up after you posted. Hot bad guy who has a great sense of humor, loves dogs, and speaks with an exotic accent. Yup. I see your point.

  20. naturegirl
    naturegirl March 29, 2012 9:02 pm

    Matt, another – That’s the first (ever) Guinea Pig rescue story I’ve heard of. And I’m lol-ing more than going “aaawww how sad”….

  21. JS
    JS March 30, 2012 7:30 am

    My wife and I have our one-on-one interviews this weekend at Adam’s County Shelter in Colorado and will be able to volunteer soon after. With Pit bans in certain areas throughout Denver, they get a lot of these naturally-born owner-pleasing sweethearts. During orientation last week, they brought in Bluebelle, a gorgeous older female who went around the room and happily greeted us all. Her whole body shook when she was happy instead of just her tail. She went around with A HUGE goofy smile and grunts as she smelled the tables and chairs. Can’t wait to start.

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