Houston

Chicago Falling To Fourth-Largest U.S. City?

Really not surprised to read of the following. Jon Herskovitz reported on Reuters.com Sunday:

Within eight to 10 years, Houston is forecast by demographers in the two states to pass Chicago, which has seen its population decline for years, as the third-largest city.

Houston is projected to have population of 2.54 million to 2.7 million by 2025 while Chicago will be at 2.5 million, according to official data from both states provided for their health departments. New York and Los Angeles are safe at one and two respectively…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Herskovitz added Chicago officials weren’t immediately available for comment about the forecast.

Perhaps too busy working out the details for that huge property tax hike that looks to be on its way? According to Greg Hinz over on the Crain’s Chicago Business website earlier today:

City Hall insiders say the goal is to completely exempt the lower half of Chicago homeowners from paying any of the roughly $500 million in higher property taxes the mayor is expected to propose on Sept. 22 in his annual budget speech. The upper half of homeowners would get a partial break, but still pay somewhat more.

If it moves forward in its current form, the plan would whack commercial and industrial property owners with a double shot. They would have to pay their normal share of the $500 million but also pick up what homeowners aren’t paying…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Like the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop said yesterday:

Here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax tax.

That “tax tax” could soon be arriving at the doorsteps of commercial/ industrial property owners in the “Second City.”

Or soon-to-be “Fourth City” if that prediction pans out.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Herskovitz, Jon. “America’s city rankings set for Texas-sized shake up; Houston to edge past Chicago.” Reuters. 13 Sep. 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/13/us-usa-houston-idUSKCN0RD0E420150913). 14 Sep. 2015.

Hinz, Greg. “Who gets socked—and who doesn’t—in Emanuel’s latest tax hike plan?” Crain’s Chicago Business. 14 Sep. 2015. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150914/BLOGS02/150919926/emanuel-plan-would-exempt-chicago-homeowners-from-big-property-tax). 14 Sep. 2015.

SCC. “And Another 9%.” Second City Cop. 13 Sep. 2015. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2015/09/and-another-9.html). 14 Sep. 2015.

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Monday, September 14th, 2015 Business, Demographics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Population, Taxes Comments Off on Chicago Falling To Fourth-Largest U.S. City?

Free Shotguns For Chicago Residents?

Ever hear of the Armed Citizen Project? From the Houston, Texas-based initiative’s website:

The Armed Citizen Project is dedicated to facilitating the arming of law abiding citizens, and analyzing the relationship between increased firearm availability and rates. We are choosing mid-high crime neighborhoods in cities across America, and offering defensive weapons to citizens that can pass a background check, and that will take our safety, legal, and tactical training. The data that we collect will be used in the completion of a policy study.

According to the CBS Chicago website Saturday night, in reference to an announcement the group made at the National Rifle Association national convention that wrapped up Sunday in downtown Houston:

They aim to give out shotguns to people in fifteen cities including Chicago…

[Group founder Kyle] Coplen says they want to come to Chicago but are checking with their lawyers to make sure any legal concerns are addressed ahead of time.

Chicago has traditionally had more restrictive gun laws, and that’s why the armed citizen project says they want in so they can put their theory to the test here.

The Armed Citizen Project website shows they’re currently active in Tucson, Arizona, as well as Houston, where they have already helped 15 women better protect their families.

For more information about the initiative, you can visit their website here.

Which might be worth your while, as they’re giving away an AR-15- laser engraved with their logo- later in the week on Friday, May 10.

Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Group Wants To Give Out Free Shotguns In Chicago.” CBS Chicago. 4 May 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/05/04/group-wants-to-give-out-free-shotguns-in-chicago/). 5 May 2013.

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Monday, May 6th, 2013 Crime, Firearms, Self-Defense Comments Off on Free Shotguns For Chicago Residents?

On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Time of Reckoning’ Review

I recently watched the latest installment of National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series, “The Time of Reckoning,” which aired Tuesday night, November 27. Episode 4 of season 2 featured the prepping team of Dr. Tom Perez, a retired chiropractor, and Steven M. Vanasse, a radiation safety officer, both from Houston, Texas.

Dr. Tom Perez

The first part of the show focused on the Perez family. Dr. Perez is married to wife Monica and the couple have thee children, Katarina (17-years-old), Thomas (12), and Matthew (6). According to Tom:

I’m preparing for a terroristic attack.

From the show:

Tom fears the dirty bomb- an everyday explosive like dynamite or TNT packed with radioactive material. Once detonated, its blast can spread radiation anywhere from a city block to several square miles. But that radioactive debris could lodge in buildings, and chemically-bind with concrete and asphalt, making decontaminating a city difficult and possibly forcing affected neighborhoods to be abandoned… A single dirty bomb could contaminate an area 30 times the size of the initial blast site which could cover up to 20 city blocks. The radiation would not be detected by human senses, and the effect of exposure could be immediate.

In the event of a dirty bomb detonation in Houston, the family would bug out to their 700-acre compound- “The Alamo”- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas.


“Doomsday Preppers: Doomsday Alamo”
Nat Geo Channel Video

Steven M. Vanasse

Later on in the show viewers were introduced to Steven Vanasse, Tom’s prepping partner. Steven is married to Gobriella Gubimelli and they have a daughter, Victoria Vanasse. According to Steve:

I’m preparing for a dirty bomb blast in the city of Houston.

In the event of such an attack, the Vanasse family plans on bugging out of Houston and meeting up with the Perez family at “The Alamo.”

Tom is the firearms expert. Steve is the radiation expert. And both are training the members of their young families to be preppers.

My thoughts about Doomsday Preppers “The Time of Reckoning”:

• Both the Perez and Vanasse families plan on bugging out of Houston in the event of a dirty bomb explosion. A number of viewers probably wondered why they wouldn’t just bug in, seeing that this type of weapon is intended to cause fear more than casualties and fleeing Greater Houston and a good portion of its 6.08 million residents could be very difficult- if not impossible- in such a situation. From the show:

Tom’s bug-out route bypasses over 3,000 miles of Houston’s highways, and once on the open road, they travel due west to their safe house- 300 miles away in Brackettville, Texas… It’s normally a 6-hour drive to Tom’s compound.

I’m guessing that drive would take significantly longer with a lot of other Houstonians on the road after a dirty bomb attack, and that Tom and Steve would rather not shelter-in-place because of the perceived danger from civil strife and other sorts of chaos that could happen in Houston after such an event. Considering the extent these guys have planned and prepped, I’d be surprised if bugging in wasn’t a viable option for them.

• “The Alamo” is an impressive bug-out location. When I first heard that Tom Perez had stockpiled 46,000 rounds of ammunition, I was kind of surprised at the large number. However, upon thinking the situation through (the Perez family alone consists of 5 preppers and their firearms) and being familiar with a number of recommendations being circulated in prepper/survivalist circles as to how much ammo should be stored for a SHTF event, that amount didn’t seem so astronomical anymore.

• On the other hand, when it was revealed that the Perez family only had 9 months of food socked away at the retreat, I was somewhat shocked. Considering all the preps Dr. Perez had already taken care of, I would have thought he’d have at least a year’s worth of food stored- if not more- at “The Alamo.” I’d seriously-consider buying more food before an armored car, as Dr. Perez said they were looking into at the end of the episode.

• When I heard Tom say:

I also have taken the liberty of contaminating 10 percent of my food and water supply if it is ever compromised. I am the only one that knows which supplies are affected.

I was initially surprised (concerned?) here too. But once I thought the situation through yet again, should this prepper network ever get dislodged from “The Alamo” by raiders, it would probably just be a matter of time before the unwelcomed “guests” get sick, giving the Perez and Vanasse families the opportunity to retake their retreat.

• I have to believe there’s a certain amount of distrust among the law enforcement community when it comes to preppers/survivalists. I thought it was a good idea for the Perez family to coordinate their preparedness efforts with local law enforcement. By doing this, not only did they establish a relationship with them- perhaps decreasing the chance they might be seen as dangerous “kooks” by the police- but they even received some helpful advice during their combined drill with the off-duty officers from the local sheriff’s department. For example, Deputy Ramon Gutierrez pointed out that the Perez family are less vulnerable if they stay in the limestone structures during an attack, and Deputy Forrest Spence emphasized family members need to be real aggressive when confronting a threat.

• I was impressed that Tom taught 17-year-old Kat, 12-year-old Tommy, and 6-year-old Matthew how to shoot, among other things. From the show:

Matthew, who’s been shooting since the age of 4, can hit a target from 100 yards away with his child-size sniper rifle.

Cutest little sniper you ever did see.

• Question- What’s up with Matthew’s boots? They look gargantuan on him.

• Another question- Is it just me or does Steven Vanasse look a lot like a younger version of actor Randy Quaid?

• The way the relationship between Steve and daughter Victoria played out in the episode was funny. Steve would say something about how proud he was of Victoria and how she’s coming on board with the prepping, and the young lady would indicate otherwise. In one scene, Steve brought her shooting for the first time at an indoor gun range. Victoria gave it a try- and it looked like she was a natural at it. Steve was just beaming about Victoria’s performance. Victoria tells viewers she probably won’t go shooting again. I had to chuckle when I saw that. A lot of my friends were just like that at that age. I was an angel, of course.

• The National Geographic Channel definitely got their shock value’s worth from this installment. If the Molotov cocktails and slaying of the goat weren’t enough (or Steve’s munching on its cooked eye), Tom Perez almost suffering permanent injury to his hearing from Steve firing his rifle in the hunting blind really took the cake. Cuidado, Esteban!

“The Time of Reckoning” was really interesting to watch, especially as Tom Perez and Steve Vanasse appear to be way ahead of most of their prepping contemporaries. This was apparent in the score they received from Practical Preppers LLC right before the show wrapped-up. But the episode was also painful to watch at times. Even more painful to make by the looks of things.

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Signs Of The Time Runner-Up

I’m not sure what it is, but I just had to give that ninja piece its own SOTT post. Perhaps it stems from the fact that some ancestor of mine was a Japanese pirate warlord who pillaged the Western Pacific some five hundred years ago (not too proud of that). Or maybe it’s because an uncle of mine from Canada got me hooked on martial arts films so much so that in the eighties I thought I wanted to be the next Joe Armstrong from the American Ninja series. Now that I think about it, flying around some Caribbean island on a crotch-rocket was all I really wanted to do.

Here’s another piece I recently came across that definitely qualifies as “Signs Of The Time” material. Therefore, I’ll designate it as a runner-up SOTT. While the gun rights movement has made tremendous strides in recent years, gun “control” efforts continue on unabated. An example of this is the attempt to eradicate the image of the gun in popular culture, like in professional sports. From Paul Lukas on the ESPN website last Friday:

You wouldn’t expect to see gun control happening in Texas, but that’s what will be taking place at a few Astros games this year.

Here’s the deal: The Astros are marking their 50th anniversary this season, so they’ll be wearing an assortment of throwback uniforms for Friday home games. That includes the uniform of the Houston Colt .45s, which was the team’s name for the first three years of the franchise’s existence.

But in a move that’s outraging uniform historians and firearms fans alike, the Astros have decided to make a significant tweak to the Colt .45s jersey design. They’re removing the smoking handgun.

Ugh. Whatever your thoughts about the Second Amendment, this is a design disaster. What’s the point of having a “C” formed by a whisp of gunsmoke when there’s no gun to produce the smoke?

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

You can read the rest of the piece on the ESPN website here.

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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 Firearms, Gun Rights, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time Runner-Up
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