Saturday, December 30, 2006

Is One Kind of Crime Better Than Another?

BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Drive to tackle homophobic crime The Brits are going to "address" homophobic hate crimes, which is probably a good thing. Encouraging victims to report crime. Setting up guidelines for the authorities for dealing with it.

But there was one statement that I think is insane.
"Any form of crime motivated by prejudice or hate is unacceptable," [Home Office minister Tony] McNulty said.
So is crime motivated by anything else acceptable? Would crime motivated by revenge be OK? How about simple greed as a motivation?

Of course there are a whole raft of crimes - including things like simple assault and burglary - that the Brits don't think are too bad. Just warnings and the infamous Anti-social Behavior Order (ASBO). That is they do nothing about those crimes. So maybe they are acceptable.

So Calling 911 is Going to Keep You Safe in an Emergency

You really think so? The Bitch Girls :: Yay Government! Bitter has a story about calling 911 today. Actually she had to call 6 times, because the first 5 times she got a busy signal. Then of course she got a recorded message.

The 911 response times published will count response time from the sixth call, not from the first.

You want to rely on 911, you go right ahead. Pray you never have a real emergency - like a rapist breaking into your home. You go right ahead and rely on 911. Me, I will stick with my plans for home security. Or what Oleg Volk says.

Lyric of the Day

Something to remember this New Year's Eve.
We'll raise a glass and sip a drop of schnapps in honor of
the great good luck that favors you,
We know that when good fortune favors two such men,
it stands to reason, we deserve it too!
From "To Life" from Fiddler on the Roof.

Ever feel like you are marching to the beat of your own... whatever?

Exactly - And how many of you know how to pronounce Goethe? (I'll give you a couple of hints... the final "e" is NOT silent, and there is no standard English "th" sound.)

The Best of Me Symphony - Winter Solstice Edition

Dodgeblogium : Best of Me Symphony With, alas, no entry from yours truly.... I guess I was just too busy with holiday cheer... NOT. (Does the phrase, "Bah, Humbug," have any meaning for you?)

Anyway, go enjoy the Symphony - a collection of posts at least 60 days old.... so it isn't caught up in the politics of the day.

Another Gun Stops a Crime

Off-duty corrections officer shoots, kills gas station robber You're waiting to get your car fixed when 2 goblins come into the auto-repair shop and one puts a gun to a mechanic's head. What do you do?

Off-duty Corrections Officer Thomas Martinez shot and killed the one with the gun. No word on whether or not the 2nd goblin got away, but I read several stories of this incident and none say he was captured. And he is described as running away.

The mechanic, he gets to go home to his 4 daughters.

Martinez is eligible to carry his gun while off-duty. Police are sure Martinez acted appropriately given that the mechanic's life was threatened.

And the gun in the hand of a law-abiding citizen stops a crime. Oh, the gun-haters and such will make much of the fact that he was an officer, but the point is, a law-abiding population that is armed population is a population relatively safe from the goblins.

There Really Is a 50% Divorce Rate

First Marriage Dissolution, Divorce, and Remarriage: United States (This is a pdf document) In recent discussions of gay marriage, the question came up about the reality of the 50% divorce figure.

Plenty of people would like to sweep that 50% figure under the rug. The implication being that so many divorces point to problems with straight marriage. Whether that is true or not is open for debate - but not in this post. (Is it better to let people get divorced or force them to stay in unloving marriages? Who gets to decide if not the people in the marriage? And if marriage is about something besides love, why don't we turn back the clock even farther and go for arranged marriages?)

The referenced document details a 2001 study carried out by the Center for Disease Control. You can wonder why they are studying this, and you would have a point. The CDC does love to study things that are not really diseases. They like to think that you should look to them for answers to all questions in life. Nevertheless, the study is valid.

Will gay marriage destroy straight marriage? The preachers on the right would have you believe it would. There have been about 12,000 gays and lesbians married in Canada. How are those unions destroying your marriage? Could it be that those thousands of people you do not know have no impact on your marriage at all? Could it be that your marriage is in trouble all on its own?

Percentage of First Marriages Disrupted (by either separation or divorce) by length of marriage. (From Table 3 in the referenced document).
Duration of Marriage Total (Cumulative) Percent Disrupted
4 years 16%
5 years 20%
10 years 33%
20 years 50%

There is of course the issue that not all separations result in divorce. 54% of marriages where the partners are separated for 1 year end in divorce. The number is 75% after 2 years and continues to go up approaching 91% at 5 years and 95% at 10 years. (From Table 5 in the referenced document.) Divorces take about 1 year.

Second marriages don't fair much better. (You would think we would learn from our mistakes...) 23% of 2nd marriages are disrupted by 5 years, and 33% after 10 years of marriage. The data for 2nd marriages doesn't go beyond 10 years of marriage in the study, but the trend is following that of first marriages pretty closely.

If you take a more brute-force approach and compare the marriage rate to the divorce rate, you find that in a given year, the divorce rate appears to be about half of the marriage rate. For example, in 2004, the marriage rate was 7.7 while the divorce rate was 3.8. Given the vagaries of how this data is compiled - several states are excluded from the tabulation - this is another check on the 50% figure. (50% of 7.7 would be 3.85 for you mathematically challenged.)

And yes, there is a move afoot to restrict divorce and eliminate no-fault divorce. The same people who claim that "gay marriage will destroy straight marriage" have noticed that straight marriage doesn't last the way it used to, and are going after no-fault and easy divorce as the downfall of civilization - right behind gay marriage of course.

The percentage of the population that is married: 59% in 2002 (down from 62% in 1990, 72% in 1970) This link will take you to lots of divorce statistics.

Do these statistics point to marriage in trouble? Or would it be better to force people to stay in unloving relationship? And why is the government involved?

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Republican Who Was For Equality

I fully concur...on "gay equality before the law."
Gerald Ford, in a 2003 Letter to Charles Francis. When there was such a thing as a Republican Unity Conference... as opposed to the idealogical thought police we have today, busily dividing the world into "us and them". Ich bin ein auslander.

There was a time when the Republican Party stood for individual liberty and personal responsibility, small government (not just tax cuts, but SPENDING cuts), etc. That day is gone.

Not Bad For Shooting With Her Eyes Closed

The Robesonian Online: Woman claims self-defense in Christmas Day shooting death [A note on the title and the choice of the word "claims." Police seem to be in agreement with that claim, but that isn't good enough for the gun-hating press. Let's insinuate to everyone that she is lying. She owns a gun; she must be evil - in their eyes anyway.]

So a rabid ex-boyfriend blocks your car, tells you to get out of your car and into his truck, because you were going with him. He was armed with a rifle.

What would you do?

For Dixie Oxendine, the decision was easy.
"I just closed my eyes and started shooting," she said. "I was scared he was going to shoot and kill me."
The ex-boyfriend was shot 5 times - once in the head. Not too bad...

This isn't the first time he tried to hurt her. He ran her car off the road in April, and before the holiday, he threatened to kill her. Since it takes less time to buy a pistol than it does to get a restraining order, that is exactly what she did. (She was planning to get the restraining order after the holidays.) Sounds like this was the right decision.

Police have not filed charges.
"It's a domestic dispute and (District Attorney) Johnson Britt has to review the case," [sheriff's Detective Lt.] Ricky Britt said.
Good Guys Gals 1, Goblins 0 [via KABA]

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Man shot to death in alleged break-in ID'd You wake up at 11:40 PM to find an intruder in your bedroom. What do you do?

For one Federal Way, Washington homeowner, the answer was simple.
He grabbed a shotgun and shot the intruder once, mortally wounding him.
The goblin died from one shotgun blast to the torso.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gamble with your life, and you may lose it

Using deadly force is legal : Local : Albuquerque Tribune I covered this case in passing the other day. My attention was arrested - you might say - by the comments made by police.
"Hopefully this is going to send a message to people who are breaking into homes," Albuquerque police spokeswoman Trish Hoffman said Tuesday. "They're engaging in very dangerous behavior, not only to the people they're robbing, but to themselves."
This is the third shooting in the past month of a would-be goblin by a homeowner in Albuquerque.

Big Brother Takes Another Step Into the Light

Justice Dept. Database Stirs Privacy Fears - washingtonpost.com A database that contains info on convicted criminals would be one thing. This is another. People who have not been charged or arrested are in this database.... enemies of the state?

Isn't this the same thing they did in the 50s (plus new technology) when they were busy branding Civil Rights workers as trouble makers and putting dossiers together on folks like Martin Luther King?

Who will they decide is an enemy next? Anyone who objects to McCain-Feingold? [KABA]

Gun Safety: Some Know It, Some Don't

Coach GunThe Shreveport Times: Children learn gun safety 8 to 10 years old (all boys? what about the girls) learn gun safety in Louisiana learn gun safety with their parents. This should go far to keeping them safe. (This is really a wonderful article... worth your time.)

Consider instead the following tragedies:

Portland, Oregon - Police: 10-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his sister This was with a shotgun.

Uncle: Hoboken student killed in gun accident
"We are charging right now that the shooting was reckless, but not intentional," [Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Nicholas] Sewitch said
Reckless is by definition, not being safe.

Or there was the story from last week, about the boy who shot his friend in the head.

The rules of safe gun handling are not rocket science. They are also not arbitrary - even if different groups have different ideas about which order they come in.

Never point a gun at someone you are not willing to kill or anything you are not willing to shoot. (Keeping it pointed in a "safe" direction, means even if it does go off, everyone is safe.)

Keep your finger off the trigger until you mean to shoot. (They only go off if you pull the trigger.)

Be aware of your target, and what is beyond it. (What are you likely to hit, if you miss your target, or the bullet penetrates the target and continues on its way?)

Etc.

Education is the BEST way to keep kids safe.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What do you do if a coyote attacks?

kyw.com - Coyote Attacks Three Times In Northampton County Nice suburban neighborhood. Three attacks in one day. State officials had to be called in to kill the coyote.

Defending yourself is not something the good people of Greater Philadelphia do. Well most of them anyway...

Even In Japan, Restraining Orders Are No Protection

Tokushima man held for allegedly killing wife : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri) A restraining order was in place, but he got to her and killed her anyway. Of course the means to effectively defend yourself in Japan is not available.

A Bad Few Days For Goblins

Police: Wounded Home Invader Stumbles Into Post Office - News
Dallas police said a person was shot breaking into a home, and stumbled, bleeding into a Post Office
This paper calls the goblin a "victim," since they hate guns and anyone shot must be the poor defenseless victim - and not a home invader.... Anyway, voice your disapproval by writing to them.

Update: It appears that the story in question has been edited... They no longer refer to the goblin as "victim," but as "the wounded man." Way to go NBC!

KOBTV.com - Police identify man shot in home invasion This happened Friday. A guy broke into someone's home.
While in the home, Gabaldon was apparently shot, the spokesperson said. He then stumbled back to his car.

He was found dead just outside the home after crashing his car into a fence
The car was stolen earlier in the month, and the goblin in question has a history of burglary. He picked the wrong house.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Oh, the weather outside is ...

SailingWell, not frightful. But it was frightfully humid today. The temperature only got up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but the humidity has been up around 85% all day. I actually turned the air conditioner on a bit this afternoon.

The only downside is that we may get thunderstorms tomorrow.

In case you are wondering... I am NOT dreaming of white Christmas. If I never see snow again, that would be OK.

World Ends: Poor Hit Hardest

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Pandemic would hit poor the hardest, new flu study says Or something like that.

Electric Vehicles Aren't What You Think

Tesla RoadsterDo you think electric cars are all slow-moving, small and golf-car-like? Well you're wrong in at least 1 instance.

The Tesla Roadster - a $100,000 sports car - does 0 to 60 in 4 seconds, goes 135mph and has a range about 250 miles. While it still takes about 3.5 hours to deliver a full charge, this is better than other vehicles.

And Tesla does have plans for more conventional cars in the future, but their idea is to convince you that your prejudices against these things are unfounded.

People have strange ideas about renewable technology. Solar energy - photovoltaics - cost about $30 per watt in the 70s during the oil embargo. Today, that same watt of electricity is less than $3, but people cling to the idea that solar is too expensive. (With oil at $60 per barrel and going up, and the cost of solar going down, are you sure that solar is "too expensive?")

And "too expensive" compared to what? Is a Lincoln Navigator too expensive? Is a Corvette too expensive? You can find cheaper alternatives, why aren't you making these purchase decisions on strictly economic terms? Is the Tesla too expensive? Compared to what?

Batteries continue to be a problem. They are much better than they were, but cost is still high for the lithium-ion and similar batteries.

So some industries have done without the batteries and gone to diesel-electric drive. (The railroads did this for economy in the 1940s and 50s or earlier.)

The Fast Electric Yacht System provides performance and installation costs similar to diesel engines, and yet deliver much better fuel economy.


Item Factory Diesel Factory Gas FEYS
Engine / Motors 420 HP Diesel (2) 410 HP MPI Gas (2) 133 HP Motors (4)
Fuel Capacity 300 300 150
Genset 9 kw Onan (Diesel) 10 kw Onan (Diesel) 400 kw (Diesel)
Total Vessel Weight 20,400 lbs. 20,000 lbs. 19,900 lbs.
Cruising Speed 22 kts 21 kts 25 kts
Top Speed 30 kts 28
kts
28 kts
Range 215 miles 187 miles 212 miles
Noise (at helm, cruise) 92 DB 92 DB 78 DB
Fuel Burn at Cruise with Genset 36 GPH 42 GPH 24 GPH
Estimated Cost of Propulsion System $76,100 $36,100 $73,425

If you are wondering why electric motors can deliver this performance while the system is only rated at 133 HP (266 HP per drive shaft) instead of in the range of the internal combustion engines, it has to do with the way engines are rated. Internal combustion engines are rated at the maximum horse power that can be generated for 15 minutes without overheating. (This means at 16 minutes the alarm is going off.) Electric motors are rated at continuous horse power.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Scrooged

Scrooged staring Bill Murray has to be both one of Murray's funniest films, and one of the better takes on "A Christmas Carol." The portrayal of the Ghost of Christmas Present by Carol Kane is priceless.

Though if you insist on a more "traditional" treatment of Dickens' classic, then I suggest the Patrick Stewart version. I think this wins out over everything including the Alistair Sim version. Both of these are fairly faithful to the book and the Patrick Stewart version includes a great roll for Joel Grey as the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Happy Holidays folks.

Keeping Children Ignorant Will Not Ensure Their Safety

Teen Dies After Accidental Shooting - Local News This is a tragedy for all concerned. A young man is dead, shot in the head accidentally by a friend who did not know the rules of safe gun handling.

The gun belonged to a policeman, and had been properly stored. But the son had not been drilled in the rules of safe gun handling. If he had been, this tragedy might have been averted.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nearly 2 Months to Rule Self-defense

Homeowner who shot man won't face charges I suppose that the DA wanted to charge the homeowner, since he was complaining about "a lack of evidence." Still what can you in California.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

South Dakota Leads in Concealed Carry

Argus Leader: South Dakotans No. 1 in permits to conceal guns 7.4 percent of the state's population is licensed to carry concealed weapons.

I wondered how their crime rate compared with other states... so I took a look at the 2005 Uniform Crime Report, and the state by state data on violent crime.

StateViolent Crime Rate
per 100,0000
murder rate per
100,000
South Dakota 175.7 2.3
California 526.3 6.9
New York 445.8 4.5
Massachusetts 456.9 2.7
Wisconsin 241.5 3.5
Illinois * 551 6.0
District of Columbia 1459.0 35.4

I always like to view the the statistics... you know someone will wonder if guns cause crime. Well, if guns cause crime, and concealed weapons contribute to crime in public places why are places like South Dakota so much safer than places like Wisconsin?

And gun-free D.C.... What a disaster! (See also my previous post on D.C. crime.)

* Illinois doesn't like to present data to the FBI for inclusion in the Uniform Crime Report. So it is hard to know if the figures for Illinois are low or high. (And yes I know, D.C. is not a state.) [Hat tip to Say Uncle]

Perfect Sheep - to the slaughter

Alphecca: Meanwhile in Gun-Free DC... What happens when a bunch of liberals are accosted by gun-wielding thugs? Why nothing, they just hand over their cash - no dignity left to give - and say nothing.

The police would like to know what else you expect to happen at Christmas time.

The restaurant had "security." Or rather they had an unarmed doorman and surveillance cameras. These provided no deterrent, and so far there are no suspects. Not one D.C. police officer was able to respond in the time it took to rob D.C.'s gliterati. (Good thing they were just robbers and not rapists....)

Sad state of affairs in our nation's capital.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another Case of Someone in the Wrong House?

Cloverdale man fatally shoots intruder ** Updated ** OK, A guy gets into a fight at a party and leaves. He comes back, but he comes back to the wrong house - it was next door.
The owners of the home next door to the party were awakened just before 3 a.m. by the man, who was jumping on the hood of their car. When the male homeowner opened a window and told the man to get off the car, the man walked to the house and tried to open its front door. Then the couple called 911.

Finding he couldn't open the door, the man smashed a front window of the home with a five-gallon water bottle and entered the house holding the bottle.

He followed the couple to their bedroom, and the male homeowner shot the intruder just outside the bedroom door. He died in the house.
This guy didn't die for being mad or being in a fight or even breaking in. He died because his behavior constituted a reasonable threat and the people he threatened, defended themselves.

Update: The police in this case seem to be on the right page.
“What the Steckmyers went through was very traumatic. It was definitely a very scary incident,” [Robert Giordano of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department] said. “I'm just glad they're OK. I'm sorry the suspect lost his life.”
The goblin - who has not been identified - was shot multiple times ("less that six").

Mona and the Happiness Fairy - Part 2

C'est La Vie... See Part 1 Here...

Cest La Vie

Cest La Vie

Cest La Vie
C'est La Vie copyright Jennifer Babcock, ©2006
[Click on each image for a larger and clearer view of the comic]

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly on what should be said on the vital issues of the day.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

They Lost the Election - Now they Want to Ignore the Law

Cox warns universities not to dawdle on Proposal 2 OK, the law takes effect on the Dec. 22 - a law banning affirmative action as we know it. But the big Michigan Universities don't want to follow the law.
The universities said changing the rules by which applications are considered and financial aid awarded in the middle of the academic year would create havoc and unfairness.
Havoc, probably, but "unfairness?" The law - as passed by referendum in Michigan in Nov - eliminates the "unfairness" and forces government (and government universities) to stop using race to decide admissions and hiring.

Oh, and since they lost the election they are turning to courts to have their way. So familiar. But they are on the losing side of the argument. A similar law in California has been upheld, so there is no reason to believe this one won't be. Just another delaying tactic.

Restraing Order No Help

The Daily Item of Lynn: More Coverage > Revere man slashes wife, self A restraining order offered no restraint.
Ignoring a protection order filed against him, Cocchia broke into the home of his estranged wife around 1 a.m. Wednesday and attacked her with a mallet and a knife, said police. The attack left Maria Cocchia with blunt traumatic head injuries and her neck slashed, said police.
She is lucky to be alive.

Police showed up in time to get Maria Cocchia some medical attention. They did not protect her from attack - it is impossible for the police to protect everyone.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Io Saturnalia!

December 17th (by the new calendar) marks the beginning of Saturnalia and a host of other Solstice celebrations.

Originally, the winter solstice fell on December 25th. (Special day, isn't it) But when the Roman Catholic Church re-engineered the calendar in 1582, one of the many things they did was move the solstice away from the the 25th, separating Christmas from all of the other Solstice celebrations.

Anyway, Saturnalia - the principle celebration of the Roman Empire would run for the 17th to the 23rd. "Io Saturnalia!" was the primary season's greeting.

Various celebrations:

Saturnalia - by our current calendar it is usually listed as December 17 through December 23. Originally - by the old Calendar - covered the 25th. Besides honoring Saturn, the goddess Ops, goddess of abundance, was celebrated via gifts and feasts - probably on December 19th.

Mithras - Roman god, who was a resurrected god, who was worshiped at Saturnalia, He was supposed to have been born on December 25th. Apparently very popular in the Roman Legion.

Solstice - December 21 by our current calendar, fell on December 25th in the old calendar. Celebrated the return of the light - the end of the shortening of the days, and the beginning of the lengthening of the days.

Yule - Norse and Germanic Solstice celebrations. Usually listed as the official name of Wiccan Solstice celebrations.

And of Course ...

Festivus - December 23, which dates to at least 1966, and is definitely not an invention of the Seinfeld Show, though many of the "traditions" are from that show.

And of course, all these competing holidays have caused confusion for some time... Take a look at the ancient document.
"What's this empire coming to? Now they want us to stop greeting people with "Io, Saturnalia"! "We have all these different cultures in Rome", they tell us. "We shouldn't offend anyone", they tell us. "We should be inclusive."

"We've got the barbarians from the north with their tree decorations and their fire rituals. And the weirdos from Gaul, cutting mistletoe with a golden sickle. And the Mithraists, the Zoroastrians, the Isis cults, and, of course, those characters who hang out in the catacombs. "Hail, Winter!" we're supposed to say. I ask you, what next: we lose the feast? We stop the Solstice parties? No more honoring Ops, goddess of abundance?

"I was buying some candles and greenery down by the Forum the other day, and there's old Macrobius with some Visigoth chick, and she goes, "Gut Jule". So I go, "Hey! In this country, we say, "Io, Saturnalia! Maybe you should go back to where you came from." Then Macrobius goes, "She can't, she's a slave".

First British woman awarded Military Cross

Private Norris, British ArmyTelegraph | News | First woman awarded an MC The British Military Cross is an honor awarded to members of the British Army for "gallantry during active operations against the enemy."

Private Michelle Norris is a a 19-year-old medic with the Royal Armoured Medical Corps. She volunteered for a tour in Iraq after having been posted to Germany.

She won the Military Cross for braving enemy fire to get to a Sr. NCO who had been wounded (and for staying calm enough to save his life).

The Brits, like the US, don't want to put women in combat. The problem of course that in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no front lines and no rear areas.
Pte Norris, a soldier with the Royal Army Medical Corps, believes that her action strengthens the case for putting women in the front line. The military establishment would disagree, for reasons which have nothing to do with female bravery, but rather the traditional male impulse to protect women in the heat of battle.

Yet this argument is undermined by the fact that in today's messy conflicts, the front line is often both nowhere and everywhere.

Mona and the Happiness Fairy - Part 1

If you aren't reading C'est La Vie, you should be. (I only wish she would make coffee mugs available!)

Cest La Vie

Cest La Vie

C'est La Vie copyright Jennifer Babcock, ©2006
[Click on the image for a larger and clearer view of the comic]

The History Carnival's Holiday Party

Acephalous: The History Carnival's Annual Happy Holidays Party (as Reported by an Ignorant, Belligerent Lush) Strange, but everything is there....

Friday, December 15, 2006

Exactly!

BREITBART.COM - Ex-Rep. Barr Quits GOP for Libertarians Once a player in the GOP, Barr quits for VERY good reasons.
"It's something that's been bothering me for quite some time, the direction in which the party has been going more and more toward big government and disregard toward privacy and civil liberties," said Barr, 58, a lawyer and consultant living in Atlanta. "In terms of where the country needs to be going to get back to our constitutional roots ... I've come to the conclusion that the only way to do that is to work with a party that practices what it preaches, and that is the Libertarian Party."
The Republicans do not appear to be interested in limited government, or personal freedom. They have truly become the other side of the coin from the Democrats. Big government is fine, as long as it is the right big government. Interference in the lives of citizens is fine, as long as it is the right interference.

I have problems with the (big "L") Libertarians, but I think I am beginning to have a lot fewer problems with them, than I do with the GOP. [Hat tip to Bitter]

Update: I am going to have to a close look at the Libertarians...

Tis the Season... for armed shootouts

DenverPost.com - Christmas gift gunfire in Pueblo Happy holidays.
Four theft suspects in Pueblo got into a shoot-out with police Wednesday over - of all things - wrapped Christmas presents under a tree.
Armed break-in, unarmed homeowner. When police got there the goblins were carrying the gifts out the front door.

No one was injured in the shootout. 3 goblins are in jail, one is on the lamb. (Good Guys 3...)

No word on whether or not the gifts are held as evidence, or returned to the homeowner.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

KOBTV.com - Man fatally shot east of Albuquerque. A call to 911 was possible before the break-in, but deputies still arrived after everything was over.
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Authorities say a man was fatally shot after he broke into a home east of Albuquerque and threatened the homeowner.
There is video (this story is from a TV news site), but it doesn't add much.

If the homeowner had not been able to defend himself, whose dead body would the deputies have been removing from the scene? Perhaps no one would have died, but I think that there is a pretty good chance the homeowner would have been injured or killed. Someone breaking into your home and threatening you is a reasonable threat.

Happy Chanukah!

Army and Menorah[OK, so I recycled this from last year... bite me.] Chanukah begins this evening at sundown. MSNBC - Armed Jews Week: Via AlphaPatriot, we have this post on the true meaning of Hanukkah
[It is] Armed Jews Week, or as it is more popularly known, Hanukkah. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration of the Jewish revolution against Syria in the second century B.C. The Syrian government (a remnant of Alexander the Great’s empire) attempted to wipe out the Jewish religion by forcing the Jews to conform to Greek culture. Some of them refused, and a tiny militia, led by Judah the Maccabee (“the hammer”) began a guerilla war.
The rest of the article is interesting as it covers the rebirth of traditional Jewish military might (started by the Zionists in the 19th Century), and details Jewish involvement in the resistance movement against various parts of the Nazi military machine.
In 1942-43, Jews constituted half of all the partisans in Poland. Overall, about thirty thousand Jewish partisans fought in Eastern Europe. There were armed revolts in over forty different ghettos, mostly in Eastern Poland. ...

[I]n France, Jews amounted to [less] than one percent of French population, but comprised about 15-20 percent of the French Resistance. ...

A young poet named Abba Kovner led the resistance movement known as the Avengers in the woods around Vilna [,Lithuania]. ...

The Avengers were the first partisans in Nazi Europe to blow up a German train.
Chanukah is the festival of lights, and commemorates some miracle involving lighting the temple after the victory of the Maccabees.

I really wanted to include a link to the Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler, but he seems to keep a pretty tight hold on his stuff...

This is the closest I could find. You need to click on the album, "What the Hell Happened to Me?" (the album with the picture of A.S as a kid) and then you can view the video of the live performance in Chicago.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Jersy OKs gay civil unions

gay flagN.J. lawmakers approve gay civil unions - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com This was a result of a court ruling (NJ Supremes) instructing the legislature to handle the matter.
Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine said he would sign the measure, which would extend to same-sex couples all the rights and privileges available under state law to married people. The bill passed the Assembly 56-19 and the Senate 23-12.
Hat tip to Right Side of the Rainbow.

Quote of the Day

[I moved this to the top, since I still find it incredibly appropriate] The recent discussions have put me in mind of some satire.
And I am absolutely confident, my friends, that I speak the righteous truth when I say these things because the Lord has told me that I am never wrong!

There was one time I thought I was wrong.

But I was wrong.
Steve Allenas "Dr Jerry-Jim, preacher"

Remember this when some preacher goes on about who is and who is not evil. And ask him for God's phone number, since he must have a direct line.

Pure Evil

I am sure all the folks over at Cassandra's place would agree.


How evil are you?


Hat tip goes to Ilyka

News on marriage form all over - good for some of us

gay flagTomPaine.com - A Bright Gay Future For Marriage Even with all the setbacks in this country, there is progress being made both at home and abroad.
The U.K. celebrated the one-year anniversary of its civil partnership law, which legally recognizes same-sex couples. And in November, both Israel and South Africa (a very odd couple indeed) joined the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and Spain in recognizing marriages between two women or two men. That brings to total number of nations that have done so to six, in as many years, with the Scandinavian countries now jockeying to see which will be next.
Israel is a special case, since the the only marriages recognized in the country are Orthodox Jewish marriages. Everyone else has to go abroad - which is what a bunch of folks did. The courts said they were legal in the country (Canada) where they were preformed, so they were legal in Israel.

But there's more.
Around the world, almost all the developed countries recognize same-sex couples under some other name. All the Scandinavian countries have “registered partnership” laws, which are marriages without the magic word—and will almost certainly be upgrading to full marriage in the next few years. Other jurisdictions with such laws already on the books include most of Australia, states in Argentina and Brazil, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Mexico City and one of the Mexican states is even getting into the act as well.

Here at home, the news is less good, though perhaps somewhat better than it was. Massachusetts has married 8000 gay and lesbian couples and with the exception of some irate politicos, it is not on anyone's list of top issues. Vermont, Connecticut, California have civil unions (or domestic partnerships in CA) and it is likely that Oregon will follow their lead in the next year.

I have said all along that the errors made over the campaign for gay marriage (and civil unions) was to use the courts exclusively and not rely on the legislative process. It gave too much ready-made capital to the enemy. Still, LGBT groups are beginning to learn to wage political campaigns.

It will be interesting to see what the next 20 years will hold.

OK, this should save time on all future raids

‘How could this happen?’ | StarNewsOnline.com | Star-News | Wilmington, NC The police (actually it was more like the paramilitary hit squad) shows up to arrest thief - who was also a college student.

They knock, but don't wait for anyone to answer the door and start breaking it down. Then they don't even bother to wait to see what is on the other side of the door, they shoot the kid before the battering ram has broken the door. It was all a big mistake and so of course the officer (or is that jack-booted thug?) is not responsible in any way.

I wonder what would have happened had someone on the other side of the door started shooting. Someone (unannounced) trying to break in usually constitutes a reasonable threat. Unless that someone is your local jack-booted thug.

So now they don't have announce or knock or even wait to see if there is a threat on the other side of that door. They can just show up and start shooting. Wonderful

Isn't the War on (Some) Drugs grand? [Hat tip Arms and the Law]

How to be a victim

Dr. Sanity: DR. SANITY'S PRACTICAL GUIDE TO VICTIMHOOD
Becoming a victim --as we all have learned from famous TV stars, prominent politicians; religions, races, and even nations--is an advantageous state of being in many ways, several of which are:

-You are not responsible for what happened to you
-You are always morally right
-You are not accountable to anyone for anything
-You are forever entitled to sympathy
The list goes on, and other info includes how to become a victim, how to maintain your victim status, etc.

Trust me, it is worth your time to read it.

Home Invasion Stopped By Armed Homeowner

1 Fatally Shot In Apparent Home Invasion - News One would-be home invader is dead, the other is in the hospital with gunshot wounds.

Both were shot multiple times.

Police call the shootings self-defense.

The good guys came out ahead this time.

More Fun Over at Cassandra's Place

Villainous Company: The "Idiot" Post In particular, see my response to her response.

(It started here, then moved here when I was inspired to do a rant on Repubs.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ilyka can always make me laugh

Ilyka Damen: Wherever I Go, There They Are And I thought I had problems....

U.S. Grant's General Order 11

Ulysses S. GrantA Near-American Holocaust of 1862 Most people don't know about General Grant and the expulsion of Jews from his "department." The order was signed on the 17th of December, 1862. His "department" designated areas of Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

There was a thriving black-market in the south, trading with South to supply money if not war supplies. While some of the black-marketeers were Jewish, most were not. But as is typical in these instances, antisemitism was common.
In the emotional climate of the war zone, ancient prejudices flourished. The terms “Jew,” “profiteer,” “speculator” and “trader” were employed interchangeably. Union commanding General Henry W. Halleck linked “traitors and Jew peddlers.” Grant shared Halleck's mentality, describing “the Israelites” as “an intolerable nuisance.”
Many people were evicted - even Union veterans.

It was not until January 4, 1863 that the order was officially revoked by order of General-in-Chief H.W. Halleck.
WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, January 4, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,
Holly Springs, Miss.:

A paper purporting to be General Orders, Numbers 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms it expels all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked.

H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.
President Lincoln had met with a delegation lead by Cesar Kaskel on January 3. (Many telegrams had been sent from all over the country as well.) Lincoln told Halleck to rescind the order.

People always wring their hands when the subject of the Holocaust comes up, and wonder, "How could such things happen?" The truth is that they happen quite frequently (as history goes) and it looks like Iran & Co. are getting ready to unleash another tide of death very soon.

Late to the Symphony... again

Dodgeblogium : BOMS snows in Roundup of some interesting posts that are at least 60 days old - and not mired in the politics of the day for that reason.

Do you cherish liberty, or not?

or, Why I am mostly done with "mainstream conservatives"

LibertyConservatives in America today - or maybe it is just Republicans - have morphed mostly into a strange parody of the 1970s Democrats. Big government is OK as long as we suggest it. (Is the prescription drug program the largest entitlement since Social Security?) Not to mention the expansion of police powers under the war on (some) drugs. Everything is forgiven - pork, etc. - as long as conservative Christian views are maintained.

This rant has been a long time in the making, and to better explain I am going to break the first rule of Fight Club. I had been a member of a blogging community of conservative women, namely the Cotillion. But one day in a discussion, it became clear to me that since I was not heterosexual and married I was a second class member. I didn't have the same "perspective" as the mothers in the group. (Maybe I was a third class member because a couple of single women were getting worked over nearly as much as me.) Since that wasn't acceptable, I opted out. It cost me about 80 or so permanent links to the blog plus any number of links to individual posts, (killed my standing in the TTLB ecosystem!) but some things aren't worth the hassle.

It became clear that polarization in politics was complete. Both the Left (who I argued with regularly) and the Right have adopted dogmatic positions - usually diametrically opposed - and are firmly encamped. No discussion is possible. To admit discussion is to question the dogma, and "religious wars" will be fought defending the dogma. No study, no evidence, no argument will change anyone's position. That is the nature of dogma.

The surprise the Republicans experienced on election night is part of this. They don't even consider that they are pissing off people. They are right, and everyone else is in league with the devil. (Why change leadership after a defeat? We were right, it is just that people are too stupid to agree with us. That should win lots of votes in the next election.) So when their view of the world conflicts with reality? They turn up O'Reilly and have faith in secret poles, or that the poles are biased.... I'm surprised they haven't trotted out the electronic voting machines as the source of their downfall. (But I guess the Dems have a lock on that issue.)

This started - or was finally triggered yesterday - by a post and the associated comments on a topic I actually have very little interest in: divorce. Villainous Company: Idiot... Suffice it to say, I found the vehemence of the attacks out of line considering that not one of the commenters were directly impacted by anything in the situation. Except of course that most of the commenters are firmly in the marriage/fidelity population and look askance at anyone considering divorce. No, that isn't strong enough. Ad hominem attacks, vehement attacks, proclaiming that their concept of marriage was right, and any other viewpoint was stupid or evil or whatever.

It bothered me for while, until I realized what the problem is. It is an attack on a piece of the dogma. "Marriage is until death." Not in America it isn't, not with 50% (or whatever the number is today) of marriages ending in divorce. That disturbs them to the point where name calling became the order of the day. The title of the post itself is indicative of where things started. If half (or whatever) of all marriages end in divorce, are half of all married people evil, or idiots or infidels?

When I pointed out that no one commenting was directly impacted by the situation, I was told to "get a grip." They were worried because of the impact divorce has "on the innocent, the children."

Oh yes, the children. Is it better to come from a broken home or to live in one? I don't know for a marriage as the one described; I do know that some research suggests it isn't good for children to witness domestic violence, so perhaps they would allow one to leave a violent relationship. Though I got quite a bit of "a vow is a vow..." kind on non-arguments.

But the "for the children" argument is always trotted out, whenever someone wants to curtail liberty.

Why are anti-gay marriage amendments passing all over the country? In part to protect the children from that influence - as if "influence" had anything to do with why people are gay. Why are gays restricted from adopting children? Being foster parents? Oh yeah,... Couldn't have anything to do with prejudice or gay cooties now could it? Thousands of gays are legally married in the UK, how, exactly, does that impact you - assuming you aren't gay and living in the UK - or decrease the "sanctity of your marriage? It doesn't.

In the 1950s it was Miscongenation of the Races. Interracial marriages could not be permitted because it was to protect the children.... when it wasn't just out of good old fashioned racism.

These same conservatives want to severely censor the internet to "protect the children." They can't keep their kids off the net, they can't control what their kids see on the net - or they are not willing to try - and so they want to control everything that anyone can see. (I thought it was the Democrats who trotted out the "It takes a village to raise a child" speech.) No, they passed the "Communications Decency Act" to regulate all of the internet everywhere. Based on a "standard" that would let them exclude anything they didn't like. Because it was "for the children." At least it got thrown out. (My suggestion that no one under 18 be allowed to use the net was not met with much enthusiasm. I mean if you want to control what kids can see, keep them off the 'net.)

In short conservatives (or at least Republicans) have become a self-referencing, dogmatic, echo-chamber, with little or no input from anyone, where no dissenting voices can be heard. It isn't surprising that they lost in such a landslide. (And don't think that it was the Democrats who "won." People voted against the Republicans more than for anyone else.) They have become the perfect opposite of the Left (which is also a dogmatic echo-chamber).

Both the Democrats and the Republicans are interested in public control of the individual - public control in line with their thinking. Censor the internet to control what you can know - and therefore what you can think. Censor speech (under hate speech) and control what you can say - and therefore the thoughts you can discuss. Control what you eat, where you work, when you retire, .... the list is actually quite long.

A plague on both their houses.

(What we really need are some new parties.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ohio Finally Gets Uniform Carry Laws

The Columbus Dispatch - Senate votes to override Taft veto of state gun law The Ohio house voted last week to override.

Different guns were illegal in different cities. Cincinnati for example outlawed semi-autos with 10 or more round capacity magazines - more onerous than even the old Clinton gun ban.

They also eliminated the requirement to carry "in plain sight" while driving. This was fairly insane, and required people to conceal, reveal and conceal firearms many times per day. (No other state had such a ridiculous requirement.)

The cities that love banning guns will sue, of course. Hard to say what the Ohio supreme court will say.

This is the first time the legislature overrode a veto in 29 years.

Latest Serial Killer in the UK

Telegraph | News | Five bodies found in Suffolk murder hunt. Seems to be reminding everyone over there of the Yorkshire Ripper (1970s and 80s?). And has everyone scared.

Of course it is basically illegal to defend yourself in the UK, so it isn't surprising that they criminals run amok. They don't usually run amok all at once like this.

Anyway, I hope the authorities can track down this mutant before he kills again.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Women & Armed Self-defense

Cortez Journal Online - Women take time to target Self-defense:
Firearm skills can fend off muggings, car jackings


This is a nice article that covers why women might want to take up arms in self-defense.
“Our world has changed, and the bad guys shouldn’t have all the guns,” Goodwin said. “I highly recommend self protection. A sling-shot isn’t going to do it.”
Car jacking and mugging is an all-to-frequent part of our society. Being armed is one of the few things women can do to give them some chance of dealing with an attacker.

The article is completely positive without even a hint of a quote from anyone like the Brady Bunch. [Hat tip to Front Sight Press]

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bad Science, Bad Convictions, Bad Justice

JusticeAP Wire | 12/09/2006 | Science casts doubt on arson convictions Just because "the facts" used to convict someone were bogus is no reason to assume they are innocent. Or so says the great state of PA. Bad forensic science has probably convicted many people of arson and murder. The fact that those same "facts" are no longer used - because they aren't facts - doesn't matter to the Criminal Injustice System.
Up until the 1990s, this is what fire investigators were taught:

_ Fires always burn up, not down.

_ Fires that burn very fast are fueled by accelerants; "normal" fires burn slowly.

_ Arsons fueled by accelerants burn hotter than "normal" fires.

_ The clues to arson are clear. Burn holes on the floor indicate multiple points of origin. Finely cracked glass (called "crazed glass") proves a hotter-than-normal fire. So does the collapse of the springs in bedding or furniture, and the appearance of large blisters on charred wood, known as "alligatoring."

Firefighters and investigators arrived at these conclusions through decades of observation. But those beliefs had never been given close scientific scrutiny, until an effort that began in the 1970s and continued through the 1980s.

"There were a lot of rules of thumb, but very little scientific understanding," said Jonathan Barnett, a professor of fire protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a leader in the investigation of the World Trade Center collapse.

Once researchers began to apply the scientific method to beliefs about fire, they fell apart.
How many people were wrongfully convicted? No one knows and the criminal justice system doesn't seem to care.

The story follows the fate of a Korean man, Han Tak Lee, convicted on this shoddy evidence in 1990. That and the fact that as a Korean he did not react the way American investigators thought he should have. The fact that people in different cultures react differently under stress never occurred to them.

So bad science, prejudice against a different culture and bad representation aren't enough to even get this guy a new trial.... A trial that would no doubt show he was a victim of an accident, not an arsonist. Lee is still in prison.

Then there is the case of man executed in Texas based on faulty science.
Cameron Todd Willingham, executed in Texas after courts there refused to consider his claims of innocence. A panel of experts hired by The Innocence Project, known for its work using DNA to expose wrongful convictions, concluded that the fire that killed Willingham's children was accidental.

It's a nightmare, where a defendant's truthful account is held up as lies because the court's accepted expert is scientifically wrong.
Anybody want to defend the death penalty here?

It would be nice to review these old cases, but the Criminal Injustice system is not really interested in justice. Just like pro football, the won/loss record is what matters. That innocent lives have been destroyed (or ended) just isn't worth spending time or money on. (The DA in Han Tak Lee case wouldn't even take the time to return a phone call.)

Stupid Criminals

WILX - Michigan Man Picks Wrong Time and Place to Pass Bogus Check. Don't try to break the law in a store full of cops.
CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A man who police say tried to pass a counterfeit check at a Wal-Mart chose the wrong store at the wrong time. Dozens of officers were at the suburban Detroit store Tuesday helping needy children pick out items as part of an annual "Shop with a Cop" charity event.

That didn't stop Calvin E. Fluckes Jr., 21, from pulling into the parking lot next to 40 marked squad cars, police said. He apparently was unfazed by the police presence as he tried to pay for merchandise with a poorly photocopied check for $847.83.

The cashier called over a manager, who alerted one of the 80 officers who happened to be in the store.
He faces 14 years in prison if convicted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Intruder shot, killed by homeowner - Nashville, Tennessee If you break into enough homes, eventually you will find an armed homeowner.

Thomas Tyrone Howery was shot once in the head and died at the scene of a home invasion. A resident then called police to report the incident. I don't know if this is the first house that Mr. Howery ever broke into or not. It really doesn't matter. The odds of meeting an armed homeowner are greater than zero, and you could meet one on your very first time.

I am sure that some of Mr. Howery's family and friends will miss him, but I can't get too upset over a law-abiding citizen exercising his moral and legal right of self-defense.

If you don't want to be shot, a good first step would be to refrain from breaking into homes.

Bitchiness and Guns

The Bitch Girls :: Spreading the Holiday Cheer How the heck did I miss this? Go take a look at the video, if nothing else.

New Solar Power Milestone

By way of AnarchAngel we get the following story. Department of Energy - New World Record Achieved in Solar Cell Technology

This is an important milestone because if (when) panels of this efficiency are manufactured, the price of electricity from solar becomes very competitive in today's market. And as the price of oil increases, that will get even better.

See AnarchAngel's post for an interesting discussion and don't miss the comments.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Suburbanites Dismayed by Hunting

Bagging a Backyard Buck
Suburban deer hunting draws attention in Vienna.
They are all sure that doom is going to visit their little enclave because hunting is allowed. The truth is somewhat different.
CONCERNS ARE OFTEN raised about dangers to children and pets when the subject of suburban bowhunting comes up, said Fairfax County wildlife biologist Earl Hodnett. "But nobody ever gives an example of where that happened. I can't find any record of a non-participant injured in a bowhunting accident." Hodnett said accidents generally injure only the hunters themselves, when they fall out of trees or onto their own arrows.

"I can understand the concern, but usually the concern comes from not understanding about archery," he said. He explained that bowhunting is done at close range, so wide misses or cases of mistaken identity are hardly a possibility.
So stymied on that front, they are then worried that their children may be exposed to life.
[One complainer] said she did not care for the idea of her children seeing a deer get shot.
Just take them down to McDonald's and pretend that meat grows on trees.

Deer overpopulation is a real problem, and hunting one of the few effective means to combat it.

Congrats to the Mom-to-be

Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts - Mary Cheney and Partner Are About to Be Moms - washingtonpost.com This will outrage the religious right...
Mary Cheney, the vice president's openly gay daughter, is pregnant. She and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, are "ecstatic" about the baby, due in late spring,
And I love the way these two met... In quintessential lesbian fashion, they met playing ice hockey.

I can't wait to see how hate-filled Right gets their collective knickers in a twist over all of this. [hat tip to Queer Conservative.]

Update: Well the wing-nuts didn't take long to come out against loving families.
Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America described the pregnancy as "unconscionable."
This is actually one of the milder reactions....
"[Carrie Gordon Earll, a policy analyst for the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family] said, "Love can't replace a mother and a father."
See it isn't love that is important, it is simple biology.

Another Restraining Order Fails

JusticeProtection order couldn't save victim of slaying
Records: Estranged husband repeatedly violated injunction


An emergency restraining order was granted in early November. An active (regular) order was put in place on 21 Nov. 2006. By Monday, Wendy Kane was dead. She had been stabbed with a screwdriver. She was 35.
When state troopers arrived Monday morning, Wendy was already dead and Thomas Kane was still inside the couple's Lake Shore Village home, where he was captured.
He was out on bail for a previous violation of the restraining order. He had been released on $1500 bond.

The Left is always going on about how restraining orders and calling the police will save you, or encouraging women to go hide in shelters. None of these things works every time.

Restraining orders have their place in a legal strategy, but they will not keep you safe from someone bound and determined to do harm. Having a gun, or other means of defense may not have saved Wendy Kane, but having a restraining order and calling the police did nothing. There are no guarantees in this life, and being prepared for an emergency is not a guarantee that I will survive the emergency, but the police are many minutes away, and in those few minutes that make all the difference, you are on your own. If you need to defend yourself from violent attack, few things are as effective as a firearm.

No Shots Fired

Homeowner catches prowler Another defensive use of a firearm in which no shots were fired, no one was hurt.

The headline said "caught" but the truth is the 2 mutants got away. The good news is that the homeowner was unharmed.
Two men in their mid-20s broke into Smith's home on Baton Rouge Road in Williamstown around 4 p.m. One came into the bedroom while the other stayed at the front door.
...
"I couldn't get the gun out of the holster but I pointed it right at the man's face while we looked at each other," said Smith. "I knew I had to hold the gun steady."
Mutant number 1 ran like a rabbit almost knocking mutant number 2 down.

The police say that Smith could have shot the goblin, but at least no law-abiding citizen got hurt.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Call 911 and Wait to Be Rescued? Not in Tuscon

Crime overwhelming TPD | www.tucsoncitizen.com � Because they don't seem to think they need more police, the police are very busy. The result is people calling 911 have to wait.
In August, the department's average response time was 76.43 minutes for the least serious cases, which include mail theft and neighbor disputes that don't involve a threat of violence. Downtown Division officers responded quickest, with an average of 40.66 minutes; South Division was slowest, with an average of 96.4 minutes, police statistics show.
Remember, these are the AVERAGE response times, not the minimum and definitely not the maximum.

Even you are able to call for help before the crime is committed, you are going to wait a very long time for help. Will you spend that time hiding in fear, bleeding to death, or reloading your Glock after having defended yourself? Do you know how many bad things can happen in 96 minutes?

That is Just Wrong

They are remaking Hairspray, the John Waters, Divine classic, but this time with John Travolta as Edna Turnblad (JT in drag? I just don't see it...)

Why the sudden urge to remake this movie anyway? As if the first one isn't a classic.

Late to the Symphony

Dodgeblogium : BOMS begins Dec. First of the holiday symphonies....

Blackmail by Government or Censorship?

LibertyOpinionJournal - Global Warming Gag Order: Senators to Exxon: Shut up, and pay up. Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe don't like freedom of speech - not when someone dares to disagree with them. The senators, "sent [a letter] to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Its message: Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else."

They believe what they believe and everyone else had best shut up. They are our lords and masters and know exactly what is best for us. Welcome the politics of the Left. They will decide what you can say (under the auspices of hate speech, or denying debate like this) and so control eventually what you can think. What they want you to think will put more control of your life in their hands.
The letter is of a piece with what has become a campaign of intimidation against any global warming dissent. Not only is everyone supposed to concede that the planet has been warming--as it has--but we are all supposed to salute and agree that human beings are the definitive cause, that the magnitude of the warming will be disastrous and its effects catastrophic, that such problems as AIDS and poverty are less urgent, and that economic planners must therefore impose vast new regulatory burdens on everyone around the world. Exxon is being targeted in this letter and other ways because it is one of the few companies that still thinks some debate on these questions is valuable.
What is the "or else" part of the warning? Well they weren't too naive; they just compared what would happen to Exxon, with what they did to the tobacco industry.

"Say hello to the new boss."

Dinner with Sandra

Or rather, "My Lunch with Sandra Froman." Moment- The President of the National Rifle Association is Jewish? A fairly good article even if the author is pretty firmly in the "I hate guns" camp. Oh, She doesn't hit you over the head, but it is clear. (The last paragraph - or the last one I have access to without subscribing - is an appeal to a perfect world. When you find one, let me know!)

Anyway this is a fairly good piece on Sandra Froman, the second woman and the first Jew to become the president of the NRA. It covers her history and why she first bought a gun for protection, and why she joined the NRA, and the general reaction of people in LA to her, when she lived there.

Worth a look if you would like to know more about Sandra Froman.

Armed Self-defense Works

Police: Westside homeowner kills suspected robber | IndyStar.com Hearing someone break into his home, a homeowner armed himself with a handgun, and confronted the intruder.
[The homeowner]fired several shots, police said, and the intruder returned fire.
Fleeing, the criminal was found later a half-block from the home and taken to the local hospital. He died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Ledger-Enquirer | 12/03/2006 | Man stabbed after trying to break into house Another instance where self-defense stopped a crime, and sent the would-be criminal to jail (after first sending him to the hospital).

Self-defense works, and it is a human right.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Can the Courts Protect You?

FayObserver.com - Current Article Page She was in court early Friday, and in the hospital later that same day. She wanted a restraining order. What she got was stabbed and shot.
[The victim] was shot and stabbed multiple times Friday afternoon, said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to a call at her home ... shortly after 3 p.m.
Her ex-boyfriend broke into her home, hid and ambushed her when she got home.

The courts are fine institutions, and restraining orders have a place in a legal strategy, but they cannot keep you safe. The police do everything they can, but they were not called until after the crime had been committed. That is not a slam on the police... it is just a recognition of the constraints under which they work.

The victim will survive, and the goblin is charged with attempted murder, among other things.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Your Tax Dollars At Work

DHS official admits taking bribes to fake documents.
A federal immigration official pleaded guilty Thursday to receiving more than $600,000 in bribes for falsifying documents for illegal immigrants.
So people who should not have become citizens have become citizens.... The bureaucrat is facing 25 years.... no word on the people with false documents.

Friday's Fable

Grizzly Mama: Aesop's Fable Friday The Horse and the Stag. Be careful what you wish for.

(Alternate morals are worth a look. This story reminds me of government.)

Friday, December 01, 2006

"Stand Your Ground" in New Jersey? Not Likely

Controversy over the right to defend yourself Still it has been introduced.
"When there is an intruder in your home, the last thing you should worry about is whether you are using excessive force," said Assemblyman Richard Merkt, R-Morris, who introduced the New Jersey Self Defense Bill in January.
The usual suspects have their knickers in a twist. They would much rather see prosecutors able to punish people for the grave sin of defending themselves when attacked.
"Prosecutors with good judgment will not try to push the case," [David Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute, a national public-policy think tank] said.

"But the experience has been that there are sometimes abusive prosecutors -- and, therefore, it's important to have very clear rules about self defense that can't be abused."
Of course prosecutors with bad judgment are all over the place. But that isn't a problem for some people. [NRA-ILA]