Sunday, August 31, 2008

No Reason for the Average Citizen of NJ to have a gun

Oh my! Bear incidents growing | Daily Record | Daily Record Just bears.
The latest statistics from the state Department of Environmental Protection, obtained by the Daily Record this past week, show bear damage and nuisance incidents have gone up by 84 percent within the past year. Almost all of those incidents are in the northwestern part of the state.

The most dangerous incidents, those involving home entries, aggressive behavior and significant property damage, have more than doubled. And the state recorded 50 of those types of incidents within the past month, a four-fold increase from the same period last year.
No reason that the good citizens of New Jersey need guns.

I wonder how long before someone is seriously injured or worse. 50 incidents of aggressive behavior in one month. How many months before those incidents turn into tragedy? Do the powers-that-be in New Jersey care? They love gun control more than they love people.

Of course, New Jersey killed the idea of a bear hunt because the bleeding hearts felt bad about the poor bears? I wonder what they will say when someone is injured. The government wants non-lethal methods of population control. This means they will dump large amounts of contraceptives in bear country. (If not done by a government, it would probably violate some environmental law.)

Consider that
another [bear] was killed in Parsippany when it kept coming back to a park where children were picnicking.
That is a tragedy waiting to happen. At least the authorities are taking it somewhat seriously. Just not doing anything reasonable.

These are the guys who put "Great" back into Great Britain

SAS kill hundreds of terrorists in 'secret war' against al-Qaeda in Iraq - Telegraph I have always loved the Special Air Services.
More than 3,500 insurgents have been "taken off the streets of Baghdad" by the elite British force in a series of audacious "Black Ops" over the past two years.
Part of the effort that reduced suicide bombings from 150 per month to 2 per month. SAS casualties: 30 injured, 6 dead.

All of this is even more amazing given that a lawyer sits on the planning board for each operation.

SAS teaches the west how to be commandos.

SAS even has K-9 units that make high-altitude/high-opening (long-range insertion) jumps.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What a Way to Celebrate an Anniversary

Gustav Radar Key West This is an unbelievable view of the eye-wall of Gustav as it comes into range of the Key West radar. (From weather underground) Category 4 as it hits Cuba and heads into the warm water of the Gulf. (Click the image for a bigger view.)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the French Quarter.

But seriously, the folks in The Caymans (71 dead) and Cuba have been pasted, and it looks like the Gulf Coast is going to get hammered. Again.

The 11:00 PM EDT advisory isn't encouraging....
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 18 TO 23 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...ALONG THE COAST OF WESTERN CUBA SHOULD SUBSIDE TONIGHT
A 23 foot storm surge is enough to put a two story house completely underwater, and that assumes that the house in question just isn't just washed away.

This storm weakened slightly over Cuba, maximum winds fell from 150 MPH to 140 MPH. Still a category 4 storm, now heading straight for Louisiana. If there is any good news, the memory of Katrina hitting New Orleans (3 years ago yesterday) seems to have convinced people to get out of Dodge NOLA.

Late August hurricanes can be problematic. The list of late August Hurricanes includes Andrew, which hit Elliot Key (just off Miami/Homestead) on the morning of August 24th, 1992, and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which hit the Bahamas on August 29th, the Upper Florida Keys on September 2nd and hit Cedar Key, Florida on September 4th. It was the first of 3 cat 5 storms to hit the US in the 20th Century. Huricane Camille, the 2nd of 3 cat 5 storms to make landfall in the US hit on August 17, 1969 - so that may or may not count as late August. (Shell Oil recorded wave heights of 70 feet or more. Yikes.) Note that Katrina made landfall - in Mississippi, its 3rd in he US - as a category 3 storm, not a category 5 storm.

If you are religious, prayers for all these folks would be good.

Criminals Preying on the Citizens, But Oakland, CA has no plan

With Oakland under siege, mayor just talks Criminals staging "take-over robberies" in restaurants in Oakland. These are straight out of Pulp Fiction. ("Point the gun at me Honey Bunny.")Several people in the comments suggested letting the law-abiding defend themselves, but that will never fly on the Left Coast.

Not enough police. Bold Criminals. The civilian version of Security Theater. Adds up to a bad situation.
Residents are doing their part, but the public's best and most well intentioned efforts have almost become street theater compared to the steady rhythm of the robberies.

Last Friday night, residents in the Rockridge neighborhood walked College Avenue to support merchants four days after the popular Pasta Pomodoro restaurant was robbed after closing. At the same time, the Nomad Cafe on Shattuck Avenue was robbed about a mile away.
Candle light vigils. Marches. I suppose at some point they will try singing Kumbaya.

What they won't try is expanding the right of legal concealed carry. Because in the Statist view of the Left coast, you can't do anything for yourself, you have to rely on the government. Of course in this case, it appears the government can't do anything either.

And for you Quentin Tarantino fans...
Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.
Too much to hope that some of those urban goblins could meet up with some of that vengeance.

Hoist By His Own Petard

Sir Ian of the Yard gets mugged by his PC brigade | Times Online You see in the UK, a statement is racist, if anybody thinks it's racist. (It doesn't have to pass a reasonable test - you think * or claim * it's racist and it is.)
Tarique thinks it was racist; ergo, it was racist. Come quietly for once, matey – you’re nicked. Stupid bloody law, Sir Ian may be thinking to himself, a little late in the day.

Some people see it as ironic that the most politically correct copper this country has ever seen should face his biggest crisis on an issue of, uh, being politically incorrect.
Now that's ironic.

Sir Ian is one of the many people in the Labour government working to take the "Great" out of Great Britain. Better just reference the UK.

Nothing is so painful as listening to NPR

Listening to them discussing Republican politics is painful. (Don't ask.)

1. Lack of foreign policy experience is bad (unless you are a Democrat and then tourism equates with being in the foreign service).

2. A short political résumé is bad (unless you are Democrat and then it implies change from the status quo).

So does being a 1 term senator trump being a 1 term governor?

The only person who demonstrated any class at all was Geraldine Ferraro, who while being interviewed said that a) Palin has plenty of time to learn, and b) she isn't going to be formulating policy right away anyway; she only has to support McCain's policy.

A Story of Self-defense with Video

Alleged teen robber shot by Wal-Mart shopper (with video) - poconorecord.com - The Pocono Record A teen-aged goblin picks the wrong victim, an armed victim.
Eastman [the intended victim] dropped his wallet and started ducking down. [The goblin] fired a shot that went through the window of the door almost striking Eastman and causing flying glass from the car window to cut his face.

Eastman pulled out a handgun he was carrying and fell to the ground. He returned fire under the truck's door with his pistol while the teen continued to fire his weapon.
The good-guy was cut with some flying window glass. The bad-guy was shot in the leg and foot.

(You can find all of the video here. More on that later.)

Police arrived almost immediately and found the goblin burying a pistol in some mulch.
[The 17-year-old] is charged as an adult with attempted murder, robbery, aggravated assault, crimes committed with guns and illegal possession of a gun, all felonies, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. He hung his head and sighed after the judge told him he could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, attempted murder.
And good riddance. This kid has demonstrated that he has a complete disregard for the safety of others. He would kill someone over a few dollars. I won't cry when they lock him up for a long time.

The video is interesting. It isn't security video of the parking lot. I'm sure Wal-Mart has some security cameras covering the parking lot, but we don't have those yet. First, is an interview with one of the cops on the scene. Next is a description of the two mouse guns involved. Last is an interview with a gun-store owner about the kind of weapons most of us consider to have more stopping power than the mouse guns in question.

Of course, the mouse gun got the job done, in this instance.

Self-defense is a human right. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Update: Via the Freeholder, from a comment on another post... with a few changes...
"He suffered a catastrophic failure in the victim selection process."
- Massad Ayoob

Chicago Still Has a Problem

Fewer murders in August, police said Murders are up 14.7 percent year-to-date, over the same period last year, but there were fewer in August than in July. So Chicago Police are happy. (or at least shoveling with both hands.)

All the stupid gun-control, and they can't seem to do anything about this number.
The dismantling of gang hierarchy by police and the increased friction between smaller gang factions have contributed to the rise in crime and murder totals, police told the Defender earlier this month.
Sorry but is this excuse supposed to make people feel good, or bad about life in Chicago? It sounds a little like, "Police action contributes to chaos on our streets." But then, I'm cynical as hell.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Tale of Two Defensive Shootings.

Tulsa World: Intruder shot in Muskogee home robbery in the US - at least most of the US - you are able to defend yourself from intruders in your home.
District Attorney Larry Moore said the evidence so far in the case indicates the homeowner was defending himself against an intruder.

Moore said he doesn't expect to file charges against
the homeowner but will consider charges against the intruder.
Compare this to the story from the other day out of Canada, where the victim of a home invasion was arrested and charged for defending himself.

Self-defense is a human right, unfortunately a lot of governments don't want citizens thinking and acting on their own behalf. Better a few injured, raped or dead serfs than a bunch of independent-minded citizens.

Welcome to the Police State

Denver Police don't seem to care if they are video taped.



Perhaps (perhaps) you can say when she was shoved, the police were in the right. (I doubt it, but the system shields police.) But when she was snatched away from an interview, that is just "we don't like the First Amendment." When she was shoved to ground, she was taking photos. Something police don't usually like. (You might catch them doing something wrong, and then it wouldn't be their word against your word.)



This guy was arrested for standing on a public sidewalk in front of a hotel where Democrats were meeting (with lobbyists? Big money anyway). Good bye First Amendment.

Continuing to tell the camera man to "shut it off" because they don't like being taped performing their jobs.

Can Someone Tell Me What's Wrong with Our Military?

Barack "Don't Say My Middle Name" Obama keeps talking about "rebuilding" the military. Exactly why is this needed, and on what model is it going to be rebuilt? (And who is advising him that it needs to be rebuilt?)
I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. [note - it is on page 2 of that article Z-Deb.]
I didn't notice is was falling apart. Silly me.

Is he going to "rebuild" the military in the same way that Bill Clinton "rebuilt" our intelligence services?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Self-defense is NOT your right in Canada

NiagaraThisWeek.com: News: Story: Home invasion victim charged with manslaughter Your home is invaded. You shoot one of the invaders. You are arrested. I wonder what the Canadian powers-that-be think should happen.
It is alleged that during the invasion one of the occupants, a 22-year-old man, shot one of the intruders. He has been charged with manslaughter. He received bail Monday.
Self-defense is a human right, but Canada doesn't recognize it as a legal right.

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

cbs4.com - Suspected Thief Shot Outside NW Miami Dade Home So what do you do in the middle of the night, if a couple of burglars attack your loved ones?
Miami Dade Police said the incident began around 1:30 a.m. when the owner of a home at 172nd Terrace and Northwest 50th Court heard noises coming from his front yard area. When he looked outside, he told police he saw three men trying to break into his car. The homeowner went outside to confront them. As the confrontation turned violent, police said the homeowner's girlfriend, fearing for both her and her boyfriend's safety, grabbed a handgun, went outside and started shooting at the would be car thieves, hitting one of them.
Police believe that this is a justified shooting.

Police caught the 3 miscreants, who were driving a stolen car, a short distance from the crime. All three were arrested, and the injured guy was taken to the hospital, where he is in critical, but stable condition.

If you fear for the safety of yourself or your loved ones, you have the right to act. I think you have a duty to act, but that is another story. Self-defense is a human right. And in Florida, anyway, it is your legal right.

Armed Homeowner, Home Invader, Expected Result

Bastrop Man Shoots, Kills Intruder Hey if you don't want to get shot, a good first step is to refrain from breaking into homes. If you do break into homes, eventually you will meet an armed homeowner.
A Bastrop County homeowner shot and killed a man who broke into his home, according to the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office.
Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cops Behaving Badly - Midwestern Edition

Cops behaving badly Indianapolis is having a problem.
One police department appears to be suffering from a serious case of officers behaving badly.

After one officer was charged with raping a woman while on duty last week, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is having trouble with two more of its officers – bringing the number of arrested, jailed or investigated cops to 10 in the past four months.
The offenses included everything from filing false reports, to rape.

Interesting Turn in Homeschooling

More blacks choosing to home-school their children | Houston Chronicle Once upon a time, the Left tried to paint homeschooling as a frightening thing done only by fringe, religious sects. It will be hard for them to attack part of their own base..
An estimated 220,000 black students were home schooled in 2007, according to the institute. In comparison, 84,000 were home schooled in 1999, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Studies show that home-schooled students do just as well or better than their public school peers. For example, they typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests, according to the research institute.
General disgust with the poor level of education provided by many public schools is a major reason. Safety is also an issue, as are issues like teaching values.

I wonder how are the Dems going to reconcile the Teachers' Unions hatred of homeschooling with this?

Stupid Criminals

Would-be robber shoots himself in foot, gets stabbed, then arrested, police say -- chicagotribune.com Sometimes they just write themselves.
A robber's plan to hold up a Southwest Side convenience store Monday afternoon took a different turn: The robber shot himself in the foot, got stabbed by [the 61-year-old store-owner] and ended up in police custody at a city hospital, Chicago police said.
I imagine his pride was also wounded.

Denver Mayor Aware of Passage of Time

Washington Wire - WSJ.com : Denver Mayor on Security, Protests: ‘This Is Not 1968’ Good thing this headline was printed, I was confused. All this talk about change...
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
We all want to change your head.

I wanted to see the cannon

Not a Cannon But all I got was this lame picture. The Raw Story | Denver police hit protesters with pepper spray from cannons, arrest 100 That is one of the smallest cannons I have ever seen. (clickity)

Not that the Denver police are playing by the rules.
Denver Police have been criticized by civil liberties groups such as the ACLU, which released a leaked memo showing that the police had classified all manner of people as a threat, including those on bicycles, wearing football helmets, or carrying city maps or protest signs.
Watch out for those gosh-darn bicycle-riding trouble makers. Reading a map? So anyone who isn't familiar with Denver - that means most of the delegates - are automatically considered to be a threat? I don't know about you, but when I am driving in a strange city, I often try to have a map. I wonder what they would do to someone with a GPS?

Now I understand that a lot of these "protesters" are there to incite problems. But blaming anyone trying to find their way around with a map, seems a bit over the top. Welcome to the police state.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Moultrie Observer - Clerk battles robber A simple story with a happy ending.
MOULTRIE — A Sylvester man got much more than he bargained for when he allegedly tried to rob a Moultrie package store at gunpoint Monday evening. He fled from the scene while being shot at by the store owner, and he was later shot by a Norman Park police officer.
A struggle ensued when the robbery started, but the store-owner was able to retrieve his own gun. When he saw real firepower answering his robbery, the bad guy ran like a rabbit.

He was later arrested.
[The goof-ball] was charged with robbery, two counts of possession of tools during the commission of a crime and aggravated assault of a police officer.
The store owner was fine, and the police officer was fine (though the squad car was shot 4 or 5 times).

The good guys came out on top of this one, and a bad guy is in jail.

When Politicians Want to Make the World Over According to a Plan...

Michelle Obama to Democrats: 'Fight for the world as it should be' -- chicagotribune.com Now I am not one for listening to or reading what political wives have to say. They weren't elected to office, and are just another person with a opinion. Usually a biased opinion. But this headline, and the quote, (which I freely admit I did not listen to or read in its context) is disturbing.

Change is inevitable. To be alive is to change. Institutions, societies and people change. But societies change in ways we can't always predict. When the changes are dictated through the political system, under the point of a bayonet, and make no mistake, every change mandated by government is always backed up with the threat of force, those changes don't usually work out too well.

Stalin had a plan for agricultural cooperatives in the Ukraine. He instituted that plan with the force of the Soviet Army. Seven million Ukrainians died in the Holodomor before he was through.

Mao had many plans for the PRC: The Cultural Revolution. The Great Leap Forward. The Secret Famine. In all, Mao killed as many as 76 million Chinese creating a China the way he thought it "should be."

There are many examples of people with a plan. Mugabe in Zimbabwe comes to mind. People are now starving in what is relatively fertile land, but the land has been redivided according to the plan. In this country, leading change according to the centralized plan has lead to such things as The Indian Removal Act of 1830, or US Grant's General Order 11. I'm sure you can think of other examples.

Freedom does not demand that change be dictated from the leaders of the party. Free speech is not speech that is government approved. Free markets are not controlled by bureaucrats. Freedom depends on each individual making choices that help them. It doesn't always work out for the best, but it works better than any alternative history has presented for our study.

So when party spokesmen and women start talking about redefining society according to their plan, I start to worry about what they are planning. No one plans to be a monster, or start a famine, not usually. Usually they start out trying to make things better; they start with good intentions. True monsters are rare, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and well intentioned plans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Sign of End Times - Universities Address Self-defense

Hell, Frozen OverSurvival training joins curriculum as colleges confront problem of campus shootings -- chicagotribune.com I doubt that you will see the uber-Liberal schools adopt this course, but I was, in a word, flabbergasted.

What would you do if you found yourself in an "active shooter" environment?
Hundreds of colleges across the nation have purchased a training program that teaches professors and students not to take campus threats lying down but to fight back with any "improvised weapon," from a backpack to a laptop computer.

The program — which includes a video showing a gunman opening fire in a packed classroom — urges them to be ready to respond to a shooter by taking advantage of the inherent strength in numbers.
The goblin at Virginia Tech killed 32. If 10 people had heaved chairs at him, they might have knocked him down.

Now, you and I might say, that actual defensive weapons would be better than improvised defensive weapons. But I doubt that the Liberal-powers-that-be at universities are going to see things in quite that light.

College are waking up to the fact that they live in the Real World™, and that in the real world, violence can erupt anywhere. Violent crime is not something that happens only to "other kinds of people" in other places. Violence crime can impact anyone, anywhere.

Even in New York, Self-defense Works

Would-be victim fires back at his assailants -- amNY.com Of course you have to be "properly licensed" to defend yourself in your own home in New York.
The 35-year-old homeowner, who owns a check-cashing business in the city, was armed -- carrying his licensed Glock 9-mm pistol.

When one of the assailants fired at the man, he fired back. No one was hit by the gunfire on Oakford Street before the pair fled.
One goblin was arrested a few streets over, after a search by police.
[He] was charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree criminal use of a firearm and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to police.
The other bad guy is still on the run.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0 (well, one did get away). Self-defense is a human right, and even though the bad guys fired guns first, the good guy was able to defend himself. Self-defense just plain works.

Random Observations

1. Real Life™ sucks. Not in the least because it leads to sporadic blogging.

2. Mid-western drivers think they drive safely. But they don't. In Florida, we at least are up front with our need to go through yellow lights. (Yellow lights are MUCH longer in Florida.) But I slowed down to go through a school zone, and almost got hit from behind. Not one driver (aside from me and the 2 cars behind me) even pretended to slow down.

3. August in the Midwest is not supposed to be characterized by a complete lack of humidity, cool evening breezes, generally cooler weather. These are supposed to be the "dog days of summer."

4. When people are sitting in their SUVs, waiting in the grocery store parking lot, running the AC on a day that isn't even that hot, I don't want to talk about how gasoline is too expensive. (Don't even mention the way they drive....)

5. Certainly the fact that the Chicago Cubs are still in first place is a sign of the apocalypse. Or maybe it is just a result of global warming.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cops Behaving Badly - New York Division

Officers beat guy bloody & fled: cops Sometimes they just write themselves.
Two off-duty female cops beat a man senseless, then fled
They went to work the next day like nothing had happened, and got greeted by internal affairs.

They got mad when their SUV was blocked by a guy with an open door.
The screaming match turned into a brawl, with Anglin spraying Smith with Mace, Robinson beating the prone man with her baton and Anglin bashing him in the head with her gun as he tried to push them away, a witness told cops.
And here we see the attitude I hate so much:
"Do you know who you are f------ with? We are the police!" one of the women yelled, Smith said.
That's right the police. That group that can do anything and face no repercussions. I'm glad to see these two were wrong. NYPD has arrested them, stripped them of their guns and badges, and in general taken a stance against this attitude.

I love the description offered by one father of these two ex-police officers.
"She is a very well-mannered young lady. Very beautiful," said [one] father
That well-mannered young lady and her friend are charged with gang assault, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.

The guy they assaulted has 25 staples in his head from the beating, but appears to be OK.

Blame Hollywood for Your Troubles

Buffy the Vampire Slayer slaying church attendance among women, study claims - Telegraph OK so 50,000 women have abandoned the Church of England every year since 1989. That's a lot of people. Why? Blame Buffy.
The report claims more than 50,000 women a year have deserted their congregations over the past two decades because they feel the church is not relevant to their lives.

It says that instead young women are becoming attracted to the pagan religion Wicca, where females play a central role, which has grown in popularity after being featured positively in films, TV shows and books.
I blame Xena: Warrior Princess more than Buffy.

See, women have this crazy idea that dogmatic orthodoxy (and this the Anglicans) wants to freeze women into roles we aren't too happy with anymore. The Baptists - or at least one flavor of Baptists - are back to a) not letting women teach Sunday school, and b) telling them to "submit" to their husbands. I can't imagine where we get these crazy ideas about dogma.
She believes many women have been put off going to church in recent years because of the influence of feminism, which challenged the traditional Christian view of women's roles and raised their aspirations.
Can't tell if the Telegraph thinks those new aspirations are a good thing or not.

Now whatever you think of Wicca or the Anglicans, the fact is that women in the west have more goals in our lives than our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did. Any institution that doesn't recognize those goals, and share our values is likely to see a decline in our involvement.

And were those aspirations caused by TV shows like Buffy and Xena, or were those shows staged to appeal to the women and girls wanting strong role models, those women who already had aspirations? "Which came first, the phoenix or the fire?" Blaming popular TV programs seems a little like a cop-out. Makes it unnecessary to examine your part in this exodus.

It Seems There Are Two Justice Systems in Boston

JusticeOne for cops, and one for everyone else. Panel faults police misconduct cases - The Boston Globe
The panel said it found instances in which investigators drew conclusions without facts to support them, did not try hard enough to contact potential witnesses, and, in many instances, used leading questions while interviewing complainants or officers. It said the other 14 cases were handled appropriately.
In other words, the conclusions were drawn before the investigation began - cops are not guilty, even when they are.

The failure rate is pretty high.
Of 19 individual cases of alleged officer misconduct that the department's civilian review board scoured, it recommended that five, or about 26 percent, should be reinvestigated because they either were not thoroughly looked into or because the citizens who lodged the complaints were treated unfairly.
Those 19 cases don't constitute the whole of the complaints, just those that were reviewed. There were 144 complaints in the time-frame studied, and 81 were dismissed. 15 resulted in some discipline, and the rest are pending.

I'm sure most cops are decent people. But not all of them are. And when citizens complain, it is really shocking to find that cops side with their own?

So why are there so few hate crimes?

Seattle's hate crimes more common than thought Well there are more than you think (see the headline) but there are problems.
From July to November 2006, police had no record of hate crimes. That bucked the trend, so auditors delved more deeply and uncovered six reports that had not been forwarded to the Bias Crimes Coordinator, a detective who investigates and logs such reports in a database.
Although 6 is not a large number it points up systematic reporting problems. There are others.

The two highest category of hate crimes - in order - in Seattle are against blacks and against gays. It doesn't stop there. These crimes happened in virtually all sections of that city, but were concentrated downtown and in one of the entertainment districts - Capital Hill.

You can't solve a problem if you ignore it. And the media (and it appears the police, to some extent) ignore the problem of hate crimes. For the media's part it is a fact that something that happens all the time, isn't news. But that is a rationalization, not a reason, and it doesn't apply to the cops. And whether or not you think there should be additional punishment - I don't particularly - for hate crimes, they are a problem.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Can't They Win This Case?

Bar Video Sheds New Light On Fatal Police-Involved Crash - News Story - WMAQ | Chicago The charges against this off-duty cop were dropped at the time. He was on the wrong side of the road and killed 2 people.

Video from the bar he was in came to light, but the DA isn't going to reopen the case.
The officer who got away without criminal charges is seen on tape drinking "shot after shot after shot," Vatis said, then taking a beer to go. The Chicago Tribune reported that [the cop] was seen on the tape downing three beers and four shots in a little more than two hours.
Last time I checked, taking a beer
"to go" is illegal in Illinois, even if you are walking.
"I can't imagine that, if somebody is on the wrong side of the road, speeding, and he kills two guys -- and now they know exactly where he was drinking and have it on tape -- if you can't win that case, I'm not sure which case you can win," [attorney Daniel] O'Connor [who is now taking the case to civil court] said.
They can't win a criminal case against a cop. Or maybe they just don't want to.

Three beers and four shots in two hours would leave most people over the legal drinking limit. I guess don't have to live by the same rules as everyone else.

Xavier Has Some Thoughts on Defensive Living

Xavier Thoughts: Standing on the X
When your number is up, when you are standing on that X,......Well, everyone has to die sometime.
Reflections from a guy whose job routinely took him into what are euphemistically called bad neighborhoods. More like war zones. What he learned about staying safe and alive.

Take time to read the 2 stories he references in the first paragraph. Better get a cup of coffee first.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cops Behaving Badly - International Division

FOXNews.com - Man Jailed After Taking Photo of Police Van Ignoring 'Wrong Way' Sign - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News It seems that cops don't like being photographed in any country. This story from the UK.
A British man was jailed for five hours after he photographed a cop reversing the wrong way up a one-way street.

After Andrew Carter snapped the cop van, officer Aqil Farooq leaped out, hit the camera to the ground, handcuffed him and bundled him into the back of the vehicle.

The plumber, 44, was arrested for supposedly being drunk, resisting arrest and assaulting the officer with the camera.
So taking a picture amounts to assault. You wonder how they justify all the closed-circuit TV cameras everywhere.

The guy was never charged. The "officer of the law" apologized - but not to the guy he arrested.

Eventually the Deputy Chief Constable for the area apologized.

Seems like a little more should happen to that cop. But it won't. He assaulted a guy, possibly destroyed a camera all because he didn't like the idea he might be held accountable.

What started all this? When the cop was going the wrong way, down a one-way street, driving backwards, he nearly hit Andrew Carter.

Rescuing a Man-overboard is a Special Miracle

The Associated Press: Sailor, knocked from boat, rescued 12 hours later 12 hours with no life jacket. Even in summer, Lake Michigan water isn't warm.

The Coast Guard knew what kind of odds they were facing.
"When we heard a survivor was spotted in the water, you'd have thought we won the Super Bowl from the cheers," said Chief Mike Weisenbaugh, officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Green Bay.
Lake Michigan is a large body of water. It is worse on the ocean. I usually tie myself to the boat when I am single-handing.

How Does an 85-yr-old Woman Stop a Burglar?

With a firearm of course! FOXNews.com - 85-Year-Old Pennsylvania Woman Pulls Gun on Burglar, Forces Him to Call 911 - Local News | News Articles | National News | US NewsYour average urban goblin often thinks the elderly are helpless victims. They are often proved wrong.
An 85-year-old woman busted a would-be burglar by pulling a gun on him, then forcing him to call 911 while she kept him in her sights, police said.
I love that she made him call 911. The news report I saw said she then told him to lie on the ground.

Without a firearm, Leda Smith would have been a defenseless old woman. With a firearm, she may have stopped a crime wave, since several houses have been burglarized in the area.

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

Catholic League, the Democratic Convention and Gay Blogs

I have been trying to put together a post on this kerfuffle, that wouldn't get all the Catholics complaining about anti-Catholic bias. Not sure if I succeeded or not. Time will tell.

Catholic Activist Wants Gay Bloggers Banned from Dem Convention :: EDGE Boston It seems Bill Donahue has his knickers in a twist over a couple of gay blogs covering the convention. Towelroad draws his ire because it is "a blog with homosexual tendencies" (that's how they describe themselves) and it has published picture of men in jock straps. I guess CNN is OK because it keeps the pictures of women in their underwear (er - swimsuits) in Sports Illustrated segregated to one part of their website.

Oh, and Bitch Ph.D is actually written by a pro-choice Catholic. [Update: I should have said "written in part by a pro-choice Catholic."]

Personally I don't care for pictures of men in their underwear - sports related or otherwise. But I do think angry feminists with their hair on fire - a description of Bitch Ph.D that applies at least some of the time - are very entertaining. (As of this writing, Bitch Ph.D has her hair on fire over, you guessed it, Bill Donahue.) But then I still miss The Lesbian Avengers.

I mean, a bunch of bare-chested lesbians eating fire was not something you saw everyday!

Insults are a funny thing. I get upset as much as the next person. My only concern is that everyone be treated with equal disdain. That glad state - where we are all flinging mud at one another with impunity - doesn't exist. Can't insult racial or ethnic minorities. A handful of religions are off limits - though Bill does seem to have a point that Catholics aren't on that list. GLBT folks and groups can be insulted depending on the venue. (And conservatives of any flavor can always be attacked by the Democrats without any repercussions.)

Instead of trying to even the playing field by insisting no one insult "us" - whichever "us" you fall into - we should be working to restore freedom of speech. And yes, freedom of speech must include the right to say things that upset you and me. And you have the right to be upset and to point out how those doing the insulting are cretins, or impugn the honor of their mothers or whatever. Otherwise you are only free to say government-approved things. (And think government-approved thoughts.) I don't see freedom happening anytime soon, however.

Life Would Be So Much Easier if Gays Stayed In the Closet

The Juggle - WSJ.com : When Should a Gay Teen "Come Out?" The advice - wait until college.
don’t recall any openly gay students during my middle and even high-school years, so I have a hard time imagining how I’d guide a 13 or 14-year-old through what must be a tremendously difficult and confusing period. I might counsel them to wait until college
This is followed by a grudging admission it might not be fair.

I mean if everyone (you included) is coming to terms with sexuality, but yours doesn't mesh with the bigoted masses, just hide. This attitude is what makes Jr High and High School a living hell. (Did you have any friends kill themselves in high school? or after?)

Don't confront the bullies and their parents. (... it ain't just a river in Egypt.) Certainly don't expect the teachers/administrators/educators to confront them. Just hide, be average, blend in. Think 1950s-style thoughts. And if you are unhappy well, we can't upset the social order of high school. Equality is OK, as long as some animals people are more equal than others.

Wait to live your life until you move away from that gods-forsaken small town. Don't ask the small town to change. Don't expect the good, religious people of the town to stop the harassment - not even when it becomes physical in nature. (They don't hate you, they just hate everything you stand for.) If they take any action, it will fall under the heading of "Blame the Victim." Or possibly "Ostracize the Outcast even More!" (If someone gets shot, then you can expect them to take some action after the fact. It will be pointless and too late.)

So no gays should come out in high school. Don't live a life true to yourself. Lie to your friends, family teachers. Be a good little drone. Don't make waves. Life will be easier - at least for everyone else.

Sometimes conservatives just make me want to scream.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Don't See Many Stories Like This One

Police: Woman Kills Boyfriend In Self-Defense - New Orleans News Story - WDSU New Orleans Domestic Violence that has a happy ending - or as happy as I can imagine.

A couple with a history of domestic violence. He wants to start the cycle up one more time.
Sunday morning, police said, Beal was inside her apartment when Paul called her threatening physical violence and saying he was coming over.

Paul arrived and forced his way inside, police said. Beal told police that Paul attacked her, so she fired two shots at him.
He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Not a happy ending. But the violent attacker is dead, and his intended victim is alive. I'll take it over the murder/suicides any day of the week.

Police have not arrested her, because her actions were justified. Self-defense is a human right, and your legal right.

Liars Driving the Mortgage Crisis

'Liar loans' threaten to prolong mortgage crisis: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance And the government, but we'll get to that later.
In the mortgage industry, they are called "liar loans" -- mortgages approved without requiring proof of the borrower's income or assets. The worst of them earn the nickname "ninja loans," short for "no income, no job, and (no) assets."
And Congress is out to save the lenders? Any lender stupid enough to give a loan to someone with no job and no assets deserves to go out of business. And those people getting those loans - under what I consider fraudulent circumstances - should lose their homes. But Congress is just talking about how the eeevil bankers are to blame. And the meida too. There is a section of this article where I am supposed to get all teary-eyed because someone didn't bother to understand the terms of the mortgage they took out. That adjustable rate mortgages often adjust their rates. That negative amortization often occurs when the payments are "too good to be true." Never sign a contract you don't understand. Never sign a contract you haven't read. Never assume that someone trying to sell you something is your friend. They may be, but there is no guarantee.

Oh, and the government? It set quotas for lenders to make loans to lower income folks.
Both [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] also were able to use subprime and liar-loan investments to meet government-set affordable housing goals.
See, the government was trying to help by getting more loans to people with less income. So it isn't far to see loans to people with no income.

Your tax dollars at work.

Now government didn't create this problem, but they did move it along a lot. Do you think government will solve this problem? You know, the problem of people signing contracts they don't understand. Because that is the problem.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Police Can Destroy Your Life, Even if You are Innocent

Drug Task Force falsely arrests 2 separate people : Local News : Knoxville News Sentinel Some of this seems hard to believe. The level of incompetence is mind boggling.
According to Delius, Yates had never lived at the house in White Pine where authorities said she met Seals. Her timecards from the factory showed she was working during the times the drug transactions took place. Also, the voice of the woman on the tape was clearly not hers, Delius said.
All charges were dropped after 9 months. After she lost her job - drug free workplaces won't keep accused drug dealers - and had to declare bankruptcy. Not even an apology.

Your innocence, your complete lack of any criminal record is no guarantee that your life won't be ruined by the War on (Some) Drugs. [h/t Glenn R.]

If the economy is so bad, why do we spend so much on junk?

Video-Game Industry Sales Slow In July -- InformationWeek OK, so the record-setting pace, has slowed to a record-setting pace.
Video-game sales in U.S. retail stores rose 28% from July 2007 to $1.19 billion, and console sales were up 17% to $446.9 million, the NPD Group reported. For the overall market, which also includes sales of software and accessories, sales for June rose to $2.4 billion from $1.9 billion a year ago.
I suppose if we can't afford to drive to work, we may as well stay home and play video games.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Britain Takes Another Step into Insanity

Fat children ‘should be taken from parents’ to curb obesity epidemic - Times Online Want a look a a police state? Take a look at where Britain is going.
Grossly overweight children may be taken from their families and put into care if Britain’s obesity epidemic continues to escalate, council chiefs said yesterday.
Because crime is non-existent, and prisons are not over-crowded to the extent that criminals are routinely released, and now that fox-hunting is outlawed even the four-legged are safe everywhere in Britain, the British nanny state is now going to take away your kids - for their own good of course.

So of course they are going to legislate the health of kids.
The Local Government Association argued that parents who allowed their children to eat too much could be as guilty of neglect as those who did not feed their children at all.
What? Letting your kids starve is the same as having too many snacks in the kitchen? Only a bureaucrat could believe that.

And in case you don't think this could happen in the US, remember that the nanny state that used to be California is all about regulating your diet.

One of the comments worth note.
And just where will HM government locate the Gulag for the fat? Will there be any special requirments on the staff, such as a weight limit of 10 st, so all can serve as role models? Will the poor dears be brainwashed into emulating anorexics? Truly another instance of the death of common sense.

Dennis Eagan, Colorado Springs, US

Friday, August 15, 2008

It didn't take Fox News long to be obnoxious

Shame on FOX News, Ian Drew - Washington Blade They used derogatory epithets toward the transgender woman who will be on "America's Top Model."

They apparently think insulting people is funny. Would it be funny to us the "N-word?" It is so unfunny, we can't even write it without being vilified. But I guess "some animals are more equal than others," when it comes to who you can and can't insult. Faggot. Queer (though we mostly own that one now, thanks to "We're here, we're queer, ...") Dyke. (likewise ownership - "Dykes to Watch Out For" or Dykes on Bikes.") I wonder if epithets aimed at religious minorities would seem funny to Fox News?

So maybe someone at Fox can come up with a list of minority groups that it is OK to insult, and those you can't insult. Because I am pretty sure what would happen if they were bandying the "n-word" around on any given afternoon. Heads would roll, or at least apologies would be forthcoming.

God I Love Texas

Texas school district to let teachers carry guns - Yahoo! News I may have to move there someday!
A Texas school district will let teachers bring guns to class this fall, the district's superintendent said on Friday, in what experts said appeared to be a first in the United States.

The board of the small rural Harrold Independent School District unanimously approved the plan and parents have not objected, said the district's superintendent, David Thweatt.
One less defenseless victim zone; teachers will be able to defend their students.

In addition to concealed carry permits, teachers who want to pack will get crisis training and permission from the school. (It doesn't say so, but I assume that permission will be in writing.)

Life must be good in Texas.... if only the Gulf Coast didn't get so many hurricanes.

This Will Ruffle Some Feathers

IsisTyra Banks' ‘Top Model’ has a transgender contestant I think it is a safe bet that you can look forward to a season of the Focus on the Family crowd going ballistic over this choice.
“My cards were dealt differently,” contestant Isis told Us Weekly.

The 22-year-old former non-profit worker from Prince George’s County, Maryland, identifies herself as “a woman born physically male.”
I mean anything that GLAAD characterizes as "an unprecedented opportunity for a community that is underrepresented on television" is sure to send the far Right into convulsions. Bill O’Reilly will probably blow a gasket. It should be fun to watch - probably more entertaining than the reality program.

When Did the American Dream Become a Mortgage?

And when did the American Dream become a mortgage on a house you can't afford? Of course people don't even know how to figure out what they can afford. Accept whatever the "bank" says they can afford to pay for a monthly payment. (Though with all these ARMs adjusting to payments they can't afford, it seems they don't even know how to determine that.) People just sign whatever documents the real-estate agents and loan-officers put in front of them. (Lawyers look over a contract? Whatever for?) Part of this is the schools. We aren't educating people. Is it any wonder that they don't act like educated consumers?

Once upon a time, I had a job that paid six figures. I hated the job, in part because it was actually killing me. (Everything from acid reflux to high blood pressure. Lack of sleep. Headaches.) But even when I was making six figures I had the sense not to sign up for the insane mortgages that I was offered. I drove an old car. (It was a typical corporate sedan, with leather interior, but it was 8 years old when I left that job.) I lived within my means, and I saved money - not just in my 401K.

Oh, I had a house, of course. 3 bedrooms. 3 bathrooms. Fireplace in the living room. Fireplace in the family room. Wet bar in the family room. A separate room for a pool table. (Somehow, I never bought a pool table.) It didn't make me happy. In fact I came to hate that house even after I had remodeled most of it.

When I live on my boat, I have about the space I had in my old kitchen. But that space includes 2 sleeping compartments, a head (bathroom to you land-lovers) a galley and a salon (or saloon - depends on where you are from - which is a living room to you land-lovers). That space also includes a diesel engine, fuel tank, water tanks, black-water holding tank and associated pumps. Not to mention all of the sailing paraphernalia - like life vests, flares, navigation equipment and charts etc. It was much better than the house.

Hunter 37 cutter interior layout
The overall length is 37 feet, at its widest it is 11 feet, 9 inches. Not a lot of space, but more than enough for 1 person. All the way forward is anchor storage, followed by a v-berth. (In theory this is for 2 people and it does work if you are prepared to be cozy.) Next is a head with a shower to starboard, with a hanging locker and sink to port. Then the salon with aft-facing navigation table and two settees. Galley to starboard with 2-burner stove, double sink and icebox - now converted to refrigeration. The quarterberth cabin is to port. Fuel is stored under the quaterberth. Water under the settees. Holding tank is under part of the v-berth. Engine is under the cockpit. Water heater is also under the cockpit.
Why was it better than the house?

One. It was paid for with cash. As most of the people who entered foreclosure have discovered, having a loan can be a problem. I still pay rent on a boat slip, and it is too much, but I have the option of moving to a less expensive place.

Two. How much room does one person need? I didn't need 3 bedrooms. (For a part of that time, I had a friend living in one of the other rooms - she lost her lease on a condo suddenly.) I never bought a pool table, and didn't use that space for anything - not even storage. I never used the fireplaces and only used the formal dining room once and that was for a wine tasting.

Incidentally, paying cash for purchases, even large purchases like a boat or a car, used to be a cornerstone of American life. Don't have the money for a car? Open a new savings account and every month make a car payment to that account. In 4 years you will be able to pay cash for a new car (I never buy new cars, but that is another story.) And it will cost you significantly less than if you finance. Do you even know how much the finance charges on your car loan cost? I didn't think so.

People always say - egged on by real estate agents - that "Their home is their biggest investment." However, from an accounting point of view, there are really only assets and liabilities. And as all these people in foreclosure have discovered, a property that does not generate income - like your primary residence - is only a liability. (How long could you pay your mortgage if you lost your job?)

But the houses are getting bigger, even as the families are getting smaller. People are spending more time at work, and having less time for the things that really matter. When was the last time you had a group of friends over for dinner? A holiday? The Super Bowl probably doesn't count. How much time do you spend with family? What is really important? A big house, or a home? Family and friends or that corner office? And don't laugh, I have seen people answer that question with "the corner office." You won't wish you spent more time at work when you reach the end of your life. Have you decided what the imporant things in your life are?

The American Dream used to involve things like self-reliance, meeting new challenges, making something of yourself. Do you think the frontier got settled by people looking for better kitchens or a bigger master-bedroom suite? Do you think this country was built by people who worried about the color of paint on the kitchen walls? The dream used to involve things like standing on your own, making your way in the world. The religious would worry about using their talents for the betterment of society. Today the American Dream seems to be about how much stuff you can get, how much stuff you can get from government, and sticking it to "The Rich." Or can you get the most amount of money with the least amount of work. Do you think the people busting sod on the frontier were worried about how big their log cabin was, or do you think they left "home" (whether that was the east coast or the Old World) because they were looking for an easy time of it?

I think we have reached that stage in the evolution of societies, that in the Roman Empire is usually referred to as "bread and circuses." We spend more time worrying about Britney or Lindsay than we do about the standing of the dollar internationally. We spend more time understanding the stats surrounding baseball or NASCAR than we do understanding the investment options for our 401Ks. We spend more time with "Survivor" or "American Idol" than we do with family or friends.

We've traded the dream of independence for the dream of easy credit. Instead of taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions, we lay blame on everyone around us. (It isn't my fault I signed up for a mortgage I can't afford, it is the eeeevil bankers fault.) From my perspective, that isn't much of a dream.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

That's Cool

Flying saucer that can plant explosives or bugs set for frontline - Telegraph Built by a bunch of university students, it can do a whole lot of stuff that the military might need. That the police will have it as well is perhaps not quite so cool.
The UFO-like object is among a range of gadgets that have been developed by schools, universities and small companies as part of a Ministry of Defence competition to develop everyday technology to help troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The lift fan was developed to have low noise. It weighs 44 pounds to be "easily" handled. Though smaller might be easier. GPS navigation, etc.

This kind of thing appeals to my inner geek.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fraud is such an ugly word

3rd Chicago cop charged in insurance fraud case :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES I mean is it a crime to defraud insurance companies? Apparently a cop didn't think so.
On Tuesday, prosecutors charged Chicago Police Officer ... with setting up a scheme to make it look as if someone had stolen his 1996 green Volkswagen Passat.
He had it towed to what I can only guess is a chop shop, and had it sold in pieces.

His lawyer had an interesting statement.
"I expect we will be able to resolve [the cop's] matter short of trial," his lawyer ... said. "[This cop] is a fundamentally good man who is going to confront his problems directly and honestly."
Translation from the legalese: The "system" will apply a separate set of rules to a cop, and he will get a great plea deal, that won't include much more than community service. It won't be the first time cops had separate rules.

I'm sorry, but even in Chicago, a "fundamentally good man" does not conspire to defraud his insurance company by faking the stealing of his car, and collecting both the four grand insurance payment as well as whatever the parts from the car brought. I think that's tantamount to breaking the "Thou Shall Not Steal" commandment. (I could be wrong. I actually prefer the Ten Prohibitionary Precepts from Zen - "Refrain from taking that which is not given.") The terms "thief" or "liar" come to mind, but not "good man." It's hard to tell, though, because most of the rules seem to be different in Chicago.

This is number 3 in the net. First and second have been covered. You should expect more.

Is it a slow news day?

Tropical depressions could form in Atlantic - Yahoo! News One the surface, without even looking at the article, the headline is a joke.

It is hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical waves are coming off the African coast. That is perhaps the most common feature of hurricane season.

So yes the waves could turn into depressions, and the depressions could turn into tropical storms and the storms could turn into hurricanes. But that is a lot of "could" even for the weather prediction industry.

It "could" be that any storm or even any depressions would move in a direction that won't threaten the US (or the oil platforms). And even if they do, it will be a week or so before we know.

So, unless you (or the financial analysts the story is actually about) have vacation plans in the Windward or Leeward Islands any time soon, don't worry about it.

If you live in hurricane country, you should already have all of the supplies you need to board up (metal shutters or hurricane windows!) and either bug out or ride it out. Water - bottled water lasts a while, but there 5 gallon plastic Jerrycans specifically for water available for a reasonable price. Tap water and filter is better than bottled water anyway. Do you really need to import water from Fiji or France? Meds, food, etc. should have been in place before the season started. And plans.

This is just another example of the weather industry hyping disaster. It isn't the only one. The truly amazing thing is that no one expects these "potential storms" to generate a disaster. That is stretching the envelope a bit. I guess weather hysteria pays someone's bills.

Criminals For Gun Control


A public service message? [via Michael Bane]

That video is part 1. See part 2 here.

Self-defense in Ohio

Deli Owner Opens Fire On Would-Be Robbers - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati Does the phrase "Taking matters into your own hands," denote vigilante justice?
An East Price Hill delicatessen owner took matters into his own hands during an attempted robbery on Tuesday, police said.

Officers said two men walked into Don's Deli on Beech Street just before 8 p.m. and pointed a gun at the owner, demanding money.
Instead they got a serving of hot lead. They ran like rabbits

Self-defense is not vigilante justice. I'm not sure what the authors of this piece meant to say, but I believe that they meant to impugn the idea of self-defense. I hear them whispering "vigilante justice" in the background. (You see, I have a lot of contempt for most of the journalism profession - so called.) But that could just be my bias against the media. (Is that the same as media bias?)

But this story once again demonstrates that legal self-defense (and it is legal in Ohio) does work. And what's more, self-defense is a human right.

I Don't Think This Horse is Dead Yet - Let's Hit It Again

MWC News - A Site Without Borders - - Top 12 reasons civil marriage equality should not be legal Mostly the same old reasons.... Some of my favorites...
1. Homosexuality is not natural -- much like eyeglasses, polyester, fellatio, indoor plumbing, and birth control. [or computers, electric light, television, ... "If God had meant up to make blog posts at 2:00 AM..." Z-Deb]
...
3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay kids, as straight parents only raise straight kids.

4. Traditional marriage will be less meaningful if civil marriage equality becomes law. (Just ask Britney Spears about her 55-hour just-for-fun marriage and its deep meaningfulness, or Rush Limbaugh about his four deeply meaningful marriages.) [I like the examples of Elizabeth Taylor and all her marriages, or J-Lo, or Brad Pitt, dumping his ex for the Angelina, etc. Z-Deb]
...
6. Civil marriage equality issues should be decided by people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have, after all, historically protected the rights of minorities. (Just ask interracial couples about life before Loving v. Virginia in 1967, or African-Americans about life before Brown v. The Board of Education.)
If you want to look a little closer at the "reasons" (more like excuses) of people fighting gay marriage, consider this.
At one point, the conversation turned to the "activist judges" whose May ruling opened the door to same-sex marriage, and how similar this case was to the 1948 case that declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional. According to one of the Prop. 8 reps, that 1948 ruling was OK because people are born to their race and thus are in need of constitutional protection, while gays and lesbians choose their homosexuality. So much for the expert opinions of the American Psychological Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics that people cannot choose their sexuality. Oh, those activist doctor types.
Funny, does that mean religion doesn't need protection? I mean, people do change religions on occasion. (That's a choice.) So it doesn't merit protection? Interesting point of view.

On the subject of gays raising gay kids, which the proponents of Proposition 8 brought up, see reason number 3, above. Irrational fears take flight.

Of course there aren't too many socially acceptable ways to express your dislike of gays anymore. Gay bashing is not practiced - or at least not condoned - by polite society. The deaths of Mathew Shepard, Lawrence King and Gwen Araujo are notable only because anyone in the straight community noticed. (They made a movie about Gwen Araujo.) Mostly attacks on gays, lesbians or the transgendered go unnoticed. It isn't news because a) no one cares, b) it happens all the time, in the "dog bites man" frame of it not being news and c) no one cares. Usually for anyone to notice ("anyone" being the major media outlets) it has to impact some quiet suburban community. Better to rattle the cages of the suburbanites, I guess.

For example, some of you may have heard of Angie Zapata, but how many have heard of Simmie Williams? How about Ryan Skipper? Or the cases that don't result in death, just a beating? How many of those do you hear about? But like I said, it isn't news if it happens all the time.

And if society's beef is with gay marriage, why is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act still having so much trouble in DC? Or is it marriage and the right to work that is the problem? What about housing - as in fair housing and rentals and purchasing?

And how exactly are all the married gay couples in Israel, Canada, Massachusetts, Belgium, The United Kingdom, Parts of Spain, The Netherlands, South Africa, etc. or those gay couples with civil unions in places like Sweden, France, Germany, Hawaii, Connecticut, etc. impacting heterosexual marriage? Can you feel the sanctity being sucked out of your unions? Is the straight divorce rate going up as a direct result of gay marriage? I didn't think so.

Still the Republicans will play the gay marriage card in this election. In a big way in California and Florida. It may even pay some dividends in this election. Fear is a good motivator. (See the Dems and their bi-annual tirade against the evil Repubs a) killing social security or b) taking money away from schools.) But in the long-run, it becomes like the cries of "wild west shootouts" whenever the subject of concealed carry comes up. Lots of fear. Light on facts. Eventually the nature of the hate becomes clear.

I Wish the Networks Would Cover the Shooting Sports

USA Shooting - Glenn Eller Claims Gold Medal in Double Trap The US did take 1 gold medal. And there are interesting things to note.
Fifty-six year old Libby Callahan (Columbia, S.C.), who is the oldest known American woman to compete for the U.S. at an Olympic Games (winter or summer), will be vying for a spot on the podium in her fourth Olympic Games appearance.
She is competing in the Women's 25m Sport Pistol match today.

But that would mean recognizing the sporting aspect of firearms and NBC just won't do that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No Wonder They Have a Crime Problem

Police spend 13 hours filling in forms to follow burglar - Telegraph Common sense protections are one thing, but spending 13 hours on paperwork to follow a suspect?

They don't want to stop crime. They want to stop police, so the population will be in fear. Scared, unarmed, helpless - defines both sheep and the average citizen of the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said that everything is fine.

Trust Your Life to 911, If You Like

Fulton County 911 system report warned of 'serious deficiencies' | ajc.com How long should it take 911 responders to reach you? If they are sent to the wrong city, it might take a while.
Darlene Dukes died Aug. 2 from a blood clot in her lungs after waiting more than an hour for an ambulance. Dukes, a 39-year-old mother of two who worked for Verizon in Alpharetta, was to be buried Saturday in New York.

Fulton County operator Gina Conteh, a 12-year veteran of the Fulton 911 call center, was fired after officials discovered she sent an ambulance to Wells Street in southwest Atlanta instead of Wales Drive in Johns Creek. [my emphasis. Z-Deb]
Now this was a 911 ambulance call. Do you think 911 would have gotten it right if it was a "Help! There is a rapist in my apartment," call, or other police emergency? The same 911 dispatch center handles both kinds of calls.

Or what would happen if the 911 call center didn't pass along the fact that home invasion was in process? Do you think the police could arrive in time to save you? LancasterOnline.com: 911 call scrutinized
The call-taker reported to the dispatcher that there was an "unknown disturbance" at the home but failed to repeat the neighbor's frantic plea that an intruder had assaulted the Haineses.

Two responding police officers, in separate cruisers, rushed to the scene, but not with the urgency required for a home-invasion call, officials said.
But not to worry, the authorities report that the family would have died even if the 911 call was handled correctly. The police would have been unable to do anything to save these people. And that would have been the case even if the 911 system worked flawlessly. "When seconds count, police are minutes away."

The Left loves to say that we should just call 911 and not rely on ourselves, but that didn't work out too well for some people. The 911 call center has to take you seriously. (A home invasion is not an "unknown disturbance.") They have to send the responders to you at the right address. In the first story, a son called 911 twice for his elderly mother.
Both times, Wilson said, they gave the address as Providence Road. Both times ambulances went to New Providence Road.
Because they know your address better than you do.

You trust your safety to a bunch of overworked, underfunded, government functionaries who mostly can't lose their jobs, if you want to. (I expect the unions to object to anyone being fired for a "simple mistake.") I know basic first aid, carry a fairly complete first aid kit with me most places, and am prepared to defend myself to the limit allowed by law. You call dial-a-prayer; just don't insist I make the same bet you do.

Ex-boyfriends who don't understand "Ex"

I suppose it is my own fault for writing about domestic violence so much, but some days the news just makes me sad.

ksl.com - Teacher killed, ex-boyfriend in jail
Neighbors say Molly Robbins and Charles Gunkel were holding hands, walking in the neighborhood a week ago. Now, she's dead, and he's in jail. And we've learned today, sheriff's deputies were involved in conflicts between the two.
She had a new boyfriend, and he killed her because of it.

Woman stabbed in chest during domestic dispute | HeraldTribune.com
The woman was in her home in the 800 block of Sixth Avenue West with her children around 8 p.m. Sunday when her estranged boyfriend paid an unannounced visit, according to a Manatee Sheriff's report.
She was stabbed in the chest but fought back, and she was stabbed again.
Just then, another person in the home struck the suspect in the back with a shovel, which sent him running from the home.
Perhaps he was dismayed by the number of witnesses. The police did catch him, and he is charged with all kinds of things including violation of a restraining order that wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Her injuries are said to be non-life-threatening.

There are more stories. New boyfriends stabbed by old boyfriends. Ex-husbands attacking. And some ex-wives or ex-girlfriends becoming violent. Why is it that people don't understand that not every relationship lasts forever? Why do they have to kill someone else before they kill themselves?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Innocent Men

The Associated Press: DNA testing clearing men convicted of crimes Too many instances of people having been convicted on the basis of eye-witness testimony and later cleared by DNA.

Marvin Anderson - served 15 years
Ronald Cotton - served 10 years
Stephan Cowans - served 5 ½ years
Larry Fuller - served 19 ½ years
William Gregory - served 7 years

All these cases - and others of course. What about those people where no DNA evidence exists?

Justice is blind. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" doesn't mean we always get it right, but the amount of times things go wrong leaves me feeling cold. We should at least try to do a better job. Of course the fact that all these men are black, and the victims were white just adds to the consternation. One was sentenced to 210 years. (Does that even make sense? Oh, yeah, I forget that a year in the criminal justice system isn't always a year.)

Another Cop Demanding Free Stuff

Protect, serve, demand free java? -- chicagotribune.com OK, if businesses want to give cops a discount or free coffee that is great. Having a cop sitting in a restaurant is good for the restaurant and its patrons.

But it is up to the business, not the cop.
But there's another unwritten rule: Cops can't demand the free stuff. And that's just what officials say Chicago Police Officer Barbara Nevers did, demanding free coffee and pastries from a half-dozen Starbucks stores over the years, until she was banned from one of the java joints and a memo was sent to other stores.
Oh, and this is the second time in a month that Starbucks has had to put up with this crap.

This is the embodiment of the idea that cops are better than everyone else. Not all cops feel this way of course, but there are plenty of examples of ones who do.

At least the powers that be are taking this seriously.
The 55-year-old veteran of more than a decade was suspended for 18 months and recommended for counseling after showing her gun and badge to intimidate employees into giving her free coffee, according to documents released Thursday.
This attitude needs to be stamped out, and these folks seem to be trying.

Of course if I did something like this, the police might think I needed more than counseling. (What? Are there 2 sets of rules?) But at least they're doing something.

Self-defense in the Face of Armed Robbery

It works!

Breaking news - newsjournalonline.com Don't give up seems to be the moral of the story.
Manny Manolas, 41, told police that he and Clary Manolas, 63, were closing up Manny's Pizza at 487 S. Nova Road at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday when a man wearing a towel or a T-shirt over his head emerged from the bushes near Manolas' car, according to a report. The stranger brandished a gun and said, "Give me the bag and your money," according to the report.

But Manolas wasn't about to surrender his cash and his receipts.

He pulled out his own weapon, a .357 magnum revolver, and shot at the man, who ran toward a furniture store nearby, the report shows.
And I love the choice of firearm.

Self-defense is not only a human right, it is not only your legal right (at least in places like Florida), it also just plain works.

David Zucker Strikes Again

Hollywood Takes on the Left David Zucker gave us Airplane and the Naked Gun. He casts his eye on the insanity of the Left. I may have to see that movie.

Here is a scene:
Two young men--both terrorists--enter the station. They are surprised to see a security checkpoint manned by two NYPD officers. "I'll need to see your bag, please," says one of the officers. The lead terrorist glances nervously at his friend and swings his backpack down from his shoulder to present it to the cops. Just as the officer pulls on the zipper, however, a small army of ACLU lawyers
marches up to the policemen with a stop-search order. The cops look at each other and shrug their shoulders. "This says we can't search their bags."

The young men are relieved. They smile fiendishly as they walk toward the crowded platform. As the lead terrorist once again slips the backpack over his shoulder, he mutters his appreciation.

"Thank Allah for the ACLU."
Will this turn around the anti-conservative witch-hunts in Hollywood? Unlikely. Consider what Jon Voight had to deal with for the horrible crime of voicing his opinion. Or was it that his opinion just didn't match the Hollywood thought police?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can Policing Effect Crime?

You bet!

The NYPD Diaspora by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal Summer 2008 This is mostly the story of José Cordero who moved from NYPD to East Orange, New Jersey. Quite a change occurred after he introduced Compstat. (Click on the graph!)
East Orange, New Jersey, has 70,000 citizens by official counts, about 95 percent of them black, and deep pockets of poverty. Crime there—much of it violent—had started skyrocketing in 1999, reaching a per-capita rate in 2003 that was 14 times that of New York City and five times that of Detroit. East Orange’s mayor recruited Cordero to quell the violence; Cordero started work in 2004. The results were astonishing. By the end of 2007, major felonies had dropped 68 percent, and homicides 67 percent, from their 2003 high—possibly a national record. (By comparison, from 1993, the year before Bratton arrived in New York City, through 1997, major felonies in New York dropped 41 percent and homicides 60 percent.) East Orange’s remarkable experience should give pause to criminologists, who too often ascribe crime drops to anything but policing reforms.
Other folks from NYPD have gone to other areas and had some success, but there have been problems too.
Union recalcitrance has driven some New York stars away from new jobs. John Timoney left the Philadelphia department, where he had little ability to put his top picks into leadership positions, “fed up with banging my head against the wall” with the unions over officer discipline and personnel decisions, he says. Former NYPD intelligence commander Dan Oates left the Ann Arbor department, he reports, frustrated with the power of Michigan’s labor law to “crush positive change.”
The union in Newark is also fighting against change. So much for serving and protecting. More like protecting their overtime and seniority rules.

The sad thing is, we know how to stop crime, but we don't appear to want to.

A Tough Weekend for Burglars

First, from Florida - Resident kills intruder | Pensacola News Journal
At about 4:30 p.m., two men broke in through the side door of the West Pensacola home. At least one of the men was armed, Austin said.

The man living in the residence heard the disturbance and shot one of the suspects while the other one ran away.
The guy who got shot died outside the home. The other guy got away, but the homeowner was safe. And within his rights.
“He was an armed intruder who came in with a weapon. The homeowner saw the threat and defended himself,” [Glenn Austin, spokesman with the Escambia County Sheriffs Office,] said. “When you’re threatened you have the right to defend yourself.”
In Georgia, things don't seem to be so clear cut. - Burglar shot during home invasion.
A 75-year-old man shot a teen who he suspected was attempting to burglarize his home.

The homeowner says he heard a noise at his back window, got his pistol and yelled at the would-be burglar as he saw a man crawling through the window.
The homeowner shot the goblin in the leg and groin, but the officials aren't clear on the right to self-defense.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether to charge the homeowner.
With what would he be charged? How is a 75-year-old man supposed to react when a young goof-ball invades his home? But those rascally bureaucrats don't want to give up any option for exercising their authority.

Self-defense is a human right. And, at least in Florida, it is your legal right.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Away for the Weekend

See you Monday

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

At the Mercy of Violent Thugs

American Chronicle | With Law-Abiding Citizens Unable To Arm Themselves...Violent Crime In Chicago Is Sky-Rocketing Witness what happens when you disarm the law-abiding.
2008 is shaping up to be one of the most violent in the city´s history. To date, there have been more than 500 murders this year alone in Chicago. According to information released by the Chicago Police Department, 491,000 total crimes had been committed this year alone, in the city by June 15, 2008 (18,162 robberies; 1,623 sexual assaults; 3,930 weapons violations).
For comparison, last year there were 435 murders compared with 500 so far this year.

Glad to see that all the gun control in Illinois is working so well.

Continuing to do the same thing, and expecting something different to happen is one sign of insanity. Somebody should tell Mayor Dumbbell.

Update: It appears these statistics are incorrect. They appear to represent trend data. If things remain unchanged, Chicago will see approximately 500 murders this year compared to 435 last year.

Murder rate in Chicago up 18 percent over 7-month period of 2007 -- chicagotribune.com
For the first seven months of 2008, murders rose by 18 percent over the same period in 2007 and by 9 percent for the same period in 2006. According to internal police data, 291 people were killed from January through July, up from 246 in 2007 and 266 in 2006.
...
But if trends from the first seven months continue the rest of the year, Chicago would finish with more than 500 murders for the first time since 2003. That year, Chicago had more than 600 murders.
Sorry for the confusion.

They Still Don't Like Self-defense

Global eye to be kept on abusers -- chicagotribune.com So, the People's Republic of Illinois will now track domestic violence abusers who violate a restraining order.

They admit that "authorities" can't respond before a crime. But let a stalked person defend themselves? Let mere civilians carry effective means of self-defense? Let people rely on themselves, not make them depend on the state? We can't have that in the People's Republic of Illinois. Mayor Dumbbell Daley would not approve. (Hell, his knickers are in a knot over the idea of law-abiding citizens owning firearms. His head will probably explode if Illinois ever permits concealed carry.)

Even their terminology is telling.
The prosecutor who tried to protect Bischof called the measure "a powerful tool that will help us in the future protect our victims."
How about devising a system where they are free to stop being victims? No, that would lead to all that self-reliance stuff that Mayor Dumbbell hates so much.

Left-wing drek on the Pink Pistols

Windy City Times - Views: Can gun-toting solve gay-bashing? On some levels this manages to be a fair description of the Pink Pistols, a gay/lesbian friendly group of shooters who advocate legal self-defense.

But mostly it is the warmed-over Left-wing certainty that self-defense can't possibly work.
However, guns will never be the great equalizer for an embattled group. They may, for a fleeting moment, deter our enemies but they will never permanently protect us from them.
What will permanently protect any persecuted minority from a majority? Why the state of course.

The piece the author misses is that guns are only there for that instant when social order fails. When a woman meets a rapist, when a Jew meets and antisemite, when a gay meets a basher the state isn't there to protect you. (And in some cases the duly-appointed representative of the state - the cop - isn't going to help the situation.) In that instant, faced with an imminent threat, self-defense is morally justified (and legally recognized in most jurisdictions.)

But the state-loving-Left doesn't like to dwell on those instances when the state fails. We can end crime through midnight-basketball. We can stop rape by having candle-light vigils once a year. We can stop hate by passing anti-thought laws. (Make no mistake, hate crimes law make certain thoughts punishable.)

The truth is, that self-defense works. Very often.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Home Invader Stopped by Armed Homeowner

MyFox Tampa Bay | Homeowner shoots intruder Uninvited guests before 5 AM should expect some problems.
According to officers on the scene, the homeowner said he heard something in his garage, confronted and shot the person.
No word on the condition of the injured guy. No names and no word on charges.

Still, the moral of the story is clear. If you don't want to get shot, you should at the very least refrain from invading homes. Soon or later you will meet an armed homeowner.

Severe Weather

OK, I am sure people are having a tough time in Texas today, but I am sick of the folks on the Weather Channel talking about how 4.5 or 5 inches of rain in a 24-hour period is the mark of a really bad tropical storm.

The last time I was caught in a tropical storm, there were 9 inches of rain in about 18 hours. That is a lot of rain.

And the funny thing is, it wasn't the end of the world - or even the end of South Florida.

I wish they would just stop with the hysteria, but I guess they make too much money.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Don't Give Up

MyFox Houston | Police: 1 Dies, 2 Hurt in Home Burglary Even after being shot, this law-abiding citizen defended himself.
As the homeowner went to check out the noise, one of the suspects saw him and shot the homeowner three times.

But as they were leaving, the homeowner got his own gun and shot the suspects, killing one and seriously inuring the second.
At least one and maybe two other miscreants drove away. They may have also been injured.

Self-defense works, even after you have been shot.

Both injured people were taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition.

Common Sense Battle Ax Control?


ksl.com - Teenager in critical condition after being attacked with battle ax You don't need a gun to do some serious damage. This weapon could have decapitated the victim - or so says one of the police officers on this case.

This was all about jealousy. As long a humans have strong emotions, things of this nature will happen. With guns or knives or baseball bats or hands and feet or battle axes. [Via Gun Debate Critic via Maddened Fowl]

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Point a Gun at Me, and I Can Defend Myself

www.kansascity.com | 08/02/2008 | Bank customer shoots man in attempted robbery Which is just what happened when a goblin tried to rob an older couple at an ATM.
The robber turned around and pointed his gun at the man, [Sgt. Chris Lantz of the department’s robbery unit] said. The robbery victim fired his gun, hitting the robber in the head, he said.
The goblin is in critical but stable condition.

The intended victim appears to have been within his rights.
The man had a permit to carry a concealed gun, Lantz said. Under the circumstances, Lantz said, that would not matter, because he could legally carry the weapon in his car.
Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0. Self-defense is a human right.

Funny This Isn't Being Shouted From the Rooftops

Gallup: McCain & Obama tied at 44% - On Politics - USATODAY.com As a result of my current care-giver-roll, I watch a lot of television news. If the numbers had been going in the other direction, this would be all you would see all day long.

But an Obama advantage of 9 points evaporates in one week, and you can see it buried, mostly.
This is not much different from the results reported in Gallup Poll Daily tracking on Thursday, when the two were nearly tied with 45% for Obama and 44% for McCain. However, it is a substantial turnaround from earlier this week when Obama held a statistically significant lead coming off his high-profile trip to Europe, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.
A statistical advantage turns to a statistical dead heat. The same poll, the same methodology.

At the same time, The Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll also shows a statistical tie. With Obama "enjoying" a statistically insignificant lead of 44 to 43%. (Or 47 to 46% if add the category of people who have not decided but are leaning toward a certain candidate.)

The number of people identifying as democrat are down, and a few other trends are not really moving in Barack "Don't Say My Middle Name" Obama.

Should we expect the news organizations to report this news? Maybe in a perfect world, but in the biased news environment we live with, I for one am not surprised.