Monday, November 30, 2009

Appears That The WaPo Doesn't Like Obama Anymore

If this article is any indication. Dana Milbank - Washington Sketch: The perils of being commander in chief - washingtonpost.com

Comparisons with Carter from the right, now comparisons with Bush from the Left.

And here's a news flash: Michael Moore doesn't think much of sending more troops to Afghanistan.

The State of UK Health Care - Ominbus Edition

Cancer care on the NHS falls behind the rest of Europe - Telegraph Care of cancer patients in the UK doesn't look so good if you compare their care to Europe. Even within the country, some areas get much better outcomes than other areas. And some new "first line" treatments just aren't available via the cost-cutting NHS. But they are saving money.

Woman died after cancer drug side effects were ignored - Telegraph Repeated calls to the hospital that was managing her chemotherapy were not directed to doctors. Records of the calls have been shredded to protect the guilty.

Hospitals: 82 patients underwent operations on wrong part of body - Telegraph I think the headline speaks for itself.

Hospitals: 27 NHS trusts in England with 'significantly high' death rates - Telegraph Hospitals that have higher than expected death rates... mostly based on cleanliness and the spread of infections.

Iran Siezes Racing Yacht, “Kingdom of Bahrain”

More insanity from the insane. Iran: five British sailors seized after straying into Iranian waters - Telegraph

There is such a thing as emergencies at sea. They aren't supposed to land you in hot water. Of course they can't be used as excuses, but this emergency seems legit.
The Britons were part of the nine-strong crew of the Kingdom of Bahrain, a racing yacht, which was apprehended by the Iranian navy on Wednesday.

It is thought the boat, which carried a satellite tracker, may have drifted into Iranian waters after its propeller was damaged.
Don't expect the Iranians to give much. They are still holding American hikers and others who have strayed into Iran by accident.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pot Smoking is Bad for Your Health

You might say he made some bad decisions. Pot smoker shot after breaking into Phoenix home

Confronted by police, he had a joint in his hand.
In an attempt to flee the scene, the man jumped out of a window, hopped a fence and ran to a nearby neighborhood. The suspect broke through the back door of a nearby house, alerting the family dog who began to bark.
The homeowner got up, and told the idiot he had a gun. But apparently you lose the ability to think clearly on dope.
I walked out of my hallway into the living room and it was dark. There was a guy standing there, he had something in his hands, I was in fear for the safety of me and my family so I fired."

The suspect was shot in the hip and ran right out the front door right into the hands of awaiting police officers, who say he was holding a chair.
The idiot is in the hospital - and also under arrest. He had an outstanding warrant, and a criminal history.

The police see the homeowner's actions as completely justified.
Phoenix Police spokesman Andy Hill says, "If somebody feels that they're going to hit you over the head with a chair, obviously it could knock you out and then that person could kill you, take your gun, shoot you.".
Self-defense works. Bad Guys 0, Good Guys 1.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Blissful State of UK Health Care - Worst Offenders

Finally some statistics are being released. Shamed: the top hospitals with the worst death rates - Telegraph
The three hospitals with the highest patient death rates in the country can be named, amid a deepening crisis over the standard of care in the NHS.
They are rated high, but the results are a bit less.
Bolton, Greater Manchester and Basildon NHS trusts have elite “foundation status”. However, The Sunday Telegraph has learned that statistics to be published this week will show a higher percentage of patients died while in their care in 2008-09 than in any other trusts in the country.
The problem is the Trusts (which run the hospitals on behalf of the NHS) rate themselves.
At Basildon Hospital, managers gave themselves 13 out of a 14 possible marks for safety and cleanliness. The ratings were published just weeks before the damning inspection report was drawn up.

At Alder Hey, hospital managers awarded themselves the maximum score for cleanliness. When its self-assessments were added up, it was awarded an overall rating of “excellent” for its services.

On October 15, the hospital sent out a press release, titled “best in class, best in country”, describing how it had achieved the most successful result of any children’s hospital.

Twelve days later, when inspectors from regulators the Care Quality Commission (CQC) arrived unannounced, they found filthy conditions, with brown running water, mouldy bathrooms and soiled furniture and commodes. Toys were stored on top of equipment to clean bedpans.
For a rundown on the Basildon Hospital, see this link.

Trays used to deliver "sterile" equipment were themselves dirty. Toys stored with implements used to clean bed pans. Go take a look.

The trust administrators (bureaucrats) say "never fear" the problems found by the outside audit were a fluke. Our results are good. (Our good results are good, your bad results are not good. Yeah. What do you expect from a bureaucrat?)

I can't wait for Michael Moore to make a new movie about all the problems in socialized medicine.

UPDATE: For an anecdote about how bad it was(is?) see this link. You will be horrified.

Nice Guy's Finish Last

I really need to read SPIEGEL more often! US Foreign Policy: Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

So what did he do, but bow down to human rights abusers?
The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.
George Bush was not exactly popular in Europe.

And more talk of surrender.
Even the president seems to have lost his faith in a genial foreign policy. The approach that was being used in Afghanistan this spring, with its strong emphasis on civilian reconstruction, is already being changed. "We're searching for an exit strategy," said a staff member with the National Security Council on the sidelines of the Asia trip.
For a complete rundown on the upcoming surrender in Afghanistan, see the Anchoress.

So do they like us overseas? Or is liking us not to the point?
Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter."
Yeah, that's what we needed... another Carter.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Interlude

A tour of Switzerland.

Atlanta Gets Sued Over Stonewall-style Raid on Gay Bar

The found no public sex. No drugs. No illegal weapons. But they still called in SWAT and treated everyone like criminals. Federal lawsuit filed against Atlanta police over raid at gay club - CNN.com
During the raid, patrons were made to lie face down on the floor while background checks were run on everyone, the statement said. "Eagle bar patrons heard anti-gay slurs; were forced to lay in spilled beer and broken glass; and one was forced to lie on the floor even though he had injured his back in the Iraq War."

Some of the patrons were restrained with handcuffs, and officers used excessive force, including shoving some people to the floor and kicking others on the floor, the lawsuit says. Authorities searched everyone on the property, seizing their driver's licenses or other identification, the suit says.

"These actions were taken without particularized reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that any individual patron, let alone every person at the establishment, was involved in criminal activity whatsoever," said the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
Oh, and they failed to identify themselves as police, but that is expected today.
The only charges filed were against Eagle employees, for allegedly violating the city's law about unlicensed adult entertainment "because four dancers were observed, in the words of the arresting officers, allegedly 'wearing underwear' and 'dancing,' " the lawsuit said.

"Imagine if the police walked into a Wal-Mart and see someone shoplifting, and because they see what they think is a crime taking place in Wal-Mart, they take everyone at Wal-Mart, throw them on the floor, spread their legs, put their hands in their pockets, take their IDs, put their name in the computer, simply because they're out of place or someone else may or may not be doing something wrong," co-counsel Daniel Grossman said at a news conference Tuesday.
Don't really expect a jury trial in Georgia to accomplish much.

Atlanta has been covering assets -so to speak- since the incident. A month after the raid, they identified everything as SOP. Not that day - it took time to decide what they needed to be in standard operating procedures.
Greg Nevins, supervising senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal's southern regional office, based in Atlanta, said in the statement. "If it is APD procedure for elderly men and wounded veterans to be thrown to the floor and harassed simply for being in a bar having a drink after work, then APD should change its procedures."

The Blissful State of UK Health Care

I can't wait until we have socialized medicine! Fears over Basildon Hospital first raised in 2001 - Telegraph

Death rates at a UK National Health System (NHS) hospital were way above the expected level. Instead of doing something, administration tried to downplay the problems.
When a survey discovered more than a year ago that Basildon Hospital had the worst death rates in the country, the Trust’s chief executive dismissed the scare as a record-keeping anomaly.
It wasn't a problem with the record keeping. The death rate was at least one third higher than it should have been.

Why? A related story has the highlights of what was going on. Hundreds of patients died needlessly at NHS hospital due to appalling care - Telegraph
The key findings of the report were:

- appalling hygiene and cleanliness in A&E [Accident & Emergency]

- patients left in A&E for ten hours and treated in full view of others

- four deaths among patients with learning disabilties

- a lack of children's nurses and doctors in A&E

- blood splattered on curtains and mould in vital equipment

- lack of basic nursing skills with failure to feed patients or give medication correctly

- elderly patients frequently developing bed sores, prompting concerns from nearby care homes.
Ain't socialized medicine wonderful?

It Isn't Their Fault...

There just isn't a cop around when you need one. There aren't enough Atlanta cops to go around. Calling 911, but where are police? �| ajc.com

So you call 911 because there is a police emergency, but there are no police available to respond. You wait, sometimes a long time.
Instead, the 911 operator sent an electronic message to a dispatcher for the Atlanta Police Department, who held the call — for 56 minutes and five seconds — before sending an officer to Phoenix Park. The dispatcher had no choice: The police department had no one available to promptly respond to a report of a man demanding sex from children.
A lot of really bad things can happen in an hour. Even if an officer is available, there are minutes of drive time. 56 minutes for an officer to be dispatched and then drive time is a very long time.
More than 24,000 times from January through July, or in 18 percent of incidents, according to the newspaper’s analysis of communications records, police dispatchers were unable to assign officers to calls relayed by the city’s 911 until after what the department defines as the acceptable total response time had elapsed.

The dispatch delays contribute heavily to what public safety experts describe as abysmal response times to emergency calls in Atlanta: Officers arrived on the scene of the highest-priority calls within five minutes just 9 percent of the time.
Even the victims give up waiting and leave the scene in some cases. (Forget about the perpetrators.)

Atlanta is certainly not alone with their budget problems, or their 911 problems. This is the way the world works. Sometimes when you call 911 to be rescued, there is no one available to come to your aid for a long time.

Calling 911 is fine thing to do. But if you think it is the answer to all of your problems, I think this brings to light some flaws in you thinking. For some number of minutes - 5 minutes or 50 minutes - you are on your own. This assumes that you have the opportunity to call for help BEFORE the crime is committed. If your cell phone is stolen or destroyed... what then?

You need to have a plan for how you will spend those 5 minutes, or those 50 minutes, or a plan of how you are going to get away and make that call. Assuming that "the system" will protect you, is not a very good assumption.

The Problem is the Easy Cash

While there is a mention of 'easy cash' early on you have to get to the last paragraph to see the real reason piracy is flourishing. The Associated Press: Experts: Nigerian pirates may be extending reach

This is off the west coast of Africa, literally a continent away from the area we always here about, Somalia. Piracy is reported, though the powers-that-be think it is under reported.

There are various reasons given for why the attacks started. Polluted rivers from oil companies. Fishing trawlers blamed for decimating the local fishing. Both may be true.
But in both countries, the political message became muddied after ship owners and employers offered large sums of cash for the freedom of their workers and vessels. The influx of cash into impoverished communities encouraged pirates who went after ransoms.
More money than these communities will see in any other way. International sailors told by the UN and others not to fight back. It was (is?) an easy payday. Though people are beginning to see that being a defenseless victim is not a winning strategy.

Armed Homeowner Defending Himself Stops Crime Spree

This guy was bad news, and it is a good thing he was stopped before someone died. After shooting spree, man shot trying to force his way into a home
"From eyewitness accounts and other evidence from the scene,"[Sheriff Thomas] Kerss said, "it appears that the suspect heavily armed himself with at least two rifles and numerous amounts of ammunition. He approached some property boundaries of neighbors and began shooting horses and randomly shooting toward houses." Four horses were killed.
It is lucky no people were killed.

This maniac then approached one house and tried to force his way inside. The homeowner was having none of that, and fired 1 shot.
"At that time, the homeowner discharged a single round from inside the residence and struck him," Kerss said. "The homeowner who confronted him was not only well within his rights to take the action he did, but in stopping him, he probably helped spare some of his neighbors heartache, as well."
This guy is charged with deadly conduct because a bullet had gone through the window of one residence, threatening the lives of the people who lived there. He is also charged with burglary, intent to commit assault, and four counts of cruelty to animals for the horses that perished.

The goblin is in stable condition with severe injuries.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Liberal (?) Columnist Doesn't Like Self-defense

Misses (or misconstrues) the point entirely. Focus on the burglary, not the aggressive action. Shooting of burglar in Sorrento was legal -- but 'sickening' -- OrlandoSentinel.com
After all, there is no death penalty for stealing stuff.
He was NOT killed because he was stealing stuff; he was killed because he made an aggressive move toward an armed citizen. (The "burglar" was carrying bolt cutters after all.) That armed citizen felt the 23-year-old man with bolt cutters was a reasonable threat and acted accordingly. Which is to say, he exercised his legal right to defend himself.

Lauren Richie, of the Orlando Sentinel doesn't seem to believe this was the right thing to do.
The biggest difference between states with Castle Doctrines and those without is that the latter usually require the homeowner to try to get away before unleashing force.

Florida removed that provision in 2005. Someone in your house? Fire up the cannons. The pro-gun folks were thrilled; the anti-gun folks howled.
I wonder which group she finds herself in.

Of course the predictions of unimaginable carnage made by those anti-gun folks have not come to pass.

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

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Part 2

I am about ¾ of the way through Z&TAOMM. I won't try to cover too much ground. Read it. It is worth the time.

Last time I read it, I was in high school, or maybe the first year of college. In other words, I was a kid with no experience and not much education. It is a bit more interesting now (I recognize the references to Hegel and Poincare.

But I would like to say a little something about what Pirsig calls the Romantic/Classical divide. Why people hate technology. Remember this was published (or at least written) in the 70s. Before the personal computer. Before the MP3 player. Though not quite the dark ages. Some of it still applies.

People's vision of technology was power plants - nuclear or otherwise. The space program. Their cars scared them less. Though they needed to be tuned up constantly, most people (men anyway) had the skills and tools to do some of the basic stuff at home. No computers in the cars back then. So, when Pirsig says people were frightened or "turned off" by technology, he was thinking of the way computers were coming to control more of the records of daily life, the impact of the new power plant or the plans to build that new garbage incinerator.

The disconnect between the way things look and the way they work is powerful for some people. Why do people assume that if an airline doesn't clean the interior of its plans, it doesn't maintain the engines? The truth is that every dollar spent shampooing the upholstery is a dollar not available for maintaining the airframe. But that doesn't impact what people believe.

Today, part of this the state of the schools. In the 50s, when the Beat generation started, it was probably a reaction to the rigid conformity society wanted (demanded?). Life isn't neat, and the Fifties wanted things to be neat, like in "Father Knows Best."

Today the disconnect is still with us, though people don't see all technology in the same light. They hate the power plant, but love Google, which makes more power plants necessary. They love their iPod, smart phone, big screen TV and surround sound. They celebrate the compact fluorescent bulb, and fail to understand how power is generated and distributed or the impact of mercury on the environment. In short, people don't hate all technology. Just the kind they are most dependent on. So the clamor for everyone to use CFLs, and leave their air conditioning on in the summer time. (There aren't too many people driving 55 MPH on the highway today, even though you would get much better gas millage if you did. Today it is a choice, the minimum speed is still 45 MPH. You could do your part.)

Of course they could install solar systems - thermal systems are more cost effective today than photovoltaic systems. But it is easier (though not as practical) to insist that the utilities "go green." That way they don't actually have to do anything or change their lives in any way. A comfortable fantasy, but probably not too realistic.

Anyway the book seems to have stood up to the years pretty well. I may have to find a copy of "Lila," Pirsig's 2nd book.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Misreading Hate Crime Statistics

You can't do nationwide trends with the FBI's numbers. There are too many problems with the FBI's numbers. The League of Ordinary Gentlemen has a good explanation. The Annual Misuse of Hate Crime Statistics

Self-defense Works

Burglars discover an armed homeowner, and what armed homeowners do. Homeowner shoots alleged intruders
A homeowner on Detroit’s east side shot and killed one person and wounded two others who broke into his home early this morning, according to police.
No word on if the 2 injured guys were captured (I assume they were, since we know they were shot). No word on any charges.

Without efficient means of self-defense, the old and infirm would be at the mercy of the young and violent, the small would be at the mercy of the large, and everyone would be vulnerable to attack by groups of individuals. Firearms - and the training to use them - can equalize these situations or turn them in favor of the law-abiding.

Self-defense is a human right.

Update: It turns out the 2 injured guys are in hospital, in serious condition. 1 dead, 2 injured after Detroit homeowner shoots intruders | detnews.com | The Detroit News

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cop Smashes Suspect Through Window

OK the guy was drunk. When he went through the window, he didn't appear to be struggling too much. Couldn't he have taken him to the ground? YouTube Video Shows BART Officer Pushing Man Into Window

The powers that be are fast to point out that the cop got injured worse than the guy he smashed into the window. (He required stitches, the drunk guy, did not.)

Of course the cop is on "industrial leave." Not sure what that means, but I bet it is a bit like vacation.

The Union Thinks Shooting 12-yr-old Girls with Bean Bags OK

She was down on the ground, in the hands of a cop. She was struggling, so he shot her. Portland officer put on leave after shooting girl, 12, with beanbag gun
The encounter was caught on TriMet videotape at 10:47 p.m. Saturday, showing Humphreys circling the girl after his fellow Transit Officer Aaron Dauchy had taken the girl to the ground and continued to struggle with her on the MAX platform at Northeast 148th Avenue. The girl had struck Dauchy in the face when he tried to take her into custody on a TriMet exclusion violation.Humphreys, police say, repeatedly warned the girl to stop resisting or he'd shoot his beanbag gun, and fired one shot, striking her in the thigh at close range.
The union thinks this is completely OK.
police union President Sgt. Scott Westerman stood outside vigorously defending Humphreys, backed by more than 40 officers who stood shoulder to shoulder on the center's front steps.

Westerman decried the actions taken by the police administrators, calling them politically motivated and further fallout from the pending federal lawsuit involving Humphreys, who is accused of using excessive force against James P. Chasse Jr., a 42-year-old schizophrenic man who died in police custody in September 2006. Humphreys faces a proposed two-week unpaid suspension in that case.
Got that? A suspect dies in your custody, you lose 2 weeks pay. What a deterrent that is likely to be.

The video clip is way longer than it needs to be, especially given there is no audio.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Musical Interlude


Soggy Bottom Boys from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

While I am busy elsewhere... enjoy

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Always try to read something good on a long trip. I picked this copy up a few years ago - it is the 25th Anniversary Edition - and it sat on a shelf since then.

I'm only getting started but it is still good. Will have to see how the whole thing stands up to time.

One thing that hasn't changed, is that a lot of people resent technology.

I think this where the whole global warming movement gets its religious-like zeal. Whether it is right or wrong, is beside the point. People have accepted it without thinking. (No not everyone - I am sure you thought about it - but there are a lot of people who are against technology because it is technology. See dihydrogen-monoxide.)

People are dependent on technology, and for the most part they haven't got a clue as to how it works. I'm not talking about your PC. Most people don't know how a refrigerator works, or what is involved in producing their morning corn-flakes (including how it got to the store.) If they were really expected to live a 'sustainable' life, they would be dead before the end of winter.

On some level they know this, and resent it. So it is easy to believe the electric utilities are evil. Of course very few of them are installing solar power in their homes. They want the utilities to "go green." They don't want to have to choose between grid-intertie or battery-based inverters. (Why can't I have both? "Soon" isn't good enough.) And the ones that do make the selection, are then surprised to find that their grid-intertie solar-system doesn't work when the grid fails. (Grid-intertie is easier, I don't have learn about batteries, and the grid is right there, and I don't have to think about giving up clothes driers, ...)

So that much hasn't changed in 25 years or so.

On the Road Again

Posting will likely be erratic at best

Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Guys Came Out on Top

A store clerk was able to defend himself from attack. Robber killed in struggle for clerk's gun at East St. Louis market - STLtoday.com
[Illinois State Police Lt. James Morrisey] said four men were able to force their way through a locked door that may have been weakened from damage in a break-in a few weeks ago. The store is open 24 hours, but does business only through a small walk-up window after 11 p.m.

The clerk, 21, had a pistol for his protection, Morrisey explained. "The robbers wrestled with the clerk over the gun, the gun discharged during the struggle and struck one of the bandits in the chest."
Two were arrested when they dropped the injured guy off at a hospital. Charges are waiting on further investigation.

Illinois is a state that has felony murder (not sure if that's what they call it).
Under state law, an accomplice of someone killed while committing a felony can be prosecuted for murder.
It isn't clear if there were more than 3 bad guys.

It is clear that the good guy was unharmed, and was able to successfully defend himself when faced with violent attack.

What We Need is Common-sense Baseball Bat Control

Why, it is possible to buy these vicious weapons through the mail with no ID. Man hit with baseball bat, mugged near Pike Place Market
Seattle police say three males set upon a man in a parking lot near First Avenue and Pike Street about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, hitting him with a baseball bat and robbing him.

The man managed to fight back. He was eventually taken to Harborview Medical Center.
Or maybe we should pass a law making robbery illegal.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

It looks that way to me. Sorrento homeowner shoots and kills suspected burglar -- OrlandoSentinel.com
The property owner, Shane Biel, awoke to his alarm sounding. He looked outside and spotted a silhouette figure out by his lawn equipment trailer, Herrell said. Biel had been the victim of prior lawn-equipment theft, he said. And there have been other equipment thefts in the area recently.

The suspect had not entered the enclosed equipment trailer but was inside a fenced area.

Biel told another family member to call 911 and then he went outside to confront the suspect with his handgun. Biel told authorities that Canada moved toward him in "an aggressive manner," and that's when he opened fire out of fear for his safety, Herrell said.
The dead guy was no boy scout, and police say the evidence supports the homeowner's story.

Self-defense is a human right.

The UN has their knickers in a twist

Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates. Again. Except this time, they had armed guards on board. US ship repels pirates with guns and sound blasts

The Maersk Alabama was captured by pirates in April, and Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage. US Navy Seals freed him killing 3 bad guys along the way.
Guards aboard the Maersk Alabama used guns and a sound blaster Wednesday to repel the second pirate attack in seven months on the U.S. vessel at a time when ships are increasingly hiring armed security teams to thwart hijackings.

Despite an increased international flotilla of warships off the Horn of Africa, maritime figures indicate the number of ship boardings has remained about the same in the past year.
The UN is all upset that people are recognizing relying on some nebulous system isn't working.
The U.N.'s Maritime Safety Committee says members should "strongly discourage the carrying and use of firearms by seafarers for personal protection or for the protection of a ship." The concern is that bringing guns aboard ship will encourage violence.
Sounds an awful lot like the predictions of "wild west shootouts" that gun-fearing-weenies predict every time a state passes concealed carry.

Guns don't cause violence. And anyway, encouraging violence against the pirates - "the enemies of all mankind" - is a good thing. (Violence in the service of defense is not a bad thing.)

Pirates are violent bunch, and people are dying.
On Wednesday, a self-proclaimed pirate said the captain of a chemical tanker hijacked Monday had died of wounds suffered during the ship's hijacking. The pirate, Sa'id, who gave only one name for fear of reprisals, said the captain died Tuesday night from internal bleeding. The chemical tanker Theresa was taken Monday with 28 North Korean crew, the EU naval force said.
But with million-dollar paydays being handed out in the form of ransoms, the end of this problem is not in sight.

And in case you are wondering, not everyone agrees with the UN.
"Due to Maersk Alabama ... embarking security teams, the ship was able to prevent being successfully attacked by pirates," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. "This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take pro-active action."

Four suspected pirates in a skiff had approached the Maersk Alabama, firing with automatic weapons from about 300 yards away, a statement from the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain said. The ship responded with evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which emits earsplitting tones.
Even with a host of naval vessels in the area around Somalia, the pirates are still taking ships. "Calling 911" and waiting for rescue isn't really an option most of the time.

The Way Chicago Doesn't Work

Trade shows are (used to be?) important to Chicago. 2nd big trade show leaves to save cash :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Business

Actually the number is three, but the Sun Times story has some info on why the exodus.
Why would electrical costs for one booth for one exhibitor be $4,000 in Orlando, where the trade group previously had a show, and $40,000 in Chicago? Those numbers were quoted by the sponsor of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society show, which announced last week it's moving from Chicago to Las Vegas.

David Causton, general manager at McCormick Place, didn't deny the numbers, but said that electrical service prices vary widely depending on the type of extra work needed to set up a booth. In Chicago, he said, union electricians install trusses and exhibit lights as they have historically done. In Orlando, such work might be handled by stagehands, he said.
Unions promise to "work a little bit harder" to be competitive. Great. I wonder how that will work out?

This is the mindset that runs Chicago (and now Washington DC.) Screw everyone who isn't supporting you politically.

Once upon a time in Chicago, there was work that got done. Now the taxes are so high, I am surprised any business stays there. (Sales tax is more than 10%.) Very few reasons that trade shows should move to a more welcoming environment.

That Was Pretty Fast, Considering

Considering that one cop said gays basically could expect to get killed. Suspect charged with murder in slaying of gay teen in Puerto Rico - CNN.com

Lopez Mercado was beheaded, dismembered and burned because he was gay. The suspect is expected to claim something like the gay panic defense.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Practice on Patients

Not enough senior staff. Not enough time for training. The blissful state of health care in the UK. Doctors were told to practise on patients, says whistleblower - Telegraph
The radiologist said junior doctors were sometimes given notes on how to do a procedure and “being told to go and practise it on a patient.”
But they are saving money.

Obama Plans Surrender

Barack Obama to set out 'end game' for Afghanistan - Telegraph
His remarks immediately raised concerns among allies that setting a limit on American military involvement would encourage the Taliban to lie low until US troops had pulled out, rather than forcing them to reconcile with the Kabul leadership.

A Western diplomat told the Daily Telegraph: "Reconciliation is more likely to happen if the Talibs realise that they cannot simply wait you out.
Not unexpected.

No good guys injured

One would-be robber got away. One did not. Clerk Kills Robber: Police | NBC Philadelphia
Two gunmen came into Favor's Liquor Store on S. Walnut Street around 9:30 p.m. and ordered the clerk to give them the money in the register.

When the gunmen came around the counter to try to get the money themselves, the clerk opened fire, hitting one of the masked men, police said.
The guy who was shot staggered outside and collapsed. The other guy ran like a rabbit. Police are searching with dogs.

Self-defense works, and it's a human-right.

Classic Government Accounting

So where is the money going? Jobs Saved or Created in Congressional Districts That Don't Exist - ABC News
Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.
Slush funds are de rigueur in Chicago politics. Not that I think our fearless leader would involve himself in corruption. (Like a real estate deal with Tony Rezko?)

The folks in charge say "Never fear" these are mere errors because folks don't know what district they live in. (Do you? Do you know how to find out what district a given address is in? It isn't hard to do.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pipe Dream

This is incredible.


Snopes had this to say...
The device depicted in this video does not exist, at the University of Iowa or anywhere else. It's an example of a computer-animated music video, this one entitled "Pipe Dream" and taken from one of several similar segments on a DVD produced by Animusic. An excerpt of the original can be viewed on the Animusic web site.


Animusic - might actually be worth owning a high-definition version of all they have to offer!

Big Brother Moves Forward in the UK

If they are paying for your health care, they should be able to ensure you are "safe." Health and Safety inspectors ‘sent in to family homes’ - Telegraph
Officials will be sent to carry out formal assessments on items such as stair gates, oven guards and smoke alarms, under draft guidelines drawn up for the Department of Health.

Hospital records and social services papers would be trawled to find families to target for further investigation and GPs, midwives and health visitors would also be asked to make checks as a matter of “routine.”

Information on families’ home arrangements could then be stored on a new health and safety database available to councils, NHS bodies, housing associations, police and the fire brigade.
Some would say that privacy died a long time ago, but this is beyond invasion of the home by the state.

The citizens of the UK seem to have lost control of the beast that is government.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Home invader meets armed homeowner. Armed Indinanapolis homeowner captures burglary suspect | IndyStar.com

The "burglar" broke into an occupied home. (Makes him a home invader, at least to me.)
When Barrera [the "burglar"] began looking around the house with a flashlight, Leonard Dartagan [the homeowner] saw the beam of light.

Dartagan grabbed a .357 caliber Magnum revolver and fired one shot, striking a glass door, according to the report. Barrera tried to run out the back but couldn't open the door. Dartagnan, then pointed the gun at Barrera, told him to lie on the floor and called police.
Self-defense is human right.

File this under... WTF?

Golden burglar makes himself at home in victim's shorts - The Denver Post He was wearing stolen boxers. He had food in the fridge. He told 2 real-estate agents he was the owner. He wasn't.
The homeowner said when he arrived at his house in the 1200 block of Mesa Court he found a white Lexus parked in his garage and items in his home that were out of place.

He fetched his pistol from a bedroom and called out, police said. Gonzales answered, he told police. The man confronted Gonzales and ordered him to leave the house.

Gonzales allegedly argued that the pistol was not real and "moved aggressively" toward the homeowner, who fired a warning shot, police said. When police arrived the homeowner was still holding Gonzales at gunpoint.
I wouldn't have fired a warning shot.

Oh, and there were the makings of methamphetamine in the garage.

Two Out of Four in Custody

50 percent isn't great, but no good guys were injured. Detroit homeowner injures teen intruders | freep.com
A Detroit homeowner shot one teen and whacked another in the head after he heard someone breaking into his home Sunday night, according to police.
The 2 injured home-invaders are expected to recover. 2 others ran like rabbits.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

He is annoyed that his actions become political issues?

Un-freakin-believable. On the subject of Date Night.... Barack Obama on the "one thing" that has annoyed him since becoming president - Telegraph
If I weren't President, I would be happy to catch the shuttle with my wife to take her to a Broadway show, as I had promised her during the campaign, and there would be no fuss and no muss and no photographers.

That would please me greatly.

The notion that I couldn't take my wife out on a date without it being a political issue was not something I was happy with.
If you weren't President no one would care. You are President. People DO care. (Since we have to pay for it.)

Do you want some cheese to go with that whine?

Or, if you don't like living in a fish bowl, and dealing with the criticism of everything you do, and don't do, I suggest you get out of public life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nevada Becoming as Dangerous for Burglars as Texas

Criminals haven't gotten the memo that homeowners are armed. Home Invasion Suspect Shot and Killed Early Saturday Morning - Las Vegas Now
For the second time in three days a home invasion suspect has been shot and killed by a homeowner after breaking into a home.
They actually grabbed the 13-year-old son for a time. When they let him go shortly after that, the father shot one in the chest with .40 caliber pistol.

The guy who got shot died. His partner ran like a rabbit, and is probably still hiding.

Self-defense is a human right.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Obama Gets an A- for "Not Being Bush"

Obama's Report Card It has its moments.

On the subject of stabilizing the economy via the "stimulus."
The reality: The Obama Administration claims that the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created or saved more than 600,000 jobs, and estimates that number will be more than 3 million by the time all the money has been paid out. Multiple examples of numbers-fudging have been uncovered (last week The New York Times reported that a $1,047 ride-on lawnmower purchased for a cemetery in Arkansas was being credited with creating or saving 50 jobs).
That was graded "incomplete." He gets C's and D's in various other things.

I Predict This Will Be Very Unpopular

Plea for UN troops in Mexico
Mexican business leaders have appealed to the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers just metres from the US border to help stem the rampant violence of the country's drug cartels.

Self-defense Works

Elderly man was able to defend himself, because he had a gun. Police: LV Homeowner shoots, kills intruder
Lt. Lew Roberts says the intruder and an unknown number of others kicked open the front door of the home near Rancho and Vegas drives Thursday night.

A struggle ensued and the elderly man got a gun and shot the suspect, who died at the scene.
So what would have happened if he hadn't had access to a firearm? Luckily, we will never know.

Self-defense is a human right.

A Surprising View from Chicago

Surprise! Disarming victims ends badly :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Other Views

Go read it - it isn't long, and it gets to the point.

Defenseless Victim Zones, are not safe places. It may make some people "feel safe" to believe that no one around them has guns. But it doesn't mean they actually are safe.

And turning military bases into defenseless victim zones in the middle of a terror war when you know your enemy likes to strike unexpectedly is worse than stupid.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

RSS Feed to Twitter Woes

RSS2TWITTER is flaky. It says the previous 2 posts were posted to Twitter, but they weren't really.

TwitterFeed only posts titles...

What to do?

The System Can't Protect You

Cops were only seconds away (not the usual minutes). It wasn't good enough. Slaying suspect broke through back window as police kept watch in front, sources say - Los Angeles Times
Officers who specialize in domestic violence talked to the woman and, at some point, drove her back to her home near Cochran Avenue and Pico Boulevard. Law enforcement sources said the officers went into the apartment with the woman to make sure the suspect was not there. They thoroughly checked the apartment and then went to their car.

The officers decided to keep watch on the street, worried that the suspect might come to cause trouble, sources said. Police believe the man sneaked into the apartment through a small back window, sources said, possibly scaling the roof to get there. The sources spoke on the condition that they not be named because LAPD policy does not allow public comments on open cases.

The officers heard the woman's screams, ran into the apartment and saw a man stabbing the woman. They opened fire, fatally wounding the attacker.
Both the victim and her attacker are dead.

Cops drove her to the apartment and checked to be sure it was safe. It wasn't safe for very long.

Cops are usually minutes away. In this case they were only seconds away. It didn't help.

In that instant when you are confronted by a violent maniac intent on doing you harm, you are probably going to be alone. You need a plan for how to deal with it. (Dialing 911, relying on police, etc. is probably not going to keep you safe.)

This woman was only alone for a few seconds. Those few seconds were the rest of her life.

Now if she had owned a gun, and had it with her in the apartment (very questionable given the law in the People's Republic of California) she may not have prevailed. Owning a gun, carrying a gun, does not make you invincible. But relying on others for your safety only makes you a disarmed victim. A lot of bad things can happen in a few minutes. In this case it only took a few seconds.

What a Surprise - Obama Ready to Surrender Afghanistan

Barack Obama 'to reject Afghanistan war options in favour of plan with clear exit strategy' - Telegraph
According to US reports, it is not the first time he has asked for the four options thought to have been presented to him to be rewritten and he is putting up considerable resistance to the strategy put forward by the Gen Stanley McChrystal, the US Nato commander in Afghanistan, to increase troop numbers by 40,000 for a counterinsurgency drive.

Other options on the table include sending between 10,000 and 15,000 troops who will focus on training Afghan forces.
Not a surprise.

Strange Images...


German Carnival starts 11/11 at 11:11.

More images here.

A Mother Defends Her Children

What would you do if faced with an intruder threatening your family? Police: Woman In Home Kills Intruder
Investigators said a mother of three children shot and killed an intruder who was trying to get into her home Tuesday night.
This woman had a gun, and she had the training she needed in how to use it. When someone tried to break down her front door, she was ready.

The police found an injured guy on the doorstep, but he died before paramedics could arrive.

Self-defense is a human right.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It Is Good to Know the President is so Respected Abroad

My liberal friends always say how important it is that our President is respected. Is he? Not enough about him? Barack Obama skips Berlin Wall ceremonies – Telegraph Blogs
There was one world leader absent for today’s commemorations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Surprisingly enough, it’s President Barack Obama, who found time last year to give a campaign speech there last year, which Der Spiegel summed up as “People of the World, Look at Me”.

The White House has cited a packed schedule, though looking at it he had nothing much on yesterday (brief chat to reporters about healthcare – by far his biggest priority) and just blah briefings and a bill signing today until a metting this evening with Benjamin Netanyahu. This time, Der Spiegel has reported it as “Barack Too Busy”.
Funny how he had time to jet over to the IOC meeting, and I'm sure he won't be too busy to pick up his "I'm not Bush" Nobel Prize in December.

But a commemoration of the downfall of the Soviet Empire? A remembrance of the most critical political event of the last 50 years? (Well, if you discount his election, I'm sure!) I guess that health care thing is taking up more of his time than I realized.

Several people have made the statement that the Obamas are going to be remembered for vanity. (Counting the number of times they said "I" or whatever during their IOC speeches seemed excessive to me.) While I won't go that far, I have to concede that those people have a point.

Self-defense Works

Even when the bad guys can seem to have the upper hand. 20-year-old Shoots Armed Robber, Two Suspects Flee

They assaulted him as he approached his home, and forced him inside demanding money.
While upstairs in the master bedroom, the victim got into a struggle with one of the suspects. During the struggle the victim located his own pistol and began firing.

One of the suspects was hit multiple times, and made it as far as the driveway before collapsing. The other suspect jumped in the getaway car and left the scene.
The guy who was shot was rushed to surgery in critical condition. The victim of the attempted robbery was treated for minor facial injuries.

Self-defense is a human right.

Quality Health Care Costs Money

Politicians love to talk about how we are going to save money on health care, and usually in the same sentence say how good health care in the United Kingdom. Too bad it isn't true. Poor care 'could be killing patients' - Telegraph
One in three patients who died within days of being admitted did not receive acceptable standards of care, an independent health watchdog found.

The study reveals delayed operations, complications left untreated and surgery not carried out because theatres closed at night or during weekends.
There is a list of anecdotal evidence, and some statistics - though they are based on small samples. Still the study is disturbing.
“Some of the examples are shocking,” [Katherine Murphy, from the Patient’s Association, said.]

“Life-threatening complications left untreated, poor notekeeping, seriously ill patients deteriorating without prompt action, lack of facilities for emergency surgery, avoidable complications contributing to patient death.

“We're told patient safety is the number one priority for the NHS - this report suggests otherwise.”
Cost savings. Time limits. These are the kinds of things bureaucrats talk about (and measure). Quality of the care received? Tougher to measure that.

The Blissful State of UK Health Care

It seems not all is going well in the Socialist Health Care regime in the UK. Eight in 10 hospital infections going unreported 'because of Government targets' - Telegraph

Government is tracking two infectious diseases running rampant in UK hospitals: MRSA and C. Diff. And rightly so. They had a serious problem (have a serious problem?) with these two diseases. Except that doesn't cover the broader issue of infections generally.
Many dangerous infections are on the rise in hospitals across the country, despite ministers claims they are winning the fight against the two most notorious superbugs MRSA and C. difficile.

The failure to monitor the other bugs - which account for 80 per cent of all infections - means it is impossible to know how many people are dying from infections they pick up in hospital, MPs warn.
Statistics that miss 80 percent of the problem are pretty poor statistics.

And it isn't a small problem.
Every year more than 300,000 patients in England acquire an infection in hospital.
A lot of infections. Ignoring 80 percent of that number is worse than dishonest.
A voluntary reporting system run by the Health Protection Agency found that bloodstream infections in hospitals rose by 30 per cent between 2003 and 2007.

Cases of E-coli, which account for around one in five bloodstream infections, rose by 33 per cent over the same time, and cases of Klebsiella bacteria, which can cause pneumonia, by a similar amount. Cases of MSSA, a bacteria similar to MRSA, increased by 9 per cent.

All three infections can be as deadly as MRSA, the report warns, and analysis shows that E-coli and Klebsiella infections are becoming increasingly resistant to key antibiotics.
Drug-resistant forms of disease are getting to be a real problem.

Kalashnikov Turns 90

The designer of the AK-47, not the gun itself. Kalashnikov gun designer turns 90 - CNN.com
Red Army tank commander Sgt. Mikhail Kalashnikov invented his first machine gun in 1942, during the Second World War, as he sat in a hospital bed recovering from a wound that he got in western Russia.

But as Russians say, the first blintz always comes out wrong. His first model had inborn flaws and defects, and is now on display in an arms museum bearing his name.

It took him several more years to develop and fine-tune what later became an internationally recognized perfect killing instrument -- the AK-47.
The AK-47 (and its variants) is the most prevalent machine gun in the world.

Crime in the UK: Sweeping Things Under the Rug

There is at least one discussion of crime in the UK, and as usually happens, someone has linked to one or both of my most current posts on the subject: People Refuse to Believe This is True about the UK being declared the most violent country in Europe (with a higher per captia rate than South Africa) and the older Crime in the UK versus Crime in the US, comparing various statistics.

Anyway, neither of them is too current, so I thought I would take a look at what be more current.

This just leaped off the screen. Violent crimes are being ignored by police, says report - Crime, UK - The Independent That's what they found - crimes that are reported are recorded (for the official surveys AND follow up) as "no crime."
Violent crimes such as assault and domestic attacks are routinely being wrongly ignored by the police rather than investigated, a report revealed today.

The police inspectorate found that one in three decisions to record a violent incident as “no crime” were wrong. If the findings, based on a small sample, are repeated across England and Wales it would mean that an estimated 5,000 violent offences a year are being wrongly dismissed.
Small samples are tricky to deal with, but it seems that there is a clear case of under-reporting.

But then this isn't anything new.
In 2002 a study found that 11 million crimes had been left out of British government figures, including hundreds of thousands of serious crimes involving woundings, robberies, assaults and even murders as well as thefts. Dr. David Green of the Civitas research institute said: "When you check the small print, it turns out the Home Office itself thinks that there were far more than the 13 million crimes discovered by the [official] British Crime Survey, perhaps four times as many." Dr Green said the Office of National Statistics was subject to political interference and a genuinely independent statistical service was needed.
So, what can be said about the rates of crime in the UK? Probably only that they are under-reported.

On a related note... There is also a lot of noise about "gun crime" in the UK. Some reports are that it is up over 600 percent. (Though few people view The Mirror as a definitive source.) But when ever people talk about "gun crime" I usually think they are trying to obscure something. Is it better to be shot, or hit in the head with a blunt instrument? The real issue is the level of violent crime.

How Old Do You Have to Be?

10-years-old seems fine. Boy stabs man who was attacking mother -- chicagotribune.com
Authorities say 38-year-old Daniel McCullough quarreled with the boy's mother over the weekend in the home the three shared in the South Side's West Pullman neighborhood.

The mother told McCullough to leave, but officers say he climbed back into the house through a back window and attacked the woman. They say the woman's son tried to intervene and when McCullough knocked him out of the way, the boy grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed him in the left shoulder.
This kid deserves a commendation for quick thinking, and cool nerve under horrible circumstances.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Long Should It Take to Respond to a 911 Call?

Should it take an hour? Emergency call response under investigation - Police supervisors are trying to determine why a 911 dispatcher didn't do more with the first call

A 911 call came in, about the only thing that could be heard was a "pop" that could have been a gunshot. A call-back was "busy." A second return call was answered by an answering machine. It went into a class 4 dispatch - 20 minutes.

It actually took a 2nd call, and more than an hour for cops to show up at the scene of a murder suicide.
Police Chief Tom Bergamine says the 911 call center is a busy place, but he hopes to find out why that call was handled the way it was.

"Absolutely, we're very busy," Bergamine said. "Last year we did well over 215,000 calls per year. We're projected to probably do at least 230,000 to 240,000 this year."
I believe they are busy. I believe that they are probably trying to do more with less. I would guess he will see his budget cut at least a little.

I also believe that calling 911 is fine thing, but if that call is interrupted because I am engaged in a struggle, I don't think a 20 minute dispatch is OK.

I believe that I don't want to bet my life on a system of over-worked, possibly under-paid government functionaries who usually face no negative consequences if they screw up.

Calling 911 is a fine thing. I have no intention of betting my life on it.

Texans Are Still Armed

Criminals still haven't figured that out. Fort Worth homeowner shoots two intruders, killing one

This guy was home in the middle of the day, because he recently lost his job.
At about 11:30 a.m. Friday, Fort Worth police believe, two men intent on burglarizing the home again kicked in the front door.

Anthony Hawkins, who had lost his job in recent weeks, was home.

"My brother called, and he said, 'Somebody’s kicking in my door,’ " Joseph Hawkins said. "I said, 'Anthony, protect yourself. I’m on my way.’ "

When Joseph Hawkins arrived a short time later, one of the suspected burglars was dead in the street and police were swarming in on the second, who was seriously injured.
They had problems since the day they moved into this home. Graffiti painted on cars, burglarized more than once.

A neighbor called 911 when he saw one of the men kick in the front door.

Attitude Counts for a Lot

The right attitude can carry the day. Police say home invastion in Flint ended when one suspect was killed by homeowner - 11/08/09 - Flint News and Saginaw News - abc12.com
the homeowner was chatting on the phone with a family member.

Police say he confronted the intruders and wrestled away a handgun and according to Johnson, shot and killed one of his would-be robbers. The other took off.
Police are looking for at least one other subject.

Not Just a Local Problem, Anymore

Somali pirates hit oil tanker in mid-ocean attack - Telegraph 1000 nautical miles is long way, for a group that wasn't venturing more than 100 miles offshore just 3 years ago.
Pirates in two skiffs fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at the Hong Kong-flagged BW Lion, the European Union's anti-piracy mission said.

The tanker's captain increased speed and took evasive manoeuvres, avoiding the attack, the force said. No casualties were reported. The naval force sent a plane from the Seychelles islands to investigate.

Pirates have launched increasingly bold attacks against vessels in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden in hopes of capturing a ship and crew and collecting ransom.
The rich paydays, and the larger area - makes it harder to find them - is drawing them out.

I Thought They Liked Us Now...

I guess they expected Obama to throw the Israelis overboard. Barack Obama provokes Palestinian anger by inviting Netanyahu to White House - Telegraph

This visit has apparently angered the Palestinians so much, they are (may be) pulling the plug on the "Peace Process." (What peace? What process?)
Palestinian officials have hinted that they could declare an end to the peace process altogether. Until now, the Palestinian Authority has merely refused to renew peace talks until Israel had agreed a total settlement freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Dealing a further blow to Mr Obama's floundering peacemaking efforts, a spokesman for Mr Abbas on Monday gave warning of renewed violence after claiming that US and Israeli actions had pushed the peace process to the brink of failure.
So much for the Apology Tour ™ 2009.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Blissful State of UK Health Care

Could government control of health care be bad for your health? Government targets increase superbug risks, say NHS infection chiefs - Telegraph Those targets relate to waiting times. More on that in a bit.

UK hospitals have been hit in recent years with a couple of major infectious diseases. In particular, Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and MRSA
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's a strain of staph that's resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. MRSA can be fatal.
So the government bureaucrats in charge of health care did what government bureaucrats always do. They looked at the small picture.
While rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile are falling, after scandals over major outbreaks, other potentially fatal infections which receive less attention appear to be soaring, the Commons public accounts committee will say.

Around 300,000 infections are diagnosed in English hospitals every year – but many more potentially fatal bugs may be going undetected, because of a lack of surveillance, research has found.
By focusing on 2 diseases, they missed the point.

The result? Infection rates in UK are (by some measures) up 30 percent between 2003 and 2007. This has been "described as a 'rising tide' of infections threatening all hospital patients." E. Coli is one of the mentioned new offenders.

Oh, those targets mentioned in the Telegraph's headline? They have to do with how long patients can wait. (A response by the bureaucrats to allegations they were rationing health-care by making people wait.)
An anonymous survey of 170 NHS directors of infection control found that 59 per cent had experienced a clash between their efforts to block the spread of disease and rules which say new patients must be found a bed within four hours.

Infection experts say NHS managers are so fearful of missing the four hour target for Accident and Emergency patients to be admitted to a ward, that infected patients are being shunted around overcrowded hospitals, hastening the spread of disease, in a rush to clear space for new arrivals.
Some say these 4 hour targets have killed hundreds. The bureaucrats blame poor management.

If you demand simple answers to complex questions, you are going to be disappointed. Or in this case, dead.

But at least they're not rationing health-care (or making people wait.)

The self-same bureaucrats point out that MRSA and C. diff infections are down significantly. Translation: they beat the metric. Too bad they aren't measuring the right thing.

Big Brother Comes to the UK

The end of privacy? Well, some would say it ended long ago. Every phone call, email and internet click stored by 'state spying' databases - Telegraph
All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customer's personal communications, showing who they are contacting, when, where and which websites they are visiting.

Despite widespread opposition over Britain's growing surveillance society, 653 public bodies will be given access to the confidential information, including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service, fire authorities and even prison governors.
It doesn't matter what the people want. It is all about what Government wants.

I should have watched V for Vendetta on November the 5th. “The Truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country.”

It Seems the First Amendment Isn't Popular with College Administrations

Aren't colleges all about diversity? I guess not diverse ideas. Judge allows students to protest at Tarrant County College | Crime and Safety | Star-Telegram.com
U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means said in his ruling that Clayton Smith and John Schwertz Jr., who attend TCC Northeast Campus in Hurst, can wear empty gun holsters and hand out fliers in "public-forum areas including, but not limited to, public streets, sidewalks, and common or park areas." TCC wanted to restrict the protest to a small designated area.
Whatever you think about the Second Amendment is really beside the point. The question of the day is, "Are you in favor of free speech and the freedom of expression?"

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Musical Interlude

Posting will continue to be light, verging on non-existent.

Enjoy. (And check out the blogs in the sidebar.)


You may also like this selection.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Blissful State of UK Health Care

Attack in NHS hospital 'every three minutes' - Telegraph That's a lot of attacks. In hospitals. In a small country.
There have been several murders and rapes at hospitals in recent years and thousands of attacks annually involve the use of knives and other weapons.

Almost one in four attacks results in injury, yet only a fraction of them are ever reported to the police.

The statistics reveal the dangers that doctors, nurses, paramedics, patients and visitors face in our hospitals on a daily basis.
Rapes. This article doesn't say, but rapes occur on mixed sex wards. You see, since the government is paying, semi-private rooms have been deemed too expensive. Similarly, single-sex wards have been deemed too expensive. So men and women are housed together with little privacy, and not much security. (Click this link for one such story.)

Cutting costs. Cutting security.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Fruits of Community Organizing

OK, so I was listening to Public Radio the other day (don't ask!) and there was a story about "The Gardens" in Chicago. This is usually referred to as a neighborhood. It is in fact a housing project run by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).

It is notable for two reasons.

1. The kid who was beaten to death on video in Chicago was from The Gardens. He was attacked because he was being bused 3 miles to another neighborhood to attend high school.

2. Obama worked as Community Organizer in The Gardens (officially Altgeld Gardens) when he first moved to Chicago.

Now, I didn't hear the entire thing, but one thing did jump out at me.

They interviewed a guy who was either born in the Gardens, or moved there sometime in the 40s. He had recently moved out, because he didn't want his grandchildren exposed to the violence.

Now while I always thought that public assistance was supposed to be a temporary thing, I know that in many cases it does become generational. But that isn't really what hit me.

When asked what he would tell President Obama the residents of the Gardens needed, (the story had covered everything from high schools to after school programs) he said "health care."

Wouldn't someone who qualified for public housing already qualify for Medicaid? Just asking.

So after decades of community organizing in Chicago, exactly what communities are better off, and how?

Obama's "Dithering"

I love the Brits. They have a nice command of their language. Barack Obama's 'dithering' hurts Afghan mission, British sources say - Telegraph
US President Barack Obama’s indecision over his strategy for Afghanistan threatens to undermine the Western mission, British sources have said.
I wonder how long it will take him to surrender in Afghanistan.

Chicago-style Justice

JusticeThis guy was arresting people for DUI, even if they weren't. Case dismissed against cop accused of faking DUI arrests :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State
Judge James M. Obbish said prosecutors were wrong to rely on statements Officer John Haleas gave to police investigators during an internal investigation of his conduct.

Under union rules, such statements cannot be used against an officer in a criminal case, the judge said, ruling on a defense motion to dismiss the case.
So the police union's position is that if an internal investigation turns up evidence of a crime, no one's statements can be used. And the judge is bowing down to the union rules. Nice.

And of course it isn't just one cop. Chicago Police Accused of Making False DUI Arrests to Earn Overtime Pay
A group of Chicago police officers has been accused of making false arrests to pad their overtime, according to a lawsuit filed against the city. Clinton Ware claims in her federal suit that she was arrested on phony charges that were later dropped. She also insists that the arresting officer, Joe Parker, is one of many Chicago cops who make DUI and other arrests in order to attend court and get paid overtime.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Burglar Picks the Wrong House

Police: Man shoots burglar twice at north St. Louis home - STLtoday.com

Police say a man, 41, was sleeping in his home when he heard someone come into his garage. He went to investigate and found the burglar, police say.

The homeowner shot the burglar twice in the chest, police say. The wounded man, whom police have not identified, was taken to an area hospital in critical and unstable condition.
My guess is the police are hoping to be able to charge the homeowner with something.

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

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Public Health Care in the UK

But Michael Moore said it was wonderful. Baby died after 'massive overdose' of glucose - Telegraph

Trainees left to do work unsupervised. No second checks. Alarms ignored. Yeah, that sounds like what I would expect from government-run health care.
a trainee nurse, who had spent just three weeks in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, set up a machine supplying her with glucose incorrectly, flooding her body with the solution.

The levels of glucose in Poppy's blood rose to 20 times the maximum level they should have been, causing ''devastating effects'' to her body, St Pancras Coroner's Court in central London heard.
OK, people make mistakes. The equipment that was to have been used - that would have made this mistake impossible - was being used elsewhere in the hospital.
The nurses then failed to respond to alarms that sounded in the baby's cubicle which could have alerted them to the fatal error, as they were treating her for breathing problems instead.
Mistakes are one thing. Ignoring an alarm is something else.

An alarming statistic was cited - in relation to a similar story from earlier in the year.
This is a worrying incident. Research shows us that around 10 per cent of hospital admission result in adverse incidents. These are very alarming statistics.

But more alarming is that the real figure is even higher since many errors go unnoticed by hospital staff.
10 percent of hospital admissions result in "adverse incidents." (That is injury and death.)

Yeah, I can see how everyone thinks public run health care is the answer. (But hey, the UK spends less per capita on health care than we do.)

You Can't Believe the Internet


Anyone who's ever gotten lost following mapping directions downloaded from the internet knows that. Mystery of Argleton, the 'Google' town that only exists online - Telegraph

Argleton, a 'phantom town' in Lancashire that appears on Google Maps and online directories but doesn't actually exist, has puzzled internet experts.
Google is investigating to see who is gaming them. Or are they?
One theory is that Argleton could have been deliberately added, as a trap to catch companies that violate the map's copyright.

So-called "trap streets" are often inserted by cartographers but are, as their name suggests, usually far more minor and indiscreet that bogus towns.
Maps that are purposely wrong? who knew.

So Why Are We Doing This?

No energy savings, and ... Time change could prove hazardous to your health - Houston Chronicle
Although daylight-saving time was sold politically as an energy-conservation measure, it does no such thing. Studies conducted in Indiana prior to 2006, when that state operated under three different time regimes, show either no difference in energy consumption or a small increase in power usage during the months after clocks were moved one hour ahead.
OK, so it doesn't work. And we have to spend some time fiddling with clocks.
I am not a doctor and I do not play one on TV, but the medical profession — as Dr. Osvaldo Bustos of George Washington University's School of Medicine pointed out to me recently — has known for years that shifting time forward or backward has negative, and possibly deadly, health consequences.

A Swedish study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Oct. 30, 2008, reports increases in the incidence of myocardial infarction (heart attack) after the beginning of daylight-saving time and the subsequent return to standard time. Depending on whether the shift occurred in the fall or spring, men and women were found to vary in the extent to which their heart attack risks were increased, but the study's authors concluded from the clinical evidence that time change triggered more myocardial infarctions in the two groups overall than they would have suffered otherwise.
Can we just stop? Probably not.

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

Pissed because their victims from earlier in the week talked to police, they came back "to kill." It didn't quite work out that way. Robber shot during home invasion - CharlotteObserver.com
When a team of robbers returned to a Rowan County home police say they'd robbed up earlier in the week, the homeowners were ready Friday.

One suspect is in the hospital after being shot by the couple's son. Two other people are in custody.
After the robbery on Monday, the family who had been robbed, placed shotguns at various places around the house.
When police arrived at the home, they found one man shot in the garage. He was wearing black clothing, a black mask and a bulletproof vest.

John-Ross Deadmon told investigators he believed he had shot that man. He said a second man had run from the scene, while exchanging gunfire with him.

Police believe they arrested that second man in Kannapolis a short time later. They also arrested a woman, who was found in the vehicle investigators connected to the crime scene.
The guy who got shot is recovering.

Names will be released after charges are filed.

Self-defense is a human right.

So, Will We Talk Some More?

Talking has achieved exactly nothing. VOA News - Iranian Lawmakers Give Thumbs Down to Nuclear Deal Of course Ahmedinejad thinks we should keep talking.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Ahmedinejad, speaking to a group of war veterans in the city of Mashhad, expressed hope that the nuclear talks with the West would continue.

He says that the West should continue to talk with Iran over the nuclear issue and that the best way to deal with the Iranian nation is to respect it and deal with it honestly.
Of course he thinks we should keep talking. While we are talking we don't do anything else.

Of course at this late date, I'm not sure there is much we can do.