Monday, May 31, 2010

Something Is Beginning to Be Done About Piracy

Missed this earlier in the week... AFP: First European trial of Somali pirate suspects opens
The suspects, facing jail terms of up to 12 years for the attack on the Samanyolu cargo ship, denied they had done anything wrong despite two of them admitting they had initially set off to sea with ambitions of piracy.
Not really sure that 12 years in a Dutch prison is that much worse than life in Somalia, but it is something.

And it isn't the only thing.
Last Tuesday, a Yemeni court sentenced six Somali pirates to death and jailed six others for 10 years each for hijacking a Yemeni oil tanker and killing two cabin crew in April last year.
Now that is likely to be a deterrent.

At Least the Parents Aren't Making Excuses

Young Boy Shot During Break-In - Local News on wokv.com This is actually a sad case, but what struck me was that for once, the parents of the kid who got shot isn't screaming for blood.
"I am not blaming the home owner for what happened. But I am just saying about kids. When your parents tell you to be one place that is where you should be," [the kid's mother] said.
No word on if any charges will be laid against anybody.

First Greece Now Spain. Eastern Europe Better?

It may be a holiday in the US, but European markets are open. Euro steadies after Spain downgrade, stocks flat | Reuters The Euro is hovering just above a 4-year low of $1.2282 per Euro. (The 4-year low was hit in April.)
The European single currency is on track for a hefty 7.7 percent drop against the dollar in May on nagging worries that Greece's debt crisis will spread to other countries in the euro zone, stunting the global economic recovery.
Which explains why Washington's continuing effort to destroy the dollar isn't working. Yet. I doubt that we can do what the Greeks and Spaniards did without ending up in the same place - bankruptcy.

As Western Europe starts paying the price for socialist fantasies (er, policies), the Czechs take a right turn. UPDATE 2-Czech centre-right parties start coalition talks | Reuters
Czech centre-right parties began talks on forming an austerity-minded coalition government on Sunday after their surprisingly decisive election victory over leftists who advocated higher welfare spending.

Three centre-right parties, led by the Civic Democrats under new leader Petr Necas, won 118 seats in the 200-seat lower house in Saturday's parliamentary vote, defying expectations for a tight result.
But then they lived under the heel of a communist dictator for a long time. Maybe they haven't forgotten that.

That and the right promised to ensure there was no Greek-style crisis. (The Czech government debt amounts to 35 percent of GDP, better than the EU average and a whole lot better than Greece.)

Don't even ask where US government debt sits; it will make you cry.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do You Remember When Obama Was Popular Internationally?

Now the Brits are describing him as "petulant." Barack Obama's credibility hits rock bottom after oil spill and Sestak scandal - Telegraph

The big issue is of course the oil spill.
When any political leader feels they have to declare that they are "fully engaged" in an issue, it is clear that they are in trouble. Talking about it undermines the very point you are trying to make - not to mention that pesky Oil Spill Cam showing that, 38 days into the Deepwater Horizon disaster, not a whole lot had been achieved.

Even judging Obama by his words, he has fallen woefully short over what has now eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez wreck as biggest oil spill catastrophe in American history. He may have described it as an "unprecedented disaster" in last Thursday's press conference but a week into the crisis he was blithely stating that "this incident is of national significance" and rest assured he was receiving "frequent briefings" about it.
This is a great description of his reaction.
His approach to the issue was that of the law student suddenly fascinated by a science project. He displayed none of the visceral indignation Americans feel about pretty much everything these days - two-thirds now say they are "angry" about the way things are going - resorting instead to Spock-like technocratic language and legalese. "I'm not contradicting my prior point," he stated at one juncture. During those 63 minutes of soporific verbosity, about 800 barrels of oil poured into the Gulf.
Doesn't sound like the Telegraph likes him very much. And if you read the bits I didn't quote, you will find him being compared to Bush. And they didn't think much of his handling of questions about the head of MMS.

Of course there is also the Sestak issue.
Even worse was Obama's refusal to say anything about the growing furore over White House attempts to persuade Congressman Joe Sestak to pull out of the Democratic Senate primary contest in Pennsylvania. Obama's advisers had preferred the Republican turncoat Senator Arlen Specter - and Sestak inconveniently let slip that he'd been offered a government job to step aside.

That was potentially illegal and for weeks the White House stonewalled. When, even more inconveniently, Sestak beat Specter, the trust-us-nothing-untoward-happened approach would no longer wash. But still Obama declined to answer the question on Thursday, fobbing the reporter – and America – off with the promise that "there will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue".
And I especially like the description of Rahm Emanuel as a Chicago political "enforcer." I think the London Telegraph has a better understanding of Chicago politics than the Washington press core.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Happens When You Give Government Control of Health Care?

Government controls your health care without regard for your wishes. Secret Court of Protection can order abortions and sterilisations of mentally ill patients - Telegraph
The Court of Protection, which until earlier this month held all its cases behind closed doors, has the power of life or death over those judged to be incapable of making decisions about their health.

It can even impose “experimental” treatments on patients without their consent and choose how to resolve an “ethical dilemma in an untested area”.
Don't want to be a guinea pig? Too bad! Don't like doctors? Too bad. Don't want to take a chance on surgery? Too bad. Government knows best.

The Violent Country Where Great Britain Used to Be

The level of violence in the UK is extreme. Judge: 'ladette binge-drinking culture' blame for 'plague' of alcohol fuelled violence - Telegraph
Alcohol-fuelled crime has left "ordinary, decent people" too scared to walk streets at night, District Judge Alan Berg said.
The general view of the UK as a safe country is 10 or 20 years out of date at least. Ordinary folks lock themselves in their homes at night.

Facebook and Privacy? Not Hardly

Facebook's Privacy Reboot: Is That all You've Got for Us? - PCWorld Take a page out of Nancy Reagan's book and "Just say no."

Facebook's privacy is "complicated" because their business model is based on an absence of privacy.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

The moral of the story is, be careful who you let in your home. Man fatally shot in Springs home, investigation ongoing - The Denver Post
The preliminary investigation indicates that the homeowner "was presented with a life or death situation" and likely acted in self-defense, police said.
He let them into his home, and then he had a problem.

The details aren't too interesting, but the result is important.

One guy is dead, one guys is arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. A woman was arrested on an unrelated charge.

Self-defense is a human right.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Because Mayor Dumbbell Daley Is Always Amusing

Taking a break from shouting "It's the guns!" Daley is now blaming text messaging. Clout St: Daley blames suburbanites for city beach unrest
"They text people, where people are going in congregation," Daley said. "So you make a number of arrests, a number of arrests were both city and suburban. We had a lot of suburban people arrested."

"We know there's texting going on, something going on in the suburban area with a lot of young adults, we know that," Daley said. Suburban youths are apparently sending each other texts to meet up and drink on Chicago beaches, he said.
News Flash! Young People Use Text Messaging to Communicate. (In the words of Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!")

Maybe Daley will discover the intertubes next.

If I was in suburban Chicago, and I wanted to spend a day at the beach, I would drive to the Indiana or Michigan Dunes, or head north to Wisconsin (though the beaches are better in Indiana.)

And you don't have to put up with the insanity that used to be the Great City of Chicago.

Limitations on Liability

There is a cap on the liability of BP in the Gulf oil spill. It is fairly low. Of course government intervention in the markets has impacts on decisions. Like decisions that impact safety. BP used cheaper casing on oil well to save money, Congress papers show - Times Online

Of course now that it is too late, the government is thinking of changing the rules in the middle of the game, and raising (or eliminating) the cap on liability. But that is too late.
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that precipitated the vast Gulf of Mexico oil spill came after the well was capped with a relatively cheap type of casing, BP papers have revealed.

The decision to use the riskier method to finish its Macondo well was taken partly on cost grounds, according to the document.

In the days before the blast, the oil giant selected a casing that provided only a single layer of protection to prevent gas from leaking into the well, according the details obtained by The New York Times from a Congressional investigator.
Now someone will argue about the limit on liability and whether it impacted the decision to rush the job at the end ($530K per day for the drilling rig and they were behind schedule) or using cheaper materials. If liability is low, why worry about? You only insure against things that are catastrophic.

If it is really true that there would be no offshore-drilling without caps on liability, then maybe there should be no offshore-drilling.

Mayor Dumbbell Daley and Gun Control

How to Distract a Press Corps | Politics | Chicago Reader How? Threaten to sodomize a reporter who dares question policy.

The Chicago Reader isn't exactly part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. It is the independent weekly. But even the Reader is starting to question the effectiveness of Chicago's gun ban.

You see, Chicago has a problem. They aren't the largest city in the country (about half the size of New York, actually) but they have more gun violence and murders than New York. And of course the law-abiding are disarmed, and so at the mercy of the criminally violent.

So what happens when a reporter has the gall to question the emperor mayor?
That's when I asked the obvious question about whether he thinks Chicago's gun ban has been effective: it's clear people are getting and using guns in spite of it.

The mayor told me it was and then offered to show me just how effective. He grabbed a rifle, held it up, and looked right at me. He was chuckling but there was no smile.

"If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you'll find out how effective this is!"
Yeah, that is what passes for rational discussion in the Chicago Machine's world.

Go read the whole thing, because after the interaction with Daley, Mick Dumke, the reporter, went on Cam Edwards' show. [via NRA-ILA]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So How Should an 80-year-old Man Defend Himself?

Even in Illinois, you have some self-defense rights. Elderly Man Kills Suspect In Home Invasion
When the suspect broke into the residence, he awakened the homeowner who then confronted the suspect, police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.

The elderly man shot the suspect and the man and woman were not hurt, the sergeant said.
The would-be thug was in his 30s.

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

Indian Removal Act of 1830:
Ethnic Cleansing American Style

This week marks the anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in American history. Moving the Five Civilized Tribes (or trying to) west of the Mississippi river was nothing short of ethnic cleansing. Not genocide per se (though that would happen later in the West), but an organized government effort to remove an entire ethnic group from an area. An area where they had lived for generations.

Indian Removal Act of 1830: Passed by Congress on May 26, 1830, called for the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from the East, and resulted in the creation of the Trail of Tears.

It was all about land grabbing and prejudice. Mostly it was about land grabbing. The Cherokee nation held large amounts of land in Georgia, and that land was becoming more valuable as the white population of the state increased. The Choctaw nation held land in Mississippi, the Seminole in Florida, etc. The act mandated that the tribes be moved to Oklahoma.

The Cherokee nation fought in the courts, and eventually won a ruling that maintained their rights to the land, but President Martin Van Buren sent in the army and had them forcibly removed anyway.

The forced removal of Cherokees from their lands (known as the Trail of Tears) began in 1838, and moved on through 1839. Approximately 4000 men, women and children died along the way. Removal of the Choctaw nation from Mississippi proceeded during the early 1830s.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 should serve as a reminder that "it CAN happen here." It already has.

[If cleanliness is next to godliness, then ethnic cleansing is next to genocide. So that is how I have categorized this post.]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things That Are Bad for You

Bottled water contains more bacteria than tap water - Telegraph So not only is all that plastic bad for the environment, the idea that it is better for you isn't true.
A team of scientists found that 70 per cent of popular bottled water brands available in shops had high levels of bacteria.
And in other health news.... Fizzy drinks can increase chance of stroke - Telegraph So lay off the cola.

At Least the Neighbors Aren't Shocked

Home invaders meet armed homeowner, with predictable results. Teen killed in attempted robbery, police still searching for a suspect
Police say two 17-year-olds and another young man tried to break into the home.

The homeowner confronted one of the suspects and shot him multiple times in the head.
In terms of the community...
Neighbors hope the shooting will make would-be burglars think twice.

"I think it does send a message to them, that you can't just enter a person's house that he worked for and everything, and I'm not going to protect my family. I hope it sends a message to them," [one neighbor] said.
Colorado has a "Make My Day" (or Castle Doctrine) law, so the homeowner should be shielded, but that decision is up to the DA and/or a grand jury.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Should They Have Done? Let the Bears Eat Them?

There are those who say no one needs a gun. But what should you do when a 150 pound bear breaks into your home, followed by his much larger mama? Intruding Bear Shot and Killed in Teller County Home

I think this guy did the right thing.
"My daughter who is seven and her friend were staying the night, their very first sleep over and so that was an experience for them to have a bear in the house," Christopher said.

One they are sure to never forget.
Division of Wildlife says the homeowner didn't do anything to attract the bear, and that this is "abnormal behavior." You think? They consider the shooting justified.

The usual suspects have their panties in a twist.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Still On the Road. Posting Will Continue Light

Spent a nice day in Florida's Big Bend. Looking at marinas, and a little bit of real estate.

Cops Behaving Badly - I'm On the Road Edition

So I have to let someone else do the heavy lifting.... When You See Police, Run
A former NYPD officer and a detective both appeared in court yesterday in separate cases alleging that both of them used their positions to try to get sex. Just one example, from the genius detective: "After her release, she said, the detective told her he expected to have sex with her later and repeatedly called and sent text messages to her, threatening to arrest her again if she refused, according to court papers."
He sent text messages that were threats to abuse his power. Really? I guess you don't have to be too smart to be an NYPD detective.

Go read the rest, it is every bit as insane as this.

File this under, "your tax dollars at work."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

What would you do if you found a strange man in your bedroom? Piedmont homeowner shoots and kills invader.
“She believed someone was attempting to break in the residence,” [Sheriff Larry] Amerson said. “She obtained a firearm she owned and went upstairs to see what was going on.”

After going upstairs, the victim discovered a glass sliding door on the second floor had been shattered and saw light from a flashlight moving around in her bedroom.

“She saw a man going through her bedroom … he yelled something at her … she wasn’t sure what it meant and she was scared and she shot him several times,” Amerson said.
No charges are planned against the woman.
She was totally within her rights to defend herself. And in Alabama, a homeowner does not have to have approval or a permit to own or possess a firearm in his or her own residence.
Self-defense is a human right.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On the Road Again...

Posting will be light-to-nonexistent. Visit the blogs in the sidebar.

And behave yourselves. (Or, if you can't be good, at least be careful.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

It Is the World's Second Most Popular Sport

And the T20 version of cricket may push it past soccer. World Twenty20 2010: England beat old enemy Australia to enter new territory - Telegraph

I just wish I could figure out the rules.

The only thing I know about T20 cricket is that it only takes about 3.5 hours to play (Test cricket can take 5 days.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Isn't Cooperation Supposed to Ensure Safety?

A lot of folks like to say, "Just give them what they want, and you will be safe." I guess this guy didn't get that memo. Victim surrenders cash but is shot in the hip : Police Blotter : The Buffalo News
Harris informed police that a man wearing a black coat and mask pointed a handgun at his head about 11 p. m. The bandit told Harris to get on the ground, then fired two shots. He then ordered the victim to “give me your money.” After Harris handed over $20, the bandit shot him in the hip and fled west through yards.
Violent criminals don't stop being violent because you are singing Kumbaya.

But Then They Knew This Would Happen

Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? - Reason Magazine
Even with penalties in place for employers who decline to provide health insurance, documents showed that Caterpillar could reduce its health care costs by as much as 70 percent and AT&T could save as much as $1.8 billion by shifting their employees into public programs.
So in the face of this, how long will you "get to keep your coverage" before you are thrown into the "public" system?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

There was an altercation, early in the evening. He came back at midnight looking for more. Burglary Suspect Shot While Breaking Into A Home He got more.
Michael Legg told police that the suspect broke through a a section of glass on his front door and was attempting to kick the door in when he shot him. The bullet grazed the side of the suspect.

Sgt. Williams says the suspect is Houston McClung. He had a minor gun shot wound and was treated and released from St. Mary's Medical Center.
He is lucky he didn't get a more serious injury.
Police charged McClung with burglary, assault, and destruction of property.
I wonder if thinks he won the argument.

Self-defense is a human right.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bad Guys Still Don't Understand That Texans Are Armed

Shop Owner Shoots At Would-Be Robber During Attempted Holdup
The shop owner, Edgar Llorens, told News 10 that around 9:30 a.m., as he was about to depart for the bank with the week’s deposits, three armed men entered the shop and demanded money.

Llorens said he gave the men money from the register but then his wife emerged from the back of the shop with a weapon and shot one of the men in the leg.
This caused the thug with the money to drop the money. They fled the store.

Police have a good description of the vehicle, and the fact that one guy is injured should go a long way toward the apprehension of these thugs.

Self-defense is a human right, and in Texas it is your legal right.

Some Cops Don't Like Armed Citizens

After two anecdotes of armed homeowners defending themselves, the cop still doesn't like armed homeowners. Protect Yourself From Home Invasions
Dispatcher: "What just happened?"

Victim: "He kicked in our front door. My husband shot him."

Dispatcher: "What? What just ..."

Victim: "He kicked in our front door."
Read the other account if you care to.

Still, some of the advice is good. People could stand to have better doors, locks and better security generally.
[Overland Park, Kan., police Officer Mike] Betten's beat is crime prevention. Antonia showed him pictures of the Clay County home invasion scene.

"I can tell you right away what failed. You can see the dead-bolt assembly is still intact, and what failed was the door frame," Betten said.
There is a link to a PDF with some good info on doors, and making them secure.

And you aren't secure based on the neighborhood you live in. Crime happens everywhere.

Preventing a break in is much preferred to dealing with a home-invasion. People should have decent locks. Most can be opened without a key in under 30 seconds. Doors are too easily kicked in because of the way the frames are constructed and where the deadbolt goes into the frame. Windows and patio doors are easy to break, unless they are laminated glass.

Definition of the Day

Surgery
#3 - (Brit.) an occasion on which an MP, lawyer, or other professional person gives advice.

Reading the foreign press is so educational.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Thought He Was Supposed To Be Working Alone

Or did I just dream that we were assured - before they had a chance to interview him - that he wasn't tied to terrorist organizations. (Of course that was before they had to stop pointing fingers at Tea Party members.)

Turns out he may have had some helping hands after all. 3 arrested in FBI raids in New York bombing attempt - latimes.com
The people taken into federal custody were being held on alleged immigration violations, but authorities said the FBI raids were not prompted by a fresh terror threat or a new plot currently underway. Rather, a source said, investigators are following up on leads regarding how the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, could have received money to purchase the $1,300 SUV Nissan Pathfinder and build a bomb utilizing fertilizer and a propane tank.

"These searches are the product of evidence that has been gathered in the investigation subsequent to the attempted Times Square bombing," said Dean Boyd, a Department of Justice spokesman in Washington. He added that the raids and arrests did not "relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States."
I suppose that last sentence is meant to reassure us, but given the fact that they missed two potentially serious threats in the past 5 months, I am more worried about what authorities don't know.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Are these guys ever going to figure out that Texans are armed? Homeowner Shoots Burglary Suspect in Jaw
A resident, who was startled after taking a shower to find a burglary suspect in his northwest Harris County home, confronted the intruder with a gun, FOX 26 News has learned.
...
Investigators say the homeowner fired a shot which wounded the suspect's jaw.
So, did he have the gun in the shower?

The injured guy was found a short time later and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Self-defense is a human right.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Even in New York, Self-defense Is Legal

Amherst Homeowner Will Not Be Charged In Death Of Albany Teacher

If a stranger (who was later deemed to be drunk) comes into your home, ignores repeated warnings that you are armed and then moves toward you, what would you do?
Parks was attending a party nearby when he wandered into the D'Amico home and was confronted by David D'Amico who told his wife to call 911 while he grabbed a shotgun. After repeatedly yelling at Parks to leave, D'Amico shot him.
The grand jury returned a "no bill," meaning no charges.
D-A Frank Sedita says "its terrible and tragic that he was killed but under the law, this was a justified shooting."
Even in gun-hating (or is that fearing?) New York, you can defend yourself from home invaders.

Self-defense is a human right.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bribery And Corruption on the Chicago PD?

Say it ain't so! Chicago cop accused of lying to FBI - chicagotribune.com
A Chicago police officer was charged with lying to FBI agents for denying he took cash from another officer in disciplinary trouble after promising he could influence the board weighing the other officer's punishment.
Untangle the phraseology. He took bribes from a fellow officer to fix the outcome of a review board. He then lied about it.
Victor Brown, 36, a 12-year veteran, was arrested Monday by FBI agents and Chicago police internal affairs officers on multiple charges of making false statements when he was confronted by federal authorities in February
Color me unsurprised that this kind of thing happens in Chicago.

Don't Bring an Air Gun to a Gunfight

A thief (would-be) tries to steal drugs. Things don't work out quite the way he had planned. Sarasota pharmacist shoots robber | HeraldTribune.com
The robber was at the register, Hull said, and showed a clerk the gun, demanding oxycodone and yelling at her that she had 30 seconds.

The clerk turned and headed to the back of the store, her face "as white as a sheet," Hull said.

Then Hull and the clerk both ducked as Pireaux fired.

One of the shots broke the pharmacy's glass entrance door. The robber was struck in the shoulder by one of the bullets and ran out through the broken door.

As he fled, the robber dropped his pistol. It was a Crossman Pro77 air gun.
Police caught up with someone at a local hospital who has a gunshot wound, but they haven't arrested him yet.

"Authorities" (the DA most likely) will determine if the shooting was justified.

Someone tried to rob this pharmacy in April 2008 with a similar result, and that shooting was deemed justified.

Self-defense is a human right. And mostly in Florida it is your legal right. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Jon Burge & The Midnight Crew - Back in the News

Not that I expect the "blue wall of silence" will ever come down. Judge forces insider cop to testify for feds in Burge trial :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES So he is forced to testify. He will just lie.
A former Chicago Police detective who allegedly witnessed former Cmdr. Jon Burge play "Russian roulette" with a suspect and put a typewriter cover over the man's head is expected to be a key prosecution witness in Burge's upcoming trial, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
If no one has said anything for decades, why would they start now? Would they be able to claim the 5th? (Does ongoing conspiracy to remain silent count? I guess we will find out.)

Don't Worry - There Is An Internal Investigation

Uproar in U.S. as police officer is caught on video stamping on innocent Mexican's head | Mail Online Bigots with badges. This isn't one cop having a bad day. There were half a dozen standing around while this guy got kicked in the head. For no reason.

I can't say anything to add to the video - go watch. (It is only 2 minutes or so.)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

With predictable results. 1 dead in Hamblen home invasion try � Knoxville News Sentinel
When the knock came at his door Saturday morning, Scott Knight knew something wasn't right.

Knight grabbed a .22-caliber pistol before he went to the door. The gunfight that followed left one would-be robber dead and two more on the run, authorities said.

"Mr. Knight is to be commended for a job well done," Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin said.
He knew something was wrong because the knock came at 1:30 AM.

The woman who knocked on the door died from gunshot wounds to the neck and chest. The two who drove away dropped their gun on the way out. Unfortunately police don't have a good description of the miscreants or their vehicle.
Knight and his wife, Penny, who works as a juvenile probation officer, appeared on CMT's "World's Strictest Parents" show in November 2009. They've taken in troublesome teenagers for the past nine years, putting them through daily chores and screening their social lives.
Self-defense is a human right.

A Lot of Bad Things Can Happen in 15 Minutes

That is how long it has been taking Oakland police to reach 911 callers. Oakland police seek to cut response time They are trying, but even if they cut response time in half, well, a lot of bad things can happen in 7 minutes.

Not that California will ever admit that the law abiding should be able to defend themselves from the lawless.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Texans are armed. Robbers still not clued in. Taco Vendor shoots teenage robber
Police said Robinson approached the taco trailer on a sidewalk at Monterrey Park about 11 p.m. and demanded cash at gunpoint.

After the wife handed over an undisclosed amount of money, her husband pulled out a gun and shot the suspect in the shoulder, according to a police report.
The guy who got shot was taken to the hospital for the gunshot wound. A second would-be robber was caught nearby, and is being held on an outstanding warrant.

Self-defense is a human right.

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

A lot of law-abiding Floridians carry guns. Apparently the bad guys haven't figured that out. Police: Man Shoots Would-Be Robber - Orlando News Story - WKMG Orlando
Winter Garden Police said the victim was at the ... ATM ... early Friday morning when he was approached by a man with a gun.

The victim, who has a concealed weapons permit, pulled out a gun of his own and opened fire at the robber, identified as Tommie R. Ward, while he was being shot at himself, according to police.
The thug who got shot crashed his car a short distance away. He was taken into custody and taken to a hospital. Another guy in the car was also arrested. A third guy managed to escape on foot.
Police said at this time the man who shot the robbery suspect faces no charges.
Self-defense is a human right, and in Florida it is also your legal right.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 7th through 21st, 1864

Whenever I think about the Civil War, I often wonder what the reporters from today would have said. Some it was surely what was being said by the Democrats of 1864. That the war was un-winnable, the casualty count too high, that the Republican President (Lincoln) needed to be voted out of office.

Spotsylvania was neither a victory nor a defeat. The official term historians use in those cases is "inconclusive."

What it was, was a bloody mess. 152,000 troops were involved on both sides. They suffered 30,000 casualties. The Union suffered 18,000 while the Confederates suffered 12,000. In just two weeks. (I wonder what the New York Times had to say?)

Can you imagine the outcry if a war today was see that level of fighting? The usual suspects would be falling all over themselves to surrender. Yet today, I would guess the average American doesn't even remember the name Spotsylvania, let alone how many died there. Then again the average American probably doesn't remember what was at stake, or believe that anything could be worth dying for. (People who want to stay alive at all costs are the kind of people who become concentration camp guards in places like Aushwitz.)

The record is fairly complete. Accounts from Generals on both sides, etc. can be found at Civil War Home: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Take 2 Aspirin and See the Coroner in the Morning

Woman who had chest pains died of a heart attack hours after GP prescribed painkillers - Telegraph The blissful state of health care in the UK.

This wasn't a one-time deal, where the docs missed it.
Monica Hicks had visited her surgery three times within five weeks complaining of the same symptoms, but was sent away with anti-inflammatories and some sleeping pills
She was 40 years old.

Apparently record-keeping doesn't stretch back five weeks in the UK.

Now maybe this is harsh. Maybe this happens all the time in the US. But maybe the docs are trying to meet cost targets in the UK (government set), or don't have access to better testing equipment than a stethoscope.
On June 3 she then saw Dr Holmes with shoulder pain and was given anti-inflammatories and sleeping pills. She returned to see him again on June 11 with chest and shoulder pain.
Isn't "chest and shoulder pain" the standard symptoms of a heart attack? Or at least some of the standard symptoms?

So What's Stopping Them?

Interview with Portugal's Labor Minister: 'We Want to Get the Budget Under Control' - SPIEGEL ONLINE They want to get the budget under control. Good. Fine. What's stopping them?

Have space aliens said they will obliterate Portugal if spending is cut?

Of course a bureaucrat never thinks of cutting spending. They just want to raise taxes.

Don't expect Greece to be the end of the Euro Zone problems.
Fears are mounting that Portugal could become the euro zone's next major problem as ratings agencies downgrade the country's debt.
The interview is disheartening. Nobody in Europe seems to understand the idea of Free Markets.

Because Self-defense is Legal

Well, at least in most of the county. Man justified to shoot robber, Hazelwood police say - STLtoday.com
Tuesday night's victim told police he was out for an evening walk and usually carries his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol because of previous problems with dogs.

He said Holland approached from behind, put a gun to his back and demanded money. As Holland looked in the wallet, its owner pulled his own weapon from its holster and told him to drop his gun and get on the ground. The man told police that Holland started to point his gun at him so he opened fire. Holland ran across the street and fell down a hill, where he died.
"He suffered a breakdown of the victim-selection procedure."

Self-defense is a human right, and in Missouri it is your legal right. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

The Bad Guys Still Don't Realize Texans Are Armed

So they break into homes, and find armed homeowners. Homeowner shoots, kills intruder in Northeast - El Paso Times
Homeowners Paul Daw and Monica Daw were asleep during the initial break-in and awoke to find the man in the master bedroom.

They fought with him, police said.

During the struggle, Paul Daw shot the man multiple times with a handgun. He was taken to Beaumont Army Medical Center, where he later died, said police spokesman Darrel Petry.
Alarms are good early warning systems. Finding someone in your bedroom is probably not the way you want to wake up.
After the Castle Doctrine became law in 2007, homeowners could legally use a gun to defend themselves from home invaders without retreating before shooting, said National Rifle Association spokeswoman Vickie Cieplak.

Before the passing of the Castle Doctrine law, a person had to retreat to another room in his or her house before shooting an intruder, she said.

A permit is not required to own a gun.
At least they got that last bit correct.

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

This Should Never Have Been a Tial

But at least they got the verdict right. FOXNews.com - Navy SEAL Found Not Guilty of Assaulting a Suspected Terrorist

People Are Finally Aware of the Risk

Europe can seem so far away a lot of the time. But when markets are involved, people seem to realize, eventually, the impact of global communications, and debt.

Big Fat Greek Calamity: Measures to Save the Greek Economy May Worsen the Problem - Newsweek.com How can it make things worse? Because of the stupidity of the Greek people. They don't want to face reality (that isn't just a Greek problem), and they are throwing a fit. Like any immature person or group, the want what they want and they want it now. Who is going to pay for it? Not them, that's for damn sure.
The Greek citizenry, which doesn't like the austerity measures, began rioting on Wednesday. Three people died. Smaller-scale unrest continued after the parliament passed the austerity plan; the markets have responded to this unrest with unrest of their own. If Greece, whose economy represents only 3 percent of the Eurozone, can't push through the measures needed to stop contagion without igniting violent social unrest, how are larger European countries (that's you, Spain and Italy) going to deal with their looming fiscal crunches? It's possible that the vitriolic reaction to Greece's efforts to stop the broader effects of its debt markets might make it more difficult for other countries to cut budgets with alacrity, thus encouraging further contagion.
Because if you expect the Italians to be more reasonable than the Greeks, well, you're dreaming.

The Blissful State of Health Care in the UK

Maybe not so blissful. Dying woman left in hospital `squalor’, family claims - Telegraph

She needed help eating. (It was in her records.) If she got any it was from other patients, and not from hospital staff.

Her hands were never washed.

Her hearing aids were either left in overnight (making it hard to sleep) or never put it in the morning.

In short, the hospital neglected her.

The family is hoping for an apology, because the hospitals are run by the government and it is really hard to sue the government.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Greece: I thought it was too good to last

Riots and a general strike are the order of the day as the Greeks don't want to face the reality of their financial situation.

Deadly riots as it turns out. Three dead after fire-bomb hits bank during Greek riots | News.com.au
A FIRE-BOMB attack on a bank in Athens left at least three people dead as police fought pitched battles with striking protesters furious at brutal spending cuts designed to avoid national bankruptcy.

Hooded youths hurled petrol bombs at stores and businesses in the Greek capital, setting the bank and two government buildings ablaze.
So even if Germany agrees to loan the money, will Greece agree to the terms, will it live up to the terms?
"Given the scale of the public opposition to the austerity measures, it is still unclear whether Greece will ultimately be willing to take years of fiscal punishment and recession to get its fiscal house in order," economist Ben May at Capital Economics said.
If they don't take the medicine, then all the arm twisting with Germany was for naught, and the country will eventually default on its loans.

And as tragic as these deaths are, the impact this violence will have on Greece may last a damn long time. Greek Violence Threatens to Scare Away Tourists Key to Economy - Bloomberg.com

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Anyone Planning a Trip to Europe?

Better plan on being delayed. Air passengers face a summer of disruption from Icelandic volcano -Times Online
Aviation regulators have predicted that continued seismic activity and northerly winds will drive the ash over Britain periodically for months to come. Whenever the density breaches safety guidelines set last month to ease the paralysis of European airspace, airlines must suspend flights.
I forget, has anyone blamed global warming for this volcano?

Travel insurance is your friend.

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

[Somehow, this didn't get published. late is better than never.] So without a firearm, how is a 73-year-old supposed to defend himself from three thugs? Lapeer County homeowner shoots at home invasion suspects
The homeowner fired his gun into the ground in an attempt to keep the suspects from fleeing before sheriff’s deputies arrived, according to police.

One suspect made it to the getaway vehicle parked behind a barn and was able to drive around the barn, across the yard and toward the homeowner, who fired his shotgun at the vehicle’s tires, according to police.
The two who ran away were arrested later - the getaway vehicle didn't get away.

The guy who got shot will be arrested as soon as gets out of the hospital.

So in the absence of a firearm, how exactly should this old man have defended himself? I really wish one of the gun-fearing-weenies would explain this.

Self-defense is a human right.

Europe Isn't Out of Danger Yet

The Greek problem is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Mother of All Bubbles: Huge National Debts Could Push Euro Zone into Bankruptcy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The fear is that if Greece goes bankrupt, the other nations PIIGS - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain - will follow suit. And the Euro would fall apart.
If the emergency surgery isn't successful, there will be much more at stake than the fate of the euro. Indeed, Europe could begin to erode politically as a result. The historic project of a united continent, promoted by an entire generation of politicians, could suffer irreparable damage, and European integration would suffer a serious setback -- perhaps even permanently.
And maybe you don't think that is a big deal, but consider that before the 20th Century, European fought a major war quite regularly. (I want to say every 50 years, or so, but I can't find the reference. Even our Revolution drew in France as part of an ongoing antagonism with England.)

And on this side of the Atlantic, the interest isn't only academic, or “motivated by compassion for the Greeks.” There is some chance that investors will finally decided that runaway spending doesn't work anywhere. Even here.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Somebody Really Wants to Institute Martial Law

But it isn't Washington; it is Chicago. (Well, a couple of crazy Chicago politicians - crazier than average that is...) Chicago crime is not a military mission - chicagotribune.com
In this case, the desperation of Democratic state Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford is widely shared. Any murder is a tragedy and Chicago has had almost 1,000 in the past two years, including 129 juveniles.

The recent surge in violence includes a 20-month-old girl killed by a bullet in her head while sitting in a car on the city's South Side. The suspect, who turned himself in, was reportedly aiming at her father.
The irony of the situation is that this call for using the National Guard as a police force, comes on the eve of the anniversary of another time the Guard was called on to act as a police force. It didn't work out to well all those years ago.
Indeed, it is a sobering coincidence that this new debate comes so close to the 40th anniversary of the massacre at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. That's when the Ohio National Guard fired directly into a crowd of student anti-war protesters, killing four students and wounding nine others. That's a stark reminder of how, as well as the guard does many other things, it is not trained to perform the tasks or face the everyday issues police face.
I think the Guard has enough on its hands right now, thanks.

Health Care in the UK is Good, Unless You Live in the Wrong Place

If she lived 5 miles away from where she does, she might get treatment. NHS doctor denied life-extending cancer drugs in latest 'postcode lottery' case - Telegraph
Becky Smith, 30, was told that her local NHS Trust would not meet the £23,000 cost of the pioneering treatment, despite it being available for patients in other areas of the country.
The ironic twist:
She said: "I feel so let down. I've given my all to the NHS and I could give it another 20 years, doing the work I love. I just need this treatment to give me a fighting chance.

"If I lived in a different part of Britain I would get this treatment. It's a real postcode lottery and it is so unfair."
But then what do you expect when you put the bureaucrats in charge of health care?

Memo to all cops: If there is a consulate in your town, know where it is

Houston cops harass, arrest and injure a Chinese diplomat. Diplomat beaten, injured by Houston police, China says - The Globe and Mail For the really really horrible crime of driving without a license plate. (And failing to obey the order of your masters the police.)
According to a CBS News report, Houston police last Saturday tried to stop a car which was missing a license plate. When the car didn't stop, they pursued it into a garage without realizing the garage belonged to the Chinese Consulate. Police handcuffed and arrested the driver, injuring him, the CBS report said.
The things I miss because I don't have a TV.

I think the cops in question should be turned over to the Chinese government. The crime occurred on Chinese soil, after all. (Like an embassy.)

I wonder how they would like having to follow the rules of the Chinese authorities. [via Bad Cop, No Donut!]

I really need to start a cops behaving stupidly category.

Greece Gets a Second Chance

When faced with the realization that you have been living beyond your means, and the gravy train has finally derailed, do you act like an adult or a spoiled child? Revolution from Greece's ruins as crisis deepens - Telegraph
The week was already going badly enough for mild-mannered Greek prime minister George Papandreou. After months of insisting that his country would be able to claw its own way out of decades of mismanagement and corruption, his belated SOS to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ensured that Greece's world famous ruins are now financial, not archaeological.

But then things got worse.
Because instead of facing the hard choices and trying to make the best of a bad situation, the Greeks are throwing Molotov Cocktails. Well, the Communist Party is throwing them anyway. Most of Greece is trying to be an adult, but given what they are facing, probably not the easiest thing to do.

Actually, it seems there is to be a bailout - something I would have bet against.
Many take-home salaries will be effectively halved overnight by severely increased taxes, rising in some cases from less than 10 per cent to 38 per cent, and by the fact that those taxes will now have to be paid. Workers who had looked forward to a comfortable retirement in their mid-50s on up to 80 per cent of their final salaries now face the prospect of working on for more than another decade, for less at the end.
Greece must be the only country I know of that won't collect taxes even when people want to pay. (At 10 percent, I would be more than willing to pay.)
"To cut a long story short, the party is over for most Greeks", said Christos Alexopoulos, a 55-year old financial consultant who lives in the wealthy northern Athens suburb of Kifissia. "Even though I am considered to be in the upper middle class bracket and to live in a nice area, my income has dropped dramatically and we are living in real anxiety as to what the future holds. We have to think carefully now before going out to a restaurant or deciding to buy something. We have become very price sensitive and are looking for bargains, more value for money. At the lower end of the scale, what we will see is a much larger number of Greeks actually living beneath the poverty level."

National humiliation is sharpened by the fact that the chief architects of Greece's bailout, and thus of conditions attached that will shape the Mediterranean country's future way of life, are Germany and the IMF.
I still can't believe that Germany has signed up for this bailout. Even with these changes, I doubt Greece will suddenly have balanced budgets and no deficit spending so that they can pay the Germans back.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Guns as Art: The Fine Art of Engraving

Collectors Firearms is always an interesting place to do a little window-shopping. They never fail to have something that will please the artist in me. (This is a 1964 Browning 12 gauge shotgun, that can be yours for the low low price of $14,500.00 - more photos of this gun and others after the break.)

Click the image for a larger view of this fine piece of art.

The truth is that guns used to be an expression of the people who made and owned them. Today's guns are mostly ugly by comparison.