Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Funny How It Is Always Our Fault

Intervene, don't intervene. Problems are always blamed on the US. Mugabe Uber Alles | Foreign Affairs

[Note: Foreign Affairs is the liberal intelligentsia's view of what is going on in the world. You might be able to get copies (hard or electronic) through you local library. (The writing style seesaws between turgid and lugubrious.) Still, you will learn things that MSNBC, CNN, or Fox News are not interested in.]

Zimbabwe is still being crushed under the boot-heel of Robert Mugabe. He is a dictator through and through. Corrupt police forces. Rich friends. Rioting youth attacking his enemies.

And the results are about what you would expect. Where agriculture was once the source of foreign trade income, most people are now starving, and indeed a fair number seem to be starving to death. A cholera epidemic 2 years ago killed 4000, as the health care system implodes. A full 90% of the population is unemployed.

Yet somehow, even though we took no action to put Mugabe in power and have taken no action to keep him in power, all of this pain and suffering, and especially the continued pain and suffering, is our fault.

So, How Is That Gun Control Working?

They keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result. Five dead, 25 wounded during violent 50 hours :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime
Three men and two teenage boys were killed -- and at least 26 other people suffered violent injuries -- during an especially bloody 48-hour period.
I never understood why people elected Richie Daley in the first place, and given that he has overseen the city become the murder capital of America, it is hard to understand why they keep voting for him.

This doesn't count one death.
Additionally, police responded about 4:30 a.m. Saturday to 2847 W. Washington Blvd. and found the body of a burned female in an alley. A Sunday autopsy determined she died of blunt head trauma and assault and the death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office, which said she remained unidentified Sunday afternoon.

It was not immediately known when the female was attacked or burned, and her death is not reflected in the weekend violence total.
Friday night isn't really part of the weekend, after all.

When Seconds Count, Police Are Doing Something Else

Because busting up an off-campus pre-game party is less dangerous than fighting violent crime. The Observer - Underage drinking worse than armed robbery? Or so this guy thinks.

I suppose underage drinking on college campuses is considered a horrible thing today. When I was in college, the rule was "don't throw furniture out the window." They'd apparently had trouble with that and it attracted a lot of unwanted attention.
If you are looking for something to do on Saturday before the Purdue game, remember this. The South Bend police will be out and about, busting up off-campus tailgates and ticketing underage drinkers. But those out robbing local business and shooting members of the South Bend community will have no problems, seeing as the majority of the police force will be localized to combat to the largest threat to the community — underage drinkers.
Next they'll be trying to keep college students from sleeping with each other.

911 Response Times

A review of 911 police response times in and around St. Cloud, Minnesota. Some are good. Some are not so good. When a minute matters: Local 911 response times analyzed

Response time for priority 1 calls range from 3 minutes to 12 minutes depending on whether you are in town or in the county. Distance plays a part.

Bad things can happen in 3 minutes. Really bad things can happen in 12 minutes.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but you really need a plan for what you are going to do for those 12 minutes before help arrives.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Blame Global Warming

The Associated Press: Volcano quiet for 400 years erupts in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A volcano in western Indonesia spewed hot lava and sand high into the sky early Sunday in its first eruption in 400 years.

Democrats Claim The (Civil) War Can't Be Won - Nominate "Peace" Candiate in 1864

On August 29th, 1864, the Democrats nominate ousted Union General George McClellan. To be fair to McClellan, he didn't agree with it, but the Democratic party platform of 1864 was for ending the War Between the States.
The Democratic Party Platform presented a plan of "Compromise with the South", which became known as "The Chicago Platform". While on its surface the Chicago Platform was seductive in that it promised an immediate cessation of hostilities, and a restoration of the union. What was unsaid in the platform, but clearly implied, was that the "compromise" would be to agree to make permanent the institution of slavery in exchange for an end to the Civil War and restoration of the Union.
The general public opinion ("Vox Populi? Vox hogwash!") changed after General William Tecumseh Sherman captured Atlanta on September 2, 1864, and Lincoln's reelection was helped again on October 19, 1864 by a decisive Union victory at Shenandoah Valley.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Some Religions Are More Equal Than Others - Not a Mosque Story

But interesting nonetheless. Troops: Refusing to attend Christian concert got us into trouble | Raw Story

Seems some troops didn't care to attend an evangelical rock concert. So they were locked-down in their barracks and told to clean it. Not free time - told not to use cell phones/computers, but told to work.

Some who did attend the concert were surprised at how religious it was.
Smith said he went up the chain of command and traced the concert edict to a captain, who said he simply wanted to "show support for those kind of events that bring soldiers together."

While not accepting blame, the officer apologized to the soldiers who refused to attend the concert and said it was not his intent to proselytize, he said.
So I wonder when said officer is going to schedule a non-Christian concert? Oh, that's right - proselytizing is against Army policy.

What is that line? It isn't about intolerance, it is about respect for the feelings of others. Something like that. (Or is that only when they want non-Christians to show respect for the feelings of Christians? No, can't be. That would be a double standard.)

Self-defense - International Division

From Ghana, a story of self-defense. Armed Robber Shot Dead In Fierce Gun-Battle With LightHouse Pastor
The four young armed robbers engaged the pastor after Church Service but he triumphed over the robbers killing one instantly after drilling a bullet into his head.

An eyewitness and a member of the church, name withheld, told Citi News that after church service last night, the robbers who also attended the service attempted snatching a lady pastor’s vehicle.
Guns in church? Sounds like this pastor was one of the people who was armed.

One is dead. Three got away, though they may be injured.

Self-defense is a human right.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Think They Mean Banks Are Likely to Dump More Real Estate on the Market

Banks have been reluctant to take the step of cleaning out bad debts hoping prices would rise. That hasn't worked out so well. Procrastination on Foreclosures, Now Blatant, May Backfire - American Banker Article
The simple reason is that servicers are not initiating or processing foreclosures at the pace they could be.

By postponing the date at which they lock in losses, banks and other investors positioned themselves to benefit from the slow mending of the real estate market. But now industry executives are questioning whether delaying foreclosures — a strategy contrary to the industry adage that "the first loss is the best loss" — is about to backfire. With home prices expected to fall as much as 10% further, the refusal to foreclose quickly on and sell distressed homes at inventory-clearing prices may be contributing to the stall of the overall market seen in July sales data. It also may increase the likelihood of more strategic defaults.
11% of Californians are delinquent with their mortgages, but the number of actual court filings is down over last year. Not likely.

Too bad regulators are doing their job - making banks clean up the mess on their balance sheets.

Oh, but then the delay in foreclosure was MANDATED by the government. What a surprise, more screwing around with free markets.
With the exception of a spike in foreclosure activity that peaked in early-to-mid 2009, after various industry and government moratoriums ended and the Treasury Department released guidelines for the Home Affordable Modification Program, no stage of the process has returned to pre-September 2008 levels.
The delaying tactic is probably running out of steam. Look for more hand-wringing. Look for more interference in the market. In short, look for bigger government. [hat tip to Calculated Risk]

Police Focus on Violent Crime - This Is a Good Thing

Now if we could only get them to dump marijuana crimes too. Cutbacks force police to curtail calls for some crimes - USATODAY.com
Budget cuts are forcing police around the country to stop responding to fraud, burglary and theft calls as officers focus limited resources on violent crime.
Burglary is a bad thing. But it isn't as bad as rape or murder.

Limited resources should focus on the more serious problems.

You need a police report to get your insurance to pay for that stolen TV. You will have to do most of the typing.
Cutbacks in such places as Oakland, Tulsa and Norton, Mass. have forced police to tell residents to file their own reports — online or in writing — for break-ins and other lesser crimes.
Of course the lack of evidence gathering could be a problem. Will no one attempt to collect finger prints or any other evidence?

Still, limited resources should be focused on the most serious problems.

Of course then you need to ask, "Where are all the city's dollars being spent?" I bet in a lot of places, you would find a lot of resources devoted to less critical problems.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Self-defense Legal in Colorado

Not sure why it took 2 months to determine that, but it is what they determined. DA: Homeowner Justified In Fatal Shooting

The dead guy was looking for someone who was not home, so he said to the resident, "I guess then we need to take you hostage." He kicked in the door, and for his trouble was shot once. He died in a local hospital a short time later.
Under Colorado law, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using deadly physical force against another person when that person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and the occupant reasonably believes that the person has committed or is committing or intends to commit a crime and the occupant reasonably believes that person might use any physical force, no matter how slight against any occupant. This is commonly known as the “make my day” law and any person who fits the above definition is immune from criminal prosecution.
Self-defense is your human right, and in Colorado, it is also your legal right.

Who Says Elecric Cars Are Slow?

Ohio State's electric 'Buckeye Bullet' aims for speed record
An official timer says the battery-powered Buckeye Bullet was clocked at speeds averaging about 307 mph over two runs.
Not bad, considering the internal combustion engine record is 409 MPH. (The "cars" going 700 MPH or better are either rockets or jets on wheels.)

Images can be found at this link.

Interesting: Is HuffPo Bashing an Obama Program?

Sure sounds that way. Richard Zombeck: Government Tactic: Help Banks by Lying to Homeowners And HuffPo, is not usually counted among the ranks of the Great Right Wing Conspiracy. Maybe the list has been updated recently.

Now I am not a fan of all the government intervention in markets this Administration has created. I think it is the power of free markets that built this country, and the power of command economies that sank the old Soviet Union.

But I always thought that the Administration was wrong, but had good things in mind. Now it looks like they are just plain wrong all around.
What is most disturbing about the meeting with Treasury and the things that were said, or more accurately admitted, is that an argument could easily be made that this [HAMP] was an overt act by the administration to mislead and trick the American homeowner. That our government has been complicit in the bank's ravaging of the bank accounts, retirement, and investments of nearly five million people.
But then was this the Administration, or the bureaucracy? It's clear HAMP - Home Affordable Modification Program - hasn't done quite what it set out to do. And hurt a lot of people along the way.
Here's what really happens: The trial modification lasts three months according to the rules. Banks and servicers string the borrower along for longer than the requisite three months, sometimes going as long as nine months. At one point, after the homeowner has made all the payments on time at the lower monthly rate fully expecting to be granted a permanent modification the bank pulls the rug out from under them and denies the modification. They give no reason for this and claim that they are under no obligation to provide one. At this point the mortgage goes back to the original terms and amount and here's where the "tax break" argument falls apart. The homeowner now owes the difference between the trial payments and the original payments. So a six month trial modification with a $500 "tax break" is now a $3000 bill on top of the original unaffordable monthly payment. In addition, servicers will add monthly charges, late fees, and reports to credit agencies further burying the homeowner who is now broke, humiliated, and desperate. In many cases, like my loan with Ocwen for example the trial payments never get recorded or applied to any of the interest or principal - they simply disappear.
And of course, government being government, and the fact that this program was thrown together in an instant, there is little in the way of oversight.

Do you wonder why people are walking away from their homes? After a few months in this "trial modification" program, they are worse off than they were before the government got involved. What were those scary words? "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

Housing Sales - Problems All Around

So did the wonderful tax credits get more people to buy a house or just change the date of the purchase?New home sales hit lowest level (Beware the scare tactics of the headline. July new home sales look pretty close to May, if lower than June.)
Housing experts attribute the weak results to the expiration of a federal tax credit April 30. They said the program probably lured people into buying homes earlier than they had planned, thereby eating into future sales.
So government can't actually create demand? It can only play around the margins with its tax incentives?

And why should I be paying for incentives for other people to buy homes? If they need an extra 4000 bucks, then they should just buy a smaller house.

Existing home sales - also subject to the same time-shifting buying habits - are also not doing too well. NAR July Existing Homes Sales Fall 27.2% to 3.83m The lowest level since 1985. Which even for a doom & gloom person like me is a bit scary.

Of course now that people no long believe real estate is "sure thing" investment, maybe people are re-evaluating the whole idea of renting from the bank. (Minus the protections you get if you are really a renter that is.
Single-family home sales, which account for the majority of sales, fell 27.1% to 3.37m — the lowest rate since 1985.

July sales fell 25.5% from 5.14m units a year earlier. The NAR said the revised June sales rate of 5.26m was down from a previous figure of 5.37m.
The realtors are sure everything will be better by the fall, but will that turn out to be the case?

So They No Longer Need a Warrant to Search Your Car

Good-bye Fourth Amendment. Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans - Andy Greenberg - The Firewall - Forbes

So you thought it was OK when they electronically strip-searched people at the airport. How do you feel about it now that they can do the same thing on any city street?

Search your car just by driving by. No need to bother with silly things like warrants.

And then there are the health-risks, especially to pregnant women and their unborn children. (Which gets glossed over in the video.)

Welcome to the police state.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Does Germany Have Socialized Medicine?

Yeah, I thought it did. BBC News - Third baby dies at German hospital after infected drip Three dead, 4 in intensive care.
A third baby has died at a university hospital in Germany, after being fed by a drip infected with bacteria.
Tragedy.
The deaths have triggered a debate over hygiene standards at German medical facilities.

According to some estimates, each year up to 40,000 patients die from infections contracted in hospitals.

Zombies Have Lawyers?

Who knew? Zombies scare Minneapolis into cash settlement - Minneapolis / St. Paul News - The Blotter File this under "cops behaving stupidly."
The seven were arrested in 2006 during Aquatennial while dressed for a "Night of the Living Dead." They were stiff-legging it down Nicollet Mall to protest mindless consumerism when some unhappy soul called 911.
The best kine....
A District Court judge judge didn't buy the argument and threw out the lawsuit in 2008. But it came back from the dead in February, thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Heh. [via Uncle]

Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Andrew made landfall just south of Miami, Florida, around 5 AM on August 24th, 1992. (And yes, that is a piece of plywood stuck through a palm tree. One of the reasons Florida doesn't like plywood as window covers is that the plywood isn't strong enough to do much good. Click the image for a better view.)

I wasn't living in Florida then, but I moved to the Miami area shortly after the storm went through. It was years before the mess was cleaned up, and longer till everyone had their lives back together. A lot of people were ripped off by unscrupulous "contractors," and even getting the insurance companies to recognize everything that was wrong with a house was sometimes a struggle for folks.

Are you prepared for the next catastrophe to come your way, or will you be screaming for FEMA to rescue you? (Three days - minimum - you can expect to be on your own.)

What Media Bias?

Hunters always portrayed as the villains Oh yeah, that media bias.
Would you like to wow your friends with your ability to predict who, in a TV crime or legal drama, will eventually be found to be the killer or all-around bad guy or gal? Well, just zero in on anyone who is 1.) a hunter; 2.) has mounted deer or taxidermy animals — ducks, fish, etc. — hanging on the walls; or 3.) wearing fur. Just like that you will have nailed down the identity of the TV villain probably 99 times out of 100.
Not surprising really.

Why should the idiots in Hollywood be bothered by the facts?
Hunters and anglers foot the bill for 95 percent of the wildlife conservation work being done today. Fees collected from the sale of hunting licenses and tags, together with an excise tax of 11 percent on bows and arrows, parts and accessories, 10 percent on pistols and revolvers and 11 percent on other firearms, shells and cartridges account for the majority of the funding. Hunters not only pay willingly, throughout history they have constantly lobbied Congress for the chance to pay more than their fair share to insure that wildlife — even non-game species — continue to thrive.
There's more worth your time. Go take a look. [via NRA-ILA]

Monday, August 23, 2010

Musical Interlude

For some reason, I have been living in the 50s and 60s - musically - all day.

Dave Brubeck was always the quintessential small jazz ensemble to me. I like big bands some of the time. I like trios and quartets most of the time, and Dave Brubeck anytime.


Cuban music was fairly popular in the 50s - I guess because everyone went to Havana for the gambling.


If you stopped into Trader Vic's to have a Mai Tai (or any other drink with a little umbrella in it) you would probably have heard some Tiki, and probably some Arthur Lyman. If you've never had a Mai Tai, it is worth a trip to Trader Vic's if you are close to one. (There aren't that many.) Failing that find a recipe. Just don't blame me for the hangover.


A little more Brubeck - something a bit more challenging than "Take Five."

Did You Know He Was a Cop?

You have to read through an awful lot of copy, before you realize that the madman with a gun in Manila was a cop, recently dismissed for cause. Gunman, tourists killed in Manila hostage drama
Mr. Mendoza’s brother, Gregorio, told a local TV station that his brother was upset by his dismissal from the force. Local media said he had been sacked for reasons including extortion, and due to his sacking he had lost his retirement benefits.
He claimed, via his brother, that he was dismissed unfairly with no due process.

But would an honest cop's next step be to turn into a terrorist and kill innocent people on a bus? I don't think so, but perhaps I am underestimating just how messed up the Manila police force is. (Based on this, it seems fairly messed up.) Either way, there is some problem in the force.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Homeowner Captures Bad Guy

Not how I would have gone about it, but I like the end result. Homeowner protects property, two arrested for burglary | KETK
About noon Thursday, Longview homeowner Mike Rios got a knock on his door on the 500 block of East Grand Avenue.

By the time Rios was able answer he saw two alleged burglars were throwing his tools in their car.

That's when Rios took action.

"I ran back inside and grabbed my pistol and I hollered at them to stop and they wouldn't stop. They tried to back out so i shot at the car to shoot the tire out," Rios told us.
He shot at the car several times. One bad guy ran off, he held the other until police arrived.

Police have arrested both idiots in this case, and say that no charges will be brought against the homeowner.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0.

Don't Bring a Wrench to a Gunfight

Being shot with a shotgun will ruin your day. Police say resident shot home intruder — Baton Rouge, LA
The homeowner attempted to hide from Doucet in a rear bedroom closet. Doucet discovered the man and confronted him in the hallway while still armed with the pipe wrench, [Craig Stansbury, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office,] said.

The homeowner had armed himself with a .410 gauge shotgun and shot Doucet in the torso, Stansbury said.
The home-invader died at the scene.

This homeowner didn't fight to protect his TV or video games. He was keeping his head down until the goblin upped the stakes. Then he defended himself.

Self-defense works, and it's your human right. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Self-defense Works

Police: Judge Shot, Killed Intruder - News Story - WSB Atlanta
The judge told police he heard a noise, got up and discovered two men in his home. He says he pulled out a gun and fired a shot.
The guy who got shot is dead. The police are looking for the second guy. [Hat tip to John Lott who notes that "Even judges use guns for self-defense."]

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Would We Do Without Researchers?

iPods and MP3 players 'linked to teenage deafness' - Telegraph Gee, ya think?
iPods, MP3 players and increased exposure to live music has led to a surge in hearing loss in teens, the American research suggested.
I expect that the Nanny State will now move to regulate iPods etc. Limiting them by age, limiting how loud they can be, whatever. Because of course it is the governments job to protect us from ourselves. (And we couldn't expect parents to take these things away from their kids, now could we.)

It doesn't say where the money for this research came from, only where one of the researchers works, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, but if I had to guess, I would say that some of my tax dollars were mixed in that funding.

Next - scientists will go on to document that attending live, rock concerts can result in being exposed to loud music, looking directly at the sun can affect your eyesight, and careless use of fire can result in serious burns.

Did You Congratulate Yourself for Buying EnergyStar Appliances?

Feeling all green? Of course find a non-ES anything out there today. But it gets better.... Using EnergyStar Efficiency Ratings to Save Money? Buyer Beware. - DailyFinance
The first chink in the Energy Star brand came late in 2008, when the EPA's Inspector General found that the many of the program's alleged benefits could not be demonstrated. In 2006, for example, Energy Star claimed to have reduced carbon waste by 37 million metric tons and saved consumers $14 billion in electric costs. The Inspector General's office found that these claims were unproven, and that the EPA had relied upon "unverified third-party reporting." This latter finding was to prove particularly damaging: ApplianceAdvisor noted that (among other problems) much of the Energy Star testing was conducted by appliance manufacturers who had a vested interest in getting the program's coveted blue label -- and charging customers extra money for it.
And while energy consumption has fluctuated in recent years, the US (with Canada coming in second in a close race) uses more electric power per person than any other industrial country. (US - 8.35 Tonnes-of-oil-equivalent or TOE, Canada - 8.16 TOE, with Finland coming in third with 6.4 TOE). Most of Europe uses about half the electric-power per capita as we do.

But I digress. Let's get back to EnergyStar....
Earlier this year, Congressional auditors submitted twenty fictitious appliances for Energy Star certification. The whimsical products -- including a gasoline-powered alarm clock, an air filter with attached feather duster, and a metal roof panel -- were submitted with insufficient documentation and no third-party verification of their energy consumption claims. Yet fifteen were granted Energy Star verification, often within days of the request.
Heh. A gas-powered alarm clock. At least it would probably wake you up in the event of a power failure.

When a 30 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer with ice and water coming through a plastic (mostly non-insulated) door panel gets EnergyStar rating, you know something is screwy. (I get by with about 2 cubic feet of refrigeration space. It is smaller than I would like, and I have to shop constantly, but it doesn't cost much to run.) Why do Americans even want that much refrigeration space? It's not like anyone cooks that much.

But never fear, your trusty government is going to fix everything! (They're here to help.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Average Citizen Helps Stop Criminal

62-year-old guy chases purse snatcher and gives updates to police. Samaritan, 62, runs down purse-snatcher
"I'm not here as a hero. I'm here as a citizen doing what a citizen should to do to help deter crime in our community," he said.
The cops caught the idiot, thanks to this guy, but he doesn't even want his photo in the paper.

There Is Something Wrong In Detroit

When a - what to my eyes is a clear case of vigilantism - ends in a hung jury. Hung jury for Detroit homeowner who killed burglar
Authorities say Croff chased Silas to the next street, where they say the drunken burglar taunted Croff before Croff shot him.
To my mind, that doesn't say self-defense.

I guess the situation vis a vie crime in Detroit is so bad, that a "jury of his peers" couldn't see convicting him.

Still, if we replace the rule of law, and trial by jury, with vigilantism, I think we may be in trouble. Certainly the law-abiding folks in Detroit are in trouble.

They Didn't Give Him a Chance to Cooperate

They just shot him. For his wallet. He fought back


The guy who got shot is convinced the robbers intended to kill him because they made no effort to hide their identities.

Hat tip to Gun Free Zone.

Armed Clerk Stops Robbery - Video Leads to Arrests

Tips Lead Police To Fairfield Robbery Suspects - cbs13.com
Surveillance video shows two suspects, clad in black hooded sweatshirts and carrying revolvers, walking into the Metro PCS store just after 3:15 p.m. on Friday.

Seconds after entering the store, one suspect hops over the counter as the other gunman steps over to the other side of the store and aims at a store employee. That clerk's hand, holding a pistol, enters the frame of the video and takes a shot, and the two suspects duck and flee the store.
Three arrests have been made: the 2 robbers and the getaway driver.
Police say Metro PCS stores are often targeted by robbers because they deal with a lot of cash transactions.

A year ago, an employee at a Suisun City Metro PCS store was killed execution-style during a robbery.
Which probably explains why they aren't relying on the "cooperate to be safe" strategy.

Self-defense works. Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0.

5 ½ hours wait for 911

Police justify long 911 wait - 660News It was a priority 2 call (there was someone actively rummaging through their home). There were too many priority one calls for police to meet their 30 minute response time target for priority 2.

So what is a disarmed victim supposed to do but wait for police? (Canadians aren't allowed to carry the means of self-defense with them.)

You have to wonder what the wait time was for priority one calls that day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Look At Daley's Chicago Under the Gun Ban

This is a story of some people trying to keep their neighborhood from being overrun by crime. Neighborhood watches. People taking action. And things not working out so well. Chicago News Cooperative - Block Club Carries on, but Fear and Frustration With City Persist - NYTimes.com

But what interested me was view of how Daley's Chicago was doing under the gun ban (recently overturned, though the city is still fighting it).
In 2009, Chicago had 458 homicides. New York City, which is roughly three times as large, had 471, and Los Angeles, which is nearly one and one-half times bigger, had 313. Through July, there have been 274 homicides in Chicago, down from 281 in the same period in 2009. Aggravated batteries with a firearm — the most common classification for shootings — are also down slightly, but the city still averages nearly six a day.
This is the regime that Daley wants to continue. He spends money the city doesn't have fighting lawsuits that city cannot win instead of spending the money on more police. Or schools. Or doing anything that could bring business back to the city.

Of course, even in Chicago, people could be sure that crime happened in "other kinds of places."
Residents of middle-class neighborhoods like the one on South Winchester have long been considered insulated from the violence, but this summer some of the most highly publicized incidents have happened in traditionally quiet areas, making the latest warm-weather crime wave more unsettling.
It's one thing when crime happens somewhere else, but when the 'nicer' neighborhoods get affected, everyone notices.
The current surge in violence has made national news. Early last week, an 8-year-old girl was killed and her 7-year-old cousin was wounded when they were caught in the cross-fire of a gang shooting. Three off-duty Chicago police officers have been killed since May, two in the middle-class South Side neighborhoods where they lived.
Of course it isn't all doom and gloom. The block club got the city to fix some crumbling sidewalks, and the local alderman (alderwoman?) is promising brighter street lights soon, and trying to get a (neighborhood requested) security camera.

This is in some ways the story of a group of people figuring out that they can't rely on the system, but have to form a community of their own.

And one thing I found a bit surprising was this statement coming from a Democrat - the local alderman.
She said the block club had to do more to fight crime on its own.

“Everybody in the city feels they need more policing,” she said. “I just feel that sometimes you have to stand up yourself.”
If I'm not mistaken, she said people have to take a little personal responsibility and exercise a little person initiative to solve problems in their neighborhood.

With Friends Like This...

This is truly a case of poetic justice. Deputies: Robbery suspect accidentally shot by accomplice in east Harris County | abc13.com
During the holdup, one of the robbers tripped, fell to the ground and accidentally shot his gun. The bullet hit one of his accomplices in the stomach. He's in serious condition. The two other robbers got away.
Stupid criminals.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Texas Admits It Executed an Innocent Man. Pennsylvania Works to Execute a Likely Innocent

JusticeArson "science" of the late 1980s, early 1990s was worse than a joke. It was a collection of ideas that had never been tested, and failed to stand up when they were tested. None of that stopped courts from using it to send men to death row. Junk science? Another inmate on death row fights to disprove arson - CNN.com
Last month, a Texas state board admitted in a preliminary report that flawed arson science was used in Willingham's investigation.
Willingham was executed in 2004 on "evidence" that was more likely explainable as just the result of flashover.
The National Fire Protection Association, a fire safety organization, reported there were more than 200,000 intentional fires set to structures in 1980. In 2007, that number dwindled to 55,000.
That missing 145,000 arson fires is not because arson went out of style, it because today, they just wouldn't be considered arson. They are explainable as natural fires.

But all those fires were treated as crimes back in the day. People went to jail. Some to their death's because of "evidence" that was more like folk tales.
Until 1992, some arson experts say, guidelines for determining arson were largely based on hand-me-down myths practiced by fire investigators with little formal training. In 1992, the National Fire Protection Association released its first arson guidebook based on years of studies and simulations.

The guidelines, known as NFPA 921, were initially met with resistance from fire marshals and officers across the country, who believed arson investigations were an art rather than a science.
Met with resistance because it contradicted their cherished beliefs. (And their over-inflated sense of their own worth.)

And based on those cherished beliefs, and not on any science, Texas convicted and executed a man.
The fire that killed three people in the Willingham case in Texas happened in 1991, a year before NFPA 921 was released. In February 2004, Willingham was executed. Later, three reviews of evidence by outside experts concluded the fire should not have been ruled arson. The reports stated a flashover was likely responsible for the fire at Willingham's home.
So much for justice.

So How Is It These Aren't Coveded By Socialized Medicine?

If you haven't heard the latest scare to take the place of Swine Flu, read the article. Superbug hits UK through 'medical tourism' - Channel 4 News But that isn't really what caught my attention.

Here are some things that government medicine in the UK apparently doesn't cover.
he most common elective surgery procedures for patients travelling abroad from the UK are hip replacement, knee replacement, laser eye surgery and cataract removal.
Cataract removal is optional? You should just be happy being blind (or visually impaired) I guess. And why do you want to walk? We will give you a nice shinny new wheelchair. Your old knee or hip is just fine.

So You Thought the Economy Was Getting Better

Seems there are a few problems.

Foreclosure Activity Increases 4 Percent in July According to RealtyTrac(R) U.S. Foreclosure Market Report Conflicting Trends Continue: Fewer Initial Defaults, More Bank Repossessions
"July marked the 17th consecutive month with a foreclosure activity total exceeding 300,000," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "Declines in new default notices, which were down on a year-over-year basis for the sixth straight month in July, have been offset by near-record levels of bank repossessions, which increased on a year-over-year basis for the eighth straight month."
And the news is not all good on default notices.
default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions : -- were reported on 325,229 properties in July, a nearly 4 percent increase from the previous month but a nearly 10 percent decrease from July 2009.
Better than last year, but that is hardly a ringing endorsement.

And aside from the housing market, the jobs situation is not that good either.

Jobs picture dims as unemployment claims rise - Yahoo! News
First-time claims for jobless benefits edged up by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest total since February. Analysts had expected claims to fall.

Initial claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February.
The 4-week trend is increasing, which is the better metric, indicates that things are getting worse at a steep rate.

I expect government will do something, even if it is the wrong thing, because they can't leave it up to the marketplace.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Don't Bring a Wrench to a Gunfight

Police: Indianapolis homeowner shoots attacker - chicagotribune.com
Indianapolis police say a homeowner shot a man who attacked him with a pipe wrench during an apparent robbery attempt.
The homeowner suffered head injuries. The goblin was shot twice.

Self-defense is a human right.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

They suffered a failure of the victim selection process, and tried to rob an armed homeowner. Man kills one home invader, injures another, police say
Two black males entered the home, assaulted a man and demanded money, according to a press release from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

The resident, who neighbors say is the homeowner’s nephew, told deputies the men had a small caliber handgun and “struck him in the head with the firearm.” He then fired at them with an automatic weapon. When police arrived, they found the two men near the door with multiple gunshot wounds.
And no, I doubt seriously that it was an automatic weapon. It was more likely a semiautomatic pistol. But if you expect reporters to understand firearms, well you expect too much.

Self-defense is a human right.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Armed Homeowner Stops Thief

Memphis Homeowner Shows Burglar Who's Boss
Just before 5 a.m. Curlin woke up to a familiar scene, "My neighbor called and said somebody's in your shed."

...

"I jumped out of bed, grabbed my gun and I come out here. I hollered, 'come out of the shed, come out of the shed.'"

But Curlin says instead of coming out, the intruder threw items from the shed at him, gas cans, bottles and even a hand saw.
Since he was now under attack, he shot the creep twice in the leg.

Police caught up with wounded creep in a neighbor's yard. No word on the charges have been released.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Everyone a Criminal. Everything a Crime

Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse - Reason Magazine Unless you work in Law Enforcement.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That's the standard line motorists hear when they say they weren't aware of the speed limit, or gun owners hear when they say didn't know about the gun laws in the jurisdiction they happened to get arrested in. Yet that ignorance is pretty understandable in an America where just about everything is being criminalized. At the federal level alone there are now more than 4,500 separate crimes, and that's not counting the massive regulatory code, violations of which also can sometimes be punished with criminal charges.

As citizens, we're expected to know and obey all of these laws, in addition to state and local statutes and the relevant court opinions that interpret the breadth and depth of all of those laws.

But what happens when law enforcement officials don't know the law? What happens when they illegally detain, arrest, and charge you even though you've done nothing wrong? Unlike you, their ignorance doesn't result in arrest or jail. And unless the violation is pretty egregious, they're unlikely to be punished for it.
Read the whole thing, and weep for the end of liberty in America. [hat tip to Uncle.]

You Brits Use Too Much Health Care

So what happens when you put government in charge of health care? You get rationing. GPs must cut back on medicines: NHS officials - Telegraph
A report has been drawn up for primary care trusts, GPs and new GP commissioning consortia listing 15 common drugs where savings can be made.

The list includes some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the NHS including statins for high cholesterol, broad spectrum antibiotics for infections, obesity drugs and sleeping tablets.
Never mind the cholesterol... have some bangers and mash. Heart attack? Stroke? Don't you realize we are trying to save money?

I don't always agree with doctors, but in this case....
Doctors said patients' needs must come first and no one should be denied drugs because of finances.
Oh the joys of socialized medicine.

Oh, and on the subject of saving (or wasting?) money... Inadequate NHS websites cost more than £86 million per year
An internal NHS review has found that the health service spends up to £86million a year on thousands of websites that fail to meet the public's needs.
I wonder how much cholesterol medication you could buy for £86 million?

Don't Bring a Pipe to a Gunfight

This has to be a pretty stupid criminal. Charges pending DA investigation after Jasper County shooting - CBS 19 - The Eye of East Texas News - 

The first interaction: The woman resident confronts a prowler and fires a warning shot. (So the fact that she is armed is known to the trespasser.)

Things went downhill the second time around.
The homeowner fired a warning shot and the woman left.

Chief Deputy Ralph Nichols tells 12NewsNow.com about ten minutes after this happened the homeowner heard dogs barking and she went outside to investigate. She says she confronted the same woman who pulled out a pipe. The homeowner fired 4 shots at the woman and called 9-1-1.
Since police don't make decisions about who goes to trial, the only thing stated is that the DA will have to make that determination. (Can you spell "self-defense?" Which is legal in the Great State of Texas.)

So why on earth would you go back and threaten someone you know to be armed with a gun, when you are armed only with a piece of pipe? Stupid. The idiot woman got shot four times for her trouble. Once in the abdomen, and three times in the leg. She is in stable condition at a local hospital.

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

Law Enforcement Was Once Everyone's Job

Before we had standing armies masquerading as civilian police forces. Ashtabula County 'Posse' Helps Nab Wanted Man - WJW
Kusar was part of a small group who located Lee Nash, 56, hiding in a camper on Kusar's farm. "I got outta my truck, I loaded my gun, I took my safety off, I walked up to the door and flung the door open with the barrel of my gun and he was laying in there, sleeping with a sawed-off shotgun next to him."

Nash was wanted in connection with at least one break-in, but police say additional charges are pending. "We had the trailer surrounded, he wasn't getting out," said Kusar. "If he did come out with the shotgun, we were gonna need the coroner."
The Sheriff in this county is understanding. And grateful. His budget was cut to the point where there is little he can do.

This is a county in Ohio, where a judge recommended people get concealed carry permits, because of the budget cuts in the sheriff's office.
Ashtabula County is the largest, geographically, in Ohio. But only two sheriff's department cruisers patrol the area, down from five cars before, because of budget cuts
At least the bad guys are still being brought to justice. (The guy in this case is wanted on one charge, though several additional charges were expected.) [via NRA-ILA]

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I Thought Cooperation Was Supposed to Ensure Safety

Lots of people who don't like the idea of self-defense and armed, law-abiding citizens are always going on about how you should "just give them what they want," and you will be safe. Didn't work out that way this time. Orlando shooting robbery: Man leaving Orlando nightclub is shooting victim - OrlandoSentinel.com
Orlando police Lt. John Holysz said the victim suffered a gunshot wound to his chest after handing over his wallet and money to an armed robber near Orange Avenue and Robinson Street.
Yeah, read that last bit again. He was shot AFTER he handed over money and wallet.

Cooperation is a strategy. I happen to think it is a fairly poor strategy, but you can have different opinions. Of course since the victim was leaving an establishment that gets most of its money from serving booze, he was - by law (even in Florida) - disarmed.

And those people who say "give them what they want" never mention a woman confronted by a rapist. Convenient, that.

You go ahead and impersonate a sheep, the next time you are confronted by a wolf (or a common criminal). Just don't expect me to share in your delusional behavior.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

How the stimulus bill hurt people. Stimulus Projects that Created No Jobs - CBS Evening News - CBS News

This one is my favorite examples.
In the state of Washington, another stimulus project may be hurting those it was designed to help. Construction began one year ago today in front of the Archery Bistro Restaurant. The owner says it's shut off business like a fly in a bowl of soup. He's had to stop serving lunch, close two days a week and, ironically, lay off 12 workers.
And why would one section of road be under construction for a year? Oh yeah, politics.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Two home invaders meet homeowner and his shotgun. Man Shoots Home Invasion Suspects - News Story - WSB Atlanta
The homeowner told Henry County police that he heard loud noises as if someone was banging on his door. When he grabbed his shotgun and approached the door, it crashed open and two people began to enter his home.

The homeowner said he fired once at the people and they retreated toward their vehicle.
Police found the body of John David Griffen in the front yard of the home when they arrived after a 911 call, and arrested Monica Johnson Allen when she called 911 to report she had been shot.

Self-defense is a human right, and when it is backed up with a shotgun, bad things happen to bad guys. (I was going to title this post "Two for the price of one.")

It Seems To Be the Year to "Throw the Bastards Out!"

A 7-term Democrat from Detroit loses the primary. Clarke victory closes curtain on Kilpatrick era in Congress | detnews.com | The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick lost the Democratic nomination to Hansen Clarke. In part, because of the antics of her son and ex-husband.
Kwame Kilpatrick [the son and one-time mayor of Detroit] is behind bars for a probation violation after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in a sex-text cover-up, and recently was indicted on 19 federal corruption charges, including mail fraud and wire fraud. Bernard Kilpatrick [the ex-husband] is under federal investigation for a pay-to-play city hall scheme.
Pay-to-play? Sounds familiar somehow.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

You Ever Feel Like Life Makes No Sense?

Koyannisqatsi:
Ko.yaa.nis.qatsi (from the Hopi language),n.
1.crazy life. 2.life in turmoil. 3.life out of balance. 4.life disintegrating. 5.a state of life that calls for another way of living.


  • "If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."
  • "Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky."
  • "A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Glad To See People Waking Up

They are waking up to the fact that police are not their to protect them. That even if they were, they are many minutes away. And so... Concealed weapon permits on the rise in Marion and Alachua counties there are 3,244 new licenses since July 2009 | Ocala.com

This is just in two of Florida's smaller counties - well, medium sized counties. But is reflective of the entire state.
The state issued 175,555 new licenses between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, up from 25,352 new licenses 10 years earlier.
People are awake to the idea that self-defense is legal, it is just, it is their human right.
Cynthia Jones doesn't need a fancy gun.

"Just so when I fire it, it brings somebody down," said the 50-year-old single mother. "It's not something that needs to make a fashion statement for me because it's not something people will see."
Concealed weapons after all aren't seen.

And local law enforcement isn't having a fit.
The growing number of concealed weapons isn't something local law enforcement says it's concerned about, though.
Not that I expected them to do so, but you do get to expect the "journalists" to always put in a scare quote, and that is completely lacking in this article.

Concealed weapons licenses in a shall-issue state are nothing less than your legal right.

So who do you believe?

The homeowner who called police, or the two with a flat-screen TV (of questionable origin) in their car? Two men who say they went to a house in the 100 block of Pie Course to find a girl instead ended up held at gunpoint by the homeowner who told Marion County deputies they were trying to break in | Ocala.com

The truth will emerge eventually.

For now, I am glad that self-defense is legal in Florida.

Color Me Green with Envy

One of the things on my list is a custom rifle. I just don't have room to store one properly on a boat.

I hope Hecate gets a better picture up soon, but even so, this looks great. Hecate's Crossroad: Latest New Arrival
It's a Kimber 8400 Advanced Tactical in .308 Winchester with the McMillan A5 adjustable stock, Leupold Mark 4 10x40 LR/T M1 scope, Warne Tactical medium-height rings, and Harris HBL-S swivel bipod.