Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Because the Rules Don't Apply to Them

Or so they thought. TSA officers charged with trashing South Beach hotel room, shooting gun - Miami Beach - MiamiHerald.com
In a city known for wild, late-night behavior, merely tossing speakers, lamps, a phone, ice chest and vase out a second floor room at the Hotel Shelley, 844 Collins. Ave., might not have drawn much attention.

But according to an incident report, a front desk clerk and security guard called police about 11:18 p.m. after they heard one gun shot, followed by three to five more after a few seconds. When the clerk went back inside the hotel, a guest told him someone was throwing furniture and bric-a-brac out the window of room 217, where Piccolella and Puccio were staying the night.
The gunshots did at least $1500 damage to a store nearby. So, assuming they are tried and convicted, do they still get to work for TSA? They destroyed $400 worth of furniture. They shot a gun in the middle of South Beach. (South Miami Beach isn't Manhattan, but it is a pretty high-density area.)

These are the people "keeping you safe" or whatever the hell they do at TSA. "They're from the government, and they're here to help."

Blogging May Be a Little Light

After 10 years without a television, I finally broke down and joined the 21st Century. Flat screen (though not too large), Blu-ray player, and 5.1 surround. I haven't gotten it connected to the internet yet - I install the new WiFi in the morning, as the old one was too slow for serious video.

I seem to find myself a little distracted. Can't imagine why. And I have house painting to do, and gutters to clean and all the other joys you have when you own a house. (Life was simpler on the boat.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Musical Interlude



Stolen Shamelessly from Graybeard.

Producing Better Solar Collectors - Chinese Scientists and Butterfly Wings

Interesting story about the nano-scale structure of butterfly wings. Butterfly wings' 'art of blackness' could boost production of green fuels This has to do with using a catalyst and sunlight to break water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen. (See the solar leaf for more on that.)
One promising technology involves producing clean-burning hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water. It can be done in devices that use sunlight to kick up the activity of catalysts that split water into its components, hydrogen and oxygen. Better solar collectors are the key to making the technology practical, and Fan's team turned to butterfly wings in their search for making solar collectors that gather more useful light.
The inky black on some butterfly's wings isn't just a pretty color. The bugs are gathering solar energy to heat their bodies. Turns out the nano-scale structures of the wings are great for concentrating energy.
The butterfly-wing compound catalyst produced hydrogen gas from water at more than twice the rate of the unstructured compound catalyst on its own.
While I don't think much of hydrogen power for cars - too hard to store in volume, too problematic in a crash, etc. - I do like the idea of a hydrogen power generator for my home. Especially if I can generate my own hydrogen on sunny days for use in the evening or on days it isn't so sunny.

I'm not going all tree-hugger on you. I would just like a little independence. From the power company.

And I leave you with this, from Machines of Loving Grace...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Save Money on Gas. It Will Only Cost You $845K

OK, so it is only a concept/prototype at this point. It will be here. Save money (on energy costs) with $845,000 Porsche 918 plug-in hybrid | ExtremeTech
Imagine a Chevrolet Volt built to Porsche specs: faster, sleeker, and more expensive. Now the dream is real: The Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will come to market in the fall of 2013 with a price of $845,000. That’s for a supercar that reaches 60 mph in three seconds; at three seconds, the Volt is still coming up on 30 mph.
And before you get to thinking that hybrids will never be fast, consider that Audi introduced R18 e-tron quattro hybrid at the 12-hour endurance race at Sebring, "the first event of the new FIA World Endurance Racing Championship (WEC)." The R18 TDI won, but the 6-cylinder diesel hybrid
is still pretty cool.

Click on either image for a large view...

The Joys of Socialized Medicine, And Age Discrimination

Seems that government control of your health care isn't all it's cracked up to be. Elderly dying due to 'despicable age discrimination in NHS' - Telegraph
According to research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, there would be 14,000 fewer deaths from cancer in those aged over 75 per year if if mortality rates from cancer matched those in America.
How can this be? America has better health care than the UK and its National Health-care System?

Of course we. We don't cut people off care when they are 75. (My father lived to 93. 15 years or so after he was diagnosed with cancer.) But the facts won't bother those in love with socialized medicine.

The reason the Brits are seeing so many "extra deaths" is that they aren't treating people (much) over 70 or 75.
A survey found six in ten trainee oncologists had not received training in the additional care needs of the elderly such as preventing falls and incontinence management. This is despite half of all cancers occuring in the elderly, the report found
Why worry about the elderly. They can't support the state. (That is pay taxes, for those of you not paying attention.)

This is what happens when government takes control. The bean-counters take control. Despicable.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another Reason to Kill Daylight Savings Time

Long ago it was shown that it didn't save all that much in the way of electricity. Because humans - being tool using creatures - just use electric lights instead of waiting for daylight.

And now another health cost. Clock change heart attack link - Telegraph
People are at increased risk of heart attacks the two days after clocks go forward, research suggests, because body clock is messed up
It won't kill it. It is traditional. It is what we do. It is ingrained.

Do you think the government should be able to pass a law forcing to you get up an hour earlier than usual? That's what it is.

Boo Hoo. Lethal Self-defense is Often Lethal.

I wrote about this story before: A guy calls the cops on a wild party. One of the kids from the party breaks into his house. (Why? We don't know. Payback or just hiding from cops? You don't know. I don't know. The only guy who really knows is dead. They guy who did the shooting only knew that one of the party-goers broke into his home.

Now everyone is all boo hooing over the fact that the guy - who was shot in self-defense - got shot. Report: Homeowner shot intruder with police nearby - WBAY-TV Green Bay-Fox Cities-Northeast Wisconsin News So what? Police were "nearby." WTF does that mean? I give up my right of self-defense if I think police are about?

There have been enough cases where police arrive and "establish a perimeter" and don't do a damn thing until everyone is dead. Give me a freaking break. Police were nearby. For all the good it can do, sometimes, they might as well be on the moon.
Washington County District Attorney Mark Bensen decided last week that homeowner Adam Kind acted in self-defense when he killed 20-year-old Bo Morrison, of West Bend. Morrison was 1 of about 20 people at an underage drinking party next door, and hid in Kind's back porch.
Was this a "good kid?" I don't know and neither do you. He was at a wild party. He ran when police were called. (If you run from police when police are present, that is "resisting arrest.") He broke into a home. Are these the things a good kid does? (I did some of these things, and I am under NO illusion that I was an angel - I wasn't.) But none of this is the issue.

He broke into a house. He was confronted by the homeowner and he was shot. What do you think is going to happen when you break into a house? Do you think you will be invited to tea?

As far as I can tell, this is still a case of Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

“There is no political will”

Maritime panelists frustrated over Somali pirate inaction - Connecticut Post We can spend years at war all over the place. We can have a "no-fly-zone" in Lybia (that apparently included keeping those tanks from flying. But we can't stop a problem that costs billions of dollars annually, so lives, and more heartache. I wish someone could tell me why.
There are people who have been captives for over two years under atrocious conditions.
But of course, aside from some film shot by Navy Seals, it mostly isn't a story that ends up on the news. No video. No story.

And so, because politicians love the "we have to do something" mantra, even if that "something" is nearly ineffective, NATO Extends Counter Piracy Operations Until 2014. Because they haven't even driven the number of attacks down - the number of successful attacks may be down marginally, if I find those numbers I will post them in the comments. (Be fair, the numbers in 2012 look good so far.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It Isn't Over: Euro Bailout Fever

So maybe I was wrong about the Greeks. Maybe they will accept all the rules from Brussels. Of course a lot of Greeks are voting with their feet. Here is a BBC story that talks of the Greek Brain Drain.

But it isn't the end of the line for the bailout regime. Experts say 2nd Greece rescue won’t slow down Europe’s bailout merry-go-round - The Washington Post Portugal will need another bailout. And the economies of the PIIGS are contracting - though Ireland may grow a bit.

Here is the run-down:

Spain: Unemployment at 22.9% forecast to reach 24% and then some. That is Great-Depression-level unemployment, and the economy is forecast to contract 1.7%. Banks are the big worry - like they were in Ireland. (When did banks get this "we can't fail" rider to laws of markets?)

Italy: Next to Spain, it almost looks health. 8.9% unemployment. Economy to contract 1.5% according to estimates. But the dark cloud is debt at 120% of GDP and rising.

Portugal: "Accelerating in Reverse." That's how the WaPo sums it up. Unemployment is about 14% and the economy will contract by more than 3%.

Ireland: Unemployment at 14%. But its ties to the US economy and the UK more than Europe proper, may help a bit. If the US economy can keep sputtering along.
The 600 U.S. multinationals that have chosen Ireland already generate more than 12 percent of Irish GDP.
There is some hope that the economy will grow - or at least be relatively flat. But the last half of last year saw a contraction.

There is an annoying quote at the end of the section on Ireland.
If any country can dig itself out, it’s going to be Ireland, but at what cost?
If Ireland can't "dig itself out" then what? Is it "entitled" to handouts bailouts - funded mostly by Germany and a couple of Scandinavian countries with a portion from the IMF for good measure? (And the UK and other non-Euro-zone, European Union members get to pay an extra amount. If it isn't Ireland's responsibility to balance their checkbook - or Greece's or Spain's or whoever - then who has to come up with the money? Germany? Some of it comes from the IMF and some of that comes from the American Taxpayer, if not that much.

This isn't the result of a natural disaster. It isn't that Europe was destroyed by war. This was a party for the past few years brought on by low interest rates and high expectations. And the idea that the bill would never come due. And now that the bill has come due, they don't want to pay.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is Being Able to Keep Your Job Without Being Fired for Who You Are a “Special Right?”

Because one of the things that gays and lesbians would like is to be able to keep their jobs. In 2012 you can still be fired in 29 states due to your race or religion. Except of course it isn't your race or your religion that can get you fired.
While Obama is president and head of the Democratic party, which claims to support gay equality. Even though it did not pass ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would protect gays from job discrimination, or repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, when Democrats controlled Congress and the White House from 2009 to 2011.
Democrats ignore gays and lesbians, and always try to push the implementation of anything off to the future. Don't kid yourself on Don't Ask Don't Tell. They only moved when it was clear the lawsuit was going to succeed - which it did.

You might think, this being campaign season and all, that the Democrats would include something about gay rights in the platform. You know, pay back all those years of loyalty by gays - who historically have given almost exclusively to the Dems.

With good cause. Newt's Gay-marriage = Paganism. And Santorum's 1950ish outlook on just about everything... Should the gay's be offended by Newt's comment, or the pagans, or both? Doesn't matter to Newt; if you are aren't straight and Christian apparently, ... oh why bother?

There is much complaining on the Right about "special rights." So, is being able to go to work and talk about your weekend a special right? Is being able to have a picture of your loved ones on your desk a special right? Is being able to invite your partner to company shindigs a special right? So why are those people who hate “special rights” reserving them for heterosexuals?

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

If you break into enough homes, you will eventually find an armed resident. Man killed by homeowner’s son may have been burglar - Houston Chronicle
The homeowners told deputies their adult son was home alone asleep in a bedroom when he heard what sounded like someone trying to break into the house through a side door. The son — his name and age were not released — got out of bed, grabbed a gun and activated a panic alarm on the home’s alarm system control panel. He then walked toward the living room where he confronted an armed intruder.
The guy who got shot was pronounced dead at the scene. His buddy who was waiting outside, was arrested after he tried to claim his truck had been stolen, and came back to collect it. (He ran like a rabbit when shots were fired.)

Courts Have Seen To It That He Can't Be Prosecuted

I was going to call this post, "If you break into enough homes... "Serial burglar shot by homeowner But it is even more insane than that.
Albuquerque Police Officers call Garcia a menace. "They release him back out into society and he continues to prey upon victims." says Commander William Roseman News 13 wanted to know why Garcia was not in jail and discovered he was ruled incompetent to stand trial this past December. With that ruling a judge ordered the dismissal of his three 2011 cases and ordered his release from jail.
He is expected to survive his wounds. So the courts won't lock him up, and have declared that he is free to commit burglary. They can't institutionalize him because he isn't violent. (Not a danger...)

What a wonderful world we live in.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Grimm - Positive Spin on Armed Self-defense

I've mentioned that I really like the NBC show Grimm. It appears that it may be willing to back the idea of self-defense.

In the previous episode, Juliette, was taken hostage. It appears that part of the next episode will involve her gaining some knowledge of firearms. Very interesting... (Click image for a larger - though still fuzzy - view.)

I love this show, even though it isn't perfect. (The first season of a new show rarely is. The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is unwatchable.) I love it mostly because the Grimm's Fairy Tales have been so sugarcoated as to be unrecognizable. (Not all of them had happy endings - they were meant as warnings.) They are stuck a bit in the mode of "Monster of the Week," but that a lot of shows started out that way. And a lot of cop shows ran for years on "Mystery of the Week."

Don't Bring a Sword to a Gunfight

Man with Sword Shot and Killed by Homeowner | firstcoastnews.com
Neighbors had called police to the mandarin neighborhood because they had seen a man walking around with a sword, according to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Homicide Sargent Lonnie Mills. The man with the sword tried to enter someone's home and that person shot him.
Seems pretty straight-forward to me.

Beaten With Bats For Walking Down the Street

Two men were beaten by 5 bigots - they seem to always travel in packs - because those bigots thought they were gay. 'Gay' Men Beaten with Bats in Dallas
According to the police report, five men pulled up alongside of them and began yelling derogatory gay slurs. Several of the men got out of the car and beat the victims in the face, head and body with baseball bats.
What a wonderful world we live in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dead Tree Media - One View of Why It's History

Not completely my thing, but it is interesting. Dead Tree media signed its own death warrant when it decided what we needed to know. So in the 1920s, the media didn't report on the death of 11 million Ukrainians at the hands of Stalin's Russia, because they thought Communism was a good thing, and didn't want to tarnish its image. During the late 1930s and early 1940s they didn't report on things like Kristallnacht, and - as the video points out - the deaths of the first 700,000 Jews for several reasons. One was probably the National Socialist Party was - at least partly - socialist. Another was certainly the England and the US didn't want lots of Jewish refugees. (This was the era when "covenant restricted community" meant no Jews and no blacks, after all.) Today their hysteria over guns and gun-rights, their devotion to the Democrats, no matter how bad things get, or what they get up to - like ignoring the War Powers Act - that they would never accept from Republicans, etc. has finally gotten across the point that they aren't the guardians of democracy, but just the propaganda arm of the Democratic party. And newspapers are history. Annenberg thinks that most papers will be gone in 5 years.

Happy Birthday Albert Einstein (And Happy Pi Day to You)

Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879. He's most famous for his equation e=mc2. Even when most people don't understand what that means.
Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity.
PiAnd on what other day would you celebrate pi (3.14) than on 3/14 ?
Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535…
Pi is both irrational and transcendental. That means it never ends, and it never repeats. If you read Carl Sagan's book "Contact" pi makes an appearance at the end. (It wasn't in the movie because Americans don't like mathematics.)

So celebrate by have some pie.

The Hate-crime/Murder You Don't Remember

Gay Flag[Shamelessly recycled from a few years ago.]

Matthew Shepard
and Laurence King you have heard of, (do you remember who they were?) but my guess is that you haven't heard of Ryan Keith Skipper. Or if you have, you don't remember him. Loved ones say young man's killing reflects difficult life gays face in Polk -- OrlandoSentinel.com
In the after-midnight darkness of March 14, 2007, the blood of 25-year-old Ryan Keith Skipper soaked into the soft dirt as his killers drove away in his new Chevy Aveo.
. . .
Skipper's car was found 12 miles from his body on a boat ramp to Lake Pansy in Winter Haven, abandoned and partially burned. The two young men later arrested in his murder were charged with committing a hate crime because they told witnesses Skipper was targeted for being a homosexual.
Targeted because of who he was.

Now since Florida is a death penalty state, I am not sure what more they can do besides seek the death penalty, but then given the SCOTUS take on the death penalty maybe the hate crime aspect is needed to put the case into the death-penalty category. (Not every murder can result in a death penalty case, it must be "special" in some way, according to my understanding of some SCOTUS ruling.)

The sheriff, Grady Judd, in this case libeled/slandered the dead man, accused him of being on drugs and cruising for anonymous sex. When it turned out he was wrong, he refused to apologize to anyone.
A Sheriff's Office spokesman later said there was no indication Skipper was involved in any illegal activity, but the sheriff has refused to meet with the family or respond to their requests for an apology.
Why should he feel bad about talking trash about a gay man after all? This is emblematic of the way police see gays and lesbians. They don't believe we deserve the same kind of respect, or justice, that the rest of the population gets. Is it getting better? Sure. Is there a long way to go? You bet.

The general feeling in that part of Florida is that as long as gays hide they are OK. Come out into the open, however, and you basically deserve whatever happens.
[R]esidents say gays are generally accepted in Polk County as long as they don't rub it in anyone's face.

"Just as long as you're hiding, you're OK. You learn that's what you have to do," said Kristy Alexander, a lesbian who lives in Polk County.

Skipper didn't hide well enough. His friends and roommates say Skipper was harassed for years leading up to his killing. On several occasions, he was called derogatory names, pelted with oranges and beaten up because he was gay.
The Right, the Republicans, love to claim that gays and lesbians want "special rights." That is bullshit, plain and simple. Living your life without being attacked for who you are isn't a special right. Being open about friends and loved ones, isn't a special right. How many of you have photos of your wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends at work, in your wallet, wherever. If a gay did that they would be "flaunting" their sexuality, but when a straight does it, it is just a celebration of life and love. Funny how the double standard works, isn't it? It isn't about special rights. It has never been about special rights. That is the line the Right uses to mask their bigotry. After all, who wouldn't be opposed to "special rights?"

The issue is tolerance. Acceptance would be nice, and I get that from a lot of people, but it would be nice if the rest of you, the ones who can't accept us, would tolerate us - that means don't attack us. Of course if you attack ME, you might get a bit of a surprise when you see my response.

There is documentary, Accessory to Murder: Our Culture's Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper. When the culture warriors get wound up and claim that gays and lesbians are the source of all the problems with straight marriage, or with whatever they are going on about today, they breed an environment of hate, and violence. And the result? People are killed, and the police don't really seem to care.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Voice of Reason on Gay Marriage

Constitution allows gay rights | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - South Whidbey Record

The money quote:
My wife and I have agreed that our marriage will not be negatively affected. For those who feel their marriage would be damaged, you have my sincere sympathy. But I would implore you to avoid taking this problem out on others.
but the whole thing is worth a look.

The Latest Media Crazy Train - Solar Flares

I guess they ran out of things to say about radiation... or who knows, not having a TV I miss out on whatever the 24-hr cycle is obsessed with. Solar Flares - Can We Get A Grip? Probably not.
I assume that everyone saw last weeks' dire warnings about a pair of X-class flares and the hand wringing about all the damage they could do?
The one thing I saw was something like "the worst solar flares in 5 years." And that's scary because the world ended 5 years ago due to solar flares. Or maybe not.

Graybeard does a fine job of debunking all the insanity. So click through and read the whole thing. It isn't long.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Break Into Enough Homes, and You Will Eventually Find an Armed Homeowner

The results are as expected. Teen shot while trying to break in home in Cheatham County
[Detective Travis] Walker said the boy was inside a home at 1407 Valley View Rd. near Trouble Road shortly after 3 a.m., and the homeowner thought he heard a noise and that's when he got his gun and shot the teen.
He got shot in the arm. He is really lucky he didn't get shot in the head, or killed outright. Bet he doesn't feel lucky.

This would-be burglar is 17-years-old. That means that groups like the Brady Bunch will count this as a "teen tragically shot." They will ignore the fact that he was engaged in felony home-invasion, and that he is likely to be tried as an adult. None of that matters. (Why clutter the issue with facts?)

While the authorities are still investigating - that's what they do - this seems a pretty straight-forward case of self-defense to me. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fear, Uncertainty, and Government Policy

If you are living under a rock, you probably don't know that today is the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, (that's what the Japanese are calling it) and the resulting disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Otherwise, you probably have heard something about it. There has been much talk about radiation. Much talk, but very little in the way of hard numbers are available, you have to review several articles to discover all of the various radioactive isotopes that there are to worry about. (And even then can you be sure? I suppose there is an official inventory somewhere.) Still, some truth has managed to get out there. It will be discounted.

Fukushima's Refugees Are Victims Of Irrational Fear, Not Radiation - Forbes
Every time I eat a bag of potato chips I think of Fukushima. This 12-ounce bag of chips has 3500 picoCuries of gamma radiation in it, and the number of bags I eat a year gives me a dose as high as what I would receive living in much of the evacuated zones around Fukushima. But unlike the Fukushima refugees, I get to stay in my home. We live in a nuanced world of degree. Eating a scoop of ice cream is fine, eating a gallon at one time is bad. Jumping off a chair is no big deal; jumping off a cliff is really stupid. The numbers matter. It’s the dose that makes the poison. There is a threshold to everything.
Of course it is no surprise that Americans are clueless when it comes to radiation. Recent generations seem to take pride in the fact that they don't understand science and math, don't want to understand science and math, and are too cool to study anything so geeky. (These are the folks #Occupying $Place because no one told them that for a college degree to actually pay, it needs to be in something useful, like chemistry, or engineering.)

First off, radiation isn't something new in the world. The world itself is radioactive (some parts more than others - a bit more on this later.) Radiation streams down on us from outer space. Lots of our food is radioactive. And yes, we are radioactive. I found one story which stated global background radiation is a result of the nuclear testing in the 1940s. Plutonium levels found near Fukushima plant probably pose little risk, study says. Not! It is a part of the universe. You can't get away from it. Even if you go live in a fallout shelter there will be radiation.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wasn't Cooperation Supposed to Ensure Safety?

I guess this guy didn't get that memo. Family of slain store clerk: 'We're all just in shock' - Chicago Tribune
On Sunday afternoon, Simpson-Beaver was working behind the counter at the Lucky Food Mart when a gunman wearing a white "Jason or hockey mask" burst in and demanded money. After grabbing two drawers of cash, the robber turned at the front door and shot her in the chest, police said. He then walked back and shot her in the head.
After he got the money - you know the "just give them what they want part" - he decided what he really wanted was no witness to testify.

Doing whatever a criminal wants is a strategy. It never comes up with the subject of rapists and pedophiles, but it is still a strategy that pizza restaurants, insurance companies and the occasional police chief are in favor of. The only problem is, it doesn't always work. This guy had what he came for - 2 drawers of cash. But that isn't the only thing he wanted.

A gun may not have saved this woman. But cooperating with the bad guys didn't save her.

Another Failed Restraining Order

It isn't clear why she wanted another court order, since one was it place. It is perfectly clear that court orders aren't worth the paper they are printed on. DA: Kazan Raoul Of Brooklyn Shot To Death Day After Seeking Another Restraining Order Against Ex Boyfriend Burnsley Bartholemy � CBS New York While she had a restraining order in place, she was found outside her apartment, shot in the head. Now there is no proof the ex-boyfriend is to blame, police consider him someone they would like to speak with. But what is a little interesting is that CBS in New York allowed a bit of the truth about court orders to leak through.
“An order of protection is just as valuable as toilet paper,” one woman said.

“Huh, they mean nothing, basically,” Keisha Jones added.

Defense attorney Harvey Soss told CBS 2′s Slattery orders of protection basically put the person so ordered on the honor system, with a penalty if he or she doesn’t obey it.

“They’re frequently not worth the paper they’re printed on,” Soss added. “If a bad guy is bent on violating it, he’s gonna do it.”
If you need a restraining order, you need a plan for your personal defense. In a place like New York where you access to the legal means of self-defense are limited, that can be a problem. A gun may not have saved this woman, but it is clear that the courts and the police could do nothing.

So What Do You Do When the Cops Are Helping Your Abuser?

That's pretty much what happened in Huntington Beach, CA. Is James Roberts III Shielded From Justice?
During an 18-month period beginning in July 2007, a beaten and raped Huntington Beach crime victim landed in a frighteningly bizarre situation. The local police department didn't just ignore her cries for help; it repeatedly aided her assailant.

Shannon Roberts was stalked, falsely imprisoned, assaulted, raped and sodomized by her ex-husband, who threatened to "blow her brains out"—all serious crimes. But police officers didn't care because her ex-husband was a cop.
This wasn't one cop. Or even a few having a bad day. This was a fairly well-organized, widespread conspiracy to keep their fellow cop out of trouble, no matter what he did.

And the organized resistance to doing anything is pervasive.
In 1977, police unions got then-Governor Jerry Brown to sign a state law that discourages citizen complaints of police abuse and, in most cases, prohibits the public from learning about crooked cops.
They don't want to know about police abuse and they REALLY don't want you to know about it.

That is the entire union at the state level working to keep the lid on reports of abuse.

This particular case may collapse because the victim can't find a lawyer. (It isn't a criminal case, it is a civil case. They won't appoint an attorney for you.) So the bastard and the whole crew of bastards may get away with it.

Statistics are a Funny Thing

So was this an armed intruder or a family member. (Two for the price of one?) Homeowner fatally shoots family member breaking into home: The folks that love stats about people killing family members will ignore the fact that this was justified, and not an accident.
Deputies were told that an irate family member, Reed, armed with a gun was attempting to force entry into the home. Reed broke the glass from the back door in an apparent attempt to enter the home, deputies say, and was shot by the homeowner. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cops are investigating, but they believe the shooting was justified. Just because you know someone, doesn't mean that they can't be a threat. Ask anyone who ever had a violent ex. In this case it looks like Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Media Bias? What Media Bias?

Oh, that media bias. The anti-Israel bias.

So this is what the NYSlimes had to say. Israeli Airstrikes Kill Militants in Gaza - NYTimes.com
Israeli airstrikes killed up to 10 Palestinians, most of them militants, in the Gaza Strip on Friday and early Saturday, and militants fired barrages of rockets at southern Israel in the worst cross-border fighting in months.
Makes is sound like those poor Palestinians were reacting, not acting.

Here is a slightly different twist on events. Iron Dome intercepts 3 rockets as barrage cont... JPost - Defense
The IAF struck three targets in Gaza overnight Friday in response to the rocket attacks from the Strip earlier in the day that left at least eight people injured.
Interesting turn of events there.

So why is it that the Western Mainstream Media always leads with Israel's reaction and almost never covers the on-going rocket attacks coming from Palestine. And don't even bother trying to find out who is paying for those rockets or where they are manufactured or how the components are shipped in. That doesn't qualify as news in the West.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Grimm



Not sure why Grimm hasn't gotten more of a following. Creative team behind Buffy and Angel and The X-Files. Sure, not every episode has been great, but it is a good show. Must be the time-slot.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Of Course He Shot an Intruder in His Home

Everyone is crying how the poor, misunderstood home-invader got shot. Of course he got shot. DA Must Decide Whether To Press Charges In Slinger Shooting - Milwaukee News Story - WISN Milwaukee

So there is a raucous party next door, and you call the cops to complain. The cops show up and bunch of underage-party-goers hoping to avoid being arrested run. This one runs, and doesn't stop until he is inside an enclosed porch. What is the guy in the house supposed to think. Someone from that loud raucous party - who may or may not know who called the cops - has just broken into his home. Be fair, what would you do? Offer the guy a snack?

For all he knows this person is there to exact a penalty for his calling police. He is probably drunk and maybe on drugs. He doesn't know. All he knows is that a stranger is in his home.

This is a tragedy on many levels, but that doesn't mean the homeowner did anything wrong.

A Restraining Order Cannot Protect You

If you need a restraining order, you need a plan for your personal safety. Shooter identified as Grapevine man, 57 | News | Grapevine Courier

She moved out January 2nd, filed for divorce on the 4th and was granted a temporary restraining order on the 12th. On Friday he was notified of the date of the final divorce hearing. On Saturday he shot her and her friend outside a restaurant, and then himself. He died at the scene, the 2 women he shot are alive, though one was seriously injured. (Police aren't saying who.)

A gun may not have prevented this, but it is clear that the system can't do anything.
"There's nothing we can do to prevent behavior like this," [police spokesman Sgt. Robert] Eberling said in reference to a shooting in a public area. "It would be different if this was a stranger randomly shooting at people, but it was just by chance that the shooter picked that parking lot."
Police are not your body guards. A restraining order is a piece of paper. If you are really in fear for your safety, you need a plan. This isn't blaming the victim; the only one to blame is dead by his own hand. It is just a realization that "The System" can't guarantee your safety.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Musical Interlude


Shawdows - by Lindsey Stirling. (Stolen Shamelessly from Curses, Foiled Again.)

Would They Wait a Year to Charge You?

Or do cops get to play by a different set of rules? Cop Accused Of Calling In Fake Bar Fight To Escape DUI Arrest � CBS Chicago
the Niles officer stopped the off-duty Dailey for speeding and failing to stop at a red light, McCarthy said. The suburban officer suspected Dailey was intoxicated, officials said, and Dailey, who announced he was a Chicago Police officer, allegedly admitted he’d been out drinking.

The Niles officer then told Dailey he couldn’t stay behind the wheel and offered several options of how he could get home, McCarthy said.
None of which involved a ticket or arrest, I might add.

So Dailey (no relation to Daley) agreed to call a cab from a nearby hotel. But apparently that wasn't good enough for him.
Sean Dailey, 33, was apparently hoping the suburban officer who stopped him in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2010, would be asked to respond to the phony brawl at the Cheers bar on Oakton, prosecutors said.

The Niles officer did get called away, assistant state’s attorney Lynn McCarthy said. But en route, the officer’s colleagues relayed on police radio that there was never a fight, so he returned to Milwaukee Avenue where Dailey had been parked. However, Dailey, an 11-year police veteran, was nowhere to be found, McCarthy said
So. Driving under the influence. Speeding. Running a red light. A false 911 call. More driving under the influence. Did I miss anything?

For all of this they waited a year to charge him with anything, and then it was disorderly conduct. No explanation was given about the delay.

Oh, and 10 months after the 1st incident, he was arrested for another DUI. Blood alcohol level was .14; that's few cocktails. Chicago's Finest?

Socialized Medicine Not All It's Cracked Up to Be...

A view from the front-lines, as it were. Let’s just admit it – the NHS is a rotten way of doing things - Telegraph Just go read it for yourself.

Jon Burge and the Midnight Crew from Area 2: Act 2 - the Prosecutors

Certainly not Chicago's "finest." Jon Burge and the Midnight Crew from Area 2 tortured people for years. This much we know. We know they put innocent men in prison, and even on death row, for crimes DNA PROVES they did not commit.

So, did the State's Attorney's office, and in particular the assistants (the front-line prosecutors) during that time know what was going on? They would sometimes be handed beaten or burned suspects with signed confessions. Were they clueless or complicit? I doubt we will ever really know.

Daley (ex-Chicago mayor, ex-assistant-State's-Attorney) says he knew nothing of what was going on, either as a prosecutor or as mayor. Daley denies knowledge of police torture, alleged conspiracy to cover it up - Chicago Sun-Times
Daley is named as a defendant in a civil suit filed by Michael Tillman, who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit, but confessed to only after police tortured him.

Throughout the 49-page document filed in U.S. District Court, Daley repeatedly denies knowing anything about the alleged torture of numerous defendants while he was Cook County state’s attorney and later when he became mayor.
Tilman is one of many people freed in Illinois by Project Innocence.

For those not familiar with the case of Chicago's Area 2, when faced with a high-profile case of rape or murder or whatever, instead of actually doing the police work required, they would grab someone - usually a black someone - and torture them until they got a confession. The Statute of Limitations had expired on the torture, but Burge was convicted on perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice - the conspiracy being on-going - and is serving 4-½ year sentence in federal prison.

Home Invader + Armed Homeowner: What Do You Think Happened?

The neighbors are shocked. Police: Homeowner Shoots, Kills Intruder - Milwaukee News Story - WISN Milwaukee
Police said a Slinger homeowner called the authorities, saying he had shot and killed an intruder at about 2 a.m. Saturday in the 100 block of Kettle Moraine Drive.

Officers said they found a 20-year-old man dead on the homeowner's porch
Neighbor's if not exactly shocked, are surprised to discover that they live in the Real World™ where crime really does exist.
I was astonished. You know, my friend has her hair salon right up here. The kids play in the park. Grandma lives right around the corner and this is just a small town
No, you don't live in Pleasantville. If you are reading this, then you too live in the Real World™ and should be aware that crime isn't something that only happens to "other kinds of people" in "other kinds of places."

As for this story... Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Leap Day - Can't We Get it Right?

OK, we just had leap day. I understand that everyone is confused but it really ISN'T that hard.

We get a leap day in a year as follows:

Every year that is divisible by 4 has a leap day EXCEPT

they are not in years divisible by 100 EXCEPT

they are in years divisible by 400.

So 2012 is a leap year. 2000 was a leap year (divisible by 400). 1900 was not a leap year (divisible by 100 buy not by 400). I know, it won't matter again for 92 years (when 2100 will NOT be a leap year). But it isn't that hard. You would think that the many levels of fact-checking and... oh never mind.

OK, since it was a leap year, there are lots and lots of stories about Roman calendars and Caesar, and certain Popes in the 16th century. But I don't think I've seen one story that got it right. (And that doesn't even consider leap seconds.) END or RANT.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Is there a war on religion in America? 45% Yes, 55% No

From the Orlando Sentinel. America war on religion: Is there a war on religion in America? - OrlandoSentinel.com

The result itself is interesting. Some of the comments are very interesting.
The foundation of this country is individual freedom and liberty. We as citizens, should have the right to make personal and private decisions about our own lives. These decisions should not be dictated by those with differing beliefs.
Some might be considered inflammatory by the aggrieved, so if this kind of thing interests you, click through. Otherwise, you may need to avert your eyes.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

People – Yevgeny Yevtushenko

It's funny what you find surfing the 'net.

The Poem is "People," by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, born in Stalin's Russia the descendant of Ukrainians exiled to Siberia.
No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.

Nothing in them is not particular,
and planet is dissimilar from planet.

And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity
obscurity is not uninteresting.

To each his world is private,
and in that one excellent minute.

And in that world one tragic minute.
These are private.

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.

They are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.

Whose fate is to survive,
But what has gone is also not nothing:

by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.

Whom we knew as faulty, the earth’s creatures.
Of whom, essentially, what did we know?

Borther of a brother? Friend of friends?
Lover of lover?

We who knew our fathers
in everything, in nothing.

They perish. They cannot be brought back.
The secret worlds are not regenerated.

And every time again and again
I make my lament against destruction.
Maybe I have been thinking about death too much lately. My father died over a year ago. My mother over 10 years ago. Friends more recently. I miss them all.