Friday, December 31, 2004

Single-handed Sailing (at its craziest)

B&QTelegraph | News | Yachtswoman reaches halfway point in global race: OK, I sail single-handed, and a lot of people (especially women who let their husbands do all the heavy-lifting around boats) tell me I am crazy. But this record attempt is either brilliant or ridiculous. 72 days of non-stop sailing through treacherous waters. (Icebergs, water temp about 5C, gale force winds)
MacArthur has sailed 13,823 miles of the 26,000-mile course and is currently two days, 12 hours and 11 minutes ahead of the record set by the Frenchman Francis Joyon.
McArthur's 75ft Trimaran, B&Q, is 650 miles SW of New Zealand. [Team Ellen has current status]

Earthquake Relief Funds

A Small Victory has all of the places you can donate to relief funds. Also check the Command Post. (Actually the Command Post link is being updated, the ASV link is not!)

Violent home invasion in Missouri City, Texas

Teen shot during violent home invasion in Missouri City. Two men invade a home - searching for someone who no longer lives there - and shoot a 16 year old kid.
The homeowner told police she heard a loud banging on her door just after 3am. She saw two men and ran to a bedroom to get a gun. By the time she got back into the living room, she told police the men had forced their way inside and shot her 16-year-old nephew.
She fired at the two men (apparently hitting one of them) who fled.

How would this woman have defended herself and her family without a firearm? Even if the two home invaders only had knives, she still needs a firearm for defense. [h/t to KABA]

Thursday, December 30, 2004

UN secrecy: We should stop paying for it

OpinionJournal - The Real World: Your tax dollars may support the United Governments, but don't expect to see an audit of how they are spent. (The governments that make up the UN are not used to operating in the open after all.)
The phone number is 212-963-1234; the Web site is Go ahead, try getting a look at the books, or for that matter any serious audits, let alone the full deliberations of a Security Council that purports to represent the world's people while providing rotating seats to the likes of Syria and permanent veto power to the thugs of Beijing and the antidemocrats of the Kremlin.
The things we need to take the UN to task for includeAs someone out in the blogsphere said recently, the UN is trade organization for governments, and for the most part those governments are not democratic. They are anti-American, and to a large extent they are anti-Semitic. As such, the UN is interested more in promoting governments ahead of the governed. The UN itself is corrupt, and as the misconduct of troops on "peace-keeping" missions attests, it is worse than useless - it is a hazard to the world's population. It is time this organization was let go the way of the League of Nations. [h/t NRA-ILA]

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Geenpeace says: Quake/Tsunami caused by (wait for it) Global Warming

OpinionJournal - Featured Article from Tuesday, December 28, 2004, lets us know the evniromentalists are in fine form.
In an interview with the Independent newspaper in Britain, Stephen Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree." Speaking to the same newspaper, Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper pressed the argument home: "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions."
While on slight firmer (scientific) footing:
Geologists say that groups of giant earthquakes hit Sumatra every 230 years or so. The last quakes there were in 1797 and 1833--and surely not even Greenpeace would blame those on greenhouse gases--and so Sunday's latest quake was more or less on schedule.

Oslo, Norway police not interested in prosecuting rape cases

Aftenposten Norway, Norwegian news in English. They claim there "is no evidence."
Of 170 reported rapes in Oslo and surrounding Akershus, only four resulted in convictions during the last three years, according to a new study.
Apparently the hit TV show "CSI" hasn't made it to Norway yet, so they don't know about DNA evidence.

170 reported rapes... given the way the police deal with rape, why bother reporting them? How many hundreds went unreported?

If a police force in the USA treated rapes in this fashion, they would be sued, and the police chief out on his backside. Is it any wonder that the prison population in Norway is smaller (per capita) than in the US. Rape is hardly a crime in Norway. [h/t KABA]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pre-Bush Terror Timeline

Davids Medienkritik: Takes issue with an article in Spiegel Online, but what is of most interest to me is the timeline (complete with photos) of terrorist attacks in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
  • 1972 Munich
  • 1988 Lokerbie Scotland
  • 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
  • 1996 Khobar Towers
  • 1998 Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya
And even this leaves out the hijacking to Entebe, the USS Cole (OK, this was an attack on a military asset, so maybe it isn't terrorism, but it was an attack on the US), etc.

So when the left says, the world was full of peace (and goodwill toward men, no doubt) before GW was in office, ask them what they are smoking.

Gun Control Lies in San Francisco

"Gun Control: True Lies in San Francisco" by Howard Nemerov. When the truth won't do, use lies - seems to be Standard Operating Procedure for gun banners. They claim the murder rate in Washington D.C. is 9.4, while the actual murder rate in Washington D.C. is 46.2 per 100,000 - this is a city that bans guns outright.
A key gambit of gun banners is the judicious use of misapplied statistical data. In the above quote, the writer referenced FBI crime data that covers metropolitan areas.

The mythical “9.4 incidents per 100,000 people” for “Washington, D.C.” includes residents of five Maryland counties, 17 in Virginia, and two from West Virginia. This report is also the source of the stated rate for the SF metropolitan area, which includes only two additional counties: Marin and San Mateo.
Both Virgina and West Virgina allow concealed carry, and have much lower crime rates than D.C.

Why do they lie? Why do they not want to admit that gun control doesn't work to combat crime? But then it isn't about crime control, it is just about control period. [Thanks to Keep and Bear Arms] linked to OTB Traffic Jam

Bill to give British householders more power to tackle intruders

Telegraph | News | Tories launch Bill to give householders the power to tackle intruders. Seems to be a good step forward for the rights of British citizens.

But the British are still disarmed, so it waits to be seen how effective this change will be.

And the currnet government seems to be split on the issue. (A certiain Lord Goldsmith defended the rights of burglars in a recent interview.) If the government opposes the change in the law, it likely will not pass - before that government is voted out of power.

Sydney-to-Hobart Race: Update

The Age reports Nicorette leads, Konica Minolta retires from the Sydney-to-Hobart race.

Skandia, the boat that had lead early-on, withdrew and called for rescue.
The decision to leave the yacht [Skandia] came seven hours after skipper Grant Wharington sent out radio distress call after a snapped hydraulic ram left the keel jammed to starboard.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Skandia has capsized, after losing its keel. The SMH has a great photo of Skandia before it retired - notice the dolphin playing next to the boat.

Konica Minolta withdrew from the race after a large wave damaged the craft.
Konica Minolta lasted six hours longer before skipper Stewart Thwaites officially retired the yacht about 8am after a massive wave damaged the keel tower and the top of the cabin.
The conditions of the race are severe:
[T]hunderstorms, freezing temperatures and 35 knot south-westerlies carrying squalls of up to 50 knots takes the total number of retired boats to 42.
The ninety-foot Nicorette leads, with the 66ft AAPT in second place

Nicorette was also likely to both win outright, and to win based on handicap; the first yacht to do both since 1987.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Best of Me Symphony #56

Best of Me Symphony is available for your review.

Quote of the Day

Winston"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

--Winston Churchill

Remember this when the subject of Social Security reform comes up.

Sydney to Hobart Race - for any sailors out there

Giant fish leaves Wharington reeling - Sport - Skandia, last years winner, stopped to check damage from the collision with a sunfish (about the size of a double-mattress), ceding the lead to Konica Minolta. Grant Wharington, skipper of Skandia, said they could do with some speed, and that the steering is a bit 'funny'.

A sport that still values sportsmanship:
Competition is tough in a Hobart race, but Konica Minolta proved that camaraderie between sailors is stronger.

"Skandia stopped to check any damage to the rudder and when Konica saw them stopped, they radioed and asked if they were OK," [a race spokesman] said.

It was only when Skandia radioed back an all clear that Konica Minolta continued her charge towards Hobart. The 30-metre super-maxi climbed to a lead of 9.6 nautical miles over Skandia by 11pm last night after 34 hours of racing.
These boats are built to go fast, not take a pounding. Then again, every skipper has a legal obligation to render assistance to a vessel in need - unless doing so would endanger your own ship. These guys are several hundred miles off shore, and this race has a history of tragedy. (1998, 70 of 115 boats "withdrew," which means that they didn't complete the race, 5 boats sank, and several people died.)

The photo is of the boat in 4th place, AAPT.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

California hears pitch to revamp electoral votes

Chicago Tribune | California hears pitch to revamp award of electoral votes. CA to hear proposal similar to what Colorado turned down.
[T]wo Republican state legislators are trying to change the status quo by ending California's winner-take-all system and replacing it with one that would award electoral votes proportionate to the popular votes received.
Breaking CA's electoral votes would make it almost impossible for a Democrat to win the White House, which is why it will never happen.

Social Security - a pyramid scheme if ever there was one

reasonablenut has a post on Social Security that reflects my thinking - get rid of it.

Every one is always going on at how "successful" this program is. It is the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth and on average is a regressive transfer - poor people giving money to rich(er) people.

The left will tell you that some percentage of older Americans would live in poverty if not for SS. The fact is many of them would work, or they would live in extended family situations - they way humans have lived for millennia. (The "nuclear family" is after all, a product of the "nuclear age.")

Shooting Sports: Women in Hunting

The Boston Globe has a surprising look at huning. Gun-toting sorority: Women taking aim as game hunters. It is surprising, because it is a fairly neutral (almost positive) story out of the Boston Globe on hunting.
While men often come to hunting as boys or adolescents, the women hunters are often choosing the sport as adults and often take classes to learn the ropes, said Jan Dizard, an Amherst College professor and author of a book on hunters.

"Women, particularly adult women, are much more thoughtful and considerate, and come into hunting with a much clearer ethical sensibility," Dizard said. "I think that's one of the reasons why one sees a decline in the number of accidents."
Following a couple of women hunters, and detailing how they got into the sport, and why they stay. The article is informative, free of bias, well written and interesting.

This article caught my eye, because just the other day - Friday in fact - I was discussing hunting with a friend of mine, and she maintained that she had "evolved" past the need to hunt. She is a vegetarian, so at least she has the courage of her convictions, but I don't see being herbivorous as a sign of evolution. (I didn't spend millions of years getting to the top of the food chain, so I could be a herbivore!) Hunting is neccessary part of wildlife management today given that we have eliminate predators from the ecosystem. The result is huge populations of dear, and the starvation and disease that go with that.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Ex-boyfriend killed during assault

Las Vegas SUN: Ex-boyfriend killed in Sparks during confrontation: A Sparks Nevada man was shot after he broke into his ex-girlfriend's apartment, attacked her and a friend staying with her.
Ketcham was beaten on the head with a metal lamp, police said. The intruder reportedly then attacked the woman, and Ketcham shot him with a handgun.
The abusive ex-boyfriend died of his wounds in the local hospital, Ketcham (the friend staying with the woman) was treated in the hospital for head-wounds.

The ex-boyfriend was apparently causing trouble since the woman took steps to "get a restraining order against her former boyfriend, police said. A restraining order was issued but investigators don't think it had been served yet." Think it would have done any good?

The Las Vegas SUN did everything it could to distort the facts and make the story appear that "guns are bad." If you hit me on the head with a lamp, that is not a "confrontation," as stated in the headline, but an assault - maybe an aggravated assault. The first paragraph states that the ex-boyfriend was shot after he "threatened" the woman and her friend. This may be true, but it is also true, and more to the point, that he was shot after he attacked the woman and her friend. What can you expect from the AP? (Lies and Distortions that's what!) Las Vegas SUN gets a "C" for slanting the news. (At least they reported it, and did include all of the relevant facts.)

Hat tip to Keep and Bear Arms.

Shooting Sports: Helice (rhymes with "police")

Shooter aims for world title
: Matthew Peterson, a 20-year-old college student, competes in a sport that sounds very challenging. It is related to shooting clays and to skeet and trap.
[T]he discs that serve as targets have wings that spin like helicopter blades to simulate the erratic flight of a pigeon.

American rules differ slightly from European, but in general the sport requires that a shooter stand at least 24 meters from a set of green boxes (five boxes in some competitions, seven in others) set in an arc. A white fence stands at least 21 meters behind the boxes.

When the shooter cries "pull," a disc, which has two plastic wings on a white center, is launched from one of the boxes. The shooter doesn't know which box will launch the disc, where it will head or how it will fly. He gets two shots to hit the disc before it clears the white fence.
A clean hit seperates the center from both "wings." [h/t to KABA]

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Battle of the Bulge - What would today's press say?

The Battle of the Bulge, or the Ardennes Offensive happened 60 years ago (December 16, 1944 to January 28, 1945). Yesterday, I selected Major General McAuliffe's response to the German's demand for surrender as the "Quote of the Day." Thinking about the siege of Bastogne, the conditions faced by the American 101st Airborne Division, and the other Divisions who relieved Bastogne and fought in the Ardennes forest, has made me think about the way the war in Iraq is reported today.

The 101st Airborne was surrounded, and cutoff from supplies, and given the bad weather at that time of year supplies could not be dropped from planes.

If something like this happened today, what do you think the press would say about it? I believe the NYT and its followers would call for the 101st to surrender.

In the 6 weeks that this battle raged, American casualties were 81,000 with 19,000 dead. This is in 6 weeks time. What would the US press say about something like this today? "Quagmire" comes to mind. They would probably call for the resignation of every general and DoD official in sight (including the Secretary of Defense) and probably call for an immediate pull-out.

Lieutenant General George Patton had a weather prayer written, 250,000 copies printed on 3 X 5 cards (together with a Christmas greeting on the back) and distributed to everyone in the 3rd Army.
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
This was actually set in motion ahead of the Ardennes Offensive, in the early part of December. Today, George Patton would be sued for violating Civil Rights. I don't know if he would be thrown out of the Army today, but I think the press would hate him (even more than they did in his own time).

CA Resident shoots home invader | 12/22/2004 | Resident shoots, kills home invader. Even in California, you are allowed to defend yourself and your family. (Well as long as you don't live in San Francisco!)
Salinas police are looking for the suspect in a brazen home invasion robbery who got away after his alleged accomplice was shot dead by the homeowner in an exchange of gunfire as three children cowered in other rooms.
The police issued the name and description of the escaped accomplice, even though he is a 15 year-old juvenile, because he is considered "armed and dangerous."

I read several reports of this incident and one thing does bother me; the police seem to want to prove that the victim is in some way tied into this crime. (Motive is being sought...) The victim is not to blame. [Via KABA]

Blogosphere Political Compass

The Zoo: "The Blogosphere Political Compass Project is graphing the political affiliation of bloggers great and small. If you have a blog and would like to be part of the project, follow the link and read on."

It is an interesting project, go take a look and participate if you have a blog.

84 Yr. Old Shoots Home Invader

Elderly victim shoots intruder: Clyde Colley, an 84-year-old man, and his wife are held hostage by home invaders - no, they are not burglars. After he is shot in the leg by a .25 caliber round, he decides he must take action.
So he told the intruders he wasn't feeling well and needed to sit down. The elderly man was then able to get to his gun and fired a shot at Howard, said Hall. That shot missed, so Colley fired again, this time wounding Howard, according to Hall.
The anti-gun crowd will say that things would be better if no one had guns, but if these two criminals showed up with knives and forced their way in, Mr. Colley would not be able to defend himself, and it is not unlikely that both he and Mrs. Colley would be dead. (Assurances that the thieves would leave the couple alive if they did nothing are little more than wishful thinking.)

The anti-gun crowd will say that it is terrible that it is shame a 39-year-old man is dead. I think it is a shame that law-abiding citizens were held hostage in their own home, that an 84-year-old man was shot in the leg, and that he will have to live with the emotional distress of having killed another human being, but I don't think it is a shame that he defended himself, and his wife. I don't think it is a shame that one outlaw is dead, and another is in jail.

Hat tip to Keep and Bear Arms.

Suicide's mom sure someone is to blame - Suicide victim's mom sues Wal-Mart over gun sale.

I wasn't going to comment on this story until I saw Alphecca's take it.

Let's be clear. WalMart is not accused of breaking any law. It is clear they followed the law in selling the firearm. But the mother wants to blame someone. (Not the daughter and not herself.)

The state of Texas (and 37 other states) do not supply mental health records to federal government for use in the National Background Check system because they are considered confidential.

The parents want to hold WalMart accountable (to the tune of 25 million bucks!) for not doing more than the law requires - like checking other database such as prescription drugs - but this is illegal under the 1996 medical privacy law. In short they want to hold someone responsible.

If the daughter was truly a danger to herself why was she not committed? (Do we still do that?) How did she have enough money to purchase a firearm? And if she hadn't purchased a firearm, would she be alive today, or would she have used some other means, such as hanging, car crash, drowning, poison, sleeping pills, etc? Perhaps the mother should sue the state for not providing the health records to the FBI - oh that wouldn't get them $25 million, sorry....

It is impossible to ensure that the world is safe. Even a police state - which I fear we are fast becoming - would not be able to prevent every tragedy. I am sure the parents are distraught, but WalMart is not to blame for this tragedy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


On December 22, 1944 American Major-General Anthony McAuliffe, at Bastogne, was called by the Germans to surrender. His response was wonderful and Simple: "Nuts!"

I guess this qualifies as the "Quote of the Day."

Man in wheelchair defends himself with firearm

Robbery attempt thwarted by homeowner. What would have happened to this man in a "gun free zone?" Would he be injured, or dead?
Lundy informed the officer that he had been sitting in his wheelchair in the garage when he observed a white Lincoln pull into his driveway, turn around and back up to the house. He saw two white males go toward the back of the house.

At that time, someone began kicking the garage door and Lundy backed his wheelchair into a back corner of the garage. Lundy said that the window was knocked out and a black male entered the garage through the hole in the door where the window once was.
3 intruders, one 61-year-old man in a wheelchair, and the great equalizer of firearms. (h/t Civilian Gun Defense Blog)

79 year old homeowner kills intruder - Homeowner shoots, kills intruder in Aldine. In Chicago, and D.C. this elderly man would be defenseless. (And in San Francisco if the powers of the left have their way.)
The intruder, Robert Hinojosa, 19, of the 200 block of Gulf Bank, was shot one time in the abdomen and died later at Ben Taub Hospital, investigators said.
Why does the mayor of Chicago feel this old man should be defenseless? Why does the City of San Francisco? Would the world be a better place today if Hinojosa was still alive and this elderly gentleman dead or injured in an assault?

They say we would be better off if no one had guns. But how is a 79 year old man supposed to defend himself against a 19 year old hoodlum without a firearm? (h/t Civilian Gun Defense Blog)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

10,000 Brits want to be able to defend themselves

Telegraph | News | 'Why should the victims be reasonable?' The Sunday Telegraph continues its campaign to enable British householders to defend themselves.

This letter is typical, and reflects my own thinking:
I am 84 years old. Any burglar is certain to be far more strong and agile than I. In order to have any chance to defend myself and my home, I must have the use of a weapon that can supply the power I have lost.
If you deny people effective means to defend themselves, you deny their right to defend themselves. A 115 pound woman, assaulted by a 230 pound man will have little hope if she does not have access to a firearm - she will be dead or raped or both.

Alphecca's Check on the Bias

Alphecca: Weekly Check on the Bias. Jeff has the weekly check on what the media are up to. Go take a look.

Monday, December 20, 2004

College credit for pole climbing and truck driving?

MSNBC - Utility firms turn to colleges for help: Not only are the educational powers-that-be driving k-12 education into the ground, they are now planning to turn universities into vocational education centers.
Classes began this fall ... covering everything from pole climbing and driving a bucket truck to handling wires and transformers. Students attend for two semesters, and can use the credit toward an associate degree.
Vocational education has its place, I'm not even disturbed if the universities offer the classes, but those classes should NOT count toward an associates degree. As Craig at Heavy Lifting asks, "Is this what we as a society want mid-tier universities to be doing?"

More on the downfall of education in America

I wrote a piece on the insanity that is public education. The Owner's Manual: Beyond Outrage adds more to the discussion.
It's not like we aren't spending enough. New York City has decided $20,000 a year per kid is needed to produce dismal ignorance in the face of $4,000 a year, the tuition for schooling a child in one of the city's parochial schools. A comparison of graduate quality between the two systems starkly favors nonpublic education, as we have come to expect.
In my wildest thoughts, I can't imagine how administrative costs could amount to even $4000 per student. When will we decide enough is enough and put an end to this travesty.

Professor Plum has more to say on NY City and the educational fiasco. The use of untried teaching methods is without excuse. It is not as though we don't know how to teach reading. They were doing a wonderful 150 years ago. It's called phonics. Apparently they school systems are afraid to get in the way of the "Hooked on Phonics" program.

Thoughts on Self-defense

Posse Incitatus has 2 posts on self-defense. Certainly some of the discussion revolves around the revolver/auto-loader debate, but the important aspects are covered.
  • Does the gun fit my hand? While you can change grips to make adjustments, it should not be too large or too small.
  • Can I be accurate with the firearm? (Or as Posse asks, is it easy to shoot?) If you can't shoot a .357 magnum accurately, don't use one. If you don't like shooting it, you won't practice.
  • Is this a reasonable defensive round? I would not want to rely on anything smaller than .380 for defense.
One thing that I think needs more consideration generally is what my likely defensive situation would be, and choose appropriately. (I don't use the same firearm for home defense that I use for concealed carry.)

When I first began using a .357 magnum as my house gun, I lived in an all masonry house in the Midwest. The exterior walls where 6 inches of brick and concrete. My most likely defensive position was in the master bedroom shooting down the hall. There were no windows in my likely target zone and 2 exterior walls (both sides of the garage) behind the target zone. Over-penetration was NOT an issue. If I lived in an apartment with nothing but drywall between myself and the next apartment, I might select a different firearm, and go with the frangible ammunition to avoid shooting in the next apartment.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Iran to execute girls as young as nine for 'moral crimes'.

Telegraph | News | Under Iran's 'divinely ordained justice', girls as young as nine are charged with 'moral crimes'. The multiculturalists are not out in force on this one. Amnesty International is active - as they should be. Is this just a cultural difference I should be "open" to, or is this in fact the evil that looks and smell like?

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said: "This is an urgent case. Hejieh could be killed in the next five days if we do not act quickly. Our members here in the UK are writing to the Iranian authorities, imploring them to stop this brutal execution."

Will letter-writing do any good? I don't know, I suppose Amnesty believes it will, but I am afraid that it won't. Letter-writing, and most non-violent forms of political action are based on the premise that the government or organization you are trying to influence cares about their standing in world opinion. I don't believe that the religious leaders in Iran give a rat's ass about what those of us in the west think. After all, they have "divine law" on their side.
The European Union has said that it is ready to "intensify" political and economic ties with Iran if the Iranian government takes steps to allay international concerns over its involvement in terrorism and the abuse of human rights. But the Islamic administration seems to care more about protecting what many of the religious hierarchy regard as "divinely ordained justice" than achieving fresh political and economic concessions from the EU.
They are immune even to bribery.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Baby survives being ripped from mother's womb

New York Daily News: Baby torn from mom survives.

I am not usually a fan of the death penalty. It is a government program and like so many other government programs, I think it is not run very well, makes too many mistakes and bureaucrats in charge of it forget why it was established in the first place. (Prosecutors are interested in a win, etc.)

But in this case, I just might be convinced. This monster cut an eight-month baby from her 23-year-old mother's womb and left the woman for dead, because she wanted a child of her own. Lethal injection is too good for this monster.

The only good news:
"The child appears to be healthy and in good shape," said Sheriff Ben Espey in Skidmore, Mo., where the crime occurred.

Lisa Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kan., was later charged with kidnapping resulting in death, a federal crime that could carry the death penalty.
And speaking of bureaucrats - the Amber Alert folks deserve to be reminded of why they exist. They would not issue an alert for 9 hours because they couldn't fill out their forms (hair color, eye color). It took pressure from the local congressman to make them do their job. Within an hour, of the Amber Alert being issued, the child was located. Hey, Amber Alert guys... it is about trying to find children, not about eye color. (A premature baby a description of the car was all that was needed.) I don't believe they will learn from this, and they will continue to drag their feet and fill out their forms. (They would rather see a child abducted, than to issue an alert that didn't meet specs.)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Marine Convoy Saved Because of Toy Bear

BLACKFIVE: The Heart of America. An Iraqi girl saves a Marine Convoy from a mine. She knew the patrol it appears because they had given her a toy bear on a prior day. (Via Cowboy Blob)

For the real story from Iraq, check the milblogs.

NY Homeowner Shoots Intruder

Buffalo Homeowner Shoots Armed Intruder: Civilian Self Defense works.
Police say the homeowner probably will not be charged. For one, he is a licensed gun owner, and second, it appears he did nothing wrong.

'If someone came into my house with a gun, I would have done the same thing as him,' said Sgt. Jim Lonergan of the Buffalo Police Department.
The fine people of San Francisco are about to vote to outlaw handguns. Do you think the ciminals will give up their guns? A person in this homeowners position - walks with a cane - would be helpless in San Francisco.

In this Buffalo case, the law-abiding citizen escaped without a scratch, while the armed intruder is in critical condition in the hospital. Hat Tip to Keep and Bear Arms.

Quote of the Day (Some Things Never Change)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.
--Pericles (430 B.C.)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Doctors to deliver baby early due to stabbing

WROC TV NEWS 8 NOW ROCHESTER NEW YORK - Local Story: Argument leads Jerome Graham to stab his pregnant wife in abdomen.
After the stabbing, Tabitha Graham was rushed to Strong Memorial, and the baby was delivered two months prematurely. The baby boy is in serious condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
This monster will probably get a slap on the wrist. (He is charged with assault (2nd degree), not attempted murder.

20 month sentence for stabbing someone 11 times Fletcher man sentenced to up to 20 months in stabbing death. This is ridiculous. Less than 2 years for killing someone is not justice.

How do you stab someone 11 times, and plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter? The judge, the prosecutor, and everyone else involved should be ashamed. Justice is supposed to be blind, not lazy.

Carnival of the Vanities

The Pryhills: Carnival of the Vanities #117 is up at The Pryhills. Go take a look there is some good stuff.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ramdom thoughts from the blogsphere

Geek with a .45 has some thoughts on prejudice.

Hold the Mayo has a few observations about the First Amendment.

Professor Bainbridge waxes eloquent over The Return of the King extended version DVD.

Armed Self-defense Works in Virginia

Robber Gets A Surprise From Potential Victim. A robber ends up the hospital shot in the arm, the leg and the chest.
Hampton Police say it's a case of an armed robber going after the wrong guy. Instead of a Hampton man becoming the victim of an armed robbery, Hampton Police say he turned the tables on his attacker.
The investigation points to this being a clear case of self-defense. [Hat tip to KABA.]

Ben Stein on History, Religion, Literature and Art

The American Spectator has Ben Stein's latest column.

Villainous Company thinks Ben Stein is a Genius. I don't know if I would go that far, but he is a smart guy.
[A]ll human history is the struggle between systems that attempt to shackle the human personality in the name of some intangible good on the one hand and systems that enable and expand the scope of human personality in the pursuit of extremely tangible aims.
Take a look at his other bits of wisdom.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Best of Me Symphony

The current Best of Me Symphony (#54) is available at The Owner's Manual. Some intersting stuff (including from your's truly) is there for your review.

Domestic Violence

The previous post made me curious... just how bad is it? How violent are men? (OK, some men.) The picture painted by a google search is not a good picture.

AP Wire | 12/13/2004 | Man charged with shooting death of pregnant wife (Here we go again.)

2 Girls Injured in Garden City Shooting (Ex-girlfriend and her friend)

Twenty-nine children have been killed by men taking revenge on partners in disputes over access (UK - gun free zone)

Not all of the news is bad...

Police use new powers to arrest 140 for domestic violence (UK -At least they are trying to do something.)

And women have started calling for change around the world

Zimbabwe: Women Activists to Appeal for Domestic Violence Legislation
(But of course the underlying situation is not good)

Grandson shot by Grandfather (in self-defense)

Well after a story about grandsons defending their grandfather, here is one about a grandson threatening his grandfather, and paying the ultimate price.

Daily Home - Apparent family dispute leads to shooting death
"[Martin Benjamin Embry, 24] made several threats over the course of the evening," [Chief Deputy] Kilgore said, "finally telling everyone there that he was going home, and if his wife and daughter weren’t home with him by 9 p.m., he was going to come back and kill everybody there."
When he did threaten his grandfather with a rifle, he was shot once in the chest with a shotgun, and died at the scene.

What is it about some men that make them think they own their wives and children?

Keep And Bear Arms in need of Financial Support

Keep and Bear Arms is a worthy site, but they are having some financial "issues" and hope to raise some money by the end of the year (less than 25,000 dollars are needed).

Good news about political change

Here is basically a good-news article about a foreign country and political change. While they do bring up Ukraine's recent problems, it is only to draw comparisons and show how good things are.Telegraph | News | Reformer wins surprise victory in Romania The election was won by Traian Basescu, a one-time sea-captain, and reformer. The out-going Nastase conceeded defeat in an election seperated by 2 percentage points.
The campaign included Romania's first televised presidential debate, pitting Mr Nastase, a snappy dresser and hunting fanatic but widely regarded as aloof, against Mr Basescu, a former ship's captain who has boosted his popularity with a plain-speaking campaign style.
Sounds familiar - if you believe that Kerry was a hunter, this could be a replay of the US election.

Romania doesn't have a history (except for the past 15 years) of democratic rule. I wonder what the nay-sayers were saying when Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed and shot in a revolution. (Before the Communists, Romania was a monarchy.) Were the same things said, that are being said about Iraq today?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Alphecca's weekly review of media bias

Alphecca has, as always, a top-notch review of what the media is doing with respect to the Second Amendment.

Of particular interest to me is the hatchet job coverage MSNBC had of the deer-rifle-rafle in Lampasas, Texas. Just another attack by the left wing hacks professionals at MSNBC.

Campus Libreals Silence Conservative Professor

Pro-Gun Professor Claims University Denied Him Free Speech -- 12/13/2004. Don't think that liberal control of campuses stifles free speech? Think again.
The issues of gun control and free speech dominate a lawsuit filed by an Oklahoma University geology professor who used a blunt sexual comparison to criticize a pro-gun control newspaper column and later was demoted for that and other perceived transgressions.
Deming believes the letter remained a sore spot for university officials, contributing to their decision to oust him from the Oklahoma University (OU) School of Geology and Geophysics, strip Deming of most of his classes and relocate his office to a basement lab.
The interesting thing is that his letter to the editor generated 25 complaints of sexual harassment from people he never met. How does expressing your opinion in a newspaper letter constitute harassment? Those complaints were just an attempt to silence a voice the liberals didn't like. (All 25 were dismissed.)

Liberals like diversity in everything but in thought. Step out of the liberal line, and they will attempt to crucify you, with any means - including false charges - at their disposal.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Quote of the Day

Oscar Wilde For he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.

- Oscar Wilde, from "The Ballad Of Reading Gaol"

Shooting Sports: Machine Gun Match

Knob Creek, is a small town just outside of Fort Knox. Every year in October, they hold a Machine Gun Shoot and Gun show. Licensed Class 3 gun owners show up for a few days of competition and just plain fun. (Here's some video, more on the site)

To all you moonbats: Fully automatic weapons did not become legal to own with the end of Clinton's gun ban. Fully automatic weapons have always been legal for licensed owners. They are covered under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

British Health Service Refuses to Pay for Cancer Drug.

Telegraph | News | NHS refuses to pay for cancer drug which could extend man's life:
A 41-year-old father of four is being refused treatment with a cancer drug that could prolong his life by several years because it would cost the National Health Service too much.
Oh boy, government controlled health care... I can't wait until we get it in the US. </sarcasm>

Sunday funnies

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: Dangerous Ewe. Sir George over at the Rottweiler Empire, has this take on the insanity in Britain, where police shot a sheep after a "three and a half hour stanoff."
A three-and-a-half-hour "stand-off"?! Holy Jebus, was the bleatin' sheep holding its fleas hostage and threatenin' to dive into the dip? Did the cops think it was on the lamb, or were the first two hours blown in the hope of charging it with soliciting? And what's this part about "believed to have been a white ewe"? Come on Watson; was the sheep white or a subtle shade of, well, black? Was it a ram or a ewe, with five points if you can tell from somewhere in the next county. Sherlock Holmes must be turning over in his grave to read "The Case of the Transvestite Ram with the Bleached Blonde Fleece" or "Scotland Yard stumped by Sesame Street question".
Maybe it just caught me off-guard, but I laughed out loud.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Woman shoots abusive husband

Woman Will Not Be Charged For Shooting Husband: [Original Link has gone - try this link - not the first story on the page]

Don't know how I missed this last week. Hat tip to Liberty Belles.
A woman won't face charges after she shot and killed her husband, who had cut her telephone line and used a shovel to break open her door following weeks of domestic violence.

Joy Burgess, 26, shot Brian Lee Gathings, 29, with a handgun about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. Seconds earlier, he used a short-handle shovel to pry open her back door.
Her mother had the best line: "The restraining order was not worth the paper it was wrote on."

I have had my say on restraining orders or protection orders in other posts. When the police and the courts can't protect you - and they can't protect you - you must protect yourself.

Alma Matter Blogs

It has been a long time since I have been back to University of Chicago. I loved living on the South Side of Chicago, even if it was scary at times. So it was nice to run across some UChicago bloggers.

Amo Amas Amat was the first one I found, and he introduced me to

UChicago Blogs Most are obsessing over finals - the pressure of starting a term in October - couldn't start until after high holidays - and finishing with finals in December - those were the days. (and doing it twice more between January and June... love those quarters)

Chicago was the ultimate geek school. When I was there, the football team was a club. (I am proud to say I never attended 1 football game.) The greek system was struggling with some of the houses having to rent rooms to non-members to cover expenses. I am sure things have changed. (The only rule in our dorm was that you couldn't thow furniture out of the windows. They had problems with this. I am sure this has changed too.)

OK a word on the Latin: "Crescat Scientia, Vita Excolatur" is the offical motto, the unofficial translation - suggested by a friend of mine - is "Learn a lot, You'll be better off." Greek and Latin are still big at U Chicago.

Firearms stop break-in

Observer-Reporter: Grandsons thwart attempted break-in. Two grandsons decide to protect their grandfather after 2 break-ins. They decided to use rifles as their means of defense.
"I could hear him come in. I just waited until he came around the corner. Then my brother turned on the light."

The brothers were armed with rifles. Wallace pulled out a .38-cal. handgun that police later learned had been stolen in Pittsburgh.

"He grabbed my brother's rifle and pulled him down," Reihner said. "I stepped back but kept my rifle on him. I told him to just leave."
No one was shot, and the criminal - implicated in one of the other break-ins - is now in jail awaiting trial. [h/t KABA]

Armed Jews Week

MSNBC - Armed Jews Week: Via AlphaPatriot, we have this post on the true meaning of Hanukkah
[December 10th] is the fourth night of Armed Jews Week, or as it is more popularly known, Hanukkah. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration of the Jewish revolution against Syria in the second century B.C. The Syrian government (a remnant of Alexander the Great’s empire) attempted to wipe out the Jewish religion by forcing the Jews to conform to Greek culture. Some of them refused, and a tiny militia, led by Judah the Maccabee (“the hammer”) began a guerilla war.
The rest of the article is interesting as it covers the rebirth of traditional Jewish military might (started by the Zionists in the 19th Century), and details Jewish involvement in the resistance movement against various parts of the Nazi military machine.
In 1942-43, Jews constituted half of all the partisans in Poland. Overall, about thirty thousand Jewish partisans fought in Eastern Europe. There were armed revolts in over forty different ghettos, mostly in Eastern Poland. ...

[I]n France, Jews amounted to [less] than one percent of French population, but comprised about 15-20 percent of the French Resistance. ...

A young poet named Abba Kovner led the resistance movement known as the Avengers in the woods around Vilna [,Lithuania]. ...

The Avengers were the first partisans in Nazi Europe to blow up a German train.
You can celebrate by buying a commerative, semiautomatic Bren Gun (the MK-IISA) through Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Quote of the Day

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Walt Whitman, from "Song Of Myself"

The horrors examined

Shades of Gray (Umbrae Canarum): A World Considered is a top-notch look at life, and the horror that is reality for many people.
We were just getting into a truck, the folks I was with and I, heading from one church to another in Lubumbashi. As we were starting to drive away, a group of boys started following us (it was a pretty typical game - the kids would run after the cars, trying to catch up). A young lady with us asked the African minister who was guiding us, "how many of them will die?" He responded, in that dry way you relate a fact, "About a third."
It may not be nice to consider these things, but in order to understand something, you must at least look at it objectively.

Migratory birds get a helping hand - Tompkins: Reform act a boost to migratory birds: "You have to figure wildlife-related federal legislation supported by a coalition including the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy and the National Rifle Association has a pretty broad base of support."

Opposed only by animal-rights activists, this reform aims to eliminate non-native, invasive and destructive species in an area. Particularly mute swans in New England. Like most problem species, they are destroying the habitat for native species.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Education or training for government dependence

The Smallest Minority has a rambling, but rather interesting post about the left. While all of it is interesting, a section on the incompetence of public schools sent me searching for one of his references.

Are public schools in America so bad because of incompetence, or is it really by design?

Mrs du Toit Weblog has this quote:
“You can’t make Socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.”
--John Dewey (1859-1952), reformer of the American public school system
Both my parents spent part of their careers in the educational system in America.

My father was an administrator in several districts. At one point, he was principal of school designed using "the Open Concept." This meant that there were no walls between classes. The theory was that students would learn more by hearing other lectures. The reality was that no one learned anything in the chaos. He oversaw the construction of walls.

My mother taught 2nd grade. As far as I was concerned she taught 2nd grade just about forever. This was - at least at the time - the grade where kids really learned to read and write. For years she taught phonics - the method used to teach children to read for centuries I think. But eventually the use of phonics was forbidden, and "whole language" became the current theory. She retired. And of course, we don't write as well as we did. We don't understand as well as we must to face the 21st Century. (For more on the insanity in schools see A Small Victory.)

When Ken Burns' Documentary The Civil War was first played, I was amazed by the letters written by privates - farmers, farm-hands, laborers - home to their wives, mothers, sweethearts. Those farm-boys could write. So why is it that Americans can't write today? Is it just incompetence? Or did Dewey know what he was talking about?

Did the designer's of the Open Concept really believe that learning could take place in that environment? Or was the chaos part of the design?

Why do we no longer teach history? (Civics or Social Science is NOT history.) So that we can be doomed to repeat it? So the failures of the left in Soviet Russia, China, Cuba, et al don't need to complicate matters for the left? Why does no one remember that Nazi is short for National Socialist Party? The left, after all, controls a big piece of the educational machinery in this country.

Why was phonics forbidden? Was it just to increase the market of Hooked on Phonics, or was it to ensure that large sections of the population could not read? Or could not read well enough to succeed in America - and therefore become dependent on the government and all those programs the left loves?

Why was discipline removed from the school system? To make it better? Safer? A more welcoming learning environment? Most urban schools are akin to war zones.

We spend something like $10,000 to 13,000 per student in large urban school districts. Small private schools might spend 7 or 8000. With 50% (or more) additional resources, shouldn't they do a better job? (If I bought a car, and you bought one costing 50% more I hope you got a better car.) As somebody pointed out, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

I am not quite ready to sign up for the conspiracy theory, but we need to judge programs and institutions by the results they produce not by the intentions of their architects. "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." If something is not working - it needs to be changed. If something is working, we need to do more of it. The current educational regime is not working. We need to go back to the basics. Reading, Writing, Math, History, Geography, Science.

Gasoline station attendant wounds robber Gasoline station attendant wounds robber, police say. Being armed was not only a good defense, it may have put an end to a string of robberies in the Boston area.
A gasoline station attendant shot a would-be robber several times last night after pulling his own gun on two men attempting to hold up the Mystic Avenue station, police said.

Both suspects fled after the attendant fired at them, police said. One of the men, whose identity was not released last night, collapsed fewer than 100 yards down the street.

He was arrested and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with bullet wounds to his torso. His condition was not known last night. A handgun police say was used in the attempted robbery was recovered from the wounded man.
Police believe the shooting to self-defense, but it may still be that the attendant is charged with a crime. (Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!) [hat tip to Civilian Defense Blog]

500 Songs

Well this is what I get for reading A Small Victory all the time. It seemed like a good idea, and it is making me listen to my entire CD collection, but I miss my vinyl... In case you missed it, Zendo is the name of my boat - a 37 foot sailboat. Turntables just don't work very well on the water, and truth to tell, I needed a new one anyway. (Mine was Phillips Belt drive circa 1979. Near top-of-the-line in its day.) And I just can't see spending the money on Linn Sondek transcription deck, tonearm and cartridge. All together I think it would about 2 grand. And my mantra before I moved aboard was "simplify." The vinyl went to a library, along with most of the books.

Anyway, my list is far from complete. (And I need to find a better home for it, but...)

Accidental gun deaths

Keep and Bear Arms has an article stating that accidental gun deaths are at an all time low. Since this is a news release from a firearms-industy news group, I was sure that many of the "gentle readers" on the left would have a hissy-fit.

Unfortunately, you have buy National Safety Council statistics, so I can't link to their site for the real deal, but here is sample of what's around the web. Given the time of year, the stories are of hunting safety.

The L.A. Daily News reports,
Hunting safer than golf? Despite the recent incident in rural Wisconsin, when a deer hunter allegedly killed other hunters in a dispute over access, hunting remains one of the safest sports, according to data from the National Safety Council and other sources.

Accidental hunting fatalities due to firearms are at their lowest levels in history. In the past 10 years, the rate has declined by 50 percent. ...

Data from the National Safety Council shows out of every 100,000 football players, 2,369 were injured or killed in 2001 compared to only six out of 100,000 hunters in all of North America, according to the International Hunter Education Association.
The Detroit Free Press reports the following.
In 2002, the last year for which the shooting federation has figures, 17.9 million people went hunting more than once, and 850 of them suffered injuries from weapons that required hospital emergency room treatment. Eighty-nine of those injuries were fatal.

That's a national injury rate of rate of .000047 percent and a fatality rate of .000005 percent

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Gun Raffle Update

3 Straight Shooters Do Their Part for the Children.

This is the same school district I discussed in School raffles gun, since "Bake sales are a thing of the past."

"First prize in the raffle is a Kimber rifle, [8400?] a Leupold scope and two boxes of ammunition, together valued at $1,300." While, "Second prize is a Marlin Ducks Unlimited .22-caliber rifle."

I couldn't find a report of how much they raised - the raffle was today at noon - but the LA Times did report that, "The original 10,000 tickets Ellison ordered have already been sold. She has ordered an additional 2,000." At a dollar per, or 25 for $20 this is a healthy bit of money raised.

This is being done to build a fence to keep a sexual predator off a junior high school campus.

Update: The Smallest Minority tells me that the rifle is a Kimber 84M in 7mm-08. MSNBC did a hit-piece on the raffle. The Smallest Minority wrote about it here.

Another bill Congress did not read

SayUncle believes that it is pathetic Congress voted on (another) bill they did not read.
Congress members voted 336 to 75 on the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. The 3,000 page document was passed without a final copy made available.
Who is running this country if our elected officials don't see a problem with voting on bills they have never read? What are they so damn busy doing all year that they can't take time on the 2 initiatives that need attention: the budget and intelligence reform.

To all you Congress Critters out there - we can do without all the feel-good resolutions. Do your damn job or go back to your district.

Project Safe Neighborhoods or Pork?

2 gunsMuch has been written (Chicago or Tennessee for example) about the fact that explicit funding for Project Safe Neighborhoods is not included in this years budget. A Google News search turned up over 250 articles on the subject. But it is clear that Pork-barrel politics is alive and well

In case you haven't been paying attention to gun crime initiatives, Project Safe Neighborhoods dedicated some number of federal prosecutors to handle federal gun crime. Say a convicted felon is caught (recidivist) with a firearm during a crime. This can either result in little time in state court or 10 or 15 or 20 years in federal prison - which is not someplace your family can usually get to for a Sunday visits, since it will be somewhere like South Dakota. It has been very successful in several areas.

The Justice Department maintains that there is enough money in its general fund to support this initiative, but most people feel that it should have been left in the budget.

But why did Congress cut funding (or appear to anyway) for a very successful anti-crime program while explicitly funding the following (a very abreviated list!):

  1. The Baseball Hall of Fame - $450,000
  2. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - $350,000
  3. Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum - $200,000
  4. Alabama Sports Hall of Fame - $35,000
  5. Country Music Hall of Fame - $250,000
  6. Grammy Foundation - $150,000
  7. Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame - $75,000
  8. etc. etc. etc.
Best bet seems to be to start a Sports or Music Hall of Fame. (Greater Syracuse?)

This would be funny if it didn't cost so much money. (That's your money and my money by-the-way.)

Northern Ireland Peace Dies over "Guns Are Bad" misconception

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, are expected to concede in Belfast today that another Northern Ireland peace process initiative has ended in frustrating failure.

I guess the Unionists have their reasons, but the death of the peace in Northern Ireland seems to be predicated on the idea that guns are bad.

Certainly guns (and bombs) have done horrible things in Northern Ireland, but why should anyone need to be disarmed? The South was not disarmed at the end of the War Between the States, and peace held. Certainly guns were used in horrible crimes, but the peace between north and south held, even though the battles waged in that war were horrible by today's standards.

But England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are all working under the idea that "Guns are Bad," and that peace cannot be had if one side or the other stays armed. The truth is that a gun is an inanimate object. To invest it with moral qualities is ridiculous. Are cars bad? (How many die every year?) Are toasters bad? Are swimming pools bad? Good or Bad is in the use to which the objects are committed.

An armed population is capable of living in peace. (The Swiss come to mind.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Equivocation at the UN, while 350,000 die.

SudanTribune articles : news, opinions, official press-releases and reports: Double-talk and outright lies at the UN are covering up the genocide in Darfur. "350,000 have died and another 30,000 die every month," and nothing is being done to stop it. Talk by Annan and Co. is of Cease-fire violations, and trivial concerns, while what is happening is genocide.
Ultimately, the "moral equivalence" that has emerged from various pronouncements by Annan and Pronk is a sign of capitulation, a refusal to judge Khartoum's actions or those of the Janjaweed except in the context of a morally bankrupt "neutrality." ...

This is the inevitable culmination of a steadily weakened series of UN Security Council resolutions, which collectively represent a policy of appeasement. Indeed, Resolution 1574 (November 18, 2004) was so utterly inconsequential in speaking of Darfur's catastrophe that Khartoum publicly and enthusiastically welcomed this international 'response.'
If the UN cannot act in cases of genocide (350,000 dead is not a cease-fire violation!), then when can it act? When will it act? And if it will not act, why does it exist?

The In-Security Council

OpinionJournal - Featured Article. Another stab at the Useless Nitwits. In this day and age, any organization that is NOT willing to denouce terrorism should be disowned. Not only has the UN not denounced terrorism (the anti-Israel lobby loves the terrorists), but it has been unable to stop human rights abuses (and has even been responsible for a few itself).
The Dishonor roll

• Failing to enforce 17 resolutions against Saddam, tolerating his ejection of U.N. weapons inspectors, and even enabling him to stay in power by looking the other way as he exploited Oil for Food.

• Failing to use U.N. peacekeepers already in place to stop the Rwanda genocide in 1994, and, worse, handing over thousands of Bosnian Muslim men for slaughter by the Serbs at Srebrenica in 1995.

• Failing to act in Kosovo in 1999, amid the threat of a Russian veto, leaving NATO the task of preventing a bloody civil war on European soil.

• As recently as this year, failing to stop the massacre of African Muslims in Sudan's Darfur province.

• And failing even to bring up for formal debate, let alone action, North Korean and Iranian violations of non-proliferation agreements.

We could go on, but the point is that anyone who wants to solve a global problem knows not to take it to the U.N. The French jumped into the Ivory Coast on their own, asking the Security Council for its blessing only after the fact. Rather than facilitate "coalitions of the willing," the Council with its vetoes has become a body that thwarts them. We suspect the Security Council is now beyond saving, since the French and Russians are hardly going to give up their veto prerogatives, however outdated in terms of their ebbing global clout.

At some time the return on investment in the UN is negative (aren't we there already?) and the thing should be let die, to be replaced by something better.

Robber wants more than money - gets shot

ONN. Ohio News Now: Clerk Shoots Robbery Suspect. After getting the money, the robber ordered the clerk - a woman - out from behind the counter. Not wanting to victimized, she shot him.
"Once he ordered her from behind the counter, she had no idea what he was thinking... what he was planning on doing or anything like that. So, she just defended herself with the gun," said Franklin County Sheriff's Detective Drew McEvoy.

The clerk was not facing any charges Sunday night. Thompson was still hospitalized for a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. He was facing robbery charges.
Exactly what she should have done, since he was thinking of more than just money. Money is not worth a life. Rape, beating and murder - all of which were a possible outcome if she came out from behind the counter - justify self-defense.

What would you have done? [Thanks KABA]

Journalists need to explore their blind spots

Beacon Journal | 12/05/2004 | Journalists `blind' to areas of society. Two photographs of deer kills sparked a controversy in Ohio.

Journalists don't understand a great deal of this society, and so it gets ignored and trivialized. Anything they are not interested in must be stupid. But for one editor, the photographs, "represented token coverage of one of the paper's 'blind spots,' those areas that have achieved popularity in American society but have gained almost no foothold among journalists."

This is credited, in part, with the decline of newspaper readership. Why should I read a paper that doesn't cover the sports I am interested in, or covers stories with a bias I can see a mile away?

But do you really think that Journalists will change their ways, and try to investigate those parts of society fairly? (If they go into the story with the idea that all "these people" - hunters, NASCAR fans, etc. - are stupid, how do you think the story will come out.) [H/T to NRA-ILA]

Monday, December 06, 2004

Yes, Virginia, Violent Crime really is worse in Canada and the UK

If you look at the crime rate (not just the gun-crime-rate) Neither Canada nor the UK look so good.

Canadian Statistics: Violent crime in 2003 was 962.8 per 100,000 people.

UK Crime Statistics: Violent crime in 2002/2003 was 1904 per 100,000 people. (See table 3.05) This is not over 2 years. The British Crime Survey does not follow calendar year reporting. 2001/02 saw a rate of 1536 per 100,000 people.

US FBI Crime Stats: Violent Crime in 2003 was 457.0 per 100,000 people. (or there is a spreadsheet)

[Thanks to TriggerFinger for the Canada info.]

Useless Nitwits: Iran Nuclear Inspections a Farce

Lack of "unrestricted access" hindering UN nuclear inspection of Iran.

For once I agree with Emperor Darth Misha over at the Rottwieler Empire. Inspecting only what the Iranians will let the UN inspect... it is worse than no inspections. (This does at least give the appearance of doing something - even if they are doing actually nothing.)

The key to this issue: "The problem is that access is often restricted."

So the UN agreed to only inspect what the Iranians will permit. How stupid can you be? I guess if you are a Useless Nitwit from the UN, pretty stupid, or as Emperor Misha says
In the meantime, the Useless Nitwits and their EUnuch supporters are having collective orgasms over their "diplomatic breakthrough".

The rest of us, that is to say those of us with a brain, are waiting for the shoe to drop. Hard.

Wake up and smell the Kofi - scandal News - Opinion - Such a parcel of rogues in the United Nations: This reads like rural Republican wrote it. I usually only quote the Scotsman to show what insanity is going on across the pond. I may have to change my opinion of the paper.
The real scandal is that the UN was not discredited and dissolved many years ago: there is no organisation in the world more hypocritical, greedy and power-hungry (although the European Union is coming up fast on the outside lane). Insofar as the United Nations has any significance, it is as a sinister template for future World Government. Its strength has been to exploit the guilt complex of western citizens, posing as a vehicle of material improvement for poor countries and as a forum of world ‘peace’, while cynically pursuing its supremely selfish agenda. Naïve young people who have never been exposed to religion embrace the UN’s secular, one-world, brotherhood-of-man cant as a substitute.
A detailed account of the Kofi Scandal - which I won't go over - follows. Suffice it to say, he stole money, his friends stole money, his son stole money.
Why is anybody surprised? Graft and corruption is the leitmotif of the United Nations. Soldiers of the UN peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone were accused by Human Rights Watch of systematic rape of women. In Bosnia, UN police stand accused of trafficking in young women from eastern Europe as sex slaves. Staff of UN relief agencies and peacekeepers have similarly been denounced for sexual abuse of refugee children in Liberia and Guinea. On October 28 this year, a report from the UN’s in-house watchdog revealed that Kofi Annan had personally dismissed the claims by an American woman staff member of sexual harassment at the hands of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, overruling the findings of an independent UN investigative panel that endorsed the allegations.

Human rights is another great UN shibboleth. Yet its interpretation of this subject is eccentric, to say the least. The repeated re-election of Cuba to a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission epitomises the moral tone. The Castro régime, since 1959, has imprisoned more than 100,000 people and shot 16,000. Never say the UN apparatchiks lack a sense of humour. So far as western ‘progressive’ opinion is concerned, the only human rights abuse ever to have taken place in Cuba was in the Guantanamo Bay compound.
The sex abuse and sexual slavery charges are most distressing. Why are these not being discussed in the MSM? Why are they being hidden? And if caught, the perpetrators are "sent home." What a punishment. (Go to your room!)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Zendo is on the move

Zendo - a 37' sailboat will be on the move. (And by extension so will Zendo Deb) See you next week.

(Not my boat - the marketing photo.)

UPDATE: December 6, 2004 - Zendo is nestled in her new berth. Still in the greater Tampa Bay area. (When you get tired of a place, you pull in the lines and take off.)

Weasels Council Has Spoken!

Watcher of Weasels: The Council Has Spoken!: "The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are:"

John Kennedy, a Man for Our Time. by The Sundries Shack. This is a look at JFK through quotes he made, and the way they fit the world today. (A hard look at where the Dems have gone over the years.) This was the Council winner

And the non-Council winner:

A Failed Revolution. by Iraq the Model. An interesting look at the formation of the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party by an Iraqi blogger.

Update Dec. 6, 2004: the complete set of posts.

The Watcher's Council ... per the Watcher's instructions, you can submit a post for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Precision Guided Humor Round-up: Legacy Media Distortions

The Alliance: Precision Guided Humor Round-up: Legacy Media Distortions. Evil Glenn is exposed in so many ways in the Alliance of Free Blogs look at what the media will be reporting for the holidays.

Instapundo Delenda Est!

Scots Gun Crime - Rising Every Year News - Latest News - Gun Crime - Rising Every Year In the face of violent crime that has doubled since 1998, police in Leeds say, “We have to work to reassure people." How about working to reduce crime?

Letting the people defende themselves is right out! Gun control hasn't worked, so let's do more of it. (One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing, and expect different results.)

NBA player escapes felony charge - NBA - Nuggets' White pleads guilty to firearms charges. White will plead guilty to 2 misdemeanors, and escape the felony charge.

Since I think the D.C. law is wrong, I don't feel bad about the sentence, but I do wonder what would have happened to someone other than a celeb? [Thanks KABA]

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Scots advised to be passive in the face of crime News - UK - So what do you do when your home is burgled? Dr. Ian Stephen advises the Scots to do nothing when confronted by crime.
In most cases the best form of defence is always avoidance. If this isn’t possible, act passively, be careful what you say or do and give up valuables without a struggle. This allows the victim to take charge of the situation, without the intruder’s awareness, through subtle and non-confrontational means. People can cooperate but initiate nothing. By doing nothing there is no chance of inadvertently initiating violence by saying something such as "Please don’t hurt me".
Saying that "avoidance" is the best "defense" is dangerously close to blaming the victim. (You need to practice your rapist avoidance, your gay-basher avoidance, your psycho-ex-spouse avoidance,...) I'm sorry but a "burglar" who is in my home when I am home is a home invader, and I will treat them accordingly.

I feel sure that Dr. Ian has never faced a rapist, or a gay-basher. Someone in my home while I am there I will assume is the former, and they will be treated accordingly (see my idea of self-defense). Given that Scotland has the same law as England - defend yourself and you will land in jail - Dr. Ian's line is nothing more than the party line. What does he suggest be done when the "burglar" turns violent, or if the person is more interested in violence than burglary to begin with? What then Dr. Ian? Call 999 (the British version of 911) and pray the police get there in time? [Thanks to NRA-ILA]

Mosque used as bomb factory | Troops find bomb factory, al-Zarqawi lieutenant: "Iraqi ... soldiers had discovered a 'chemical bomb' factory in Fallujah."

This story seems to have been buried by most of the media.
The main prayer building in the Saad Abi Bin Waqas Mosque contained 'small arms, artillery shells, heavy machine guns, and anti-tank mines,' the statement said. Other buildings in the compound 'had mortar systems, rocket propelled grenades, launchers, recoilless rifles and parts of surface-to-air weapons systems,' it added.
The troops seem to have also captured an Al Zarkawi lieutenant, Abu Saeed. [Thanks to Michelle Malkin, for reporting on a similar article.]

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

25 Year Anniversary of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

In case you weren't feeling old... Thanks A Small Victory.
Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the
promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue
"And the worms ate into his brain."

Labor Unrest in China

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Unrest threatens China's cheap labor. Hmm, a communist people, disgusted with the "official union" (which is really a part of management), stage work disruptions and other labor actions to gain benefits and freedom. Sounds like Poland in 1980.

Maybe free trade really does breed other freedoms. Solidarity anyone?

Big Brother wants to watch students

The New York Times > Education > Federal Plan to Keep Data on Students Worries Some "A proposal by the federal government to create a vast new database of enrollment records on all college and university students is raising concerns that the move will erode the privacy rights of students."

The good news is that Congress would have to pass a law voiding some privacy protections. This is a bad idea - if you agree write your representatives and voice your opinion. [Thanks KABA]

P.S. Check out the Linkfest over at Outside the Beltway.

Where do Criminals Get Firearms?

Justice Department Study Shows 79 Percent of Criminals Obtained Firearms From Illegal Sources " The DOJ study refutes the conventional wisdom that guns used in criminal acts are purchased at retail stores or gun shows."

Of course "coventional wisdom" is propogated by the anti-gunners.
Inmates serving time in state prisons said they obtained their guns from the following sources in percentages:

Purchased from a retail store 8.3%
Purchased at a pawn shop 3.8%
Purchased at a flea market 1.0%
Purchased at a gun show 0.7%
Obtained from friends or family 39.6%
Obtained on the street/illegal source 39.2%

The percentage of inmates who bought their guns from a retail store fell from 21 percent in 1991, when the last such survey was conducted to 14 percent. At the same time the percentage who obtained their firearms from family or friends rose from 34 percent in 1991 to 40 percent.

Sources: US Department of Justice, National Security Institute, National Association of Chiefs of Police
And although the article doesn't cover this, at least some of the weapons purchased in retail establishements would have been purchased legaly - before the inmate had a criminal record. [Thanks KABA]

Dear Abby meets the cold hard truth

Serenity's Journal: She Get's Paid for This? Serenity's Journal offers some hard truth to Dear Abby writers.
Don’t you mean STUPID in Virginia?

What parent allows their 16 year old daughter to attend a frat party where there are college aged boys and kegs of beer? And please stop playing the victim role and pushover because all you’re doing is teaching your daughter to do the same...which is why she ended up at a frat party getting so loaded she didn’t have enough sense to fricken leave.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Brit arrested for carrying a Swiss Army knife

The London Telegraph Reports on more British insanity. The policeman found my penknife. 'You're going down, mate,' he said. "As I lifted the lid I pointed out to them a Victorinox Swiss multi-tool, contained in a small webbing case," and his troubles began. I hate to think what a terrorist could do with a corkscrwew!
The community support officers reacted immediately. They behaved as if they had never seen a penknife before, pulling out the bottle-opener, the corkscrew, the thing that gets stones out of horses' hooves. "This device has a locking blade," said the constable. My goodwill towards the police began to give way to alarm. I reached for my mobile to call the lawyers and explain that I was going to be late but the constable stopped me. "Turn that phone off," he said. "You're about to be arrested for possessing offensive weapons and carrying a bladed instrument in public. You'll be allowed one call when we get you to Charing Cross police station."
If this is the way the police are spending their time, it is no wonder that crime in Britain is out of control. [Thanks to KABA]

Quote of the Day

Patrick Henry“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

Those Wascully Weasels are at it again

Winter WeaselAs you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council (at Watcher of Weasels) hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around...

Last week I submitted Voters Matter - why we need a populist approach to equality (I didn't win, of course). I did really like the non-council winning post, Rules of Engagement.

Per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Man stabbed 2 relatives with carving knives Man stabbed 2 relatives with carving knives, police say. I think we need turkey control.
When Frank Palacios used his fingers to grab a piece of Thanksgiving turkey, Worcester police said, a nephew piped up to correct his table manners: ''Uncle Frank, can you please use your utensils?"

Palacios did, police said, but he used two carving knives to stab two family members.

Hate Crimes: What happened to Equal Before the Law?

gay flagJustice Shouldn't Be Tilted by 'Hate Crimes' a thoughtful article in the LA Times (of all places) discusses the murder of Mathew Shepard, and "the notion that anyone is safer, freer, wiser or more generous in spirit because some murders might be defined as worse than murder, some victims considered special, and some perpetrators punished more harshly — all on the basis of something as measureless as hate."

Drugs and alcohol were heavily involved and one of the attackers beat up someone else in almost the same way he beat up Shepard on the way to burgle Shepard's apartment. Was it a hate crime, or just a vicious crime? Does it matter?

Assault and murder are both horrible acts, both illegal, and both deserving of punishment. They are not more horrible when a gay dies, they should not be subject to different penalties.

The inequities that are the result of this kind of separating of victims are illustrated by another case in the same locale.
A third awful occurrence in Laramie should have drawn bright circles around the inequities of that kind of treatment. In January 1999, Henderson's [one of the attackers] mother, Cindy Dixon, was found dead. She had been raped and struck and left in the snow to die. No powerful advocates spoke for her. She was likely to come to a bad end, people said, what with the drinking and the men, and then her son….

Nobody took the measure of hate. By the time the Dixon case was wrapped up, they weren't even talking murder. A man pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and the same judge who sent Dixon's son to prison forever sentenced her killer to four to nine years. He got out last year.
If some murders are to be seen as worse than others, then some people will be killed at a discount. Where is the Justice in that? [Thanks to Right Side of the Rainbow.]

Friday, November 26, 2004

Christmas Wish List

Remington title
Remington 700 BDL

If only it were in the budget for this year.... Chambered in 300 Remington Ultra Mag, with high quaility scope for 1000 bucks or less. Of course I would also need a case, and reloading equipment, and a chronograph, and ....

Of course if I am going to make a wish, I should go for broke. Lazzeroni chambered in 7.82 (308) Warbird, or 8.59 (338) Titan.

Lazzeroni Header
Oh well, I can wish....

The Voices of Moderate Islam

FrontPage :: Moderate Muslims and Arabs Emerge from the Shadows by Cinnamon Stillwell.

LibertyFrontPage has a series of articles about moderate Muslims, real and imagined. The referenced article discusses several individuals and two orgnizations of note: the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terror, and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Both of these organizations, "are shaking the foundations of the American Islamic establishment. Not only do these groups renounce Islamic terrorism and the ideology that fuels it, they also express unconditional support for their country – America, that is."

These organizations deserve attention and support.

As Daniel Pipes points out, these are Muslims
who wish to live modern lives, unencumbered by burqas, fatwas and violent visions of jihad - are on the defensive and atomized. However eloquent, their individual voices cannot compete with the roar of militant Islam's determination, money (much of it from overseas) and violence. As a result, militant Islam, with its West-phobia and goal of world hegemony, dominates Islam in the West and appears to many to be the only kind of Islam.

But anti-Islamist Muslims not only exist; in the two years since 9/11, they have increasingly found their voice. They are a varied lot, sharing neither a single approach nor one agenda. Some are pious, some not, and others are freethinkers or atheists. Some are conservative, others liberal. They share only a hostility to the Wahhabi, Khomeini and other forms of militant Islam.

They are starting to produce books that challenge the Islamists' totalitarian vision. Abdelwahab Meddeb of the Sorbonne wrote the evocatively titled Malady of Islam, in which he compares militant Islam to Nazism. Akbar Ahmed of American University wrote Islam Under Siege, calling for Muslims to respect non-Muslims.