Friday, November 30, 2007

The Beer Hunter

Black and TanI think this might pass for a disaster in Ireland. Who would want 40,000 pints of stolen beer? Guinness asks - Times Online Now I like a Guinness once in a while, or even a Black and Tan (Half-and-half to some of you) now and again. But this is a lot of stout to make off with at one time.
It couldn’t have happened at a worse moment: just as Operation Freeflow was getting under way, putting more police on Dublin’s streets as a pre-Christmas warning to drink-drivers, an opportunistic thief drove out of the Guinness brewery with 40,000 pints.

About 450 kegs of beer and stout were lifted from under the noses of security guards in what is believed to be the first raid on the historic St James’s Gate Brewery at Victoria Quay along the River Liffey.
I'm guessing the beer would be Harp lager.

Sounds like someone is planning a holiday bash. [hat tip A Tangled Web]

Shielding Bad Cops? Is It Hard to Believe?

Peterson case: Did cops protect one of their own? - 18 calls to the police for domestic violence, but the cop was never charged. His wife was. (She is now dead, and her death is being re-investigated as a murder.)

They love to protect their own.
The way police dealt with Peterson "makes it kind of hard to trust cops," said Pablo Delira, a 59-year-old construction worker. He said he has no doubt he would have been led away in handcuffs if police had been called to his house 18 times.
The woman who called police 18 times in 2 years, was Peterson's 3rd wife. His fourth wife has been missing for months.
Peterson, 53, was a police sergeant and 29-year veteran of the force, resigning earlier this month after he came under suspicion in his current wife's disappearance in October.

In a roughly two-year period beginning in 2002, police responded to 18 domestic disturbance calls at Peterson's house. Savio accused Peterson of beating her and threatening to kill her, but no charges were ever brought against him.

Instead, Peterson twice persuaded prosecutors to charge Savio with domestic battery. She was acquitted both times.
A police "investigation" has determined that officers did nothing wrong and violated no policy. (Was any other determination possible?)

And before you go on about 1 rogue cop, take a look at the cops behaving badly link. The problem of cops who feel they can do anything with impunity is a major problem, and not just in Illinois, though Chicago does have more than its share.

It may be that two women are dead because cops in Bolingbrook, Illinois were reluctant to take action against one of their own. I hope that every cop who ever went to that home for the those 18 domestic violence calls is plagued with nightmare visions of those dead women every night for the rest of their lives. May they never have one minute's peace. They can't be charged with a crime, though they are certainly guilty of something.

Media Bias? What a Shocker

CNN hit for planted questions I am sure that thousands of others will cover the story of CNN using Democrats to skew the recent Republican debates. And do it better than I could. Still, I have to offer one observation.

At this late date, is anyone shocked to find that the news media is by-and-large biased in favor of Democrats and against Republicans? (Does anyone remember Rathergate?)

Giving the news media the power over the debates is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. They should probably give control of the individual debates back to organizations like the League of Women Voters, if any of them are not biased.

And when politicians can get away with not answering a simple yes/no question at a debate (Hillary), do we really expect that these will get us anywhere? The term "media circus" comes to mind.

Home Invader Lands in Hospital

WTOL-TV Toledo, OH: Home invasion suspect lands in hospital Two goblins come to the back door a man's home, and try to force their way in. The homeowner is shot once in the arm. He returns fire, hitting one of the goblins 4 times.

The injured guy was dropped at a hospital by the other one. No word on his condition.

Self-defense is a human right.

More of the Police State in Boston

Turner questions gun search plan - Warrantless searches. Oh the police will ask "permission." Imagine the scene. A SWAT team appears at your front door and asks for permission to search your home. (Anyone want to take bets on how often they will "ask" to search Blacks' homes versus Whites' homes?)
“This program relies on the informed consent of the young person’s legal guardians, and it will operate only with families who voluntarily agree to it,” Conley said in a statement.
Informed Consent? Really?

I hope that the good people of Boston close the door in their faces. But I doubt it. And if you do close the door in their face, will they decide you have something to hide?

The people of this country no longer seem to care about our constitutional rights. [via NRA-ILA]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another FBI Coverup?

Deseret Morning News | Feds lose round in cover-up case Possible, but hard to be sure.
The government has sought to keep Trentadue from obtaining a copy of a federal report that may show that Department of Justice officials conducted a cover-up surrounding the death of Trentadue's brother in a federal prison in Oklahoma. The report reviews allegations of misconduct in the investigation into the August 1995 death of Kenneth Trentadue.

Jesse Trentadue contends that his brother was killed during an FBI interrogation as part of the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing in a case of mistaken identity. The death was officially ruled a suicide.
But since the DOJ and the FBI are sitting on the evidence, it is hard to say one way or another.
Trentadue's family sued the federal government for wrongful death. During the course of the suit, Jesse Trentadue claims he ran across evidence that government workers had destroyed documents and encouraged witnesses to lie about what took place at the federal prison in Oklahoma City. Jesse Trentadue claims the cover-up reached to the top of the Department of Justice's officials, including the department's inspector general, whose job it is to police corruption within the department.
The government would lie to us? What a surprise. [via KABA]

Chicago's Finest Get the Job Done

Teen charged in graduate student's slaying -- The murder took place on November 19th, and already they have one suspect charged with murder and a few others under investigation.

A Senegal native, who was to receive his doctorate degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago next month, was shot and killed.

The Chicago Police have moved with dispatch to (apparently) solve this crime in short order.
The boy, whose name was not immediately released, was charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the slaying of Amadou Cisse outside the victim's apartment at 61st Street and Ellis Avenue, Officer Amina Greer said.

He was also charged with attempted armed robbery, armed robbery, and aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection with two other incidents that occurred on or near the university campus moments before Cisse was killed, police said.
More charges are expected against others soon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paris Riots - Part Deux

French suburbs rocked by more riots - Two boys were killed when when they were driving a motor bike at a high rate of speed and failed to yield to a police vehicle. The rioters of course don't care about the facts, but blame police - even for doing things multiple witnesses said they didn't do. (In this case the rumor is the police fled the scent. The witnesses say (three of them) that the police tried to save the boys.

Paris riots bring back memories of last year's clashes that went on for weeks, and caused much damage.

Cooperation with Criminal Leads to Threat

Store owner shoots armed robber The left loves the idea if we all pretend to be sheep (cooperate with bad guys and offer no resistance) we will be fine. The trouble is that isn't true. Wolves kill sheep all the time.

In this case an armed robber held up a convenience store. He got the money - the store owner handed it to him, after he entered the store and fired one shot from a handgun. But did he leave and go on his way with his ill gotten gains? No.
As Fairley was walking out of the store, Trinh said Fairley raised his gun toward Trinh in a threatening manner.
So as he was leaving, Fairley apparently decided that leaving a witness behind was a bad idea. Fortunately, Mr. Trinh, the store owner, refused to be a victim.
Trinh then produced his own handgun and fired at least one round, striking Fairley in the left shoulder, [Police Lt. Paul] Leonard said.
Even after all of this, Mr. Trinh managed to record the license plate number of the vehicle the goof-ball drove away in. Officers caught up with Fairley a few hours later and took him to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound. He was then put in jail and is facing an armed robbery charge.

Being nice to violent criminals will not stop them from being violent criminals. Giving them what they want is no guarantee they won't turn around and shoot you. Self-defense works, as this case demonstrates. Self-defense is a human right.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

GI Jill

Via Incoherant Ramblings we get the story of Miss Utah (competing in January's Miss America pageant) who also happens to be a US Army Sergeant.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Problem Is, I Don't Trust Chicago Cops

You see, the Chicago Police Department has as history of behaving badly. So when a Congressman alleges racial profiling I believe the Congressman, and I don't believe the cops.
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis has accused two Chicago police officers of racial profiling after they pulled him over and gave him a traffic ticket on the West Side earlier this week.

The Chicago Democrat, who is African-American, said he was pulled over early Monday near 15th Street and Kedzie Avenue by two white officers who claimed he had driven over the center line in the roadway.
You see, what he did was to drive in a car with 3 other African Americans.
"For the sake of me, I couldn't think of any reason I was stopped or pulled over," Davis said in a telephone interview Wednesday night. "Other than the fact that there were four people in the car, late at night, [who were] African-American."
Chicago police have a history of everything from home invasion and murder for hire, to more simple brutality. Also, Chicago cops are not the most politically correct group when it comes to things like gay rights or racial profiling. The term "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals" comes to mind, but that would be an insult to the Neanderthals.

I am sure that the Chicago PD will launch a white wash campaign thorough investigation that will, of course, exonerate the two officers in question.

Domestic Violence Doesn't Take Time Off at the Holidays - Five Found Dead, Including Three Children, at Maryland Park in Thanksgiving Murder-Suicide What looks like a whole family has died in a murder-suicide. A woman and three children were found dead near the entrance to a park. A short distance away, but still in the park a man was found dead from what police believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Five people dead because one person couldn't deal with the problems life gives us all.

Home Invader Gets More than He Hoped For - Monroe homeowner shoots intruder A happy holiday story to warm your heart.
An intruder was shot and wounded by a resident wielding a handgun during a home invasion that took place about 5:30 p.m. Thursday
The police found the injured goof-ball lying in a nearby street. He was found with a bag of goodies that may have been stolen earlier.

The suspect is in the hospital and will be arraigned as soon as he is released.

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

Another Reminder That the World is NOT a Safe Place - Antarctic Cruise Ship Hits Ice, Passengers Evacuated The advertisements went something like this.
Experience a voyage of a lifetime to a land where penguins rub shoulders with seals and orcas and whales are often seen plying the icy waters.
The reality is that you were a bit closer to those "icy waters" than you may have wanted to be.

The cruise ship M/S Explorer apparently hit some ice, and started taking on water. Passengers and crew were evacuated to lifeboats, and then transfered to a Norwegian liner. Everyone is safe, though without any of their luggage. The ships company gets a gold star for that - waters off the Antarctic Peninsula are freezing.
The U.K. agency provided the ship's emergency plans to the Argentine Coast Guard, which was coordinating the rescue, Sadler said. The Explorer is a Liberian-registered passenger explorer ship built in 1969. It has a strengthened hull, so “it wouldn't have been a small amount of ice” that pierced the structure, causing it to take on water, [Paul Sadler, a spokesman for the U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency] said.
The ocean is a big place, and even a cruise ship is small by comparison. We like to pretend we are in charge, but out of sight of land, the ocean is in charge.

Update: The London Telegraph has photos. It is a good thing this happened on a calm day. The Air temp was -5 degrees C, and the water temp was -1 degree C. (That's 23 degrees Fahrenheit and 30.2 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.) Salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.

Maybe this will make the controversy go away

Stem-Cell Breakthrough - Controversy never helps science, and the science of stem cells does have a lot of promise.

But this is about getting the "embryonic" out of the stem-cell research. Reprogramming cells to act like stem-cells, created for each patient, sounds like a better bet. No rejection problems with new tissue.

The long-term goal, for anyone who has missed the meaning in the stem-cell screaming, is to be able to repair damaged tissue - including nerve tissue - with the stem-cells. I suppose the science-fiction view would be to grow replacement organs for people who need transplants.
Remarkably, iPSCs [reprogrammed stems] have all the relevant properties that make embryonic stem cells so attractive: They grow indefinitely and can produce all cell types. The senior scientist of the American team is James Thomson, who first described human embryonic stem cells in 1998. Thus, his conclusion that iPSCs are virtually identical to embryo-derived stem cells carries special weight.
Any benefits are still years away, and since this is phase 1, there will be problems and risks. But technology usually advances.
Direct reprogramming techniques make it possible to generate pluripotent cells from specific individuals, including those with particular diseases. It will be possible to make iPSCs from children with Fanconi's anemia, a devastating genetic disease, and to study the effects of candidate drugs on the formation of human blood. These kinds of experiments are now immediately possible and likely will be the first practical application of iPSCs.
So if everyone abandons the embryonic version of stem-cell research, and the people screaming about that aspect shut the f&^# up, then maybe we can get some work done in this area.

Only Two Things to Say About Thursday

Too much food.

Too much drink.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Domestic Violence, Death, and Defense

Daily Democrat Online - Domestic violence growing even more dangerous A scare story about how there aren't enough laws to protect domestic violence laws to protect victims.

This being California, I would say there are too many laws keeping domestic violence victims from protecting themselves.

They talk about restraining orders and "safety plans," but the plans never involve self-defense.

Attitude Always Helps

The Desert Sun | Man killed by homeowner in what police are calling a home invasion I forget who said it, but you don't quit fighting the bad guys even if you get shot. The pain just means that you are still alive. This homeowner remembered that.
According to police, the homeowner was awakened by [the dead guy] when he entered the home at about 1:30 a.m.

The two men struggled and the suspect shot the homeowner in the foot.

The homeowner grabbed the weapon from [home invader] and fired several rounds, killing the suspect.
The dead-guy's relatives of course don't believe this account. Their guy would never do anything so dastardly. Yeah.

It would have been easy for the homeowner to lay down and give up after being shot, but he didn't do that. It appears that the good guys won this round.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

76-year-old Stops Home Invasion

MyFox Dallas | Dallas Homeowner Shoots Home Invasion Suspect Without access to his shotgun, Eldridge Leroy Davis would have been a victim.
When the door opened, the 28-year-old suspect ran inside. The two began fighting, and the Davis managed to get a shotgun from under the bed.

He fired one shot, and the suspect was struck in the hand, shoulder and face.
Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

An Interesting View of Women in Hunting

Grand Forks Herald | 'Going against the crowd' - The plight of being a young, female hunter A profile of a high-school-aged female hunter by a high-school-aged reporter.

It covers everything from pressure from the guys, to butchering a deer. [via NRA-ILA]

Good Thing Chicago is a “Gun Free Zone” Univ. of Chicago student shot to death But then if people are getting shot, robbed at gunpoint and killed, it isn't really a "gun free zone," more like a defenseless victim zone.

This is truly a tragedy. A Senegal native, who was to receive his doctorate degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago next month, was shot and killed. Police suspect robbery. That same night a university staff-member was chased by gunmen and two students were robbed just off campus.

Cooperate and Get Shot

Man killed during robbery -- Of course this being in Mayor dumbbell Daley's domain of Chicago, in the Peoples Republic of Illinois, it is illegal to be armed to defend yourself. But cooperation - "giving the criminals what they want" - didn't save this victim.
At around 4:30 p.m., three men approached 24-year-old Isaac Pink in the 10000 block of South Oglesby Avenue and announced a robbery, Officer Laura Kubiak said. As the victim complied, one robber pulled out a gun and shot him in the face and chest, she said. [my emphasis. Z-Deb]
That "give them what they want" advice is always men talking about robbery. What about women faced with a rapist?

In any event, the advice sucks. In this case the victim was handing over his money, and he still ended up dead. Chicago and Illinois need to allow the law-abiding some measure of self-defense. (Knives with blades longer than an inch - or something like that - are also illegal.)

Self-defense works. Acting like a sheep when you meet someone acting like a wolf, is likely to have you end up just like that sheep.

The bad guys won this confrontation, with a little help from the authorities.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It isn't the report, it's the crime that's the problem

Critics Blast Most Dangerous City Study - Family News Story - WHIO Dayton Crocodile tears are being shed in Detroit over the "most dangerous city" award they received.
Detroit was pegged the nation's murder capital in the 1980s and has lost nearly 1 million people since 1950, according to the Census Bureau. Downtown sports stadiums and corporate headquarters - along with the redevelopment of the riverfront of this city of 919,000 - have slowed but not reversed the decline. Officials have said crime reports don't help.
I don't think it is the reports that are the problem, so much as it is the crime that is the problem. If the "leaders" of Detroit could get their act together and reduce crime, they wouldn't have to complain about declining population.

Even the FBI is in on discouraging the comparison of locales based on crime.
"These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region," the FBI said. "Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents."
Is Detroit really the crime capital of America with St Louis running a close second? Maybe not. Is Detroit a safe place to be? Absolutely not. New Orleans and Washington, DC might also be high on this list.

You can see the raw data on the CQ Press website. They have rankings by both city and metropolitan area. (Tampa Bay is roughly 76th on the most dangerous list.)

As far a "simplistic and incomplete" analysis of cities, the fact remains that some places are more dangerous than others. No place is safe of course; crime can strike anywhere. But it does strike in certain places more than in other places.

Hunting - Safer than you think

Dennis Anderson: Hunting is pretty safe and getting safer Is there a perception that hunting is not safe? Well, that is bovine scatology.
Nationwide, swimmers are 15 times more likely to die than sportsmen who are in the field pursuing game.
According to the National Safety Council, people who bike and play baseball -- among many other mom-and-pop sports -- are far more likely to be injured than those who hunt.
Vilifying sports is easy when you don't know the truth. [via NRA-ILA]

Weasels Worth Watching

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Injustice for All

JusticeFBI's Forensic Test Full of Holes - So the FBI discovered that a forensic test used to convict hundreds of people was bogus. Did it notify those hundreds of people? Of course not.
Hundreds of defendants sitting in prisons nationwide have been convicted with the help of an FBI forensic tool that was discarded more than two years ago. But the FBI lab has yet to take steps to alert the affected defendants or courts, even as the window for appealing convictions is closing, a joint investigation by The Washington Post and "60 Minutes" has found.

The science, known as comparative bullet-lead analysis, was first used after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The technique used chemistry to link crime-scene bullets to ones possessed by suspects on the theory that each batch of lead had a unique elemental makeup.
It's an interesting theory; it just happens to be wrong. In 2004, it was found to be "unreliable and potentially misleading."

But why should the FBI worry about the fact that people may have been convicted on bad evidence - bad evidence provided by the FBI that is - and actually do something about it? They are only interested in convictions after all. Justice never enters into it.

Oh, and despite the fact that the FBI has abandoned the test, it still "firmly supports" the convictions that went before. Right.

This isn't new by the way. The problems with this theory date back to 1991, but the FBI held onto it because it was convenient to throw people in jail without actually having to prove - scientifically - that your evidence was correct.

The nuts and bolts of the issue is as follows. The FBI said that bullets in the same batch would have the same chemical signature, and that different batches would differ.
The science academy found that the lab used faulty statistical calculations to declare that bullets matched even when the measurements differed slightly. FBI witnesses also overstated the significance of the matches.
Lies, damn lies and statistics, covered over with more lies. But it let the FBI throw people in jail. And those people were gun-owners. So they were bad in the FBI's eyes anyway. (They are the only ones qualified to cover over the truth and own guns.)

This is a long article, and it has made me so angry that I can't even finish it right now. But there are few things to remember.

The "system" is not interested in Justice. The "system" is only interested in convictions. Guilt or innocence is beside the point. As long as they can throw someone in prison, that is all that matters. When they discover a mistake - as they did in 1991 - they cover it up for as long as they can.

Set Phasers on Pain

Pioneering 'heat wave' gun may be used in Iraq - Telegraph How would governments use a device that could cause intense burning pain at up to 750 meters? I think we are about to find out since the Raytheon built the device, and commanders in Iraq want to get their hands on it.

Japan Hunting Whales

Japan hunts 50 humpback whales for research - Telegraph This isn't for research. They are going to take 1000 whales in the next year. Disgusting.

Global warming seems to have distracted the "Save the Whales" crowd.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The Associated Press: Mistakes Made in New Orleans Flood Maps So they built all kinds of floodgates and added pumps everywhere around New Orleans. It was supposed to give 5.5 feet of protection to the city. Turns out the number is more like 6 inches. Is anyone surprised?
The maps showed that the improvements made to the city canals' drainage systems would reduce flooding during a major storm by about 5.5 feet in Lakeview and nearby neighborhoods. The maps were based on a storm that has the likelihood of occurring at least once in 100 years.

But in a report released Nov. 7, Corps scientists estimated that the actual benefit the system would provide would be just 6 inches.

The discrepancy was tucked into the voluminous report's appendices, and neither the Corps nor the scientists hired to conduct the study brought the changes to the public's attention when the report was released. It wasn't until New Orleans television station WWL-TV asked an engineer involved in the assessment about the discrepancy that it became known.
Yeah, that sounds about right for government work.

Armed Citizen Ends Crime Spree

Disabled man pulls gun, ends violent armed robbery spree Once again, I would like someone on the Left to tell me how a disabled person is supposed to defend himself from attack without a firearm. He can't "runaway" as the Left loves to say. Calling 911 is a gamble. So what should he do?

In this case he did what his rights permit him to do, and it appears he stopped a crime spree.
A disabled man defending himself with a firearm from people trying to break into his trailer appears to have stopped a crime spree early Thursday morning that several hours earlier sent two motel occupants to a Springfield hospital with head injuries.
Police were investigating the incident at the motel when another call came in.
King said the couple told him they were confronted in their home about 6 a.m. by a man in his 30s and a 16-year-old male. The older intruder pulled a handgun, but apparently didn’t anticipate that his intended victim — a disabled man in his 40s who takes medication for serious back pain — might not be an easy target.

“The homeowner pulled his weapon and the suspect fled,” King said. “The suspect had a pellet gun; the homeowner had a real gun.”
The sheriff is great. J.B King is quoted throughout the article.
“I’m a life member of the National Rifle Association and I personally love homeowners being able to defend themselves and their families,” King said.
Law enforcement that values law-abiding citizens. Law enforcement that knows they can't be everywhere instantly. (This county only had one deputy on call, and the Sheriff himself, responded to this call.)

Self-defense works. Self-defense is a human right. Self-defense is your legal right.

Unarmed Self-defense also works - Brookline Homeowner Turns Tables On Would-Be Burglar No weapons involved, just old-fashioned fighting.
Dorjian Anderson, 31, and a single father of seven, says 23-year-old Christopher DePaolo kicked open his door. When the suspect got to the top of his steps, he and Anderson got into a fight.

Eventually Anderson grabbed some extension cords and hog-tied him. He and a friend held DePaolo at gunpoint until police arrived.
Would love to see some pictures of that.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0. [Via civilian self-defense blog]

Bet Your Life on 911 if You Want - Just Don't Bet Mine

911 Dispatchers Caught Not Doing Their Jobs | WOAI.COM: San Antonio News So the Left is always saying that we don't need guns for self-defense, we should just call 911 and wait to be rescued. The trouble is that in some cases, you are going to wait a good-long time.
Trouble Shooter Brian Collister is breaking the story. He uncovered 911 calls that will make you angry when you hear how dispatchers did little to help in an emergency.
How about a case where a 15-year-old girl is home babysitting a younger child, and even after two 911 calls saying that intruders are INSIDE the house, the dispatchers don't give the case any priority. It took more than 30 minutes for the police to arrive. Was the dispatcher punished?
Her punishment was a written reprimand
Or how about a 911 dispatcher that hung up on an emergency call to take a call from her moving company to confirm her move the next day. (That was another call about a break-in at an apartment.)
Her punishment was to give up one vacation day.
There you are. You can rest easily knowing that if 911 screws up and you or yours end up dead or raped, that the people responsible will have a black-mark added to their permanent file, or they will have to give up a vacation day. One vacation day.

You are free to believe that calling 911 is a guarantee that police will come rushing to the rescue. You are free to believe in the Easter Bunny too, just don't expect me to share in your delusion.

Even if the 911 dispatchers do everything right, the police are many minutes away. And there is no guarantee that the 911 dispatchers will do everything right. (Click the link below for other stories of 911 calls and the outcomes.)

Saddam Hussein and WMD

Shattering Conventional Wisdom About Saddam's WMD's So, aside from the fact that the existence of WMD stockpiles were NOT the only reason for the Iraq war, we have the following:
The gist of the new evidence is this: roughly one quarter of Saddam's WMD was destroyed under UN pressure during the early to mid 1990's. Saddam sold approximately another quarter of his weapons stockpile to his Arab neighbors during the mid to late 1990's. The Russians insisted on removing another quarter in the last few months before the war. The last remaining WMD, the contents of Saddam's nuclear weapons labs, were still inside Iraq on the day when the coalition forces arrived in 2003, but were stolen from under the Americans' noses and sent to Syria. Syria is one of eight countries in the world that never signed a treaty banning WMD, and now is the storehouse for much of what remains of Saddam's WMD Empire. This was the target of the recent Israeli air strike.
Life is a bit more complex than can be summed up in a sound bite, or a protest chant.
It should be noted that France, Russia and China were the three largest exporters of Saddam's oil before the war. They were also, according to the documents now being released, the three nations most involved with illegal weapons sales to Saddam. The oil profits, of course, were huge, and according to minutes from secret meetings, Saddam's intelligence service knew how to dangle the bait of illegal oil profits to, in their words, "commit some nations like France, China, Russia and Japan to economical agreements that make the implementation of the smart sanctions to have negative effect to the interests of these nations."[21] In English the word for this is "bribery" -- on a huge scale.
Maybe the new French government will be a bit more ethical than the previous regimes.

Osmotic Blistering

The dreaded boat-pox, or Osmotic Blistering. It is slowing down work on the boat. Well mostly because the guy who specializes in this at the yard where I took my boat was out sick a day or two this week.

The real issue is that with next week being a short week, I may be sans-home for another week. I was going to push, but I don't think I want them rushing stuff on Wednesday so that they can leave early before a four-day weekend.

And it is turning into a case of where BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand. Such is life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Do You Look Rich to Criminals?

Carjackers targeting high-end SUVs | Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/16/2007 So the other day I had a long post about wealthy people who had been the victims of home invasions. Today the story is about drivers of high-end SUVs being targeted for carjackings.
Yesterday, police said the attacks are the latest evidence of a threat too credible for any driver, suburban or city, to ignore: If your vehicle is high-end, especially an SUV, and particularly if you are a woman, you are a theft target.
You don't have to be rich, or consider yourself rich, to drive a Lincoln Navigator, or an H2 or other SUV. But if you do, you have a target painted on your back - at least in Philadelphia.
Those who want your wheels just might be part of an organized ring that is shipping stolen luxury vehicles to Europe and Africa, where authorities said they sell for at least double what they go for in the United States.

It is a crime trend that local authorities have been trying to break up. In February, the FBI arrested three Liberian nationals who they said were part of a carjacking ring that had struck 20 times in the suburbs, targeting luxury vehicles in Bensalem, Collingdale, Drexel Hill, Havertown and Yeadon
It can happen to you. What will do if confronted by a violent criminal? Make your plans now, because there is no time plan in that instant when reality crashes in on you.

Cries of Racism

Racism Outcry Shadows CA Robbery Case | November 16, 2007 | AHN 3 people break into a home at 4 AM. They beat the homeowner's step son with a baseball bat. The homeowner defends himself. 2 of the 3 are shot dead. The third home-invader is charged with murder in the deaths of his two accomplices. Because he is black, there are cries of racism.

Apparently this doctrine isn't used much in California. It is used all the time in Florida. If you break the law, and someone dies as a direct result of your crime, you are liable to face a murder charge. Sounds right to me. But it offends the tender sensibilities of the reality-based community, who apparently don't believe that man has the right to defend himself and his family from home-invaders at four o'clock in the morning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This disgusts me!

Saudi punishes gang rape victim with 200 lashes The 6 attackers have been sent to jail. Now the victim is to be victimized again. Sharia law sucks. [via Queer Conservative]

The Rich Live in the Real World Too

Wave of Home Invasions Puts the Wealthy on Alert - Some high-profile home invasions point out the fact that everyone is at risk. (updated)

Maybe it is because I worked for corporations that took physical security seriously. Maybe it is because I was robbed myself on more than one occasion. But why would someone wealthy, who from a criminals point-of-view had a big target on their back, not spend a little of their money being safe? In the "guns or butter?" equation, you need to buy at least some security.
"I have gone out to estates that are absolutely magnificent and have been shocked that they have the same level of security as for a rowhouse in Queens," says Paul Michael Viollis Sr., chief executive of Risk Control Strategies of New York.
When my uncle and my cousin went hunting, they often went several states away from where they lived, to where the hunting was good. Living in a tony suburb is no guarantee that criminals won't pay you a visit. Rich people, generally speaking, have more to steal.
In home-invasion robberies -- unlike burglaries -- thieves hope to confront the occupants, often intending to force victims to open a safe or divulge bank-card PIN numbers. Home invasions aren't separately tallied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or by most state and local police. According to the most recent FBI data, residential robberies, which include home invasions, rose nearly 13% in 2006 from 2002, even as violent crime overall decreased 0.4%. Last year, 64,000 residential robberies were reported.
Security doesn't have to include firearms, but it should include something better than 40 dollar locks (locks that can be bumped).

And you don't have to consider yourself rich. All you have to do is LOOK rich, to the criminals.

Even when people have some level of passive security, they fail to use it consistently.
Indeed, in several high-profile crimes, assailants gained access through unlocked doors. In other cases, home-alarm systems apparently weren't turned on. Security and alarm experts say this is a surprisingly common mistake: Many homeowners lock their doors and set alarms only when they are away.
Violent crime is inherent in the society we live in. No place is safe. No neighborhood is immune. And while there is nothing you can do to completely guarantee your safety 100%, there are things you can and should do to ensure the safety of your family. Locks that can't be bumped. Perimeter security that is turned on while you are at home. Safety is the result of planning, not random chance. I also like to have access to weapons for my personal defense. You are free to make other choices.

"There are no guarantees in this life except death and next winter's snows," but you can make a difference in the world you live in. Taking responsibility for yourself and your family - to the extent you can - is called being a responsible adult. [via NRA-ILA]

Update 16 Nov. 2007: I read this article again. Warren Buffett (of Berkshire Hathaway) was one of the people who suffered a home invasion. This man is a billionaire. Security at home, at the office, and on the road should be a paramount concern. He has a net worth in excess of 50 billion dollars. It boggles my mind to think that he doesn't have round-the-clock, top-flight security.

I worked briefly for a European multinational, Jacobs Suchard, back in the 80s. They made some mistakes relating the American marketplace, but they understood security, and because they had business dealings all over the world, they had some serious, "credible" threats against some of the officers of the corporation. Facilities were gated. Executive suites inside the facilities were hardened. Data Centers were designed to withstand fairly large explosions.

My belief is that this all comes down to the "It can't happen to me," syndrome. Violent crime happens to other kinds of people who live in other kinds of neighborhoods. Denial - it ain't just a river in Egypt. If you are reading this, you live in the Real World™ and in the real world, people are at risk for violent crime.

A Pro 2nd Amendment Article in the LA Times

Hell Frozen OverUnholster the 2nd Amendment - Los Angeles Times True it was penned by a fellow with the Cato Institute, but it is in the LA Times. It talks about firearm ownership as an individual right. I am stunned. [hat tip NRA-ILA]

Prosecuting Self-defense

JusticeUNEQUAL JUSTICE Murderers on Probation If you kill someone in self-defense should the Injustice System offer you a deal of probation so you don't have to face a murder trial? Would you sit in jail for months awaiting that trial?

A 17-year-old trying to escape an abusive relationship was offered exactly that choice. It sucks, and the police and the DA that brought the charges and manipulated the systems should be the ones in trouble.
A Dallas Morning News review of the 56 probation-for-murder cases in North Texas from 2000 through 2006 found that a dozen were especially weak. Some, like Ms. Fox's, had strong self-defense arguments. Some involved people who were charged with murder as accomplices, although the evidence connecting them to the crime was tenuous.

In one case, the killer's identity was in doubt, and prosecutors admitted in confidential documents that they could not prove the man they accused was guilty. In another, the medical examiner said he wasn't sure a homicide had even occurred.

Most of these prosecutions occurred in Dallas County, where the justice system has a long and embarrassing history of punishing innocent people. DNA tests have exonerated 13 men who went to prison for rape or murder – more than any other county in the nation. Dozens more were jailed in recent years after being framed with fake drugs.
This is more than a rouge cop having a bad day. This is a government system that is broken. It is not interested in enforcing the law. It is not interested in Justice. It only wants to win cases, and throw people in jail. Guilty or innocent doesn't matter to them.
Mr. Schuwerk said that prosecuting under such circumstances endangers not just individual defendants, but also the integrity of the justice system.

"One of the tragic byproducts of this is going to be that people in communities that have a high level of contact with the police and the prosecutors are going to come to distrust them," he said, "and to not cooperate with them even in cases where it would be in everyone's interest for them to cooperate."
And distrust them with good reason.

When the Brett Darrow videos came to light, many law enforcement officers claimed it was an isolated incident. That the vast majority of police are really trying to do the right thing. In Dallas, it seems that the entire criminal justice system is more interested in getting people classified as criminal than it is in justice. And Chicago has had more than its share of problems.

Books Cause Violence - Violence Increasing Problem At Boston Library It is clear that all of the unrestricted access to books is causing all of this violence. We need to institute a "one book per month" law to stem this violence.

Or could it be that the thugs themselves are to blame for the violence, and mere material goods are not at fault. No that couldn't be....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I hope this doesn't mean the whole thing is starting again

Nun pleads no contest to molesting two boys :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State
A Chicago nun pleaded no contest Monday to molesting two boys at a church convent and school in Milwaukee where she worked in the 1960s.

Sister Norma Giannini, 79, had sexual contact with the boys, including sexual intercourse, a total of more than 160 times over four years while principal at St. Patrick's School in Milwaukee.
So the 64 million dollar question is, of course, "Is this an isolated incident or not?" I hope it is isolated.

Seeing Beyond the Space Shuttle

NASA - Groundbreaking Signals Start of NASA's Constellation Flight Tests So the space truck, which was supposed to revolutionize everything didn't. NASA is going back to what works.

So, having learned from the disasters of the past, they are building in an escape system from the beginning instead of trying to add one on later.
Orion's launch abort system will carry astronauts to safety in the event of a problem on the launch pad or during the spacecraft's climb to orbit. The first of five tests of the system, known as Pad Abort 1 or PA-1, is scheduled for fall 2008.
It seems NASA is getting out of the trucking business and back into the space business.
Constellation is developing the Orion spacecraft to send astronauts to the International Space Station and to the moon. Orion will be launched atop an Ares I rocket. The program is also developing a heavy-lift rocket, Ares V, to enable cargo missions to the moon. NASA plans to set up a lunar outpost by 2020, where astronauts will prepare for possible future missions to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.
For a complete explanation of their exploration plans, see the NASA site.

Long Range Shooting with the 50 BMG

Life: SWAT expert takes long shots with .50 caliber | caliber, trelstad, shooting - A nice article on the .50 caliber and long range shooting. Has a few anti-.50 quotes, but counters them nicely.

Nice to see the truth about guns out there in the press. (No surprise you don't see this in the likes of the NY Slimes.)

Can Lightning Strike Twice in One Day?

Minnesota bank held up twice in one day - Yahoo! News Once is bad enough, but the 2nd time was when an FBI agent getting info on the 1st robbery stepped out to his car for some paperwork.

Neither robber has been caught.

Women and the Future of Hunting

Hunting: Despite overall decline in license sales, more women are taking up hunting 19 percent of the hunters between the ages of 6 to 15 are girls. (That's 304,000 girls hunting.)

This is a great article about Brianne Stewart, aged 12, who is a hunter. She got her first deer this fall.

Update: Thanks to NorCal Cazadora, we have Stats galore - hunters by gender, age, race, ethnicity and residence. She has the stats on hunters by age, gender, race, etc. You know I love statistics.

Mexico is a Defenseless Victim Zone > News > Mexico > Tijuana & The Border -- Troubling sign in Baja Since people are attacked at gunpoint, you can't call it a gun free zone.

US surfers traveling to Baja are increasingly the target of armed robberies.
About a half-dozen robberies and carjackings that targeted U.S. surfers en route to camping spots along the 780-mile Baja California peninsula have occurred since June, accordingng (sic) to unconfirmed tallies reported via the Internet.
The consequences are severe, more than just the loss of some material goods.
“[The gunmen] made us get down on all fours – execution position – and put guns to our heads,” said Weber, who owns the San Diego Surfing Academy in Carlsbad.

The gunmen sexually assaulted his girlfriend before stealing $10,000 worth of computers, video cameras and other gear, he said.
Don't expect the Mexican government to allow people the means to defend themselves. It is more important for politicians to hate guns than to hate rapists. Now, as I always say, there are no guarantees in this life, and a gun or two in this party may not have allowed this woman to avoid this fate. Being unarmed, however, only made her a defenseless victim.

The world is not a safe place, and the farther away you get from your bourgeois, suburban community, the more dangerous it is. Actually, your suburban community is not completely safe. (Even if you are always shocked to find that out.) Places in this world you may want to visit - the Baja Peninsula, Eastern Europe, parts of the Caribbean, England, and other parts of this globe are not safe. It is made worse by governments who will prosecute you for defending yourself.

Self-defense in Texas

Resident Shoots Intruder In Face An apartment dweller didn't want to be the victim of a home invasion.
[Dallas] Police said the intruder tried to break down the door of an apartment in the Trinity Palms complex in the 9700 block of Forest Lane in North Dallas just before midnight.

The apartment resident grabbed his gun and shot the intruder in the face, according to police.
The injured guy was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Self-defense is a human right.

Hunters' Donations Reach 1 Million Meals in Georgia | News | More than a million meals from donated venison 11/08/07 Hunters for the Hungry have reached an interesting milestone in Georgia; they have donated enough meat to provide 1 million high-protein meals to food banks in that state.
The program has grown almost every year, but this year it reached a new benchmark by collecting its one millionth venison meal - donated at Sealey's by a novice bowhunter named James Pirkle.
Thank you, James Pirkle, for being a generous man.

The donated meat is processed by butchers associated with the program and then given to food banks.
Not only is it popular, [John Becker, director of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia] said, but the venison is a good source of protein for people who need it, and the donations always come when they are most needed - right before the holidays when demand is high and before holiday donations have come in to restock the pantry.
Everybody wins. [hat tip to NRA-ILA]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And you thought his brother was an idiot

emptyage : Jimmy Carter: He will slay your cat So he thought a good way to keep the cat off of the bird-feeder was to shoot it with bird-shot. Well of course he was correct, that particular cat would never hunt another bird.

Jimmy "Cat Slayer" Carter. [via Les Jones via Tam]

Zendo is on the hard

Hunter 37 CutterAs some of my 2 or 3 regular readers know, Zendo is my boat. She is a 37 foot, 1979 Cherubini-designed Hunter Cutter. (The photo is actually a marketing photo from when the boat was new.)

Yesterday - after running aground on a VERY low tide, and pushing the transmission over the edge - I was towed into the repair yard, for some long overdue maintenance. Including repainting the bottom of the boat with paint formulated to repel (somewhat anyway) marine growth. The propeller shaft will be replaced and the packing gland (where the drive shaft exits through a hole in the hull) will be repacked. I am sure there will be some incidentals.

So I am "homeless" for a week or so. It is actually nice to stay in a hotel for a change, and enjoy the comforts of living with a bathroom bigger than a broom closet, a real bed, and the best part, an actual bathtub. The weird bit is having access to cable TV. I got rid of my TV 6 years ago, and I refuse to have it on the boat. (Cable or satellite is available in marinas everywhere.) The news channels are fascinating, but the regular programming is strange. (How many different versions of "Law and Order" or "CSI" are there? Oh well.)

Blogging may be limited. I am not - of course - doing all of the work on the boat myself, but I will be over there from time to time.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

WBIR.COM - Homeowner shoots robber coming in through window They picked the wrong house.
Two men tried to break into the home of 63-year-old Horace Garland. The homeowner shot 21-year-old Jeremy Johnson when he came through a window.

Johnson's stepbrother, Timothy Sellers then came into the house and fired a shot at Garland, missing him.
Johnson was shot in the neck. Sellers dragged Johnson out of the house and took him to the hospital.
Vietnam Veteran Horace Garland has fired a gun many times before.

But the 63 year-old never dreamed that he would be in the line of fire again and depending on his gun to save his life.
Police don't expect him to face any charges because self-defense is legal (and a human right.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Self-defense Legal in Florida

Burglary suspect killed in North Miami - He lived and worked at his place of business. At 2 AM he found some people burglarizing his establishment. There was a confrontation.
“He heard noise,” said Sgt. Trevor Shinn of the North Miami Investigations Unit, “They were removing property from the vehicles. There was a confrontation; he shot at them.”

Police arrived to find the teen lying in front of the residence with a gunshot wound. They notified emergency rescue workers, who were unable to save the teen, according to a statement issued by North Miami police spokesman Lt. Neal Cuevas.
A 15-year-old, who the Brady Bunch will count as a child tragically shot, is dead. (The Brady Bunch doesn't like to worry about facts like legal self-defense.) His partner is arrested and charged with a whole bunch of stuff including murder.

Self-defense is a human right, and in Florida it is also your legal right. Police don't expect the guy who did the shooting to face any charges.

Suicide by Cop

Interlochen man fatally shot in police standoff - Latest News - The Grand Rapids Press - Probably wasn't anything else they could have done given he was aiming a rifle at officers, but it was probably exactly what he wanted them to do. Suicide by cop - there should be a better way for police to react to suicides.

“Why don't you shut up?” - Spanish King Tells Venezuelan President Chavez to 'Shut Up' Finally someone told Chavez where to get off.

He was going on as usual. I love that it was the King of Spain who told off.

Five Planes

5. Harrier Jump Jet

Love the idea of vertical take-off and landing.

4. V-22 Osprey

Yes, it is a plane. (And I still like the video.)

3. Rutan VariEze

An airplane that was impossible to stall. Too bad the liability lawyers put the whole industry out of business - mostly. Does anyone home-build kits anymore?

2. SR-71 Blackbird

Mach 3.2 at 85,000 feet has to count for something.
"Though I fly through the Valley of Death... I shall fear no evil. For I am at 80,000 feet and climbing."
- At the entrance to the old SR-71 operating base Kadena, Okinawa
Some video too. The record speed flight - 3529 km/hr. That's 980 meters per second. Very cool.

1. ASK-21ASW-27

Soaring is to flying as sailing is to boating. In other words, it is quiet. I took soaring (or gliding - though that makes people think of hang-gliders) lessons one summer. But it was still too expensive with the tow plane and the instructor. It was wonderful though. If I was buying one, it would be something like the ASW-27B (see photo), but the ASK-21 is the standard trainer.

Tam didn't start it, but kept it going.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Urban Shooter - Going to the Dogs Edition

Urban Shooter Show Number 43 (audio/mpeg Object) This weeks show from Kenn Blanchard is ready to go.

Topics on this weeks show include:
10 Things I learned from my dog
A little gun history- Dogs, guns, and the Black Codes
Reminder to Lock up your firearms and Go out and shoot
Dogs as security
An article by professor John Lott

Musical Interlude

Soggy Bottom Boys from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The dictates of the real world have caught up with me. I am having this old boat pulled out of the water on Monday, so my time for blogging will be very limited.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Headline Says It All

Never bring a Taser to a gunfight... A guy tries to use a Taser to stop a robbery, gets shot 5 times.

The interesting thing is this:
It’s not clear if the victim missed or if the darts had no effect, but we do know he was clearly outgunned because the robber returned fire.
Had no effect? How can that be? I guess if they can have no effect, I won't be adding a Taser to my wardrobe anytime soon.

So you still think electric cars are slow, do you?

Nuf said.

[Update: Oh, and if you are wondering about the Tesla or Chevy Volt, you can see them here. (You need 10 minutes.)

Another Update: Or see what the Wall Street Journal has to say - video is only 4 min.]

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Top Ten Guns Used in Crime

An interesting report of an "unpublished" ATF report written by Time Magazine. You wonder how they got their hands on it, and why it wasn't published.
1. Smith and Wesson .38 revolver
2. Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic
3. Lorcin Engineering .380 semiautomatic
4. Raven Arms .25 semiautomatic
5. Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun
6. Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic
7. Smith and Wesson .357 revolver
8. Bryco Arms 9mm semiautomatic
9. Bryco Arms .380 semiautomatic
10. Davis Industries .380 semiautomatic
Some are on the list because there are so many in circulation. The S&W .38 revolver has been in continuous production since 1899 - and this classification apparently includes copies not even made by S&W. Others are also ubiquitous.

The author has to get a dig in on the inexpensive firearms. Poor people, in the thinking of this writer, shouldn't have guns. Though expense didn't keep the Ruger Semiautomatic 9mm handguns off the list. [hat tip SayUncle who has more info on guns used to shoot police officers.]

Ex-boyfriend Shoots New Boyfriend

North Port shooting suspect arrested in Charlotte Someone who needs to look up the definition of, "It's over!"
Nichols told officers the ex-boyfriend of the woman who lives there knocked on the door and opened fire immediately after he opened it. Nichols was shot in the right thigh, lower left abdomen and left buttocks.
The injured guy (new boyfriend) was airlifted to a regional trauma center where he is in critical but stable condition. The goof-ball (old boyfriend) was arrested in a neighboring county. He is expected to face charges of "attempted murder, armed burglary and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon." All because his pride was injured.

You know people - both men and women - really need to get control of their emotions. So a relationship ended. It isn't the end of the world.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight

Store clerk shoots man wielding knife | He was threatening people with a knife, so the clerk upped the ante.
Perez pulled out a knife and hit the male clerk on the left thumb, according to police. The cut was minor.

The clerk took out a gun and shot the suspect in the right arm.

Perez then went to a cooler, stole a beer and exited the store, police said.
He later attacked a police K-9 unit with the beer bottle. (He hit the dog several times - no word on the doggie's condition.) The goof-ball was taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

Self-defense works, and it is a human right.

If you are reading this, you are an intelligent person

Reading Level

This probably doesn't help my TTLB Ecosystem numbers that much. [Hat tip to Tam]

A Documentary Film about Girls and Shooting

What is there to say? Looks great! [via Breda Fallacy and Uncle]

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Once Again the UN Proves It Can Do Nothing

U.N. warns of Darfur force delay - Yahoo! News Why does the group committing genocide get to approve the peace-keeping force dedicated to stopping the genocide? Because the United Nations Useless Nitwits are in charge.

I believe the correct military term to describe the situation is "cluster fuck." They have no helicopters to support the peace-keepers.
One Western diplomat cited two main reasons why potential providers of helicopters had not come forward: some were already overstretched by military deployments overseas; others were concerned about whether the untested command and control structure of the U.N.-AU force would work properly.
Oh and the UN, it is waiting for the government of the Sudan to approve the peace-keeping force which will keep tabs on the government of Sudan.
The bloodshed in Darfur has killed 200,000 people in 4 1/2 years, by international estimates. Khartoum says only 9,000 have died since rebels took up arms against the government in 2003 and accuses critics of exaggerating the crisis.

Accused by critics of backing the Janjaweed militias blamed for much of the violence, the Sudanese government has also been criticized by U.N. aid officials and independent charities for imposing bureaucratic obstacles to humanitarian work.
Why the hell would they ever approve anything? With no approval, there are no peace-keepers. With no peace-keepers (how can you "keep the peace" when there is no peace?) the Janjaweed can continue doing any damn thing they want. And Khartoum can ignore (or at least under-report) the situation.

Of course it is our fault

A Deadly School Shooting, This Time in Finland - New York Times Blog 8 dead in a school shooting in Europe and of course it is America's fault. Just as it was America's fault when 17 died in 2002 in Germany.
Instead, they fear they are leaving their frailest citizens feeling isolated in an indifferent, money-driven marketplace, which is widely described as an American pathology spreading with globalization.
The American pathology of creating gun free zones defenseless victim zones. (It isn't a gun-free zone if you get shot.)

It isn't the fault of the people who actually did the shooting. It isn't the fault of parents who didn't teach their kids right from wrong, or a society that leaves raising kids to TV and video games. No it is the guns fault or America's fault or both. Or the fault of those eeevil capitalists and their damn globalization.

But whatever, in any case, it is not for the individual to be responsible for his own actions.

Don't Look Back, Someone IS Gaining on You

Times Online - WBLG: Back from the summer break, Europeans get Blogging An interesting view of blogging form a UK Journalist.

It seems with summer over, there is an upsurge in European traffic to sites like Blogger and the rest.
While traffic to the blog publishing sites could mean people are launching new online diaries, it's more likely the majority are simply poking around to find alternative views and voices to the mainstream press.
Or the realization that the monopoly - once held - is gone.
Blogger visits by Britons grew at a rate of 7.5 per cent month-on-month in September to 7.9 million unique visitors, comScore says. While in absolute terms that is well behind, say, the BBC sites (18.7 million uniquely visitors from the UK in September), the growth rate suggests bloggers will be catching up with journalists in the near future.

I have to say that the Times (that's the REAL Times, not the New York Times) has some of the best news coverage anywhere.

The Real Estate Market is Bigger Than We Thought

NASA discovers fifth planet in 55 Cancri system - Telegraph Other solar systems similar to our own. Cool.
Nasa scientists last night unveiled a newly-discovered planet orbiting a star in a system which now becomes the first known to contain at least five planets.
Professor Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California, in Berkeley, said the discovery meant complex planetary systems like are own are now likely to be far more frequent than previously believed.
So there may be somewhere to go after all. Still, at 41 light years, that is a long way. That's roughly 245 trillion miles.

It still appeals to the science geek in me.

Cooperation with Violent Criminals is No Guarantee of Safety

Clerk killed in Lovington holdup She was cooperating, but apparently she wasn't moving fast enough to satisfy these goblins.
Police said two people entered the store and shot the female clerk, 53-year-old Virginia Land, as she tried to open the cash register. The assailants then tried unsuccessfully to open the cash register and fled on foot.
Three people are charged in the crime. Two teenagers are charged with murder, one 20-year-old is charged as an accessory to murder and armed robbery and other things. Justice may be served, but that will be cold comfort to this woman's family.

Your cooperation with violent criminals does not make them become non-violent. They remain violent criminals, prone to violent responses. In this case the clerk was clearly cooperating, but her efforts were not good enough.

Why is this important? Because police are always going about about it is best to cooperate with criminals. They cite no studies, no statistics. They just - mostly - don't want empowered citizens.

There are no guarantees in this life, and if you are confronted by a violent criminal, there is a chance you will die. (But then there is a chance you will die in the shower tomorrow morning.) Defending yourself can work or fail. Cooperation can work or fail. But I will choose action over inaction.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Armed Homeowner Stops Arson, Potential Murder

Homeowner kills; second burglar to be charged with murder | KGET TV 17 So a bad guy breaks into your home with the intent to burn it down. What do you do?
Torres stayed in the car, while Espino tried to climb into a window. Stewart, the resident, had a shotgun and fired at the intruder, the [police news] release said.
The injured guy died at the hospital. His partner was arrested.
Even though it was Stewart who fired the fatal shot, and although Torres and Espino were partners, Espino's death can be considered a murder because it is a death resulting from the attempted commission of a felony.

Torres also was booked on charges of attempting to murder Stewart, for attempted arson, for conspiracy and for participating in a street gang.
The Good Guys won this round, or so it appears.

Some French Do-gooders Try to Kidnap Children

Pajamas Media: A French Noah's Ark Sinks In Africa I'm sure others have done more justice to this story, but what I don't understand is, "Why?" Why kidnap kids who have living parents (or parent anyway), and lie to everyone?

Because things are awful in Darfur and they must do something - even something illegal and morally reprehensible. Something like kidnapping children. I suppose this is another case of a bunch of people for whom the ends justify the means.

Of course they are upset that the kidnappers face justice in Africa - you know, where the crime was actually committed.
The all-time champions of diversity and respect for “others” don’t trust an African jurisdiction to do justice. What’s worse, they don’t seem to care that a handful of self-appointed do-gooders have run roughshod over gullible Africans and done great harm to innocent children.
Oh and another blot on the multiculturalism bandwagon, Muslim children were to be sent to Christian parents.

I think someone should look up the history of the Yeni Çeri (Janissaries) of the Ottoman empire and what that kind of thing did to destroy harmony among the various religions. (Just a suggestion.)

California Schools and "In God We Trust" - California School District Approves 'In God We Trust' Classroom Displays All the usual suspects are upset over a "spiritual agenda."

Italy on the job against terror - Italian Police: 20 Arrested Across Europe in Terror Sweep Europe can be effective against terror, as this plainly demonstrates.
MILAN, Italy — Italian police said 20 suspected Islamic extremists were arrested Tuesday in Italy, Britain, France and Portugal as part of a major anti-terror sweep against a cell based in northern Italy that was recruiting would-be suicide bombers to carry out attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Every little bit helps.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Review of the Castle Doctrine - News | Advocates: Castle doctrine puts power in victims' hands A review of Mississippi's Castle Doctrine and the impact it has had on the state. It includes a few Brady Bunch comments, but it balances them with NRA quotes.
Castle doctrine laws move the law back onto the side of crime victims by not requiring them to look for an alternative to self-defense when faced with an intruder in the dark of night, LaPierre said.

Retreat "may sound fine at a cocktail party sipping wine and cheese," he said. "But it doesn't work very well for crime victims at the point of attack."
Go take a look.

Don't Bring a Cricket-bat to a Gunfight

MyFox Orlando | Man shoots cricket bat-wielding attacker If this was in England, I could almost understand it. But do people play cricket in Orlando?
During the argument, Singh produced a cricket bat and assaulted Bascom. Upon feeling threatened, Bascom defended himself with a small caliber semi-automatic handgun and shot Singh once in the abdomen.
No arrests have been made, while the DA tries to sort it out.

Cricket? Does anyone even understand this game? I mean before they changed the rules, a cricket match could last days. (Or did they change the rules?) [hat tip to John Lott]

More of the "How Dare You Live Without Me" Mentality

Former boyfriend held in slaying He wouldn't move on. He couldn't wrap his tiny little mind around "It's over!"
[Rema] Reed and her current boyfriend, Terry Buchanan, 36, left the apartment and hopped in her Hyundai Accent to leave for work at T.G.I. Friday's when her ex-boyfriend ambushed them, police said.

Reed tried to drive away, running up on the curb, when the ex-boyfriend shot her twice in the head and face, police said.

Buchanan ran, but the ex-boyfriend fatally shot him two times in the small complex's driveway, police said.
This is not the first time this guy - they have not released his name - has killed. Last time it was manslaughter. Seems he is moving up in the world.

And in Florida - more of the same. Metro: Story: Man shot ex-girlfriend, then himself in murder-suicide
Neang Roeun, 31, of Phyllis Street, died Sunday. The Sheriff's Office determined he shot his ex-girlfriend and then himself.
Why do they do this?

Illegal But Interesting

Sales of mobile phone jam devices soar - Telegraph Ever been really annoyed by the guy next to you screaming into his cell phone? Or the guy who won't answer the call but doesn't know how to shut the ringer off?

Now you can block access to cell sites. The companies aren't happy - loss of revenue don't you know. They "claim" criminals will use them. (Criminals who are aware of them probably are already using them.) Since the companies aren't happy, blocking cell phone access is a crime that comes with a steep fine - 11 grand.

British View of the US Election Campaign

Crossing America: On the road to the US elections - Telegraph A British editor and photographer are setting out on a cross-country trek to get a feeling for where Americans stand.

The first stop - the only one so far - has them in Portland Maine where the yellow ribbon has become a political issue. (Talk about a stupid issue.) You see the anti-war crowd doesn't want to support the troops, because they might be confused with supporting the war... or something.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

This story bothers me

Impact Death Strikes At Heart It is a tragedy of a young life cut short through something that - almost - doesn't seem possible.

A young boy - age 4 - was in the park playing with his brother when he was hit with a baseball.
The ball strikes them above the heart, in exactly the wrong spot. They collapse. They die.

It's called commotio cordis, Latin for "heart commotion." The blow to the chest seldom looks as though it could be so devastating.

The impact must be near the center of the heart, and there is only a 1 percent or 2 percent chance of it happening at the precise, deadly moment.
Some small part of me believes that the safety police - those people dedicated to removing all danger and all fun from childhood - will now embark on a campaign to eliminate baseball from our parks and schools.

Like I said, it just bothers me. On many levels. My heart goes out to the family of this young boy, and to his brother's friend - the kid who was throwing a ball at a pitch-back net when this took place.
"It's an accident; a tragic accident," said Maron, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.
That doesn't seem like enough of an explanation, even though it is completely accurate.

More on Global Warming

The deceit behind global warming - Telegraph From the discredited hockey stick to 1934 being the hottest year on record. It's worth a look.

You can't please some people

Press-Telegram - Officers' off-duty gun use under fire This is a story (mostly) about an officer that used his gun - while he was off-duty - to stop an armed robbery. It was fully justified and the goof-ball in question was locked up for 14 years.

But the reporter/editor of this story hates the idea that off-duty cops (or average citizens?) can foil crime.

Yes there have been some issues, but by and large off-duty cops who stop crimes by shooting the violent criminals is a good thing in my book.

Self-defense Works Even in the Face of Multiple Attackers

Homeowner Shoots Armed Invader - Phoenix What would you do if you were home with your spouse and three kids when three goof-balls forced their way into your house?
Police said one of the invaders, all of whom were armed with handguns and rifles, hit the homeowner in the head with a gun.

A scuffle ensued and several shots were fired. Police said the homeowner shot one of the invaders, but it was unclear whether he had his own gun or fired one of theirs.
Police caught all three home invaders. The one who got shot did not have life-threatening injuries.

The homeowner and his family were unhurt.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

When You Read About (or Listen to) Those Whining Bureaucrats

Consider that they knew what they were getting into when they took the job.

This article from the Boston Globe is fairly representative. Diplomats angry over forced posts in Baghdad - The Boston Globe
Jack Crotty, a senior Foreign Service officer who has worked overseas, told his superiors that being forced to serve in Iraq is a "potential death sentence and you know it."

"It's one thing if someone believes in what's going on over there and volunteers," he said, according to the Associated Press, "but it's another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment."
But agreeing to serve when you don't always agree with official US policy, and agreeing to go to both dangerous places and places where you can't take your family is part of being in the foreign service.

What follows is from the State Department's Career Section. It clearly states that if you are in the US Foreign Service, you will be sent to places you might not want to go. Pay particular attention to paragraph 3.

5. Commitment to Foreign Service Work

Anyone applying to be a Foreign Service Officer must be willing to accept the following three commitments of Foreign Service work:

  • First: Flexibility. This means that the candidate is willing to perform duties outside his/her functional field should the need arise.
  • Second: Public support of U.S. government policies regardless of the candidate's personal views.
  • Third: Worldwide availability. Even though the Department attempts to work with each employee's individual and family needs, each employee must be willing to serve anywhere the Department determines is necessary. This can mean in extreme climates, in isolated, potentially unhealthful and unfriendly environments, and/or where the candidate may not have training in the local language. The Department also has unaccompanied tours, where the candidate would not be able to take his/her family. There may also be tours where local conditions may force the evacuation of families back to the United States while the candidate must remain at post.

Candidates who receive a Conditional Offer of employment must reaffirm orally their acceptance of these three commitments at the end of the oral assessment and in writing once a job offer has been accepted in order to continue the application process.

The career info from the US Department of State is clear. If you are in (or want to join) the Foreign Service, you must agree to support the policy of the US, even when you disagree with that policy. If you are in (or want to join) the Foreign Service you must be willing to serve anywhere. Not just in Paris, or the Caribbean, or someplace fun, but anywhere.

As someone mentioned, members of the Foreign Service have an option that members of the Military Service don't have when assigned to Iraq - the can resign.

The British Also Struggle with Immigration

With mass immigration no one feels at home - Telegraph What does it mean to be British if you don't speak English? Should England abandon Christmas because it is divisive?
The craziness consists in thinking that we can accept any number of new people without demanding anything of them, and yet leave the idea of "we" undamaged. To anyone who is not an extreme economic liberal, or a Western-hating Marxist, or a euro-fanatic, the idea of a nation is intrinsic to other ideas we care about – culture, identity, neighbourliness, community.

If we are decent people, we do not hate the idea that newcomers can join us. But we want the place we live in to be more than a populated space, especially an over-populated space. We want it to be home.
As somebody said, immigration is the issue of the day.

Illegal Immigration Italian Style

Italy starts rounding up Romanian immigrants - Telegraph I am torn in two over this story. It is both a disturbing echo of other "ethnic profiling" in Europe, and it is an understandable reaction to the issues at hand. Just go read it.

Ex-boyfriend Shot Apparently Trying to Break-in to Woman's Home

In a story I missed the other day, we appear to have another ex-boyfriend who doesn't understand the "ex-" part. Suspected burglar shot in chest | Local News |
At about midnight Tuesday, deputies were dispatched to a home in ... Milton in answer to a report that a woman’s ex-boyfriend was trying to get into her residence
He was found in the backyard with a shotgun wound to his chest. He was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

There are too many stories of ex-'s (both men and women) who become violent when the relationship ends. They appear to have the attitude, "How dare you want to live without me!" There are too many stabbings, shootings, murder/suicides tied to domestic violence. It is good to see that self-defense works, when people are prepared.

Self-defense is a human right.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Even in California It Is Legal to Defend Yourself

San Jose Mercury News - SoCal teen shot dead, two others arrested in attempted burglary A homeowner had suffered several burglaries, so when there was pounding on his door Halloween night, he armed himself and waited.
He fired several shots as the door was forced.

The boys fled but Patton collapsed in the driveway and was pronounced dead. His friend, whose identity was not released, took off in a car driven by 18-year-old Duncan Nicholson, [San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman Arden] Wiltshire said.
The 16-year-old was grazed on his arm.

The two survivors are being held without bail on murder charges since it appears "their actions led to a death."

The Brady Campaign will count this death as a teen tragically shot, since the fact that it appears he was engaged in a crime at the time doesn't count in their eyes.

As for the homeowner, he is neither charged nor held.
"It looks like it was self-defense," Wiltshire said.
Police believe these three were responsible for the previous burglaries at this address.

Self-defense is a human right.

Self-defense Legal in South Carolina

Charges not likely in fatal Greer shooting | Spartanburg, S.C. The presumed bad-guy tried to rob the wrong store that day.
According to the sheriff's office, the suspect entered the convenience store, pointed a gun at clerk Mirabhai Jesai and demanded money. Jesai retrieved his gun and fired multiple shots at the intruder, who ran from the store. Officers who arrived on the scene weren't able to find the robber.
What they did find, a short time later, was a dead guy with a single gunshot wound to the chest. They think it is the robber, but they are still investigating. The description of the guy fits the description of the robber, and
Beside the body, officers also found a revolver thought to be the one used in the robbery.
The police don't expect the clerk to face charges. Self-defense is both a human right and your legal right.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.