Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Even in California

Self-defense works. Woman Fires Gun At Intruders | Important lesson: She got the gun, before she went to investigate.
Police say the family's dog woke them, growling and barking inside the house. The homeowner walked down a hallway, armed with a handgun and confronted one suspect, who then challenged the homeowner.

Police say the homeowner shot in self defense and the suspects ran.
Both are still on the run. Maybe they will think twice before invading another home.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

American Car Companies Can Compete

Well, at least Ford can compete. First look: 2010 Ford Fusion : SearchChicago Autos : Jill Ciminillo A hybrid that is a tad more expensive than the Camry, but it beats the Camry in MPG as well. (And that is a 2009 Camry vs. a 2010 Fusion...)
My time in the hybrid model wasn’t nearly enough to form a detailed opinion, but with a first look, I have to say that the Fusion Hybrid is, by far, the best hybrid I’ve ever driven. Much of that is due to the seamless transition between the electric motor and gasoline engine. I thought previous hybrids were relatively seamless with a slight chug or click between transitions, but this Fusion Hybrid, Ford’s second generation hybrid, puts all the rest to shame.
So I guess I have some confidence in Ford's ability to survive this crisis.

Self-defense Works

Retired HPD employee shoots alleged robbers at his home | Houston Chronicle Two miscreants attempt to steal a generator. When confronted they run back to their van.
"They then put their hands inside the van as if they were going to get weapons from there," [Police Department spokesman Victor] Senties said.

Fearing his life was in danger, the former employee fired at the men, striking one in the head and the other in the arm, Senties said.
The guy shot in the head is in the hospital in critical condition. The gun shot in the arm tried to get away, but was arrested later and taken to the hospital. No word on what charges will be laid, though it does sound like the retired cop was exercising his legal right to self-defense.

Do You Think He Will Learn a Lesson?

No Charges For Shooting Son-in-Law | WTVC Drunk ex (or estranged) son-in-law forces way into the ex-mother-in-law's home. He gets shot twice for his trouble.

No charges for either person doing the shooting. No word on what the miscreant will be charged with. (He is still in hospital.)

Screw Up on 911 Call Results in Suspension

Wis. dispatcher suspended over 911 call So you screw up, and possibly contribute to a death; you certainly contribute to police not making it to the scene of a violent assault (resulting in death) for 40 minutes: What happens to you?

If you are a government employee, you get suspended. (Three whole days.) Something seems unjust about that. Maybe it's just me and my vengeful nature.

The original story: TFS Magnum: Call to 911 Ignored The tape holds sounds of screams and a struggle. They dispatcher heard none of that. When the line went dead, no one tried to call back. No one did anything for a while. Police arrived on the scene about 48 minutes after the call. Read what Xavier had to say.

Calling 911 is a fine thing, but it should not be the only thing. 911 and the police they work with are stressed. They do make mistakes. In some cities, there might be no police available to dispatch. (They are all on previous 911 calls.) In any event, the response time will not be zero; it will be measured in minutes. In a life-or-death situation, it may be very many minutes. You owe it to yourself to have a better strategy.

Your Media Bias is Showing

World media pays attention only when Israel fights back Missile attacks on Israel, are apparently not news. They happen all the time, so maybe that is true.

But whenever Israel decides that it has had enough, and tries to do something, the media go crazy.

Consider the subtitle to this article a minute.
Rain of Palestinian rockets is relentless: one city took 7,000 hits since 2001
If Canada was allowing extremists to lob 3 missiles per day into Seattle, do you think we might do something about it?

And it has gotten much worse in the last year or 2.
The terrorist rocket attacks increased substantially after Israel disengaged from Gaza in August, 2005. The terrorist rocket attacks have increased by more than 500% since that time.

Terrorists in Gaza have launched nearly 450 rocket attacks into Israel already this year. [AS of the end of March, 2008. Z-Deb] Last week the terrorists fired off a dozen powerful Grad missiles into the Israeli port of Ashkelon roughly five miles from Gaza's northern frontier.
[Click that image for a better look at the numbers.]

But attacks on Israel don't matter. Not to the likes of the NY Times. The media only reports when they can bash Israel. (And they still claim to be unbiased.) So some attacks on civilians are not worth reporting - at least when you rely on the American (Western?) media.
Eleven months ago, two preteen brothers went to Sderot's central market to buy their father some cologne for his birthday. While walking there, a Hamas missile landed close by, killing one of the young boys and severely wounding the other.
Funny, but I don't remember that tragedy being on the evening news.
For most attacks, there is less than a 15-second warning. Schools have banned outdoor recesses and cancelled outdoor sports.
And why are these attacks happening? Israel did what the Palestinians asked them to do.
More than two-thirds of these 7,000 rockets have been fired since 2005, when the Israeli army forcibly evicted more than 7,000 Israelis who had settled within Gaza's boundaries. Hamas and others promised that if only these settlers would be removed from land the Palestinians claimed as their own, all the violence would stop. Instead, it has escalated.

From January to March of this year, the attacks stepped up to an average of 15 per day.
Even during the 'ceasefire' the attacks never ceased, but since the Palestinians called off the 'ceasefire' there have been dozens of attacks per day.

So the Israelis did what the Palestinians wanted, but they still didn't get peace. How can that be? Could it be the Palestinians lied? That they don't want peaceful coexistence, but that they still want to destroy Israel?

And what should Israel's response be? Ignore the dead and the injured, the way the media do when the dead and the injured are Jewish? What would you demand of your government if 3 or 30 (or more) rockets rained down on your schools, and homes every day? Do you think you might want government to step in?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the Road Again

Posting will continue light, as I work my way back to the land of ice and snow. Yuck.

In case anyone is interested... I spent Christmas day mostly lounging in the sun around the pool. Spent a couple of days trying unsuccessfully to work on the boat - the supplier had the part I needed, but not the gasket. Figures. (And before anyone recommends a sheet of gasket material, it has to stand up to exhaust gasses, and the sheet I got from NAPA auto parts is next to impossible to cut cleanly.)

Oh well, I needed a break from the snow and ice.

It is currently 67 degrees here, on its way to 76 degrees. It is 25 in Chicago. (Yes, I really have to go back.)

“An Unpleasant Surprise”

Homeowner opens fire on burglar | Dothan Eagle That's what a burglar got when the homeowner caught him trying to break into a gun cabinet.
The homeowner entered his house on Decatur Street and found the suspect trying to take weapons from a gun cabinet. Westberry said initial police reports indicate the homeowner shot at the burglar and chased him from the residence.
No one has been arrested yet.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Year for Hate

Lesbian rape victim in Richmond not alone in 2008 - San Jose Mercury News Not a good year.

Something is very wrong with this society.
The vast majority of brutality against gays is carried out by young men, usually acting in groups, said Riki Wilchins, executive director of Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, a Washington nonprofit that works in schools to address discrimination.

Their victims most often are other young men with feminine demeanors or transgender women, Wilchins said. "These assailants are looking to eradicate and exterminate something that enrages them, and that is what makes them hate crimes," he said.
FBI statistics are not an accurate reflection, since a lot of locales don't track hate crimes against gays or lesbians.
The group has identified another 20 murders of "gender non-conforming youth" that have taken place in the two years since, although FBI statistics for the same period show only five hate crime slayings linked to the victim's sexual orientation.
When your statistics are off by an order of magnitude, there is a real problem in your monitoring system.

So, where does all this hate come from? What fans it?

Germany Now Fighting Pirates

German Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack - And being effective.

A pirate attack in progress was reported to the International Maritime Bureau.
In response, the German Navy frigate Karlsruhe sent a helicopter, a military spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accord with military policy.

The pirates fled as the helicopter reached the Egyptian ship, according to a statement from the German military, but not before shooting and wounding one of the ship’s crew members.
So something is being done. The only question is, "Is it enough?"

China to Become Global Naval Power

China sends navy to fight Somali pirates - Times Online This is a small step, perhaps, but significant.
It marks a break in tradition for the modern Chinese navy, which usually confines itself to patrolling coastal waters.
Of course you have to wonder why they are sending ships to Somalia when they have piracy problems much closer to home.

Still the real story is that the Chinese navy is going to get some blue-water experience.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

Robbery suspect shot dead, alleged accomplice wounded Armed robbers meet armed businessman.
A would-be robber was shot dead overnight Wednesday and his alleged accomplice was wounded after they attempted to rob the owner of a gas station near Anniston.
Apparently everyone was armed and a shootout ensued. The good guys came out on top. (Police say the businessman was acting in self-defense.)

Armed Homeowner Shoots Home Invaders

Homeowner Shot Intruder, Police Say - Phoenix News Story - KPHO Phoenix Two against one... without some way to equalize the odds, he might have been in trouble.
According to police, two burglars broke into the man's home, and the homeowner grabbed his gun and shot one in the chest.
The injured guy was dropped off at a convenience store. The other goblin is still on the run.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Get Out of this Cold Weather"

Escaping to warmer climes for the duration. Posting will be light to non-existent.
catch me a flight to st. somewhere and get out of this cold
Weather. go somewhere where no body knows my name
Gotta keep my mouth shut. try to go to confession at least once
A week. somewhere preferably south of the equator, I believe.
Where it’s summertime, where winter spends the summer. somewhere
Like that.
Though, I'm not going down-island. I am adjusting my latitude enough to get back into 70 degrees.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Man fatally shot during robbery identified | The Indianapolis Star Goblin tries to rob grocery store. Goblin points gun at a woman holding a baby. Store employee shoots and kills him.
[The goblin] walked into El Michoacana Supermarket ... at 8:50 p.m. brandishing a handgun and herded all the customers into one part of the store, Mount said. When the robber pointed the gun at the woman and her child, [the store employee] shot him, using a gun belonging to the store's owner.
The Left will tell you that this can't happen. That cooperation will ensure your safety. (That is actually a dangerous lie.)

Self-defense does work. All the good guys are safe, and the bad guy is not.
Police are calling the shooting justified, but evidence will be turned over to the Marion County prosecutor's office for a final determination
Clearly justified. That employee acted to protect the innocent.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Call to 911 Ignored

Slain student called 911, but no one came in time - The dispatcher didn't hear the sounds of a struggle or the screams that the 911 tape reveal. So police arrived 48 minutes later, and investigate her death.

A gun may not have saved this woman, but relying on a call to 911 didn't help. The only thing might have been her ability to defend herself - the training and the tools are mostly forbidden to college students. I think firearms provide the best means of defending one's self, but they don't constitute a guarantee of safety. There are no guarantees in this life.

48 minutes is long enough to die. Call 911 if you have time, but don't count on them to save you. They may not even believe you have an emergency. [hat tip to Xavier]

MyFox Dallas | Dog Walker Shoots Armed Teen Robber, Police Say

MyFox Dallas | Dog Walker Shoots Armed Teen Robber, Police Say Man is accosted by 4 youths. One is armed, and threatens him.

It started when he was just out walking his dog.
A group of teen robbers surrounded the man.

According to investigators, when a boy in the group pulled out a gun, the man, a licensed concealed handgun owner, fired shots.

The teen was apparently struck in the head and was listed in critical condition at Parkland Hospital. His weapon was recovered at the scene and later determined to be stolen during a separate offense in Terrell, according to police.
While the anti-gun crowd will count this as "a child tragically shot," I don't think it is tragic at all. That "child" was engaged in armed robbery when he was shot in legal self-defense.

[hat tip to Xavier]

An Electric Car from a Battery Company

GM is Weeping: BYD F3DM Plug-in Hybrid Goes On Sale in China, 3 Years Before Volt : TreeHugger Like the Chevy Volt, this can run on batteries alone (about 62 miles) before starting a generator to recharge the batteries (fast recharge available, but probably not at your home.)
What's most impressive is that BYD didn't even make cars a few years ago. Until recently, it was only a battery maker (the biggest in China), yet it's F3DM plug-in hybrid is going on sale in China right now, at least 2 years before the GM Volt, another series hybrid.
Price in China, the equivalent of about $22,000. Expect some changes to meet our collision standards and higher costs.

Next: A crossover SUV.

I wonder how the Detroit 3 will compete with this? Oh, that's right. They will just lobby Congress and the President. (They're too important to be put out of business by free trade. Protectionist trade legislation anyone?)

Speaking of Hybrids

Fisker Karma: hi-res images leaked Save the planet in style. And for "only" 89,000 dollars.

Production of the Karma is supposed to begin in 2009. Production is sold-out through 2010. 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds. 50 miles on battery only, with a generator for longer trips. Very cool.

Hunters Feed the Hungry

Over 33,000 Pounds Of Venison Supplied To Local Food Banks That is only in the state of Ohio.
The 33,550 pounds equals approximately 134,000 meals. Last year, 20,902 pounds of venison was collected.
That meat was donated to food banks to feed those in need. [via NRA-ILA]

Four "Men" Target Lesbian for Gang Rape

Richmond police investigate rape as hate crime - San Jose Mercury News Straight men - or a lot of straight men, more than you might think - are unnerved by lesbians. It makes them crazy that any woman doesn't consider them a gift from the gods.

These four monsters specifically targeted a lesbian. One can only guess why. They repeatedly raped her over 45 minutes, left her naked and alone and stole her car.

I doubt that even being armed would have saved this woman as there apparently was almost no warning of an attack before she was hit with a blunt object, forced back into her car and driven to a remote area.

Where does this hate come from? How do we root it out? I don't know. Except that I am certain when (if) these monsters are caught they should never see the light of day again. But that probably won't happen even if they are caught.

Republicans tell me they fight against gay marriage, not out of hate and the will to discriminate, but in a fight to "save the sanctity of marriage." Fine, I don't believe that, but let's take it at face value. Why is it that they fight against the Employment Non-discrimination Act? Are the protecting the sacred right of employers to fire fags and dykes? "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" doesn't keep gays and lesbians out of the armed forces; it only makes them pretend to be straight to placate the homophobes. No, that isn't about fear, hate or loathing. Where does discrimination end, and hate begin?

A Nice Profile of Atlanta's Pink Pistols.

Gays and guns - Southern Voice Atlanta Pink Pistols is a group that supports the right of people to legally carry concealed weapons for self-defense.

This article is a nice profile on the current organization in Atlanta, which includes gay and straight members, works for education about gun safety, and supports the repeal of anti-gun and anti-self-defense laws.

It was started in the GLBT community, but doesn't discriminate.
Kurt Martin, 40, a heterosexual attorney living in metro Atlanta, said he joined the Pink Pistols to seek their help in fighting gun control legislation in Georgia.

“[W]hile the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community faces extra risks in the form of hate crimes based on sexual orientation, my main interest is looking out for the rights of the smallest minority — the individual citizen. A minority of one,” he said.
The only thing missing is any information about how to contact the organization. And you have to go the comments to find a link to the Atlanta Chapter.

Armed Gays Don't Get Bashed.
"Thirty-one states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

--Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Bradenton man shoots intruder, frees girlfriend Armed home intruder shot by armed homeowner.
A 52-year-old male resident retrieved his handgun after someone knocked at the door, but his girlfriend opened it before he returned, according to a report.

The resident said a man forced his way into the home in the 6500 block of Wellesley Drive and pressed a gun against his 47-year-old girlfriend’s head.
The homeowner shot, and the 2 miscreants ran like rabbits.

One guy was reported at a hospital with a gunshot wound, but the police haven't positively identified him as one of the goblins in this case.

But the point is, self-defense works. It is also a human right.

Three Plain Clothes "Officers" Attack Your 12-year-old Daughter.
What Would You Do?

Houston - Hair Balls - Police Get The Wrong House In Galveston, Allegedly Assault 12-Year-Old Girl They went to wrong house - 2 blocks away. They ignored the fact that they were looking for a white woman, and "assaulted" a black child.

Later they arrested the girl they assaulted and her father for "assaulting an officer, and resisting arrest."

These guys should be hung from gallows in front of the Police Station, as a warning to all officers that they aren't free to do as they please.

Of course nothing will happen to the officers. They are free to do anything they damn well please. And if they don't appear to be officers, but appear to be garden-variety-thugs, you will be arrested if you act accordingly.

The girl had serious injuries including eardrum injuries from being beaten around the head. [hat tip Days of Our Trailers]

Auto Bailout - Who Needs Detroit

This scenario would seem to be right out of Atlas Shrugged. Companies surviving only by government largess.

While I don't propose "Stopping the motor of the world," I would like to stop the motor of Detroit.

I for one, will never - or at least for a VERY long time - buy another American car. No Ford. No GM. No Chrysler. I encourage you to consider doing the same. They money we have given them is gone. They will never pay it back. The best way to limit what they get from us is to force a real reorganization - that would be Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Driving their real revenue into the ground is the only thing I can think of.

Just so you know this isn't any empty statement, I have driven American cars since 1986, and currently drive a Ford. No longer. (I drove a Datsun 210 after college... it was the worst car I ever had, and that includes a 1963 Ford Falcon that wasn't "classic" as much as it was just old.)

They apparently have the right to suck the taxpayers for money. Well, that is all the money of mine they will get for a good long time. If they come out the other side, not owing the taxpayer anything (having paid us back that is), then I will consider them

Contact Ford here

Contact GM here

Chrysler doesn't seem to want you to contact them with general questions/comments.

Auto Bailout - Who Needs Conservatives

Exactly how is George W. Bush supposed to be a conservative?

Oh, that's right. He's a religious fanatic.

He doesn't believe in the free market. That's clear.

He apparently doesn't believe in Democracy either because he feels justified in ignoring both the will of the people and the direction of the Congress.

With Conservatives like this, the Communists will be running things soon. (January 20th?)

Republicans are wondering why people voted for Democrats. If the Republicans are going to act like Socialists, why not vote for the Socialists?

Sad But True

The tag line at the end says it all: "We're the Big Three. We don't need to compete."


The full text, for all you searching Google:
You wouldn't buy our shitty cars, so we'll be taking your money anyway.

The Bailout. Coming this January.

You probably thought it was smart to but a foreign import of superior quality, with better milage and resale value. Maybe you even thought that years of market share loss might prod us into rethinking our process and redesigning our products with better quality in mind. But you forgot one thing: We spend a shitload of money on lobbyists. So now you're out $25 billion, plus the cost of your Subaru. Maybe next time you'll buy American like a real man. Either way we're cool.

We're the Big Three. We don't have to compete.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Wants to Join the Rat Race?

Abby, over at Bad Dogs and Such and others, wonder why everyone isn't lining up to become Americans. That is adopt the American way of life.

As someone trying desperately to opt out of the rat race, I don't find it strange at all.

First, consider what they see of American culture. Meltdown of the Stars - Lindsay,
Brittany, etc. - could be a regular TV show. (And there is a cable show called "Celebrity Rehab" which is exactly that.)

Then consider the story of the Mexican fisherman and the American tourist.
An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."
Or since I love obscure movie quotes, how about this.
What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn't you consider that to be insane?
How many of our children are medicated with psychoactive drugs? Either self-medicated with illegal drugs to escape the world that we've made, or medicated with legal drugs because they can't fit into to world that we've made?

How many people go home from that 50 hours at the job they hate to eat frozen dinners alone, scanning the 157 channels of cable looking for something worth watching? And drinking themselves into oblivion once a week or more? Or miss everything to do with their kids upbringing, because it is politically necessary to be in the office late - at least most nights.

Why is everyone looking for that bigger house (pre-implosion of course), better car, cooler iPod, etc? Why is it they aren't happy with what they have? Maybe because they aren't happy and haven't figured out that you can't buy happiness at the mall. (And how many have a really cool media center and absolutely no money for retirement?)

There is a lot to recommend American culture. It has raised a lot of people out of poverty and ignorance, here and around the world. But there is a lot wrong with American culture, and those things are not insignificant. They also tend to be screamed around the world by the media.

If it wasn't for the family obligations I have right now. I would be on my boat, at anchor, in some small Caribbean bay, fishing, reading, eating, drinking with friends (there are always other boaters) and in general not "living in Iowa."

What Happens When the Federal Government Gets Involved in Infrastructure?

Big Dig charge nets $16M settlement - OK, so this is a minor story about tragedy, that doesn't have much to do with my point, but it reminded me that the federal government has gotten involved in "infrastructure improvements" from time to time.

I don't know if The Big Dig is the worst example, it only jumps out at you. It is also a reminder of what happens when one party has its own way.
Mitigation notwithstanding, the Big Dig still would probably be a near-forgotten dream like Westway if not for Massachusetts’s Washington dominance in the late seventies and eighties. Democrats ran Capitol Hill, and Massachusetts’s wholly Democratic congressional delegation had a lot of seniority. Everyone in Massachusetts thus assumed that they would fund the project with “ten-cent dollars,” of which the feds would pay the other 90.
Tip O'Neil was majority leader, if you can't remember that far back. And how did they get support to override a Reagan veto?
In a preview of how Washington would work over the next two decades, they approved goodies that other states wanted, too. Wavering out-of-state politicians came on board.
Everyone was happy. So oversight was lacking.
After Tip’s override, local Big Dig planners never worried about pesky things like whether cost estimates and project scope were reasonable. Massachusetts had proved that it was more powerful than the president; surely there would always be more money where its initial funding came from. But over the ensuing decades, the Big Dig’s price tag waxed and Massachusetts’s congressional power waned. Washington imposed a firm dollar cap on its Big Dig spending at the turn of the millennium, leaving Massachusetts to pay the rest. State taxpayers would eventually foot nearly half the project’s cost.
Will other states (are you listening Illinois?) learn that power shifts over time? Probably not.

A lot of engineering feats went into the big dig, with a few cost-cutting errors (like the epoxy that failed leading to the tragedy in the first story), they did a lot right. The problem was in the politics. Underestimating costs to get approval. Whole sections of the project (the mitigation of various problems/complaints for example) were omitted from the initial cost estimate. So much for truth in government. But when has that been valued? (or at least by the people IN government?)
But the Big Dig’s planners truly failed the public through a deliberate decision: for years, they used dubious accounting methods that hid true costs.
Dubious accounting methods. Sounds familiar.

They kept pretending the thing would cost 8 billion, when they knew - as early as 1994 - that it would cost at least 14 billion. But when everyone thought that the federal government was going to pay for 90 percent of the Big Dig, the real cost wasn't that important.

Aside from the cost overruns (or deliberate under-budgeting) there is also the problem of shoddy workmanship. First, there is the July 2006 death of Milena Del Valle. She died when a 26 ton "ceiling tile" fell on her car, and it was determined that incorrect procedures had been followed for securing those "tiles." (Who dreams up a 26 ton slab of concrete, suspended from the ceiling, and then calls it a tile?) Leaks are also a problem.
A massive effort by Big Dig contractor Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff reduced the number of the most serious leaks near the tunnel roof from more than 800 in March 2005 to just three eight months later, according to Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff records posted on the turnpike's website. But the state sharply curtailed efforts to seal leaks when it took over maintenance in 2006, and the number of serious leaks going unchecked rose to 237 last month, according to interviews and turnpike records.
Which brings up the question of maintenance costs. Is this to be an on-going problem? And it also has implications for the life of steel reinforcements in the tunnel walls, as they experience more corrosion than expected.
state officials acknowledged there is already surface rusting on 10 percent of the massive steel girders in the ceiling.
So much for a 25-year life-span.

With what looked like an open check-book in Washington, planners in Boston could ignore common sense and hang massive concrete blocks from the ceiling. Business knew that inspectors were stretched and cut corners in places. And if Boston is anything like Chicago, a few politicians probably got some campaign contributions to look the other way on those cut-corners.

In short, what appeared to be an endless supply of taxpayer money for pork spending, brought all the pigs to the banquet. Now the public has to live with the results, or die when the failures become severe. Today we are told we must open treasury not for 15 billion of this kind of spending, but for 500 billion or more of this insanity.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to drive across all those bridges that will be built in the next 4 years.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You Don't Have to Be Gay to be Bashed

Editorial - A Lynching in Brooklyn - All you have to do is attract the wrong attention.
José and his brother Romel appear to have been misidentified as gay as they walked home, arms around each other, on a predawn morning in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Romel managed to escape the three men who emerged from a passing car wielding a baseball bat and shouting anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets.

José was struck on the head with a bottle, then kicked and beaten into unconsciousness. He was subsequently declared brain dead and expired last Friday night, one day before his mother, who was traveling from Ecuador, could reach him.
Pretty typical bunch of bashers. They travel in packs, and never chose a fair fight. (2 against 4 in this case.)

Of course in New York, your ability to defend yourself is completely restricted. It didn't help in this case that no one had guns. No one had knives. I suppose that the Left will next outlaw (or register) baseball bats.

U.S. Grant's General Order No. 11

Ulysses S. GrantA Near-American Holocaust of 1862 Most people don't know about General Grant and the expulsion of Jews from his "department." The order was signed on the 17th of December, 1862. His "department" designated areas of Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

There was a thriving black-market in the south, trading with South to supply money if not war supplies. While some of the black-marketeers were Jewish, most were not. But as is typical in these instances, antisemitism was common.
In the emotional climate of the war zone, ancient prejudices flourished. The terms “Jew,” “profiteer,” “speculator” and “trader” were employed interchangeably. Union commanding General Henry W. Halleck linked “traitors and Jew peddlers.” Grant shared Halleck's mentality, describing “the Israelites” as “an intolerable nuisance.”
Many people were evicted - even Union veterans.

It was not until January 4, 1863 that the order was officially revoked by order of General-in-Chief H.W. Halleck.
Washington, January 4, 1863.

Major-General GRANT,
Holly Springs, Miss.:

A paper purporting to be General Orders, Numbers 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms it expels all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked.

President Lincoln had met with a delegation lead by Cesar Kaskel on January 3. (Many telegrams had been sent from all over the country as well.) Lincoln told Halleck to rescind the order.

People always wring their hands when the subject of the Holocaust comes up, and wonder, "How could such things happen?" The truth is that they happen quite frequently (as history goes) and it looks like Iran & Co. are getting ready to unleash another tide of death very soon.
[Hat tip to Tam for reminding me. See her post for what else happened on this day in history.]

Burglars Meet Armed Homeowner

Armed Ogden homeowner chases off robbers - Salt Lake Tribune Shots were fired in both directions, but no one was apparently injured. The homeowner gave a good enough description that police arrested one of the two burglars at his home.

Self-defense is legal, and it works.

Chicago: The City That No Longer Works

Mayor Daley is NOT CLEARING THE SNOW | Daily Daley: Tracking Mayor Richard M. Daley in Chicago Traditionally the reason that the good citizens of Chicago turned a blind eye to graft and corruption was that city services ran smoothly.

Garbage got collected. Water flowed. Snow got plowed.

Michael Bilandic forgot that, and was booted out of office.

It seems to be a lesson that Richie Daley has forgotten.

Bilandic got hit with 20 inches of new snow on top of 7 to 10 inches already on the ground in 1979. He was thrown out office for being an idiot about it.

Richie Daley just got hit with 4 to 6 inches of extremely light snow. The city is paralyzed.
This writer's commute is 10 miles, perhaps less. It took 2.5 hours. Thanks City of Chicago. Thanks IDOT. It's not often that a citizen comes face to face with a glaring lack of the most basic services that government should provide.
Now some of that is the fault of Chicago drivers causing gridlock. But politics ain't always fair. (Or at least we can hope.)

Chicago and Cook County, Illinois now "enjoy" some of the highest tax rates in the nation. (Sales tax in Cook County is 10.25 percent.) But still they don't seem to have the money to pay for basic necessities.

Snow removal is just the crisis du jour. Crime is out of control and Chicago will likely reclaim the crown as the murder capital of America, yet police hiring is frozen (no pun intended) due to lack of funds.

It would be interesting to look at that budget and see who is getting rich, and what is being neglected. Now that the machine is about to ensconced in Washington, DC, maybe the Mayor has more important things to worry about.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How Not to Get Targeted

View From The Porch: If you look like food, you will be eaten. Follow the links to Bread and LabRat for some interesting discussions.

"Don't Forget the Catfish"

Barack Obama's stimulus plan has lobbyists circling -- Bailouts for all. I and do mean all. 500 billion to a trillion dollars to save jobs invested in "infrastructure." Right.
But don't forget the catfish.

"The catfish industry is on the verge of collapse," said Marty Fuller of the Catfish Farmers of America, citing high feed prices and an increase in imports. Some 6,000 jobs are at stake, mostly in economically depressed areas in states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Officials are talking about seeking $50 million in aid as a stimulus.
I mean what's 50 million for the taxpayers?

If this wasn't taxpayer dollars being wasted, it would be funny. And here I thought "infrastructure" meant things like bridges, airports and maybe schools. I admit it; I was guilty of forgetting about the catfish.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Good Guys 5, Bad Guys 0

WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina | Newberry police: One dead, four charged in apparent robbery attempt Well, maybe not quite zero, since one bad guy is still being sought by police, but they really picked the wrong guy to rob.
Police say it started around 9:30pm, when a 13-year-old came knocking.

They say the resident recognized the child and opened the door. Soon after that, police say 5 others rushed the apartment trying to get inside.
The resident opened fire into the group, and then went to the police station to report the incident.
Investigators are still trying to work out the details but tell News 10 that the man who fired the shots will more than likely not be charged, as it appears he acted in self-defense.
One guy was found dead in the driveway of the residence, and four others were arrested.

So there were a total of six goblins involved in this attempted home invasion. How do you defend yourself against a massed attack like this without a firearm? Anyone on the Left, please the answer to that question in the comments.

Of course no one will answer that question, because there is no answer. Asking the 6 violent intruders to wait while you call 911 is not practical, but the gun-fearing-weenies won't admit that. The truth is that guns let you defend yourself against a large number of attackers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Interesting Treatise on the Politics of Gun Control

Dallas/Ft. Worth Libertarian Examiner: “An armed society is a polite society” Keep paying your taxes so we can keep protecting others.

Or if guns can't keep you safe, why do the likes of Mayor Daley never go anywhere without people with guns?

Worth a look.

Because When Two Chicago Machine Politicians Talk, Deal-making Rarely Becomes the Topic of Conversation

Emanuel Had Contact With Governor’s Office on Senate Seat - He "had contact," but nothing like deal-making was discussed.
Obama aides have said privately that Mr. Emanuel did not engage in any deal-making with Mr. Blagojevich, whom federal prosecutors charged last week with conspiring to turn a profit from the appointment.
Two things amaze me about this.
  1. That anyone is surprised at the nature of Chicago politics
  2. That anyone is still trying to maintain Obama's image as anything but a machine politician
  3. That the press gave Obama a complete pass on things like Tony Rezko during the last 2 years.
OK, so that's more than 2 things. Bite me.

Pay to play isn't a new idea in politics, and it isn't restricted to Chicago Democrats. But Chicago Democrats seem to have a great affinity for making deals, even when those deals are clearly illegal. So why was it that no one (i.e. the Press) bothered to investigate the sweetheart deal that let the Obama's buy a home they could not afford and that left Tony Rezko with a very expensive piece of Chicago real estate that he could not build on right next door? I guess it would have spoiled that picture of him with a halo on the cover of Time or Newsweek or whatever if he was seen making shady deals with shady (now convicted) character.

If you truly believe that Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojevich, two long-standing members of the Chicago Machine, would discuss something like replacing Obama in the Senate and not view it as an opportunity to play Let's Make a Deal, you obviously have never paid any attention to Chicago politics.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Going to the Police Didn't Keep Her Safe

Woman told police someone wanted to kill her In fact she filled two reports that someone she had been in a relationship with wanted to kill her and her children.
Carol Ditmyer told police Wednesday, Dec. 10, someone wanted to kill her.

Little more than 24 hours later, Ditmyer was in a hospital bed recovering from several gunshot wounds.
The first report was filed in Nov.

The ex-boyfriend was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

People need to learn the meaning of "It's over." People need to learn that just because you want something (or someone) occasionally you are going to be disappointed. It isn't the end of the world. It isn't worth killing yourself. It really isn't worth killing (or trying) someone else.

Having a gun of her own may not have kept Ms. Ditmyer safe, but relying on "the system" failed her completely, and it is surprising it didn't cost her life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is Self-defense Legal in Massachusetts?

Liquor store clerk kills robber during hold up - Even in the People's Republic, self-defense works.
According to police, Rivera’s fatal last stand began when he and another masked man walked into Big Bob’s last night before 10.

One of the would-be robbers pointed a handgun directly at one of the two store clerks on duty at the store, said Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst in a statement sent to the media.

One of the clerks then pulled out his own gun and shot Rivera, identified by police as the gunman, several times. The second would-be robber fled on foot, according to police.
Police are "still investigating" because letting the serfs defend themselves is not something like to do.

The bad guy who didn't get shot is still on the run.

Self-defense works, and even in MA it appears to be your legal right (provided you jump through all the required hoops).

Video-taped Attacking Bartender, Cop is Still on the Force

All the attention paid to Chicago the past few days, has reminded me I haven't looked into what Chicago's Finest have been up to. An easy way to post.... depressingly easy.

The Associated Press: Chicago beating case still clouds police image It doesn't cloud the image, so much as it defines the image.

This was a vicious, drunken attack by an off-duty Chicago cop on a 115 pound woman. She was a bartender and refused to serve him any more alcohol.

Witnesses. Video of the attack (see below). But he is on the job.
More than a year after he last wore a badge and months after his boss said he wanted him fired, a policeman videotaped beating a female bartender remains the best-known officer in the Chicago Police Department.
Why is it so hard to fire a Chicago cop? Of course he hasn't had his day in court. (the presumption of innocence, etc.) So much for a speedy trial.

In case you don't remember this case here is the video of the attack, and what the victim claimed later was an attempt to intimidate her or buy her off. Is seeing believing?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No Admission of Guilt

Chicago settles suit over police treatment of gay man -- They just decided to pay up because they were likely to lose.
City lawyers reached an agreement Tuesday with a man who said he was arrested and beaten by Chicago police because he was gay, settling the case on the morning testimony was set to begin in the civil trial.
Not surprising to anyone who has ever dealt with "Chicago's Finest." Not anyone who is gay anyway. Probably most minorities feel that way.

"I am not a crook"

OK, so that isn't what J. Jackson Jr said. But during his press conference I kept thinking of both Nixon (see the title of this post) or Bill "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" Clinton.

Congressman Jackson may be pure as the driven snow - we had a bit of that this morning - but when his assurances bring up memories of past political fiascos, I think I was right when I thought he should have kept his mouth shut.

Like Cockroaches When You Turn the Lights On

All the Illinois politicians are scurrying for the shadows, afraid that they will be identified as "Senate Candidate #5" or someone else having dealings with Blagojevich.

Axelrod is confused about misspeaking about Obama meeting with the governor about selling appointing the next senator from Illinois. (Funny, but I haven't seen anything about Obama's resident machine hack - Rahm Emanuel - and if he met with Blagojevich.)

Jesse Jackson Jr. is sure he isn't anyone who did anything wrong. And he is having a press conference to proclaim his innocent. I should say that I actually like J. Jackson Jr., but I think he would be better to keep silent right now.

In fact, I expect to see anyone and everyone proclaim that they are in fact the only Illinois politician who has never been tempted to play the great game of graft and corruption.

But whatever else they have or haven't done, they are all guilty of breaking Da Mayor's primary rules. (Not Richie Daley, but his father was Da Mayor.) "Don't make no waves. Don't back no losers."

GM versus Toyota: Someone is doing something wrong

If we look at 2007 - for a full year's sales data, we find them tied in units sold. GM releases global sales numbers for 2007, in dead heat with Toyota - Autoblog Each sold about 9.3 million cars worldwide.

If you look at the financial scorecard, things are a bit more lopsided.
For all of 2007, GM posted a loss of $38.7 billion, the biggest ever for an automaker.
Now the Detroit apologists will point out that minus some "extraordinary" write downs they almost, but not quite, broke even. Except that there always seem to be "extraordinary" events.

Toyota meanwhile made money. (Comparisons are a bit off because of different fiscal years, but you get the idea.)
Toyota Motor Corp. also left its profit projection at 1.7 trillion yen ($15.91 billion) for the fiscal year on 25.5 trillion yen ($238.61 billion) in sales.
They both did well in Europe's emerging markets.

Now they say we have been in a recession for a year. Which means that most of 2007 was not a recession. And still GM can't make money.

And you want me to invest in this corporation? Why? Toyota is clearly a better investment. If you can't make money in a good or average year, why should you expect to stay in business in a bad year?

Zimbabwe Circles the Drain

Cholera ravages population weak with hunger in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe The situation appears to be deteriorating, or maybe I should say the deterioration is accelerating.

A few years ago, Zimbabwe exported food to the rest of Africa.
On the road from Harare to Bulawayo a policeman stopped a motorist at a checkpoint. “I'm hungry,” said the officer. The car was allowed through for the price of a bag of peanuts.
Now the diseases of poverty seem to be taking hold. It isn't surprising really, given the state of everything, including health care.
Most hospitals have closed because their staff have gone abroad or given up working for nothing. In a country that once had a higher literacy rate than the United States, most schools are shut because the teachers have done the same. Water and electricity are treats. Public transport has all but ceased to function. Rubbish is no longer collected.
And so Mugabe, tries harder to hold onto power, resorting to terror.
Secret police seize leading Zimbabwean activist Jestina Mukoko - Times Online
Anyone protesting his government can expect to meet violence, or be disappeared.

But on the subject of health care: Health clinics overwhelmed by cholera cases in Zimbabwe - Times Online
The latest UN statistics show that 589 Zimbabweans died of cholera in the past few weeks and that 13,960 have been infected, but nobody believes these figures.

Many more will have died unrecorded in their homes or in villages far from clinics. “The figures are vastly unreported,” Phil Evans, the head of the British Department for International Development in Harare, said. “There are probably twice as many people with cholera as turn up for treatment.”
You have to wonder why the UN would want to white wash the figures. Is it to make Mugabe look good (or not quite so bad)? Or is it just the UN being lazy?

I suppose it doesn't help that other African nations don't want to do anything to Mugabe. Rift widens as the African Union stands by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe - Times Online When even the likes of Desmond Tutu are asking for military intervention, the problem is severe, but the other countries just don't see it that way.
the African Union made clear that it would support a resolution only through talks. “Only dialogue between the Zimbabwean parties, supported by the AU and other regional actors, can restore peace and stability to that country,” a spokesman for President Kikwete of Tanzania, the AU chairman, said.

South Africa also maintained that the answer for Zimbabwe was power sharing. “There should be no political point-scoring and games played when what is really needed right now is support,” Ayanda Ntsaluba, a South African Foreign Ministry official, said. He added that Zimbabwean leaders needed to work across the political divide to solve the country's problems.
That's political double speak for doing nothing. Is a guy who is holding power on the backs of secret police going to work across the political divide? Yeah right.

My cynical nature says that they only want to ensure no one tells them what to do. As long as Mugabe is the bad guy, no one will look to closely at them.

Home Invader Meets Armed Homeowner

Homeowner shoots intruder in the face, torso When the homeowner didn't answer the door to his knock, he kicked in the door.
[The injured guy] entered the house and, during the ensuing confrontation, he was shot in the face and his upper torso, according to Sgt. Mark Marino of Gilbert police.
He fled to a waiting car and his brother drove him to the hospital.

The getaway-driver-brother was arrested. The guy who got shot is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The homeowner won't be charged, because self-defense is your legal right.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Tradition of Illinois Politics Marches on

Feds take Gov. Blagojevich into custody - Chicago Breaking News The charges are, frankly amazing, even by the standards of Illinois and Chicago.

Pay to play. Give the governor a load of campaign contributions, or kiss your state contracts good-bye. Is that a bribe, or extortion?

Stirred the water around the sale of the Chicago cubs (by withholding infrastructure improvement funds) to pressure the Tribune to change editorial policies. Nice.

So you want to be a senator? That seat in the US senate that Obama vacated.... Blagojevich said it was "golden." Maybe we really do have the best government money can buy. Of course he was considering appointing himself, because he thought it might be a good way to recycle his image.

You can read all 76 pages of the full criminal complaint here. It is a PDF; you have been warned.

As for that Illinois tradition, it is legendary. The previous Illinois governor, George Ryan, is also in prison. Most famous was probably Illinois politician Paul Powell. He never made more than $30,000 per year, but after his death, $800,000 were found in shoe boxes, briefcases, and other containers in his closet.

So nice that we are inducting the Chicago machine into the White House (in at least the person of Rahm Emanuel).

Innocent until proved guilty... and all that.

Monday, December 08, 2008

London Times Learns The Lesson of Mumbai

Think tank: If each of us carried a gun . . . -Times Online And the lesson of history.

Gun control doesn't work. India has some of the most draconian gun laws in the world. Disarmed Citizens are not safe. They are merely defenseless victims.

Consider the history lesson, from a London, that included an armed populace.
In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back – and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.
Or there are more recent examples of the futility of relying on police to keep you safe.
One might think, too, of the McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California, in 1984, where the Swat team waited for their leader (who was held up in a traffic jam) while 21 unarmed diners were murdered.
There is no substitute for a population that can defend itself, when the threat appears. Gun free zones do not keep you safe. Mumbai is a gun-free zone. Were all those people safe?

Don't expect any of this to change in the near future. The powers-that-be are not likely to relinquish their power over the serfs.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Isn't Cooperation Supposed to Ensure Safety?

Police: Robber shot deli owner over size of loot It seems that the Left, when they are saying how we don't need to be able to defend ourselves, mention that if we just give robbers what they want, we will be safe. (The never say a woman should do when confronted by a rapist. Convenient, that.)
ST. PETERSBURG -- Narendra Patel did everything the gunmen who robbed his store Monday night asked. But police believe they know what motivated one of them to shoot the store owner anyway:

The gunman was angry that the victim didn't have enough money.
Of course it turns out that the Left is wrong anyway. Being nice to violent criminals doesn't stop them from being violent criminals. Cooperating with them won't make you safe.
Patel cooperated, police say, but apparently what he handed over wasn't enough.

"Is this all the (expletive) money?" the robber asked. "I'm not playing with you."

Police say the gunman fired a warning shot at the owner, then shot him in the foot, then shot him twice more as he fled the store.
You are of course free to do as you please. I will resist whenever I can.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Reason We Can't Stop Pirates? The UN - Enemies of All Mankind: Who Can Stop the Pirates There are a lot of reasons, but the principle one is that the "Law of the Sea" as rewritten under the spineless UN doesn't allow much action.

For example, the idea that self-defense might work is discouraged.
Bringing weapons on board ships is "strongly discouraged" by the United Nations' International Maritime Organization, and experts agree that arming commercial crews is a bad idea.
Apparently it is much better to have defenseless victims.

The last time piracy was a problem, the Brits took action that made an impact.
In the 18th century, the British government made a "great show of how wicked pirates were" by hanging them in public, said David Cordingly, author of "Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates."

"Often their bodies were coated in tar and wrapped up in chains and then hung from a gallows at the entrance of a port or harbor," Cordingly said. "The idea was to make it seem that it wasn't a very good career option to become a pirate."
Any bets on how likely that is to happen today?

But of course it won't happen.
"The authorities have to be very careful with the law of the sea and United Nations charters," Cordingly said. "Nowadays you can't simply charge in with warships, blast the pirates and hang them on the waterfront."
We had better get used to dealing with pirates, because we aren't going to get rid of them anytime soon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The True Aims of State Education

Government Education Is Broken? It Just Ain't So! The real goals have nothing to do with knowledge. It has to do with control of the population.
H.L. Mencken, who wrote in The American Mercury (April 1924) that “the aim of public education is not to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. . . . Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim . . . is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States . . . and that is its aim everywhere else.”
No dissent. No originality. Little actual teaching.

No history. No geography. Stupid experiments like the open concept school or whole language - which any moron could guess wouldn't work, but that were adopted with fervor by the educational establishment. Because the educational establishment isn't interested in education. (Ask the teachers' unions what they think of paying better teachers more money, or of even getting rid of bad teachers.)

Watch the old PBS documentary "The Civil War" by Ken Burns. The letters written by poor, dirt farmers on the eve of battle are incredible. Writing home to their mothers, wives, or sweetheart, they wrote moving letters. Why could we educate people 150 years ago and we can't do it today?

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

Charges filed in home invasion case; 2 men hospitalized with gunshot wounds | | The Times Daily | Florence, AL 3 goblins are facing charges after they tried - and failed - to break into the home of an armed homeowner. Two of the goblins were shot.

The 2 guys actually doing the breaking in were shot multiple times. The getaway driver was apprehended later.
“We were able to locate the driver (Reynolds) and he was interviewed by investigators and admitted that he took (Peake and Elkins) to the residence to burglarize the residence,” [Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie] May said.

He said their plan was sidetracked when the men were confronted by the homeowner as they kicked in the door.
Funny how an armed homeowner can sidetrack the plans of goblins.

Self-defense not only works, but it is also your legal right.

Monday, December 01, 2008

When Even the Police Are Sheep, the Citizens Have No Chance

Mumbai photographer: I wish I'd had a gun, not a camera. Armed police would not fire back - World news, News - We are always told that we don't need the means of self-defense, we should rely on police to save us. That is wishful thinking. In most instances, the police won't be there. In other cases, the police will do nothing.
But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
If the "authorities" won't defend people, and the people are prevented from defending themselves, this kind of thing will become all too common. [Hat tip to Breda via Tam]

I Know People Are in a Hurry, But This is Insane

No messing around when it comes to Obama motorcade -- OK, if you drive "funny" around a Presidential (or Presdential-elect) motorcade, you could end up in deep yogurt.
"Some of the drivers here in Chicago do not seem to understand that a) the Chicago police car at the end of the president-elect's motorcade is serious about having traffic pull over when the officers flash their lights and hit their sirens, and b) it's not a great idea to jump ahead of traffic by trying to cut around the black SUV filled with five heavily armed Secret Service members," the [LA Times] reporter noted.

On Van Buren Street, a tan sedan attempted to drive around Obama's motorcade.

"The SUV cut the car off immediately, and the security team aimed their weapons at the car," the pool report said.
Those cars with flashing lights trying to keep you away from the black SUVs are there for your safety. Really. If you are in that much of a hurry, you should have left home 20 minutes earlier.
And always remember why the windows are open in the security vehicles leading and tailing the president's car: To give the sharpshooters inside a clean shot.

Even Though the Tests Showed No Drugs, She Was in Jail - Chicago Police Conspire To Pin Drugs on Mom, Suit Claims She had a plastic bag of flour in her fridge. Even after the test came back proving it wasn't drugs, she was still held.
Daniels, who police claimed was planning to deliver the drugs, was arrested and taken to Cook County Jail, the suit said. Daniels was jailed for approximately 18 days while she attempted to secure her $30,000 bond.

During her stint in jail her husband, who she was separated from, stopped sending child support payments and filed for custody of her children, causing her further emotional distress and financial injury, the suit said.

A test on the substance to Illinois State Police for testing came back negative, and her drug possession charge was dismissed.
Presumed guilty, even after you've been proved innocent.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

WSFA 12 News Montgomery, AL |1 man killed, 1 injured in attempted robbery Self-defense works. 2 goblins try to rob a citizen, and the citizen draws his legal weapon and defends himself.
Police found [goblin #1] on the sidewalk being treated by paramedics for an apparent gunshot wound at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

Levert was taken to UAB Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The injured goblin was driven by someone to the hospital, where he was treated and released into police custody.

People often tell me that these posts are callous. Maybe they are, but I am happy when law-abiding citizens keep from becoming victims, and in the process remove some criminals from our streets. I think the world is better place when honest citizens are safe and criminals are not.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Invasion Stopped by Armed Home Owner

Teen dies in shooting during home invasion - News Three thugs enter a home. One is armed.

A resident of the house begins a struggle for the gun, and the gun goes off. The homeowner grabs his own gun and fires 4 shots.

The result? One dead goblin, one injured goblin.
His injuries were treated, and he was released into police custody and charged with murder and aggravated robbery.
At least one remains on the run.

What Happens When the Population is Disarmed?

We wanted to kill 5000, surviving terrorist says - World - When the good guys are disarmed, the bad guys can do what they want. It helps when the population has been trained to be sheep; then the wolves have no opposition.

The talking heads on various news casts have been wondering how could 10 men cause so much damage? When no one has an opportunity to defend themselves, what do people think will happen?

This lesson was clear at the Beslan (Russia) attack on a school, and probably as far back as The Achille Lauro hijacking of 1985. But learning the lessons of history would mean that A) people actually paid attention to history, and B) the far Left gave up the idea that all will be well, if we only hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
The terrorist gang, thought to number as few as 10 gunmen, had planned to kill 5000 people and destroy the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel and the stock exchange. In the end, their murderous toll was closer to 200, and left the Taj Mahal and the Tident-Oberoi hotel badly charred and damaged.
With instructions to attack several key sites, this handful of terrorists, from Pakistani controlled Kashmir, were able to wreak havoc on a major democracy for days.

I wonder if anyone will learn the lesson that this bit of history has to teach.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Of Course All the Gun Laws Work as They Do In Chicago

Disarming the Obama Administration - The subtitle of this article is, "Gun owners need not apply."
Every president-elect vets his incoming staff and usually that vetting begins with a lengthy questionnaire. But one question asked on Barack Obama's questionnaire is raising hackles among gun owners and fans of the Second Amendment. Question No. 59 begins: "Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun?"

The questionnaire goes on to insist that a gun-owning jobseeker "provide complete ownership and registration information," and asks: "Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage."
I mean, even in the Peoples Republic of Illinois, outside Chicago, guns are not registered. But Obama and his great great world view, don't include the simple fact that most states don't register guns in any fashion.

Anybody who thinks the Obama Administration won't be hostile to gun owners is just plain wrong. Gotta find the funds to buy that assault rifle. [h/t NRA-ILA]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Justice, Chicago-style

Cop: I paid judge for search warrant :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime Judges paid to grant search warrants. People robbed at traffic stops. So, who are the criminals and who are the good guys?
Doroniuk said he would plant drugs on people when searches turned up nothing because he and Shamah needed to arrest someone to satisfy their bosses.
That was only one of the things they got up to.

I am so glad that we are moving the Chicago machine to Washington.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Short Answer is, "Yes!"

Players taking security measures after murders I don't know why these folks think they are immune to the kinds of things that plague the well off all over the world.

It has taken a few high-profile crimes to convince them they need to do something. Of course, they are hamstrung for a good part of their public appearances, since the NFL frowns on self-defense.
"League officials tell us we need to take measures to protect ourselves. But the NFL says we can't have guns in the facility even in the parking lot. Crooks know this. They can just sit back and wait for us to drive off, knowing we won't have anything in our vehicle from point A to point B," says Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
I wonder if teams provide armed guards for players to-and-from games? Doubt it.

But the question? Dave Abrams, appointed as head of Denver's security, wonders what is next.
What's the next layer? Wives and children: a kid kidnapped for ransom, or some other kind of craziness. I'm scared to death that's where criminals perceive the next vulnerability is for our players: their families.
Of course those people are at risk. And it was nice of Mr. Abrams to point it out.

Several Hours to Respond to 911 Call - For a Shooting

MyFox Houston | 1 Dead, 3 Shot in Southeast Houston Home Invasion What if you had to wait several hours after people broke into your home and shot you? Would you believe in 911?
Police find one man dead and three others shot at a southeast Houston home, but not until several hours after the shooting took place because of confusing calls made to 911 dispatchers.
So confusing 911 calls lead to no response? Great system.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How NOT to Win Friends and Influence Politics

Worcester Telegram & Gazette News Here is a story about gun owners confirming the worst stereotypes of gun owners.
Complaints have been filed with Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office and Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., alleging that a Web site frequented by proponents of a controversial town-owned rifle range is disseminating anti-gay propaganda and targeting opponents who live near the range with death threats.
I am sure gun owners if The People's Republic of Massachusetts feel like they are under siege, but this is hardly the response that will win their side of the conflict.

Cooperation? It Doesn't Make You Safe

MyFox Philadelphia | Barbershop Owner Speaks About Fatally Shooting Armed Robber The Left loves the mantra, "Cooperate with criminals and you will safe." They never like to bring up what women should do when confronted by a rapist, however.

But that mantra is just plain false.

Here is a case where a shop-owner was closing up and is robbed by a thug. His 9-year-old son is in the shop, so he cooperates. The robber's reaction to being handed all the money? "This is not enough."

First he leaves, but then he comes back, so the shop-owner knows he and his son are in trouble.
Suddenly, [the goblin] walked out but quickly returned while Cross was trying to lock up.

"So, I'm thinking, 'What do I do? … So I pull my handgun … and as he comes right up on me, I grab him by his collar, and I put him against the wall. … He puts his gun into my midsection, and I have a split second to think about what to do, and I had to make a choice. … My choice was, 'I'm either going to die. He's going to shoot me and potentially my child is going to be harmed, too.' … So, I shot him in self defense," Cross said.
One dead bad guy. And even the police admit it is self-defense.

Mr. Cross is troubled by what he had to do. "He said the events of Thursday night keep playing over and over again in his mind." But he had to do it. Parents have a moral obligation to defend their children from harm. (That's my opinion, anyway.) And luckily, we also have a legal right to defend ourselves.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Homeowner opens fire on intruder: Alaska News | Break into the home of an armed homeowner, and you will have some trouble.
NORTH POLE -- A homeowner interrupting a burglary in progress late last week morning opened fire on the intruder as the burglar approached him and his wife, Alaska State Troopers said.

The burglar was not hit by the shots but did sustain minor injuries when he "went through the window" while fleeing the home, troopers said.
Dogs were able to track him down, and he is charged with a number of things including burglary and resisting arrest.

CBS News in Denial About Piracy

High Seas Piracy Video - This video aired on November 17th. In it, CBSNews claims that no one has died as a result of piracy. And I can't say if that is true of Somali piracy or not, though I do know people have been injured.

But world-wide, it is certainly the case that piracy costs lives.
A total of 199 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first nine months of 2008. The third quarter of 2008 saw reported incidents spike to 83, a significant increase when compared to the 53 reported in the first quarter and the 63 reported in the second quarter. The reported acts of piracy committed to date in 2008 have included 115 vessels boarded, 31 vessels hijacked, and 23 vessels fired upon. A total of 581 crewmembers were taken hostage, nine kidnapped, nine killed and seven missing – presumed dead.
PRC only tracks attacks on merchant shipping. (It is run by the International Chamber of Commerce.) Deaths are also incurred in private vessels.
It has been reported on cruising forums that on Sunday night an American, the captain of the vessel Chill, Ken Peters, was killed by pirates at Isla Borracha [Venezuela] near Puerto La Cruz.
But none of this interests CBSNews.

While they report that ships are being urged to arm and defend themselves, they find an old woman a captain who is scared by the idea of self-defense. No bias here, is there? I mean be reasonable, encouraging people to defend themselves on the evening news? What would the world come to?

If the West is ever to come to terms with piracy, people need to wake up to the reality. And that reality is that you can't pick up the phone and dial 911. In some countries, the authorities are part of the problem.

And so it goes...

Oil Tanker Waylaid by Pirates - The US Navy, in the person of Admiral Mike Mullen, is "stunned" at the level of piracy off Somalia. Which no doubt explains why they are so effective, and the west is so ineffective.

This was significant because the pirates are venturing farther out to sea, beyond what the international community had considered safe. That line had been about 200 miles, but this attack was much beyond that. Hardly surprising. They are going hunting where the odds of finding prey are good. And they found some prey.
The U.S. Navy said pirates commandeered a Saudi-owned supertanker bearing more than $100 million worth of crude a few hundred miles off the Kenyan coast
A 10 percent ransom would set these guys up for a long time, and give them the support they need to go even farther off shore. Better equipment. Better weapons. It is clear they are getting experience.

What surprises me is that no is suggesting convoys with armed escorts as a response. More will be done in December. How nice. (Help is just around the corner!)

The governments of the world, and most people in the west, don't want to believe any of this is true. Take a look back in time at my early posts on maritime piracy; the comments - the few there are - indicate people don't want to think about it. Pirates are something you hire Johnny Depp to portray for Disney, not something that costs lives and money. Pirates are a joke that involve ninjas or spaghetti monsters, but not real people committing real atrocities. I'm not sure why they think that. It shouldn't disturb them as they cower in their gated communities. (Aren't they in gated communities because they are afraid that the world is not safe?)

Maybe someday, someone will do something.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Finally Someone Has Stepped In

Warship helps to repel pirates The British and Russians anyway are no longer screwing around with the pirates off Somalia.
A spokesman for the Russian navy said the pirates fired at the Danish ship and twice tried to hijack it before HMS Cumberland and Russian frigate Neustrashimy moved in. The MoD confirmed two suspected pirates were killed by British crew members after the crew of a locally built "dhow" fired at them on Tuesday.

A spokesman said: "HMS Cumberland was conducting routine maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden. During the course of these operations, they boarded a Yemeni- registered dhow, towing a skiff, which they had reason to believe had been involved in an attack on the Danish-registered MV Powerful earlier in the day.
The crew of the dhow objected to being boarded and opened fire on the Brits, so the they shot and killed two of the crew, at which time they boarded the dhow.

Self-defense works

Clerk Fires At Armed Robber, Police Say - News Story - WHNS Greenville Just having a gun doesn't make you a dangerous person.
Police said a man wearing a ski mask walked into the store and flashed a gun at the clerk. That was when the clerk pulled out his gun and fired a shot at the man.

The bandit ran out of the store and got away. The clerk was not injured.
No arrests.

They Won't Try That Again Soon

Homeowner Halts Burglary With Shotgun Blast|NewsChannel 8 Ex-wife shows up at the home with a girlfriend and 2 male friends.
The victim says his wife broke through the front window and the two men kicked in the front door. The man retreated to his bedroom and got out his shotgun and fired one shot through the front room wall.
They ran like rabbits. No one has yet been arrested.

Ain't love grand?

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Same as the old boss"

Emanuel pick shows change is state of mind -- Who would have thought you could create change with the same-old staffers, but then who thought "change" was anything but a slogan?
It took only 36 hours for President-elect Barack Obama to take the off ramp from the Change We Can Believe In Highway and slam his foot on the gas in the express lanes of the Chicago Way.

Because with his first official act, Obama selected a Chicago Daley machine guy for his chief of staff, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak).
Maybe the quote in the title should be from "Welcome to the Machine."

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

Teen Shot By Homeowner In Robbery Attempt - Indiana News Story - WRTV Indianapolis They attacked a man who was armed with a .45 pistol.
"The homeowner was armed with a .45-caliber handgun. He fired a warning shot to get them off him, striking one juvenile in the abdomen area," Morgan County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bob Downey said.

The teens got back into their car -- which was reported stolen out of Marion County -- and led police on a short chase through the park, crashing into a mobile home.

The 17-year-old boy who was shot was chased down by neighbors, while another teen was found hiding in a nearby pickup truck. A 16-year-old girl, who police said was the getaway driver, turned herself in to police.
The guy who was shot is in "serious but stable condition."

The response of the neighborhood is great.
"If he got shot doing something he wasn't supposed to do, then oh well," said neighbor Jennifer Simpson. "I don't think the guy should be in trouble."
Self-defense is a human right.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It Seems That Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt

Is it just me, or are a lot of people shocked that Obama was elected? Disregard the polls? Why? Because they were so unhelpful two years ago when the Republicans lost big? Oh, that's right... they weren't wrong then either.

Republicans must be suffering from some form of group denial. They can act like big-spending Democrats, they can nationalize banking (and take a stab at insurance), talk about doing the same to automakers (too big to fail, don't you know!) and then they wonder why people would rather vote for the Democrats.

Also, the entire strategy of the Republicans now seems to be, "we hate gays and gay marriage, we hate evolution we hate abortion and love Jesus." If there is something else that the Republicans stand for, I can't see it. Limited government? The Patriot Act isn't so limited. It may be necessary, but it isn't limited. And then there was the Prescription Drug Entitlement. Yeah, that sounds like the party of small government and balanced budgets. Federalism? The Republicans are in favor of federalism whenever the states make decisions they like. When something like gay marriage comes along - or Teri Shiavo - Federalism goes right out the window in favor of dictating what they like.

So what exactly is it that the Republicans do stand for?

Then McCain runs a campaign that made me think of Bob Dole on more than one occasion, and I thought he looked like Dole a lot the last week or so. Not a good Presidential Candidate to be channeling.

And if you think it is bad now, I expect the self-appointed "core" of the Republican party to seize control and truly make the Republicans the party of religious fanatics. It will be a very long time before anyone thinks of them as the party of fiscal responsibility.

So now we get the nanny state Democrats. Expect to see the 55 MPH speed limit return as part of an energy policy to get us off foreign oil. (Include an exemption for electric vehicles, and that might actually work.) A lot of things will happen when government controls health care. Want health care? Stop smoking, stop drinking, lose weight, cut out red meat, and do whatever else Big Nanny decides is good for you. I don't expect it to be pretty.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Disturbing Allegations

Grand jury weighs sodomy claim against NYPD cops - Yahoo! News If true, it is a serious case.
Mineo claims four officers assaulted him in horrific fashion, yanking down his pants and sodomizing him with a walkie-talkie antenna so brutally that he was left bleeding. He says the officers then put him into a police car, and, unsure what to do with him, let him go with a minor ticket and told him to keep his mouth shut. He spent the next four days in a hospital.
The cops claim this isn't what happened, though the hospital records are a problem. Witnesses on both sides.

No one is proved guilty yet, of course, but this case reminds a lot of people of another brutality case; that one is from 1997.
It has also evoked comparisons to Abner Louima, who was beaten and sodomized with a broomstick in a police precinct by officers in one of the worst cases of brutality in NYPD history.
That case was blamed on racism, because Louima was black, and those officers white. This case has a white victim with black, white and Hispanic officers. (But then my contention is the only that matters most in cases like this is blue; you are either a cop, or you aren't.)

So this is all off to a special grand jury. Those who believe cops no matter what, will believe the cops. Those who hate cops will believe Mineo. Me? I don't automatically trust cops. That's why I think that everything every cop does while on duty should recorded on video - with audio. If they aren't doing anything bad, what do they have to worry about? And they work for us, after all. At least that is supposed to be how it works. If these cops had been on video their whole shift, this wouldn't be an issue. We would either have video that backs them up, or video that sends them to hell. If they conveniently "lost" the video? That would tip the scales to their accuser.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out. (See the Cops Behaving Badly list for more posts on cops who don't think the rules apply to them.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Attitude Counts for a Lot

Women chase would-be purse snatcher, Harrisburg police say - Midstate PA Local News So a goof-ball tries to rob six women with a BB gun. The elect to keep their own possessions. He shoots 1, giving her a minor injury, and the other 5 chase him down.
[The goof-ball] was charged with three counts of robbery, six counts of aggravated assault, six counts of recklessly endangering another person and flight to avoid apprehension. He was placed in the Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Way to go.

Another Ex-boyfriend Who Doesn't Understand “It's Over!”

Woman's ex shot during shootout at her Fort Worth home | Dallas Morning News So the ex shows up at woman's house, and is told by the current boyfriend that she isn't home. This isn't BS - she wasn't home.

Of course the ex - who showed up with a friend, or another thug, depends on your point of view - didn't believe that she wasn't home. (Liars never believe a truth that doesn't meet with their approval.) So the ex and the thug try to force their way into the house.
The two men tried to enter the home and fought with the boyfriend before shots were fired.

The two men were hit and fled to a nearby home where they were apprehended and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital.
The two goof-balls are charged with assault.

Self-defense may be a human right, but the "authorities" in this case are still investigating, since they really want to charge the current boyfriend with something.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Palm River Homeowner Defends Shooting Attacker What is a 62-year-old single teacher to do when an intruder enters her bedroom?
The 62-year-old Memorial Middle School teacher told authorities she armed herself when she heard a noise and shot when the man accosted her in her bedroom.
The dead-guys mother is saying that the dead guy knew the teacher and even been in her house.
"He has never been in my house. Never," Enzor said. "No one comes in my house."

Debbie Carter, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said detectives were told Enzor "knew [Johnson] from the neighborhood."

Enzor denied even that much of a relationship.

"I may have seen him in the neighborhood, but I never knew him," she said.
Relatives of dead bad guys never want to admit that some shootings are justified, as this one appears to be.

Shoot First and Ask Questions Later

Anaheim officer mistakenly kills man on his front lawn - Los Angeles Times If you or I did this, we would be arrested for manslaughter if nothing else. When cops do it, it is a "tragic situation."
An Anaheim police officer chasing burglary suspects shot and killed an innocent 20-year-old man who heard a commotion and emerged from his house early Tuesday holding what authorities said was either a broomstick or a shower rod.
The officer involved is on leave.

He was shot twice in the chest and pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Alexander was married last week, and his wife, Renee, 19, is expecting a baby girl in December, his family said.

He was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Riverside, where he played football, and as a student worked in the commissary at March Air Reserve Base.

Alexander also volunteered as an usher and did charity work at his church.
The phrase "trigger happy" comes to mind. Anyone you meet is an enemy, and shooting them is OK. What do you think will happen to this cop? 30 days non-paid leave? A reprimand in his permanent file? He might lose his job (though I am sure the unions will argue that point), but I seriously doubt that he will face criminal charges for negligently discharging his firearm.

I want to categorize this as cops behaving badly, but I can't. I wasn't there and he may have been justified. But the point remains that cops are all to eager to shoot people who are no threat to them.