Thursday, January 31, 2008

Still Hard to Be a Criminal in Texas - Dallas Store Clerk Turns Tables On Would-Be Robber You standard urban goblin comes into a convenience store at 4 AM with a semi-automatic pistol.

The clerk reacted by taking the store-gun and firing 3 times.

The would-be robber was found later at a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. He is in fair condition. He is to be charged with aggravated robbery.

The police believe the clerk acted in self-defense. Self-defense is a human right, and in Texas it is also your legal right.

South Dakota May Eliminate Some "Gun Free" Zones

House panel OKs bill allowing guns on campuses � Recognizing that "gun free" zones are not effective ways to stop crime, South Dakota is considering a bill to allow self-defense on college campuses.

I wish them luck getting this past the frenzy of paranoia that the gun-fearing weenies will throw in their way. [via NRA-ILA]

Police Not Interested Enough to Keep Abuser in Jail

Beaten and tortured woman fears another attack from her alleged stalker She learned the hard way that the system wasn't going to help her.
Arab P.D. says Huntsville did not come pick him up and they had to release him.

H.P.D. says their investigator and supervisor were unaware he still wasn't in jail.
Glad to see that they are on top of this case. Domestic violence just doesn't get the attention it deserves.
Nina tells Jeanie, "I've had 14, 15 calls a day, threats upon threats."

Nina claims she began losing confidence in the system.

She says, "I was being told things that made me feel guilty for calling them and reporting my stuff like you're on the back burner here."
She made mistakes, and she admits to them, but she got next to no help from police.

The help she should have gotten was a loaner 9mm, a case of ammo and some instruction at the police pistol range. But that would require the police and the courts to admit they can't do anything. How many cops are going to admit to being helpless? Not too damn many.

Even Kalifornia Can't Afford Free Health Care

San Jose Mercury News - California health care dream gets a lethal shot of budget reality Bipartisan committee estimates it would cost billions of dollars over the original propaganda estimates. So it dies in committee. (California already has a budget problem.)

The "activists" will now switch back to the federal government because Washington doesn't have to balance the budget. They can just print money. Of course if we print enough of it, it won't be worth anything.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Isn't Public Health Care Wonderful? - 11-Year-Old Boy Partially Deaf for Nine Years Is Suddenly Cured Except when it isn't of course. For 9 years the "doctors" at the British National Health Service missed the fact that he had a wad of cotton stuck in his ear.
"I had always suspected Jerome had stuck something in his ear when he was little and that was causing the problem. But the doctors and hearing specialists said it was wax and he would probably grow out of it."
Yes sir, that is quality health care - just not very high quality.

Did they even bother to look in the kid's ear? I guess they didn't need to. They "knew" it was wax without looking. [via The Freeholder]

Homeowners Abandoning Their Homes

So now it seems that the next disaster in the housing kerfuffle is upon us. Homeowners with negative equity are walking away from their homes and their troubles. Does this surprise anyone?

Over the last 20 or 40 years, banks - along with everyone else - have decided that it is better if people never build up any equity in their homes. Second mortgages, home equity lines of credit, etc. are so common it is insane. People are essentially renting from the bank.

My father's generation stayed in their homes forever. (My dad has been in the same house for more than 40 years.) Leaving would be a hardship for him. I almost never managed to unpack all of the boxes before it was time to move again. One place was a lot like another.

Today, there are the issues of negative equity. People save money by walking away.
A commenter on L.A. Land this morning writes, "I am one of these people. My condo has dropped in value from $520K in 5/06 when I bought it to $350K now. My ARM payment will probably go up $900 per month in June.

"Despite all this, I would be willing to stay if the bank would refi the loans to a 30 year fixed, but since I'm not a 'hardship' case they'd apparently rather foreclose. I guess the only way I could qualify for loan mitigation is to get my boss to fire me, stop making payments, and wreck my credit. In fact, my bank won't even talk to me until I miss a couple of payments.

"I have purchased a cheaper place in a nearby area now, while my credit is good, and will stop making payments on house #1 after house #2 closes. I know the foreclosure will be on my credit for 7 years, but I will have saved a lot of money.
As he notes, the loan is "secured" by the property. The bank can take it back and ruin his credit, but there is damn little else they can do.

Now I don't hold this guy blameless. Most people with the loans and homes that are a problem got into the situation because you "never lose money in real estate" or some other urban legend about investing. And it being Kalifornia, the prices were (and maybe still are) insane. [hat tip Michelle Malkin]

The interesting thing to contemplate is, what does this say about "the full faith and credit of the United States?" Will we be willing to renege on other loans as this attitude spreads? Never say never.

I blame global warming

Snow dampens spirits of China's stranded workers
Half a million or more people like Ann Yang and her six relatives from Hunan province have so far returned train tickets that would have taken them home for the Lunar New Year holiday from the southern province of Guangdong amid China's worst snowstorms in decades.
Or maybe Bush is to blame.

Surveillance State Moves Forward

Congress Passes Extension of Surveillance Law - While everyone was concentrating on the Florida primary election, Congress was off solidifying the Brave New World that we live in. (G.W. as Big Brother?)
The House and Senate yesterday approved a 15-day extension of an expiring intelligence surveillance law
The Bush administration wants to keep people from suing the phone companies. And other things I am sure.

There has been much in the press lately about Bush and "his legacy." I think the biggest thing he will be remembered for is the implementation of universal surveillance. Not that it started with him - Clinton signed off on a little thing call Eschelon (or was it Carnivore).

Stupid Criminals - South American Division

The Press Association: 52 hostages freed after bank ordeal I love it when idiots try to break the law.
One of the gunmen accidentally shot himself in the leg when his weapon went off during the chase,
All four of the miscreants are in custody. No good guy was injured.

Cooperation Does Not Guarantee Safety

Clerk recovering after store shooting A familiar story. A store clerk hands over the cash to a robber. The robber then tries to kill the store clerk.

After Ping Chen handed over the money, things went downhill.
The suspect took several steps toward the door then turned around and shot Chen in the right shoulder with a pistol, knocking her to the ground, police said. The man then leaned over the counter and fired a second shot that hit her left hand as she tried to cover her face.

"All indications are that he was trying to kill her," Rock Hill Police Lt. Jerry Waldrop said. "The clerk was, in our opinion, cooperative. But for some reason, the suspect shot her."
The reason, Lt Waldrop, is that violent criminals are violent, and this one apparently didn't want a witness around to testify.

Now being prepared to defend yourself is no guarantee that you will be safe, but neither is cooperating with criminals. There are no guarantees in this life. So you have to make a decision about how you will approach life - on your feet or on your knees.

And of course the recommendation of cooperation that the Left and the Police love to give is usually given by a man talking about robbery. They never seem to discuss other violent crimes, like rape.

For myself, I will take direct action.

Update: this from Xavier and Jeff Cooper - Jeff Cooper on Crime
November 1993--"Fight back! Whenever you are offered violence, fight back! The aggressor does not fear the law, so he must be taught to fear you. Whatever the risk, and at whatever the cost, fight back!"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida Election Results Without Comment

Florida Department of State - Election Results The official web site of the Florida election - with unofficial results.

About what I expected, with early lead changes between Mitt Romney and John McCain. Though like several people I was hoping Fred Thompson would have gotten more votes than Ron Paul.

Looks like the property tax amendment is going to pass. Too bad - it does more harm than good.

Restraining Order, Probation from Prior Arrest No Deterrent

Man to Stand Trial for Brutal Attack on Estranged Wife - FOX6 San Diego A restraining order has been in place since Oct of '07. The goblin was on probation from a prior domestic violence assault. All of that and he still nearly killed her.

Still think the police and the courts and restraining orders can help?

He demanded entry to her home, and when she refused he dove through a window.
The woman said she ran out of her apartment screaming for help, but he caught up with her quickly.

"He ran out after me, picked me up and carried me back to the apartment," Lawrence said.
Among other things, he stabbed her in the neck with a barbecue fork.

Neighbors eventually came to her aid - before police got there. (Oh, she called 911 before he broke in.)
Lawrence was hospitalized six days for treatment of a broken eye socket, a fractured rib, broken bones in a foot and a dislocated jaw.

In addition to attempted murder and torture, Williams is charged with false imprisonment, battery causing great bodily injury, making criminal threats, residential burglary and a misdemeanor of violating a restraining order.
When seconds count, police are only minutes away. Me? I would have shot him the minute he hit the ground after diving through the window, but in Florida, that would be legal.

Britain Needs Something Like the Fouth Amendment

Phones tapped at the rate of 1,000 a day - Telegraph You think 1984 was just a story, do you? It is fast becoming the truth in the UK.

Not happy with having a surveillance camera on every street corner, they are now letting all kinds of government bodies enact spying operations. None of which requires a court order by the way.
Eric Pickles, the Conservative local government spokesman, said the use of surveillance powers against suspected fly-tippers [people dumping trash] was "completely over the top."
. . .
Eric Metcalfe, a barrister who advises Justice, a civil rights group, called the findings "disturbing". He added: "Putting the Home Secretary in charge of authorising interceptions is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse."
And they still can't put criminals in jail or let people defend themselves.

A Review of a Bad Shooting

Expert says Ball State police made many mistakes | The Star Press A college kid is dead because a cop was in a hurry to shoot someone.

And a few other failures of procedure.

(And yes, Ball U. is a real university in Indiana.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hand Over the Cash, Then Get Shot

Store Clerk Suffers Gunshot Wound During Armed Robbery The Left is fond of the myth, "cooperate with criminals, and you will be safe." It that were true, I would never read stories like this.
Manmohan Sharma, 78, was shot in the stomach by the gunman after turning over several dollars in cash.
Probably he was angry there wasn't more money, or something. The point is, cooperation does not guarantee safety.

Defending yourself, of course, does not guarantee safety. There are no guarantees in this life. But I refuse to go through life acting like a sheep. You are free to make your own choice, just don't insist that I make the same decision you do.

Armed Homeowner Stops Crime Spree

Homeowner Shoots Suspected Car Thief | Breaking News, Weather, Sports and Entertainment for Georgia and South Carolina | Local News Alerted by a motion detector he investigates what is going on. The criminal threatened him, and he responded by shooting the goblin the leg.
[The Goblin] was treated at the hospital for a single gunshot wound and taken to jail.

He's now charged with three-counts of entering an auto.
3 counts because police believe this was the 3rd car he broke into Sunday.

Charges are NOT expected against the homeowner, because self-defense is a human right.

Crime Can Strike Anywhere

Texican Tattler: Sucker Punch Especially when you aren't paying attention.

Arizona Moves to Eliminate "Gun Free" Zones

Proposed bill OKs guns in schools While Washington State is being stupid (see previous post) Arizona is recognizing that all the efforts to make schools gun-free zones only make them defenseless-victim zones.
Supporters say the measure would provide an additional ring of security on campuses hit with a string of shootings in recent years. The most recent of which was last year's at Virginia Tech, which left 33 dead. The shootings have come in spite of heightened campus security and policies that are increasingly aimed at scrubbing any and all weapons from school grounds.

"Apparently, it hasn't really protected us . . . " noted Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor.
The policies don't work, because they are not backed up with any action. Now I'm not suggesting this, but if proponents really want to keep guns out of schools, they need to implement airport-like security backed up by armed security guards. How much would that cost the taxpayer?

Putting "Crime not allowed" sings up everywhere, is not really going to stop crime. [via J. Lott]

Washington State Creating More "Gun-free" Zones

Slaying at UW sparks safety bills In response to a shooting in what was supposed to be a gun free zone - but wasn't - the legislature in Washington State is making the "gun free zone" even more ... something. But probably not gun free.

Legislators have to do something, even if it's stupid. And this is stupid.
The UW already bans firearms on its campuses, but UW Director of State Relations Randy Hodgins said the legislation would solidify the school's authority to do so.
How many multiple victim shootings happen in gun-free zones?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Britains Crime Problem and Youth Gangs

Youth gangs triple child murder rate - Telegraph It is a good thing that the official UK statistics don't include crimes where the victim is under 16. (Or 16 and under, I forget.) Anyway, with all of these kids committing crime against other kids, the official stats might be worse than they are.

Young kids in gangs. Killing to "earn their spurs" in a gang. And for all that England is officially a "gun free zone," very many people have been shot.

Some highlights (sic) from the stats.
• A quarter of all gun crimes last year were committed by under-18s.

• More than half of killings are believed to be gang-related.

• Children as young as five are joining gangs.

• Youths are killed for going into the "wrong" postcode area.

• A sixfold increase in the number of gangs in some parts of London since 2000.
The Home Office will announce "new and improved" methods for combating youth crime. (Their equivalent of midnight basketball, no doubt.)

Attack with a metal pipe leads to no jail time

Man, 71, spared jail for attack on wife - ChronicleLive In the UK a man attacked his wife with a metal pipe. He will serve no time in jail. That will teach him a lesson, just not the one I would like him to learn. Well he was in jail for 125 days (4 months) last year. But the fact that he is 71 shouldn't enter into it. You shouldn't get a free pass to break the law just because you are an old geezer, but apparently the judges in the UK feel differently.

He was under the "control" of a court order at the time of the attack, so his "conditional release" probably won't impact his behavior at all.

No wonder the UK has a crime problem.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's Times Like this I'm Glad I Don't Have TV

Creative Loafing Tampa | The week in craptastic television Game shows, reality TV (that have no basis in reality), etc. American Gladiators? I can't believe they brought this back. It was bad enough the first time around.

Chicago Police Driving Down Crime

Chicago crime down 3.8 percent, annual statistics show -- All done without a single new gun control law.

It started a few years ago, when in one year they drove the number of murders down 25%. That was done with the same work force, and without new gun control laws.

Today we read that "Chicago's murder tally officially fell to its lowest in more than four decades." The number of murders is still high (443), but the trend is still in correct direction.

A national problem is clearing (solving) murders.
As murder totals have fallen across the country, so too have clearance rates. When using the FBI's method -- of counting any murders solved in a year, whether the homicide occurred that year or in previous years -- Chicago's clearance rate rises to 59 percent, comparable to the national rate of about 60 percent. But that same national rate was 69 percent in 2000 and even higher in decades past.
The code of silence, intimidated witnesses, gang murders: these are some of the things law enforcement is dealing with.
Although most categories of crime declined in 2007, sexual assaults, aggravated batteries, arsons and burglaries showed small increases.
Which is why the law abiding citizens of Chicago should have a better chance to defend themselves.

Another Domestic Violence Tragedy

The News-Press, Cape day care teacher killed as children watch A loser of an "estranged husband" kills his wife - in front of her day-care students - because of his "How dare you want to live without me!" attitude.
Cape Coral police say the estranged husband of teacher Christine Lozier, 36, reportedly stormed in through the back of the day care, pulled out a handgun and fired multiple rounds in the front hallway.
Good thing Florida law mandates that schools (and day care centers) are "gun free zones." Someone might have been hurt. Oh, wait...

If she (or some administrator) had been armed, the result may have been the same. Having a plan for your personal defense is no guarantee. "The only things certain are death and next winter's snows." But as things stand, there was nothing between this woman and her attacker but a bunch of preschool children.

She filed for divorce in October.

He will be charged with first degree murder.

I also have to say something about the "It can't happen here" attitude of the people interviewed for this story.

First there is the fact that Cape Coral is a bit upscale as cities go.
“This is too close for comfort,” [a resident of the area] said. “This is my own backyard. This is Cape Coral. These things aren’t supposed to happen here.”
If you are reading this blog, then you live in the Real World™. And in the real world, crime can strike. If billionaire Warren Buffett can be the victim of a home invasion (and he was) why do you think you live in an area that is immune to crime?

The "Our schools should be safe," crowd need to actually do something to make schools safe.
“It’s terrible when you think someone could walk in there with little kids everywhere and do this,” [one mother] said. “It’s one of your greatest fears come true.”
A lot of things have happened in schools. Look up what happened in a school in Beslan, Russia for example. Or consider that most multiple-victim shootings happen in schools or places like schools where everyone is disarmed.

Bad things can happen in schools just like bad things can happen anywhere. Complaining that schools are "supposed to be safe" without doing anything to actually make them safe borders on the insane as far as I can see. You can't make schools safe just by wishing they were.

If you want to make your schools safe, then you need to do more than put "no guns allowed" signs in the windows. You would need to turn all of them into high security bunkers. Even then you have no guarantee - there are none in this life. (Do any of you know what a katyusha Rocket is? Or how many have fallen on schools?) But enacting all the feel-good laws, and policies for gun free disarmed victim zones, do nothing to stop deranged criminals from unleashing violence in schools, at shopping malls or wherever.

Now That's a Power Tool

Milwaukee Power Tools AR-15
Unfortunately Chameleon Weaponry apparently is no more, but they did some fine work.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Homeowner Shoots Intruder, Neighbors Are Shocked

WREG-TV Memphis - Homeowner Shoots and Kills Intruder You know the neighbors are going to be shocked to discover that they live in the real world.
The husband went out back to the garage to check out the noise. He ran into an intruder stealing lawn equipment.

"He told him come on out, I know you are back there. The man came out towards him it's my understanding. He told him to stop. He kept backing up, but the man kept coming towards him. He shot him." says neighbor Forestine Grandberry.
Shot and killed one urban goblin, who should have taken the neighbor's advice.
"People just do stuff and get away with stuff, why don't they find a job." says neighbor Clydette Gray.
And yes, they were shocked to discover that things like this can happen in their idyllic neighborhoods.

The DA says the homeowner will not be prosecuted. Self-defense is a human right, and in Tennessee, it is also your legal right.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Not everyone can run away from trouble. - Wheelchair-bound Man Shoots Attacker Not everyone can run away from trouble.
The homeowner was on his way out of his house on Flat Shoals Avenue Friday morning when he ran into a man at his door. The homeowner asked the man to leave, but the man started to assault the homeowner, authorities said.

During a struggle, the homeowner grabbed a gun and shot the attacker in the arm and chest.
Maybe the goof-balls of the world will learn that a wheelchair doesn't mean a person is helpless. Or as Col Colt's advertising said: "Fear no man, no matter what his size; call on me and I shall equalize."

No word on the condition of the injured goblin or what charges he will face when (if) he gets out of the hospital.

Why is Egypt Fencing off Gaza?

AFP: Egypt struggles to herd Gazans back to confinement I have to ask again... why is it that we hear - quite regularly - about how horrible Israel's fence is and we hear next to nothing - and NO value judgments about Egypt's fence? It couldn't be a touch of antisemitism in the media now could it?
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AFP) — Hamas [terrorists] on Friday used a bulldozer to open new breaches on the border with Egypt where security forces had tried to retake control and stem a three-day flood of Palestinians seeking food and supplies.

The earthmover opened two new breaches in the frontier a few dozen metres (yards) apart as Egyptian police stood by powerless to intervene, having earlier used electric batons and water cannon in a bid to herd Palestinians back into confinement in Gaza.
Egyptian forces were using electric batons (known as cattle prods) and they were spreading out coils of "barbed wire." Probably concertina wire, but reporters can't be expected to get the language right. (I mean, be fair, it is only their job.)

You would almost get the feeling from this that Egyptians don't like the Palestinians.
The Rafah crossing, Gaza's only border post that bypasses Israel, has been closed almost continuously.
Not too friendly as neighbors go.

The Useless Nitwits at the United Nations said about half the population of Gaza went to buy supplies in Egypt.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So You Think Calling 911 Will Save You

Report: Police Took Nearly 5 Minutes To Respond To Cheshire Home Invasion - WNBC | New York Not always.

First they waited 5 minutes after the 911 call came before dispatching anyone to the scene. Then when they did arrive at the scene, the did nothing.
The first officer was outside the home for at least 26 minutes before the two men who allegedly murdered Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two teenage daughters were captured fleeing the horrific scene.
A lot of bad things can happen in 6 minutes, let alone 26 minutes.

They had to "establish a perimeter" and wait for "SWAT to arrive" (They must have been off serving a no-knock warrant on someone's grandmother.)
Cheshire police delayed entering the home because of assurances from a 911 caller who had been told no one would be hurt if police were not notified, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press last year.
So who was the 911 caller, and what kind of "assurance" could they offer? Where they talking to one of the criminals, and if not how did they gauge this assurance?

Once a hostage situation is in place, the police are faced with storming a (possibly fortified) position. It would be much better if they can be stopped before they get started. Only self-defense can manage that. Or as someone said, "When seconds count, police are minutes away."

I Think I Like bARbie-15 Better

Hello Kitty AR-15Sign of the Apocalypse #2: Hello Kitty AR-15 - Coolest Gadgets
It isn't an Evil Black Rifle, it is a Cute Pink Rifle. It is even legal in Kalifornia.

You can find the bARbie-15 here.

And for those who like the AK-47, there is also a Hello Kitty version of that rifle.

Florida is not the place to be

The Associated Press: Fewer People Move to Fla. Everything is beginning to unravel. And it isn't just that people are staying away - or moving other places - it is that they are leaving as well.
Beth Mann, 27, lived in West Palm Beach until a year and a half ago, when her husband, Michael, was offered a teaching job in Georgia. He took it — at a higher salary than he was paid in Florida — and they moved to Buford, Ga.

Their house is three times bigger. Their property taxes are 75 percent less. Their homeowner's insurance bill has been cut nearly in half.
People routinely pay more in taxes and insurance down here than they pay for their mortgage.

This doesn't even mention that if the state gets hit with a major hurricane (or 2) this year, the states "insurance fund" will be a dry well.

For myself, I am getting ready to head farther south. Panama, or perhaps the Dominican Republic, or the Windward Islands.

Armed Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

9NEWS - Homeowner opens fire after men burst through door One was shot, the other was apparently not shot.

Both were arrested later at a local hospital.

Oh yeah, they yelled they were with the local police department, before they held a gun on the homeowners son and then started to steal a flat-screen TV. All of you LEOs out there: How do we know when you yell "police" whether or not we should believe you? (Maybe you say it with more authority?)

Another Stupid Criminal

Winston-Salem Journal | Police said would-be robber shot himself in the foot _ literally That's right, he shot himself in the foot, sort of....
According to an arrest warrant, Roberts dropped a .45-caliber handgun in front of Gasland USA on Sunday. The gun hit the ground and went off, a bullet striking Roberts in the foot.
Apparently some non-standard alterations had been made to the weapon. Though many older guns lack firing pin safeties and will discharge (or may discharge) if dropped. It is my understanding that most guns manufactured after World War II are safe from this kind of thing.

You Hear So Much about the Wall Israel Built

But you never hear so much about the wall that Egypt built. San Jose Mercury News - Gunmen breach Gaza-Egypt wall Why is it that Egypt is so intent on blocking access from the Gaza strip? Are the terrorists in Gaza also a problem for Egypt?

Anyway, the "gunmen" in Gaza, took down a large section - about two thirds - of the wall.

But here is an interesting thing. Hamas blocked the wall again - except for 2 gaps - and said people had free movement through the gaps. Could it be that Hamas is using the wall to keep people in, in the same way East Germany used a wall to keep its citizens from escaping to freedom? (I honestly don't know. It just sounds *odd*.)

Of course if the "authorities" in the Gaza strip could stop people (or if they would stop) firing rockets on Israel, perhaps things would go better. But that isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Still More Electric Transport

Highway Electric Car Project for ZAP Interesting company.

They have small trucks, a sedan, and the Alias - which looks more like an over-sized three-wheeled motorcycle with the 2 wheels in front. Very cool. [Click on the image for the Zap Alias page]

Future plans include fast charge and hybrid options (for the trucks/sedan) to increase the range.

Homeowner Defends His Family

Protecting his own Two men broke into his home, and were stealing his rifle when his wife woke him.
When one of the intruders leaned over his wife, McCue said that’s when he grabbed a handgun he keeps at his side.

The burglars fled, threatening to kill McCue, state police said. Fearing for the safety of his 1-year-old daughter and pregnant wife, McCue, a hunter, gave chase and fired one shot down the stairway and struck a man ... in the head.
The injured goblin is in the hospital - no word on his condition. The other guy was arrested later.
Meanwhile, [homeowner Keith] McCue said some are praising him as a hero, but he doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t consider myself a local hero. I just consider myself someone who protected their family. Anybody with children would have done the same thing,” he said.
The anti-gunners in the neighborhood are giving him "icy glares," but that is par for the course. (Anybody with a gun is a criminal in the eyes of anti-gunners after all.)

Self-defense is a human right, and I believe that parents have a moral obligation to protect their children.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Burglar Meets Armed Homeower

Bartow Homeowner Shoots Burglary Suspect | When the homeowner saw a hand reaching in through a broken window in a door, he opened fire with a shotgun.
[The goblin] was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for gunshot injuries and has been charged with burglary to an occupied structure.
You see in Florida, you have the right to defend yourself.

Quote of the Day

LibertyThe quote of the day comes from Martin Luther King Jr.
Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.
There are many movements abroad in the country to curtail our rights. Curtail freedom of speech because it is popular to enact hate speech codes. Curtail self-defense because, as the Bush Administration says, it is in the government's interest to keep people unarmed. In California they are even going to take away your ability to set the thermostat in your own home. (Fighting against global warming don't you know).

Freedom, or more specifically, liberty, is not something we should give up so easily. We should take a stand for what is right.

Review of Castle Doctrine Cases

Recent cases relating to castle laws | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas Regional News Some of the recent Castle Doctrine cases in Texas and beyond.

The review includes one real piece of irony.
State Rep. Borris Miles of Houston – who voted against Texas' castle law – shot and wounded a man he said was trying to steal copper from his new home in July. Mr. Miles was upstairs in the home, then still under construction, when he heard noise downstairs. He found two men cutting pipes. When he yelled, one threw a pocketknife, and Mr. Miles, who has a concealed-handgun permit, shot the man in the leg. He was not charged in the case.
You have to wonder how he feels about the Castle Doctrine now that it has come to his defense.

Self-defense is a human right, and the Castle Doctrine makes your legal right as well.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More Electric Transport (and then some)

Dodge ZeoDodge Zeo - Features - Car and Driver January 2008 It seems everywhere I look, people are coming up with electric cars. [click the image for a slightly larger view. For more photos of this and the other concepts go to the story at Car and Driver]

This is only a concept, but it is an all electric concept with a range of about 250 miles, and it accelerates from 0 to 60 in less than 6 seconds.

Also check out the Jeep Renegade concept - a plug in hybrid. Only has batteries for 40 miles, then relies on a generator. Very cool.

The Mazda super-car is interesting because it burns pure ethanol, and generates 450 horsepower. I guess you won't see this one anytime soon. Still, it does prove alternative fuels are fine. Running a car on ethanol makes sense, because you design the engine accordingly. Mixing alcohol and gas makes less sense.

Important Auto-care Tip

If you change the air filter more often than *never* your vehicle will run somewhat better.

Finally a Bureaucrat is Held Accountable

911 operator guilty of neglect Well, somewhat accountable.

A 6-year-old boy called 911
to report that his mother was ill (she was unconscious in the kitchen). The 911 operator wouldn't send anyone until she could talk to an adult. (The only adult was unconscious on the floor.) By the time police got there, the mother was dead.
The case marked the first time nationwide that a 911 operator had been charged with a crime in mishandling a phone call, attorneys and a top 911 official said Friday.

"I hope that it makes every 911 operator in the city and across the country think real hard before dismissing a call as a prank," Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lora Weingarden said outside the courtroom. "I'm thrilled with the verdict.
It was only a misdemeanor conviction, but it is better than what I thought would happen.

People teach their kids to call 911 in an emergency, but will that really help them in an emergency? It most certainly did not in this case.

I don't know if this counts as justice served, but it is better than nothing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Neighbors are Shocked

The Connecticut Post Online - Man held in Stratford murder An ex-boyfriend is harassing an ex-girlfriend, a bystander comes to her aid and is murdered. Stabbed by the goblin in the story.

This is unfortunately not all that unusual a story. Jealous ex's (of both genders) routinely threaten and kill their ex- or a third party, all too frequently. But most people think this kind of thing happens in other places, to other kinds of people. "It can't happen here," is the mantra right up to the point when it does happen.
"It seemed to come out of nowhere," said Daniel Ebert, 20, who has lived on the street his entire life. "You always hear about stuff happening, but this is usually a quiet area and everyone is friendly with each other."
That was pretty typical of the responses. It is as if people believe they are living in Pleasantville, and not the Real World™. You know the world that includes crime and bigotry and domestic violence.

British Youth Crime

The London Telegraph has a series of stories about crime in Merry Ole England. Starting with Violent youth crime up a third. Now that may be a bit of an overstatement, since what is up by 37 percent is arrests and "cautions." Crime is probably up, up increased enforcement can account for some of that increase. (That is the opinion of the UK Home Office anyway.)

The news there revolves around the fact that offenders under the age of 18 are routinely turned lose, no matter how violent. A 18-year-old, out on bail, beat a father of three to death, and just recently convicted.
Three teenagers were convicted of the crime last week amid revelations that the gang leader and repeat violent offender Adam Swellings, 18 at the time, had been freed on bail only hours before the killing. Helen Newlove, the victim's widow, said: "For too long, young thugs have got away with a slap on the wrist."
Jails are overcrowded and the UK doesn't want to spend money building more of them. Besides they consider the US policy of "getting tough on crime" - popular since the late 80s at least - to be unenlightened. Of course our crime rates have fallen and theirs have risen.
The youth crime statistics, uncovered by The Sunday Telegraph within Ministry of Justice reports, relate to offenders aged 10 to 17 who were either convicted in court or issued with a police caution. Total offences climbed steadily from 184,474 in 2003 to 222,750 in 2006, the last year for which figures are available - a rise of 21 per cent. But the increase in violent offending was steeper, while robberies rose even more dramatically, up 43 per cent over the three years. By contrast, adult convictions and cautions increased by less than one per cent.
Young offenders are routinely given Anti-social Behavior Orders (ASBOs) akin to traffic tickets. It isn't even a slap on the wrist really.

Adam Swellings, was out on bail after viciously assaulting a teenage girl (daughter of a cop) who testified against him in yet another assault case.

Court set thug free to murder father of three says a bit about how this goblin was treated by the courts
Despite his increasingly violent behaviour over more than two years before Mr Newlove's murder, including the intimidation of witnesses and an attack on the 16-year-old daughter of a police officer, Swellings was deemed "low risk" by a council youth offending team.
You have to wonder what the "high risk" individuals looked like to that council.

'Law's failure began with my daughter' tells of the girl assaulted by Swellings, and what the consequences for her personally were.

Britain appears to believe that they can end crime without fighting crime, namely putting criminals in jail and letting the law abiding defend themselves. Until they decide to get serious, they will be fighting a losing battle.

Another All Electric Sports Car

Venturi Fetish Missed this when I was looking at the Tesla Roadster. The Venturi Fetish is another all electric, production sports car. 0-60 in 5 seconds or so, etc.

Range is a bit less than the Tesla at 250 kilometers, and its top speed a bit less as well. The styling is good, but the price tag is €249,000, so I am not sure it is that good.

Still it is interesting.

Another of Mr. Gates' Products has Problems

Targeted Attacks Use Unpatched Excel Flaw - Security Fix Excel and Excel Viewer.

The number and severity and ubiquitous nature of these "security issues" speaks to a problem of architecture. If you tried to create a suite of products that had as many security problems as Microsoft has done, you would be hard pressed to engineer a set of systems like this.

But if you make a few key mistakes in architecture - like embedding everything in the operating system, instead of having well-defined application layers that can be carefully controlled, you will have problems.

I don't know what MS has done, but this just renews my conviction that I will never spend another dime with Mr. office logo

For those of you have Excel and need an alternative, I recommend OpenOffice.

Bobby Fischer

Obituary: Bobby Fischer - Telegraph He was a strange man, but geniuses often are.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Meekly Cooperating Gets Kid Shot in the Head

Bus-stop murder brings ‘outrage,’ tears - Faced with a guy with a gun, he may have been shot anyway, but being shot, execution-style, while lying on the ground doesn't offer much in the way of probability of survival.
At about 8 p.m., Hallback had just left a meeting of the Algebra Project, a national mathematics literacy campaign aimed at helping poor students, and was standing at the bus stop with two friends. A man at the bus stop pulled out a gun and demanded their money and cell phones, police said.

The robber ordered them into a back alley and told them to lie face-down on the ground. Then, police said, he shot Hallback in the head.
People have been told for a couple of generations to "cooperate to ensure your safety." The problem is that is no guarantee. I would rather be shot in a struggle for the weapon or shot running away than shot in the back of the head. (Of course I would rather have access to my own weapon, but that's me.)

Authorities are "outraged" that violent criminals kill innocent people.

Now fighting back or even having access to a weapon for self-defense is no guarantee that you will survive a confrontation with a violent criminal. There are no guarantees in this life. But cooperating with criminals - especially when they try to remove you from public - is not going to ensure your safety either. I can't find the statistics right now, but I do know that women, who are abducted from a public street, have a very low survival probability. This case would seem to imply that the same is true for men as well. When a criminal tries to take you to a back alley, or a back room, it is not so that they can leave you alone there, it is so that they can kill you out of the public eye.

Generations have been raised to not fight back, who believe that confronting violence with violent self-defense is wrong. But is it? Self-defense is a human right, but defense must be active not passive. It may not have saved this kid, but cooperation with a criminal did not save him.

Media Bias - I am not alone in my feelings

Americans Slam News Media on Believability - Sacred Heart University I love statistics, but especially when they reinforce my own position.

Americans see the media as biased and untruthful. By pretty staggering margins.
The perception is growing among Americans that the news media attempts to influence public opinion – from 79.3% strongly or somewhat agreeing in 2003 to 87.6% in 2007.

And, 86.0% agreed (strongly or somewhat) that the news media attempts to influence public policies – up from 76.7% in 2003.
They have stopped reporting the news and turned to propaganda.

The big news outlets are clearly viewed as biased - with of course a liberal bias.
By four-to-one margins, Americans surveyed see The New York Times (41.9% to 11.8%) and National Public Radio (40.3% to 11.2%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative.

By a three-to-one margin, Americans see news media journalists and broadcasters (45.4% to 15.7%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative.
CNN and MSNBC are viewed as liberal by 2-to-1 margins, while Fox is viewed as conservative by a 2-to-1 margin.

There are more stats, too many to relate here, and none of them are probably surprising to anyone outside a newsroom. Well just one last list.
The most trusted national TV news organizations, for accurate reporting, in declining order included: Fox News (27.0%), CNN (14.6%), and NBC News (10.90%). These were followed by ABC News (7.0%), local news (6.9%), CBS News (6.8%) MSNBC (4.0%), PBS News (3.0%), CNBC (0.6%) and CBN (0.5%).
Are we still spending my tax dollars on PBS? I thought so. But for those of you who like Fox, 27% is a pretty poor rating. [via SayAnything]

Burglar Shot By Homeowner

The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia - Sheriff: Burglary suspect shot by homeowner Break into enough homes and you will find an armed homeowner.

Here are the details:
At 4:45 a.m. Wednesday, the Fayette County 911 Center was notified of a burglary in progress at a Pleasant View Road residence, near Fayetteville, Laird said. Later, the alleged burglar was reported to have been shot in the hand by the [female] homeowner.
The burglar was identified and found by police at a residence and transported to hospital. The burglar will be facing charges once she gets out of the hospital.

I love a story where women are defending themselves. No charges have been filed against the homeowner, and I wouldn't expect her to face any. Self-defense is a human right.

Shocking News - Companies Don't Publish the Bad News

Study Says Patients, Doctors Get Distorted View of Antidepressants - There are laws that say they have to publish the bad FINANCIAL news, but for the rest, it is all advertising.
The effectiveness of a dozen popular antidepressants has been exaggerated by selective publication of favorable results, according to a review of unpublished data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.

As a result, doctors and patients are getting a distorted view of how well blockbuster antidepressants like Wyeth's Effexor and Pfizer Inc.'s Zoloft really work, researchers asserted in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.
Did you really expect it to be any other way? Do you think you live in fantasy land, where corporations aren't worried about profits?

I wonder what percentage of the American populace takes (legal) mood-altering drugs every day.


Unlike Tam, I don't have to get up to make the donuts, yet here it is o'dark 30 in the morning, and I am wide awake.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Should the Police Have to Live with Same Rules?

Gun policy a no-brainer - Well now, that's a question isn't it.

The issue is police officers who have restraining orders against them. Should they be allowed to carry guns? When an average person finds themselves the subject of a domestic violence restraining order, the first order is to surrender all guns.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis last week made clear that a cop accused of smacking his wife or her husband around ought not be carrying a gun while the incident is investigated. Other than union leadership, we’re hard-pressed to think of anyone who might disagree.

Ah, but as if on cue, a lawyer for the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association steps up to play the “now hold on just a second” role:
It is as if the police just determined that domestic violence restraining order are routinely issued ex parte, on the word of one person. Everyone in a domestic dispute has to deal that issue. And yes, even the police should have to live by the same rules.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This Country Must Be Running Like a Well-oiled Machine

The Associated Press: Congress to Ask Justice on Tejada First we had the FBI reopen the D.B. Cooper case. I mean, he stole all of a couple of hundred thousand dollars in 1971 and probably died.

Now we have the House of Representatives asking Justice to investigate Baseball.

It must be that there are no terrorists, or organized crime syndicates, or illegal drug cartels to deal with, now a stupid game is the important enough to waste my tax dollars on.

And the House must have solved all of the problems with Social Security, and immigration and home loans because they obviously have too much time on their hands too.</sarcasm>

I really wish the people that we elect and send to Washington would spend at least a LITTLE of their time trying to run the country. (And not run it into the ground with pork-barrel spending.)

Stupid Criminals

Talk About Things Going Really Wrong... A goblin shoots himself in the groin while holding a up a convenience store.

He asked for cash and cigarettes, as the clerk turned away to get the "coffin nails"
Police say surveillance video shows the man shooting himself as he placed the gun in the waistband of his pants. The clerk wasn't injured.
He will be charged with armed robbery once he gets out of the hospital.

Police Admit Self-defense is Legal

Homeowner Who Fatally Shot Man Released - Jacksonville News Story - WJXT Jacksonville So a man shoots a home-invader and police "take him in for questioning." They have to release him later but they don't (or the reporter doesn't) sound happy about it.

The reporter (or the police) are not happy about the fact that a black man doesn't appear to trust police. Now why would that be? Couldn't be a history of brutality and bigotry aimed at minority communities, could it?

But self-defense is still a human right, and still your legal right in Florida.

Watching Weasels

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.

Monday, January 14, 2008

911 Call Records Self-defense Shooting

This is hard to listen to. A woman, who has had many problems with a stalker, called 911 as he was trying to break in through the back door of her home on November 12th of last year.

He succeeded in breaking in, and since the police had not gotten there in time, she defended herself.

Like I said, it is tough to listen to this call. But it would have been much harder to listen to her last gasp as he strangled her. (That is what he was trying to do when she finally shot him.)

The gun grabbers want this woman to be dead. They want to strip her (and everyone like her) of the means of defense, so that stronger men can strangle women like her with their bare hands. That is OK - since it doesn't rely on a gun. They believe the world would be better if no one had guns, but this woman would be dead without a gun. Thank all the gods you worship that she had the means of self-defense. And remember that the next time some gun-fearing weenie tells you guns have no purpose in civil society. The problem is, not everyone is all that civil.

It is still hard to listen to her fear, the 911 operator telling her that help is on the way, realizing that it would not reach her in time. I am sure she will have trouble with this for a long time, but at least she is alive. [hat tip to Xavier]

Update: More can be found here. Hat tip with more thanks to Oleg Volk who put together the video.

Gay Rights Versus the US Post Office

(or "Yesterday in History" - a decision issued by SCOTUS on January 13, 1958.) Box Turtle Bulletin � Today In History: A Spunky ONE And The U.S. Post Office The US post office has been one of the largest censors in the history of this country. They burned many editions of Ulysses by James Joyce. Today it is considered one of the foremost novels in the English language. But in the 1920s, the US government was in the business of censoring things. Books and magazines in particular.

In 1953, there was a little publication called One. It was the first magazine to target readers who were gay and lesbian.
According to ONE, Inc.’s articles of incorporation, “…the specific and primary purposes … are to publish and disseminate a magazine dealing primarily with homosexuality from the scientific, historical and critical point of view, and to aid in the social integration and rehabilitation of the sexual variant.”
The FBI came down on it (and the writers) hard, mostly by trying to get the writers fired from their day jobs. They failed. Then the Post Office took up the campaign.
By today’s standards, an early edition of ONE might look rather tame. There were no racy pictures, and even its fiction was mostly limited to depictions of longing and desire. There was rarely any evidence of physical contact in its pages. But what the magazine lacked in raciness, it made up for in audacity. ONE’s editorial tone was bold and unapologetic, covering politics, civil rights, legal issues, police harassment (which was particularly harsh in ONE’s home city of Los Angeles), employment and familial problems, and other social, philosophical, historical and psychological topics.
The August 1953 issue was delayed two months until the Post Office was forced to admit they had no reason not to send it on.

The October, 1954 issue was seized and (eventually) One's editors sued the Post Office. (The lawyer who took the case for free wanted ACLU help, but the ACLU was still fighting against gays in the 1950s.)

The lower court and the appeals court ruled pretty summarily against One. The Supreme Court didn't.
To everyone’s surprise, the Court agreed to take the case, its first ever dealing with homosexuality. Even more surprising, the Supreme Court issued its short, one-sentence decision on January 13, 1958 without hearing oral arguments. That decision not only overturned the two lower courts, but the Court expanded the First Amendment’s free speech and press freedoms by effectively limiting the power of the Comstock Act to interfere with the written word. As a result, lesbian and gay publications could be mailed without legal repercussions, though many continued to experience harassment from the Post Office and U.S. Customs.
There are those on both the Right and the Left today, who are once again in favor of all kinds of censorship. What they want to censor differs, but the need to control what I can read and say and think is the same on both sides of the debate. The Left has "hate speech" and political correctness rules so that I might never hear a disturbing sentence, or think a thought that they don't approve of. The Right has gag orders, and forbids the teaching of things they don't like so that I might never read a disturbing sentence or think a thought they don't approve of.

In the end, censorship is bad. In the 1800s through to 1916 information about contraception was censored, (and contraceptives were outlawed until 1936). Who did that hurt? Well, who today relies on contraception? Censorship of One and similar magazines harmed gays and lesbians. A group that society went out of its way to hound in the 50s.

The people who are in favor of censorship are of two kinds. They are trying to forestall the passage of time, or even turn back the clock. Others want to make the world over according to their view of things. One group is called reactionary, the other fascist. In the final analysis censors don't like freedom, because they don't like the fact that free people choose things the censors don't want them to choose. They think thoughts the censors don't want them to think. [via IndyGayForum]

What Happens When a Population is Disarmed?

War Against Women, The Use Of Rape As A Weapon In Congo's Civil War - CBS News The people with guns can do anything.
In some villages as many as 90 percent of the women have been raped; men in the villages are usually unarmed, and incapable of fighting back.
When people are disarmed, they are easy targets for people who are armed.

Oh, yeah, in case you were wondering, this area is under the control (sic) of a UN Peacekeeping force, which true to form has failed to keep anything resembling peace.

The UN refugee camps are no refuge from rape, of course. [via iFeminists]

More Gun Permits, Less Death

Michigan sees fewer gun deaths -- with more permits With apologies to John Lott. But it appears he was right, when he said "More Guns, Less Crime". In Michigan more guns lead to fewer deaths.
Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing heat has increased more than six-fold.

But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and, to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics.

The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.
Must make the Brady Bunch insane.
More than 155,000 Michiganders -- about one in every 65 -- are now authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday affairs, according to Michigan State Police records.

About 25,000 people had CCW permits in Michigan before the law changed in 2001.
A few quotes from the gun-fearing weenies like the Million Moms, but they can't get past the hard numbers.

Don't know how I missed this last week (article is from the 6th), but thanks to Liberty Belles for finding it.

First Year for Missouri's Concealed Carry Law / State issues 10,000 permits Actually 10,567 licenses were issued. 11 of those were revoked (mostly due to restraining orders) and 5 were suspended. 135 applications were denied - no reasons were cited in the article.

Lots of stats for the state: Highest per capita license concentration, etc.

The message seems to be that all is well in the State of Missouri.

Chad Lawhorn (the author of this piece) is the reporter who bought a cheap gun and took a safety class required for a concealed carry permit. No word on whether he got one of those permits or not, and that is his business.

A Reasoned Discussion of the Second Amendment and Self-defense

ESR | January 14, 2008 | Balance of power: The Second Amendment and self-defense From a presentation to a Republican Women's Club. Worth a read.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Don't Get Drunk and Break Into the Wrong House

Man shot to death early Sunday morning Drinking really is bad for your health.
Investigators say [the dead guy] was drinking and locked himself out of his apartment. He tried to crawl through a back window but it was the wrong apartment.
The guy in the apartment he was breaking into thought - and reasonably so - that this was a home invasion. (Technically, it was.) He shot the guy in self-defense.

And yes, police are calling it self-defense. I mean, what would you do if someone was climbing through on of your windows shortly after midnight? I know what I would do.

Has Your Marriage Been Impacted?

Less than two weeks in, N.H. civil union count nears 100 The refrain of the Religious Right is always about how Gay Marriage (and even Civil Unions) will destroy the "sanctity of (straight) marriage." J-Lo, Brittany, Brad and Angelina, aren't destroying the sanctity of marriage, it is those evil gays. (Well, to be fair, Phred Phelps is all against divorce, but he usually speaks against gay marriage even when the topic is heterosexual divorce.)
Less than two weeks into the new year, nearly 100 same-sex couples have sought civil unions in New Hampshire.

Civil unions for gay and lesbian couples became legal on Jan. 1. Since then, at least 95 ceremonies have taken place, according to New Hampshire's Division of Vital Records.
All the straights must feel the sanctity oozing out their marriages. Or could it be that those 190 people don't really impact you at all? No, that couldn't be or the Republicans wouldn't hate the idea so much.

Once upon a time, the Republican party was in favor of small government and keeping the government out of your personal life. As somebody said, there is nothing more personal than who you live with. "Live and Let Live" is not a mantra of any political party.

Is it so wrong to want your loved ones to be able to participate in your medical insurance? To be able to have someone you love make medical decisions for you in a crisis? To be able to enjoy the same tax breaks (are there are a whole bunch of them around end-of-life issues) that straights enjoy? I don't think so.

183 licenses were issued in December. The licenses are good for 90 days. That must be a nightmare for some people.

Self-defense without weapons

Learning to pack a punch Knowing how to defend yourself without a weapon is good. You may not have a weapon handy when you need it.

But articles (or classes) about self-defense that ignore the use of weapons leave me cold. Humans use tools. Why would you not use a tool to save your life?

Still, I do like the attitude of the instructor.
"If you have the opportunity to poke them in the eyes, I don’t want you to poke them in the eyes. I want you to put your fingers in as far as you can until they come out the other side. Drive your fingers back into their brains," [Columbia police Sgt. John Worden] said. Punch them "square on the nose to drive their septum into the non-thinking part of their brain. It’s disgusting, it’s gross, I know. But they’re trying to hurt you, and they’re trying to take things from you they have no right to take."
In a real fight, you aim to kill. You keep fighting until the threat is neutralized. (Dead counts as neutralized.) If you get hurt you keep fighting. (It may hurt, but that pain means you are still alive.)

The more ways you can defend yourself the better.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Everywhere I Turn There is Media Bias

Creative Loafing Tampa | News | A Whopper of a Fight So this is a story of the poor downtrodden (illegal immigrant) migrant worker tomato pickers being oppressed by the eeevil corporate giant, Burger King. Of course the article doesn't concede that "Over 90 or 95 percent of the farm workers are undocumented," until near the end of the rant piece.

Of course the eeevil Presidential candidates are just full of "anti-immigrant" rhetoric. Actually, they are all opposed to illegal immigration, not legal immigration, but that little fact doesn't interest the Left. (Laws? We don't need no stinkin' laws!)

The guts of the piece are that wages (piece pay per box of tomatoes) hasn't changed in decades. Which makes me wonder why people would bother to break the law, to come to this country, for jobs that can't support them anyway. Something is wrong somewhere.

Given that the first commercial, mechanical tomato picker was introduced in the 1960s, why are people still picking this crop? People don't hand pick the corn crop anymore. Surely a better picker could be built with today's technology. Then no one would have to be oppressed by the eeeevil tomato farmers and their eeeevil customers, the fast food restaurants. (Well, of course the Luddites claimed that the introduction of labor-saving devices hurt the laborers.)

But the best line is also near the end of this propaganda piece...
Judging by newspaper coverage of the CIW's Burger King campaign, the media is essentially taking the farm workers' side. Possibly as a result of having covered the Taco Bell and McDonald's campaigns, journalists and op-ed writers no longer debate whether or not the farm workers are actually poor.
Possibly, But it could be because the media is staffed with a bunch of Socialists who will automatically take the side of the (illegal) worker over the eeevil corporation.

Here's a thought. If you punish people for hiring illegal immigrants, all of these farms would be at the head of the line. Then they would have to hire legal workers (or mechanize). You know, we could actually enforce the law.

The Press Wants You to Think Sri Lanka's Government are the Bad Guys

The Associated Press: Sri Lanka Won't Revive 2002 Cease-Fire They withdrew from a "cease fire."

Of course the real reason that they stopped pretending there was a cease fire, is that there wasn't a cease fire.
Despite the cease-fire, near-daily ambushes, assassinations and airstrikes killed more than 5,000 people in the last two years.
Do you think it was the government inflicting all those ambushes, or do you think it was the terrorist group they are fighting? I'm not saying that the is no blood on the hands of the government. They are fighting a war. You can't fight a war be nice at the same time.

But the press is almost universally trumpeting how horrible it is that the government won't go back to talking.
Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said the rebels had used the cease-fire to strengthen themselves militarily and "to continue their terrorist activities."

"Considering the ground realities, it (the rebel's offer) looks hilarious," said Rambukwella.
But that is the mantra of the Left. It is always better to talk. It was better for Neville Chamberlain to talk to Hitler in the late 30's than to enforce the treaties that ended World War One. That it gave the Nazis time to finish arming was irrelevant. That he basically signed off of the Nazi invasion of Bulgaria was OK because he talked - he came home and declared "Peace for our time" and told everyone to "go home and have a nice sleep." But talking is always better than standing up to someone. At least to the Left, that is.

The truth is that the cease-fire in Sri Lanka was only a diversion by the terrorists to get some breathing space to reorganize. That's apparently what they have done. The government has little choice but to face reality.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gun-fearing Weenie Throws a Fit

Homeowner Says Hunters Forced Him From Home - City boy moves his family to the country only to "discover" that he lives next door to a hunting preserve.

He gets scared and threatens everyone.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Congressional Report Slams TSA For Security Breach -- Security -- InformationWeek First they create a list of suspected terrorists that is so bad, it catches Ted Kennedy. (No bridge jokes please!)

Then, after well publicized screw-ups like that one, they create a web site for people to get their names off the list. A "submit your personal information here" web site. Only one small problem, they didn't put any security on it.
Hundreds of Americans inappropriately placed on airline security watch lists and either banned from commercial air travel or subject to additional screening have also had to worry about identity theft for the past year. The Transportation Security Administration Web site set up to help innocent travelers clear their name has been deemed "insecure."

A report issued on Friday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says that between October 6, 2006, when the TSA launched its Redress Management System [RMS] site, and February 13, 2007, when the site ceased operation following revelations about its lack of security, "[a]t least 247 travelers submitted their personal information through the unsecured 'file your application online' link."
It would be bad enough that we were paying for government employees and government contractors who don't have enough savvy to come in out of a thunderstorm put security on a public web site, but even after their screw-up came to light, no action was taken. (We still are paying for the same consulting company.)

I guess the government unions really are good.

Oh, and just how bad is that terrorist watch list?
According to a September 2007 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, that "43% of the names reported to the TSC [Terrorist Screening Center database] are false positives."
Good going guys. Makes you wonder how many true-positives they miss.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Bigotry of Ron Paul

Angry White Man ** Updated ** His newsletters go back quite a way, and contain a lot of information his supports would rather you didn't know.
What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.
Can't hide in the age of Al Gore's Internet.

Update: Hot Air - The Problem with Paul Updated OK, commenter, Stormy Dragon thinks I am "gullible" to believe TNR's version of the Ron Paul Newsletter story.

So let's look at what Bryan at Hot Air has to say - since he had more time to research the issue.

TNR may have cut some corners, but you can't dismiss the whole newsletter thing - especially given that it was either written under his signature or had his name in the title.
But even if you weed out the marginal stuff, there’s much, much more there and it’s bad. There’s support for David Duke.
There’s paranoid support for the militia movement.
There’s veiled anti-Semitism combined with rank stupidity.
That is all the "historical" or newsletter record.

The current Ron Paul also has some problems....
We have a pile of newsletters containing the more than occasional crazy. We have Paul being photographed with members of Stormfront, from whom he accepts donations. And we have Paul supporters celebrating terrorist Guy Fawkes on their big Ron Paul fundraiser day. And we have a mob of Paul supporters harassing Sean Hannity with obscenities. And despite the fact that Paul says he’s not a Truther, he has undeniably courted the Truther vote by hanging out with uber Truther Alex Jones.
Stormfront, in case you aren't keeping track of these kinds of things, is a neo-Nazi group.

Bryan gets the last word.
Back to the newsletter and then I’m done. Let’s take Paul’s latest defense at face value for a second. The best that can be said about it is that he mismanaged a newsletter and turned it over to cranks who don’t represent his views. Set aside that there’s a remarkable consistency between the views expressed in the newsletters and the views many of his supporters hold now. If Paul really didn’t write the most risible material in that newsletter, and if the ghostwriters really don’t represent his views, then he isn’t even competent enough to manage a newsletter in a way that keeps out the riffraff and represents his own thinking. Paul supporters still want to turn the executive branch of the government over to someone who exhibits this level of incompetence across a stretch of years?

Is it really too much to ask to show ID to vote?

VOA News - US Supreme Court to Rule on Voter Rights I don't think so. Even if you don't drive, in most states you can get a state-issued ID card for a few dollars. I suppose it would be OK if they waived that fee for some.

I have 3 government-issued IDs. My drivers license, my passport and my concealed carry permit. Surly most people could come up with one.

My belief (I know, I am cynical) is that the people who object to this law requiring ID are really in favor of vote fraud. They want anyone to be able to vote, even illegal aliens.

Voting requires (or it used to) that you register in advance, that you either vote by mail or vote on the day in question. Is providing proof of your right to vote asking too much? I don't think so.

Bad Housewarming

WTHR - Indianapolis News and Weather - Police investigate overnight shooting The first night in your new home and you have to shoot an intruder?
"The homeowner saw the man trying to break into his back bedroom window. He confronted him with a shotgun. The suspect attacked and the homeowner fired his shotgun and shooting the suspect in the leg," said IMPD Officer Jeffrey Wager.
He fled the scene, but police caught up with him soon after.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

You Thought the Price of Oil Was High Before

$2,500 car brings transport to India's masses - More access to cars = more demand for oil = higher prices.

The interesting thing is the response of the UN scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize.
[He] said last month that he was "having nightmares" about the prospect of the low-cost car, reported The Associated Press.
When Henry Ford put a nation on wheels, it was considered a good thing. He created jobs for people who needed jobs, he contributed to the expansion of the middle class. He helped improve the standard of living of people who no longer had to huddle in slums close to factories. Today, all of those things are bad. An expanding middle class - we are told - will hurt the environment. Better all of those people should continue to live in abject poverty than strive for a better life.

Pro Sports and Anti-gun Bias

Reason Magazine - NBA, NFL Go Anti-Gun just go read it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

“The System” Fails Another Battered Spouse

D.A. to probe lapses in murder-suicide - Los Angeles Times They let this guy go. He was supposed to be in prison for 16 months for threatening his ex, but they let him go to "get his affairs in order."

They were warned, but lawyers know best. Don't they?
The prosecutor advocated for the release even though Harris had an extensive criminal record and despite a report by the county Probation Department concluding that Harris was "unsuitable for release."
Maybe the lawyers should listen to someone else for a change.

Of course the fact that the hearing where he was released happened right before Christmas and the attorney assigned was on vacation, that wouldn't have anything to do with it, now would it?
"What I know about this case is that there are elements that concern me given his conduct before his arrest," said Pamela K. Booth, a branch supervisor who oversees the district attorney's office in Pomona. "What I know so far is that he showed a pattern of escalating violence against the victim."
Sounds like a good candidate for release, don't you think?

Oh, and that holiday thing wouldn't have anything to do with not following standard procedure now would it?
It is normal procedure for prosecutors to inform victims in domestic abuse cases beforehand if the defendant is going to be released from custody. But for reasons that investigators are still trying to determine, that didn't happen in this case.
The system won't protect you. The system won't keep the bad guys in jail. The system won't warn you if you are in danger. You are on your own.

San Francisco Gun Ban Gets Tossed

San Jose Mercury News - Appeals court upholds gun ownership rights in San Francisco I don't know why they enacted this. It was sure to get tossed and it did. (A virtually identical ban was tossed a few years ago.)
SAN FRANCISCO—A city ordinance banning handgun possession in San Francisco will stay off the books, after a state appeals court sides with gun owners and upholds a lower court's decision overturning the law.
But hey, no one said San Francisco was a smart town.

Knife-wielding Thug Shot by Homeowner

Man Robs Cab, Tries To Break Into House, Shot By Homeowner So he uses a knife to rob a cab driver, and when police start chasing him he tries to break into a home.
That's when the home-owner shot [the goblin] in the leg. [The goof-ball] is in the hospital, Police said when he gets out, he'll be charged with armed robbery and aggravated burglary.
I love a story with a happy ending.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Self-defense is legal in PA after all

Store clerk who shot robber won't be charged Actually it only took a week for prosecutors to decide they couldn't win a conviction that self-defense is legal. Not to bad for a state that is trying to join the ranks of the People's Republics.

You can find the details of the event here.

Self-defense is a human right.

Woman Discovers Police Can't Help You

Standoff housemate criticizes Gwinnett police for abandoning her | She wants this to sound like a "cops behaving badly" post, but it isn't.

They had men down. It appears she wasn't injured at that time. How did they need to help her out of the house?

Now when she was trying to get out and they ordered her to lie down in a building where there was an active shooter, that was bad decision-making on someone's part. Using the Taser when she did exit the house was maybe overkill, unless she was acting erratically. Still, I doubt she constituted a threat to the officers at that point.

People want the police to take them by the hand, to save them, and treat them like children, but that isn't how things work in the real world.

Welcome to the Police State

County seizes son for medical care A kid falls down and the family decided he didn't need to go the hospital. The authorities had different ideas and sent in a SWAT team to pull the kid out of the house. No knock warrants were supposed to be for the War on (some) Drugs. But that little limitation went by the wayside.

Oh, the medical treatment the kid needed? Take Tylenol, put ice on his bumps and keep the scrapes from getting dirty. In other words, he didn't need to go to the hospital. [via Tam]

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Don't Have a Heart Attack in a Hospital

Hospitals have their limits | You will get faster care in an airport or casino.
Doctors already knew that more than half of those who suffer such attacks in airports and casinos survive. But a new study in hospitals shows that only a third of victims there survive, primarily because patients do not receive life-saving defibrillation within the recommended two minutes.

Nearly 40 percent of hospitalized patients who received defibrillation within two minutes survived to leave the hospital, compared with only 22 percent of those for whom the response took longer, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
I wonder how this will change when Hillary Care rescues all of us from the evils of private medicine?

To be fair the statistics are probably tainted a little bit by the fact that people already in the hospital who have a heart attack are probably either having a second heart attack or are weakened from other conditions to start with. But the fact that people don't get treatment in the recommended time is a bit sad. (Enough that they could measure it.)

More Government Screw-ups

Engineer: WWII Tank Located In Pit On Middle School Property - WESH Orlando Either someone is very stupid or they just plain lied.

The tank would be bad enough, but the Army Corps of Engineers exploded 49, 23-pound bombs that were buried on a middle schools' property.

This after a survey in 1999 said the location was safe.

I think they should dig the tank up, and park it on the front lawn of the school.

Science You Can Use

The Science of Toga Parties Here's a news flash: Playing drinking games at parties leads to increased blood-alcohol levels.

This "investigation" at the University of Michigan, no doubt was conducted with tax dollars.

They plan more "investigations." Save me a drink guys.

Self-defense Advice

Self-defense expert on Shannon Harps: What to do in a knife attack This is a pretty good list-of-things-to-do as a result of a knife attack in Seattle.

Situational awareness. Make choices to drop things (like groceries) that aren't worth getting injured over, or use whatever is to hand as a weapon or defense.

And remember it CAN happen to you.
Don't get too worried about the neighborhood because this can happen in any neighborhood.
Go read the whole thing.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More Stupidity from the Useless Nitwits

Don't criticise Islam, says UN : December 2007 : Holy Smoke : UK : Telegraph Blogs The United Nations is at it again, and hardly anyone is paying attention.
the General Assembly of the United Nations ended the year by passing a disgusting resolution protecting Islam from criticism of its human rights violations.
Free ride.

Can we please drop out of this useless organization now?

NYPD Reduces Crime: Poor and Minorities Suffer Most

NY police credit rookies for declining murder rate - Yahoo! News OK, that may not be the position of the NYPD - or any thinking adult. It does appear to be the position of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

NYPD sends its rookies to the high-crime areas of the city. The recognize something - and act on it - that has been clear for a long time. A small percentage of the city's neighborhoods are impacted most by crime.
"You might have a high crime precinct, but the crime might be confined to a relatively small part of the precinct," said police spokesman Paul Browne. "It's important to put the boots on the ground and to increase police visibility dramatically."
You would think reducing crime in those high-crime areas would help the people living there. You might think that.
"There are concerns that when rookies are sent to high-crime areas with instructions to stomp out crime, it's an invitation to engage in overly aggressive bullying tactics, including stop and frisk procedures that target people of color," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
You see they have no data, they have only "concerns." Well if we stopped doing things in this country every time the ACLU (or their ilk) had a concern, we wouldn't do anything.

Now it very well could be that this person from the NYCLU is correct. If so, I would expect her to be able to quote chapter and verse about harassment complaints and law suits against the city. But all we are treated to is her "concern."

You know, you might almost get the idea Reuters doesn't like the police.

And it should be a surprise to no one that fighting crime reduces crime. [H/T Pro-Gun Progressive]

Still Hard to Be a Criminal in Texas

POLICE NEWS: Home intruder shot, killed Another home invader meets another armed homeowner. Results are completely predictable.
A homeowner shot and killed a man as he forced his way into a home in Copperas Cove on Friday afternoon, police said.

Police were called to 2204 Boland St. after shots were fired inside the home. They discovered a man who had been shot several times in the upper torso.
He had forced his way into the home and violently confronted the homeowner. He died at a local hospital.

Self-defense is a human right.

Forget the Pampered Chef!

Taser party invitation may be in the mail - Taser Parties are the new rage.

Is this a good thing?

Maybe GLOCK should adopt something like this.

If I move north, it just might be to Tennessee

With more people carrying guns, self-defense killings on increase : Commercial Appeal Seems Tennessee is a state that has its act together - for the most part.

The number of justifiable homicides - in Memphis alone - nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007, going from 11 to 32.

Why is that?
"The thugs have started running into people who can protect themselves," said Tom Givens, owner and instructor at the firearms training school RangeMaster.
Police don't know if they buy that argument. Still there are about 35,000 people in Shelby County (Memphis area) with concealed carry permits. That has to count for something.

And if you were wondering, Tennessee does have the strong version of the Castle Doctrine.
Tennessee law gives citizens the right to defend themselves if they have a reasonable and imminent fear of harm from a carjacker, rapist, burglar or other violent assailant. They can also employ deadly force to protect another person.
There is no duty to retreat.
[Asst. Dist. Atty. Tom] Henderson has seen one trend: "The more the public is afraid of crime, the less concerned they are with criminals being shot." But he can't say that has affected the totals for justifiable homicides.
This is as positive an article about self-defense as I have seen in a while, even if there is something in the tone that leads me to believe the reporter isn't happy about it. Still, it is a positive article talking about the law of self-defense and people defending themselves.

Did They Drop Out or Were They Booted Out?

Intel drops out of One Laptop Per Child program - Yahoo! News All (or most) of the stories on this subject have headlines like this one. Makes Intel sound like a big meanie who doesn't want poor kids to have computers.

But the real story is that the "One Laptop Per Child" folks don't like competition. They want to monopolize the market.
Intel (INTC.O) said on Thursday it will drop out of the One Laptop Per Child project and resign from the board after the project's board demanded the chipmaker stop supporting other efforts in emerging markets. [my emphasis Z-Deb]
So the board wants no choice. They want complete control. Intel basically told them to stuff it.
Intel last year introduced the Classmate, a laptop for developing markets. It is likely to have other projects this year.

"We've always said there will be many solutions. The most important priority is to serve the need," he said
What did the OLPC board say, when asked to comment? Just imagine the sound of crickets chirping.

Friday, January 04, 2008

World War One as Seen from the Trenches

WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier This is a fascinating site that is mostly a collection of letters from British Army private in France home to his family.

I haven't gotten very far through it - the letters are in order they would have been sent together with recaps of the battles involved.

Appeals to the history geek in me.

What I'm Reading

Given how much I like David Weber's Honor Harrington series, and how much I like fantasy, in the tradition of Tolkien, I can't believe I didn't find Oath of Swords, War God's Own and Windrider's Oath before now.

I have to say, that while there are some problems (a few glaring), the stories are good, the characters are lively, and the writing is very good.

The biggest problem is the "traditional" outfit he has given the War Maids in the 3rd book. It amounts to a leather sports bra and a mini skirt. I suppose this is only to be expected from a man, but really. While the War Maids aren't the same as Marion Zimmer-Bradley's Renunciates or the residents of Sheri Tepper's Women's Country (or a few others), they share similarities with both. But both of those women put their independent women in trousers, not cheer-leading uniforms.

Still, even if he does often make "mistakes" like that which remind me he is a man writing women characters, (every once in a while, he has Honor Harrington say something that no woman in her position would say in a job-related situation) he does create women characters who are as tough as nails, and his stuff is still fun to read.