Friday, February 29, 2008

Public Healthcare Really Does Have Somethng in Common with Public Restrooms

Tory peer attacks 'grubby promiscuous' nurses - Telegraph This is the story of a "peer of the realm" who spent some time in hospital.
He added: "I can only tell you that it is a miracle that I am still alive. The wards were filthy. Underneath the bed where I was, there lay a piece of dirty cotton wool and it remained there for several days. The ward was never cleaned."
The British National Health Service has been forced to close several wards - semi-private rooms paid for by the government? Not hardly! - due to various infections.

Parents Have an Obligation to Protect Their Children

Shot dad defending tot kills intruder in home invasion | 3 or 4 armed men break into a home, and shoot the homeowner in the arm. He is home with his 2-year-old child.
The homeowner was shot in the arm but fired back, killing one of the invaders, whom police found lying dead inside the man's home, Pacheco said.

The father was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries; his 2-year-old was not harmed.
Seems to be a case of home invaders targeting the wrong home while searching for drugs.

Cowboys of the Deep Seas

Cougar Ace - Listing BadlyHigh Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas: The Race to Save the Cougar Ace Mother nature (or was it human error) causes an interesting disaster. Well almost, because of these cowboys, it wasn't a disaster.

Very interesting story about trying to save ship that nearly sank taking its cargo with it (and probably creating an ecological nightmare in the process).

A problem developed while they were changing the water in their ballast tanks. New US regs require this to prevent introducing "invasive species."
To maintain stability and equilibrium, the ballast tanks need to be drained of foreign water and simultaneously refilled with local water. The bridge gives the go-ahead to commence the operation, and a ship engineer uses a hydraulic-powered system to open the starboard tank valves. Water gushes out one side of the ship and pours into the ocean. It's July 23, 2006.

In the crew's quarters below the bridge, Saw "Lucky" Kyin, the ship's 41-year-old Burmese steward, rinses off in the common shower. The ship rolls underneath his feet. He's been at sea for long stretches of the past six years. In his experience, when a ship rolls to one side, it generally rolls right back the other way.

This time it doesn't. Instead, the tilt increases. For some reason, the starboard ballast tanks have failed to refill properly, and the ship has abruptly lost its balance. At the worst possible moment, a large swell hits the Cougar Ace and rolls the ship even farther to port. Objects begin to slide across the deck. They pick up momentum and crash against the port-side walls as the ship dips farther. Wedged naked in the shower stall, Kyin is confronted by an undeniable fact: The Cougar Ace is capsizing.
An interesting read about what happened after that. (Almost sounds like a movie.)

Musical Interlude

If you've never seen the movie Koyaanisqatsi, I highly recommend it. Not the least because I love the music of Philip Glass.

The video above is 6 ½ minutes. If you would like a shorter taste, a shorter bit (2 minutes) cut from the movie is here. (Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi word meaning "Life out of balance.")

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

OK, Let's Just Talk About the Ice

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age Not that long ago the melting ice was going to doom polar bears to extinction.
And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.
And then there is solar activity (or lack of same).
Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850.
One year does not make a climate, but it is a start. I predict that climate will change. It always has in the past, and I see no reason to doubt that it will in the future. [via Okie]

Is it a Car or a Motorcycle or a Jet?

Acabion GBTO
British-built Acabion is fastest road vehicle - Telegraph Zero to 250 MPH in 55 seconds, with a top speed of 340 MPH? The photos are cool, but I wish I could find some video. (Those extra wheels in the back fold up automatically once you are moving at a decent speed.)

Volvo Recharge

They don't think you will see the Volvo Recharge in production before 2015 (or so). Too bad. 4 wheel drive, eliminate transmission loss (about 10% on most cars) and at 100 kilometers (about 61 miles) per charge, most commuting can be done on battery power. Need to go farther? There is a generator.

Of course by 2015, batteries will be a lot better.

Not sure if this is the same motor, or not, but some more engineering-type views.

Does this mean self-defense is legal in Kalifornia?

Prosecutor: Bay Point Man Killed Roommate In Self Defense A dispute over money owed, a violent confrontation, a self-defense shooting.
Mahler was arrested for murder, but Jewett, supervising attorney with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office, declined to file charges Friday saying that Mahler shot Lenox in self-defense.
The surprising thing...
Mahler grabbed a gun, which he owned legally, and fired a warning shot into the floor, Jewett said, but Lenox kept coming at him.

"At this point the gun is up for grabs," Jewett said.

If Mahler didn't shoot Lenox, he was in danger of having Lenox grab the gun and use it on him, Jewett said.

"Mr. Mahler did have a right to arm himself," Jewett said. "Mr. Lenox had a duty to retreat. He charged at a man with a gun who had a right to have a gun and at that point shooting him was the only option left," Jewett said.
Self-defense is a human right, and appears to still be your legal right in California. Hats off to Mr. Jewett for stating what is your right - to own a gun, to defend yourself - even in the People's Republic of California.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Seems an Anti-Semite in Calgary Doesn't Like the Lime Light

Dust my Broom - Calgary Jew hater Khalil Jeha threatens blogger Too freakin' bad. Go check out what this vile piece of .... oh, excuse me that isn't PC enough. Go see what this sensitive Muslim had to say about Jews. Not to mention the threats. (Isn't that a crime in Canada?) Join the blog burst!

John Lott on "Gun Free Zones"

Today in Investor's Business Daily stock analysis and business news A review of the shootings that take place in "gun free zones." (They aren't really gun free if someone got shot, now are they.)
As Northern Illinois University restarts classes this week, one thing is clear: Six minutes proved too long.

It took six minutes before the police were able to enter the classroom that horrible Thursday, and in that short time five people were murdered, 16 wounded.
Go read the whole thing (via NRA-ILA)

Mythology = Other People's Religion

There once was a time I wanted a site, but that time is long gone. I can't remember the last time I was able to post a comment there. Maybe Pixy Misa - the system admin - doesn't like me. Anyway what follows should have been a comment - if a verrry long comment - to Robert's post on Lent. Go read it, or the rest of this discussion probably won't make any sense....

It seems that Robert is studying Aquinas, and it also seems Robert is all bent over a saying on a teabag - green tea - that says, "Recognize that you are the truth." Since it offends his (and Aquinas') world view (Christian world view) it is evil and dangerous, at worst, at best it is dismissed as
"pop spirituality". But is it, or is it just from a non-Christian world-view? And are all non-Christian world-views dangerous by definition? Or should everyone's views but yours be dismissed?

The problem with Aquinas is the problem with most "like thinkers" - he is right (or so he assumes) and everyone else is wrong. He knows he is right because he believes, so anyone who disagrees with him is necessarily evil. Aquinas' work is based on the Christian bible. You have to get to Descartes before you find anyone in the Christian West trying to work form first principles not based on Genesis, and Descartes failed miserably. (See Solipsism in the dictionary.... though you can make the case this was a driving idea behind The Matrix.) Any expression of something from outside the accepted dogma will have a "genuinely corrosive effect on the spirit." (Robert's words.)

So the argument comes down to this: If I don't believe what you believe, am I evil? The West has answered this question in the affirmative for most of the last millennium. From the expulsion of Jews from England, to the Spanish Inquisition, General US Grant's General Order 11 during the Civil war to the Pogroms of Eastern Europe, right down to the Holocaust if you aren't one of the saved, you are a devil, and we will treat you accordingly.

The other aspect of this argument from Genesis is, "Are there any pieces of evidence that will change your world view?" In this case the answer is usually no. Galileo was threatened with torture and sentenced to house arrest for having the nerve to view the heavens through his telescope and come to conclusions about the structure of the solar system not based strictly on Genesis. (And publish his findings.) His conclusions were easy to verify with a telescope, but that didn't matter. Even though the previous Pope pardoned (or whatever) Galileo and admitted what most elementary school children know - this planet revolves around the sun and rotates about its axis - the problem is still with us today.

One current incarnation of this argument centers around whether or not sexual orientation is a choice (when did you DECIDE to be hetero, and were you influenced by friends or coaches in school?) or is it genetic or teratogenic? The Religious Right have their answer based on Genesis. So any evidence to the contrary is dismissed. (The sexually dimorphic nucleus is unknown, even though it is only one example among many.)

The big issue is, of course, evolution. It contradicts the fundamental idea of Genesis, so it must be wrong. In Genesis, Man's creation is strictly separate from the creation of the rest of the world. No evidence will ever prove evolution right,* no one will ever move the creationists one inch from their current understanding. And when you try to discuss it with them, they usually resort to the "No true Scotsman" version of ad homenem attacks. "No good person" or "No true Christian" holds with evolution.

So in the end, Aquinas is just another bat to hit people over the head with. Aquinas' position is that if you agree with him, and live your life according to the precepts he follows, you will be happy and society will be the just society. That is exactly the same position as Bin Laden, except that Bin Laden backs up his opinions with explosives and death for anyone who dares disagree. Now granted, that is a big difference, perhaps even a qualitative difference between the two positions, but the positions are akin. (Like it or not, both men are arguing from dogma.)

Now Aquinas probably got a lot right - most "serious thinkers" do, even if they also get a lot wrong. (See Aristotle.) But his view of the workings of the universe isn't the only one out there.

So back to the example of your little green teabag: it is a bit a Eastern religion. In the East - India, China, Japan and a few others, man is not separate from God, but a part of God. (That is a simplification, because to explain the difference between what the Levant sees as "God" and what the East sees and the union of the Uncreated/Uncreating principle and the Uncreated/Creating principle would take all day.) That and the fact that the West has lost all understanding of the true nature of polytheisms, and what is supposed to underlie them. (You don't have to believe in the Roman gods in order to study and understand Roman mythology. Prior to WWII, most educated people would have studied Greek and Roman mythology and culture. No more....)

In the East, God didn't create the world "out there" or somewhere else, but the universe is a part of God. The universe is part Vishnu in the Hindu tradition, for example. In those traditions you don't try to "have a relationship with God" as the Christians do, you try to understand your unity with the creator and with all around you. To realize "You are Truth" is just a bit of Zen. (But of course Vishnu himself is only a metaphorical stand-in for things it is hard to describe. And of course there are 3 things in the Hindu creation story that all reference the same thing... the Uncreated/Uncreating principle of existence.) Is it surprising to find a bit of Eastern Philosophy on a green teabag? Is it dangerous? Corrosive to the Spirit? What if the label said "Jesus saves." Would view that as "pop spirituality" or something else?

So your "evil" little teabag, is just a bit of religion from different tradition. I think will find Zen - in all its wonderful forms - is a bit beyond "pop psychology spirituality," though pop psychology spirituality no doubt draws on Zen ideas, it probably also draws on Western ideas as well.

If it doesn't fit in your world view (or Aquinas' world view) is it evil and dangerous, by definition? Better get set for the next Pogrom.


* Science doesn't work in terms of "absolute truth." That got us in so much trouble in the 19th century it was officially abandoned. (A bit still clings to the people talking about dark matter and dark energy.) Science - all science including evolution - is a system of theories postulated to explain the experimental or observational evidence, nothing more. We know that Newton was wrong. We know that in some places, Einstein was wrong, but their works provide a "close approximation" to the truth. Close enough to navigate space craft, etc. When the next best theory comes along, they will be thrown over in favor of the new.

Joseph Campbell was fond of saying that mythology is other people's religion, and religion is a popular misconception regarding mythology. If you aren't up to reading philosophy, you can watch his program with Bill Moyers. Though it is the pop psychology level of introduction. The Joseph Campbell Foundation also has an excellent series of taped lectures. Though if you are up for reading, Campbell wrote much that is accessible.

When Seconds Count...

Police are only minutes away. Woman, man found dead in Port Angeles murder-suicide Another "How dare you live without me," murder.
Police say on Sunday afternoon, a 9-year-old girl called 911 to report that 41-year-old Jeffrey Calvert had forced his way into her home at West 13th and Oak and was threatening her mother.

Police say by the time they arrived, Calvert had shot 35-year-old Christin Stock twice, killing her before turning the gun on himself.
The only way to deal with these cretins is to shoot them as they are coming into the house. That won't guarantee anything, but it is better than pleading with the criminally insane. Calling 911 and relying on police (the Left's favorite strategy) doesn't work so well.

This isn't a dig against police. It is just a realistic view of the conditions they labor under. Can't be everywhere at once, and a lot of bad things can happen in a few minutes. When the sh#t hits the fan, you are on your own. As that song said, "By the time you hear the sirens, it's already too late."

The Drug Companies Won't Like This

Depression drugs don’t work, finds data review - Times Online Given the number of people on these drugs, it will be a major blow if everyone decides they don't work.
Millions of people taking commonly prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat might as well be taking a placebo, according to the first study to include unpublished evidence.

The new generation of antidepressant drugs work no better than a placebo for the majority of patients with mild or even severe depression, comprehensive research of clinical trials has found.
I see it more as an attempt in the War on (some) Drugs to get people off the "bad" drugs and on the "good" drugs - even if they don't work.

You Say That Like It's a Bad Thing

News 14 | Guns becoming more common at work. Scary headline for a story about average working stiffs making the world safer for everyone. Could there be media bias?
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say 54-year-old James Henry Brewer from Charlotte was shot and killed on Saturday night at a Cricket Store on Mount Holly Huntersville Road.

They believe he was shot dead by a store employee, after he tried to rob the business. . . .

This is not the first time a would-be victim turned a gun on a would-be robber. Last month, a pizza delivery person shot and killed a customer who was trying to rob him in East Charlotte.
They describe legal self-defense as vigilantism. More bias? Definitely.

To be fair, the article contains no quote from the anti-gun groups, does give the name of a local gun shop, and quotes a police officer saying that "everyone has the right to defend themselves." Maybe they just need to buy a good dictionary. (Give them feedback via email.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fact Check TV - Sort of...

FactCheck.Org has its own weekly video program. [This site - Blip.TV - seems to interact with FlashBlock in a strange way, the video can be found here, if you are having trouble.]

The main page for Just Facts Has the current episode, updated every Friday.

Geert Wilders

This is the man currently driving the Islamic world nuts.

Part 2 of the interview is here.

I don't know enough to say if I agree with him in part or in the whole, but I do agree that Freedom of Speech is not something we should sacrifice on the altar of Political Correctness.

(I am sure YouTube will yank these eventually, so see them why you can. I can't make the video player at Fox News work - it seems they want to only support Internet Explorer *spit*)

Why is it an Israeli Blockade, when Egypt is doing it too?

Gazans stage mass protest against Israeli blockade - Yahoo! News Couldn't be because of bias on the part of the media now could it?
Egypt has also blocked its border with Gaza but Hamas blew open the frontier wall last month, allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to cross into Egypt and stock up with food and other goods in short supply.
That border has also been closed again. Why is that? Does Egypt have as much to fear from Hamas as Israel? (I doubt it.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oleg Volk on Preventing School Shootings

olegvolk: Choices As usual, he as a good take on the problem.
Oleg Volk: Gun Free
Image © Copyright Oleg Volk

Putting up signs will not make an area a gun free zone. Putting up barriers and metal detectors and guards have a chance. Do you want to live that way?

Police to Dead Girl: Stop Bothering Us!

Not sure how I missed this the other day....

Mom: Police Told Daughter To Stop Calling Before Murder-Suicide Apparently they can't be bothered with serving and protecting.
Hall's mother, Sherry, said her daughter was concerned about Coffner and informed police.

In fact, Hall said her daughter called police so much that on Jan. 15 they threatened her.

"The police officer said if you call us one more time on him, I'm going to arrest you both," Sherry Hall said. "So, the day she died, she knew she couldn't talk to police. So, she handled it herself."
The press is currently trying to get the inside story on how many times she called, and who told her to stop it.

I hope that officer has nightmares for the rest of his life. I hope that every time he closes his eyes he sees her face. But I don't think they will be that worked up about it. They will claim it is "normal procedure" to tell a member of the public - in danger from a violent ex - to get lost.

And of course since Natasha Hall was only 17, she couldn't have a concealed carry permit. The system kept her disarmed and then turned her out into the (metaphorical) cold. (Well, it isn't that cold in Florida.)

A gun may not have saved Natasha Hall, but relying on police was not effective. [via The War on Guns]

Quote of the Day

Today's quote comes to us via neo-neocon - You know the Times has egg on its face… by way of the comments:
It’s getting to be so that a publishing juggernaut can hardly print calumny based on unattributed hearsay about a war hero any more….
Times are tough at the Times. (Oh, and the original post isn't bad either.)

Homeowner Stops Suspect Fleeing from Police

MyFox Orlando | Fleeing Suspect Shot By Altamonte Springs Homeowner He was fleeing because he had attempted to sell drugs to an officer in an unmarked car. After he ran away, deputies were discussing the situation.
As deputies were discussing what had occurred, they heard a single gunshot which appeared to come from a nearby home. When the deputies investigated the gunshot, they were met by Realford who said he had been shot by the homeowner. Realford was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he later died.

As the deputies were rendering first aid, occupants of the home said Realford had removed the rear screen door to their locked porch and attempted to enter the house through a sliding glass window.
The criminal was told to leave. He didn't leave. The homeowner exercised his rights under the Florida Castle Doctrine.
The Florida "Castle Doctrine" law basically does three things:
One: It establishes, in law, the presumption that a criminal who forcibly enters or intrudes into your home or occupied vehicle is there to cause death or great bodily harm, therefore a person may use any manner of force, including deadly force, against that person.

Two: It removes the "duty to retreat" if you are attacked in any place you have a right to be. You no longer have to turn your back on a criminal and try to run when attacked. Instead, you may stand your ground and fight back, meeting force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.

Three: It provides that persons using force authorized by law shall not be prosecuted for using such force.
Self-defense is a human right, and it is your legal right in Florida.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A perspective on the middle class you don't usually see brings us The Drew Carey Project's Living Large. A bit of a reality check on the state of the middle class. It's a ten minute video, but worth look.

Next Phase for the X-Prize - Lunar Landing

Google, X Prize Foundation Attract 10 Teams For Moon Race -- Google -- InformationWeek This appeals to the geek in me.
The Google Lunar X Prize, announced six months ago, offers $30 million worth of prizes for the first teams to create a machine that can travel at least 500 meters on the lunar surface and send video and other images and data back to Earth.
We've got to break the government monopoly on space.

Armed Homeowner Kills Intruder

Man killed following break-in. And when did an SKS become an "assault rifle?" Is it now anything that is semi-automatic?

Two guys break-in to a home, and head down a hallway.
[Yell County Sheriff Bill] Gilkey said authorities do not expect any charges will be filed against the homeowner — who Gilkey said used “a shotgun” to deter Jensen [the dead guy] — in connection with the matter.
The other guy ran like a rabbit. Police recovered the vehicle and hope to catch the guy soon.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Israeli earthquakes are gays' fault, says MP - Telegraph What a crock of bull.
An Israeli MP has blamed a spate of recent earthquakes in the Middle East on gays.

Israeli MP blames earthquakes on gays
The annual Tel Aviv gay and lesbian pride march: blamed for causing earthquakes

Six earthquakes have struck Israel and neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan in recent months, with two coming last week alone. Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas party, suggested that the tremors could be stopped through the simple expedient of repealing various liberalising laws on homosexuality that have been passed by the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, in recent years.
Proof that religious nuts come in all flavors.

Barack Obama Doesn't Believe in Gun Rights

Pajamas Media: Obama Shooting Himself in the Foot with Anti-Gun Stance A list of his positions on various gun issues. Just go read it.

The Air Car

New compressed-air powered car in production | News | It's an electric car, it just doesn't have an electric motor. It uses electricity to compress air. (recharge in 4 hours via the built-in compressor.)
The cunningly named Air Car has been developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre and, before you ask, no, it has nothing at all to do with Apple or portable computing!
Range is 125 miles, and top speed is 68 mph. Respectable commuter car, unless you can get a quick recharge somewhere. (That 125 miles will cost you about 2 bucks.)

OK, so it isn't much to look at.

Graft and Corruption at the EU

Clamour grows to reveal the secret report that throws light on EU 'fraud' - Times Online Paying family members a salary. Paying salary to imaginary people. Paying Christmas bonuses that were "extravagant." All with taxpayer funds. (As much as €15,000 per month) All in secret.
The excessive secrecy surrounding the audit backfired when its existence was revealed by Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat MEP, who stood by his claims that it showed criminal levels of fraud. “I think if names were attached to some of the cases of malpractice highlighted, then prison should follow,” he said.
Graft and corruption follow politics. Like flies follow garbage. That's why it should be important to control government - that isn't the current trend anywhere.

Standard Operating Procedure?

Update: Xavier has more on this officer.

Xavier Thoughts: Blood on the Floor A woman being booked says she is glad the booking is being video taped, so the officer turns the video recorder off.
When it is turned back on, Garbarino [the woman being booked] is seen lying in a pool of blood, being assessed by another officer, and finally being taken away on a stretcher. Willis [the officer in question] was recently fired. His lawyer, Eron Brainard, claims Garbarino tripped and fell. In the process she cut her face, broke her teeth, broke her nose, and gave herself two black eyes. He states the video tape was turned off "in accordance with normal practice."
Go look at the video if you have a strong stomach.

"She tripped and fell." If you believe that I have a bridge you might be interested in buying.

Here's an idea. Everything police do all the time they are on duty or doing anything remotely official has to be video recorded. If for any reason, that video tape is NOT available when a citizen is injured, that is prima facie evidence that they are guilty of whatever the citizen accuses them of. I don't care if the recorder blew up, caught fire, or the K-9 unit ate their homework video recorder.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Self-defense Works Again : Would-be robber shot at restaurant Armed self-defense is effective.
A would-be robber had life-threatening injuries after being shot by his intended victim at a northern Charlotte restaurant late Wednesday, police said.
Update: The robber died.
It was the second time in less than three months that someone working at a business shot a potential robber.
Maybe the urban goblins will get the message that crime is a risky business.

Were there two sets of rules regarding domestic violence?

Autopsy: Drew Peterson's third wife was murdered :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State Peterson is under investigation for the disappearance of his fourth wife. His third wife's death had been ruled an accident, but that has changed.

He was a sergeant in the Bollingbrook, Illinois (suburban Chicago) police force. Did police treat one of their own differently than they would treat an average member of the public?

The third Mrs. Peterson drowned four years ago.
But in November, as police investigated the disappearance of Stacy, [the fourth wife,] [Will County States’ Attorney James] Glasgow announced he was reopening the case and said the scene of her death appeared to have been staged to conceal a homicide.
And it does appear that "things" were not handled as they should have been by the local police for years.
During Peterson's [3rd] marriage to Savio, police responded to at least five domestic violence calls at their home.
. . .
Her sister says Savio felt unprotected and afraid. She kept notes about what happened, filed for an order of protection against her husband and even sent letters to a local prosecutor complaining about the police.

"There have been several times throughout my marriage with this man where I ended up at the emergency room," she wrote in one letter. "And I have reported this only to have the police leave my home without filing any reports."
No reports? I wonder why that could be.

Domestic violence doesn't go away by itself. Abusers don't get tired of abusing, in fact they usually escalate - especially around a divorce. Whether Peterson is guilty or innocent isn't the point here. The point is that the police in Bollinbrook didn't do their job. Filling out a report of a domestic dispute is a pretty small thing, but it should be done. Did they fail to do their job because the offender in question was one of their own? An order of protection - if granted would take away his guns, and probably his ability to do his job.

Whether Peterson is guilty of murder is something I doubt we will ever know, but I do hope his brother officers lose at least a little sleep over the fact that they have ignored a problem with one of their own. I doubt they will.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can You Say "White Wash?"

Five Charged in Yonkers Beating So you beat someone so bad that they permanently lose the sight in one eye. Do you think you should be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor?
FOUR New York City police officers and one civilian were charged with misdemeanors on Friday, February 15, for their involvement in the beating of an Irish immigrant who lost his sight in one eye in Yonkers in September.

Peter Cummins, 26, from Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, suffered a cracked skull, nasal fractures and permanent loss of sight to his left eye when a fight broke out on McLean Avenue in Yonkers on September 14, just after 3 a.m. Words were exchanged between two off duty New York City police officers and their friend, insulting Cummins female friend, which resulted in a brawl.
Misdemeanor charges?
The Irish community has expressed disdain with the charges as they emerged over the weekend. Asked not to be identified, a businessman in the community said it was ridiculous that “they are going to get away with this.”

“The lad (Cummins) was in hospital for a few days after this assault and the cops are only being charged with a misdemeanor. Third degree assault is usually when someone is left with a bruise or a bad pain. This poor young man is waiting on his eye to be removed – that’s more than a bruise to me,” he said infuriated.

“I was under the impression they were going to be charged with first degree assault, which is a gang felony. If these were Irish lads who attacked a cop you can be sure that they would be up for first degree assault.”
So is justice being served, or is "the system" sweeping an incident under the rug?

Hand Over Your Cash, Then Get Shot

Man robbed, shot near baseball park- The Left loves to claim that if you cooperate with criminals, you will be safe. (It is usually men discussing robbery, not women discussing rape by the way...) But that claim is false.
After Drinkard handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, the armed robber shot at him, hitting him once, Young said.
He cooperated. They asked for money; he gave them money. Then they shot him, and drove away. So much for cooperation ensuring your safety.

You are free to cooperate with any criminals that enter your life. (I hope they aren't rapists.) But me, I prefer a more active defense.

Thief Meets Armed Homeowner

Reward Offered In West Lake Shooting - News - Augusta, GA A simple story with a happy ending.
Investigators say the thief was confronted by a homeowner. When the thief pulled a gun, the homeowner shot at him. The thief then ran off.
Apparently he dropped his gun because police say it was stolen earlier in the evening.

Interview with Smith & Wesson CEO at Shot Show

Smith and Wesson Lays Down the Law SWHC - TheStreet TV An OK interview, but it is fun to see a financial news organization cover the Shot Show. (The video is a couple minutes. Go take a look.)

I wonder how the Left will spin this?

TASER Device Used to End Michigan Suicide Attempt: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance They love to hate the TASER.
While [Lapeer County Sheriff's Sgt. Don] Brady knocked on the door, [partner deputy Jeremy Howe] looked inside the trailer window and saw the man cutting himself with a knife. Howe kicked in the front door and the man was standing about five feet from them with a 12-inch butcher knife. Numerous other knives were scattered about the living room floor.

Howe had his sidearm drawn for officer safety and Brady drew his TASER device. Police advised the man to drop the knife, but instead of complying, he raised the knife and was dropped to floor by the TASER X26.
His suicide note said he was going to kill himself because he had broken up with his girlfriend. At least he wasn't trying to kill her first.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

News Flash: The EU Can't Reach a Decision

EU split over recognising Kosovo as a nation - Telegraph Is this really news?

Meanwhile, Russia is playing hardball with Germany, who also recognized Kosovo.
Russia remained implacably opposed to the move. It emerged yesterday that Lukoil, a Russian company that supplies Germany with a third of its oil, had shut off supplies.
But don't worry, the timing is coincidental.

What Happens if There Are No Service Providers

Future of NHS services at risk, say dentists - Telegraph Dentists in the UK, so done in by the National Health Service, are leaving the system. I suppose some power-mad statist with make it crime for them to stop.

Don't believe the system is insane?
Dentists say the system is patently unfair and does not properly measure the amount of work carried out. For example, they receive the same fee for giving a patient one filling as for giving that patient five fillings.
Do you think it might take a little longer to get more than 1 filling? Do you think it might cost a bit more in supplies? But then government has never been very good managing economics.

I expect that someone will try to make it illegal for dentists (or doctors) to get out of the public health-care system, in which case they will all leave the country or leave the business. Healers haven't always been in it for the money, but you have to be able to make ends meet or you're better off as a plumber.

Tuesday Insanity - Sci-Fi Film on the Cheap

Create a SciFi Space Helmet for Less then $20: | Backyard FX

See the first half of the SciFi film here, as well as the suit creation.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Somebody reached a decision in the Betamax/VHS Blu-ray/HD-DVD wars. Toshiba shares surge on expected HD-DVD exit - Times Online

I don't know if it is the "right" decision, just that having no standard was the wrong decision.

Geek News of the Day

Science: HERCULES Laser is Most Intense Laser in the Universe, Almost as Powerful as the Death Star Science, science fiction, science that sounds like science fiction. What more do you want?
The high intensity light, beyond medical uses, could also be implemented in crazy physics based procedures called "boiling the vacuum," which will apparently result in spontaneous matter generation. Crazy. Let's hope no one hell-bent on world domination starts attempting to put together a real Death Star, or we'll all be screwed. May the Force be with you. (Note to self: End more articles with that line.)
Via Insty.

The Response to a Serial Rapist? Distribute Whistles

The Associated Press: Reno Campus on Edge After Attacks They find the body of a woman missing for a month. Brianna Denison had been raped and strangled.
DNA evidence links Denison's kidnapping to two other attacks on women near the university late last year, police said. An earlier campus attack also could be related. In that incident, the attacker brazenly raped a woman at gunpoint in a garage where campus police park their cruisers.
The response to this situation?
The attacks have led to expanded campus patrols and escorts, seminars on personal safety and the distribution of whistles to female students.
Whistles are going to be a big help against someone who is armed.

How about changing your stupid no guns policy? Is it a law in Nevada, or just a university rule?

And as Breda says, you have to fight back.
Compared to raped women, rape-avoiders were more likely to be the eldest daughter, taller and heavier, and never married. They played sports in childhood, and held nontraditional views of their future roles. Situational factors positively associated with rape included nighttime, the use of force, no observers, first-floor residence, and inside attack site. Of five active resistance strategies examined, talking was most frequently used, fleeing was most successful, and pleading was least successful. In general, these women all used a combination of strategies in responding to attack. The most frequently used combination of strategies among avoiders was screaming and physical resistance. Avoiders most frequently used three strategies, while rape victims used only one strategy. Fear of rape and determination not to be raped were the avoiders' main concerns, while fear of death/multilation was the victims' chief concern. Avoiders also appeared able to perceive danger from ambiguous clues earlier in the scenario than did women who were raped. Results suggest that the traditional advice that women should not resist a rape attempt may be misguided.
For years, people told women resisting rape lead to increased injury. (Men told them this because they didn't see rape as a horrible injury in itself.) But if you really look at the data, resisting decreases your likelihood of being injured.
The results indicate that 85 percent of the women in the study who resisted with physical force did so in response to the offender's initiated violence. The remaining 15 percent who resisted with physical force did so in response to the offender's verbal aggression. Moreover, those women who responded with physical aggression to the offender's violent physical attack were more likely to avoid rape than were women who did not resist such force. Also, the potential for physical injury was no greater for these women than for those who used other resistance strategies or who offered no resistance. These analyses suggest that the correlation often found between physical resistance and victim injury might be the result of the initial level of the offender's violence and should not be used to discourage women from physically resisting rape.
And before you jump on me, it is true that men - traditionally anyway - don't see rape as a serious offense. The "international law" that the Left loves so much doesn't even recognize that lethal force is an appropriate response to rape because it isn't a "life-threatening" attack. (International law is set in part by folks in the Middle East.)

We must stop having candle-light vigils, and passing out whistles, and we must enable women to defend themselves (say by allowing concealed weapons on college campuses). We need to start teaching women and young girls to really defend themselves, with their hands and feet, with whatever is to hand, as well as with firearms. We have to teach them that when faced with a rapist, they need not be a little lady, but that they need to fight back, like a cornered cat. [Hat tip to Breda and to Uncle]

Ex-boyfriend Killed By Current Boyfriend

Intruder killed as he sought ex-girlfriend - The Dothan Eagle Somebody needs to explain the phrase, "It's over," to these people.
Hughes said Proctor came to the trailer, parked his vehicle at the rear of the house and forcefully entered through a rear door.

“When he got in, he made some verbal threats toward the man who shot him. The man pulled a firearm and told the guy to back off. He cocked the gun and attempted to retreat to the master bedroom/bathroom area.”
The guy with the gun told Proctor to stop, but he kept advancing. He was shot once in the leg, and kept coming, shot twice in the torso and once in the head. He stopped advancing.

The resident (no word on is he a renter of a homeowner) has not been charged with crime and it doesn't appear that he will be charged since self-defense is your legal right in Alabama.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Cop Who Wants to Eat and Drink for Free

JusticeVan Buren cop, 3 others accused of leaving bill unpaid at restaurant 76 bucks. Instead of paying, he had his badge confiscated and is on leave - without pay. Sounds like it will cost him a little more than 76 bucks.
Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said, ““It’s not the biggest crime in the world, but when a cop steals it’s still a big deal.” Wilson said that the Van Buren Township officer, upon being stopped by Oak Park and Ferndale police at 9 Mile and Coolidge, immediately identified himself as a police officer and flashed his police badge.

“With this guy flashing his badge – I don’t know if he thought he’d get out of trouble with our guys. We want to tell the public that this is not a tolerated behavior by a police officer,” Wilson said Friday.
Because he didn't think the rules applied to cops, he flashed his badge. He apparently thought his badge was a "get out of jail free card."

He didn't pay for the food and drink he consumed. In case you're confused on the issue, that's called stealing, and it is a crime even when (or especially when) a cop does it.

You know, I almost feel guilty (almost) about the Cops Behaving Badly series of posts. It started with the Brett Darrow video of his traffic stop. A lot of people were insisting that it was an isolated incident. And it was, but it wasn't a once in a lifetime occurrence. There was ColtCCO roughed up and threatened for the non-crime of carrying a gun while in possession of a gun-carrying permit.

Now I know my outlook is colored because of my personal experience. In general dealing with "Chicago's Finest," and a few other jurisdictions after friends were bashed left me with a view of police that is unflattering to say the least. I know they all aren't monsters, but they aren't all saints either. A few of them - enough - are monsters, and much larger number are bullies with badges.

The thing is, when you start to look, there are more of these stories than I believed possible. And this story is clear evidence that some police - I won't try and quantify the number, but it is not negligible - truly believe that they don't have to live by the same rules as everyone else. And this guy was just an idiot - to risk all he is about to lose over 76 bucks. He's lost more than that in pay by now.

I should also mention that the cops who arrested this guy, who ignored the fact that he was a cop himself and who put his butt in jail are to be commended. Those are officers of the law, behaving professionally.

Weasel Watching

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Executed for the Crime of Being Different

gay flagD.A.: School shooting was a hate crime - Another school shooting... I am worn out with stories of school shootings.

This one is a little different, however. It isn't a random shooting spree by some mentally unstable person. It is the story of an execution. A youth - who was gay - was executed by a classmate. He was shot in the head several times. Because he was different. In the words of a classmate, he was "freaking the guys out." So one of the freaked-out guys decided to kill him. Lovely

This didn't happen in some third world country, but in Oxnard, California. (Median household income: $48,603.)

I haven't been able to find much information about the boy charged with the murder, in part I am sure because he is a juvenile - though I think (I can't find the story again) he is to be charged as an adult. Descriptions of his family sobbing when he appeared in court - but little about him. But I think it is clear why the District Attorney filed hate crime charges against this kid.
"[Laurence King] would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing," [Michael Sweeney, another eighth-grader,] told the Times. [The LA Times]
The Right always goes on about how gays and lesbians want "special rights" or something. Tolerance of our existence is not a special right. Being attacked for being who we are is an all too-common occurrence. This isn't victim-hood, it is simple fact of life. This young gay man was struck down in his youth, because one heterosexual decided he couldn't handle the idea that some people are gay. And this young gay man had to be eliminated.

You are hearing and reading about this incident because someone died on school property. Do you think this is only attack on gay youth on school properties this year? If so, I have a good deal on a bridge you might be interested in.

More on Officer Rivieri of YouTube Fame

New Video of YouTube Cop Emerges - WMAR News Baltimore Seems he likes to intimidate people and destroy private property.

[update: Check here for video]

Oh, and he is on vacation paid leave. See the original story here.

Is Newsweek Part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

More Guns on Campus? | I'm a bit confused, I didn't think Newsweek was a running-dog, lackey of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy in general and the Gun Industry in particular. I must have missed that memo from the VRWC HQ.

Because it seems there is a positive article in Newsweek about concealed carry on college campuses.
The deadly spree was the fifth school shooting this week—and a traumatic reminder that for all the efforts to improve campus security nationwide since the massacre at Virginia Tech last year, students and faculty remain disturbingly vulnerable.
The author talks about Students for Concealed Carry, and how things have worked out in Utah since that state's Supreme Court said campuses cannot exclude concealed carry permit holders.

There is the obligatory quote from the Brady Bunch - all about feelings with no facts. The article, however, follows the Brady quote with some facts.
W. Scott Lewis is a board member and spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Lewis argues that states with the most relaxed concealed-carry laws also happen to be among the safest. He points to Colorado State University, which has allowed concealed weapons on campus for 10 semesters without incident; the same is true for nine state universities in Utah's system, where concealed weapons have been allowed in university classroom buildings since 2006
Licensed permit holders are not the problem. In unsecured locations - locations that lack metal detectors, etc. - the bad guys will just ignore your "no crime allowed" signs and walk right in.
There are reports that the police arrived within two minutes yesterday.
A skilled shooter with a bolt-action hunting rifle or a pump-action shotgun can still fire about one shot a second. So you're talking about firing off a lot of shots in two minutes before police arrive. So basically it boils down to the simple fact that police and security officers can't be everywhere at once. It sounds to me like the police had an amazing response time … But they just simply were not in that classroom when the shooting started, and the only person who really could have mitigated this situation is somebody who was in the classroom when the shooting started.
The facts go a long way to shutting down hysteria, and this article has some facts about who can already buy weapons, who can - in some states - get concealed carry permits. Mentions the massacre at Ludy's Cafeteria in Texas, where a law-abiding gun owner had to watch her parents die, because being law-abiding she had left her gun in her car.

Worth your time. [via NRA-ILA]

The Truth about Energy

2007 Energy IQ Survey Seems Americans are bit in the dark when it comes to how we get our energy.

Why Should He Have to Obey Traffic Laws?

"Update: Greensboro police officer suspended" : News-Record I mean, he doesn't have to obey the traffic laws while he is on the job, shouldn't he get that same privilege - racing around with blue lights flashing - when he is heading to clubs on his day off?
A Greensboro police officer was suspended without pay Friday after blue lights were found on his personal vehicle, police department officials said.
I really love the punishment... if he is convicted.
If [the cop] is found guilty, [a police spokeswoman] said, his case could end up going before the state Criminal Justice Standards Commission, which could levy a reprimand.
Reprimand? I suppose that is like being hit on the wrists with a really large ruler.

One Cop to be Called to Face Justice

JusticeThe Associated Press: Deputy Charged for Dumping Paralyzed Man A warrant has been issued for Hillborough County Sheriff's Deputy Marshall-Jones. She is to be charged with abuse of a disabled person, a third degree felony. Conviction brings a maximum term of five years.

No word yet on what will happen to the Deputies sent home on vacation administrative leave. They will no doubt be slapped firmly on the wrists. (They should all be fired for cause.)

See this post for the video of Brian Sterner being dumped out of a wheelchair.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Mass Shooting in a "Gun Free Zone"

crazy loners with guns, and the policies that enable them. � the munchkin wrangler. I don't have the heart to write about it again.

Just see read what Munchkin Wrangler has to say, and if you want to know my thoughts, read my comments from the last tragedy.

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA | One Man Dead and Two Suspects Arrested for Terrace Heights Shooting Home invaders meet another armed homeowner, with similar results.
[Police] say three suspects entered a home [at about 11 a.m.]. The homeowner and a guest were home at the time. The homeowner shot one of the suspects, who was dead when investigators arrived.
The other two were captured at a nearby Burger King.

(I haven't found a "neighbors were shocked quote," even though there are some quotes from neighbors in this story. People were scared, but seem to recognize they live in the real world.)

Self-defense is a human right, and it worked out OK in this instance, but the homeowner needs a bit of practice, as it appears he shot his friend in he arm.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

They Must Have Purchased These from the Low Bidder

ABC News: Invisible Killer in Katrina Victims' Trailers The emergency trailers that they let people live in after Katrina - why are they still living there? - are contaminated with formaldehyde. Well, contaminated is probably not the right term. It is how the things were built.
Today, the government finally admitted that FEMA trailers, used by Hurricane Katrina survivors, contain a toxic carcinogen, formaldehyde, and now, those hurricane evacuees must leave their trailers.
Glues in the walls and carpet are the main culprits. FEMA is now officially out of the trailer business, they announced that they will NOT provide trailers for people.

If you are within the sound of my voice able to read this, you live in the real world. It would be a good idea to formulate some level of disaster plan given the track record of FEMA - Katrina is only the most recent example, they didn't do any better with Andrew. MINIMUM of three days - that's how long you will be on your own. New Orleans was longer than that. And if you have any doubts about going into a refugee camp, the visions of NOLA's Dome should answer that. Be prepared now to drive out in advance, or drive or walk out after the fact. Don't assume the government will rescue you, and don't expect any of us to feel too sorry. Katrina (and Andrew) was you warning. And if you think you are "safe" because you don't live in hurricane country, guess again. Everybody has some risk factors. (for example, the New Madrid fault.) Hurricane and earthquake prone areas just get more practice.

Another YouTube Video, Another Suspended Cop

Reluctant film star on city's streets -- Yeah, another isolated incident of a Baltimore police officer over-reacting and throwing a 14-year-old kid to the ground.

I love the comment about how the kid's parents don't seem to abuse him regularly enough. Quality policing in action.

It is now being investigated by internal affairs. The officer Salvatore Rivieri is suspended - I can't find if it is with or without pay - will no doubt be given a slap on the wrist when all is done.

I love the videos.

News for your inner Geek

Astronomers find 'scale-model' solar system - Times Online
A distant solar system that looks much like a scale model of our own has been discovered by an international team of astronomers.

The star system — 5,000 light years away — boasts smaller versions of the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn and it is possible that smaller, rocky planets like Earth and Mars could be orbiting closer in.
If nothing else it may mean that solar systems like our own may be common.

Good Guys 4, Bad Guys 0 Wilmington store owner shoots robber 2/14/08 You are locking up your business when four goblins, one with a rifle, try to rob you.
The owner told police that as he was locking the door, one of the suspects confronted him with a rifle, demanded money and fired one shot at him. The owner of the store returned fire and the men ran away. The owner saw one of the men fall down as if he was struck by his gunfire, but he got back up and ran off.
One 15-year-old was arrested at a local hospital. Two others were arrested when police, reacting to the gunshots, caught up with them while they were fleeing the scene. The fourth was arrested at home a short time later.
[The goblins] were all charged with Robbery 1st degree, Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Reckless endangering and Conspiracy 2nd.
Clean sweep made possible by a legally armed, law abiding citizen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sheriff's Deputy Dumps Disabled Man Out of Wheelchair

I don't know how I missed this story. That's what I get for not reading the local papers.

A quadriplegic man is arrested and when in the booking process is told to stand at the counter. There is only one problem, he is quadriplegic and is confined to a wheelchair. He can't "stand" at the booking counter.

So a Hillsborough County (Tampa, Florida) deputy sheriff dumps him out of his wheelchair on the floor. Everyone - except the victim of this hate crime - thinks it is amusing. Everyone except the man who was thrown on the floor, Brian Sterner. The deputy in question Charlette Marshall-Jones, has been suspended, not charged, not fired.

He may have been injured, when he was thrown on the floor. They took x-rays of his side, but neither he nor his doctor have been given copies or even access. (Since he has no feeling below the chest, it is easy to be injured and not realize it.)

The Sheriff's office is in major "cover your ass" mode.
Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jose Docobo said he was troubled not only by what happened to Sterner but by the lack of response from experienced supervisors.

"The fact that none of the supervisors acted upon what they saw or had knowledge of is of grave concern to us," he said. "The fact that no reports were written further concerns us.

"This is not how we do business here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office."
Really Mr. Chief Deputy Docobo? Then why did it not seem to phase anyone? What would response have been if the video was not available?

Oh, but the video is available. [YouTube seems to be having problems - check for video later]

Did I mention that the deputy in question has been suspended? A few other of the yahoos on duty that day are on paid leave. Oh yeah, that's a punishment! (Stay home from work and still get paid. Most people call that "a vacation.")
"There's no reason why that deputy should not be charged with battery on a disabled person," said Sterner's attorney, John Trevena.
Sure there's a reason. She's a cop and cops don't think they have to live by the same rules as everyone else. There isn't even a report on this incident, because they didn't think it was out of the ordinary. Lovely.

Two Men Who Did the Right Thing

JS Online: Milwaukee paramedics foil robbery on east side They saw a woman being beaten and robbed and went to her aide, capturing the bad guy in the process.
Oberg pulled to a stop in the 2100 block of N. Farwell Ave., jumped from the red paramedic truck and rushed toward the robber, yelling at him. The suspect let go of the woman and tried to run away. Within 100 feet, Oberg caught him.
They wrestled a gun away from the guy - it later proved to be a replica - and one hit him on the head with his radio. The goblin is in police custody.

Milwaukee Firefighters William Echevarria and Jason Oberg - two heroes.

A Problem of Perception? Maybe

It seems that this book, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity ... And Why It Matters, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons has made quite a stir. They interviewed non-Christian "outsiders." The 40% of 16 to 29-year-olds who are atheist, agnostic, adherents of non-Christian religions and the "unchurched." Their findings were unsurprising to everyone but themselves.
Mr. Kinnaman discusses the top six criticisms leveled against the church by "outsiders" (non-Christians) age 16 to 29. These six criticisms are that Christians are:
  1. antihomosexual (91 % said "a lot" or "some) Even 80% of young churchgoers agree
  2. judgmental (87%)
  3. too involved with politics (85%)
  4. sheltered/ out of touch with reality (72%)
  5. too focused on gaining converts, and
  6. hypocritical
(Those last two items are summaries Kinnaman derives from statistics and statements elsewhere; the actual fifth and sixth ranked criticisms respondents could choose from were Old-Fashioned (78%) and Insensitive to Others (70%), with Boring (68%) and Not Accepting of Other Faiths (64%) bringing up the rear, though still with a huge plurality.)
As you may imagine, item number 1 is of most interest to me. (I do wonder why item 3 hasn't cost anyone their tax-exempt status.) The general intolerance for non-Christian religions is another issue I have. See the entire struggle to get the Veterans' Administration to recognize Wicca for an example. (I'm sure that there are those who would love to exclude Jewish symbols from National Cemeteries, but it is easier to discriminate against small religions.) That is only 1 example. How many "homeowners' associations" contain bylaws forbidding regular religious services at homes? And how many of you realize that those bylaws exist to keep the Orthodox Jews out of the neighborhood? (They have to be able to walk to services on Friday and Saturday.) If it was about controlling traffic, the bylaws would be stated in that fashion, and since the Orthodox have to walk, it wouldn't have the desired effect anyway.

As to the first item in Kinnaman's list, there are two problems with his approach to offering compassion in in place of contempt for gays, and lesbians.
But the impossibility of the enterprise is established when the chapter self-destructs in its first two sentences:

"So David, do you still think I'm going to hell because I'm gay?"
My friend's question caught me off guard.

We know where this is going: 1. description of how much David likes his friend. 2. description of the traditional view of homosexuality (the Bible's agin' it!). 3. call for more compassion, with an example of how he, in this instance, responded with compassion rather than judgment to his friend. 4. ambivalent ending, pointing towards hope for the future...perhaps?

The problem--or at least one problem--is that the actual dynamic of God vs. homosexual still stands. In essence, the proper evangelical Christian answer to his friend's question is "No, my friend. Your sin is no different from my own tendency to be prideful and gluttonous. You're actually going to hell for so much more than just your mere homosexuality!" (Follow-up statement, "And believe me, I'm just as unworthy as you are, except that fortunately I'm going to heaven.") If that's what you're calling compassion, I invite you to reread the dictionary before you wonder why people won't come to your parties.
The other problem is why are Christians so done up over something that is basically an Old Testament (no not completely) issue, and not done up in the same way over other Old Testament issues, like keeping Kosher?
But the Jesus of the gospels said nothing to condemn homosexuality. So the Christians eventually have to stop talking about Jesus and talk about "the Bible" (including the Old Testament), or even a rather amorphous (and manipulable) "biblical perspective." Bait and switch.
In the end, Kinnaman is trying to improve the image of Christianity in the world - especially with the younger generation he dealt with in the survey. This is something I don't really have any feelings about. I do have feelings about any religion, Christian, Islam, whatever, that tries to use their personal belief system to dictate how I should live my life. Or why do you think it took years to get a Wiccan grave marker on Wiccan grave in a Veterans Cemetery? Do you think it was a Muslim conspiracy?

And no the 2 big Levantine religions (Christianity and Islam) are not the same. One is hideously dangerous when its fundamentalists are unleashed, the other is merely annoying to slightly dangerous. (I haven't run into elements of the 3rd Levantine religion - Judaism - trying to control my life. They probably exist, but I haven't encountered them.)

Kinnaman and Company wonder why the world sees them as homophobic, intolerant of other religions, out-of-touch and all the rest. As at least part of the answer, I give you the example of Fred Phelps, who in 1999 Mother Jones called The Man Who Loves to Hate. Phelps may be particularly annoying, but he isn't alone.

Kinnaman's study was interesting to me for two reasons. One, he bothered to look outside his group at all. Very few organizations or movements do that. "Preaching to the Choir" isn't just a problem the religious have. Two, the basic result that 40% of people 16 to 29 are "outsiders" surprised me. (If you actually look at some of the core data Kinnaman has, it isn't as amazing as all that. Though the figures on music downloading were interesting.) But the number of people who have been pushed away and the general negative perception is amazing, as is Kinnaman's attempt to face the numbers head on, and not explain them away, as many people will certainly do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

iowahawk and the Chicago Auto Show

iowahawk: Back Off Man, I'm a Credentialed Automotive Journalist
Then it dawned on me -- sure, there are hundreds of websites and magazines out there who can bring you detailed up-to-the-minute Auto Show news with high-quality photography, but how many offer actual crappy low-rez pics from a $29 cell phone? I also quickly realized that stealing stuff kind of goes with the whole professional media lifestyle.
Cool pics. I love the 6 door SUV - I mean 4 doors are so 20th Century.

Obama's Houston Office

B. Obama's Houston Campaign Office

Andrew Dodge thinks this means he isn't interested in winning Florida come November. I think it just means that he like Communism.

Tuesday Insanity

No, not the election. Some other insanity.

Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

With predictable results. Homeowner Shoots, Kills Invader - Detroit News Story - WDIV Detroit
Police said two men were trying to break into a home on the 5200 block of Kensington Avenue when the homeowner inside grabbed his pistol and fired.
The guy was shot 8 times. His buddy ran like a rabbit.

Since self-defense is a human right, the homeowner will not face charges.

Two Sets of Rules: 1 for Cops, 1 for everybody else

Boston police broke weapons policy - The Boston Globe A little person with a restraining order can have no access to guns. Cops however, don't have to live by the same rules. (That multiple sets of rules exist is a pretty good indication that you live in a police state.)

In multiple cases they left guns in the hands of people enmeshed in volatile emotional situations.
[Officer Leonard F.] Brown, [Boston Police Department officials] said, shouldn't have had it last summer, while his former wife had an active restraining order against him. Specifically, he shouldn't have had it July 26, when he was accused of flashing his department- issued .40-caliber Glock to a former in-law during what has been described as a vodka- infused tirade, saying, "Do you know who you're [expletive] with?"
This isn't the only case of different sets of rules.
[Police Commissioner Edward F.] Davis came under fire in December when he punished a police lieutenant found to have punched his girlfriend in a Baltimore bar with a five-day suspension, rather than termination.
Suspension? How about arresting him and charging him with assault? Or the old cops' favorite, disturbing the peace? No, he gets to beat-up on his girlfriend and then take a week off work. Davis claimed he wanted to avoid a lawsuit. Right. Me, I believe he wanted to avoid punishing the guilty, because the guilty person was on the his side of that thin blue line.

Eventually they go 'out-of-bounds' enough times (or in a serious enough way) that a department has to take notice. Brown is currently charged with several things - all of which are lies according to his lawyer. Lies made up by his ex and her family to get him in trouble. (Except for the time when he was drunk on duty no doubt.)

LEOs in this country need to understand that the days of them getting the benefit of the doubt are long gone. As long as it even appears that there are 2 sets of rules, it appears that we live in police state. Incidents like the midnight crew of area two in Chicago, or the Special Operation Section of the Chicago PD - and all the various things it got up to. As long as these things are tolerated, the rest of us "little people" will view you as thugs, or potential thugs anyway.

In the case of restraining orders, a lot of departments, including the Massachusetts State Police don't let officers with outstanding restraining orders have their weapons. If that means they can't work extra duty, tough cookies. Boston, Chicago, New York and few other cities, don't seem to be too upset about mixing restraining orders and guns.

You know, I wonder, is there an exception in the federal law about restraining orders that exempts LEOs? Or are they all in violation of federal firearms law? Is it just another example of 2 set of rules? Welcome to the police state.

Monday, February 11, 2008

British Ad Campaign

Some People are Gay, Get Over It!

The campaign started in schools, but is being pushed out to the greater public.

Interesting schools stats.
It revealed that nearly two thirds of LGB students reported instances of homopbobic harassment.

That figure jumps to 75% of young gay people attending faith schools.

The survey of more than 1,100 young people found that only 23% of all UK schools explicitly condemn homophobic bullying.

92% of gay, lesbian and bisexual pupils have experienced verbal abuse, 41% physical bullying and 17% have been subject to death threats.

30% of pupils reported that adults have been responsible for incidents of homophobic bullying in their schools.

Nearly every interviewed student had heard phrases like, 'You're so gay', and remarks like 'poof' and 'dyke' in UK schools.

The News from Iraq

Al-Qaeda leaders admit: 'We are in crisis. There is panic and fear' - Times Online Funny, I don't see this anywhere (noticeable) in the big US news sites.

Even though this is only dealing with one area in Iraq, it is still significant.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an “extraordinary crisis”. Last year's mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military “created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight”. The terrorist group's security structure suffered “total collapse”.

These are the words not of al-Qaeda's enemies but of one of its own leaders in Anbar province — once the group's stronghold. They were set down last summer in a 39-page letter seized during a US raid on an al-Qaeda base near Samarra in November.
If you want decent international news (and not bad coverage of America) look to London and the Times. (That's the REAL Times, not the New York imitator.)

Roy Scheider: 1932 to 2008

Jaws actor Roy Scheider dead at 75 Is he most famous for Jaws? I liked him in 2010, and Blue Thunder.

The Urban Shooter Podcast

The Urban Shooter Podcast Notes: Episode 56 - The Campaign How to talk to people (anti-gun people) about guns. And other things.

Download the MP3 here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Self-defense Works A teenaged robber was shot in Watts by his intended victim 2/10/08 Teenaged? Well he was 17. If he lived I would bet there would have been a better than even chance he would be tried as an adult. He didn't survive, however.
Moments after approaching the victim, who was in his vehicle, Beck produced a gun and demanded money.

The victim--also armed--produced a weapon and shot the suspect in the chest. Beck later died at an area hospital.
Self-defense is a human right.

Disabled Woman Put on Hold by 911

MyFox Philadelphia | Caught On Tape: 911 Center Puts Dying Woman On Hold She called to say her bed was on fire.

She waited to have her call answered. She was then put on hold. 2 minutes before crews dispatched to her house. She died.

The Director of the Emergency Communications, Brent Wiggins, said, "I think it was a very unfortunate incident." I wonder how he would describe criminal negligence. Or a tragedy. [hat tip to John Lott who notes this could apply to a police call as well.]

Man Bites Dog - Literally

The Times - Police dog bitten by suspected hijacker
We let the dogs into the bush and after a few minutes we heard them barking. They were trying to apprehend a naked man who retaliated by biting the dogs. He sank his teeth into Tim’s neck and the other dog’s nose.
Tim is a Rottweiler, and the other dog, Hector, a German Shepard. I'm surprised that he could attack them.

News of the Weird?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Calling 911 Set Shooter Off

Did 911 call set shooter off? :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State Call 911 - that's what the Left says. Call 911 and your problems go away. Or do they.
Police are investigating if the robber who killed five woman and wounded a sixth at a Lane Bryant clothing store in Tinley Park shot them after catching the store manager making a 911 call on her cell phone, police sources said Friday.
He was planning to keep robbing people as they came into the store. In Illinois, that would be simple, because all of the law-abiding are disarmed. Criminals like helpless victims.

Restraining Order Fails to Stop Stabbing

Teacher Stabbed By Husband In Front Of Class It is a good thing that weapons of any kind are banned from schools, someone might get hurt. Oh, wait a minute...
A teacher from Portsmouth, Ohio, was stabbed by her husband Thursday morning in front of her students, according to authorities.

Christi Layne declared that she was terrified of her husband and after separating from him; she got a restraining order and got an alarm system installed at her house.
The times when stalking victims are most vulnerable is when they are at known locations on known schedules. Add in defense-free policies, and you should not be surprised there are problems.

Those vulnerable times include picking up and dropping off kids at school or daycare, to and from work and at work, to and from religious services. They are all places you have to be at certain times, and all places you are likely to be disarmed "for your safety," or the safety of your stalker.

Since he was able to walk into her class, relatively unmolested, even though there was a restraining order held by one of the employees of the school tells you something about how serious (sic) they take security. Oh, the doors were supposed to be locked. I wonder what quality locks were used. I wonder what quality doors were used. I wonder when we will start to take school security seriously. (Probably after something like Beslan happens here.)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cops Behaving Really Badly

The Raw Story | Woman sues Ohio sheriff's deputy over 'outrageous' strip search You are assaulted. You (or someone) calls 911. Then your problems really start.
Eventually, Steffey was arrested and taken to the Stark County Jail, charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But once in custody, her attorney says seven jail workers, male and female, forcibly removed Steffey of all her clothes, including her undergarments, while she lay face down in handcuffs. Local news footage shows Steffey wailing, asking "What are you doing?!?"

"And you have to ask yourself, what was the purpose of the strip search?" said Steffey's lawyer. "What was the necessity of it? This was a disorderly conduct claim."

The lawsuit says that Steffey remained in the cell for six hours and wrapped herself in toilet paper to stay warm. During that time, she was not allowed to use a phone or seek medical assistance for injuries she accrued that night, including a cracked tooth, bulging disc, and bruises.
The cops are not your friends. They can - and do - do anything they want. And blame it all on your "resisting arrest" or whatever.

The video is here. (Not on YouTube as the referenced story indicates.) The police - in the person of the Sheriff - say "all is well." They don't believe they did anything wrong, even though they had 2 men (at least) strip a woman in handcuffs naked. They stripped her naked for 'her own protection.' [via]

'Nuf Said

Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat - New York Times NYT - not exactly part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy....
Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded.
Ethanol is a giveaway to ADM - with some benefit to all corn farmers in America. (Just a quick question: How many farmers do you know? I know quite a few but then - until just recently - my family owned 2 farms, and cousins still farm.) Can you spell "farm subsidy?"

Making biodiesel out of waste vegetable oil - the stuff McDonald's throws away at the end of the day - makes sense. Very little else does.

A Pro-gun, Pro-concealed-carry Article in the Cincinnati Enquirer?

Hell Frozen OverThe Enquirer - Concealed-carry course graduates are armed but not dangerous I don't believe it.

This is the report of someone - very new or completely new to shooting - taking a concealed carry permit class in Ohio. It is a wonderful story, that even includes a smack-down on the Left and the anti-gun crowd.
From what I can tell, legal concealed carry is nothing like the anti-gun crowd made it sound when Kentucky and Ohio passed laws in 1999 and 2004. There are no cowboys. No wild shootouts. No blood in the gutters, as gun-banners predicted. Just law-abiding adults who want to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-defense.
Law-abiding citizens take classes and get permits and remain law-abiding citizens. Criminals don't classes and don't care about being law-abiding. They just care about preying on helpless victims. [hat tip to Xavier]

What Britian Needs is Common Sense Anti-freeze Control

I adored her. She said she adored me. So why did my wife try to kill me with anti-freeze? | the Daily Mail She tried to poison you for the insurance money.

This is a pretty gruesome story about poisoning. The result is the husband, though alive, is on dialysis, part of his face is paralyzed from brain damage, and he can hear only through cochlear implants that are not perfect. He is blind.

All because she had a lot of debt, and no inhibitions against murder.
After running up thousands of pounds in secret debts, her deadly solution was to poison her husband in the hope of cashing in on insurance policies on his life which she thought would pay out £250,000. She spent months on the internet researching the best way to kill him, before choosing anti-freeze, which contains ethylene glycol that can kill in small doses.
My point is not to make light of this tragedy. My point is to make light of the Left's attempt to make everyone safe. People with bad intentions will always be able to pick up a hammer, poisonous household chemicals, a blunt object or a pointy stick.

Americans Have ALWAYS Traveled with Dollars

Dollar SignAnd most businesses in the popular tourist destinations - and even cab drivers in the cities - accepted dollars. And that is perfectly OK. Just a reflection of the fact that it is wise to cater to your customers Though travelers were always warned that you would get a better exchange rate if you used either your credit card or the local currency. I guess it is true that most Americans never go anywhere.

Euro Sign
Now that a lot of Europeans are traveling to the US (with Euros? Heavens!) some American businesses have decided to accept the foreign currency. This has a lot people in twisted in knots. The War on Guns is pretty typical. They seem to view it as a sign of the end of the world. And while the cheapness of the dollar is generating all of that tourism, it isn't directly responsible for people accepting Euros.

And why do you care? It isn't, as the War on Guns seems to think, that the Euro has become "legal tender" in the US. It hasn't. You don't have to accept Euros. But if you say no, to perfectly good currency - and yes, you better know how to detect the real thing versus fakes - and your customers walk across the street to your competition, you have no one to blame but yourself. I am sure some reactionary will introduce legislation forbidding acceptance of foreign currency. I won't even be surprised if they forget to exclude banks and currency exchanges - (where do you think the name originated?) from the first version, and wreak havoc on some financial market. Should airlines based in the US accept foreign currency for travel? No? Then you better not try to book a flight on Virgin Atlantic using dollars.

But the War on Guns is right about 1 thing, the dollar is in the toilet. And the federal government just decided to print more money, and hand it out to everyone, thus making the problem worse. That will stimulate the economy. Just like it did under Nixon. (Does anyone remember what inflation was like in the 70s? If you don't remember, look at this.)

Everyone wants to place blame (or credit in good times) for the economy on the President and the Congress. The truth is they really only have the power to screw up. And printing money - generating inflation - is one of the things they always do. And the 800 dollars they are going to "give you" is an act of printing money. It will make every dollar - in your savings, in your paycheck - worth that much less.

UPDATE: See the comments for a rebuttal.

People Actually Watch the Stuff?

OK, so I was sitting a Chinese restaurant, waiting for my Szechuan chicken (carry-out of course), trying to read a copy of the paper someone had left. But a TV was on - an old rerun of Frasier. In the few minutes I had to wait, I saw some of the worst acting I've seen, Eastern (or would that be Californian?) stereotypes about farmers and rural America, and just plain insanity. And this was a popular show.

Even with it being so bad, it was hard to tune it out and concentrate on the paper. Maybe the medium really is the message.

I am so glad that I don't have television. I waste enough time on the internet.