Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bob Barr - First Amendment Only Applies to Religions He Likes
(or is that past tense?)

pentacleHit & Run > Barrwatch: Season of the Witch - Reason Magazine That is, he seems to want to reserve First Amendment protections to good solid Christian religions (with a grudging acceptance of Jewish and Muslim service personnel no doubt.) Or so it seemed in 1999.

Well he has back pedaled some.
[Bob Barr] said that he had reports from several military leaders that Wiccans doing rituals on military bases were causing problems and that's why he did what he did, but that since that time it's become clear that there are no problems with allowing Wiccans to serve and to practice their religion on military bases like any other religion.
There is just one small problem with this. It doesn't mesh with what he said at the time.
Barr said in an interview Friday [1999 - May 29th] that his concern is not about "what people do in the civilian sector but solely with practice on military bases by active-duty personnel." "The fact of the matter is--and witches won't like this--our country was founded on a basic belief in God, " Barr said.

The US Military attempts to train "moral soldiers," he said, "and we have always been a country that recognizes that moral foundation as coming from God--not from a tree, not from a blade of grass, not from the sun, but from God. If people want to go out on their own and worship trees or grass or the sun, they can do that. But I don't think it's appropriate for our military to say we won't draw any lines or set any standards about what people can do with military sanction."
This is a direct attack on the idea of freedom of religion for anyone who practices a religion he doesn't like.

So, if we are to believe his recent statements, he heard of unspecified problems from anonymous sources, and he attacked the idea of freedom of religion. It has to be free for anyone - not just the people you like, or the "government approved" religions - or it is not free. But Barr wanted to limit the practice of religion to those he liked.

He also seems clueless of the fact that Wiccans have won more than one law suit to gain recognition as a religion. I can't find a link to a DoD suit, but I thought there was a separate suit just for service members. (The IRS has been sued, as have other government agencies that don't understand the meaning for the First Amendment.)

Or maybe he didn't care about court cases. He certainly didn't seem interested in the First Amendment.

[Disclaimer: I am not Wiccan, but I follow their plight in the news because it is a good view of the freedom of religion. Wiccans and pagans are perhaps the most persecuted religions in America today. A lot of people (perhaps including Bob Barr) believe that it should only be freedom of religion for those religions they approve of. Bob Barr would put the imprint of government approval on it - or at least that seems to have been his position in 1999.]

Update: More on the 1999 stuff here.

The Dresden Files

I never saw the SciFi Channel rendition, but I have been reading the books. Great literature they aren't, but they are great fun.

A wizard named Harry, and he is in Chicago, instead of somewhere in England or Scotland. What's not to like?

Now That's a Power Tool

Clickity for a better image.

It isn't often I agree with the StarTribune

Editorial: Why give awards in botched police raid? This was the raid based on "informant's" information. Instead of finding drugs and gangs, they broke down the door of a law-abiding citizen and his family. It was a special miracle that no one was injured.

Yet the Minneapolis PD decided to give these guys medals for bravely terrorizing innocent kids. Yeah, that makes sense.

Restraining Order Escalated Violence

Protective order didn't stop angry ex-boyfriend - Top Stories - ( People are always surprised by violence, but if you need a restraining order, you should be aware of the possibility of violence.
Shortly after 8 p.m. that day [the day the restraining order was issued], county police received a call from a frantic Ms. Ferrick, saying her ex-boyfriend was driving around her house on the 800 block of Nursery Road and threatening her. Mr. Brandt had driven past the home, flashing an obscene gesture and calling from his cell phone to threaten her, Ms. Ferrick said.

Suddenly, the black pickup came charging through the low picket fence that borders the sidewalk, and struck Ms. Ferrick and her roommate's son Cody, 11, who was sitting with her on the front stoop of the home, she said.
Cody's foot was nearly severed in the attack, but doctors were able to reattach it. Ms. Ferrick got away with a broken ankle and a head injury. She was treated and released.

The point of all this is that a restraining order by itself won't keep you safe. By the time police arrive, the crime has usually been committed. And as noted here, sometimes the simple act of getting a restraining order makes the situation more volatile.
Debra Ferrick hoped the protective order granted by a District Court judge Monday morning would keep her ex-boyfriend away. But instead, it began an escalating series of events.
By all means, get a restraining order if you need one. But be aware that it doesn't always do what you think it will. Best to have a plan for your personal safety in place. Don't assume the person will abide by the order. Don't assume the police can protect you.

Court orders are legal tools, not force fields. They can't stop a racing truck, a bullet, a knife or a thrown punch. Planning for your safety is up to you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What else should government do?

Efforts Against AIDS Among Black Americans Criticized - At this point in the AIDS story, everybody should know what constitutes risky behavior.

Should we really spend more tax money to try to teach people what risky behavior is? Will any more tax money do anything?

No doubt someone will lament that the people getting AIDS through intravenous drug use don't have access to sterile needles, but I for one don't think that the government should be subsidizing your drug habit.

As for spending money in the rest of the world to tell people what risky behavior is... if we are going to spend money, it should be at home. But will spending the money actually do anything?

Makes Me Wonder About the International Olympic Committee / Asia-Pacific / China - China limits Olympics journalists’ web access I guess freedom and democracy are not important to the Olympic committee.
Beijing’s refusal to suspend censorship controls and the IOC’s previous assurances will cast a renewed spotlight on the international sports group’s handling of preparations for the Games.

Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC's press commission, said he “regretted” news of the restricted access to the internet for foreign media, but suggested committee colleagues had dealt with the Chinese on the issue without his knowledge
So freedom isn't important to the Olympic committee. I guess that is nothing new. But should it be?

How Would an 84-year-old Hold Off an Intruder? : 84-year-old man wounds intruder If the Left had its way, and law-abiding citizens were disarmed, this might have been a tragedy. A tragedy that would have been recorded on 911 tapes. Instead, the good guys finished on top.
An 84-year-old man, who repeatedly held off an alleged intruder Sunday when the man tried to break into his home, finally got a gun in desperation and shot through a door, wounding the intruder in the leg.
He held the door closed, but as he got tired, and the goblin kept trying to break in, he asked his wife (74-years-old) to get his gun.
"He was getting tired," said [Hancock County Sheriff's Investigator Andre] Fizer, who listened to a tape of the 911 call during the ensuing investigation. "He said, 'I knew the guy was going to eventually overcome me.'"
He shot once, low, hitting the goblin in the leg, who is now in hospital awaiting charges.

The evidence of the 911 tape clearly shows the homeowner acted in self-defense. What else could an 84-year-old do to defend himself and his wife? I really wish that someone on the Left would explain to me how this would have ended happily for everyone if the homeowner had been disarmed. Home invasions never end nicely when the bad guys achieve the upper hand, and this situation does not describe the average burglary. So please, anyone who favors gun control, tell me how things would have been better than a safe, law-abiding couple, and an injured goblin. (Those of you favoring self-defense, can't answer that a dead goblin beats an injured goblin. That isn't the question, even if I agree with the sentiment.)

Cop Worked As Strong Arm for Drug Dealers

Former Boston officer sentenced to 11 years - The Boston Globe Chicago doesn't have a monopoly on corrupt cops.
A former Boston police officer was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison yesterday for conspiring to extort $265,000 on behalf of Colombian drug dealers while in uniform, one of a series of recent corruption scandals in the Police Department.
The evidence was conclusive, and he plead guilty.

Second Cop Arrested in Tow Truck Scheme

Feds: Cop got up to $800 a week in tow truck bribes :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES That is a pretty good payday.
A Chicago Police officer who also serves as an assistant athletic director at a west suburban high school was charged Wednesday with extorting up to $800 a week from a tow truck company.

Michael J. Ciancio, 56, is the second cop busted by the feds in a widening investigation of the towing industry.
Not that this is anything new.
The [tow-truck] driver, who has a criminal record, claimed he's been paying bribes to cops in the Jefferson Park and Albany Park districts on the Northwest Side for more than 15 years, according to the FBI.
The people who know this cop can't believe that he would do anything illegal.

Home Invader Meets Armed Homeowner

Home invasion ends in shooting - He really wanted to get into that house.
Police say the owner of a home at Floresta Drive and Surrey Street was taking a nap. Somone rang the doorbell, but the homeowner wasn't expecting anyone.

Police say the homeowner grabbed his gun and told his two young daughters and niece to hide in a back bedroom.

Detectives say the suspect hopped over the back fence and tried to break in through a sliding glass door. When the suspect went around to the kitchen to try to get in through a window, the homeowner shot him once in the chest.
And this being Florida, the neighbors are not shocked.
"I think if somebody broke in here I'd try to do the same thing," says Christine Quagalia who lives two doors down from where the shooting took place.
The goblin fled the scene and crashed his car a short distance away. He is in the hospital with serious injuries.

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

Police Receive Medals for Erroneous No-Knock Warrant

Minneapolis police: A mistake, an apology and then medals They go to the wrong house and execute a military-style raid. Shooting at children - at least one of whom has needed therapy after this incident. What do the cops get? Rewarded.

We really need to stop this insanity.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Did Anyone Doubt the Motive?

Rampage Attributed to Hatred of Liberalism - This morning I said it would probably be hate. And it is.
A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson's SUV indicated that he targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general, as well as gays," according to Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV.
I guess he was acting in defense of good conservative values. Or something.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Attitude Makes the Difference Bank Robbery attempted ends with suspect being shot with his own gun. 7/26/08 Not only do I love stories about justice served, but I love the way the "innocent bystanders" decided to stop being sheep and act like civilized adults.
The suspect entered the bank wearing a disguise of some sort, possibly a mask or a fake mustache and beard, and carrying a semi-automatic weapon, ABC7 reported.

A bank security guard apparently confronted and struggled with the suspect, said Kate Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department.

"It was a good knockdown fight between the security guard and the suspect," Capt. Jim Miller of the LAPD told the TV station. "On its face it appears that the suspect may have been beginning to gain the upper hand when the customers joined in to assist."
Have Americans finally learned that being meek, mild and good victims does not ensure your safety? The Powers That Be will never admit that.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Motive in Shooting?

Powell man charged with murder in church shooting : Knoxville News Sentinel The news reports I have seen on this keep saying things like "no motive was immediately available." You can't think of any reason that what is today a religious minority might be targeted? I can.
[T]he Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was a strong proponent of gay rights in the community.
And if you don't think that is a strong enough motive for hate, consider the following.
Both Unitarianism and Universalism trace their origins to Christian Protestantism and thus Unitarian Universalism has its historical roots in the Christian faith. But by the time they decided to combine their efforts at the continental level, the theological significance of these terms had expanded beyond the traditional Christian understanding. ... Although Unitarian Universalist congregations and fellowships tend to retain some Christian traditions, ... they do not necessarily identify themselves as Christians nor do they necessarily subscribe to Christian beliefs. [my emphasis Z-Deb.]
So a gay-friendly, not-quite-Christian religion is attacked, and no one can come with "hate" as a motive. I guess they don't want to jump to conclusions.

Though it appears that the congregation was disarmed - I don't know if this was by default or by law - at least people did not behave as sheep when confronted with this atrocity. One man was a true hero
"Greg McKendry stood in the front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us," witness Barbara Kemper said.

"Make sure everyone knows that Greg McKendry was a hero, a total hero," Taylor Bessette said of the man who has been his foster father just a few months.
and others reacted heroically.
Bohstedt and Terry Uselton, jumped on the gunman and restrained him.
I think in the next few days we will find that there is a motive of hate behind this crime.

That Will Ruin Your Day

WRIC Richmond News and Weather - Goochland County Man Shoots And Kills Alleged Intruder Shotgun blast to the neck.
The homeowner Adam Stone told police that he and his girlfriend were asleep when suddenly a man broke in and entered the bedroom. Stone and the alleged intruder struggled a bit but when the intruder did not back off Stone pulled out his shotgun and fired away.

"Deputies arrived and found a man... dead of a gunshot wound to his neck," said Sheriff James Agnes of the Goochland County Sherriff's Office.
No charges were filed, and the Commonwealth's Attorney will decide on any charges, but it sounds like self-defense to me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

4 Days

Heading to Florida to do the pre-hurricane-season weather dance.

No sacrifices to gods of weather, unless you count new docklines.
  1. Take down canvas (It is called canvas, even though it isn't made out of canvas. Sails, sail covers, Bimini tops)
  2. Tie down everything, even if it looks like it can't move.
  3. Add/replace docklines, and spring lines as needed.
  4. Drink - beer, rum, etc.
No computer, no desire for a computer, no blogging. (or very little blogging)

So I am off for a performance (or 2) of Security Theater.

See you this weekend.

What Symbolism is Obama Going For? / Home UK / UK - Column of contention rears its ugly head for Berlin visit The Siegessäule Victory Column was built by the Germans in the late 19th century to commemorate a victory over France, Austria and Denmark. It was then moved and updated by the Nazi Party as part of turning Berlin into the world capital.
Without a British-American veto, the French would have dynamited the monument after the war.
And here I thought the Left liked the French.

Today it is most known as the destination for demonstrations and parades, like the Gay Pride parade.
Not only is it a mandatory stop for the Berlin gay pride and St Christopher Street demonstrations, but "Siegessäule" is also the name of a local gay magazine. By speaking before the column, Mr Obama will be walking proudly in the steps of purple-haired drag queens.
Perhaps not the symbolism he was hoping for.

You see, he wanted to speak in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the place where JFK and Reagan spoke. The Germans didn't want to give him that kind of endorsement. ("You're no JFK.")

No Wild West Shootouts in Minnesota Handgun permit fears fail to materialize - Sat, Jul 19, 2008 No blood in the streets. No road rage shootouts. Not in MN. It won't stop the Left from predicting all of this in Wisconsin and Illinois - you know people are going to try and get carry passed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Google Fu?

Snowflakes in Hell � Carry Permit Holders Carry Permit Holders Google and the Brady Bunch. If you really want to know, follow the breadcrumbs.

Hey, it makes more sense than "horrible screaming death." [via Uncle]

"This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative."

Paul Greenberg - Good News is No News Media Bias? That can't be.

And Obama seems to have his very own Ministry of Truth.
Barely conceivable to some, anyway. Last year Barack Obama, who's now cinched his party's presidential nomination, was still arguing that the Surge would fail: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

But don't look for any of his anti-Surge statements on Senator Obama's Web site, not any more. They've just been purged. And replaced by a new, more militant stance. To borrow a phrase from Ron Ziegler, Richard Nixon's hapless press secretary: "This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative."
Remember when Mr "Don't Say My Middle Name" was convinced we must fail in Iraq? Apparently his web team doesn't remember that time either.

Greenberg takes a few swipes at Hillary as well, and her attacks - unjustified it turns out - on General David Petraeus. Easy to do since the General was right and Hillary was wrong.

Michigan State University and the Shooting Sports

MSU breaks ground on $3.5 M shooting centers It would seem that collegiate shooting sports aren't dead yet.
EAST LANSING - A new sports facility on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus will provide a home for shooting sports and archery teams, a regional venue for gun safety and law enforcement training and a recreation destination for shooting sports enthusiasts.

The groundbreaking for the John and Marnie Demmer Shooting Sports, Education and Training Center was held at 10:30 this morning
The funny thing is, I thought Michigan was a fairly liberal state. I never thought they would do something like this at a public university. Goes to show you.

Now That's Just Funny

More Obama Satire
Hat tip to Girl on the Right

Home Invader Meets Armed Resident

The Columbus Dispatch : Man killed trying to rob home, police say If you break into homes, sooner or later you will meet an armed homeowner. (If you are really unlucky, it could be the first time you break in.)
An 18-year-old man armed with a BB gun was fatally shot while trying to rob the residents of a Franklinton home yesterday afternoon, police said.

Police arrested his two alleged accomplices, one of whom was his brother, and charged them with murder for taking part in a crime that resulted in his death.
While a grand jury will hear the case, the resident is not under arrest. Another person in the home, summed up the situation nicely.
"He's protecting his family. He's protecting my home," said LeMaster's roommate, who was asleep upstairs when the shots were fired. "It's (expletive) when you can't leave your front door open."
Good Guys 3, Bad Guys 0

Why Oil Matters and Will For a Long Time

Power and Control: We Can't Drill Our Way Out Oil won't be thrown over in a day.
Take our automotive fleet. It turns over at the rate of about 6% a year. That means a 15 or so year transition period if ALL the new vehicles embody the new energy technology. Add in another 4 to 10 years for the design of the new vehicles and the development of the support infrastructure. Say the new technology is electric of some sort. We need to be able to produce 15 million automotive qualified electric motors a year. So before we can even get up to full scale production of the transition vehicle we need quite a few new electric motor factories.
But then a lot of people are betting on hydrogen. But after years of hype, that doesn't seem any closer either.

In short, oil and all the associated problems aren't going away any time soon. [Hat tip to Classical Values]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Doesn't This Sound Like the Medical Care We Want?

Letter that proves the sorry state of NHS care for elderly - Telegraph Michael Moore, call your office.

An 89-year-old World War II veteran goes into a British hospital with pneumonia, and dies from one of Britain's supper bugs, Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. - basically a super diarrhea.

His daughter was horrified by the conditions in the hospital.
According to Mrs Davies, conditions on the wards were "grim". Her father was left next to a window in blazing sunshine in temperatures of over 80F, causing him to become dehydrated, she said.

Water was placed where he could not reach it, the hospital ran out of his medicine, and staff failed to order probiotic drinks that had been prescribed for him.

"There were faeces on his bandages and on the walls," she said. "Every day there were signs of neglect. I had to constantly complain to get even the most basic care for him."
If you treated an animal this way in the US, you would be charged with cruelty to animals, but treat a patient this way in the "Utopian World of Public Health Care" and you have to write a letter of apology.

So which is the real state of health care in the UK? The nirvana reported by the Left - mostly in the person of Moore - or the horrors which cause John Rostill, the chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to issue an abject apology?

Can't you just wait until we get public-health care in the US?

Cops Behaving Badly - Starbucks Division - Cop Fired for Using Badge to Demand Free Starbucks Sometimes these stories just write themselves.

So this guy thinks free regular coffee isn't good enough, he wants free specialty drinks. And he uses used his badge, and threats to extort those drinks.
"If something happens we could respond really fast or really slow — the difference between you getting a two-minute response time or a 15-minute response time," Garvin reportedly told a Starbucks employee.
He was fired. He was not charged with extortion. And I am sure that the union in his town will appeal his firing.

This is a reflection of the attitude that cops matter, and no one else does. Cops and "little people." You can see this attitude Cops Writing Cops - a web site that expresses the opinion that cops should not get traffic tickets or be jailed for "minor" crimes - it's all about professional courtesy, don't you know. They have the right to break the law because they are cops, not little people. It is definitely not the case that they should be held to a higher standard.

You could see this attitude in New Orleans after Katrina, where cops from all over the country decided that the US Constitution did not apply because they said so. This was a classic example of jack-booted thugs terrorizing a civilian population.

You can see this attitude in the cop who stiffed a restaurant for a $76 bill and bar tab, and when he was arrested, he was flashing his badge like a "get out of jail free" card. Again, he thought he had the right to break the law.

You can see this attitude in the cops caught extorting sex from female suspects.

Now most cops are decent enough folks, though the usurpation of rights after Katrina was pretty universal. But not all cops are ready to serve and protect, unless you fork over that free Frappachino. Add that to the much worse things done by cops around the country and it is clear why some people don't extend trust to every law enforcement officer they meet. If the LEOs of the world want to correct that, they need to do what this Florida town did. Find the officers who are stepping over the line, and get them - forever - out of the policing business. And that means stamping out the attitude that leads to things like this, and that website. (If you are free to break the law in small ways, why aren't you free to break it in big ways?)

A Sad Commentary on Society

A tragic story which reminds us that domestic violence can even strike teenagers. | ‘I didn’t even have time to process’
A driving sense of loss
It happened on Jan. 28, when Kaitlyn M. Sudberry, 17, was walking home from school in Phoenix, Ariz., where she lived with her father. She was nearly to her house when she crossed paths with her ex-boyfriend, who was carrying a sawed-off shotgun.
People don't want to admit that dating and violence get this out of control in High School. So of course, they do.
Statistics listed on the site, gathered in 2006 by Teenage Research Unlimited, show that one in four teenagers who have been in a serious relationship said they’d been pressured to only spend time with their partner. Nearly one in four had given into sexual pressure and one in five reported being hit, slapped or pushed by their girlfriend or boyfriend.
For all the sex education today, apparently no one teaches what a healthy relationship looks like. Or is that what parents are supposed to do?

So why do they put up with this?
Teenagers may feel their ability to fit in depends on having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
You would think the way schools worship self-esteem, that young adults would have some. Enough to get out of bad relationships or enough to see beyond "fitting in." But then real self-esteem isn't as easy to hand out as some educators think it is.

Anyway, this article has some real lessons, that cost one mother a lot to learn. It is worth a look.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Good Story on the Recent 2A Rally in Chicago

In the The Carmi Times, a downstate paper. No surprise that Chicago media still hasn't covered this. Media Bias, with perhaps some pressure from City Hall thrown in for good measure. Take a look.

Bad Day for Home Invaders

MyFox Tampa Bay | Resident shoots, kills masked home invader This guy struggled with an armed intruder, and turned the tables on the miscreant.
Police say the burglar dropped his gun during the struggle, and Donaldson picked it up and shot and killed him.
Neighbors are neither shocked nor feeling bad.
"What goes around comes around," said neighbor Peggy Davis, "I have no sympathy for burglars."
And even in Pennsylvania, home invaders are having a bad time. Intruder shot by homeowner in critical condition | AP | 07/18/2008
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says 31-year-old Eric Tucker of Lakewood was shot by an elderly man who confronted him when he broke in through a kitchen window around 5 a.m. Friday.
I'm still waiting for someone on the Left to explain to me how an elderly person is supposed to defend themselves from a young criminal. And in this case there were 3 criminals - one was shot, two others were arrested. Without access to legal firearm, this law-abiding man would have been at the mercy of these thugs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is Self-defense Legal in New Jersey?

Authorities say homeowner shoots intruder -- If not, this guy will be hung out to dry.
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says the owner of the home shot the intruder at about 5 a.m. Friday.
Sounds like self-defense to me, but the authorities in NJ are a bit strange where guns are concerned.

What if the Conservatives Lose on Proposition 8?

Poll: California voters oppose gay marriage ban - San Jose Mercury News Proposition 8 would reinstate California's ban on gay marriage. But it is losing 51 to 42 percent. Virtually the same result as a May poll.

So, what happens to the conservative argument about activist courts, if the people actually approve gay marriage? Do you think the conservatives will concede gracefully, and drop the issue? No, neither do I. I expect that they will throw out all the arguments about federalism and states rights - so popular on some issues - and redouble efforts at the national level.

Could you stand by and do nothing?

Hell, Frozen B.C. police urge bystanders to help stop crime Police admit they can't be everywhere to stop a violent crime. Actually, it was the 2nd time in a week.
It involved a 74-year-old man who saw his ex-wife while strolling around the food court at popular Granville Island on False Creek in central Vancouver. It was a complete coincidence, the first time the unidentified man had seen the 72-year-old woman since they divorced 10 years ago.

He called her name.

"When she responds by turning around when her name is called, he runs up," Constable Tim Fanning told the daily police briefing. "He has a pocket knife in his hand. He grabs her head and he starts slashing at her. He slashes her face."
He was restrained by several people in the area until police came, but not before he did considerable damage.

The prior instance of a person detaining a criminal was termed "vigilantism." It wasn't then and it isn't in this case. But the Liberal press wants to scare you about 'getting involved.' Better to walk on by or stand and stare while the world goes down the crapper around you. Just call the police and wait docilely like a good little subject.

Of course the story comes from Canada. The police worry that the good citizens may encounter someone who is armed. The idea of arming the law-abiding never occurs to them.

He Shot Himself in the Foot Leg

Police: Robber Shoots Himself In the Leg - Jackson News Story - WAPT Jackson Stupid criminals.
Sheriff Billy McGee said the unidentified man, broke into a woman's home Thursday afternoon.

McGee said, the man was planning to rob the woman, but he was attacked by her dog.

When he tried to escape the attack, he shot himself in the leg
He did a good job of it too, because his leg will have to be amputated.

A Few of Those Special Rights Gays Want

Tulsa World: By law, not a hate crime Those tricky gays want all those special rights, like being able to live in your home free from intimidation, or being able to keep your job.

Rural America is such a welcoming place.
About seven days ago, the message "Gays Must Go" was spray-painted on their garage door, and a symbol resembling a swastika, which is used by some white supremacist groups, was spray-painted on the side of their home.

Holes were punched in a friend's pickup's tires and the truck was set on fire while parked in Stotler's driveway.

The message "I'll be back" was spray-painted on both sides of the vehicle.

And back the person came.

A few days later, holes were punched in the front door of their home ... and the message "Gay Go Away" was painted on it.
Now this article goes on about hate crimes. I don't care for hate crimes at all, but we have them. Just not for all persecuted minorities.

One reason we have hate crimes laws is because in the past, and the present, many cops were not, and are not, interested in helping minorities. In fact some cops have been and continue to be a part of the problem.
[One] organization frequently receives calls and e-mails from gay men and lesbians from all parts of Oklahoma who have been being harmed or harassed because of their sexual orientation, but in many cases, they decide not to contact the police, she said.

"There are people who are frightened — especially in rural Oklahoma — to report it," she said.
Oh, and the right to keep your job? It doesn't exist.
Physical harm is just one of their concerns. They also don't want to risk losing their jobs if their employers find out they are gay.
So yeah, if you include trying to keep a job, make a living, and owning a home free from harassment as special rights, then that is exactly what gays want.

Problems At Cook County Jail

U.S. blasts jail conditions -- More bad news about the Chicago-area's Justice System. [The link has been updated Aug 9, 2009]

Prisoners at risk from each other. Prisoners at risk from guards. Unsanitary conditions. People dead due to inadequate medical care.

On the treatment of inmates:
The report detailed numerous incidents in which guards used excessive force in response to verbal insults, failures by inmates to follow instructions or violence against jail staff. Inmates have been punched, stomped, choked and struck with objects, often by multiple officers, suffering black eyes, broken jaws, loosened teeth, fractured noses and ribs, and head trauma, the report said.

"We believe that, despite management's efforts, a culture still exists at [the jail] in which the excessive and inappropriate use of physical force is too often tolerated," the report said.

In July 2007, a mentally ill inmate who exposed himself to a female corrections officer was taken to a clothing room where a group of guards handcuffed and beat him, leaving him with severe head injuries, the report said.
Medical care in jail?
In early 2006, a female inmate died of an untreated infection that was a common complication of HIV, investigators found. She went untreated for weeks despite an abnormal X-ray that identified a problem, the report said.

In an August 2006 case, an inmate's leg was amputated because of a bone infection improperly treated at the jail. In late 2006, another inmate died of sepsis after a jail staffer failed to take him to an appointment for post-operative care for a gunshot wound, the report said.
Of course those in authority point to budget cuts for all their woes. And maybe that explains some of this, but not all of this.

The Cook County Sheriff and the Cook County Board President complain that steps taken recently were ignored in the report. Excuse me, but this is a report about what is wrong, not a report about what is right.

This sounds more like the conditions of a third-world country, than the US. Prisoners free to attack other prisoners. Beatings. Death from simple infections. (These people didn't die from complications, they died from a simple lack of treatment.)

The case of Donald Martin is instructive. When he pointed out that he was a pretrial-detainee, and not a convicted criminal, he was beaten by guards. He was awarded 750,000 dollars. No wonder they don't have enough money to provide medical care. (So if they invested in a little training, and got rid of the bad guards, one wonders how much more they might save for use in the medical facilities... where the budget was cut from 40 million in 2006 to 31 million in 2007.)

And in all of this, Cook County now has (suffers from?) the highest sales tax in the whole country - more than 10%. Yet they still don't have the funds needed to provide simple, humane care for the injured. You have to wonder where the money is going.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Man Kills Bear - Authorities Hope to Charge Him

7/17/2008 - TWRA Investigates Bear Killed by Homeowner - Outdoors - And this wasn't any random bear.
The man told officers that the bear was threatening his family and goats he had on his property. Tennessee law does allow people to kill wild animals that are threatening lives, or destroying property. However officers continue to investigate, including further interviews with the homeowner, to determine the exact circumstances, and whether or not charges are warranted.
Because that's what they do - they charge people. They don't search for Justice. They charge people. They are probably reviewed on whether or not they charge (and convict) enough people in a given time.

What you do if a bear was threatening your family? Me? I wouldn't shoot it with a .22, that's for certain.

Not that bears threatening people is unimaginable. It is easy to imagine.
Many bears have been relocated from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Big South Fork Wilderness Area which lies about 60 miles north of Bledsoe County. However young male bears often roam in search of new territory.
But allowing citizens to take action without relying on the state? Do we really want that kind of society.

Anti-gun Statistics Don't Always Stand Up to Scrutiny.

The death of any child is a tragedy, but if we want good public policy we need to look objectively at what is happening. Using Children for Political Ends by Howard Nemerov Lots of good stats. Things like calling all persons under the age of 20 "children." And missing the so-called Assault Weapons Ban.
Gun control organizations often insinuate that the assault weapons ban caused a decline in violent crime, but violent crime peaked in 1991 with an overall rate of 758.2 (per 100,000 population), while the murder rate peaked at 9.8. By 1994, when the 'assault weapons' ban went into effect, violent crime dropped 5.9% and murder decreased 8.2%.
And of course, the "ban" banned no weapons, and didn't even interrupt production, only changing a few features.

The Children's Defense Fund seems to have a strange way of prioritizing its activities. You see, CDF hates guns.
CDF's Programs page includes no child abuse/neglect initiative, even though over three times as many children were killed by abuse/neglect than by firearms.
So are they interested in children, or just focused on guns?
Between 1994 and 2005, the overall homicide rate for children decreased by 28.2%, but their firearms homicide rate dropped 54.5%. The overall child fatal injury rate decreased 26.6%, but the overall firearms fatal injury rate dropped 55.9%. The overall accidental injury rate for children dropped 28.1%, but the accidental firearms death rate decreased 61.4%. During this same time period, the firearms homicide rate for the entire U.S. population decreased 37.4% and the accidental fatal firearms injury rate dropped 48.1%, so children experienced a better-than-average decrease in firearms fatalities.
There are more statistics about all kinds of tragedy. The point is not to be ghoulish. The point is to understand exactly what is going on.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - 15 Years of a Bad Policy

Holmes: Lies, law and gay soldiers - The MetroWest Daily News The soldiers aren't in favor of it. The population isn't in favor of it. Even some of the generals aren't in favor of it. Why is it still in place?
It was an ill-conceived compromise forced on a rookie president by, among others, the canny chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell. Then Republicans in Congress, seizing on a culture wars issue, wrote it into law, freezing in place what should have been a transitional policy.

But the troops aren't frozen in place. Their attitudes toward homosexuality have changed, like those of their citizen peers. A Gallup poll found that 91 percent of young American adults say gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military.
One estimate is that there are 65,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual troops serving today.
To meet the need for new recruits, the Pentagon is lowering its standards. The number of convicted felons let into the military more than doubled between 2004 and 2006, the study says. "Moral waivers" were granted to allow nearly 44,000 people convicted of serious misdemeanors, such as assault, to enlist during that same period, along with more than 58,000 enlistees known to have abused illegal drugs.
Funny how the War on (some) Drugs takes a back seat when it suits the government to look the other way.

And this isn't a few crackpots talking.
The four retired officers who authored the Palm Center study join more than 52 retired generals who signed a statement last year calling for DADT to be repealed. Former top commanders, including Gen. Wesley Clark and Gen. John Shalikashvili, have said the military is now ready to let all soldiers serve without having to lie about who they are.
But it will go on, because the Religious Right scares the crap out of the Republicans and the Left doesn't care about the military. (Rhetoric notwithstanding.)

And of course it isn't applied to everyone... Statistics collected by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network suggest that the military may be targeting lesbians more than gay men under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell. While women make up about 14 percent of the army, 49% of the people discharged under DADT by the army were women.

Then there are the problems with recruiting.
A study conducted last year for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network concluded that the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits if gays and lesbians in the military were able to be open about their sexual orientation.
I guess the Pentagon would rather have all those drug addicts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cops Behaving Badly - West Coast Division

LAPD investigates man's claim of police beating - San Jose Mercury News Since I recently posted on the Boston and Chicago Police Departments, it seemed only fair to include something on the LAPD and its Rampart division.

You aren't familiar with Rampart? It is a wonderful place. This is a beating allegation, complete with hospital records. (The police won't release the photos they took at the time of the incident, even though the person in question has requested they do so.)
"I was walking home and I got pulled over. They asked me to assume the position," Magallon told reporters outside the police's downtown headquarters, an apparent bruise still visible beneath his left eye. "They kicked my legs so I could open them. After that ... they started hitting me in the face."

Magallon suffered a broken nose, according to hospital records released by Terrell [the attorney for Magallon]. Terrell said his client had no prior arrests and had never been in a gang.
Now you may wonder if this is legit or not. Consider the following.
The beating allegation is the latest in a string of problems for the Rampart division in recent years. Most notably the division was involved in a scandal in which officers were alleged to have beaten, robbed, framed and shot innocent people. Dozens of officers were investigated, leading to some resignations and internal discipline.
Three convictions were thrown out on appeal - it doesn't say if they will be retried or not.

Is the Army Covering Up Rape and Murder?

The tragic story of LaVena Johnson - Here is a story you aren't likely to have seen much of. It appears that no one cares. It concerns Pfc. LaVena Johnson.
In July 2005, 19-year-old Johnson became the first female soldier from Missouri to die in Iraq. She was found with a broken nose, black eye and loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, presumably to eliminate DNA evidence of rape, a trail of blood leading away from her tent and a bullet hole in her head. Unbelievably, that's not the most horrifying part of the story. Here's what is: Army investigators ruled her death a suicide.
A woman beaten, with acid burns on her genitals, a gunshot wound that did not come from her weapon - or from her hand most likely. Still the US military wants this problem to go away. Of course they aren't doing anything to make the problem - of rape and murder go away. And so the problem is in the news again, with another death at the hands of another military spouse.

Now I haven't investigated whether the problem is more or less severe in the military than outside the military, but at least outside the military there is some hope the authorities will investigate. (Not a guarantee, but this level of cover-up would likely not happen. Too much bad PR for the DA and the cops would - or could - ensue)

Why is it that cover-up seems to be happening in the army? And why is it that no one cares? [via Feministing]

The Cult of Personality

The Candidate As Cult Leader I don't usually agree with Medved, but I think he has one thing right.

Obama - whether you like him or hate him - has a large number of "followers." They don't view him as another Republican or Democrat, but more like the Second Coming.

While a liberal Democratic President wouldn't thrill me. A cult-leader scares the crap out of me. Cult leaders can do anything and their followers love it. They can demand anything, and a big section of their followers will go right along with the program. But this is really where we are a nation.

After years of an education system that doesn't educate, we have a population that doesn't care about policy. (You like Obama's policy? What is it? Has it changed in the last 6 months?) Instead we are left with a culture of personality. Consider for a minute, do you think someone like Abraham Lincoln could be elected to national office today? I don't. People would look at him, and not listen to what he had to say. It is how we are apparently selecting leaders today.

Now the Republicans aren't a lot better. The veneration of Reagan always struck me as odd. But then he was just as hated by the Left as he was loved by the Right.

You see I have listened to Barack "Don't Say My Middle Name" Obama has said over his career. What he had to say about guns, gun owners and gun rights made me decide I don't like his positions. He has changed those - slightly - in the last year or so, but I don't trust what a politician says in a campaign, unless it matches what he said for the past 10 or 15 years of his public career. Obama's position is clear; he hates guns, and gun owners. In short, is a perfect product of the Chicago Democratic scene.

Something to Cheer Me Up

I love this song.

Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole and his rendition of Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

UK to Give Self-defense a Go

Have-a-go heroes get legal right to defend themselves - Telegraph After years of telling people to surrender to criminals, and years of rising crime - and unhappy citizens - the UK is once again allowing self-defense.
Home owners and “have-a go-heroes” have for the first time been given the legal right to defend themselves against burglars and muggers free from fear of prosecution.
They will be able to use force against criminals who break into their homes or attack them in the street without worrying that "heat of the moment” misjudgements could see them brought before the courts.
As I have asked before, if someone in is my home at 3 AM, how do I judge their intent, other than to say what they intend, I probably don't like? What is reasonable force if I don't know how many there are or if they are armed?

This isn't a return of the common law Castle Doctrine, but it is a step in the right direction.

Given that it can take up to 3 days for police to respond to the scene of a crime, they really had to do something. 3 days? Why bother to call them at all.

Ocean Trimaran Sailing

Now this cheers me up.

And so does this.

“Why Aren't You Smiling?”

I have been running the usual errands the past few days. Banking. Post Office. Grocery shopping. Everywhere I go, the folk's behind the counter, working in the deli, whatever, want to know why I'm not smiling.

The short answer is that life sucks right now. Big time.

Don't talk to me as if your smile, and the fact that you are having a good day or a good week could in anyway rub off on me. Trust me. You are not going to cheer me up in the 2 minutes that we interact. There is too much stuff going on in my life right now. Just cash my check, or give me my half-pound of sliced ham and STFU. (God, I hate small town America.)

I don't want to hear about your new drink special, I just want my f#*king large coffee with no sugar and no cream. If I wanted to talk to you, I would be inside, not in the damn drive-thru.

And no, it is NOT humid. I'm from Florida, we love this kind of weather. Quit complaining. You want to know what humid is, go to Miami or Tampa. Second choice would be Knoxville, TN or anywhere in the Smoky Mountains. (They are as humid as Miami, but less interesting.) There are no hurricanes, no tornadoes, and this area never had any flooding to speak of. Stop talking about the weather, and give my receipt. </rant>

Guns as Art: Custom Grips

Not my style, but cool nonetheless.

Hat tip to The Duck.

Self-defense is legal in Texas

No charges for Houstonian who fatally shot would-be robber | I'm surprised it took this long for a ruling to be made. Texas is solidly behind self-defense.
On May 25, a suspect confronted Juan Ibarra in the parking lot of an apartment complex in southeast Houston, said police.

Ibarra said the suspect put a gun to his back and demanded money.

That’s when, police records show, Ibarra, who had his own gun, fatally shot the suspect.
I guess presenting the case to a grand jury may have been standard procedure.

Self-defense is a human right, and in Texas, it is also your legal right.

South Carolina and Self-defense

Man Remodeling Home Kills Intruder, Deputies Say - News Story - WHNS Greenville The intruder probably thought he was breaking into an empty house. The owner lives across the street and is remodeling the house, but he decided to sleep in the project house that night.
Something woke the homeowner up and he found someone inside the home, deputies said. They said the man fired twice at the intruder, killing him.

Deputies said the case appears to be self defense and that no charges will be filed.
Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Don't Insult Police

FBI Launches Probe into Southwick Man's Death Boston cops investigating Boston cops may not be the best path to justice, so the FBI will conduct their own investigation.

This guy stopped breathing and died. Apparently due to brain damage. His crime? He was drinking a beer in public after the Celtics won the NBA championship. He wasn't in the middle of riot - that was going on elsewhere (or the revelry if not a riot).

Boston PD is keeping quiet "until its internal investigation is complete."

Of course the family has a few questions. Kin cite officers' delay in their report on death - The Boston Globe. Those questions are unlikely to get answered.
A lawyer representing the family of David Woodman questioned yesterday why all nine Boston police officers who were present when the 22-year-old was arrested and stopped breathing while in custody during the Celtics title celebration immediately went to the hospital for stress, leaving a superior who arrived at the scene later to write the incident report.

"Was that a way for them to have some time before they spoke to their superiors about what happened?" asked Howard Friedman, a Boston lawyer who represents the parents of Woodman
No, that doesn't sound like a cover-up to me; it just sounds like Boston's finest taking advantage of their excellent health-coverage.

I mean be fair, it would have taken a long time to write that incident report. Someone who wasn't even there could do a fine job, I'm sure. It's not like a few facts were going to change what was in that report anyway. Nothing to see here. Move along.

His real crime was not public drinking, it was making a smart-ass-comment to police.
Woodman, a Brookline resident, had just finished watching the Celtics game at a bar in Kenmore Square and was walking home with four friends when they passed a group of uniformed police officers at the Fenway and Brookline Avenue. One of his friends, who spoke to the Globe on the condition he not be named, said that as Woodman passed the officers, he said, "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner."

Woodman, who was carrying a cup of beer, was slammed to the ground by police and arrested, according to his friend. The friend said officers ordered Woodman's friends to leave or face arrest. Woodman was charged with public drinking and resisting arrest.
That's a capital offense in most jurisdictions.

So is this Green, or Not?

Gordon Brown wants to build 'at least' 8 nuclear power stations | Mail Online Britain doesn't really have much choice.

They currently get about 19 percent of their electric power from nuclear. Those plant are reaching the end of their lives and will be retired soon. Their coal generation will be shut down by environmental laws. So they have a choice to make.
  • Build Nukes, and be like France
  • Pay through the nose for oil and natural gas
  • Freeze in the dark
Now the UK is building wind power, but it isn't enough.

Does anyone currently using a computer want give up electricity? Pay electric bills that look like filling up your car?

Of course there are problems. What part of life is problem free exactly? Currently the UK is getting ready to deal with these reactors at the end of their life. £73 billion over 100 years.

I love the take of the environmentalists.
Environmental groups say consumers will have to pay much of it through their energy bills.
Who exactly should pay for the cost of producing electricity, if not the people who use electricity?

Wind and solar and batteries are such that in most places, if you want out of the system, you can install your own power generation. Right now it is still cheaper - mostly much cheaper - to rely on the power grid than it is to generate your own power. This is especially true if you want little things like refrigeration or air conditioning. But if you object to nuclear, you can opt out of the cost.

Some people can't do this, of course. Renters can't, and there are zoning boards to be dealt with, but the biggest impediment in the US is likely homeowner associations and covenants on the land. Put up a wind turbine - even a small one - where your neighbors can see it? Install solar hot water or photovoltaics on your roof? Most covenants will stop you from doing anything out of the ordinary. And then there are the insurance companies...

At Least Australia Values Free Speech

Australia pope protest laws "unconstitutional": court - Yahoo! News Free speech does include the right to be annoying. At least in Australia.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Anti-protest laws imposed for Pope Benedict's visit to Sydney this week, which could see protesters arrested for annoying Catholic pilgrims, were unconstitutional, a court ruled on Tuesday.
Speech isn't free if I can only say government-approved things. Funny how a lot of people don't understand that.

While I applaud free speech, it seems some people don't understand the difference between speech and vandalism. (And it isn't the protesters doing the vandalizing.)
Reflecting the religious fervor in Sydney, "Ratzinger Rules" was spray painted on a war memorial overnight.
So you celebrate the visit of the Pope by defacing a war memorial. That's interesting. Oh, and in case you're sleeping, Pope Benedict was born Josef Ratzinger.

This respite notwithstanding, I expect to see the full force of the police state show up in Australia to "keep the peace" as it were.

O'Reilly and his ilk will no doubt go on about "respect for religion" or something. (Do other religions get respect?) While I do have respect for religion, I also have respect for free speech. Canada and Europe really need a dose of free speech, and we could use some in America. (Mohamed cartoons anyone?)

Beat a man chained to wheelchair, get suspended

JusticeWeis can't fire cop who beat man in wheelchair :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES A Chicago cop beats a man handcuffed and shackled to a wheelchair. Instead of facing battery charges, he will be suspended. Not fired. Definitely not arrested. Suspended. Though he is facing federal charges. Maybe some justice will be done.

The video is here, and reminds me of a Tampa-Florida deputy dumping a man out of a wheelchair. Similar lack of punishment in that case.

People wonder why I am cynical about police. One test for whether or not you live in a police state is whether or not there are separate rules for police. If you or I did this we would be under arrest, and would not be facing a few weeks without pay. We would be in jail - or out on bond - awaiting trial. Cops get a special deal. At least in Chicago and Tampa they do.

This Will Accomplish Nothing

Or at least nothing that the powers-that-be in Europe want. Sudan Vows to Fight Charges Of Genocide Against Its Leader - So they charge the Sudanese President. Nothing will come of it. It will not save anyone from the militias, or being exploited by peacekeepers. (They aren't exactly impartial.)

Of course it isn't fair to say that there will no impact. There will. Just not the impact that was hoped for.
On the other hand, Sudanese officials -- who often react brutally when challenged -- this past weekend warned that the charges would lead to more "bloodletting" in Darfur. The government has moved several fighter jets into the region.
The posturing of politicians in Europe will get innocents killed in Africa. Nothing new about that I guess.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Talk About Ridiculous Illinois Gun Laws

So I had an afternoon off from the care-giver gig yesterday and wanted to go to the range, and practice and blow off some steam. I find shooting to be fairly relaxing because you have to concentrate on what you are doing and nothing else.

But the Peoples Republic of Illinois is protecting its citizens against me - or something.

You see it isn't possible for me to buy ammunition in the state of Illinois - or at least not hand gun ammo. (I could buy long-gun ammo if I had a non-resident hunting license.) What a load of dung.

So there you are. The state of Illinois is doing all it can to ensure that Chicago has the highest murder rate in the nation - or something. How does this make any sense to anyone? Only a bureaucrat could believe that this will have any impact on anything.

Why does anyone live in this state?

BMW gets into electric cars - BMW launches electric car field trial They can be trusted to engineer something that works, even it if is likely to be a bit expensive.
MUNICH, Germany — With gasoline prices skyrocketing, the automotive industry gets going with electrically-driven vehicles. Now car maker BMW launches a field trial with hundreds of 'E-Minis'.
California has reintroduced its zero emissions vehicle requirement. This should jump-start the electric vehicle market. Not that the cost of a gallon of gas isn't pushing even harder.

On the economics of electric vehicles. Last year (? or the year before) I looked into what it would take to convert a vehicle to electric. Find a truck with a manual transmission and a blown engine, and it would cost about 3 grand to buy the parts and batteries and have the engine mount and clutch plate fabrication done. For long distance trips - which were few - I would rent a vehicle. (My 1993 SUV isn't in the best shape, I had been renting for long drives anyway, before this trip to the Midwest interrupted car shopping.) I may still have this done. Charging was the main issue for me because I don't have a garage, so in the end I decided not to go this route. But even with the cost of lead-acid batteries right now, this is definitely an attractive option for driving around town/short commuting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

But why should anyone need guns in parks?

Mountain Lion Sightings In East Bay Parks - News Story - KTVU San Francisco I love the advice.
Fish and Game officials say if you run into a mountain lion, do not approach it or run away. They advise facing the cat, making noise and trying to look bigger. And if attacked, they say, fight back.
Just don't fight back with anything - like a .45 or a 44 magnum - that might really be effective.

Your average house cat, can inflict some pretty substantial damage. I hate to think what a cat the size of a large dog could manage.

If Only They Had Knife Control

Kitchen knives used in domestic threats, violence Oh, sorry, they do have knife control. Just not enough. Does anyone need more than one kitchen knife? Maybe we should limit purchases to one knife per month.

On another note, it seems that restraining orders are also worthless in New Zealand. The existence of the court order didn't stop this attack.
[The bad guy] broke into the house anyway and found the woman hiding inside. He punched her until she fell, and then kicked her, and told her he was going to kill her.

He threatened her with two knives from the kitchen and stabbed one of them into the floor beside her.
She got away, but it wasn't because the police arrived. Relying on the system doesn't seem to work in NZ any more than it works here.

Learn What You Are Doing - What You Don't Know, Can Hurt You

Update: This post is about boating, but it applies in more aspects of life in general. Don't assume that everything works the same way the things you know work. If you enter a new arena - boating, flying, scuba, etc. - you will find that the rules of safety that work fine on solid ground, are probably not going to serve you too well. They may cost you money, and they may cost your life.

Yacht on Belmont Harbor erupts into flames, which spread to 3 other boats -- Candles have no place on a boat. Marine kerosene lamps are specially designed so they won't spill. And they are not cheap.

One report I heard said the candles were citronella (the anti-mosquito candle). Unbelievable.

Fire is the most deadly thing you can have on a boat. Fiberglass burns pretty well, and once it heats up the diesel, you have a fire that is almost impossible to put out. If the engine compartment isn't the only thing on fire, even an automatic fire supression system won't save the boat. And if there is propane on the boat, you can expect a pretty spectacular explosion - on the order of 22 sticks of dynamite, depending on the amount of propane.

Since this sounds like negligence, my guess is that the owners will have trouble collecting on their insurance. The boat where the fire started was estimated to cost 250,000 to 350,000 bucks. Other boats were also damaged. (I would expect to see law suits over responsibility.)
"We had a big cruise planned for August, but obviously that's not going to happen," Wolniak said Saturday afternoon as he swept up black char from where the flames singed and melted his sail and mast. He said the damage may total as much as $50,000.
It is a miracle no one died. All because people refuse to believe that boats are different from anything you encounter on land. Unfortunately, I see this attitude all too often. Rules of Navigation? Watchkeeping? Drinking and boating? Who worries about any of that? Get in the boat, get drunk and go (not necessarily in that order) is the way too many boaters approach the water.

Citronella candles may be nice on your patio or deck on your house on land. They don't belong on the deck of your boat.

The Chicago Tribune Debunking an Anti-gun Statistic?

Hell, Frozen OverIs buying a gun a suicidal act? -- They basically say "no, it isn't."
As it turns out, the claims about guns and suicide don't stand up well to scrutiny. A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences was doubtful, noting that the alleged association is small and may be illusory.
They reference Gary Kleck, and others to debunk this statistic.

The Chicago Tribune? That's amazing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Any Resistance is Likely to End Crime

Gay NC Robbery Victim Fends Off Attackers with Pocket Knife :: EDGE Boston He did lose his wallet, but when he stabbed one of his attackers with a knife, they ran like rabbits.

If this had happened in Boston, the victim of the crime would likely have been arrested for breaking some knife-control law of the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts. North Carolina has different views of self-defense.

Police don't want to call it a hate crime - despite the slurs shouted - because they robbed the victim.

The Left wants to organize community watch groups, and ride sharing to make gays safer. (I don't think they have mentioned signing Kumbaya - not yet anyway.) I think they should start a chapter of Pink Pistols, and get people armed for their self-defense, but that's just me.

Think Your Kids Are Safe in School Do You?

Creative Loafing Charlotte | News | Cover | They shoot gays, don't they? You can reassure yourselves that your kids aren't gay. (Are you sure? Parents are never the first to know.) But it is not too long a stretch to say that others could have been injured when Lawrence King was shot and killed.

Larry King was bullied for years. Teachers knew and did nothing.
Another classmate told the Los Angeles Times, "You'd hear, 'Faggot! Hey faggot!' That was happening in every class."
Do you think the teachers didn't know?

Is that what is being taught in public schools? That hate is OK? That bullying is OK? Would they have stopped someone from bullying a kid in a wheelchair? Or the lone Jew in class of Christians? Some hate is better than others? Minorities are only safe if they are minorities you like. If you don't like them, well then, "Boys will be boys." Interesting lesson.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Self-defense Works

Why Do We 'Keep and Bear Arms'? Part 2 - Yahoo! News Why is it that you have to fight back? Because fighting back keeps you safe.
"When a robbery victim does not defend himself," former assistant district attorney and firearms expert David Kopel writes, "the robber succeeds 88 percent of the time, and the victim is injured 25 percent of the time. When a victim resists with a gun, the robbery success rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery — from drawing a knife to shouting for help to fleeing — produces such low rates of victim injury and robbery success."
The rest of this is worth a look, from some great statistics to a review of the DC gun ban and its complete lack of effectiveness.

.357 evens the odds

Woman gets tough with armed home invaders | | Star-Banner | Ocala, FL How is a petite woman supposed to defend herself against 2 armed home invaders?
OCALA - A petite woman, firing a .357-caliber Magnum handgun until it was empty, chased two intruders from her home ... on Wednesday morning.
Oh, and her 11-year-old daughter was home at the time.

The goblins attacked her boyfriend; she ran for a handgun.

Without the means of armed self-defense, she could have been raped, murdered, kidnapped, ... along with her daughter. But thanks to her access to a legal firearm, one miscreant is in jail, and the other being sought by police.

So maybe someone on the left could explain to me how a 5 foot, 3 inch woman is supposed to defend herself from multiple attackers without access to firearm?

People Just Refuse to Believe You Can't Sue Police

But they keep trying. Family of murder victim sues Waukegan police :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State The question of whether of not you can sue the police - even if you have a restraining order - has been answered. The answer is "NO!" Castle Rock v Gonzalez was pretty clear.

But another family of another victim is trying to sue another police department. The police can't protect you, and if they fail to protect you, then you cannot sue them. Some say it isn't their duty to protect you, though we can argue that.

If you have a restraining order against someone, then you probably need a safety plan. That plan has to include more than calling 911, expecting the system to protect you, or relying on others. The only person who is going to be there every time you are threatened is you. You need to protect yourself.

Having a plan to protect yourself will not guarantee your safety. But then relying on police and restraining orders will also provide no guarantee. There are no guarantees in this life. Taking some responsibility for your own safety - like wearing seatbelts in a car, locking your doors, or owning a defensive firearm - can increase the odds of your surviving a violent encounter.

Safest Year for Cops in 43 Years

Police deaths plummet in first half of '08 - You have to go back to 1960 to find a year in which fewer officers were shot, and back to 1965 to find a safer year overall. (Car accidents, and other causes of death are a significant portion of the overall death-rate.)
Midyear shooting deaths fell from 38 in 2007 to 21 this year, the lowest number since 1960, when 18 officers were killed by gunfire.
That's a 45% decrease. And before the budding statisticians out there want to get all in my face over "small numbers" I will concede that trends in numbers this small are hard to quantify. But if the number went in the other direction (like last year when deaths increased from 2006) the Left would be going nuts about the need for more gun control. [via Uncle]

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Political Figure Apologizes for Getting Caught

Jackson's explanation, like his comment, is absurd :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Mary Mitchell Why is it that they always apologize saying they are sorry if they hurt anyone's feelings?

I am sure Jackson is sorry his comments came to light. (Anyone sitting in front of a microphone in this day and age - in a TV studio - should never assume that they are off the record.) But did he mean what he said?

Maybe now Jackson can understand how all of the "bitter folks" feel about Obama talking us down about clinging to our guns and our religion.

If Obama is "talking down" to any group - blacks, typical white people, bitter gun owners - that demonstrates that elitism we were talking about a few months back. He knows better than everyone, and he is going to tell you how it should be. Not exactly the attitude I want in public servants.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cops Have the Best Drugs

East Chicago police officer faces drug charge -- Well, not this cop.
Federal agents say an East Chicago police officer was arrested attempting to buy $60,000 worth of cocaine from a police informant.
60 thousand bucks doesn't sound like he was buying drugs for his own use, but for an organization.

Best of Luck

Chicago Rally to Launch Renewed Effort to Pass Concealed Carry Legislation in Illinois Suits to overturn Chicago's handgun ban are in the works, and now a renewed effort to get Illinois out of the dark ages with respect to concealed carry.
RALLY INFO: The rally will take place on Friday, July 11th at 11:00 AM, sharp, in front of the Thompson State Building, Clark and Randolph Streets,Chicago. In addition to Dr. Hupp, representatives from organizations including Illinois Concealed Carry, The Second Amendment Sisters, Pink Pistols, and the ISRA are scheduled to speak.
In case you aren't paying attention, Illinois is one of only 2 states (the other being Wisconsin) that outlaws concealed carry.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How to Fight City Violence?

The roots of Chicago's violence run deeper than handguns and unemployment - From someone who made the transition from violent criminal to law-abiding citizen...
\You know, if you really want to stop all this killing and shooting, you wouldn't focus on the guns. That's just a distraction. When I was a kid, we didn't have the kinds of guns kids have now. But we used chains, bricks, pipes, things like that, which are all a more brutal way to kill a person. Guns are never the real problem.
Worth a look.

This Is Why the Castle Doctrine and "Stand Your Ground" are Needed

Upstate Man Freed After Conviction Overturned | WSPA A case of self-defense, prosecuted and a man convicted of 2nd degree murder for protecting his own life.
Cash was only 23 years old when his life changed forever. He was in Florida when he says he picked up a hitchhiker. “The car door wouldn’t open so I was trying to get out the window. He grabbed my leg and started dragging me down the road. That’s when I shot back in the car,” he remembered.
For that, for refusing to die by being dragged down the street, he was convicted.

The prosecutor in the original case should be tarred and feathered. What should he have done? Called 911 on his cellphone and wait for police to scrape his corpse off the road?

People on the Left love to say that no one was ever prosecuted for self-defense. But the truth is a little different. This guy defended himself, and was sent to prison for refusing to die. He spent 10 years in prison.

Self-defense in Texas

Via Xavier Thoughts we get the following story of self-defense. Self Defense in Austin

So how is a 5ft. 4in. 110 pound woman supposed to defend herself from an attacker without a handgun? Maybe someone on the Left could explain that to me.

The news story can be found here.

Self-defense is a human right.

It took two hours

No Restraint - The Daily Breeze She did what the Left says to do. She got a restraining order. 2 hours after he was served with the order, she was dead.
Just after 8 a.m. May 3, a Federal Way police officer served Chan Ok "Paul" Kim with the order.

Roznowski, 66, was in contact with her family and friends that morning, and told them she gave Kim, 68, until 11 a.m. to get out.

Sometime in the next two hours, she was dead.
Restraining orders can be wonderful things, but they aren't a suit of armor. If you need a restraining order than you likely need a plan to ensure your safety.

This a tragedy, and I don't want to belittle it or the people who are hurting because of it. Her family wonders why police didn't do more, why they don't do more as a matter of course. They served the restraining order and they left. That is all they ever do. The police are not there to ensure your safety as an individual. There have been numerous court cases demonstrating that they have no obligation to do so.

But generations of people have now been taught that they should take no precautions where their personal safety is concerned. "Call police. Get a restraining order. Let the system protect you." Of course the system can't protect you. It has no legal obligation to protect you. You are on your own.

Monday, July 07, 2008

After "Going Crazy" with Pool Cue, Guy Gets Killed

Mesa Neighbor shoots, kills man wielding pool cue - Phoenix Arizona His girlfriend called police at 11 PM saying he was "going crazy." Police heard several shots as they approached the area.

Seems this guy had gone outside, and apparently threatened a neighbor.
According to the initial investigation, the [dead guy] was at his girlfriend's house when he grabbed a billiards stick and started hitting things in the residence.

He went outside and continued to cause a disturbance, according to Mesa police.

The neighbor went outside and was confronted by the man with the stick.

That's when police believe the victim started running toward the homeowner.

The homeowner was on his own property and armed with a gun. The homeowner shot the man as he came toward him, according to Mesa police.
They are leaving open the option of charging the homeowner, but if this description is accurate, it sounds like self-defense to me. Being attacked with (or without) a pool cue sounds like a threat of grave bodily injury.

Self-defense is a human right.

Canada Helps Iraq Dismantle Saddam's Nuclear Program

U.S. Helps Remove Uranium From Iraq - This has got to drive the NYTimes crazy! Still, they did admit that Saddam Husein had a lot of yellowcake uranium.
American military personnel helped move about 600 tons of uranium in the form called yellowcake. It had been stored at Tuwaitha, an installation 12 miles south of Baghdad, which had been the site of Iraq’s nuclear program.
That's a lot of uranium.

It has been shipped to Canada where it will be turned into fuel-grade uranium (by Cameco Corp.) and used in nuclear reactors.

And this wasn't all of the uranium.
Just a few days before the Americans formally transferred sovereignty back to Iraq in June 2004, they removed 1.8 tons of low-enriched uranium, as well as other radioactive sources, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
So I'm confused... Does this mean that Iraq did or did not have WMDs? Seems Husein certainly had a nuclear program.

I wonder what other weapons/programs were in place that are being quietly disposed of, out of the glare of media coverage.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

An Interesting View of Being Single

Single Shot: O say, can you see how great living alone can be?

There is the good.
But that's the beauty of living alone. You don't have to worry about scaring a spouse with your haphazard fashion sense. You don't have to apologize for snoring like a leaf blower. If you use the last drop of half-and-half or leave your dishes in the sink or spend your Saturday reading Mary Roach instead of taking out the recycling, it's perfectly fine.
And the bad.
When you live alone, there's no one there to tell you that you're nuts.
And you can go a little nuts living alone.

The ugly? Well, I'll leave that to your imagination.

I May Have to Make a Trip to McDonald's

gay flagGay-Marriage Opponents To Boycott McDonald's - AFA has their knickers in a knot. McDonald's has pissed them off.
The American Family Association (AFA) launched the boycott yesterday because McDonald's joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce several months ago and placed an executive on the group's board of directors, in addition to donating to the chamber.
Yeah, it is just unthinkable to see why a major corporation would like to market to a population that has more disposable income. Or that they might view "equality for all" as a better ideal than "equality for some."

But the AFA, being the AFA is pitching a fit. McDonald's has a pretty good smack-down.
"Hatred has no place in our culture," McDonald's USA spokesman Bill Whitman said. "That includes McDonald's, and we stand by and support our people to live and work in a society free of discrimination and harassment."
I guess AFA is in favor of discrimination and harassment.

Self-defense works

STLtoday - Baden homeowner kills man he says attacked him What would you do if someone attacked you with a pipe?
[The dead guy] struck the homeowner in the head with a metal pipe, followed him into the house and hit him again, police said. The homeowner then fired several shots.

[The bad guy] ran out of the house and collapsed in the street ... . Police said they found a metal bar lying next to his body when they arrived about 4:50 a.m.
The homeowner was taken to the hospital, for his head wound. He has not been charged, since self-defense is a human (and a legal) right.

Friday, July 04, 2008

More Bad News for Biofuels

Biofuels blamed for food price crisis - Yahoo! News
Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75 percent -- far more than previously estimated -- according to a confidential World Bank report published in a British newspaper on Friday.

The assessment is based on a detailed analysis by Don Mitchell, an internationally respected economist at the Washington-based global financial body, the Guardian said.
Now, the Guardian isn't the most reliable news source ever, but even so.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick has said biofuels are a "significant contributor" to the increase in food prices.
Biodiesel makes some sense, especially if you can use waste vegetable oil. Ethanol can even make sense if you run equipment on pure ethanol. Adding alcohol to gasoline makes little sense. (Unless you are a Congressman from a grain-growing state of course.)

Life is complicated and simple answers are usually wrong.

Have a Good Independence Day

Simple day of burgers and bratwurst. Chips, Dips and baked beans. Oh, and a few beers I'm sure.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Systems Design only a Bureaucrat Could Love

Emergency response delay being investigated | The Tuscaloosa News | Tuscaloosa, AL Here is how it is supposed to work.

You call 911. Tuscaloosa Police Department answers the call. They call a private ambulance company. The private ambulance company calls the Sheriff's office. The Sheriff's office calls volunteer firemen/EMTs to respond.

Is anyone surprised it didn't work as designed? The Sheriff's Office didn't get called, which means the fireman didn't get called. The person died - a teenager.

Who is at fault? The idiot who designed this system, and all the idiots who managed it since then who didn't seem to think that something was wrong with it.

Now it isn't quite right to say this person died as a result of this screw up, but anyone who thinks this design makes sense must work for the government.

The moral of the story? Learn first aid and CPR, because if you ever have an emergency, there is a good chance you will be on your own.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

JPD: Homeowner shot burglary suspect | | The Clarion-Ledger Burglar meets armed homeowner with the expected result.
A Jackson homeowner shot a man trying to break into his home just before noon today, Jackson police say
He was shot twice: once in the arm, once in the abdomen. He collapsed after running 2 blocks.

Once he gets out of the hospital he will probably be charged.

Self-defense is a human right.

I thought it was all due to those evil investors speculators Oil Rises Above $145 Amid Signs Fuel Supplies May Be Strained A speculator is anyone that folks in Congress don't like.

The people currently hedging their bets on oil? Airlines, trucking, etc.

And while it is nice to blame the eeevil speculators (they are related to the eeevil bankers), but the truth may be a bit more fundamental.
July 3 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose above $145 a barrel to a record amid signs global demand for fuels, particularly from China, may strain supplies.

PetroChina Co. may import record volumes of petroleum products this year to meet demand needed for reconstruction after an earthquake, China National Petroleum Corp. said June 28, and to prepare for the Olympics.
People who don't understand what a futures contract is claim people are "speculating" in futures contracts. There is only one rub. When that contract expires you must deliver or accept a certain amount of product. It isn't an option - you have no option.

So if those eeevil speculators were behind this, there would be oil sloshing around in the basements of investment firms.

People don't want to believe that China and India and increased demand are behind the price of oil, because then Congress can't help them. Not without increasing supply, and we can't do that. The environmentalists won't let us.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Media Bias? What Media Bias Dares Oppose the Obamas?::By Brent Bozell III Saturday Night Live needs to dust off that Obama skit and play it every week. Not that the media would mind.

Here is a look at some of the hard-hitting, investigative reports done by the media.
If the network news were devoted to the issues, why would we have an entire story on Barack and Michelle giving each other the fist-bump at victory rallies? Network viewers were treated to "news" like Michelle Obama and her fist-bump appearing on ABC's "The View." If that wasn't enough, then came NBC's entire story on the "frock frenzy" spawned by the dress Michelle Obama wore on "The View." Matt Lauer announced at the show's beginning on June 20 they would get to the bottom of the story of "why women everywhere are dying to get this $148 dress."
Issues? What issues?
Here's another issue-free news story on the "Today" show: On June 26, Matt Lauer giddily announced that Rolling Stone magazine put Barack Obama on the cover for the second time this year.
We are all freakin' doomed if this is what passes for news in the 21st Century. I feel like I am living in the movie Network. (I'm mad as hell, but I don't know what to do about it.)

I know why they aren't talking about issues, because if the American people ever found out where Barack "Don't Say My Middle Name" Obama stands on the various issues like gun control, they wouldn't follow him for a minute. Much better to talk about nebulous change and dresses and Rolling Stone Magazine.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Restraining Order Fails to Restrain

Man fatally shoots his wife, police say : Corpus Christi Local | Caller-Times | Another example of the "How dare you live without me" attitude.

A woman filed for divorce, got a restraining order, and then got shot in the head.

Her ex-husband then shot himself, but wasn't so efficient. He is still alive.

If you think you need a restraining order, then you need a plan for your personal safety. A plan does not guarantee your personal safety, but without a plan, you will be helpless in an emergency.

A gun may not have saved this woman - there are no guarantees in this life. But there was nothing aside from personal self-defense of some type that was going to save her. Self-defense is a human right, and in Texas it is your legal right.