Sunday, February 28, 2010

Child Labor Built the iPhone

Apple admits child labour used at its assembly plants - Telegraph

They say they have fixed the underage worker problem, but they have other problems.
Apple has been repeatedly criticised for using factories that abuse workers and where conditions are poor. Last week, it emerged that 62 workers at a factory that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia had been poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause muscular degeneration and blur eyesight.
So, isn't Apple supposed to be the electronics firm that is loved by the Left? Maybe they just aren't paying attention.

Islamic radicals want to change Britain

It isn't just Britain they want to change. Islamic radicals 'infiltrate' the Labour Party - Telegraph

It seems the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) has become a big force in the UK's Labour Party by doing all kinds of relatively innocuous things: supporting candidates they like, recruiting members, etc.

It is their long-term goals that are raising some questions.
IFE leaders were recorded expressing opposition to democracy, support for sharia law or mocking black people. The IFE organised meetings with extremists, including Taliban allies, a man named by the US government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and a man under investigation by the FBI for his links to the September 11 attacks.
I don't think any group that opposes Democracy can be said to have society's best interest at heart.

There is more at this link.

Guilty Plea in Katrina Shooting/Cover-up

The actions of the NOLA police department were not very good during Katrina. Danziger Bridge shooting plea brings long-awaited vindication for families | -
For more than 30 minutes, the allegations against Lohman were recited over and over: a planted gun, false reports, misleading statements, a cover-up and conspiracy.
The bridge was supposedly the scene of a sniper during the Katrina emergency. That report was false.
Prosecutor Bobbi Bernstein, deputy chief of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, outlined the allegations Lohman was confessing to. Bernstein said Lohman arrived at the Danziger Bridge on Sept 4, 2005, and soon learned that there had been a "bad shoot," an unjustified police shooting. Ronald Madison, 40, and James Brissette, 19, lay dead. Four other civilians had been wounded.

Lohman had conspired with the officers, coached statements, attempted to help with a cover story explaining the circumstances. He also made sure another officer planted a "clean" handgun at the scene, meaning it couldn't be traced back to a crime. That handgun would help bolster police story that officers were under fire from civilians and acted in self-defense.
New Orleans' finest? Not hardly.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How Would You Like to Be Left Without Food and Water for Days?

I thought they were supposed to take care of people in hospitals. Almost 50,000 patients a year 'die in hospital while suffering from malnutrition' - Telegraph
It comes just a day after an inquiry into the deaths of up to 1,200 patients at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust found that some had been were left without food and water for days at a time.
Hey, you need help eating? That isn't our lookout. We dropped off the food at meal times.

Can you guess what the bureaucrats are doing? They are disparaging the numbers. (If it isn't that bad, we don't have to do anything about it.)

Pay Based on Performance? That's Too Much Like Capitalism

Bureaucracy (dare I say socialism?) works a little bit differently. Failed hospital bosses given pay rises while crisis unfolded - Telegraph
Senior managers who oversaw one of the worst scandals in the history of the NHS awarded themselves bumper pay increases at the same time as hundreds of patients were needlessly dying
And the Left is upset with executive pay in this country.

I can't wait until we have socialized medicine!

Can Someone Explain the Canadian Women's Hockey Team Kerfuffle?

I mean, they won the freakin' GOLD MEDAL; you don't think they are going to celebrate? Canadian women's ice hockey team apologise for beer and cigars on ice - Telegraph
But Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director of the Olympic games, said: "It is not what we want to see. I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values.

"If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public. We will investigate what happened."
Investigate your heart out, idiot. What happened is, they won, they were really happy, they had a celebration. What did you think they were gonna do? Have a tea party?

The Tragedy of Domestic Violence

This kid was going somewhere. No. 5's bright future, cut short by family violence -

His mother's ex-boyfriend was upset about the "ex" part of that, so he showed up to do violence. When the police arrived, he shot Rajaan Bennett, 18, and then killed himself.
At school, Rajaan Bennett was the senior with the shiny future -- the honors student and star running back who led his Georgia high school team to its first undefeated season.

He'd just gotten a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University. He wanted to be an architect.
This is a tragedy. A young life cut short, because some idiot didn't understand, "It's over!"
A week before he died, [Rajaan] Bennett wrote an essay for a school class. He called it "Strength."

"My drive cannot be stopped or slowed down because every obstacle has a way around it," he wrote. "Every day I become stronger from the weights physically, the books mentally and life emotionally. There is no limit to my strength and at the end of the day, I want to be the strongest."
Domestic violence is up. Domestic violence murders are up (though statistics are hard to come by).

But the 'victimization industry' refuses to look at things like self-defense. When danger came knocking the family hid in a bathroom and called police. Havint the means to defend themselves may not have helped (though I think a 12 gauge would trump a .22), relying on police to save you has too often been shown to be a losing bet.

Still, we need to do something better about teaching people to handle the end of relationships better. This issue crosses all racial lines, all economic lines, all geographic lines. And things are getting worse.

The Leviathan - At Least People Are Starting to Wake Up

Wake up to the fact that government is not the answer to every problem. CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens’ rights

56 percent feel government is a threat to individual rights.

That is 70 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Independents, but only 37 percent of Democrats.

As Tam said:
If not even CNN could slant their question enough to get a vote of confidence for
I hope we can still fix it.

Cooperation Does Not Equal Safety

Violent criminals are violent regardless of what you do. Orlando Convenience Store Clerk Found Shot - WFTV Orlando

So they rob a store. The clerk cooperates, and gets shot.
Four men were robbing the Citgo store near I-4 and Kaley Avenue (see map) around 11:00pm and began to leave with what they came for. Then, unprovoked, one of the men shot the clerk in the head.

The video shows the clerk as a dark figure on the floor while one of the robbers steps over him then turns and shoots the clerk on the head.
There are those who love to claim that if you just give a criminal what he wants, you will be safe. That is a dangerous lie. (And really, a woman confronted by a rapist should do what, exactly?)

Cooperation is a strategy. Resistance is a strategy. There are no guarantees. But I am sure that you won't stop violent criminals from being violent by singing Kumbaya.

The Warning Shots Were a Bad Idea

If I don't answer the door, it doesn't mean I'm not home. It only means I don't want to talk to you. Homeowner Fires Shots At Intruder - Kansas City News Story - KMBC Kansas City

So this guy pounds on the front door, waking up the homeowner who works nights. (None of his friends/family would do that, and if it were an emergency, they would call....) Then the would-be burglar went around the house and tried to break in through the back door.
"I rummaged through my closet, found a pistol, went downstairs -- and before I even got downstairs I heard somebody jimmying my back door," Nicholson said.

Nicholson said he pointed his gun at the intruder and issued a warning.

"I put the gun up to the glass next to his head, I told him to stop. I mean, I could have shot him right there if I wanted to shoot through the door," Nicholson said.
He fired warning shots as the guy was leaving. Leaving in a stolen truck, but maybe the police will get some clues from that.

I wonder if having looked down the barrel of a gun will give this guy the motivation to get out of crime?

Self-defense is a human right.

Whatever Weapon is Available

You grab whatever you can find in an emergency. Police: Houston homeowner stabs suspected burglar |
The homeowner arrived home to find a suspicious truck parked in front of his house, according to police. He told investigators the suspects had kicked in the front door of his home.

The homeowner retrieved a butcher knife and stabbed one of the suspects. The knife went through the suspect's arm and into his chest.
Self-defense is a human right.

More Nanny-state Nonsense

Biden To Announce Proposal To Protect US Retirement Savings - So if they are going to outlaw commissions with respect to retirement funds, how exactly do they think retirement investment advisers are going to be paid? But then free-markets don't seem to be a concern for these people.

I suppose there are some abusive advisers. Does anyone know the term "caveat emptor" anymore? But then this administration doesn't think you are that smart.

One of the only ways low-income folks can get financial advice is via a commission system. A fee-based financial plan is probably close to 1000 bucks now. Does this administration really expect the poor to shell out that much money? Of course not. They don't want people having 401Ks. (It makes them too independent of government control!)

What problem is it that they think they are solving? (Or what are they saying for public consumption anyway?) Aside from destroying another branch of the economy that is.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It Was Just a Little Piece of Evidence

JusticeBut it sent an innocent man to prison for 25 years. City to settle lawsuit with wrongly imprisoned man -
The city of Chicago has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a man who contends he spent 25 years in prison for a rape he did not commit because an analyst at the old Chicago police crime lab withheld key evidence.

Jerry Miller alleged the analyst should have provided Cook County prosecutors with the results of a test that would have excluded him as a suspect in a rape nearly three decades ago. DNA testing eventually cleared Miller, now 51, who was pardoned in 2008.
But then the "Criminal Justice System" (so called) is more criminal, and is rarely interested in justice. Maybe more-so in Chicago than other places, but Chicago isn't unique.

And so a man's life was taken away because it was more important to get a conviction than it was to serve justice. (I mean be reasonable; the crime lab doesn't work for the defense!)

Good Guys 3, Bad Guys, 0

Burglar Meets Armed Homeowner - take 2. Decatur Man Shoots Robbery Suspect 022410 |
Tucker said he was asleep when he heard knocking at the front door. The Decatur man said he peered through the shades but didn't answer the door.

"Then he started beating on the door," Tucker recalled.

Tucker said he saw a young man run to the back door and that's when he grabbed his gun.

"I couldn't believe he was kicking in my door and it took him like four kicks to get in so by the time he got in I was ready for him," Tucker said.
He shot the kid in the thigh. Two others were arrested later.

Self-defense is a human right.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Burglar Meets Armed Homeowner

Can you guess what happened? Police: St. Petersburg homeowner shot would-be burglar - St. Petersburg Times
When Michael Allsop heard his bedroom window shatter, police said, he ran into his bathroom and called 911.

But when he saw two hands reach into his house, he put down the phone and picked up his 9mm pistol.

The 59-year-old homeowner opened fire Wednesday morning, wounding a would-be burglar.
A short time later, Michael Patterson, 30, showed up at a local hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. He was arrested.

This is the 6th burglary in the last 5 years for this guy.
"At this point, I'm seriously thinking about moving," Allsop said.
Self-defense is a human right.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Did You Know That New Jersey Has a Bear Problem?

Enough that they have laws regarding bear-proof garbage cans in places. Denville police kill 400-pound bear that ate pet rabbit | -

In this case a bear broke into a home and ate a small animal. I guess I can see why it was considered dangerous.

So what would you do if a bear broke into your home?

Monday, February 22, 2010

What if Calling 911 Did No Good?

Detroit has had some hard times, but the residents deserve better than this. Street fightin' man
Many residents say they don't bother calling 911 anymore because police response is slow for all but the most serious crimes. It's as if they're on their own out here. "We feel like old pioneers sometimes," Johnson says.
If you call 911 about a break in, it is likely the police won't show up today. (They estimated a 75% chance of better no one would come today. The bad guys know this.)

A woman had a bullet go through her home (within inches of where she was sleeping), yet it took a lot to get the cops to even file a report. The weren't interested?

In many ways, this article is a story about hope. It is the story of neighbors working together to stand up to the drug dealers and the criminals to try and save their neighborhood. It would be nice if they got some help from the city.

Home Invader Ignores Warning - Gets Shot

If a homeowner told you he was armed, would you still break into his home? Hesperia homeowner shoots would-be burglar - San Bernardino County Sun Stupid criminal.
The homeowner was inside his house in the 10300 block of Maple Lane when 33-year-old Jennifer London allegedly shattered his front window and stuck her head through it after he warned her that he was armed.
She was released from the hospital after being treated for a gunshot wound to the chest, and was booked into the local jail.

Se suffered a breakdown of the victim selection process.

Self-defense is a human right.

Brady Bunch Campaign Likes Violence

That is the conclusion I draw, anyway. Brady Campaign's State Grades Not to be Taken Seriously

California got the best grade from Brady (C+) for having a lot of gun control. The CA murder rate (per 100,000) is 10 percent higher than the national average, and the CA violent crime rate is 13 percent higher than the national average.

Utah got one of the lowest grades (F) for their distinct lack of gun control. Utah's murder rate is 76 percent lower than California's, and the Utah violent crime rate is 56 percent lower than California's.

So the Brady Bunch - excuse me, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence - seems to like crime, or at least to not be bothered by it. If gun control is about reducing crime (it isn't), then the gun controllers should love Utah and hate California. But it isn't about crime. It is about control. [via Sebastian]

Burglar Meets Armed Homeowner

This time, he really was a burglar. His bad luck was that the armed homeowner arrived home in the middle of the crime. Toledo Police identify victim in Saturday night shooting. (They also seem to have a problem identifying who is the criminal, and who is the victim.)
Sgt. William Wauford said Mr. Childress was shot once in the chest when he was confronted by the homeowner, ...

The resident had just arrived home around 8:30 p.m. and saw signs that his home was burglarized. Investigators say two other people may have been inside at the time and a second person may have been wounded, Sergeant Wauford said. No one else was identified.
Police are investigating a report of an injured guy at a local hospital.

If you break into enough homes you will eventually encounter an armed homeowner. If you are really unlucky, this will happen the first time you try it.

Self-defense is a human right.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

France is the new China

The Big Brother of Europe?: France Moves Closer to Unprecedented Internet Regulation - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
The lower house of the French parliament, the National Assembly, passed the first draft of the bill, known as "Loppsi 2," on Tuesday. It will now go on for a second reading in the Senate, where it seems likely to pass, thanks to the government's majority. If the Senate approves the bill, the new law could come into force as early as this summer. The legislation could have far-reaching consequences: Loppsi 2 contains rules that would make France the European country where the Internet is subject to the most censorship, regulation, control and surveillance.

So You Think the Economy is Getting Better?

Guess again. Jobs data, price worries undermine US sentiment

First the jobs data. A minor change in last month was cause for celebrating in Washington. Of course is was a small blip. But the real story may be told next month, when the new jobs data comes out, because things still aren't good.
Initial claims for state jobless benefits increased 31,000 to 473,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Financial markets had expected them to fall slightly to 430,000.
Then there is the little item of inflation. The Producer Price Index went up 1.4 percent in January. (That is a yearly rate of more than 16 percent!) Of course the government will say that includes the volatile food and energy sectors. And while if you are living in an era of steady energy prices, you can safely ignore the short-term fluctuations, if you are living in an era of increasing (or decreasing) energy costs, you ignore them at your peril. I don't know about you, but energy and food are two of the things I buy every month. To say I can ignore the price of gas and how it has changed in the past 10 years is, quite simply, insane.

Then there is the bit you probably won't see in the US media. The GDP numbers. Well you will see them, because they look incredibly good. But you won't see too many in the US media try to peel the onion. GDP grew at a 5.7 percent annual rate in the 4th quarter of 2009. That is almost too fast, so why no job creation?
"Initial claims have been flat over the last three months. That means the improvement in the labor market is much slower than suggested by the headline GDP figure," said Harm Bandholz an economist at Unicredit Research in New York.

"That shows GDP growth is artificially inflated by government stimulus and the inventory cycle rather than driven by final demand, which usually goes hand in hand with an improvement in the labor market."
So, is the economy coming out of recession? I don't think anyone in Washington knows.

Shot While Getting the Money Out of the Register

There are those who say, if you just give robbers what they want, then you will be safe. I guess this guy didn't get that memo. Clerk in stable condition | | The Clarion-Ledger
"[The clerk] told us that the subject displayed a weapon as soon as he entered the store and demanded cash from the register," said police spokesman Det. Roderick Holmes. "As she was getting the money, that's when he opened fire, hitting her multiple times."

The clerk, who Holmes said was in her 40s, was shot in the arm and leg.
I suppose she wasn't getting his money fast enough. Her injuries are non-life-threatening.

Those people who say, "Just give them what they want," are always talking about robbers not rapists. So what should a woman do if confronted by a rapist?

The simple fact is that violent criminals don't stop being violent because you decide to be a nice sheep.

Of course having a gun, or some other plans for your personal safety, will not guarantee your safety. There are no guarantees in this life save for death and taxes. Just as acting like a sheep will not guarantee your safety. Strategies are imperfect, but acting like a sheep when confronted by a wolf just seems silly to me. (It doesn't usually work out to well for the sheep, after all.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One Home-invader Dead, One Wounded. Homeowner Wounded

Not a good day to rob houses. Two burglary suspects, homeowner wounded in northwest Harris County gunfight
A shootout in a northwest Harris County neighborhood left one burglary suspect dead late Friday morning.

The homeowner also wounded a second suspect who tried to run away before collapsing a couple of blocks from the scene.
The homeowner was shot in the foot. He returned from the hospital on crutches.

No word on the condition of the 16-year-old who was shot, or anything about the guy who died.

If you break into enough homes, you will eventually meet an armed homeowner. If you are unlucky, that will happen the first time.

Self-defense is a human right.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feisty grandmother thwarts robbery

Armed only with a price scanner... Plucky grandmother, 75, thwarts robbery at U.S. convenience store

This must make the powers-that-be in the UK squirm. The Daily Mail reporting on how effective action can be when they have spent generations teaching the Brits to take no action.

So a guy comes into the store and tries to rob the place, going behind the counter to struggle with the manager.
The shocked grandmother, who had been talking to the manager, immediately picks up the price scanner on the counter and begins hitting the thief.

At one point the 75-year-old, who wears an overcoat and headscarf, appears to try and get round the counter to get closer to the robber.

The man then flees empty handed out of the front door being chased by the crime-fighting pensioner, who tries to take one last swipe at the raider.
Attitude counts for a lot.

Quote of the Day

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.
-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

This idea of religious freedom for all - not just the religious freedoms of groups you like - seems to be lost today.

Bob Barr (yeah, he's an idiot) believes that anybody who doesn't believe the way he does is evil. (And the Christian-provided definitions of Paganism MUST be right, even when they are insulting and mostly wrong, because, well, he says so.) Oh, and Pagans and their rituals are just silly. And evil.

The California Department of Corrections has decided that five religions are enough for anybody. You don't need a chaplain from another faith. (Especially not one of those Wiccans/Pagans). Maybe they should see how well that worked out for the VA. And some folks in those five religions agree that they are special.

Tracking the way Wiccans are treated in this society is pretty easy way to gauge the state of religious freedom generally. Wiccans and Pagans are treated pretty poorly.

Houston Homeowner Shoots Home Invader

It is a fairly straight-forward (and in Texas, common) story. Home intruder meets armed home owner. Homeowner Fatally Shoots Burglar |
"(Jackson Jr.) was obviously in the house uninvited," said Detective M.F. Waters, of the Houston Police Department. Per policy, the case will now be turned over to a grand jury, but investigators said it looked like a clear cut case of a homeowner protecting his property.
The thing that I find interesting in the article is the teary-eyed point of view. Apparently the homeowner wouldn't talk to the reporters, but the father of the dead-guy would.

At least he didn't make excuses.

The pastor of the dead-guy's-father's-church both makes an excuse and says he doesn't make excuses.

"A lot of times people make excuses because they don't want to accept reality," said Pastor T. Leon Preston II, as he comforted Jackson. "We teach in our church you have to be responsible for your own actions."
Which sounds good, until we get to...

"(Jackson Jr.’s) true inward heart's desire was to do the right thing," said Pastor Preston, who welcomed the younger Jackson into his church three weeks ago. "Sometimes there are things out her that snatch you, and hold you, and you can't break free from them."
Which sounds an awful lot to my ear like, "the devil made him do it." Now it is possible that the dead guy was struggling with addiction, but even then, if we stop treating people as being responsible for their own actions, we are lost.

Chief of Police or Criminal?

Suburban Chicago police chief sentenced to 6 years - Maybe both.
The former police chief of the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for having his officers work as security men for his company while on duty and pressuring businesses to use their services.
He was convicted of this and of instructing his officers to engage in a cover-up.

One quote jumps off the page.
He said he never imagined that he could lose his freedom.
Either he thought he wouldn't get caught, or he believed that cops don't go to jail. In either case he didn't believe that police needed to obey the law.

The last word goes to the prosecutor.
"Suggestions that the defendant was a good cop and a good chief?" [Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott] Asbury said. "That is impossible because good cops are not racketeers."

He was "professional, hard-working and trustworthy" -
Does That Include When He Perjured Himself?

JusticeRichland deputy gets probation, wknd jail | | Mansfield News Journal Not sent away to prison. Sent on weekends to jail (local), fined $500, probation. I suppose the good thing is that he was a cooperating witness.

If you're interested, go read the whole thing. It is a story of a DEA drug investigation in which innocent people were sent to prison - with sentences as long as 15 years. (The "Law Enforcement Officer" most responsible for that did go to prison.)

Are we winning the war on drugs, or are we just losing the Constitution? [via Bad Cop, No Donut!]

No Right to Peacefully Assemble

Four friends talking on the sidewalk in front of a store. The police didn't like that, and they were told to "move on." Woman, 61, arrested for asking ‘why' �|
Four women, two of them well into middle age, were discussing funeral plans for a friend when an Atlanta police officer told them to move.
More Atlanta/Fulton news

Three did but one asked “why.” In answer to her question, Minnie Carey, then 61, was handcuffed, put into a paddy wagon and taken to jail, where she was held for nine hours.
The answer to that question? "Because I said so."

Four law abiding people, not causing trouble, not blocking the sidewalk, given an order to disperse, with no real justification. Just a bully with a badge.

Charges were dropped, eventually. And the cop in question is on leave for an unrelated incident. I don't expect him to face any real hardship over this.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Google Censorship Isn't Limited Only to China

Google Bans DVD Critical Of Obama Administration

Can't criticize Obama, he is a minority.

I have to say it way past time to move this blog and my email off Google. The censoring bastards.

British Left: We Don't Need No Democracy

The Labour Government, in its early years, did things for reasons it never told the British public. They knew what was best, after all; their the "enlightened class." (Just ask them and they will tell you that.*) Immigration: a plan to alter the nation's soul - Telegraph

Labour said its immigration policy was about needing to fill jobs. Making the economy of the UK better for everyone. That was a bit of a fib.
But as it turns out, the policy was motivated by something far more radical and fundamental than any of this. The full text of the draft policy paper composed in 2000 by a Home Office research unit – the gist of which had already been made public by a former Labour adviser – was released last week under Freedom of Information rules. Properly understood, it is political dynamite. What it states quite unequivocally was that mass immigration was being encouraged at least as much for "social objectives" as for economic ones. Migration was intended specifically to alter the demographic and cultural pattern of the country: to produce by force majeure the changes in attitude that the Labour government saw itself as representing.
Does any of this sound familiar?

What the Left was trying to do in the UK was fundamentally change the nature of the country without bothering to ask the citizens of the country how they felt about those changes. Even covering up those changes since they pretty much knew the answer.
Included in this programme for the newly constituted British psyche was a whole package of subliminal assumptions, which were adapted from the Old Left stable: international solidarity rather than national sovereignty, collective values rather than personal conscience, and "social equality" rather than individual achievement. It was a peculiarity of New Labour's vanity that it actually tried to persuade the country that, under the miraculous Blair dispensation, it could have both sides of these dualities at the same time. But the full consequences of the new country that it envisaged, and the role that immigration was to play in the creation of it, broke the most basic rule of the democratic process: the electorate was never told it was voting for that
They don't feel the need to tell the truth about their plans. They are working for the "greater good." The ends justify the means. Lies are a small price to pay. Democracy would only get in the way.

The whole thing is worth your time. It says interesting things about the Left in the UK, and I think, a lot of the Left in the US. They view government as religion. For most of history, religion was the mechanism for improving (or transcending) human nature. The Left wants government to dictate human nature. They of course see it as an improvement. Anyway, go take a look.

* If you are conservative you are either evil or stupid. All the talking heads on MSNBC agree. As does the Left side of the blogosphere.

It wasn't his day to die

Hit in the forehead with a sniper's bullet, was just the opening act. U.S. Marine Walks Away From Shot to Helmet in Afghanistan -
The Casper, Wyo., native was kneeling on the roof of the one-story outpost, looking for targets.

He was reaching back to his left for his rifle when the sniper's round slammed into his helmet.

The impact knocked him onto his back.
His helmet and his night-vision equipment stopped the bullet, leaving him only with a small red lump above his eye.

While he was in the aid station, a grenade exploded on top of his position. (His partner survived that blast.)

He was back at his post a few minutes later.

So How Should One 58-year-old Woman React to Two Intruders?

Exactly what should she do, if she can't defend herself with lethal force? Suspect Wanted In Home Invasion Turns Himself In - Albuquerque News Story - KOAT Albuquerque

So two young men, broke into her home. She shot one of them in the face.
The homeowner, who [Deputy Lawrence] Koren said shot Castillo in the face, will likely not face any charges, Koren said.

"I can tell you this that during the course of this investigation that the victim this 58-year-old woman was in fear of her life," Koren said.
The guy who was shot, Frank Castillo, died from his injuries.

The other guy, apparently Manuel Leo, was seen scampering from the scene. He turned himself into police, and is under arrest on charges related to other burglaries in the area. He may face charges in the home invasion.

A separate account lists the two guys as being 19 (Castillo) and 20 (Leo) years old respectively.

So I wish a gun banner would tell me what a woman with two strange men in her home should do? Crying and screaming hysterically are not options.

Razed to the Ground

This never gets old.

I Guess It Is Fat Tuesday

Enjoy Mardi Gras, or Carnival or whatever.

When Politicians Control Health Care

Politics controls health care. Hospitals more likely to close in safe seats - Telegraph
The report by academics at the London School of Economics (LSE) shows that there is a far higher concentration of hospitals in politically sensitive areas “where no one wants to be blamed for hospital closure” than in areas where the Government enjoys a comfortable majority.

Patients receive significantly better care in areas with a greater number of hospitals, because competition drives medical staff to do a better job, the report said.
Cutting costs without losing politically. Priceless.

Oh, and competition still works.
It also showed that private hospitals are better managed than those run by the NHS, and disclosed the devastating consequences that poor management can have for patients.
The study, which looked at 100 hospitals, disclosed that patients taken to well managed hospitals after a heart attack were significantly more likely to survive.
Politics and state control of health care. Is anyone surprised?

Success on more than one front

Getting Pakistan to help on this is not insignificant. Taliban chief Abdul Ghani Baradar captured in Pakistan - Telegraph
The arrest of Mullah Baradar, who directs Taliban military strategy in their fight against NATO and Afghan government forces, is a significant blow to the insurgency as it faces its biggest offensive yet in Helmand.

Senior Pakistan military sources confirmed his arrest last week and said he is currently being interrogated at a secret location by both Pakistani and American intelligence officials.
Congrats to all on a job well done.

Monday, February 15, 2010

With All the Hoopla Over Olympics, You Probably Missed the America's Cup

The BMW/Oracle team from the US won the 33rd America's Cup. This year's event was notable mostly for the amount of time Oracle and Alinghi (the defending Swiss) spent in court. Still, the boats are beautiful, and this clip has a few places where you can see how fast the big trimarans really go.

The next Cup will be somewhere in America. Though they haven't said East Coast or West Coast. (Has to be a salt water port.)

No Jail Time for Cop - What a Surprise

Guilty but no jail time. Troubled Chicago cop gets probation in 2008 Niles bar attack - Chicago Breaking News
Officer Gerald Callahan was found guilty of battery Thursday for punching a 61-year-old Morton Grove man and a 50-year-old Niles woman May 17, 2008 while he was off duty. He was sentenced to two years probation, fined $1,325 and ordered to perform 60 days of Sheriff's Work Alternative Program service, according to Cook County court records.
He kept his job despite other alcohol-related events. He still hasn't been fired even now. Whether he keeps his job is up to the Police Review Authority. And I expect the union might have something to say if the PRA decided to fire him.

If You're Going to Screw Up, It Might As Well Be Big

If you're gonna drive drunk, don't crash into a no-name deli. Cop crashes into Tiffany's, busted for DWI - "He was a little early for breakfast."

I wonder if a cop can have a DWI and still be a cop in New York. Truck drivers can't.
The wreck happened as NYPD officer Raphael Ospina, 27, a cop since 2004, was heading east on 57th Street. He collided with a private garbage truck that was heading in the opposite direction and making a left turn onto Fifth Avenue south.

Ospina's Chrysler 300 sedan, with two passengers inside, jumped a curb and hit the famous fa├žade of the legendary jewelry store.
So if the guy driving the garbage truck (he was uninjured) had been drunk, he would be out of work. I wonder if one of New York's finest will be looking for a job, or if it is just "one of those things." [Via Bad Cop, No Donut! - This makes the cops behaving badly thing too easy!]

At Least He Was Fired

This was doing nothing wrong. He was "accosted" by police for being asleep in a truck. The officer who handcuffed and beat him was fired Sequoyah County Times - Man claims he was beaten by officers The officer was fired for not following procedures and filling the required reports.
Cantwell said not once did he hear the officers ask him for his ID. He said all he remembers is the door opening and being pulled out by his feet then hit in the face and handcuffed.

“I was in the back seat of a truck that wasn’t mine. I had been sleeping for three or four hours, there were no keys in the ignition and the truck was parked in a private drive. I was not doing anything wrong,” Cantwell explained.

Lewis said during the investigation it was determined Oliver opened the door and asked Cantwell to exit the vehicle because he refused to present his identification when asked by officers.
Do we have to "show our papers" whenever asked today? I thought that was thrown out by the courts. Maybe I missed the memo that we are now living in the Soviet Union of America.

Kevin Smith Will Probably Have the Last Word

Hollywood director Kevin Smith kicked off plane for being 'too fat' - Telegraph

I predict that in some future movie, Jay or Silent Bob (who does say things once in a great while) will have something to say about Southwest Airlines.

Seem Justified to Me

A man threatens you with a knife, that seems like a reasonable threat of death or grave bodily injury. Police release name of man fatally shot by homeowner
According to a Little Rock Police Department report, Daniel "busted through [the] front door" of Johnson's home at 2018 S. Martin St. and began making unspecified demands.

Daniel pushed Johnson and then retrieved a knife from the kitchen, police said.

"Daniel made aggressive gestures at Mr. Johnson with the knife and Mr. Johnson fired one shot striking and killing Mr. Daniel," according to the report.
The district attorney is the one who makes the call about charges, but the police released him.

Self-defense is a human right.

Good Guys 5, Bad Guys 0

JusticeWell, almost zero. The bad guys did beat up the victim. The Daily Home - 4 face felony murder charges

5 guys armed with baseball bats break into a home and start beating up one of the residents. He shot and killed one of the 5. Apparently that took the fight out of the other 4, but they were all picked up by police and are all in jail.
Capt. Billy Murray with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department identified the four suspects as Mark Lyle Massey, 19, of Trussville; Richard Allen Holloway, 18, of Leeds; Duel Wayne Pope, 21, of Leeds; and Nicholas Bell, 20, of Trussville.

Three of the four suspects are in the St. Clair County Jail in Pell City while Holloway is in the county jail in Ashville. All four are being held without bond.

Murray said Denton, Massey and Holloway were armed with baseball bats, made entry at a residence in the Trails End community of Moody just before midnight Feb. 11. Murray added that the resident of the home was assaulted but shot and killed Denton during the invasion. The resident suffered non-life threatening injuries.
A death occurred while they were committing a crime. (The police spokesman said "burglary" but it sounds like assault to me.) That is Felony Murder in the great state of Alabama. It is a class A felony punishable by life in prison.

Domestic Violence Rally Is Not Asking for Enough

They want GPS monitoring, which is a good step, but not enough. Rally Against Domestic Violence Held At State Capitol -

Like most stories about domestic violence, this one starts with a tragedy.
Tiana Notice was good at taking matters into her own hands. One semester away from a master's degree, she dutifully went to police each time she thought her ex-boyfriend was harassing her.

Even as she lay bleeding on her Plainville deck, Notice, 25, dialed 911 on her cellphone and said: "My ex-boyfriend just stabbed me to death."

Early the next morning, the ex-boyfriend, James P. Carter II, was charged with murder. More than two months later, he was charged additionally with violating a restraining order, and he remains in jail, awaiting trial.
The father of Tiana Notice is calling for GPS monitoring of domestic violence offenders.

Giving warning to intended victims would be a good thing. But do you think the police will always arrive before the bad guy does? (See my posts on Calling 911 for some examples.) Having a warning is a good thing. But what are you going to do with that warning? Leaving and avoiding trouble is always a good strategy.

But I still hold that women (people) who have a restraining order against a violent stalker also need to have a plan for their personal protection. GPS monitoring and warning systems are fine things, but they will not be perfect. Sometimes no warning will come, or it will come too late.

GPS monitoring is fine, but I also think that women (people) who get restraining orders should find out about concealed carry, self-defense, and personal safety in general. (Most homes need better locks. Alarms do serve some purpose. Pepper spray is better than nothing, if your state doesn't recognize your right to keep and bear arms. There is always something you can do, even if you can't in the end guarantee your own safety any more than the state can.)

But the idea that people should take any individual action is anathema to the Left. Rely on the police, on the courts, on the government to take care of you. Don't consider the fact for all the government may do, you may still face danger on your own. What are you going to do?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

They Should Outlaw Guns on College Campuses in Alabama

What's that you say? They are illegal? Then how did this happen? Professor charged with murder in Alabama university shooting -

A person bent on breaking the law against murder and assault is NOT going to be deterred by a law outlawing guns on campus.

Why don't don't we just put up "No Crime Allowed" signs? (Actually, as stupid as it sounds, there are such signs at almost every shopping mall in America.)

This tragedy was not impacted by the no guns on campus rule in Alabama, except to ensure that none of the victims had the means to defend themselves.

Having a gun, is of course, no guarantee. Having a plan for your personal safety cannot guarantee your personal safety, just as disarming the law abiding doesn't guarantee safety.
Huntsville Police Chief Henry Reyes said Amy Bishop Anderson, 45, was attending a faculty meeting on the third floor of the sciences building Friday afternoon when she shot six colleagues, killing three.
And even if being armed was authorized (they last tried in 2008 I believe) would a group of college professors have taken advantage of their rights?

They Want to Keep Those Nasty Guns Away from Kids

And if a defenseless victim zone is created along the way, well who cares. Judge's ruling ends Seattle parks gun ban | Seattle Times Newspaper
Chan said her job required her to supervise offenders released from jail.

"Because this job has the potential to be very dangerous, she is required to be armed and has received substantial training in all aspects of firearm use," said the lawsuit. "Ms. Chan sometimes carries a personal firearm when she is off duty in part because of the likelihood that she will encounter people she has apprehended in her line of work who may wish her harm."

Another individual who was part of the suit was Raymond Carter, 44, of Seattle, who was described as a past co-chair of the Seattle Pride Parade and was the founding president of the Seattle Chapter of Pink Pistols/Cease Fear.

The suit said about Carter: "He routinely carries a firearm when he is lawfully permitted to do so because he strongly believes that as an openly gay man, he is more susceptible to becoming a victim of a hate-related crime but, because of health issues, he does not feel that he is physically capable of running away."
They aren't keeping the bad guys with guns away from anyone. Only the law abiding. (Do you think criminals obey "no crime allowed" signs?)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hate Crimes Worse in Dallas

Dallas Voice :: Hate crimes up in number, level of violence
Of those victims reporting hate violence, 46 percent required medical attention.
In a perfect world, we wouldn't need hate crimes laws. Criminals of all types and motivations would be sought by law enforcement with equal gusto. Unfortunately that world must be in a different area code.
In addition, reports of physical abuse by law enforcement officials increased 150 percent between 2006 and 2008.
As long as police are part of the problem, and not part of the solution, these laws will have a place. Because the truth is, a lot of cops couldn't care less if you were bashed, you f#$@ing queer. (I have seen cops, called to scene of a bashing, arrest the guy bleeding on the sidewalk.)

Yes I know, not all cops are bigots, but too many of them are, and the unions spend too much time and effort keeping them on the job.

Porsche 911 Hybrid

Looks good. Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid (2010): first photos | Car Magazine Online Not a production car, but a prototype racer. Still, it is interesting.

A Naive Question

Could a restraining order have prevented a stalker from killing Alissa Blanton? A restraining order is an interesting legal document. It is not a bullet-proof-vest.

Someone intent on murder, is hardly going to be put off by the fact they would be violating a court order. (Are you saying they don't know murder is illegal?)

All you have to do is look through my list of Domestic Violence posts to see that restraining orders rarely restrain anyone intent on violence. In fact, they can actually have the effect of triggering violence (as the author of this piece admits).
Sometimes, the very act of filing for an injunction can put a victim at more risk. Experts I talked to said they’ve seen cases in which stalkers have become more violent or aggressive after being informed that their victims are trying to get a restraining order.
Domestic violence is about control, and the act of getting a court order is about breaking that control, which can send the abuser over the edge.

Women (anyone) who thinks they need a restraining or protection order from the courts, also needs a plan for their personal safety. Of course, employers generally do their utmost to ensure their employees are disarmed (helpless) when they are arriving at or leaving work. They are disarmed just when they are at a known location on a known schedule. (Do we expect them to supply security?)

That is what happened in this case; the stalker killed his victim when she was in the parking garage of her workplace.

A restraining order is an interesting legal document, but awareness and lethal force are more likely to keep you safe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

12 Recommendations on Domestic Violence - Doesn't Include Self-defense

The system still wants you to be dependent on the system. Lawmakers Urge Steps To Combat Domestic Violence - They want more courts, school classes, better enforcement of restraining orders, etc.

How about telling people with active restraining orders against abusive stalkers that they can get a fast-track concealed carry permit?

How about offering free self-defense training by the local PD?

How about offering free weapons training by the local PD?

How about offering discounts on firearms?

How about encouraging people to be something besides a helpless victim dependent on others for their safety?

Earthquake in Illinois? I Blame Global Warming

4.3-magnitude earthquake hits near Sycamore - Chicago Breaking News Small enough and deep enough that no serious damage was reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.3-magnitude quake at 3:59:34 a.m. centered about 5.5 miles east of Sycamore and 3.1 miles underground. The epicenter is about 45 miles west of Chicago.

The quake was felt over a wide area, but there were no reports of any damage 90 minutes later, according to the Kane County and DeKalb County sheriff's departments, which are closest to the epicenter.
Stuff falling off of shelves, but I can't find the stereotypical photo of a liquor store with everything on the floor. Maybe later - it is still early in the Midwest.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What Happens When You Kill a Market?

The market can't adjust when there is no market. The government controls pay, but it still can't control people. Shortage of hospital pharmacists 'putting patients at risk' - Telegraph
The profession has problems with recruitment due to low pay and recommendations to increase salaries have been ignored the [the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain] said.
The bureaucrats want to hold down costs. So they hold down salaries. But then you convince people who might choose that career to do something else. (See the problem the UK has recruiting dentists.)

Some people go into medicine because they wanted to be doctors when they were 5-years-old. But a lot of people in health care generally saw it was a way to make a good living (and do something important.) If you take away the "good living" aspect, you are going to have problems. Like they do in the UK.

I can't wait until we have Soviet-style command economies in place of the free market!

Quote of the Day

Just a quick (and what I think is obvious) word on the fact that the judge presiding over the Prop. 8 trial is gay: It was inevitable that he would have some sexual orientation, and there really aren't that many options.
Independent Gay Forum - My Bias Against Bias:

Rape Isn't a Big Deal to the UN

You can tell by the way they support rapists in the Congo, and the treatment given "peacekeepers" who are accused. Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations
February 9 -- The UN on February 9 bragged about its work against Sexual Violence in Conflict, introducing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's new Special Representative on the topic, Margot Wallstrom.

But when asked why the UN's Mission in the Congo MONUC works with Army united accused of mass rape by the UN's own Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, and why the UN never disclosed any discipline for Sri Lankan peacekeepers sent home from Haiti after being accused of sexual abuse, the UN had no answers. Video here, from Minute 16:23.
If you have the stomach, go read the details. (I haven't looked at the video, because it seems to be just another useless nitwits press conference.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Good to See Our Bailout Will Create Jobs - To Bad They Aren't in the US

Chrysler pledges $550M to build Fiat 500 in Mexico - Yahoo! News
Chrysler Group LLC says it will invest $550 million to build the Fiat 500 minicar at its assembly plant near Mexico City.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the new work at its Toluca plant will create 400 jobs.
I'm sure that it wasn't our tax dollars that made any of this possible.

Stupid Criminal

This guy was a fugitive, but updated his location on Facebook. A fugitive is arrested after investigators uncover his Facebook page

So, was he hiding, or not hiding? What a maroon.

Drink Up! The Beer is Good for You

Beer boosts bones and fends off osteoporosis - Telegraph Don't think I can add much to this.
They discovered that beer, especially pale ales, contains high levels of silicon known to slow down the bone thinning that leads to fractures and boosting the formation of new bone.

The finding, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, backs up previous research which also showed that the drink was good at fending off brittle bones – especially in women.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Ben Franklin

Bureaucrats in Charge of Health Care

The wondrous state of health care in the UK. Nurses became 'immune to the sound of pain' - Telegraph
An independent inquiry into Stafford Hospital – where patients were starved, dehydrated, left in agony, and told to lie in their own faeces – has heard how:

* The hospital's emergency assessment unit was so unsafe that staff branded it "Beirut";
So when told of all the problems in a report, what did the bureaucrats in charge do? Did they roll up their sleeves to fix the problems?
When hospital bosses were given notice of a damning inspection report, published last year, they responded by hiring a public relations team and promised to "get MPs on side"
s"The only constant in the universe is the bureaucratic mentality."

Cops Behaving Badly - International Edition

Police commander trying to ruin a guy's life over £600. Ali Dizaei jailed for framing businessman - Telegraph
Dizaei owed the victim £600 for a personal website he had designed for him.

When Mr Al-Baghdadi asked the police chief for payment outside a West London restaurant, Dizaei pursued him down an alley in his car before violently arresting him and telling him "I am responsible for 5,000 officers. I can ---- your life."
This guy was brought to justice at least. He will spend 4 years in jail.

Apparently They Don't Want to Get Sued By "Big Soft Drinks"

Soft Drinks Could Boost Pancreatic Cancer Risk

First they tell that a "well designed" study finds a link between drinking 2 or more soft drinks per week, and then they say that but the risk is still low. What? So I shouldn't worry?
People who down two or more soft drinks a week may have double the risk of developing deadly pancreatic cancer, compared to non-soda drinkers, new research suggests.

But the overall number of people developing the malignancy remains low, with the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimating 42,470 new cases last year.
Doubling the risk of my getting cancer, and I shouldn't worry? Is Coke or Pepsi going to sue these guys?

Green Energy? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Green Energy!

Australia signs huge China coal deal Huge being the relative word.
Clive Palmer, chairman of the company, Resourcehouse, said it was Australia's "biggest ever export contract".

Under the deal, the firm will build a new mining complex to give China Power International Development (CPI) 30m tonnes of coal a year for 20 years.
Can't wait for Copenhagen 2 for them to explain this.

Can you blame them? They get a lot of electric power from coal, and their demand for electricity is increasing.

The only surprising thing was that Obama really thought he could get China to give up on stuff like this because he is so "lovable" or whatever the hell he thinks.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

100 Year Old Scotch - On the Rocks

First I think it is great that Ernest Shackleton took so much liquor with him to Antarctica. Explorers' century-old whisky found in Antarctic -
Five crates of Scotch whisky and two of brandy have been recovered by a team restoring an Antarctic hut used more than 100 years ago by famed polar explorer
Ice cracked some of the bottles, they hope to retrieve at least some of the whiskey.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

This is How Government - Illinois-style - Works

This is a very Illinois-centric rant. If you don't care about Illinois, avert your eyes. However, you should take note that the Illinois-style of get-mine-while-the-getting-is-good-school of politics is now in Washington, DC.

So it works, or doesn't as the case may be. Elgin-O'Hare Expressway ain't goin' nowhere

No one has heard of this expressway. Even people in suburban Chicago don't know about this expressway. I have no idea why it was built.
Where to put the confounded highway and how to pay for it have held it up for decades, leading to the well-worn quote about how the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway goes neither to O'Hare or Elgin.
It stops short of the airport by about 5 miles and just dumps traffic onto surface streets. (Luckily, there isn't much traffic.) On the "Elgin End" it doesn't even get within 5 miles - more like 10 or 15 - of Elgin, but the "Hanover Park/Itasca expressway" just doesn't fall off the lips so easily.

So after decades of not doing anything with this expressway, Illinois is looking to do something. (Can you spell "stimulus?")

Of course if you actually wanted to get from O'Hare to Elgin, there is a perfectly good expressway - Interstate 90 - that connects via the feeder roads out of the airport and will take you to within about 3 miles of Elgin.

I'm sure this will have tremendous economic impact of the cousin/brother-in-law/whoever that gets the contract.

Women and Concealed Carry

Aside from the stupid headline, this is a nice article. Women in Tulsa Are Packing Heat
Concealed weapons-carrying classes continue to fill up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but the majority of the students in the classes have changed from men to women. The enrollment of women in classes has tripled in the last 10 years. In consideration of the recent police layoffs at the Tulsa Police Department, women feel the need to acquire self-defense skills more than ever.
About time. [Hat tip to Alphecca]

The Truth Is You Are Going to Wait

In some cases, you may wait quite a long time after calling 911. Red Bluff Police: Cuts slow police response times

In the best case scenario, the police are not going to be sitting in your driveway, when you call 911. You are going to wait some time. (Maybe for the rest of your life.) But things are worse than they were due to reductions in headcounts.
We have less officers on the streets, [Red Bluff Police Chief Paul Nanfito] said. We are operating in a call-to-call mode. Response time for emergency calls is increasing.

Between Dec. 21, 2009 and Jan. 15, 69 calls were delayed from 11 minutes to 3 hours and 30 minutes, with the average delayed response at 51 minutes.
Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but there are people who hate the idea of self-defense (and really hate armed self-defense) who would have you believe calling 911 is the answer to all your problems. A lot of bad things can happen in 11 minutes, to say nothing of 56 minutes or 3 hours spent waiting.

Calling 911 is fine thing to do, but you should have some kind of plan for what you are going to do while you wait.

Another Large Government Program

Maybe Florida needs more trains - they are building light rail in Orlando - but this we don't need. Fast trains are cool . . . and very expensive - Carl Hiaasen -

In the five or so years I have lived in Tampa Bay, I have driven to Orlando three times. Never to visit The Mouse, or any of the parks. As far as I can tell, there aren't a lot of tourists plying their way between Tampa and Orlando, and anyone headed this way would be heading for the beaches - definitely not Tampa.

I am really tempted to push a state initiative to forbid the spending of any state funds on high speed rail. The state has problems. This isn't one of them.
The money delivered by President Barack Obama last week in Tampa should have come with a note: “Here's a gift from Uncle Sam. Now go build yourselves something you can't possibly afford to operate.”

Shot For Complying with Instructions

A lot of people who don't like self-defense, say that complying with robbers, giving them what they want will make you safe. Teens Accused Of Shooting Clerk Over Gum, Less Than $100 - Central Florida News 13 Apparently this pair didn't get that memo.
As they headed to the counter, the male suspect pulled out a gun and demanded money.

One clerk began filling up a bag with the cash. As another clerk came into the picture with his hands in the air, police said he was shot in the face, then again while he was lying on the ground, complying with orders from the shooter.
How come he wasn't safe?

Violent criminals don't stop being violent criminals because of anything you can do.

Now that they are caught, the two miscreants are very sorry.
“If I could have made another decision, I wouldn’t have [done it],” said Justin Jones, 16, after he and his alleged accomplice, Ronaisha Leftridge, 18, were arrested for the heist.
What a freakin stupid statement. Of course he could have made another choice. He could have studied in high school, or gotten a job, or done something besides pick up a gun and commit a felony.

But apparently no one is responsible for their own actions anymore.

Governments Hate Small Business

And love regulation. The Stew: Health Department destroys thousands of dollars of local fruit

They apparently also don't care about hungry people. (Since they wouldn't let the food be donated to a shelter.)

It wasn't "bad" food. It just didn't meet their incredibly insane set of regulations.

If Our Health Care is So Bad, Why Is It So Good?

Statistics are a funny thing. Car crash victims 'more likely to die if they are injured at evenings or weekends' - Telegraph

Britain's National Health Service doesn't do a good job of providing trauma care outside of normal business hours.
Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: “If you have an accident at night or over the weekend, you are unlikely to be seen immediately by a consultant, given that only one hospital in the entire country has the required specialist consultant care 24 hours a day, for seven days a week.

“This means that your chances of avoiding death or disability can turn on when your accident happens and to which hospital the ambulance takes you.”
I mean be fair, having consulting specialists on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is an expensive proposition.

The Brits also do not order as many brain scans or transfer folks to intensive care as the study thought they should. Also an expense.

But the bit that caught my eye is the comparison with the US.
The report also found wide variation in survival rates from hospital to hospital, while across Britain 20 per cent more trauma patients die in hospital than they do in America.
The UK has generally had problems with the way it provides care outside of normal business hours. But that is another story

This isn't the only way in which our health care system shines. The great and glorious socialized medicine systems of Europe have their problems (at least look at that last link!)

So if our health care system is so bad, why is it so good?

Quote of the Day

Laura Ingraham used this quote (as audio clip) to describe the "sky is falling" hysteria in DC over a little snow.
Guess what guys, it's time to embrace the horror! Look, we've got front row tickets to the end of the earth!
Expertly delivered by Steve Buscemi in Armageddon. Classic.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Electric Superbike

Now that's an electric vehicle!

World’s Fastest Production Electric Motorcycle – 2010 Mission One from Mission Motors

150 MPH. 150 mile range. Recharge in 2 hours with 240 volts AC. (8 hours if you only have 120.) Not a cross country bike, but would get you around town. $5000 will reserve your place in line.
The first 50 units will be offered as the Premier Limited Edition version at a price of $68,995.
No shifting. 100-ft/lb of torque available through the whole range. 0 to 6500 RPMs.


It isn't 1984, is it?

History Lesson: Stalin Was a Bastard

It seems that people really don't like history. This isn't about some anniversary, just a realization that a lot of people have never heard of the Holodomor. Estimates I believe come in at around 10 million and as high as 14 million dead. That compares with the 9 million the German's killed in the Holocaust.

The Holodomor - that's Ukrainian for "starvation" - was an early genocide that seems to be mostly absent from the average American's understanding of the world.

Stalin decided to "prove" that Communism was good by collectivizing agriculture. And then he was going to use the "gains" in output to finance his industrial dreams.

Of course there were a few problems. Starting with the fact that the Ukrainian farmers, an independent bunch, didn't want to join the collectives. (Which weren't doing very well anyway.) So in 1929, Stalin sent in the secret police and eventually decided he could do without Ukrainian farmers.
Hundreds of thousands are expropriated, dragged from their homes, packed into freight trains, and shipped to Siberia where they are left, often without food or shelter. In the end, 1,000,000 Ukrainian peasants are seized and more than 850,000 deported to the frozen tundras of Siberia, where many perished.

The Soviet government increased Ukraine's production quotas by 44%, ensuring that they could not be met. Starvation becomes widespread.

Ukrainians are dying at the rate of 25,000 a day. In the end, up to 10 million starve to death.
This was largely ignored by the West, at least in part because the American Left was in favor of Communism and didn't want to paint the Soviet Union in a bad light.
“Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda. There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.”
(as reported by the New York Times correspondent and Pulitzer-prize winner Walter Duranty)
The fish-wrap-of-record wasn't alone in denying what was going on. Even governments decided to look the other way.

And on the subject of "being doomed to repeat," history you don't understand, this piece of history was recently re-enacted in Zimbabwe, when farms were collectivized, and famine ensued.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

He's Just Another Illinois Politician

You probably don't follow Illinois politics. I do, because I grew up there, and because it is so darn entertaining. Cohen's rap sheet stuns Illinois Dems -

Illinois Dems just selected Pat Quin (who took office when Blagojevich left) to run in the November general election. His running mate is Scott Lee Cohen
[Cohen] has a rap sheet that includes alleged domestic battery and tax evasion. The revelation has shocked Democrats, leading to worries that his presence could taint the entire statewide ticket.
He has no intention of pulling out of the race. I mean, is tax evasion really against the law in Illinois. (Seems like so many of Obama's cabinet had the same problem.)

Never a dull moment in Illinois politics.

Deacons for Defense and Justice

LibertyFebruary is Black History Month. The Deacons for Defense and Justice are interesting part of that history.

I first heard of Deacons for Defense (the title of this post reflects their full name) via a movie by that name, which starred Forest Whittaker. (IMDB lists it as being made-for-TV, so I assume it was HBO or Bravo or the like.) I thought it was quite good. It dealt with the very real danger blacks in Louisiana and around the country faced as they fought for the their civil rights. While most of the Civil Rights movement had adopted non-violence, they were really dependent to a large extent on the Deacons to provide low-key, armed security.

One of my favorite descriptions of the Deacons comes from Gun Owners of America.
During a desegregation effort at the Jonesboro High School, the authorities brought up fire trucks and prepared to hose the black students attempting to enter the school. The Deacons pulled up and four men publicly loaded shotguns and then made it plain that the lead was for the firemen if they turned the hoses on. The firemen wisely beat a retreat.

This was a very significant event. This was a self-defense effort in the spirit of the American War for Independence. The government was attempting to exercise illegitimate power ... and it was repulsed by the use of community force -- by the militia, if you will.

The Deacons were in the great tradition of American freedom -- liberty is not given by tyrants and thugs, it is wrested from their hands by force.
The Deacons first came to light in Jonesboro, Louisiana after the Chief of Police led a Ku Klux Klan motorcade through black neighborhoods. The Deacons informed the Chief that further incursions would be met with force. (A Klan motorcade was not a peaceful drive in the country. More like a multiple-car drive-by. Though sometimes the violence was just implied, it was still an instrument of terror.) The motorcades stopped after they met armed citizens defending their communities. After a group of Klansmen were fired upon when they set fire to a cross in a clergyman's yard, that also stopped. Jonesboro saw effective self-defense on another occasion.
When Deacon Elmo Jacobs was driving a carload of white civil rights workers, they were fired upon and took a load of buckshot in the door of Jacobs' car. Jacobs returned fire and the Klan attack ended immediately -- and for good.
The bulk of the article from Gun Owners of America seems to be based on a piece of scholarship by Tulane University Professor Lance Hill. His book, The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement is published by the University of North Carolina Press.

Hill found one of the truths of gun control that the Left loves to sweep under the rug.
In Bogalusa, LA, Hill found that the police made no attempt to stop the attacks and in fact took pains to arrest blacks who had armed themselves in self defense. In other words, gun control was simply a tool of people control and had nothing to do with fighting crime. Had crime control been the concern, plenty of opportunities had come and gone to arrest the Klan.
Furthermore, only when blacks actually defended themselves - shooting a white man at point blank range in the chest - did it become less likely that whites would attack. That shooting also forced the mobilization of the military and national guard to enforce desegregation. (After all, now whites were getting shot too!)

Dr. Condoleezza Rice Remembered that time, when growing up in “Bombingham, Alabama”
growing up in Bull Conner's Birmingham, Ala., when the shotgun wielded by her father was often the only thing that stood between her family and the Ku Klux Klan.
This is why Dr. Rice does not support gun control.

Since this was taking place in the 1960s, the FBI got involved. They followed the Deacons from 1965 (shortly after it was founded) until 1972 when it became inactive. The FBI's web site on Freedom of Information Act inquiries has the available info - 1580 pages of information, memos, etc. [Hmm... the info seems to no longer be available on the FBI website. I will keep looking!] FBI agent Frank Hicks told blacks in Bogalusa, LA that any shooting would result in a murder charge.
He did not explain where the FBI had any legal or constitutional authority for such a move, but the Deacons were not interested in a scholarly debate. They simply told Hicks that self defense is a constitutional right. Hicks got the message.
Self-defense is a human right.

The Left says "call the police and wait for help." But not that long ago, there were whole sections of the population that could expect nothing in the way of help from police. The police were part of the problem; either actively participating in Klan activities, or passively looking the other way while the Klan did as it pleased. Even today, not everyone can expect calling the police will bring help.

The civil rights movement always looked to Gandhi and India's non-violent revolution for inspiration. (They still do.) But the Left always misses one thing in this analogy. India was governed by the British aristocracy, and they cared how they looked to the world as reported by the press. Non-violence did not work with the Klan, because they did not care how they looked to East Coast liberals. They were perfectly willing to deal out violence to further their aims. The same was true of Nazi Germany. (Stalinist Russia didn't have to worry about the press - they were in its pocket.)

The Deacons for Defense and Justice did not plead to be given their rights. They did not beg to be taken seriously. They made sure they were taken seriously. They took action and fought for their rights, and they defended themselves, their families and their communities from oppression and violence.

Toyota Is Big Loser in January Car Sales

Recalls abound. Toyota Sales Slip 16%; Ford, GM Gain -

 Company  Result 
 Toyota Down 16% 
 FordUp 24.4%
 GMUp 14.6%
 HondaDown 5%
 NissanUp 16%
 HyundaiUp 24%

The big winner was Volkswagen, with sales up 41%, though they are starting at a small number of units. The big loser is Chrysler, down 8% over the same period last year.

Bigots By Any Other Name...

Would be as annoying. Cross found at Air Force Academy's Wicca center -
The Air Force Academy, stung several years ago by accusations of Christian bias, has built a new outdoor worship area for pagans and other practitioners of Earth-based religions.

But its opening, heralded as a sign of a more tolerant religious climate at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., was marred by the discovery two weeks ago of a large wooden cross placed there.
Because the Christians have to remind the rest of us that we are evil and will burn in hell.

Things haven't changed that much.
In 2004, an academy survey found that many cadets felt that evangelical Christians were imposing their views and harassing non-Christians at the school
And just wait for the powers-that-be to get involved. They will clear things up.

Or maybe not
Weinstein [1977 graduate of the academy and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation] did not attend the meeting but said that faculty members who did described the official reaction as tepid.

One faculty member, who attended and asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, supported Weinstein's characterization of the meeting.

The reaction would have been stronger, Weinstein said, if another worship center had been involved. Had a swastika been placed in the Jewish center, "heads would be rolling," he said.
But it's only those damn wiccans, so who cares about being tolerant? Or fair, or respectful, or whatever.

Another Reason to Stay In the Boat

Sharks. Kiteboarder dies after shark attack off Stuart: Great white sharks suspected in death -

The early reports were "juvenile Great White" sharks, but this guy says be careful before jumping to conclusions.
Of the many types of sharks off the Treasure Coast, three of the four species known to attack humans -- great hammerheads, bulls and tigers -- prefer warm water. They leave the area or go deep in winter.

"The only other species that gathers in abundance out there in the winter are the juvenile great white sharks," Gilmore said.
Some other varieties, but they aren't usually involved in fatal attacks.
Spinner sharks and blacktips are currently migrating up the coast, Hammerschlag said.

"They don't attack unless provoked, but maybe the guy on the kiteboard ended up on top of a shark," he said.
Alligators in fresh water. Crocodiles in salt water. Sharks. Rays. ... I like to stay in the boat, preferably with a Gin & Tonic. (Or coffee in the morning.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Wicca Gets a Home on the Air Force Academy Grounds

To match the homes provided for other religions. Earth religions get worship area at AF Academy -

I was really hoping to find some invective to poke fun at, but aside from a snide remark from Fox News, there isn't much.

Some great quotes about a fundamental commitment to the freedom of religion. (Even religions that you don't like.)

2004 saw some harassment on both the AF academy and at Fort Hood. Since then they have rediscovered tolerance.

(There are few quips about Cthullu, but that is not the invective I was hoping for. Maybe the bigots will be out in the morning.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Of Course Not

No criminal charges for cop accused of fake DUI arrests A lot of false arrests.

They couldn't prove their case.

Has nothing to do with the lying SOB being a cop.

But He Was a "Brother Officer"

You can't expect them to treat each other the way they treat everyone else. They're cops, after all. Experts: Police botched 1st Peterson investigation -
JOLIET, Ill. -- From nearly the moment the lead investigator stepped into the suburban Chicago area home where former policeman Drew Peterson's third wife was found dead in a dry bathtub, he treated her death as a tragic accident.
You want them to assume that when a cop's wife drowns, he might have something to do with it? You don't know much about cops.
Six years later, as prosecutors and defense attorneys prepare for Peterson's trial on charges of murdering Kathleen Savio, one thing has become clear: Police blew the initial investigation, undermining prosecutors' ability to prove their case.
That was the whole point. He was "one of theirs." He couldn't be subjected to the same stuff reserved the the "little people." (That's everyone who isn't a cop.)

Peterson is now suspected of foul play in the death of one wife, and the disappearance of another.

While cops had been called to the Peterson home, no reports were filed. That would be too much like treating a cop like a citizen.

If there is any justice in this, it will be that all those cops in that quiet suburb are haunted by the shades of the 2 women they failed - miserably - to protect, from one of their own.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys, 0

They suffered a breakdown of the victim selection process. Police: Home Owner Shoots, Kills Alleged Robber

If you break into enough homes, you will eventually find an armed resident.
The shooting happened Saturday night at a home at 559 E. Oak St. in Forest, police said. Two men, one of whom was armed with a .38-caliber pistol, kicked in the door and rushed into the home, police said. The homeowner shot Derrick Thickland, 17, once in the leg and twice in the chest, police said. Thickland was allegedly armed with the gun, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The second man, Luis Pedro, ran from the home and Forest police found him a few minutes later hiding across the street, officials said. Pedro admitted to police that he and Thickland had gone to the home to commit armed robbery and when they kicked in the door, they were met with gunfire, police said.
Forest Police Chief Robert Roncali calls this a case of a man "protecting his castle." No charges are expected against the homeowner, though the investigation continues.

Confronted with an armed intruder, it would be reasonable to see a threat of death or grave bodily injury. Taking out that armed threat is only prudent.

Self-defense is a human right.