Friday, April 30, 2010

Smoked Goblin? Aisle Five

So how is a guy 63-years-old supposed to defend himself from a 20-year-old Goblin? Cops: Would-be robber shot and killed by merchant | | The Detroit News
The alleged robber entered the Antiques Bought and Sold on Michigan Avenue near Parkinson late Thursday afternoon brandishing a pistol -- but the store owner, 63, allegedly pulled out his own gun and fired several shots, killing the would-be thief, Detroit Police 2nd Deputy Chief John Roach said.
Self-defense is a human right. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

It was clearly a "him or me" kind of situation. Police: Homeowner not being charged in fatal shooting at this time - CHARLESTON, SC So what would do if three armed thugs broke into your house and threatened you and your family with harm?
Horry County Police say a Conway homeowner who shot and killed a man who threatened him and his wife at gunpoint is not facing charges at this time.
They pointed a gun at him and at his wife. He pulled a .357 magnum and shot one of them three times. (That will ruin your day!) That guy's body was found near the home.

The two other thugs ran like rabbits. One guy is in custody (not sure if he had been charged by the time this article was published), and police are looking a third guy, but have no description.

Self-defense is a human right, and in South Carolina it is also your legal right (at least in your home - gotta love the Castle Doctrine).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Greece Circles the Drain
Spain and Portugal May Go Along for the Ride

Tell me again how runaway government spending is a good thing. Spain hit as Greek 'illness' spreads over Europe - Times Online
Fear of contagion gripped Europe’s financial markets when the debt rating agency Standard & Poor’s cut the rating on Spain’s sovereign bonds. The decision — coming after the agency downgraded Portugal’s rating and cast Greek bonds into the scrapyard, designating them junk — sent the euro plunging against the dollar.
Government spending. You see almost 10 percent of Greeks work for the government. Not 10 percent of the working population, ten percent of the population which includes retirees and kids. And they get gold-plated retirement benefits. At this point "bailout" does not equal "loan." And the Germans don't want to give gifts to Greece because it may become a trend.
Opposition to the bailout in Germany has hampered efforts by eurozone leaders to speak with one voice. Germans fear that any money lent to Greece will be lost and they resent the idea of funding pension benefits to Greeks that are superior to those enjoyed by Germans. To appease public opinion, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, has insisted that Greece make bigger cuts in its state budget.
Greek crisis: Athens to Ashes - Telegraph Greek financial instruments have effectively been frozen. The bonds have been relegated to junk status, and the refinance date is May 19. Which there is no market for. (Not even the speculators are showing up to buy Greek bonds at this time.) So on May 19, 2010, the short odds are on Greece defaulting on its bonds. Bankruptcy.

An aging population. Spending far exceeding income. Unions constantly staging strikes.
Chancellor Angela Merkel rather callously indicated yesterday that the country should never have been allowed to join the single currency. Much to her annoyance, Merkel is rapidly taking on protagonist status. The Germans have refused to sign off the emergency loan, which is probably reasonable, given that Greece only officially asked for it on Friday. But this delay – precipitated by the fact that there are regional elections early next month, and that the German public are almost unanimously against a bail-out – is what has sparked this week's chaos.
But the horror doesn't stop with Greece, or even with Portugal or Spain.
If Germany is reluctant to bail out Greece, where does that leave Portugal, which is also cursed with many of the same problems (gaping budget and current account deficits), or for that matter Spain, Italy or Ireland? For although the politicians are desperate to portray Greece as sui generis, it is merely the canary in the fiscal coalmine. The financial crisis occurred when investors realised banks were excessively overburdened with debt; in the sequel, they realise that the same can now be said of a swathe of countries. Britain shares many of Greece's problems, but not the most problematic – membership of the euro.
Which doesn't mean the UK can't get sucked in as well.

Now all of this goes a long way to explaining why the greenback is doing so well these days. But if you think that means it "can't happen here," well, I'm sure some people said the same thing about Europe.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crazy Man With a Gun. Oh, It's Just a Cop

Stupid cops acting like thugs, then discover the existence of video, and freak out. Motorcyclist jailed for 26 hours for videotaping gun-wielding cop | Photography is Not a Crime

The judge who finally let this guy out of jail said it doesn't appear that he violated the wiretap law. (That's what cops charge you with when they discover you are video taping them in public. Of course it doesn't apply.)

Not happy with that, they went and searched his house. No judges signature on the warrant. Took a bunch of computers and generally terrorized the family. Why?

Cops don't like to be video taped. Especially the idiot cops caught out acting like thugs. So they use intimidation to make sure you don't do it again. The fact that you are right and they are wrong never enters into it. The fact that this is harassment plain and simple will never be prosecuted. [Hat tip Tam]

Guy Acting Crazy Gets Shot

Man Dared Homeowner To Shoot Him Yeah, that's pretty crazy.
When Perry tried to get into the home of Jeffrey Lambert he was told to leave or he would be shot.

"Perry had pretty much dared him to shoot him and said he was coming in anyway," [Senior Trooper L.T. Goldie Jr.] explained. "In that residence specifically was four small children of Mr. Lambert. He said he felt threatened for his safety and his children's safety, so he fired the shot."
Based on his crazy behavior toward other folks in the neighborhood, the shooting was ruled justified.

The crazy guy was shot once in the stomach with a .22 long rifle. When he gets out of the hospital, he will face some time in jail for assault and trespassing.

Good Guys 1, Bad (or crazy) Guys 0. Self-defense is a human right.

Why Do Politicians Issue Phony Apologies?

UK campaign gaffe: Brown calls voter a bigot - Yahoo! News He gets caught with a live microphone calling a woman a bigot, because like a lot of Britons, she is worried about all of the uncontrolled immigration.

When he realizes what happened, he rushes back and says, "I didn't mean it." Of course he meant it. He said it in a moment when he was unguarded, when he thought he could express his private convictions without letting the press know.

Just once I would like to see a politician man up to his actions. He called her a bigot because he thinks anyone worried about immigration must be a bigot. (Or in general, if you don't agree with the programs and policies of the Left, you are an idiot, a bigot, or just plain evil.

It is like Obama and the "bitter/clinger" gaff. He meant that too.

Brown won't get re-elected. People are tired of Labour. But the Conservatives won't get elected either, because like the Republicans, they aren't really sure what they stand for. So the far Left will take over in the UK. I mean, it has worked out so well for the Greeks, and Portuguese, and the Irish. So well that some Germans are actually working to get out of the Euro zone. Not that the will of the people will bother the governments of Europe. They think the peons are all ignorant bigots.

The Good News and the Bad News on Piracy

The countries of the world are doing something, and it is better than nothing. Piracy attacks down by a third in Q1 2010: watchdog
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Pirate attacks around the world fell by 34 percent in the first quarter of 2010 from a year ago due to the continued presence of foreign navies in the Gulf of Aden, a maritime watchdog said on Wednesday.

The London headquartered International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said its piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur logged a total of 67 incidents from January to March this year. There were 102 incidents in the first three months of last year.
2009 was the worst year in 6 years, so some improvement in 2010 is a good thing. The Somali piracy problem (Gulf of Aden and environs) saw a decrease from 41 attacks in the first quarter of last year to 17 attacks in the first quarter of this year.

But that doesn't mean we should forget about this problem (as most of the US news media seems to have done).

Greece, Portugal, Spain (and maybe Ireland) in Trouble

So can deficit spending go on forever? Probably not. Europe Worried That Greek Crisis Is Poised to Spread - The lack of funds for Greece is worrisome, but they aren't the only country in need of cash.

Which goes a long way to explain that while our government is doing everything it can to overwhelm the dollar, the euro is actually losing ground to the greenback.(down 13 percent since December)

And then the Germans, who will have to foot a lot of the bill are a bit reluctant. At least some of them are. 'We're on a Slippery Slope': Will the Greek Bailout Destroy the Euro Zone? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
One of them, Werner Langen, head of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament, is "extremely skeptical about whether the aid package is compliant with EU law and the German constitutional law."
Expect lawsuits to stop Germany from paying.

And giving Greece more money via loans won't solve the problem. They need to stop spending money they don't have, and aren't likely to be able to borrow now that their bond rating has tanked.
A major ratings agency cut Greece’s debt to junk level on Tuesday, warning that bondholders could face losses of up to 50 percent of their holdings in a restructuring. The agency also downgraded Portugal’s debt by two notches. Ref.
Eventually, people begin to think they won't get their money back. Eventually they remember that countries do in fact go bankrupt, and default on loans.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Because You Can't Expect to Blame Individuals

This is a pretty sad statement. Springs businessman blames city cuts for murder at restaurant - The Denver Post
Gaspar Martinez, owner of Ruskin Liquor, blamed the man's death on increased violence in the area — and the city's decision to turn off the street light in front of the business.
Because it couldn't possibly be the fault of the person with the gun.

Individual responsibility is so 19th Century.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight

Or how is a 65-year-old supposed to defend himself from an armed 40-year-old? Police: Intended Victim Shoots Mugger In New Haven -
A would-be mugger armed with a knife who tried to a rob a man armed with a handgun was shot Monday afternoon in the city's Wooster Square Park.

"Give me all your money or I'll stab you," the mugger told the man, according to New Haven police Officer Joe Avery.

The suspect backed his intended victim up against a fence, Avery said, then the man pulled a gun and fired.
The hapless robber is in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. The 65-year-old man was questioned and released.

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

Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

The results are quite predictable. Burglar Shot By Homeowner - WREG
(Memphis 4/26/10) A Raleigh man grabbed his gun and shot one of three teenage intruders who tried to break into his home Monday morning.

He managed to scare off the other two would-be burglars but his family says their house is not new to crime. The family who lives there seems to think their home is a target and they bought a gun to protect it.
For once, the neighbors are not shocked.
Neighbors say it's the third house to be hit by burglars so far this year. The spike in crime has many willing to do anything to protect themselves.

"Any other homeowner would do the same thing," says neighbor, Jeff Jordan. "It's just ridiculous how they're constantly trying to break into people's homes trying to steal the goods that we work so hard for."
Of course you don't know that they are only after things. People invading your home are a threat, which is why this kind of shooting is (usually) legal. (At least in places that aren't more worried about the criminals than they are about the victims.)

Self-defense is a human right.

Monday, April 26, 2010

News That Doesn't Seem to Be in the News

I guess America is more interested in the fate of Gizmodo than in the war in Afghanistan. News Article: Air Strike in Afghanistan Kills Senior Insurgents

Now I don't own a TV, so I sometimes miss news on the first day, but internet usually keeps up with anything (that the Left deems) important.
A senior militant commander in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province and two of his top advisors were killed in a precision air strike in northern Kunduz this morning, military officials reported.

The senior insurgents were driving through a rural desert area northeast of Kunduz City when they were struck by precision air fire.

The senior Taliban commander was involved in all aspects of insurgent operations in Kunduz province, officials said. He was responsible for setting target priorities, weapons distribution and directing attacks against coalition and Afghan forces.
The article then goes on to list some successes from the recent past. Including the bit that caught my attention.
In Kunduz’s Archi district the night of April 23, a combined Afghan-international security force was engaged with small-arms fire. The combined force returned fire, killing several insurgents and detaining a few others. Two of those killed were Taliban commanders, one of them being the target of the raid, who was responsible for distributing insurgent funds, designating targets and planning bombings. Though women and children were in the compound buildings, none were injured during the operation. The homeowner told the patrol the Taliban had forced their way into the compound for the night. International forces will reimburse the homeowner for minor damage to his property. A search of the buildings yielded automatic rifles, a machine gun, a rocket-propelled grenade, hand grenades and other weapons.
Funny what makes news and what doesn't

A Cautionary Tale

Don't believe everything people tell you. Homeowner Shot by Robblers Claiming They Were on Service Call
Police say around 11:00 am Monday, a neighbor living on Dee Ann Road got a visit from two men in tan shirts who claimed to be making a service call.

"He did open the door for them once they knocked and said who they claimed to have been. Once he unlocked the door, they forced their way in," says Major Anthony Berryhill of the Memphis Police Department.
Employees of the cable company in the area don't wear tan uniforms. And when does the cable company come for service if you haven't called them?

Neighbors aren't shocked, so much as disappointed.
"Trying to take ways to protect the neighborhood so we put up cameras. Tape goes back 30 days and we can see every vehicle that comes in, record the tags and everything," says Rosenthal.

Neighbors say the cameras and their strong neighborhood watch have worked.

In four years, there have only been two serious crimes.

So they are anxious for this one to be solved.
But is sounds at least like there should be some solid leads.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Case Anyone Is Interested...

The World Chess Championship starts April 24th (today) at 10 a.m. New York time, and runs through May 12. There are 2 million Euros in prize money - split 60/40 - so it is a big deal. That's about $2.67 million.

Viswanathan Anand (India) the current champion, is meeting challenger Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) in Sophia, Bulgaria.

It wouldn't be a chess championship without controversy and people are already crying foul that Topalov is playing "on his home turf." And Topalov has invoked the rules of "silence" - no conversation between players - which apparently has insulted Viswanathan.

For anyone interested, there will be live coverage, and commentary, (ChessBase is as good a place as any.) But that is only for the truly dedicated geeks among us.

The games are long, even by the standards of chess. Each player gets 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves, followed by 15 minute sudden death - except both clocks get a 30 second bonus for each move after 61. Hey, it's chess, the rules are supposed to be complicated.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Blissful State of Health Care in the UK

Or maybe not so blissful. Two women every day 'being turned away from overstretched maternity units' - Telegraph

Shortages of midwives. (Forget about doctors. You won't see one unless there is an emergency.)
As well as staff shortages maternity wards are also struggling to a cope with a rising birth rate – there were 708,708 live births in England and Wales in 2008, the highest number since 1972.
But then it's hard to hire more staff and cut costs at the same time.

Don't Bring a Hammer to a Gunfight

Self-defense is legal in Mississippi. Police: It was self-defense - D'Iberville A guy comes to your home and hits you with a hammer, I should hope you have the right to defend yourself.

The dead guy was in "a jealous rage."
Police said the homeowner was getting ready for work when he heard a knock on the door.

The man told police Mahaffey hit him in the head with a hammer so he got a weapon to defend himself.

The man, whom police would not identify, was injured and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The guy with the hammer was pronounced dead at the scene, from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Self-defense is a human right.

With Friends Like These...

Kidnapping and attempted murder. But it wasn't a hate crime (according to police anyway). The fact that it happened on a day to respect gays who had been the victims of bullying is just a coincidence (according to police, anyway). Police say there is no evidence attack against gay teen was a 'hate crime'
Those charged in the alleged attack — who attended Jackson County High School with Williams — are Ashley N. Sams, 18, of Annville; Corrine M. Schwab, 18 of Sandgap; and a 17-year-old girl. Her name and the charges against her have not been released because she is a juvenile.

[Cheyenne] Williams said the three teens took her against her will to Flat Lick Falls, physically abused her and tried to push her off a cliff.
She escaped by getting a large stick and using it as a defensive weapon.

Some of the incident was captured on cell-phone video.

The 3 charged are described as having been friends with victim.
As for the timing, however, she noted that the alleged attack happened Friday, the day of a national observance for people who have faced bullying or harassment because of their sexual orientation.
Just another of the pesky "special rights" the gays are always trying to get. The right to not be attacked and thrown over a cliff.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

The bad guys haven't figured out the Floridians are armed. Suspect in home invasion shot by homeowner
At around 2:30 p.m., the homeowner was sleeping when he heard noises in another part of the home, .... He grabbed his handgun, entered another bedroom and found two men in the room, the sheriff's office said.
A struggle ensued and one of the bad guys was shot. The other ran like a rabbit.

The bad guy who got shot was taken to a local hospital.

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

So You Think Calling 911 Is the Answer

Probably not in Detroit. Detroit Police chip away at 911 response times.

They have a lot of room for improvement.

Currently it takes on average, 24 minutes for Detroit PD to respond to an EMERGENCY call. It was 34 minutes a few months back. (That's a 28.5% improvement.) I can't begin to tell you how many bad things can happen in 24 minutes. No word on how long non-emergency

This number is why some citizens in Detroit have stopped calling 911.

Actions Have Consequences

He thought 2 guys moving would be easy targets. He was wrong. Would-Be Robber Shot & Killed By His Intended Victims.
IMPD Sgt. Matt Mount tells FOX59 two men were moving into a third story apartment in the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Street when a man approached them asking for change for a $5 bill.

The men led him into the apartment to get the money when he pulled a gun and told them to get in the back room. One of the two men pulled a gun of his own and shot the robber multiple times.
No charges will be leveled against the two intended-victims.

Those “Special Rights” Gays Want - Like Keeping Their Property

Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells all of their worldly possessions

Some things Sonoma County did.

Ignore powers of attorney. Lie to judges about status of relationships. Confiscate private property. Separate a couple who was together for 20 years, in the last months of one of the partner's life.

Yeah, gays are all about "special rights." Like simple respect, or being treated with common decency. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crazy People in Small Boats

Well, maybe just a little crazy....

The Everglades Challenge (run by The Water Tribe) is a race run every year. 300 miles (more or less) from Fort DeSoto in St Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay) to Key Largo by way of the Everglades National Park.

The rule being that you have to be able to beach your craft and launch from a beach. (Race starts with boats on the sand, and you have to hit several checkpoints along the way.)

Everything from kayaks to small sailboats, including some truly wacky designs.

The videos include bits of what I consider off-shore for small sailboats. (for example, a 21 ft, open sailboat)

You can find a collection of 2010 videos at this link.

I'm not sure which is worse, kayaking through the Everglades - alligator capital of America - or sailing out of sight of land in a big canoe. For example, see the SandyBottom Blog description of the alligator menace. [click the image for a larger view of that fellow. This photo also answers the perennial "trick question" of "What color is an alligator?" Why, black, of course.]

If you are really ambitious, every other year they run the Ultimate Florida Challenge. Fort DeSoto, to Key Largo, up the East Coast to St Mary's River, north to GA state line, a 40 mile portage to the Swanee River, down the nature coast to Clearwater, and back to Fort DeSoto. (approx. 1200 miles before you're done) If you want to compete in the 2012 Ultimate Florida Challenge, you must finish the 2011 Everglades Challenge (I think).

If you are disappointed that you missed the fun this year, don't despair, the North Carolina Challenge (100 miles around Pamlico Sound) is at the end of September. See The Water Tribe for info.

Home Invaders Meet Armed Homeowner

Two guys kicked in the front door of a house. You could say they had a breakdown of the victim-selection process. Cops: 1 killed during DeKalb home invasion �| One is dead. One is wounded and in police custody.
Police have not identified the DeKalb homeowner who shot two men that entered his home after kicking in his front door Wednesday afternoon.

One of the intruders was transported to Grady Hospital, where he later died, according to Mekka Parish, police spokeswoman. He died shortly before 5 p.m., police said. His name has not yet been released.
The other guy ran away, but showed up at the local hospital with a gunshot wound. No word on his condition.

The good news is... Homeowner Won't Face Charges in Shooting.
Police questioned the homeowner after the shooting, but later said the homeowner will not face charges.
Why no charges? Because self-defense is not just a human-right, it is also your legal right in Georgia.

This Really Is Insane

Evelyn Pringle: The Psychiatric Drugging of Infants and Toddlers

How exactly do you know if an infant has a psychological disorder?
The United States has become the psychiatric drugging capital of the world for kids with children being medicated at a younger and younger age. Medicaid records in some states show infants less than a year old on drugs for mental disorders.

The use of powerful antipsychotics with privately insured children, aged 2 through 5 in the US, doubled between 1999 and 2007, according to a study of data on more than one million children with private health insurance in the January, 2010, "Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry."
And then...
Lane asked for Dawdy's opinion on a recent report in the St Petersburg Times that found 23 infants less than one-year-old had been prescribed antipsychotics in Florida in 2007, as well as the drug overdose death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley in Massachusetts. "How is it possible for psychiatrists to continue prescribing to infants in such numbers without more oversight?" Lane asked.

"What's gone on with antipsychotics prescribed to infants and toddlers is simply inexplicable to me," Dawdy said. "The drugs are known to cause huge problems in adults, so why the heck would a doctor give them to little kids, especially infants? It boggles my small mind."
What are we doing?

Bizarre Movie Reference of the Day

Girls accused of killing gay man in attack like Clockwork Orange - Times Online [Que music by Ludwig Van']

A Clockwork Orange was a dystopian view of "future" London. Not that much future as it turns out.
Ruby Thomas and Rachel Burke, both 18, stamped on Ian Baynham’s chest and kicked him in the head after their friend Joel Alexander, 19, had punched him to the ground, knocking him unconscious, the Old Bailey was told.

As Mr Baynham lay bleeding the teenagers continued to assault him, it was said, causing him to suffer a fit from brain damage after his skull had been fractured.
Two very stylish young women, out for a night of the "ultra-violence." (Where's Malcolm McDowell when you need him?)

The Blissful State of Health Care in the UK

Or maybe not so blissful. Man died after medics missed disease six times, inquest hears - Telegraph

They got the diagnosis wrong, and kept going back to it. (“consistent with previous findings” - no reason to think.)

He was denied an MRI which would have found the problem - Crohn's Disease. It wouldn't be because the cost of an MRI now would it?

I can see if they missed it once. Maybe twice. But when he wasn't getting better, maybe someone should have realized that there was something really wrong.

And so we have this.
Malcolm Drake, 23, died from Crohn's Disease and spent his final hours unable to move or eat. He had sought help six times in the days before he died, but GPs and two Accident and Emergency doctors had missed his condition.
Much cheaper to do nothing. (At least until the law-suit is filed, that is.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

I'm all for being optimistic, but plans of this nature should be close to reality, if not actually grounded in it. Chicago police outline summer crime plan
Chicago police Tuesday outlined their initiative to stop violence and keep city streets safe during the summer.
I guess this wording could be the reporters/editors fault. "Stop violence?" How about a plan to combat violence, or a plan to reduce violence? A plan to stop violence on the streets of Chicago has about as much hope as a plan to bring about world peace.
After 15 months in decline, Weis conceded there has been a recent uptick in violent crime. New data analysis, though, shows it is confined to a remarkably small area.
Meanwhile, CPD's ability to actually solve crimes erodes even further.

The code of silence is pretty strong. Police: Even while dying, teen won't talk :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Chicago Crime
Cop asks: Do you know who shot you? He replies: 'I know. But I ain't telling you. . .'
The closure rate on murders dropped from 58 percent to 54 percent in 2009.

Oh, and they really do have a long way to go. Wave of shootings leaves seven dead in 12 hours. That is a bad day, even by Chicago standards.

Good luck with those pie-in-the-sky plans.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

So how exactly should an 89-year-old respond to an intruder in her home? Offer him some cookies? Police: 89-Year-Old Fires Gun At Intruder - Des Moines News Story - KCCI Des Moines
"After he start kicking the door, that’s when I got my gun. And that’s when he stood there. And that’s when I fired my shot, you know. The Lord was with me, I never got scared," said Turner.

Turner told KCCI that she was aiming at McAlpine.

"The next thing I knew, he was in here. Right there. And that’s when I grabbed my gun and I stood right there in my bedroom door with my gun and I said I’m going to kill you!" said Turner. "I was trying to hit him in the head, but I guess my bullet missed him. But if it had cocked him again, I’d have got him."

Turner told police that McAlpine quickly left the home.
He ran like a rabbit. But he didn't get far. He was arrested, and charged with second-degree burglary.

This is the part I love best.
"This is a .22. And the police reloaded it for me," said Turner. "I know how to work that gun. I just hope and pray to God it don't happen again."
So, do you think those cops are opposed to the law-abiding defending themselves? Neither do I.

Self-defense is a human right.

Expect the Usual Suspects to Get Bent Out of Shape Over the Number of Shots

Houston Officer Shoots Arlington Teen Six Times -

You shoot until the threat is eliminated. Shooting someone once, and having them fall down, only happens in the movies.
Arlington police say this wasn't a single incident, but a series of volatile events, including fighting, a hit and run, and the shooting.
And the dead "teenager" (who was 18, and would have been charged as an adult if a crime was committed) had a gun.

But the usual suspects will no doubt work this for all it is worth.

Home Invader Meets Armed Homeowner

Onalaska man shoots, kills apparant burglar | Seattle Times Newspaper He had one burglary, so he stayed on the property (a house under construction).
When he heard a noise Monday night, he opened the garage door, found a flashlight shining in his eyes and fired. A 56-year-old Morton man was killed.

A 31-year-old Morton woman fled but later talked to deputies and was released.
I find it odd she was released.

Still, self-defense is a human right.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Welcome to the Panopticon

Video cameras are everywhere. And the capture everything, including cops out of control. The Associated Press: Cops getting caught on camera increases scrutiny

A review of a several incidents, some new, some old, and the debt the public owes to video cameras.
CHICAGO — Minutes after a suburban Chicago police officer was charged with striking a motorist with his baton, prosecutors handed out copies of a video showing the beating — taken by a dashboard camera on the officer's own squad car.

In California, after a transit cop and an unruly train passenger slammed against a wall during a struggle and shattered a station window last fall, video from a bystander's cell phone was all over the Internet before the window was fixed.
Cops lament the fact that some videos only show a small part of an incident. There is of course a way to fix this: record absolutely everything a cop does and says while on the job. They don't want that either, of course. But if you recorded everything, there would be no room for "creative editing."
Some say cameras are exposing behavior that police have gotten away with for years. But others contend the videos, which often show a snippet of an incident, turn officers into villains simply for doing their jobs, making them targets of lawsuits and discipline from bosses buckling to public pressure.
Anthony Abbate, the Chicago cop whose beating of a small, female bartender was recorded, was only charged with misdemeanors before the tape played everywhere. (See the video at CBS-2 Chicago)

Now they do list one incident where the video recording of the end of the incident probably didn't do the whole encounter justice (maybe), but then I go back to the idea of recording everything. There would be no doubt what happened, no claiming, "but if you only saw the 10 minutes before that..."

Expect cops to resist, since they like operating in the dark.

So How's All That Gun Control Working Out for You?

Not so good. Bloody 12 hours in Chicago - Or as the headline reads...

7 dead, 18 wounded in 12-hour rash of shootings: Police say most of the violence was gang related

Not very good for Chicago.
One man heard something in the alley, went to investigate, and was shot in the face and chest. Another man was pushing his son in a stroller when someone jumped out of a parked vehicle and began shooting. Two men with shirts pulled up over their faces gunned down a woman after she stepped out of a fish-and-chicken place.
The CPD Superintendent, Jody Weiss, said this was "unacceptable." No? Really?

So in the middle of all this violence, do you think the law-abiding should have any means of self-defense? You don't if you are Illinois Democrats.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0

Burglar (or is that home invader?) meets armed homeowner. Jackson resident shoots burglary suspect | | The Clarion-Ledger

He had a good idea, then he had a bad idea.
A homeowner living in the 1300 block of Jefferson Street told police he was awakened before 5 a.m. today and saw the silhouette of a man standing in his bedroom.

The homeowner retrieved a weapon and followed the man as he fled.

When the alleged intruder made a threatening gesture, the homeowner shot the suspect in the leg.
His good idea was to run away from the man with the gun. His bad idea was to threaten the man with the gun.

For his trouble he spent some time in hospital and was released into police custody.

Shot and arrested makes for a bad day for the bad guys.

Self-defense is a human right.

The End of a Dream?

Some people dreamt of a united Europe. Too bad the Europeans couldn't decide on a fiscal policy. Morgan Stanley fears German exit from EMU - Telegraph
a bail-out for Greece may be necessary to avoid a crisis for Europe's financial system, but warned that it also "sows the seeds for potentially even bigger problems further down the road".

Mr Fels said weak states cannot easily leave EMU because they would pay a stiff penalty in higher rates, would be stuck with euro debt contracts, and might need controls to stem capital flight. It is a different calculus for Germany, which would see lower rates and might view EMU exit as the only way to ensure monetary stability.
People made commitments when they joined the EU. Several countries have not really lived up to those commitments - Greece only being the first to hit the wall.

Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe right now, and likely sees itself having to bail out a lot of spend-thrift nations. (I am more surprised the Germans ever thought the rest of Europe would follow its lead financially, than I am surprised they may opt out.)
Most governments in the advanced countries will exit from recession with the highest deficit and debt-to-GDP ratios recorded in times of peace. It is essential to prevent public finances from running out of control," he said.

Dr Stark said public debt will reach 88pc of GDP next year in the eurozone and the UK, 100pc in the US and 200pc in Japan. "There is no doubt that fiscal policies have been put on a path that is not sustainable," he said.
Don't tell that to Congress... they are all set to spend more.

Finally Someone Does Something

But if I know the EU, it won't be enough. After Spectacular Dutch Rescue: Somali Pirates Could Face Trial in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Dutch marines stormed the ship which had been taken over by pirates, only because there was no risk to the crew; they were barricaded in a secure room.
The evidence against the pirates appears relatively strong. Shortly after the MS Taipan was stormed, a team from Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office traveled to the United Arab Emirates in order to secure evidence and to interview the crew. Unlike in previous cases, the pirates, who surrendered without a fight, were seized only after they had already boarded the ship.
The most they will face if sentenced under German law is 5 years in prison.

Piracy used to be a hanging crime, but I guess that was true of a lot of things.

I am not sure that 5 years as the guest of the German government will be enough to convince people from one of the poorest countries on earth to change their ways.

But at least the Europeans have stopped practicing "catch and release."

I Was Right, Chocolate Is a Drug

Though I thought it only cured broken hearts. Dark chocolate may soon be prescribed to liver patients - Telegraph

“Mount Galunggung Gliding Club”
Or Why Pilots Pay Attention to Volcanoes

How Captain Eric Moody’s brush with volcanic ash became aircraft lore -Times Online

An interesting story of a near-disaster caused by flying through volcanic ash.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Are Your Chances of Surviving a Plane Crash?

I have been reading several books on the subject of people surviving disasters of all kinds. (It is almost the start of hurricane season, after all.) Several were suggested by Tam, and I finally got my hands on a copy of  The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Shurwood.

Just at the beginning, but it is a good book. Full of things that will surprise you if you think the usual things about emergencies.

So what are your chances of surviving a plane crash?

The Blissful State of Health Care in the UK

Majority of Britons do not believe NHS does a good job: survey - Telegraph I thought it was supposed to be perfect.
Almost three out of five people in Britain do not believe the NHS is doing a good job, according to an international survey.
This in particular caught my eye.
There was also a poor response when questioned about hospital care with 63 per cent saying they were satisfied with recent care. Satisfaction rates were higher in all the other countries except Canada, the survey revealed.
I thought Canada also had perfect health care.

News Flash! Get Off Your Butt to Lose Weight

Dieting is ineffective without exercise, research suggests - Telegraph
Reducing caloric intake is ineffective unless accompanied by an increase in exercise, according to researchers.
What would we do without researchers?

One Month Between Court Order and Death

Restraining orders are interesting legal documents, not bullet proof vests. Protective orders don't always protect
Melissa Patrick filed a protective order in DeKalb Superior Court against her boyfriend, Ronnie R. Jones, 39, of Fort Wayne, on Dec. 1. A month to the day later, gunshots to the face and chest killed Patrick as she worked at a group home, and prosecutors accuse Jones of being the triggerman.
In the past, I have seen statistics that say 20 percent of all restraining orders or orders of protection fail to restrain or protect anyone.

Restraining orders are interesting legal documents, but if you truly believe you need one, you also need a plan for your personal safety. The cops are not obligated to protect you. (Look up CASTLE ROCK V. GONZALES - for a pretty clear statement by SCOTUS on this issue.) Personally, I like firearms for personal protection. Others have other preferences.

The point is, as this tragedy - and many others like it - illustrates, relying of a court order doesn't work. “The System” can't protect you.

Now, buying a firearm and getting training won't ensure your safety. There are no guarantees in this life. But doing something is better than doing nothing. (At least to my way of thinking) And doing something effective is even better.

It's All the Evil Gays' Fault!

I haven't said anything about the Irish and German problems of the Catholic Church, mostly because you can't even cite a headline without being called anti-Catholic. But this is so insane, you can't let it pass. A cardinal’s ill-informed connection - The Globe and Mail

You see the head of the Vatican's State Dept. (No. 2 in the Catholic Church according to some reports I've read) believes that the sex abuse scandal in Ireland (and I suppose Germany too, since that is also in the news) were not made worse by any (supposed) secrecy or orders to investigate under the Secretum Sancti Officii (official secrets). No, what made the whole problem worse - or caused it in the first place - was the damn gays.

Of course, part of the German abuse scandal isn't about sexual abuse, but plain old beatings and the like. I wonder if the Gays are responsible for that as well.

But then I like what was said in this article, Vatican massively confused about nature of sex, says therapist Mike Lew |
"If a man abuses a little boy it is no more a homosexual relationship than a man abusing a little girl is a heterosexual relationship," Dr Lew told AAP.

"Healthy gay men have sex with other men, healthy heterosexual men have sex with women, neither have sex with children - that's child abuse.

"And anyone who can't see that is massively, or perhaps wilfully, confused about the nature of sexuality."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Judge Acknowledges Reality - The Usual Suspects Have a Fit

So what would you tell people in a county that has had its police protection reduced to near zero? Amid cuts, Ohio judge tells citizens to carry guns �|
With deputies assigned to transport prisoners and serve warrants, only one radio car is assigned to patrol the county of 720 square miles, excluding municipalities with police departments. The sheriff's patrol area covers most of the county, the judge said Friday.
Say it again: 1 car covers roughly 720 square miles. How long do you think it will take that one car to respond if someone dials 911? Do you think the bad guys will wait quietly until the cop gets there, or do you think the good people of Ashtabula County will be mostly on their own?

They had no trouble finding a gun-fearing-weenie (in the person of a woman judge from an urban area) to say she would never carry a gun! (Bully for her.)

So what would you do if you suddenly discovered that where you were living had virtually no police presence?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Wonder If Patients Will Get a Choice?

Muslim staff escape NHS hygiene rule - Telegraph
Female staff who follow the Islamic faith will be allowed to cover their arms to preserve their modesty despite earlier guidance that all staff should be "bare below the elbow".

The Department of Health has also relaxed rules prohibiting jewellery so that Sikh members of staff can wear bangles linked with their faith, providing they are pushed up the arm while the medic treats a patient.
Will they collect enough data to see if any of this results in increased mortality? Of course not, that would be racial profiling, or something.

Posting Will Be Light to Nonexistent - Redux

As the reality of reality has reared its ugly head yet again.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Fabricating Evidence - Cops Cover for Cops

Have to start reading the London Times more frequently. 'Blue code' of silence breaks after cover-up of New Orleans shootings - Times Online

Little things like shooting innocent people, framing the victims, etc.
On September 4, 2005, officers from the New Orleans Police Department fired at a group of unarmed survivors of the storm and flooding that had ravaged the city. One of the dead was Ronald Madison, 40, a mentally disabled man. To cover their tracks the officers and their colleagues fabricated reports, planted evidence and framed their victims. Lance Madison, 49, Ronald’s brother, who was among those injured, was jailed for several weeks on bogus charges of attempted murder after officers claimed that he had fired first, despite his never having a weapon.
The attitude with which all this was done is also interesting.
“They treated it like a joke ... it’s absolutely stunning to hear about the casual way in which these officers went about destroying people’s lives,” said Mary Howell, a civil rights lawyer who represents the Madison family.
There are cops and "little people." If you aren't a cop, the don't give a damn what happens to you.

This was no spur of the moment thing. This was a concerted effort by cops who were not involved in the shooting, to see that officers didn't pay the price for their stupidity.
When other police arrived to investigate the shooting, including Lehrmann and Lohman, they realised that their colleagues had been involved in a “bad shoot” of unarmed people. The cover-up that followed included falsifying statements from the Bartholomews saying that Mr Holmes had shot at police first.

According to Lehrmann, one sergeant drafted testimony from a fictitious witness, Lakeisha Smith, that the Madisons had been looting and robbing and that Ronald had been about to shoot police when he was felled.

Meetings were held for officers to confer on getting their stories straight, spent bullet casings were kicked off the bridge to destroy evidence and officers “discussed how they could use Hurricane Katrina as an excuse for failures in the investigation of the Danziger Bridge shootings and thereby use the storm to help make the entire situation ‘go away’, ” court documents reveal.
So much for "protect and serve."

Why I Am Not on Facebook - Privacy

Warning Shot for Social Network: German Minister Launches Attack on Facebook - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
In its recently updated privacy agreement, Facebook stated that it would begin providing general information about users to third sites -- "previously vetted operators of Web sites and applications." The company wrote: "In order to provide you with useful social experiences off of Facebook, we occasionally need to provide General Information about you to pre-approved third party Web sites and applications that use Platform at the time you visit them (if you are still logged in to Facebook)."

Among the pieces of data the company is considering sharing is a person's name, gender, profile picture or current location. The data would be shared automatically, and users would not be asked for their permission -- although Facebook will offer an opt-out.
And on privacy of data in general...
Facebook does not respect this wish [to keep private data private], a fact that was confirmed in a recent study by the German consumer organization Stiftung Warentest. Facebook fares badly in this study. Facebook was graded as 'poor' in respect of user-data privacy and user rights. Facebook also refused to provide information on data security -- it was awarded a '5' (=poor) in this category as well.
Privacy is in short supply in the 21st Century, I see no reason to add to the mess. (Use Scroogle instead of Google, etc.)

No Weapons Are Required in Australia

I mean the average person will never need to defend himself, right? Man in hospital after wombat attack - Telegraph

The 20 minute attack only ended when the victim was finally able to reach an axe, and use it as a weapon.
Bruce Kringle, 60, was stepping out of his caravan in the rural town of Flowerdale, when he felt something attack his leg.

In an assault that lasted 20 minutes, the wombat brought him to the ground before climbing onto Mr Kringle's chest to continue the attack.
No, I can see that the folks in Australia were right to give up their weapons. Nothing bad ever happens to them.

But He Cooperated

Doesn't giving criminals what they want guarantee safety? Iguess not. Man shot in East End robbery | Richmond Times-Dispatch
[The] victim was standing outside in the 2000 block of North 29th Street and was confronted by a man wielding a silver handgun and demanding money, Martin said.

When the victim gave the robber $50, the robber ordered him to the ground and fired a single shot before fleeing, [Richmond police Capt. David L.] Martin said.
He got shot in the arm. He's lucky he wasn't shot in the head.

Cooperating with criminals is a strategy. In some cases a poor one, in others it may work better. In some cases it is disastrous. (Women abducted from a public place, rarely survive; it is not good to cooperate with someone trying to get you into a vehicle.)

No strategy is perfect - there are no guarantees in this life.

Monday, April 05, 2010

So, How's All That Gun Control Working for You?

Not too good... More than 40 shot, four killed on South Side

There were three (relatively) amazing things. One is that in one of the neighborhoods most impacted by gang violence, residents expect this kind of thing. The second is that a shooting took place about 4 blocks from where Chicago police Supt. Jody Weis was holding a news conference. The third?
The most brazen violence occurred as police, some of them heavily armed, responded to an earlier shooting nearby.

"If someone is going to fire weapons in the vicinity of three dozen officers armed, in uniform, the question I have to ask is, 'What will they do when we're not here?'" Weis said.
But Mayor Dumbbell Daley would have a fit if the law-abiding citizens of Chicago were able to do anything but cower like sheep. I wonder if he would be willing to give up his armed escort. They could be used to "put more cops on the streets." Probably not.

You have to get to near the bottom of the story before the word "gang" makes in into print. I suppose that in Chicago it could be implied.

News Flash: People Who Actually Accomplish Something Have High Self-esteem

The only thing surprising is that anyone actually bothered to study this. Men aged 60 have highest self esteem - Telegraph
Those with better education, income, health and employment status were also likely to report higher levels of self esteem, especially as they age, the study found.

And those in happy marriages also had higher levels of self esteem.
Women don't do so good until they get to later in life. (Are you still trying to look like the images in magazines?)

The bit I love is where they seem shocked to discover that self-esteem is related to "greater success in life."

Oh, and as old age intrudes on your health, and you leave the work force, your self-esteem is likely to fall. Considering that men get a whole bunch of their self-image from their work, when you take away the work...

This article doesn't say who paid for this study - done in the US - but if I had to guess, I would say that you could file this under "your tax dollars at work."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sometimes an Apology Isn't Enough

Especially one the mealy-mouthed. The World from Berlin: 'Political Theater in Belgrade' Falls Short of Making Up for Srebrenica - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Since few remember...
The Srebrenica massacre is considered the worst atrocity of the 1990s Balkan civil wars, and the only act of genocide in Europe since the Holocaust. Bosnian Serb militias, led by General Ratko Mladic and backed by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade, separated women from men in the spa town of Srebrenica in July 1995 and killed an estimated 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. "They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian," according to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which ruled the massacre a genocide in 2004, "and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity."
This article doesn't even touch on the UN's involvement.

The apology?
The text only says the massacre was not stopped. It sounds as if the Serbian state now wants to distance itself from the actions of the Bosnian Serbs -- although in the '90s it supported them.
And then ther are the "Yes, But" sections of the resolution.
It's true that Serbs were also victims of violence; not many people know that several dozen Serbs were killed by Bosnian Muslim (or Bosniak) fighters from Srebrenica who went plundering through the village of Kravica during Orthodox Christmas celebrations in 1993. It's also true there were very few reports of crimes against Serbs at the start of the Yugoslavian civil wars, and that experience from World War II gave Serbs a justified fear of living in a new nation as an ethnic minority. But there was a reason for these gaps in public memory: The (Serbian) fear of being victimized led quickly to monstrous Serbian crimes.
I am all about self-defense, but what the Serbs did in Bosnia was not self-defense. It was genocide.

No Confrontation - Still He Was Shot

Another armed robbery that resulted in a shooting. Violent crimes continue despite arrests
According to Shah, the man walked in and wanted to buy Newport cigarettes. After paying too much, Shah handed money back to him.

Then it became apparent what he really wanted.

The robber pulled out a gun and started grabbing for cash in the register. Shah said he backed up and the robber fired a round.

“I don’t know why he shot. I didn’t do anything, you never know what people like that will do,” Shah said
Before someone starts in on how the economy is tough, ponder the words of Hamilton, OH police Lt. Scott Scrimizzi.
Scrimizzi said, noting the man was not out robbing stores for cash to buy food or pay rent.
He was paying for a heroin addiction.

So, do you really think that a heroin addict is going to respond in some "reasonable way" to whatever action or inaction you take?

Cooperation is a strategy. It is most definitely not a guarantee of safety. There are no guarantees in this life except for death and taxes.

BTW, the store clerk, was back at work, as his injuries were not life threatening. The bullet his his watch which shattered both the bullet and the watch, but kept the bullet from penetrating very far into his wrist.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

They Don't Need a Reason

They will just shoot you. Clerk shot in robbery
[Colquitt County Sheriff’s Investigator Capt. Hal] Suber said the men pulled out guns and held a store employee there at gunpoint. The employee cooperated with the two robbers and put an unknown amount of cash into a bag and gave it to them.

The two men then began to walk out of the store, but Suber said one of them suddenly turned around and fired more than once at another store clerk, Dana Patterson. Patterson was hit and the two robbers fled the scene, but it was not known why the robber shot at her.
How about because violent criminals don't like witnesses?

People continue to be surprised that you cannot buy your safety with cooperation. Violent criminals are violent even if you are acting like a sheep.

Whenever I Complain About the State of the Culture...

Someone says that crime is actually down. That may be, but there is still something wrong with the culture. 5 charged in gang rape of girl, 7, in NJ apartment
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Two men and three teenage boys were charged Saturday with gang-raping a 7-year-old girl who was sold by her 15-year-old stepsister during a party at a crime-ridden apartment building in the state's capital, police said.
Maybe the total number of crimes is down. But the level of depravity this story highlights is hard to believe.
Police say the 15-year-old girl went to a party with some men at Rowan Towers on March 28 and the younger girl tagged along because she was worried about her stepsister's safety. They say the 15-year-old sold sex to men and boys there, then took money to let them touch the younger girl. They say the touching turned to forcible sex as at least seven men raped the 7-year-old.
This is what passes for a good time.

I can't say anything else. Just read the details for yourself.

When Are We Going to Stop Buying Crap From China?

Tainted food. Poison pet-food. Lead paint in the toys was replaced with even worse paint - cadmium. Now this. Chinese drywall homes should be 'gutted,' feds say

When they say gutted, they don't mean just replace the drywall.
The guidelines say electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, gas pipes and drywall need to be removed.
Tenenbaum said some samples of the Chinese-made product emit 100 times as much hydrogen sulfide as drywall made elsewhere.
Law suits are underway, but how long will it be before the Chinese pay? If they ever do.

Cheaply made goods are not the same as inexpensive.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Posting Will Be Light to Nonexistent

As the reality of reality has reared its ugly head again.