Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Destroying Peoples' Lives is Apparently Funny to Some

It seems a Rutgers University student thought it was funny to destroy a young man's life. Victim of Secret Dorm Sex Tape Commits Suicide - ABC News
A Rutgers University freshman posted a goodbye message on his Facebook page before jumping to his death after his roommate secretly filmed him during a "sexual encounter" in his dorm room and posted it live on the Internet.
So what possesses someone to destroy another person's life because he thinks it's funny?
A Twitter page that appears to have been operated by Ravi but has since been taken offline shows messages in which the accused student takes credit for the alleged videotaping of Clementi.

On Sept. 19, [Dharun] Ravi appears to tweet, "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
This guy is so far charged with two counts of "invasion of privacy." Some are calling it a hate crime, and I have to agree.

The sad thing is that this guy is going to get a slap on the wrist, unless this can be raised it illegal wiretap, and then he will graduate from college, and suffer little if any fallout for the rest of his life. Justice for a dead gay man? Right.

Self-defense is Legal in Missouri (I Suspected it Was)

Prosecutor won't file charges against Missouri homeowner who killed intruder -
No charges will be filed against a southeast Missouri homeowner who shot and killed a teenager who was allegedly burglarizing his home.

The Daily Dunklin Democrat in Kennett reports that an investigation by prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff and police determined there was no wrongdoing in the death of 17-year-old Bradford Hill Jr.
Self-defense is a human-right, and in Missouri it is your legal right.

Protection Order Can't Guarantee Safety

That's a quote. Police: Woman Violated Order of Protection Five Times in One Month - So if she violated a court order 3 times in one month, or 4 times, or even 1 time, why was there no punishment?
Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Jill Patterson says protection orders are useful tools for domestic violence and stalking victims but says it can't guarantee safety.
They speed up police response some, and specify "mandatory" arrests, but do they really accomplish anything?
Patterson says protection orders can also cause mandatory arrests for violators. The man, who didn't want us to reveal his identity, says Eddington was arrested each time she violated his protection order but was back out after about two hours.
And why can't people just come to terms with, "It's over!" and move on with their lives?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Blissful State of Health Care in the UK

I've missed some of the news from the UK. Here are a couple of highlights.

Government orders action on 'chemical cosh' which kills thousands - Telegraph
Last year a major report found that 180,000 patients are prescribed the treatments each year, despite the fact they do not benefit three quarters of those given them, and can cause death, or major side effects, such as strokes.
So much for "First, do no harm."

I bet the drug companies love the income and the staff in care facilities like the quiet patients.

Surgeons 'lack professionalism': Lancet medical journal - Telegraph Just another bunch of government employees?
A recent independent report found concerns over inadequately equipped operating theatres and a lack of anaesthetists and emergency care.

There was a statutory obligation to participate in the audit yet only half of centres actually did.
I wonder what the penalty is for not following that law? I wonder the UK would do if half the taxpayers decided not to follow other "statutory obligations?"

Good News on the Terror Front

Terror plot against Britain thwarted by drone strike - Telegraph A Mumbai-style firearm-based assault was planned against London and a few other European cities. Not so much after 21 drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
The CIA launched a series of attacks against militants in the area using unmanned Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles
The comments on this story would be funny under other circumstances. The Brits (some of them anyway) don't believe that after the success of the Mumbai attack that similar attacks would be planned elsewhere.

Now That is What you Call Ironic

This should make some on of the faithful blow a gasket or two. Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

The thing is, the questions were not that arcane.
A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church's central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

Atheists and agnostics — those who believe there is no God or who aren't sure — were more likely to answer the survey's questions correctly. Jews and Mormons ranked just below them in the survey's measurement of religious knowledge — so close as to be statistically tied.
If you profess to believe in something, shouldn't you know what that something is?

And it is nice to see someone who actually understands statistical calculations.
Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were included in the survey, but their numbers were too small to be broken out as statistically significant groups
Small numbers are always misleading, but that never stops people from building arguments (or even government policy) based on them.

But then these results are not surprising when you consider the abysmal state of Americans' knowledge of any subject.
For comparison purposes, the survey also asked some questions about general knowledge, which yielded the scariest finding: 4% of Americans believe that Stephen King, not Herman Melville, wrote "Moby Dick."
That's just sad.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Putting on a Mask, and Breaking Into a House is Not a “simple lapse in judgement”

I feel sorry that this mother's son was shot, but sugar coating the truth doesn't help anyone. Polk family remembers teen burglary suspect
Polk County investigators say Rubio and three other friends were trying to break into a Davenport home on Tuesday when the homeowner shot and killed him.
By 15, you have a basic concept of right and wrong. These guys were armed. They broke into a house wearing masks to avoid being identified.

But they suffered a breakdown of the victim-selection process; picked a home that contained a homeowner.

Now I can believe that those four didn't think that they would get shot, and no one who is 15 years old believes they are going to die, but this was a bit more than a lapse in judgment. They committed a deliberate act of aggression on another human being. This kid picked up a gun, and broke into a locked house.

And the real point is that the homeowner didn't know this was a 15-year-old kid, he only knew that an armed masked man broke into his house. He defended himself from attack.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Reason I Wish I Was In San Francisco This Weekend

Paxton Quigley is speaking at the Gun Rights Policy Conference. Self-defense expert promotes guns for women | San Francisco Examiner
Paxton Quigley, the New York City-based authority on women’s self-defense, will be speaking about the importance of women owning guns at the 25th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference taking place at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport hotel this weekend.
Her 1993 book, Armed and Femalewas the first book on self-defense which had been written by a woman that I had read. The anti-gun crowd was still arguing that women were too stupid to understand guns, or gun advertising. They were upset that gun manufacturers were building firearms specifically for women and advertising to women. It took them some to realize that they were being incredibly insulting. ("Women and Guns" was only first published in 1989 and only made it to the newsstand in 1991, the same year Thelma and Louise was released.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Speaking of Automakers and Bailouts...

What an awful investment. Watchdog: Taxpayers won't be repaid until GM shares hit $133
The federal government would have to sell its General Motors stock for $133.78 a share -- or $40 more a share than the highest stock price the automaker ever achieved for its old stock -- in order for taxpayers to get back the money they sank into the automaker, a federal watchdog says.
Are you kidding me? $133 per share? GM closed at 75 cents today. I think it is going to be a bit of a stretch to imagine we will ever get any of that money back.

And no, I still won't buy a car from Government Motors.

Must Be Nice to Drink and Smoke Dope on the Job

We spent billions of dollars so that all those UAW/Auto jobs wouldn't be lost. Really? Video: Chrysler's UAW Jeep workers taped drinking, smoking pot - Drive On: A conversation about the cars and trucks we drive - So these jobs are just so important to the US economy, that people can be drunk and/or stoned and do the work.

So Obama pays a visit to a Chrysler plant. I would say it is a campaign visit, because that is all he knows how to do.
The investigation started five days after the president's visit. The cameras caught workers leaving on their half-hour lunch break to head to the liquor store, and take off to a nearby park. The cameras even followed them into the liquor store to confirm the bottles in the bags were actually alcohol.

When the reporter approached the workers, asking them about their lunchtime partying, they dashed into their cars and drove away.
USA Today cites a book from the late 90s to say "this is nothing new." People are drunk on the job all the time.

And people wonder why I still won't buy a car from Government Motors. (And no, that doesn't only include General Motors.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bill Clinton: Still Managing to Suck the Oxygen Out of Politics

Just this time it happens to be Middle East politics. Bill Clinton: Russian immigrants are obstacle to peace - Telegraph
Bill Clinton has caused anger in Israel by describing Russian-speaking immigrants to the Jewish state as a significant obstacle to a peace deal with the Palestinians.
You know, all those people who escaped the old Soviet Union. They don't know what is good for them. (But old Bill is going to straighten them out!)

The Cold War May Be Heating Up Again

Yet I heard more news about Katy Perry and Lady Gaga today. North and South Korea on the brink of war, Russian diplomat warns - Telegraph
"Tensions on the Korean Peninsula could not be any higher. The only next step is a conflict," [Russian deputy foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin] told foreign policy experts at a round table on the subject in Moscow.
Borodavkin described the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a "hangover from the Cold War." Probably accurate.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

These guys seem to be in the wrong line of work. Suspects in 2 liquor store robberies shot, arrested Liquor store employees in Denver seem to be very well armed.

They tried to rob two stores. In both cases the clerks pulled guns. In the first instance, the two would-be-robbers got away. In the second instance, they both got shot.

At the first liquor store they tried, they fired shots as they ran for the exit.
Less than 10 minutes later, men matching the same description showed up at another liquor store at Mississippi Avenue and Tower Road. The clerk at the second store also pulled out a handgun, but he fired multiple shots at the suspects. The two men once again fled without carrying out the robbery.

Officers responding to the scene found one of the apparent suspects near the second attempted robbery location. He was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The other suspect was found about three miles away in the 14200 block of Montana Circle, when someone called police about a man suffering from gunshot wounds.
Police think the 2nd guy was involved in 2 hit-and-run crashes. Both idiots are under arrest.

Self-defense works.

Felony Murder Charges Possible for Teen Burglars

This is a continuation for a story of yesterday. Murder charges possible for teen burglary suspects

Four teens tried to burglarize a home, not realizing that the owner was at home, and that he was armed. Two of the teens got shot, one is in critical condition.
The sheriff says if Rubio dies, Clements, Garcia, and Murphy could be charged with murder.
It's tough when you make bad decisions, especially at a young age, but that's how the law works.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Break Into Enough Homes and You Will Find an Armed Homeowner

Some will ignore the fact that they were masked and breaking into someone's home, and call this "teens tragically shot." I don't see it that way. Polk homeowner shoots two teens reportedly breaking in
DAVENPORT - She heard the sound of her bedroom window breaking. Then she saw a masked intruder pushing through the open window.

Yahaira Cintron-Rivera woke up her husband, Jose Luis Oyola-Aponte, who armed himself with a handgun. As the masked man and a second suspect pushed the curtain open, Oyola-Aponte shot the masked intruder in the head and the other suspect in the abdomen just before noon Tuesday, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
I guess they figured no one was home.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he didn't know whether the teenagers were armed.

"You have the right to be safe and secure in your home," Judd said. "And if somebody chooses to break into your home, wearing a mask, you can defend yourself."
In addition to the 2 who got shot, 2 more got arrested.

Self-defense is a human right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Self-defense Works Even Against an Armed Intruder

What would you do, if you arrived home with your two-year-old daughter and found two armed, masked intruders in your home? Alleged intruder shot by victim - The Herald Dispatch
Criminal complaints charge one of the intruders, Jason Matthew Hall, 28, popped up from behind a counter wearing a blue ski mask as the male resident, Casey Bartram, entered the house.

The two men faced off with separate handguns -- Hall holding a .38 caliber and Bartram with a 9 mm. Bartram was ordered to the ground and then both men, still armed, entangled themselves in an altercation. Bartram then fired one shot, striking Hall just above the left eye.
The second burglar then revealed his identity to his intended victim, complaining that his cousin had just been shot. (This was very stupid since the homeowner and the burglar know each other.)

So one armed intruder is dead, and the other in police custody. And a family is safe.
"It's a good Second Amendment case," [Wayne County Sheriff Greg] Farley said. "A man was able to defend his girlfriend, child and home ... As it stands, we're not going to charge him for defending himself in his home."
That's because self-defense is not only a human-right, in most sane locales it is also your legal-right. Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Lot of Bad Things Can Happen in 10 Minutes

And given that this is describing a fairly rural area, that is pretty good response time. Will County: Sheriff's office says call time among best - The Daily Journal
Residents of unincorporated areas of eastern Will County could wait, on average, more than 13 minutes for sheriff's police to respond to a call for help.

The average response time for emergency calls was 11.88 minutes and nonemergency responses averaged 13.47 minutes, according to Will County sheriff's spokesman Pat Barry.
Some people will wait longer than 12 minutes.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but given the nature of response times, even if you can call before a serious crime is committed, you will be on your own for a long time. Maybe you will be on your own for the rest of your life.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight

And if you do, don't "lunge" at the guy with the gun. Homeowner shoots accused burglar in East Knox County
[The homeowner] told officers when he went to the back of the barn, he saw a gate open. As he headed in the barn, he said Bible lunged at him so he shot him one time.

Investigators says Bible threw a knife under a machine as he fell. It was later recovered by officers.
Self-defense is a human-right. Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Texans Are Still Armed. Bad Guys Still Don't Realize It

When I was going to night clubs in Chicago, parking illegally was just about a guarantee of a tow.* This guy was mad his got towed. HPD: Homeowner shoots man angry over towed car - Houston Chronicle
A Montrose homeowner shot an enraged man who broke into his house early Friday after he learned his illegally parked car had been towed, authorities said.
Being upset your car got towed is a normal reaction. Breaking into someone's home, and threatening them is not a normal reaction.

After he broke a window and tried to enter the home, he got shot in the leg. He is lucky he didn't get shot in the head.

*Towing in Chicago was so nefarious, they made a song about it: The Lincoln Park Pirates.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Self-defense Works

These guys came into the store shooting rifles. One died; the other ran like a rabbit. Tulsa police say a would-be robber shot and killed inside a convenience store by armed clerk - KFSM
Tulsa police say an attempted robbery of a convenience store by two masked gunmen ended with a teenage would-be robber shot to death by the store clerk.
Some in the anti-gun crowd will call this a "teenager tragically shot." The fact that the 14-year-old was masked and committing armed robbery at the time just isn't of interest to them. Nor will the fact that he was likely shot as an act of legal self-defense be mentioned. (Why clutter the issue with facts?) So much easier to demonize guns and gun-owners.

Faced with 2 armed criminals, the clerk picked up a firearm and defended himself. Self-defense is a human-right.

How is a 91-year-old Supposed to Defend Himself Without a Firearm?

I really wish that someone in the anti-gun crowd would explain this. Police: 91-year-old Houston homeowner shoots, kills man during struggle
Investigators said the homeowner, who is known for being generous in the community, had given the victim money just a few days prior to the shooting.

Police believed the young man came back looking for more money, but the homeowner refused.
Could this be the "entitlement mentality" in action? The thug apparently believed he was entitled to the old man's money.

Anyway, it didn't work out very well for the 30-year-old.
Police said the homeowner kept a number of weapons inside the house. The younger man went for one of the weapons and the two men struggled. That’s when the homeowner shot the man in the head.
No word on if charges will be filed, but I doubt they will be in Texas, where self-defense is a legal right.

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

Antietam - The Bloodiest Day in US Military History

September 17, 1862 -
The bloodiest day in U.S. military history as Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Armies are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall 26,000 men are dead, wounded, or missing. Lee then withdraws to Virginia.
This was in about 12 hours of fighting.

Of course the fact that McClellan was in charge of Union forces meant not all the troops were committed. And after a day of burying the dead and dealing with wounded, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was allowed to retreat into Virginia, ending Lee's first invasion of the North.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't Bring a Toy to a Gunfight

Does this guy qualify for the Darwin Award? No, he would have had to die for that. Intruder Shot By Homeowner Was Carrying Toy Gun - Gothamist
After being woken by loud noises in his Mill Basin, Brooklyn home around 2 a.m. yesterday morning, 62-year-old Larry Goldstein took his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver to investigate what was happening. He discovered two intruders in his kitchen, and since they appeared to be armed, Goldstein fired, hitting one of the men three times while the other fled. And it turned out the intruders were carrying a toy pistol and toy machine gun. A police official told the Wall Street Journal the toys "were very realistic looking... If someone pointed them at you, you would light them up too."
Stupid criminals

Exercise Your Constitutional Rights, Get Added to a Terror List

Lawsuit planned after protesters put on terror list - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Be a group of peaceful protesters and you too can be added to the terror lists.

A 25 ft inflatable pig, used at protests about government waste was one of the things being monitored. The guy who owns the pig is a bit outraged.

One of the things being protested is natural gas drilling using the fracking method of breaking the limestone bedrock. People believe it can cause contamination of ground water. (I make no claims on that for or against). So by showing up at meetings on the subject - public meetings - and expressing an opinion, this group was apparently added to a terror watch list compiled by some non-profit outfit with a contract with the state. (See, if there are no threats, the contract is not worth anything, so there must be "threats" even if they are bogus.)
Drilling industry opponents said they pose no danger. Barbara Pribila, 45, a founder of the anti-drilling Lincoln Place Action Group, said she never considered herself a rebel — and certainly not a threat to homeland security.

"I thought this was a free country and I was allowed to have my own opinion," Pribila said. "Now what, you're going to watch me and every move I make? That's not right."
More and more like a police state all the time.

(I forget. Is natural gas a green fuel, or not?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Even in New York, Self-defense Works

Brooklyn Man Shoots Home Invader � CBS New York
It was a scary night for a Brooklyn homeowner. He was awakened by the sound of an intruder and, as CBS 2′d Jay Dow reports, he did what he had to do to defend his family.

It wasn’t the largest or grandest home on East 64th Street in the Mill Basin Section of Brooklyn, but just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, it certainly drew the most attention from neighbors and police.
A retired teacher in Brooklyn, NY was able to defend himself.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Green Side of Crime

Buy solar panels, support organized crime. Mafia arrests reveal mob was 'going green' - Telegraph
"It's no surprise that the Sicilian Mafia was infiltrating profitable areas like wind and solar energy," Palermo magistrate Francesco Messineo told a news conference.

This Might Piss You Off, But It Is NOT Self-defense

Self-defense is not about stuff. It is about life. Police: Man shot while taking wheel rims | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle
A homeowner and his cousin shot and killed a man while he tried to remove wheel rims from the homeowner's car early Monday morning at a home in north Harris County.
No word on what charges will be filed, but I would bet there would be some. Shooting someone over something is not a good place to be.

Things can be replaced.

A Policeman That Understands

Armed, law-abiding citizens are not a problem. Armed to protect When Sgt. Russ Edwards with the Lake County Sheriff's Office was told there were more than 16,000 people in his country with concealed carry permits, he had this to say.
"I wish there were 32,000 permits," Edwards said Friday from the sheriff's firearms safety range. From a law enforcement perspective, that means those people went through a class and the necessary paperwork and are more likely to be safe users of guns, he said
And on the subject of gun control...
"The bad people are gonna have them anyway," Edwards said, whether you put more controls on gun ownership or not.
Armed, law abiding citizens are not the people cops need to worry about.Certain mayors around the country could listen to Sgt. Edwards. [Via NRA-ILA]

Monday, September 13, 2010

New York Police Kidnapping People

This is a fairly long, fairly disturbing portrayal of illegal activity being perpetrated by the New York Police Dept. Or at least sections of the NYPD.

The whole thing is disturbing, but a couple of things jump out.
  1. Cops in one area of NY were told to just arrest people off the street, put them in lockup and figure out the reasons later. They wanted folks off the street because it was Halloween. Not because they thought these people had committed a crime. That isn't police work; that is kidnapping.
  2. At one point they pulled a play out of the play-book of the old Soviet Union, and put someone who disagreed with those in authority in a mental hospital. He was cop. He was disappeared for 4 days.

After this, little things like refusing to file crime reports or categorizing serious crimes as minor crime in order to make the numbers look good - it is all about statistics - seem minor by comparison.

The story is based on recordings made over more than a year, by that cop who got put in the loony bin for daring to question the actions - illegal actions - of the powers that be. Looks more and more like a police state all the time.

This American Life: The Right To Remain Silent

Give yourself some time to listen. The show was on hour long.

He Really Picked the Wrong Guy to Mess With

An off-duty cop qualifies as the wrong target. Off-duty WSP trooper shoots, kills attacker | NorthWest Cable News | Washington News
A barking dog alerted the trooper that an unknown car and man were on his property late Saturday night, said Deputy Scott Wilson. At 11:27pm, the trooper's wife called 911 as he went outside to see who it was.

"The homeowner identified himself to the stranger as a law enforcement officer but, almost immediately became engaged in a struggle with the intruder," said Det. Lt. Earl Smith. "The suspect struck the owner in the head with a piece of steel rod, causing a serious injury and knocking him to the ground."
Bleeding from the head wound, the trooper got back on his feet, and when the idiot still wouldn't stop the attack, the trooper "used lethal force."

A neighbor performed CPR on the guy who got shot even before the EMTs arrived, but he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The trooper was treated and released.

And because police don't make these call, the DA does, the investigation continues, but everyone seems to think "was a self defense-type situation."

And self-defense is a human-right.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On the Road Again

Blogging will be light-to-nonexistent the next few days as I have to deal with the concerns of the real world.

Don't Ask Don't Tell Unconstitutional

You miss a lot when you are stuck at the mechanics all day. Judge in California rules on military's ban on openly gay service members
U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the government's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is a violation of due process and First Amendment rights. Instead of being necessary for military readiness, she said, the policy has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed services.
Don't worry. Obama's administration is sure to appeal this ruling.

Apparently Camo is the New Black

Since I was stuck waiting for car repairs all freaking day, I spent some time wandering around at the mall - right across the street. Several store had "little camo dresses" displayed where one would expect the traditional "little black dress." One place had a camo skirt.

Must be that swing to the right all the politicos are talking about.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Government Wants to Control Where You Live

Don't be fooled by the name. American Thinker: The Livable Communities Act They will decide what types of communities are livable, not the people who actually live there.
But social engineering is at the heart of the Livable Communities Act, where federal planners hope to reduce personal mobility as measured in vehicle miles traveled and shift housing patterns from single-family homes in the suburbs to small apartments in cramped central cities.

In a country as large and diverse as ours, some people will prefer the live-work-travel arrangements prescribed for in the Livable Communities Act, which is based on the Smart Growth planning doctrine. However, the vast majority of Americans in red and blue states alike have long aspired to live in suburban homes with a car in the garage.

This quintessentially middle-class version of the American Dream has long been derided by elites and environmentalists, who recast suburbs as a wasteful sprawl and liken automobile use to a destructive addiction. They want to delegitimize this land use pattern, restrict automobile use, and make suburban housing less affordable. The Livable Communities Act is thus a hammer in the progressive toolbox.
It is just another power grab by the government.

The Ottawa Sun Doesn't Like George Soros

George Soros checkered past. Moral hollowness at work | Ottawa Sun

It seems Mr. Soros and the Sun are having a dispute about licensing for a TV network, TV News Network. So of course they are going to report on all the wonderful things George has done over his life. Like collaborating with Nazis in WWII Hungary.
“No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.”

A Nazi would steal the Jews’ property anyways. So why not him?
Currency manipulation, insider trading.

And the banking fiasco.
Last year, when he made $3.3 billion off the banking collapse, he called the world’s financial crisis “the culmination of my life’s work.”
It must be OK to be a parasitic creep if you are a liberal. [Via Twitter]

US Marines Kick (Pirate) Ass

Some good news from the fight against Somali piracy. Maritime Raid Force Recaptures Ship From Pirates
MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- At approximately 5 a.m. local time, Sept. 9, 24 U.S. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force (MRF) aboard USS Dubuque (LPD 8) operating under Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), boarded and seized control of Antigua-Barbuda-flagged, German–owned vessel M/V Magellan Star from pirates who attacked and boarded the vessel early Sept 8.

This successful mission by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) secured the safety of the ship's crew and returned control of the ship to the civilian mariners. Nine pirates are currently under control of CTF 151, pending further disposition. This ship's crew has not reported any injuries or casualties. There were no reported injuries from the U.S. Maritime Raid Force.
The key to ending piracy is to change the nature of the risk/reward ratio. In recent years it has been all reward (very large rewards in many cases) and little to no risk. But lately that has begun to change, as more pirates are killed or captured.

There is still too much reward, still too many successful pirate attacks and there are still too many hostages in Somalia.

Police and Others Break The Law - Only the Others Charged

Two rules - sign of a police state. Police and others improperly checked Bowersox's background

Cops and other public officials checked the background of an American Idol contestant from their state. Two public officials lost their jobs and may be charged. The cops? Not so much.
Eight improper checks were found between Feb. 24 and May 27, including by police departments in Millersburg, Pemberville, Xenia, and at the Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, as well as the Putnam County sheriff's office.

Those checks, plus one involving the Columbus city attorney's office, were conducted through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, which is administered by the attorney general's office.
One clerk from the DMV is (or may be) charged with a felony. A court "employee" resigned and "may" be charged with a misdemeanor. While cops and Assistant DAs keep their jobs, but get a week off (or so) without pay, written reprimands, and other forms of wrist slaps.

Yeah, that sounds like Justice, doesn't it. How about if everyone who committed the same crime gets charged with the same crime? I know I read something about "equal before the law" somewhere.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

He Didn't Know the Meaning of "It's Over!"

He probably thought he loved her. That's why he showed up at her house and opened fire with a gun. Dramatic 911 tapes released
With fear in her voice Erica Gussow screams into the phone at 11:38 p.m. on April 26. She said to the dispatcher on the other end of the phone, “Please come, here now please, please! Someone is trying to break into the house, please come here now as fast as you can!”
When he couldn't break in he started shooting. When the cops arrived, he shot one of them in the abdomen.

And after all that, it took the DA four months to decide that the police were justified in shooting this guy. I know that they don't want to rush to judgment, but if you read the transcript of the 911 call, it is pretty clear that somebody needed to stop this guy or he was going to kill the daughter of the woman he "loved." It wasn't love, in case you were unclear on the subject.

Some will see this as a tragedy. But I think the tragedy would have been if he managed to break in and kill someone before the police arrived. That's scenario that I read about all too often. The good guys came out ahead this time.

And why is it so many people think violence is an appropriate way to show that they "love" someone?

Even Asking the Question is Outrageous

You're attacked, and you defend yourself - legally. This paper asks if you should be charged with a crime. Morning Poll: Should Gunmen in Beer-Robbery Shootings Have Been Criminally Charged? - Phoenix News - Valley Fever

One guy was being hit with a pipe wrench. The other was told by robbers that they were armed - that statement is a clear threat to commit mayhem. Neither of these guys were charged, because self-defense is legal.

To be fair, they seem to think that the shootings were justified, (Bully for them!) but note "we're sure, the anti-gun crowd might disagree."

Anyway, there's a poll. Go click on it if you care to share your two cents....

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Somalia Isn't The Only Place Where Piracy Is a Problem

It just manages to capture most of the news coverage. Japanese tanker attacked off Indonesian island
A Japanese tanker has been attacked by armed pirates off an Indonesian island, the latest in a spate of incidents in a South China Sea shipping lane, a global maritime watchdog said Monday.
That "global" watchdog is the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, run by the International Chamber of Commerce. And they don't cover everything or count all instances of piracy, just those attacks on large commercial shipping.

Even so, this is the 27th incident in the South China Sea reported since February.

Not Exactly the Payoff They Were Expecting

Kenyan court convicts, sentences 7 Somali pirates I'm sure they expected a big ransom payoff, when they started out that day.
Riding in a single skiff, the seven pirates opened fire on the FGS Spessart, a German Navy tanker, mistaking it for a commercial vessel. They were repelled by ship's security and later captured by the German frigate FGS Rheinland-Pfalz. The pirates were handed over to Kenyan authorities in April last year.
I wonder what the conditions in the Kenyan prison system are like?
Before Monday, Kenyan courts had convicted 28 Somalis of piracy since 2006, when the first piracy case was concluded in the East African nation.
At least somebody is doing something, and this is much better than the 'catch and release' program NATO had been running.

Zombie Banks? An Interesting Look at the Housing Market

A of folks, from President Obama on down, have been saying what a great thing the jobs data is. Dan Dorfman: Job Report Wows Wall Street, but Strikes out on Main Street
Noting that the market ran up Friday because the creation of 67,000 new private sector jobs (about 25% of which were temporary) was somehow interpreted as good news, Schnapp says "give me a break." To put the latest employment numbers into perspective, she notes, you have to keep in mind that 8.5 million jobs were lost during the downturn. What's more, unemployment peaked at 10.1% and still sits at a lofty 9.6%.

Moreover, she points out, the jobs picture is pretty grim when you look at in its entirety. For example, she says, there are now 14.9 million unemployed workers. Add to that the underemployed and discouraged workers (those who have left the work force and part-timers who can no longer obtain full time jobs) and you come up with a total number of people in the unemployment doghouse of 25.7 million.

That's up 1.4 million from 24.3 million a month earlier, the kind of increase, Schnapp says, that one could hardly call good news.
Except if one is a politician, or a media organization, like the NY Slimes, that would do anything to make their favorite President look better than he really does. Or maybe they really are just the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.

But the housing market and the state of the banks.
The big problem, as she sees it, is that job growth is dependent on consumption growth and housing growth. But housing is in a depression and consumption is weak.

Elaborating on the housing dilemma, Schnapp took note of the accounting rule change dating back to March 2009 that allowed banks to abandon mark-to-market pricing of assets and adopt instead "mark-to-make-believe," which created zombie banks. Then, she says, came the political pressure on banks not to foreclose on delinquent homeowners, which created more homeowners. The end result, not surprisingly, observes Schnapp, is a zombie housing market as far as the eye can see.
Who knew that the Zombie Apocalypse everyone has been talking and joking about would actually be financial in nature.

Since banks no longer have to mark their real estate holdings to the market, they are free to ignore reality. Of course, eventually all those houses will be sold, pushing the prices down farther. And decimating those "living dead" banks along the way.

Even in the People's Republic of California

Self-defense works. Armed Residents Confront Home Intruders - KTXL Two separate home invasions in Sacramento, CA that were ended by a law-abiding citizen with a gun.
Kotarsky heard a kick at his back door at around 6:30 p.m. and seconds later, heard his garage door being kicked in. He grabbed his .44 caliber gun and met the intruder inside his garage. "He screamed like a little girl," said Kotarsky.

When the intruder ran, Kotarsky, gun in hand, grabbed his iphone and gave chase. After calling police, Kotarsky videotaped the man who had broken into his home.
Police caught and arrested the bad-guy.
Less than 10 hours later, police responded to a similar call on Potomac Avenue. Residents woke up to find someone in their home and one of them got a gun and fired a shot at the intruder. The intruder got away unharmed.
This one, apparently, got away.

Police remind people to know the law regarding self-defense with a firearm. (Always a good idea, because ignorance of the law is only an excuse if you are a cop.)

Self-defense is a human-right. No bad guys were injured bringing this story to you.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Historic Ship, Losing a Common Battle

Salt water is one of the most corrosive environments you will find, and without some aid this ship will be lost. Olympia, 2-war naval veteran, battles for survival

There is a saying that I have found to be true. Sort of the sea-going corollary to Murphy's Law: Rust never sleeps; water always wins.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The USS Olympia, a one-of-a-kind steel cruiser that returned home to a hero's welcome after a history-changing victory in the Spanish-American War, is a proud veteran fighting what may be its final battle.

Time and tides are conspiring to condemn the weathered old warrior to a fate two wars failed to inflict. Without a major refurbishment to its aging steel skin, the Olympia either will sink at its moorings on the Delaware River, be sold for scrap, or be scuttled for an artificial reef just off Cape May, N.J., about 90 miles south.
No one cares about history in tough economic times. The museum that owns the vessel doesn't have the 10 million bucks needed for a refit.

Cruisers were the small sister of the battleship. Designed to travel a long distance and go on extended trips (cruises) independent of the fleet. (As opposed to ships of the line that would act in unison.) They were deemed outdated by the end of WWII.

The Olympia was built in 1892 in San Francisco, CA. Dry dock maintenance has been deferred since 1945. That adds up to a lot of work.
Two local nonprofits — Friends of the Cruiser Olympia and The Cruiser Olympia Historical Society — are striving to drum up money, manpower and publicity from other historic preservation groups, veterans organizations and corporate sponsors.
It comes from a time between eras, as its design shows.
Its vertical reciprocating engines, refrigeration system and hydraulic steering previewed the technological advances to come; its vestigial sails and oak-paneled, parlor-like officers' quarters marked the passing Victorian era.
The US Navy was still issuing boarding cutlasses in 1892, though their use was questionable by then.

And the Children Are Left to Suffer

PSL man shoots, kills ex-wife, self � He did this while his 10 and 11 year old kids were in the house. One of the kids called 911.

He could have killed himself and left her alone. He could have wrapped his brain around "it's over" and gotten on with his life.

Instead he had to make his kids suffer.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Blissful State of Health Care in the UK

Or maybe not so blissful... if it is chasing doctors away. Junior doctors drop out rate nearly a quarter as EU ruling limits time spent on wards | Mail Online [Note to you snobs who don't like the Daily Mail. I don't like it either, but the London Times started charging £1 for access to stories, so linking is right out, even though they had a similar story.]

The problem: work rules. The EU instituted a directive that states doctors in training can't work more than 48 hours per week. So the "trainees" are stuck on nights and weekends, and don't get very much training.

Some are going to Australia, or coming to the US, or going elsewhere to get their training. Because not getting training isn't working for them.
Of those who did apply to continue, 22 per cent were not accepted by NHS trusts, the suggestion being that they lack the skills and experience necessary to hold the positions. A further 7 per cent declined the posts they were offered.
Hard to have developed skills if you aren't given the training in those skills.

And a whole bunch are leaving.
According to figures shown to the Medical Programme Board, which oversees doctors’ training in England, 1,380 out of 6,000 trainee doctors completing their ‘foundation’ years in the NHS have either quit or have taken a break rather than applying for the next stage of core training.
It is going to be really hard to provide quality health care without enough doctors.
More than 75 per cent of junior doctors say the quality of training has deteriorated since the introduction of the EU directive, surveys suggest.

Around two-thirds also believe that the quality of patient care has also suffered – as a result of gaps in rotas and problems that occur when inexperienced doctors change shifts.
But never fear, the bureaucrats insist there is "no evidence" the EU rules have had any impact.

I can't wait until we have socialized medicine too.

I Thought Cooperating Was Supposed to Ensure Safety

Apparently these guys didn't get that memo. Circle K clerk shot during robbery on White Bluff Road |
Two men entered the store around 6 a.m. and ordered the clerk to open the cash register, said Julian Miller, metro police spokesman. After she opened the cash register, the gun was discharged and she suffered a gunshot wound, Miller said.
A lot of people will claim that cooperating with criminals, "giving them what they want," will ensure your safety. (Usually men talking about robbery, and never mentioning rape.)

But it is clearly not true, as so many instances prove. Cooperation is a strategy, not a guarantee. If you choose to adopt that strategy that's fine. Just don't insist that I share in your delusion.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

How Would You React to an Intruder in Your Home?

This guy defended himself. Police: Boynton Beach Homeowner Shoots Intruder
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- Police in Boynton Beach investigated an early morning shooting on Saturday after a homeowner said he found a man hiding in his house.
An uninvited, unknown bad guy in my home is deemed a threat in Florida. Where we have the right to defend ourselves.

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

Focus on The Family Wants More Gays Beat Up in School

That seems to be their message lately. They are all anti-anti-bullying. Focus on the Family Goes After LGBT Students | Teaching Tolerance They seem to miss a few things.

First, the case of Jamie Nabozny, a student in a Wisconsin school who was kicked in the stomach so many times he required surgery, faced an environment akin to torture, and a school administration who laughed at him. They laughed right up until they had to cough up a million bucks in a lawsuit that is.

There is a problem.
86 percent of LGBT students report being bullied - a rate almost three times higher than students in general. The federal government reports that openly gay and lesbian students are at an even higher risk of bias-related violence and physical assaults. Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents are more than twice as likely as their straight peers to be depressed and contemplate suicide. More than 60 percent report feeling unsafe at school.
And here I thought we should do everything to make schools safe places. Maybe Focus on the Family doesn't think so.

Or maybe getting through the day without being beaten bloody, or sent to the hospital is one of those "special rights" gays and lesbians are always trying to get.

And hiding behind generic anti-bullying campaigns doesn't work. People react better more definitive lists of who is the target of bullying.
Schools become safer for everyone when they adopt anti-bullying policies that spell out the categories of students most frequently targeted by bullies—including race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Hate is not a family value. Letting kids get beat up in school is not the way to improve education, and being free from harassment for living is not a "special right."

A Mandeldrot Set Without YouTube's Annoying Adverts

Google, seems to have detracted from the video I posted by continuing to cover the image with advertisements.

Mandelbrot zoom from Tomas Hellberg on Vimeo.

As one of the comments said, it needs some trippy music.

"An Admiral in the Navy of the State of Nebraska"

It is nice to know that some politicians have their head screwed on straight. Massad Ayoob � Blog Archive � THOUGHTS FROM THE NEW ADMIRAL
Last week, I was teaching in the Omaha area, and some of the good people there presented me with a certificate declaring me an Admiral in the Navy of the State of Nebraska. [My link, Z-Deb]

It was kinda cool, a “Kentucky Colonel” sorta thing, only with a little more whimsy to it.
It seems the governor of Nebraska is supporter of the Second Amendment, and recognized Mr. Ayoob's contributions to shooting in general and self-defense in particular.

Propaganda or News Coverage?

Depends on which "news" organization you like. AP refuses to use WH/NBC propaganda terms for Iraq - Glenn Greenwald -

While NBC and MSNBC have been touting how the last combat troops have left Iraq - telling us exactly what the administration would like us to believe - the AP is more interested in the truth.
Yesterday, however, the Associated Press' Standards Editor, Tom Kent, issued a memorandum to AP editors and reporters instructing them not to use this White-House-created formulation that "combat operations in Iraq are over," on the simple ground of inaccuracy:
Whatever the subject, we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is. This guidance summarizes the situation and suggests wording to use and avoid.

To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials. The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months.
The whole thing is interesting as it spells out how MSNBC is turning into the propaganda arm of the Obama Administration, how they got the gig and why, and the few things they were trying to sweep under the rug.

The 50,000 US troops still in Iraq will be taking part in combat. To say otherwise (whether the Pentagon, President Obama, or MSNBC) is disingenuous. News organizations are supposed to do more than "uncritically repeat" statements made by those in power, even if they like the people in power.

A Sequel to “A Brief History of Time”

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow have written a sequel to Hawking's Book, A Brief History of Time(Has it really been 20 years since History was published?)

The new book, entitled The Grand Designpromises to be just as good.

Here is what Dr. Hawking has to say.
In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality. We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything." As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."
I'm looking forward to it.

(And you have to love the reference to Deep Though with "Life, the Universe and Everything!)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cities - Not What They Used to Be

Urban Plight: Vanishing Upward Mobility — The American, A Magazine of Ideas Cities were once the place to go to get a leg up on life. Low cost housing, but not horrible housing, jobs in walking distance at the mill or factory. But that changed a long time ago. Those blue collar jobs are gone, for the most part, mostly overseas, but definitely out of the city. The schools by and large don't provide the kind of education required for the jobs that are there, (finance etc.) most of which require a college or advanced degree anyway. At some point they became traps.
President Obama’s hometown of Chicago shows much the same pattern, according to a recent survey by Crain’s Chicago Business. Conditions have improved for a relative handful of neighborhoods close to the highly globalized central businesses. But for many neighborhoods things have not improved, and in some cases have deteriorated. Even before the recession there were fewer jobs than in 1989 and fewer opportunities for the middle class, many of whom—including more than 100,000 African-Americans—have left the city over the past decade.
I worked for a multinational (with headquarters in Switzerland) at their Chicago facility in the late 1980s. Their main data-center was in Chicago and we bought a lot of supplies, and paper, and PCs. We justified moving to the suburbs just based on the tax savings. Difference in sales tax, slightly more than 1%, Chicago had a head-tax (cost per employee), etc. etc. It didn't help that even then it was expensive and slow to get any electrical work done. And we were all happy because we ended up working in a safer neighborhood.

For Once I Wish I Was in San Francisco

For the Gun Rights Policy Conference this month. Gays, Lesbians and Guns - Oh My
Welcoming the GRPC to their hometown of San Francisco will be members of the Pink Pistols, a rights and training organization dedicated to spreading the gun rights and self-defense message among gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered. Members of the Pink Pistols have been regulars at GRPC for years. Not stereotypical gun rights advocates, the Pink Pistols serve as more proof that concern about the right to arms transcends labels and geography. GRPC 2010 will have attendees from most of the 50 states as well as some from foreign countries.
September 24th , 25th, and 26th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the San Francisco Airport.

Stories of Tables Being Turned

Self-defense works. Police: Homeowner Shot, Killed Intruder - News Story - WSB Atlanta
Detectives in Atlanta said the victim of a home invasion turned the tables on his intruder.
Police responded to calls of a shooting to find a bad guy shot in the front yard.

So far is it seems the homeowner's story of what happened is holding.

I would say this guy picked the wrong house to invade.

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

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mathematics Lesson of the Day

Fractal Geometry

The Mandelbox - a 3D version of a Mandelbrot Set was discovered in 2010 and is producing some interesting video.

A trip into a Mandelbox with (relatively) constant zoom.

There are a lot of Mandelbox videos if you look.

And a good old-fashioned Mandelbrot Set - Constant Zoom.

Because someone will ask.
In mathematics the Mandelbrot set, named after BenoƮt Mandelbrot, is a set of points in the complex plane, the boundary of which forms a fractal. Mathematically the Mandelbrot set can be defined as the set of complex values of c for which the orbit of 0 under iteration of the complex quadratic polynomial zn+1 = zn2 + c remains bounded.

Now That's What I Call a Back-to-School Special

A tax holiday in honor of the 2nd Amendment. Louisiana 2010 Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday is Sept. 3rd, 4th, & 5th
During these three days, eligible items are exempt from all state and local sales taxes in Louisiana. The exemption applies to purchases for individual use. It does not apply to business purchases.

Eligible items include:
  • Accessories designed to be used for hunting.
  • Shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers, or other handguns.
  • Ammunition intended to be fired from a gun or firearm is eligible.
  • Animal feed for consumption by game which can be legally hunted.
  • Apparel such as safety gear, camouflage clothing, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens, face masks and thermal underwear for use while hunting;
  • Off-road vehicles such as all terrain vehicles designed for hunting. The exemption does not apply to golf carts, bikes, motorcycles, tractors, or motor vehicles which may be legally driven on highways.

Is This Supposed To Be Good Economic News?

The headline looks good. Jobless Claims in U.S. Decreased to 472,000 Last Week - Bloomberg But when you look at the details, not so much.

First, 472,000 people out of work in one week is a huge number, all by itself. Of course most people don't look at the weekly numbers - they're too volatile.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, decreased to 485,500 last week from 488,000, today’s report showed.
That is a change of approximately one half of one percent. Granted, it is in the right direction, but it is very small.

And the first issue of the numbers - that 472,000 figure - are not always the last word.
The Labor Department revised the prior week’s figure up to 478,000.
Sometimes states are slow to report. (Hey, what do you expect from government bureaucracy?)

So go ahead and celebrate the good news. I'm sure a lot of folks on the Left are doing just that. Me, I like to look a little deeper than just the headlines.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Law Abiding Citizen Stops Crime Spree

You break into enough homes, and eventually you will find an armed homeowner. Man Arrested in String of Bath Burglaries This guy got shot, and then he got arrested.
Police say [this knucklehead] is suspected of committing other burglaries in the area and additional charges are possible pending further investigation.
The Good Guys came out on top of this scenario, thanks to an armed homeowner.