Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Place Where Great Britain Used To Be

What can you say to this. Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say - Telegraph
Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.
I think Oxford University is morally irrelevant and should be bombed out of existence. Or maybe they have a problem with that.

Politics or Policy? Won't Make Much Difference in the End

Plans for U.S. manufacturing may yield more votes than jobs - Of course it is to help the "middle class." But it is 19th Century thinking at best.
"The days where you could get a job right out of high school, step on a (factory) line and make 35,000 dollars a year, 40,000 dollars a year, are pretty much not out there anymore," said Rich Peterson, a vice president at Astro Manufacturing and Design here in suburban Cleveland.
I'm a bit surprised that robots haven't taken over more of manufacturing than they have. I guess it will be another 20 years or more before they are flexible enough. But at some point, raw materials will be loaded into one side of a factory and finished goods will spit out of the other. Robots don't need retirement or health benefits. They don't take vacations. (Mean-time-to-failure and mean-time-to-repair will come to be known quantities, and fit into the equations to help you decide how many do you need, what spares to stock, etc.)

But most of the policies being bandied about from both sides of the political divide are mostly window dressing in an election year.
Like the auto industry's resurgence, such proposals may strike an emotional chord with recession-weary voters who have suffered through two financial bubbles in the last 12 years.
Of course the Tribune doesn't place blame for either of those 2 bubbles on the people. (It is the eeeeevil bankers, or someone else.)

I mean consider the dot-com fiasco. I had discussions with otherwise reasonable people that it didn't matter if companies made money or how much money they made. Then they would say something about Edison or Bell, never bothering to think that both always made money once their inventions went to market.

And the housing bubble. Was it the eeeeevil bankers? Or the people who said "you never lose money in real estate," even though if you study the history of the last 50 years people lose money in real estate on a regular basis. (Hasn't anyone even heard of Japan?) And the Community Reinvestment Act, as amended, basically said it was unfair of banks to only lend money to people who actually had a chance to repay. And the folks who treated their homes like ATM machines. And the folks who signed up for loans they couldn't afford, didn't understand, couldn't be bothered to understand because it was their DREAM to have an acre of granite in their kitchen. No it wasn't any of those people.

Politics and most things don't work out very well. But politics and economics is what caused the Community Reinvestment Act, stopped the revamping and rationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the early years of this century. The combination gave a half billion dollars to a solar company with a product that was at least 30% more expensive than its closest competition. (Hint - Americans love a good deal, look at the airline industry. If you are 30% more expensive for the same outcome, you haven't got a chance in this market. And Solyndra was selling a commodity, namely kilowatts of solar energy.)

But that won't stop anyone from combining the 2 in an election year.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The History of Economic Downturns

It is fashionable to think that this is worst it has ever been. But of course, the people saying that haven't studied history. BBC News - Is Greece's the longest recession in history? The whole thing is interesting, but here are some highlights.

Country  Year   Years of Negative Growth  
Greece 2008 5
Ireland 2006 7
Liberia 1980 17 (Civil War)
USA 1873 5 (The Long Depression)

There are more. The Great Depression (which was a double dip), the Irish Famine, the Black Death, etc.
Prior to globalisation and the Industrial Revolution, recessions were more severe than now, says Professor Ritschl, because they were more difficult to ride out and often sparked by catastrophic events which killed millions.
Huh. Never thought the BBC would have something good to say about globalization.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Somali Piracy Model: A Growth Business

It isn't surprising really. With multimillion dollar paydays, people have decided that the Somali pirates may be onto something. WPR Article | The Somali Piracy Model: Coming to a Sea Near You
Over the past decade, the western Indian Ocean unexpectedly emerged as a hotbed for maritime crime as pirates -- safe-havened in Somalia -- menaced seafarers as far east as the Maldives. Shipping companies have been hit hard, with one estimate placing the direct costs of Somali piracy at $5.5 billion in 2011. Despite a multinational naval flotilla deployed to counter the pirates, attacks continued to grow last year.
Now pirates are setting up shop in West Africa, specifically in the Gulf of Guinea.
At immediate risk is the Gulf of Guinea. New oil fields have started to come online in the region, bringing increased tanker traffic. Many of the gulf nations are weak, buffeted by insurgents and armed criminal gangs. Piracy-monitoring organizations have already noticed a recent shift in the nature of pirate attacks there from low-level armed robbery to full-scale hijack-for-ransom. Worse still, these West African pirates seem more inclined to use violence against crewmembers, with accounts surfacing of bloody beatings and merciless stabbings. Such brutality increases the pressure on insurance companies to settle ransom negotiations faster and speeds up the pirates’ ability to turn over ships. It should be noted that this vulnerability may be particularly acute for new oil-producing states, which may not yet have the naval and coast guard assets to at least minimally deter or interdict pirate groups.
To date, the "international community" has been nearly useless. For the first few years, the Europeans practiced Catch and Release with pirates, because they didn't want to be bothered prosecuting them. Though a few have been handed off to Kenya, and few others have been killed, a poor villager from Somalia probably isn't deterred by the conditions in European jails.

Even with International Task Force 51, or whatever the naval force in the West Indian Ocean is calling itself, the number of attacks went up last year.

Ships have finally begun boarding armed guards, but this is problematic, causes problems in several countries that don't like guns, and when the guards have to be off-loaded or disarmed in ports and anchorages they are still at risk. But this has been slow to gain traction. And so most are vessels are slow-moving treasure troves.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Drinking on the Job? Do They Think This is Paris?

NYPD has been in the news a lot for spying on Islamic students. But that isn't this story. Four NYPD Detectives Under Investigation For Drinking On Duty: Gothamist This is just your run-of-the-mill "the rules don't apply to us, we're cops!" story.
Four NYPD detectives have been stripped of their guns and badges and placed on modified assignment after surveillance footage allegedly shows them drinking wine while on duty at a Washington Heights restaurant. According to the Times' police bureau chief, IAB is also investigating if one of the detectives had a sexual encounter with a waitress. "We are investigating whether or not one of the officers sexually assaulted this woman," the paper's NYPD source said.
Nice relaxing meal - which lasted longer than an hour - and included a nice wine.

Anthony Abbate Back in the News

The Chicago cop caught on tape beating a bartender because she thought he was drunk and wouldn't serve him more alcohol is being sued. (She wouldn't serve him because that is the law....) Judge: Jury will hear police 'code of silence' allegation in bar beating suit -

The Tribune has the video - again - of the beating.

One of the reasons this made so many people angry is that even though he was convicted of felony assault, he was only sentenced to 2 years probation. Hardly the same kind of treatment someone NOT in law enforcement would expect. With the beating caught on tape.

The suit seems to be at least in part how Chicago cops tried to bribe the witness/victim, the soft-pedal applied to the original crime, and a host of other things Chicago has been famous for.

Still, some justice is better than none. Abbate was fired from the Chicago Police Department.

Another Banner Day In Illinois Politics

Illinois: The land of political corruption and the home "Change You Might Have Believed In." Commissioner Beavers on U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald: ‘F--- him’ - Chicago Sun-Times

One crooked Chicago politician is under indictment for tax evasion. (That has a big history in Chicago.) And so he says of course it is in retaliation for him refusing to "wear a wire" for an FBI investigation of John Daley. (Brother to the ex-Mayor.)

Nothing is proved, just allegations made. Looks to be an interesting summer in Chicago. (As an aside, the same judge who handled Rod Blagojevich's trial has been assigned in this case.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Looks Better Than Most Disney err Stuff

Maybe this whole Pixar take-over will finally fix the whole "princess thing" Disney has going. See Cinderella Ate My Daughterfor what I am talking about.

Probably too much to hope for really.

Armed Homeowner + Home Invader = Predictable Result

If you break into homes, you will eventually find an armed homeowner. SeaTac homeowner shoots would-be burglar -
The homeowner said he was sleeping just before 6 p.m. when he heard his doorbell ring. He ignored it, but moments later he heard what sounded like glass shattering.

The man said he dialed 911 and grabbed a nearby gun before leaving his bedroom to investigate the noise.

The man soon noticed that his sliding glass door had been broken and two men were standing in his house.
He shot 1 guy in the head. The other guy ran. The guy who got shot is expected to survive.

Police are tracking the guy who ran away.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

OMG! Radiation!!!!

OK, here we go again. Reports that radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant were detected 400 miles off the Japanese coast.

I have looked at a dozen stories, and all I get is something like "between 10 and 1000 times the normal amount." Which sounds scary. If you have no clue about radiation.

Is it 1000 times more than the radiation you would find in a banana? Or a package of Brazil nuts? (The isotope they are concerned about is cesium 137, and that is found in nuts. At least they told us that much.)

It seems that the entire news gathering apparatus of humanity is incapable of reporting what the levels actually are. Oh, they believe why report it you don't understand the numbers anyway. And besides, 1000 times normal is scary.

For some thoughts on the radiation from Fukushima Daiichi, seen my post on The Banana Equivalent Dose. (I hate to tell you this, but your food is radioactive, and so are you.)

And remember that when the chicken-little folks of the news media are screaming that the sky is falling, do a little fact-checking.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Musical Interlude

Frigga by Daniel J Nielsen. Via Corner Stone Cues. Can't say why I like it, but I do.

An Interesting Place Rhode Island -
Some Thoughts on Jessica Ahlquist and Freedom From Religion

Freethought San Marcos: Our modern-day Puritans

OK, if you haven't heard, in a nutshell, Ms. Ahlquist is 16 years old, and attends a public school where there was an 8-foot (or so) banner in the gymnasium with a prayer on it. She sued to have it removed, and won. The school-board decided spending $500,000 it didn't have on a legal fight it would probably lose wasn't a good idea, so they won't appeal.

That isn't what is interesting to me.

What interests me, and the author of the referenced post is the behavior of some of the people in the town - which is in Rhode Island. Which was founded by Roger Williams when he was chased out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the Puritans due to their religious intolerance. (Who were chased out of England due to religious intolerance.)
So, long before anyone declared irony dead, we have in our own history a quintessential bit of double irony – a persecuted religious group flees its country to set up shop, where the group proceeds to persecute others for their religious beliefs, forcing one of their own flock to flee, seeking actual religious freedom elsewhere.
But back to that "Christian" behavior.

Well, OK, I'll "borrow" the disclaimer from the referenced article.
I don’t know that all the invective and threats directed at Ahlquist have been perpetrated by Christians, but it is hard to imagine the members of any other group who would be so outraged by Ahlquist’s actions. To their credit, members of several religious groups appealed for “tolerance and civility” in responding to the court decision.
Ms. Ahlquist has been harassed, bullied and threatened. It is so severe that she had to be provided with personal security to be able to attend class. The Congressman from her district (a Democrat) has called her "evil," among other names.
More than a dozen Rhode Island religious leaders spoke about the importance of people of all faiths, as well as non-believers, being able to live free from coercion. Rabbi Peter Stein of Cranston’s Temple Sinai and president of the Board of Rabbis said, “This is not about agreement or disagreement. This is about how we treat one another. The personal attacks must stop.” The clergy members included the Rev. William Zelazny of the Ballou Channing District Unitarian Universalist congregation; Imam Farid Ansari of the Muslim American Dawah Center; the Rev. Israel Mercedes of the Providence Bible Institute; and the Rev. Betsy Garland of the Rhode Island Council of Churches.
Now a new case has been filed against a group of flower shops in the area, because they refused to deliver bouquets to Ms. Ahlquist sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). It is illegal for anyone running a "public accommodation," i.e. a business, in Rhode Island to deny service "on account of religion." 4 florists refused to deliver flowers, and they were eventually ordered from Connecticut.

Whether or not you think the banner was offensive, whether or not you believe prayer should be in public schools, I would hope everyone believes in acting like civilized, sane people. But apparently they don't.

NOTE: a discussion of this case is what prompted the post the other day on metaphysics. The main message of which is, "I don't give a rat's for what you believe. So why are you so incensed about what I believe that you have to try and force me to believe what you believe?"

History Lesson: First Man in Space, etc.

First orbiting satellite: Sputnik

First Man in Space: Yuri Gagarin

First Man to Orbit the Earth: Yuri Gagarin

When the Cold War was in full swing, it was fashionable to forget this. And just remember things like John Glenn was the first AMERICAN to orbit the earth. But now that the Soviet Union is no more, and the Cold War is something from the history books, it seems disingenuous to call John Glenn's orbiting the earth an "historic journey," or whatever.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — John Glenn joined the proud, surviving veterans of NASA's Project Mercury on Saturday in celebrating the 50th anniversary of his historic orbital flight.
But then I suppose NASA is hoping to recoup some of its budget or something.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Europe May Finally Have to Deal With Democracy

Seems fitting, since democracy started in Greece. European leaders meet Monday on Greece bailout; public tiring of austerity measures - The Washington Post
An April election may bring a chaotic mix of politicians to power, as Greeks flock to groups that have vowed to fight the terms of the $178 billion bailout or take the country out of the euro zone altogether. The shift — registered in opinion polls, mass defections in parliament and in street protests — raises doubts about Greece’s ability to implement the painful cuts on which European leaders are insisting.
Sooner or later people will get a chance to vote. The Greeks don't like the terms of the bailout, and Greek politicians are now saying that the country should get out of the Euro. (And getting followers.) Eventually the Germans will vote on whether or not they want to keep funding bailouts. (Even the German politicians have seen that writing on the wall, hence the terms of the Greek bailout package.
“Some politicians ignore that Greece is a democratic country,” said Loukas Tsoukalis, president of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy think tank, who said he hoped the spring elections would give political legitimacy to the bailout measures. “Greece’s creditors, they’re saying, ‘This is the moment when we can squeeze.’ But you can overdo it with very serious consequences.”
The consequences of Greece staying in the Euro are dire, and as long as they stay, they have no control over their economy. Of course leaving may be worse. If the Drachma is viewed as worthless...

I think it was Margarete Thatcher that said, "eventually you run out of other peoples' money." That is the situation that Greece is in. They have mortgaged their future. They have lived in a socialist dream-world. But reality has come calling in a shrill, unpleasant voice. No matter what they do, it will be hard for them to put their economy back together.

Even in the People's Republic of Illinois, Self-defense Works

Not in Chicago, but the fact that a Chicago paper is reporting (neutrally) on an act of self-defense is nearly a miracle in itself. Police: Homeowner shoots, kills intruder in apparent home invasion -
Two individuals reportedly entered the residence, the release said. One was shot by the homeowner; that person was transported to Mendota Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room.

The second individual left the scene in a small, dark vehicle, according to the release. After the sheriff’s office passed on a description of the vehicle to local police departments, the Ottawa Police Department pulled over a vehicle matching that description on the north side of town and a suspect was taken into custody.
No Brady-Bunch nonsense. No quotes for police chiefs saying it's better not to fight back.

Maybe there is hope for Illinois after all.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“All Father, Who Art In Asgard, Many Be Thy Names....”

Why do religious fundamentalists, of all stripes, lose sleep over what others believe? Really, don't you have enough to do to manage your own life, you have time and energy to stick your nose into my life? (Where it is most certainly NOT WELCOME!)

Actually when I say "all stripes" I am talking mostly about about the Lavant. (That strange small area of the Middle East that seems to breed some of the major religions. Judaism. Christianity. Islam.)

OK. Lesson in metaphysics. This is the primary world-view of people who hold to the Lavant.

God is separate from the world, and in particular, Man is not a part of the rest of the universe. (Read: separate creation.) This is why evolution tends to drive certain Christians to distraction. It implies that Man is part of the rest of the universe.

So the main focus of (some) Christianity is to explore your relationship with God. (You are not God. Those who say they are God have been crucified.)

This isn't the only way to draw this Venn diagram, of course, and different cultures have drawn it in differing ways.
The Hindus (NOTE: I am NOT a Hindu. This represents the best of my understanding of the Hindu faith. If I have it wrong - sorry 'bout that. Please correct me in the comments.) draw the Venn diagram like this.

There is a "prime cause," and there are gods, but the gods are not at a higher level than humanity. Indeed, the Brahmans are at a higher level than the gods, and "humanity" is divided into the Untouchables and the Twice-born, and the Twice-born are divided into the various castes.)

This is the meaning of the bow of greeting in Hindu societies. The acknowledgement that 'god' exists in the other person.

Asatru draws the diagram in yet a third way. (NOTE: see the note under Hindu, and apply the same logic here.)

Ásatrúar (Heathens) do not bow to their gods, not because they don't revere them, but because they are related. Prime cause, and afterlife is less interesting than leading a good life in the here-and-now. (Other things will, no doubt, take care of themselves.)

SO.... given all of this, why do you care how I draw this diagram? Why does what I believe in my heart of hearts matter to you? But the evidence is that it does. Some Muslims are willing to blow themselves up because some people don't believe exactly what they believe. Some Christians have bombed abortion clinics. Some - a slightly larger number - have taken task with Mitt Romney for his religion. I guarantee that Christians have given me hard time for just refusing to swear that I believe what they believe. (I don't see why they care what I believe. I don't give a rat's ass for what you believe - until your belief-system tries to tell ME what I have to do, or how I have to live MY LIFE.) Under the "golden rule" I just want to be left alone. Why can't you return the favor?

NOTE: While I do not follow the Lavant, it is impossible to have grown up in 20th Century America and NOT understand this world-view. It is the dominant world-view, and is assumed by 90% (or more) of the people you meet - even atheists and agnostics.

NOTE 2: The tile of this was taken from a column casting aspersions on a Indiana law (maybe passed, maybe making its way through the state-house) that mandates/allows the preaching saying of the "Lord's Prayer" in PUBLIC schools. Apparently Indiana thinks those non-Christians are getting too uppity, and need a good dose of "the truth."

UPDATE: The other view of the Lavant is often described as True Crime. Their stories have to be absolutely, historically true. They are incapable of understanding that not all people view their "stories" that way, or even care whether or not they are historically true. (What is important is living in the here and now. Life after death, and historical accuracy will take care of themselves and don't really need to be worried about.)

Is There a Dish Better Than Penne Campagnola?

Penne Campagnola - penne (of course), Italian sausage (sweet not hot), onions, bell peppers (red are most appealing, though green work fine) and crushed olives in a tomato sauce. (Of course Campanola SHOULD have mushrooms, but I much prefer crushed black olives. Not every store stocks them, keep looking.) Texas toast (garlic of course) and a Zinfandel round out the perfect meal. (This time the Zin is OK - nothing to write home about, but most wine can't stand up to tomato sauce anyway.)

Desert is waiting, but it may wait a long time.

This has to be the perfect Italian dish. Pasta. Tomatoes. Olives. Garlic bread.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0

The homeowner interrupted a burglary. He and his brother made what I can only call a citizens arrest. Armed Homeowner Stops Burglars in Act - Huntsville, Alabama
the man returned to his home on Witt Store Road, near the Franklin County line, around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday and saw an unfamiliar Toyota in front of his house and noticed his front door was kicked in.

According to Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May, the man grabbed a rifle from his vehicle, and called his brother, who lived nearby. The brother arrived a few minutes later, armed with a .12 gauge shotgun.
And yeah I know. .12 gauge shotguns? But have pity on the poor members of the press; they don't know anything about anything, least of all firearms.

Once the 2 armed guys showed up, the 2 miscreants decided to run. But one of the tires on their vehicle was shot out, disabling it. They were held at gunpoint by the brothers until the police arrived.

Now I am not a lawyer, but that sounds like a textbook example of a citizens arrest. Felony in process. Stop and hold the suspects. Wait for police.

No one got shot or even injured. Bad guys are in jail awaiting trial (charged with burglary). Good guys are safe, and everyone is safer because two criminals are off the street.

Good Guys 2, Bad Guys 0.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Work is Really NOT a Four-letter Word

The Tradesmen: Making an Art of Work is an hour and a half, but worth your time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Naked Romans, Paganism, and Whips: And You Thought It Was All About Candy

I love history. It is so educational. Valentine's Day: Why Do We Celebrate It? (Hint: Naked Romans)
The lovers' holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat- or dog-skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, said classics professor Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The annual pagan celebration, called Lupercalia, was held every year on February 15 and remained wildly popular well into the fifth century A.D.—at least 150 years after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
That's an image that will make it hard to enjoy chocolate later today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Things You Find Surfing the Web

This almost qualifies as quote of the day (or week). Some Parents in Queens Think Vaccinations Are Only for Heathen Children
Lawsuits filed last week in Queens Supreme Court by parents Fabian Mendoza-Vaca and Nicole Phillips have been transferred to Brooklyn Federal Court and could be resolved as early as next week in an emergency hearing where some secular-minded necromancer will hopefully raise Clarence Darrow from his grave so he can give everyone involved a proper finger-wagging.
Apparently some parents think that resorting to vaccines to protect their children from disease shows a lack of faith in God.

Somebody filed suit when his kids were sent home because they were un-vaccinated, and in danger. The parents don't want the kids protected from mumps or chicken pox. School policy to protect the kids if they could be exposed to an illness. That isn't right, according to the parents.

But the winning quote follows:
the real tragedy here is that not only are these kids being denied vaccinations because their parents believe that God's an unreasonable asshole, they're also being denied all the days off that their super religious upbringing should entitle them to.

Don't Break Into Homes With Armed Homeowners

If you do break into homes, you will eventually find one with an armed person inside. Homeowner says he shot man in self-defense The results are predictable.
A Barry County homeowner says he took matters into his own hands Monday morning and shot a man he claims was trying to break into his home.
Because Michigan doesn't have a Castle Doctrine, the cops are trying to find something they can charge the homeowner with.

Can't have the little people standing up for themselves, not depending on the government for every little thing. Have to beat that down if they can.

But for me, I still see it as Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0. Self-defense is a human right.

The Deacons for Defense and Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cops Don't Like Cameras

And they really don't like video cameras. Cops oppose plan to allow recording them in public

Illinois remains one of the few states where it is illegal to record what cops are up to. Some vestige of the "wire tap" law. As if.
“Citizens are being charged under the current law for doing nothing more than what thousands of citizens do every day in Illinois: pull out our cell phone, open up the camera, and start recording,” says the sponsor, State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook. “With the G-8 and NATO summits coming to Chicago in May, thousands of journalists and attendees are at great risk of prosecution.”
It is time for the rights of the citizens to reach beyond the rights of the cops. Especially of the right of the cops to hide what they are doing.

Roaches, and bad cops, are afraid of the sunlight.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Denial Ain't Just a River In Egypt
Reaction to Shooting of Home Invader

The family and friends of people never like to admit that their loved-one might not be so lovable in everyone's eyes. Esperance Shooting Victim's Fiancee: ‘He Was a Big, Playful Teddy Bear’ - Edmonds, WA Patch

Here is the facts - they aren't given right up front. The mushy, feel-good, let's all feel sorry for the dead home-invader stuff comes first. But I like facts best.
Talley, 26, was allegedly shot and killed by a homeowner in the 8900 block of 225th Place Southwest, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the shooting.

Although no arrests have been made, sheriff spokesman Kevin Prentiss says preliminary information indicates Talley is suspected of breaking into a residence at that location and was allegedly shot by the homeowner, identified only as a 25-year-old man.
The opening of the article, that includes a picture of the dead guy with his infant son, goes on about how he was "a good father" and "engaged to be married." As if any of that makes a difference to the guy whose home he broke into.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Another 6+ Million Bucks Paid Out Because of Chicago's Finest

Getting ready for the G8 and the NATO summits scheduled for this summer in Chicago... Settlement in 2003 Chicago protest lawsuit - CBS News

The arrested everyone they could (700 in total). Without regard for what they were doing. In at least one case, they arrested someone who was not part of the protest. (He stepped out of a restaurant just in time to be picked up.)
The settlement would pay those arrested in 2003 and charged up to $15,000; anyone arrested but not charged could get up to $8,750; others detained on the street for more than 90 minutes before being released could receive up to up to $500, Mogul said.
So have they learned their lessons? The Chicago Police maintain they are ready for this summer. Probably a good reason to stay out of the city.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Greece Circles the Drain - Economically Speaking

So this is the preferred, less painful way of dealing with the Greek financial situation. Really? Greek death spiral accelerates – Telegraph Blogs

Greece could be working on putting its economy back together, instead it is doing nothing.
Greece's manufacturing output contracted by 15.5pc in December from a year earlier.

Industrial output fell 11.3pc, compared to minus 7.8pc in November.

Unemployment jumped to 20.9pc in November, up from 18.2pc a month earlier.
Can you really tell me that Greece, with a slightly devalued Drachma wouldn't be able to attract tourists to their islands and sell stuff their manufacturers make? Well they would probably be able to attract tourists. Greek manufacturing has many problems. But they would be able to make stuff for themselves, instead of having to compete with the Germans.

A lot has been said to insinuate that Greeks are somehow lazy; they aren't. They are working under some terrible work rules, but they aren't lazy.
By the way, Greeks work an average 42 hours a week, one of the highest in Europe. Just want to put the record straight on that.
What is happening to them is completely in line with their financial condition. It has happened before, and it will happen again.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Ellen Takes on Haters Head On

Guess I need to start shopping at JC Penny.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

I love the fact that 1 Million Moms have 40,000 members on their Facebook page. "Rounding to nearest million" indeed.

Be warned there is an ad, and the volume is super loud, compared to the video.

Why Are They Still Messing With Greece?

Greece's broken promises anger EU partners | Reuters
Nearly two years into Greece's bailout, so many promises have been broken that international lenders have largely lost faith in the country's will to reform itself and are torn between imposing stricter outside control and cutting Athens loose.
It isn't just the bond-holders they have lied to.

They pass laws that the EU, ECB and IMF demand, but the laws are never implemented. Taxes aren't being collected. (It's no wonder there is a revenue problem.) Promises to privatize state-owned businesses have not been kept. And the folks in Athens act like nothing really needs to change.
Aside from major structural reforms, it is flagrant cases of excessive spending that euro zone capitals most want to see cut - such as the fact that there are 25,000 state-supplied cars on the national budget, according to a senior Greek lawmaker.
The party in Athens just rolls on.

And under the heading, "The leopard cannot change his spots,"
The IMF's chief inspector for Greece, Poul Thomsen, said recently that Greece's lenders may have over-estimated the capacity of the administration to reform.
Cuts to government payrolls? Not done. Collect taxes? Also not done. Work-rule modernization. Completely not done. (You want to upset the unions right before an election? Are you crazy?)

The only real question is why the brain trust that lent all this money to Greece can't see that waiting for them to change now is a losing proposition. They should just cut their losses.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Isn't Cooperation Supposed to Ensure Safety

I suppose you could file this under stupid criminals, but it is just tragic. Gas station clerk shot and injured during attempted robbery

Police chiefs, pizza companies, and anti-gunners routinely tell us that if we just give criminals what they want, we will be safe. (We should take a moment to consider rapists and child abusers and others who just want to do harm before we adopt that policy.) But even in the case of robbery - which is all the experts ever discuss - it doesn't always work out that way.
Police say two male suspects entered the store with their faces covered. One was armed with a handgun, and demanded cash.

While the clerk was complying with the request, she was shot.. The bullet passed through her arm and into her abdomen.
So she was doing what they asked, and she got shot anyway. No news has been released about her condition. But it doesn't sound good.

So if you want to adopt a policy of acting like a sheep, that is fine. Just don't pretend it is anything other than it is. A strategy, and a fairly poor strategy from my point of view.

The idiot criminals didn't get any money for their trouble. One can only hope they left something at the scene that will tie them to the crime.

Because Any Positive Portrayal of Gays and Lesbians Must Be Crushed

In one of the more insane actions by the religious right, One Million Moms Pushes J.C. Penney to Drop Ellen Degeneres - Yahoo! News

Is anyone less offensive than Ellen? I suppose the American Family Association would be happy if one of the Kardashians or another over-the-top (but straight) celebrity was the spokesperson for JC Penny.
A vast majority of Americans today support Ellen as well as their LGBT friends and family members," Herndon Graddick, a GLAAD spokesman said in a written statement. "Selecting an out performer who has inspired and entertained millions, is not only a smart business practice, but a reflection of how LGBT Americans today are an integral and valued part of the fabric of our culture."

DeGeneres' daytime talk show has more viewers than the American Family Association has moms. Between January 16 and January 22, "Ellen" averaged 3.38 million viewers -- or 2.38 million more people than the AFA has moms.
In "related news" Ellen just collected the "Favorite Daytime TV Host" from the (somewhat inappropriately named) People's Choice Awards.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Greeks Having to Admit They Have No Leverage

(Get it? Leverage) They are negotiating with the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank, and don't like the fact that they aren't holding much to negotiate with. Greece on "knife edge" in push to agree bailout - Yahoo! News

They need another 'bailout' to the tune of €130 billion, or $171 billion. The troika wants some concessions, and the Greeks don't want to give in to them.
Greek officials have emerged increasingly despondent after each round of talks, complaining that the European Central Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund troika were stubbornly refusing to yield on demands to cut the minimum wage level, axe holiday bonuses and fire public sector workers.

A meeting between the two sides ended on Sunday afternoon without any immediate indication on whether they had been able to resolve outstanding issues.
You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either the Greeks want the 130 billion Euros, or they don't.

They should just withdraw from the EU, (it isn't clear they can get out of the Euro except by dumping the entire EU.)

The EU and the Eurozone bureaucrats are finally having to deal with a little democracy. You see Greece has elections scheduled for April, and the people up for re-election aren't willing to fall on their swords for Brussels and a series of reforms they don't believe in.
Talks with the socialist, conservative and far-right party leaders in his coalition were continuing on Sunday.

The conservative New Democracy and the far-right LAOS party in particular have staunchly opposed further wage and spending cuts, arguing they risk pushing Greece into an even deeper recession and imposing more pain on struggling Greeks.
The truly sad thing is that if Greece had swallowed the bitter medicine in 2010, and admitted they cheated and lied to get into the Euro, and left calmly, the worst would probably be over this summer. Not that it would be good for a long time. But by stretching out what looks more and more inevitable, the bankers and the bureaucrats haven't made things better.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Even in the People's Republic of California, Self-defense Works

If you break into homes, eventually you will meet an armed homeowner. 87-year-old homeowner shoots Baldwin Hills burglar -
A man who tried to break into a Baldwin Hills home was in critical condition Wednesday after the 87-year-old homeowner shot him, police said.
The 2nd guy who tried to get into the home ran like a rabbit.

So even in gun-hating-LA, self-defense works. And of all the platitudes of the anti-gun crowd, just what should an 87-year-old man do when faced with potentially violent criminals? Run away?

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Imbolc - The Festival Where We Say, "Enough Winter Already!"

Imbolc has been co-opted by everyone from the Catholics with the Feast of St. Brigid, to Pennsylvania with Groundhog Day.

Imbolc falls half-way between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. It is a time to start thinking about the fact that winter will end. Maybe plan for a garden and planting. Definitely get together with folks to say how sick you are of long nights, cold winds and snow - though we haven't had it too bad on that front so far.