Monday, December 24, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Max and the wild things- on the big screen! I love this book- read it as a child and now read it to my two girls- and I can't wait to see this on film. I just hope that they do it justice- a Grinch rather than a Cat in the Hat.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
A carbon footprint equivalent to 6,000 car journeys around the world will be produced by the UK tucking into Christmas dinner, researchers say.
Project leader professor Adisa Azapagic, from the University of Manchester, said: "Food production and processing are responsible for three quarters of the total carbon footprint, with the largest proportion - 60% - being related to the life cycle of the turkey.
What are they trying to say, that we need to eradicate turkeys to save the planet?
"All stages in the supply chain have been considered, including raising the turkey, growing the vegetables, food storage, consumer shopping, cooking the meal at home and waste management.
"This includes the emissions of carbon dioxide due to energy consumption along the turkey supply chain and the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide generated due to the agricultural activities to raise the turkey."
Shouldn't these people actually be using their scientific educations for something worthwhile? What was the carbon footprint of this utterly useless research? At least on Christmas day we get to eat a delicious meal to offset the poor turkey's atrocious green record.
The Home Office has confirmed plans to outlaw the weapons in England and Wales after putting forward the idea earlier this year.
Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said there was a clear danger to the public posed by easily-available swords.
Now, you'd expect there to have been a massive number of deaths for such a draconian measure but you'd be completely wrong.
The Home Office estimates there have been some 80 attacks in recent years involving Samurai-style blades, leading to at least five deaths.The Association of Chief Police Officers has backed the Home office move saying that while the weapon is relatively uncommon, there is justification for a ban.
And the ban aims to stop short of banning all samurai swords, focusing on on cheap, poorly made, imitation weapons- you know the ones usually made with blunt blades for decorative purposes only. Not only will the wealthy continue to be allowed to buy the real thing- blades much more lethal- but so too will martial arts students. So while really cheap blades are banned, martial artists will still be permitted to buy "mid-range" weapons. From what I know of the market I'm guessing that blades of around a £100 and up will escape (some of them seem to be directed specifically at martial artists)- although the government seems to be particularly hazy on the details. They also don't seem to be aware that samurai swords are only a portion of those being currently sold- will the ban also affect broad swords, rapiers, or the humble gladius? There also seems to be no provision for movie replicas- will fans be able to continue to buy Blade's sword for example? Or imitation weapons from Kill Bill or The Matrix?
There's no mention of what the government will do about criminals using samurai swords already purchased before the ban, or axes, or kitchen knives, or going out and sharpening a bit of metal themselves. Have they heard of shivs one wonders?
They also tried to ban "realistic imitation firearms" recently (replica weapons, cigarette lighter weapons and airsoft weapons predominantly)- a sure step to combat a rising tide of real gun crime. The guns are still available to sell- only now some of them are painted yellow or, for airsoft, you can join a local skirmishers group and buy the same thing anyway. It doesn't appear to have occurred to law-makers that there's such a thing as black paint.
Anyway, I'm off to go buy a sword now. Just before I go, another point to make- it's already illegal to have a sword in public- a measure which evidently has done nothing to reduce crime; so the government is going to make it illegal twice.Carrying a samurai sword in a public place already carries a maximum jail sentence of four years.
For a list of weapons already banned- considered "offensive weapons"- see here. Interesting to note that the telescoping baton, currently issued to the police for day-to-day carry, is prohibited to the mere citizen.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A driver who spent only six weeks in jail for mowing down a three-year-old girl in a stolen car breached his five-year ban four times after he was freed, a court heard.
Six weeks for killing a 3 year old child. How can that happen?
Mohammed Aqueel Hussain struck Levi Bleasdale as she crossed the road with her mother in September 2005.
Instead of stopping Hussain, who has never passed his driving test, sped off and left the little girl to die.
He was jailed for 12 weeks, serving half of the sentence, with critics saying he should have been punished more severely.A 12-week sentence for driving without a full licence, in a stolen car, speeding excessively, killing a child and then leaving the scene of an accident.
Hussain, of Burnley, was jailed for 180 days yesterday by the town's magistrates.
For breaking his driving ban. So less me get this straight- he serves 42 days for killing a child but he gets 180 for driving when he's supposed to be banned?
Hussain's conduct was not considered bad enough for him to be charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
And who the hell made that decision? And have they been removed from their post because of it?
As the Mail points out, a drug addict who stole a teddy bear from items left at the scene of the accident, was jailed for eight months. The British legal system is preposterous.
To put it further perspective the penalty just for leaving the scene of an accident is a six month sentence. So how come he wasn't charged with all of the offences he committed and imprisoned accordingly?
A bit of Google-Fu turns up some other pertinent details of the original crime-
Driver Mohammed Hussain, 26, admitted careless driving, having no licence or insurance, failing to stop and failing to report an accident.
In addition to the driving offences, Hussain admitted handling stolen goods when he appeared at Burnley Magistrates' Court on Friday. It emerged he was out of prison on parole after being convicted of wounding in 2001.
He was sentenced to four weeks for the handling charge and 12 weeks each for the fail to stop and fail to report charges, to run concurrently. He was also banned from driving for five years.
It's my understanding that the handling stolen goods charge could have gotten him anywhere up to a year in prison. The reports seem to suggest that the stolen goods charges are unrelated to his possession of the stolen car at the time he killed the little girl- so it seems appropriate to also ask why he was not charged with that?
As for his most recent imprisonment-Mohammed Aqueel Hussain (27), of Thurston Street, Burnley, was given the sentence after admitting breaking his five-year driving ban three times in seven weeks as well as taking a vehicle without the owner's consent and driving without insurance.
And here's a final insult-
Magistrates did not extend Hussain's driving ban, but his licence was endorsed with six points.
But of course.
It is the classic toy that has kept children happily building castles and houses for decades.
But now Lego is set to turn slightly more sinister with the launch of an unofficial book that teaches children how to make weapons out of the iconic plastic bricks.
A Christmas bestseller, "Forbidden Lego: Build the models your parents warned you against" is a controversial new book that gives children detailed instructions on how to make weapons such as catapults and 'automatic ping-pong ball launchers' purely out of Lego.Terrifying, isn't it?
A man murdered his girlfriend after he was released early from prison to ease overcrowding.
How he was chosen for early release is beyond me.
In 2005, Mournian served a 12-month sentence and was given an Asbo for attacking a former girlfriend with a beer bottle.
Miss Murphy, in their ten months together, complained to police five times about Mournian's violence. In June, he was convicted of assault and criminal damage and given a 12-month supervision order.
A day later he attacked Miss Murphy again at their home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and received the 20-week sentence.
Oh wait, this might explain it-
Prisoners released early are not individually risk-assessed and have committed 180 further crimes.
So violent criminals are getting out of jail early and putting society at risk. Can there be a clearer example of the government simply not giving a damn about the public?
And not only are the government refusing to tackle the problem of prison overcrowding but they still haven't learned the lesson yet about sentencing.At Leeds Crown Court last week, Mrs Justice Swift sentenced Mournian to life imprisonment and ordered that he serve a minimum of 14 years in jail.
If only life actually meant life- what on earth is the point if they're going to let them out in a little over a decade?
Sunday, December 09, 2007
A jacket that conceals the head and face, leaving two “goggle-slots” to see through, is becoming the latest fashion craze to hit the streets.
And of course, there's alarm!
Police and community groups are concerned that the “goggle jackets” will become the next uniform of Asbo culture.
Brian Paddick, a former senior officer at the Metropolitan police and now a London mayoral candidate, said: “The trouble in society is not just crime but the fear of crime, and this new jacket is enough to give anyone a shiver down their spine.”Mr. "Islamic and terrorism do not go together" Paddick should perhaps be made aware of the fact that people are afraid of crime not because of some new fashion trend, but because the police and courts are failing society in fighting crime; if people are scared of criminals its because they've been rendered defenceless on the streets and in their homes, the police are basically invisible and courts refuse to imprison criminals for any serious amount of time. He does indeed seem to be a very confused chap.
The most annoying thing about the article is not the tone of alarm (the jackets come in mostly dark colours!) but the fact that they fail to include an image. The story just doesn't work without one. Here's what the fuss is about-
I am simply saying if I were allowed to carry a gun, I would have and I would have used it. That is a hard fact. I am not trying to be a hero and say that I would have tried to save lives. I am saying that I was trying to save my life, and if my family was there, their lives as well. There is nothing "hero" about what I am saying, it's about survival.
This guy had a clear side-on view of the shooter and there's no telling how many lives he could have saved had the mall not infringed his Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Instead the gun-free zone simply provided Hawkins with a pool of victims who were disarmed and unable to defend themselves.
Make sure to head over and read the whole account.
Note too that Joe travelled to the mall to take photos of their signs which prohibit the carrying of guns; they've all been removed.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
The inquiry, which reviewed available records for more than 200 police shooting cases over the last decade, found that these cursory police investigations create a separate standard of justice and fuel the fear among some citizens that officers can shoot people with impunity.
In at least a dozen cases, police shot civilians in the back or from behind. But in the Ware case, as in many other police shootings, it took a civil suit for the troubling details of the case to emerge publicly.
It's part of a series- make sure to read it all.
Hours after Officer Phyllis Clinkscales fatally shot a young man trying to steal her car, Chicago police investigators and commanders ruled the shooting justified.
And they continued to keep one of their own safe regardless of what emerged.
They have stood by that conclusion even as she gave differing accounts of what happened the night she shot 17-year-old Robert Washington in June 2000.
They stood by her even though all four of the gunshot wounds were on the back right side of Washington's head and neck, including a "muzzle imprint" that suggested the gun barrel had been pressed against his skin.
They stood by her even after the department's civilian oversight agency found her account didn't square with the autopsy on Washington and initially recommended she be fired.
The case has been re-opened as a result of the Tribune's investigation; an instance of the press deserving considerable praise.One wonders if any charges will be filed against the officials who conspired to cover up these crimes- obstructing justice, accessory after the fact, negligence, dereliction of duty- surely there must be something that can be done to make sure that they are held responsible for their actions? I would wager that it's only by rigorously prosecuting officials who rule these shootings justified after "cursory investigations" that we will see a change in how the police are treated.
She was shot six times and, miraculously, is alive.
Ford said she dialed 911 on her cell phone as she walked into the station.
"The first operator clicked off and I dialed again and told that operator a guy with a gun was holding me hostage with a mother and baby and threatening to kill us. I told her the name of the gas station and then she said they didn't have a unit to send."
An operator hung up on her? Another told her there was no unit to respond to a woman and a child being kidnapped at gun-point? In fact, it seems that police only responded when the gas station clerk called police again as shots were fired- and they were on the scene in moments, giving lie to the operator's claim that there were no units in the area.
Alghazali said a police car on a street nearby arrived in less than a minute after his call.So why the hell weren't they sent immediately? Telling that the press seems to be particularly uninterested in 911 operators refusing to send police to an emergency.
For the record, the shooter's details appear to be here. He'd previously been convicted of assault/resisting arrest, Assault with Intent to Rob while Armed, Home Invasion - 1st Degree, Cut, Break, Tap Wire or Cable, and, Assault with Dangerous Weapon (Felonious Assault).
And yet he was still out on the streets and not behind bars.
Hawkins entered the shopping centre and began picking off random shoppers and members of staff as they scurried for cover.
The first emergency call came in at 1.42pm U.S. time.
The killer was already dead by the time police arrived six minutes later.
The daughter of a British imam is living under police protection after receiving death threats from her father for converting to Christianity.
I guess the imam himself is a bit confused about what his religion says- I mean, we're told all the time that apostasy isn't a crime worthy of death by Muslim spokesmen and that to point that out is merely being Islamophobic. I guess Abdul Rahman was some kind of misunderstanding too. And while they're re-educating the people of Afghanistan, they might want to pop over to Kuwait too- a few there seem to be "misinformed" about what Islam says too.
"My dad was shouting through the letter box, "I'm going to kill you", while the others smashed on the window and beat the door.
"They were shouting, 'We're going to kill you' and 'Traitor'.How on earth could a father want to kill his daughter? It couldn't have anything to do with the dictates of his Islamic religion, could it?
"If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him." (Bukhari 4.52.60)
"Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him." (Bukhari 9.84.57)Not to mention the verses of the Koran interpreted in the same manner. And as the woman in hiding from her own family explains,
"I know the Koran says anyone who goes away from Islam should be killed as an apostate, so in some ways my family are following the Koran. They are following Islam to the word."
She isn't the only one to assume that passages advocating killing apostates mean that apostates should be killed either-
A study this year found that 36 per cent of British Muslims between 16 and 24 believe those who convert to another religion should be punished by death.That amounts to 576,000 Muslims in the UK.
In July an Iranian immigrant to Britain, who converted to Christianity, was saved from deportation after it emerged she would be stoned to death in her own country.
Could it be that all the so-called Islamophobes who have been pointing this fact out are actually telling the truth about what Islam says?
Kudos to Fern Britton for having the guts to do it too. A reminder, which seems to be badly needed, that we live in a nation where free speech, however offensive it may be to some, still exists.
Expect the outrage to begin in 3...2...1...
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Ten of thousands of criminals will be spared jail after the Government yesterday fought shy of building enough prisons to meet demand.
Britain's top prison expert said that the UK needs room for 100,000 inmates by 2014. So what does Labour do?
Justice Secretary Jack Straw promised to build 15,000 extra prison places by 2014, taking the total to 96,000.
And the extra 4,000 spaces? Well, Labour has a solution to that too-
Ministers will attempt to bridge the gap by freeing as many as 4,500 inmates early at any one time.
As a result, tens of thousands of criminals will serve less time in jail than is currently the case - or will not be imprisoned at all.
What can possibly go wrong?
No one begrudges a cop his or her doughnuts, but questions are being asked in Albuquerque about one recent case in which a pair of the city's finest dropped in for a box of Krispy Kremes in a police helicopter.
At the taxpayers' expense of course.
Eyewitnesses said a Kiowa OH-58 chopper owned by the Albuquerque Police Department -- which reportedly costs taxpayers about $80 an hour to fuel and fly, not including salaries and benefits for two crew members -- came swooping in out of the night sky one recent evening. It circled several times around its intended target, then alighted in a nearby lot while a passenger went in for a box of doughnuts. Mission accomplished, the chopper buzzed off, sounding the siren by way of bidding onlookers adieu.
Naturally the local PD will be cracking down on this flagrant abuse of police property- not to mention the fact that perhaps these people should have been working, not going for shopping trips. Um, well, not really.
"Between the two of them, I don't know how they decided that was a good idea," a police-department official told the newspaper. "If they violated policy or procedure, they're going to get disciplined for it. We've worked too hard to make this a professional unit to let lack of common sense tear us down."
If- is he seriously trying to say that there's some doubt that using a police chopper to go buy doughnuts isn't a violation? Expect the anonymous cops to receive the usual "only ones" treatment- a slap on the wrist, if at all.
I guess the MSM forgot to mention that in all the anti-gun
It doesn't seem to occur to them that the real tragedy here is that lawful citizens were denied the right to defend themselves against this mad-man. Here's a hint for proponents of "no gun" zones; criminals don't care. The only people who obey these edicts are the law-abiding, the very last people you have to worry about carrying a gun.
It seems a simple enough concept to grasp.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Anyway, I come downstairs, get breakfast, etc and then come in to check the Infernal Machine- there's a Firefox window open and that's when the panic grips me- the personal toolbar is empty. I sit down and click on bookmarks- that's empty too. The page being displayed tells me that Firefox has been successfully updated- but all of my details are missing! It's been a while since I backed up my bookmarks, Quicknote, and so on- and then there's the matter of all those passwords that I can't remember but Firefox has saved for me. It all seems to be gone. Just wiped away. I quickly start looking for the Mozilla folder and my profile. Oddly, the bookmarks file there is nearly 500kb. Perhaps all is not lost.
To change profiles or to point Mozilla at a different one, you need to shut the programme down. I copy and paste the folder holding the bookmarks file- hoping beyond hope that it really is mine- just in case and then shut down Firefox. No sooner has the window vanished than it opens again on its own; only this time it's the Firefox I recognise with its cluttered toolbar and bulging list of bookmarks, many of which are so old that the websites they belong to- let alone the pages they point to- no longer exist.
I suspect that a cat is to blame- dancing around on my keyboard is one of the annoying habits of a stray kitten I've brought in. How it managed the trick though, I have no idea.
Time to start breathing again. The first thing I do is find a back-up utility. MozBackup seems to be the prime example but I'm going to take a chance on FEBE first; simply because it can do an automated backup.
If you know of a better way to back-up Firefox (bookmarks, passwords, etc) then please do let me know.
Here's a Tomb Raider commission by the man himself. It's stunning work.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Iran halted work toward a nuclear weapon under international scrutiny in 2003 and is unlikely to be able to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb until 2010 to 2015, a U.S. intelligence report says.
It also contradicts another of their own reports-
The estimate is less severe than a 2005 report that judged the Iranian leadership was "determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure."
And then it basically states that they don't really know at all-
"We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely," the report says. A more likely time frame for that production is between 2010 and 2015, it concludes.
So which is it- 2009 or 2010? When talking about a state like Iran I'd like a little more than "likely" or "unlikely"- wouldn't you? Note too that "moderate confidence" is all they're willing to stake on the earliest possible date- that seems to me to imply that there is a real possibility that Iran is much closer than they think they are. Otherwise they'd be willing to say that they are highly confident that Iran won't be able to develop a weapon before then. It seems very telling to me. Think too that 2007 is all but done- the NIE's time-frame basically means that after next year Iran could be a nuclear power; not exactly a lot of time in which to act, is it?
Then there's this titbit of information-
Iran is continuing to develop ballistic missiles.
And the IAEA itself really has no clue either-
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, has reported that Iran is cooperating with inspectors by providing access to declared nuclear material, documents and facilities. However, the agency also said Iran is withholding information in other areas, and as a result, the IAEA's knowledge about the status of the program is "diminishing."
So, the NIE isn't highly confident that Iran won't be able to produce a nuke within the year and the IAEA knows less and less about the regime's program as time goes on.
Is this an intelligence report or a bunch of guys trying not to commit one way or the other to anything solid?
In the annals of awesomeness, this shall be the standard against which all future awesomeness is measured.
In a nutshell, the USMC wants the ability to
Such weapons, when used against people, “can be compared to long range blow torches or precision flame throwers, with corresponding psychological advantages for [Coalition Forces] CF.”
In other words, the lasers don’t just kill people, but they kill people in really gruesome, frightening ways — particularly because the beam from such weapons, like the Advanced Tactical Laser, is invisible to the human eye. That means you could have three guys standing around, and one of them suddenly burst into flames.Which, you have to admit, truly is an awesome capability- and one that scientists seems to be within reach of.
AllahPundit asks if being able to turn people into flaming matches from 50,000 feet with an invisible ray before they've even realised what's going on mightn't be counter-productive in a hearts and minds kind of way. I don't understand the question- is he trying to imply that there's some sort of downside to an invisible death ray?
Ahmad Al-Tayyib is no radical on the fringes of Islam; he’s president of Sunni Islam’s highest center of learning, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and the former mufti of Egypt.
And he supports suicide bombings. Under the right conditions, of course. For example, when killing Jews.
I expect CAIR are already preparing to label this chap as a terrible Islamophobe.
You know, one would almost think that there might be something to all this talk about Islam having violent elements to it. I mean, if the president of one of Islam's "highest centres of learning" is confused about what it all means...
Lest there be any confusion, here are his exact words-
"The Palestinian martyrdom-seeker knows that he is free to go to this operation, in order to please Allah and enter Paradise, in defense of his religion, his country, and his land."
So blowing up innocent people pleases Allah and gets the murderer a ticket to their heaven? I guess Ibrahim Hooper needs to have a chat with this guy.
The find also suggests that scientists may have underestimated the size of many dinosaur species.
The CT scans of the vertebrae suggest that an extra yard or so needs to be added to the length of most dinosaurs.
Dr Phil Manning says: "We've had 150, nearly 200 years of people looking at this particular animal saying that's what it looks like.
"If we're wrong with Hadrosaurs, we could be wrong with many other groups.
"We could have a T. Rex with a double chin for all we know."Of course, expect many of them to cling tightly to the theory du jour rather than accept new evidence which contradicts it. It seems that some in the scientific community these days invest so much in their tightly held beliefs that they hate to see evidence get in the way.
Iranian police will crack down on women in Tehran flouting Islamic dress codes with winter fashions deemed immodest, such as tight trousers tucked into long boots, an officer was quoted as saying on Saturday.
And, more importantly, this?
In response to a ruling by Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals that marital rape is not a crime, İsmet Berkan wrote in his column in Radikal that because of the ruling, if a woman "resists and is killed by her husband in the end, his penalty even could be reduced due to 'grievous provocation!' We learned [about] this during the ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ week..."
Heaven forbid they actually stand up for women facing real oppression.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I'm sure that the police will champion such a plan- after all, if they haven't done anything wrong, they have nothing to fear; and as people sworn to enforce the law, they should be shocked and appalled when one of their own breaks the law and tarnishes the reputation of them all.
There is too the fact that these men with uniforms and badges and guns hold a certain place in our society- and to abuse their position, their power, is a betrayal of the public trust. A police officer who uses his position to prey on the people he is supposed to be protecting should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form. It's time that a zero tolerance policy was instituted to control those men and women who break the law rather than enforce it.
Atlanta police knew seven years ago that a police sergeant's husband may have been paying young girls for sex and producing child pornography, but failed to investigate the allegations, federal authorities said.
He has since been arrested by the FBI and faces charges- of producing child pornography "relating to photographs that depict his explicit sexual activity with numerous young girls."
For these terrible crimes, preying on the most vulnerable section of society, he faces a measly 20 years in prison. It makes one wonder how many of those children could have been protected had the Atlanta police investigated the husband of one of their own.
An employee of a photo processing company alerted Atlanta police about Crane in 2000, saying he was concerned about photos he developed for him.
The pictures, including images of the 11 girls believed to be between the ages of 12 and 15, were given to police between 2000 and 2002 by the photo processing company, Nahmias said. They were not turned over to federal authorities, however, until last month.
That there was a cover-up is not in question- not only by the police themselves but by the police officer wife of the animal-
In 2003, Crane's wife, Atlanta police Sgt. Tanya Crane, "allegedly got a call from an unidentified person at APD headquarters that APD had photographs of her husband engaged in sexually explicit conduct with young girls," said the statement from Nahmias' office.
"Crane's wife said she found some explicit photographs in her house and burned the photographs and negatives."
Atlanta police chief Richard Pennington is, it seems, responsible for involving Federal authorities in the case-
"When the incident came to my attention in October, I immediately ordered a full inquiry and invited the FBI to assist with the investigation. People will be held accountable and responsible for their actions, or inactions, as the case may be."
Thus far the monster's wife has not been charged with, say, perverting the course of justice or the like but has been place on "administrative leave." There's also no information on who alerted the Chief to the crimes taking place- or why they did not begin a criminal investigation themselves. Obviously once the photo lab alerted police of the crimes some kind of report must have been filed- so how many members of the Atlanta force knew about it? Why did the person who took the complaint not begin an investigation? Were they told not to or did they bury the case themselves?
Seems to me that the Feds have a lot more work to do here- and heads surely should roll for allow this creep to continue to abuse children.
POLICE in New South Wales have lost track of a wide range of equipment including handcuffs, bulletproof vests, capsicum spray, radios, uniforms and even a squad car.
Now, I can perhaps understand losing a set of handcuffs, perhaps even a radio (pursuit on foot, that sort of thing) but how, exactly, do you misplace a "bulletproof vest" or a squad car? Forget where you parked, Officer?
The state Opposition obtained the list of police items lost or stolen in the 2006-07 financial year during NSW Budget estimates committee hearings.
It includes six sets of handcuffs, 11 cans of capsicum spray, 40 portable radios and three police radios.
40 radios seems a bit extreme- perhaps they need a training programme on how not to misplace vital communications equipment; "put it in the pouch and make sure that the fastener is closed". There, that should do it. Note too that there were an additional three police car radios stolen.
Uniform items including caps, jackets and rain suits have gone missing as well as 14 bulletproof vests.
Are there lots of partially clad policemen wandering around trying to find their radios?
One police vehicle was also unaccounted for during the 2006-07 year.
Oops. To be fair though, that was apparently stolen. If only there were some organisation around whose job it was to stop thieves from breaking the law...
A grandfather has been given a prison sentence for racial harassment after calling a Welsh woman "English".
Yes, two white, British people are arguing and because one called the other an "English b*tch" he's been charged with racially motivated disorderly conduct. Quite aside from the fact that the motive for behaviour is immaterial- does it really matter if you're beaten up for being black or because you happened to look at some drunken sociopath?- it seems astonishing that the term "racism" is being bandied about here by judges and lawyers. Does anyone even know what that word means any more? I was under the impression that a university education and some basic understanding of the English language was required for posts like that. Obviously, standards are slipping.
After the argument Mrs Steele put up a sign in her shop which read "Some People Call Me a B*tch". But she insisted the incident was no joking matter.
She said: "I'm Welsh – I was born in Welshpool. "But we couldn't let him get away with what he said."Could it be that this about nothing more than bloody-minded revenge?
Her husband, a 40-year-old Englishman originally from Hull, added of Mr Forsythe: "He is a racist. He doesn't like the English.
"He's from Ireland originally and he's lived in Wales for years and some of them don't like English people."
And there we have it- the English are a separate and distinct race from the Welsh and even the "Irish". How ironic that the man charged is not, in fact, from Ireland at all, but from the completely different country Northern Ireland (I don't expect someone who thinks that English qualifies as a race to grasp complex matters like borders or geography or even the countries which make up the UK). That's like someone from Belfast, say, calling a Welsh-person English...
And do I detect a hint of prejudice coming from this chap- seems to me that he has some sort of grudge against the Welsh and Irish, don't you think?
Friday, November 30, 2007
What he should actually have said was that she nothing wrong whatsoever and Sudan needs to release her immediately without charge and without a single hair on her head being harmed in any way.
That never happened and the Sudanese court is to imprison her for 15 days. The headmaster of her school described that sentence as "very fair"!
Miliband's response to this ridiculous trial and sentence? He's "extremely disappointed" and has "expressed in the strongest terms" his concern. I'm sure that the Sudanese authorities are quaking in their boots over that.
Is there any British politician around with the guts to stand up to this nonsense and publicly declare that this woman has done nothing wrong whatsoever?
I wonder if the jihadists realise that they don't have to defeat us on the battlefield- they just need to play on the Western World's sense of political correctness. We'll defeat ourselves for them.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Anyway, here's Red Sonja by Adam Hughes. Oddly enough, though this Sonja appears in the world of Conan, the original Red Sonya (thought up by Conan creator Robert E. Howard) was "a gun-slinging warrior woman of Russian origin with a grudge against the Ottoman sultan, the eponymous red hair and a fiery temper to match." She had no link to Conan's world at all.
Charges will not be filed against a district court judge who was accused of taking a loaded gun to a Detroit Metropolitan Airport checkpoint this summer.
Washtenaw County prosecutors decided not to charge Sylvia James, chief judge of Inkster's 22nd District Court, because investigators couldn't prove she intentionally took the handgun July 28.
"There is insufficient proof to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. James knowingly possessed the handgun," Konrad Siller, first assistant prosecutor in Washtenaw County, wrote in his Nov. 13 memo to the Wayne County Airport Police. He declined Monday to discuss the issue further.
Of course you plebs will get exactly the same treatment, won't you? You can just say, "I forgot I had it on me," and the police will have to prove- beyond a reasonable doubt no less- that you didn't. No court cases necessary- charges will simply be dropped without any lengthy and expensive legal battles. Yep, I'm sure that plain old ordinary Joe will get that kind of treatment.
The decision not only removes the threat of jail and fines, but also lessens the likelihood of discipline from the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. Carrying a gun in an airport is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of a $1,000 fine and a year in a jail. Carrying one on a plane is a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
James also faced the prospect of $7,500 in fines from the Traffic Safety Administration.
Undercover police officers are being used in a nationwide sting operation on drinkers in the run-up to Christmas.
The unprecedented initiative - part of the Government's clampdown on binge drinking - starts on Friday and will run for four weekends up to 22 December.
The plainclothes officers will be told to monitor whether bar staff are illegally serving alcohol to obviously drunk customers.
They will be in pubs on Friday and Saturday nights over the next four weeks.
Apparently all the serious crime in Britain has been solved- either that or it's much more fun for police to spend their weekends down the pub picking on people out to enjoying their Christmas.
Mark Hastings, director of communications at the British Beer and Pub Association, said: "I think most people will be gobsmacked that the police think it is a priority for them to spend the evening in the pub playing 'spot the drunkard' in the runup to Christmas given all the other policing issues around at the moment."
A spokesman for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: "People might well ask what police are doing sitting around in pubs on a Friday and Saturday night."
A woman firearms officer who endured a year-long campaign of sexual taunts and innuendo from male colleagues has won her sex discrimination case.
PC Barbara Lynford, the only woman in an 18-strong team at Gatwick Airport, was seen as a "threat" and so was singled out and humiliated by her fellow officers.
But that's not all by far-
Armed officers on patrol allegedly used their radios to report sightings of pretty women to each other, using the code MILF for "mothers I'd like to ****".
The term GILF was said to have been used to describe attractive grandmothers, and the area where female cabin crew were dropped off was dubbed the "s***** patch".
Male police slept on the job, faked patrol reports, watched an X-rated TV channel and ran a forfeit system where they had to buy each other doughnuts as a penalty for leaving guns lying around, an employment tribunal heard.
The only ones professional enough to be armed....
During the tribunal, her male colleagues were likened to the overweight, doughnut-eating policeman Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons.
Officers who committed the most serious breaches had to buy the whole team a cake, the tribunal heard. One was said to have been forfeited in such a way after leaving his sub-machine gun in the canteen.
There appears to have been no trace of a responsible adult among the armed cops.
Former PC Toby Gough also told the tribunal that he had seen colleagues watching the X-rated channel in the gym and TV room at the station.
He claimed that officers not only left guns unattended but also faked patrol reports and slept while on duty.
And he said the time some officers spent on breaks was "scandalous", saying some officers spent more time in the canteen than on patrol.
Sounds like the police the UK is familiar with then.
Scotland has replaced its airport signs proclaiming the country to be "the best small country in the world" with a new slogan: "Welcome to Scotland."
Here's the kicker-
The new slogan, which was revealed Tuesday after six months of development and $250,000 spent on the project, is also printed on the posters in Gaelic as "Failte gu Alba," The Times of London reported Wednesday.
All that time and money and the best they can do is "Welcome to Scotland"? I see now why people are attracted to the advertising business.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Israel has approved the transfer of 25 armoured vehicles to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
And the armoured cats aren't the only part of this sweetener-
Israel also allowed provision of 1,000 guns and 2m bullets.
Of course this is yet another attempt to "bolster" Abbas against Hamas. Isn't anyone in the Israeli government paying attention?
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met Hamas officials for the first time since the militant group's takeover of the Gaza Strip in June.
All this "bolstering" going on and meanwhile Fatah and Hamas are trying to make up. How long before those bullets are being used against Israeli targets?
When do the PA and their murderous ilk start making concessions towards Israel? That's the one question that isn't being asked apparently.
Why am I not surprised?
Thank goodness that there are also people like Tam in the world. I'm hereby nominating this for quote of the year (although it'll be tough to choose between this and her "word processor in the mouth" quip)-
They say that it's okay to eat fish because they don't have feelings, but with the way that smoked salmon tastes, I wouldn't care if it screamed all the way to the table and struggled going down. If people tasted liked smoked salmon, I'd be Hannibal frickin' Lecter.
The forces of darkness are gathering and the majority of the Western world is happily pretending that the weather getting a bit warmer is all the calamity they have to worry about. A bit of humour is certainly required right now.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Grayson Perry, the cross-dressing potter, Turner Prize winner and former Times columnist, said that he had consciously avoided commenting on radical Islam in his otherwise highly provocative body of work because of the threat of reprisals.
“I’ve censored myself,” Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund. “The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.”
And of course the Times has to compare the very real threat of murder from Islamic radicals against those they perceive to have insulted their religion with protests from Christians.
Across Europe there is growing evidence that freedom of expression has been curtailed by fear of religious fundamentalism. Robert Redeker, a French philosophy teacher, is in hiding after calling the Koran a “book of extraordinary violence” in Le Figaro in 2006; Spanish villages near Valencia have abandoned a centuries-old tradition of burning effigies of Muhammad to mark the reconquest of Spain, against the Moors; and an opera house in Berlin banned a production of Mozart’s Idomeneo because it depicted the beheading of Muhammad (as well as Jesus and other spiritual leaders).In Britain the most high-profile examples have also been seen in the theatre, with the campaign by Christian fundamentalists against Jerry Springer: the Opera and the protests in Birmingham that forced the closure of Bezhti, a play about rape and murder in a Sikh temple.
Mmm, peaceful protests and trying to kill artists- not quite the same thing, is it?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A senior general warned Wednesday that Russia could deploy short-range missiles to Belarus as part of efforts to counter the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense sites in Europe, Russian news reports said.
Col. Gen. Vladimir Zaritsky, the chief of artillery and rocket forces for the Russian Ground Troops, said that "any action meets a counteraction, and this is the case with elements of the U.S. missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic," the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Maybe this guy thinks the Cold War is still in progress?
Russia strongly opposes the idea, saying Iran is decades away from developing missile technology that could threaten Europe or North America, and it says the U.S. bases will undermine Russia's own missile deterrent force.
Which is, quite frankly, a lie- Iran already possesses missile technology capable of just that-
These have a range of 3,000km which would definitely put them within range of Europe and well into Russia.
A Belgian anesthetist has filed a complaint against a Muslim who blocked him from entering the operating theatre where his wife was to undergo emergency surgery.
In Belgium, it seems, religion transcends a Muslim woman's right to the same quality medical care as everyone else- since when did European hospitals allow men to tell doctors who could and couldn't treat their wives?
Doctor Philippe Becx from Bree, Belgium, was called to the hospital in the middle of the night because a woman had to undergo an emergency caesarean section.
However, her husband blocked the door and demanded a female anesthetist. The latter was unavailable.
After a two-hour discussion proved fruitless, an imam was summoned. The imam permitted the doctor to apply an epidural injection, but only if the woman was fully covered with only a small area of skin showing.Ah, I see, they consulted with noted medical expert, the local imam- I wonder if they permit hospital chaplains to advise them on how to perform medical procedures too?
During the surgery itself, performed by a female gynecologist, the anesthetist was to remain in the hallway. Through a door that was slightly ajar, he shouted instructions to a nurse who was monitoring the anesthesia.
According the hospital’s directors, the doctor acted with ‘admirable understanding.’ He would have been in his right to have the man removed by police.And he damn well should have- I'm no medical expert but do hospitals usually allow nurses to take the place of anaesthetists? I was under the impression that that was something of a medical specialisation requiring certain training and qualifications. But in a case where they allowed a man to block the operating room, asked an imam's permission to administer pain relief and then obeyed an injunction to stay out of the operating theatre itself, it's hardly surprising. Interesting that the woman's wishes during this difficult time were apparently not taken into account.
The important qualifier here is "less clear" because while this review of other research concludes that there is "little substantive evidence" that binge drinking caused problems (such as miscarriage, stillbirth, abnormal birth weight, or birth defects such as fetal alcohol syndrome) they did find this-
one study suggested binge-drinking could damage brain development resulting in reduced verbal IQ, learning problems and poorer academic performance.
Seems like a good reason not to binge drink but the researchers qualify it with-
"However, this study only counted women as bingers if they binged throughout pregnancy, not just on a single occasion," the researchers wrote.
The problem, of course, is that the effects of alcohol are not clearly understood and the recommendations not to drink much are based on that uncertainty- we're talking about a human being here so surely it's better to err on the side of caution? And have they clearly proven that a single binge session is fine? If so, at which stage of the pregnancy is it safe to binge drink? Is only one binge drinking session permitted throughout the pregnancy or are a few safe? The simple fact of the matter is that this study has conducted no original research on the problem, merely studied other research and, as seems clear, they have not actually provided any clear evidence on exactly how much one person can drink and at which stages of the pregnancy and still not cause any harm to their unborn child. In the absence of that evidence it seems equally clear that pregnant women should severely restrict their alcohol intake.
Then we come then a nice little bit of double-talk-
Animal studies had shown harmful effects from binge-drinking, which meant pregnant women should still take care no matter how much they consumed, Mr Gray said.
Seems clear enough but the researcher then follows that piece of advice with this-
At the same time, until researchers had more evidence, women who binge-drink on occasion should not fret unnecessarily about potential harm they were causing to their fetuses, he said.
So, which is it? Be careful of your alcohol intake or have the occasional binge session and not worry unduly about the effects on your unborn child? Can't have it both ways, can you? The article ends with this advice-
“Because researchers are not sure how much alcohol might cause harm most say it’s safest not to drink any alcohol during this time.”
In the UK, this article is from an Australian paper, the advice goes like this-
Nobody knows how much - or how little - alcohol can harm a developing baby, so some health experts (including the Royal College of Physicians, and more recently, the Department of Health) recommend that pregnant women play it safe by steering clear of alcohol. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends a limit of one or two units of alcohol, once or twice per week.
Worth bearing this in mind too-
Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world.
To clarify, here's an image of the brains of two six-week old babies. The one on the left was not exposed to alcohol, the one on the right belongs to a child suffering from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
At the end of the day it comes down to this- are a couple of drinks really worth the risk to your child?
Iran has met a key demand of the U.N. nuclear agency, handing over long-sought blueprints showing how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, diplomats said Tuesday.
Iran’s decision to release the documents, which were seen by U.N. inspectors two years ago, was seen as a concession designed to head off the threat of new U.N. sanctions.
The agency has been seeking possession of the blueprints since 2005, when it stumbled upon them among a batch of other documents during its examination of suspect Iranian nuclear activities. While agency inspectors had been allowed to examine them in the country, Tehran had up to now refused to let the IAEA have a copy for closer perusal.
Two years of IAEA silence about Iranian plans for nuclear warheads? Incredible.
Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt.
And the outrage from liberals and gay and human rights groups is....not quite deafening.
Minutes taken by an official describe a meeting between British and Iranian MPs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a peace body, in May. When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching. He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted”, the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”
What is he, some sort of Islamophobe?
Monday, November 12, 2007
Police have found a time saving solution to complicated reports; they've created a template which just needs to be modified with names and dates. Essentially, a one size fits all DUI report. As DUI Blog mentions, these reports are then used in courts of law as evidence to convict people- sometimes long after the incident and apparently the fact that the template doesn't match the actual events of the DUI arrest doesn't seem to enter into it.
Basically, the report tells the officer what he should have seen — not what he actually saw. And as any honest cop will tell you, drunk driving cases rarely follow such a neat, pre-described script. But it is convenient. And avoids messy complications – like the actual facts.
Four out of ten crimes are written off as unsolvable just a few hours after they are reported.
The two million offences are simply "screened out" - and their victims have little or no chance of seeing the culprit brought to justice.
Crackerjack response times are no doubt responsible for such speedy decisions you might think, but you'd be wrong-
No officer visits the scene of the crime, and no attempt is made to find a suspect.I guess it's easier to harass children or enforce thought crime edicts than chasing after adult criminals.
As many as two-thirds of burglaries are not investigated in some areas, according to the police figures.
Even robberies and violent crimes can be screened out - along with fraud, theft and vandalism.Britain in the 21st century- a haven for criminals.
Among the 12 English and Scottish forces which released figures under Freedom of Information laws, 788,000 crimes were screened out last year.
From a total of 2,029,000 recorded offences, this means 39 per cent are written off in this way.
The findings suggest that out of 6million offences reported to forces in the UK last year, around 2.3million were not investigated.
And this in a society where law-abiding citizens are prohibited from defending themselves or their property.
While the EU cannot intervene in a sovereign countries' own gun laws, Ms McCarthy's committee on the internal market is hoping to push through a new directive - replacing Directive 477 which was passed in 1991 - which would set a series of basic standards which all EU member states would have to abide by.
In other words, they can't interfere in individual country's gun laws but they're going to go ahead and interfere in sovereign nation's internal laws anyway. How's that for government double-talk?
The directive would include background checks would have to be carried out before people can purchase guns, new measures would be brought in to ensure guns are registered and can be traced back to their owners; new controls on convertible weapons and control of internet trade in firearms.
Background checks on law-abiding citizens purchasing guns in gun stores, registration of legally purchased firearms, banning imitation guns and stricter controls over trade- all measures which will have absolutely zero effect on illegally smuggled firearms sold on the black market.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.
By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.Mad Ogre has written more than once about the threat that China could one day pose to America- make sure to head on over and search the site for more. Despite this, some people still seem to think that military planners in the States should be shaping the Army there to be most effective against terrorists. For example, the infantry is dealing with lightly armed and un-armoured "insurgent fighters" so the thinking goes that the Army needs a rifle with less penetration capability. If nothing else the Chinese sub incident should highlight the grave mistake that adapting an Army based on the current or last enemy fought- rather than a field of potential future enemies. It is never a good idea.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
In a profound display of disrespect for free speech, San Francisco State University (SFSU) is investigating its College Republicans for hosting an anti-terrorism rally on campus in which participants stepped on makeshift Hezbollah and Hamas flags. After students filed a complaint claiming they were offended because the flags bore the word “Allah,” SFSU initiated an investigation into accusations of incitement, creation of a hostile environment, and incivility.
Protesting terrorists is incivility?
Check the list out.
A pensioner fought off robbers with her walking stick after seeing them attack a 12-year-old girl.
Police are trying to trace the woman, believed to be in her 70s, who came to the girl's aid in a subway in Stretford, Greater Manchester.
The girl was robbed by three youths who stole money from her blazer pocket.
The pensioner comforted the girl and even replaced her stolen money. Police say the girl's family want to thank the "brave" pensioner in person.
Why the scare quotes around brave? There's little wonder that the woman, who most certainly is brave (the thugs were said to be about 17 years old), might want to remain anonymous- any doubts that the teen thugs would press charges of assault against her if they knew who she was?
Friday, November 09, 2007
Dozens of schoolchildren and five teachers were among those killed in a suicide attack in northern Afghanistan earlier this week — the country’s deadliest since the fall of the Taliban — the government said Friday.
The 59 schoolchildren had lined up to greet a group of lawmakers visiting a sugar factory in the northern province of Baghlan on Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives.The children ranged in age from 8 to 18.
In all, the explosion claimed the lives at least 75 people, including several parliamentarians, and wounded 96. It was the deadliest attack in the country since the toppling of Taliban regime from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Michelle Malkin's is the first site I've been to that has mentioned this atrocity- when it deserves to be front page news all over the world.I guess that might remind some people of the disgusting animals that we're fighting this war against though.