Friday, August 31, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Senior police officers have been warning for several months that a growing number of teenagers in big cities are becoming involved in gun crime.
But aren't they illegal? Don't those poor misguided children know they're breaking the law?
The age of victims and suspects has fallen over the past three years as the availability of firearms in some cities has risen. Liverpool and Manchester are the cities where illegal guns are most readily available, with criminals claiming that some weapons are being smuggled from Ireland. Sawn-off shotguns are now being sold for as little as £50, and handguns for £150.
So much for the ban, eh? Are you listening across the Pond?
Despite a ban on handguns introduced in 1997 after 16 children and their teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane massacre the previous year, their use in crimes has almost doubled to reach 4,671 in 2005-06. Official figures show that although Britain has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the world, firearm use in crime has risen steadily. This year eight young people have been killed in gun attacks: six in London and one each in Manchester and Liverpool.
“Illegal firearms have become increasingly accessible to younger offenders who appear more likely to use these firearms recklessly,” a report on gun crime commissioned by the Home Office cautioned last year.
So the law-abiding have been completely disarmed and the courts favour the "rights" of the criminal class over those who obey the law- is it any wonder crime is on the rise? Note too that island Britain can't keep illegal firearms out of the country- only forbid those who obey the law in the first place from purchasing them. And while the so-called justice system forbids the law-abiding from owning firearms it also prohibits them from even defending themselves with any serious kind of force at all. Use a kitchen knife or a poker on a home invader for example and chances are you'll be the one facing jail time, not the criminal.
So, what's the government to do? Unlike other countries we already have a complete ban on handguns- they can't resort to their usual tactic of extending a ban. Well, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing a decrease in gun crime any time soon. Here are the ideas they're considering-
-a new law to compel the public to give information about gun crime
-Mandatory minimum jail sentences for carrying knives and requiring people to give information if they are aware that people have illegal weapons are among the ideas under discussion. Mrs Smith has asked the Serious Organised Crime Agency to look at ways to curb the importation of illegal weapons. - Ah, it makes so much more sense now- gun crime is up so let's try to ban knives! And let's not forget compelling people to inform on others.
-the Prime Minister said: “Make no mistake about this — the people responsible will be tracked down, they will be arrested and they will be punished.” - so what exactly, Gordon, are you going to do differently to see these results? He's kind of vague on that one.
Mr Brown added that families would be offered greater support. “The vast majority of young people are decent and law-abiding. They too want to feel safe and secure on our streets. Where there’s a need for early intervention, we will work very intensively with those families so that young people are deterred from going into gangs and guns and knife crime,” he said.
Mrs Smith has outlined a range of measures, including the increased use of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and a crackdown on the sale of alcohol to under-age children. The Government has issued guidance to police and local authorities on how to use the contracts — written pledges to improve behaviour — effectively.
So, the way to combat crime is to stop under-age kids from drinking (isn't that already against the law?) and to hand out worthless "acceptable behaviour contracts". Gordon's so tough on crime, isn't he? I can tell that those young hoodlums so are not only armed but recklessly intent on using those guns to solve petty disputes will be quaking in their hoodies at the thought of having to sign a pledge to behave themselves.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Anyway, I'm rather taken with the FN Fs2000, and it's a tad easier to imagine it being the next British weapon than my fabled -A3 variant. Though compact, and fully ambidextrous (the spent brass is ejected to the front of the weapon), it boasts a 17.5" barrel (there's also a 15.6" version) and overall length of only 29". The M4 by comparison has only a 14.5" barrel and overall length of 33" with the stock extended. The L85, by the way, boasts a 20" barrel and overall length of a mere 30". And it's a real tack-driver to boot. Well, all that leads to this- an example of the FS2000 from Collector's Firearms. Very nice indeed.
"Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left," Bush told members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri."Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields,' " the president said.
It seems to me to be a clear enough point- the US pulled out of Vietnam and in the vacuum left behind, millions of people suffered. Hitchens begs to differ-
I cannot see how any self-respecting Republican can look at this record [factors leading up to and during the war] without wincing and moaning with shame or how any former friend of the Vietnamese can equate them with either a fascist dictatorship or a nihilistic Islamist death-squad campaign. And now Bush has joined forces with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan in making the two struggles morally equivalent.
I must have missed the part where Bush compared the Vietnamese to the jihadists. Oh, wait, he didn't actually do that at all.
It is true that the collapse of the doomed American adventure in Indochina was followed by massive repression and reprisal, especially in Cambodia, and by the exile of huge numbers of talented Vietnamese. But even this grim total was small compared to the huge losses exacted by the war itself. In Iraq, the genocide, repression, aggression and cultural obliteration preceded the coalition's intervention and had been condemned by a small but impressive library of UN resolutions. Thus, the argument from 'bloodbath', either past or future, has to be completely detached from any consideration of the Vietnamese example.Which to me seems to be completely misrepresenting Bush's point- when the Americans left Vietnam some 2 million people died in the Cambodian killing fields, several hundred thousand South Vietnamese were imprisoned in re-education camps without trial and over 100,000 died and others were tortured (and the camps, by the way, were a clear violation of international law and the peace agreement that led to the US pull-out- those UN resolutions that Hitchen's hails will mean nothing whatsoever and do nothing whatsoever to stop any mass slaughter in Iraq), and over a million boat people were forced to flee the persecution. The US pull-out led to these things happening and Bush's simple point is that another US pull-out will lead to another genocide, another round of retaliation against those who supported or work for the democratically elected Iraqi government, and will no doubt also result in another mass exodus as Iraqis flee from the slaughter. I don't think anyone can reasonably take Bush's statement as any comparison between what the Vietminh or the Baathists did during World War 2. And to declare that the genocide and repression took place before the war started is to vastly misunderstand the character and history of the jihadists who think nothing of committing mass murder against civilians- in fact, if there were a criticism of the Vietnam aftermath comparison it's that, as terrible as the communists were, they pale in comparison to the bloodthirsty jihadists and the violent and repressive sharia regime they strive to implement- there will be no re-education with them, only murder.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Scientists using computer models calculated the top speeds for five meat-eating dinosaurs in a study they say can also illustrate how animals cope with climate change and extinction.
Okay, so how do they measure up?
The velociraptor, whose speed and ferocity was highlighted in the film "Jurassic Park", reached 24 miles per hour while the T-rex could muster speeds of up to 18 miles per hour, the study published in the Royal Society's Biological Sciences showed.
"Our research, which used the minimum leg-muscle mass T-rex required for movement, suggests that while not incredibly fast, this carnivore was certainly capable of running and would have little difficulty in chasing down footballer David Beckham, for instance," said Phil Manning, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, who worked on the study.Not incredibly fast? Okay, it's no Ferrari but please- we're talking about a six ton predator that was some forty feet long and had teeth like steak knives. 18mph is plenty fast for that. I really can't wait for the time that palaeontology stops being compared to Jurassic Park.
The smallest dinosaur -- the Compsognathus -- could run nearly 40 miles per hour, about 5 miles per hour faster than the computer's estimate for the fastest living animal on two legs, the ostrich.
A top human sprinter can reach a speed of about 25 miles per hour.
For a handful of seconds- how long could T. Rex maintain its speed for?
I'm actually pretty shocked by the suggested speed of the Compy- that thing was about three feet long with a good deal of that being tail- and it's thigh is only about four inches long. I'm stunned that they estimate its running speed so high. An ostrich, by way of comparison, is some six feet tall with considerably stronger and sturdier legs- interesting to note that their computer model put it at 35mph but in reality it's top speed can be higher than 40mph. And according to this Times article on the study they also estimated the emus speed to be 29.8mph, slightly lower than the actual figure of 31mph. I wonder how long the Compsognathus could run that fast for? I'm guessing not long- little lizards can move pretty fast today so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine the tiny Compy zooming around. Seems I'm not the only one that's got a raised eyebrow about that result (and there's a little more detail on the way the study was conducted at that link)-
Not everyone is convinced by the approach, however. "Their method seems to work poorly for a small, chicken-sized dinosaur," says John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, who led the 2002 study of T. rex. The estimate for Compsognathus is "ridiculous," he says.
Dilophosaurus and Allosaurus were also tested in the study but their results don't seem to be of sufficient interest to report, not by CNN or The Times or even New Scientist that is- thankfully though Fox News comes to the rescue. Dilophosaurus was estimated to move at a speedy 23.5mph and the Allosaurus at 21mph.
Stuck for inspiration about what to wear at their village carnival, one group made a last-minute decision to dress up in mock Muslim burkas.
Calling themselves the “Page Three Beauties from the Ramalama Ding-Dong Times”, the 17 men and women carried placards with made-up names such as “Miss Hairyarmpitsbad”, “Miss Slackistan”, “Miss Notbadinbedabad” and “Miss Reallyamanistan”
Despite being picked as one of the best entries for the carnival the police were not amused at all and, believing that the race of Islam (what colour are they again?), was being ridiculed they demanded that the group stop trying to be amusing.
But before any awards were handed out, police told the group to leave after complaints about racism.
No doubt when Halloween comes around and people start wearing nun or priest costumes the police will send them home to get changed in order to avoid offending the Catholic race. Right?
There were, we must concede, books before there was tobacco in Britain
But is it mere chance that the lifetime of Sir Walter Raleigh (1552?-1618), who introduced tobacco-smoking to England, was also the time when the great story of English literature really began? Milton - a smoker -and Ben Jonson - a smoker - ensured that the Elizabethan glory-age was not to be a flash in the pan.
I have been racking my brains to find a single non-smoker among the great English poets or novelists of the 17th, 18th, 19th or 20th centuries. Possibly, Keats had to lay off the pipe tobacco a bit after he developed tuberculosis.
Otherwise, from Swift and Pope to Cowper and Wordsworth, from Byron to Charles Lamb, they were all smokers.Yep, tobacco causes literature. Possibly then the smoking ban explains this article...
There certainly is something rotten here but the place to look isn't in the Human Rights legislation, it's in the British justice system itself.
Frances Lawrence, whose husband was stabbed to death as he protected a pupil outside his school in Maida Vale, said she felt there was no longer a link between the law and morality.
It is ridiculous that a convicted murderer is being allowed to remain in the country but there's another and perhaps more important issue here-
Chindamo...was jailed for life in 1996 and is expected to be released next year.
The Human Rights legislation wouldn't be an issue here if the jail time wasn't such a preposterous joke- this criminal stabbed a man to death and yet his so-called life sentence is barely over a decade. For a murder? That's just ridiculous. Perhaps if life actually meant for the remainder of his life there would be a bigger deterrence to criminals thinking of committing a crime and those convicted of crimes wouldn't be allowed out onto the streets again to commit more crimes. How many times have you read of crimes taking place and for the culprit to have a string of convictions to their name already?
"It is another example of how the law seems to have by-passed humanity. There seems to be a schism between lawyers and men and women in the community."
I don't think there can be any argument against that.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
American-run programs that train Fatah militias were instrumental in the “success” of the Palestinian intifada that began in 2000, a senior Fatah militant told The New York Sun.
“I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings,” a senior officer of President Abbas’s Force 17 Presidential Guard unit, Abu Yousuf, said.
Let that sink in for a moment- they're openly admitting that US provided training has helped terrorists to slaughter innocent people. Was was it that Bush said about being "with us or against us"? And, despite the fact that Abbas has called on Hamas to come join him, the State Department is going to carry on training terrorists so that they can continue to attack Israeli civilians more effectively.
America has longstanding training programs at a base in the West Bank city of Jericho for members of Force 17, which serves as de facto police units in the West Bank, and for another major Fatah security force, the Preventative Security Services.
This weekend diplomatic security officials announced that the State Department will begin training Force 17 again this year in an effort to bolster Mr. Abbas against Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in June when the terror group easily defeated American-backed Fatah forces in the territory.
Take note- "to bolster Abbas against Hamas". Right? Now remember this from only a few days ago-Just days after promising US lawmakers that his Fatah movement would not reconcile with Hamas, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is inviting the Islamist movement to kiss and make up.
Abbas called on Hamas to “return to national unity” following his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso Wednesday. "The split that happened as a result of Hamas's coup is temporary and will be removed," Abbas said. Hamas welcomed Abbas’s statements and invited him to negotiations in Gaza.Now, I'm no foreign policy expert in Washington but it seems to me that if Abbas wants to get friendly with Hamas again then there isn't actually any need at all for the US to train his troops to fight Hamas- especially when they are announcing to the world that this US training is aiding them to kill civilians from a US-ally state. But maybe that's just me.
Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, announced Tuesday it would no longer honor understandings reached with Israel, and called on its members to carry weapons to defend themselves against the IDF.
“We call on all our members who handed over their weapons to the Palestinian security forces to report to their commanders so that they can be issued new weapons,” said a leaflet distributed in Ramallah. ...
You mean genocidal terrorists don't keep their word? If only someone had known before all that cash, the guns and ammunition, and the prisoners were handed over to them.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Just days after promising US lawmakers that his Fatah movement would not reconcile with Hamas, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is inviting the Islamist movement to kiss and make up.
Abbas called on Hamas to “return to national unity” following his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso Wednesday. "The split that happened as a result of Hamas's coup is temporary and will be removed," Abbas said. Hamas welcomed Abbas’s statements and invited him to negotiations in Gaza.
I'm stunned, obviously, that we can't take the word of the man at the head of Fatah. Does this now mean that all those guns, ammunition and cash that the Bush administration was so eager to give to Fatah to bolster them against Hamas will now...end up in the hands of Hamas themselves?
Thursday, August 09, 2007
The government of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas inadvertently paid one month’s salary to 3,500 members of the Hamas militia he outlawed, Finance Ministry officials said Wednesday.
Or a year's salary according to another source. Gee, Mahmoud must be new to this internet banking lark.
The salaries were paid out of funds transferred by Israel, who specifically stipulated that the money mustn’t reach Hamas. The ministry ordered banks on Wednesday to cancel the deposits - totaling $2.3 million - made the day before, officials said in telephone interviews from the West Bank town of Ramallah. However, by the time the deposits were canceled, some of the militiamen had withdrawn the money, said Ahab Ghussen, a spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza.
$2.3 million. One would almost be tempted to point out that such sloppy accounting procedures might explain the dire financial hardship the PA has been labouring under for years. A few million here, a few million there and before you know it the people are starving and out of work and you've got a bulging Swiss bank account and a few hundred rockets.
Accidents will happen, eh?
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The United Kingdom should lose its independent voice at the United Nations and hand over its seat on the Security Council to the EU, according to the new Foreign Office Minister, Lord Malloch-Brown.
Shouldn't this be grounds for not ever being able to hold a position in the government?
Gordon Brown- continuing Tony Blair's job of off-shoring the UK's sovereignty to the EU.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
If only the bad old US would go home all the evils of the world would just disappear overnight- the Taliban would stop blowing up schools, killing children and murdering aid workers and the terrorists in Iraq would put away their head-chopping knives, pack up their IEDs and allow the Iraqi people to live in peace and harmony in a new golden-era...well, either that or the psychopaths will indulge in slaughter on a massive scale unhindered by the protection the US military offers to innocent people.
Pan-Arab satellite television network Al-Arabiya reported Thursday that the agreement between Fatah militants and Israel promising amnesty to militants who turn in their weapons has fallen through.
According to the report, Israel informed the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, affiliated with Fatah that the amnesty offer is no longer on the table as half of the Fatah militants who signed documents promising to refrain from terrorism failed hand over their weapons.Maybe Olmert- he appears to be living in some sort of fantasy world.
Egyptian soldiers killed four Sudanese refugees near the Egypt-Israel border overnight Wednesday in full view of IDF troops, a shaken-sounding IDF soldier said in an interview with Channel 10, Thursday evening.
The Egyptian troops shot and killed two, wounding a third. When the last tried to climb into Israel, the Egyptians pulled him out of the arms of Israeli soldiers trying to help him and dragged him away.
The Egyptians then carried the man several meters away from the border fence, and proceeded to beat him and another wounded refugee to death with stones and clubs.
“What happened there yesterday was a lynch. These are not men, they’re animals. They killed him without even using firearms,” the soldier said. “We just heard screams of pain and the sounds of beatings. Then the screams stopped.”And remember that Egypt receives millions of dollars from the US government.
As many as one in 11 British Muslims agree with and proactively support terrorism, a Government adviser has warned police.
Haras Rafiq also told officers at Scotland Yard that up to 20 per cent of the Muslim population ' sympathise' with militants, while stopping short of being prepared to 'blow themselves up'.
His remarks underline the scale of the task facing Gordon Brown to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, only a week after he promised an extra £70million to councils and community groups to fight extremism.
Right, so how exactly is that extra £70 million that I'm sure, oh, the National Health Service could do with, going to be spent to "fight extremism"?
So an extra £70million is going to be spent convincing Muslim leaders to speak out against extremism? Wouldn't you expect moderate Muslim leaders to do that for free?
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said yesterday that the Government is changing its approach to dealing with extremism.
She added: "It seems to me that what we should be doing is emphasising the values that we share which are under attack from terrorism-rather than trying to create a battle or war between those who oppose the terror and those who want to carry it out."Yeah, it wouldn't be helpful to oppose people who support terrorism, would it? And what shared values is she talking about exactly- the oppression of women, hatred of homosexuality, a belief that non-Muslims are second class citizens, a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world?
Friday, August 03, 2007
The obese are being treated as if they have a medical problem when often they simply eat too much and exercise too little, a leading doctor has said.
Okay, it's stating the obvious but there's an important point that he's making too-
Doctors are being expected to dish out pills and carry out surgical interventions that have "limited benefits", according to Dr Meldrum, a GP practising in Yorkshire.
He added: "We are tending to say, 'This patient has a hyper-appetite problem' rather than maybe they are eating too much.I guess the problem is that having the discipline to eat less and exercise more is a lot harder than going to the doctor and asking them for help.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I would not describe a person who attacks military targets as a "terrorist". Military targets, by their nature, are legitimate targets in armed conflict.
This man may have been planning to attack civilian targets. If so, then he could be fairly referred to as a terrorist.
As has been so well pointed out a terrorist targets civilians. This man was going to target military installations. And my guess would be base headquarters or command posts which would have mostly military personnel or civilians in military functions.
You aren't a terrorist if you attack military targets? Can you believe that? So how would they define the IRA bomb attack on the Parachute Regiment's Aldershot barracks- legitimate military target I suppose. But wait, they killed an Army priest and five cleaning women. Does that cloud the issue any? Are they only 50% terrorist in this case- or do they consider anyone working with the military also a legitimate target? The IRA certainly did and would target builders who worked on police or Army barracks. What about when the IRA plants a bomb in Belfast to try and kill civilians? Or when they murder off-duty police men at their homes? Are they terrorists only then?
How about terrorist attacks on US troops in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world- carried out by "fighters" who wear no uniform, blend into the civilian population and fight for no country and obey none of the rules of war. Under their definition they aren't terrorists- but these are the same people who the very next day could plant a bomb in a marketplace that murders civilians out shopping. Are they non-terrorists on the day they plant an IED aimed at soldiers (an indiscriminate weapon which can- and has- killed civilians in the process) and terrorists when they murder women and children? Is it really that much in flux? Are the civilians accidentally killed in an attack on an American patrol merely collateral damage?
I was really stunned to see not only one person state such an opinion but to also see others agree with it- and I'm guessing these were American citizens stating that American soldiers were a legitimate target for attack. An attack on American soil while in their base. So I'm assuming that to these people the Fort Dix plot wasn't terrorism at all but a legitimate act. I guess that explains a lot about how they see the war on terror.