Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Wrong With The NHS

Two headlines that say it all about how the UK's National Health Service is run- and why, despite seeing massive increases in its funding under the Labour government, actual improvements in service were still not seen.

More than 50,000 frontline NHS jobs to be cut, researchers warn


NHS bosses' pay soars 50% as thousands of doctors and nurses face axe

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quote Of The Day

From a female British journalist who was sexually harassed in Tahrir Square-

From my previous experiences in the Arab world, I have accepted that a minor level of sexual harassment comes with the territory, so I brushed it off.

It immediately brought me to mind the comments of Tony Blair some time ago-

The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance. 
Perhaps he should tell that to the women who continue to be oppressed to this day in the Muslim world.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Obama Math

It's amazing that Obama isn't laughed at whenever he opens his mouth to talk about his new budget.

Add $2 trillion in new taxes, then add another $1 trillion in new spending and, presto, you’ve got $1 trillion of debt reduction. 

And where have we heard this before?

It’s the same kind of mad deficit accounting in Obamacare: It reduces debt by adding $540 billion in new spending, then adding $770 billion in new taxes. Presto: $230 billion of “debt reduction.” 

Good luck America- you need it.

A Taste Of Things To Come

The big news today is the continuing turmoil in, of all places, Wisconsin. To briefly sum up, the newly elected Governor and Republican majority there are attempting to dig the state out of it's budget black hole (a projected $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years)- and their first target is the unions. Michelle Malkin is is covering the story. Democrat law-makers have responded by actually running away, fleeing across state lines to hide out in Illinois: it takes the presence of a single Democrat to allow the budgeting process to continue you see.

While the brave Democrats have fled, the unions and their supporters are protesting, phoning in sick to shut down schools and intimidating Republican lawmakers to such an extent that they are coordinating with law enforcement-

I ask whether he is going home tonight, to sleep. He says, “We’re not disclosing that. My colleagues and I are not talking about that. We’re working with law enforcement” on the matter.

Remember, this is not some Third World nation we're talking about- it's Wisconsin, USA and the year is 2011. Yet we have elected representatives feeling so threatened that they cannot discuss if they are going to their own homes. We have other elected representatives who have just been voted into the minority throwing a hissy fit and refusing to show up for the work they were elected to do in order to sabotage the will of the people of their own state. Can you imagine the media furore if a Republican minority subverted the political process in such a way?

And where's the President on all of this? Is he calling for calm debate, for cooler heads to prevail? Is he roundly condemning the threats aimed at Republicans? Of course not- in fact, his own campaign apparatus is coordinating the protests.

Here's what one state employee wrote to Michelle Malkin, explaining that for the unions this fight is not just about pay and contributions but their stranglehold on employees-

The unions are scared to death they will lose their gravy train, you are forced to join the union upon state employment as a condition of employment, what is more tyrannical than that? So, now, the workers would be able to CHOOSE to join the union or not, and many will leave it. The rest will have to cut an actual check to the union each month, instead of having it garnished from their check, and the union knows people will get tired of that. THAT is what this is really about.

Doug Ross describes the situation in his own inimitable way-

The Democrats and the public sector union bosses created untenable compensation, pension and benefit packages... and then promptly destroyed them by making them so outrageous that the taxpayers simply can't afford them anymore. And instead of saving up the union members' dues money for tough times -- like these -- they spent all of that money electing Democrats and funding ever more untenable spending programs. Get it? There's no freaking money!

And yet Democrats and the unions are refusing to abide by the will of the people- in fact, they are demonstrating, just weeks after the attempted murder of Rep Giffords, with placards that deliberately echo what happened in Tucson - see the second and thirteenth image in this post in particular. Thus far only nine protesters have been arrested- but given the heated rhetoric being aimed at Republicans and the fact that law enforcement are involved we can only hope that the representatives and their families remain safe from harm.

The economy as a whole is suffering, unemployment is high, the USA as a whole is running trillion dollar deficits and the state budgets are on the verge of collapse- and yet the unions are refusing to give up one iota of their bloated compensation packages. The Democrats they helped get elected have abdicated their duty to the people of the state they represent (seems they've forgotten that they don't work just for the unions) and Republican lawmakers have had to work with police to ensure that they and their loved ones remain safe. And to top it all off the President's own campaign organisation is right in the thick of it.

It's not Greece, it's not some corrupt Banana Republic, it's the United States of America in the 21st century.

And this could just be the beginning of much worse to come.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zombies And Cigarettes

Short zombie film from Spain- and winner of a whole bunch of different film festival awards ranging from Best Gore to Best Actress. The scenes of the outbreak first starting out are particularly well done.

Short film Zombies and cigarettes / English subtitle from Rafa Martínez on Vimeo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Pocket Hammerless

It's the centennial of the 1911 pistol and the design is in no danger of fading from use. In fact, Colt and Springfield have apparently submitted models to the USMC for consideration for their replacement to the MEU/SOC pistol. There's plenty of life left in the old warhorse yet.

Given the enduring popularity of the pistol- and for the genius of John Moses Browning himself- I'm forced to wonder if the time is not right for a company to bring back another of his designs- the Colt 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless. Though hardly a pocket pistol by today's micro-compact designs, it's a wonderfully elegant pistol and would make for a great companion piece for those days when the 1911 is thought too large and bulky for concealed carry. I'm sure that for those wanting a bit more oomph from their carry gun that it would be entirely feasible for a 9mm version to be produced too. To read a review of the original 1903 go here-

I shot over 500 rounds through this 1903 without one problem. Not one. And 300 rounds through another 1903 with similar results. Would I bet my life on an 89-year-old Colt? Yes, I would.

Originally manufactured from 1903 to 1945, more than half a million were made and I'd argue that now would be an excellent time for Colt- or another of the 1911 manufacturers- to bring another of Browning's classic designs back to life.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Police Advice

Britain's descent into an Onion-esque Bizarro world continues apace. After reports that police refused to patrol a night-time playground because it was too dark and spooky dangerous, comes the news that homeowners in several villages have been told to take down the wire-mesh placed over windows on sheds after a series of robberies...because burglars could be injured.

Take down your security precautions, burglars could be hurt- are you kidding me? There I was thinking that the police were there to arrest criminals, not perform health and safety risk assessments for them. What's coming next? Locked doors may force criminals to break windows, exposing them to the risk of severe lacerations- better leave your doors unlocked at night?

Gay Marriage

I think it was Clayton Cramer who once said that you could have freedom of speech or gay rights- but not both. It's not just freedom of speech that's at risk though. Here in the UK civil partnerships were made legal some years ago but even that is not enough for some gay rights activists- so the law has now been changed so that marriage is no longer defined as the union of a man and a woman.

Gays and lesbians will be able to 'marry' in church under new laws to be unveiled this week.
The historic decision by Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone will end the legal definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.
A gay couple will be able to refer to one of the partners as a 'husband', and a lesbian couple will be able to refer to one of the partners as a 'wife'.
A key part of the reform will bring an end to the ban that prevents civil partnerships being conducted in places of worship.

Gay marriage in places of worship? Yeah, exactly- since the law now says gay couples can get married in such places you know what's coming next-

The change could also lead to legal action by gay couples denied the right to marry in church.

I'd change that 'could' to 'will'. Never mind the rights of the churches to have their own beliefs, in politically correct Britain gay right trump those of everyone else. Pretty soon a gay couple will try to 'marry' in a church and be refused, they'll sue and the judge will rule that the law says they can be married there and to refuse them will be to discriminate against them, to infringe their human rights. In our new, PC world the religious apparently have no rights.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Bicycle Cops

UK police officers who are to conduct their patrols mounted on bicycles are to receive various training booklets from their individual forces to teach them to ride their bikes. The manuals, which are estimated to have cost thousands of pounds to produce, are being introduced because the idea that police officers actually be taught to ride bicycles was ridiculed.

Yeah, this is much better.

The manuals contain such gems of wisdom as "don't put your feet on the ground to slow down when going downhill". One of the manuals contains three pages on what snacks to eat. Another has a seven-point guide on how to get off a bicycle!

Essex police who do ride bikes on patrol are forbidden from using them to chase after criminals unless they have received advanced training- no doubt in high speed pursuit. Why they are using bikes when they aren't allowed to use them is not explained.

While it seems ridiculous we should perhaps not be too quick to judge. After all, two police forces managed to rack up 238 car crashes in just 18 months...inside their own car parks. Clearly, some of these officers have problems when it comes to operating wheeled vehicles.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Ronald Reagan Speech - 1964 Republican National Convention

President Reagan would have been 100 years old today.

Listening to this speech a few things are apparent. First of all, Obama is no great shakes as an orator compared to the Gipper. Reagan was a powerful speaker and a superlative spokesman for liberty. Second, the problems Reagan speaks of facing America in 1964 are not far removed from the problems facing it in 2011- a liberal caste intent on overturning the constraints of the Constitution and of expanding government intrusion into every facet of Americans' private lives.