In Montreal, a convenience store owner is being prosecuted for beating a burglar with an aluminum baseball bat. This is just wrong.
This comment sums up what is wrong with the “bend over and take it” crowd:
“If you use a weapon, chances are very often the thief will use it against you,” he said. “I always feel that the price of one’s health is worth more than the contents of the till.”
Two points here:
“If you use a weapon, chances are very often the thief will use it against you,”
Not if you do it right, which this owner obviously did.
“I always feel that the price of one’s health is worth more than the contents of the till.”
It’s not the value of the goods, it’s the principle. If this crowd had its way, everyone would just peacefully hand over the money. I think it’s safe to say that the fear of capture and prosecution after the fact is not nearly the deterrent that a 45 Auto is.Posted by Jed at 2121 hrs
Here is my original post on it that references the origin of this story.Posted by Owen at 2036 hrs
I was listening to a local talk radio program on my way home today, and the topic was the prescription drug plan. An elderly gentleman called in and proceeded to piss me off.
Allow me to summarize his argument:
I’ve put into the system, so I should be able to take out.
Um, no you haven’t. You’ve put into the social security system, not a prescription drug plan.
I’ve put money into the economy by working for 40 years, so now it’s my turn.
Sorry, bud, but that ain’t the way the system is supposed to work. Simply surviving for 65 years doesn’t qualify you for shit in my book. I don’t buy the argument that because you generally put into the greater economic system, you are now entitled to a handout.
I’ve been a hardworking citizen over the years. I contributed to the economy by investing in stocks and putting three kids through college.
Well WTF do you need a prescription drug handout for? Everyone makes choices in their life as to how to invest their money. You invested in your children. Now go get your return on that investment rather than using the police power of the state to make me foot the bill. I know where my parents will turn when they can’t afford to live, and it won’t be to the federal government. They will expect the three kids they put through college to pay the piper…and we gladly will.
The gentlemen then proceed to exclaim that the host was not fit to comment on the topic since he had not worked for 40 years.
Senior citizens…the largest, whiniest welfare class in existence today.
As my first boss liked to say, “Piss-poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”Posted by Jed at 1816 hrs
Jacob Levy has a post over at The Volokh Conspiracy which considers the effect of the Lawrence decision on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I agree with his premise that due to the vast differences in the two systems of justice and the Court’s historical deference to Congress on military matters, the policy will most likely not be affected by Lawrence.
The reason I mention this, however, is that it reminded me of my personal experiences with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the way the policy’s application is constantly misrepresented in the media.
For my first 3 years in the Air Force, my job required me to spend a lot of time with lawyers from the base JAG. One of the facts that they pointed out to me whas that in practice, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was not producing the result you would normally expect.
At that particular base, and at that time, the procedure when homosexual conduct was suspected was to report it to the JAG, who would appoint an investigating officer. The investigating officer would then interview the member, theirs friends, co-workers, etc., to verify that there was homosexual conduct. I would estimate that over 90% of the homosexual cases the JAG saw were self-ID, meaning it was the member himself/herself who contacted the JAG. In about 75% of those cases, the investigating officer was unable to verify that homosexual conduct had actually occured. In several memorable cases, a male airman would claim homosexuality, only to be denied after his girlfriend spilled the beans to the investigating officer.
The estimate around the office at that time was that only a small fraction of the remaining 25% were actually homosexual. There were many cases where the investigating officer suspected that the claim of homosexual conduct was false, but couldn’t get solid proof to deny the claim. The end result was that a very small percentage of the cases referred to JAG actually resulted in discharge of a homosexual servicemember. Of those, I can recall only 2 where the discharged servicemember was reported by a third party.
There is actually a very logical reason why so many members self-ID as a homosexual. In about 80% of the cases, the seld-IDing servicemeber was a female on her first enlistment. A lot of young people join the military, then 6 months later, decide it’s not for them. Homosexuality carries with it an honorable discharge. So, a lot of troops self-ID, knowing that all they have to do to get out without the usual bad consequences is beat the investigating officer.
Everytime I see the media flash some stat about how many homosexuals are being unfairly discharged from the military, I have to question their failure to dig deeper, choosing instead to chalk it up to institutional homophobia within the military. FWIW, almost everyone I served with knew someone who was homosexual, yet serving. You just didn’t ask, and only told if they allowed their sexual preference to be a burden on the unit.
Here’s the bill that bans fox hunting that just passed the House of Commons.Posted by Owen at 1644 hrs
Healthcare, Austrian style:
VIENNA (Reuters) - A woman lay awake during surgery for 45 minutes, unable to move or call for help, after staff forgot to hook up the machine pumping out anaesthetic, the Austrian daily Kurier reported Monday.
The woman was temporarily paralyzed because she had been given a muscle relaxant, and her ordeal ended only after a replacement doctor who came into the operating room saw tears in her eyes and noticed the machine was not connected properly.
The woman, who was undergoing abdominal surgery, is suing for 70,000 euro ($79,970) in damages, the hospital in the Austrian province of Carinthia confirmed.
I agree with Rachel - this is a case where the lady should be suing for a lot more.
(Link via Rachel Lucas)
The press is Europe is in a tizzy over Silvio Berlusconi as he takes the EU presidency:
“Questions have to be asked about the intentions of Mr. Berlusconi,” Le Monde wrote, adding that he “has adopted Atlanticist positions without taking account of criticisms made by his partners.”
Hey, anyone that the European press hates that much is worth supporting.Posted by Owen at 1618 hrs
There are a bunch of countries with their panties in a twist over America’s suspension of aid if they don’t sign an Article 98. Essentially an Article 98 says that the country will not extradite any US personnel to the ICC (International Criminal Court) if they are charged with war crimes by the court.
A deadline for cooperation expired at midnight, freezing money not yet spent this year by about 35 countries and putting the countries on notice that they could be denied millions for military equipment and training programs in the next budget year if they do not comply with U.S. wishes.
The Bush Administration withdrew America’s signature from the ICC because it saw the court as a tool for other countries retaliate against the US. Much like the UN serves as a place for insignificant countries to rail against the US, the ICC would be the same sort of venue - except that the US doesn’t have a veto and people’s liberty would be at stake. Furthermore, there is the issue of sovereignty and whether an American citizen should be held accountable by a court outside the bounds of our Constitution. There are a lot of reasons that the ICC is a bad idea.
The US, in an effort to shield our widely scattered soldiers from prosecution, has launched an effort to have other countries agree not to allow our people to be extradited to the ICC. As a point of leverage, the US is stopping all aid to countries that don’t agree (except for a few exemptions).
Now the day has come and spending has frozen. Dozens of countries are screaming. Who the hell do these people think they are? Are they somehow entitled to our money? The whole point of foreign aid is to benefit the country giving the aid. If they won’t play ball, why should we give them one red cent? We shouldn’t. Protecting our people from unconstitutional and immoral prosecution is a vital interest to the US and outweighs things like “goodwill” when comparing interests.
Furthermore, as you read the article, check out the sense of entitlement the other countries have. They basically think that we should send money over there ad infinitum and it doesn’t impose any obligations on their part. And the US is arrogant?
As for the people calling these “bullying tactics” by the US… what a load of butt nuggets. We are using the tools at our disposal - like our own money - to protect our vital interests. Anything less would be dereliction of duty by the Bush Administration.Posted by Owen at 1537 hrs
The NY Times makes a very poor argument for US intervention in Liberia.
The case for an armed international rescue mission is humanitarian and geopolitical. A million frightened refugees are crammed into Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. Accommodating them has strained basic services, and the city is experiencing cholera outbreaks. Liberia’s turmoil also has a regional dimension. Continued mayhem there will feed further instability in neighboring Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea. If the world fails to act now, the region’s problems will probably grow worse, requiring more extensive, and expensive, intervention later. A multinational military force will provide no instant cure. But it can buy time for more lasting political solutions.
The Times seems to think that these are valid reasons for putting our military in harm’s way. I am one who thinks that we should only engage our military when there’s a national interest at stake. Sometimes, things like humanitarianism and regional stabilization are a national interest, but not always.
In the end, I agree with the editorial that we should send a small contingent to Liberia, but I think we should do it under US authority and not the UN. After all, the Liberians are asking the US to intervene - not the UN.
But I find it fascinating that the NY Times doesn’t even attempt to make an argument regarding US national interests. For the Times, the fact that it is humanitarian and might help stabilize the region is reason enough. Why is it that the NY Times, and liberals in general, are so bellicose when US interests are minimal, but so docile when US interests are vital? They were all for Bosnia and Liberia, but opposed Iraq and Libya. Interesting.
The editorial goes on to layout troop strengths and command structure. I have no idea why they feel obliged to do that. They also spin that it would be a political benefit for Bush as he heads to Africa. Knowing, as we do, how much the Times editorial board detests Bush, I take their advise with a huge grain of salt.Posted by Owen at 1210 hrs
The Battle of the Boyne was fought in Ireland in 1690. William III, a Protestant, defeated James II, a Roman Catholic.
The Battle of the Somme started this day in 1916 and raged until November 13th. After 1,265,000 casualties, no significant ground was gained by either side, but warfare was changed forever.
The Battle of Gettysburg began in 1863.
Here’s a blog report from one of the Texas redistricting hearings.Posted by Owen at 2153 hrs
This is a story about the California budget crisis. I want to point out a quote from near the end:
“Either way, it’s bleak,” said Ellen Elster, deputy superintendent at the Contra County Office of Education, which has already cut $7 million in annual spending. “We’re looking at zero (spending growth) this year, zero next year and we don’t know what we’ll do after that.
“We’re down to the bone,” she said. “There’s no fluff left.”
That’s the mind of a government bureaucrat in a nutshell. No money - I repeat, NO money - is being cut from her budget and she?s screaming bloody murder. With rare exception, I can look at any government budget and lop off 10% without drastically affecting services. These people need to get out into the private sector every now and then and learn what real budgeting is.
These guys have seemingly found a previously unknown particle:
Slamming high-energy particles of light into carbon atoms, physicists have unexpectedly produced a new type of subatomic particle.
Protons and neutrons, the building blocks of atoms, are made of smaller particles known as quarks, which come in six varieties. A proton, for example, consists of three quarks - two so-called up quarks and one down quark. Physicists know of slews of particles containing two or three quarks.
Now they believe they know of a particle containing five quarks that perhaps could have been common in the very early universe. (No one has yet conclusively found particles with four or six or more quarks.)...
When months of checking the apparatus produced no alternative explanation, the scientists concluded that they had indeed found a five-quark particle. The particle would consist of two up quarks, two down quarks and one known as an anti-strange quark.
Scientists aren’t much for coming up with names, are they? “Anti-strange quark”?Posted by Owen at 2048 hrs
Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) said Monday it will build a $3 billion chip-making plant in Richardson, Texas, bucking a trend among semiconductor makers to shift production overseas…
The planned TI facility is the largest modern private-sector economic development project ever undertaken in Texas, Texas Governor Rick Perry said.
Here’s the story.
I know that many people are upset that so many jobs are flowing overseas. But I think that as we move into a knowledge-based economy, Americans will continue to lead the way in innovation and high-end manufacturing. Think of it as division of labor on a global scale.Posted by Owen at 2042 hrs
One of Germany’s largest unions gets broken:
FRANKFURT, Germany—Workers filed back through plant gates Monday in east Germany after the country’s heavyweight industrial union abandoned a strike for a shorter work week - its worst setback in almost 50 years and a boost for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s efforts to shake up the stagnant economy…
The IG Metall manufacturing union, Germany’s most militant, last abandoned a strike in 1954. Union leaders called off the job action over the weekend after employers refused to budge on the union’s demand to cut eastern industry’s work week from 38 hours to 35.
Keep in mind that they are fighting for a 35 hour workweek in an area where they have 18% unemployment. You’d think they’d be happy to be people who actually have jobs.
On the bright side, the German people aren’t as stupid as the unions. The strike was massively unpopular - even among union members.Posted by Owen at 2030 hrs