Saturday, April 22, 2006

Shell casing stamps? Let's get real

Found this this morning, seems that the glorious state of California has come up with a new way of combating gun crime. The premise behind it is that when the weapon is fired, it makes a mark on the casing that will identify the gun. The write doesn't go into detail on what the marking is, but say that it will identify the make and model, but if it's going to be attached to a statewide database then it will most likely be serial number as well.
Let's think about this in reality though. I disagree with the inventor's position that the firing pin is unalterable, number 1: where there's a will there's a way, up to and including swapping out the firing pin to an unmarked one, it won't take a brain surgeon to figure out how to make that part. A few points of the article:

"All it takes is a few swipes (on the pin) with a sandpaper or nail file, and (the marker) is gone," he said."

If the pin is indeed hard as diamond, it will take more than a few swipes, but probably not much more than that.

"He called the technology "laughable," saying trigger-happy criminals could outwit police investigators by picking up spent shells at a shooting range and sprinkling them at a crime scene."

Disagree, no guy who just sprayed a few bodies with about 10 rounds a piece are going to stop when they're done, pick up their shells, drop a few other shells on the ground then speed off into the darkening night. When a firearm goes off, you hear it, people look out their windows, and call the cops. They know that and aren't going to waste time.

Nearly 1,800 Californians lost their lives to gun violence in 2004, according to the state Department of Justice. But police make arrests in only 55 percent of homicides due to the lack of sufficient evidence.

The question is, what evidence is lacking? The author doesn't make that clear, letting the reader think that it's the lack of gun evidence. Evidence can be many things, and in my understanding, are only loosely related to identifying the gun's serial number. We came up with serial number and ownership databases for the same reason, and while it has helped, all the lawbreakers did was file off the serial number or buy guns off the black market.
"I question people who opposed something so straightforward," said Griffin Dix, California state council president of the Million Mom March. "You can put an identifying number on every container of yogurt you sell, but not on a gun?"

I get rather frustrated at people who phrase their viewpoints this way, attempting to take the moral high ground in a debate like this. Like the greenies who ask regarding poor environmental legislation: "I questions x's stance on why he doesn't want our future generation to not have to breathe through a mask all the time", All law abiding citizens would love to stamp out crime, especially crime that takes the life of another human being, but the point being, criminals act outside the law, hence the term criminals. They're not gonna go out and buy the latest gun because they wanna go out and shoot someone. They're gonna go to the black market where guns are sold and bought under the radar, not to Tom's Gun and Ice Cream Shoppe. Also, just to be picky, every gun has an ID number on it Griffin, it's called a SERIAL NUMBER.

In wrap up, I don't necessarily disagree with the law requiring ID's stamped on every shell that a gun spits out, just don't think it's going to do any good, and if it won't then why in the world do we waste our time with poor legislation to put on our books? We've got serious issues to deal with, and worrying about putting a stamp on a shell casing is a little lower on the list than others.

Friday, April 21, 2006

United Iraqi Alliance nominates new candidate

For those of you who don't know, embattled UIA candidate al-Jafaari is out and the new guy is Jawad al-Maliki:

Maliki hails from the Dawa Party, the same branch of the UIA that Jaafari is from. The two are close allies and Maliki no doubt holds the same sectarian edges that made Jaafari an undesirable candidate. While there is still no comment from the other blocs, I would not be surprised if they rejected the idea of a near clone candidate. The candidate most acceptable to the other blocs, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, came from the other UIA’s other large party, the SCIRI.

As Omar posted before this decision was reached, this decision seems aimed more at keeping the unity of the UIA than it is at keeping the unity of Iraq. Even months ago independent politicians were breaking away from the UIA’s party line, saying that a Jaafari candidacy was no longer acceptable. The chorus has grown dramatically in recent weeks. Reaching a new consensus on a new candidate, especially after Jaafari won due to a single vote by the controversial Sadrists, is meant to hold them together more than chang their position. The face has changed, but not the message.

Via Publius Pundit. It will be interesting to see if the Sunni and Kurdish political parties accept the UIA's new nomination or not, especially if Maliki isn't much different than al-Jafaari.

Do As I Say (Not as I Do) : Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy

That's the title of a recent book by author Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution. I'll save my own judgement for after I read it, but here's a detailed review you can read now. Excerpt:

Schweizer looks at a number of contemporary icons of the American left, with an eye to detecting hypocrisy. Among his subjects are Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader, Nancy Pelosi, George Soros, Barbra Streisand, Gloria Steinem, and Cornel West. He finds in each case a private life markedly at variance with the public persona.

Now, one has to be careful when playing the ad hominem game. A person's intellectual claims are not disproved by his bad character. Commendably, Schweizer doesn't attempt to discredit these pestiferous statists by looking for sexual peccadilloes or substance abuse issues. Instead, he focuses on their financial lives, which seem to me fairer game. To hear John Kerry bash the "rich" for not paying their fair share in taxes, and then to find out that he and his wife (worth $700 million) pay less than 15% of their own income in taxes, or to hear Katrina vanden Heuval denounce efforts to end the inheritance tax, and then discover that she herself is a multimillionaire heiress, is to face a serious question. Granted, as a matter of logic, that their hypocrisy doesn't disprove the principles they espouse, still, which principle should the listener adopt, the one espoused or the one embodied in the speaker's life?

It's also wise to remember that hypocrisy exists on both sides of the political isle. But it seems to me that the MSM tends to magnify incidents on the right while ignoring or glossing over those on the left, leaving it up to the "vast, right-wing conspiracy" of blogs, talk radio, and independent journalists to pick up the slack.

Big hat tip to one of my favorite blogs, Samizdata, for the link and info.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Smuggling my way out of Iraq

Final installment of Michael Totten's road trip to Iraq from Turkey. Great stuff.

On the dark empty highway an armed Turkish military patrol pulled us off to the side of the road. We were never stopped on our way into Turkish Kurdistan. On the way out, though, the army wanted to know who everyone was and what they were doing.

I pulled the car over. Soldiers bearing rifles completely surrounded us. I rolled down the driver’s side window and reached for my passport. A uniformed officer barked something at me in Turkish. I didn’t understand any of it.

“Hello!” I said. “Do you speak English?”

He jerked his head backward, clearly startled, squinted his eyes, and said something else to me in Turkish.

All the soldiers wore deadly serious facial expressions and held their rifles ramrod straight across their chests. We could have been terrorists or gun-runners for the PKK, and they were not messing around.


Via Winds of Change (can you tell I'm reading them right now?):

THIS, folks, is the United Nations at work. So sorry if you're one one of the millions killed or ensalved over the years by Sudan's Arab government - because "The Global Test" thinks capital punishment is just fine for BWB (Breathing While Black). At least, it's fine as long as it's carried out by approved regimes with a UN License to Kill® - which is to say, any Arab or Muslim nation, or anyone with the approved backing of Russia or China.

Yeah, these are the people the US should seek approval from for all war and peace decisions in its foreign policy.

Thursday's Winds of War is up

...over at Winds of Change. Read the whole thing for an excellent round up of the global war on terror.

Civil Rights Victory in New Orleans

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Heh. Also via Instapundit.

The angry right

In my post below, I expressed my disappointment in the "liberal" left.

But I also long ago lost my appetite for the so called "conservative" right:
"On his radio show, Savage told listeners that "intelligent people, wealthy people ... are very depressed by the weakness that America is showing to these psychotics in the Muslim world. They say, 'Oh, there's a billion of them.' " Savage continued: "I said, 'So, kill 100 million of them, then there'd be 900 million of them.' I mean ... would you rather us die than them?" Savage added: "Would you rather we disappear or we die? Or would you rather they disappear and they die? Because you're going to have to make that choice sooner rather than later."

Hat tip to Obsidian Wings. Also the headline from the news article Obsidian Wings links to says:

On April 17, Michael Savage called for "kill[ing] 100 million" Muslims and referred to the alleged Duke rape victim as a "drunken slut stripping whore."

It is because of talk show hosts like Michael Savage that I long ago lost any respect for the so called "conservative" right.

I guess that's why I consider myself an independent.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Another one bites the dust

In another hit to the British manufacturing sector, Peugeot is closing a plane in Coventry, and laying off 2300 jobs. That's a shame for all those who work there, and have worked there for so long. I must give credit to Peugeot for at least giving the workers plenty of notice. Seems there's not much auto manufacturing left in the UK, and again, why is the UK so unprofitable for automotive manufacture? Peugeot is claiming that they can make a car cheaper in Paris by a fairly decent margin over the UK plant, which I'm having a hard time to swallow.
Well, if my personal experience is any indication, build quality is a big one killing it. I spent the beginning of last week after I got back from California installing some wiring in a brand new LDV van we are going to be using for a breakdown service. I saw poor panel quality, mis- aligned panels, poor welds (I actually broke one with little effort - oops), the hood catch had stuck and so getting it up required breaking the spot welds on the hood and destroying the hood latch, and so forth and so on. In asking the head of our LDV department if what I saw was typical, he regaled me with more horror stories. I have also seen pictures of Rover engine parts with castings so poor they look like they were cast in the days of Henry Ford.
I think it's a crying shame that these factories are closing, and that the British auto industry is suffering this way, but the seeds were sown for this a long time ago, and the people that mattered, namely, the managers, businessmen, and politicians that could have changed it left their heads stuck in the sand for the rest of it to founder. It's a shame to let the poor workers who worked hard there suffer for the consequences, but it's too late now.

What has gotten into her?

Via Gateway pundit, it seems that the anti-war left seems to be going further and further, just like the energizer bunny. Seems that Cindy Sheehan, the famous anti-war protestor who lost her son in the Iraq war, is now accusing the DOD of treating her poorly when she received her son's body from Iraq. Also seems that many bloggers out there have hit the pavement and done their homework. Gateway can do a much better job of explaining it, so check it out, here. To quote Hawkeye Pearce: "I wonder if she'd speak so loud if she wasn't standing on so many bodies."

Hat tip: Little green footballs, also from Michelle Malkin who got her to open her mouth and spout off on this and give us more of an idea of who she really is. I feel so bad for her son.

Why we must stay the fight.

Iraq the Model recently lost a family member in Iraq to one of the many ruthless attacks the criminals and insurgents continue to wage on innocent Iraqis:

He was not affiliated with any political party or movement and spent all his
time working at the hospital or studying at home and he was dreaming of building
a medical center for his specialty to serve the poor who cannot afford going to
expensive private clinics.We didn't know or anticipate that cruel times were
waiting for a chance to assassinate the dream and kill the future.It was the day
he was celebrating the opening of a foundation that was going to offer essential
services to the poor but the criminals were waiting for him to end his life with
their evil bullets and to stab our family deep in the heart.
Hat tip to Austin Bay

When the Iraq War came about, I was against it. Regardless of my personal thoughts on the matter, once we had boots on the ground in Iraq I have remained steadfast in my conviction that we must see this through. And it is precisely because of events like the above that we must stay the fight. I don’t know if your reasons against going to war were the same as mine or not, but the fact remains that we did indeed go to Iraq, whether you liked it or not, and once committed we should see things through. We can debate all day long about whether going in was the right or wrong thing to do, but in my mind it is irrelevant: we are already there. And we need to do everything in our power to ensure that the Iraqi people have a stable and safe future. That will only happen if we remain steadfast in our support for the people of Iraq and in our operations there. We can not afford to cut-and-run or demand unreasonable timetables for leaving Iraq.

There are good, honest, citizens of Iraq who are doing their best to make their country a better place, hopefully one that will have a free and democratic government, and we can not leave them to the wolves.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And they call themselves "liberal".....'s because of things like this that I abandoned any hope for the so-called "open minded", "tolerant", "progressive", "peaceful", left.

That's not to say those on the extreme right don't exhibit similar behavior, they do, but I find it to be far more pervasive amongst self described peace-loving "liberals", especially when someone dares to have the audacity to challenge their views or call them out on despicable behavior.

Check the comments section under the "peaceful" link above where a number of commenters have chastised the author for his overly hateful post. But my favorite one, and the one that captures my sentiments exactly:

Some of the comments here prove something I've thought for a while.

America is dead. We have destroyed ourselves from within. We are two tribes, left vs. right, divided by hate so bitter and extreme it seems civil war is on our doorstep.

Think I'll look into real estate on the moon. This planet sucks.

Amen, brother, amen. But don't give up hope yet - there are plenty of us rational types out there who actually believe we can discuss and solve problems in a rational manner with each other, regardless of whether that person is "left", "right", or "center". We may not make for exciting news or charged commentary, but we are out there.

Sigh....more evidence to support my point about the so-called "liberal" left.....:
The people who held different opinions than I remained my neighbors, family, friends. They were 'good people' -- sometimes we agreed, sometimes not, but that was part of life. We would respect each other's differences and get along - and it never occurred to us to do otherwise.

In the past couple of years that has been turned on its head. I used to think I could never hate anyone. But I am constantly surprised at how much hate I am now capable of feeling for some of my 'fellow Americans' -- it is even hard to write that phrase. And every day it is more. I despise them, I loathe them, I resent that they are even sharing my country. I cannot comprehend how utterly stupid they must be to believe the pap thrown at them which they then parrot back at us. I no longer even want to TRY and get along. I hate them. I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive them for what they have done to America - but I'm sure I will never forget it.

I read a comment yesterday, I forget the exact words, but to this effect: They are eagerly, willingly just handing over their freedoms -- freedoms that generations of Americans (including many of my ancestors) fought and died to give them. And when we object, when we protest, when we try to defend our Constitution - they glance over at us and hiss, 'Traitor!'.

Yes, I hate them to the bottom of my soul.

From an anonymous poster from the same website linked to above.

Real estate agents report problems in the housing market

….by posting anonymously on blogs:

If the secret worries of real estate professionals are any indication, home
prices could be heading for a swoon.
When Brad Inman of Inman News, which
tracks the real estate industry and is widely read by industry insiders,
recently gave real estate agents the opportunity to blog about market
conditions, they almost uniformly described them as bad – and getting
"Normally, brokers and agents tend to sugarcoat the news; they don't
want to affect consumer confidence," says Inman. "By letting them post
anonymously, we gave them a way to really share their thoughts."
responded with tales of high inventories, slow sales and languishing prices.
Hat tip to RCH.

Michael Yon continues his journey in Afghanistan

Do the 2 Michaels (Totten and Yon) coordinate the posting of their entries? Seems like every time one of them posts a new entry I find that the other one also has a new post up.

I find both of them to be must reads all the time. This is real journalism, folks, done the old fashioned way: on a shoestring budget, on the ground, working and dealing with everyday folks, getting up close and personal in an honest way.
Michael Yon continues his reporting from Afghanistan, although the subject of his post is on Iraq. It’s a long one, but worth every word. Do not miss it. Excerpt:

To a large degree, we earned the cynicism that led to the dire predictions about
the impending failure of the first Iraqi elections. That cynicism explains the
increasingly skewed coverage of the war. Poor performance by the media—abetted
by consumers who refuse to change the channel—was directly responsible for
making the soldiers I had come to know and respect feel like they’d just got
kicked in the head. The fact that I had seen first hand their amazing work in
the field, and the knowledge that people back home were not hearing this kind of
news, led me to stay in Iraq and find a way to get the news out through
alternative channels.

In the “Mission Impossible” dispatch, I wrote about how I thought the world press, and our own, unfairly judged the performance of the military, and by extension the character of the American people:
America has its share of critics, and we make enough mistakes to
support a cottage industry of specialists chronicling our failures and
footnoting our shortcomings. Even the most ardent patriot might concede that we
provide fodder for this with frustrating frequency. We come complete with our
national faults, embarrassments, scandals and scars, and horrors. Reminders of
these can serve a necessary if painful purpose. But fairness alone dictates that
it be balanced by a consideration of our national character.

For every
failed international initiative, we have a dozen disaster relief efforts. For
every indictment of corporate greed, American ingenuity compensates with
countless technological advancements. For every instance when we turn a blind
eye to an atrocity perpetrated by other nations against innocent neighbors or
even their own citizens, we have forests of tombstones marking the graves of our
soldiers who fought and died to protect the liberty of strangers.
Italy, Germany, Japan and others. . . . Modesty and discretion may not be the chief American character traits, but we shouldn’t have to remind our allies about
these as if they were minor accomplishments. After the 5th Symphony premiered, no one asked Ludwig to send a resume and audition tape.

Dohok, Iraq - Part 5 of Michael Totten's trip to Iraqi Kurdistan

Entire post can be found here. Excerpt:
It's hard to convey what it's actually like meeting Iraqi Kurds. Fleshing
out the dialogue doesn't capture the feel of it. Americans and Kurds don't
just get along because we're temporary allies of convenience in the Middle
East. The connection is deeper and personal. Kurdish culture and American
culture might as well be from different planets. But somehow, oddly enough,
Kurds think much like Americans do. Let me rephrase that: Americans think
like the Kurds. We have similar values despite our extraordinarily different
cultural backgrounds. I find it easier to develop a rapport with Iraqi Kurds
than with people from any other country I have ever been to. It's instant,
powerful, and totally unexpected.
Michael Yon noticed something
a year ago.
Meetings with Iraqi Arabs sometimes seem more
like talking with the French. We are not enemies. But, generally speaking,
there is no real personal connection. At best, our collective personalities
just don’t seem to “click.” Yet by recognizing the sovereignty and
inevitability of each other, we manage to cooperate toward our common
interests, while not going to war when we disagree. But with the Kurds, like
the Poles or the Brits, there is an easy and audible click. We have mutual
goals, mutual enemies, and, also importantly, we actually like each

Monday, April 17, 2006

Life resumes

Blogging has been light the past few days, thanks to the wife's birthday, and also her family visiting, will resume heavier blogging on Wednesday. I haven't even had the chance to look at anything, and would love to throw up a link before the day's over. So, how about them Bears?

(an oldie but a goodie)

"Liberal" criminals in Santa Cruz

via Michelle Malkin.

You have the freedom to hate gas guzzling SUVs and other similar vehicles.
You have the freedom to preach environmentalism.
You have the freedom to protest fuel inefficient vehicles and machines.
You have the freedom to harbor any opinion you want on the subject.

You do NOT have the freedom to vandalize, attack, or damage someone's PRIVATE, PERSONAL property because you do not agree with their views or buying habits.

That simply makes you a criminal.

Iraq round up over at Winds of Change

And just when I thought my Winds of Change reading was done for the day comes their Iraq Report, a round up of what's going on in Iraq. Read it here.

Monday's Winds of War is up....

....over at Winds of Change. As always, a must read. I highly recommend their weekly round ups, absolute must reading.

Greenpeace founder makes the case for nuclear power.

Big hat tip to Instapundit who provided the link to this Washington Post article where Patrick Moore, who helped found Greenpeace, reverses his position on nuclear power:

Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that
can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for
power. And these days it can do so safely.

Read the whole thing.

Yale Taliban Man update.

Instapundit has the details:
This really represented an appalling lapse of judgment on Yale's part

Hugh Hewitt interviews Austin Bay

Austin Bay comments on the criticism facing Rumsfeld as well as dealing with Iran. Read it here.
Excerpt on Rumsfeld:

I'm really not too upset about what they have to say, and as I told your
producer earlier when he called me to ask me if I could be on the show, I said
I'm not a particular Rumsfeld fan. I thought from the beginning that someone
like Rich Armitage ought to be Secretary of Defense. But at the same time, I'm
not by any means a hyper-critic of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, either.

Excerpt on Iran:

I think a more answerable format is, do we have the capacity to sufficiently
damage their capabilities to produce nuclear weapons, or chemical weapons. Now
that's the way I would prefer to answer it, to sufficiently damage it. And my
answer to that is yes. We have the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and then you can
work in some of the Special Operations capabilities of the Army and Marines,
have the extraordinary capacity to both identify where the most likely special
weapons producing targets and damage them. Now does that mean put them totally
out of commission? No. Does it mean setting back their production timetable?
Yes. Now that is a different question, though, from...and this has to be
answered in the political context, from what are the results of that strike?
Again, it is not a guarantee that you will stop it. However, can you put a brake
on their means of building these weapons? And the answer to that is yes.