Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Story Behind "Kill 'em All, God'll Sort 'em Out"

Crusaders Encyclopedia

The Abbot Arnaud Amaury, head of the Cistercian Order, is most notable for the possibly spurious statement attributed to him during the battle at Beziers, the first and bloodiest combat of the Albigensian Crusade. He reportedly told confused crusaders who could not distinguish between Catholics and Albigensians [Cathars] to "Kill them all. God will know his own."  Estimates from the time, including Catholic sources, claim anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 men women and children were killed in this massacre, although this is certainly an exaggeration as the total population of Beziers was likely no more than eight or nine thousand.(1) As a result, upon hearing of ferocity of the battle, other cities surrendered without resistance. 

A paraphrased version of the quote attributed to Arnaud has remained popular into the modern era, especially with military units that have a reputation for fierceness such as the U.S. Marines, Army Rangers, or Special Forces. The paraphrased version is as follows. "Kill'em all and let God sort'em out." This phrase is found posted above doorways, printed on T-shirts sold on military bases, and serves as a sort of unofficial motto for these organizations. 

The Gun Addict Song

Do Laws Against Video Recording of Public Servants Like Police Violate Our Rights

I enjoy adding new concepts and new knowledge to what I know. My background in French prompts me to want to scream that the second 's' in sousveillance, 'sous', pronounced like the given name Sue, being the opposite of the French 'sur' for above or over. But far more significant, and something that was otherwise below my personal radar was the notion that we cannot, in some places, preserve a record of events involving authority.

I had always been taught that you could legally and properly video anyone in a public place for personal use. That rule of thumb is clearly changing, but I doubt most of us have been aware of that change.  I believe this is a change we should all oppose.

The events in Arab spring were in large part triggered by this kind of video going viral, beginning with the social media.  It has also been a huge part of the response which grew the Occupy Wall Street protests from a few people to so many, after the videotaping of what many consider a police abuse of power.

Arguably our holding our authority organizations, and we might add to that would-be authorities, like political candidates making speeches to otherwise private gatherings, would be examples of very useful and necessary and important use of this technology.

I would even go so far as to advocate that the use of this technology is MORE important to our citizens being free in this country than firearms are. (Hey, I felt I had to get the tie in to our usual topic somehow, and this seemed a legitimate observation.)

What say you, readers?

From the Dylan Ratigan show,

Ban Them Sumbitches

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A Roseburg man was arrested over the weekend, after police responded to the YMCA for a report of a man with a gun.

Police were called to the Y a little after 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, after someone reported that Philip Richard Galindo, 29, was in the men's locker room with a gun making threats toward another man.

Police say when the officers arrived, Galindo was walking towards them in a hallway, and officers immediately held him at gunpoint, telling him to keep his hands up.

The officers say the gun was in his waistband.

After taking him into custody, they found the gun was made of hard plastic and looked real, but turned out to be a fake.
Imagine the fantasy world this guy lives in, carrying a fake gun in his waist band and threatening people with it?  Naturally ANY crime with a toy gun qualifies for the One-strike-you're-out for real gun rights.

Don't you think this is a terible waste of police resources not to mention a potentially dangerous situation for everyone involved?

Please leave a comment.

Solution to the Rick Perry Lookalike

Solution to the riddle of yesterday: Whom does Rick Perry look like?
Answer: Mike W., former frequent commenter.

Gun Idolatry - M16

Actually, I found the history fascinating. What got me thinking about it was this image purported to be an M16. I guess when I wasn't paying attention they changed the magazine to one of those evil-looking curved ones.

Virginia's Background Check System reports on the efforts of some to disband the Virginia State background check system for gun purchases. Of course these are the same folks who oppose any and all gun control efforts. More reasonable voices explain the problem and offer a simple solution.

This week, the State Police reported 11 percent of its sworn workforce is vacant. The vacancy rate is even higher among its civilian staff. Its Firearms Transaction Center handles close to 800 requests every day, except Christmas, for background checks on gun buyers and is authorized to have 14 call-takers and 11 technicians. As of Tuesday, it had four call-takers and seven technicians - less than half its normal staffing level.

Returning that center - and the agency itself - to full strength would significantly reduce the delay associated with buying a firearm. And it would eliminate perhaps the only legitimate complaint about a state system critical to public safety and enforcement of Virginia's gun laws.
What do you think? Is it simply a redundant and wasteful exercise to have two systems in play, state and federal? Or, wouldn't it make sense that many people with histories of violence might be picked up in the State system but not in the federal, meanwhile, the feds might be better at catching out-of-state offenses?

But, isn't the whole discussion made academic and meaningless as long as private sales are unregulated?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Myrtle Beach Shooting

The little old lady seemed to think not standing in line for anything is the solution. I'd think, handing over the purse when a gunman gets the drop on you is the best way to go. Now, before Greg starts screaming, that doesn't mean I support total submission. But when it comes to some money or other replaceable objects, yes, submission is the best bet.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Gun Smuggling, But Not Where You Think

Weapons dealer Abu Wael has traded guns in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley since the last days of his country’s civil war, nearly a quarter of a century ago.

This has been his busiest year ever.

Unrest in neighbouring Syria has sent demand for weapons soaring, doubling prices for Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons and helping supply the increasingly well armed insurrection challenging President Bashar al-Assad.

Prices for Kalashnikovs have risen 75% to as much as $2,000 each, while M16s doubled to $2,500, reflecting the surge in demand for arms. The biggest jump was in the price of rocket-propelled grenades, which together with a launcher now cost $2,500 compared with $400 before, when demand was minimal.

“I buy weapons from Lebanese people and sell them to traders who in turn pass them on to Syrian merchants,” said 63-year-old Abu Wael, who declined to give his full name.
Business is booming all over. What do you think?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Right Wing Nuts Still Wrong, Still Extreme, Still Harping on the Turkey Thing

This turkey of a story has more legs than ......well, than a real turkey has drumsticks!  Right wing watch caught this from the American Family's Bryan Fischer (he's also afraid of Mormons as well as Muslims) who was prominent in Rick Perry's political evangelism event earlier this year. 

This is not a passing aberration; this turkey story.  Rather this is part if a larger issue, a core theme, a central topic in the 2012 GOP political debate.

To correct the inaccuracies that Fischer is pushing - all turkeys are slaughtered the SAME. There is NO PRAYER said over them, and they are not labeled as being different, because they are NOT different from the way non-religious designated meat iss always slaughtaered - (and not just turkeys) . Any turkeys tht are subsequently labeled Halal - OR KOSHER - have the pertinent religious requirements satisfied for such labeling at the retail distribution source, where the labeling is then, appropriately, noted.

In the case of Butterball turkeys, Butterball indicates this occurs primarily in other countries to which they sell turkeys; there are more than 20 other countries to which Butterball exports this American ag product.

Fischer was a prominent speaker at the Rick Perry Prayer event; he was a prominent speaker at the Values Voter Summit, where every political candidate in the GOP Presidential contest spoke, along with the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  Islamophobia is a key part of a number of our would-be candidates, notably Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann, Santorum.  The only consistent exception has been Ron Paul, and he is highly unlikely to be the next GOP presidential candidate.

These candidates have a fundamentalist approach that would make Christianity and secular law identical.  They would make a Christian version of our secular law which given NO religion a preference something different than what it is NOW.  Frightening people over Sharia law and pseudo-Halal turkey is not different than some of the similar anti-Semitic tactics which used to target Jews.

This Halal turkey story is NOT going away, it is not merely a minor embarassment of a lone extremist.  It IS part of a larger facet of conservative politics.  It is a dog whistle; it is fear mongering, a straw man bogey man of hatred.  In that sense, it is no different than the straw man effigy that conservative students burned in Scotland.  This is just a different Islamic strawman, thrown on a different bonfire, a U.S. conservative bonfire.

These people throw around the word Freedoms constantly.  But what they want to do is to take away freedom - freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, rule of non-partisan unbiased law.

We don't need religious crazy fundamentalists in the White House. We don't need race and ethnic or religious hatred in our politics.

I found this quote from Reuters about the crosses case in question, which pertains ONLY so far as I understand this, to the installation of a religious symbol on public property.  In the past there have also been controversies about putting up crosses to honor someone who was not Christian but another religion - notably Jewish, which boiled down to the issue of are crosses specifically Christian or not (it was determined they were) so a further issue here may have been the respective religions, or atheism, of the fallen officers.

"The challenge to the Utah crosses was brought by a Texas-based group called American Atheists, which sued to remove the memorials from state property."
I haven't gone looking for any studies yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a close correlation between being pro-gun, and anti-muslim/anti-sharia law, and those who are also pro-Christian dominionism/christian political evangelism. That excludes Jews, Muslims, and Mormons, and in some cases Roman Catholics. I'm not saying ALL pro-gunners are fundamentalist crazy haters and bigots, but there IS a significant overlap.

Fischer would ban Muslims from joining our armed forces, and has also lobbied for Muslims to be allowed to immigrate to this country ONLY if they converted to Christianity, as well as demanded that Native Americans convert to Christianity 'in order to be full U.S. citizens'. Fischer has had extensive support from the candidates, some even before they were running for President, including during their campaigns for other offices.

The sham historian David Barton has also been prominently promoted by a number of the Republican candidates, especially Michele Bachmann who has invited this pseudo-scholar to address 'classes' on the U.S. Constitution - which he is emphatically NOT qualified to do by any legitimtate standard of knowledge - specifically to promote the idea that this is an exclusively Christian nation, and that other religions should at best be tolerated, but that U.S. laws must conform to "Biblical Christianity".

Rick Perry on the Assault Weapons Ban

Riddle: Whom does the presidential candidate look like in this picture?
Solution to be posted tomorrow. UPDATE: click here

The Denholm Brothers of Berea Kentucky reports on the arrest of Matthew Denholm, pictured to the left.

Flower and Price (the two dead guys) intervened Sunday night to help an unidentified man with whom Denholm was fighting. Denholm lost the fight but vowed to return. When he did so, he fired a shotgun through the apartment door before kicking the door open, entering the apartment and shooting Flower and Price.

A couple days later, big brother Ryan was arrested for complicity to murder and complicity to attempted murder for his role in the attack.

Because the gun laws are the way they are in Kentucky, these two unstable and dangerous young men had no trouble acquiring them, if not legally, then illegally. Gun availability is a god-given, fundamental-human, Constitutionally-protected right, after all. Who could argue with that?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Another One Bites the Dust!

The dictator of Yemen
is driven out by peaceful protesters
after being in power for 30 years!

I believe this pertains to the discussion about peaceful protests being more useful to ending tyranny than weapons.

Note this was peaceful civil disobedience; not armed insurrection, not resisting an armed foreign invasion, and not part of an armed civil war.  ALL of those things are different from each other in fundamental, significant ways.  They are more unlike than like each other.

Congratulations to the long-suffering people of Yemen, and best wishes on forming a new, representative government going forward with their part in the dramatic renewal of their region.  One more tin-plated dictator is added to the refuse pile of history.

From the New York Times:

Yemen’s Leader Agrees to End 3-Decade Rule

Samuel Aranda for The New York Times
Protesters listened to the news of an agreement on Wednesday for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to transfer power to his vice president. More Photos »

    SANA, Yemen — After more than three decades of autocratic rule, President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed an agreement on Wednesday that immediately transferred power to his vice president, bowing to unrelenting street protests and raising hopes for an end to a political crisis that brought this impoverished nation to the brink of collapse.
    If the agreement holds up, it will make Mr. Saleh the fourth Arab leader to be forced from power this year by popular uprisings that have shaken the Middle East and North Africa. But the deal offers no guarantee that it will restore calm to a nation fractured by 10 months of political instability and suffering from a power vacuum that groups linked to Al Qaeda have exploited with increasing boldness.
    Troubled by the collapse of security, the United States, other Western powers and Persian Gulf leaders had aggressively pushed for the agreement, even as protesters argued that it would preserve the status quo by keeping the country’s elite, including members of Mr. Saleh’s family, in power. On Wednesday, some of the movement’s leaders indicated that they would not back down without more fundamental changes.
    It remains unclear how the country’s interim leaders will resolve a bitter three-way power struggle between Mr. Saleh and two rivals — including a renegade general who commands well-armed defectors — that has recently eclipsed the popular protests.
    Under the terms of the deal, a presidential election will be held in three months; a consensus figure, probably the vice president, is expected to be the only candidate.  In the meantime, a national unity government, consisting of members of the Yemeni opposition and the current ruling party, will be formed, along with a military commission to restructure the country’s badly fractured armed forces.
    In Sana’s “Change Square” on Wednesday, a tent city that has become one of the epicenters of the revolt, protesters held aloft photographs of colleagues killed by Mr. Saleh’s security forces or his loyalists in a crackdown that left hundreds of demonstrators dead. Many protesters, who said they felt that their popular revolt had been hijacked by political elites and their foreign backers, were especially angered by reports that the president and his family would receive immunity from prosecution.
    In Sana’s “Change Square” on Wednesday, a tent city that has become one of the epicenters of the revolt, protesters held aloft photographs of colleagues killed by Mr. Saleh’s security forces or his loyalists in a crackdown that left hundreds of demonstrators dead. Many protesters, who said they felt that their popular revolt had been hijacked by political elites and their foreign backers, were especially angered by reports that the president and his family would receive immunity from prosecution.
    “We will never accept any agreement that does not meet our goals,” Hamzah Alkamaly, a 23-year-old activist, said Wednesday night. “We will stay in the square.”
    The deal, signed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, allows Mr. Saleh to retain his title and certain privileges until new elections are held. Yemeni lawmakers are also expected to pass a law granting him immunity from prosecution, said Abdullah al-Saidi, the former Yemeni ambassador to the United Nations.
    It was unclear when, and if, the president intended to return to Yemen.
    Mr. Saleh, a former military officer with little formal education, survived for decades in part by dividing or co-opting rivals and building a patronage system that he alone controlled, leaving Yemen with a barren political environment and hollow institutions. Moreover, Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s wealthy and autocratic neighbor to the north, has never wanted to see democracy flourish in its backyard.
    Mr. Saleh’s move on Wednesday appeared to take Yemenis by surprise after months of broken promises and skillful political maneuvering that confirmed his reputation as a canny politician.
    The president had agreed to sign similar agreements several times, then backed out — once standing up diplomats who were waiting to witness the deal and found themselves trapped for hours in a building by hundreds of armed Saleh supporters.
    In a signal of how wary Yemenis have become of Mr. Saleh’s intentions, there was little public rejoicing on Wednesday, a day that could prove to be a crucial turning point for the country.

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving to Mikeb302000 Readers;
    Right Wing Extremists, Wrong Again!
    This time about Turkey!

    Even when we give you a rough time, we are thankful for all of you who read or comment here.  I'm  grateful to MikeB for inviting me to join his blog earlier this year, and for the writing of my co-bloggers.  It was a pleasure to be asked, and it is a special pleasure to have Laci and Democommie join after me. (Wow, MikeB, 2011 has been  a BIG expansion year for you!)

    So here is a turkey topic post, to go along with the bird on your respective dinner tables --- and all those other side dishes. 

    Wishing you all a safe and happy Holiday with those you love (but not more of them than you can stand, LOL).

    I find Pamela Geller and the Islamaphobes on the right like her to be ignorant and inaccurate.  So I was unimpressed when I heard that Geller was waging an anti-Islam campaign against Butterball Turkeys.  Minnesota is an Ag state; it was a Minnesota Turkey that President Obama pardoned this year.  We take our turkeys seriously in these parts, good 'Merikan turkeys.  Between the wild geese, and the wild turkeys, pheasants, ducks, and other wild fowl around where I live, in addition to the domestic variety, we are practically hip deep in edible birds of all varieties.

    Promoting an hysterical fear and hatred for Islam is a significant effort by the right, including covert funding by the big money on the right to keep people good and scared.  It makes Islam and terrorism a good wedge issue for the right manipulators, to frighten their base into voting the way they want them to vote.

    Here is one of the initial sources for the story about Geller's ridiculous claims, one that clearly, she didnt do the minimum research to verify before making a big noise.  Given her penchant for doing that, there has to be an element of self-promotion in this, a desire to gain attention for herself, not just a concern for the topic. ( I had a rip-roaring good laugh at any publication that gives Geller credence being called 'The American Thinker', because the people who believe this crap are anything BUT thinkers; they're ignorant, bigoted idiots.):

    From the New York Magazine (Geller is based in NY):

    Halal Turkeys Are Tainting Thanksgiving, Says Pamela Geller

    The Internet's most visible hater of Islam, Pamela Geller, is warning all Americans this Thanksgiving about a dastardly new force that's threatening the freedom of our holiday dinner tables: Butterball turkeys. According to Geller, in a column from The American Thinker, the turkey brand is forcing sharia law onto all of us by offering whole turkeys that are "certified halal." Geller is aghast: "In a little-known strike against freedom, yet again, we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a torturous method: Islamic slaughter." Yet again!
    Geller has the background, in her typically measured tone:
    Halal slaughter involves cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein, and letting the blood drain out while saying "Bismillah allahu akbar" — in the name of Allah the greatest. Many people refuse to eat it on religious grounds. Many Christians, Hindus or Sikhs and Jews find it offensive to eat meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual (although observant Jews are less likely to be exposed to such meat, because they eat kosher).
    While Geller attempts to rally the PETA folks to her side by calling the practice crueler than normal, another more neutral take contends that halal slaughter "differs from turkeys which are slaughtered in traditional turkey farms or plants in the United States, where turkeys are kept in cramped conditions and slaughtered in a sort of assembly line by machinery which many find to be inhumane."
    Geller will not be convinced otherwise: "It's Islamic supremacism on the march, yet again," she promises. (Yet again!!) "So this Thanksgiving, fight for your freedom." Her "Boycott Butterball Turkey" group on Facebook currently boasts 1,078 "likes," and comments like, "Liberal Fascists are indoctrinated to hate whites, Jews, America, Americans, Free Markets, Christians, history, economics, numbers, and facts." Liberal fascists, however, love Butterball.

    Then we have this Youtube bit of Geller and her right wing interviewer spewing this crap over the airwaves; what they are saying is not, in point of fact, correct in any measure:

    In counterpoint to the inaccuracies, we have this to enlighten our readers from the dark dysinformation and propaganda on the right.  Screeds of inaccuracy like those typical of Geller and others provokes me to wonder why it is that Geller, and those who run with her crap, like Andrew Breitbart, hate America.  Or in this case, they certainly hate an American Corporation at least, one that employs a LOT of people and does a lot of business here in the U.S., and world wide.

    From the Butterball Corporation website, here is the ACCURATE description of their business:

    Corporate Information

    As the most recognized name in turkey, the Butterball brand represents more than 50 years of cherished memories with consumers globally. Our retail, deli, and foodservice products are distributed throughout the United States and in more than 20 countries worldwide. The tradition of providing top-quality, great-tasting products that make meals something to celebrate every day has made our brand an American favorite.

    Headquartered in Garner, NC, Butterball is the largest producer of turkey products in the United States. The company’s three-pronged approach to focuses on self-governance, sustainability, and

    social responsibility. The initiative plays a key role in providing internal oversight for integrating values that are important to the company.

    and here, from the facts page of Butterball:

    Corporate Information - Facts

    • Butterball is the largest vertically integrated turkey producer in the United States and accounts for 20 percent of total turkey production in this country.

    • The Butterball Turkey Talk Line® opened in 1981 and handled more than 10,000 consumer calls that year. Today, the line receives more than 100,000 callers during the Thanksgiving season.

    • Butterball employs 5,500 associates in its six plant locations and corporate offices.

    • At 675,000 square feet, the Butterball plant in Mt. Olive, NC, is the world’s largest turkey plant.
    and Kudos to the Rachel Maddow show, for fact checking Ms. Geller: 

    There was a good price for the holidays on Butterball turkeys at our local grocery stores; I may just have to rush out to buy a couple of extras, to keep in the freezer, for other holiday entertaining - and to be a good American, by buying American, in pushback against the bigotry and hatred and just plain bloody-minded chronic inaccuracy of people like Ms. Geller. 

    I'm thankful that I get so many opportunities to correct the misinformation of conservatives, who would otherwise apparently believe this nonsense, unquestioningly and without critical thinking or factchecking, from the brief glance at the search engine results. ( I think my favorites were the titles indicating that Butterball Turkeys were 'sacrficed to Idols!!!!!!! Oh NOOoooooooooooh!')
    But for now, back to the kitchen! 

    Happy Hallalidays!

    Malaysia War Crimes Tribunal - It's About Time

    More Swiss Guns!

    Several murders in Switzerland havce prompted its Parlimanet's Security Policy Committee to take steps to remove weapons from the hands of people with a history of violence. That committee said confiscating firearms was a matter of urgency for individuals known to have made threats or perpetrated acts of violence.

    The Committee unanimously called for the National Assembly to pass a motion requiring the Federal Council to pass steps for combatting the possession arms by dangerous persons in cooperation with the cantons.

    The committee's proposal calls for the police and prosecuting authorities to confiscate all civilian and military weapons held by violent individuals. Moreover, the committee says that military and judicial authorities should collaborate more effectively both at the cantonal and federal levels.
    "The different authorities involved won’t move things forward by mutually abdicating their responsibilities or trying to justify themselves regarding the misuse [of weapons],” the commission said.

    The Swiss news service ATS reported two fatal shootings of two people using Military weapons in western Switzerland since the beginning of November.

    On November 4th, a man shot his 21-year-old girlfriend with his assault rifle in Saint Léonard, in the south of the country. The alleged murderer, a 23-year-old man, had several previous convictions for threatening behaviour and property damage.

    A week later, a 37-year-old man died from injuries sustained in a shooting incident at a Geneva shopping centre.

    On Sunday, November 13th, a young woman in Boudry killed a 23-year-old man with a military gun which she had believed to be a toy gun.

    For more see this.

    Robert Reich on the 1st Amendment

    The Wacky World of Gun Lovers

    The folks who laugh at these images are gun enthusiasts. They think it's funny when somebody has a gun mishap. Well, to be fair, not all gun enthusiasts do. But some.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Only in America

    Dogster offers the following advice:
    Be Safe While Hiking During Hunting Season
    by Casey Lomonaco (KPA CTP, APDT), proprietor Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training

    It's now hunting season in many areas of the country. To keep your dog safe during hikes in the woods, it is always best to stick to property you know is safe and/or posted.

    If you must go hiking in areas where you may run into hunters, both you and your dog should wear bright, non-natural colors. Jackets in fluorescent orange are available for dogs and give visual cues to hunters that your pup is not a deer or turkey!
    Yes, and also the humans should wear orange as well so some trigger happy cretin doesn't pop them as well. Don't think that happens? Just google "Hiker shot".

    What about people's ability to go hiking in peace without being shot?

    "Gun Rights"--what a fucking stupid idea. It's even more idiotic that people can be conned into believing it!

    Oh, Look! Successful NON-Lethal force!

    What a brave kid.

    from aol news and Huffington Post:

    10-year-old Wash. Boy Defends Mom With BB Gun

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Police in Bellingham, Wash., say a 10-year-old boy defended his mother from an attacker by shooting him in the face with a BB rifle as many as four times.
    Paul R. Newman, the man accused of the attack, rents a room in the woman's home and came home drunk and angry Tuesday morning. Police say he kicked in a bedroom door and started choking the woman, according to Associated Press.
    Officers say the boy hit the attacker with a board and then shot him in the face with the pump-action BB rifle as he grappled with the woman.
    The woman and boy were able to flee to a neighbor's home and call for help.
    Newman was treated at a hospital and arrested for investigation of assault and making death threats.
    The victim, who sustained non-life threatening injuries, was taken to an area hospital for treatment, according to

    This Gun Guy Sure Sounds Crazy to Me....

    Ok, for starters,I couldn't help but notice that Texas doesn't have its own Army.   So it is unclear if this guy is some sort of Texas secessionist wing nut.  Maybe  'Texas Army' is one of those terms like inanimate and disobedience that gun guys use that has a different meaning from the dictionary definitions of the terms.

    The bold type is my added emphasis, to the original.

    Note the Nut-case was armed, and taken away to the nearest psych ward.

    At least if he was going to go about half naked, setting fires, he covered up the correct half.

    Remember that idea of not trusting people who are armed NOT to be crazy? Does this ring a bell WHY that is?

    From aol news:

    Half Naked Man Drives Up Indiana War Memorial: Police Arrest Daniel Whitaker For Terroristic Mischief (PHOTOS)

    Indiana War Memorial
    First Posted: 11/23/11 11:18 AM ET Updated: 11/23/11 11:18 AM ET
    State Police arrested an Indianapolis man on Tuesday after he allegedly drove his SUV up the steps of the Indiana War Memorial, wrapped himself in an American flag, and lit a small fire.
    Officials identified the half-naked protester as 49-year-old Daniel Whitaker, WTHR reports.
    Whitaker, who described himself to police as a member of the "Texas army," placed a large cross on the memorial, which he briefly stood before while wearing a metal helmet fashioned with a plume and carrying a bright blue staff, police said.
    Police also said that once Whitaker drove up the memorial, he poured a canister of gasoline down the steps and lit a fire, WSBT reports.
    A press release from Indiana State Police Capt. Dave Bursten describes the scene further:
    After lighting the fire, Whitaker, who was wearing only a pair of khaki cargo shorts and draped in an American flag, began ranting how the world was safer 50 years ago when people could go outside without having to carry a gun. Ironically, Whitaker was armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol.
    Police officers managed to talk Whitaker into surrendering his weapon, "which resulted in Whitaker unloading the pistol and throwing it to the ground," the press release explains.
    Fire authorities extinguished the fire before it could cause major damage, according to WISHTV.
    Police arrested Whitaker for Terroristic Mischief, a Class 'C' Felony, and escorted him to Wishard Memorial Hospital for 72-hour psychiatric surveillance.

    Anyone Else Read This, and Start Humming the Musical Score for 'Hair'

    So much for the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

    The musical reference seemed apropos the Occupy movement resurgence, as it reflects larger contemporaneous issues.

    The topic seemed apropos Greg's comment about relying on police and military being 'outsourcing' one's personal violence. Thank goodness the Amish in this case DID resort to outside help.

    From the AP and

    AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
    Sam Mullet, father of two of the three men arrested for allegedly going into the home of another Amish man and cutting his hair and beard, talks outside his home in Bergholz, Ohio on October.
    By The Associated Press
    BERGHOLZ, Ohio - Authorities raided the compound of a breakaway Amish group in eastern Ohio on Wednesday morning and arrested seven men on federal hate crime charges in hair-cutting attacks against Amish men and women.
    Among those arrested were the group's leader, Sam Mullet, and three of his sons, said Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Cleveland.
    Authorities have said several members of the group carried out the attacks in September and October by forcefully cutting the beards and hair of Amish men and women. Cutting the hair is a highly offensive act to the Amish, who believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.
    The attacks struck at the core of the Amish identity and tested their principles. They strongly believe that they must be forgiving in order for God to forgive them, which often means handing out their own punishment and not reporting crimes to law enforcement.
    Mullet told The Associated Press in October that he didn't order the hair-cutting but didn't stop his sons and others from carrying it out. He said the goal of the hair-cutting was to send a message to Amish in Holmes County that they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they were treating Mullet and his community.
    "They changed the rulings of our church here, and they're trying to force their way down our throat, make us do like they want us to do, and we're not going to do that," Mullet said.
    Those arrested were in custody and expected to be arraigned Wednesday. They include Mullet and sons Johnny, Lester and Daniel, Tobin said.
    Authorities also were planning to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to explain why they charged the men with hate crimes, Tobin said.
    Earlier stories on this subject:

    Occupy Movement versus Tea Party - How Do They Compare?

    I don't recall the Tea Party ever turning out these kind of numbers of people, and certainly not for s:uch a prolonged period of time.


    'Occupy Wall Street' more popular than Tea Party

    NEW YORK -- This Saturday marks one month since Occupy Wall Street protesters set-up camp at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Since then the demonstrations have spread to dozens of cities across the country. This weekend, a global day of protests is planned, and organizers say they expect events to be held in more than 800 cities in 71 countries.
    Clearly, the movement appears to be growing. Now we have some new information about how the rest of the country views what’s happening in Zuccotti Park and beyond.
    From an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released Wednesday:
    • 37% of the country tends to support the movement; 18% oppose; 25% have no opinion. That’s more than those who say they support the Tea Party -- just 26% say they support it, while 64% say they do not.
    • The movement is most popular in the Northeast, where people tend to support it 48%-15%. It is least popular in the South where 30% support, 22% oppose.
    • Perhaps counter-intuitively, the movement has its highest support among the highest income earners, (those making more than $75,000 year): 40% support, 24% oppose. Among the poorest, however, it is also popular (less than 30K year): 35% support, 11% oppose.
    • Among ethnic groups, the protests are popular among African-Americans, 41% support, 7% oppose; among Hispanics 35% support, 15 oppose; among Whites 37% support, 18% oppose.
    • Among political parties, unsurprisingly, the movement is most popular among Democrats (56%-6%), and least popular among Republicans, where a plurality do not support 17%-34%. Independents support 34%-17%.
    Since the demonstrations started there have also been nagging questions about what protesters believe in, and what they want. Early last week New York Magazine conducted an informal survey of 100 protesters at Zuccotti Park to gauge their views on everything from President Obama to capitalism. A few snippets are below.
    What do you think of Obama?
    • I believed in him, and he let me down: 40
    • He’s doing great: 1
    • I never believed in him: 27
    • He’s doing the best he can: 22
    Did you vote in the 2010 midterm elections?
    • Yes: 39
    • No: 55
    • No, but only because I wasn’t 18:
    Rank yourself on the following Scale of Liberalism:
    • Not liberal at all: 6
    • Liberal but fairly mainstream (i.e., Barack Obama): 3
    • Strongly liberal (i.e., Paul Krugman): 12
    • Fed up with Democrats, believe country needs overhaul (i.e., Ralph Nader): 41
    • Convinced the U.S. government is no better than, say, Al Qaeda (i.e., Noam Chomsky): 34
    *** UPDATE *** We checked to see how the supporters and opponents of Occupy Wall Street broke down in their approval or disapproval of President Obama.
    Those who tend to support the protesters, said they approved of the president's job 61%-35%.
    Those who tend to oppose the protesters, did not approve of the president's job by an 11%-88%
    Those with no opinion were 42%-49%.
    The margin of error on this question is +/-3.55%.

    Update on North carolina Multiple Shootings

    Toll of NC murder-suicide rises to 4 after son, 14, dies

    By and The Associated Press
    GREENSBORO, N.C.  - The death toll from a North Carolina woman's weekend rampage rose to 4 after officials announced the alleged shooter's 14-year-old son had died.
    Authorities say Mary Ann Holder, 36, of Greensboro shot six people, most of them under 18, before killing herself. Zachary Lee Smith, 14, died late Monday, Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes told reporters Tuesday.
    Holder's older son, Robert Dylan Smith, 17, died Sunday morning. Her 8-year-old niece, Hannaleigh Suttles, died Monday afternoon, reported WRAL in North Carolina.
    The sheriff's department said Holder's nephew and her older son's girlfriend remain in critical condition.
    Holder also shot her married former lover. Forty-year-old Randal Lamb was in stable condition after being shot in the shoulder.
    Read more on this story from

    Obama Burned in Effigy - Prank or Legitimate Method of Protest?

    Is this a legitimate expression of opinion, or does it cross the line of symbolic advocating harm or violence to a real, living person who is a public figure?  I don't know how much this translates as simple expression of dissatisfaction, versus other interpretations of the action.

    I don't know what the answer is, but I'd be open to hear their explanation before getting too upset.  I'd also be curious to know what the effigy itself looked like, and if it was a reasonable representational likeness, or something more along the lines of some of the racist images on tea party signs and emails that have come from the right here in the U.S.

    But mostly, I remember all of the UK anti-Bush images, particularly the ones that morphed him into looking like a chimpanzee.  I'm inclined to put this in the category of bad taste and unpleasantness, but short of hate speech, without a more clear explanation being expressed by those who did the burning. Given our shameful history of lynching blacks in this country in the 19th and 20th centuries, I would be much more concerned and offended had Obama been hanged in effigy.

    updated 1 hour 56 minutes ago
    An effigy of Barack Obama was burned by members of a Conservative party college student association in Scotland, according to reports Wednesday. BBC News reported that the incident took place on a beach in St. Andrews on Friday evening.
    Matthew Marshall, president of the St. Andrews Conservative Association, told the station that he was sorry that the incident had happened. It is unclear exactly who was responsible.
    "President Obama is an important ally to the British government. It was a stupid thing to do and we apologize for any offence caused," he told the BBC.
    James Mills, former chairman of the university's Labour party student society, told the station that the burning was "disgraceful."
    Mills' effigy has been burned in the past along with those of former South African President Nelson Mandela and former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
    "I can't imagine any other student activists of a major political party would behave in this manner," Mills told the BBC.
    'Obscene act' "It's disgusting and I hope the Conservative Party and the prime minister completely come out and condemn this obscene act," he added. "The last thing a truly modern party should be doing is burning an effigy of anyone let alone the first black president of the USA, one of our closest allies."
    The BBC quoted an unnamed person who was present at the burning who said that members of the associated were "surprised" that the Obama effigy had been put on the bonfire.
    St. Andrews University, which was founded in 1413 and says it is the third oldest in the English-speaking world, told the BBC that university officials had asked to speak to Marshall about the "very understandable concerns."
    John Park, a Scottish Labour party lawmaker, whose constituency includes the university, told the U.K.'s Press Association that the burning was "gravely offensive and way beyond a student prank."
    "Thousands of young people yearn for the chance to study at such a prestigious institution, and they will be amazed to see that those who have been given that opportunity behave like this," he added.
    "Burning an effigy of anyone is offensive, let alone the first black President of the United States. The overtones are deeply unpleasant," he said.

    Westside Middle School?

    The Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas was the site of one of those mass shootings.

    Of course, an armed citizen probably couldn't have stopped it since the shooters shot "in an ambush style from the woods in camouflaged clothes".

    The body count--five people, four female students and a teacher, were killed. Ten people, nine students and one teacher, were injured.

    Since the perps were both Juveniles, their maximum sentence was to serve in a Juvenile facility until they were 21. They would have served until only age 18 had federal authorities not added additional confinement for weapons charges!

    The people of Jonesboro were outraged that both shooters were released with no further supervision and were legally able to buy firearms!

    Although, we can question whether Greg is upset that the shooters would not be deprived of his "gun rights".

    After all, you can't have too many guns out there--especially if they fall into the hands of the wrong people!

    A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash

    Inspired by Dog Gone's post about the Campbell family

    What Happens When a Republican Congressman Challenges the NRA?

    The National Rifle Association is accusing U.S Rep. Justin Amash of "lying" in seeking the group's support for his 2010 congressional bid.

    Amash is firing back, describing the NRA's attack as an example of what happens when "a powerful special interest group is challenged by a Representative trying to defend the constitutional rights of the American people."
    If the guy had any common sense and balls, he would have objected to this nonsense bill for the right reason. But, like many other gun-rights supporters, he opposes it because of the states' rights issue.

    The fact is, allowing Arizona concealed carry permit holders, who have the least qualifications in the country, to do their thing in New York is ludicrous and in some cases dangerous. That's the reason for opposing this bill.

    But, the NRA doesn't care about such subtleties. They demand lock-step obedience and blind support, or else. And the sad truth is they get it, at least for the most part.  Not only politicians, but even your average joe gun owner, takes his cues from the NRA.  How many times have we seen one of the pro-gun bloggers call someone a "liar" for their opinion?  The NRA, despicable organization that it is, taught them that.  And sycophantic weaklings that they are, they eat it up.

    What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

    A Million Rugers in One Year

    This is quite a heartwarming, let's-work-together appeal, don't you think? Isn't Ruger known as a crap gun, though? I think I read that somewhere.

    In any case, this sure ties the gun manufacturers to the NRA. No wonder they're all singing the same tune.

    Fox News Defends Police Brutality

    This makes me so angry I'm speechless. What do you think?

    New York State Burglar Executed

    No charges will be filed in the fatal shooting of a western New York man who officials believe was burglarizing a fire-damaged home.

    Get that? In New York, the place gun-rights fanatics continually claim has such strict gun laws that practically nobody has a gun legally and even if they did, they couldn't use it to protect themselves or their property, this poor schlep of a burglar got a summary execution for a break-in.

    And no charges are being filed. I guess that makes liars out of all our friends who keep using the word "draconian."

    What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

    Military Promises to Expedite Handover of Power in Egypt

    The Times, they are a changin', to borrow a Bob Dylan lyric.  I'm betting this will result in a noticeable speed up in the military letting go of power.

    From the old Gray Lady, aka the New York Times:

    Egypt Military Pledges Faster Handover to Civilian Rule

    Moises Saman for The New York Times
    A wounded man was carried away from clashes in Cairo on Tuesday. More Photos »
    CAIRO — The ruling military council agreed on Tuesday to speed up the transition to civilian rule in a deal made with Islamist groups but which seemed unlikely to satisfy the demands of liberal parties and the more than 100,000 protesters who gathered in the center of the capital to demand an immediate transfer of power.
    Metro Twitter Logo.

    Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.

    The agreement came after the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces met with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in a session that was boycotted by most other political parties. The deal called for a new constitution and a presidential election no later than next June, as well as a new civilian cabinet to be led by a technocrat prime minister rather than a politician.
    Under the agreement, the first round of elections for a national assembly would go ahead as scheduled on Monday, a major goal of the Brotherhood, which stands to win a large share of the seats. But it would also leave the civilian government reporting to the military — effectively a continuation of what amounts to martial law in civilian clothes — until next June.
    Shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties emerged from talks with the military to announce a deal for the generals’ full exit from power in June, the military’s top officer, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, gave a televised in which he declared that the army did not seek power.
    “The armed forces, represented in its Supreme Council, do not covet power and they put the country’s best interest above all other considerations,” he said. “The armed forces are ready to give up power immediately if the people wanted that through a national referendum if it was necessary.”
    The protesters in Tahrir Square in central Cairo jeered and booed the speech. On Tuesday they continued to battle with the police in nearby streets for the fourth straight day, braving an increasingly lethal crackdown in what seemed to be a leaderless expression of rage.
    With the police crackdown galvanizing popular anger at the military council, not least of the problems with the deal announced Tuesday was whether any credible civilian leader would take the job of prime minister if the government remained subordinate to the military.
    “No one is going to accept another civilian government micromanaged” by the military commanders, said Hossam Bahgat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
    Referring to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces by its initials, Islam Lotfy, a onetime leader of the Muslim Brotherhood youth movement, said: “The people will not be happy if the SCAF just give them some painkillers.” Mr. Lotfy was among the instigators of the revolution; he was later expelled from the Brotherhood for starting a more centrist breakaway political party with other young Brothers.
    “It may be the solution will be the SCAF delegating responsibilities to a new cabinet with full authority to manage the country,” he said.
    The brutal treatment of the protesters prompted the resignation of the first civilian cabinet, which the military council accepted on Tuesday.
    Each day since Saturday the crowds have grown at Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egyptian resistance — first to the former president, Hosni Mubarak, ousted in February and now to the military commanders who replaced him — and the violence has mounted as well.
    Intense skirmishes continued on the main avenue leading to the Interior Ministry. Though the security forces could have reached the square from other streets and the protesters could have attacked the Interior Ministry from other directions as well, each side continued to hammer the other — protesters with rocks, the security forces with tear gas that wafted back through the square — along the same charred and pockmarked block.
    Many of the protesters wore green face masks, of the type used by medics, to try to filter tear gas fired by security forces in the ebb and flow of the fighting along streets littered with debris. Both sides sought to reinforce makeshift barricades.
    A reporter for Al Jazeera held up a spent tear-gas canister to a camera and said its markings said it was manufactured in the United States. But the words were not easily legible to viewers.

    (Page 2 of 2)
    By midday, the crowd in Tahrir Square had swelled to many tens of thousands — far larger than at the same time on previous days. A new banner across the center of the square declared, “This land is owned by the Egyptian people.” Tents and a field clinic to treat injured protesters were being set up nearby.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    More Right Wing Delusional Thinking

    From CNN and MSNBC:

    One of the observations I have taken away with me from reading right wing blogs is the assumption that exists, both implied and expressed, that the right, and the individual blogger, is representing the views of a wider audience, a silent, invisible majority that is somehow on the verge of emerging. 

    Except.... they don't appear to really exist.

    Consistently, there is no rational or objective basis for the assertion. The claims below from Herman Cain is just one example.  I don't think there is a candidate in contention for the GOP or Tea Party nod that is in sync with the majority of voters - not on the right, not the center, and certainly not anywhere left of center, and not a majority with independents of any stripe.

    Persistently, the choice that has been dominant in the polls has been 'none of the above' or 'undecided'.  The best I've seen so far is a tie, and I suspect that if one polled a larger sample than the one below or the USA Today/Gallup poll, quoted here by CNN recently, no candidate would do as well as 'none of the above'. 

    That also tracks with Congress having a poor approval / high disapproval rating, but with Republicans and Tea Partiers being distinctly less liked than their democratic colleagues.  In states where there are Republican governors and legislators, even those who voted for them now tend to regret that choice.  We will be seeing more of that preference with recalls like that of Governor Scott Walker in WI, where polls show 58% of voters want him OUT.

    We are a year out from the 2012 election; but this thinking and the thinking expressed in the platforms of the entire panel of GOP candidates appears delusional at best.  Michele Bachmann, as another example, is convinced that she hasn't made any gaffes during her campaign.  (Hello? There are so many it is hard to pick just one, but the HPV-vaccine causes retardation comes to mind as possibly the best known example.)

    Maybe that has something to do with their persistent aversion to facts, and their blind embrace of too-far-right ideology.  Hey! Herman!  Blacks don't like you.  A declining number of women like you - most don't.  And it looks more and more like only the fringie birther and other conspiracy crazies on the right support you now. 

    But hey - dream on!


    Cain says his race will help the GOP. But is he right?

    Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain is claiming his race will help him win over African American voters.
    In a seven-page mailer sent to Iowans over the weekend, Cain writes, "as a descendent of slaves I can lead the Republican Party to victory by garnering a large share of the black vote, something that has not been done since Dwight Eisenhower garnered 41 percent of the black vote in 1956."
    But while Cain might believe he'll garner a larger share of the black vote in a head-to-head match-up against President Obama, this month's NBC/WSJ poll — which had an oversample of 400 African-American respondents — tells a different story.
    In a hypothetical general election matchup, according to the poll, Obama gets support from 93 percent of African Americans, while Cain gets just 6 percent.
    Against Romney, Obama performs similarly among black voters. Ninety-two percent of African Americans would support Obama, versus just six percent for Romney. According to the 2008 exit polls, Obama got 95 percent of the African American vote.
    Even with sliding poll numbers, Cain has attracted large crowds at recent events — but supporters attending Cain rallies are overwhelmingly white.
    The mailer is the latest sign of Cain's increased fundraising haul at work. The campaign raised more than $1 million for its “Iowa Fund,” and earlier this month Cain announced he had brought in more than $9 million since Oct. 1.