Musical Interlude

I got nothing today… talk among yourselves.

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Texans Still Armed, Criminals Still Getting Shot (This Guy Didn’t Read My Last Post on the Subject)

If you break into homes, you will eventually find an armed resident. The results should not surprise anyone. Texas homeowner shoots intruder while on the phone with 911.

A guy at home (on medical leave) wakes up at 10 AM to the doorbell and excessive knocking. Since no one he knows would come by like that, he arms himself. “I’m like, something is happening. I went and got my gun.”

With the 911 operator on the other end of the phone he held in one hand and gun in his other hand, Wood came face to face with Powell, local media reported.

Wood warned Powell to stop, but his warning was ignored. Powell continued to make his way toward Wood, who at that point felt he had limited options.

“Then everything went bad,” said Wood, still visibly upset over the entire incident.

The home-invader was shot a single time in the chest. At which point he stopped advancing on the homeowner, fell to the ground and said he wanted to call his girlfriend.

The home-invader got air-lifted to a trauma center, and is expected to survive. He was out on parole at the time all of this transpired.

Good Guys 1, Bad Guys 0. Self-defense is a human-right.

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A Chicago Cop Charged with a Crime – Not Suspended

A bit hard to sweep this one under the rug, given the evidence. Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans charged – Chicago Tribune.

A Chicago police commander frequently praised by Supt. Garry McCarthy for his no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods was charged Wednesday with placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth.

Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who headed the West Side’s Harrison patrol district until he was relieved of his police powers, faces one count of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

They actually found this guy’s DNA on the barrel of this cop’s gun. So it will be a little hard to convince anyone he did NOT commit this act.

Evans is among 662 officers with 11 or more complaints during a five-year period in the 2000s, newly released police records show. He had 14 complaints between 2001 and 2006 and faced no discipline for any of them, the records show.

No one can say how many of these 11 complaints have merit, but I find it hard to believe that this cop walked the straight-and-narrow for years, and then decided to threaten someone in an inappropriate manner. But I’m known to be cynical. At least about Chicago cops.

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Argonne National Laboratory: Geeks Through the Ages

Synchrotron Injector

The injector end of a 1962 Synchrotron (atom smasher) at Argonne

Geeks have always liked their shiny toys. Argonne was originally built as part of the Manhattan Project. Later it became a lab studying atomic energy. Classic photos: Argonne National Laboratory — Chicago Tribune.

Click the image for a larger view… The injector system of the Zero Gradient Synchrotron (synchrotrons were known colloquially at the time as atom smashers). The picture is from 1962 just prior to completion of the synchrotron. The Zero Gradient Synchrotron was built in a cement toroid 215 ft in diameter. As a comparison, the Large Hadron Collider on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva is just shy if 5 ½ miles in diameter.

The photos are great, and worth a look.

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How Does a Recycled Bimbette from the 90210, Get Her Own “Home Improvement” Show?

In the advert, she admits she is “afraid of power tools.” Really?! This is the person who gets her own show on HGTV.

Nicole Curtis is great. She is a girly girl who is a hundred pounds soaking wet (not even?) who has a good show. But Nicole Curtis was rehabbing houses long before she was on TV.

Vanilla Ice is annoying but again, he had a real business at least as long as he had a home improvement show. And Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates) actually seems to have a passion for renovation, though his show seems a bit of a “me too” nod to Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle. (If anyone needed a stage name it was Rob Van Winkle!)

So Jennie Garth is getting her own show. Why? What pearls of wisdom will she be able to pass along? How to overcome your fear of power tools? I suppose this is the culmination of the “reality” TV show. So will you turn in to see if anything bad happens?

HGTV used to have shows about your home and garden. Lately it is mostly a show about crazy real estate. People who are spoiled (acres of granite) and have no idea what a budget might be. The DIY network used to have shows about “do it yourself” projects. (I still pull up episodes from “Freeform Furniture” from DIY network.) But it has become almost as much crazy-real-estate network as HGTV.

SciFi morphed into SyFy when they dropped most of the SciFi and added wrestling. The Science Channel was running a marathon for the SciFi TV show Firefly. Ancient Aliens are on the History Channel more than any actual history. (American Pickers is NOT a history show.) I think I was better off when I didn’t own a television.

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Russia: Invasion of Ukraine Was an “Accident”

The batteries in their GPS unit died. They couldn’t get cellphone service in that area. The dog ate their homework maps. Russian military sources say soldiers crossed Ukraine border ‘by accident’.

MOSCOW: Russian military sources quoted by state agencies on Tuesday said that Russian troops captured by Kiev and shown on Ukrainian television had crossed the border accidentally.

Really, it was an accident. The Russians have NO territorial ambitions as far as the borders with Ukraine are concerned. Especially not after they already annexed the part of the country that really matters to them. It is nothing. Nothing to see here. Move along. </sarcasm>

If the Europeans don’t want to be facing down the Soviet Union 2.0, then they need to grow a backbone and send troops to help Kiev.

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Texans Still Armed, Criminals Still Getting Shot

This is a case where the home was empty – the homeowners were on vacation, but the neighbors were watching after things. Couple protecting neighbor's home shoots, kills alleged intruder in Channelview.

At the house, the couple noticed the front door was unlocked and a bathroom door was locked.

“They announced themselves, told the person that if there was anybody in the bathroom that they were armed and to come out. They didn’t get a response,” said Beall.

According to Beall, as the couple unlocked the door, a man came charging out of the bathroom and knocked the female down.

Can you guess what happened next? I should point out that both of the neighbors were armed. They both opened fire. The would-be bad-guy made it as far as the back yard before collapsing. He was taken to a local hospital and died a couple of hours later.

If you make a living breaking into homes (especially in a place where the 2nd Amendment lives) then eventually, bad things are going to happen to you.

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There are Wild Animals in Florida – You Should Exercise Caution

You are only an apex predator when you are armed and prepared. A Florida first: Crocodile attacks couple during late-night dip – Yahoo News.

The canal where Rendon and Jimenez went swimming is a known crocodile habitat, and wildlife officials spent the day warning residents about the dangers of wading into unfamiliar waters.

This attack is unusual because alligators get most of the press in Florida. But the American Crocodile has been making something of comeback of its own. It is still a relatively rare creature, and mostly found in the everglades, but that is no guarantee.

Crocodiles live mostly in saltwater, but can survive in the brackish waters found in Florida when the ocean meets groundwater in a web of canals and waterways.

Alligators and crocodiles and sharks. Anacondas have been released in the everglades. And that doesn’t even start to consider the smaller poisonous snakes. Bears can be found in the forests (yes, there are forests in Florida). So exercise some brain power.

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French Government Collapses (Again)

Francios Hollande is overseeing the 2nd dissolution of the government he is supposed to be leading. Hollande risks losing majority as French government collapses.

By dissolving his government yesterday, for the second time, French president François Hollande salvaged his authority and cut short criticism of his customary indecision. Yet the political crisis remains acute. Mr Hollande has reached an all- time record low for any French president, with a 17 per cent approval rating.

The French are currently governed by the Socialists. It is no surprise, but the Socialist Party has been unwilling to cut government spending or do anything – like cut taxes – to get businesses growing.

This is the last chance for Mr Hollande to save his term in office, said Le Monde’s front- page editorial. Opposition to his economic policy ostensibly caused the government to collapse. Yet despite repeated tirades by outgoing economy minister Arnaud Montebourg against austerity policies, compared to other European countries France has not yet known real austerity. There have been painful tax hikes but no social programmes have been cut. Mr Montebourg wants a third of the planned deficit reduction of €50 billion over three years to be given to French households to stimulate purchasing power.

As Margaret Thatcher pointed out, socialism is fine, except, “eventually you run out of other peoples’ money.” And the French have made life so hard on businesses, that not much growth is happening. The poster child for this is still the Goodyear Tire Plant in Amiens, France.

Since 2007, it has been trying to reconfigure its plant in Amiens, in northern France, which makes low-end tires for passenger vehicles and farm equipment, and has been losing about $80 million per year. But every attempt to change working hours, or seek voluntary redundancies – including as part of a sale – has been met with fierce, and highly effective, resistance. One militant labor union at the plant has essentially managed to veto all management’s proposals, often over the objections of other, more moderate unions.

This quote is from a January, 2013 article announcing the closing of the plant. So those militant union members got what they wanted. It was easy to see that they would rather go down than be reasonable.

Firing workers or even seeking voluntary redundancies is notoriously difficult in France, where the labor laws run to 3,371 pages – almost four times the volume of the legislation in neighboring Germany, whose workers are nonetheless very well protected. Indeed, the very heaviness and inflexibility of the law is widely seen as a significant competitive disadvantage in France. In the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report”, for example, “restrictive labor practices” are listed as by far the most problematic factor for doing business in the nation – a finding echoed in other similar surveys.

If you make something hard or expensive, you will get less of it. If you make something easier, or cheaper you will see more of it. Doing business is hard in France, so people do business elsewhere. Germany for example.

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Ebola Worse than You Thought: Westerners to Blame

Or that is the position of the Doctors Without Borders (or Medecins Sans Frontières or MSF) WHO warns of 'shadow zones' and unreported Ebola cases | Reuters.

The head of MSF, which has urged the WHO to do more, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that the fight against Ebola was being undermined by a lack of international leadership and emergency management skills.

It is always good to blame “international leadership” except of course when they are doing things you don’t approve of…(I assume they are casting blame on the US and the Europeans, but I could be wrong.)

The real reason that Ebola continues to be a problem is superstition, ignorance, and a little bigotry thrown in for good measure.

The stigma surrounding Ebola poses a serious obstacle to efforts to contain the virus, which causes regular outbreaks in the forests of Central Africa but is striking for the first time in the continent’s western nations and their heavily populated capitals.

“As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home,” the WHO said in a statement detailing why the outbreak had been underestimated.

“Others deny that a patient has Ebola and believe that care in an isolation ward – viewed as an incubator of the disease – will lead to infection and certain death.”

Corpses are often buried without official notification. And there are “shadow zones”, rural areas where there are rumors of cases and deaths that cannot be investigated because of community resistance or lack of staff and transport.

I am not sure what “international leadership” can do in the next few months to combat centuries of mistrust.

The interesting thing about that quote is that it implies Ebola is a constant problem. Just not one the West usually hears about, because the victims are those unimportant people in the “forests of Central Africa.”

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