Friday, February 28, 2014

But... but... She's a Kennedy...

It appears that another Kennedy family member has gotten away with what would generally have put anyone else behind bars.  Kerry Kennedy accidentally took an Ambien instead of her thyroid medication and later got in her Lexus and drove erratically before sideswiping a truck.  Now for the rest of us, the law would really have been in the "your actions, your responsibility" area and we would have been slapped with the fine and likely jail time.  But, although it wasn't about pulling the family name into the picture, we apparently had to hear mention of her father's murder while she was on the stand.  As that happened 46 years ago and the defendant is in her fifties, I would say that despite the "not seeking advantage because of the family name" claim goes right out the window.  There was absolutely no reason to bring it up other than to remind the jury about where the defendant comes from.  Then again, I expect nothing less that this for driving infractions involving family members of the Frogman of the Chappaquiddick.

I have beachfront property in Arizona to sell you...

All kinds of people have gotten really excited about Bitcoins and the "revolutionary" changes it can make to modern financial transactions.  Also excited were the criminal element, which apparently took no time at all to not only analyze how to make profit off the new currency, but also how to separate truckloads of it (well, virtual truckloads...) from the rightful owners.

I have always hated how modern monetary systems work.  I don't like the fact that if the government wants more money, they can basically print it.  When the US first printed money, it was so worthless at one point that it was pasted to walls to cover cracks.  Its not nearly that bad now, at least not in most countries, but it does happen from time to time.  I recall reading an article about Argentina (if I recall correctly, it was 25 years ago) where its currency was so worthless the lowest denomination bill could only buy foodstuffs by weight on a pound for pound basis.  That is the kind of instability I fear, and that was in a currency backed by a government.

Now we have Bitcoin, a currency backed by no-one, generated by a computer program and without any protection for those that use it.  One of the largest Bitcoin exchanges was cracked by criminals and is now filing for bankruptcy.  Located in Japan, the government there is playing the "not my issue" game.  The best they can recommend is the Consumer Affairs Agency, which is a product safety agency and likely not really able to help.  The government of Japan does not consider the currency a real currency, thus will not spend any time or money assisting those affected by the collapse.  Nor should they.  The flip side is that they will also likely not be pursuing the thieves, so they will generally get away.  The level of autonomy in the transactions are why the Silk Road website used Bitcoins.  While I am all about privacy, I really can't jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon.  And I can't feel sorry for those that have lost money in this venture.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A tale of two women...

Its a tale of two cities as well, and the staggering differences between.

Deisy Garcia and her two daughters lived in NYC.  In the joyous melting pot that is NYC, she had no firearms.  The NYPD would keep her safe.  When her ex-husband got drunk and beat on her, she dutifully went down to the local NYPD station and files a report for domestic abuse.  Being accommodating as can be, they allow her to fill the form out in her native Spanish.  This report is dutifully filed away in the NYPD files and they do exactly nothing.  6 months later, we have a similar event, NYPD responds, the ex-husband is nowhere to be found and a report is filed with the responding officers.  The following day, Deisy takes a trip to the local precinct and files a follow up report, again in Spanish.  On January 18, her ex-husband was drinking.  He once again came home with ill intent, but this time he killed Deisy, and their two children, and then ran for the border.  We now come to find out that nobody in the NYPD bothered to have her reports translated, and thus never took action against her ex-husband.  She did everything right, according to people like Michael Bloomberg:  She reported the abuse to the police and she did not have a dangerous gun in the home for protection.  Yet still she is dead.

Now we transition to Detroit, a city in bankruptcy, a social fabric crumbling for decades.  Whole swaths of the city infrastructure has been abandoned by the local government.  A mother at home is faced with three criminals breaking down her back door.  She has two young children in the home and the criminals appear to be armed.  This woman chose to arm herself with the rifle given to her by her husband just two weeks prior.  When they made entry, she warned them that she was armed, to which they replied "nuh uhh..."  Her response was a round fired in their direction.  Video has them exiting quickly, one dropping his gun in his haste.  As opposed to NYC, three criminals have been arrested, the chief of police has stated that she did exactly the right thing and everyone is alive and safe.  And it appears that this is a trend in Detroit.

For once, it appears that it is better to live in Detroit than in NYC.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Good news, bad news...

The good news:  The first criminal jail sentence has been handed down relating to the "Fast and Furious" debacle, and two more are in the pipeline.  While I think 30 years is a little light, the family of Brian Terry are satisfied with the resolution of this case and that has to be good enough.

The bad news:  None of them work for the ATF or DOJ.

Have to take the small victories where one can...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Go ahead, keep beating that dead....

I generally only pay attention to the machinations of the NYC politicians (and really, NYC itself) only to see how their ideas will affect the rest of the country.  Unfortunately NYC, like LA, has far too much influence and I don't see that as a good thing.  So I was amused when the new mayor decided to start his term by immediately "offending" his constituents by eating his pizza in a very un-NYC way.  Still, while I hated Bloomberg due to his inability to remember that he was the mayor of that city and as such to keep his tentacles within its limits, the new mayor makes me even more happy that I don't live in the city that never sleeps.  He is set to give his first state of the city speech and I see the usual BS being trotted out.  "Income Inequality" is the new buzzword, along with the now regular desire to raise the minimum wage and give illegals a valid ID.  To find that he was raised in Massachusetts is not a a shock.

But his push that I find most idiotic, the thing that falls into the "I guess they have solved all the other problems" category is his desire to ban the horse carriage rides in Central Park.  The carriage rides are one of the few things I that would interest me if I went to NYC.  Removing the carriages is a stupid move, but one made by someone who has taken his election as a mandate from the people to run roughshod over them instead of working for them.  Its a hill that I hope he dies on, if nothing else to keep him from damaging anything else.  He is listening to a few groups that yell the loudest instead of polling his constituents to get their opinion.  Funny, when the NRA is is that position, they are a "fringe group", but when anyone supporting a Democrat is in that position they are a "respected organization", in this case referred to as industry critics.  Funny that.  Still, I doubt that if they actually put is to a vote, the average NYC resident would see the need to end the carriage rides.  So, much like the war on soft drinks that was eventually shot down in court, I hope that this one nails the mayor's foot to the deck.  

Is it a bad sign when you reach a point that you hope duly elected officials spin their wheels in office on stupid items that will not succeed instead of doing the damage that you know they could actually accomplish if they had half a brain?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Interesting coincidence...

Today I was looking in the local newspaper's online site for local ads because a few places actually still do that kind of advertising.  I need to replace our shotgun and I really don't want to overpay like the last time.  While cruising the site a news story catches my eye.  Apparently there was a sniper attack on a power substation just south of San Jose last year that did over 15 million dollars in damage.  This was shocking to me because I had not heard word one about it.  Such a local event involving guns should have been high on the radar.  Why did I not hear about it?  Check the date.  The attack happened hours after the Boston bombing.  All eyes were on Boston and nobody was injured in San Jose, so this was back page news.  Now we are seeing a little publicity because a politician brought it up in December and now the FBI has labeled it a non-terrorist incident.

It is interesting to me because on one had, the attack showed planning and knowledge.  They knew where the communications lines were and cut them, actually affecting both local and cell phone communications.  They scouted the location beforehand (apparently) for the best vantage point to shoot from.  However, on the other had, they left fingerprints everywhere and shell casings.  So not as professional as one would think.  Still, I am in agreement with several others.  I look at this item as a test run to see if it would work, what the response time would be and what the effect would be.  That information is useful to those wishing to cause problems on a continuing basis.  I am really disappointed that with the evidence apparently available, they have not made an arrest.  Hopefully they do before a larger event is put into action.