Government Competency?

Yeah, that is the reason why I want to trust my life only to the government by letting them have the only firearms (besides the criminals) – the government always gets things right……

PLANO — News 8 has learned that a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas illegally charged 109 people in 2011 and 2013. The jury stayed in session because of a bureaucratic error after its term had expired.

Federal grand juries evaluate evidence presented to them by prosecutors and decide whether to issue criminal charges against suspects. The juries — which operate in secret — consist of 23 people, selected from the general population. Each jury is empaneled for 18 or 24 months.

The Plano grand juries passed the 24-month mark and continued to indict into their 25th month, nullifying charges made during that month.

“We concede that we’ve made a mistake,” Bales told News 8.

Although there are several grand juries in the sprawling Eastern District, only the Plano panels exceeded their 24-month limit.

Not one grand jury panel but two in a row went past their allotted time. And the people enforcing the law set such great examples, don’t they?

PLANO — A Plano police officer who was arrested Wednesday morning now faces charges of driving while intoxicated and evading police.

Byron Betler, a 10-year veteran of the department, had crashed his vehicle near the corner of Hedgecoxe and Robinson roads. He was off-duty when he was arrested by his colleagues. 

Details about how the department’s 2006 Rookie of the Year attempted to evade police were not available.

 

Look I understand this is probably not typical of the way the federal government or most officers act. The problem is there are enough examples of both types of bad behaviors for people to realize that the government can not always be counted on to get things right. Human beings are fallible; systems of governance made up of human beings are also.

If there is going to be the possibility of the government not getting it right; I simply want the government to be the back up regarding my safety and that of my family.

Please join the discussion.

Unintended Consequences?

I’m always amazed at how people don’t seem to be able to think things through.

Los Angeles (CNN)In drought-punished Southern California, with the unceremonious push of a steely sodbuster, another lawn bites the dust.

That’s one down, and a sprawl to go.

Here in the land of perpetual sunshine, up to 5,000 residential lawns now vanish each month, converted into drought-resistant gardens and yards in under cash incentives, says the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), a consortium of water utilities serving 17 million people.

It’s all part of“the nation’s largest turf removal and water conservation program”whose budget was more than quadrupled in May, to $450 million, because of a homeowner rush to save water, the district says.

Yeah, let’s put the focus on the homeowner’s rush to save water and not the MWD’s drive to save their business.  The article indicates that the program will “save more than 70 million gallons of water over 10 years — enough water for 160,000 households” — but are they considering the impact such actions will have?

Climate is controlled at ground level by turfgrasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior “air conditioners.”  

Dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps keep the air cleaner.

Noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas.

For example, grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise 8-10 decibels.

Pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, are absorbed by turfgrasses thereby rendering the air fit to breathe. 

So instead of having CO2 sinks in our cities; we are going to increase the urban heat effect, increase the amount of pollution and dust in the area and increase the noise level. Gee, won’t it be such fun living in those areas?

 

 

Financial News – Greece

Global stock markets sank Monday after Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls in a dramatic turn in its struggle with heavy debts.

Oil prices declined and the euro edged down after Athens announced the moves to stanch the flow of money out of Greek banks and pressure creditors to offer concessions before a bailout program expires Tuesday.

Germany’s DAX index tumbled 2.9 percent to 11,161.41 points in early trading and France’s CAC-40 dived 3.4 percent to 4,887.69. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent to 6,643.83. Futures augured losses on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 1.1 percent at 17,677.00. S&P 500 futures shed 1.1 percent to 2,073.00.

Greece’s Cabinet closed banks for six business days and restricted cash withdrawals. The Athens Stock Exchange was due to be closed Monday. That follows Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ weekend decision to call a referendum on European and International Monetary Fund proposals for Greek reforms in return for bailout funds.

The accelerating crisis has raised questions about whether Greece might withdraw from the 19-nation euro currency, a move dubbed Grexit.

While this has happened in the past; I strongly suggest people keep an eye out. Each time this happens the odds of the problem cascading to affect our economy increases.  As everyone knows our world economy is very tightly interwoven with so many other countries. Even if we don’t have much direct trade with Greece, other countries do so if their economy tanks it can impact ours.
Next, I would also suggest people study how the Greek government has and will handle this. One of the common steps as shown above is a ‘bank holiday’. Think about what would do how you handle business, how you would put food on the table and gas in your car. People still have to work, still have to get to doctor’s appointments, buy medicine etc.

Think about what else the government or banks can do. Remember in 2013?

He should know. As Cypriot finance minister in 2013, Sarris was forced into a deal contingent on winding down a bank on an ELA lifeline. A second bank was forced to raid its clients deposits to recapitalize, a process known as a ‘bail-in’.

How many of us keep most of our money in the banks; wouldn’t it be a kick to find out the bank decided to take 10, 15, 40% of your money to stay afloat?

I’m watching closely and trying to take the lessons to heart. What do you think about the situation?
Please join the discussion>?

Really Mr. President?

“This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

— Barack Obama on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 in remarks at the White House

As usual the gun control advocates – aka Anti-Rights Cultists — will try to weasel out of it citing the ‘advanced’ countries specification. As if the people of a high GDP country are any more moral or ethical than anyone else.

In Tunisia, a gunman killed 37 people, mostly tourists, at a seaside resort. In Kuwait, an Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 27 people at a Shiite mosque. In France, a driver rammed his truck into a U.S.-owned gas factory, where a decapitated body was found with the head hanging at the entrance. In all, at least 65 people were killed across the three continents.

I wonder how Tunisia and Kuwait feel about being left of of the “advanced” country status. Of course, France doesn’t qualify because – well only one person was killed there, right?

Of course even Politifact is having to spin unsuccessfully President Obama’s claim.

We compared mass shooting incidents across countries is to calculate the number of victims per capita — that is, adjusted for the country’s total population size.

Calculating it this way shows the United States in the upper half of the list of 11 countries, ranking higher than Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany and Mexico.

Still, the U.S. doesn’t rank No. 1. At 0.15 mass shooting fatalities per 100,000 people, the U.S. had a lower rate than Norway (1.3 per 100,000), Finland (0.34 per 100,000) and Switzerland (1.7 per 100,000).

We’ll note that all of these countries had one or two particularly big attacks and have relatively small populations, which have pushed up their per-capita rates. In Norway, that single attack in 2011 left 67 dead by gunfire (plus additional bomb casualties). Finland had two attacks, one that killed eight and one that killed 10. And Switzerland had one incident that killed 14.

Still, while the United States did rank in the top one-third of the list, the fact that three other countries exceeded the United States using this method of comparison does weaken Obama’s claim that “it doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” In at least three countries, the data shows, it does.

Elsass warned PolitiFact of a few caveats about the data. While they believe their database “to be among the most exhaustive compilations available,” Elsass noted that it may not include every instance of mass shootings. It also doesn’t include every example of mass killings — just those committed by firearms, even though mass stabbings are not uncommon in such places as China. Finally, their database doesn’t include acts generally considered to be terrorism, such as the attack in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

“If these were included, we are likely to see something much different statistically as there have been a number of very high-profile terrorist attacks in Europe, some including the use of firearms, that are excluded from the current analysis,” she said. But in all likelihood, this would only make the case against Obama’s claim stronger.

Emphasis mine – I don’t mind talking about the issues. I don’t mind admitting that America, for whatever reasons, is more homicidal then many other countries. But let’s be honest in our debate.

Please join the discussion. 

Breaking News — Open Carry !

Reports are filtering in from those who were there; Governor Greg Abbott signed Open Carry into law today.
Now the long wait until Jan 1st 2016 in order to actually be able to exercise our right. (Edited to add photo and link)

Anyone want take odds on the antis trying a judicial approach to stopping this?

Campus Carry should be signed at the same time or today according to previous notices. But that doesn’t go into effect until September of 2016 for Universities and 2017 for Junior colleges. Again, a long wait to exercise our rights.

 

 

 

State Department News

Probably everyone has heard of the recent efforts of the State Department (PDF of proposal here – search for ITAR to invoke the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) in order to remove ‘technical data” from discussion and posting online. This is nothing short of two things: first an attempt to circumvent our right to free speech and in my opinion more importantly, a distraction.

Paragraph (b) of the revised definition explicitly sets forth the Department’s requirement of authorization to release information into the ”public domain.” Prior to making available ”technical data” or software subject to the ITAR, the U.S. government must approve the release through one of the following: (1) The Department; (2) the Department of Defense’s Office of Security Review; (3) a relevant U.S. government contracting authority with authority to allow the ”technical data” or software to be made available to the public, if one exists; or (4) another U.S. government official with authority to allow the ”technical data” or software to be made available to the public.

The requirements of paragraph (b) are not new. Rather, they are a more explicit statement of the ITAR’s requirement that one must seek and receive a license or other authorization from the Department or other cognizant U.S. government authority to release ITAR controlled ”technical data,” as defined in § 120.10. A release of ”technical data” may occur by disseminating ”technical data” at a public conference or trade show, publishing ”technical data” in a book or journal article, or posting ”technical data” to the Internet.

This proposed provision will enhance compliance with the ITAR by clarifying that ”technical data” may not be made available to the public without authorization. Persons who intend to discuss ”technical data” at a conference or trade show, or to publish it, must ensure that they obtain the appropriate authorization.

 

 

I don’t think there is a snowballs chance in Hades of this going through; while there are reasons to limit ‘technical information’ but most of what the people publish online is common knowledge. Should a diagram and blue print for a Mosin Nagant become subject to ITAR despite the fact that firearm has been around for over 100 years?

So why does the State Department elect (here is a hint) to make this move at this time?

Of course the answer is a distraction.

Speaking by telephone, Clinton told the more than 1,300 fast food workers gathered at a convention in Detroit that every worker deserves a fair wage and the right to unionize. 

“I want to be your champion. I want to fight with you every day,” said Clinton, who kicked off her presidential campaign in April saying she wants to be the champion for “everyday Americans.”

The call was another step to the left for Clinton, as she vies for the Democratic nod with progressive candidates Bernie Sanders andMartin O’Malley. She told the assembled crowd that they should continue building the Fight for 15 movement, which is pressing employers to raise workers’ pay.

From Politics

That hissing sound you just heard is more air coming out of thebubble in the global bond market. From Germany to the U.S., fixed income prices tanked last week, sending yields way up. The turmoil is a clear signal that investors are bracing for higher interest rates — whether the Federal Reserve is ready for its first rate hike in a decade or not.

Greece needs money to pay its bills. But creditors don’t want to fork over more dough until it agrees to difficult economic reforms, which would prove Greece is working to stand on its own two feet.
The two sides have been wrangling for months over the terms of a deal that would see lenders give Greece 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion), which is the final portion of a previously agreed to bailout program that could save the country from a messy “Grexit” scenario.

From economic news at home and aboard.

The Affordable Care Act gets less disastrous every day. The latest boost: Overall costs are now likely to be $14 billion per year lower than estimated just two months ago, and $56 billion per year cheaper than the first official estimate in 2010. That’s a 30% reduction, compared with the 2010 numbers.

The Congressional Budget Office regularly updates its cost projections for all big federal programs, and its latest numbers show an improvement related to Obamacare, as the ACA is known, that few supporters or critics saw coming. In 2010, the year Congress passed the law, the CBO said the annual cost of administering the law and providing subsidies to enrollees to help them purchase insurance would be about $172 billion in 2019, when all the provisions of the law are fully in effect. In January of this year, CBO dropped its 2019 estimate to $135 billion per year. It has now dropped that even lower, to $121 billion per year.

What’s behind the slowdown?

Nobody is quite sure why the growth in healthcare costs has slowed so dramatically, after two decades of growth at 3 or 4 times the rate of inflation, which harmed both family and company budgets. Possible reasons: A tough recession that forced many families to cut back on healthcare spending, cost-control efforts throughout the healthcare system, and insurance policies that force consumers to pay more out of pocket, making them more likely to cut bank on nonessential things.

From previous disasters the administration pushed through. Let’s face it, there are many reasons the Obama Administration wants the pro-rights crowd being on the defensive. Not the least is the number of pro-rights laws being passed in many states. I’ll be talking about two here soon; Open Carry and Campus Carry, here in Texas. In the mean time; have some fun looking around at some the technical data published on the internet; wonder how these folks are going to react to the proposed law.

Please join the discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustration on Why I Own a Car

Can readily be seen in this image – might have to click to enlarge to see the entire image.

Against Public Transportation

If you look carefully you can see a little difference in the routes and by a little difference I mean an hour longer if I take public transportation. I plotted this route to find a possible store I needed to visit for business reasons. If I value my time — at least as much as the company does – I wouldn’t take the public transportation route. It would eat up 1/4th of my day just getting there and back.

And of course Weer’d Beard points out another reason why I don’t like Public transportation; it isn’t always available when you need it.