Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New one, "Prepper" SWATed, pleads out.

Found this one here, at World Net Daily. In a story about the Pentagon giving multi-million dollar combat vehicles to police departments as Obama cuts back the military to pre-WWII levels, they mention this gem here.

In one case in Sharpsburg, Md., population 706, for example, police used two “special response” vehicles, helicopters, SWAT teams, snipers and an excavator for a no-knock raid on a single-family home during a search for its owner.
So I looked it up. Oh baby, did they ever screw the pooch that time!

Today, in Washington County Circuit Court, Porter plead guilty to two charges, one for violating public safety and another for owning some rifles and shotguns (no mention of assault weapons now!) which  he was not permitted to have in his possession due to a twenty-year-old felony conviction.  Those charges could have netted him 20 years in jail.  Instead, the “dangerous” man who was the subject of an eight hour “manhunt” last fall walked out of court with no jail time, no fine, and only two years of unsupervised probation.

Yeah. 20 years ago the guy was busted for pot possession.  Major criminal. Probably pissed off the local sheriff at a traffic stop and had a doobie in his pocket. What does an "eight hour manhunt" look like?
It looks like two of these Bearcat bad boys right here, stuffed with snipers.

On Thursday, November 29, 2012 at about 12:30 pm, the quiet was shattered by an invasion of over 150 Maryland State Police (MSP), FBI, State Fire Marshal’s bomb squad, and County SWAT teams, complete with two police helicopters, two Bearcat “special response” vehicles, mobile command posts, snipers, police dogs, bomb disposal truck, bomb sniffing robots, and a huge excavator. They even brought in food trucks.
The raid was one of the largest in recent U.S. history, twice the size of the 1993 Branch Davidian raid in Waco, Texas, which initially involved 76 ATF agents. It almost rivaled the recent 200-strong statewide manhunt for California cop-killing cop, Christopher Dorner.

What's a thing like that cost?

 Simpson estimated the cost of the raid that lasted from approximately 12:30 p.m. until it was called off at 7:30 p.m. at $11,000 per hour.

Fast bit of arithmetic, allow for bureaucratic creative accounting and "shrinkage", call it a hundred grand. Because overtime, and those guys all got paid all the way back to the cop shop too.

Why? Because Obama wanted a white, right wing, gun owning male's head to spike on the White House fence. Preferably one of those militia types. The blog author says the following:

Shades of the IRS targeting scandal?  You will never convince me that Governor Martin O’Malley (looking for Obama brownie points) was not looking for a high profile take-down of a conservative gun owner just before the Newtown, CT nut tragically provided Obama with all the reason he needed to push the gun control issue to the forefront in Washington.

And none of us heard jack shit about it, did we? Biggest raid since Waco Texas. Big things on the move in the US of A, my friends. Big things.

The Phantom

MIT Radar course-ware. SWEET!

This is so cool, I'm geeking out.  MIT course on how to build and use your own radar set out of a coffee can. AWESOME!!!

Now a radar as well as a yummy drink!
The Phantom Mobile will look very badass with its own radar kit sticking out of it.

The Phantom

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gun carnage: check your barrel is clear, my friends.

On the bright side, the guy lived and got to keep his face.

Check your barrel, check your barrel, check your barrel.

The Phantom

Update: Just checked my stats. It appears that this is blog post number 1000! Wow. One thousand blog posts since 2005.

Many thanks to those of you who read and comment here, your input makes this a fun thing to do. Plus I don't feel quite so much like I'm yelling into a bag. :) Yay!

On to two thousand!

Kid suspended over fishing knife found in Dad's car.

Schools are getting very Stalinist these days. Check this:

On Thursday, Duren-Sanner, a senior at Northeast High School drove his father's car to school. During a random lockdown, his car was chosen to be searched.

Duren-Sanner gave permission because he said he had nothing to hide.

His father is a commercial fisherman on the West Coast and had apparently left a fishing knife in the car. Duren-Sanner's father said it might have been wedged between one of the seats.

Duren-Sanner said he told school officials and the Sheriff's department the car was his father's and he didn't know the knife was in it.

"He's like 'it doesn't matter it was in your possession anyway,'" Duren-Sanner said.

School officials suspended him for 10 days, the maximum allowed under school policy, and then he was reprimanded to attend 90 days at an alternative school.

Peggy Duren is Duren-Sanner's grandmother whom he lives with. She said she tried explaining the knife didn't belong to her grandson, but claims school officials wouldn't listen.

"Unfortunately (the vice principal) said that's the way it is now: Guilty until proven innocent. It's part of this zero tolerance policy," she said."

Duren-Sanner also faces weapons charges with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

 
First of all, "random lockdown"? That's what they do in jail when they toss your cell looking for shivs. A high school with a random lockdown program, that's pretty messed up.

Second of all, "his car was chosen to be searched"? WTF is that? They search cars at school? The COPS search cars at school on a "random" basis, "random" being in scare quotes because we know d@mn well they don't stand there and go "eeny meeny miney moe" when they pick a car.

Third of all, and perhaps most damning, "Duren-Sanner gave permission because he said he had nothing to hide." Question, can a minor child below the age of majority even give permission for a police search? Can a school legally demand permission from a student under 18 in any case, given that the school has standing as a legal guardian during the time the child is in attendance? I'm thinking the answer to both those questions is probably "no". Possibly "HELL NO!", with a side order of lawsuit for denial of basic human rights and breach of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, with multi-million dollar payout.

Fourth, weapons charges for a fishing knife found jammed under a seat in a locked car? As if. BUT, its going to cost money this family doesn't have to fight the bogus charge in court. The process is the punishment.

Here's the important take-home lesson from this parable. The answer to all requests for permission from all government officials at all times is always, always "NO". Because if you are attending a school where they have Random Lockdown and Police Searches as part of a regular school day, and you live in a town/city/county where school officials think that kind of thing is an appropriate use of school and police resources,
 you have something to hide.

Even if you just cleaned your car out to the bare carpet, and removed every lint spec and corn chip fragment from there with a vacuum cleaner, you have something to hide.  Because in Random Lockdownville, if cops don't find something, they might plant something. They might be bored that day. They might think it was funny. Their kid might want your kid's spot on the football team. You don't know, and you can't afford to take the chance.

Cops are not our friends and neighbors anymore. Neither are teachers or school principals. They are unionized minions of Big Government, and their interests and agendas diverged from the general welfare of the populace some time ago.

The Phantom

Monday, February 24, 2014

Alec Baldwin, of all people, hates the MSM now.

This is a surprisingly good piece by Alec Baldwin today. So good that it makes me wonder if he had a whole lot of help, but perhaps that's a bit unkind of me.

Seems Mr. Baldwin is rather upset at being made into the male Sarah Palin. It begins:

I flew to Hawaii recently to shoot a film, fresh on the heels of being labeled a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice.

Which sounds kind of whiny given the reports of what Baldwin has said to some people, until you get to this part:

What happened is, a TMZ videographer ambushed me as I was putting my family in a car, and I chased him down the block and said, “Cocksucking motherfucker” or whatever (when I have some volatile interaction with these people, I don’t pull out a pen and take notes on what I said). I knew that guy. This was a guy who is on a bike usually, and when we get in a car, he follows us. Very aggressive. The same guy who followed my wife on a bicycle, and when she slipped and fell trying to dodge him and hurt her leg, he laughed at her and said, “See what I made you do?” At my wife. How would that make you feel?

Here's the thing. This Baldwin guy is being stalked like an animal by paid big game hunters. If some guy did to -my- wife what Baldwin describes here, and then he got up in my face with a camera while I'm putting my baby in the car? Let's just say my behavior would have been a lot less vocal and a lot more... vigorous.

He continues along in this vein, explaining his side of events in recent history, 2012/2013. What's interesting is the fallout upon him personally of these events.

I went to the opening of the play Machinal, put on by Roundabout, where I’m on the board, and I can’t tell you how frosty the reception was toward me. These are all people who are heavy-hitting theatrical artists in that community and many of them are gay. And I was thinking to myself, These people think I’m a homophobe. And that makes me incredibly sad.

Every time people throw this mud on me, there are very serious consequences in my life. The single most painful episode for me was last year when a New York Post photographer, an ex-cop, accused me of ­calling him a “coon.” This was totally false, as was revealed on his own tape. A D.A. in the hate-crimes unit called me in. At the time, I had just been asked to join the board of the Arthur Ashe Learning Center, so I had to call Jeanne Moutoussamy­-Ashe and ask her, now that I was on the cover of the New York Post labeled as a racist, if she still wanted me to attend a coming event. Jeanne was her ever-gracious self and said yes, but that broke my heart.

Then we get to this part here, which shows he still just doesn't understand what's going on, and who is doing what to him:

Broadway has changed, by my lights. The TV networks, too. New York has changed. Even the U.S., which is so preposterously judgmental now. The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. Who would ever dream that Obama would deserve to be treated the way he has been? The birth-certificate bullshit, which is just Obama’s version of Swiftboating. And all for the electoral nullification that seems like a cancer on the American system. But this is Roger Ailes. And Fox. And Breitbart. And this is all about hate. It’s Hate Incorporated. But the liberals have taken the bait and run in the same direction—and it’s just as corrosive. MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.

The Conservative sphere, as I recall, reacted to this by pointing out that Paula Deen was given the MSM full-monty of career ruination and the public stocks. For saying this passage here, during a lawsuit.

Lawyer: Have you ever used the N-word yourself?
Deen: Yes, of course.

Lawyer: Okay. In what context?
Deen: Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.

Lawyer: Okay. And what did you say?
Deen: Well, I don't remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple ... I didn't -- I didn't feel real favorable towards him.

Lawyer: Okay. Well, did you use the N-word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?
Deen: Absolutely not.

Lawyer: Well, then, when did you use it?
Deen: Probably in telling my husband.

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin was getting a PC hall-pass for allegedly screaming "faggot" at the above photographer on a public street and writing “toxic little queen” on Twitter about some reporter who lied (or just got stuff wrong) about Baldwin's wife. Getting a pass for generally running around New York being photographed and filmed behaving like a berserk Viking too. And doing stuff like this on Twitter.

My reaction is here. which was basically that the Left protects their own, and that Alec Baldwin was teflon-coated because he had all the right friends and paid off all the right causes, while Paula Deen got sacrificed to the PC Gods because of her accent and lower class Southern status/image. That was pretty much the consensus I recall at the time in the Breitbart/Fox/SDA Echo Chamber of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy,

Well, I guess I was wrong.  Behind the scenes, Mr. Baldwin was getting quite a kicking. Don't have too much sympathy for him given how much he's been dishing out onto Conservatives all these years. But still. Can't be fun having your "friends" and associates turn on you like rabid dogs.

Mr. Baldwin ends off by taking his bat and ball and going home.

It’s good-bye to public life in the way that you try to communicate with an audience playfully like we’re friends, beyond the work you are actually paid for. Letterman. Saturday Night Live. That kind of thing. I want to go make a movie and be very present for that and give it everything I have, and after we’re done, then the rest of the time is mine. I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience’s approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now.

Proving once again that there is no hawk so fierce as a liberal who's been mugged. Job one for Alec Baldwin today, close that Twitter account.

The Phantom

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dems really want that cellphone kill switch.

 Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., tech guru.

Here's well known cellphone expert and all-round tech guru Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. telling us how awesome an idea it is to  give the US government the power to turn off your cell phone. Oh, and everyone else's cell phone too. At the same time, like.

Mikulski and three Senate colleagues, all Democrats, introduced The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act on Feb. 12, proposing that the technology be mandatory for new smartphones. The senators, led by Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, cited the Federal Communications Commission’s estimate that phone theft costs consumers $30 billion annually.
The bill would give the FCC authority to compel phone companies to develop and implement technology allowing victimized and absent-minded phone owners to disable their devices and clear personal information on request.
Mikulski touted the proposal Thursday at an event in Landover, Md., alongside Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager Richard Sarles and Metro Police Chief Ron Pavlik. During her speech, she says, AT&T sent a text message hawking insurance for her phone.
A kill switch would be even better than insurance, Mikulski says, because it would deny thieves a payday and thus a motive for robbing people. 

Yeah, the theft of a phone seems like a big enough deal to warrant a law -forcing- the cell phone makers, who are mostly foreign companies incidentally (you know, like Samsung?) to include a "kill switch" so some as-yet un-named federal agency will be able to "turn them off", otherwise known as "bricking" them. Meaning scrambling their EPROM and flash memory.


The alert reader will note that according to the Wiki article linked here, it is quite possible to re-flash a phone that's been bricked. Unless the "turn them off" means physically destroying the CPU or major piece of hardware in the phone, there's still going to be a payday.

But Barbie knows best! Don't question Barbie!

“First of all, if they’re worried about a hacker, they could do that to your cellphone now, a kill switch won’t affect that one way or the other,” she [Mikulski] says. “In terms of your government shutting off your cellphone, I think that’s conspiratorial.”

Its a... conspiracy, Mr. Anderson.
Technically this is true. The FBI has the ability to turn on your cell phone by remote access, and turn on its microphone and its camera as well. Presumably they could turn it off the same way. They can certainly turn it off by calling your cellphone company and telling them to discontinue your service. Calling the FBI "hackers" is a bit of a stretch, but technically true.

As to the conspiracy bit, after I stop laughing I'm going to say one name: Edward Snowden.

A guy who escaped -to- Russia. Jeeze.
What kills me is that some reporterette didn't instantly yell "SNOWDEN!!!" at her. These people say this shit, and they never get called. Ever.

As a Real Man(TM) I object in principle to men striking women, no matter what the provocation. Women striking women, that I'm perfectly ok with.

Wait, you said what to me?

Come on ladies, somebody step up. Its got to be done.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Smart Roads: Nice name for Big Brother is watching you.

DHS tendered and then revoked for tender a license plate reading system for the roads of the USA. Looked bad doing it too.

Question: WHY do they want this? Why be able to identify and track all the cars on a roadway? Other than pure urge to spy, of course.

Answer: Its a necessary piece of infrastructure if you want to have self-driving cars. More and more it seems to me that the Powers That Be in the USA have been massively sold on the goodness of the idea that cars drive themselves. Its so Buck Rogers, they just love it!

Clue as to who sold them on it, it seems that Cisco the router company is in this neck deep. Also IBM, be it noted.

Tech giant Cisco thinks there's something to all this talk of ”smart cities”--and that connecting roads or license plate readers to the Internet is going to be big business.

In the latest installment of their ongoing expansion into the Internet of Things, Cisco recently announced an agreement with Swiss security firm AGT International to develop smart traffic systems for cities around the world.

In early February, Cisco and AGT unveiled the details of an upcoming Internet of Things-enabled traffic management system that incorporates sensors embedded in pavements, license plate-reading systems, social media feeds, and video cameras to “identify, respond to, and resolve” traffic incidents in real time. According to a press release, the system is designed to provide long-term analytics on traffic accidents and to allow different agencies to share video feeds.


Because why? Because Cisco will make a shitload of money selling hardware to the government for this thing, is why. The government will buy it because the government has lately become increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that citizens might be doing things they don't know about and don't control. Cell phone tracking is not enough, they want to be able to physically watch you every minute of your day. Just to be sure everyone is ok, y'know.

By the way. The techie buzz phrases "Internet of Things" and "Smart Roads" are circumlocutions. They both mean full time surveillance by all the devices in your life, from your phone and your car to your TV and your toaster and your refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, furnace, light switches, water faucets, air conditioner, thermostat, electric Smart Meter, internet useage, computer, printer, and every other freakin' thing you own.

Network-attached-appliances is the new awesome. Its not that awesome for the user/owner, because being attached to the internet does not enhance the function of a TV, a toaster or a light switch very much, if at all. But it IS awesome for the manufacturers, because the machines phone home back to Head Office with all kinds of valuable data on what the customers are doing all day. Your nettwork attached fridge for example is designed to record the RFID tags on everything inside it. This is supposed to be so it can tell you when you have run out of milk or when the bacon has gone bad. But really that information is MUCH more valuable to all sorts of food companiues and retailers, and you can be super duper sure that your fridge will be phoning home all that juicy data to the manufacturer, who will then sell it to WalMart et al for a handsome profit.

Example, Samsung Smart TVs phone home back to Samsung and report every single button press you make on the remote, everything you watch, etc. And the Smart TV has a CAMERA in it, so it can watch you back. And if you don't think that thing has a switch in it so it can watch you when somebody from Head Office tells it to, you are dreaming in Technicolor.

If you have one, I suggest you find that camera and stick a post-it over top. Same for the hidden microphone. That way at least you can be sure they aren't taping you making out with the missus in front of the Pr0nz channel.

Eventually they'll be sending Robocop around to your house to pull off the post-it, but in the meantime forewarned is forearmed.

The Phantom

Hollywood: It isn't that they never learn. Its worse.

Hollywood has a very loooong history of making movies that SUCK when they make them "based on" a popular story, comic book, novel, what have you. They chop, channel and modify the story like it was some kind of mutant hot rod, twisting it out of all recognition from the thing they were basing it on. In fact, if you see a Hollywood movie "based on" pretty near anything, you know its going to have no resemblance to the original.

They have no respect for the source material.

Today's example, the new Fantastic Four movie.

The long rumored, "That Awkward Moment" pals Miles Teller (Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic) and Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm/Human Torch) will star alongside Kate Mara (Sue Storm) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm/The Thing) in Josh Trank's reboot. And it seems there will be some changes to the canon, with The Wrap pointing out that the Storm siblings may not be from the same parents. Are they adopted or perhaps they'll just do away with the unnecessary requirement that they have to be related? Guess we'll have to wait and see.
Michael B. Jordan is a short, skinny, wise cracking black kid. Johnny Storm in the comics is a white kid with platinum blonde hair. He is a jock and an adrenalin junkie. He is platinum blonde Susan Storm's brother. Cue the screams of "RACIST!!!" but any circumlocution they come up with to explain this substitution is not going to add to the movie. Its going to be -stupid-, as these things always are. In addition Jamie Bell is another skinny, pencil necked dude, making it a stretch for him to play The Thing, a giant muscle-bound rock monster with a 24" diameter neck.

Now, you would think that recent major box office disasters such as John Carter of Mars, Green Lantern, The Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim would have these Hollywood money guys paying attention. This is hundreds of millions of dollars going down the tubes.

But no. Having EPICALLY failed by casting Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, they're casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. Johnny Depp is a fine actor, but he failed as Tonto in large part because he's not an Indian. What hope does Michael B. Jordan have depicting an irresponsible blonde white kid? Or even, dare I say it, what hope does Jordan have of accurately depicting a black kid raised in a white family? What possible hope is there that the writers will script his lines that way? They're going to have him cuttin' his g's and slangin' his jive talk, fo' sho' bruthah. Which is so 1970's it make me want to hit somebody. Maybe I could punch J.F. Sergeant in the face.

There is no reasonable purpose for this casting, its like a whole two-four of bottled fail. That leaves unreasonable purposes.

It is not mere ignorance, because everybody in Hollywood talks about what's hot and what's not pretty much all day long. 
It is not mere stupidity, because guys with two hundred million dollars to invest did not get that way by being stupid, and they don't entrust that money to people who are stupid.
It is not a mistake, because we have examples of movies like Iron Man 1,2&3, the Avengers, Thor 1&2, four Spider Man movies, Captain America, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit 1&2, Batman ad nauseam and so forth all making -huge- money by being as true as possible to the source material.

It is hubris. It is Hollywood mocking us and our beliefs and especially our heroes, fictional though they may be. Like always.

This is Big Money Hollywood packaging up the same tired old bullshit in a new wrapping. Stock characters called the Nerd, the Hot Chick, the Tough Guy and the Wisecracking Black Sidekick Guy will be following the same liberal PC script as always, wrapped up in some fancy CGI effects and jammed down our collective throats like we're a bunch geese on a foie gras farm. Because they know what's good for us, and they're going to give it to us whether we like it or not.

The problem for me, and the reason I wrote all this, is that I actually LIKE the Fantastic Four comic books. I didn't even mind the first two movies, even though they completely mangled the character of Doctor Doom. They managed to be fun anyway.
This FF movie here, this isn't going to be fun. This is going to be another PC lecture with some explosions in it, maybe a ray gun or two. It will suck, but worse it make the Fantastic Four completely radioactive as a movie franchise. There will be no more FF movies after this one crashes and burns. Which pisses me off, frankly.

Hey Hollywood money men! You think I'm going to pay fifteen bucks a ticket to go see this turkey? Not a chance in Hell.  I'll wait for Netflix if I bother with it at all, and watch you assholes lose your shirts. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The Phantom

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DHS blinks: no license plate registry.

"Just kidding!" says DHS, as they hurriedly cancel their license platre registry thingie.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of a plan by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to develop a national license-plate tracking system after privacy advocates raised concern about the initiative.

The order came just days after ICE solicited proposals from companies to compile a database of license-plate information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers. Officials said the database was intended to help apprehend fugitive illegal immigrants, but the plan raised concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized.

I would say that an underling got screamed at for this one. Too soon after Snowden.

The Phantom

Monday, February 17, 2014

License plate tracking, its the new awesome.

Old and busted: cellphone tracking.

New sweetness: license plate tracking!

The Department of Homeland Security is now seeking a vendor to build and operate a smartphone-based national database of vehicle license plate information that would be shared with law enforcement.

Under the DHS plan, an agent could snap a photo with a smartphone, upload it to the database, and immediately be notified whether the plate is on a "hot list" of "target vehicles."

"This system is supposed to be for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement branch of DHS, for the tracking of illegal immigrants," says WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green.

ICE spokesperson Gillian Christensen tells Federal News Radio, "the database could only be accessed in conjunction with ongoing criminal investigations."

DHS officially solicited the vendor on the Federal Business Opportunities website, for a National License Plate Recognition Database.

Green says a similar plate recognition system has been in use in the United Kingdom, using an extensive network of closed-circuit television cameras.

"It pretty much catches all the movements of cars, people, buses - pretty much anything that moves, at least in the cities," says Green.

If I had to guess, I'd say the "DHS is now seeking a vendor" part is probably bullshit, because we know that lots of US state police have been doing extensive license plate capture for at least five years now. Just a matter of connecting up the databases, and the NSA already does that, don't they?

Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.

Meaning just leaving your phone at home is not enough. You'll have to have James Bond license plate switcher things for the plate tracking and Groucho Marx nose glasses to foil the facial recognition. Or a bandana and a can of spray paint.  Or DUCT TAPE and a hoodie.

Somebody out there is REALLY interested in knowing every fricking place you go, aren't they? Alarming? I think so!

The Phantom

Thursday, February 13, 2014

DHS is buying -more- ammo now.

Surely the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to purchase 75.1 million rounds of ammunition at a cost of $22.7 million this year, according to a newly released report from the Government Accountability Office.

GAO reports that DHS has over 70,000 firearm-carrying personnel and that the ammo purchases go largely to firearm training and qualification requirements.

“DHS components maintain inventories of ammunition to help ensure they have sufficient ammunition for the training and operational needs of their officers, as there can be months-long delays between placing an order for ammunition and receiving it,” GAO reports. “As of October 2013, DHS estimates it had approximately 159 million rounds in inventory, enough to last about 22 months to meet the training and operational needs of its firearm-carrying personnel.”

According to the GAO, DHS’ annual ammunition purchases have been on the decline since FY 2009 and are about at the same level as the Department of Justice’s ammo purchases.

In other words, Mr. and Mrs. America, their explanation of why they need 75 million rounds of hollow point combat ammunition at a cost of $0.30 per round when they could be having ball ammo at half the price or less, is that they are burning your money.

Literally. They are using expensive hollow point combat ammunition for practice, not for on-duty carry only as sane and fiscally responsible police forces do.

Remember that for the next election.

Dangerous retard of the day.

This is apparently the guy who shot a buggy horse in a random drive-by. He's a beauty, you've got to admit.

FEBRUARY 12--Police today announced charges have been filed against a Pennsylvania man in connection with the fatal drive-by shooting of a horse pulling an Amish buggy.

Timothy Antonio Diggs, 22, is facing seven misdemeanor counts, including reckless endangerment, cruelty to animals, and firing into an occupied vehicle, according to the East Lampeter Township Police Department.

Let's hope this little misunderstanding doesn't encumber Mr. Diggs' promising careers as a brain surgeon and concert pianist.

The Phantom

Sending a message to the rubes.

No-knock SWAT raid on man's home in Washington DC nets one (1) decommissioned shotgun shell.

A Washington, D.C. man is facing a large fine and possible jail time after he was arrested for having an inoperable shotgun shell in his home. The shell was a souvenir that Mark Witaschek decided to keep from a hunting trip years earlier.
...
Witaschek said there have been seven court hearings set since his arrest that summer, and he's still waiting to hear the government's justification for the raid.

 He's been in court seven times since July 2012 over a spent shot shell. As in, it had no propellant in it, no primer and no lead ball. It was already fired and not re-loadable. Spent. 

A spent shot shell taken in a full-up tactical raid that was conducted one full month after a complaint was lodged against the man. So obviously a raid conducted for effect and headlines, not to stop an emergency situation.

Just think for a second how much MONEY this is costing the DC taxpayer. The raid alone would run into the tens of thousands.  This is a major budget line item, and therefore police management considers it a major priority.

The message is clear: Big Brother USA is going to stomp on you if you have a gun, or even want to have one.

The Phantom

Hollywood officially doomed, doesn't understand its own customers anymore.

Seems the guy who made The Black Swan and Pi wanted to make a movie about Noah's Ark.

The trouble began when Paramount, nervous about how audiences would respond to Aronofsky's fantastical world and his deeply conflicted Noah, insisted on conducting test screenings over the director's vehement objections while the film was a work in progress.

Friction grew when a segment of the recruited Christian viewers, among whom the studio had hoped to find Noah's most enthusiastic fans, questioned the film's adherence to the Bible story and reacted negatively to the intensity and darkness of the lead character. Aronofsky's Noah gets drunk, for example, and considers taking drastic measures to eradicate mankind from the planet. Hoping to woo the faith-based crowd, Paramount made and tested as many as half-a-dozen of its own cuts of the movie. "I was upset -- of course," Aronofsky tells The Hollywood Reporter in his first extensive interview about the film's backstory. "No one's ever done that to me."

The problem is of course that Aronofsky wants to make a movie "inspired by" the Noah's Ark story, and he can't understand that a lot of Christians (and Jews!) would have a problem with him taking "artistic" liberties with it.

By contrast, Aronofsky would never make the same mistake with the Koran, I'm sure. Or if he would, his backers wouldn't.

The thing that makes me say Hollywood is DOOMED is the budget. These idiots bet $125 million bucks on something that is guaranteed to piss off anybody who's been to Sunday School. They don't have a single clue who their audience is, and they are too stupid to be afraid of what could happen if they enrage that audience.

Bankruptcy is what's going to happen, obviously. People in ever increasing numbers are just not going go to their movies at the theater,  or purchase their movies on video, or download them off Itunes, or even watch them on Netflix.

Worse, sooner of later some brave visionary is going to make a movie that actually caters to and respects the audience. A movie that makes them feel good about their values and their beliefs instead of getting their backs up and making them defensive. Something that does for the Big Screen what FOX News has done for TV. And they will keep doing it, and they will make billions and billions of dollars at it.  Can you say "Captain America?"

Then you'll see some serious carnage in Tinseltown. Heads rolling, guys jumping off the "HOLLYWOOD" sign, the works. I can hardly wait.

And no, I'm not going to go see "Noah" at the theater for fifteen bucks. I'll wait for that sucker to come out on video, for sure.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dept. of Homeland Security prepares for the Zombie Apocalypse. Really.

US government seems to be on a roll for questionable purchases. DHS has posted a new solicitation for ammunition. They want 141,000 rounds of match-grade .308, otherwise know as sniper ammo. Not just any garden variety though, they want Zombie Max!
Can't you see some fat DHS guy just jonesing over this in the Cop Stuff catalog?


According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOpps, the federal agency is looking to procure 141,160 rounds of Hornady .308 Winchester 168gr A-MAX TAP ammunition.
Such ammunition is sometimes retailed as “Zombie Max,” a marketing gimmick alluding to its power.

This is plastic tipped, hollow point,  match-grade rifle ammo made to reach out and hurt someone really, really bad at 400 yards plus. DHS will be paying about $1.20 per round, you can get some for about $1.95 each, retail price.
 Yowsa. That's some boom boom, baby.

Question: why does an American POLICE AGENCY need 141,000 rounds of very expensive high grade sniper ammunition? Are they going to use it for practice, like they've supposedly been using all that hollow point 9mm they bought? How many freakin' snipers are they training? Wikipedia says the course of fire for a Marine Corps sniper in training uses maybe three hundred rounds or so. That makes 470 guys they can train up, using super expensive ammo.

Do they think they -need- 470 snipers able to reach out and hurt somebody at 400+ yards? Is there really a Zombie Apocalypse in the works and we just don't know? Is Raccoon City going to be ground zero, and will Alice save all our sorry asses all by her lonesome?

Tune in tomorrow for the Ritual of Denial, when the random DHS spokesbeast will say: "Really, just kidding about the zombie thing folks."

The Phantom

In other news of stupid laws, New York!

Lesson to New York State legislators: Never piss off an engineer.

Prototypes for the newly designed AR-15 are hitting gun shops across New York, as gun shops and machinists have designed a rifle that complies with the anti-gun law. At least one gun shop has received a letter from state police saying that the new AR-15 style rifles should be legal in the state as long as they don’t have some of the features that the law prohibits.

This man is smarter than all of you fuckers.
Morons write the law, geniuses invent a way around it.

The Phantom

Something to remember for the next election.

"We have met the Enemy, and he is us." Its supposed to be a joke from Pogo, not a government policy. But now, in modern Western governance, this is the reality.

Documents from an Ohio National Guard (ONG) training drill conducted last January reveal the details of a mock disaster where Second Amendment supporters with “anti-government” opinions were portrayed as domestic terrorists.
The ONG 52nd Civil Support Team training scenario involved a plot from local school district employees to use biological weapons in order to advance their beliefs about “protecting Gun Rights and Second Amendment rights.”
Portsmouth Chief of Police Bill Raisin told NBC 3 WSAZ-TV in Huntington, West Virginia that the drill accurately represented “the reality of the world we live in,” adding that such training “helps us all be prepared.”
Internal ONG documents provided to Media Trackers after repeated delays provide further context to what WSAZ-TV reported last winter.

First the insult, then the ass covering. The usual, in other words.

Just one more straw on the pile on your back, my friends. And one more example of what I've been saying. Muslim hillbillies in Buttcrackistan are not the biggest danger we face. Liberals are.

The Phantom

Big Brother will now kill your phone.

New proposed California law: remote kill switch for your cell phone. It isn't enough that they be able to track your phone every second of the day, now they want to be able to shut it off, too.

A bill has been introduced in California that would mandate a kill switch for cellphones that have been stolen, prompting concerns that such a system could be abused by authorities in order to stifle dissent.

SB 962 would require that all cellphones sold in the state include software or hardware, “that can render inoperable the essential features of the device, as defined, when the device is not in the possession of the rightful owner.”

Although the owner would have the option to disable the function under the language of the bill, sales of any cellphone that didn’t include the technology would be prohibited.

Although the ‘kill switch’ would ostensibly be included to discourage theft, a scenario where authorities could hijack the technology to shut down communications in a sensitive area in order to limit photo and streaming video coverage, such as at a demonstration or at the scene of unfolding police brutality, is easy to envisage.

Looks like State of California has surveillance envy.

Hate to tell you folks, but this capability is already inherent in cell phones by virtue of the way they work. All you have to do is shut down a couple of cell towers in one area and that's a blackout. Cell providers can black out every phone by remote already with a mouse click. One warrant accompanied by one cop is all you need to black out an area, a town, the whole state, or just one person. All this bill does is formalize the thing, call it a special name, and hand the "switch" to state authorities so they don't have to go through the fuss of getting a warrant.

Oh well, just something to take people's minds off the Great California Drought I guess.

The Phantom

Monday, February 10, 2014

On the price of chicken in Toronto.

Cross posted as a comment at Small Dead Animals, I discovered how much more tax I'm paying on my heating fuel bill this winter. The tax is about triple. Here's my riff:

I would like at this time, in view of the ever increasing Ontario government deficit, to relate an interesting and important confluence of events. Namely the coldest winter in twenty years, and a tripling in the price of propane in Ontario.

Now, normally a liter of propane goes for about 45 cents. That's what it went for last winter, and we barely burned any because it was warm most of the time. Heating bills roughly $400.00/month.

Right now, the price is $1.008/liter. People around here are going through the usual 500 gallon tank in four weeks. That's pretty close to two thousand bucks a month, for easy counting. 500 gallons = 1892 liters equals ~$1892.00

Oh, plus HST. Yeah, they charge tax on heating fuel. $1892.00 x 13%HST is $245.96. That's $246 of TAX. Anybody hear Kim Dong Wynne talking about temporarily suspending the HST on heating fuel to give people a 13% break on their suddenly catastrophic heating bills this winter?

Nope. Because why? Because people heating with propane are all RURAL, and all vote CONSERVATIVE. If it was natural gas price gone sky high, and all the Liberal voters in the city were getting crushed with $2k/month heating bills, would we hear about some kind of tax relief from HST for the duration of the emergency? I think we might.

Guess what uses up a ton of heating fuel? CHICKEN FARMS. Egg farms, hatcheries, chicken farms, they all use PROPANE to heat those big-@ss barns. Right now a bunch of farmers are doing their sums, figuring out if its cheaper to heat the barn or let the chickens die and start over in the spring. Deciding if they can re-start in the spring, or if this is the straw that broke the camel's back and they're out of the chicken biz.

Guess what is going to be real f-ing expensive in about three to six months? Eggs and chickens. Also pork, because hog barns use propane, and also beef and milk/cheese etc. because the heavy winter down south killed off an awful large number of cattle, and even more were let out to slaughter rather than heat the barns. Because -propane-.

Could be worse though. They could be heating with electricity. That could get pricey.

Are the Liberal voters in the city going to scream when chicken hits $20/lb? Beef hits $20/lb? Bacon hits $15.00 a package? And you can't buy an Egg McMuffin because there's no freakin' eggs to be had for any money, because all the chickens are dead?

Yeah, they are going to scream. You think they'll blame Kim Dong Wynne? Not a chance.

Deficits go UP, taxes go UP, prices go UP, jobs go DOWN.

Personally, I'm burning wood. $125 a face cord, delivered. Cheap like borcht. Y'all remember the discussion we had the other day about insurance companies and fire places, and how "expensive" it was to get things WETT certified?

I made all my money back already in propane I didn't burn.

I'm seriously thinking "gas well" for next year, too. At $500 a week (plus HST!) for propane heat, a gas well is looking pretty handy right about now. FYI, if you have a decent gas well you can run a really big generator off it, giving you heat AND electricity. Electric lead casting pot, anyone? Or you could go gas fired. Being able to melt a wheel weight might come in handy some day. Like a fireplace might.

The Phantom

Friday, February 07, 2014

Positive signs: fearful Greenies.

Cross posted from the comments section of Small Dead Animals today, my comment on the very important thing that just happened in Canada which y'all aren't going to hear about on the news. The link Kate posted comes from the CBC, true enough. But unless you go looking you will not find anything about this.

The Canadian government just took an unprecedented step to protect this country from malign foreign influence. Consider for a second those words: malign, foreign influence.

Meaning people who are not friends of Canada manipulating Canadian media and Canadian election for purposes which do not forward the good of the country. And its been that way since the 1960s at least. Probably longer.

American liberals have been using Canada as a test-bed for their utopian ideas since forever, with the full cooperation and support of the Liberal Party of Canada. Gun control, single payer medicine, ecofreakism on a national scale, crazy labor regulations, leftist education with no math in it, you name it. All this crap comes out of think-tanks in the USA, gets transformed into policy papers and lobby fodder by the Liberal Party affiliated policy mills on Sparks Street in Ottawa, gets adopted after a propaganda campaign by CBC/CTV/Global and the Toronto papers, abysmal results get ignored in favor of the Next Big Idea out of the think tanks.

Canadian governance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York/LA liberal elite. We're their guinea pig.

The Conservative Party of Canada just put a round across their bows. That's as big a notice of political change in this country as you're ever going to see. That's the CPC pointing a gun at their wallets. Whole bunch of well-connected Greenies are out there today sh1tting their collective pants and wondering how they're going to make payroll.

Its not the end of the Greenies. Its not the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning. [puffs on stogie] And its worth a hearty attaboy to the CPC, and a hoist of the celebratory stein to Harper and company for having the guts to go against Big Green in a way that really hits them where they live.

Follow that money and shut off the tap, baby.

Huzzah!


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Today's arithmetic lesson.

This:

As Americans have grown increasingly comfortable with traditional surveillance cameras, a new, far more powerful generation is being quietly deployed that can track every vehicle and person across an area the size of a small city, for several hours at a time. Although these cameras can’t read license plates or see faces, they provide such a wealth of data that police, businesses and even private individuals can use them to help identify people and track their movements.  Already, the cameras have been flown above major public events such as the Ohio political rally where Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) named Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, McNutt said. They’ve been flown above Baltimore; Philadelphia; Compton, Calif.; and Dayton in demonstrations for police. They’ve also been used for traffic impact studies, for security at NASCAR races and at the request of a Mexican politician, who commissioned the flights over Ciudad Ju├írez.


Plus this:

A new app will allow total strangers to ID you and pull up all your information, just by looking at you and scanning your face with their Google Glass. The app is called NameTag and it sounds CREEPY. The "real-time facial recognition" software "can detect a face using the Google Glass camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records, and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles." The information listed could include your name, occupation, any social media profiles you have set up and whether or not you have a criminal record ("CRIMINAL HISTORY FOUND" pops up in bright red letters according to the demo).


Plus this:

The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.


Equal:

According to multiple law enforcement sources, the leased, luxurious Gulfstream IV on which [Justin Bieber] the 19-year-old Canadian pop star, his father and an entourage of 10 friends traveled was so full of marijuana smoke that the pilots were forced to wear oxygen masks.

Yes, Justin Bieber  is the most important thing in America right now. Any questions?

I was chatting with a kid at the computer store today, who said he used to shake his head at the paranoia of people who's laptops would come in for service with little pieces of tape over the camera. Says he couldn't believe those tinfoil hat wearing fruitbats were right all along.

But they are. And he puts tape on his laptop camera now too.

This little list here, had I posted it just five short years ago would be greeted with hoots of derision and suggestions that I get back on my meds. But now its What Is, and the media are scrambling to find new shiny things to take your mind off it. Some punk kid smoked up on an airplane? Front page! Some idiot actor kills himself with a heroin overdose? Week-long front page pity party! California doesn't have any freakin' water? LADY GAGA!!!!

Oh and by the way, the US Post Office has joined the US Dept. of Education in purchasing several million rounds of ammunition, possibly enough to arm every postie in the country. Because posties need to be issued guns, right? US Postal Service needs a SWAT team, right? Going postal set to acquire a whole new meaning in the Obama Nation.


Just thought you oughta know.

The Phantom

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

So, why are gun sales so high in the USA anyway?

Exhibit C: Member of NJ Governor's body guard squad arrested and charged for shoplifting at Cabella's gun/sporting good store. Best part: "When caught, police say, Carvounis invoked his position, asking again and again for a little professional courtesy — to let him off so he wouldn’t lose his job."

Gun sales continue apace, while ammunition remains in short supply. I'd stock up, if I lived in the USA.

The Phantom.

Missing the point by a furlong.

Interesting article today on Drudge, regarding the increasing frequency of cities shutting little kid's lemonade stands over permits. Titled "What’s the point of regulating lemonade stands?" the author argues thusly:

The main risk of a tougher approach to children running food stands — and especially demanding that kids comply with costly licensing and strict city zoning laws — is that children will lose out on the entrepreneurial experience of running their first business, serving customers, and making money. If we want to have an entrepreneurial culture, where people innovate and take risks to build businesses, there has to be a certain amount of freedom and space for the young to learn these skills.

While navigating bureaucracy is definitely a useful entrepreneurial skill, expecting kids or their parents to fork out hundreds of dollars for a license to run their first business is punitive and anti-entrepreneurial. And every hour and dollar spent on inspecting or shutting down children's lemonade stands on technicalities is an hour and dollar not spent on inspecting food safety in actual restaurants, food processing facilities, and stores — places where a lapse in food safety could expose hundreds or thousands of people to illness.

And while city zoning laws are useful for keeping heavy industry away from homes, selling lemonade or girl scout cookies is really a residential activity. Many of the world's most famous businesses — Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard — were started in garages. An entrepreneurial culture requires the freedom to start a business at home. If we stop businesses and businesspeople from developing, we lose the benefits that come down the road, like job creation and innovation (not that little Suzie's lemonade stand will likely grow to rival Tropicana, but you get the point...).

The sooner cities and counties realize this, and stop wasting resources going after the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, the better.

I've rarely seen a point missed by a wider margin. "The main risk of a tougher approach to children running food stands... is that children will lose out on the entrepreneurial experience ..." Uh, No. The main risk is that regulators are overstepping their bounds and transgressing not only common sense but common decency. They are becoming a greater danger to the welfare of the general citizenry than the public health threats they were organized to prevent.

Picture it. Your kids set up a card table on the front lawn and play store. Then the cops come and make them stop. Then the city sends you a letter threatening a lawsuit should your children continue their play store. Delivered by cops. At your house.

Really? Is this what we expect in a civilized and supposedly free society?

No. We expect if the cops come by they will play along and buy a lemonade from the little kid's play store. We expect a grown man or woman with a position in the city government to behave themselves in a manner respectful of the basic freedom of the people who's taxes pay their damn salary. We expect them to be able to make a distinction between a kid selling lemonade and some kind of ad-hock business improperly situated in a residential area. By volume, if nothing else.

We do NOT expect them to search through the towering piles of regulations to find a legal fig leaf that will allow them to bully and intimidate us and our children. We do NOT expect the city legal department to back them up with expensive lawyer time and etc. We do NOT expect the health department to behave as if this is an everyday occurrence, and that OF COURSE you would purchase all the very expensive vending and food permits before letting your kids play store on the front lawn.

Its called "mission creep" in the military. The tendency for a regulatory bureaucracy to slowly expand its reach until it is doing things it has no business doing at all, regulating things that not only should not, but MUST NOT be regulated.

The fact that I'm even writing about lemonade stands indicates the canary already died in this coal mine. The absurdity is extreme, except for the fact that they're really, truly doing this shit all the friggin' time these days. Imagine how much money an actual business burns through dealing with this type of rules-lawyering crap from multiple regulatory agencies in multiple levels of government.

That's your money they're wasting boys and girls. Money you pay to companies to cover costs, and money in taxes to pay the schlubs that are doing it. You get nailed on both sides of the fence. Hard.

This concludes my lemonade rant for the day. Next rant: guns.

The Rantin' Phantom

Circling the wagons.

With depressing predictability, Barbara Walters on The View sticks up for her good buddy Woody Allen. Whose marriage to Soon Ye Previn  is a "solid, 20 year marriage" and not at all weird despite her being, you know, his adopted DAUGHTER.

On Monday, the ladies of The View discussed Dylan Farrow’s open letter to Woody Allen regarding her allegations that he molested her in an attic when she was seven years old. Incredibly, Barbara Walters went out of her way to defend Allen. She said, “Let me just say a couple things. First of all, the statute of limitations, by the way, if you say ‘Shouldn’t you press charges,’ is over.”

She then read a letter from Allen’s lawyer, and added, “I know Mia [Farrow], I have a good relationship with her, but I’ve been with Woody many times, with his two daughters, he’s got almost a 20-year-old marriage with Soon Yi, which started as a sensation, it’s a solid marriage. He has two children, two girls…I have really seen a father as sensitive and as loving and as caring as Woody is and Soon Yi to this two girls. I don’t know about Dylan, I can only tell you what I’ve seen now…I think that has to be said.”

The article says "incredibly", but there was never any chance that the Hollywood Elite wasn't going to stick up for Woody Allen. He's a good commie, he's got his mind right on all the issues that matter, so a little incest/child molesting/eeeew isn't going top phase them a bit.

Video here, if you can stand it.

Whoopie Goldberg, appropriately, remains silent through the entire exchange. Having covered herself with glory ("it wasn't Rape-rape") defending Roman Polanski, I guess even Whoopie "Mouth The Roared" Goldberg decided discretion was the better part of valor.

I remain pleased that I have managed not to see any Woodie Allan movies since the 1970's. Or any Whoopie Goldberg movies since the 1990's, for that matter.

The Phantom

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Woody Allen, the sheets come off.

I haven't seen a Woody Allen movie in a really long time. Since I was a kid, probably. Sleeper was in 1974, that feels about right. Just never wanted to.

I'm pretty glad about that today.

The Phantom