Feb 232011

OK, here’s a video you have to question whether or not you want to watch.  In 2008, Dane County Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Veto attempts to lay out a spike strip in front of a fleeing stolen car, only to have the car dodge the spikes and hit *him* instead, throwing him into the air and shattering his legs (they look really quite boneless when he thumps down out of the sky).

[youtube ACRbgc_7uSs]

The criminal responsible here was one Dominique Gulley, all of 15 years old. He was sentenced to two years in juvie, at which point he turned 18 and was released back upon the public, with ten years of probation. While Deputy Veto survived the rather horrific set of injuries, it seems probable that the physical pain and disability will long outlast his attackers original sentence.

THIS is exactly the sort of student that I think society wastes too much time and effort on trying to educate. Instead, a one-way ticket to Somalia or Burma would seem to be a better approach. Hell, dump his ass off in downtown Mecca with “Mohammad Sucks” tattooed on his forehead in Arabic.

At the VERY least, he should be billed for the medical costs incurred by his actions. Why should the cops insurance company, or society at large, be left holding the bill when the actual responsible party is well known? Instead of a specific term in prison, set him to work at hard labor breaking rocks, digging ditches, whatever. Set the wage at whatever the local minimum wage is. Be sure to deduct room and board, as well as applicable local, state and federal income taxes. He gets to go free when he’s paid back every nickel he’s cost the taxpayer… plus the price of the pain & suffering lawsuit.


But in May, four days after he was released from a juvenile institution, Gulley stole another car.

On Monday, Gulley was re-sentenced to 11 years in prison followed by 13 years of extended supervision.

Someone, PLEASE explain to me why society needs to keep people like this around when there’s a whole world to deport them to. How much money are the taxpayers going to have to waste on warehousing this jackass, only to unleash him on society again?

 Posted by at 8:55 pm
Feb 232011

Intern learns the hard way that it’s illegal to recite the Gettysburg Address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial without a permit

Step 1: Be six foot four and skinny

Step 2: Dress up like Abe Lincoln

Step 3: Go to the Lincoln Memorial on Presidents Day

Step 4: Start reciting the Gettysburg Address

Step 5: Get interrupted by a Park Service cop who tells you he can fine you for giving a speech without a permit

Step 6: Move down off the steps of the Memorial

Step 7: Start speaking again

Step 8: A friend passes around a basket to the cheering tourists and they toss in a couple bucks

Step 9: Same cop again interrupts and asks if you have a vending permit

Step 10: Cop passes out a few $100 tickets

Step 11: …

Step 12: Profit! (The government, that is…)

[youtube BrAdiYoo0NA]

 Posted by at 12:05 am
Feb 222011

I picked up a cheapo copy of “Monsters” and watched it this evening. In short, it takes place six years after a NASA probe breaks up over Mexico, releasing Alien Monster Spores or something; the northern half of Mexico up to the Rio Grande is an infected Zone, with giant alines stomping around tearing up the joint. The story follows to Americans who choose the dumbest path possible to get from south of the Infected Zone back to the US… by going through it.

This is not a Hollywood blockbuster. It had a budget of half a million dollars, a total crew of seven people and no real script to speak of. It is a British movie, so it is by tradition jam-packed full of sloooooow. But in a way, it’s really rather an astonishing flick. It’s beautifully shot, with all shooting done on location in Mexico (and apparently without much in the way of getting permission from anybody to do so), and the bulk of the acting is really quite servicable… more interesting due to the fact that there were only two actors, and everybody else in the movie  was just Whoever Happened To Be Standing Around At The Time. And while the alien monsters don’t have a whole lot of screen time, the special effects – which included a lot of “invisible” effects like altering signs, adding scenes of ruin and military equipment, etc. – are really top notch. Had this been a $100 Million Hollywood flick, about all that would have been changed is a whole lot of new explosions, better known actors (and lots of ’em), a buttload of green-screen, and maybe less slooooow.

After seeing what one freakin’ guy with five hundred large can do, “The Asylum” has no excuses for their movies to look like crap.


 Posted by at 11:47 pm
Feb 222011

Our public schools are overcrowded and over-spendy. According to this, per-pupil expenditures are over $10,000 per year in more than 23 states. And as the Wisconsin protests have shown, the teachers unions are clearly overloaded (if you have the time to ditch your students and commit fraud by getting fraudulent “doctors notes,” you are excess baggage). So, how to reduce costs and the number of teachers (and associated educational support staff) without loading vast numbers of students per classroom?

An idea I mentioned a while back: a standardized test in the 6th grade. Those who fail, or otherwise demonstrate an utter lack of interest or ability in getting an education, would be presented with the opportunity to Get A Damned Job. Let’s face it, lots of kids are wasting their time and your tax dollars screwing off in high school classrooms. So if we can take these students out of the picture and put them into some useful role in the economy, schools can get smaller (not to mention safer) and cheaper, and the economy will get a slight boost.

Now, there is the other end. I propose that starting at the sixth grade, a GED-type test be administered not to all students, but to all students who *want* to take it. Those that pass it can graduate on the spot (or at the end of the current school year), and get assured entrance to a state college or university. In order to help them, the student would recieve a college voucher for (handwave) $4000 for every year early they leave the public school system. So  a student who graduates at the end of the sixth grade is leaving the system six years early… thus, $24,000 is made available to be spent on tuition at a state school of higher learning. For a state like Utah, this would represent something like $1000 per year of direct savings; but for a state like Vermont or Wyoming, this means more than $10,000 per year in savings. Some rational counselling system might be needed to assure that the younger graduates are actually ready for college.

Both approaches would incentivise students to *leave* the public educational system. On one hand, students who cannot benefit from the system and are a detriment to others. On the other hand, students who have already gotten from the system whatever the system has to offer. In both cases, students would be presented with the opportunity to leave a system that’s doing them no good… and get their lives underway. And by tempting these students out, the number of students could be substantially reduced, lowering costs. By chopping off the dead weight at the bottom and skimming off the cream at the top, the schools would be largely left with the great mass of Regular Average Students. By making the student body someone more uniform, with fewer outliers, the process of educating them should be made more practical.

 Posted by at 6:12 pm
Feb 222011

Fingers plopped herself down right in front of Raedthinn, and he started licking her head. Thus began The Purring That Shook The Walls. It didn’t last very long… after a few minutes Raedthinn transitioned to *biting* her head, and she turned around and smacked him… but for a little while, she was one hell of a happy kitty.

 Posted by at 5:40 pm
Feb 212011

In the news today:

Child brain scans to pick out future criminals

… studies have shown that psychopaths and criminals have smaller areas of the brain such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, both of which regulate and control emotion and behaviour. He also believes that a lack of conditioning to fear punishment, which can be measured in toddlers before disruptive behaviour is apparent, could also be a strong indicator.

Dr Nathalie Fontaine, who also spoke at the conference, argued that children as young as four exhibited “callous unemotional traits” such as lack of guilt and empathy that could also suggest future bad behaviour. Linking these features with “conduct problems” such as throwing tantrums could be a strong way to predict who could be anti-social in later life.

I read this and flashed back on a sci-fi story I read in Analog some years back. I decided to try to find it, and found that it was the two parter “The New Untouchables” by Joseph Delaney, in the September and Mid-September, 1983 issues (holy CRAP! Nearly thirty damn years ago!). Now, my memory of the story is a bit hazy (it being, after all, nearly THIRTY DAMN YEARS AGO), but the story was that a genetic basis for criminality has been discovered. And the legal system being the horrible fraud that it is, the rules have come down that those with this particular genetic quirk are “disabled” or some such… and thus cannot be prosecuted if they commit a crime. A criminal gets arrested, hauled down to jail, given the genetic test… and usually hustled right on out onto the street. What the end result in the story was, I do not recall. But over those NEARLY THIRTY DAMN YEARS, the basic idea has stuck with me. This has been due in no small part to the fact that on occasion legal systems around the world have actually used the criminals screwed up brain or belief system to mitigate or even excuse crimes.

So, now it seems that science has found physical, objective tests that can predict criminal behavior. Will these be used to excuse criminal behavior? Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, I believe it is illegal to can someone for having a disease. A genetic predisposition to criminality will likely be classified as a disease or disability. While I’d say locking ’em away when they haven’t done anything illegal would be tragically wrong, what to do with ’em when they *do* break the law? Will we have a multi-level legal system, with different punishments, perhaps because someone without the genetic quirk “should have known better?”

I’m going to have to re-read the sci-fi story…

 Posted by at 11:09 pm
Feb 212011

˙dǝǝp ooʇ puɐ ʎןıpǝǝɹb ooʇ pǝʌןǝp sǝʌɹɐʍp ǝɥʇ sdɐɥɹǝd

˙ɯǝɥʇ uo uǝןןɐɟ pɐɥ ʇɐɥʇ sbuıpןınq ʎq pǝɥsnɹɔ sǝsnq oʍʇ uo sɹǝbuǝssɐd buıpnןɔuı ‘ʎʇıɔ ǝɥʇ punoɹɐ suoıʇɐɔoן snoıɹɐʌ ʇɐ ǝןdoǝd ɟo ɹǝqɯnu pǝuıɯɹǝʇǝpun uɐ pǝןןıʞ ǝʞɐnbɥʇɹɐǝ ǝɥʇ ‘ǝsɐǝןǝɹ sʍǝu ǝɥʇ oʇ buıpɹoɔɔɐ ˙ǝʇısqǝʍ s,ʎɔuǝbɐ ǝɥʇ uo ʎɐʍ ɹǝpun sɐʍ ʎʇıɔ ןɐɹʇuǝɔ ǝɥʇ ɟo uoıʇɐnɔɐʌǝ ǝןɐɔs-ǝbɹɐן ɐ pǝɔunouuɐ ǝɔıןod puɐןɐǝz ʍǝu

˙pıɐs sǝıʇıɹoɥʇnɐ ‘sןɐɹpǝɥʇɐɔ pǝbɐɯɐp puɐ sʇǝǝɹʇs pǝןʞɔnq ‘sǝsnq oʇuo sbuıpןınq pǝןddoʇ ʇı sɐ sǝıʇıןɐʇɐɟ ǝןdıʇןnɯ buısnɐɔ ‘uoouɹǝʇɟɐ ʎɐpsǝnʇ uo ‘puɐןɐǝz ʍǝu ‘ɥɔɹnɥɔʇsıɹɥɔ ɥbnoɹɥʇ pǝddıɹ ǝʞɐnbɥʇɹɐǝ ǝpnʇıubɐɯ-3˙9 ɐ

puɐןɐǝz ʍǝu sǝʞıɹʇs ǝʞɐnb ʎןpɐǝp

˙pɐq ʎʇʇǝɹd sʞooן sıɥʇ

 Posted by at 7:54 pm
Feb 212011

One of the Constitutional arguements against Obamacare (beyond the fact that there’s nothing in the Constitution saying it’s the job of the government to provide healthcare… thus makign the whole damned thing unConstitutional) rests on the point that Obamacare tells each and every American citizen that they must, under penalty of law, buy insurance from an insurance company. If the government can tell people that they MUST buy one thing, then there’s no reason why the government can’t tell people they MUST buy some other things, and then some other thing, and then that thing over there…

South Dakota got the message.

Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun

Here is the text:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for an individual mandate to adult citizens to provide for the self defense of themselves and others.
    Section 1. Not later than January 1, 2012, each citizen residing in the state of South Dakota who has attained the age of twenty-one years shall purchase or otherwise acquire a firearm suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, and personal preference sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.
    Section 2. After January 1, 2012, each citizen residing in the state of South Dakota shall comply with the provisions of this Act within six months of attaining the age of twenty-one years.
    Section 3. The provisions of this Act do not apply to any person who is disqualified from possessing a firearm pursuant to §§ 22-14-15, 22-14-15.1, or 22-14-15.2.

If you believe it’s within the power of the US FedGuv to order you to buy insurance, explain why it’s *not* within the power of a stateguv or fedguv to order you to buy a gun. After all, guns are protected under the Constitution (healthcare is not even mentioned) as being a requirement of the militia, and the US federal code defines the militia as every male over the age of 18… and since we’re all modernized people, we can assume a lack of sexism and thus the militia includes all the womenfolk as well.

 Posted by at 3:52 pm
Feb 202011

First up, the hacker group Anonymous threatens to take down the websites of the Westboro Baptist Church. If anyone is unfamiliar with either Anonymous or the WBC, feel free to check ’em out on Wiki. Anonymous is somewhat juvenile, the WBC is downright insultingly crazy. But when Anonymous decides to go after you, it’s best to take the situation seriously.

But one thing the Westboro Baptist Church ain’t is “capable of rational thought.” So they responded thusly:

Time to pop some popcorn, sit back, and watch the show.

 Posted by at 10:36 pm