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Posted by Jeff Soyer on 31 Oct 2014 03:01 am

We read about these incidences all the time. You’d think that cops would double-check their information first. This story, though, has a decent ending. From WFTV:

Kissimmee resident King Baker said he was startled from his sleep Thursday afternoon by the sounds of SWAT members bursting through his door and the sight of a gun to his head. It turns out the officers were in the wrong apartment.

“All I see is guns pointed at me, officers coming through the door. I hear, ‘boom, boom, boom,’ two to three times,” said Baker.

[ . . . ]

“When I told them my name and they was like, ‘Oh (expletive), we have the wrong house,’” said Baker.

Kissimmee officials told Channel 9’s Ryan Hughes that they messed up.

“Unfortunately a huge mistake was made and our SWAT team went into the adjacent apartment,” said Stacie Miller, with the Kissimmee Police Department.

[ . . . ]

Police broke some windows and a door jamb during the raid. They quickly made repairs to Baker’s residence.

The Kissimmee Police Department paid for a hotel room for Baker and his family overnight.

At least the Kissimmee Police Department quickly admitted their mistake, put Baker in a hotel, and repaired the damage. That’s a whole lot more than most police departments do when they fuck-up on these raids.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 31 Oct 2014 02:51 am

CBS4 Denver goes undercover and is able to buy lots of gun magazines that can be easily modified to hold 30-rounds. I’m guessing from the pictures and video that .223 was targeted specifically. Naturally the reporters are shocked. But I found the last bit the most interesting:

Rep. Rhonda Fields, who sponsored Colorado’s high capacity magazine ban, declined to be interviewed about what CBS4 had found, saying she was concerned it might impact the November 4 elections.

Mauser predicted the CBS4 Investigation would again get people discussing Colorado’s gun laws and how to address the new cat and mouse game that has emerged with high capacity magazines.

Sheriff Cooke told CBS4 that since the passage of the law banning high capacity magazines, there has not been a single arrest in Colorado of anyone suspected of violating the law.

Fields is running for reelection. Cooke and almost all other sheriffs opposed the law in the first place.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 30 Oct 2014 01:03 am

It really is sad that it’s come to this.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Oct 2014 10:23 am

Curiosity Quills Press has a hit on their hands as far as I’m concerned, with Operation Chimera, by Tony Healey and Matthew S. Cox. (Amazon link.) This entry into the science-fiction field offers likable characters, a good plot, and non-stop action including one of the best (and longest) space-battle scenes I’ve read in quite some time.

Earth, along with some allies, is fighting an interstellar war against the Draxx Alliance, a reptilian race that believes the entire universe belongs to them. As a plot, there’s nothing especially original about this. What sets Operation Chimera apart from similar themed novels is the deft execution by the authors. First and foremost, the writing is excellent and the characters are believably well fleshed out — warts and all. They are carefully introduced during the opening chapters.

As part of the war effort, a dangerous and secret mission is proposed. The mission is so risky that the military asks for volunteers both from their own ranks, and from civilians. A new aircraft carrier style star ship is built for the voyage. The story details the adventures of six pilots fresh out of the officer’s academy. They comprise one of the fighter squadrons and their mettle will be tested all through the book. I enjoyed the fact that there’s no one “star” of the story. Rather, authors Healey and Cox gave all of the protagonists equal weight.

I’m not going to reveal spoilers. I will tell you that the main battle scene runs over a hundred pages and that there’s no way you are going to want to put the book down half-way through it. Plan your meals accordingly! The obstacles for both the squadron and the star ship are many, and they keep coming one after another and piling up, making Operation Chimera such a wonderful read. Incidentally, the authors give “hat-tips” to other SF authors throughout the book, including to Isaac Asimov and his robotic laws. Nice touch!

Fortunately for all of us SF fans, this is just the first book in what I hope will be a long series.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Oct 2014 04:19 am

First it happened in Illinois:

Early Voting in Illinois got off to its typical start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

MACHINE ISSUES: Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan had trouble voting for himself on Monday when early voting started in Illinois.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

Now, it’s happening in Maryland:

Voting machines that switch Republican votes to Democrats are being reported in Maryland.

“When I first selected my candidate on the electronic machine, it would not put the ‘x’ on the candidate I chose — a Republican — but it would put the ‘x’ on the Democrat candidate above it,” Donna Hamilton said.

“This happened multiple times with multiple selections. Every time my choice flipped from Republican to Democrat. Sometimes it required four or five tries to get the ‘x’ to stay on my real selection,” the Frederick, Md., resident said last week.

Queen Anne County Sheriff Gary Hofmann said he encountered the problem, too, personally.

Interesting that the voting machines never switch Democrat votes to Republican ones.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 28 Oct 2014 03:31 am

In Douglas County, Georgia, NRA hats not allowed in polling places:

According to My Fox Atlanta, Douglas County Board of Elections supervisor Laurie Fulton claims the county’s position on NRA hats is based on legal precedent.

Fulton said:

The courts have found that anything that suggests [or is] associated with the NRA, in many people’s perceptions, is associated with the Republican Party. So with an overabundance of caution, Mr. Cobb was asked to remove the hat so that no one could interpret that we were playing any favoritism toward one party over the other.

How about NEA hats? Rainbow t-shirts? Union hats and jackets? All associated with the Democratic Party, last time I looked.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 26 Oct 2014 10:07 pm

The first of a trilogy of novellas, The Whispers, by Lisa Unger (Amazon link) confronts us with the question of, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” and is there a purpose behind such events? Eloise Montgomery suffers the unthinkable, losing her husband and oldest daughter in a terrible automobile accident. She herself suffers injuries and awakens from a 6-week coma. Her youngest daughter suffered no physical effects but has withdrawn into herself by not speaking or responding to outside stimulus.

Thus begins this intriguing series following the new life forced upon Eloise. And then the visions start! Audible and visual phenomena of women being abused or worse. She finds herself successfully assisting the police in two investigations. She does not want this new “gift” and must reflect upon why it was given to her. Cryptic parts of the answer come from, shall we say, visits from her deceased husband and child.

Lisa Unger is a good writer and her characters are vivid and complete. Her descriptions of the mental anguish experienced by Eloise exert a powerful tug on your heartstrings. The story ends on an upbeat note. Naturally you are left wanting more. Fortunately, the next installment of this series is due out in November. I guarantee you I’ll be reading it.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Oct 2014 05:44 am

Was it Nancy Pelosi who declared that there’s nothing left that can be cut from the federal budget? From Vermont Watchdog:

Americans will soon get the full monty on the hippie commune movement that invaded Vermont in the 1970s, thanks to a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

[ . . . ]

With $117,521 supplied by taxpayers, the Vermont Historical Society has begun work on “Colleges, Communes and Coops: 1970’s Counterculture and Its Lasting Influence on Vermont.” The two-year research project aims to provide a nostalgic insider look at the nearly 100 hippie farms that overtook Vermont following the Vietnam War youth protest movement.

For more on how the federal government wastes your money, check this out.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 25 Oct 2014 05:32 am

This is from Auburn, Washington. From the Seattle Times:

An Auburn School District official said Thursday that students and staff of the Sikh faith are permitted to wear ceremonial knives for religious reasons.

[ . . . ]

The knife, called a kirpan, is considered an instrument of social justice in the Sikh religion, and is one of five articles of faith worn by observant Sikhs. The blades are typically dull and range from 3 to 9 inches long, according to the New York-based Sikh Coalition.

We need to create a new religion: Gunnism. Part of the requirements for the faithful is the carrying of a ceremonial 1911.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 23 Oct 2014 04:50 am

Excellent! From KWCH TV:

The Broken Bow School Board voted Monday night to allow seniors to pose with guns in their senior portraits.

After a student requested to take a senior picture with a gun last year and was denied, the school began looking into the option as Broken Bow is a rural town with a lot of hunting and gaming availability.

“We have the 1 Box Shooting Club, a great trap range and sporting clays range,” said Ken Myers, the Broken Bow School Board President. “A lot of youth are interested in that so that brings up firearms, I guess, a little bit more to the forefront along with the hunting.”

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 23 Oct 2014 04:46 am

From the Washington Times:

The District’s newly minted concealed carry laws require gun owners seeking permits to complete 18 hours of firearms training.

One problem: As of Wednesday, the day before a court-ordered deadline for the permitting process to begin, no instructors had been approved to teach the compulsory course.

But what the heck, you have to prove a “need” for a permit, and self-defense isn’t considered acceptable unless you can prove you’re being stalked or targeted or something.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 21 Oct 2014 05:56 am

For two days now I’ve been deleting a gazillion spams. So, comments will be held in moderation. And, it’s time to upgrade to a modern edition of WP so I can employ more sophisticated anti-spamware. That will happen this week. Expect little posting until then. Sorry.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 20 Oct 2014 08:50 am

Well, it’s more complicated than that.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 20 Oct 2014 08:45 am

Owning a gun in Japan is a no-no. Even a plastic one:

A Japanese court on Monday sentenced a man to two years in prison for making firearms with a 3D printer.

The Yokohama District Court handed down the sentence to Yoshitomo Imura, a 28-year-old former employee of Shonan Institute of Technology who made a number of guns with a 3D printer in his home in Kawasaki outside Tokyo last year.

Imura was arrested in May on a charge of illegal weapons possession in what media reports described as Japan’s first such case involving 3D-printed firearms.

“This has shown that anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer, flaunting their knowledge and skill, and it is an offense to make our country’s strict gun controls into a dead letter,” public broadcaster NHK quoted judge Koji Inaba as saying in the ruling on Monday.

Meanwhile, in other “international gun news,” Police in the United Kingdom have warned gun owners there that “we will be searching your homes for improper firearm storage, without a warrant, because fuck you.”

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 20 Oct 2014 08:29 am

From The Hill:

FBI Director James Comey has launched a new “crypto war” by asking Congress to update a two-decade old law to make sure officials can access information from people’s cell phones and other communication devices.

The call is expected to trigger a major Capitol Hill fight about whether or not tech companies need to give the government access to their users.

“It’s going to be a tough fight for sure,” Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the Patriot Act’s original author, told The Hill in a statement.

He argues Apple and other companies are taking the privacy of consumers into their own hands because Congress has failed to pass legislation in response to public anger over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

“While Director Comey says the pendulum has swung too far toward privacy and away from law enforcement, he fails to acknowledge that Congress has yet to pass any significant privacy reforms,” he added. “Because of this failure, businesses have taken matters into their own hands to protect their consumers and their bottom lines.”

Comey argues that trend will make it harder to solve crimes.

“If this becomes the norm, I suggest to you that homicide cases could be stalled, suspects walked free, child exploitation not discovered and prosecuted,” he said last week.

And since congress-critters on both sides of the aisle always put the constitutionally protected interests of citizens first… Oh wait! They never do that. Look for your “representatives” to fold like cheap cameras and grant Comey whatever he wants.

Somewhat related:

In a rare decision, the Florida Supreme Court ruled last Friday that law enforcement must get a warrant in order to track a suspect’s location via his or her mobile phone.

Many legal experts applauded the decision as a step in the right direction for privacy.

Meanwhile in Virginia:

While revelations from Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency’s massive database of phone records have sparked a national debate about its constitutionality, another secretive database has gone largely unnoticed and without scrutiny.

The database, which affects unknown numbers of people, contains phone records that at least five police agencies in southeast Virginia have been collecting since 2012 and sharing with one another with little oversight. Some of the data appears to have been obtained by police from telecoms using only a subpoena, rather than a court order or probable-cause warrant. Other information in the database comes from mobile phones seized from suspects during an arrest.

Emphasis mine.

Remember, the government, including the police, will gladly abuse any rights you are not willing to defend.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 19 Oct 2014 02:01 am

I’d certainly welcome it since I live a stone’s throw from New Hampshire and do a lot of shopping there. The issue has been kicking around for a few years, but with a Democrat occupying the Governor’s Mansion for some time now… From the Concord Monitor:

Whether the Legislature could actually push through a form of constitutional carry largely depends on the governor.

“It really is a function of who is governor. Gov. Hassan will likely veto any pro-Second Amendment legislation,” Hoell said.

In an interview with the Monitor last week, Hassan said she supports Second Amendment rights, but stopped short of saying she’d sign the bill into law.

[ . . . ]

…Walt Havenstein, her Republican challenger for governor, said he supports the idea of constitutional carry. “I think because the Constitution allows that, and not only allows that, it is a right,” Havenstein said. Havenstein criticized the recent changes by the Department of Safety while saying he’d want a broad dialogue before making the change.

According to recent polling, Gov. Hassan currently enjoys a 6-10 point lead over Havenstein. Not really surprising, given that, firstly, a lot of people from Massachusetts moved to Southern New Hampshire over the past many years, and secondly, that — historically — voters tend to give Governors at least two terms to prove themselves worthy or not. In N.H. the term is for two years.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 18 Oct 2014 08:46 am

I thought it was time for a new header to top the pages. That’s Lake Fairlee, looking towards the Fairlee side of it (I’m taking the photo from the West Fairlee side). Vermont has many faults, but lack of beauty isn’t one of them, as you Facebook readers of mine know from the photos I post there.

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 18 Oct 2014 04:51 am

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 17 Oct 2014 11:57 pm

Posted by Jeff Soyer on 16 Oct 2014 03:38 am

I’m losing control of my ledes. From WaPo:

School officials in Anne Arundel County rejected an appeal filed by the family of a boy suspended after he chewed his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun, according to a decision the family’s lawyer received Wednesday.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education wrote in an Oct. 9 opinion that staff members at Park Elementary School “acted reasonably and properly” in addressing the disruption caused by the boy — then 7 years old — given the student’s history of misbehavior.

As it stands, the suspension and mention of the deadly danish will remain on the boy’s permanent school record.

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