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A very temporary improvement
Jan 23rd, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Drone Strike in Yemen Likely First of Trump Administration. . A second strike on Friday, Donald Trump’s first day in the Oval Office, killed three alleged militants, according to the Associated Press, which reported that Yemeni government officials (who often feed U.S. intelligence information on targets) attributed the strikes to the U.S. [Hit & Run]

When Trump took office it was the first time in sixteen years that a President wasn’t already a war criminal at his inauguration. Trump didn’t even make it a day before changing that.

I’ve moved
Dec 28th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Last weekend I moved to a new apartment. I’d gotten fed up with the terrible management at the last apartment complex, so I left as soon as my lease expired. The new place is about the same size, also has Google Fiber, and has an even better view–I can see Town Lake from my desk.

It’s amazing how cowardly Americans have become
Dec 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

4 Schools Go into Lockdown, Call Cops on Man with an Umbrella. It’s a gun! No, it’s a sword!

Whatever it was, two different people spotted a man carrying it near Poly High in Riverside, California. They saw something, and said something. As a result four local schools went into lockdown mode yesterday.

Police hunted for the menacing maniac and finally, according to The Press Enterprise, “a campus supervisor at Poly spotted a man who matched the description given by both callers.”

The weapon he was carrying?

An umbrella.

The lockdowns were lifted, but the threat continues: Rain is in the forecast. [Hit & Run]

That was the high school where I was an inmate in the 1980s. I took ROTC while I was there, which involved about a hundred students marching around with bolt-action rifles (albeit rifles which had been rendered incapable of firing) at least one day a week. No lockdowns were involved.

New job
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve just started a new six-month contract as a programmer with Integrity Digital Solutions. I’m in Temple for the week for training, but after that I’ll be working from home. It looks like it will be a pretty good job.

Watch out for hysterical politicians
Oct 7th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Clowns, Kids & Satan. The security expert Bruce Schneier coined a term for this: Movie plot threat. We imagine the threat to our kids is just like the one we’d see, or have seen, in the movies. It’s easier to picture Bozo with a bazooka than a car crash when mom or dad is confused by their GPS (which in our car seems to be about a third of the time), so that’s the threat we focus on…to the point where we start exaggerating unlikely outcomes, or even seeing things. [Free Range KidsFree Range Kids]

Even now there are people being persecuted (especially in New York City) because of laws written by politicians who had confused West Side Story with a documentary. I hate to think what sort of future persecution will result from politicians thinking that Killer Klowns from Outer Space was a documentary.

Not so offline as the Gestapo would like
Sep 21st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Court: Group’s 3D printer gun files must stay offline for now The federal civil suit originated three years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Distributed, published designs for the “Liberator,” the world’s first 3D-printed handgun. Within months, Defense Distributed received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, stating that 10 files, including the designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This letter came despite the fact that these files had already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and continue to circulate online. [Ars Technica]

This reminds me of the 1990s, when the Evil Empire tried to keep encryption technology away from people using the same tactics. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. Here’s a BitTorrent link to download the files in question.

Cops can’t even fabricate charges right
Sep 19th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Cops record themselves allegedly fabricating charges with suspect’s camera. In a federal civil rights lawsuit, a Connecticut man has shared footage to bolster his claims that police illegally confronted the pedestrian because he was filming one of them. Authorities seized Michael Picard’s camera and his permitted pistol, and the officers involved then accidentally recorded themselves allegedly fabricating charges against the man.

[…]

The tickets Picard got were for the alleged use of a highway by a pedestrian and for allegedly creating a public disturbance for carrying an “exposed loaded sidearm in plain view of passing motorists.” The authorities eventually dismissed the tickets. [Ars Technica]

Note that carrying an exposed loaded sidearm in plain view of passing motorists is perfectly legal in Connecticut as long as you have a carry permit, which Picard did. Not only did the jackboots get caught fabricating charges, they were so stupid that they couldn’t even come up with something that was actually illegal for their lies.

The inevitable result of being a good cop
Sep 12th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

West Virginia cop fired for not killing a man with an unloaded gun. He did what police officers are supposed to do — put himself at risk to save a life. [Radley Balko]

What Mader did upon arriving at the scene is a hell of a lot braver course of action than simply opening fire when the suspect doesn’t immediately disarm. What Mader did is in fact exactly what we want cops to do when someone is in crisis. It’s also precisely what law enforcement officers say they do on a daily basis — put themselves at risk in order to save lives. Mader should have been given a medal.

Of course the outcome of this guy being a good cop is completely predictable: he was fired. Also, two other cops showed up who were perfectly willing to murder the guy who Mader wouldn’t.

Apparently his message was heard
Sep 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Ferguson Activist Darren Seals Found Shot and Dead in Burning Car in St. Louis. 29-year-old activist Darren Seals was found dead in a burning car in the Riverview section of St. Louis this week, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Seals became an anti-gun violence activist after being shot in 2013, and in 2014 was among the first protesters in Ferguson, according to the Washington Post.

Seals helped found the group Hands Up United and was a vocal opponent of African-Americans voting Democrat as a bloc. “Just because they’ve got the D next to their name, that don’t mean nothing,” Seals told the Washington Post in 2014. “The world is watching us right now. It’s time to send a message of our power.” [Hit & Run)]

The danger of sending messages like that in a police state is that the people in charge might actually get the message and decide to send back one of their own.

Another phony crisis
Sep 6th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

New Round of Fearmongering Over Texting and Driving. If you went by the breathless reporting on texting and driving, or the word of law enforcement or “traffic safety advocates” you’d think at any given moment someone is careening to their death because they or another driver had their eyes on their cellphones and not on the road. [Hit & Run]

I’ll consider believing that phones are some sort of serious threat to driver safety that must be banned once they ban things that are unquestionably more distracting in cars, like small children.

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