BBC: Stoway hid on Border Agency Bus

I can’t really add anything to this.

BBC NEWS | UK | Stowaway hid on Border Agency bus

An illegal immigrant managed to smuggle himself into the UK by
hanging on underneath a coach full of Border Agency officers returning
from France.


Of Course Lobbyists Like Health Care “Reform”

Are lobbyists silver lining in health care storm? – Yahoo! News

Why wouldn’t they like it?
They are going to like this part a lot:

And if the government requires everybody to get coverage — just what the overhaul legislation calls for — it could guarantee a steady stream of customers subsidized by taxpayers not only for insurers, but for all medical providers.

What’s not to like?
The Federal Government’s power to tax, fine, seize property, and ultimately arrest and incarcerate (with the authority to kill you if you resist) is the ultimating marketing plan.

I’d love it too if the government forced you to use MY business.

Of course they have to be very careful. Some versions circulating put these private insurers out of business. That is the “liberals overreaching” part of the article.

What if I don’t WANT health insurance?

And – there is an argument made that this is like mandatory auto insurance.
Wrong. It is nothing like that.
First, I don’t HAVE to have auto insurance. Even where it is mandatory, I can choose to not own or operate a car.
And, secondly, the mandatory part is about being insured for the harm I could do to others. There is no mandatory insurance for wrecking my own car. I have choice about that.

Totally different situation. Stop, people, trying to make the analogy. The only thing the two situations have in common is the word “insurance.”

Real Self-Defense

This fantastic little piece by Tamara in Indianapolis is titled “How to not get killed.” She really understands that, long before you worry about defending yourself from attack, there are simple things that avoid being attacked in the first place. This is all common sense, isn’t paranoia, but surprisingly, a lot of people think themselves immune.

Take, for example, using illegal drugs. However you feel about the law, there is one important fact that she points out that if you, harmlessly, in your own home, use drugs you must get them somewhere. You must buy them.

This means that to get any for your own use, you have to come in
contact with some one who is, by definition… class? Anyone? That’s
right, a criminal.
[ . . . ]
They’ve demonstrated the willingness to break one law; what others do they break? What other criminals do they associate with?

The logic is really air tight, as much as a lot of people like to think otherwise. Read the rest of the essay It is really good.

Yes, you have a right to go pretty much where you please, when you please, in the pursuit of lawful activity. That doesn’t make it smart. Show some discretion and everybody enjoys their freedoms tomorrow.

Note to west: China is different

Foxconn Worker’s Suicide in China Linked to Missing Apple iPhone – Digits – WSJ

This article has a few points that ultimately connect to show how, once again, a U.S. company does not “get” that what works in customer-supplier relationships in the west can have very different consequences in China.

Apple is known for requiring suppliers to sign contracts that impose hefty financial penalties if they are found to have leaked sensitive information.

Point #1: “hefty financial penalties.”  In the west we tend to equate “money” with other things, and interchange them fairly easily in our thinking. Much less so in China. One quote I read summed it up well. “In the west, time is money. In China, time is time, and money is money.” So the threat of a hefty financial penalty sets up the company to be willing to risk almost anything else to avoid it.

Thus, point #2:

under suspicion for stealing after one of the handsets went missing…. … Sun had been detained and beaten by a senior official in the security department

actually logically follows from point #1. Given the threat of hefty financial penalties, the cost of committing violence on an employee is small by comparison.

And Apple’s statement

“We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

is all very nice, except that there are likely no hefty financial penalties assigned to mistreating an employee.

Thus, Apple’s priorities, while clear to them, were equally clear to local Chinese management, only in a completely different way. “Dignity and respect” are great, but there are hefty financial penalties if a prototype product gets out. Dignity and respect clearly are “nice to have” but secrecy must be maintained at all costs.

The other thing that “the west” doesn’t get is the difference between “guilt” and “shame.” There is a huge difference in perception and internal sense of consequences, and China is a shame-based culture. If the employee hadn’t killed himself, then it is likely nobody would have found out that “dignity and respect” was set aside here. Everything would have been OK. So when we hear rumors of abusive work environments, keep in mind that “dignity and respect” are requests, and what is required is driven by the finances.

This isn’t good or bad. China is the oldest continuous standing civilization on Earth right now, with 5000 years of continuity. It has worked for them. These are largely honest, hard working people. But they interpret signals differently than we do, and it is very easy for them to miss things that are obvious to us. (Just as we miss things that are obvious to them.)

We in the west would be well served to understand the culture in China if we want to do business with them. It isn’t about making them more like us, it is about respecting their culture and adapting to it so that our expectations are expressed in terms that are clear to them, in ways that accommodate their long-established frames of reference.

A mass murder without a gun – how’d that happen?

5 victims of deadly rampage stabbed, 1 beaten

This story is yet another mass violence incident, except for one thing. There was no gun. Nope, the murderer stabbed five people to death, and beat one. Hmmm.

This statement says a lot about the reporting.

Police still haven’t said which of the homes was attacked first, or how the 6-foot, 215-pound man managed to kill so many people.

I can hear the reporter now. “How did he manage to kill so many people without a gun?”

Yet the answer is right there in the statement.

6-foot 215-pound man.

He simply intimidated and overpowered his victims.

The people who think everyone would be safer if nobody had any guns (which is a fantasy anyway) seem to forget the enormous disparity in sheer strength and mass between an average male and an average female. Sure, there are some women who are stronger and bigger than some men, but criminals don’t prey on people stronger than they are.

Now consider this. What if one person, any one of these victims had been in immediate possession of a handgun. Suddenly the tables turn.

But instead, we are under enormous pressure to accept that only the biggest and strongest can defend themselves.


Defiling the Flag In The Name of Protecting It

Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village – Yahoo! News

Short story.
A veteran in a dispute with the local government flew his flag upside down on as a protest.

Some people, including the local chief of police, didn’t like it.

The police came onto his property, and took down his flag. The flag was returned to him the next day.

The police chief is quoted as saying:

Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said it was not illegal to fly the flag upside down but people were upset and it was the Fourth of July.

“It is illegal to cause a disruption,” he said.

And with that last statement he totally loses it.

You see, Mr. Congine didn’t cause a disruption. All he did was fly his flag, on his flagpole, on his property, upside down.

Other people may have reacted in a disruptive way (certainly Chief Kanikula did), but that was their choice. All they had to do was recognize that a free society (what we are celebrating on July 4, by the way) requires a couple of accommodations to work.

First, you may exercise your rights, but not in a way that inherently infringes on the rights of others.

But more importantly, having your rights requires you to tolerate the rights of other people to do things you might even find repugnant. But so long as your rights are not infringed, a free society asks you to get over it.

The only person whose rights were being violated here were Mr. Congine’s.

You may believe it is disrespectful of the flag and the USA to fly the flag upside down. You have an absolute right to hold that belief.

Mr. Congine, however, did not hold that belief. He holds the belief that flying the flag upside down is a universally accepted symbol of distress, and is using that symbol to demonstrate his displeasure with the government. And he has as much a right to that belief as you have to yours.

You have no inherent right to impose your differing interpretation upon Mr. Cogngine, and certainly have no right to threaten violence if he continues to fly the flag. And, just to be sure, sending armed police officers onto his property to take down his flag is just that. If you don’t think so, then ask yourself what would have happened if he had resisted them.

This kind of thing threatens the very fabric of our freedom. It defiles the very flag these people claim to have been protecting.

What We Suspected, And What Was Denied

Report: Bush surveillance program was massive – Yahoo! News

I really think anyone who is suprised by this news piece was living in total denial.

Something the outraged conservatives should keep in mind as well:
Obama voted for the Patriot Act.
The definition of “terrorist” is pretty much whatever he decides it is.

Be careful about granting power to government when the promise not to abuse that power.

The promise is as solid as the paper it is written on.

It is up to “activist judges” (who are the ones who are restraining the power of government) to say something – though the last administration was pretty clear that this wouldn’t matter to them.

Is this one any different?

Be careful what you wish for.