Monday, February 05, 2007

PETA Resolution

I do realize that most of you don't subscribe to The Outdoor Wire.

I encourage you to subscribe.

In the meantime, here's the wrap-up from Jim Shepherd, who has been following the trial of PETA members, who picked up unwanted 'pets' from animal shelters, transported them a few blocks, then injectected the animals with lethal substances (for which they have no license to possess, let alone use) and tossed the bodies into Dipsy Dumpsters behind the nearest Piggly Wiggly store:

PETA Trial Ends

PETA employees Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook were found innocent of the majority of charges brought against them for animal cruelty and obtaining property by false pretenses. Rather than facing criminal charges for picking up animals from an animal shelter and veterinarian's office and killing them, rather than taking them for possible adoptions, Judge Cy Grant reorganized the charges prior to sending them to the jury, dropping most of the felony charges and consolidating several charges into a single one.

If convicted of the criminal charges, the PETA employees, who had admitted picking up animals and killing them only moments after having told veterinarian office employees they were going to find them new homes, could have faced jail time. Instead, they have been found guilty of littering, receiving suspended 10-day jail sentences, 12 months' probation, 50 hours of community service, $1,000 fines and nearly $3,000 of restitution.

Their "death van" was confiscated by the town of Anhoskie, North Carolina.

The facts of the case made it completely obvious the pair had, in fact, committed all the offenses of which they had been accused.

The Piggly-Wiggly dumpster containing pets that had been picked up only hours before around Ahoskie were identified by the veterinarian and shelter workers who had handed them over to Hinkle and Cook.

The forensic evidence showing the animals had been killed by lethal injection of chemicals found in their so-called "death van" was never called into question.

Adria Hinkle testified under oath that they had, in fact picked up the animals, injected them with drugs, bagged them, and tossed them into the dumpster. She also testified that "maybe" they hadn't been forthcoming with the fact they had no intention of putting the animals out for adoption, it was "possible" they might have been misleading, and perhaps it was a "mistake" to toss the animals into the dumpster (an action she admitted having done previously).

So why were they found innocent?

Through what might be best called "smoke-and-mirrors" of their defense team.

After all, their lawyers argued, there had to be "malice" involved in felony animal cruelty charges. The pair of defendants had no malice, they argued, they were simply doing the "most compassionate thing possible" for animals no one wanted, sparing them lives of loneliness and confinement (hope my kids don't read about this when I get older).

Further, the animals themselves had no intrinsic value, so there were really no demonstrable damages in the case. For an organization that says it would oppose medical experimentation on laboratory animals - even if it meant not finding a cure for AIDS - to argue that the animals in question had no value should make your blood boil.

PETA raises hundreds of millions of dollars annually - allegedly fighting to defend the rights of animals - all animals. But their convenient manner of disposing of animals given to them by animal caregivers shows the total lie upon which their so-called pro-animal organization is founded.

PETA kills thousands of animals every year - and will continue to kill them for years to come. They purchased walk-in freezers for their Virginia headquarters to store animal carcasses and have paid thousands of dollars to an animal cremation service to dispose of them later. But they are acting out of "compassion" not indifference.

They dress up in outrageous costumes - or demonstrate in the buff - to draw attention to their animal rights movements - and collect funds from people stupid enough to believe they're serious about their so-called work.

They terrorize children with books which characterize parents who serve meat as mass murderers; they have drawn no distinction between meat processors and the Nazis who murdered millions of people in World War II, and they have no compunction about giving money to environmental terrorists.

When Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook were arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty more than 15 months ago, we had hoped this trial, if nothing else, would shed some light on the PETA organization.

It accomplished exactly that.

Hinkle and Cook will not be going to jail for killing animals given to them with the belief they were going to be placed in adoptive homes.

While it might look like a big win for PETA, it's really not.

This trial has forced PETA to admit that it does not rescue animals, it kills them.

The defense used by their attorneys to avoid felony animal cruelty charges was that these animals had no intrinsic value. That should make everyone writing a check to PETA for the "ethical treatment of animals" think twice - and maybe stop sending checks to an organization that isn't protecting animals - at least not when it's an expense or an inconvenience for PETA.

If that's a win, I can only wish PETA many more courtroom successes.

--Jim Shepherd


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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sundie Funnies

Michael Bane
Michael Bane has finally got his Downrange.TV website pumped up enough to show some Actual Content. I expect this website to become a frequent site-of-interest for those of us who consider Guns not only a tool, but a means of spending a weekend at the range with friends. Among other features he has a forum set up (I've registered and actually posted. I didn't have anything particularly interesting to say, but I got to see my name in print.)

Superbowl
Did you watch the SuperBowl this weekend? I didn't. I don't like spectator sports, but perhaps I'm just weird. If you're among the thirty-plus million American Spectators (I can make up statistics with the best of 'em) who only watch it for the commercials, I'm reliably informed by Kim Kommando that this is where you can view the commercials online. Note that you may be enjoined to load some software to enable 'full-screen videos'. Great, if you like commercials ... which might very well be the Best Part Of Television.

Family

Frequent Readers may recall that last October I took a week hiatus to visit my son, Ben, in Utah. Ben is the father of Jake the Untouchable, uncle of The Alleged Jack and Samantha the Nailer. I'm happy to report that Ben, his wife and son in tow, has moved back to the Left Coast in search of a new career. Now living in Northern California, according to last reports (I spoke to him on the phone last night) he intended to drive to Oregon on this day to visit family. It's a six-and-a-half hour trip, so I asked him to phone me when he reached the home of his maternal grandmother so I would know it when it was a reasonable time to visit them. He originally cited an 8pm arrival time, then 10pm, then 1am. Since it's now after 11pm, I'm guessing that he won't be calling me for a couple of hours. I think I must have lost my mind when I asked him to call me on arrival. I forgot whose son (mine) I was talking to.

Blogging may be interrupted tomorrow as I will be out-of-town visiting family, and happy I am to be doing so.

Chris Muir and Day By Day Cartoons
Word is that DBD will be out-of-town toward the end of this month

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

and

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

(Click on the images to see the full strips.)

Looks like we'll be spending some time at the DBD and SigArms websites in a few weeks.

Flash Drives
SWMBO was doing some market research (read: thumbing through the ad inserts of the Sunday Papers) this morning, and ran full-tilt into the Staples ads.

She's aware that I've been looking for memory stick (thumb drive, flash drive, whatever) and noted that a 2GB Microsoft Flash Drive was available for about $30. I've been looking for a hi-cap memory stick for some months, and I've been disgruntled that I couldn't find bargains much better than the 1GB SanDisk drive I bought 18 months ago for ca. $90.

Today she found a 2GB stick for $30. After mail-in rebate for $30.

An inch lower down in the newspaper ad, she found a 4GB stick (from MS) for $55, after a $75 "instant rebate".

Yah, sure, we trundled right down to the local Staples store and I shelled out $55 for a 4GB flash drive. I already have a 1GB drive (I know, I already mentioned it) which I use for transferring data between work and home puters, and whatever other purpose seems convenient ... such as instant backup of my work data.

The reason I wanted a new drive was to save all of my URL's, ID's and passwords. I figure there's less exposure to hackers if I cut&paste these private data items instead of typing them, in case someone has a keyboard memory software hack on my PC. Besides, I don't have to write passwords in my day-planner, right?

Chances are I'll transfer my password files to the 1GB memory stick, and keep the 4GB stick for backups. Whatever technique I finally choose, I'm happy with the transportable extended memory options which are available to me now for a very low price.

Remember when there were limited (eg: Zip Drive) options in transportable memory?

Remember when RAM memory was rule-of-thumb priced at $100 per MB?

Four GB is roughly equivalent to ... what, 4,000 MB? I just bought 4,000 MB of memory for $55 ... a resource which (if available "back then" would have cost me ... a lot of money.

I recall buying a 460KB hard drive, twelve years ago, for about three times as much money.

Two months ago, I bought a 2MB Sandisk memory chip for my HP camera for about $60 in a special marketting drive. This was, at the time, touted as "Top Of The Line".

I do love the computer industry. If you can't find the deal you want, at the price you want .... just wait a couple of months until the market catches up with your expectations.
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bob the Nailer


Thanks to my friend Whitefish, I have been informed that the magnificent novels of Stephen Hunter are now to be introduced in the Cinematic versions.

The first novel to be so celebrated (no word on whether others will be created on film) is "Point of Impact", ... arguably the first book of the series .... renamed "Shooter".

Catchy title, ain't it?


Actually, this is "based on" Point of Impact, so don't expect that the book you know and love is the movie you will see. (Amazon dot com shows their NEW version of the book cover, shown at the right, which is dramatically different from the original, shown at left.)


The image for the movie shows that the re-release of the book is a marketing attempt to relate the book with the movie, which suggests that the movie will 'closely follow' the book. If it doesn't I'm gonna be pissed because (a) it means I'll have to rewrite this article, and (b) I'm gonna be REALLY pissed because I very much enjoyed the book!

The film stars Mark Wahlberg, which surprised me at first because I had always envisioned Bob Lee Swagger (AKA Bob The Nailer) as an older man. A man with more experience written in his face. But I'm looking at the trailer at the Internet website for the movie, and I'm thinking ... well, okay. Maybe. Let's reserve judgement until we get to look at the movie, even though the man whose face came to mind the first time I read the book is Tommy Lee Jones. Hell, he was even born in the same year as Bob.

In Theaters March 16, 2007.
Side comment here: "300", the tale of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae (a la Frank Miller's Gothic/Graphic style), will appear in theaters on March 9, 2007. Good thing they're opening a week apart.
The Swagger series (Bob, and his father Earl) is one of those series which I reread EVERY year. The only cinder in the stew is Havana, and I'm not worried about that blip in the creative process because it's only one of eight books and every author is entitled to a swing-and-a-miss now and then.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're looking at your bookshelf (just as I'm looking at mine) and HEY! There's only seven Bob the Nailer books up there.

Here's the really good news:

Amazon lists another Bob the Nailer book, The 47th Samurai, scheduled for publication on September 11, 2007!

A note about author Stephen Hunter (not to detract from your excitement at the news that A BOB THE NAILER MOVIE HAS BEEN COMPLETED!): if you're not familiar with him, he is a film reviewer. You can catch his reviews at RottonTomatos.com, which I assure you are as well-written as his books. (Note: his original reviews are for The Washington Post, which is a Liberal paper but I read it now and then because it is Mr. Hunter's 'Day Job' and you have to respect him for earning an honest living.)

Just as I don't like some of his books, I don't agree with some of his film reviews. Still, he's such an accomplished writer even his film reviews are worth reading on their own merit.

I wonder if he'll review "Shooter".

Geek Thoughts

  • I saw a flock of Oregon Ducks fly overhead today. How did I know they were Oregon ducks?
  1. It's February.
  2. They were flying EAST for the Winter!

  • What's the difference between "Ecology" and "The Environment"? The Environment is the Stage. Ecology is the Play.
  • This is my 10th year as Jerry the Geek. I created that nom de plume in 1997 when I began contributing to The Unofficial IPSC List. At first people asked me why I chose that particular nickname for myself. I spent a lot of time explaining that it was a take-off on "Jimmy the Greek", the (now notorious) Las Vegas Odds-maker. I explained that I'm a computer programmer ... a Geek ... and it seemed like an obvious nickname. People quit asking, eventually, apparently just accepting that I chose a name which is less obnoxious than that which others might choose for me. Since then I have pondered, and today I realize that I miss the obvious, TRUE answer:
"The Great One"
was already taken.

Area Denial

Last week, in "Gotcha Coming and Going", I mentioned that the military has developed a new vehicle mounted microwave transmitter to be used for crowd control. It's an interesting concept. It 'projects' microwave radiation with the effect, when directed at people, of causing their skin to heat up causing a burning sensation. They claim it has no harmful effects, it only distracts folks from whatever purpose they had in mind before the thingie was turned on them.

I'm a little dubious about the effects on very soft tissue such as eyes, but there's now a video available on YouTube showing the reaction of test subjects. One lady reporter Squeaked! and danced out of the path of the radiation. Nobody, including a platoon of Army volunteers, seemed to be otherwise harmed. Some even smiled in chagrin at their dancing avoidance of the radiation.

Here is the promotional video, where it's referred to as an "Active Denial System" (ADS). It has a range of 500 yards.

The explanation is clear, and it seems a reasonable non-lethal system with immediate applicability in places such as military urban perimeters in Iraq.

I'll warn you about the text accompanying the video. It was originally written by someone with an apparent case of the jaws against both the military and the current administration, but now I see that the text has been changed.

However, the comments are interesting. Here's the one I saw:

This weapon is still able to kill or torture ppl. Its a lie to tell its non-lethal. I saw other video and documentory on this new technologie weapon, it burn the skin without burning the material around. They did the tests on innoncent ppl in Irak, wich they are burned seriously (many are dead).

Ignore the limited English writing ability of the author (perhaps English is a second language -- I'm not being critical as I have not second-language skills at ALL!)

The charges made here are interesting. I haven't visited any of the other videos co-listed, so I can't comment on the validity of the assertions. I may say that almost anything can be mis-applied to caused effects for which it was not originally designed and I can't say I would be surprised to learn that this device would be deliberately mis-applied with destructive intent.

However, I'm dubious about the report of people dying in Iraqi testing. I've done a quick search of major news outlets (including among others The Guardian, the LA Times and the NY Times, AP, Reuters, USA Today) and I'm sure that a story like this would at least be as prominently displayed as the one about the Florida woman who claims to have found a razor blade in her Egg McMuffin.

UPDATE (The Next Morning):
I've done more reading on the so-called ADS.

Here's a bunch of people at BUZZFEED talking about this system which, we learn, isn't actually scheduled for deployment until 2010. And here's a PDF which explains it's not a MICROwave projector (my error, excuse the blunder, pay no attention ...) but a MILLIMETER Wave projector. It even explains the difference. With pictures.

Finally, the BBC weighs in with the vague 'feeling' that there must be something dibolical about the entire concept. Why? "Such a weapon also has the potential to cause panic and deadly stampedes." Even the Guardian (okay, ALWAYS the Guardian) has a negative impression to share: "According to papers released under freedom of information requests, mishaps during trials have caused blistering at least six times and one second degree burn when the beam was fired on too high a setting. According to the US military, the risk of injury is less than 0.1%."

Oh, well that wouldn't be good. Better throw the thing away, somebody might get hurt.

Frankly, I'm a little off-put by the whole thing.

No no no, I don't mean the ADC or the confusing terminology. I mean this early-morning blogging. I'm accustomed to doing all of my writing in the evening, even late late at night. Here it is 7am and I'm sitting at my computer waiting for the coffee to finish perking.

I've heard that people who write these weBLOG journals (surely not a serious attempt at communicating, just a diary that we leave unlocked for the whole world to read ... as if I could ever get that kind of traffic!) are to be referred to as Pajama Pundits because we spend all of our time online and never even have to get dressed all day. Sounds like my kind of job, I wish. Instead, judging from my mail, I stay up late so YOU can read exciting new (or exciting warmed-over for the next day) stuff like this while you sit around in your pajamas sipping coffee.

So what does that make you? Bathrobe Browsers?

Blogger Mania

Sidebar Links:
I've received a sidebar icon from Cowboy Blob, which I'll install shortly. No complaints yet about the cheesy icons I cobbled together. Either the owners of those blobs blogs weren't concerned, don't have something better to offer, or haven't read Cogito Ergo Geek for a few days. Could it be?

I'll install Cowboy's icon later, when I have time to spend working on my Template. It looks a lot better than the one I tried to make. That should come as no surprise, as Cowboy's pretty good at building these gizmos.

New Blogger:
LawDog tried the New Blogger ... an updated version of the software which is used to run this and thousands of other websites in the Blogging Community. (I love that phrase, almost as much as I admire the word "Buttocks".) He reported that it came as a surprise to him. A comment on his post noted that other blogs had reported problems, such as a slow load of Comments.

Syd at Front Sight, Press emailed asking me to change the URL for his blog to a 'mirror site' he created for his press releases because "When Blogger did the "upgrade" it got so messed up that I put up my own on my snubby site because I couldn't post anything on the blogger site. I am still posting the news on the blogger site, but that's all."

I loaded Internet Explorer 7 when it was (another surprise) sent to me as a MS Update. I prefer NetScape as a browser because it has more of the Foxfire-type features I like, such as tab so you can have multiple websites open in one window. Since IE7 has added this 'new' feature, I decided to accept the update. The installation wasn't as error-free as I had been lead to believe. Just 'RESTARTING' my pc didn't make it work. In fact, when my system came back up nothing worked ... not even the clock on the tool bar. I couldn't even warm-boot the computer (either with Alt_Ctl_Del or by pushing the START button). Instead, I had to turn off the box with the power switch on my surge suppressor, turn it back on, THEN push the START button.

I took the formal tour, noted that there wasn't a lot of really exciting new features (other than the TABs, which seemed to be clumsily done) and then tried to blog in IE7.

First surprise: when I copied the URL for the web-address where I edit posts from my NetScape browser to IE7, it couldn't find it! Then I fiddled with it for a while until I got to the Dashboard (the central control area where ALL of your blogs are listed), and when I tried to open Cogito Ergo Geek it wouldn't allow me to do anything because I didn't have a Google account!

I know that Blogger is a free Google product, and I'm grateful for it of course, but now they're starting to put some controls in that don't provide any advantage to me. There's a reason that I don't already have a Google account (same reason why I use the clunky Comcast email system instead of GMail ... sheer ornery cussedness!) and I resented this attempt to force me into their corporate mold.

Worse, as I navigated through their list of options trying to 'sign on', I discovered that unless you were VERY careful you would end up allowing them to change your blog to the New Blogger. Essentially, it's an Opt Out situation.

Now, the 'Old' Blogger isn't perfect but I'm familiar with it and, finally, it has become relatively stable. Having been an Application Programmer for almost 25 years, I am reflexively dubious about new software releases. For example, (I installed IE7 only because I was fairly certain I could un-install it using Norton GoBack, if the XP recovery machine wouldn't work.

Judging from the horror stories I've been hearing, New Blogger is only "officially" out of Beta Testing. In fact, this stage might be considered what I've come to refer to as Gamma Testing. That is, the software vendor found enough innocent optimists to get beat up by the Beta Version to get the very worst of the real-world bugs worked out (or they developed "Work-Arounds" for the bugs which were too deeply intrenched in the system architecture for a quick fix), and now they needed a larger universe of dupes testers to give it a thorough workout so they could discover the problems created by struggling to make it work under a wide variety of browser/operating system combinations.

In the programming buz, we call these people Pioneers. If you'll recall your American History, these are the people who moved into a new territory not knowing the dangers and ended up with arrows sticking out of their backs.

No, I'm not going to convert Cogito Ergo Geek to New Blogger until they drag me kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I deal with buggy software every day at the office. I see no reason to spend my otherwise enjoyable evenings trying to figure out why their software doesn't work as advertised.

New Blogger is to Blogger as New Coke was to Coca Cola. I still drink Classic Coke (and so does the rest of the Coca Cola Drinking Community ... there's that word again.) And I'll continue to use Classic Blogger as long as the 'other' option remains an option.

BTW, don't get me started on the word "Classic"; it brings up memories of ranting for years against the IPSC Classic Target. I guess I'll have to say I use the "Metric" Blogger.

BTW, I'm writing this in the morning instead of the evening. Yes, I'm still working on my first cup of coffee. Apparently it isn't kicking in yet.