Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stop Pampering the Criminals

This post is in part being inspired by one of the comments, in my previous article, which reads:

“My position has nothing to do with a belief in the inherent goodness of human beings. While I think that most of us are trying to live decently, I am under no illusion. Selfish impulses, pride and anger can cause some people to do some very bad things.

“I am really arguing that we need to find solutions that actually reduce crime. Harsher punishment doesn't work. It just gives society some measure of vengeance but will do nothing to make us any safer.

“Rehabilitation, counseling and sometimes prescription drugs do reduce crime. The fact that a life spent as a criminal may turn into a productive and happy life is a bonus that makes it a win-win situation.

“Of course, if one of my children or wife was the victim of a violent crime or rape, I would probably react very emotionally. My concern for the criminal would quickly yield to my need for revenge and I can imagine myself wishing castration or death.”

Now, trying not to take too much hide off my commenter, but not wanting to back away from points that I consider to be important (in other words, Cycles2K, again I ask that you don’t take this personally okay?), I have come to the following opinions:

There is no solution that will reduce crime -- except tougher sentences. What makes anyone think it wouldn't work? We've never tried it, have we?

And I don't equate "tougher" with "harsher," either -- there is a difference between the two. (Side note: I wish, when kids are taught synonyms in school, that they were taught that "similar" does not mean "same!")

And the argument that punishment for a crime is "nothing more than vengeance" is getting old and ready to retire. Of course, it’s vengeance! Problem is, those on the side of “rehabilitation” tend to see it as being a bad thing. I see it as justice. And as for not making us any safer, well, we’re not safe now, so I don’t really see this as a valid point. In order to be “safer,” we’d have to have something to compare with what we have now, and we don’t have it.

If rehabilitation worked, there would be far fewer crimes, especially against property and people -- all the so-called sensitivity training courses and anger management courses are a form of rehabilitation. And they are quite useless, I can tell you from experience. All they accomplish is to provide psycho-charlatans with employment, and throw law-abiding folk into a state of confusion. They make victims feel guilty for being victims -- and that is as much a crime as the original offense.

We are teaching criminals that they have every right to be criminals – and we are actually helping them become – and remain – criminals. And while we’re doing that, we’re also teaching the rest of our citizens to become victims – and to stay that way. Police repeatedly tell citizens not to try to stop criminals, and when a citizen actually takes a successful course of action, the police dissemble, disregard, and warn against doing it again:

“Carlson said the man was arrested after he was "tripped" by an unidentified mall patron.”

Is this an attitude born out of fear of unemployment – that if citizens actually get successful in defending themselves that cops will no longer be needed? We don’t have enough cops as it is, and the ones we do have are underpaid and definitely underappreciated. You’d think the cops would welcome the assistance, but they don’t. They see prepared citizens as a threat of some kind. I think perhaps the cops are being brainwashed as much as the rest of the country. What say you?

One of the things we’re doing wrong is to take an individual crime and apply a group solution. It just doesn’t work. We need to apply the criminal justice system individually.

And here’s a fine example of what happens when we try rehabilitation on a criminal:

One of the most notorious drunk drivers in the Ottawa area has been found not criminally responsible on his latest impaired driving charges …

“Ten years ago, Brownlee was given a seven-year prison sentence and barred from driving for the rest of his life after he killed an Ottawa woman, Linda Lebreton-Holmes, and her 12-year-old son while driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit."

So, did it work? It did not. He’s not only back on the street, behind the wheel of a car -- after being banned for life from driving for killing two people while drunk -- but now he actually has do-gooder counselors and psychiatrists telling us that he can’t be a criminal because he’s not responsible for his actions, anymore.

They are partially correct.

He is not completely responsible for his latest crime.

Our legal system must bear the rest of the burden of blame – and that includes the people who laid the original charge if they in any way, shape, or form, allowed a plea bargain to reduce any sentence he might have otherwise been given. It includes the judge that handed out such a lenient sentence – seven years – for criminally ending the lives of two people, one of which was a twelve-year-old child. It includes the lawmakers that refuse to legislate that human lives taken are not worth the money required to prevent repeat offenders by keeping them behind bars. And it includes the apathetic citizens, who don’t want to be burdened or bothered by the responsibility of seeing that the government actually does what everyone says it should be doing – looking after its citizens. Its law-abiding citizens, that is.

I’m not looking to turn a criminal into a “productive” citizen. I’m not looking for a win-win solution. I’m looking for a way to stop repeat offenders, period. And the best way I can see to accomplish that goal is to put the criminal – especially the violent criminal – behind bars for a long period of time.

Will it stop others from committing crimes? No. Bit it will stop the one who is now sitting in prison, won’t it?

And that’s all I ask.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How To Guarantee A Tory Majority Next Election

Easy. Show the yellow feather when it comes to getting tough on crime.

Opposition inclined to block gun bill

"The opposition, while willing to deal with the governing party to fight a spate of gun violence in urban centres, say the Conservative penalties could run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' guarantee that the punishment must be proportional to the crime."

Proportional to the crime, eh? Oh, good. Does this not mean that the opposition thinks that murders should be executed? Or at least spend a substatial amount of time in prison?

It does not.

"Sue Barnes, the Liberal justice critic, suggested the Conservative penalties are "draconian" measures that would have to be diluted to survive a court challenge."

I have a better idea. Instead of watering down the so-called "justice system" which never sees any justice actually being done, why don't we get rid of the bloody court challenges? Embed the penalties for the crimes right into the Charter itself, so nobody can claim they're being deprived unfairly of their own life and liberty -- right after they have permanently deprived someone else of theirs!

"One factor working in the Conservatives' favour is that no party wants to be seen as opposing a bill on firearms crimes at a time when there is public concern across the country, particularly in such cities as the Liberal bastion of Toronto."

And did not that Liberal Bastion lose a few of its entrenched seats to the Tories in the last election? Does this not tell the Liberals something? Or is it that they're just not listening (why do I even ask -- when did they ever listen?)?

If the government does not take this issue of crime and punishment seriously, I can guarantee that the people will! There are already citizens' groups all over the country, mostly in the bigger cities, who are taking matters into their own hands. Vigilantism is becoming respectable. And the overworked cops aren't really all that concerned (despite the press releases from the police spokesmen) when the body they've just recovered from the river happens to be a well-known drug dealer who has been recycled through the catch-and-release hug-a-thug program several times.

So get with it, citizens. If you are tired of being afraid to walk down the street in your own neighborhood, or if you've put yourself in jail by soldering bars on all your street-level windows and barricaded your doors, get on the horn to your MP and tell him that you want the tougher penalities for crime, and you want it now!

If your MP is a Tory, offer your vocal and virtual support. If your MP is opposition, let him know in no uncertain terms that he should be brushing up on his resume and looking for another profession come next election, unless he backs off the warm-and-fuzzies for the violent offenders.

This is our country. "Take Back The Night" is past its prime.

It's time for Take Back Our Lives.

Friday, March 24, 2006

So Mote It Be!

It's about time:

Feds weigh allowing Wiccan symbols on govt.-issued grave markers

Scripps Howard News Service

"In a step interpreted as partially smoothing the way for Pentacle approval, the VA's National Cemetery Administration amended a rule last October that had been a bureaucratic roadblock. Until then, applicants had to submit a letter from a "recognized central head" of the faith attesting to the fact that the requested symbol in fact represented the religion.

"But because the Wiccan faith and its related sects are substantially decentralized, that requirement was essentially impossible to meet. Now, the National Cemetery Administration asks for a letter from 'a recognized leader.'"

This battle for recognition by the VA has gone on far too long. The military has Wiccan chaplains, and puts the religious affiliation on its dog-tags -- what was the deal with the VA's National Cemetary Administration?

I'm really tempted to give the razzberry to the stated argument that it's because they couldn't find a central leader. Atheists don't have a central leader, either, but they got their recognition a long time ago!

I think it was a combination of laziness and fear.

Look at the first sentence in the article: "While President Bush laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, a self-declared witch embarked on a clandestine mission to mark a grave most dear to her."



How is it that, almost every time you read about a Witch, a Wiccan, a Druid, or other Pagan, they are almost always described as self-declared? As if they're the only ones doing it, and everybody else is just going along with them, humoring them? Like idiot children who don't know any better, but nobody wants to upset them because you never know what kind of a fuss they'll make?

You never see anyone from another religion described as a "self-declared Catholic", or "calls himself a Muslim," or ever "refers to himself as an atheist."

It's okay for Pagans to be drafted, or to volunteer for military service; to be sent overseas into the danger zone, to fight and possibly die for a cause that our government says it believes in; to pay taxes, to consume goods, to make and spend money like everyone else...

When do Pagans get the recognition that we are people, too?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

DUCK Tape? or DUCT Tape?

Which is correct?

Both, actually.

"Early versions consisted of medical tape laminated to a cloth backing, covered with polycoat adhesives and a polyethylene coating. It was colored Army green and nicknamed 'duck tape' because it repelled water.

"After the war was over, civilians started using the tape in construction, typically to hold metal air ducts together. So it was changed to a matching gray color and renamed 'duct tape.'"

I was actually surprised to find out that this amost-indispensible MacGyverism is made by more than one manufacturer -- I thought "duct tape" was a proprietary name. Learn something new every day...

But the different manufacturers would explain why the stuff I use does not repel water -- it recoils from being wet, more like a cat than a duck -- and comes unsticked.

Does anyone know if it's still on the list of banned items for airline travel? For awhile, there, you couldn't take it aboard an aircraft because it could be used as a weapon (to tie someone up) -- and I think that was before 9/11.

Duct tape wallets, duct tape clothing -- check out the links at the bottom of the article...

Blogger Is Glitching -- Again!

Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid!

The Blogger comments box is acting up on all Blogger blogs.

Haloscan is looking better and better.

UPDATE: Just when you're working up a real good mad, some fool goes and fixes it... ;-D

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pick-Up Memes

Not all memes are “tag” memes, whereby you are tagged by your blogger friends into doing something, and then in turn, you tag others to do the same. It’s like a blogging chain game, without the illegality of the chain letter.

There is also the “pick-up” meme, whereby you voluntarily pick up a meme from a blogger friend who has posted it to his site.

I got this pick-up meme from a long-time friend and fellow blogger, Howlin’ Hobbit. The rules are:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

For me, the book is Gray Lensman, by E. E. “Doc” Smith. I’m in the middle of re-reading the six-book series, and this is the fourth book.

And the fifth sentence on page 161 reads:

“His taloned fingers, ravening to tear, went past, not around, the Overlord’s throat; and the scimitared tail of the reptile, fierce-driven, apparently went through the Lensman, screens, armor, and brisket, but touched none of them in passing.”

Purple prose, indeed. But this is actually fairly mild. The florid language Doc used in the Skylark series would drive an anaesthetized editor up the wall in this day and age

So, have at it – pick it up and post it. Let’s see what smart bloggers are reading, this season!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


There’s a new meme in town. There’s always a new meme in town! In this one, you anagram both your blog name and your own full name (and, like DazzlinDino, I’m using my blog signature name – I’m anonymous for a reason).

Luckily, you don’t have to be proficient at anagrams by yourself – there’s an anagram engine here to help you. Helpful hint: if, on your basic search, you get more than fifty possible anagrams, do the advanced feature and eliminate the stupid “words” this thing comes up with. “Hac” is not exactly a word (it’s an abbreviation or an acronym, depending upon the science using it), but it was one of the anagram choices the engine came up with for me.

Then choose some likely options, and play with the word order to come up with some interesting, sorta-makes-sense phrases (the engine originally gave me “char me I.” I changed the order around to “I char me.”). Post them, and then, choosing your victims carefully, pass it on.

Selected anagrams for “Chimera”

EACH RIM (each wheel, too, please)
HIM CARE (nice of him…)
RACE HIM (ah, Nascar…rubbin' is racin', Little E!)
ME CHAIR (also me table – they’re a set)
I CHAR ME (every time I try to barbecue something…)
I ARCH ME (Yoga. It’s called yoga)
HIRE MAC (by all means, give the man a job)
MAC HEIR (and be very, very nice to him!)
A RICH ME (this could be the result!)
HAM RICE (with a little onion, some veggies – makes a great lunch)
ICE HARM (happens every time I put on a pair of skates…)
RAH MICE (cheeky little buggers now have cheerleaders!)

Selected anagrams for “Chimera’s Cavern”

RAVENS RIM CACHE (and they’ll stand guard…)
HA’ VCR MENACE, SIR (that’s why we went to DVDs)
VINES RACE CHARM (kudzu does that…)
INCA SEVER CHARM (among other things…)
CAN REVISE CHARM (oh, good!)
EVE CAN CHARM, SIR (I’ll bet she can. Did. Isn’t that why we’re no longer in Paradise?)
EVE (+) CAR (+) CHARM (=) SIN (see previous)
ICE RAVENS MARCH (they never learned to skate, either?)
RAVENS CHAR MICE (mm-mm good!)
RAVENS CAME RICH (maybe they’re with Mac?)
CAR CAME SHRIVEN (obviously taking no chances)
CREAM CAN SHIVER (on its way to becoming ice cream)

This could take all day. Make that all week – there was a lot of stuff to work with.

And now for the tags – I choose:
Zorpheous (this oughta be good!)
Howlin’ Hobbit (another wordsmith)
Ian (definite possibilities…)
Rick (from the Heartlands)
Jean (she’s new on my blogroll, but she’s good at words!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Magical Personality Quiz

Here's something to have fun with. If you've always wanted to live in Harry Potter's world, this is your chance to find out what kind of creature you would be...

Your Q Score is: 3

The Q score ideally should be as small as possible, indicating maximum agreement among elements. However, even a tiny Q score may not mean optimal functioning, since all four elements may in fact be relatively undeveloped.

Your Primary Mythical Creature
Air Types
The main strength of the Air types is intellect. The second element indicates the most probable focus for this intellectual activity.

Air with Fire

Astrologically associated with Aquarius and the Eleventh House

Firebird types are idealistic and driven to achieve something of social or artistic value. They have a strong sense of social justice associated with powerful moral and religious convictions. These convictions are often chosen by the individual on the basis of reason rather than simply received from an existing tradition. They are brilliant at producing original ideas and creative solutions to problems and are good at inspiring others to put them into practice. They can be impatient for results. They hate routine and lose interest once a problem has been addressed, moving swiftly on to the next challenge. They are intense and need a high level of autonomy. They are sociable but goal-oriented. They have good leadership potential but are really more concerned with problem solving. They are unconventional and often radical.

Your Shadow Creature
Water Types
All the Water types have problems relating to feelings and closeness. The weakest element indicates the main focus of these problems.

Water and Earth

This shadow is by turns self-neglecting and over-indulgent and exhibits lack of discipline and self-control. A proper diet is avoided while harmful practices are pursued to excess. They are very active physically and mentally but produce nothing lasting. They want power and can be ruthless in their attempts to get it. They are secretive, and don’t trust others because they themselves can’t be trusted. They have an urge to dominate others and can be insensitive to their emotional needs. They are plagued by an underlying sense of emptiness that explains an apparent self-destructiveness. The biggest obstacle of weak Earth is to overcome self-centeredness and greed; the biggest obstacle of weak Water is to overcome insensitivity and alienation.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Inverted Gardening

No, It's not something you do while standing on your head.

It's something you do while the plant stands on its head!

Just kidding. Sorta.

For those of us who would love to garden, but who also live in apartments, with small or non-existent balconies (and who would really love to garden, and are not just using the lack of facilities as an excuse), there is now a way to have your tomatoes, your beans, and possibly some other veggies as well.

If you've got the bucks, and/or you're not handy with some basic tools, there is a commercial website where you can purchase the gardening basics.

But if you want to make your own, here are the step-by-step, illustrated instructions.

(H/T JeanC)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Looking Over Down Under

There's an interesting blog from Down Under that came to my attention by way of Zorpheous (whom we all know as that sometime-master/sometime-victim of a crazy-but-lovable squirrel named Lord Speedy Oliver Bump).

Check out BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME

Something for everyone, and I kid you not. If you don't think so, just take a boo at the sidebar...

I've already pirated borrowed from one of her posts, and there is now a new button on my sidebar...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Emerson Not At B.C.’s Service

Commentary from the Georgia Straight:

The end justifies the means: that’s the “new” ethics of the Stephen Harper government, and David Emerson’s defection fits the mould perfectly. The only excuse that Harper can come up with is that former Canfor Corp. CEO Emerson will be “good for B.C.”. Never mind the continued anger over Emerson’s disdainful response and Harper’s arrogance: just what is the evidence that Emerson will be good for B.C.?


Dogwood’s Horter thinks companies like Canfor, and CEOs like Emerson, aren’t that unhappy with the U.S. tariffs. The tariffs and duties—which the big companies can absorb and still make a profit—set up a situation in which they can swallow up the smaller ones for whom the duties really are devastating. This is exactly what has happened.

Anyone out there still think Emerson's crossing of the floor at a gallop was a good idea?

Pocket Taser Gun

The belly-laugh I've been looking for showed up on a radio broadcast last night -- Coast To Coast AM with Art Bell (George Noory does the show during the week, and Art is back to doing it on the weekends). In the first hour, he read this little item on the air. I had been trying to get to sleep, but gave it up after this. I think I woke up still laughing...


This was submitted by a guy who purchased his lovely wife a "pocket Taser" for their anniversary:

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife, Toni. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were suppose to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety.... WAY TOO COOL! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home.

I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave. Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries,... right?

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong? So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another.

The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, "no possible way!"

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best..... I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, "don't do it master," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.... I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it.

I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION@!@$$!% !@*!!!

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again, do it again!" Note: If you ever feel compelled to "mug" yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative. SON-OF-A- ... that hurt like hell!!!

A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantle of the fireplace. How did they get up there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novacaine, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I'm still looking for my testicles. I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return. Still in shock...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Into The West

I'm going to take a few days away from posting anything after this one (although I might put a comment or two on other blogs). I need some time to get my head back where it needs to be. And I need to find my heart again. By way of reason, I'm cross-posting what I wrote on a membership site:

Sometimes it seems like I’ve almost got all the answers to all the questions in the world, and then something gets in my way.

Last night, death got in my way -- Amber's death.

My wonderful, silky-fluffy feline companion of twelve and a half years -- never before sick a day in her pampered life -- had a seizure that left her blind and paralized on her left side.

Her crying out for me went right to my marrow -- this cat was almost two years old before we knew she wasn't mute -- she never vocalized! Once in a blue moon, she'd give a peculiar little squeak, but she never meowed. After the seizure was over, she cried and cried for me -- she couldn't see me at all. My hands on her calmed her somewhat (healing touch works wonders for animals), but she was still clearly in distress, and over-breathing to the point of hyperventilating (more than one breath per second is not normal for a cat). She tried to stand and walk, but kept falling over.

Time for the vet.

I took her to an after-hours emergency vet who confirmed my worst thoughts: a probable blood clot to the brain -- partial paralysis and blindness were its effects. She might be able to survive a couple more years on daily doses of various medicines, but she wouldn't regain her sight, and she'd always be partially paralyzed.

No. Not my Amber.

Not my gentle queen, who would sit squarely in front of me on my footstool and tilt her head till her right ear touched her right shoulder -- her "adorable" look that signalled her desire to be combed. Not my reciprocating beauty, who would stretch out her neck and tongue to groom my hair as I was grooming hers.

Not my guardian-in-the-night, who would sleep on the floor at the foot of my bed, no doubt defending me from bad dreams.

Not my movie-watching feline, who had a definite taste for action films, and her own chair in which to sit and watch them.

Not my musical cat, who played the coil-spring doorstop so persistently, often in the middle of the night; and who paid close attention during band practises, in case someone left a stray instrument for her to stand guard over.

Not my foot-fetishist who never saw a shoe she didn't love, and who would sit patiently waiting for me to take off my boots and then my socks -- and then look for the socks to wrestle with.

Not my soft-paw, who never unsheathed her claws, and so sometimes would simply slide right off a slight but slippery slope, trying to look dignified all the way to the floor.

Not my Sprawl Cat, who slept flat on her back in the middle of the floor, with one arm out to the side and the other tucked in to her chest, perfectly confident that she would never be stepped on.

No. Not my Amber.

I borrowed a comb from the vet, and asked her to give me a few minutes with Amber. I sang to her as I groomed her one last time -- Into The West. I have never heard any other transition song with such perfect meaning. My girl must have thought so, too, because she stopped fussing and purred while I combed her. I told her that Bast would meet her at the Gate, and that we would see her again when our own times came.

Then I gave the vet the signal to administer the final shot, and Amber died quietly in my arms with my tears soaking her silky head.

She'll be cremated, and her ashes will be scattered over flower beds in one of the local parks -- that's standard procedure unless special arrangements are wanted. But I couldn't think of anything more special than to have the residue of her body's life contribute to the nourishment of other, new life. The wheel of the year goes 'round, and the cycle of life, death, and life again never ends. And it's only her body that is gone, that I will miss with an aching heart.

The spirit of Amber -- Bast would call it her ka -- lives on.