BMEWS
 
When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Tuesday - June 21, 2011

Explicit admission

NJ Assembly panel advances health benefits bill

TRENTON, N.J. – The move to stabilize New Jersey’s underfunded pension and health care systems by requiring public workers to pay sharply more for the benefits while suspending bargaining over health care was fast-tracked through the Legislature Monday, after Democrats joined with Republicans to buck the powerful public employee unions.

The Senate passed the bill 24-15 as a gallery full of raucous union members looked on; eight Democrats aligned with all 15 Republicans to pass the bill. An Assembly budget panel advanced the measure hours later, also without the majority party’s support.

A vote by the full Assembly is set for Thursday. Gov. Chris Christie has already indicated his support.

“The time for political calculations is over,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat and member of the ironworkers’ union, who sponsored the bill. “The time for passing the buck to someone else is over.”

The Assembly Budget Committee approved the bill 7-5 after an eight-hour hearing that began with an impassioned plea from Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Three Democrats paired with four Republicans; five Democrats voted ‘no.’

“This is the correct legislation for this moment,” Oliver said. “This bill will ensure a strong future for our state.”

The Republican governor, a driving force behind the landmark legislation, praised the Senate for its action.

“This is a watershed moment for New Jersey, proving that the stakes are too high and the consequences all too real to stand by and do nothing,” he said in a written statement. “As a result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to confront the tough issues, we are providing a sustainable future for our pension and health benefit system, saving New Jersey taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and securing a fiscally responsible future for our state.”

Start the countdown ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

NAACP: Making NJ public workers pay more for health care is racist!!

National NAACP head Ben Jealous weighed in against the pension and health benefit bill moving through the Legislature today, saying black New Jerseyans would be disproportionately hurt by the changes.

“We see this same pattern in many states and cities across the nation. Public sector jobs are critical in communities of color and attacks on bargaining rights and health care disproportionately affect our communities,” said Jealous in a prepared statement.

The statement was accompanied by a new report by Rutgers labor relations professor Jeffrey Keefe that argues public sector employment is a “a special bulwark for the Black middle class” because it “provides stable full-time employment with middle income earnings and employer provided health insurance, among other benefits.”

“New Jersey’s public sector has provided stable full-time employment with middle income earnings and employer-provided health insurance for more than 15 percent of black workers, all of which is now under attack as New Jersey leaders threaten to sharply reduce public workers’ pay and benefits,” wrote Keefe. “Because of the particular importance of public sector employment to the black community, black workers will suffer disproportionately if the attacks on public worker benefits prevail.”

Oh how I would love to see the real raw numbers. Because 25 and 40 percent are also “more than 15 percent”. Mr. Jealous has come right out and spoken the one truth that must never be mentioned: government employment is a jobs program for black people. I’m fairly certain he’s aiming quite low. If you were to combine local, state and federal numbers, my guess is that the real percentage of the black community working for the government - any kind or level of government - is considerably higher than 15 percent. Like 25 percent. Perhaps more. 15 percent is probably only the part that works for the state government.

I would not like to then be able to look up the actual size of the working age black population, and I certainly would not want to add in the number of black people who are in prison or receiving multiple forms of government assistance (welfare & food stamps) etc. Because the total number you’d get would show you just how large a slice of their population is being supported either fully or majorly (>50%) by government. And people would get upset if that number was something like 80%. They’d come to the wrong conclusions and start getting terrible ideas about demographic sponging. And that would be racist!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/21/2011 at 02:17 PM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentCorruption and GreedRacism and race relationsUnions-Labor •  
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Kenya: Kill Teh Gayz!!

Kenyan Muslim leaders call for death penalty for gays

... somewhere over the rainbow ...

Muslim leaders in Kenya have called on the government to introduce the death penalty for homosexuals and to boycott their businesses, media reports said Monday.

“Death is the only punishment prescribed by Islam for such people as done in China and Iran,” the Daily Nation quoted Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, as saying.

“We are asking Kenyans to shun businesses owned by such people and further show them open discrimination as a way of stopping the beastly act,” he told reporters at an anti-homosexual workshop.

“They grossly abuse rights of others and should not be accepted among the society,” he said.

The workshop was attended by more than 150 madrassa teachers and was called to address the problem of sexual abuse of boys.

Another participant at the work shop, Sheikh Majid Obeid also blamed Kenya’s recent drought on “illicit activities.”

So Kenyan muzzies see being gay as also being a pedophile. And being a Kenyan power bottom makes the rain god angry so he goes into hiding?

Breaking News: muslims are nuts. Africans are nuts. Muslim Africans are double nuts!

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries. Those who show their gay orientation openly often face violence as well as discrimination.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/21/2011 at 11:39 AM   
Filed Under: • Gay Gay Gay!RoPMA •  
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MISS CALIF IS NOW MISS AMERICA AND SHE’S A RED HEAD. HOME RUN!

I’m having some serious back problems again and promised myself I wasn’t gonna boot this machine today.  Not too bad if I stand up, and I can walk pretty much okay albeit with a bit of a limp. It’s worse though if after sitting for only a short while, I then stand. Damn. Stiff and need to hold on to something to get up.
Hobble to the bathroom and hobble back to a good easy chair. 

So anyway, something caught my eye in the morning paper.  What a surprise. The Telegraph sees fit to run a photo and story on Miss America, and happily Miss America also happens to be Miss California. Woo-hoo. AND …. she is a GLORIOUS REDHEAD! Double woo-hoo.  Yes ok. CA. Land of and all the other jokes and missives directed at my home state. And yeah, I’ve been guilty of tossing more then a few brick bats myself.
And look who was elected gov. in the last election.  So Calif. (parts of which can be so nice) brings on itself a lot derisive commentary. And usually funny commentary at that. 

Here’s the article that prompted today’s bit of peiper peak.

By Nick Allen, Los Angeles

Organisers had been criticised for including “polarising and intimidating” questions such as whether evolution should be taught in schools, and whether the American Constitution should protect burning of religious books.
Hopefuls were also asked if internet bullies should be prosecuted, and their opinion on posing naked for photographs.
Alyssa Campanella, 21, who described herself as a “huge history geek,” topped the field of 51 beauty queens at the contest in Las Vegas.
In 2009 Carrie Prejean, who was representing California that year, caused a highly-publicised controversy when she answered categorically that she was opposed to same-sex marriage.
This year’s questions were designed to be “news topical” but on the eve of the contest Keith Lewis, state pageant director for California, New York and New Hampshire, said: “The girls are scared to death. They witnessed with Carrie Prejean how a firestorm can create a road kill.”

My newest Goddess. Miss America.

ALYSSA CAMPANELLA

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On a very personal note. I sympathize with these young ladies. Contest questions are so artificial and hypocritical. Does anyone doubt it’s actually all about looks? Why should there be anything wrong with that?  What? They want brain surgeons? Not saying these young women are dumb at all. But this pc world sometimes gets me down.  Which brings me to the personal part of things.

Years and years and years ago I won a major award in the industry I worked in.
If I were in the running these days, I would not stand a chance in hell of getting past the many pc idiot questions that are being asked of nominees. I had to submit an air check of my program which was listened to by people I never knew or met and to this day don’t know who my judges were. That’s it. Period.  I wasn’t asked about how much time I gave to my community or any of the other suck up questions that appeal to the left.  I was judged solely on the merit of what I did on air. Not how much time I gave to local charity or social groups etc.
So I sympathize with the ladies who in their quest for a beauty title, and you know damn well it is, they have to appear to be deep thinkers searching for the meaning of the universe.
Can’t anything be simple and easy anymore?  Why can’t they ask important questions that I might be interested in?

Like, What’s your favorite color?

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/21/2011 at 08:25 AM   
Filed Under: • Eye-Candy •  
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calendar   Monday - June 20, 2011

Working From Home

Oh, such excitement. Today I became a temporary expert on Exit signs. “Get me a pair of new signs for the office” says the customer, “not junk, but not too fancy. These old signs are done.”

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Put this one in the “things you never think of” category. Did you know that every state, and many cities, have their own requirements for Exit signs? I didn’t; I never thought about it. But they do. For the most part, most states stick with the standard standards, UL 924 and so forth. Some cities require red letters, some require green letters. I did not know that there were self-illuminated Exit signs. The self-illumination is by tritium, the slightly radioactive, glow in the dark gas that the US Army uses for rifle sights and to help initiate hydrogen bombs exploding. To my non-surprise, tritium signs are illegal in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and any number of other cities and states.

Here’s one I never thought of: the lettering on an Exit sign has to be fire retardant. Well, duh, now that I think about it.

Los Angeles demands that all new Exit signs consume no more than 5 watts of electricity, which pretty much mandates LED and LEC design. LA also requires a battery back up that lasts at least 90 minutes.

Chicago specs call for red letters on a white background, but their material specs generally require the signs to be built like little tanks. They have a glass face requirement for most signs, but allow acrylic for edge lit signs. If the sign has arrows, they have to be below the word Exit, not next to it.

New York City requires extra large lettering, each letter at least 8” tall with a 1” brush stroke. Must be a lot of nearsighted New Yorkers.

New Jersey adheres to the standard rules, but also outlaws tritium.

Some states are now expanding their rules to include minimum luminosity standards.

The Exit sign pictured above seems to meet almost everyone’s requirements. It’s almost 9 pounds of white painted steel and glass, with 8” tall red letters and a battery inside. It consumes 5 watts. It costs $235. This one is illegal in Europe and San Francisco, because they require green lettering.

There are vandal resistant models that appear to be bullet proof. And boy are they expensive.

The signs I found for my customer are well made, but they don’t meet NYC or Chicago standards. But they only cost $58. And yeah, I’m billing for my research time as well.

I don’t think there is actually an illuminated Exit sign for sale that makes everyone happy.

What makes Drew happy? Well, here’s another picture of Kate Upton. I thought she had a Denise Richards thing kinda going on, so I put one of her in too for comparison’s sake. (Christopher, don’t look!)

See More Below The Fold

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/20/2011 at 03:53 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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like arguments over state’s rights. If I recall, that led to civil war…

Oy Vey ....

Things indeed look black at black rock.  I’m not making lite of things. Oh alright. Light. I’m not making light of it. And actually it is serious. Maybe. I believe it might be.

This is a story of conflict and it has to do with the UK and the EU.

Now then, there seems to be a serious dispute between a couple of folks one of them being a non entity who is Baroness Catherine Ashton. She was at one time a very mediocre bureaucrat who nobody ever heard of. She made no enemies because nobody had ever heard of her. She was also pretty inoffensive as she hardly ever said anything and kept pretty quiet. A brand new position opened up in the EU.  FOREIGN MINISTER.  The EU hadn’t any before. So they went looking for someone to fill the position. Well, all the other names put forward Europe wide, had problems. For example, the French didn’t approve of the German name put forward, the Germans for their part did not approve of the Italian, the Italians didn’t care for the French nominee etc. You get the picture.  So, last one standing who offended no one cos no one knew who she was, a woman who speaks NO foreign language and isn’t interested in learning one, AND does not answer phones on weekends and leaves her office early on Fridays. In other words, a typical bureaucrat. AND ... while everyone is cutting budgets (or say they are) she has increased her budget to expand her office. Well, apparently she has won a major victory against her own country.  Have I mentioned that she’s a Labourite? No?
Ah well ... she is one of those.  She is also: High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU.

The other is a man named William Hague, who just happens to be England’s Foreign Secretary.  The equiv. of the job Mrs Clinton holds for the USA. See the conflict?

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Well, today it was found that the government had accidentally published a classified briefing in which it was said that the Baroness was not experienced enough to become the Eu’s Foreign Minister.  That briefing was in 2009.  Too late now boys. She’s in like Flynn and she ain’t goin’ nowhere but up that golden money tree.

Ok, please pay attention cos this does tend to get a mite involved, and I may need you to explain it to me.  But I’m workin’ on it.
Take a look. 


Baroness Ashton defeats William Hague in EU’s UN battle

Baroness Ashton has inflicted a major defeat on William Hague in his battle to stop the EU usurping British foreign policy after increasing her rights to speak for Europe as a whole at the UN

By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels

The latest “reverse” came despite the government’s creation last year of a top-level war room within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to stop a new EU diplomatic service winning the right to speak for Britain on international bodies.

Lady Ashton and her EU foreign service have overridden British protests to increase its representation and speaking rights at the UN from its New York general assembly to 61 other bodies, including a politically sensitive human rights council.

Lawyers in Brussels and New York have interpreted a move to give the EU special status in the UN’s general assembly (UNGA) last month as also applying to 35 committees, five councils or panels, seven commissions and 14 working groups.

The development is embarrassing for Mr Hague, the foreign secretary, because he promised the MPs last year that EU influence would be “strictly limited” to the UN general assembly and “does not imply agreement to seek additional rights in any other forum”.
Bill Cash, the chairman of the House Commons European scrutiny committee, which holds the government to account on EU matters, said the move was “quite clearly a humiliation”.

“Extending the EU’s status to all these other UN bodies is in flagrant breach of the assurances made to us,” he said. “It is a very severe reverse and has profound implications for the Foreign Office.”
David Lidington, the Europe minister, insisted that the latest UN development would not threaten British foreign policy.

“It is a simple technical change,” he said. “The resolution does not change the status of the EU in the UN or elsewhere in the international system. And it does not challenge the UK’s sovereignty, ability to act independently, or our seat on the UN Security Council. It is on this basis that we support it.”
A May 3 UN resolution gave the EU “the right to speak in a timely manner, the right of reply, the right to circulate documents, the right to make proposals and submit amendments, the right to raise points of order and more seats” for Lady Ashton and her officials.

Since then, Lady Ashton has addressed the UN general assembly as the single voice of European foreign policy and EU officials have already taken up seats and participated on two committees, including a body that oversees international peacekeeping operations.
British officials are fighting a rearguard action to keep the EU out of a powerful UN council for the protection of human rights but according to Brussels diplomats and officials the battle is lost.
“It is 26 EU member states versus one,” said a European diplomat. “This is what the Lisbon Treaty meant. Mr Hague might not like it but that’s the way it is.”

Secret instructions were sent by Mr Hague to all overseas posts last July, when the UN general assembly was tabled, to warn British diplomats to be on their guard against a new EU foreign service.

The Daily Telegraph understands that the classified “egram” instructed all overseas officials to be “vigilant” against “competence creep” by the EU, which has 136 delegations and missions across the world including key embassies in Washington, New York, Beijing and Moscow.

It expresses frustration that the Lisbon Treaty entered into force without any written agreements spelling out the “competences” for the EU foreign service and that the lack of rules has allowed Brussels officials to grab power at the expense of national governments.

All overseas British officials are placed on a standing alert to ensure that the EU does not use routine, existing meetings, such as UN structures, to extend its power and that European diplomats do not try to seek extra representation at the expense of national governments.

To monitor developments the Foreign Office has set up a special structure of senior officials and committees to report back directly to Mr Hague on developments.

TELEGRAPH

In closing this page I would like to invite you to please see more below the fold. And even more from that party at their link. Which you will get by merely clicking on the WANTED POSTER.


See More Below The Fold

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/20/2011 at 10:15 AM   
Filed Under: • EUro-peonsUK •  
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hello suckers or the diplomatic term, foreign aid.

Some weeks ago and not for the first time, I brought up the subject of foreign aid. Not American aid.  British aid. Specifically, I wondered why on earth the UK was giving MILLIONS to India.  A country with their own space program. A country that has nukes AND oh by the way ….  India also has a foreign aid program and gives huge amounts away to the needy.  I think they might be needy. Not simply in their own country which already had trillions of needy and poor starving ppl.  Ok, not trillions but you know what I mean.

Well, here’s an update sure to make Lyndon pull out any hair he has left.  In fact I’d bet he already knows. Hey Lyndon, if you’re looking at this, maybe you want to look away.  I thought my dear wife was going into cardiac arrest when she started ranting on this and she is not the rant type. Correction.  She wasn’t until we moved here to her country.  Or what used to be her country. She says she isn’t sure anymore.

India is going to spend more then $350 million on building the world’s tallest statue.
That’s about two thirds of the British aid they get.  This is in a country with 3.6 million poor.  That figure I put in is not entirely accurate because I was doing the math at a lower pound/dollar rate. Actually, India is spending more then my figure.

As the late Texas Guinan used to say ….

“HELLO SUCKERS!”


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/20/2011 at 09:58 AM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsUK •  
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soldier hits taliban scum, soldier now in trouble, quits army.

Mind how you act now boys.  Mustn’t be seen to be abusive to Taliban prisoner.  Never mind the excuse he was trying to get away.

Jeesh ....  the way this reads, I think some authorities on the home front seem to think that it’s a good idea to transfer muddled civilian legalistic mumbo-jumbo to a fighting front. I guess that’s old news. But this story is right now.

I’m thinking many young Brits don’t read many papers (I know I didn’t at that age), and so they enlist in the army. But if too many start to read the newspapers before enlisting, I wonder how many would find some other employment.

Take a look.

A special forces soldier is being prosecuted for punching a member of the Taliban during an ambush in Afghanistan.

Court martial judge questions prosecution of soldier

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent

The corporal is being taken to a court martial accused of an offence already described as “minor” by a military judge - and despite the “victim” having no apparent interest in the trial.

Corporal X, whose identity is being kept secret because of his membership of the special forces unit, has now left the Army in disgust at his treatment, which came despite an umblemished record and glowing references from his superiors.

The case has raised concerns in the military that troops are being prosecuted needlessly to avoid any allegations of “cover ups”.
It has been pursued despite a court martial judge expressing concern about whether deciding to “pursue” the soldier is a good use of the “public purse”.
Senior military figures are increasingly worried at the financial burden of troops being prosecuted, both because of the legal costs and the loss of soldiers from the front line.

Cpl X was charged with assault last March and will have to wait until July for the full trial to take place.
The alleged attack occurred after a joint patrol of British special forces and Afghan troops was ambushed in the Sangin area of Helmand in March last year.
Two armed men on a motorcycle rode directly at the patrol and the driver, who had a pistol, was shot dead after he ignored repeated orders to stop.

The pillion passenger was captured unharmed and placed in the custody of a member of the Special Forces Support Group.
Moments later the prisoner tried to escape and was punched once by the corporal as he tried to restrain him.

The soldier relayed the entire incident to a member of the Royal Military Police and is alleged to have admitted striking the suspected insurgent to prevent him from escaping and endangering the lives of members of his patrol.
At the end of the interview, Cpl X was cautioned and sent home to Britain where he was arrested, cautioned again, interviewed and later charged with assault.
Afterwards he quit the Army, despite having had years of expensive training, with an outstanding letter of reference from his unit.

Even though Cpl X had left the army and the “victim”, known only as Mr Wall had disappeared, the case was pursued, to the surprise of Judge Alistair McGrigor.
During preliminary proceedings last month, Judge McGrigor, an assistant judge advocate general, questioned whether a trial was in the best interest of the taxpayer given that any sentence passed would be minimal.

He demanded to know why the Service Prosecuting Authority, the military equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service, had kept the case going.
Addressing Lt Col David Phillips of the Army Legal Service, the prosecuting officer, Judge McGrigor said: “We have a former Cpl X, now a civilian, who has a charge of battery against him in relation to an incident that took place a year ago against a Mr Wall, who appears to have little or no interest in the proceeding.

“Is this, Colonel, a matter that the public purse should be pursuing in such a robust way? I raise this because in the view of the effluxion of time, the fact that Cpl X is now a civilian and the fact that Mr Wall is not to be found well may mean that any sentence passed is going to be of a minimal nature.”
Lt Col Phillips replied: “That may well be the case here but there is an overwhelming public interest in pursuing soldiers who, as asserted here — and it is an allegation to be proved in court — have allegedly abused their position to strike a detainee.”

Judge McGrigor responded: “A few minutes earlier, another Afghan national was shot dead. It seems the counterpoint in this is that the allegation against Mr X is that he caused a single blow — if that is accepted — which caused a minimal injury. In the context of what was going on, it does seem minor.”

Last night Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark, and former infantry commander, said: “This case is a waste of military time, legal time and taxpayers’ money.
“We have got to stop abusing our soldiers in this way because that is what this is — abuse.”

SOURCE


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/20/2011 at 07:51 AM   
Filed Under: • War-Stories •  
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some law, some disorder and lots of stuck on stupid

In a comment made on another subject, Wardmom4 said,

The liberal criminal ‘justice’ system is STUCK ON STUPID!

See what can be accomplished when you are just adult enough to tell the children NO and the criminals go to jail and then have some real consequences when they come out.

And that caught my eye and imagination when I read the story that came with the photo you see here.  But you don’t need that to see how completely upside down the ‘rule of law’ is. There wasn’t anyone to say NO to these guys when young.  And jail was no real threat either.

A ROBBER caught on camera taking part in a $435,000 raid on a London Jeweler had been free from jail for only 27 days.  He was set free after serving half his sentence for another heist of like nature. We can see how well the softly,softly approach to crime works. 

Good start to his career since he is only 20 years old. He’s learning early that even when caught, the law is pretty much toothless.

The govt. here is instituting a new scheme wherein if the bad guy admits guilt at arrest, then the prison term is halved. Originally it was going to include some rape crimes but the outrage was such that the plan was dropped in all rape cases as well as very violent crimes. But burglars and small time robbers or robbery without violence will see terms cut.

Hey,hey Britain. Waytago. You can show us barbarians in the USA exactly how crime should be dealt with while quoting our figures with regard to how many Americans are jailed. We are really mad and evil, right?

Anyway, the bad guys here were caught because DNA was found that nailed em to this crime. One of the two misunderstood miscreants has 19 previous convictions. He was awarded four years and three months.  Good. That’ll send a message I bet. A funny one. That’s exactly why I used the word “awarded.”



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At the scene of the crime:

A gang of robbers armed with axes are being hunted by police after escaping with more than £100,000 worth of watches in a day-time raid on a City jewellers. Four men on mopeds struck at Watches of Switzerland in the City of London’s Royal Exchange yesterday afternoon. They broke through the locked front door of the store and used axes to smash cabinets grabbing handfuls of expensive watches.

A lone customer in the store and four staff were left terrified by the raid just before 3.30pm. As the gang sped off a City worker tried to grab one of the raiders at a zebra crossing but they escaped.

Police cornered two of the men on an industrial estate in Upper Holloway but they ran off abandoning a hold-all full of watches.

kids in playground helped solve the case:

A nine year old boy helped police crack a case involving the theft of almost a quarter of a million pounds worth of watches from a robbery after finding a mobile phone in his school playground. It’s thought the phone had either been ditched or was accidentally dropped by the robbers as they were fleeing the scene of the crime.

The contact details on the phone led police straight to the robbers and consequently both Jed McDonald aged 21 and Charlie Kavanagh aged 20, both living in Islington London were arrested along with three other suspects.

The robbery took place in the Royal Exchange London at the Watches of Switzerland shop on the 2nd of February this year. The store is a well know retail outlet for luxury and Swiss watches. During the robbery staff and customers were threatened by the robbers with axes as other members of the gang smashed open cabinets containing luxury watches.

At the case, held at the Old Bailey on the 17th of June the court heard that the robbers escaped with 28 watches worth an estimated £250,000 from leading luxury brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier amongst others and after ditching their mopeds fled through a school playground in Holloway London where the phone was dropped along with other items including a balaclava which was found to contain the DNA of one of the suspects.

Due to the overwhelming evidence both men pleaded guilty. Jed McDonald was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months while Charlie Kavanagh was sentenced to 8 years.

[ June 3 ] City of London Police released the images after two of the four men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. Jed McDonald, 21, and Charlie Kavanagh, 20, are waiting to be sentenced at the Old Bailey this month.

The pair, both from Islington, were arrested after they were identified by DNA traces on clothing and motorcycle gear. The items were abandoned after a police chase following the raid in February which ended at an estate in Upper Holloway.

The conviction is a much-needed success for police, who have been overwhelmed by London’s surge in these brazen yet hard to solve smash and grab raids. Last month alone there were more than ten in the borough of Westminster - double the number in the same month last year - and each year the haul from the raids is estimated at millions of pounds’ worth of goods.

Smash and grab raids on the streets of London are not new. They evolved from the notorious ram-raiders of the 1990s when criminals used high-powered cars to smash their way into stores to snatch jewels or high-value electrical goods. Pioneered in the North East where the raids quickly became an epidemic, London’s gangs adapted the methods to suit the city’s slow-moving traffic, quickly realising that motorbikes or mopeds were almost impossible to chase successfully and could escape through even the heaviest of traffic jams. Instead of using cars to break through shop fronts, robbers started carrying sledge-hammers or axes. Often the robberies last for just 30 seconds and the gangs are gone before police can arrive. Police say it is too dangerous to mount pursuits of the motorcycles or mopeds, which their riders drive at speeds of up to 100mph, sometimes through crowded streets.

Almost ironic: These 4 “men in black” did their crime just 2 days before an entire gang - 51 crooks - the infamous “Men In White” were convicted of the same kind of crimes:

Britain’s biggest robbery gang who smashed their way into dozens of jewellery stores swiping gems in 60 seconds, were jailed for a total of 140 years today.

Dubbed the ‘Men in White’ due to their distinctive boiler suits, the 51-strong gang used sledgehammers and axes to batter their way into High Street jewellers stealing £3.6million of designer watches and jewellery.

They were responsible for an extraordinary crime wave of 34 robberies in 16 months across the UK and Europe as they hit a new target every fortnight.


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Posted by peiper   United States  on 06/20/2011 at 05:31 AM   
Filed Under: • CrimeUK •  
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calendar   Sunday - June 19, 2011

You have got to be kidding me

Online Civics Test

All survey respondents were asked whether they have ever engaged in any of 13 different political and civic activities. These included, for example, registering to vote, signing a petition, contacting a public official, publishing a letter to the editor, and whether they have ever been elected to a government office.

Among the 2,508 respondents, 164 say they have been elected to a government office at least once. This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected. It would be most interesting to explore whether this statistically significant result is maintained across larger samples of elected officials.

71.4% of the people who took this test FAILED, even when “passing” was considered a 60% score.

A further 17.8% earned themselves a “D” by scoring 60% - 69%.

Only 0.8% of the more than 2500 people who took this test scored an “A”, by getting 90% or more of the questions correct.

As far as I’m concerned, I failed the test. Because I got more than 1 wrong. Yup, I got 2 wrong and got a 94. Well, maybe if they worded things differently I would have got the one question right, and I had the other question right but thought that my answer was too simple so I changed my mind ... and it’s been 26 years since I took a basic accounting class.

33 questions. 5 questions per page, 3 questions on the last page. Once you answer a page’s worth and hit “Next”, you can’t go back and change your answers. Hmmph, I just burned through the whole test too. I could have reviewed things one page at a time; that might have helped a little too.

A friend sent me the link. “This test is hard” she wrote. Really?

And here’s me, having taken only one single college level class in history, and that was one of those liberal rewrite “All white Americans are bad” classes. So damn near everything I know, I picked up in high school, from classes of 2 dozen or more kids, no teacher’s aides, no spiritual counseling, or any of that modern crap. Just school. I graduated 33 years ago, but I bet I’ve been involved in at least 11 of those 13 civic activities mentioned above. Ok, I’m wrong; I’ve only been involved in half of them. You can access both the Civic Engagement quiz and a short Civic Knowledge quiz from their homepage; the test you want to take is the “Full Civic Literacy Exam” button on the left side. My Civic Engagement level was “Sons of Liberty”. Oh boy!!

No names or personal info is collected. I have high expectations of all of my readers, but we won’t mock you too badly if you screw up and get a B. I don’t expect the test to take you more than 10 minutes at the most.

Hints? Read the questions carefully. Sometimes the answer isn’t what is best to do, but what has actually been done.

“Promote then as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

President George Washington,
Farewell Address


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/19/2011 at 07:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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gun porn?

Northamptonshire.
Boughton House is the Montagu family home.  Bought by Sir Edward Montagu, Lord Chief Justice to Henry VIII, in 1528, Boughton has been in the same family to this day.  Lady Elizabeth Montagu, the Boughton heiress, married Henry, the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, bringing the house and estate into the Buccleuch family.  Extensions to the house in the 1690’s are based upon Louis XIV’s Versailles.

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Here ya go Drew. A lifetime windows job. Have to restart by time you get to the end.

Known as the English Versailles, the house is stuffed with treasures as you’d expect.
However, there an oddity that I’d never head of.

Apparently they have a prototype machine gun that fired two types of bullets: round for Christians, square for Turks. 

From 1718 ... 

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Go here for larger pix and info.  A SQUARE BULLET

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/19/2011 at 07:30 AM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun ControlUK •  
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poor brain dead cousin jo. the adventure continues

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF A LOON OR … ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE LIFE OF ,

POOR BRAIN DEAD COUSIN JO

June 19, 2011

Not exactly a chapter. More like one line but it takes more then one line to explain it.

Some time ago I had occasion to write about my wife’s cousin (on her father’s side), who I very aptly referred to as … Poor Brain Dead Cousin Jo.
In fact, I had more then one occasion to write about this historically very knowledgeable but otherwise very dim bulb.

Blogs are where we get to write about our boring (or not) lives or the doings of others for good or no. A place to let off steam and bore others sometimes.  Like bitching about a neighbor’s dog or late night party because ppl are not very considerate these days.
But writing about the doings of cousin Jo, (the brain dead wonder of the western world) just tickles the hell outta me, and so I when the occasion arises, and cousin Jo invariably offers those opportunities, I feel compelled to write about it.

While some of you reading this may recall her previous adventures, some who read this may not know who the hell I’m talking about. Or why. Well, a bit of background so you’ll know why.

Until she was in her 70th year of being, cousin Jo could still get away with tight jeans and heels. She was fairly sexy looking for her age but I promise you, it wasn’t planned.  She just happened to look well.  In fact, when I first met her some 30 years earlier, she was overweight, it showed, and she still managed to look pretty damn good.  Of course, the walking she did may have helped.  The Brits are walkers and hikers.  The group she belonged to would walk something like 12 or 15 miles and that was warm up.  But that was much later.  Anyway, she had some surgery of some kind and I suspect it was then that perhaps in error, they operated on the wrong part and took out her brain.

To recap briefly, this is a woman who insisted, on hearing that she was wrong to piggy back someone’s pc connection, that if she were to take a bicycle and go someplace but returned it, it wouldn’t be stealing.  Even if she never asked permission first.  So therefore, borrowing someone’s connection fell into the same category.

Speaking of puters.  She’s one of those who should be barred by law as she honestly is too dumb to have one. She spent years taking a free course at a school and never got beyond turning on your computer using the start button.  She couldn’t find it.
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She once called to ask us for advise on giving herself an enema, as she’d never done so before and didn’t know how.  Is that a howler er what?

From the time she says goodbye at the door after a visit, it’s usually a full twenty minutes before she’s at her car parked out front.  Another five before starting the engine, talking all the while, while saying goodbye.

She once asked for advise on …
“How does one read in bed?  My book keeps falling on my head.”
Under questioning it turned out that she was reading laying flat on her back and falling asleep while holding a book above her face.

Could I possibly make that up?  Or this one.

ring,ring,ring ring.  (our phone)
Hello
Jo, sounding surprised that anyone answered their phone always starts with,
“Oh” (pause) “Hi” Can I speak to Jenn?
Sure Jo, let me get her for you. But Jo is already talking anyway.
She needs some information.

“How do you boil an egg?”

You just could never ever make that up.

Stay Tuned
-30-


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/19/2011 at 05:15 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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calendar   Saturday - June 18, 2011

3 bits of history at once

I spent a couple hours this afternoon reading about a highly inventive Edwardian civil engineer with the marvelous name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He built the Great Western railway in England in the 1830s, and 24 other rail lines. He and his father built a tunnel under the Thames in 1833 that is still in use today. (Peiper wrote on it a year ago). He built more than 100 viaducts and bridges, including the fantastic Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon in Bristol. He built 9 pier and dock systems. He made a pneumatic subway that would have worked if decent gaskets had been available. When the Crimean War broke out, he built a prefabricated portable hygienic hospital, put it on a ship, and sent it to the front, where Florence Nightingale put it to good use.

He was a genius far ahead of his time, and he made a fortune. He was also a grand philanthropist and founded a number of schools and hospitals.

He also built ships.

His first ship, the Great Western, was the first transatlantic steamship, built in 1838. Built mostly from wood, driven by enormous paddle wheels, and an impressive 232 feet long from stem to stern, it was the largest ship in the world when it was launched. Great Western made 64 passages between Great Britain and New York between 1838 and 1846.

Brunel’s next ship was bigger yet. But it couldn’t be made from wood. It turns out that no matter how strongly you build a wooden ship, they tend to “hog” - flex in the middle - when they get longer than about 275 feet. So in 1842 Brunel built the Great Britain from iron. This was the first modern ship; it had a metal hull, metal decks, watertight compartments, a gigantic 2 cylinder steam engine that generated 1000hp, and a propeller. At 322 feet, Great Britain was the largest ship ever built at the time of her launch as well. And here she is:

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What you are looking at is 3 bits of history all at once. This is a photograph taken of the Great Britain while it was still under construction. The photograph was taken by William Fox Talbot. In 1844. The photograph was of a type called the calotype, a very early kind of film similar to the daguerreotype but backwards. The daguerreotype created a “positive” which made making copies of the print quite difficult. The calotype made an actual negative, so making multiple prints from it was much easier. Either way, cameras that used something we might recognize today as film were only 4 to 8 years old when this picture was taken. The 3rd bit of history is rather minor: this seems to be the first picture ever taken of a ship.

All this was 16 years before Matthew Brady, whom we Americans tend to think of as the father of photography. Father of photojournalism perhaps, but Talbot had him beat by many years. And 19 years before that iconic meeting in the waters of Hampton Roads that we tend to think of as the birth of iron ships ...

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ancient photograph of a lithograph: two wooden ships covered in iron plate have at it

was merely the modern birth of floating armored warfare. Brunels’ ships had been chugging back and forth to Australia for ages by that point. Today the Great Britain has been fully restored and is on display in Bristol, UK.

Brunel lead a fascinating life, and I’m just scratching the surface here. In 2002 he was voted the 2nd greatest Briton ever, behind only Churchill. But I found myself quite impressed by a photographic print from way way way back when, and it all sprung from there. Perhaps someday Peiper will do a good long post on the Clifton Suspension Bridge, including pictures taken while driving across it as the bridge bounces up and down under the weight of his car. Or a post on Brunel’s ill-fated final ship, the Great Eastern, which in it’s day was the largest thing that ever floated, and kept that record for a whole generation. Or you can just read about him and his fantastic projects online.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/18/2011 at 11:03 PM   
Filed Under: • HistoryUK •  
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Bait & Switch

I needed a new battery for our cordless phone. I looked in the local stores but to no avail. To the cloud!

Turns out our phone needs one of those 3.6v 3AA batteries with the wire and a connector. No problem. Found what I wanted at Amazon, an Energizer ER-P240 NiMH 1000mAh jobbo for $10 that’s a good bit stronger than the original 800mAh Asian POS battery. Let’s see if Google can find me a better price. It did.

I got a pair of them from the first company that comes up. $5.95 each, free shipping. Went to the web site. It says Energizer ER-P240. It says “famous brands for less”. The picture wasn’t of that brand of batteries, but I went through their site and they seemed to use that picture for all the 3AA batteries they sell. I ordered. That was Monday. What came in the mail was a pair of no brand, 600mAh nickle cadmium battery packs, loose in an envelope. Say what? Old tech, unpackaged, and unbranded, these aren’t worth $2, much less $5.95, and they sure as heck aren’t EverReady Energizers. Which are made by Audiovox these days actually, but at least they still say Energizer on the package.

So I wrote a nice email to the company, which goes by a 3 letter acronym. There must be some mistake, I wrote. Surely you guys aren’t doing the old bait and switch? Can I have the proper batteries that I ordered please?

Within an hour they responded. “If you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, send it back for a full refund.” Well. Fine. That’s what I’ll do. And then I ordered the real ones from Amazon. I would have had to pay for shipping, but I ordered the whole Game of Thrones anthology which put me into the free shipping range. WTH, I needed some summer reading anyway. I don’t know a thing about the story, but the books have got great reviews and are popular enough for HBO to make a mini-series out of them starring tough guy Sean Bean. So 4 thick books ought to keep me happy for at least a couple weeks.

Some internet deals really are too good to be true. I looked around at half a dozen other discount battery pages, and they’re all nearly the same. If you want the brand name product, you’ll pay for it.

Personally, unless the 3AA battery pack format is dead tech, I don’t know why they aren’t up there power-wise with the latest rechargeable AA batteries. 1000mAh seems pretty limp compared to the 2500mAh singles I can find. I did find a 1500mAh 3AA, the Energizer ER-P730, but I’d have to swap the sockets and that’s a pain.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/18/2011 at 02:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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G, G & T

Not Bad

It’s a nice late Spring day here. Partly overcast, a bit damp, mid 70s. Probably what passes for a high summer day in England.

So we’re doing housework, but to make it a little more enjoyable I made up a couple Gin & Tonics beforehand with lunch and we’ve got the windows open and the stereo going loud enough to overcome the vacuum cleaner.

By the time we got to the dishes, the G&Ts were gone, so I went to make up another round. Juice from a quarter lime in a highball glass, 4 ice cubes. Put the rind in a double shot glass and fill with frozen Boodles; call it a double jigger. While soaking, fill glasses halfway with chilled Schweppe’s Tonic Water. Pour in gin while capturing rind. Fill glass with Toni - uh oh, we’re out of Tonic. Oh noes! Top off glasses with ginger beer instead. Top with lime slice. Stir. Drink.

Hey, not bad. Lime, quinine, gin, and a decent kick of ginger. GG&T! Quite satisfying.

Back to doing the dishes.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/18/2011 at 02:41 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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