Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarcasm: A new crime fighting tool?

How many times have you heard that the best thing to do when being robbed is to be passive and not do anything? "Just give them what they want," we are told. Sometimes, a different approach is called for (via Drudge):

Police said a bank teller in suburban New York had a simple question for a would-be robber: Are you serious?

Police said that was enough to spook the female suspect, who fled the Roslyn Savings Bank in Centereach late Thursday afternoon without a dime.

Police said she walked into the bank located inside a supermarket on Route 25 about 4:49 p.m. and handed the teller a note demanding cash and threatening to open fire with a gun if the teller didn't comply.

That's when the teller apparently expressed her crime-fighting skepticism. Police said the woman left without ever showing a gun.

Perhaps this worked because the would-be robber was female, maybe because she was surprised at the question as it didn't fit into her script of how a robbery should go, or perhaps the teller's display of a lack of fear made her flee. Whatever it was, when it comes to handling a crime situation, there is often no one size fits all solution.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living Well for Less?

With all the discussion about the economy and possibly higher taxes, I have been thinking lately about how to save money, so when Glenn ordered the books, Living Well on Practically Nothing: Revised and Updated Edition and Art & Science of Dumpster Diving, I dove right in to see if I could learn some money saving techniques.

What I learned was that the first book was worth the money just for the laughs and nonconventional wisdom alone. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that the book was published by Paladin Press --the publishing company that put out such books as Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors and Claire Wolfe's 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution: Ideas and Resources for Self-Liberation, Monkey Wrenching and Preparedness.

"Living Well," written by author Edward Romney, is a practical take on how to live on $12,000 a year (the updated version was published in 2001). In order to do this, he advises you to become a "country person." This way, you can live cheap, no longer have to dress to impress and can find a cheap house (even if it means building your own shelter such as a tree house or log cabin) for $300.00 a month in rent. Uh, okay, I already live in Tennessee, maybe this is possible, but I doubt it.

In Chapter 2, he describes a day of cheap living. For breakfast, he sticks to frozen orange juice and oatmeal cooked with cheap oats with dry skim milk, which is also used for his one cup of coffee. He then walks to the post office where he looks in the trash for a free magazine or newspaper that someone threw away, then goes home for lunch of a can of tuna from Sam's Wholesale Club with free tomatoes from his garden. He only drinks water and has a two-day-old banana for dessert with the soft parts cut away. Hmm, I have a tomato garden and overripe bananas are okay but not great. So far, so good. Until this....

In a chapter on how to save on health and medical care, I have to say that I realized that this plan was not going to work for me. In order to get free medical care, the author suggests that one volunteer for medical experiments. "The doctor tests a new drug and its placebo and also gives you physical exams and a variety of other medical services." He also suggests if you have ever served that you use the Veterans Administration hospitals: "Patients who are senile, brain-damaged, or chronically ill seem to run the greatest risk of mistreatment. Some VA surgeons have poor records. You take your chances...."

He tells readers to simply try and stay healthy but if you do get sick, one can find free prescription medicine in a dumpster (if you are brave). "It is surprising how much is thrown away. Antibiotics and certain volatile drugs such as insulin and nitroglycerin are perishable, but most drugs are highly stable for several years at least. You have to read drug manuals and know what you are doing. The risk is high and you are on your own if you try this."

Maybe you shouldn't. At this point, wouldn't it be safer and less trouble really just to get a job to pay for extra healthcare or other needs? You can't really live well for less if you are sick, disabled, or dead from giving your body over to medical experiments, questionable surgeons or digging through dumpsters for drugs that may or may not be safe. Call me crazy, but that's my take.

Anyway, the book is hilarious and I must admit to laughing so hard that I nearly fell over, but I doubt most of us could live this way for long. Could you?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ask Dr. Helen: Is sleeping apart healthy for marriage?

My PJM column is up:

Whether separate beds hurts a relationship depends on why the couple uses them.

I had a post on this topic recently and expanded it a bit using some of the comments from my readers--thanks. Go read the column and see if you have any more words of wisdom.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Are "choice mothers" really the best choice?

There appears to be a growing trend of "choice mothers" in the UK who are having children in their early thirties by artificial insemination as they have decided they would rather have a child than a relationship (via Instapundit):

In many ways it is an extraordinary decision to use donor sperm in your early 30s because you are fed up waiting for a partner. Some campaigners argue that choice mothers are wrongfully depriving their children of a father. But many women in this position think long and hard about this aspect of their decision and often line up a host of male role models in advance. Gwyneth says of 10-year-old Helen: "I think there are some children who grow up perfectly well without male role models - and she has got my father, my brother and my nephew."

It seems to me that kicking men out of the lives of kids and women is the goal of the media and radical feminists in the current milieu that we are living in. Last night, I watched a taped show of Suze Orman where she cheered a woman on for kicking a man out of her life for not being financially responsible enough (he had a lot of credit card debt). However, in the segment before, Ms. Orman had a woman on who owed $40,000 dollars in credit card debt but she sighed in sympathy with her as she explained her predicament. Why isn't Orman warning men about this financially irresponsible woman? Of course she wouldn't do that. Women are caught in bad circumstances, men are bad circumstances in her mind. It seems like many women feel this way.

The more our society pushes the radical feminist agenda that men are bad, irresponsible, or just not available, the more likely it is to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In many ways, it already is, men are avoiding marriage and relationships and are finding other satisfying ways of living their lives. Women believe that there is no guy out there for them or they think of men as bad or irresponsible--which pushes them away further. Some guys will not even try to satisfy women who they feel they can never measure up to, or live up to their high expectations. In this rush to kick men out of family life and reward single motherhood (unless one has a Republican mother), I wonder what the repercussions will be on the next generation?

Jews, Religion and the Democratic Party

Roger Simon at PJM has a message for Jews who have looked to the Democrats as a kind of religion:

From the days of FDR, the vast majority of American Jews have identified with the Democratic Party almost if it were their religion. This included most especially secular Jews like me whose blasé attitude toward their faith and toward religious observance in general made such a replacement all the more important emotionally. This same Jewish majority also identified with the cause of social justice and, as Barack Obama among many others has noted, were some of the most active participants in the civil rights movement of the Fifties and Sixties. That was all how it should have been and was a perfectly logical and praiseworthy epoch in the development of our country.

Hello – those days are over!

Those days are long gone, I have trouble understanding why Jews don't change course when the political climate changes. Many are stuck in the 60's, thinking that the Democrats are on their side. They aren't. When will Jews wake up and realize that the party they thought was their friend is currently anything but?


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Michele Catalano at PJM: Farewell, Yankee Stadium.

Buying Votes for Cigarettes

This weekend I picked up the new copy of John Fund's book, Stealing Elections, Revised and Updated: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. Glenn and I had interviewed Fund for a podcast on voter fraud in October of 2006 and he had some pretty interesting things to say. You can read the transcript here (you will have to scroll down the page and click on "more" to get it). But here are some highlights from Fund in that interview that may be relevant to the upcoming election:

Well, in my book, "Stealing Elections," I basically say we have two problems. We have what political scientist, Walter Dean Burnham, calls the sloppiest election system of any industrialized democracy and because of that sloppiness people with bad motives have often a very easy time finagling the system, adding votes or subtracting votes. Sometimes you can’t tell where the sloppiness ends and where the fraud begins.

I do know that there’s a lot more scrutiny and the general public believes that there’s more fraud, if you look at the Zogby poll or the Rasmussen poll. Something like about twelve percent of Americans don’t believe their ballots are counted properly or the votes are stolen so that their ballots are invalidated.

In the introduction of his recent book, Fund points out that voter fraud can be found all over the US:

Election fraud, whether it's phony voter registrations, illegal absentee ballots, shady recounts, or old-fashioned ballot box stuffing, can be found in every part of the United States, although it is probably spreading because of the ever-so-tight divisions that have polarized the country and created so many close elections lately. Although most fraud is found in urban areas, there are current scandals in rural Texas and Minnesota.... Wisconsin officials convicted a New York heiress who was working for Al Gore by giving homeless people cigarettes if they rode in a van to the polls and voted.

Frankly, if I was homeless and someone did that to me, I would take the cigarettes and write in Philip Morris on the ballot.

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