Three Years is Not Six Days

It seems moral outrage does strange things to math skills. What is it with all the outrage over Casey Anthony being released next week? Headlines suggest that she is serving less than a week for lying to police. Twitterers and bloggers are beside themselves.

No one seems to realize that she’s actually being punished rather harshly. First, she’s gotten the maximum sentence. Second, she’s been sentenced to serve the penalty for each of the four count consecutively. Third, Florida is very stingy with time off for good behavior.

So many people seem to want the three years she’s been in prison to be substitute punishment for the murder she probably committed. It just doesn’t work that way. If she’s declared not guilty, she can’t be punished in a backhanded way. If her liberty has been deprived and she is found guilty of anything, she has to be credited for the time. That’s the way the law works for everyone else, and everyone is equal under the law.

I know it is hard for the public to stop rubbernecking at the train wreck that is the dysfunctional Anthony family and the tragedy of Caylee Anthony’s death. Surely there is another personal tragedy somewhere for people to latch onto and invest emotion. Let the law to its job.

Three years is three years.

Move along…

Disingenuous Interference in the Humberto Leal Case

Reading and listening to the news media, the uninformed might think that the international issues surrounding Humberto Leal’s execution have only just been uncovered. It might appear that the Obama administration has some sort of leg to stand on. These impressions are entirely without merit.

The whole issue Leal’s lack of access to Mexican consular officials after his arrest has been litigated.  Let’s set aside the facts that Leal never revealed his Mexican citizenship after his arrest and that his lawyers never raised the issue before, during or after trial, including his first trip up the habeas corpus ladder. When he filed a petition based on President George W. Bush’s order to the states that they review the cases of the 51 Mexican citizens on death row across the country at that time, that was fully litigated and denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the highest criminal appellate court in Texas). He then filed a second federal habeas petition which was denied by the district court, appealed, and rejected by the Fifth Circuit in 2009 (573 F.3d 214).

The current administration and the media have tried to bolster their position (and yes, it is the same position) by suggesting that Bush endorsed the ruling of the International Court of Justice that led to his order that the states review the Mexican cases. Rather, Bush only ordered the review because he thought he was duty-bound to do so, because the US was a signatory to the Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes to the Vienna Convention, which says that ICJ decisions are binding on the parties before it. He was under the impression that the Optional Protocol was binding on the states. However, in 2008 the US Supreme Court said no, in Medellín v. Texas (552 U.S. 491). Since the Supreme Court, not the Executive Branch, decides what is and isn’t the law, it didn’t matter what President Bush thought and it doesn’t matter what President Obama thinks.

The Supreme Court said no because the Optional Protocol is not self-executing. In other words, it requires enabling legislation. Now at the last minute, the Administration is arguing to the Supreme Court that enabling legislation has been filed in Congress and the Court should wait to see if it passes.  This is the only arrow left in the quiver of the Administration and it is blunted, bent, splintered and missing fletchings.

Congress has had three years since Medellín to pass enabling legislation. It chose not to do so with the proposed Avena Case Implementation Act of 2008, introduced into a Nancy Pelosi-controlled House of Representatives by four liberal Democrats. It never made it out of committee, not to mention across the Capitol.

Now Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced S. 1194. It has no chance of passage, despite the Administration’s repeated assertions that it’s strong support makes a difference. I seriously doubt it would get through the Senate, but it doesn’t have the tiniest hope of getting through the House. It is telling that amicus brief goes on and on about the Senate and does not even mention the House of Representatives.

It is not even as if the passage of S. 1194 would have any effect on the execution of Humberto Leal. It might give him a chance to have a court determine whether not having had consular access unfairly prejudiced his case. The chances of success in such a challenge are infinitesimal. Leal’s guilt in perpetrating a gruesome crime is indisputable. Even the Mexicans admit that.

The last shred of his case, if the Supreme Court were to stay the execution, and if the Congress were to pass S. 1194, is a court might find that had the Mexican government hired the right attorneys for him (if they even would have done so at the time), those attorneys would have presented evidence in his punishment phase differently so that the jury would not have given him a death sentence. The Administration insists in its brief that unless this charade is played out, relations with Mexico will be irreparably damaged and all Americans traveling abroad will be put at risk. There is simply no credibility in any of this.

Unlike the characterizations by the Administration and media, this case has nothing to do with Texas refusing to follow international law. The Supreme Court answered that in 2008. This cases had been litigated and re-litigated, examined and re-examined, for years. It is time for the sentence to be carried out and the Obama Administration to stop interfering.

The Cost of Littering

You have to wonder when Revenue and Customs workers finally starting thinking something might be up. Charlene Ostle kept ringing them up and changing the number of children she had, thus entitling her increased benefits.

She told them she had three sets of twins and two sets of triplets, all before reaching the age of 26. At one point she had given birth to five children in three months.

Even though she knew what she was doing was wrong, she said her pride kept her from asking from help. What? She had no shame in claiming to have had all of these children out of wedlock and no shame in asking the Government for help.

It got her £30,000 in benefits and remarkably only a nine-month suspended sentence. She was spared jail in part because she is actually pregnant with her third child.

Extended Binge

In another spectacular failure for the Government, the introduction of 24-hour drinking laws has resulted in a trebling of drink-related cases in the A&E (ER) department at a London hospital.

In March 2005, there were 79 night time cases involving patients with an alcohol-related problem. By March 2006, there were 250.  In addition to this, there were 27 alcohol-related assaults treated in March 2005. In March 2006 there were 62.

This is just one hospital. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport says that it is not representative of the country. The DCMS seems to have missed this from last year:

A report by the Centre for Public Health said binge drinking is overloading hospitals, reducing life expectancy and fuelling violent brawls.

At the beginning of the year a survey found that hospitals were having to deal with a significant rise in alcohol-related injuries in the wake of 24-hour drinking laws.

It revealed that many casualty departments have seen a greater volume of patients hurt in booze-fuelled fights or accidents.

Accident and emergency units are also finding problems extending much later into the night – increasing the demands on already hard-pressed staff.

The Government said the open-all-hours approach would end binge drinking, because none one would need to quickly quaff before closing time. Instead, the binge just goes on longer. Too many British drinkers just have no self-control.

More From the Cretins in the Kremlin

It beginning to feel a bit like a James Bond film, but there’s no fiction involved. More and more evidence is emerging that the Kremlin has revived its policy of assassinating enemies wherever the can be found around the world.

As noted in The Times:

Twelve months ago the Duma passed a law allowing Russian security agents to pursue “terrorists” overseas and to kill them if they were deemed a threat. The clear aim was to assassinate Chechen fighters who had sought refuge in neighbouring countries. But the law also allowed the FSB to resume a practice that had been officially halted since the disbandment of an organisation (well known to James Bond readers) called Smersh, an acronym for Death to Spies, that was set up by the USSR to hunt down and destroy its enemies around the world.

Putin opponent Boris Berezovsky said that there had been an attempt to assassinate him and Scotland Yard acknowledged it was true, but that they had sent the assassin back to Russia a couple of days after they arrested him. You have to wonder what was going on there, but the Yard wouldn’t divulge anything else.

Russia has also been flexing its atrophied military muscle. Two bombers were headed into British airspace yesterday from their base in on the Kola Peninsula. RAF jets were scrambled to intercept them and Tu95s turned back before reaching British airspace. The RAF characterised it as a rare incident.

The Kremlin seems to think they are on the moral high ground become the British will not allow for the extradition Putin political opponents wanted for “corruption” in Moscow, but the British Government knows that there is no such thing as a fair trial in Russia and once convicted, opponents of the State will be subjected the worst violation of human rights in Siberian labour camps.

We won’t be bullied by the Russian bear. We cannot tolerate the revival of the their tactics. The Russians will just have to keep sending over hit men. The police and MI5 will just have to catch them and bring them to British justice.  At the same time, Russia needs to be diplomatically isolated – something it really can’t afford.

The New Cold War

From the grave, Alexander Litvinenko blamed Vladimir Putin for his death from polonium-210. The Crown Prosecution Service wants Andrei Lugovoi tried for his murder. Russia refuses to hand him over.

Today the Government announced that it is expelling four Russian diplomats in response to the Kremlin’s refusal to cooperate. The Opposition is supporting the Government’s approach.

Lugovoi claims that either MI6, the Russian mafia, or Putin opponent Boris Berezovsky had carried out the killing. None of these is credible. After all Berezovsky was an ally of Litvinenko who has himself survived several assassination attempts including a bomb that decapitated his chauffeur.

What seems much more likely is that the Kremlin was involved. What we have here is bully Russia punching above its weight. Putin he can play the same smoke-and-mirrors game as the old Soviet Union, pretending to be a superpower. The difference is that everyone can see that Russia is in a shambles. All it has left is cloak and dagger intrigue.

All sides recognise that relations between the UK and Russia are at the lowest point since the end of Cold War. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “In London they should clearly realise that such provocative actions masterminded by the British authorities will not be left without an answer and cannot but entail the most serious consequences for Russian-British relations.”

Let the Russians play chicken. We don’t need to flinch. It’s the equivalent of a head-on crash between a bicycle and a Mack truck.

Contempt

There are a lot of thankless jobs out there. Many people contribute to society being a better place and never receive any recognition.  However, when it comes to secondary education, I’m hardpressed to think of another profession where the people benefitting from it hold it in such contempt.

All public facing jobs endure a certain amount of abuse. There are plenty of anti-social nasty people out there. This society has bred more than it’s fair share. Police, for example, get a lot of grief from the criminal element, but then that’s not who they are serving, but rather from whom they are protecting others.

NHS staff deal with a lot of nasties, but they now have statutory protection. Abuse a nurse and you can find yourself without treatment. However, even then, they rarely face an entire waiting room of 30 patients showing open contempt and refusing to be treated when called. Nor do they daily face a constant stream of patients who are so disruptive that others can’t receive treatment.

 The Government has left teachers powerless. If someone refuses to leave a room, they cannot be grabbed by the arm and forced out. If someone tries to leave a room where they are supposed to stay, their exit path cannot be blocked.

How can the Government be surprised that crime figures continue to climb (while trying to manipulate the numbers to show that they haven’t) when they have created an environment where children are a law unto themselves? Is it any surprise that more than 50% of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are violated?

Three Strikes and You’re Out

The day after two car bombs we found in London, both by providential observers, a blazing car has been driven at the main terminal building of Glasgow Airport.

It appears to me to be a car bomb gone “wrong”. The car was already on fire and one of the occupants was on fire, jumped from the car, but was stopped by members of the public until he was detained by the police.  The other was pulled from the car by police, even as he was trying to fight them off. Both were of South Asian ethnicity.
The car never had the chance to explode and as far as news reports indicate, no one was killed or injured.  So far this week, even when they’ve made an attack, terrorists have been unsuccessful.

The terrorists will have to realise this ain’t Bagdad. We won’t be cowed by their bullying.

Twice a Victim

Jacob Smith was a victim of crime and as a result was made a victim of the justice system.

From The Times today:

A shopkeeper has been fined £250 and given a criminal record because he fought back when he was attacked by shoplifters.

Jacob Smyth chased three youths out of his hardware shop in Penzance, Cornwall, when he was set upon. When he was kicked in the groin by one of the hooded youths who had stolen cans of spray paint Mr Smyth hit back.

Police issued fixed penalty tickets to the shoplifters but charged Mr Smyth and a colleague with assault.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to assault at Truro Magistrates’ Court. He claimed after the hearing that he had been advised to plead guilty because otherwise he could have faced a six month prison sentence.

The court was told that Mr Smyth, a father of three, caught the youths stealing the spray cans in October last year. Two of them turned on him and he was kicked in his groin just weeks after a vasectomy operation. He retaliated and punched 18-year-old Craig Spiller to the ground.

So if you are ever attacked two-on-one and kicked in the groin, you must turn the other testicle. Do not defend yourself, or you will face a criminal record.

Clothes Police

If you’ve heard of the clothes police, but never thought this referred to an actual law enforcement body, you may soon be wrong. It may soon refer to any constabulary in Scotland.

Under proposed Scottish legislation, unlicensed kilt wearers could face a £5,000 fine and six months in jail. Don’t worry about wearing the wrong tartan. It all has to do with the sporran – the pouch worn over the unmentionables due to the lack of pockets in a kilt.

Sporrans are traditionally made from leather or fur. Applicants for a license had better know the provenance of their sporran. The animal providing the materials must have been killed lawfully. That means it if it is made from badger, otter, deer, or a number of other animals, it must have been made before 1994.  It’s always a good idea to keep those receipts.

If you can’t prove how old it is (or that it is disgracefully made from non-traditional materials), not only will you have a criminal record and possibly a cellmate, but you will also have your sporran confiscated.

This crazy legislation is not entirely from the deranged collective mind of the Scottish government. It has been proposed to conform to the rest of the European Union.

The Truth About Migrant Workers

For all of it’s wonderful rural positives, the Shire is a very ethnist (what the papers and the Government would erroneous call “racist”) place. Whenever the subject arises in lessons (and it often does, even when we are not particularly studying racism) large numbers of pupils have been programmed from home to say nasty things about migrant workers.

The other day, one of them said, “My dad said we shouldn’t buy local produce, because that just brings in more illegal immigrants.” When I said, “What illegal immigrants?” She didn’t know what to say. I noted that the Russians and Urkrainians work here under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme and the Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks are free to live and work here like any citizen of any EU country. In fact, because they are from the new A8 countries, they have to work. The French, Spaniards, Germans, and Belgians can show up and loaf about if they want, yet still enjoy all the benefits of the socialist state.

A 2005 study showed that the per capita revenue to the Government generated by immigrants (£7,203) was higher than that for the UK born (£6,861). The study went on to show that government expenditure per capita on immigrants was lower (£7,277) than for the UK born (£7,753). So the pay more taxes and they use fewer services.

According to the Treasury, whilst foreign-born migrants make up 8% of the population, they generate 10% of our Gross Domestic Product. So they produce more that’s worth more. Where exactly is the problem?

They have substantially lowered the age profile in the Shire and in the country, because most migrants are between the ages of 18 and 34. This means there are more workers to pays the taxes that pay the pensions of all the UK born over 34s who will soon become over 65s.

If you go into the Hooterville city centre, you here lots of Russian, Polish, and various other Slavic-sounding languages. Why? Because they are spending money. They are investing in the local economy (or the economy of Tesco, M&S, Woolworths, and other national chains).

People complain because they nick stuff from shops. All the shops have shoplifting warning signs in multiple languages. A third of the shoplifting is reported to be by Eastern Europeans. This means that two-thirds is by UK born people. Of the proportion of prime shoplifting-aged people, this is probably fairly representative of the population. The difference is that of they are Russians or Ukrainians they can be deported. We’re stuck with the locally bred riff raff.

But despite all the positives migrant workers have brought to the community, you don’t have to ask around very much to find plenty of people more than happy to slag them off.

A Father’s Love

By and large, or at least stereotypically, Kurds are moderate Muslims. It’s easy to look at it that way when Shi’ites and Arab Sunnis are blowing each other up constantly in Iraq.

Kurds are not westerners and they are not Christians. Culturally many of them, even after moving to the West, retain certain traditional family values. One of these values is that if your daughter or niece is dating the wrong person, she needs to be murdered.

Sure you can beat her constantly for two weeks, but if she still loves a fellow Kurd who is from the wrong region, you have to strangle her with a bootlace, strip her naked, cram her into a suitcase and dump her below a pile of bin bags, a rusting fridge and a discarded television in a back garden in Birmingham. What father would want anything different for his daughter?

Most British newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, have the full story.

And they say all cultures are equal.

It’s Not Fair

I have heretofore refused to say anything about that cranial vacuum known as Paris Hilton. However, yesterday’s antics were just too much.

I don’t even mean Paris’ own histrionics in the courtroom, though I have to say I don’t think I ever had a client behave like that when being sent down. You would think she was going to the scaffold, but even those facing death have almost always done it with more dignity. She has been sentenced to 45 days in an jumpsuit. I guess orange just isn’t her colour.

She is only going to jail because she was driving on a suspended license after two alcohol related convictions, the second of which resulted in probation, and both picked up within four months.  The only reason she was pulled over the third time, within six months of the first offence, was because she was doing 70 in a 35 in the dark with no headlights. Yet despite this she had to be dragged from the courtroom screaming, “Mom! Mom! Mom! It’s not fair! It’s not right!”

She is right – it’s not fair. She should have had more consequences sooner. It’s not fair that people with lots of money can buy their way to leniency. It’s not right that the sheriff was either conned or paid to let her out on a false medical pretence. No, Paris, life isn’t fair.

But that’s not the worst bit. Like I said, who should care about a rich little airheaded bimbo spending six weeks in the Gray Bar Hotel? No one. Certainly not every TV network. This is worse than when I was in the States at Easter and watched the coverage to find out who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby. I watched it because there was nothing else on. The eyes of the world were focused on finding the lucky fornicator.

The leaders of the seven richest nations (and their belligerent little Russian friend) are meeting in Germany to develop coordinated policy on a variety of world issues and the live coverage is about someone best known for their acting in front of bedside camcorder.

And it’s not like the UK is immune to this. Every newspaper and television news programme has covered this. Why? Why do people care? What does this say about the values of western society?

Rolling Through a Loophole

I hope I don’t catch any more flak for talking about the handicapped, but this story was just too good to pass up.

A wheelchair-bound German stunned police when they pulled him over for using the road and found he was 10 times over the legal alcohol limit for drivers.

“He was right in the middle of the road,” said a spokesman for police in the northeastern city of Schwerin on Tuesday. “The officers couldn’t quite believe it when they saw the results of the breath test. That’s a life-threatening figure.”

The 31-year-old told police he had been out drinking with a friend and was about 2 km from home when a squad car stopped him as he passed through the village of Ventschow.

Police said that because the man was technically travelling as a pedestrian, he could not be charged with a driving offence.

“It’s not like we can impound his wheelchair,” the spokesman said. “But he is facing some sort of punishment. It’s just not clear yet what exactly that will be.”

This says a lot about the Germans. They are going to make sure he is punished, even if they haven’ t come up with a charge yet. They won’ t let a little thing like the fact that there is no offence to match his behaviour stand in the way.

Wheelchair Access to Crime

I have long been an advocate for equal opportunities for disabled people. For the most part, handicapped people have not had the same access to criminal behaviour. Sure, it’s easy to commit white-collar crime, but the mobility-impaired have not really stepped up when it comes to more traditional felonies.

Anthony Glenn Terry of Lafayette, Indiana has tried to make his mark amongst the criminal element. He rolled into a convenience store and demanded money from the register. News stories do not indicated whether he had weapon, but he must have had some means of convincing the clerk to hand over the cash.

He got about a block away from the scene of the crime before police stopped him.

Terry has previous convictions for drug possession, drunk driving, and remarkably, burglary.

What’s Mine is Yours

The rate of property crimes in this country would shock most Americans. Now incidents of shoplifting are increasing even more.

Since 2004, shoplifters have not had to worry about getting a criminal record. A theft of goods worth less than £200 results instead in an on-the-spot penalty notice. It’s like a traffic ticket. Just pay the fine in time and it’s all done.

Shoplifters took £2 billion worth of goods in 2006.

British Retail Consortium spokesman Richard Dodd told the BBC, “At government level sentencing is so weak that people are just not put off stealing from shops. A lot of these are people who are repeatedly stealing in order to fund a drug habit and they believe, unfortunately rightly, that there will be no serious sanction on them if they are caught.”

Earlier this month Lord Falconer, the head of the judiciary in this country, called for further reduction in the sentences for property crimes.

Making Sense of It All

I’ve been waiting to see a newspaper front pages that doesn’t have a picture of, or story about, Madeleine McCann.

In The Times, David Aaronovitch finally says the sensible things no one else will say.

In the Gutter

Crawley Borough Council wardens are just a tad ticket happy. They recenly fined the grandmother of a two-year-old who dropped a packet of crisps. The bag was retrieved quick enough, but two Quavers fell out of the bag.

Wardens watched in disbelief as Barbara Jubb kicked the crisps into the gutter. Springing into action, they may have even gotten to her before the ephemeral puffed snacks disintegrated into oblivion as a gutter-kicked Quaver would invariably do.

Now let me tell you, there is no Quaver kicking in Crawley. Mrs Jubb was slapped with an £80 fine. Onlookers at a bus stop couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

Fortunately, someone a little further up the ladder recognised that this was just a little over the top. A spokesperson said, “We have apologised to the family for being overzealous and are happy to have cancelled the fine.”

Malice Aforethought

There was a police action shooting in London yesterday. 

A statement was released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission: “The Metropolitan Police Service notified the Commission that a man had been shot, following a pre-planned operation.”

Are the Met sending out hit squads now?

Lack of Conscience

I wish I was shocked when I read about the case of the murderers of Eliza Davis in Australia. Her two “friends” crept up and garotted her with a wire while smothering her with a chemical-soaked cloth the morning after a sleepover at the house of one of the murderers.  The killers were 16 years old at the time, so they cannot be named for legal reasons. And yes, that’s ridiculous.

“Sunday morning me and [the other accused] woke up, and we were just talking, and for some reason we just decided to kill her,” one of the girls said in a police record of interview read at the trial.

The other accused girl told police: “We just did it because we felt like it. It’s hard to explain. I knew we had wanted to kill someone before. We knew it was wrong, but it didn’t feel wrong at all. It just felt right.”

I am not surprised, because I have come to accept that many teenagers in this country are simply devoid a conscience. It is not even a word in the vocabulary of many 15 years olds, which I discovered this week during a quiz – even though I’m pretty sure everyone in that lesson had one. But many do not – or it has been supressed so far that it would take an awful lot of digging around to find it.

Because they are constantly shown that anything goes, this development is not surprising. The ethics they see is purely situational ethics. They are told sex is okay, as long as they are old enough. When they get pregnant, they can choose when life begins, and even if it has, whether to keep it depends on the situation. When granny gets old, they can choose whether she has an acceptable quality of life. Nothing is absolutely right and nothing is absolutely wrong. There is no such thing as truth and everyone is entitled to thier opinion.

Is it any surprise that a world like this produced the killers of Eliza Davis?

Reflection on Crime

From the Daily Telegraph today:

The Vatican has held its first trial for drug possession, sentencing an employee to four months of “reflection” after he was caught with 87 grams of cocaine in his desk drawer.

The Court of the Holy See made the judgment despite the there being no specific law in the Vatican against drug possession or use. The employee, who has not been named, has also been fired from his job with the Pontifical Commission of the State of Vatican City.

Gianluigi Marrone, a Vatican judge, said drug use was “damaging to the health, morality and religion” and the court was able to sentence the offender “thanks to the international convention on drugs which the Holy See has signed”.

Cocaine-laced wine was a favourite tipple of Pope Leo XIII, who died in 1903.

I could not find any actual statutes of the Vatican, other than the Fundamental Law of the State of Vatican City. I translated that from Italian with Google.  I thought Google might have the easiest time with Italian. It wasn’t very clear, so I tried German and between the two I got the general idea. As best I can tell, laws are passed by a commission of Cardinals appointed by the Pope to five-year terms.

I don’t know if they have any criminal laws, but given the case above, perhaps they should consider passing some drug laws, lest the St Peter’s Square becomes a tiny haven for drug transactions.

Living Up to the Stereotype

Scousers don’t like to be stereotyped as thieves. Nonetheless, that is their national identity. I mean, you can’t exactly call it racist to lump them all together, as they aren’t a race or an ethnic group, but it’s not nice to make assumptions.

I didn’t help matters that while Jose Reina was saving the day for Liverpool Football Club and sending his club to the Champions League final, his house was burgled and his car stolen. When he got home from representing every scouser who is not an Everton fan, he found that jewellery, an entertainment system, personal documents and his Porsche Cayenne had been stolen.

Not only that, but rather than take the Porsche to a chop shop like any self-respecting Liverpuddlian car thief, it was found burnt out in the West Derby district of Liverpool at 6.30am. Now there’s a waste. That must make Scousers everywhere ashamed.

But Reina isn’t the only one so honoured for representing the local community. Read more of this post

Mistakes

If it wasn’t evident before that Tony Blair is leaving the premiership sooner than Watford Football Club, it is now. Tony’s actually admitting mistakes. No one in politics admits mistakes unless they have no future.

First he admitted that he failed on his pledge that everyone would have an NHS dentist by 2001, no matter where they lived. Six years later, less than half of adults are registered. This is fewer than when Labour came to power.

This week, commenting on a 10-year-old given an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) after committing 60 offenses (including assault, criminal damage, drinking in public and swearing at police), Blair admitted that money won’t solve all of the problems of this sort, or does it help to blame society.

A couple of days ago, there was a lot of publicity about a 10-year-old given an Asbo, with his father given a parenting order. Of course it’s shocking that a 10-year-old was causing such mayhem. But the answer, I’m afraid, is neither to give his father more benefit or for society to explain why such behaviour is wrong.

And go and ask the community if they would prefer the Asbo not to exist.

What I have learnt over these 10 years is that the original analysis I had was incomplete and therefore misguided, ie, guiding us to the wrong policy conclusion, not in the sense that investment in poorer neighbourhoods and regeneration was wrong – it has been absolutely right – but in the sense that it will not deal with this small and unrepresentative minority.

Reading this, it only seems logical that Tony should join the Old Tory party when he leaves office. Of course he’ll be the only one, because with David Cameron the Tories have all adopted New Labour policies.

Who’s Who?

The Government has admitted that it has lost 9 million national insurance numbers. Just like a social security number in the States an NI number is a powerful thing.

Ocassionally frausters get caught. Recently Adesola Adelana, Stephen Ayankoya and Adetutu Olowe stole 37 numbers in total and used them to help open 11 bank accounts, obtain eight forged driving licences and access nine credit cards. They also attempted to obtain £357,000 in tax credits.

Often they don’t get caught and there is no telling how the numbers have been used in the same manner as Adelana, Ayankoya and Olowe.

The scariest thing was outlined by the Opposition.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said he was alarmed at the admission, primarily because the Home Office intends to use the NI database as the model for setting up Britain’s national identity card scheme in 2009.

“The Government cannot know who is in this country and who is entitled to what,” he said.

“How can they claim the integrity of their £20 billion ID card database, which will hold dozens of pieces of information on every citizen in the country, will be protected?”

 This follows on last month revelation that 10,000 false passport were issued by the Home Office last year. 10,000. A Government minister indicated that this is the number than slipped through out of the 16,500 fraudulent application.

Society Without Boundaries

The ladette culture is getting younger and younger. It has been revealed that girls 11-13 are drinking 83% more alcohol than they were six years ago. Alcohol Concern, a national voluntary agency on alcohol misuse funded by the Department of Health, has also released information showing that for boys in the same age group, the increase is 43.4%.

In my experience as a teacher, I find this unsurprising. My students in that age group as a whole are very conversant with the drinking culture. Some are open about their drinking. By the time they are 14 or 15, they find it absolutely incredible that someone would suggest to them that drinking to the point of drunkeness is in some way inappropriate. And just like the number indicate, it is girls who are more brazen about this.

Unfortunately, Alcohol Concern’s response to this is to urge the Government to make it illegal for anyone, including parents, to provide alcohol to anyone under 15. This takes away parental responsibility to teach the appropriate use of alcohol. This will especially impact Jewish families who may have their children partake of a bit of the Sabbat wine. It also affects children taking Communion. After all, in the Orthodox Church, infants are provided with wine from the time of their baptism. In the Roman Church, they are communing from about seven years old. It may be the Most Precious Blood, but to an unbelieving policeman and prosecutor, they may not be able to discern between the accidents and the true reality.

Existing laws are sufficient to tackle the problem. It is not the law, it is the enforcement. It is the 14 and 15 year olds drinking in pubs and clubs and buying from the off-license. It is those who informally supply young teens with drink.

It is no surprise a society that practices complete hedonism sees its children picking up the worst aspects of it. A binge drinking culture will have binge drinking children. A completely promiscuous society will have a huge teen pregnancy problem.

Morality knows no age restrictions. These are false barriers that a society erects when it wants to protect the innocent from its own decisions. They are used to justify bad behaviour and immorality. These arbitrary limits by their nature proclaim there is a time when it is appropriate for a person to do what is right in their own eyes. But just like in the book of Judges, everytime a society does what it right in its own eyes, it only brings the judgment of God.

In this country, it has given us a binge drinking culture with children suffering from alcohol-related diseases formerly only known in the aged after intemperate lives. It has led to 500 abortions in this country every day, about 20% of which are performed on teenagers. It has led to unprecedented levels of robbery and vandalism, almost all of which are attributed to youthful offenders.

In the end it costs the society itself in so many ways.

Crime Time

It’s crime stats time again, boys and girls.

The Home Office has released the information for the last three months of 2006. They compare that quarter to the same period in 2005. According to their figures, overall crime dropped by two percent. The only thing is I can’t figure out what crimes have declined.

Robberies rose by eight percent to their highest level in three years. Some places are worse than others. London is always the worst and can often account for half of the robberies in the country. However, they have risen by more than a third in Nottinghamshire and by more than 50% in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

It wasn’t just robberies on the rise. Drugs offences were up by three percent. Somehow criminal damage rose by only one percent while vandalism was up by eleven percent.

With the number of truants from school and the number post-16s not in employment, education or training continuing to rise, I can predict this trend will continue over the next few years.

The Cost of Conservatism

The conservative/liberal split in the Anglican church has become deadly.

A British missionary was fatally poisoned after helping to prevent a London vicar from becoming a bishop in Central Africa, The Times has learnt.

It appears that Canon Rodney Hunter was a little too conservative in his views. He had been in Malawi for many years and really considered himself Malawian rather than English. He was a mentor to the Archbishop of the very conservative Province of Central Africa and had taught him in seminary.

He opposed the election of the liberal Rev Nicholas Henderson as Bishop of Lake Malawi, because in contrast to Canon Hunter,

Mr Henderson, Vicar of St Martin’s Acton West and All Saints’ Ealing Common, was elected as Bishop of Lake Malawi last August. He had known the region for 18 years, raising funds for religious, social and humanitarian projects, and was learning the local language, Chichewe. At the time, few in Malawi knew of his record as a leading liberal theologian and that he had been chairman of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union. There was also concern in Africa at reports that he had a male lodger.

As a result, the Primate of Central Africa, the Most Rev Bernard Malango, wrote to Mr Henderson asking him to confirm that he subscribed to the Creeds, the Bible and the Thirty-Nine Articles and that he “fashions his own like and his household according to the doctrine of Christ”.

The diocese’s Court of Confirmation blocked Mr Henderson’s consecration, deeming him “a man of unsound faith”, and instead appointed the retired Bishop of Zambia, the Right Rev Leonard Mwenda.

The Province of Central Africa may be strongly conservative, but that isn’t to say Rev Henderson didn’t have his supporters. Vociferous supporters.

Even though he was living in retirement, appointed assistant priest at All Saints’ Cathedral, he had been physically attacked in the pulpit. Then,

In November Canon Hunter was found dead at his home in Nkhotakota, Malawi, with a strange black substance around his mouth. The day before his death he had complained of severe stomach pains, and postmortem examination has now shown that he was killed by three poisons.

Malawi police have charged his cook with murder and are investigating rumours that the poisoning was organised by supporters of Mr Henderson, who had no knowledge of the alleged plot.

Given the previous violence against him because of his views, I hope the rumours will lead to a trail of evidence.

Another False Witness

It may not have all the glamour of the Duke lacrosse team case, but a 17-year-old girl who should be named, not given anonymity because of her age, destroyed the life of a Bradford taxi driver.

He lost his livelihood and his house and his reputation. She will spend two months in detention.

I’m afraid I have to go with Deuteronomy 19:16-19 again on this one.

Ham, Haram, and Hate Crime

H/T to the Grit and his irrespressive urge to get a fatwa for this story about a middle school student in Maine being investigated for a hate crime. The story is also covered in the local press here.

The reponse seems a bit over the top. In that the student intended to offend Somali students by putting a ham sandwich on their table, I think he should be punished. I don’t think it was appropriate to attack someone’s religious sensibilities regardless of how bizarre they are.

But how bizzare are they? Islam runs along rather broad spectrum when it come to beliefs. On one end of it, you can understand way the late Church Fathers saw Islam as just a really bad heresy rather than a new religion, sort of a Middle Eastern version of Mormonism or Oneness Pentecostalism. On the other end, it’s just plain crazy. That’s the official theological term for it.

One of the victims, whose mother didn’t want his name released, said “we didn’t know what was in this bag. One of my friends reached inside it. It was a big ham steak. There were five of us at the table, all Somali. Right then, I could feel allah condemning me to burn for eternity for being within a 6.2 meter radius of ham, so yeah, it was a hate crime.”

I think he missed the lessons at the madrassah about the Compassionate, Creator God. I mean, I teach Islam for a living – admittedly on a basic level – and I have never seen proximity to meat (or anything forbidden – called haram) as being an immediate ticket to hell. What is with the 6.2 meter thing? I’ve got to go check the Qur’an again.

It brings to mind the words of Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets.

But here’s another thing: “we didn’t know what was in the bag” and from elsewhere in the article, “That ham sandwich in a bag where we couldn’t even see”. So what are you doing going in the bag? Come on people, put on your thinking caps. Someone leaves a brown bag on your table. He’s white. White people eat pork. The most popular sandwich meat? Ham. If you’re worried about touching something haram, it’s probably going to be in that lunch. I would just assume he didn’t get his sandwich filling from the local halal butcher.

But let’s look at the 6.2 meter thing again. That’s 20.3 feet in real money. They are in a public school cafeteria. Do they stay at least 20 feet away from the serving line and from any students eating pork? Why do I know this is a problem? I checked the menu for the Lewiston Middle School Cafeteria. Today they had Mini Corn Dogs (unclean meat by a lot of standards) and Ham Italian. In fact, whatever else they have, they have Ham Italian every day. So every day the Somalis are within 20 feet of a student eating off a plastic tray, they should feel Allah condemning them to burn for eternity.

And are the students carrying sandwiches from home required to store their food away from any Somalis? If they carry their lunch with them during the day, or if they put it in their locker located with 20 feet of a Somali’s locker and the Somali visits his locker between classes, once again he is condemned to burn for eternity.

This is a school that is both intentionally and negligently bringing Somali students into proximity with pork. Surely the Somalis can bring a lawsuit against the Lewiston Public Schools. If they are going to be politically correct – and wouldn’t we expect anything less from Maine – they must immediately ban all pork from the school. All other meat needs to be purchased only from halal butchers. Any meat not killed in the name of Allah is just as haram as pork.

Then they need to bring the Maine Revised Statutes into line with Sharia.

Did I mention Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets?

Open Door Policy

When I was still a law student (acting as a certified legal intern) I successfully quashed two search warrants on the same apartment. Even though my client was guilty – the cops found his sizable stash of drugs both times – they didn’t bother to follow the protections of the law in obtaining their warrant. You may think it is a shame that my client went free – though knowing him, probably only temporarily – but Fourth Amendment protects you as well as him from unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant issued by a judge supported by sworn probable cause. Though it may have been compromised in various ways, the citizens of the US still enjoy the rights established under the Fourth Amendment.

There is no Fourth Amendment or any sort of equivalent in the UK. The Centre for Policy Studies has just released Crossing the Threshold a new 112-page report by barrister Harry Snook outlining the 266 powers the state has to enter a home in this country. I haven’t read the whole thing, but it is scary so far. (You can download it if you wish, but I should warn you that your computer may not realise it is a pdf file and you may need to tell it to open with Acrobat Reader.) I have included a few snippets below the fold. Read more of this post