2021-02-19

Asian Lives Matter - arrest the shopkeepers!

I swear, I had no idea this was going to catch light so fast - but apparently it has.

I tagged my previous post with an update about an Oakland Chinatown liquor store owner who was arrested after shooting at someone robbing a woman outside his store. Well, the plot has thickened!

The arrest of the Oakland Chinatown store owner who fired shots while interrupting a robbery has divided the police department [my emphasis]. On Monday, the store owner saw a woman being confronted by men who wanted her camera near 9th and Franklin. The men also hit her with their car.
That's when the store owner fired shots, and the men took off. KTVU has learned that the store owner has a concealed weapons permit from outside Alameda County that's valid statewide.
Side note: this
Oakland police officers and investigators believed the owner, who has helped them find suspects in the past, should be released from custody.
But those officers were overruled by a captain who ordered the owner be jailed, [my emphasis] sources told KTVU.
So: even the local cops thought that the owner made a reasonable decision , but the chief of police wants to arrest him. Where, exactly, does Chief LeRonne Armstrong think this is going to lead?

2021-02-13

Asian Lives Matter - the fire rises!

Channelling Tom Hardy here, but the dysfunction and civil rebellion that has started is not a million miles away from Bane and his merry crew...

It didn't take long for my previous post on an 84 year old blind Thai man being beaten to death for other incidents of young-black-on-elderly-Asian violence to happen. In fact, it's spreading:

The single most telling sign for me is that Bay Area Big Tech companies are sending mails around about this phenomenon. I've had confirmation of three separate companies mailing their Asian employee clubs/groups about the attacks, expressing their shock and horror and offering emotional support. Mind you, they seem to be very careful not to talk about the perpetrators...

One claim I have seen recently, now that people are talking about it, is that it has been triggered by Donald J Trump talking about the "Kung Flu". Setting aside the miniscule likelihood that a 20 year old black thug in San Francisco has even listened to a Trump speech, let's remember Yik Oi Huang who was brutally beaten in SFO in January 2019, over a year before the pandemic - and suffered for a year before dying in early 2020. These are not Trump-driven anti-Chinese supremacists. These are callous racist thugs. Lay the blame for their behaviour at the feet of their parents - if they still care.

The most spectacular feet of mental agility I've seen, though, was from Los Angeles Times writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Viet T Nguyen:

All I can say is that it must take a very expensive education to mess up one's brain that badly. Black people are beating up on the Asian elderly community, and your reflex - as a Vietnamese American - is to blame white supremacy?

I repeat my previous assertion. Unless these attacks are stopped - and it doesn't look like the police are able to stop them - the Asian community is going to turn to organizations which can make it happen. Asian shops are going to stop serving young black people, or make them feel so unwelcome that they leave, further increasing tensions. The almost-inevitable result is going to be a black 20-year old found lying in an alley in Chinatown with severe beating injuries, but it will turn out that no-one around saw anything. I thought we had got past this, but apparently history repeats.

Update: Feb 16th 2021 - a 30 year old was robbed of her expensive camera in Chinatown, Oakland. A liquor store owner saw what was happenening, ran out and fired his gun at the robber - and was promptly arrested and charged with felony assault with a firearm.

The [police] chief's message was that Oakland should come together as a community, but that people should not put one another in harm's way.
Sorry Chief, but there's a section of the black community which has already decided to put the Asian community in harm's way. And when you arrest a Chinese store owner for trying to stop a robbery - where the robber escapes - you send a very clear (unintentional) message to the Asian community about their ability to rely on the police to protect them.

2021-02-03

Thai Lives Matter

It turns out that, following my previous notes on the matter, Asian-American lives in San Francisco continue to be rudely shortened:

Police in San Francisco arrested a 19-year-old Daly City man on suspicion of murder for a brazen attack last week on an 84-year-old man in the city’s Anza Vista neighborhood, officials said Sunday.
[...]
The victim was identified by family members as Vicha Ratanapakdee, a native of Thailand who lived in San Francisco.
I've seen the uncensored security video of the incident. It does not make for comfortable viewing. The thug barrels across the road, slams into Mr Ratanapakdee from the side, knocking him hard into the ground and then just lopes away casually. He clearly didn't care whether his victim lived or died. Unsurprisingly it was the latter, but took two days to happen.

Mr Ratanapakdee was 84 years old, and apparently legally blind. The notion that he was any kind of threat - or was even really aware of his assailant before the attack - is ridiculous. The alleged assailant, Mr Antoine Watson, is of course of the same ethnic persuasion as that described in my previously linked stories of elder abuse and grievous harm in peaceful San Francisco.

Even San Francisco's notoriously lax DA has been forced to take this attack seriously, and - should Mr Watson indeed be convicted of the crimes charged - he can expect a good long stint in jail. But the fact that he even attempted this is a recurring reminder of the threat to San Francisco's elderly Asian community that a certain section of its black community poses. Does the city government really think they are going to continue to take this lying down? Sooner or later, something is going to snap. And when the city doesn't show any inclination to protect elderly Asians, their younger relatives are going to find a dai lo who will.

Update: Feb 16th 2021 - a robbery outside a liquor store in Chinatown, Oakland results in a young woman being robbed of her expensive camera, and the liquor store owner being charged with felony assault with a firearm when he tried to intervene. While I'm sure that firing four shots (with, presumably, zero hits) was not the minimal-violence reaction, can you imagine how this is going to play in Chinatown?

The chief [of police]'s message was that Oakland should come together as a community, but that people should not put one another in harm's way.
Sorry Chief, I think that ship has sailed. One small part of the black community is already putting a large part of the Asian community in harm's way. When the Asian community fights back, they're arrested. And Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong is black. It doesn't matter how upright and righteous he is, this is going to appear - unfairly - as the black police chief covering for black criminals.

2021-01-28

Pandejos and the law of unintended consequences

Most of the readership will be familiar with the fact that California has a large population of "indocumentados" - immigrants of less-than-legal status, mostly from Central America, who supply a lot of the farming, factory and other close-or-below minimum wage labour. This has, historically, been encouraged by virtually every Californian politician in high office.

So you've brought in a large population of people who aren't that fluent with the language, actively avoid authority - police, INS, DMV etc. - and you've specifically told them that the rules, such as immigration law, don't apply to them. And now, there's a pandemic, and you want them to follow government-mandated rules on their business and personal lives.

How, dear reader, would you expect this to turn out?

Gustavo Arellano of the Los Angeles Times is in despair at the behaviour of the pandejos - a portmanteau of "pandemic" and the Hispanic pejorative "pendejo":

The earnestness and importance of the [COVID] messages don't matter: Everywhere I turn, my neighbors ignore the suggestions with gusto. Down the street are tents on front yards packed with people attending a birthday party. Over there is a taco truck where people chow down shoulder to shoulder, despite signs stating that all orders are to-go. Off in all directions, I hear music: live mariachi, conjunto norteƱo outfits, brass bands, and DJs, echoing from blocks away. Sometimes I can even catch the sermon of a Pentecostal minister who never bothered closing his storefront church to indoor service.

The combination of Gustavo's Puritan indignity at this behaviour, and his previous cheering-on of Latino extra-legal immigration (e.g. his relentless opposition to Proposition 187, is enough to make one wish for stronger bladder muscles. Gustavo has inadvertently cheered on a wipe-out of his favoured community's abuelos and abuelas:

In Los Angeles County, the Department of Health estimates that daily COVID-19 deaths among Latinos went from about 3.5 per 100,000 people in early November to 28 per 100,000 in January—an increase of almost 800 percent. In Ventura County, two zip codes in the city of Oxnard account for around 30 percent of all COVID-19 cases—and these spots just so happen to correspond with where farmworkers live and pick. In Orange County, Latinos make up 34 percent of the population but 44 percent of all cases and about 39 percent of deaths.

Why does California continue to have a high COVID infection and death rate? Because it imported a large underclass who never had to pay mind to government diktats, who live in crowded conditions that happily spread the virus, and who (though generally young and healthy) have brought in grandparents with diet-related comorbidities who are prime targets for COVID.

2021-01-17

"Dude, you're screwed!" - an appreciation

One of the great features about American cable TV used to be that there were so many channels, and so few shows worth watching, that you'd be forced to channel-surf until you came across something vaguely appealing on a channel that you'd likely never visit deliberately. Thus, new shows entered the American consciousness.

Now Netflix is near-ubiquitous... the same thing is happening there. It's astonishing how big the Netflix catalogue is, but less astonishing how much of it is crap. Still, there are some gems buried in the ordure, and I stumbled across one of them with a most unpreprosessing title: "Dude, You're Screwed!"

The premise of the show is simple but brilliant. There are 5-6 hosts of the show, all with a background in wilderness survival. In each episode, one host is "abducted" and dumped in the middle of the wilderness, with no idea where they are, given a survival kit with items of varying helpfulness - a giant teddy bear and a Viking shield, in one case - and have 100 hours to find "civilization" which might be a main road, houses, or just stumbling across other people. For the viewer's benefit, a suitably well-equipped cameraman accompanies the victim but cannot help them in any way. Presumably they would intervene if things went very pear-shaped, but you get the idea.

Is is staged? At least some of the takedown-and-transport parts are; if you were a Costa Rican immigration official, would you let a party into your country with one member flex-cuffed and with a bag over his head? but I think most of it is real. The victim might know what country they're in, but not where they are or where to go. But I think this misses the point, in any case. This show is fascinating in how you get an up-and-close look at wilderness environments, and how they try very hard to kill you.

Some of my favourite episodes were Iceland (Jake), Tanzania (Matt), Namibia (Jake again) and Utah (John). In all of these you get a really good look at wilderness you'd probably never see, and its peculiar wrinkles. Of all of them, the Namibian desert / Skeleton Coast was probably the best. Jake - a former Navy SEAL - fights his way through the desert only to end up on the shore where there's still nothing to eat or drink, a whole bunch of dead wildlife testifying to the hostility of the land, and the only plants are poisonous. The legendary SEAL determination shows - in the closing hours, despite being dehydrated, starved and vomiting, he's still doggedly hiking down the coast looking for civilization. Had the others not intervened, he'd have certainly died - but even then I'm still not entirely sure it would have stopped him.

What makes the show for me, though, is the interplay between the core characters: the aforementioned SEAL Jake, Green Beret Terry, wilderness survival and atlatl master Matt, and UK military SERE instructor John. They're all very different personalities but bounce off each other well in cameraderie, perspectives, and the balance between wanting to make the situation challenging while being concerned for the victim's well-being. Jake's a balls-out "beat this in the fastest time" guy, Terry is more cerebral, Matt just seems to like making things out of trees, and John is a phlegmatic Mancunian whose early priority seems to be to find something to make a hot cup of tea. There are other hosts, but these four really stand out for me.

You can probably find this on Netflix, or maybe Discovery Channel on cable. It might also be titled "Survive That!". Go take a look, you'll enjoy it. Also, stay the heck away from the Namib.

2021-01-09

Trump won yesterday

No really, he did. Hear me out.

I'm not talking about the November 2020 election; I have no idea who actually won that. I will note that, if Joe Biden was confident that he won fairly, then he'd have motivation to ask a reputable organization to conduct a thorough investigation into the election's conduct and vindicate his win. But no, I'm talking about the effect of the Trump 2017-2021 presidency.

President Donald Trump managed to drive the media, Big Tech, Democratic party and sundry establishment members so mad with everything he did in those four years, that they abandoned any pretence at fairness and yesterday went on a concerted witch hunt to shut him off mainstream social media and choke off other social media that let him and his supporters communicate. The Democrats are trying to pass articles of impeachment and invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from the presidency before January 20th. The Capitol invasion was just the excuse - they've been talking about this for months, but only in the closing days of the presidency did they have the "courage" to do it.

[Side note for those who didn't take US high school civics: the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution talks about the US President being relieved of their role, voluntarily - and maybe temporarily, e.g. while undergoing medical treatment, or forcibly. The reason that it's being talked about now, with less than 2 weeks to go, is apparently (because I can't see this clearly in the text) it would prevent Trump from running for President again in 2024. It is interesting to note the the Democrats still think that Trump would be a material asset to the Republicans in 4 years time. If they really thought he was a loon and a loser, wouldn't they cheer him on for a re-run? Perhaps they remember Hilary Clinton cheering him on in the 2016 primaries, and are once bitten, twice shy.]

My personal opinion is that this was a Pyrrhic victory;

  • the Dem/BigTech/DCSwamp has demonstrated to the world that they are still terrified of Trump;
  • 70 million people voted for Trump in the most recent election, despite a 4 year coordinated campaign against him by the media (all but Fox), Establishment (Russia hoax and impeachment), Never Trump "Republicans", and recently Big Tech (Twitter and Facebook steadily increasing interference in his comms and with his supporters);
  • he has provoked the Democrats to exhibit their gun-grabbing credentials to the point that there were more background checks for firearm purchases in the first 9 months of 2020 than in any previous year, and guns and ammunition are in unprecentended short supply despite manufacturers ramping up additional plants to meet demand. I hypothesize that most of these gun and ammo buyers don't vote Democrat - and with 8M+ new firearm owners in 2020, that's a big fraction of the election base who have been 'radicalized';
  • the COVID crisis has demonstrated that Democratic leadership is completely happy to trash small business for no good reason, while fully funding their teaching and other union block to stay at home and "phone it in" at full pay rates, while governors and Senators get their hair done, eat at expensive restaurants, and generally display hypocrisy to an astounding degree.
Knowing a numbner of engineers and marketing folks at Twitter and YouTube, they are to a man non-gendered-person staunch left wing advocates, and the depth of their loathing for Trump is hard to over-state. I don't know Jack Dorsey or Susan Woiciki personally, but it would not astonish me if they had a similar attitude.

The Trump base will not go away because of the past week's changes. They're only going to get squeezed - and when you squeeze something hard enough, the internal pressure builds up until there is a "bang". JFK said those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. If the hotheads in the Democrat administration prevail, I fear that the "bang" is going to echo around the world.

I enjoy the "Monster Hunter" books of unreformed conservative author Larry Correia, but he knows a lot about guns and the gun-owning community, and his words from 2017's blog post "A handy guide for liberals who are suddenly interested in gun ownership" really resonate right now:

There is a saying that has long been common in my half of the country. There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty, soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order. You can debate, vote, and go to court in order to get things changed. You only go ammo box when those other things no longer work, because once you do, there is no going back.

God willing, America never gets to that point, because if we ever go to war with ourselves again, then it will be a blood bath the like of which the world has never seen.
If the jury box doesn't defend the rights of 70M+ Americans, there's only one box left.

2020-12-18

Jill Biden is no Doctor

I posted something like the following at SDA but thought it worth a repost here for posterity.

I read through Jill Biden's Ed.D thesis. Short version: she's no Doctor. She's probably not even a Master.

Some facts:

  • Jill's actual content (introduction up to but not including references) is 80 pages, double-spaced. Interestingly, her table of contents doesn’t properly line up with the page count, but whatever.
  • Typical page (her introduction) is about 250 words, so that’s about a 20,000 word thesis excluding references and appendices.
  • a PhD thesis in the arts typically has a 80K upper word limit, Masters a 60K upper word limit. Good ones are probably half that, maybe a bit more. So Jill has written a bit more than half of a typical Masters thesis.
  • the text is significantly bulked out with e.g. material that seems like what you'd find in a Delaware Tech+Community College brochure, the full text of a student survey, and a faculty interview that should probably have been relegated to an appendix.
  • the thesis has 39 references by my count, which is what you’d expect from a medium length conference / journal paper. A Masters thesis should have more than that. A doctorate (which is supposed to advance the state of research) should have a lot more.
  • she has a boring writing style (this is technically an opinion, but I’m right) and it’s hard to figure out what she’s trying to argue. Her conclusions seem rather trite.

Opinion: if I was one of the people who signed off on this (pages 3 and 4) I would be very quiet about it if someone at a party started spouting off that Jill Biden deserves to be called “Doctor”. For the record, these are:

  • Barbara Curry, Ed.D. (Professor in charge of dissertation (executive position paper)
  • James Broomall, Ed.D. Member of dissertation committee (executive position paper)
  • Frances Leach, Ed.D. Member of dissertation committee (executive position paper)
  • Eugene Matusov, Ph.D. Member of dissertation committee (executive position paper)

2020-11-18

Unrest expected - the firearms indicator

I was at my local gunsmith on Monday - they do exist in California, you may be surprised to learn - and mentioned that I was thinking about acquiring a handgun, so I could practice short-range target shooting. Even in California it eventually gets cold and wet, and outside ranges are less attractive.
"Ah," he said, "are you in a rush for it?"
Well, not break-neck speed; something in the next 3-4 weeks would be good (allowing for the usual - and pointless - California 10 day waiting period). Not looking for anything special or custom, do you have something utilitarian in 9mm? My aim really isn't good enough to justify anything more.
"At the moment, Glock is telling me 6-8 months for a California-legal 9x19."
Wuh? Is this some issue with California's steadily increasingly insane gun restrictions?
"Not even that; I went to Las Vegas the other week, and the Nevada dealers there were having the same problem."
Ah, it must be because of the election, presumably there's a bump every 4 years?
"No man, not like this. Sure, you get a bit of a bump as a Presidential election approaches, but I've never seen anything like this. You can't get a gun anywhere except the ones that no-one with any knowledge wants."

It seems that the combination of civil unrest over the summer, the general abandonment of cities by police chiefs, and the potential election of Joe Biden with gun-grabbing Beta O'Rourke as his stooge, has soured the population on relying on the police force to defend their homes.

To give you some context, even in one of the gun-grabbiest states in the Union, the estimate in 2018 is that 4.2 million California people were gun owners, out of a population of 37 million or so, or about 1 in 7 adults. There were about 20 million firearms - so clearly the average number of firearms owned would be about 4 per owner. One can only imagine what it looks like now - and what it will look like in mid-2021 when the current order backlog is complete.

This is not peculiar to California:

Ammunition sales blew up in March because of COVID-19, said Gary's Gun Shop assistant manager Nick Meyer. But increased sales stayed steady after riots started in May in response to the death of George Floyd and ahead of the presidential election.
"Firearms and ammunition and the Second Amendment are all hot topics for election times," Meyer said, "and it always spurs a little bit of a spree."
But this year is different.
The gun shop only has 20% of its normal ammunition supply on its shelves, Meyer said.
Can confirm: ammunition is increasingly expensive, assuming you can find it. As this gentleman on YouTube notes, it started in March and has gotten increasingly bad over the year. ("Federal" in this video refers to a manufacturer name, not the federal government).

This all signals something, and it's not good for the prospect of peace in the United States.

2020-11-12

Kamala's Cornish roots

It occurred to me today that our friend Kamala Harris must feel a strong connection to Cornwall. After all, she got her political start from Willie Brown's "mound", and the largest mound in Cornwall is Brown Willie - a short distance from Camelford, as it happens.

2020-11-08

Kamala the cuckoo

I was having lunch with one of my right-wing friends today - such creatures do exist, even in the Bay Area. It was not socially distanced, of course, neither of us believes it makes a difference at this point. At some point she was commenting (of course) on the current US political situation. Specifically, Kamala Harris. "She's a cuckoo!", she remarked, disdainfully.

I misheard initially, and ventured a contrary opinion that she actually seemed pretty sane and intelligent, albeit rather lacking in morals.

"The bird, not the adjective. You must know about them, you're from the UK, you're all into birds aren't you?" I agreed that I was familiar with the avian in question. "Okay, so it sticks its egg into the nest of another unsuspecting bird, a baby cuckoo hatches and is a giant compared to the other baby birds, it progressively kicks the others out of the nest and takes over. Kamala Harris, right?"

She has a point. I don't know if I agree with her assertion that Kammie will infect Sleepy Joe with COVID-19 the first chance that she gets, but I don't give Joe that long in office. Cuck-oo. Cuck-oo.

[1] I wondered how she was acquainted with the bird in question, but it turns out that California does have some cuckoo species, though they're fairly rare and may be endangered. You learn something new every day.