Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Knowing British bureaucratic rigidity I understand this guy
He may have done all customers of that firm a favour
An unhappy customer smashed up a city centre mobile phone shop during an apparent row over a refund for a mobile phone contract.
Shocked shoppers filmed Jason Codner, 42, from Salford, on their phones as he methodically ripped out wall fixtures and set off fire extinguishers at the T-Mobile store in Manchester city centre. The footage, which later appeared on YouTube, shows the middle-aged man destroying the shop displays as staff watch in disbelief.
Dressed in a checked shirt and jeans, the man pulls stock from the walls and overturns tables.
The havoc continues for several minutes until one member of staff makes a call from his mobile phone and shopping centre security staff arrive at the store shortly afterwards.
Five burly police officers turn up seconds later and the man smiles and tells them he is OK. Police then arrest him and lead him away, after telling a huge crowd of bystanders to move on.
A spokesman for T-Mobile - whose slogan is Life is for Sharing - said the firm was aware of the video footage and was investigating the incident.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said they were aware of Saturday's incident and that Jason Codner, from Salford, had been charged with criminal damage and public order offences. He is due to appear at Salford and Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 30 July.
One shopper said: 'The footage is unreal and we couldn’t believe how much damage had been caused.
'He must have been seriously angry about something to go on such a rampage. Normally disgruntled shoppers would have just an exchange of words with a member of a staff about a product but this guy took it to a whole new level.'
A T-Mobile spokesman said there were seven staff members and several other customers in the shop at the time of the incident but all managed to escape without injury.
They added: 'The incident which occurred at the Manchester Market Street store was of course very upsetting for our staff. 'During the incident, all customers and staff were taken outside of the store as quickly as possible and the police were called immediately to handle the incident.
'The customer’s dispute was in relation to a refund that we were not able to give - as it was clearly outside of the stated terms and conditions.
He may have had good reasons for wanting a contract release -- such as illness, becoming unemployed or poor phone reception -- and the terms and conditions should make generous provisions for allowing reasonable requests
And in Britain, you've got to get all the rules right for all the circumstances. A Brit with a rulebook is like a robot. See a summary of the very different American approach here. The descendants of pioneers behave very differently from the descendants of serfs and villeins -- JR
Police station closed down? You'd better head to the supermarket: As one in five British police stations shut their doors to cut costs
Victims of crime will be told to go to Tesco to get help as the shutters at more than one in five police stations are brought down to cut costs. Chief constables will close 264 public counters over the next three years as they battle to balance the books.
Residents will instead be encouraged to travel to supermarkets, libraries and community centres if they want to speak to officers face-to-face.
A further 179 police buildings which have no public access will be sold off in an unprecedented fire sale of assets.
Senior officers argued that the blow of the police station closures will be softened as 137 so-called ‘shared locations’ open their doors.
They highlighted how many buildings were out of date and said fewer people visit police stations as they turn to the phone and internet. Some forces, such as Kent, Surrey, Essex, Cumbria and Gwent, were already using mobile police stations in supermarket car parks.
But critics have accused police of withdrawing from landmark high street buildings in many towns and cities simply to cut costs.
Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, lashed out at forces for closing ‘places of refuge’ for crime victims. He said: ‘These drop-in centres are no substitute for a proper police station and for a lot of people they are not the answer.
‘In many cases they have taken away a police station and given the public a part-time office in a supermarket or a mobile home left in a car park.
‘The public want a police station with full facilities, a place of refuge and safety. What we are doing is abandoning this and providing a drop-in point instead.’
The closures were disclosed yesterday in a report by a police watchdog into how police forces in England and Wales are coping with tighter budgets.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found crime continues to fall and confidence in police remains high despite substantial cuts in government funding.
Its report said the total police workforce will fall by 32,400 officers and staff by 2015. Among these will be 5,800 frontline officers although many forces have reorganised to put a larger proportion of bobbies on the beat.
However, Paul McKeever, of the Police Federation, argued that some forces have simply created a ‘smokescreen’ by moving officers to the front line from other important roles. He added: ‘Whichever way you cut it, the resilience of the police service to be able to react to whatever is thrown at it is being threatened.’
Spending on equipment and services will also be cut by about £474million as chief constables look to reorganise and share contracts to save cash.
Sir Denis O’Connor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, argued that forces can save the jobs of dozens of police officers by selling off costly buildings. He said: ‘The police station and front counter have traditionally been the physical mainstay of forces’ presence in communities.
‘However, the potential savings benefit to a force in shrinking its estate can be considerable. One reports it will save £500,000 in 2013/14 rising to £1.6million in 2014/15.’
He said the frontline officers he has met are ‘cracking on with the mission’, working imaginatively to maintain services whatever difficulties they face.
The latest cuts figures do not include Britain’s biggest force, the Met, which has not produced detailed budget plans or officer numbers.
Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe is reassembling his management team following a string of resignations and a shake-up of how the force is overseen. Officials warned his force was in danger of severe failings when cuts bite after the Olympics and it already has a budget shortfall of more than £233million.
Two other forces, Lincolnshire and Devon & Cornwall, were also singled out as potentially failing to provide an ‘efficient and effective’ service in the future.
Chief Constable Steve Finnigan, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: ‘We are becoming more flexible in the way we deliver critical services such as neighbourhood policing, local response teams and investigative work.’
Policing minister Nick Herbert defended the cuts, saying: ‘This report makes it clear that the frontline of policing is being protected overall and that the service to the public has largely been maintained.’
Arguments Do Not Have Testicles
Recently, a student asked me whether I had a right to speak out on abortion given that I am a man and could never experience pregnancy. I countered by asking him whether arguments have testicles. The question drew laughter from other students who were listening to the exchange. But my point was serious and worth addressing at length.
The idea that men are ineligible to speak out on abortion has at least six flaws, each of which should be understood and articulated by men who desire to speak on the issue. Those argumentative flaws follow in no particular order of importance:
1. The argument is sexist towards men. There have been 26 million males aborted in America since Roe v. Wade. Men have every right to speak out on behalf of those millions of males who were victims of violence at the hands of women. To accept that men cannot speak up for them because they could never choose to have an abortion would have dangerous implications. Could a woman not speak up for a young female rape victim because she could never choose to commit a rape? Would they be prohibited from speaking because they were not members of the gender ultimately responsible for carrying out the crime? Surely not. Furthermore, the argument reinforces the dangerous idea that rights belong to groups and not to individuals.
2. The argument is sexist towards women. We must also consider the effects of male anti-abortion advocacy on unborn women. An unborn woman has a right to choose simply by virtue of the fact that she is a woman. Or so the argument goes. If a woman is persuaded to let her unborn female child live then she too can hear the evidence on both sides of the abortion debate. If she dies, she is not at liberty to hear arguments on either side of the issue from either a man or a woman. And she cannot make a decision concerning what to do with her body if she is dismembered in the womb. Ironically, a woman’s so-called right to body autonomy, when exercised, defeats another woman’s right to bodily autonomy (in roughly one out of every two cases of pregnancy).
3. The argument defeats Roe v. Wade. Feminists would like to see the two dissenting Justices in Roe v. Wade silenced because they are men. But the same argument would silence the seven Justices who voted in favor of Roe v. Wade. They were also men. In other words, if a man’s opinion on abortion is invalidated simply by virtue of the fact that he is a man then Roe v. Wade would also be invalidated.
4. The argument would also apply to other medical procedures. Women usually decide to let their male offspring live. When they do, they usually have their male offspring circumcised. As Francis Beckwith points out, a woman can never know what it is like to have a portion of her penis removed. So how can she be allowed to participate in both the abortion and circumcision decision while a man is excluded from the former?
5. The argument assumes the male pro-life speech is directed toward women. People simply assume that the pro-life male is trying to control women when he argues against abortion. But oftentimes he is not even speaking to women. He is often motivated by a desire to change the hearts of men. This is because he knows that men often coerce women into abortions by threatening to leave them if they have the baby. Therefore, by entering the debate, the pro-life man may be reducing coercive control over women’s bodies. If women are better suited to speak to women, then it stands to reason that men are better suited to speak to men.
6. The argument also applies to slavery. No one could reasonably argue that abortion only affects women. A better argument would be that it affects women disproportionately. But that does not mean women are the only ones who can address the issue of abortion. Historically, slavery has affected blacks disproportionately. But it does not lead to the conclusion that non-blacks are disqualified from commenting on a moral issue that clearly spills over to all segments of the human population.
Liberals are constantly trying to reduce the marketplace of ideas by reducing the number of voices that are eligible to participate. They have already silenced 52 million voices with the blade of a sharp knife. We cannot let them do further damage with dull ideas. Sharpening arguments requires vigorous debate. And vigorous debate requires acceptance of the idea that arguments are not gendered. Neither is the right to speak on matters of profound moral consequence.
Race rules among most American blacks
When the House voted last Thursday to find Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress, members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked out.
Why is the Black Caucus trying to make this about race?
It’s about Holder’s refusal to turn over Justice Department documents requested by the House Oversight and Government Committee in its investigation of the “Fast and Furious” operation.
“Fast and Furious” was a “gun-walking” operation conducted by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). ATF would allow known smugglers to purchase arms from dealers in Arizona with the idea that they would trace them to their destination to operatives in drug cartels in Mexico.
Before the vote, Black Caucus chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) appeared on CNN calling the House contempt vote “....silly and detrimental to one human being.” On MSNBC he told Al Sharpton, “This is partisanship at its most base level.”
Sure, it’s an election year. And if you had to stretch to appreciate the complaint against Holder being made by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif), chairman of the House committee doing the investigation, you might buy Cleaver’s claim that this is just Republican political grandstanding.
But you don’t have to stretch to appreciate the case against Holder.
It seems pretty clear that “Fast and Furious” was a botched operation. The ATF lost track of some two thousand weapons that disappeared into the hands of criminals in Mexico. In December 2010, weapons traced to this operation were found on smugglers who murdered U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry. Others were tied to the murder of at least 200 Mexican citizens.
The investigation into these ATF activities began with inquiries by ranking Senate Judiciary Committee member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) after Agent Terry’s murder.
The Justice Department, in a letter to Senator Grassley, initially denied the existence of gun-walking operations. But this picture changed when ATF whistleblowers brought facts to the contrary to light. Subsequently, Justice withdrew its letter, saying its denial of the existence of these operations was mistaken.
Inconsistencies in Holder’s testimony before the House committee produced further reasons for suspicion. And then Holder’s stonewalling for months, refusing to produce the documentation that the House committee requested.
Whether there is a fire here remains to be seen. But there is plenty of smoke.
Yet Cleaver calls the House vote holding Holder in contempt “silly?” The chairman of the Black Caucus should have the opposite reaction if only for concern for his own community. Illegal drugs smuggled into the US from Mexico cause havoc among black youth. According to the Center for American Progress, there have been more than 25.4 million drug convictions in the US since 1980, and one third of them were black.
To grasp what’s really motivating Cleaver, I apply what I call the “A Time to Kill” test.
In the 1996 film “A Time to Kill”, a black man in a town in Mississippi hires a white lawyer to defend him after he kills two white racists who raped and mutilated his daughter. When the lawyer makes his closing argument to the jury, he asks them to close their eyes. He describes the atrocities that were done to the girl and concludes by saying “now imagine she’s white.” His black defendant is acquitted.
So close your eyes. Consider the details about “Fast and Furious” and then picture that the Attorney General is not Eric Holder but John Ashcroft (first Attorney General of President G.W. Bush) and that the murdered border agent, Brian Terry, is black.
Would Emanuel Cleaver now call this contempt vote “silly?” Would the Black Caucus have walked out?
For the Black Caucus this is about racial politics.
Fortunately for us, for Darrell Issa (who happens to represent my home district in California) this is about shedding light on what might be broken in ATF operations.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.