Monday, August 26, 2013

Sick Britain again

A businessman who confronted a burglar raiding his premises appeared in court yesterday accused of attacking him.

Andrew Woodhouse, 43, was chasing thieves off his property when he claims one of them 'came at' him with a wooden stick.

Father-of-five Woodhouse allegedly used the stick to injure the man's legs before holding him down while his wife called the police.

But when officers arrived they arrested Woodhouse and held him in a cell for 18 hours.

He appeared at Newport Crown Court yesterday charged with grievous bodily harm with intent which has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Andrew Taylor, defending, said: 'Mr Woodhouse apprehended two of the burglars at his tyre depot.  'It happened after two or three men decided they were going to remove a large quantity of diesel from his premises.

'Mr Woodhouse has been interviewed by police and has provided a full explanation about what happened.  'There is a CCTV recording of the incident and we are waiting to see the footage.'

Woodhouse denies the charge and was given bail until next month.

A Facebook page has been set up in support of Woodhouse, of Abergavenny, South Wales with more than 2,000 supporting him.

Woodhouse was in bed with his wife Lisa at their detached home in the village of Govilon, near Abergavenny, when his burglar alarm went off at about 12.30am.  The alarm is fitted to his business premises on an industrial estate a mile from his six-bedroom £350,000 home.

Woodhouse drove to his business premises where the alleged assault happened.

His wife Lisa said her husband was prepared to go through the legal process to clear his name.  She said: 'But I fail to see where there was any intent on Andrew's part.  'He didn't intend to get up in the middle of the night to assault anyone. All he did was protect his property.

'People may think he took the law into his own hands but what was he supposed to do, stand by and watch?'

Woodhouse employs six staff including two of his sons at the family business, which was set up 20 years ago.

The firm has lost £15,000 in recent years to thefts of diesel and tools.

Two fuel thieves who stole £50 worth of diesel from Woodhouse's premises on the night of the alleged assault have been dealt with in court.  Timothy Cross, 31, and Kevin Green, 52, took two jerry cans of diesel from Woodhouse's tyre depot in Abergavenny.  Cross and Green both admitted theft and were fined £75 by Cwmbran magistrates.


Stop and Frisk Doesn't Target Minorities, It Protects Them

New York City seems on the verge of making the same mistake that Detroit made 40 years ago. The mistake is to abolish the NYPD practice referred to as stop and frisk.

It's more accurately called stop, question and frisk. People were stopped and questioned 4.4 million times between 2004 and 2012. But the large majority were not frisked.

The effectiveness of this police practice, initiated by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1994 and continued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is not in doubt. The number of homicides -- the most accurately measured crime -- in New York fell from a peak of 2,605 in 1990 to 952 in 2001, Giuliani's last year in office, to just 414 in 2012.

Nevertheless, the three leading Democratic mayoral candidates in the city's September primary all have pledged to end stop and frisk. And last week, federal judge Schira Scheindlin, in a lawsuit brought by 19 men who have been stopped and frisked, found that the practice is unconstitutional and racially discriminatory.

Bloomberg has promised to appeal, and several of Scheindlin's decisions in high-profile cases have been reversed. But the leading Democratic candidates for mayor promise, if elected, to drop the appeal.

The two leading Republican candidates support stop and frisk, but their chances of election seem dim in a city that voted 81 percent for Barack Obama in 2012.

What riles opponents of stop and frisk is that a high proportion of those stopped are young black and Hispanic males. Many innocent people undoubtedly and understandably resent being subjected to this practice. No one likes to be frisked, including the thousands of airline passengers who are every day.

But young black and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic males are far, far more likely than others to commit (and be victims of) violent crimes, as Bloomberg points out. I take no pleasure in reporting that fact and wish it weren't so.

This was recognized by, among others, Jesse Jackson, who in 1993 said, "There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it's somebody white and feel relieved."

You can get an idea about what could happen in New York by comparing it with Chicago, where there were 532 homicides in 2012. That's more than in New York, even though New York's population is three times as large.

One Chicagoan who supports stop and frisk is the father of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old girl shot down a week after singing at Barack Obama's second inauguration. "If it's already working, why take it away?" he told the New York Post. "If that was possible in Chicago, maybe our daughter would be alive."

Chicago and New York both have tough gun control laws. But bad guys can easily get guns in both cities.

The difference, as the New York Daily News's James Warren has pointed out, is that frequent stops and frisks combined with mandatory three-year sentences for illegal possession of a gun mean that bad guys in New York don't take them out on the street much.

Stop and frisk makes effective the otherwise ineffective gun control that Bloomberg so strongly supports.

An extreme case of what happens when a city ends stop and frisk is Detroit. Coleman Young, the city's first black mayor, did so immediately after winning the first of five elections in 1973.

In short order Detroit became America's murder capital. Its population fell from 1.5 million to 1 million between 1970 and 1990. Crime has abated somewhat since the Young years, but the city's population fell to 713,000 in 2010 -- just over half that when Young took office.

People with jobs and families -- first whites, then blacks -- fled to the suburbs or farther afield. Those left were mostly poor, underemployed, in too many cases criminal -- and not taxpayers. As a result, the city government went bankrupt last month.

New York has strengths Detroit always lacked. But it is not impervious to decline. After Mayor John Lindsay ended tough police practices, the city's population fell from 7.9 million in 1970 to 7.1 million in 1980.

Those who decry stop and frisk as racially discriminatory should remember who is hurt most by violent crime -- law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods, most of them black and Hispanic, people like Hadiya Pendleton.


Just because red carpet wasn’t rolled out, don’t call it discrimination

Canadians routinely bend over backwards to people who are new to or rough with English. It’s simply unfair to cry “discrimination” when just once things don’t turn out perfectly.

Hai Xia Sun is doing just that after her experience at a Richmond, B.C., McDonald’s.

Sun didn’t get what she ordered. She wanted to correct the mistake but says the manager sent her away saying, “You don’t understand English … The line is long. I want to serve other people.”

Sun has the Chinese Canadian National Council on her team now — their executive director labelling the experience “unacceptable.” Now Sun doesn’t just want a simple apology. She wants a written one from the franchise owner, the manager and she wants it made out to all Canadians who aren’t native English speakers.

And that’s where this gets out of hand. Not having witnessed the event, we don’t know the details. Perhaps the manager was a jerk to her.

McDonald’s will likely deliver some sort of apology — along with some gift certificates — because that’s what customer-service savvy companies do. Even when it’s unclear who is in the wrong.

But for this to be blown up into a story of discrimination borders on a shakedown.

Here’s a little predicament I’m hoping the CCNC can help me with: I lived close to the Spadina Chinatown in Toronto for years. I frequently went to the various shops there. On many occasions when I asked for assistance the shopkeeper didn’t understand me. Sometimes they’d get their son or grandson to help, but just as often I’d be left to myself. There were even times when I was smirked at. Did I make a fuss? Did I even think to cry discrimination because I wasn’t served in English in Canada? No. I just sucked it up.

Now, are the various Chinese associations in this country going to issue a written apology to not just me but all native-born English speakers for the decades of crummy customer service we’ve received?

Sun, who has lived in Canada for 10 years and whose son suggests McDonald’s solution should be to hire Mandarin speakers, is pushing her luck. It’s a bit much to cry foul because just once we didn’t roll out the red carpet for her when she made chopped liver of the language of Shakespeare. She was treated like how the rest of us would be if we lived in a foreign country. When I spent a summer in Mexico I didn’t speak Spanish. Some residents spoke English and others didn’t. That was entirely my problem to deal with. So I stepped out the door everyday wearing my big-boy pants and didn’t cry about it.

Canada’s obsession with glorifying balkanized mosaic-style immigration, as opposed to the American melting-pot approach, has had terrible results. It makes newcomers think that not only are they entitled to endless accommodation from English-speakers, but that they have a discrimination case on their hands when they don’t get it and they should not be expected to return the favour.

Canadians are caring neighbours. All city dwellers know what it’s like to help a lost tourist or newcomer with abysmal English find the address they’re seeking. We’re patient. We’d never leave them stranded. The bottom line is the manager should probably have been nicer to Sun, but she should also brush up on her English. If she can’t properly order a coffee without it turning into a national scandal, how does she expect to accomplish anything else in society?


Australia:  Privacy legislation could have a `chilling effect' on freedom of speech

UNLESS the federal government abandons or radically changes its plans for a new way of suing for privacy, publishers and broadcasters face years of legal uncertainty that will have a "chilling effect" on free speech, media lawyers have warned.

"Privacy can be as wide as you want it to be," said Justin Quill of Kelly Hazell Quill.

"Even if this is never used, its mere existence will have a chilling effect and will lead to news editors taking out facts from stories for fear of being sued," he said.

His concerns are in line with those of media lawyer Nic Pullen of HWL Ebsworth, who was worried about uncertainty because the planned civil action "will hand everything over to the judges".

In 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended that the government should enact a privacy tort, but should not state clearly which areas of life would fall within its scope.

"Clear lines demarcating areas in which privacy can be enjoyed should not be drawn in advance," the commission's report said.

It recommended that the new cause of action should arise whenever there is a "reasonable expectation" of privacy and a serious invasion of privacy takes place that is considered highly offensive.

The commission favoured "leaving it open to the courts to determine when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists".

This "should not be limited to activities taking place in the home or in private places".

But the ALRC said it was in favour of what it described as "the narrower view" of the circumstances in which "a public act can be private". An example was when Britain's Mirror newspaper was found to have breached the privacy of model Naomi Campbell, who had drug problems, by publishing a picture of her on a street outside Narcotics Anonymous. The paper had to pay more than pound stg. 1 million in legal costs.

Mr Pullen said he was worried about the government's proposal because he believed it would be almost impossible to define "privacy" in a way that eliminated legal uncertainty. He said the government's priority should be to determine whether there were enough infringements to justify a new legal action. It should focus on trying to confine the definition of privacy to those areas considered appropriate, and only then should it turn to the question of defences.

Mr Pullen's concern comes soon after Privacy Minister Brendan O'Connor said the new civil action would contain a "public interest" defence for the media.

Mr Pullen and Mr Quill both dismissed the significance of the defence. Mr Pullen said the track record of the judiciary on free speech suggested that the defence was unlikely to be effective.



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.



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