Friday, October 24, 2014

Interstate Cigarette Smuggling

This piece from the Vice website give us some fascinating insights into the dynamics of cigarettes and taxes. The moralistic, do-gooder, prohibitionist elements of post-Puritan American society have yet to subvert what remains of the Constitution to the extent of a tax structure that would make cigarette prices the same from one state to another. There is a federal tax of $1.0066 per pack of weeds but the state tax hit varies considerably. Missouri, the least predatory state in nicotine taxation, adds only .17 to the cost of 20 Marlboros. Those same coffin nails will cost an extra $4.35 if purchased in New York. Additionally, some cities slap on an extra charge for polluting the air as well.  Chicago ($1.18), Cook County ($3.00), Illinois ($1.98) adds $6.16 to a pack of cigarettes, the highest levy in the country.The Big Apple gets $1.50 and Anchorage $2.206.

Not surprisingly, entrepreneurial souls have taken advantage of the disparity in taxes to satisfy the wants of the less enterprising by selling imported cigarettes in packs or singly on the street. This article from the New York Times tells about "Lonnie Loosie", a felon that, in the day of the comprehensive background check, will never be able to get a "real" job. He makes ends meet by peddling single smokes for .75, each, two for a dollar, and a pack of the popular Newports for $8 on the streets of midtown Manhattan. Interestingly, some of his customers are women that work in nearby offices who arrange their purchases by cell phone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

OH, NO! California Law School Grads Can't Filnd Jobs!

In a tragedy of epic proportions graduates of Whittier Law School and other California legal diploma mills are having a problem finding employment in their chosen field. According to this almost funny OC Register article would-be prosecutors have ponied up $42K and more a year and still have to make espressos to pay their student loans off.  Tsk, Tsk.

While schools like Stanford and UC Bezerkley still seem to place their ambulance chasers in legal occupations, those exiting lower tier schools like Whittier aren't being pursued. Isn't this what supply and demand is really all about? We would hope that a surplus of attorneys would mean lower legal fees but that won't be the case. These legal geniuses, a quarter of whom can't pass the state bar exam, all want to work for high-profile legal firms or, better yet, as prosecutors and public defenders on the guaranteed government payroll with fabulous health and retirement benefits. It'll be  pleasant day when the number leaving the legal profession exceeds those entering it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lionfish Taking Over The Oceans!

As part of our never-ending mission to alert the populace to the dangers from the animal kingdom, we present the latest horror story of alien invasion. Joining the coyotes in California's Orange County and the raccoons in Toronto, Ontario, are lionfish in the waters surrounding Florida. Since their spectacular appearance immediately attracts attention, these piscine carnivores can't sneak up on the locals, they're instantly noticeable.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

VG-10 3 1/2" Blade Folding Knife

A description, and a picture of what could be the knife carried by veteran sniper Omar Gonzalez when he leaped over the fence surrounding the White House on September 20th and dashed as far as the East Room of the Holiest of Holys. If indeed that is the knife he was carrying and he bought it himself, then he spent over $140 for this simple tool, a relatively expensive model.

" The affidavit contradicts initial reports by the agency that the man was unarmed," it says here. Ergo, anyone carrying a pocket knife is considered armed, whatever results that might lead to.

Knives are used for all kinds of common chores, sharpening pencils, peeling apples and potatoes, opening envelopes, slicing steaks, etc. They're not generally regarded as weapons, though certainly they could be used as such and have been. The daughter of screen goddess Lana Turner extinguished her mother's gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompinato with a kitchen knife.

Other common tools also make effective weapons.  An ice pick is a particularly dangerous item, even if not used as a weapon. Hat pins, when women wore hats, were used by ladies in danger to repel unwanted attention. It wouldn't be particularly difficult to cause serious injury or worse with a knitting needle. Many other tools made of hard materials, hammers, wrenches, pliers, bars, could also be used to injure an innocent politician. Isn't it time that all hard and dangerous implements be banned from our nation's capitol?

 Now, get this: a one-time prison guard that currently represents Lackawanna County in the Pennsylvania state legislature exchanged gunfire with an assailant in Harrisburg not far from the state capital complex, as we learn here. The Democrat is licensed to carry a firearm, as you might expect, since he has been a member of the state coercion complex at a lower level than he occupies presently. But is he authorized to fire it at someone else? We have, after all, only his and his legislator pal's testimony about this incident. If an unelected pleb fires a gun near the capital grounds in even an inconsequential state like South Dakota or West Virginia they're liable to spend some time in an office explaining it all. How much different is this affair than the George Zimmerman one, except for the lack of a body?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coyotes Threaten Seal Beach, California, Raccoons Go After Toronto

The city of Seal Beach, California has implemented a program to trap and "euthanize" coyotes that have invaded the seaside municipality on the western edge of Orange County. These aliens have made their unauthorized presence known by allegedly attacking a dozen pets, presumably dogs, and have been seen at least 99 times so far this year as we learn in this article from the Orange County Register.

So far, three of the blood thirsty canines have been captured and put to death by a private contractor hired by the city. An extremely intelligent animal, as animals go, successfully trapping the wily wild dog is no easy task. They've been on the list for local extinction all over the country for years but continue to maintain their range in the wild and have extended it to the suburbs and even in heavily populated areas. Can't have that. Can't have Fluffy become a sandwich for one of these uncivilized varmints.

A few years back an incident that involved the death of a small dog in a Milwaukee suburb wasn't witnessed but was attributed to a coyote attack nonetheless. The Journal-Sentinel said the response to its coverage generated more mail than any previous story ever. Today, cheeseheads are being advised to get used to urban predators.

A Chicago study has found that coyotes are everywhere in one of America's largest cities and have positive aspects, controlling the exploding population of another urban invader, the Canada goose, and rodents that have been a problem since cities came into being. City dwellers will probably have to get used to the usually invisible canines.

Across the continent, sophisticated Toronto, Ontario has problems with intelligent raccoons that seem to be able to force their way into almost any garbage container, per this story.  People just prefer that wild animals stay in their normal environment on the Discovery Channel.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

From One Who Knows, Conrad Black Has This To Say

Conrad Black, himself railroaded by enthusiastic and dishonest prosecutors, has written a piece about the same warped American non-justice system regularly mentioned here. Black has led an interesting life, as presented in this Wikipedia post.

Bill Gates Could Be Proving That He's Now Rich

Articles in the Wall Street Journal and Blood Horse say that Microsoft co-founder and one of the world's wealthiest men, Bill Gates, has purchased the southern California property Rancho Paseana from diet maven Jenny Craig for $18 million. Craig and her late husband Sid were major players in California thoroughbred racing for some years and the property was used as a training and lay-up facility for their racing stable, which included stars like Dr. Devious, Sidney's Candy, Paseana and Candy Ride.

Of course, the true indicator of wealth, admission to the company of the world's richest, is the incredibly expensive hobby of thoroughbred racing. Bill Gates, while being constantly portrayed in the media as one of the world's richest men, has yet to start setting fire to money by indulging in the sport of kings. Hopefully he'll begin to do so from his new base near the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Trainers, jockeys, grooms, and bettors would all welcome a Gates money infusion in a sport that's been in a downward spiral for thirty years.