Friday, December 31, 2004

Chemical Spill Costs Upset Public School Parents

This story (first in the Dallas Morning News, was brought to my attention by Tim Gablehouse of Golden (CO). Unfortunately, the DMN is one of those jerkline outfits that wants enough information to steal your identity to let you read an article on their website (even if you spent the 75 cents they charge for their fishwrapper), so I'm putting the article here for TPoL and other readers.

Parents upset by ambulance bills

By The Associated Press(12/30/04 - DALLAS, TX) — The parents of some Dallas students who were taken to the hospital this fall after cleaning up a chemical spill in class are upset that they have been billed for the ambulance ride.
Nine seventh-graders at Pearl C. Anderson Middle Learning Center were following a science teacher's order in October by cleaning up the chemical that had spilled onto the classroom floor. As they were cleaning, their hands began to burn.
The school called for an ambulance, and the students were taken to a local hospital where they recovered a couple of hours later. The science teacher -- whose name was not disclosed by district officials -- was reprimanded but is still teaching.
Each family was billed $350 for the ambulance ride and the Dallas Independent School District is refusing to pay.
"If ... (school officials) would have called me, I would have taken her to the hospital and avoided this," said Deborah Whaley, who has received her second notice to pay the ambulance bill. "It could have all been avoided if they had told the kids not to touch it. They should have just called the janitor in."
Dallas schools spokesman Donald Claxton said state law protects school districts from liability in such incidents. He said the district would set a precedent by paying the ambulance bills.
"If we start paying for one, we're going to start paying for everything like that," he said. "It's a very unfortunate situation. We feel sick about it."
Dallas school district policy says that in an "extreme emergency," an ambulance service shall be called to take a student to an emergency room. The student's family will be billed for the ambulance service, the policy states.
Trustee Ron Price, whose area includes Pearl C. Anderson, wants the school board to take a look at the policy when it's back in session next month.
"We don't want to penalize parents for our mistake," Price said.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

DHS: States, Cities need spy networks

From a friend in state government comes this article, which I provide in full:


Published: December 15, 2004

BOSTON, Dec. 14 - To protect America against terrorists, state and local agencies, as well as private businesses, need to gather intelligence themselves and not just rely on intelligence gathered by the federal government, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, the leader of a national working group on safeguarding the nation, told homeland security officials on Tuesday.

"The eyes and ears which gather intelligence need to be as developed in our country as they were in foreign countries during the cold war," Mr. Romney told the group. "Meter readers, E.M.S. drivers, law enforcement, private sector personnel need to be on the lookout for information which may be as useful."

In a presentation by telephone to Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland security, and members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, who were meeting in San Diego, Mr. Romney said that local law enforcement agencies should stop believing that they could protect all possible targets of terrorism.

"We could increase our law enforcement personnel tenfold, but we can't protect every target," Mr. Romney said. "There are just too many schools, churches, stadiums, bridges, tunnels, roads, subways. We have to be able to find the bad guys before they carry out their acts, and that can only be done through intelligence. The financial resources of our nation and our states should be increasingly devoted to this effort."

The proposal by Mr. Romney's working group represents a new and more assertive role for many local law enforcement agencies and other public and private entities in fighting terrorism, some experts on domestic security said.

Some cities and states, including Massachusetts, Colorado and Los Angeles, have set up or are planning "fusion centers," which collect information from local sources and seek to analyze it and draw conclusions. New York City goes beyond that, sending detectives to places like Israel and Singapore, as well as to other states to investigate businesses that sell explosives.

But under Mr. Romney's proposal, every state would be urged to marshal local agencies and businesses, with the goal of collecting details and observations that might, when stitched together, point to a potential terrorist attack.

"If you have a transit system that circles a major city and you get reports of people photographing trains at various locations, well, the report from one police station may be meaningless, but several of them may be a pattern," said John D. Cohen, senior homeland security policy adviser to Massachusetts.

The proposal "makes a great deal of sense to me," said Dave McIntyre, who teaches about domestic security at Texas A&M University. "I don't see how you're going to protect every high school football stadium, every school bus, every theater. I do think that we might find that a better investment of resources is to look at intelligence and investigative development."

Mr. Romney, who dealt with post-9/11 security issues as president of the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, said in an interview on Monday that his involvement with the domestic security working group was an outgrowth of the concern he felt as governor about the way the federal government was transmitting information and the lack of direction that the federal government was giving the states.

"I was initially quite frustrated that the homeland security money came without any sense of what states should do," Mr. Romney said, saying that when he raised those concerns, he was asked to assemble and lead a working group on the subject.

Mr. Romney, who is often mentioned as a Republican with potential or ambition to occupy a national office, insisted in the interview that he had no desire to be the next director of homeland security, or to take any other position in the Bush administration. He said that after the November elections, he told Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, "in case my name gets bandied about for any position, I'm filling my entire term" as governor, which expires in two years.

Dr. McIntyre said a potential pitfall of the working group's proposal was the issue of making sure that local agencies and businesses did not violate civil liberties. "How do we properly ensure that we're investigating some Americans without investigating all Americans?" he asked.

Mr. Cohen, the security adviser, said: "When we're talking about engaging frontline personnel, we're not asking them to go out and spy on people. In the course of them doing their jobs day to day, they collect information. And we're talking about teaching people to be more sensitive when information that is collected in the course of their day-to-day business may actually have a nexus with terrorism."

At Tuesday's meeting in San Diego, with Mr. Romney presenting his report from Boston, Mr. Ridge asked about the cost of the working group's plan. Mr. Romney, whose group included state and local officials and business executives from around the country, said some of the money for training local officials and setting up fusion centers could come from federal homeland security grants to states.

But, he added: "Whether I'm going to get funding from the federal government or not, this is a priority and I'm going to go after this. I went to the Legislature this year to get funding for our fusion center."

Mr. Romney said the intelligence that states received from the federal government was "oftentimes confusing" and sometimes contradictory. His report recommended that information be disseminated through a single federal agency.

Mr. Romney's report also said that too much information from the federal agencies was classified as secret or top secret, barring state officials from giving details to most local officials, who do not have adequate security clearance.

"You're put in a position of not passing it on or passing it on to someone without the right clearance and violating the law," Mr. Cohen said.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Baker’s Dozen ™ Protect yourself from a suspicious parcel

Draft for your review and comment
Although the usual targets of letter-bombers and anthrax-mailers are government agencies or big corporations, the technique can be used by many enemies of liberty against many people, including those who are liberty activists. So handling mail these days can be dangerous, sometimes deadly. It is important to recognize the difference between safe and suspicious mail, and plan appropriately in advance.
1. Whenever possible, use a locking mail box or a post office box, and not a mail slot or unlocked mailbox, for both business and private use. If using a mail box, if at all possible, do not attach to your building or house, but have at some distance away, but in view of your house.
2. Always look for a return address and make sure that you're receiving the mail from someone you know or from a credible source. Be wary of packages that have your address as the return address, which aren’t familiar, and are mailed to unknown or improper addresses.
3. Recognize unusual shapes, especially in a business or personal-size envelope, that may indicate an explosive device or internal package or bag of some substance. Be on the lookout for soft bulges, as when powder has been poured in, in an envelope.
4. Look for staining through the envelope, especially if oily or greasy.
5. Refrain from eating or drinking in a designated mail handling area.
6. Place suspicious envelopes or packages in a plastic bag or some other type of container to prevent leakage of contents. Never squeeze, sniff or smell suspect mail. Unless you are concerned about a gas, do NOT seal the container – it can turn a small explosive into a major threat.
7. If you do not have a container, then cover the envelope or package with anything available (clothing, paper or trash can) and do not remove the cover. Put a warning note or sign on the cover or container to alert people of the danger.
8. Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering.
9. Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder or other residue to your face.
10. If you are at work, report the incident to your building security official or an available supervisor, who should notify the police and other authorities without delay.
11. List all people who were in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized. Give a copy of this list to both the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials for follow-up investigations and advice. They may have been exposed.
12. If you are at home, report the incident to the local sheriff/police and postal authorities. Alert your neighbors.
13. Be aware that simply reporting, although a smart idea, can lead to a lot more problems. Be careful under what conditions you notify the authorities, and do not be surprised if they panic in response.
Remember that not all packages are dangerous or deadly, but use common sense, just as you would with e-mail spam or finding something on the street!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A new "Baker's Dozen" on Travel Security

I'm again posting an article and asking for comments and suggestions before sending it out for publication on The Price of Liberty or elsewhere.

A Baker’s Dozen ™ Checklist for Improving Travel Security
With the increased difficulty in using public transportation (planes and trains), more Americans are driving greater distances than ever. However, both in cities and other areas, there are threats to you and your property while traveling. There are a few simple items to reduce the risk and to be able to respond if a threat arises:
1. Ensure that you have basic equipment for responding to emergencies in your vehicle. Some of the equipment you should ALWAYS have: first-aid kit (trauma type), warning triangles and/or flashers, purified water (for drinking, cleaning, and emergency fluids replacement), paper and pencil, food (including candy or other items with sugar), and vehicle maintenance equipment (such as tire gauge, tire-changing equipment, spare, and owner’s manual).
2. Ensure that you vary your emergency equipment in your vehicle based on changing seasons and the area in which you are traveling. Seasonal equipment may include additional water, blankets or sleeping bags, snow shovel, suntan lotion, hats, coats, and raingear.
3. When parking your vehicle, make sure that you put away or cover items that might be a temptation to people to break in and steal. Also cover or put away items that may be damaged by the sun or heat. And of course, be sure you lock your car at all times when you are not in the vehicle.
4. Don’t leave children, animals, or other items in your vehicle, which may be damaged by extremes of heat or cold.
5. When traveling in heavy stop-and-go traffic, especially in central urban areas, keep doors locked and windows rolled up (as much as possible) to prevent someone from entering your vehicle without permission, or from throwing something into (or snatching something from) your vehicle.
6. Always inspect the exterior of your vehicle before getting in and driving, to check for damage (especially in a parking lot), broken lights, low or flat tires, and other problems.
7. When receiving your car back from a maintenance provider, in addition to checking to make sure that repairs were done as invoiced, and that key items are present and have been correctly replaced, also check that an excessive amount of mileage has not been used on the odometer.
8. Make sure that your registration, insurance information, and tags/stickers are all current, and have not been tampered with. When receiving replacements, check to make sure all information is correct. Whenever possible, do NOT put a street address on your various papers: instead use a post office box.
9. If you carry a pistol in your vehicle (a strong recommendation), make sure that it is convenient to reach if needed, that it is not visible from outside the vehicle, and that it is stored securely where it will not be dislodged in case of a sudden stop or accident. Ensure that you know what laws apply in states through which you travel.
10. If stopped by a patrolman or police officer, verify that the person really is a police officer before letting them take your documents or get into their vehicle. If possible, arrange thorough an auto club or other service to have a “bond” for minor traffic offenses, to avoid having to post large cash bails or pay large fines.
11. When you see an accident or what appears like an accident, if possible report the accident to an emergency dispatcher before stopping to assist, in case problems develop. When approaching the accident scene, keep a good distance to avoid problems with debris from the accident, attempts to seize your vehicle, and to allow emergency response vehicles adequate access, as well as pulling off the driving lane far enough for your own safety.
12. Especially before beginning a long trip or traveling to remote areas, check for adequate fuel, oil, radiator fluid, other fluids, spare tire, tire-changing equipment, and working lights, including turn signals.
13. If stopped and asked by law enforcement to voluntarily submit to a search, refuse to do so without a search warrant. If searching is done, politely express that you are allowing such under threat of force, and observe the searching as closely as possible. Request a written copy of anything that they claim to have found.

Your automobile should be as much your castle as your home, but the law does not always recognize that fact. Schools should be a safe place for teaching children, but they can NOT be completely isolated from all threats and dangers – in fact, too much isolation can in itself be a danger. But children should be able to expect parents, teachers, and other staff to be prepared and keep them as secure as possible.

Medical Matters and Jello

With thanks to Chuck Muth for posting these two items on his "news and views" e-newsletter!

I have to comment on these two items, even though I don't have an URL for them:

“In Jefferson Parish, La., 8-year-old Kelli Billingsley ‘brought homemade Jell-O cups to school at Boudreaux Elementary,’ reports WGNO-TV in New Orleans. ‘The girl's mom says her daughter was just trying to make a treat for her friends,’ but ‘the school suspended the girl for having a look alike drug,’ despite having tested the Jell-O and finding no trace of alcohol or any other forbidden substance. Things sure have changed since we were young. At our elementary school they had a drinking fountain that dispensed a liquid that looked just like vodka!”- James Taranto’s Best of the Web, 12/7/04

Apparently, it is now popular in some places (teacher's unions, perhaps) to create alcoholic gelatin treats for parties - thus this bizarre little ritual. Despite assurances that they were just plain old Jello (just like Bill Cosby sells!), and despite testing, the second-grader was suspended for nine days - a cruel and unusual punishment indeed when there was no crime to begin with.

“Let the Un-Drugging of America begin. The pharmaceutical industry, despite a golden age of biology that has unraveled mysteries of the genetic code and yielded miracle drugs that save thousands of lives, may be on the brink of a backlash. Millions of us are popping prescription pills for innocuous ills, when simple lifestyle changes - harped on by physicians for decades - are more effective and a lot cheaper…“Epidemiological studies have found that bad living - smoking, drinking too much alcohol, feasting on cheeseburgers - is responsible for 80% of one’s risk of heart disease and almost all the risk of diabetes. Cleaning up your act would do more to reduce that risk than popping a plethora of new pills.”- Forbes, 11/29/04
Indeed, this is something that I can speak of from experience - having various physicians attempt to diagnose me with various things and prescribe very expensive prescription-only medicines for conditions that can be changed with VERY limited diet changes and changes in schedules for me. What today is all too often seen by myopic doctors (drugs for everything) as a "serious condition" is often just the body telling you that you aren't treating it right - and it is often a fairly simple matter to find out why it is doing that. Even if it is NOT a simple matter, after you've spent $1000 on getting a diagnosis, why trap yourself into spending $50 - $100 a month for the rest of your life for some drug (with often-nasty side-effects) when a simple "no-thanks" to certain foods, or "it is too late in the day to be eating or drinking that" is so simple? (And easier to do when your body slams you in the gut once or twice.)

The problem is, in both of these articles, that we as people have SURRENDERED our decision-making abilities, and our responsibilities (for our lives or those of our children) to someone who really is not deserving of the trust we give them, to say nothing of what we pay them. If we take back control over our own lives - even just to the extent of saying "NO" to more nannies for adults, and more prisons for children - we will find that we don't NEED to trust these people to do anything but mess up their lives and the lives of those we surrender to their tender mercies.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Campaigns for Liberty

We all would like to see our liberty restored and protected from further encroachment, and many libertarians work hard to elect like-minded candidates, support ballot measures, and other work. Of course, there is much more to be done, and this is one idea from an unusual source: the United Kingdom.

Two newspapers, of all things, are promoting pro-liberty campaigns in the United Kingdom, as mentioned in recent news stories ( The Daily Telegraph is pushing a very strong campaign to change laws and make it clear that homeowners can defend themselves against robbers, burglars, and other invaders of their homes.
The Daily Sun (famed for its "Page 3 Girls") is also running a lengthy campaign called "Stop the Fines Robbery" (,,2-2004552877,00.html ) in which they are publishing examples of abuse by traffic wardens (police officers in charge of traffic - like meter maids and meter men in US cities) and then going to the various courts and cities to help the people fight to overturn the charges (many parking fines in the UK are US$160 or more). Now, neither of these campaigns is going to restore the "liberties of Englishmen" anytime soon, but they DO make an impact on the people and on the government - small, but noticeable and effective.
Similar campaigns on a local level, right here in the Fifty States, can do the same thing, and help build support for liberty on their own, as well as make it easier for electioneering and ballot issues. A small campaign to stop traffic ticket abuse can help a few people directly, gather press coverage, build alliances with other people (especially conservatives and liberals), make people better known, and reduce intrusions of personal liberty in any area. If coordinated with local groups (such as radio station personalities or newspaper columnists, or charity groups), they can broaden the appeal, be more effective, and essentially pay for themselves. They don't have to be statewide efforts - they can be as small as a county or a city.

Here are some ideas:
- many groups are fighting the condemnation authority of local governments for "economic development" where (for example) the city condemns dozens of homes in order to put together a block of land to be sold to a "big-box" retailer or industrial company.
- many cities DO have problems with parking ticket abuse - I know of one city where high-school students with as few as a single unpaid parking ticket more than a month old have been arrested in front of their classmates, in the classroom.
- many communities (one in Illinois has been in the news as of late) have their own local laws forbidding the ownership of handguns, or prohibiting either open carry or concealed carry in their boundaries.
- many towns have a problem with the arrogant attitude or continual foul-ups by a single government agency - federal, state, or local. For example, a DOT (Dept of Transportation) shop which constantly tracks mud onto the streets, or sends vast plumes of diesel smoke across the neighborhood on winter days; or a Dept of Fish and Game warden who constantly trespasses on private property, or harasses local people for game violations; or a local town that has speed traps for unwary travelers.
Each of these is an opportunity to right a wrong, protect or restore a freedom, and turn into a springboard for other good work. Look around and try and do this, yourself!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Well, it is a day to be thankful, even if we have turned it into a day of outlandish pigging out, of pre-Christmas marketing hype, and laziness (except for those cooking all those meals) - the beginning of the two months of extravagant bread-and-circuses of the "holidays" starting with T-Day, going on through Christmas (where still legal), New Year's Eve parties and New Year's Day circuses (sports), followed by the Superbowl and even, extending to the excesses of Karnival (Marti Gras or Shrove Tuesday).

But we should think about being thankful, and here is a list of a few:
1. Thankful that we live in the nation we do - with so much of the world being worse off.
2. Thankful that we (my family and I) live in the West, and not in places where neither the freedom nor the scenery are as good.
3. Thankful that we have enough (and usually, too much) to eat and drink, and that we have enough laid by to provide for at least minor emergencies.
4. Thankful for the freedom we still have to travel, despite $2.00 gasoline, and the wide-open spaces in which to travel.
5. Thankful for friends of liberty, especially those who are friends of ours as well, and for all they do to encourage us, and keep us thinking straight, and so much more.
6. Thankful for friends who are brothers and sisters in Christ - "church friends" who also do all they can do to encourage us, and keep us thinking straight, and so much more.
7. Thankful for a loving, hardworking, and cheerful spouse, able to do so much and keep things in order.
8. Thankful for two sons growing up to be faithful christians and lovers of liberty, and smart and hard-working friends as well as children.
9. Thankful for the technology on which I write this, and which I use to travel and communicate and live by, and for the freedom and faith that has made this possible.
10. Thankful for the hundred and one things that I take for granted every day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Dealing with ID Theft

This is the second in a series of "Baker's Dozen" tips on personal security. Comments are appreciated before I submit to Mama Liberty to TPoL for publishing.

A Baker’s Dozen Tips ™ To Dealing with ID Theft by Nathan Barton © 2004

A major growth sector in US crime is identity theft. Millions are victimized every year by emptied bank accounts, charged-out credit accounts, ruined credit records, and even criminal records pointing towards the victim's identity. The Federal Trade Commission says that identity theft is the number-one form of fraud, with over 9 million people affected in 2003. Many people don’t find out for months that they were hit.
  1. Fundamentals: Know what is needed to steal an identity. It doesn’t take much. A name, address (past or present), phone, birth date, Social Security number (SSAN), mother's maiden name, and just one of the following: bank account number (from a check), credit card number (from a sales slip or a bill), driver's license (from a motel receipt, perhaps), plate number and/or VIN (vehicle ID number), even a utility bill. A thief can make a few phone calls, do an online search and become you.
  2. A Little Defense: There are lots of ways for the crook to get the data he (or she) needs: Pick pocketing, “shoulder surfing” and dumpster diving are covert ways of obtaining info, but registry clerks, medical filers, property management filers, bankers, utility company employees or any venue where you are required to give out your SSAN for services are the weakest links in your ability to conceal your ID. Dishonest employees sell lists of SSAN for cash. So the number one thing you can do is LIMIT HOW OFTEN YOU GIVE OUT THIS NUMBER! Don’t write your signature on your debit and credit cards – instead, print “SEE PHOTO ID” in that space, and use your drivers license, military ID, or school ID to show the signature. Make sure that clerks don’t write down the ID number or SSAN (if it appears on the ID) on a check or sales slip. Leave street addresses and SSAN OFF your checks – many people advise putting only initials, not full names.
  3. The Postman Cometh: Postal address forms can be filled out and your mail redirected to a criminal’s address. Incoming and outgoing mail have everything they need. Credit card offers and loan applications have proprietary information, and can often be completed and approved with just a bogus signature. Stolen mail might never be missed, giving the thief a head start. If possible, use a locked USPS box, a private mailbox (PMB) (from the UPS Store or some other private business), or a mail slot, rather than a traditional outdoor mailbox.
  4. For Whom the Phone Rings: Criminals don’t observe “no-call” lists. Some predators call congratulating you on winning a prize or trip. Someone will claim you hit their auto in a parking lot (or they hit yours!), or that they found something of yours with identity on it and ask you to confirm your SSAN, drivers license, or other number to prove you are who you claim to be.
  5. Phishing and Other Computer Fun: The computer/internet version of phone fraud: e-mails asking for personal information and imitating a service provider or other business are common types of spam. Often the e-mail will direct you to a web-site that mimics a well-known and recognized web-site (such as Visa or Wells Fargo) but is really sitting on a server in Russia or Bermuda. Data-mining spyware is another threat, where you enter the very information they are looking for, for a legitimate site and use, and the number is collected by the spyware. Change passwords frequently and use “non-common” passwords.
  6. Behind the Curve: On average, the FTC says it takes a person 12 to 16 months to realize they have been victimized by a well-run operation. Some thieves will pay off debt for up to a year to get larger increases on loans and credit cards, then cash in when the big loans and limits come in. Other times, less knowledgeable but lucky crooks can strip your accounts in mere days: a credit card with a 10,000-dollar limit can provide a spree of less than a week.
  7. Prevention: Many small things can be done to prevent this from happening. Some ideas: get to know the people at the post office – especially in small towns. In larger towns, get to know your carrier, as well as UPS, FedEx and other delivery service drivers. If they see something that doesn't make sense they may be the first to notify you. Don’t just get a locking mailbox, but never put outgoing mail in an unsecured mailbox. Get a shredder and shred everything with a name, account number and address. Reduce exposure by paying as many bills online and getting online billing statements (only) for accounts. Limit the number of cards you have and use.
  8. Watch out: It is critical to pay attention to your finances. Look at bills for items you never purchased, calls from credit card companies increasing your credit lines, calls from bill collectors looking for payments, and mail for people other than yourself (especially in the form of credit card statements or loans). Review your bank statements: electronic banking means they don’t need to steal your checks to steal your money. Look for an unusual amount of direct mail from a particular brand or product line; this represents a large purchase on behalf of the thief putting you on a direct mail list regarding their purchase.
  9. Zip your lip: It is not necessary to give out your SSAN as much as you think. Only give it out if it is absolutely necessary, ask for alternatives. Deal only with established vendors with solid backgrounds. Never give out your mother’s maiden name unless absolutely necessary, and after verifying it is essential (look for other key questions to use).
  10. Credit, Cash, Paper, or Plastic: Be careful: excessive inquiries into your credit lower your scores making you less able to get loans for cars or homes, but you should check your credit record at least annually, and perhaps quarterly (especially if you can’t lower your vulnerability). This checks make you aware of activity regarding your SSAN and accounts, especially new ones. Look over bills carefully, and keep sales slips.
  11. Banker-Man: Establish a personal relationship with your banker – if you are using a large chain bank, pick a small branch to work with, not the main or major local office, and get to know them. At the same time, make sure that the bank uses their systems to verify “unusual” or “unexpected” changes in pattern. Protect your PIN (personal ID number) carefully: when new ones are assigned, immediately change to one that you DO NOT WRITE DOWN, at least not in a recognizable form.
  12. If It Happens: First, contact the fraud departments of all three major credit bureaus – have them flag your SSAN. Contact all your banks, and change passwords (or put them into place if you don’t have them). Notify all credit card companies, and cancel all credit cards affected by theft. Notify local authorities – the location of your residence is usually who has jurisdiction, but this may vary by state. Check with your drivers license agency to make sure that new duplicates of licenses haven’t been issued, and to see if there are tickets you “didn’t get.” If the theft appears to be local, notify the people you normally do business with, including gasoline stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, discount stores, the post office, and similar places.
  13. Business’ Responsibility: Identity theft is not your boss’s problem, but an employee struggling to get their life in order after being hit can hurt the business. The victim will be distracted, spend company time, use phones, go to court, come in late and leave early, as they work desperately to get the mess straightened out. An average victim is estimated to spend 175+ hours in the effort, which can cost up to $20,000. Employee training can help your employees, and the business.

Freedom Poetry v 1.0

There is a dearth of good liberty-oriented poetry and songs out there, and here is the first of several attempts to contribute to that lack. The first (to longtime science fiction readers) is thanks to Gordy Dickson, from whom the metre and most of the opening lines are "sincerely flattered" (and with serial numbers suitably obliterated). Opinions are earnestly sought! And a suitable title.

Freedom Poetry v 1.0

Soldier, ask not, now or ever, Why to war our banners go.
Slav’ry’s legions now surround us, Strike, and do not spare the blow.

When, at last, our freedom is won, Care we not who fired the gun?
But can we let another man pay, and from our duty turn and run?

The price of freedom’s never paid, By taking from another,
Yet there are those who fain to claim, freedom for us, and none other.

Let now our hands show blood-red tone, But throw down a broken chain.
Let us not fear what men may say, But in honor bear that stain.

And if we fail to win the fight, Death can’t our liberty claim,
Can’t deny that Tree our blood’s water, nor can it bring us to shame.

Mayhap we will fail now to win, But know well too, not give up,
Lest slaveowners’ darkness come again, Our precious freedom disrupt.

Sing not of liberty, my friend, Unless you will too make sure,
Your deeds will make this blessed land’s, Liberty more and more pure.

Can you not see just what is right? Not just our own should be free,
For liberty is God’s gift to all, That ev’ry child of God so be.

And we answer God’s just demand, for what gave He to our hands,
When we stand before the great Throne,"We kept freedom in our lands."

Home Invasion Security

I am preparing this for Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) to publish in The Price of Freedom, but would like to ask folks to take a look at it and suggest changes or ideas!

A baker’s dozen tips to preventing Home-Invasions by Nathan Barton © 2004

  1. Got Arms? : Burglars fear an armed and trained householder more than anything else, as a review of the web can tell you. Get and know how to use a pistol for self-defense, and make sure you keep it where you can find it in emergency. Practice regularly.
  2. Goodies: One simple reason your house is chosen is someone tipped off the home-invader that you have valuables. Your friends or children or baby sitter might have unintentionally bragged. Close your curtains and drapes regularly, and don’t show things off where they are easily visible from the outside or callers at the front door.
  3. Strangers: You tell your children not to talk to strangers, so why do you open the door to a total stranger?
  4. Peephole and Security Cameras: Install peepholes, talk through the door. In many places, there is a need for additional security, and inexpensive, dependable security camera systems, many web-ready, are available for low prices at Wal-Mart and other stores. But don’t depend on either cameras or peepholes – you can’t see everything.
  5. Posers: Home-invaders pose as delivery people, public workers, or people in distress. In some cases, these people moonlight as invaders – even police officers. Listen and learn what is going on in your area, and share with neighbors.
  6. Make a call: If in doubt about someone, under no circumstances do you open the door unless you get phone numbers to call their superiors. Verify the number by using the phonebook or directory assistance – don’t trust the number that the guy at the door gives you. If someone claims to be in distress tell him or her you will call the police for them.
  7. Do not call the police: If you live in a high crime area or where law enforcement takes a while to respond (much of the country), and if someone is trying to break into your house while you are in it, don’t expect the police to respond in time. Be prepared to defend yourself. Sometimes, calling the fire department will get help to the scene quicker. (Do this only if you are desperate. Firefighters are not equipped to handle violence. However squealing sirens can deter a criminal.) Better yet, call 911 and tell them you are being invaded, that you are armed, and will shoot to kill if necessary (whether you will or not) – this often gets police to respond faster.
  8. Get connected – stay connected: Consider a second line or a cell phone in your bedroom. If you use something other than dial-up, consider internet phone service. Burglars often cut phone lines outside or remove a telephone handset from the receiver when they enter a home, to prevent outgoing calls from extensions.
  9. Get alarmed: An alarm system activated while you are sleeping will prevent a burglar from getting to far. Newer alarms have cellular options, a safeguard even if the phone lines are cut.
  10. Got more arms? : In addition to lethal weapons, having a non-lethal weapon (such as a Taser or a Pepper spray) in close proximity to various places in your house, such as the front door, can debilitate your attacker before they gain control and let you get to your primary weapon.
  11. Locks and security: Call a qualified person, such as a locksmith, to take a physical security survey to help you determine the most efficient way to lock up and otherwise secure your home. There are many products on the market that only provide a false sense of security. Who is qualified? A locksmith should be a professional associated with well-known manufacturers. Security services should also have credentials, including training or military (Security Police or Military Police) experience, and should provide references.
  12. Get even more armed. Everyone in the family, from about age 6 or 7 on up, should be familiar with the weapons, security, and procedures in case of an invasion. While the safe age for a child to have their own weapons (including .22 rifles, bb guns, and knives, as well as sidearms) varies from child to child, as soon as you as their parent determine that they are responsible, have them take that responsibility. Even the youngest child should be given basic firearms training to know WHY they are not toys and WHY you do not share them with friends.
  13. Friends and neighbors. Get to know your next-door neighbors, on both sides, in back AND across the street. Keep an eye on their place, let them know if something odd is going on, and they’ll do the same for you. Wave and smile at each other, even if you aren’t the best of friends – a close-knit community can scare off would-be invaders. At the same time, don’t divulge too much information to each other about travel plans or possessions – it is easier to spill the beans about someone else than yourself.

I've gotten tired of the so-called "security experts" who never mention the true facts, and believe that the only time there should be guns in a house is when a cop shows up. So I took a checklist and severely modified it, to produce this (I also fixed a lot of grammar in rewriting it - no surprise with hoplophobes, I guess.)

Please post your comments here or send to me! Thanks.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Well, for the second day in a row, secession was some of the talk on the radio - I'll cheerfully let most of the "Blue" counties go anywhere they want, and gladly accept the loss of their tax money, their "creativeness," and their increasingly-pathetic whining.

I've long been an advocate of secession, anyway, and come by it naturally: after all, some of my ancestors seceeded when they heard about these neat things called "horses" about 600 miles to the south, and decided that the plains of Wyoming and South Dakota were not as nice a place to live as the Staked Plains. Then a hundred or so years later, some other ancestors decided that the United Kingdom could have an empire without them, and seceded together (after seceding in a way initially by emigrating). And only about sixty years later, some more of my ancestors decided that seceding from the EU de Mexico might be wise. Then, just a quarter-century later, after a foolish marriage of convenience, decided to secede from the USA - unfortunately, they should have also seceded from the CSA, and gone it alone.

So if someone wants to leave the USA, more power to them, as long as they take their ideas with them and leave those of us who just want a little peace and quiet, and a lot of freedom, to enjoy what's left. It is easier than the other way, where we have to do the seceding again - I don't know, how about the Alliance of Free Western States, anyone? I mean, I think the South has a copyright on "Confederate" and "Coalition" is being used right now, and "Commonwealth" has two copyrights (and a lot of bad history).

Well, it's an idea.

No more saving Private Ryan?

TV Stations Cancel 'Saving Private Ryan'
Associated Press
NEW YORK — Many ABC affiliates around the country have announced that they won't take part in the network's Veterans Day airing of "Saving Private Ryan," saying the acclaimed film's violence and language could draw sanctions from the Federal Communications Commission

A strawman, pure and simple. ABC has been leading up to this for at least two years, with the cooperation of CBS and Fox – claiming this is “violating” new FCC rules. If they were so afraid of the big bad FCC, they could ***bleep*** the language - no one has raised any objections to the violence, but both a warning (nobody warned anyone that Janet Jackson would be having her shirt ripped off) or a bit of editing to get the worst of the gore out (the opening scene mostly) might not butcher it too badly- certainly TV stations and networks have done worse butcher jobs to serve their own purposes in the past. [Although a friend tells me ABC’s contract with Spielberg allows no editing – an interesting clause indeed.]

But the truth is, they want to make anyone who objects to ANYTHING they air look like fools, and the entire idea that viewers should have control of content (other than through response to advertising) look bad. Sadly, most viewers who object to network content are (a) too gutless to turn the dial, and (b) so gutless that they expect the government to do what they won’t – discipline the networks by fines and punishments rather than notify the networks directly (and indirectly through advertisers) that they will not patronize a sleazy outfit. ABC and these stations aren't opposed to the FCC - they just want it to be their tool to prevent and control competition, but not TOO powerful, lest their profits be negatively effected by its limits on what they can broadcast.

At the same time, in the words of another commentator – “Ain’t guvmint grand?” The unconstitutional power of the FCC to censor anything is being used as an excuse to ignore a popular sentiment to honor veterans with an acclaimed movie.

Still, there are millions of people who live in daily fear (as these ABC stations claim to be) that something that they will innocently do will bring down on them the wrath of a totally bloated, all-controlling, big government that seeks ANY EXCUSE to expand its power at the expense of you or me. These range from the owner and operator of a small truck firm not sure about whether he can load one more pallet on his truck, a ready-mix “mom-and-pop” plant operator replacing a defective piece of machinery and running afoul of air “quality” regulations, a doctor debating whether to prescribe a new, more powerful painkiller, a husband and wife responding to a loud knock at the door late at night, a homeowner wanting to leave his grass a few inches higher than the bureaucrats downtown allow, and millions of others.

Is ANYTHING government provides worth the fear and pain that government, even at its most “benign” causes? Anything?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Opening Post

This blog is being started, in large part, to respond to and post comments about others' blogs, and to serve as a place to get some questions asked (and answered) and some ideas bounced back and forth.
So join in!