Monday, April 22, 2019

That's Not How A Conflict Of Laws Works

Invoking a higher power in court rarely turns out well.

The Detroit News: U.P. deer hunter who said he didn’t need license found guilty

Ron Ehinger of Ontonagon County claimed he didn’t need a license based on the “laws of nature.” The Daily Globe in Ironwood reports that a jury needed just 10 minutes to determine that the laws of Michigan applied instead.

Not exactly a great defense to a charge of poaching.

Laws of the state beat the laws of nature in state court all year round.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Passover 2019!

A very nice time was spent with the extended family celebrating Passover.

We went to Toronto for the first Seder on Friday and had a great time meeting up with all the cousins and catching up with all the folks.

It was a good time for all as we retold the story of the departure from Egypt, with the oldest in the room in their 80s, and the youngest at 4 weeks all enjoyed the Passover story and meal.

We brought Matzah Crack to the Seder. What's Matzah Crack you may be asking? We'll its the tastiest Passover-approved dessert. Caramel and chocolate on top of Matzah along with other toppings. Varieties included chocolate with pieces candied ginger - which was a surprise hit, Chocolate mint, Chocolate Cherry, and White Chocolate almond Cranberry.

Making it is really rather simple:

Matzah Crack

Ingredients:
4-5 pieces of matzah
2 sticks / 1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (If you're doing white chocolate cranberries, use white chocolate chips for that flavor series)
chopped pieces of candied ginger, or dried cherries or cranberries as desired as additional toppings.

1. Break Matzah into pieces and array on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil that has been sprayed with no-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Take 1 cup butter and melt in a pan with 1 cup brown sugar, mix together over medium-high heat and stir until boiling, foamy and it becomes thickened around 3 minutes after it starts bubbling.

3. Pour the mixture over the Matzah and spread around covering the top of the Matzah.

4. Place in the oven and back for 8-10 minutes to set the caramel.

5. Remove from the oven and cover the caramel with a goodly portion of chocolate chips and spread over with a spatula as it melts. Add additional toppings as desired. Chopped pieces of candied ginger are highly recommended.

6. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours until the chocolate and caramel have solidified.

7. Cut into smaller pieces with a knife, and then enjoy. Bet you can't eat just one!

Happy Passover to all, and a Happy Easter to those of you celebrating Easter.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Monorail! Now With Proposed New Expensive Connections To Toledo and Monroe!

The fever dreams of urban mass-transit planners and their love of trains is so quaint. At least it is until you realize taxpayers will be on the hook for these vanity choo-choo projects.

The Detroit Free Press: New 110-mph passenger train could connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor

A new study presented to Toledo officials looked at a rail concept — dubbed the T because of its layout — that would connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor and cities in between.

If it were built, you could leave Detroit and get to Toledo in about an hour, about the same as if you drove straight down I-75, assuming you didn't run into any construction detours, rush-hour traffic, major accidents — or make any stops to top off your tank with gas.

Toledo City Councilman Chris Delaney, who has championed the study, said Wednesday that the T would not be just for "the luxury of being able to board a train." He viewed passenger rail service as a means to longer-term economic development and prosperity.

Like we've never heard that before.

Note in the article they plan to use existing freight rail tracks, for at least some of the run. This means that their claimed 80-100 mile speed will not be so fast in reality as they're going to have to stop and wait for freight trains and no, you really won't get there as fast as you would in your own motor vehicle. Cost is estimated at $390-$524 million, and given the cost overruns we've seen on similar train projects, you can safely double those estimates to get an idea of the true cost for this project.

Of course, once you get to Toledo or Monroe, you're going to need to call an Uber or rent a car or something to get around, certainly negating the savings of taking a train, the ticket price for which will almost assuredly be higher than the mileage cost for driving that distance or will be heavily subsidized by you up front from your taxes - probably both.

These planners love the idea of train projects - nice, expensive, programs with lots of opportunity for graft, vanity naming rights, and union feather-bedding combined with their disdain of the proles for daring to drive themselves where and how they wish. Reality tends to indicate people don't actually want these trains to nowhere.

And an excellent example of the hand-waving and excuses made when these rail projects don't quite work as expected in reality is displayed in this very article when it looks at the regions latest choo-choo project that cost over $182 million:

In its first year, the QLINE was expected to deliver 3,000 to 5,000 rides a day, and it hit that goal for part of the year. But from November through March, average daily ridership dipped to 2,700, potentially because of colder weather.

Nice slight of hand there "potentially because of colder weather". Yes, because riders don't like to be in enclosed vehicles during colder weather, right? Not so much. Ridership of Qline didn't decline because of the weather, ridership actually dropped when riders had to actually pay for a train that moved as fast as a slow walk for all of 3.3 miles.

Also note that in order for QLine to break even, they need 5,000 rides per day, not 2,700 meaning guess who is going to pay the difference?

$524 million would be far better put to use repairing the multitude of potholes, bridges and infrastructure that already lies along that route. Not nearly as sexy, there's no opportunity to rename the route for favored persons or entities in that, and no guarantee of continued subsidies to operate it. But, people will actually use it to go where they want, how they want. Urban planners hate that.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Replied The Snake: “You Knew What I Was When You Picked Me Up”.

The UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies sponsored an event about Gaza and well, surprise!

Totally Unexpectedly, multiple acts of Antisemitism occurred, along with biased and counter-factual anti-Israel activism, on the taxpayer dime, no less.

ABC 11 News: Some sponsors want money back after anti-Semitic remarks made at UNC conference

What sponsor was stupid enough to be surprised this was going to happen at such a conference?

Apparently many departments at UNC and the Rotarians, of all people, failed to evaluate the conference based on the very long track record of antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda at such conferences.

They failed to heed the tale of the Girl and the Snake.

Good luck getting your donations back.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

An Engaging New Music Style - Meaningwave Lo Fi

There's an interesting new music style out there.

Called Meaningwave, created by Akira The Don, it sets lectures.speeches of some interesting people to lo-fi music, revising them into songs while making their meanings come across very easily.

In short, its a rather entertaining and easy way of listening to the highlights of the thoughts and words of some very smart people. Sort of a Coles Notes edition set to music.

He has quite a few of Jordan Peterson, including a very humorous cut of his thoughts on alcohol, or his now famous rules for life. Everyone can take some element of what Peterson's saying and apply it to make your own life better. While reading the 12 Rules Book is highly recommended, this isn't a bad way to get some listening time in when you're in the car.

Then, if you need a boost in the morning, well, if you can't get motivated by listening to his version of Jocko Willink's stuff on the way to work, you may very well have no pulse.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Tax Day - Women And Minorities Hardest Hit

Because there's no Tax Day like Intersectional Tax Day.

So sayeth PBS.

PBS: How U.S. tax laws discriminate against women, gays and people of color

The quick answer is, the tax laws don't actually discriminate on that basis, but you'd have to read the entire article to figure out they're seriously reaching with some very weak examples to get to that conclusion.

Both arguments used don't support the position taken.

The first argument is the claim that the tax benefits that occur in the situation where there is a marriage with one working spouse and a non-working spouse is discriminatory against gays, minorities and women, which is one helluva overreach. See if you can figure out why that is so, it's not exactly hard to see the blatant fallacy in that argument.

Then, there's the claim its not right that personal injury awards are exempt from income taxes but employment discrimination awards are not, and they claim that that is discriminatory against gays, minorities and women. Never-mind that employment discrimination is by definition discrimination that is having an effect on your wages -- which are taxable -- and if you succeed in an employment discrimination case you're getting an increase in wages to make up for what you weren't paid due to the discrimination. In short, you're getting more wages from your employer which is the very definition of taxable income.

That's the two examples they choose to make about how horribly discriminatory the tax laws are to women and minorities. No mention of the tax law penalties for being married with two working spouses, as that wouldn't hit 'em in the intersectionality.

In short, the article and its examples, written by a woke law professor no less, badly fails to actually show any real discrimination against the identified groups at all but ends that the tax laws must "create a more just society rather than one that just rewards privilege".

In short, waving your arms and shouting "privilege" with nothing to actually back it up is just not a viable argument.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Somebody Just Made It To State Level For Forensics

Abby had her regional forensics competition on Saturday.

She thought she did well, and it turns out she did indeed do quite well. She came in second, making into the top 5 competitors at the regional competition which means she gets to advance on.

She's advancing to the Michigan State Forensic Competition for oratory, quite an accomplishment for a new freshman competitor with all of 5 months forensics experience.

Her school also did quite well with a lot of competitors from the forensics team advancing to the state championship to be held in May. It really is a great bunch of kids.