Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arab Museum in Dearborn to honor Helen Thomas with a statue

The Detroit Free Press: Helen Thomas statue campaign stirs controversy

Whether they want the statue because of or in spite of her anti-Semitic comments is certainly open to question.

The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn has launched a fund-raising drive to pay for a statue of legendary journalist Helen Thomas that concerns some in the Jewish community.

Thomas, a former White House correspondent and native Detroiter born to Lebanese immigrants, was forced to quit her job at Hearst Newspapers last month after saying Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine." She apologized.

On Tuesday, the museum started a 45-day campaign to raise the remaining $10,000 for the roughly $30,000 statue.
The statue is as flattering as Helen Thomas herself. Often the ugliness inside a person is matched by the ugliness on the outside and in her case it sure is:


Rumor has it Helen Thomas was also used as a model for Medusa in Clash of The Titans:


On viewing a sample of Medusa in the film, there is quite a resemblance there.

Nice of the Arab American Museum to honor an anti-Semitic, leftist, anti-American and irrelevant has-been.

It is certainly fitting that she gets a pride of place in the museum as an example of the best the Arab community has to offer.

The blogprof also has some great coverage on the statue and the Helen Thomas scandal in general:
Finally! Muslims in Dearborn, MI to erect a statue for anti-semite Helen Thomas

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let the Inmates take over the Asylum - Felon appointed to the Detroit Police Commission

Jeff Gerritt is at it again. First by smugging the suburbs and now pushing to improve Detroit by advocating for the wrong-headed decision to put a convicted murderer on the Detroit Police Commission.

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit Council should make Johnson police commissioner

Just so you know, Mr. Johnson is a felon convicted of second degree murder, convicted of shooting a 40 year old man.

Apparently for Gerritt it is important that the commission have diverse interests representative of the community, including the criminals it locks up.

By charter, the five-member body is supposed to represent the community’s diverse interests in overseeing the Police Department. There are tens — maybe hundreds — of thousands of ex-offenders and former prisoners in the city of Detroit. Many of them don’t trust, or cooperate with, the police.

The quest for Diversity strikes again. After all, the reason felons and ex-convicts don't trust the police is because one of their own isn't on the Police Commission.

Up to now, ex-offenders have had no voice on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. Johnson, 35, who served 12 years in prison for second-degree murder, would be the first such person to serve. His tenure would help bridge the gap between the police department and some of the dangerously disconnected young men in our city. It would, as one prisoner from Detroit told me last week, give cops some credibility when protecting the community.
The idea that it is desirable to have felons input into how the Police should be run is questionable, and the belief that presence of a convicted murderer on the Police Commission will give the police "street cred" is laughable.

"Yo, Da Police gots themselves a felon on the commission, yall better give 'em respect now, yo"

"True dat".

Not bloody likely.

Now it is certainly commendable that Mr. Johnson has apparently turned his life around, but to have a felon on the Police Commission certainly sends a message that Detroit is fundamentally unserious about tackling crime. Much as having an arsonist overseeing the fire marshal's office or an inmate running the asylum, the appointment of a felon to help oversea the department responsible for catching felons certainly sends the wrong message. Besides, Detroit has hopefully had it with felons running the city (cough, kwame Kilpatrick, cough Monica Conyers). This appointment sends the wrong message to both the honest remaining residents of Detroit that are sick of he crime, and to outside business and potential residents that otherwise might consider moving there if Detroit shows some credible shot at a comeback.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Michigan takes envy about the Gulf States to new heights (or lows)

Michigan has been quite envious of the gulf states and has been suffering quite an inferiority complex among other maladies - Florida, Texas especially given there employment rates, housing price, better economies, less governmental corruption.

But sometimes Michigan takes envy a bit to far.

The gulf had an oil spill, so by golly Michigan has to get one too!
Fumes from 840,000-gallon oil leak creep over Battle Creek

An estimated 840,000 gallons of oil leaked into a creek Monday that feeds into the river.

Area media were reporting that odor from the spill hung heavy over Battle Creek this morning.

"It is unknown at this time how far the spill has traveled and exactly what areas have been affected. It is assumed due to the current level of the Kalamazoo River and the speed of the current that the entire Emmett Township area and beyond has been affected," according to an advisory issued today by the Emmett Township Public Safety Department.

Wayne Hoepner, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, said oil from the spill could reach Lake Michigan as early as Sunday, although numerous variables could affect the flow rate.

Michigan's inferiority complex will sadly continue - even though we got an oil spill, our oil spill is much smaller than the Gulf states.

Of course, Senator Levin is promising federal assistance.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., issued a statement today indicating he is “deeply concerned about the effects of the oil spill near Marshall, including the environmental impact and the disruption to residents and businesses. It is also deeply worrisome that the oil from the spill has made its way into the Kalamazoo River.”

Levin said his office has been in contact with federal agencies “to make sure that those carrying out the cleanup have all the resources they need to complete the cleanup job as quickly as possible.”
How many rounds of golf it will take before the Feds do something is open to question though.

Maybe Michigan will beat the Gulf state's Obama inaction record and have something to boast about?

Update: Michigan is taking this envy thing way to far and there's no need to compete with the gulf on this, really - the spill is now up to more than 1 million gallons.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Arizona Immigration law blamed for everything but Maid's Knee

In a surprisingly column almost sympathetic to the rationale for Arizona's new illegal immigration law, The Detroit News Reports:
Years of anger fuel Ariz. immigration law

The column actually gives a pretty good list of incidents and the costs of illegal immigration that has been giving Arizonans grief, but conspicuously fails to mention the lack of the Federal Government's enforcing of immigration laws.

However, the article to be "balanced" has to end with both dubious claims that illegals contribute more than they cost in services because they pay sales taxes on purchase and of course a claim that due to the law there is now more hostility towards illegals that is a real tear-jerker:

Opponents of the law say illegal immigrants are being scapegoated and wrongly characterized as freeloaders, pointing out that they pay sales taxes and put money into Social Security that they will never be able to take out.

Since Arizona passed its new immigration law, immigrant rights groups say Hispanics are seeing more open hostility.

Lilia Ramos, a 46-year-old illegal immigrant from Acapulco, lodged a complaint with Puente against the Arizona Humane Society in a dispute involving a dog found on her daughter's property.

Ramos says that when she called the Humane Society the woman on the other end of the line became angry when Ramos asked if she could speak to someone in Spanish. "She said, 'There's no one. Are you an American citizen?'" Ramos said in Spanish. "I said no, and then she asked if I had a green card, and 'if you don't cooperate, we'll arrest you.' I was quiet and it really scared me."

Picture caption: Lilia Ramos, a 46-year-old illegal immigrant from Acapulco, has lodged a complaint against the Arizona Humane Society over alleged threats.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100726/POLITICS03/7260343/1022/Years-of-anger-fuel-Ariz.-immigration-law#ixzz0uqlkL8UZ
Umm, how are we explain to this? Lady you're here illegally and you get quoted in the paper. You're illegal and you get your picture taken for the story - you must be shaking in your boots that ICE might come looking for you. Oh, wait they're not, and that's why Arizona passed this law.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Alboms in Glass Columns Shouldn't Throw Editorial Stones

Mitch Albom in his column In the Sherrod controversy, do shoot the messenger is in high dudgeon over the Brietbart / Shirley Sherrod matter:

Andrew Breitbart is the conservative blogger who posted the edited video of Sherrod. He put it on one of his five Web sites. Breitbart, a former Matt Drudge groupie, onetime E! Entertainment employee, and a guy who called Sen. Edward Kennedy, hours after his death, "a special pile of human excrement," hoisted that clip as evidence of reverse racism by the NAACP. He claimed the audience applauded such sentiments. The video showed no such thing. [Actually it does show them murmuring approval to those statements long before her speech gets to any redemptive statements]

But Breitbart lit the fire. He blew on the flames. As Sherrod would later tell CNN, "He knew exactly what would happen."

So Breitbart is where this sad story begins, where the blame lies and where the punishment should be doled out -- if there were any you could dole out.

Sadly, how do you punish a blogger like Breitbart? He simply slithers back into the muck that some confuse with journalism. Who does he have to answer to?

Nobody.
....
Some people have called this incident a referendum on racism. I don't think so. It was a referendum on editing. A referendum on Internet blogging. A referendum on our blazing desire for explosive moments -- even out of context -- and our creeping slowness to see the full picture.

This is the same Mitch Albom that back in 2005 got caught making up a story on a NCAA Final 4 Basketball game that he didn't even attend: Will Albom's woes taint journalism?
But Albom, who has been with the Free Press for 20 years, is taking a lashing from fellow journalists. They say he has revived the question of journalistic integrity after instances of deception by staffers at several major news outlets, including USA TODAY, The New York Times and CBS News.

In a column April 3, Albom described two former Michigan State basketball players, both now in the NBA, attending an NCAA Final Four semifinal game on Saturday. The players told Albom they planned to attend, and Albom, filing Friday before the game, wrote as if the players were there, including that they wore Michigan State green. But the players' plans changed and they never attended.

Free Press editors didn't change Albom's copy. Now they and Albom are under investigation by the newspaper.

Albom apologized in an April 7 piece in the Free Press. He wrote that the mention of Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson "was hardly the thrust of the column. ... Perhaps it seems as a small detail to you ... but details are the backbone of journalism, and planning to be somewhere is not the same as being there."

Albom could not be reached for comment.

The incident "has put the entire paper under a microscope. I think he was trying to do too much as a multimedia guru and took shortcuts, which was easy because he knew no one was going to challenge him," says Tom McPhail, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri. "Perhaps it is time to contemplate a journalism rehab institute. It looks like a growth industry, unfortunately."
So here we have a columnist who has on at least one occasion been caught inventing facts castigating a blogger that ran the only video he could get showing the NAACP audience endorsing Sherrod's tale of her past racially-tinged views / activities of the past.

Mitch Albom was probably the worst possible choice in the MSM to run a column castigating a blogger for not having editors to fact-check him. You'll note Mr. Albom is still working for the same paper where he got caught making up facts so perhaps he too is in his own words:
not held to any standard.

And that's the problem.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why Detroit Will Continue To Suck

It's because of the lousy attitudes of its residents with their City v. Suburbs mentality, exemplified today by Detroit Free Press Columnist Jeff Gerritt.

The Detroit Free Press: Torments and tickets in the D

As a proud and loyal Detroiter, I'm down for anything -- short of triggering a federal indictment -- that puts paper in the city's tapped-out till. That includes parking tickets, which last year netted the city $10.5 million. The city would have gotten even more, except a lot of people don't pay. In fact, unpaid parking fines amount to $50 million.

With cuts in state revenue sharing and plummeting property values, parking tickets may soon become Detroit's only steady income. I'm even happy that some of those getting tagged are smug suburbanites who make bad jokes about my city while speeding back to subdivisions and gated communities where everything looks the same. They can dog-out the D, but no one can dodge its parking platoon.
Way to put out the welcome mat there Jeffy. As if the ever-present crime and corruption that is the "D" wasn't enough, as well as Detroiters constantly demanding money from the state and suburbs while refusing to be transparent in how the money is spent or changing their ways to actually spend that money in a manner that doesn't put cash in corrupt politicians pockets, now we get a dose of self-righteous smugness on top of all that.

As Gerritt bemoans the lack of revenue coming into the "D" perhaps he should quit trying to drive more of it away, lest it be afraid to park there.

If when temptation comes you give right in, it ain't entrapment

An interesting case just released by the 6th Circuit that is very instructive on the concept of entrapment, not to mention that some people are quite deserving of being locked up as a danger to people.

The Case US v RAHIB ISMAEL-YASIR AL-CHOLAN, No. 08-2532 (6th Cir 2010), deals with an Iraqi now living in Dearborn, Michigan with some extremely disturbing proclivities towards underage kids.

In October 2007, when Al-Cholan was 45
years old, he befriended Michael Hanna, a 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant, and, according to Hanna, admitted to him that he harbored a predilection for sex with underage girls and boys. As Hanna testified, Al-Cholan claimed that “Lebanese people . . . know how to get . . . young children” for sex and asked him several times to procure a child. Concerned, Hanna related this request to his guardian, who passed it on to the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (“ICE”). ICE agents then set up a sting operation using Hanna as a cooperator.
Turns out Al-Cholan was quite a switch-hitter in the minor leagues so to speak:
Several of Al-Cholan’s statements about past sexual molestation were
caught on audio tape – including his statement that he “d[idn’t] go looking for [boys] as much as girls,” but that he would take advantage of the opportunity if a boy “fall[s] into the net,” and his story about receiving fellatio from a Kuwaiti youth. Additionally, the government proffered as corroborative evidence a Dearborn police report which described “a man matching Al-Cholan’s description, driving a green minivan also matching Al-Cholan’s” having made advances on a seven-year-old girl near the same Dearborn Walgreens where, according to Hanna, Al-Cholan trolled for children.
In other words this is one sick fellow to say the least.

So off Al-Cholan goes with his buddy to Toledo, not realizing that his friend is cooperating with ICE and recording him:
Since Al-Cholan’s truck was out of commission, he asked Hanna to drive him to Toledo. En route, Al-Cholan boasted to Hanna that he had had over 100 prior sexualexperiences with minors, both in Iraq and in Michigan. At some point, ICE agents realized that the recording device Hanna was wearing had malfunctioned, and directed Hanna via cellular telephone to stop at a gas station. There, the agents met Hanna and fixed the device as Al-Cholan waited obliviously in the car. While at the station, Al-Cholan asked Hanna to purchase Vaseline and condoms, and Hanna did so. After the two men resumed driving, Al-Cholan continued to detail his past sexual molestation of children and his plans to “spend the night” with the twelve-year-old girl.

At approximately 10:00 p.m., Al-Cholan and Hanna arrived at a motel in Toledo,
where an ICE agent was posing as the girl’s uncle. Al-Cholan paid the agent and briefly conversed with him in English, then attempted to enter the room to which the agent had directed him. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested.
He was convicted in the Federal District court of violating 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b) - traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

He of course claims he was entrapped and after being interrogated and waiving his Miranda rights in English and making incriminating statements then claims he can't speak English and was entrapped and appealed his conviction.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals thankfully didn't buy either argument.
As we have construed the entrapment defense, “[t]he central inquiry . . . is whether law enforcement officials implanted a criminal design in the mind of an
otherwise law-abiding citizen or whether the government merely provided an
opportunity to commit a crime to one who was already predisposed to do so.” United
States v. Pennell, 737 F.2d 521, 534 (6th Cir. 1984). Thus, “[a] valid entrapment
defense requires proof of two elements: (1) government inducement of the crime, and
(2) lack of predisposition on the part of the defendant to engage in the criminal activity.” United States v. Khalil, 279 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 2002)......Setting aside the question of inducement, Al-Cholan’s entrapment defense fails
because the evidence incontrovertibly establishes that he was predisposed to commit the offense. Al-Cholan approached Hanna unprompted and asked him several times to
procure a child. According to Hanna’s testimony and Al-Cholan’s own recorded
statements, Al-Cholan had molested numerous children in the past. And while
Al-Cholan momentarily hesitated about driving to Toledo, he evidenced no reluctance
about having sex with the proffered child, and overcame any initial hesitation about the interstate travel with no “Government inducements or persuasion” whatsoever.
It's not entrapment when you start the process to committing an illegal act, nor is it entrapment if someone else suggests doing something illegal and you go "Yes! Let's do it!".

The Court certainly got this one right.

The Court also rightfully concludes that the ICE agents certainly reasonably believed that Al-Cholan after being in the US for 12 years, becoming a citizen and speaking in English knew the language well enough that he understood his Miranda rights and that he knew enough English to knowingly, intelligibly and voluntarily waive them.

Other fun defenses that Al-Cholan made that the court didn't find very persuasive was his claim that he didn't know Toledo was in Ohio and that he wanted the girl brought to him in Michigan rather than having to travel to Ohio (that still would have violated the statute).

With any luck this scumbag does hard time in prison then gets stripped of his citizenship and then deported as he certainly shouldn't be allowed to walk the streets again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Obama going to go for the gold?

Remember Pelosi saying they had to pass the Health Care bill so we could find out what's in it:


We're finding out and not liking it much.

From Instapundit:
ABC News: Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law
Amendment Slipped Into Health Care Legislation Would Track, Tax Coin and Bullion Transactions

Those already outraged by the president's health care legislation now have a new bone of contention -- a scarcely noticed tack-on provision to the law that puts gold coin buyers and sellers under closer government scrutiny.
Ever since FDR confiscated American's privately held gold, Democrats keep lustfully wanting to get their hands on it yet again. Given gold's main function as a hedge against inflation and watching the Democrats run the inflationary money-machine until the economy drops it seems that taxing and tracking gold sales is all part of a repeat of FDR's cunning plan to seize wealth, keep businesses confused and drowning in red tape, and worsen the recession.......

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moor or Less: Declaring yourself "sovereign" doesn't get you out of a charge for passing bad paper

Yet another Sovereign Moor case, this one involving the Moor, a Money Order and a Mercedes-Benz.

Man guilty of trying to get Uncle Sam to pay for $62,000 car

Abdur-Rashiid Ahmad had his eye on a 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350.

An employee of Mercedes-Benz of Bloomfield Hills drew up a purchase order reflecting the total price of $62,310.54, including tax and title.

A few days later, the dealership got a curious money order for that amount — minus a penny — drawn from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
This self-stimulus plan didn't end well.
Ahmad, who told authorities that he is “sovereign” and belongs to the Moorish nation, admitted to creating the money order. He was recently convicted of uttering and publishing.
The jury thought long and hard about convicting him of the uttering and publishing charge relating to the bad check - all of 15 minutes.

Ahmad the Moor also sadly seems to lack a keen sense of timing: Man misses scheduled sentencing
A bench warrant was issued Wednesday for a man who didn’t show up to court to be sentenced for trying to buy an expensive car with a fake money order that he created.

Abdur-Rashiid Ahmad previously told authorities that he is sovereign and a member of the Moorish nation. He believes that some laws don’t apply to him.
He's about to find out how wrong he is on that count

Not content to utter a bad check and just miss his sentencing hearing for being sovereign yet stupid, the Moor compounds his mistake by suing the State Court Judge and everyone else involved in the case in Federal Court.

His claim gets dismissed almost immediately:

Reading the well-reasoned dismissal, one can see the The Federal District Court Judge, in a very judicial fashion, just declared Ahmad a Mooron.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When Life Gives You Carp, Make Gefilte Fish

Or sell the invasive species of Carp to China as a delicacy.

Asian carp's next stop: A dinner plate in China

The invasion of Asian Carp into the Illinois river and likely from there into the Great Lakes poses both a crisis and an oppotunity and it looks like some people are finding the opportunity:
Gov. Pat Quinn announced Tuesday that the state will put $2 million into refurbishing and expanding a fish plant in Pearl River, Ill., that plans to process 30 million pounds of Asian carp a year, turning the feared fish into frozen fillets and shipping them back to their native China. The fish will be sold there as high-end restaurant fare.

"The rivers in China are so polluted, people now eat farm-raised carp," said Ross Harano, international marketing director for Big River Fish Corp. "They're excited about our wild carp."
 I predicted the usefulness of fishing for the carp and its nice to be proven right, not to mention this looks like a serious money-maker:

State officials hope the plant will reduce the thriving Asian carp population in the Illinois River before the fish approach the electric barriers meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes.

"The high quality and taste of the wild Asian carp from Big River Fish far exceeded our expectations," said Liang Chang, chairman of Beijing Zhuochen Animal Husbandry, which will import the fish in China. "We see a tremendous market in China for the wild Asian carp."

So, who's got a good Gefilte fish recipe for Asian Carp?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Huge Hoard of Roman Coins Just Discovered in Britain

The Detroit News: UK treasure hunter finds 52,000 Roman coins 

Talk about a treasure hunter's and coin collector's dream find of a lifetime.
A treasure hunter has found about 52,500 Roman coins, one of the largest such discoveries ever in Britain, officials said Thursday.

The hoard, which was valued at 3.3 million pounds ($5 million), includes hundreds of coins bearing the image of Marcus Aurelius Carausius, who seized power in Britain and northern France in the late third century and proclaimed himself emperor.

Dave Crisp, a treasure hunter using a metal detector, located the coins in April in a field in southwestern England, according to the Somerset County Council and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The coins were buried in a large jar about a foot (30 centimeters) deep and weighed about 160 kilograms (350 pounds) in all.
Apparently among the coins in the hoard there are
more than 760 coins from the reign of Carausius, the Roman naval officer who seized power in 286 and ruled until he was assassinated in 293.
The coins of Carausius are pretty rare so this is an important find and who knows, perhpas some new coin types (coins that have not been cataloged as exisitng, for example previously unknown inscripotions or images on the reverse of the coin) will be found.

Congrats to Mr. Crisp on this impressive numismatic and historical find.

But did the Fortune Tellers predict this regulation was coming?

The Detroit Free Press: Fortune telling in Warren to get harder
The city is on the verge of passing one of the nation's most stringent regulations for fortune-tellers by requiring licenses, fees, fingerprints, criminal background reports and employment histories for anyone who earns money forecasting the future.

If approved by the City Council on Tuesday, as expected, Warren will join a growing number of communities nationwide to crack down on fraudulent fortune-tellers who prey on the vulnerable. Anyone who violates the ordinance would face up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Of course its an interesting questions as to how you can tell the difference between a fraudulent fortune teller and a bona fide fortune teller.
"By registering them, we know who they are and where they are working, so hopefully it will discourage any non legitimate fortune-tellers from coming to the area," Councilman Keith Sudowski said. "We also need some enforcement in place to regulate this industry and prosecute anyone who preys on innocent people."
Can the councilman explain the difference between a legitimate fortune teller and an illegitimate one?  Can he also show how this new licensing regime will let you tell the two apart?

I can see a disclaimer being required that fortune telling is for novelty purposes only so that the gullible aren't sucked in but how can you tell a legitimate fake from an illegitimate fake in the?

What's next licenses for legitimate astrologers and phrenologists?

Maybe the Warren City counsel should, in addition to the fingerprinting a licensing fees, require these practitioners to have degrees in pseudoscience - that'll credentialize 'em and thus protect the people of Warren quite adequately.

I predict this licensing regime will fail to fulfill its goal of protecting the gullible of Warren, but I do predict it will raise some revenue for the city coffers.  Do I need a license for that?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Mullahs and the Mullet

In between dabling in nuclear arms technology, the Iranian regime is looking to start regulating men's hairstyles:


Yahoo News: Iran offers modest new haircut guidelines for men

An Iranian fashion organization has issued a new list of culturally appropriate haircuts for men, possibly indicating a new crackdown on male attire after years of strict rules for women, Iranian media reported.

Although the Ministry of Culture has yet to officially adopt the styles presented by the Veil and Modesty Festival, the private organization said approval is pending. It would be the first such rules for men's hair styles since 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Here's a shot of the permitted hairstyles - ponytails are apparently not halal. (AP photo):


Coming soon:  The Muslim Hairclub for men?

They are being promoted by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance as Islamically permissible models, part of an effort “to halt the spread of unconventional styles and promote Islamic culture.” More styles are set to be unveiled Sunday as part of the ministry’s Veil and Chastity Day festival. (from The New York Times)
 How 50's hairstyles are considered a part of Islamic culture is an unanswered question. My bet is a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Culture mistyped the official Islamic hairstyle poster requirements and requisition form and  instead of requesting shots of hairstyles from the 750s typed 1950s and this poster and accompanying policy was the end result.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Criminal chooses the wrong home to invade in Inkster

From The Detroit Free PressHomeowner fatally shoots intruder

INKSTER: Homeowner fatally shoots intruder
A homeowner fatally shot a man who broke into his house early Monday, police said.

Two intruders, one of them armed, confronted the 25-year-old man when he got out of bed around 1:20 a.m., and he started fighting with them, Inkster Detective Anthony Delgreco said Monday. He then grabbed his legally registered gun and fired.

A 32-year-old Detroit man was killed, but the second intruder fled, Delgreco said. The homeowner was cut over his eye.

So much for the canard that having a gun to protect yourself just means a criminal will take it from you.

Monday, July 05, 2010

July 5 - Wreck Diving in Thunder Bay

After geting back to the US in time for the 4th of July fireworks, I packed and prepared for a dive charter to Lake Huron in Thunder Bay -  my first time diving the wrecks of Thunder Bay.

My regular dive team of Wes and Keith and myself accompanied by our instructor extraordinaire James and with our friendly fellow (and more advanced) diver Mills went on the trip, Chad having bailed this very morning and missing a fine charter.  Traffic was light as we rolled north to Thunder Bay and we made it in very good time.

The boat was a six-pack, run by Captain Frank Rosinski of Great Lakes Dive Charters.  It is a nice boat but not to easiest to gear up on prior to striding into the water or getting back onto from a dive, but the Captain had a very efficient system worked out that served quite well. He's also stronger than an ox, really knows his stuff and does a great charter - what more could you ask for?

These were the final dives of our UTD Rec 2 Class with James supervising and videotaping but othwerwise not inserting himself into the dive planning process or execution.  For each dive he wanted to hear our dive plan and he gave us a mission for each dive tailored to the ship

We first dove the Grecian and then the Montana.
 
Here's the Grecian, a  296 foot long freighter of the Turtleback design (the turtlebacks were successors to the interesting looking whaleback freighters)  underway:



The Grecian sank in 1906 two miles from Thunder Bay while being towed after she had run aground.  The propeller design was quite interesting - each blade was removable and replaceable independently so that if a blade was lost the entire prop would not have to be removed and a new blade was just bolted on.

The Grecian is split in two with the bow detached allowing access to all levels of the stern of the ship and its huge cargo holds - as you approach the break you can see the entire cross-section of the ship open and waiting for you.

The mission for our Grecian dive - find the replacement propeller blades in the cargo hold in the stern section of the ship.

So we headed down the line in some medium level current onto the stern, admired the propeller at about 100 feet, which was missing two blades and headed up to the deck rail at 75 feet:


Over the rail and onto the stern deck we went.


We traveled forward along the top deck, passing over the open cargo holds.  We'd be coming back to the stern inside and through them to inspect them more closely.

And slipping into the cargo hold we found the replacement prop blades:



After traveling through the cargo holds we ascended up the last open hold and surveyed the stern until we reached our no deco limit and began our ascent, saying goodbye to the awesome wreck of the Grecian.

Visibility was incredible for Lake Huron and again, my camera got nice clean shots as long as the flash was off.

After a surface interval we headed off to dive the Montana.

The Montana was a 235 foot long steamer built in 1872 that burned and sank in 1914.  We decided to stay on the stern as it has Montana's most impressive feature - the huge boilers and coal fired steam engine that is intact and rises from 70 feet up to 30 feet underwater.  Our mission on this dive was to find the huge wrench located on the stern.

Can you say needle in a haystack?


Fortunately it is a really big wrench and it stood out:


It weighed about 45-50 pounds and it was impressive.


The fireboxes on the boilers have their doors intact and now house gobies where coal once burned.

The boiler and engine is immense.



Here's the top of the engine, and then a shot of the same with Wes in for scale.



The manufacturer's plate on the boiler is still legible after almost 100 years underwater.



After viewing the engine and boilers we traveled through an overhead and went to look at the Montana's prop:


  We then looped back for another look at the engine and boilers and then took the up-line back to the surface.

After the dives when we returned to port we were able to see the winch system for unloading tanks in action.  It was amazing - the tanks were hooked up, raised and then lowered right into the bed of Wes' truck - making it the easiest boat unloading ever.  The we battled massive holiday traffic, made worse by a goofball on Highway 75 who had a flat in the left lane and instead of pulling over stopped right there in the lane - that blockage cost us 45 minutes just by itself.  So tired and after a long day I returned home after having two fantastic wreck dives - visibility was great, the weather pleasant, the waves cooperative, and the Lake a balmy 58 degrees.

A great way to spend a day on the 4th of July holiday (even if it was the 5th).

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Toronto G20 Apres Riot Reporting

Blogging from Toronto tonight, back in Michigan tomorrow to enjoy the 4th.

 I came across an interesting story on the malicious destruction of property by the rioters at the G20 summit on June 26 in today's copy of  The (red) Star, Toronto's main liberal newspaper.  In between articles  that have much journalistic-hand-wringing at the treatment of the protesters at the hands of the police (They were locked up in crowded conditions and fed cheese sandwiches! - The horror!), we get a look at how a bunch of small businessmen were affected by the rampage.
It's an interesting and disheartening account of how lots of innocent shop owners suffered looting and destruction of their shops at the hands of a bunch of worthless thugs.

The Toronto Star: Angry merchants ask: Why did G20 protesters attack us?Vandals attacked their stores during the G20 summit. Now, Yonge St.’s small merchants want to know, ‘Why us?’

At almost the top of the article comes the moronic answer ro this question that at least one of the rioters' gave for their actions in sacking stores, breaking windows, and setting fires -
“This isn’t violence,” one of the black clad mob told the Star during the rampage. “This is vandalism against violent corporations. We did not hurt anybody.”

Ok, someones been taking a few too many post-modern philosophy and poli-sci courses at the University of Toronto now haven't they?
The "non-violent" monochromatically-clad protesters continued their philosophic discourse with a number of shop windows and items on display without getting too much grief from the man:
Salimi was standing by the display cases near the front of his shop when the vandals struck. They hurled a section of movable fencing through the front glass window. “I was standing where you are. I was frozen. Their faces were covered, like Halloween Day. Then we hid behind the counter. We were scared.”

Like Kilislian, he has questions. “Why would they do this? Do they want to kill us? In this country? This kind of stuff?

“You’re standing in your store and someone comes to you like this?” continues Salimi, who has also lived in India and Pakistan. “I’ve never seen that before.”

Salimi checks his phone and sees that he called police at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday. “They said they couldn’t come. They said, ‘Protect yourself.’ ”

Wait a second, this is Toronto Canada, home of the promise that the police will protect you in the well-ordered society of the north promising Peace, Order and Good Government to counter their barbaric neighbor's original offer of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

After all, Canadians lost in the face of the Canadian disarmament campaign their right to the most viable means of defense for these shopkeepers and in return received the assurance that of course they don't need them because they have the police.

Methinks a bunch of Torontonians just experienced firsthand the adage that when seconds count the police are minutes (or in this case days) away.

The police will protect you all right, as long as they're not too busy protecting the more important folks at the party down the road, or overwhelmed with the situation of the day.

A final insult to injury for the shopkeepers:
It will cost up to $2000 to fix the windows. Is insurance likely to cover the costs? “We don’t have a police report.”

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sony's C:32:11 Error Strikes Yet Another Poor Innocent VidCam

This has got to be the most recent perfect example of planned obsolescence.

I purchased this Sony HC-48 Camera 3 years ago to replace the Canon that was stolen.

It has performed pretty decently and I've transferred a few of the miniDV tapes to DVD but have a pile of them as the current laptop lacks a firewire port and its a pretty time-consuming activity.  So I have a pile of family video tapes that continues to slowly grow as I just don't use the camera very often, generally I'm taking video snippets with my Canon SD-1000 as its video transfer process is simplicity itself, but I do on occasion use the Sony HC-48.

Until today.

The tape had run just about out last week and I decided to change it in prep for some more video at an upcoming family event.

I removed the tape and all was well, unwrapped the new tape and put it in the machine...and it would not close.  Instead I got the dreaded C:32:11 error.  Apparently my camera has broken from a lack of use, or just from the first tape removal in  months.

The C:32:11 error seems ubiquitous with Sony Mini-DV cameras - Like here, here, and heck, Google shows over 1.6 million hits for the query.  Not a strong recommendation for the build quality if the darn thing can break just sitting in a case being left unmolested.  So I really can't recommend a Sony MiniDV to anyone given this experience.

So I'm now in the market for a new video camera. I'm looking for either an internal hard drive or expandable flash memory type, probably NOT a Sony, and definitely not a miniDV. So if you have a recommendation, and if it happens to fit in an Ikelite underwater Case, I'd love to know about it.