Monday, August 30, 2010

Any Old Oil - Scientists check Tanker Sunk in WWII off the California Coast

Sunken WWII tanker may be ecological threat

San Francisco -- A tanker ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War II near California's central coast may still represent a danger to the environment. The 440-foot Montebello has been lying under 900 feet of water, four miles from the coast of Cambria, since Dec. 23, 1941 -- 16 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Nearly 70 years later, scientists with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are trying to determine if the 3.5 million gallons of crude oil in its hold are still there, and whether the sludge can threaten the coastline.

The SS Montebello was sunk on December 23 1941, fresh after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Submarine I-21.

After sinking the Montebello, the I-21 then kicked off a Pacific war submarine tradition by machine-gunning the crew in their life boats.

Luckily, their aim sucked and none of the sailors were killed.

The I-21 after sinking multiple other ships, disappeared in November 1943 while on patrol and is thought to have been sunk by the aircraft of the US Escort Carrier Chenango off the Gilbert Islands.

The amount of oil in the tanker represents a couple days worth of the spill in the gulf, but it would be interesting to know if the scientists have found the oil and 'll get any reports of its condition and that of the tanker itself after all this time. Most likely the oil has broken down considerably and probably isn't worth trying to retrieve and with any luck won't present a real threat to the California coast.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why do you have to go and make things so complicated? Canadian idol aspirant busted for jihad attempt.

Barely known for singing the Avril Lavigne song "Complicated" during the barely known Canadian Idol show, and now barely known for plotting with coreligionists, along with two other members of the Religion of Peace and High Explosives, Khurram Syed Sher was arrested for "knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity." Thanks to the good work of the RCMP and CSIS, no earth-shattering kaboom for him.

The Wall Street Journal: Canada Thwarts Bombing Attempt

"A vast quantity of terrorist literature and instructional material was seized, showing that the suspects had the intent to construct an explosive device for terrorist purposes,'' said Mr. Therriault. The arrests Wednesday and Thursday "prevented the assembly of any bombs or terrorist attacks from being carried out,'' he added.

The trio were working with an "ideologically inspired terrorist group'' with links in Iran, Afghanistan, Dubai and Pakistan, the RCMP said. While officials would not say whether the trio had links to al Qaeda, they were driven by "violent Islamist ideology,'' according to Raymond Boisvert, assistant director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country's spy agency.

Mr. Alizadeh had been trained in bomb-making abroad, the RCMP said, although it wouldn't disclose the country.

Police didn't specify any target, but said the RCMP had been concerned for the safety of Ottawa residents.

. . .

The RCMP wouldn't disclose where the three suspects were born or when they immigrated to Canada, if they weren't born there. Mr. Sher said he was from Pakistan on a YouTube video of his "Canadian Idol'' audition. Mr. Alizadeh took English-as-a-second-language classes at River Red College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the college spokesperson says, adding that he doesn't know where he was from. The spokesperson at the hospital in Ottawa where Mr. Ahmed works said he couldn't disclose personal information due to Canadian privacy laws.

Perhaps they'll claim they were annoyed at the very effective Canadian participation in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Unlike the French, going to war with Canadian Forces by your side acts as a definite force multiplier, and the CF has been very good in Afghanistan indeed.

Maybe they'll claim its all a misunderstanding and they're being profiled because of their religious and immigrant status. After all, doesn't everyone have at least 50 circuit boards ready for remote detonation and bomb-making materials strewn around the house? (Now that you mention it, no can't say as I do).

Maybe its because he bombed on Canadian idol and just wanted to explode with happiness.

Or perhaps its just plain ol' jihad for the sake of jihad, especially with the standard Islamic profile of the attackers -

People who know the three men who were arrested say Messrs. Ahmed and Sher are educated professionals, a profile common to many radical members of groups like al Qaeda in Western countries, says Martin Rudner, a professor emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa, who specializes in intelligence and national security.
In any case, the threat is certainly still there, and it looks like The RCMP and CSIS just narrowly averted Ottawa from being a target of an attack. Hopefully this will lead to further Canadian governmental watchfulness over exactly who they're letting immigrate into the country, not to mention determine where these men were radicalized if they were not in fact radicalized beforehand.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Obammo Goes After The Ammo Part II

Tam at View From The Porch notes that the EPA is considering a petition to pass a regulation to ban lead ammunition, and she responds to such a ridiculous proposal quite accordingly.

The petition is real see Lead Fishing Sinkers and Ammunition Components.

Petitioners request that the EPA issue a proposed rule under section 6(a) of TSCA to prohibit the manufacturing, processing, and distribution in commerce in the United States of lead ammunition (including bullets and shotgun pellets) and lead fishing tackle (including sinkers, jig heads, weights, and all other fishing tackle).
Just as ammunition prices and supplies are starting to stabilize, the Democrats go off and pull this. You begin to wonder if the Obama administration owns stock in ammunition manufacturing industries and are doing this to increase prices. Thanks so much.

The EPA's response to the petition and the response of the populace to the EPA's response will be interesting to say the least.

Democrats and their Fabian tactics to go after firearms owners. They don't quit, and yes hunters and union members with guns who vote Democrat, these bans will affect you too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Civil Lawsuit Launched Against the Michigan Mad Hatters Fake Tea Party

The Detroit Free Press: Suit aims to bar candidates from Mark Steffek’s Tea Party

Mark Steffek, the Mad Hatter of the Democrat party's fake Tea Party may be about to feel a little judicially inspired discovery uncovering the links between the Michigan Democrats and their convenient Fake Tea party.

A group of tea party activists and Republican candidates filed a lawsuit today seeking to keep candidates from what they claim is a phony Tea Party from appearing on the Michigan ballot in November.

The complaint, filed with the Michigan Court of Appeals, seeks to bar candidates from the Tea Party formed by Mark Steffek, a retired UAW worker from the Saginaw area, for a variety of alleged violations of state elections law.

And a Criminal investigation will hopefully be moving forward as well:
Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson said today she believes as many as three of the Tea Party candidate affidavits notarized by the former [Michigan Democratic Party] official, Jason Bauer, contain forged signatures. Johnson said representatives of her office met with investigators from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department today.

You know its embarrasingly bad when even the Detroit Free (Democrat) Press calls for the shenanigans to be investigated: Time to get to the bottom of the Tea Party scam
There are campaign dirty tricks, and then there are perversions of the electoral process that cry out for some authoritative response and criminal consequences.

The flap over an allegedly fake slate of Tea Party candidates, intended to siphon votes from Republicans this fall, is looking more and more like the latter. It's time for the Oakland County prosecutor and the state attorney general to get involved, and get to the bottom of this affair.

What we know so far casts real doubt on the sincerity of this Tea Party exercise. The principals behind it have been exposed as Democrats with union ties. They were all put on the ballot in very competitive districts where votes for them would hurt Republican hopefuls. And last week, a Democratic operative in Oakland County was accused of fraudulently notarizing affidavits for a dozen of the candidates on the ballot. That in itself is a crime worth prosecuting.

But it's also worth finding out how deep and wide this planned diversion goes. Who bankrolled it? Did state party higher-ups know about it, encourage it or aid in the high jinks?
My bet, the rot goes far beyond the operations manager. I doubt he personally funded the signature gathering process and did all the fillings. Indeed the players are a plethora of Democrat party names as discussed by Lagniappe's Keeper -
[The "Michigan Tea Party's"] attorney/"election specialist" just happens to be Mike Hodge. Hodge was legal counsel to former Democratic Gov. James Blanchard and has worked regularly since then for the state Democratic Party. Also, the outfit that he used to circulate the petitions turns out to be Progressive Campaign, Inc., a George-Soros-financed firm that works almost exclusively on behalf of leftist organizations and the Democrat Party.

Hopefully the investigations both civil, criminal and the one in the media all vigorously proceed and all the details of this blatant attempt to steal Michigan's 2010 Election for the Democrats comes to light.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Michigan Democrat Dirty Trick of a "Tea Party" Unravelling

In an attempt to split the conservative vote a "Michigan Tea Party" was being placed on the ballot - only in ridings where it seemed Republicans might pick up some democrat seats.

As it turns out it was a Michigan Democrat inspired False Flag operation, that more and more looks like an amateur-hour hurry to get this fake party on the ballot in time to throw some elections their way.

The Detroit Free Press: Dem official resigns after backing 'Tea Party' effort
The Democratic Party operative who was behind signing up many of the so-called “Tea Party” candidates for the November ballot has been let go from his post as a operations director for the Oakland County Democratic Party.

Jason Bauer, who was the notary listed on affidavits for a dozen of the Tea Party candidates, has come under fire in recent weeks for his role in signing up the candidates, who could siphon votes from Republicans.

This Michigan Tea Party operation was so secretive and so well planned by the Dems that the notary on the candidate forms was the operations director for the Michigan Democratic party, some "candidates" are not even of age to run form office, and one candidate states outright that his name is being used without his consent, his signature on the form is a forgery, and he lives in Arizona.

The Detroit Free Press: Court battle to decide fate of mysterious Tea Party
Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson told the board at least one set of documents nominating a Tea Party candidate for the county commission was a "straightforward fraud." Johnson said she has asked for a criminal investigation of an Oakland County Democratic Party official who notarized at least nine Tea Party candidate affidavits, including one who told her office his signature had been forged.

Oh, and the purported head of the "Tea Party" is a former UAW shop steward out of Saginaw.

What's next for the Dems? Create a Capitalist Party with the head being the secretary general of the Michigan Communist Party?

Certainly not the smartest electoral op ever ran by the Democratic Party - and its fallen apart pretty quickly given the amateurish way it seems to have been setup.

It is quite a step up from the normal electoral fraud on their part - creating an entirely fraudulent political party seems harder to do than their standard technique of creating fraudulent voters, so it may be beyond their capacity at this time, as is running this state effectively, for which they will hopefully be booted out in a few short months.

It is also really hard for the party to believably deny all knowledge when theie State Democrat Party Operations Manager is caught signing the fraudulent candidate forms.

The best chance for the Democrats is to quickly come clean, admit they got caught trying to pull a fast one over those "dumb Republican Tea Party hicks hah hah" (you know they were thinking along those lines when they formed their little party), and try to sweep it under the rug, throw their Operations Director under the bus, hope the media covers up their malfeasance and move on.

The longer they try to deny and obfuscate after getting their handwriting caught on the candidate forms, the better the chance to deservedly rub their noses in their dirty tricks. Especially if the criminal charges proceed and a real investigation takes place - I'm sure the Dems are busy wiping hard drives, deleting email accounts and shredding records as we speak.

The blogprof is all over this amateur-hour Democratic Electoral scandal.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Divers Raising a Helldiver

The AP via the Oakland Press: Salvage crew has plane primed to move in San Diego

Salvage divers have dislodged a rare World War II dive bomber from the floor of a San Diego reservoir and are primed to hoist it up and out of the water.
A mission to rouse any diver at heart - recovering a historical artifact hidden from view for 65 years.

The plane, a Curtis SB2C Helldiver crashed into the reservoir during a training mission in 1945.  It currently rests in 90 feet of water in what is described as zero visibility by the salvage divers.

  The Helldiver was the Navy's replacement dive bomber for the SBD Dauntless of the Battle of Midway fame.  The Helldiver was not nearly as well liked as the Dauntless it replaced and its early models were described as a difficult planes to fly with troublesome characteristics. However, the Helldiver went on to be the aircraft with the most sunken shipping to its credit of the war.

Of the 5,100 Helldivers produced, there are less than a dozen display examples left and there is currently only one Helldiver left in flying condition, belonging to the Commemorative Airforce:

With luck, the aircraft at the bottom of the reservoir can be raised and restored to at least display condition if not flyable condition. Once raised, it will be taken to the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola, Florida for restoration.

Update: They did it! WWII warplane raised from California reservoir

Going Bananas Over Open Carry At AB&E In Royal Oak

Some people really can't handle the concept of people exercising their rights and complying with the law, especially when it comes to firearms and self-defense rights.

Harry Cook, a "a retired Episcopal priest and a one-time reporter, editor and columnist for the Free Press." (Gee, who could guess the Detroit Free Press had such staff with their editorial slant?) has a real ha-ha funny idea for a protest:

The Detroit Free Press: Royal Oak man to bear banana, not gun, at fest
I am an introvert and try as far as in me lies to stay away from clots of people. Withal, I am girding up my loins to plunge into the man swarm at the Labor Day weekend street festival, the revelry of which will make my city unbearable to quiet pursuits. I will stride among the masses with a good-sized banana strapped to my belt, and, whenever I come upon an open-carrier with his piece, I will point to my fruit and say, “Hey, buster, mine’s longer than yours.”
Ah, the old-time pseudo-psychological canard of guns as a substitute for "equipment" size. What will he say to a lady bearing a handgun I wonder?

Mr. Cook, you plan to swagger with a large banana in your pants into what you term as a "man swarm".

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But, I do wonder about the well-being of those poor Episcopalian altar boys, especially given the history of extensive abuse in the Episcopalian Church of which you are a retired priest.  Your choice of language and planned fruitful behavior is, shall we say, interesting to say the least.  Insinuations, generalizations and aspersions can be cast upon many a group, can they not?

Remember, dear readers that Mr. Cook is a self-described introvert that doesn't like confrontations with people.

So he's going out of his way to be confrontational.

With armed people.

That he apparently fears as irrational, armed, knuckle-draggin' neanderthals.
People armed with "long, ugly pistols clipped to their belts just daring someone to object to the exercise of their Second Amendment Rights". 


I suspect that if I perform that act enough times, representatives of the local police force will want to know what the hell I think I’m doing. I will have in my pocket the numbers of the cell phones of several attorneys I know -- and, by the way, I hope they will have read this column because one or another of them may be surprised at some odd hour to hear my voice via a pay phone at the local police station seeking legal counsel.
Most people, including police, would wonder about someone who was purposefully getting in the face of armed people and pointing to a fruit in his waistband while challenging them in a "man swarm".  They might even question the wisdom and psychological hangups and health of someone performing such an act.

So stay tuned, banana fans. I’ll be out there on this Labor Day weekend seeking confrontation with the Open-Carry missionaries.
I'd suggest laughing in his face, then giving him the business card of a good therapist, and then slowly walking away, as he's clearly got some issues.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Administrative Overload in Higher Education?

Instapundit comments on Administrative bloat at American universities as one of the markers of the "Higher Educational Bubble". HIGHER ED BUBBLE UPDATE: Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education.

He notes an article about the astonishing growth of the administrative side with the increasing numbers of administrators per student.

Back when I was at MSU in Classical history and working in information systems for the University at the same time, one of my professors, knowing I worked for the University as well as being a student, pointed out that MSU had more administrative personnel than was needed to run the entire Roman Empire at the height of its power.

Of course I got his point, then I stabbed him with a gladius so he got mine (I kid, I kid).

When a state university needs more administrative personnel than an empire that covered much of the globe, and the administrative overhead has been getting worse since, I think Prof Reynolds has a point about a higher education bubble.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Royal Oak Properly Drops Firearms Ban from Arts Beats & Eats Event

The Detroit News: Gun ban lifted at Arts, Beats & Eats - Royal Oak yields to state law, OKs carrying in plain sight

Bowing to pressure to conform to state law, the City Commission on Monday night struck down a gun ban in the festival contract to allow holstered guns in plain sight at the event Sept. 3-6.

"The law is the law," said Mayor Jim Ellison. "I don't agree with it, but we have the right to change that law so those gray issues are gone," he added, referring to modifying laws that allow guns in public.
Nice of him to agree that the law is the law, as much as he'd like to change it.

Nor is this some kind of a gray area - open carry on a public street is legal.

Not to be undone by open-carry advocates, city officials passed a resolution calling on state legislators to amend a law so local government can enact ordinances making public buildings gun-free zones.
That would be a bad idea, tried before and it wasn't a successful idea when Ferndale tried it then and it won't be now.

Even Granholm isn't enthusiastic about trying to make such a change:
The Detroit News: Granholm won't fight law that allows open weapons at Arts, Beats and Eats
Gov. Jennifer Granholm sympathized with those who want to restrict the open carrying of weapons at next month's Arts, Beats and Eats festival, but said she had no plans to seek a change to the state law that allows it.

"I could initiate, but I'd get no support in the Legislature," she said at an appearance in Mexicantown to boost a federal housing assistance program.
Probably not, considering there's no real problem with responsible people legally carrying firearms in public. Most likely Governor Granholm isn't interested in such a losing fight - she's not a committed anti-gunner and is generally considered not unreasonable on firearms rights.

Kudos to the City of Royal Oak government for doing the right thing - however reluctantly.

Friday, August 13, 2010

An Agreement to Identify the Griffon?

It seems a potential deal has been struck between Steve Liebert, France and the State of Michigan to inspect the discovered wreck and determine if it is in fact the holy grail of Great Lakes Shipwrecks - LaSalles' Griffon.

The Detroit News: The Griffin? Deal struck to determine shipwreck ID
The state of Michigan, France and private divers have reached an extraordinary agreement to finally determine whether a Lake Michigan shipwreck is the Griffin, which sank in 1679.

There will be no immediate effort to remove anything from the ship. But Steve Libert, the diver who discovered it, says scientists with high-tech equipment will take images at the site.

One of the tasks will be to determine if King Louis XIV's insignia is on a cannon.
If the cannon does bear his insignia, that moves the wreck ever closer to being identified as the Griffon. if the cannon shows markings that postdate the grifon's disappearance then it will be yet another wreck thought to have been the Griffon.

Hopefully the results of the identification, and the pictures taken of the cannon and wreck are released to the public soon so we may know if the ship Mr. Liebert has found is the Griffon.

The lawsuit over title to the wreck is on hold pending the identification mission being completed - if the ship isn't the Griffon (or even more unlikely some other unidentified French ship) then France lacks an interest in the wreck and Michigan will likely be granted title to it. But if the identification shows it is a French ship or that it is the Griffon - then expect some historically significant sparks to fly.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yet Another Detroit Practice that Breeds Corruption Comes To Light

The Detroit News: Detroit moves to reduce costs of purchasing

Mayor Dave Bing is vowing to end the so-called Detroit penalty, a 15-20 percent surcharge the city spends on purchases and services because of its reputation for late payments and bureaucracy.

Bing appointee Andre DuPerry, a former General Motors Corp. purchasing executive, is trying to persuade more businesses to sell goods and services to Detroit. Some have written off the city for years, including an unnamed prominent office supply chain, DuPerry said.

A lack of competition has helped create a niche for third-party companies that charge inflated rates for enduring the city's hassles, DuPerry said.
Reforming purchasing could save the city $22 million a year, according to a report presented last year to Bing. Among the possibilities: consolidating contracts, buying goods in bulk with other governments and -- most controversial of all -- re-examining the preferences Detroit businesses are given during the contract process.

Detroit spends $99.99 for toner ink that goes for $89.10 in other cities, for example, and $6.93 for copy paper that averages $5.86 nationally, according to data supplied to Bing's office from the National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance.
The preferences for Detroit business are a hassle, as is the Detroit Slavery Ordinance passed in 2004 that requires anyone doing business with the city to trace back their business ownership and declare if the business ever owned any slaves or made any money from slavery or had insurance policies on slaves. Yes, it is a current ordinance and a complete waste of everyone's time.

The Detroit business preference creates a weird situation where Detroit could save thousands ordering parts it needs directly but it instead funnels the purchases through middlemen, many of whom are politically connected, who take a cut with the result that Detroiters pay more for less than they otherwise would have.

I had a case involving such a middleman - Detroit wanted certain widgets worth $50 thousand, he added his cut of 18 thousand and the business even shipped the parts directly to the City. In short he did nothing but be a politically connected minority with the connections to be a supplier to the city. The problem in addition to the economic inanity of the situation? He got greedy and decided to keep all $68 thousand for himself. That's where I came in on behalf of the supplier to divest him of his ill-gotten gains - which I did, quite successfully I might add.

This middleman is still a supplier to the City of Detroit and that was not the first time he's done this to a supplier. No wonder Detroit is in the shape it is currently in.

Reforming the purchasing process is a needed step in the right direction and it will be telling indeed if such a reform is actually implemented.

Top Brass At Detroit PD Looking Like A Jerry Springer Show

Detroit's Police Chief was recently fired by the Mayor, allegedly for trying to have a lead role in his own reality TV show and for having a romantic relationship with one of his subordinates, a police lieutenant.

His replacement, the interim chief who has been on the force for quite some time, apparently had or is having or a romantic relationship with the same police lieutenant.

The Detroit news: Cop-shop love triangle: Texts stir up juicy Detroit scandal

She is known around Detroit Police headquarters as the "Teflon Lieutenant."

She reportedly had romantic relationships with the current and former police chiefs and was given a special parking space usually reserved for a high-ranking official, among other perks.

She was put in charge of the department's efforts to comply with the federal consent decree, a position some claim she used to get back at former supervisors who had disciplined her in the past. One officer who filed a lawsuit against her last week called her "tyrannical."

Lt. Monique Patterson was a controversial figure in the department long before the latest firestorm surrounding romantic text messages Interim Police Chief Ralph Godbee sent while they were reportedly involved in a relationship last year.

Godbee issued a statement Tuesday apologizing to his family for the controversy.

Patterson is dating former Police Chief Warren Evans, whose attorney used the text messages after he was fired last month as leverage to get Evans' job back or land another position in Mayor Dave Bing's administration. Evans' relationship with Patterson was among the reasons Bing cited for his ouster.
Nice to see professionalism at work.
Patterson's attorney, David Robinson, said the texts contained a lot of "I love yous and other overtures from Mr. Godbee."
Yet another reminder (as if everyone didn't figure this out from the Kwame Kilpatrick text scandal) that what happens in text doesn't stay in text.
"The overtures began from Mr. Godbee when he became assistant chief," Robinson said. "He was wooing her to perform on his staff, on the pretext that he was interested in her skill set as an officer. Once she began working in his office, he was obviously concerned with a different skill set."
She must have quite a skill set indeed to bag two command officers.
"Lt. Patterson was bringing down morale," said former Deputy Chief Katherine Tuttle, who retired last month in part, she said, because Patterson put "enormous pressure" on her.
While the Teflon Lieutenant doesn't seem well liked by subordinates or others under her control and that's not surprising as most people resent those who advance their career by uhm, the use of certain extra-curricular activities, she had quite an effect on keeping up the morale for the upper echelons.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Speaking of Energy - Green Jobs to lay off 140 Michigan workers

Remember Granholm's multiple proclamations that Michigan would be a Green Energy mecca and that Green Energy = jobs for Michiganders?

Not so fast.

Energy Conversion Devices to lay off 140

From the Detroit Free Press:
Energy Conversion Devices said this morning that it plans to layoff 140 employees at one of its solar panel plants in Auburn Hills.

The layoffs are likely to occur in October when the Rochester Hills-based company plans to move some final assembly work to one of its underutilized plants in Tijuana, Mexico.

The affected Auburn Hills plant will not be idled and will employ 140 workers after the layoffs. But to reduce costs, only the first three steps in the thin film solar panel manufacturing process will occur there, said Martha Duggan, ECD’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs.

. . .

ECD is still proceeding with plans to retrofit its manufacturing line at the affected Auburn Hills plant with next-generation technology. In January, ECD had received a federal tax credit for making this investment, which is expected to create 600 jobs over time.
Glad to see those tax credits creating expected jobs while layoffs occur now isn't it. Anyone know the amount of that tax credit? Perhaps those 140 people laid off will be counted as jobs "saved or created" with the credit if they're rehired later.

It is certainly interesting that it is more cost effective for ECD to ship solar panels from Michigan all the way to Mexico for finishing and it still saves them money to do so. It must burn up a lot of carbon credits to ship them so far.

You Would Think A Prime Location For This Sort Of Thing Would Be Washington D.C.

Colorado firm gets approval to make energy from manure

Weld County will soon be home to an 80-acre, 24/7 operation that will convert cattle manure into enough biogas to power a small city.

Heartland Renewable Energy of Longmont, Colo., got the go-ahead from county commissioners last month to build the plant about 10 miles east of Gilcrest, Colo.

Construction is expected to begin this fall on what will be the first solid-waste disposal site of its kind in Colorado and one of the largest in the U.S. It should be complete in about 18 months.
Considering all the manure emanating from D.C., Heartland may have a second location already picked out....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Royal Oak / Arts Beats and Eats Festival Contract seeks to prohibit weapons

In the Detroit Free Press: Gun advocates take aim at Arts, Beats & Eats

A contract clause banning guns at a popular Detroit-area summer arts festival has drawn fire from gun advocates aiming to have it amended.

Police Chief Chris Jahnke said the contract between Royal Oak's inaugural Arts, Beats & Eats festival and the city about 10 miles north-northwest of Detroit prohibits weapons at the event.

But open-carry proponents told the City Commission Monday night that state law and the Second Amendment allow a person who is licensed to carry a holstered firearm that's within plain sight. They want the contract amended before the Labor Day weekend event begins.

Organizer Jon Witz said festival officials were open to contract revisions.

Now in its 13th year, the festival was previously held in nearby Pontiac.

Unfortunately, the article is a stellar example of a lack of clarity. Who drafted the contract with the clause in it? The City of Royal Oak or AB&E Organizers?

The clause is unenforceable by Royal Oak Police as the festival is taking place on public streets and it is pretty clear that Michigan state law pre-empts a municpality from regulating firearms in such a manner.

MCL 123.1102 Regulation of pistols or other firearms.
A local unit of government shall not impose special taxation on, enact or enforce any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, or possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise provided by federal law or a law of this state.

So that pretty much rules out such a ban at least as far as firearms go on the public streets of Royal Oak.

The second bit of strangeness in the article is the statement
But open-carry proponents told the City Commission Monday night that state law and the Second Amendment allow a person who is licensed to carry a holstered firearm that's within plain sight.
There is no license required or indeed issued for someone to carry a pistol in plain sight as open carry, while not the smartest thing to do and a course of action not without its own leagl traps and pitfalls, is legal in Michigan with no permit required.

Of course, as soon as you step into a vehicle or cover the firearm in any way you then need a concealed pistol license.

In short, it doesn't look like this contract term could be legally enforced by Royal Oak Police on the public streets of Royal Oak.

However, it could be enforced by the organizers of the festival on private property such as if they were renting a restaurant or building for the events and posted a notice that carrying a weapon is prohibited in such a venue.

Then, it would be a violation of the property owners or organizers terms for entry onto the premises and would be a misdemeanor trespass and the police could certainly enforce a tresspass charge.

My bet - the contract gets amended as it is probably an outdated clause on a form and the parties will revise it to properly reflect Michigan law.

Monday, August 09, 2010

8-9-10 Happy Birthday to Me.

Not a bad birthday today but the celebrating was a little understated and distributed over a few days as I had to work today. In any case I got the opportunity to celebrate it.

Last Thursday, Lagniappe's Keeper came for a quick visit and we went to the local pistol range as he relates in his blog.

I shot my new-to-me Colt Official Police in .38 Special. Considering I just turned 38 today I thought it was a fitting caliber. The revolver shot very nicely indeed, even though the double action trigger left much to be desired.

Looking ahead two years, I then practiced with my Glock 23 in .40. I also found that I enjoyed shooting LK's HK 2000. It certainly felt a lot smoother than when I shot it earlier - his intensive use of it seems to be smoothing the LEM trigger a bit, making it much more enjoyable to shoot, as well as easier to shoot accurately.

We did some low light and barricade shooting that was definitely worthwhile practice. The Crimson Trace laser on the Glock made target acquisition easy even when the targets were nothing but shadowed silhouettes, but a positive off button would be nice. The flashlight practice was also quite instructive.

Yesterday I got up early and dove Union Lake with Chad and Keith. As the lines are really ripped up we went out and did an exploratory dive to try and find the far section of line that had been missing for quite awhile. We tied off a reel to the end of the line and started off on our heading. It was pretty neat as I had never been in that section of the lake before. The viz was better than near the boat dock which, thanks to the boats was about 3-4 feet. We hit a depth of 41 feet and eventually found the far post and the old thick line that had been laid down years before. Lots of large crayfish and one huge bass were hanging out in that area of the lake. We then turned around and headed back after a great 60 minute dive.

We had a feast for dinner that night - steak, corn that I cooked on the grill and then finished up with some homemade cherry cheesecake perfectly made by Tash.

This morning I got some happy birthday hugs and kisses from the kids that made the day start off right, and a homemade birthday card from them that was very sweet. Then to work and finally home again, dinner with the kids and took them to their swim class where they're both really improving. Abby is even jumping into the water from height, something she wold never have tried before, and liking it.

So goodbye to 37, hello to 38 and onwards we go.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Silly Pedestrian, Frogger is a game, not a practical way to cross a Freeway

The Detroit Free Press: Man killed in Southfield while trying to run across the Lodge Freeway

An unidentified man was killed late Wednesday night while trying to run across the Lodge Freeway in Southfield, the Michigan State Police Metro North Post said this morning.

A semi-tractor-trailer slammed into him on the southbound side of the highway just north of Southfield Road around 11:10 p.m., according to investigators
So you're running across the highway when its pitch dark, dodging cars and trucks going at 70+ miles per hour? Its a life-shortening experience even the fastest sprinter is ill-advised to try. This guy, not an Olympic-class sprinter, didn't quite make it across the road, and there's no retries in real life. Game over dude.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

When even the UN says Lebanon is wrong in the border incident, you know Lebanon must be really wrong.

Lebanon, Israel clash at border

Lebanese Army troops initiated an attack on Israeli Defense Forces soldiers by sniping and killing an Israeli colonel and critically wounding a captain over 300 meters inside Israel while Israelis worked on clearing a tree from the border fence area on the Israeli side of the border. The fighting then escalated but ow seems to have calmed down.

Amazingly, UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is not blaming Israel for the incident:

Tuesday's clashes began after an Israeli soldier tried to remove a tree along the border, something the military has done in the past to improve its sightlines into Lebanon.

But both sides claimed the tree was in their territory. An Associated Press photo shows an Israeli standing on a crane reaching over the fence that Israel erected to separate the two countries. The fence, however, does not match the Blue Line in all places, and the Israeli military said in a statement that the tree was in Israeli territory.

"It was over the fence but still within Israeli territory," the military spokesman's office said. He said the tree cutting was coordinated with the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, UNIFIL.
Its an historic moment when the UN takes Israel's side over Lebanon so it certainly shows the Lebanese Army was way out of line on this one.

For some excellent coverage see Solomonia, including some photos where it certainly looks like the UN blue berets were acting as either willing or unwitting human shields for Lebanese troops firing at Israelis.

Goodbye and Good Riddance to Detroit's Congresswoman-For-Life Kilpatrick

So much for Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatricks declaration that I will be your congresswoman ... until I decide to retire" The people of Detroit and surrounding areas finally woken up, and she's been voted out in the primary.

The Detroit Free Press: Clarke upsets Kilpatrick as family dynasty ends

State Sen. Hansen Clarke staged a stunning upset victory Tuesday night over seven-term Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

With 53% of the overall district results in, Clarke had a 48-39% lead over the incumbent, who was first elected to Congress in 1996.
I would submit that 7 terms was far, far too many. Given that she is in a one-party district, the only way she could be removed is by another Democrat. Tainted by scandals involving her son and ex-husband as well as her arrogance, her time is now done.

Hopefully Hansen Clarke will do a better and far less arrogant job in office than the representative he is replacing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

An old woman walks into a courthouse....

Sounds like the setup line to a bad joke, and it was.

The Detroit Free Press: Woman arrested after bringing gun to court

An elderly Eastpointe woman was arrested after the loaded .38 revolver in her purse set off alarms at the entrance to 38th District Court.

The 65-year-old woman told investigators at the Eastpointe court that she forgot about the gun when she went through security at 2:05 p.m. Monday, Eastpointe Police Lt. Scott Bourgeois said.

You have to hate when that happens.
“She just carries it for protection all the time because she was robbed before,” Bourgeois said today. He did not know why she was at the court, but investigators do not believe she intended to harm anyone.
Ok, it sounds like an innocent major mistake but then the plot begins to thicken.
The gun wasn’t registered, and the woman doesn’t have a license to carry a weapon, he added. Investigators are currently checking the Law Enforcement Information Network to determine if the gun is stolen, he said.
And it gets worse:
When police arrested her, they also found oxycodone and codeine in her purse. She’s charged with illegally carrying a handgun and prescription drugs. The woman is expected to be arraigned today.
Now, if you're going to be carrying a gun and drugs illegally, going into a courthouse with them is typically not the smartest idea. As the police station is right by the court, she at least made it rather convenient for the police to pick her up. Saves time and energy when the criminals come to you.

UAE to crackdown on Crackberries

It's all about stopping the uncontrolled access to information, their people would be much harder to control if they could know things about the world outside the government-controlled media.

The Detroit News: BlackBerry crackdown looms over Mideast

Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- The United Arab Emirates' looming crackdown on BlackBerry services will extend to foreign visitors, putting the government's concerns over the smartphones in direct conflict with the country's ambitions to be a business and tourism haven.

The Emirates' telecoms regulator said Monday that travelers to the city-state of Dubai and the important oil industry center of Abu Dhabi will -- like the 500,000 local subscribers -- have to do without BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web services starting Oct. 11, even when they carry phones issued in other countries. The handsets themselves will still be allowed for phone calls.

Emirati authorities say the move is based on security concerns because BlackBerry data are automatically shipped to company computers abroad, where it is difficult for local authorities to monitor for illegal activity or abuse.

Critics of the crackdown say it is also a way for the country's conservative government to further control content it deems politically or morally objectionable.
The ruling house of Dubai is terrified their subjects might receive other than approved news and information.

After all information control and keeping their people ignorant and controlled is what it is all about as noted in the Arab Human Development Report:
Arab societies are paralyzed because of the absence of political freedoms, the persecution of women, and isolation from the world and new ideas.

The oil wealth is matched by social backwardness, and the only other region of the world with an income level lower than ours is sub-Saharan Africa. Productivity is decreasing, scientific research is virtually nonexistent, the region is suffering a brain drain, and illiteracy afflicts half of Arab women. The report was only diplo-matic concerning implicit criticisms of extremist Islamist movements as a cause of the culture of backwardness and absence of fertile ground for democ-racy. Interestingly, the report found that the total number of books translated into Arabic yearly is no more than 330, or one-fifth of those translated in a small country like Greece.

Indeed, the total number of books translated into Arabic during the 1,000 years since the age of Caliph Al-Ma’moun [a ninth-century Arab ruler who was a patron of cultural interaction between Arab, Persian, and Greek scholars—WPR] to this day is less than those translated in Spain in one year. The report noted that Arab rulers stay in office all their lives and create dynasties that inherit power, and the peoples are unable to institute change.
Whether the UAE can maintian this blockade in the face of technological progress, not to mention the likely protests due to the inconvenience it will place on westerners in Dubai on business will be interesting to see.