Monday, December 31, 2012

Some People Get Started Stupid Early

So today at about 7 pm, I had just finished taking the kids to the Civic Theater in Farmington, a movie theater that offers lower prices for second-run movies and is a very homey old-fashioned kind of theater. I had taken them to watch Wreck-It Ralph as the last movie of 2012.

The kids enjoyed the movie and there was more than enough humor that appealed to adults at the same time.

So we were heading back home on a major north-south road and as I came up to a red light I stopped behind a truck that was there, in park, with the drivers side window down and the driver yelling and gesticulating out the window.

The driver is not just yelling but cursing up a storm. The light turns green, he's not going anywhere just screaming obscenities.

Still yelling, he starts looking at me and yelling obscenities.

Then he starts opening his door and getting out of the truck while yelling. Not a good sign.

At this point I have my left hand on the wheel and the right hand is now otherwise engaged.

The light is still green, traffic on my left opens sufficiently and I floor it and get around the truck, happy that I had stopped leaving sufficient space.

I then get well past the intersection and keep going while calling the police on the handy cell phone. Hopefully they get him.

Some idiots have to start being stupid early.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dived 226 - Ice Dive In December

We arrived at Union Lake to go for a dive this morning, and we found that it was frozen over.

This was not going to stop Brando, Keith and myself from diving and it became the first ice dive of this winter season. Dave came along to do some surface photography and he acted as our surface support.

There was a group of divers that were getting in the water as we were suiting up.

Anybody want to guess from the picture what they're doing that is pretty unsafe for an overhead dive?

So we waited for them to get out, then Keith attached our reel to the posts and then we headed in:

We headed under the ice, tying off the reel as we went. It's always a bit of an eerie feeling once you know that the ice is between you and the surface and you can't just go to the surface if anything goes wrong, you have to fix it where you are.

Unfortunately, I flooded my camera case. Imagine my surprise when at 20 feet I unclipped it to take a picture and saw the camera was busy swimming inside the case. Scratch one Canon SD1000 camera.

Thus I have no underwater pictures of my own, but Brandon was willing to share his, and Dave shared some surface pics.

After noticing the camera flood, on our way toward the speedboat, we saw this huge gar.

It wasn't bothered by our being there and slowly swam along. Big fish with lots of sharp teeth but a rather pleasant disposition. I think it said its name was Teri...

We then reached and swam around the speedboat, noticing all the fish tucked away in various areas nooks and crannies.

After swimming around for a bit in the 35 degree water we decided to head back and follow the lines back to the hole in the ice and surface.

Total dive time: 27 minutes. Water temperature: 35 degrees. Air consumption: 700 psi used. Heading under the ice with friends and fellow divers - priceless.

A very cool dive and quite a way to spend a December Sunday morning. My last dive of 2012.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Obama And Feinstein Gun Salesmen Of The Year

I'm not sure if this is all just a cunning plan on the part of the Democrats to increase consumer spending in December and show the economy is improving in 2012 with all this frenzied spending activity by threatening to ban guns in January, but it is getting rather tiresome.

Good luck finding standard capacity magazines or indeed finding decent bulk quantities of ammunition to buy just about anywhere.

Good luck finding semi-auto rifles, or lower receivers for same to purchase at this point as the buying panic / speculation / foresight and considered preparation (your choice which) is well and truly underway.

Note that Supply and Demand isn't just a good idea but a law - prices on these items are up to reflect the higher demand for these items.

This is also forcing me to both consider purchasing items ahead of my planned schedule and back ordering standard capacity magazines for firearms I might buy in the future, or magazines that I might instead buy on occasion. For example, an AR magazine with every Brownells or Midway order is a standard practice with me. Instead, I'm leaning towards stocking up now, which of course introduces even more feedback into the shortage loop.

On the upside, I'm making a donation to the Second Amendment Foundation and urge others to do the same, and considering also made one to the NRA-ILA and am emailing my state and federal representatives accordingly to voice my opposition to any such bans. If everyone out there who buys a rifle in a panic also buys an SAF and NRA membership, we'll be a lot better off.

Don't get mad and do nothing but mumble and stock up on mags. Instead work the representative government system we have and do something to show that these proposed bans are unacceptable to the majority of Americans.

Feelings, Nothing But Feelings for Gun Controllers

A letter to The Detroit Free Press, that received top billing no less, illustrates one of the many problems with the anti-gunner's position. It's not logic or facts that matters to them, but feelings:

Letters: What's safer, more guns or no guns?

For me, the subject of gun control comes down to one big question: What would make me feel safer, knowing that many people around have guns but I also have a gun, or knowing that no one around me has a gun?

I choose the latter!

If you feel the same way, then it is time we talk about real gun control laws. The United Kingdom has one of the lowest incidences of gun homicides with tough gun laws, but hunters and sportsmen are still allowed to own and use their guns. The U.S., on the other hand, has around 30,000 gun-related deaths annually. Is this the price we want to pay for gun "rights"?

Jeremy S-----,

Roseville

The facts show that Jeremy is wrong about his entire feeling-based argument, not to mention his complete falsehood that British "hunters and sportsmen are still allowed to own and use their guns."

Of course, his whole argument immediately falls apart on his supposition that there would be no guns around him if guns were banned. Even in cities with total gun bans, or even in his cited United Kingdom where handguns are banned, criminals still have handguns, regardless of his precious feelings.

He both chooses and argues.....poorly.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Mentally Ill Person Pushes Yet Another Innocent Onto Subway Tracks, No Call To Ban SubwayTrains

And another mentally ill person kills, this time in New York using a subway rather than a firearm.

The Detroit Free Press: With video: Man pushed to death in front of NYC subway train

The suspect in Thursday night's killing had been following the man closely on a Queens platform and mumbling to herself, witnesses told police. She got up from a nearby bench and shoved the man, who was standing with his back to her, as the train pulled into the platform. He was pinned under the train as it pulled to a stop, police said.

No calls for enhanced security according to the article, as this is a "rare event", that only last occurred 25 days ago.

Mayor Bloomberg did not call for banning subway trains, and apparently didn't call for more treatment or institutionalization of the mentally ill.

Asked about the episode at the station on Queens Boulevard in the Sunnyside neighborhood, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed today to legal and policy changes that led to the release of many mentally ill people from psychiatric institutions from the 1960s through 1990s.

"The courts or the law have changed and said, no, you can't do that unless they're a danger to society; our laws protect you. That's fair enough," Bloomberg said on The John Gambling Show with Mayor Mike on WOR-AM.

It's a pity Bloomberg holds quite the double standard and refuses to apply that same logic to 94 million law-abiding citizens and firearms possession.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Don't Let The Facts Get In the Way Of An Anti-NRA Concern Troll Editorial

“Never take advice from a donkey.”
― Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

Brian Dickerson of the Free Press puts on his concerned face worrying Does today's NRA still speak for gun owners?

To answer you question Brian: Yes, yes it does. Perhaps not as strongly, nor as eloquently, nor as artfully as we might prefer, but it does.

But you see, Brian is concerned and considers a grass-roots group with 4.5 million-plus members to just be a front for the firearms industry.

Isn't it time we stopped acting surprised every time the organization reprises the more-guns-equals-less-crime theme its paid mouthpieces have been promoting for decades and started inquiring more closely into who's pulling the NRA's strings, and for what purpose? Because the more you know about today's NRA, the less credible its claim to be the voice of American gun owners seems.

Nice, when you can't contest the facts, attack the speaker and try to attack their credibility.

The NRA likes to paint itself as a grassroots organization whose political influence can be traced directly to the depth and breadth of its membership -- a roster of ordinary Americans that stands, according the organization's own figures, at a robust 4.5 million. The organization's promotional materials have long disavowed any forma affiliation with companies that manufacture or sell firearms or ammunition.

I'd think 4.5 million plus members entitle it to be called grassroots, don't you?

Also, Note the spelling error in that paragraph. Layers of editorial oversight and as he's deputy editorial page editor, so he should know.

Oh, and 4.5 million members as opposed to say the Brady campaign with all of at most 28,000 members?.

But although the NRA says its populist strength continues to grow, demographic data show a long-term contraction in the number of gun-owning households in the United States.

Really Brian, you're going to use that worn out lie that gun ownership is on the decline. Really now?

And especially since 2005, when it launched an aggressive campaign to recruit corporate sponsors for its pro-first-amendment message, the NRA often has appeared more responsive to the priorities of manufacturers and retailers than to those of firearm owners.

Any bets its yet another example of editorial excellence and he meant Second Amendment here?

An April 2011 study published by the non-profit Violence Policy Center found that corporate donors had contributed between $19.8 million and $52.6 million in the first five years of the NRA's Ring of Freedom fundraising campaign, and that 74% of that total -- $14.7 million to $38.9 million -- came from companies involved in the manufacture and sale of firearms or shooting-related products."

Seriously now, Brian is going to be using the anti-NRA Violence Policy Center as a source for this? The same VPC that lies, damned lies, and false statistics? Talk about your reliable and unbiased sources that would have no interest in making up lies about the NRA there Brian.

Next, he uses the sterling and unbiased statistics of Mayors Against Illegal Guns - the group with convictions for criminal conduct above both the gun-owning and the average population of the country.

At the same time, the NRA's aggressive solicitation of corporate sponsors suggests we all should be more skeptical of its self-described mission -- and its claim that constitutional principles are at that mission's core.

Nice attempt to demonize the NRA by association and innuendo there Brian. I'd give it a solid D-.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snowing All The Way Home

Snow Tires just rock.

The snow started coming down here around 2 pm and we've had about 6-8 inches or so, with more expected.

Between the Bridgestone Blizzaks and four-wheel drive, my trusty RAV4 made it through the driving mounds of snow without complaint.

I made it home no problem, after maneuvering around quite a number of cars that didn't have snow tires nor an understanding of both basic physics and the basic technique of driving in a heavy snowstorm - go slower than normal but not so slow as to lose any momentum and get stuck, and stay in control.

Currently there's a large tow truck stuck on our street that managed to get bogged down after freeing one of the three cars that couldn't stay out of the ditches on the street in this storm. It has now been stuck for the past three hours or so creating what Leah is cheerfully describing as "epic entertainment"! She's now watched a van, a pickup truck and other vehicles try to pull it out of the ditch to no avail. Of course, with all this pulling and wheel-spinning they've now created a patch of solid ice on that side of the street which will be just great to deal with tomorrow.

My car, by comparison, is comfy and warm in my garage after making it up the driveway of doom to the house.

Digging us out tomorrow morning should be quite a bit of beneficial exercise.

On A Stunning Example Of Leftist Historical Ignorance

The Detroit Free Press carries an article that is a collaboration of a number of journalists on the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Detroit Free Press: 150 years later, Lincoln's Emancipation still sparks debate

It has plenty of the same racially-based leftist tropes, like the emphasis on the existence of a collective African-American consciousness, but one statement really stood out as a demonstration of leftist belief and how it is so at odds with historical reality.

Of course, history, even fairly recent history from living memory, is not exactly these journalists' strong suit. Even as they pontificate on history, we get some amazingly ignorant and politically biased statements in the article such as this one:

The nation has just re-elected an African-American president who hangs in his Oval Office a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. This, the executive order's 150th anniversary, is the first major one when black people can fairly be called free.

Seriously now?

It takes the re-election of a black president for black people to fairly be called free? I guess in 1972 for the 110th anniversary and in 1987, the 125th anniversary of the Proclamation, blacks were still being sold into slavery or something?

The mind boggles at the need for lefty journalists to ignore history and pretend that black people in America somehow only achieved becoming "free" upon the election of Barack Obama.

On the upside, at least these journalists can finally say they are proud of their country.

Obamacare - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Even more of Obamacare's taxes are due to hit upon the stroke of midnight on December 31.

The Detroit News: New year, new taxes arrive with health act

Taxpayers, especially businesses, will be hit with billions of dollars in new charges starting in January under provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will be ushered in with the new year.

Among the new provisions is a surtax on investment income for those earning $250,000 or more, a $2,500 cap on flexible spending accounts and a 2.3 percent excise tax on manufacturers of medical devices that has led Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp. to slim its workforce.

The looming health taxes have taken a back seat to the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts set to automatically increase Jan. 1 unless Congress takes action to avoid the recession-threatening "fiscal cliff." While the biggest provisions of the health care act — namely the individual mandate — won't take effect until 2014, notable tax provisions have taken hold, and some businesses say the coming wave will exacerbate an anemic business climate.

Obamacare is predicated on taxes on the front end paying for benefits to occur later. Thia is, of course, unsustainable in the long run as benefits don't suddenly stop for a few years so the taxes can catch up.

Businesses are already trying to figure out both the arcane and complicated regulations and how to handle the rules that dictate their requirement to provide health care for workers once they reach over 50 employees.

There's also a lovely little tax increase on anyone doing well these days:

The 2013 tax that likely will have the biggest disincentive on business expansion, Miller believes, is a new 3.8 percent Medicare payroll tax rate on wages and self-employment profits above $200,000, compared to 2.9 percent.

"You are not just hitting more affluent individuals; you tend to hit the unincorporated smaller businesses," said Miller, co-author of the book "Why Obamacare Is Wrong for America."

If you think the assorted taxes and regulations are not going to lead to higher unemployment and a reduction in business hiring and expansion, you're kidding yourself.

But at least you'll be required to buy comprehensive health insurance, so there's always that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

To My Christian Readers, have a most joyful and Merry Christmas.

In lieu of the traditional Jewish Christmas Day meal of Chinese food, we're going to have a fine Christmas dinner with some friends.

So I hope you have a most peaceful and enjoyable Christmas day.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Killer of NY Firefighters Is A Convicted Felon

This of course, makes the whole event un-possible. The Detroit News: New York gunman had served time for grandmother's death

After all, felons, by law, are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

Police in New York state say a man who ambushed firefighters had served 17 years for manslaughter in the death of his grandmother.

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering says 62-year-old [felonious idiot] was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

A real shame he didn't skip part A and just go straight to part B of shooting himself in the head, would have saved a lot of good people's lives.

Of course, the article notes you don't need a firearm to commit a horrific act:

Webster, a middle-class suburb, now is the scene of violence linked to house fires for two Decembers in a row.

Last Dec. 7, authorities say, a 15-year-old boy doused his home with gasoline and set it ablaze, killing his father and two brothers, 16 and 12. His mother and 13-year-old sister escaped with injuries. He is being prosecuted as an adult.

No a firearm isn't needed for a massacre, and good luck banning possession of gasoline.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Fun Sunday Morning Range Trip


Got up this morning at a reasonable hour and went to the Range with Robert.
Snow was on the ground and the weather was cold but with no wind it was quite tolerable and rather pleasant. No one else was around so we had the range to ourselves.
It was a very bright and sunny day so the sun bouncing off the snow was giving the camera fits.

That's a picture of a plate rack, a popper and some paper targets.
We set up three poppers and the plate rack and proceeded to blast the snow off of them quite handily.

video


 Robert also liked trying my .45 and once again, the reloads were flawless.


Rob also shot his Kahr PM9, and considering it is his carry gun he keeps in practice with it and does very well indeed.  I shot it as well, The PM9 is also my go-to carry gun for most occasions as it is so very conveniently carried in a pocket, I try to practice with it a lot.

Then Rob shot my Glock 19, which he likes so much that he's going to buy one for himself, as it fits his hand like a glove and he's notably accurate with it.

I then took my M&P9 out for a shoot.

It worked perfectly, which is both a blessing and a curse.

I'm very happy that it now works without any more issues.  Had it choked on me yet again, or given me any other malfunction, I would have sold it in a heartbeat.

However, between the new trigger spring and whatever else that was installed/fixed by S&W under warranty, the new recoil spring I put in and my moving the rear sight back to center and tightening it down, it functioned without a single problem.

 Even worse, I'm reasonably accurate with it, it fits the hand superbly, and it was a joy to shoot.  I very possibly shoot it better than my Glock 17, which raises some questions as to what pistol I should now use for USPSA competition and indeed for carry at times, and if I'm ready to trust it again for carry and competition:

video
 So, do I keep it now?

Friday, December 21, 2012

That's A Cool Yet Irrational Mayan Way To Get An Early Start To The Holiday

Wow, does Lapeer County's school district have a powerful teacher's union or what?

Mayan Apocalypse Rumors Prompt 33 Michigan Schools to Close Early

Some students in Michigan will be getting an extra-long holiday break this year, thanks to the supposed end of the world.

Five Michigan school districts in Lapeer County have shuttered their doors early this holiday season, partly out of concern over end-of-the-world hysteria sparked by the Mayan Long Count calendar.

Remember, these public school educators are purportedly using the best science and most modern and rational methods to teach your children.

Yet, they fall prey to irrational horological hysteria.

Either that or they pounced on the excuse and just wanted an early start to the Christmas vacation.

Well played Lapeer educators, well played.

Hat tip to Brigid at Home on The Range for letting me know that some public school districts in my state really are that dumb. Sheesh.

December 21 And Yes, We're All Still Here

Crazy end of year rush at work. I've been crazy busy trying to get everyone's rushes and emergencies done so blogging has been significantly curtailed.

So much for the Mayan prophecy as an excuse for slowing things down at all. Why the hurry? The world's ending and your case is therfore coming to a resolution.... That excuse doesn't work. btw.

In other words, no end of the world in sight - after all with 4 more years of Obama it's gonna be bad enough, Mayans or no Mayans.

Of course, we could be wrong and the hysterical and credulous could be right.....so might as well go out with a couple songs:

But it's really, really, really, not likely to happen anytime soon, hysterical and credulous people notwithstanding. Let's stick to worrying about stuff that matters and that we can do something useful about.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taxpayers To Take A Bath As Gov't Sells Stock Back To GM At A Massive Loss The Media Fails To Mention

In yet a new corporate welfare move to help out Government motors, the Obama Administration is going to sell half of its stock in the corporation back to GM, and taxpayers will take the loss.

For the government to recoup its money it used to buy the stock, it would have to sell them for $53 a share.

They're being paid $27.50 per share.

Remember, these stocks were acquired in exchange for the loans made by the government to the corporation. The loans were converted to stock which is now being sold back at a loss thus having the government incur the loss and allowing GM to announce all their government loans are paid off and to receive billions without needing to really pay the billions back.

Government Motors indeed.

The Detroit News: Treasury announces GM exit strategy; automaker buying 200 million shares from U.S.

The Obama administration said Wednesday it will sell 200 million shares — or 40 percent of its remaining stake in General Motors Co. — back to the automaker and announced plans to completely exit the Detroit automaker by March 2014.

. . .

Still, taxpayers will almost certainly lose billions of dollars in the $49.5 billion GM bailout. If the government sold the rest of its stock at current prices, taxpayers would lose more than $13 billion.

Since the article refuses to do the math I guess I'll have to do it for them: if 60% of the remaining stock sold at this price would mean the taxpayer suffers a $13 Billion dollar loss, then the government selling the 40% at this price right now is an $8.7 Billion dollar loss.

The Detroit Free Press fared no better in its report, but at least acknowledged that for the government to break even with its remaining shares after this deal it would require thiose share to be sold for $70 a share to break even, up from having to sell all of them at $53 per share to break even rather than this 40% at $27.50. The Freep, just like the Detroit News won't do the math nor report the actual loss that will be incurred by this sale.

I would have thought that would have been rather newsworthy and an important fact to put in the article, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two Governors, One Who Knows How To Hold 'Em, One Who Knows How to Fold 'Em

In contrast to Spineless Snyder, Governor Rick Perry gets it:

Instapundit: STANDING UP AGAINST HYSTERIA: Gov. Rick Perry speaks out against gun control hysteria, approves carrying in schools.

Michigan Governor Folds Like A Cheap Suit - Carry Reform To Be Vetoed

He can stand up to unions, but not to liberal mass hysteria and misinformation.

The Detroit Free Press: Republicans: Snyder to veto concealed weapons bill

Gov. Rick Snyder will veto a bill later today that would have allowed gun owners with extra training to carry their concealed weapons in schools, churches, day care centers and stadiums, according to Republican sources.

The veto comes just four days after a horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which a heavily armed 20-year-old muscled his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first graders and six adults.

Because of course, no one would ever commit a crime with a firearm in any of those places before taking two 8 hour training classes, passing federal and state background checks to be provably not a felon, and provably not having committed any misdemeanors in the three years prior to applying and paying an application fee.

Banning a bill that would not cause, and in fact would significantly lessen the chance of a school or other mass shooting, after a mass shooting has taken place is and act of emotion rather than logic. If he wanted to prevent future incidents, signing the law and pushing for more mental health facilities would do far more.

But at least he's seen "doing something", even though it still won't win him any points with the left after he passed right-to-work.

Damnit.

Illegals Protest For In-State Tuition at University of Michigan

The Detroit Free Press: University of Michigan protest over tuition held on behalf of undocumented students

About 100 students followed suit, one at a time, sitting quietly on the floor as part of a protest calling for U-M to offer in-state tuition to those students who went to high school in Michigan, but are undocumented residents.

They're not the sharpest tools int he shed:

"Today, I stand in silence," said G.S. Suri, a U-M student, who stood during public comment with his mouth taped while a recording of his comments played behind him.

If you're standing in silence, shouldn't you be, you know, silent?

Of Course, having illegals garner the in-state rate will lead to less funds being available for all students.

I also wonder if they get the coveted affirmative action points to increase the chances for their admission.

If The U of M gives in-state tuition for illegals, it would would lead to a rather absurd result:

Legal students on Student Visas from Mexico would be paying out-of-state tuition while Illegal students from Mexico would be paying the lower in-state rate.

What could possibly go wrong?

The taxpayers of Michigan would be busily funding education for illegals.

If the Regents of UofM do enact such a change, I certainly hope the legislature will have the wherewithal to deduct proportionate public funding for the amount given each illegal as part of the in-state tuition break.

Monday, December 17, 2012

On The Sandy Hook Massacre

Of course the kids heard about it, combined with some very wild misinterpretations of the event that they were taking as truth and it took sitting down with them and explaining what had happened.

Explaining this cowardly act to a 6 and a 9 year old was rather difficult, as they couldn't understand the concept of mental illness nor that the guy would or could shoot teachers and little kids for no reason.

Explaining it and answer their questions seemed to help their anxiousness about it and at least corrected some of the more crazy things they had heard about it.

I expect the school will do more lock down drills due and hopefully there's planning in the works for very fast police response in event of such an emergency should it present itself. I'm not sure if the lock-down drills are actually effective or simple talismans to ward off evil. It sounds like they may have helped save lives at Sandy Hook, but it is likely that other measures that were not taken would have been helpful as well.

As many people have already said, 94 million American gun owners didn't kill anyone, and many are using this act to sensationalize and push for more gun control.

It should be remembered that in the face of such a call, that the worst school massacre in the United States wasn't even caused with a firearm but by explosives, right here in Michigan by a madman back in 1927. Thankfully no one has duplicated or beat his shameful record and the media needs to treat these acts as those of pathetic idiots rather than acts of evil personified. Soem people like to be considered evil. I don't know anyone that enjoys and prides themselves on being considered an idiot.

As Say Uncle has pointed out, this fellows actions couldn't possibly be more illegal, but that certainly didn't prevent him. Only the presence of someone else with a gun stopped the attack, just as in other such shootings.. Considering he chose to a gun-free school zone makes quite a cruel mockery of the whole gun-free thing now doesn't it?

It's more than past time that we look at the results of deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, especially as all of the most recent mass shootings have been committed by the mentally ill. Reading Clayton Cramer's blog would be a good place for people to clue in to this problem.

How badly government policy is falling the mentally ill and those who care for them and those who are victimized by them is made crystal clear by this amazing article: I am Adam Lanza’s Mother

The Sandy Hook School shooting is a horrific event, but using it to push to punish the sane for the act of the insane is hardly the answer.

There simply are no easy pat answers, nor explanations, nor solutions.

Weekend Fun

Quite the busy weekend, tempered with the tragedy in Connecticut that I will blog about later.

On the upside guess who came to town?

Murphy and ML came in on a short-notice visit.

We had a nice dinner Saturday night with Murphy's Law, his mom, and all the gang. Even with a cast on, she put on a fantastic dinner.

Murphy became quite attached to Leah, laying down right beside her during dinner. Whether this was from her playing with him just before dinner, or his figuring that the smallest one at the table would drop the most turkey to him, I'm not sure.

After dessert, ML, Abby, Corbin and I went out after dessert to play laser tag at Zap Zone. Abby is getting seriously into laser tag and getting pretty good at it too. Her short size keeps her below most people's line of sight until she lases them. She had a blast and did pretty well indeed.

On Sunday morning, ML, Corbin and I went to the range. We were distracted on the way by ML spotting a Unimog for sale that he needed to check out and a further delay was then caused but I'll let him explain it.

It's accurate to say that once we finally got to the range, Corbin had a blast.

Yes, that's ML's .41 magnum, a really nice shooting pistol. Having had the opportunity to shoot it, I can see what the fuss is all about - less recoil than a .44, great accuracy and a great trigger in double or single action.

As for my 45 reloads fresh off the Dillon they worked great.

No problems feeding, every round went where it was sent and they had plenty of oomph to drop plates and poppers with aplomb. Nice and accurate loads and it turns out that Accurate No.5 is a very nice powder for 45 ACP.

Corbin liked my 1911 and these loads quite a lot.

We shot a few more pistols and then headed to the rifle range.

As for my new 300 Blackout AR, the results were somewhat mixed.

First, the Aimpoint needed a lot of adjustment to get zeroed.

It started off low and left by about 4 feet in each axis at 75 yards, so I had to bring the target in closer and start adjusting. After some judicious cranking, its now perfectly zeroed for 100 yards and I can easily hit steel plates on the 100 yard line with no problems.

The Core 15 Upper was quite superb with no feeding issues and very tight accuracy - groups were amazingly tight (though very low and left until the Aimpoint was zeroed, but the groups were pretty impressive even so.

The 300 Blackout cartridge was great - very low recoil impulse, soft shooting and accurate.

On the downside, one of the pins in the receiver decided to go for a walk, rendering it rather unusable as it moved out of its hole. I've bought some anti-walk pins and will install them to correct the issue.

ML also brought along his Ruger Mini 14 and his Bushmaster AR with the AK-style muzzle break from hell. The concussion from that thing is deafening even as it reduces felt recoil from the 5.56 to .22LR levels.

Here's ML with the far more pleasant Mini-14 in action.

We then shot my S&W M&P15-22, which ML and Corbin both loved and I'm liking it a lot too. I fired the full 25 round magazine and repeatedly hit the 100 yard steel so easily it was almost boring how repetitive the "ting" sound came back after every shot.

So it was a great time at the range.

But the day wasn't done yet.

Abby and Leah had been invited to a birthday party for a friend that was being held at the Campus Martius Ice Skating Rink in downtown Detroit of all places.

Of course, luck would have it that the rink wasn't quite right. Apparently on Friday during some electrical test it had been overloaded and the compressors had been burned out, leaving a massive layer of water on the rink and it wasn't scheduled to be fixed until Monday. This led to some very wet clothing on the kids, but they had a good time. Lots of security and police were around so aside from a few pan handlers it was pretty uneventful.

We then walked over to American Coney Island, a Detroit landmark, for hot dogs and birthday cake. I had a coney dog and it was quite delicious.

On the way to the American Coney Island we passed by the Michigan Iron Brigade memorial marker.

Then after coneys and cake we headed home.

Amazing how much potential and how great Detroit could be if they could just get themselves together and got rid of the idiots busy running it into the ground.

So it was a very full weekend.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Michigan House and Senate Pass Concealed Carry Reform

Now its on to the Governor for Signature.

The Detroit Free Press: State House, Senate pass bill allowing guns to be carried in more places

You can read the actual passed bill on the Michigan Legislature's site.

Of course, the usual antis and ignorant are predicting blood in the streets and the wild west yet again in the comments, but that's to be expected.

I've read over the law and here is my initial impression, which is not to be construed or taken as legal advice (I'm not your lawyer unless you and i agree and you properly retain me to be such):

The bill does a few good things:

1. With an additional 8 hour training class and another 98 rounds fired for record - what looks to be the NRA's Personal Protection Outside the Home class - you can carry your concealed pistol in the currently prohibited carry areas.

2. It gets rid of the County Gun Boards and turns issuance over to the County Sheriffs, and prevents them from requiring any other forms or information than what is required by the law for the application.

3. Allows fingerprinting to be done by local police as well as the Sheriff's offices for the application.

4. Starting May 1, 2013 the license has to be laminated or made of hard plastic, rather than the flimsy non-laminated paper that some counties issue.

On the downside it:

1. Allows Colleges and Universities that have autonomous authority to pass ordinances prohibiting possession or carrying firearms on their property, which is a big step backwards. (Section 5o.12)

2. Closes the open carry allowance where concealed permit holders could carry openly in prohibited zones, and makes it an offense to openly carry in such zones except for a few exemptions (sec 5o.13)

So it is not perfect, but it is overall another step in the right direction.

Michigan RTW - Yes, The Picture Doth Sum it Up

It sums up the victory in Michigan's Right To Work battle rather well:

Posted via permission from Net Right Daily.

Yes, the Dems are still weeping bitter tears. Joining Rochelle Riley is Freep Columnist Brian Dickerson: Brian Dickerson: In absence of grown-ups, legislators acted childishly in right-to-work fiasco.

Dickerson joins the left in its "Heads I win, tails you lose argument":

But Snyder's rationale for embracing right-to-work echoes Stamas' puerile excuse for his party's parliamentary shenanigans: The Democrats, he says, are the ones who started it.

Specifically, Snyder blames the opposition for inciting his own party's spoiled brats by trying to tip the constitutional scales in labor's failure in the Proposal 2 campaign. Never mind that they failed. Because Democrats got too greedy, Snyder says, he had no choice but to indulge the GOP's greed-heads.

It's the logic of the playground, ill-becoming a leader who once aspired to be an honest broker.

Michigan isn't the first arena in which political adversaries have mimicked each other's worst qualities. It's one of history's saddest themes -- the reason ayatollahs and communist revolutionaries end up looking an awful lot like the shahs and czars they've deposed.

A little over-the-top in the rhetoric department now isn't he?

In other words Dickerson expects that the Union overreach in pushing Proposal Two should have had no backlash.

Wrong, Tit-for-Tat is a highly reasonable bargaining strategy, otherwise there is no deterrent for the Democrats next overreach.

Dickerson apparently prefers the Democrat Ratchet Effect technique - Democrat advances can never be halted and if they're defeated its only temporary with no consequences.

No thanks, but keep crying.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The AR-15 Lower Becomes My New AR-15/300

The AR Lower I built up has now been completed. For those of you who were wondering about the proper size Allen key for the Magpul trigger guard screw, its a 1/16" (the right tool made it fit real easily, a pity they don't put the size in their instructions, or just throw one of the keys in with the part - but Magpul did quickly reply to my inquiry).

So the humble lower has gone from This:

To This:

To This:

Finally to This:

I purchased a CORE-15 Upper in 300 Blackout and had it slightly customized with an AAC 51T flash hider and an upgraded bolt carrier. Core 15 was great to deal with and know their stuff, so I certainly recommend them as an option if you're looking for complete uppers.

I then added a Magpul MOE Rail to the bottom and a Grip-Pod. For the optic I chose an Aimpoint Pro.

I chose the 300 AAC Blackout caliber as it offers some interesting improvements over the 5.56 while maintaining the same magazine capacity. Having shot one in West Virginia it was fantastic - accurate, low recoil and a lot of fun, so I had to get one for myself.

I'm quite happy with how it all came together and this weekend I'm taking it to the range to try it out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sad Michigan Donkeys

With Governor Snyder having signed the Right To Work legislation, the Democrats are bluer today than usual.

In the Detroit Free Press, one of the saddest donkeys, Rochelle Riley laments that Unions need to remind people what life was like without them as if Right To Work legislation outlaws unions or turns Michigan into a sweatshop state.

Her denial of reality is palpable in the writing:

No, the question is: How is this possible in Michigan?

Michigan, home of the UAW? Michigan, which has more union members than almost any other state? Michigan, arguably the bluest state in America?

Now that Snyder has signed right-to-work and Michigan has become the 24th right-to-work state in America, will it be the domino that causes other states to fall?

Considering unions make up only about 17.5% of Michigan's private workforce, and the unions' overreach and excesses over time, including their push to enshrine unionism in the Michigan Constitution made such reform necessary.

Riley goes on to claim this failure is due to Unions not teaching labor history and then she really falls into the rabbit-hole land of the non-sequitur:

No one marching on government grounds was paying attention to what century this is.

And there is the lesson.

The 1960s and 1970s were fighting for the phone. They both called. They want their culture back. They want their methods of selling the union back. They want the anger and threats and the memory of Vincent Chin to stay in the past.

The 21st Century is calling now, and if the unions don't answer that call with new ideas and a new program, America will become a right-to-work nation by the time Hillary Rodham Clinton completes her second term.

Try to figure out what those paragraphs full of mixed metaphors even mean. Even more hilarious, she expects Hillary Clinton to run and win two terms after the Obama deluge.

Delusions are powerful things indeed, and the blue state model has been run on them for quite some time now.

Stuff Kids Say 12/12/12 Edition

The rumor floating around the kids' school yesterday was that the world would end today on 12/12/12.

Apparently the schoolkids are conflating the Mayan calendar December 21 hysteria with the occurrence of 12/12/12.

So last night we discussed it with them and pointed out that their friends were wrong. No, the world was not going to end today, nor on the 21st for that matter. A good lesson in not believing everything you hear.

Leah had no problem with the whole issue:

"The world won't be ending in 2012 because they wouldn't bother making 2013 calendars if it was ending in 2012, and I've seen 2013 calendars."

So there you are. You may now officially stop panicking about the end of the world in 2012.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Loading Time Again

The Dillon was all set and I prepared to load some 45 ACP.

I had a few teething issues in terms of getting the primers to seat in the brass and some issues with getting the powder measure. Both issues were due to loose screws and the powder die that had backed out a bit after so many years of disuse. The problems were very ably diagnosed and resolved by Dillon's excellent phone support and I was ready to go.

Once properly set, the powder measure consistently disbursed the same amount of powder with every pull of the handle and I was off to a good yet slow start back into reloading.

Being cautious, I checked the powder level in each and every case to make sure it was consistent, and checked each loaded cartridge overall length, which also was nice and uniform. Might as well get back into reloading slowly, deliberately, and carefully.

The strong mount and roller handle certainly gave the machine a different feel and it is now working like a champ.

Not a bad restart to reloading.

Oh Noes, Michigan Democrats To Threaten To Commit Suicide Over Right To Work

The Michigan Democrat tantrum over the Right to Work legislation is getting very entertaining.

First we had Gretchen Whitmer trying to get Obama to block funding for the new Bridge to Windsor and regional transit for Detroit - both items that would help Democrat constituencies with jobs and improve the economy. In the case of regional transit that's a Democrat boondoggle that would involve lots of things Democrats love: lots of government spending, unionized drivers and mass transit heavily subsidized by the taxpayer.

Now we have them threatening to hold up progress and state government spending in Detroit: Dems threaten to block arena, Detroit light plans

Democrats — looking for leverage to stop Republican approval today of a right-to-work law — are threatening to derail legislation that could help bring a new Detroit Red Wings arena to downtown Detroit and repair the city's 40,000 broken streetlights.

House Democratic Leader Rich Hammel said Monday his caucus will likely cast "no" votes for the rest of the lame-duck session — which officially ends Dec. 20 — in protest of the right-to-work bills, even if it means hurting Democratic priorities.

Awesome. This Democrat tantrum stops the Michigan government from wasting money on Democrat pet projects - regional transit, public financing of a sports arena, and having the state pay for for streetlights in Detroit.

How is blocking these items a bad thing for Michigan again? Are Democrats going to up the ante by threatening to vote for lower taxes and less government spending?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Right To Work Rocking Michigan, Democrats Go For The Blackmail Option

After the Unions overreached in pushing Proposal 2, the measure to enshrine unions in Michigan's constitution, the payback is both swift and a dog of a female persuasion.

As the law proceeds towards being passed, Union opponents are protesting the legislation allowing for workers to opt out of joining a union, and even planning to sing Christmas-themed protest songs outside the governor's house. Perhaps the song will go: Pay union dues ye faithful, you must always join the union, no right to work, no right to work, dues till the end...

With luck the songfest will end in: On the first day of Christmas, Snyder gave to me, the right to work and be free...

The songfest and protests also highlight the need for Right To Work: If all these union members can take this much time off and the work in their places of employment is still getting done, someone is way overstaffed with Union make-work jobs.

Not to be outdone, East Lansing's own Democrat's Democrat, Gretchen Whitmer is trying to get the Obama administration to threaten a blockade of federal funding for public works projects in Michigan if Right to Work passes:

Mlive.com:

Democrats have asked the White House to get into the act and it has. The President’s press secretary offers that Mr. Obama does not much like Right to Work.

And the senate Democratic leader here discloses the White House has been asked to do a little linkage.

The governor wants federal money for his bridge between Detroit and Windsor and the feds are dangling $25 million or more for a new transit system down Woodward Avenue.

What if the White House strongly hinted the money might remain in Washington, if the governor signed RTW?

Asked if that request has been made, Sen. Gretchen Whitmer says, “Yes.”

“We are hoping that when President Obama comes to Michigan (today), that this is on his radar screen.” After all if Mr. Snyder “doesn’t care about the middle class, why should we be bending over backwards so that this governor is able to deliver on his promises?”

Talk about chopping of your nose to spite your face Senator Whitmer. A helluva lot of that transport money would have gone to middle class workers and indeed union jobs, Right to Work or no Right to Work. Not to mention the resulting bridge would be used by Teamsters and others to ferry trade across it, including UAW-made cars.

Appealing to Obama to harm Michigan's workers and economy in a petulant move should not win you many favors if your supporters had a lick of sense, but then again, as she comes from the academic ivory-tower liberal enclave of East Lansing such concerns of the little people hardly matter to her supporters.

Bring popcorn, the leftist meltdown over Right to Work is going to be fun to watch.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday Rainin' Range Trip

I planned to go to the range today with Rob.

Of course that means that after a beautiful clear day yesterday it has to be cold with some consistent drizzling rain today.

The rain was insufficient to stop me from going, and I even convinced Rob to come along with the refrain that "If it isn't raining, it isn't training".

So we arrived at the range set some targets up and got some shooting in.

First I shot my Glock 23. This is the home defense pistol that lives in the Gun Vault in the bedroom, complete with a Crimson Trace laser grip and it had been feeling neglected recently. I had just changed the trigger from the standard serrated version to a smooth one and I wanted to make sure it would function.

First I shot through its standard load of 14 180-grain hydra-shocks, as it was time to rotate the ammo - and the best way to do so is to shoot the older stuff up. Functioning and accuracy was perfect, and the shift to the smooth trigger made it feel a lot nicer to shoot. No longer did it rub against the trigger finger while shooting. I really recommend switching to the smooth trigger as you'll see quite a difference in feel. Using the laser I could transition to targets a lot quicker than using the iron sights and all 6 plates on the rack and three poppers dropped quickly, as did two paper targets which both received A-zone hits.

I shot fifty more rounds through it and then switched to the Glock 17, which as usual functioned perfectly without complaint.

I also brought out the M&P and it functioned without any trigger problems this time. But, the rear sight shifted badly rightward as it was being shot, making accurate fire rather difficult. Once I was home I unscrewed the set screw and tapped it back to center and tightened down the screw again. Sheesh, am I cursed with the M&P or what? I really want to like the M&P but it just keeps giving me reasons not to trust it.

Then I switched to the Kahr and all was right with the world again. Considering I carry this handy little pocket 9mm more than any other I decided to get some focused practice in with it. Functioning was perfect.

Rob also had brought his Kahr out so we traded off and then did some dueling Kahrs. We I started from the left and he from the right of the six plate rack, and the object was to knock them down faster than the other person from the draw. This was good practice drawing from my pocket holster and quickly lining up and hitting the targets. Lots of fun was had and a little friendly competition made for some good practice.

After becoming thoroughly soaked and having shot lots of ammunition, we declared we had had enough so we packed up and headed out and grabbed some coffee to warm up. After the coffee stop we went to Gander Mountain where they were sadly completely out of both the primers I wanted and the reloading powders I was looking for, so I was skunked. Rob picked up some useful items however, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

It was a wet but fun range trip. I returned home and then had a serious pistol cleaning session. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon rain and all.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Democrat Magical Numismatic Thinking

If Printing our way doesn't work, these brilliant Democrat minds at work have come up with a wacky proposal to coin our way out:

The Trillion Dollar Coin

BizPac Review:

Right on the heels of the Jan. 2 fiscal cliff deadline will come an even bigger concern — raising the debt ceiling. Obama administration economists are seriously considering minting a trillion-dollar coin to settle the issue.

This indicates that these economists are complete morons.

The Washington Times succinctly reports and explains:

Welcome to Zimbabwe. This is not a parody — it is an actual report from the Washington Post:

Some economists and legal scholars have suggested that the “platinum coin option” is one way to defuse a crisis if Congress can’t or won’t lift the debt ceiling soon. ... Thanks to an odd loophole in current law ... the U.S. Mint would produce (say) a pair of trillion-dollar platinum coins. The president orders the coins to be deposited at the Federal Reserve. The Fed then moves this money into Treasury’s accounts. And just like that, Treasury suddenly has an extra $2 trillion to pay off its obligations for the next two years — without needing to issue new debt. The ceiling is no longer an issue.

“I like it,” says Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There’s nothing that’s obviously economically problematic about it.”

Sorry but that is absolutely insane. Did Gagnon get his economics degree from a crackerjack box? Has he ever heard of Gresham's Law or Zimbabwe?

Never mind that the Treasury gets (31 USC 5134 section (c)(3) seignorage, and the seigniorage on a trillion dollar coin would be pretty massive.

Now, were the trillion dollar coin to be truly worth a trillion dollars, here's an idea of what it would look like:

A single ounce of platinum is currently worth around $1,605.

To get to a trillion dollars worth of platinum would require a metal content of 42,723,634lb 6.2058oz - rounding off we get to 21,361 US Tons.

This is not a coin that would fit in your pocket, heck it won't fit on a truck.

Oh, and world total global supply of platinum is currently only around 7.9 million ounces, or 270 tons so we're going to be short by about 21,091 tons, and that's a lot.

Anything less than a coin that size and you're talking nonsense and magical thinking.

This also gives you an idea of how much trouble we're in considering our debt is far in excess of a trillion dollars, a trillion dollars is less than out current annual deficit.

It's creating something out of nothing by monetizing the debt and would be the ultimate con game. Expect massive inflation if they tried to go through with it.

Dealing with the debt and debt limit via a new magic coin or two isn't going to fix it, and instead will make it much worse.

Happy Hannukah 2012!

Tonight begins Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

Celebrating the victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, over the Hellenic Syrians for the freedom of Israel, it lasts for eight nights.

The Celebration is marked by lighting the Hanukiah (Menorah) each night and adding a candle for each successive night until eight candles plus the shamash candle are burning brightly.

Latkes are made and consumed - potato pancacks made by frying them in oil to remember the miracle of the oil.

Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Speaking of Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson....

Murphy's Law in the comments to the post below stated:

Jo-Ann Watson and Kwame Kenyatta gonna get you if you keep pointing stuff like this out.

Not really, 'cause Jo-Ann Watson, in addition to getting the sweetest deal on property taxes ever, is now kinda busy putting her hand out to the Big 0:

Detroit councilwoman to Obama: We voted for you, now bail us out.

A Detroit city council member is asking President Obama to bail out the financially troubled city in return for residents’ overwhelmingly supporting his successful re-election bid.

“There ought to be a quid pro quo," said Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, according to My Fox Detroit.

Nearly 75 percent of voters in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, voted for Obama on Nov. 6.

"After the election of Jimmy Carter, the honorable Coleman Alexander Young, he went to Washington, D.C., and came home with some bacon," Watson said. "That's what you do," Watson said.

Young was Detroit's mayor for 20 years and served as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1977 to 1981.

The White House has expressed no plans to bail out the cash-strapped city that some experts say could go bankrupt by the end of the year.

No, you can't make this stuff up.

Well, Detroit At Least Beat Baghdad and Mogadishu (For Now)

The Detroit Free Press reports it wrong, even as the truth is bad enough.

The Detroit Free Press headline reads: Vienna tops list of best cities for quality of life; Detroit lands in 200s However, when you look at the highlights of the Mercer study the Free Press cites, it does not state that Detroit is in the 200s. Instead the 2012 Quality of Living study says:

In the United States, Honolulu (28) and San Francisco (29) are the highest-ranking cities, followed by Boston (35). Chicago is ranked 42nd, while Washington, DC, is ranked 43rd. Detroit (71) is the lowest-ranking of the US cities that Mercer surveys.

Must be the new math.

However, even at dead last among all cities in the United States, Detroit can take heart that it beat out Port-au-Prince, Haiti ranked at 219 and Baghdad, Iraq ranked at 221. As far as I can tell, Mogadishu didn't even make the survey cut.

Beating out Port-Au-Prince and Baghdad is hardly worth bragging about. Considering that Detroit is well on the road to bankruptcy or a (now much-weakened) EFM, after being run in a similar manner to Port-Au-Prince, it is not much of a consolation.

The Auto Financing Industry Has Learned Nothing And Forgotten Nothing

The US Auto financing industry seems obliviously to history and is increasingly making subprime loans so it can keep vehicle sales moving along.

The Detroit News: New subprime vehicle loans rise nearly 3%

I think we've seen how this ends quite recently with the subprime housing market, but at least people aren't investing and flipping cars with subprime financing, at least not yet. Then again, cars rapidly depreciate much faster than houses, from the moment they're purchased, which can make recovering on a defaulted subprime loan rather difficult.

Note which companies are more reliant upon, and are pushing these subprime loans:

General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand, along with Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA brands Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Fiat all demanded among the lowest credit scores.

Yes, the very same companies that were so recently bailed out are now dipping into the subprime market to keep selling their cars and making sure some are driving off the lots to keep the sales figures up.

Meanwhile, Chrysler's sales of the Dodge Dart seem to be missing their target.

But don't worry, because this time it'll be different.

Stuff Kids Say - Morning Choir Edition

This morning Abby had to get up early for Choir practice. This year, instead of meeting at recess the choir meets a half hour before school starts.

The following conversation ensues as we're having breakfast and getting ready to take her there this morning:

Me: So, how's it going?

Abby: They have us sing a lot of songs, so it's ok.

Me: Why just ok?

Abby: well one song is weird and no one understands it; two of the songs are depressing; two of the songs are ok; and one song is joyful but nobody likes it. So, overall it's ok.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Reloading Bench Taking Shape

Tonight I installed the Dillon RL550B onto its new home on the bench:

As you can see, I did go ahead and order the strong mount and roller handle and they really change the feel of the machine.

The mount came with simple instructions and installed very easily and is made of some nice solid steel. The cartridge chute that comes with the mount is better and easier to mount than the 550B original which had to be separately bolted to the bench. This chute is bigger, sturdier and lines up perfectly.

Installed, the mount raises the height of the machine and makes cranking the handle a lot more ergonomic - it, combined with the roller handle really does feel better and very, very solid. I'd highly recommend this upgrade if you've got or are planing to get a 550B.

I also took this opportunity during the install to do a bit of preventative maintenance: I lubed the main shaft with synthetic motor oil which made it move a lot smoother.

The little press lying beside its big blue brother is my RCBS Partner Press single stage press, which looks like a toy by comparison.

I'm going to install the Partner Press later, on the right side of the Dillon and use it for rifle reloading, as I haven't reloaded rifle ammunition before. If I start loading a particular caliber in volume I'll switch it to the Dillon and just use the partner press for smaller runs of other calibers. Having not used it for years, the shaft on the RCBS was very unwilling to move, but a wipe-down with a bit of the synthetic oil on a paper towel on the press shaft and that's all it took to get it moving like it was brand new. If you've never oiled your press, give it a try, as I'm pretty sure you'll be pleased with how much easier it moves as a result.

I need to finish setting up the Dillon, add powder and primers and get a reloading session underway.

David Trotter Finds The Wreck Of The Steamer New York

Shipwreck Hunter David Trotter does it again, and it's an important find.

The Detroit Free Press: Canton shipwreck hunter discovers another in Lake Huron

They had discovered the New York, a 133-year-old wooden steamer that sank more than a century ago during a storm on Lake Huron

.....

The find is expected to shed light on how ships were built during that era -- a time when most shipbuilders didn't use written plans

.....

Trotter said the 283-foot New York was the largest wooden steamer in existence when it was built in 1879, not long before steel and iron became preferred for ship construction.

The ship had two stacks, twin boilers, a tall mast and two lifeboats that eventually would save its captain and crew. Divers discovered it resting upright, with a damaged stern and broken stacks nearby, about 40 miles north of the tip of the Thumb.

At 240 feet deep, the New York is a serious technical dive and not a casual trip.

Another fantastic find by David Trotter.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Dollar Coins Still Not Catching On

The Detroit Free Press: Congress explores ditching $1 bills for $1 coins

About every year it seems, we get the story of the Mint pushes for the dollar bill to be replaced with the dollar coin. Just like last year, it doesn't seem to be catching on with the public or Congress.

While its true that switching from the dollar bills to the coins will save money - allegedly about $146 Million dollars per year according to the GAO and the Mint, people just prefer the one dollar note to the coins. (I do love how they stretch the time period to 30 years so they can claim it will allegedly save 4.4 Billion dollars).

Do note that the $146,000,000 in alleged savings is the equivalent to about 24 minutes of federal government spending this year (Total federal spending divided by minutes per year). If the committee took any longer than 24 minutes to discuss it, they were wasting more time than the issue was worth.

And, just as with the Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea dollars, the President's series of Dollar coins that first were released in 2007 are still not catching on:

Americans spurn the $1 coins featuring images of U.S. presidents. About $1 billion worth of the coins sits in government vaults, unwanted.

The real interesting part is the claim this year that the dollar coin costs 13 cents to manufacture, while last year the cost was quoted as 30 cents.

Is this the case of some great new manufacturing efficiency or did someone get their facts wrong?

In any case, until there is a decision for a total withdrawal of Dollar Bills from circulation, don't expect the coins to catch on any time soon.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ex-Navy Loser Leaker Lawyer Properly Disbarred

Surreptitiously shipping classified lists to a left-wing group will get a sailor/lawyer sunk real fast.

Mathew M. Diaz apparently never got the lesson on "Loose lips sink ships", not to mention how divulging classified information is a surefire way to sink your career and future prospects.

And it was not just any classified list either:

The Kansas Supreme Court has disbarred a former Navy lawyer who mailed a classified list of Guantanamo detainees to the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Ex-Navy Lawyer Is Disbarred for Sending Secret Names of Gitmo Detainees to Legal Group

It was also clearly not a mistake or spur-of-the-moment stupidity:

Diaz had printed the detainee names, cut the list into strips, and placed them in a Valentine’s Day card to Barbara Olshansky, the deputy legal director for the Center of Constitutional Rights, according to findings of fact cited by the court.

This was far from being some act of heroic dissident. He admitted that he was too much or a coward to even take this up with his chain of command, or do an open act of disobedience and take the consequences for his beliefs and acts, instead he decided to try to surreptitiously leak his way to glory:

The court noted, however, that Diaz did not take his concerns to higher-ups because, by his own testimony in court-martial proceedings, “I wasn't really to put—willing to put my neck on the line and jeopardize my career.” The information he disclosed also could have been used to identify detainee interrogation teams, putting them at potential risk, the court said.

Disbarment is appropriate, the court said, given the nature of Diaz’s criminal violations and his “admitted selfish reasons for the clandestine disclosure of classified information.”

So Diaz ended up with 4 felonies, 6 months in confinement - which seems a little light, and a disbarment, not to mention dropping from the rank of Lt. Commander to nothing. All on behalf of Guantanamo detainees who would likely kill him and other Americans if they got half a chance.

He chose....poorly.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

France To Recognize Palestinians As A State, Surrender And Collaboration To Follow.

Ah the French.

France to recognize Palestinian state at UN

With the announcement, France becomes the first major European country to come out in favor, dealing a setback to Israel. The timing of the announcement appears aimed at swaying other European nations.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told parliament that France has long supported Palestinian ambitions for statehood and “will respond ‘Yes’” when the issue comes up for a vote “out of a concern for coherency.”

Wonderful to see the French values of socialisme, anti-sémitisme, et arabisme in full flower.

Assuming the UN goes ahead and upgrades it to a non-member state it raises all sorts of questions as noted by Legal Insurrection, especially as the palis are claiming their state in territory they do not control (Jerusalem), do not have a coherent government (Hamas and Fatah are still rivaling each other and not a viable government) and will be a state born with its founding documents proclaiming the desire to destroy another state. What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

West Bloomfield Forks Over $12K In An Electrifying Greendogle

It's free, but it costs $12,000 to install and asphalt and electricity are extra.

West Bloomfield Patch: Township, Library to Share Cost of New Electric Vehicle Charging Station

The West Bloomfield Board of Trustees and the West Bloomfield Library have agreed to share the cost of a new electric vehicle charge station. The station will be the first of its kind in the township, and will be located on the Civic Center campus near township hall and the library.

"We are always looking at ways to become as green as possible," Trustee Howard Rosenberg said. "I think it's critical that the township takes this step, and hopefully it will inspire other places in the township to do the same."

Treasurer Teri Weingarden agreed, "We were the first to have a windmill and I think we need to continue the trend of being a green community. I think it will attract businesses and if we can show this is a success others will want to follow suit."

I somehow doubt that the presence of a charging station by city hall, a pretty far walk from most businesses, is going to attract much in the way of business development. Generally low taxes, and positive business environment will get you a lot farther than a single windmill-powered streetlight and an isolated electric charging station.

The township will have until next year to install the station that's being offered free to the township. The township and the library will split the cost of installing the station - approximately $7,000 to $12,000 total.

The township has yet to report if they've broken even on the windmill, so I'm glad to see they've apparently got the money to burn on this latest SWPL trend.

There's allegedly 200 electric-type vehicles in the township, so it'll take a long time to recoup this expense, assuming that is correct and people stop plugging in at home. Noted in the article, the township will charge 25 cents for 15 charging minutes up to two hours.

The library's share of $6,000 would sure have bought a whole lot of reading and audio-visual materials, and educational programs which is kinda the whole mission of a library after all.

Aside form this misguided flirtation with a township-level Solyndra, I must say the Library really is top rate with lots a great materials, a great learning environment and great staff. So we'll forgive this one misstep.

That is assuming they finally get with it and get some books by Tom Kratman, Larry Correia and Michael Z. Williamson on the shelves and while you're at it, update the John Ringo collection as you're just not keeping up.

You could get all of these authors on the shelves for under $200 and they'd actually be read - considering they've just gone and spend six grand on something the vast majority of their patrons will never use, what's the excuse for not buying that which their patrons will read?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reloading Folly Stories

Murphy's Law relates his reloading mishap as an important lesson to always check your cases while loading.

My great reloading folly occurred out of a combination of ignorance and reliance upon another.

This occurred back in the early '90s when I was a newly minted shooter in Toronto.

Having been a member of the local gun range for two years and having already received permission by the police to buy a .22 pistol a year before, I was ready to move beyond owning a .22 to something with a bit more oomph.

I went out and bought a beautiful used Smith and Wesson Model 29-2 4" .44 magnum from a more senior club member, who also graciously sold me reloads for it. The range was strictly lead bullet only, no jacketed ammo at all so it was reload or reload, your choice.

After buying reloads from him for awhile, I then went out and bought an RCBS Partner press kit, some 44 Magnum dies and entered the fun world of reloading.

That's where Dan came in. A buddy of mine, he was interested in shooting and professed he possessed far more knowledge than as it turns out he really had at the time.

I had about 100 rounds of empty fired brass and he offered to clean it for me before we reloaded it, and he assured me that he knew what he was doing.

Sure enough the cases came back sparklingly clean.

Together we carefully loaded them with 20 grains of 2400 behind a 240 grain LSWC, weighing every powder charge and being exceedingly careful. The cartridges looked perfect and had been loaded perfectly.

We then proudly take them to the range. Now 20 grains of 2400 is a kickingly good load with lots of sound and fury. In my 29-2 it was also an exceedingly accurate load, capable of clover-leafing all 5 shots at 25 yards, so we were ready for some fun.

The first round was fired - whooooosh---then---bang! That didn't sound right. We checked the barrel for any hangups and moved on.

The second round was similarly a delayed ignition with sparks actually visible as it fired. Again, we checked the barrel for any hangups and moved on.

The third round was similarly so slow that standing behind the gun you could actually see the bullet slowly moving towards the target.

What the heck?

It turned out that Dan had cleaned the cartridges all right - in the closed silverware case in a dishwasher. He then dried them in his oven - enough that no moisture was readily visible but still not dried enough.

We had unintentionally created the first ultra-subsonic .44 Magnum load.

This is why you keep your powder dry.

And also why you don't rely on other people's helpful offers to take your cases and clean them for you.

From that day forth, all reloading was done at my place under my supervision and no further wet powder charges ever occurred.

Keep On Rockin' In The Unfree World

As Egypts Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi is about to take on dictatorial powers (And, who could have seen that coming? Certainly not the Obama administration.)

And just as we're down one ambassador to the region already, the Obama administration, in a blaze of sheer genius is about to send out another. And not just any ol' ambassador either:

The Detroit Free Press: As U.S. cultural ambassador, Ann Arbor rocker Andrew W.K. to party for peace in the Middle East

Yep, as the Middle East simmers and boils over, we're sending a not-very-well-known rocker whose last (minor) hit was in 2001 to go forth with a message that the Arab peoples should partake of the positive power of partying.

The mind boggles.

Smartest and most effective administration evah.