Friday, March 30, 2012

No Pennys For Your Thoughts- Canada to Scrap The 1 Cent Coin

The Detroit News: Canada to rid itself of the penny

Canada has announced it is scrapping the penny.

The humble one-cent piece is set to disappear from Canadian pockets, a victim of inflation.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced in the federal budget on Thursday that the Royal Canadian Mint will strike the last of the little coins this fall.

The budget says the cost of minting a penny has risen to 1.6 cents or $11 million a year. The budget says some Canadians consider the penny more of a nuisance than a useful coin.
At a cost of production more than 1.5 times its face value, it does make cents to give it up and round prices up or down to the nearest 5 cents.

The US got rid of the half cent in 1857.

The US penny has had a good run, but when it is costing 2.41 cents to produce every penny, it doesn't make much cents and in fact wastes over $60,200,000 to keep it around.

To think that the penny, a once proud silver coin modeled on and equivalent in value to the denarius (hence the old "1d" as a notation of its value) is now reduced to a 99% zinc slug coated with copper plating is sad for a traditionalist, but it is time to give it up in the face of inflation and the march of time.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Perhaps Some Civil Rights Progress in Michigan?

CBS Detroit: Lawmakers Approve Changes To Concealed Weapons Law

A State Senate committee on Thursday approved changes to Michigan’s concealed weapons law that include allowing people to carry concealed guns in churches, schools and sports arenas.

The legislation now goes to a vote in the full Senate.

Under the new law citizens would be allowed to carry their weapons into churches, schools and sports arenas — places they currently aren’t allowed to be packing heat. The proposal would also eliminate the state’s 83 county gun boards and transfer the power to issue CCW permits to local sheriff’s departments.

“Basically it’s a pretty huge rewrite of the concealed weapons permit law,” said WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

Under the amended law “highly trained” permit holders would be able to carry in the gun-free zones – which would require extra hours of training and more rounds fired at the range beyond the current basic requirements.
The bill, SB 59 has been recommended for passage in the Senate and would allow a permit holder, with additional training beyond the base level required under the standard permit, to carry within the now prohibited areas. The bill also does several other things, including ending the concealed weapon licensing boards and transferring the issuance of CPLs to the Secretary of State and many other improvements, as well as slightly toughen the standard training standards by requiring more rounds to be shot. The proposed standard increases the number of rounds from 30 to 98. This increase is no problem as the standard course of fire in the standard NRA training program is coincidentally enough in the area of 98 rounds. Since I stick to the curriculum when I teach, each student shoots at least that much, and more if they're having any issues.

So since it was just reported favorably from committee, it certainly wouldn't hurt Michiganders and most especially Michigunners to contact your state senator and express your support of SB59.

Michigan State Police: 1, Criminal: 0

Another example of why pulling a gun on a police officer is typically a fatal idea, as one criminal who has since assumed room temperature just found out:

State Trooper Shot During Routine Traffic Stop

SAGINAW (WWJ/AP) - A Michigan State Police trooper was wounded Friday in an early morning shooting in Saginaw.

WNEM reporter Aisha Howard said the incident happened around 2 a.m. Friday when two troopers pulled over two people in a vehicle during a routine traffic stop near the old Saginaw High School.

At some point during the stop 24-year-old Keontae Amerson opened fire, hitting one of the troopers in the neck and arm. They returned fire, shooting and killing the suspect.

The injured trooper, an 11-year veteran, was listed in stable condition at an area hospital.

It turns out that a simple search reveals that Keontae Amerson was no stranger to the justice system, having been most recently released from jail in July 2009 for convictions for carrying a concealed weapon and fleeing a police officer and was released in July 2009. He was released before the total time of his sentence had run. Color me surprised.

He was already a convicted felon when this current incident occurred. Since it is unlawful for felons to be in possession of firearms, this whole shooting event was therefore un-possible.

Hopefully, the officer's wounds are not serious and he makes a complete and fast recovery.

Malik Shabazz Threatens to Burn Detroit Down if State Implements an Emergency Manager Or Takeover

In an example of peaceful rhetoric from the left, Minister Melik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party threatens to burn Detroit down if the State implements an EFM or otherwise moves to takeover the failed city.

The now de rigeur leftist call to violence when they fail to get their way seems to not draw a lot of attention.

View the video:

Of course, it is an open question as to whether anyone will notice a difference if he and his adherents do in fact burn Detroit down.

How that will help the situation is questionable, except perhaps opening up new swathes of territory for redevelopment.

After all, it was his power-base and policies supported by Shabazz that led to this financial mess that Detroit is in. Does Shabazz offer anything constructive to avoid a state takeover? of course not.

Of course, Detroit's leadership isn't either. The City Counsel and Mayor's latest proposal that amounts to "Hey State give us $137 Million, let us raise business and individual income taxes and don't tell us what to do".

Hilariously enough, Jesse Jackson is getting in on the action, claiming that any consent agreement would have to address the city;s high automobile insurance rates in order to be effective.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who attended the meeting with a delegation of Rainbow Push Coalition members, including local pastor the Rev. David Bullock of Greater St. Matthews Baptist Church, said the agreement is actually an emergency management plan in disguise.

“What the city needs is emergency reconstruction,” said Jackson. “An emergency management plan that does not deal with the highest car insurance rates in the country is not addressing the problem. That’s a big disincentive to live in the city.”

As if an emergency management plan can magically reduce insurance rates caused by the high amounts of automobile theft, uninsured drivers and suspended drivers driving in the city.

The situation is clearly desperate but not serious.

That what you get when a City runs out of money after living under decades of corrupt Democrat-one-party rule - no real solutions, only buck passing, inanity and pleas for the state to give them more money so they can keep doing what got them into the mess in the first place.

How To Be A Lousy Parent.....

Lousy as in dealing with a Louse - actually in dealing with quite a number of them....

Lousy as in, Leah waking up at about 6 am this morning saying "Mommy my head itches".

This caused Tash to check her head and low and behold, some signs of lice were detected.

This caused much non-rejoicing, and the whole house being awakened.

It then including a dash to an open pharmacy for purchase of effective delousing materials and a full decontamination of the child in question and of the house that is still going on.

On checking it looks like Leah did a very smart thing in telling us quickly as there were only a relative few present. Smart Kid. She must have caught them quite recently.

Amazingly, no one else in the house has shown any signs of the infestation after being carefully checked so it was caught very early.

However, even though we don't have any unwelcome scalp tenants, Natasha and I have both developed some really impressive psychosomatic itches and desires to scratch our heads now.

We've applied the removal shampoo to Leah's head, combed all of her hair through with a nit comb and killed off the colony as far as we can tell upon very close observation.

So we've been washing the sheets with a sanitary setting on the washer, which takes hours, boiling all hair brushes in the house and quarantining all non-washable items.

I'm now working from home this afternoon to cover as Leah is staying home from school today. In between working I'm shoveling loads into the washer, vacuuming the carpets and spraying all non-washable fabric surfaces. Fun.

So far PETL (People for the Ethical Treatment of Lice) have yet to show up at our door to complain about the multiple summary executions by chemical warfare of the lice. This is just as well as I'm in no mood for a lousy bunch of moralizing idiots right now.

Ah, kids, how very, very, many experiences we would miss without them.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Firearms Safety Rules Are Not Optional

Remember the rules:

1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

—Jeff Cooper

This story is an example of what happens when you blithely disregard them.

The Detroit Free Press: Commerce Township man ordered to stand trial in shooting of teenager

A-22-year-old Commerce Town­ship veteran accused of a shooting a teenag­er in the face dur­ing a house party in December was bound over for trial today in Novi after waiving his preliminary examination.

Robert Lanzilotti, 22, who served 14 months in Afghanistan, didn't re­alize his pistol was loaded when he shot Cameron Bock, 19, at point blank range Dec. 27 in the 2000 block of Nacona in Commerce Town­ship, police said.

He faces charges of as­sault with a dan­ger­ous weapon, care­less dis­charge of a firearm caus­ing injury, felony firearm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He has been released on bond.

Oh, and alcohol was likely a factor, as well as some bad, likely alcohol-induced advice:.
Police initially said the shooting appeared to happen as Bock handed the gun to Lanzilotti and it went off. Witnesses later told police Lanzilotti in­tended to scare Bock when the gun went off, and it wasn’t the first time he tried to scare a per­son with a gun.

Court documents say Lanzilotti told investigators different versions of how the shooting occurred before reportedly admitting to pulling the trigger. He told police Bock wanted the party to keep going, but he wanted everyone to leave the house where he lived, and another partygoer suggested he scare the victim with the gun, the documents said.
Yeah, it sure scared him off all right.

Lanzilotti, who joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 2008 and returned from Afghanistan in June 2011, told police he's an expert trained in pistols and teaches gun safety, court records said.

And this guy claims to be an expert trained in pistols and a firearms instructor? Oy Vey.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shooting Attack on Jewish School in France Continued: The Media Dance And The Religion of Peace

French police seem to be in a standoff with the killer in the attacks on the French paratroopers and the attack on the Jewish school.

It turns out I was correct as to who was responsible.

To the surprise of the media that initially tried to claim the attack as being performed by some neo-Nazi individual, the attacker is instead going by the name of Mohammed and is claiming to be a member of Al Qaeda.

The Detroit Free Press: France shooting suspect holed up in building

TOULOUSE, France — A predawn police raid on a home in Toulouse erupted into a firefight Wednesday with a gunman who claims connections to al-Qaida and is suspected of killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers.

The man has thrown his handgun out a window but has other weapons on him, including an AK-47 assault rifle, and has used them in volleys with police surrounding the building in this southwestern city, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said.

Three policemen have been wounded in the operation, which is still ongoing, Gueant said. The suspect's brother has been arrested.

Gueant said the suspect is talking to a police negotiator and says he'll surrender in the afternoon. The minister says police want to take him alive.

The suspect is 24 years old, of French nationality and says "he belongs to al-Qaida," Gueant told reporters. He said the suspect "wants to take revenge for Palestinian children" killed in the Middle East, and is angry at the French military for its operations abroad.

The man was known to authorities for having spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The shooting suspect is "talking a lot, claiming his jihadist convictions" and calling himself a "mujahedeen," Gueant said.

So much for him being a neo-Nazi as the media originally tried to spin the attacks, as seen in this Google search.

Interestingly enough, clicking on those links show the headlines and articles claiming the shooter to be a neo-Nazi have disappeared, being replaced with the news stories that the fellow goes by the name of Mohammed Merah without any correction of their original supposition.

Of course, the goals of neo-Nazis and Al Qaeda are pretty similar and their predecessors got along quite well in the past as allies, but it is interesting to watch the media do all they can from mentioning the "I"-word in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Honest Recommendation For Detroit Not Taken.....

Today may have been a first.

We heard an honest statement via the Detroit Free Press from a Detroit City Council Member, and its a pity the suggestion was neither seriously made nor adopted:

Councilwoman Brenda Jones said she can’t understand why Bing would close the [Human Services] department since corruption is more widespread.

“If we look at every department that hasn’t been properly managed, we probably would be getting rid of every department in this city,” Jones said.
Yes Councilwoman Jones, you should be getting rid of every department in the city. As you yourself just finally acknowledged, the corruption and incompetence in the city runs deep and is pervasive.

Read the rest of the article for the whole sordid story.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Occupy Activists Spring Forth, Then Rebound Off Of Reality

The Detroit News: Occupy activists spring forth
As spring is upon us, the OWSers leave their union-provided hotel rtooms and head for the parks yet again. Just as before the winter, Occupy still lacks any clear message and its adherents continue to lack a clue as well:

"I'm really grateful to be part of a generation that wants change, 'cause we should all want change," said Jennifer Campbell, a graduate student in documentary filmmaking at Hofstra University. "But I'm not sure what that change is, or if they know what that change is."
Wow. A more vacuous statement would be hard to make up.

Its almost as if Occupy Wall Street has become a Seinfeldianesque "Occupy About Nothing".

Apparently, Hofstra students who major in film making have gone the full post-modernesque tautology in their thoughts as well as their film making. At least she didn't complete the though with "we are the change we have been changing for..."

I'm sure she's all for forgiving student loans, especially once she realizes that after paying $45,000 per year in tuition that documentary film making is hardly the lucrative career it is cracked up to be.

Shooting Attack on Jewish School in France

The Detroit News: Gunman kills 4 outside Jewish school in France

A father and his two sons were among four people who died Monday when a gunman opened fire in front of a Jewish school in a city in southwest France, the Toulouse prosecutor said Monday.

Michel Valet said the 30-year-old man and his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons were killed in the shooting just before school started.

He said another child, between 8 and 10 years old, was also killed, and a 17-year-old seriously injured.

The shooter drove away on a scooter, a national police official in Paris said.
The shooter did get away and has yet to be caught.

Interestingly enough, the same scooter-drive-by attack was used to kill two French paratroopers in two prior incidents in the area.
The shooting happened in the same area where a gunman on a motorbike opened fire on three uniformed paratroopers at a bank machine Thursday, killing two and critically wounding the other. The attack in the town of Montauban occurred not far from the soldiers' barracks. Four days earlier, a gunman on a motorbike shot and killed another paratrooper in Toulouse, about 30 miles away.

Authorities said at the time that forensic analysis showed that the same weapon was used in the shootings in Montauban and Toulouse.
Not a lot of information and no one has claimed responsibility yet even if it seems to fit the style of a certain peaceful religion, and the French have yet to round up the usual suspects....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dive 196 - Union Lake in March

Dive 196 took place in rather chilly 41 degree water today.

At the start of the dive we saw clown fish:

Everyone loves to see clown fish!

Then we got in the water.

Keith and Chad had just returned from a cave dive trip to Mexico diving many a cenote and had to be content with water far below the 70 degrees they enjoyed there.

Where did the senoritas, the cenotes and the warm water go?

We then headed out to the sunken boats:

Yes it is cold down here.

One of the boats has a nice old scuba tank complete with an old J-valve attached sitting on the bow:

That'll buff right out. and she'll be ready to go.....

The frame of the Model T form now supports a mirror so we can make sure we look good down there:

Mirror, Mirror on the Model-T, Who's the best diver a diver can be?

remains of the Model T

We didn't see any clown fish, or any other fish for that matter on this dive, but we did see some crayfish out amorously doing their thing:

41 Degrees, 22 minutes into the dive, max depth 29 feet.

Not a bad way to spend 30 minutes underwater on Sunday morning.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Detroit Mayor and Council Busy Manufacturing (a sham) Consent

Detroit's rulers are trying hard to keep their phoney-baloney jobs and the power structure that put them in their positions.

The Detroit Free Press: City's draft of consent deal would give Mayor Dave Bing the power

Saying they are more equipped than the state to avert fiscal ruin in Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing and City Council members are drafting a counterproposal to Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed consent agreement that would leave Bing with the powers of an emergency manager and not put a nine-member board in charge of the city.

More equipped than the state to avert fiscal ruin? Excuse me for a moment while I ROFLMAO....

Whew, ok, all done.

Who do they think they are kidding? They've done a bang up job creating a financial ruin, not averting one. How letting them keepin' on as they've been keepin' on is going to improve matters is rather incomprehensible.

Of course, the changes proposed by the mayor and council are less about what is good for Detroit and more about protecting their power and that of their supporters at the expense of everyone else:
Under the 26-page draft, obtained Thursday by the Free Press and first reported on , Bing proposes taking over many of the responsibilities of the state's proposed financial advisory board. He would assume the powers of an emergency manager, except that of being able to terminate union contracts.

Under the city's draft proposal, Bing would be authorized to unilaterally lay off employees, close departments, end services, terminate outside contracts and appoint a chief operating officer, chief financial officer and human services director -- all tasks that belonged to the financial advisory board under the state's proposal. "The City Council was given a modified version of the governor's consent agreement draft as a starting point for discussion between the council and the mayor's office to develop a counterproposal," said Kirk Lewis, Bing's chief of staff.
Note the main differences between the City and State proposals.

Not only would Detroit remain solely answerable to the same people who have brought it to the brink of disaster, compelte with continued splintered control between the mayor and council, but the union contracts would remain unalterable.

You know, the same union contracts that have locked Detroit into spending more than it takes in, and having more employees than is justified by its declining population.

In other words, Governor Snyder should treat this proposal treated as a non-starter as it won't deal with the problem and will likely just drag it out longer. It will again be a case of Detroit demanding money from the State of Michigan with no commensurate accountability.

Meanwhile, Congressman Hansen Clarke is going cap in hand to his best bud Obama to ask that Detroit get a bail out: U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke to seek federal bailout to help Detroit. Good luck with that plan in an election year where people are tired of bailouts and rewarding the profligate.

Irony Rich Headline Of The Day: Syrian government to lead humanitarian visit

The Detroit Free Press: Syrian government to lead humanitarian visit

The U.N. humanitarian chief said a Syrian government-led mission will visit Homs, Hama, Daraa and other cities at the center of the country's uprising starting this weekend, accompanied by U.N. and Organization of Islamic Cooperation staff who will assess humanitarian needs.

As intense fighting continues, Valerie Amos again appealed to the Syrian government to provide unhindered access for humanitarian organizations so they can identify urgent needs and provide emergency care "in a neutral and impartial manner."
Considering the Syrian government is the cause of the "humanitarian needs" in those cities, having them run the tours is pretty ironic. At least they'll know what issues they've caused and can point out the problems so the UN can continue to "gather information on the humanitarian situation."

I hear the residents of those cities replied: "Thanks, but no tanks!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Detroit Withholding Consent To Consent Agreement

The opposition from the City of Detroit to the Consent Agreement proposed by the governor is getting louder and more vociferous, including from the Mayor of Detroit.

The Detroit News: Bing: Consent plan 'will not solve our problems'

Some of the opposition is of course Unions and Council membners lookign to protect their phoney-baloney jobs:

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said officials should not be working with the state to help create the city's demise.

"You better stand up and represent this city," Watson told her colleagues Tuesday afternoon.

Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said based on the version he saw Monday, there's no way he will agree to the document.

"I am open to a consent agreement, but it has to be a consent agreement that makes sense," Cockrel said. "Would I be open to negotiating something that makes sense to protect the interests of Detroit, the authority of the mayor and the council? Absolutely. That's what we have to ultimately work on."
Some criticism is almost self-referential:
I'm old enough to remember an old adage that says if you lay down with dogs, you're going to come up with fleas," said Greg Murray, vice president of the city's Senior Accountants, Analysts and Appraisers Association. "Your legacy should not be that you turned over the city of Detroit. … Your legacy is that you stood up for Detroit."

Mr. Murray, you've been laying down with dogs in the City of Detroit for a long time now, the city is well and truly infested, and Snyder is requesting the city finally call in Terminex.

It's easy to claim you're standing up for Detroit when you busy obstructing any solution that might preserve it.

Your slogan might as well be "We had to let the Detroit go bankruptcy to save it".

Other critics were more flowery in their language:
Marcus Cummings, 23, who lives on the west side, told the City Council he didn't vote for a dictator. He wants his elected officials to solve the city's fiscal woes.

"We can solve our own crisis," he said. "I'm not asking the City Council not to vote on this consent decree. I'm demanding the City Council take this consent decree and shove it."
Indeed, with this kind of attitude the Governor ought to say that he tried his best but an EFM or bankruptcy will come next. In deference to Detroit he'll let them deal with it on their own but the State will not bail them out in any way and its all on Detroiters from here on out.

Bing's opposition, unlike the others, might however just be grandstanding. Bing might be playing to the home team so he can later say he was forced into the agreement - "Look what that nasty Governor made me do, I'm standing up for Detroit opposing it but I was forced into it by those nasty Republicans."

Then Bing can breathe a sigh of relief that someone else is stepping in to do what he can't accomplish.

This approach of course appeals to the average Detroiter who doesn't seem to care that their City is a mess and falling apart, so long as the dreaded "outsiders" don't intervene to stop the madness.

Expect A Snowstorm Soon....

Brace yourselves, I just removed the snow tires from the RAV4.

Considering that putting them on resulted in a lack of snow this season, expect a nasty snowfall shortly now that they're off.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Turkey: Using The Statute of Limitations To Let AKP And Islamist Supporters Get Away With Murder

This is one reason why there is no statute of limitations on murder in the USA:

Yahoo News: Turkish police fire teargas after controversial court ruling

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds protesting on Tuesday after a court dropped a case against five people charged with killing 37 writers and liberals in a 1993 hotel fire set by Islamist rioters.

The five have never been found and the opposition blamed Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party, which emerged from a series of banned Islamist parties, for a failure to launch a serious search.

"Some of the killers got married, did their military service, held weddings, sent their children to school, but could not be found," main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu told his parliamentary party. "The AK Party is responsible for the failure to find the perpetrators of the Sivas massacre."

The judge at the Ankara court hearing ruled that the 1993 killings did not amount to crimes against humanity and therefore the statute of limitations applied as more than 15 years had passed
"The statute of limitations has always been one of the ways to save the AKP. They always point to the path of the law, then delay it until the statute of limitations," wrote Yalcin Bayar, a columnist for the Hurriyet newspaper. "AKP supporters have saved themselves in many cases with the statute of limitations."

The Supreme Court of Appeals last year upheld life sentences against 25 members of Hizbullah, a Turkish Islamist militant group unrelated to the Lebanese group of the same name, then immediately freed them after ruling the courts had failed to complete the trial process within the allotted time.
Go read the entire article and you'll see how a government can manipulate the system to let its supporters quite literally get away with murder.

Allowing statutes of limitation for murder, particularly political murder is a license to kill for any government that wants to play the game while proclaiming adherence to the rule of law.

In other governmental atrocity news in the region, Syria is busy cracking down on protesters to the shock of the Arab League It's not like the Arab league is any bastion of human rights itself, so when it finally condemns a member for "crimes against humanity" you know they blew it by being too open about how oppressive they are and not getting some wholesale killing done quickly and kept under wraps.

As a side-note to the caption maker of the photo, that's not a tank in the picture, its a BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicle, most likely the BMP-1 variant.

Damn journalists think everything with treads is a tank.

Detroit To Be Governed By Consent?

The City of Detroit continues to slip, slide, and run out of money.

The latest idea instead of allowing the city to fall into bankruptcy or the appointment of an EFM is that of overseeing the finances of the city by a Consent Agreement and rule by a 9 member finance committee for any funding issues.

Governor Snyder is pushing for the consent approach saying it might save Detroit. If the City consents, then he doesn't take the heat for appointing an EFM nor does he have to be governor of a state with its largest city in bankruptcy should an EFM not be appointed.

The proposed Consent Agreement can be read online.

The Agreement keeps Detroit's Mayor and Council having a say in the composition of the 9-memeber financial management committee and they would keep their positions, which is almost enough for me to be against such a proposal. Letting them maintain their positions and meddle in the needed reforms could prolong the disaster rather than ameliorate it.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects., namely the Council and the city Unions watching the gravy train coming to a halt are campaigning against the move, labeling it undemocratic.

The Consent Agreement also extends $137 million to Detroit - money State Treasurer Andy Dillon claims won't "come directly from the state", but its a sure bet that the money will be backed by State guarantees, leaving Michigan and Michigan taxpayers on the hook.

While the consent agreement is politically a safer move for Snyder than the appointment of an EFM, it is still not going to win him any Detroit support. The specter of leaving the Detroit clowncil and the power structure that ran the city into the ground still in charge, backed by State loan guarantees will probably lose him support outside the city once Michiganians fully understand the implications of the Consent Agreement proposal.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

That's one Titanic Map

Cool Technology.

Fox News: Full Titanic wreck site is mapped for first time

Researchers have pieced together what's believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-mile-by-5-mile Titanic debris field and hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened the night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg, plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic and became a legend.
Pretty amazing how the technology has improved enough that now, 100 years after her sinking, we can get a detailed map of the entire wreckage and debris field - two and a half miles beneath the surface.

Animal Rights Activist To Face the Music For Her Threats?

The Detroit Free Press is covering the case of a Florida Animal "Activist" who has been threatening a Michigan researcher at Wayne State University.

Animal rights activist accused of writing blog posts calling for death of Wayne State researcher

Animal rights activist can return to Florida until hearing on graphic blog posts, judge rules

While the activist is claiming her threats are protected under the First Amendment, her activities have included publishing his name and address and how to defeat his home alarm system as well as advocating that he be slowly killed, and continuing to email him in a harassing manner.

The Court, following the rationale and ruling in Planned Parenthood v. ACLA, 290 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2002) should certainly be able to restrain her speech activities from continuing these threats against the doctor.

If the court fails to do so, there's going to be an interesting variation created in the protection afforded abortion doctors versus the protection afforded animal researchers from internet-based threats of violence.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Everything Causes Cancer in California

The Detroit Free Press: Coke, Pepsi make changes to avoid cancer warning
In an example of the effects of junk science coming out of the Golden State, Pepsi and Coke are changing the ingredient for the caramel color in their products as a result of one study that found the ingredient might cause cancer in lab rats - at a dosage equivalent of a person drinking more than 1000 cans of Coke or Pepsi per day.

I daresay, if you do drink more than 1000 cans of Coke or Pepsi per day, you've got way more to worry about health-wise than the minuscule possibility of 4-methylimidazole causing cancer.

Oh, and the careful science that led California to require the "causes cancer" warning for the chemical:

The American Beverage Association also noted that California added the coloring to its list of carcinogens with no studies showing that it causes cancer in humans. It noted that the listing was based on a single study in lab mice and rats.

Detroit: Losing And Giving Up A $50 Million Head Start

The City of Detroit is admittedly too corrupt and incompetent to manage Head Start Funds.

The Detroit Free Press: No more Head Start cash for City of Detroit

Following complaints that the Detroit Human Services Department fostered an environment of nepotism, reckless spending and corruption to the detriment of the early childhood education program Head Start, the federal government plans to stop sending $50 million a year to the city to fund the program, the Free Press learned Thursday.

Mayor Dave Bing's office supports the idea and agreed to drop the city's handling of the program.

You know the Detroit corruption and incompetence associated with these Head Start funds must be incredibly blatant and obvious when the City's own mayor agrees the city can't be trusted with them.

Now take that $50 Million in corruption and incompetence, multiply it by every department city-wide and you can answer quite easily why Detroit is the budgetary and social mess it is right now.

An Illegal Legal Beagle?

Yet another sad story about an illegal who realizes that being illegal has possible consequences.

ABA Journal: CUNY Law Grad Reveals Undocumented Status, Fears He Can’t Practice Despite Passing NY Bar

A 28-year-old Mexican immigrant who graduated from law school at the City University of New York and passed the state bar exam in November fears he will not be able to practice law in New York because he was illegally brought to this country as a 5-year-old child by his mother.

Cesar Vargas says he will have to mark the "other" category when he fills out an application with the New York Court of Appeals to register as a lawyer, which asks applicants whether they are citizens, legal residents or have a visa to be in the United States, the Associated Press reports.
Of course, any firm that might hire Cesar Vargas as an attorney is also going to get into trouble due to his illegal status. On the other hand, perhaps he's looking for admission to some public interest legal organization where his legal status might be less of a concern, or he'll just open up a solo shop and operate illegally without all the headache of paperwork and tax filing and such.

That the New York State Bar fails to do a character and fitness review, including immigration status before permitting a person to sit for the exam is very strange. In contrast, Michigan and many other state bars require the Character and Fitness application to be submitted before you take the bar and will hold your results until you are cleared.

It is also interesting that his illegal status never came up during his admission process for University, Law School, etc. Considering that he's working at a restaurant he's either submitted false documents to get that position or is being paid under the table, neither of which helps his character and fitness claim much.

The article also fails to mention if CUNY charged him in-state or out of state tuition. If in-state, which is most likely, New Yorkers can be happy to know that even more of their tax dollars subsidized his education.

It will be fun to see how the New York State Bar handles this one. One would think that illegal immigration status would disqualify a person from being admitted as an attorney on character and fitness grounds but we will see where the case goes.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Detroit Keeps On Not Keepin' On

Yet another example of Detroit's government's corruption and incompetence, as reported by RightMichigan: An $11 Million dollar grant to provide business attire to low income people helped only 2 of the 400 people the money was allocated to help.

Its even worse then you understand that original program of $11 Million divided by 400 people is a budget of $27,500 per person. That's bad enough.

The expected overhead and administrative costs had to have been huge because I've never had a $27,500 clothes budget in my life. Heck, in 8 years as a Lawyer I haven't spent $27,500 in business clothes, so I must be shopping in all the wrong places. I'll note that I spent my own money on my business clothes and not taxpayer money at any time.

In addition, Detroit is also at risk for losing over $20 million is federal grant money due to a failure to be competent enough to spend it.

But not to worry, Detroit is fighting hammer and tongs (or is that hammer and sickle?) against an EFM being appointed to cut through the corruption and incompetence.

The Detroit News: Detroit wary of consent agreement its reported that:

it's not clear whether a consent agreement would win support from a City Council leery of further state intervention.

Bing has been opposed to the idea, although he says he would not oppose it if it were mandated by Gov. Rick Snyder.

One main concern is that a consent agreement actually would usher in an emergency manager more quickly.

Council President Charles Pugh is worried about who has the power to push through necessary changes and fears an emergency manager would be the end result if the agreement isn't carried out.

At this point it looks like Detroit is going to have to fail and fall, and fail and fall hard before any real fixing of their mess can begin.

Already the Detroit Free Press seems to demand and assume the rest of the state will bail Detroit out of its legacy of corruption and incompetence and overspending.

The only appropriate response the State should make to such a bailout request, unless it is accompanied by the complete removal of all control from the Detroit Mayor, Detroit City Council, and Detroit Unions and that the City is fully taken over by the state and everything starts from scratch is: "Oh Hell NO!"

That is all.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Frivilous Lawsuit of the Day: Entertainment Division

Man Sues Movie Theater For High Snack Prices

Yes, really.

The Detroit Free Press: Filmgoer takes stand on costly snacks, sues AMC Livonia theater

Joshua Thompson loves the movies.

But he hates the prices theaters charge for concessions like pop and candy.

This week, the 20-something security technician from Livonia decided to do something about it: He filed a class action in Wayne County Circuit Court against his local AMC theater in hopes of forcing theaters statewide to dial down snack prices.

"He got tired of being taken advantage of," said Thompson's lawyer, Kerry Morgan of Wyandotte. "It's hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else."
Wow. The article then goes on to list various whinging movie patrons who complain about the high snack prices:
The prices are ridiculous," Rebecca Motley, 55, a self-employed Southfield physician, said while leaving the AMC Star Southfield 20.

Motley said she and her office manager spent $5 each for morning movie tickets and $11 each for soft drinks and popcorn.

"When I was a kid, $1 could get you into the movies and buy you a pop and popcorn. But not anymore," Motley said. "I don't know how kids can go on their own to a movie anymore."
That back in the day that which only costs $1 now costs $11 to go to the movies is so very sad. It is Especially sad that those halcyon days were 50 years ago and prices have since climbed a bit. Heck, even reported inflation stats show that back when Motley was 5, that a dollar then could buy $7.51 of the same item now, so $11 is not far off and wishing for $1 admission plus concessions sure won't make it so.

Interestingly enough if you choose medical inflation (Motley's profession)on the inflation calculator, you'll find $1 then now needs $15.19 for the same service so medical services have gone up even more outrageously than concession prices. I daresay Dr. Motley wouldn't want to reduce her salary accordingly, neh?
Thompson didn't want to be interviewed because he doesn't want any notoriety, Morgan said.
Frivolous lawsuits like this tend to draw attention. If Mr. Thompson doesn't want attention, then instead he'll get mockery. After all there's nothing stopping anyone from not purchasing snacks there or for that matter for not going to the movies.

Look Thompson, man up for crying out loud, put on your big boy pants and either suck it up and pay up if you want some snacks or just don't buy any there.

Sheesh, what a waste of the court's time.

The lawsuit is more than likely to be thrown out as frivolous, and I certainly hope AMC counter-sues for abuse of the legal process for such a frivolous claim.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Wayne Airport Authority's Latest Defense: We Illegally Hired Mullin So We Shouldn't Have To Pay Her For Illegally Firing Her, Right?"

You can't make this stuff up.

The Detroit Free Press: Airport board: We broke the law in hiring Turkia Awada Mullin

The excuse is this: We broke the law hiring her, so its ok that we broke the law firing her.

In Wayne County, the logic seems to be" Since two wrongs can make a right, and two Wrights can make an airplane, then two bad decisions by an Airport Authority can relieve it of liability.

The board that hired and then fired Turkia Awada Mullin as CEO of Metro Airport last year now claims in a court filing that it broke the law when it hired her.

The Wayne County Airport Authority hopes that making the admission will get it off the hook for the more than $700,000 that Mullin says she is owed in severance under the terms of a contract that agreed to pay her $250,000 a year for three years.

Mullin was fired in October, after only a couple of months on the job. She was mired in controversy because of a $200,000 severance payment she got when she left as Wayne County's economic development chief to take the airport job.

The authority's legal motion, filed Jan. 18 but not previously reported, says the board illegally delegated its obligation to negotiate and approve contracts by designating one board member to negotiate with Mullin and another to sign the deal without bringing it back to the board.

As I said before, the fix really seems to be in on this one. If this is the best defense they've got for firing her, I think we can start attributing the incompetence to malice rather than just run of the mill Wayne County Democrat stupidity.

One claim of wrongdoing hardly vitiates a subsequent wrongdoing by the same party. This bizarre argument is a reverse unclean hands defense: I acted in bad faith and unethically before, so that should prevent me from being liable for acting in bad faith and unethically now.

Yep, that defense will fly.

Managing the Decline, Michigan Style

The Detroit Free Press: Ron Dzwonkowski: What's Michigan doing for its fastest-growing population?

For the next few months, state legislators will wrestle with Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed state budget and devote endless hours to determining the appropriate and affordable level of spending for education. That's well and good; schools and young people matter a great deal to Michigan's future.

You won't hear nearly as much discussion about Michigan's more immediate and foreseeable future, or about the fastest-growing segment of the state population: older people. Though Michigan's birthrate has been on a downslide since 1960, its over-50 population has been exploding. From 2000-10, the number of state residents ages 60-64 jumped almost 51%. Over the next 20 years, Oakland County's senior population is projected to double.

When you're fastest growing population is the "older people" segment of the demographic, it means you have a problem.

A state that's growing grayer (with the possible exception of Florida) is a state that is in decline.

Unlike Florida, it is really unlikely that Michigan is experiencing a wave of elder immigrants looking for a sunny spot to live out their golden years.

Instead, this is a sign that the youth are leaving to seek other opportunities and Michigan is failing to attract new young and middle-aged workers, or to retain the ones we have now.

In short, this Blue state is about to be in the unenviable position of have far too few workers to support the retirees in the comfort to which they have become accustomed and entitled.

As fun as it is to call for business to get on board with seniors discounts and embrace the decline, the state instead needs to switch out of the failing blue state model and instead create an economic environment that provides jobs for young and middle-aged workers. After all, you need them to cover the costs the retiree communities are about to impose.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Total Firearms' Indoor Glock Match - The March Session

Today was the third and final Indoor League Glock Match held at Total Firearms in Mason, MI.

As before, Rob and I got up at O-My_Gosh its early and headed to the range, stopping at Starbucks for some coffee as we went.

Exactly as before, the match staff were efficient, welcoming, and friendly and remembered us from our last shlep to the range in February.

Unlike the prior two outings, I actually shot better with the Glock 17 than the Glock 19. There were no misses with the Glock 17 this time but there was one unfathomable and un-findable miss with the 19 at 50 feet. Ah well, it'll keep me humble.

I shot a 487-11x with the Glock 17, my best score yet, and a 455-22x with the Glock 19. Not sure why the Glock 17 outperformed the Glock 19 this time.

Rob did pretty darn well too with both of them.

Not a bad way to end the league and a definite reminder that some practice in between matches is certainly called for.

With these scores, neither of us is in the running to win, except at the random drawing, but it was a lot of fun showing up and giving it a shot, or a hundred shots at a time in fact.

So I'm now home and just finished cleaning the pistols. In between the match and now, I was off at another range which I will blog about soon.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

GM Can't Sell Volts Even As Gas Hits $4/Gallon

The bad news is yes, stations around here are now selling gas at the 4.00/gallon mark. That's not good for the economy but a market response to Obama's war on oil production and the many rounds of quantitative easing.

The bad news for GM, even with high gas prices, they're producing more Volts than the public wants to buy.

The Detroit Free Press: GM to pull plug on Volt production for 5 weeks

Even with gas prices climbing past $4 a gallon, General Motors plans to halt production of the Chevrolet Volt for another five weeks to keep inventories from swelling, the second extended shutdown since late December.

Production of the plug-in extended-range electric car will stop at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant from March 19 to April 23. Chevrolet sold 1,023 Volts in February, or more than twice the number of all-electric Nissan Leafs sold.

"Volt sales are increasing but we are currently at a point where we have to maintain inventory levels," said GM spokesman Chris Lee.

In February, hybrids and electric cars accounted for 3.2% of U.S. industry sales, up from just more than 2% for 2011, said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for

However, GM ended the month with a 154 days' supply of Volts, according to WardsAuto. That's more than twice the 60 days' supply considered adequate.
Read the rest of the article on how smart GM is to pause production because no one is buying the $40,000 car, even when the price drops to $32,500 after the federal tax credit for purchase.

It's expensive, short-ranged, immature technology that occasionally goes up in flames?

So now why is it again that Americans aren't buying them?

Friday, March 02, 2012

Not Worth A Continental

The saying "Not Worth A Continental" dates back to the Revolutionary War and the inflationary paper money put out by the Continental Congress to pay for the the costs of the war. The Continental Congress issued over $241,552,780 in continental notes. The notes rapidly became worth less than the paper they were printed on due to inflation and a lack of any backing to the currency.

We do have a history of our government trying to print our way out of our expenses....

However, that's not the Continental in the news today. Yet another item is about to reaffirm the adage "not worth a Continental".

It appears that Continental Airlines is about to be no more.

The Detroit Free Press: Continental Airlines will be history after tonight

Metro Detroiters who lived through the merger of Delta and Northwest airlines will not be surprised to learn that as of Saturday morning, another airline brand will vanish.

Tonight is the final step in the merger of United and Continental Airlines. The last Continental flight will leave Phoenix for Cleveland at 11:59 p.m. today. Just after that, the reservations systems of the two airlines will merge. The code CO (Continental) will disappear. By Saturday morning, the merged airline will use only the United name and the United website. And Continental will be history.
I found Continental to be more reliable and pleasant than that other now-merged airline that operated out of DTW and has now passed on thankfully taken over by Delta: Northworst.

Then again I've always liked flying United, especially when the pilots allowed channel 9 on the audio to be active and you could listen in to air traffic control and the pilot's communication with ATC.

So, farewell to yet another Continental, proving yet again that the way to make a small fortune in the aviation business is to start out with a large one.

Don't Bring a Propane Torch To A Bat Fight

Well, this one is certainly different:

The Detroit News: Robbed by blowtorch, Pontiac clerk gets cash back with a bat

n 18-year-old Shelby Township man is in custody after allegedly attempting to rob a store with a propane torch and was later beaten by the baseball bat-wielding clerk.

Deputies were dispatched to an In & Out Party Store in the 600 block of University about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday where a clerk said a man, armed with a propane torch and lighter, had robbed the store

The victim said after handing over cash he grabbed a baseball bat and followed the man out of the store and smashed the suspect's car, windows and man several times and demanded the money back. The suspect handed over the case and sped off.
You're really not legally allowed to follow and beat a criminal after they're leaving the scene and are no longer an immediate threat to you, no matter how satisfying and morally right it can be to do so. As such, don't try this at home folks, at least not in Michigan.

However, it seems the clerk certainly taught the torch wielder quite the object lesson that stupid robbery attempts can be painful.

With luck and suitable prosecutorial discretion, only the criminal will be facing charges on this one.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel - FBI to unveil Wayne County Puiblic Corruption Task Force

The Detroit News: FBI: Public corruption task force launching in Metro Detroit

The FBI said Thursday it is joining forces with other federal, state and local investigators to uncover public corruption in the target-rich Metro Detroit area.

The creation of a public corruption task force is a response to several scandals in Detroit City Hall and schools, Wayne County government, Pontiac, Highland Park, Royal Oak Township and Ecorse in recent years.
Something tells me they're going to be busy.

Especially with news like this, and this, and this, and this and this, and this and this and this and this.

I'd say they've got their work cut out for them and a truly Herculean task ahead to clean out these Wayne County and Detroit stables.