Monday, April 30, 2012

Crazy Lady is Still Crazy

I wrote of the Crazy Lady Trial previously and she's still just as crazy now.

After I won the trial, with the time before she was evicted running out she started a variety of threats and claims she wouldn't move out no matter what - she'd sued the association, the lawyers everybody. She'd kill everybody, she had powerful friends that would ruin us all ..... That certainly put us in a receptive frame of mind, now didn't it?

We then get a call from the Deparmtment of human Services that she now qualified for Social Security Disability (yes for being crazy - isn't that nice that your tax dollars are paying for her lifestyle?) and they could give up to $400 to help in stay in place. That wouldn't work as she owed about 20k at that point.

So on the day time runs out we sent the eviction order in, the judge sat on it a few more days and finally issued it to the court officer who posted it on her door.

That got her motivated to finally do something.

She got her "Benefactor" to call us, wanting to settle it, he offers to pay the bills.

We then arrange for them to come into our office and sign releases and being the payment. She comes in, dressed in a dress so tight that we're happy to see she's not carrying any concealed weapons.

"Benefactor" turns out to be married (not to her), a Democrat and in a low level elected office in the area.

You can tell where this is headed.

Benefactor then pays off the bills apparently because he doesn't want his wife to find out, and crazy makes a few veiled remarks regarding that at the meeting.

Let this be a lesson guys:

    1. Messing around outside your marriage - that's a very bad choice.

    2. Messing around with a crazy lady who will blackmail you to the tune of $20k and now owns you - that's an extremely bad (and expensive) choice.

Of course, she owns him now. I expect that anytime he runs for reelection or tries to move on to a higher position you know who is going to show up.

Oh, but the crazy isn't done yet.

She keeps insisting that the deed restoring the place to her be drafted to her specifications and she won't accept the perfectly good deed we give her. We point out that her format isn't recordable....she still demands it. We acquiesce and hey, what do you know, its not recordable. She then demands another one. We draft one that will work and she then makes a number of ridiculous demands such as requiring that it have a gold and raised seal on it (totally unnecessary in Michigan) and makes other weird claims. We send her the deed via signature delivery and tell her that third times the charm and that's it, she can record it, she can hang it on her wall, she can roll it and smoke it, whatever but we're done playing around. We also send directly to the county a release of the original lien, which the county takes over a month to record.

She foes on a roll accusing us of not sending her a deed, not sending in the lien etc. We send her copies of the sent in lien and the deed with proof of delivery to her. Still doesn't change the crazy accusations.

Finally we checked today after she made more threats yesterday claiming she did not receive the deed and the lien was never filed and lo and behold, the deed was in fact recorded by her, and the release had been recorded by the county a month ago. She was lying when she claimed the register of deeds told her yesterday it was not done. Quelle Suprise. We also find on the deed that she changed the grantee name from her name to her trust (by hand) without our client's permission when she recorded it - can you say fraud? I knew you could.

So we're now waiting to see if the client wants to go after her for the improper modification of the deed or if we just let it lie and hope she finally shuts the hell up.

On the upside, there's at least one Democrat politician in Michigan that's provably going to have trouble running on a family values platform.....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2 Good Dives On A Sunday Morning

So this morning I met up with Jeff, Dave, and Jeremy at Union Lake to get some practice dives in. Dave had a nasty cold so no dives for him.

Jeremy was having buoyancy and trim issues so he decided to put on 1 5mil wetsuit and his single tank rig and get in that way. In 50 degree water he wasn't going to be comfortable for long.

So we took the flag out and headed for a sunken boat to do some practicing. There was an open water diver class going on at the pontoon boat platform so we left them alone and worked at one of the speedboats.

Jeff and I tried the James challenge - to try to maintain your exact position relative to a set object for 20 minutes without moving, all the while staying where you are but being aware of your team members. It helps train excellent buoyancy and trim control. While not moving gets a touch cold under there it is a good exercise. Meanwhile Jeremy was swimming around working on his buoyancy but was having quite a bit of trouble. It seems he had stored his wing with the dump valve cover off, so unless he stayed perfectly level, the air would escape the wing and he had little to no buoyancy control. We then did an ascent upon finding out this problem and got him back to the dock. He got out, installed the cover and then we went on to dive two.

For dive 2, we headed back out to the same boat, worked on out positioning and each did the basic 6, one at a time. Then we did an ascent drill which was pretty decent, then Jeff and I descended to get the flag as Jeremy was getting cold in his wetsuit so he swam back on the surface alongside the flag as we brought it in while underwater.

2 Good Dives, certainly much better than Wednesday night's fiasco. Practice will hopefully start paying off.

Teeth Cleaning

The Shark Teeth cleaned up nicely.

The before pictures show them covered with a pink coral coating.

A day-long soak in a vinegar bath dissolved the coating, and that which remained could be rubbed off and you can see the bubbles from the reaction of the vinegar with the coral:

The end result:

Quite the difference from how they were found and they cleaned up nicely. The blade faces of the teeth are nice and smooth, and the serrated edge of the Great White's tooth is clearly visible now.

Florida Trip - Oh, The Hugh Manatee

The next day after the dive, we took a day trip to Sarasota Florida to visit the MOTE Acquarium. In addition to being an Aquarium, MOTE is a research lab and rehabilitation facility for sea turtles, dolphins and other oceanic creatures. The kids have been interested in the Oceans and marine life so a trip to an aquarium to see Florida's marine life up close was a perfect day trip.

So after about an hour we arrived at MOTE. The facility is quite large and the docents and staff very friendly. Another cool benefit was a reduced admission fee as we are members of the Toledo Zoo and they've got a reciprocal membership arrangement, as do most zoos, aquariums etc, so if you go to these places a membership has lots of benefits.

The MOTE begins with a neat display of smaller fish life:

Then it moves on to squid and sharks:

The shark tank is open at the top and you can walk along it with only a rail separating you from the sharks for a closer look.

In a separate building, there are hugs loggerhead turtles, Manatees and a dolphin. The dolphin was a beach recovery, treated for severe sunburns and is kept as it has a liver problem and can't be released and be expected to survive.

The huge loggerheads are being tested for their vision and hearing and have been found to be able to respond to colored shapes and sounds.

We then went to see the Manatee tank.

One of the Manatees was named Hugh.

Very big and impressive creatures indeed. Manatees are predominantly vegetarian and they were busy snacking on lettuce when we first saw them.

There was also a pool where you could pet stingrays, and they feel like mushroom caps. They were behaving rather mischievously the day we visited, swimming close but then shifting to exactly out of the kid's arms reach as they went by. Eventually they settled down and the kids got to pat them.

So if you're near Sarasota, the MOTE aquarium is well worth a visit. Expect to spend a day and enjoy it.

We also stopped in Venice at Ciao Gelato, which serves the ne plus ultra of ice cream.

Not just good but wowza good ice cream, best ice cream evar. They make it on the premises, the store is clean, the staff friendly and again the ice cream is world-class. If you're ever in Venice you must go try some.

Then back to the condo for dinner, where we had a visitor on the balcony:

Afterwards, we walked on the beach to watch the sunset, and saw a pod of wild dolphins swim by, with one even leaping out of the water.

So it was a great day trip indeed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Diver Who Came Back Into The Cold

Dive 202 was far less exciting than dives 200 and 201.

Last night I hit Union Lake with Dave, Jeremy and James. James is running Dave and Jeremy through UTD's essentials of Tech and I was along for this non-class practice dive. At 54 degress it was colder and darker than my Florida dives, and the temp and light were the high points of last night's dive.

On the upside: having the neck seal replaced (the original has been on the suit for 4 years) on my drysuit worked. No more leaks. I haven't been this dry underwater for a long time.

On the downside, the dryness was about the only good part of the dive. Everybody with the exception of James was sub-optimal and not up to spec. I did a decent basic 6 but didn't have decent buoyancy control and the "team" ascent drill was a cluster that is best forgotten and never spoken of again. Oh and Dave: spool, not reel on the flag - something that won't be talked about at all.

Ah well, diving is a rather bi-polar sport - you can be in top form having the time of your life one dive, thinking you're ready for a cave class and to move on to some real advanced training. Then you get a dive like last night to send you crashing down into the sorrows of your inadequacy.

More practice is clearly needed.

James dared the three of us to try a new training plan for the next 10 dives and I'm going to try it. I'll let you know how it works out.

Oh The Shark Has Fossilized Teeth, Dear

On Thursday I drove to Venice Florida to Florida West Scuba and Charters for a shark tooth dive. These shark tooth dives were to be dives 200 and 201 for me.

I had been worried that the charter might be cancelled on account of some storms moving into the area and a thunderstorm the night before, but arriving at the dive shop at 6:30 I was warmly greeted by the staff and assured that the dives were on. After completing the waiver and buying a shark tooth bag I loaded my gear on the boat and got my single tank setup assembled. We had a full boat with 12 divers on board plus the captain and dive master. The charter was well organized and they run a smooth and professional operation.

Venice, Florida is a location famous for its fossilized shark teeth and animal bones. The most prolific bones found are those of the Dugong. The Dugong is an ancient large mammalian ancestor of the manatee, with very dense bones so that it could sink and counter its fat for buoyancy conmtrol, whose main purpose in life seems to have been as a snack for the Megaladons, Great Whites, bull sharks and other shark species in the area. As a result Venice is a home to many amazing fossilized shark teeth and bones.

The boat captain began the dive briefing with the standard safety warnings for the boat then stated that this was a dive that broke all the rules - the visibility was about 6 feet so forget about buddy diving as you'd be face down searching for fossils anyways, everyone would carry a float. he also stated you could touch everything you liked down there in your search for fossils, but he suggested avoiding touching the sea urchins.

So in we went. The water was a warm 75 degrees so I had on a 3/2 mm wetsuit, the charter's aluminum 80 tank and my gear. There was a fair bit of current at the surface so we had to jump off the stern, swim forward to the bow which was facing 180 degrees, descend and continue on the 180 heading so we could return with the current rather than against it.

On the first dive, I decided to not bring the camera and get comfortable in the environment before adding the distractions a camera can bring. I did bring it along on the second dive. The water was warm, the viz not great but there were fossils to be found, not to mention some fish to see. There was also the theme song from Jaws playing in the background during the dive for some reason, and not being able to see beyond 6 feet away on one's own was a very different feeling from my typical team dives. After all, when you get into the ocean you do have the potential for becoming part of the food chain, and not necessarily at the top.

The bottom had a lot of stuff on it, and I started a search pattern for teeth and interesting objects.

the search wasn't easy as the teeth tend to blend in with the bottom clutter and it takes focusing on a small area at a time while being careful to keep your buoyancy and trim above the bottom as you search to avoid a silt cloud destroying your search area.

And there were many sea urchins about to stab the unwary

There were also some neat star fish and other interesting lifeforms on the bottom:

On the dive, quite a few fish would follow me around, either to tease me that I hadn't found a large haul of shark's teeth or to cadge a snack when I pulled up a fossil and raised some particulate in the water, and this guy was particularly persistent, always darting right in front of my mask.

The fish would poke around the spot where a fossil was retrieved, looking for food:

I didn't find any huge Megaladon teeth, but I did find shark teeth!

This one is half of a Great White Shark Tooth, cleaved cleanly in half. At 2 inches in blade length, the shark this came from was around 18-20 feet long. That's one big shark.

This one is a complete bull shark tooth:

I'll clean the pink coral coating off later and we'll see the actual colors of the teeth.

I also found many massive thick and solid Dugon bones, cleaved cleanly through by some massive shark jaws:

These are Dugong rib bones:

Tip of a Dugong rib:

Both dives lasted about 55 minutes and it was a great experience. Florida West Scuba and Charters runs a great charter so I'd highly recommend them if you get a chance to go diving in the area. After the dives we returned to shore and the dive shop to return the tanks and rinse my gear, and of course to buy the required T-Shirt signifying a successful dive. There was a bar conveniently located beside the dive shop and I ordered some fried grouper which was excellent.

Dives 200 and 201 were absolutely excellent. Great weather, warm water and shark's teeth taken as trophies. What could be better than that for a Venice, Florida dive experience?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting To FL Is Half The Fun

Where we stayed in Florida is a good 1270 miles from our home.

 Getting there via automobile with sanity intact upon arrival took some careful planning. The route was pretty much a straight shot down I-75 with only a few bypasses so it was pretty simple route planning.

We also had my mother-in-law along for the trip, so the van was packed to the gills with stuff and people.

First we drove through Michigan into Ohio and the roads improved somewhat almost immediately upon crossing the state line.

The kids were very well behaved while being excited at the prospect of the trip.

The traditional license plate game was played, and we even had a License Plate Game board game edition with little flippable license plates that quizzed the kids on state capitals as they found cars with different plates. It did help pass the time and I recommend it if you have kids or need a refresher of our states capitals. It is the reality based edition with only 50 states, not the 57 state variety.

 Another tool in our arsenal of keeping kids happy was the laptop with a supply of the kids favorite DVD movies and a car power converter to keep the battery powered. When that failed we had some other games, books and bribery. The bribe was this: the kids really both wanted a Ty Beanie Boo, which is the larger plush version of the beanie babies with big adorable eyes. We had bought each of them one: Ty Beanie Boos Cashmere The Cat for Leah and TY Beanie Boos - MAGIC the Pink Unicorn ( Buddy Size - 10 inch ) for Abby but had not given them to them. They were $10 each where we bought them (more than Amazon but they got to pick them in person) and the deal was this: For every half hour they were good they received .25. If they fought they lost a quarter. With 22 hours of driving time they decided to be good to make sure they could get their beanies upon arrival.

 The right incentives work folks, but it doesn't hurt to start off with great kids to begin with.

 By the time we reached into southern Tennessee the van was sighing with pleasure as it cruised along smooth roads, and it was happy beyond all automotive measure by the smooth roads of Georgia and Florida, however that didn't happen for a couple days.

 First we stopped in Cincinnati after a 5 hour drive as there was a huge quilt show going on that Natasha and her mom wanted to see. Its apparently the second largest show in the US after the Texas show and they enjoyed themselves immensely. We stayed at the Cincinnati Hilton, which, while looking rather worn, small and past its better days (and no fridge) was decent enough. It did have a pool and I took the kids for a dip. Their harsh (in their words) swim coach (his motto: "you can cry but you gotta try") is really paying off - after 5 lessons they're actually swimming. We had dinner in the mall that is attached to the Hilton and met interesting cultures, namely the kids wanted to know why people were walking around with their pants falling off - a classy crowd indeed. The next morning we crossed the bridge into Covington KY from Cincinnati - having just read Harry Turtledove's alternate history of World War I - The Great War: American Front the crossing point was quite fitting considering it features prominently in the book.

We drove through Kentucky into Tennessee, stopping for lunch at Famous Daves BBQ for verily if one stops in the south, BBQ is what is for lunch. We had the BBQ Feast and it fed everyone quite suitably.

We  then entered Georgia and drove past Macon and south of Macomn there were two separate wrecks blocking the northbound lanes, and while it didn't interfere with us, an accident in just about the same place did on the return. How you can manage to completely block a highway on a perfectly clear day on a straight stretch of road takes talent and these Georgia drivers seem to have that talent in spades. We then drove on ending that night at Cordele, GA. On the early afternoon of the third day we reached paradise:

Temperatures in the 80s, the crashing of the waves, and a bright sunny day.  We quickly walked down to the beach to say hello to the ocean. Then we unpacked, had a snack and took the kids for a dip in the waves. The relaxation portion of the vacation had officially commenced.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm Back

Just returned from a nice family vacation.

We drove down from Michigan to spend a week in Florida on the west side of the state, courtesy of some very nice and generous friends of ours that let us use their condo for the week.

Lots of trip report blogging to follow including:

1. Tips and Techniques for driving with kids in the car and not letting them drive you crazy
2. Words of Wisdom from 5.5 and 8 year-olds
3. Diving with sharks, or at least their teeth
4. Georgia and Florida drivers - the left lane is for passing, so why is it that on a three lane plus highway with an empty left lane do y'all pass on the right so damn much?

A great road trip indeed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This Is Going To Be A Very Long Election Campaign......

The Detroit News: As race shifts, Biden gets task of scuffing Romney

Want a peek inside the Democratic playbook as the presidential race shifts fully into general election mode? Just listen to Joe Biden......Sara Taylor Fagen, a Republican strategist and White House political adviser in Bush's administration [said:] "It's a little surprising that they've gone so hard so fast. To some degree, you want to keep the president and the vice president elevated as long as possible."
One thing President Obama can do is campaign, and its one of the few successful things he does. Similarly having VP Joe Biden say stupid, offensive things also plays to his strengths.

Expect this to be a very long campaign season, with the Democrats and their media lapdogs going all-out and all-in in their fervor to reelect Obama.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NC Police Chief Suspended For Not Shooting Straight

The Detroit News: N.C. town's police chief loses gun, badge over poor shooting skills

The police chief of a North Carolina town has been prohibited from carrying a badge and gun because he couldn't shoot straight.

Police Chief Thomas Bennett was suspended as a law enforcement officer after failing his recent annual firearms qualification exam.
I'll give him credit for not exempting himself from the standards of his department and doing the right thing until he re-qualifies. While embarrassing, I'd say it speaks well of his integrity.

This certainly brings to light one of the dirty little secret of law enforcement, namely that a lot of cops are terrible shots.

The ones that practice do well and some are quite simply outstanding, but far too many are not.

I know one trainer for a largish department that has a heckuva time getting the departments' officers, including senior officers to pass their annual qualifications, including having to work with them one-on-one with retakes to get them a qualifying score.

And of course who can forget this guy:

Looks like some Only Ones can't handle their guns.

UofM To Offer In-State Tuition To Illegals?

The Detroit Free Press: U.S. citizen or not, University of Michigan may charge in-state rate

Do note the contortions in the headline above as the Freep falls all over itself to avoid saying "University of Michigan may charge in-state rate to illegal immigrants".

The contortions continue in the first two paragraphs:

A drive to let students who live in Michigan, but lack citizenship or a green card, pay in-state tuition at the University of Michigan has gained the interest of some of the school's regents in recent weeks.

The Board of Regents asked Provost Phil Hanlon to prepare a report on tuition equality for undocumented students, which could be presented as soon as its meeting next week.
Careful with that twisting recto-cranial inversion crafting that headline and story there Freep, you might hurt yourself.

Also note that you don't need to be a citizen to qualify for in-state tuition already, you just have to be a legal resident, including a green card holder, so the headline is false on its face in any case.

So, why are the regents of UofM are considering granting preferences to illegals beyond that given to out of state US citizens and legal residents? After all, illegals can't work here legally, and the policy that i-state students receive a much cheaper tuition rate is based on the premise that they and their parents have been living and paying taxes in the state and receive the low tuition rate in return. That calculation fails wihen you take illegals into account.

Yet another feel-good but costly and dumb idea by the Democrat-dominated Regents of the University of Michigan.

Now Who Could Have Predicted This?

Syria ignores cease-fire plan

From The Detroit News:

Syrian troops defied a U.N.-brokered cease-fire plan on Tuesday, launching fresh attacks on rebellious areas

Could anyone other than UN diplomats really believe the Syrian government was going to honor that ceasefire plan?

Of course, when the UN has decided that this time, unlike Libya, their actions will be confined solely to diplomatic hand-wringing, such defiance is not unsurprising.
On Tuesday, Annan insisted his peace initiative remains "very much alive" — in part because there is no viable alternative.

The U.N. has ruled out any military intervention of the type that helped bring down Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, and several rounds of sanctions and other attempts to isolate President Bashar Assad have done little to stop the bloodshed.

Too bad for its citizens that Syria lacks any commercially viable oil resources.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Great Book About A Forgotten War

The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat by Bob Drury and Tom Clavan vividly retells one of the greatest examples of an outnumbered force withstanding an attacker many times its sides and holding a vital position without giving up that you've probably never heard of.

Outnumbered 15 to 1, and completely surrounded and cutoff from support except for supplies that were airt dropped to them, the 234 men of Fox Company 3/7 Marines held the vital Toktong Pass and Fox Hill under 4 days and five nights of constant attack from three battalions (15 companies) of Chinese troops of the Chinese 59th Division. The Toktong pass was vital as it needed to be held to allow for the Marines to begin, in an orderly fashion their famous "attacking in an opposite direction" as part of the retreat from the Chosin reservoir. Fox company was finally relieved in a heroic maneuver under fire by the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines.

3 Medals of Honor were awarded to members of Fox company, including to its commander Captain Barber, for the heroic defense in some of the coldest battles the United States ever fought in, and in some of the most inhospitable mountainous terrain. Fighting without sufficient rations or warmth, suffering from frostbite, and having weapons freeze up on them and be inoperable on top of being surrounded and massively outnumbered and still winning....They sure made Marines darn tough back then.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps for its interactive exhibit on the Korean War features Fox Company's defense of Fox Hill and the Toktong pass.

The authors tell the story in a very readable manner, vividly recounting the individual marine's experiences and heroism on the hill. The epilogue goes on to let you know what happened to the surviving Marines in the remainder of the Korean War and after.

The Korean War hasn't received the attention of World War 1 and 2 or even Vietnam and is often referred to as America's Forgotten War. Aside from M.A.S.H., which was more of a critique of Vietnam set in the Korean War, there has been few films or TV series about the conflict. The Last Stand of Fox Company could be made into a highly compelling film that would likely do very well.

The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat is written very well indeed and is highly recommended.

Bob Drury and Tom Clavan also wrote Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue, another great historical account of a forgotten event in World War 2.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

USPSA Match Easter Sunday Edition

This morning Rob and I met up and we headed out to the season opener USPSA match at my club.

The club's April match is always a little different from its typical match. Instead of one classifier stage, it has four so you can get classified in one match, or move up a level in a single match if you've improved sufficiently and the wizards at the USPSA stats office deem it to be so.

As such, the match tended to be a little quicker than typical, with lower round counts but more care being taken by the shooters than a typical run and gun stage. Quickly that is until we came up behind the squad in front of us. Instead of every shooter pitching in during the lulls to score, paste and reset targets as our squad did consistently, they ad only a few people helping.

When you're at an USPSA match if you're not shooting you should be either reloading your mags (quickly), or pasting targets, or resetting targets, or acting as the score keeper. This keeps the match moving along and everyone gets through it quicker and more enjoyably.

There were also two stages that were not classifiers. One was an all steel extravaganza complete with a Texas Star which is the bane of most shooter's existence.

The second had a huge round count to make up for the classifiers and had poppers, a drop turner, a swinger and a flapper, no-shoots, and more to make you shoot quick and accurately. Not a single No-Shoot was hit with one of my rounds on this or any of the stages in the match today.

A very fun match, and I'm happy to report that I suffered not even a single malfunction with the Glock 17. Having a reliable gun is the key to fun at a match and I'm hoping I did well enough to move up to C class with this match. We'll see what happens once the scores are all in. With luck this will be the start of a decent shooting season.

So a happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it, and may everyone enjoy the fine weather we're having today and have a nice Sunday.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Happy Passover 2012!

Happy Passover 2012!

We're celebrating Passover this year by having a small family seder tonight, followed by a larger group seder tomorrow night.

So the table is all prepared, the matzah, wine, grape juice (for the kids), bitter herbs, charoset and prayers and the festive meal await.

Importantly, a group of leading medical researchers have published data indicating that Seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses during the meal, it seems that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver.

There is also a new brand of matzah just released for this passover season. Made from whole wheat and fortified with Metamucil. The brand name, of course, is...'Let My People Go.'

Happy Passover!

Mexican Art Exhibit To Imitate The False Narrative

A Mexican Art Show, due to travel to the US (legally, I assume) has a focus on protesting against American firearms being illegally smuggled to Mexico.

No word on whether the exhibit addresses either the two scandals of Fast and Furious and the State Department's sales that end up in drug cartels' hands.

I can bet not.

Nor will there be any advocacy at the exhibit for a secure border to prevent such smuggling, as that might interfere with the illegal immigrants going in the other direction, of which the sponsors of the exhibit are quite in favor.

The sponsor of the exhibit, Global Exchange, is a San Francisco based leftist group that happens to be fully in lockstep with the Obama administration and gun control groups trying to maintain the falsehood that US gun shows are the main source of the weapons in criminal hands in Mexico, rather than the Fast and Furious program or the State Department weapons sales.

How About Them Layers Of Editorial Oversight

Yahoo! News: NBC probe centers on staffer in shooting story error

An internal NBC News probe has determined a "seasoned" producer was to blame for a misleading clip of a 911 call that the network broadcast during its coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting, according to two sources at the network.

NBC News brass interviewed more than half a dozen staffers during its investigation of the misleadingly edited 911 call placed by George Zimmerman just before he shot the unarmed Florida teenager, said the sources, one of whom is an executive at the network.

The clip aired on the network's flagship "Today" morning show last week.

The edit made it appear that Zimmerman immediately told police that Martin was black, when, in fact, the full tape reveals that the neighborhood watch captain only did so when responding to a question posed by a dispatcher.
It is even worse than this article relates. It wasn't just that he told them he looked black in the false MSNBC release, the selective editing made it sound like Zimmerman thought he was suspicious because he was black. The selective stitching together of two different sentences to make the quote seriously inflamed the situation by depicting Zimmerman as a racist.

Here's the before and after:

Before the "Seasoned Producer's" edit:

"Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black."


"Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black."

Television news veterans in New York said they were baffled over how the error came to be broadcast given the intense vetting such a sensitive story would normally get at a major network such as NBC.
One reason might be that not only did the quote lovingly fit the narrative the media have been crafting - "racist big white guy guns down innocent little black kid" (that narrative is now showing cracks in terms of race, size and who may or may not have started the altercation). In addition to perfectly fitting the narrative, the quote also fit the "vetters" preconceptions and biases, thus allowing it to slip through more easily than a fact pattern that would have run against their worldview.

It Must be Tax Season......

Based on the amount of IRS related spam I've been receiving lately, the scammers and spammers are out for your identifying info using the IRS as a cover.

I've now received spam with everything from the charmingly misspelled subject line of "Accaunt blocked!" to multiples with the same nonsensical subject line of "ssubfed", to emails with fake from: addresses like and (maybe that's what you'd call a clue to the unwary?),, and

Folks, the IRS does not initiate communication with tax payers via email, and never in such a nonsensical and ungrammatical fashion (tax code excepted).

The IRS much prefers to send really scary-looking letters to your address of record.

Add on to this the fact that the email address receiving these emails is completely unconnected with anything I have to do with taxes and the whole thing is an easily deleted scam and spam-fest.

Do not reply to these false emails, and certainly do not respond with any personally identifying information or this tax season you'll be dealing with identity theft on top of filing your returns this year.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Coca Cola Crumbles in Color of Change Challenge

Detroit Free Press: Coca-Cola boycotts group backing 'Stand Your Ground' laws

A badly worded headline to be sure, but indicative of Coca Cola ending its membership in ALEC due to misbegotten pressure by some loudmouthed and ill-informed activists.

Coca-Cola Co. has ended its membership in a conservative organization seen as the incubator for a string of new state laws on voting and a marketer of laws like Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense statute.

The Atlanta-based soft drink maker says its focus with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, was on combating "discriminatory" food and beverage taxes, not on issues "that have no direct bearing" on its business.

The decision came Wednesday, just a few hours after online advocacy group ColorofChange began a boycott of the company.

Pretty amazing lack of spine on Coca Cola's part. Their corporate officers handle pressure with far less ability than their famous glass bottles containing their product.

This is especially so since the activity of ALEC that is the target of complaint, namely the "stand your ground laws" really don't have much to do with the facts, circumstances and legal environment concerning the Tayvon Martin/George Zimmerman incident. Not to mention the facts of the shooting incident continue to develop, with many of the facts departing markedly=y from the initial media and politically-driven narrative.

I daresay Coca Cola just got punked by a small group of loudmouths pushing a very political agenda.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Neither Wilful Blindness Nor Obtuseness Are Defenses To Copyright or Trademark Infringement

I have a client that came in with a complaint that both its copyrights and trademarks are being infringed on by a competitor. Adding to the fun, the competitor is a former sales manger that broke off and is now selling a similar line of products.

So I investigate and yep, the copyright and trademark infringement is pretty blatant, including taking photos from my client's website and then using the photos, many with the product trademark logos intact, on their site to claim the products are coming from them.

So I write a gentle yet firm nasty-gram to request they remove the infringing images from their website and sales brochures.

They write back claiming they're very concerned about such claims but they investigated and can find no infringing photos on their website and could we please point out the issues?

This should be fun.

So I go ahead and list their various trademark and copyright infringements evident on their site and even helpfully print out pages of their website to include with the reply showing the numerous infringements. Most of these photos are straight off my clients website and they even kept the same html tags in their code

Hilariously enough, one set of photos on their website is not only directly from my client's website, but depicts one of my clients current employees operating the product.

Kind of hard to claim a complete lack of knowledge considering the sheer volume of material taken. It's not a one-off oopsy, nor a use that could be considered fair use, but a wholesale ripoff that's going on and that is going to be stopped.

Their response to this current letter should be interesting.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Obama On Budgeting And Clear Choices

Detroit Free Press: Obama says today's GOP would reject Ronald Reagan

Making his case for re-election, Obama said the nation must restore a sense of security for hard-working Americans and stand for a government willing to help those in hard times. The Democratic president blasted Republicans by name and said the choice between the parties is “unambiguously clear.”
On the one hand, we have a President that's increased the deficit by over 46 percent to over 4.6 trillions, faster than any president before him. A President under whom Operation Fast and Furious shipped guns illegally to Mexico to further a domestic gun control agenda. A president who has consistently spend trillions every year. A president that has taken crony capitalism to new heights. Oh, and a President who intervenes, stupidly, into racially-charged situations without contemplating the consequences of his actions.

I'd say the choice is pretty clear all right.

On the question of the Budget, Obama's criticism doesn't even pass the laugh test:

Obama directly challenged Romney for embracing a $3.5 trillion budget proposal led by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin that was approved by the House last week. Ryan’s proposal aims to slash the federal deficit and reduce the size of government. It stands little chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, yet Obama targeted it as a symbol of the Republican vision.

Obama even poked fun at Romney’s word choice. “He even called it ‘marvelous,’ which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget,” Obama said. “It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.”
Big words for a President that hasn't even had a budget passed on his watch in over 1,000 days

Obama used his speech to paint his Republican rivals as protectors of a trickle-down economic philosophy that does not work. He spoke on the day that GOP presidential front-runner Romney was expected to move closer to seizing his party’s nomination as voters went to the polls in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
As if Obama's stimulate and spend it like a drunken sailor philosophy works by comparison...which it certainly doesn't.

Yeah, I'd say the choice is unambiguously clear in this election.

As The Detroit Clownfest Continues, Liberals Rediscover The Contracts Clause....

The contracts clause, long a bugbear of the Left and treated consistently as a nullity by them is suddenly piquing their interest to hold off the appointment of an EFM or permit the consent agreement to go forward:

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit financial crisis: Bing, City Council close to deal but pitfalls loom

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow is to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by a coalition of unions saying Snyder's pressure on the city to scrap ratified contracts violates federal due-process rights and contract clauses in the federal and state constitutions. The unions are seeking a restraining order against the state and city.

It is interesting to watch liberals suddenly latch onto and invoke parts of the Constitution they've long reviled and treated as a dead letter if it helps their cause.

Meanwhile the city and its more mouthy and insane residents and supposed leaders continue to fiddle and mouth all the standard leftist tropes as the city runs out of money...