Thursday, June 28, 2012

The ACA Tax That Was Not A Tax Upheld As A Tax

I'm not sure I agree with some commenters that I highly respect that this decision was a form of political judo by Roberts that keeps the chance of an ACA repeal and Obama defeat alive.

I fear that's more a form of wishful thinking than anything else.

Even if the Commerce Clause in in eclipse, and that's a big if considering it wasn't needed to uphold this Act so that ruling might well be considered mere dicta, the taxing power is now newly ascendant.

If any regulatory regime that requires an expenditure can now be construed constitutional because it is a tax we're duly and truly hosed.

So ACA Act, with its mandate sold as not being a tax, is then argued before the Court as being both a tax and not a tax, and is then upheld by the Court as a tax.

After all, repealing bad legislation is quite difficult and just because it is upheld because it is a tax is likely to shift any voter's positions come November. Indeed, the left is already trumpeting this as a win with no mention of the little detail that the commerce clause was restricted but the taxing power unleashed.

In short, I fear Judge Roberts just punted and we're going to look back at this case as a lost, and possibly the last, real chance to step back from the morass that is the (un)Affordable Care Act.

Kids Say The Darndest Things

I picked Abby up from her camp after work last night and we headed home.

Once home, we started getting dinner ready and she popped downstairs to watch a cooking show on on-demand from the Food Network, as cooking is one of her interests and one of the few channels we let her watch programs from with pretty much no restrictions.

So she's busy watching an on demand Cake Boss and I head down to round her up for dinner. She asks to wait for a moment so the final product can be shown, and I agree.

A commercial appears, with a young lady appearing on the screen:

"Hi, I'm psychologist Dr. So-and-So and this message is directed to parents of kids with behavioral problems."

Abby, absolutely deadpan and with perfect timing immediately says to the screen:

"Oh, Shut Up!"

....and then she calmly hits the fast forward on the remote.

I know I'm supposed to scold her for such uncalled-for language but I'm too busy rolling on the floor laughing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hoard of 50,000 Celtic And Roman Coins Found In Jersey

And Not New Jersey for those of you who skipped your history class and were wondering....

UPI.Com: Roman, Celtic coin hoard worth $15 million

Archaeologists in Britain say a hoard of Roman and Celtic coins worth $15 million has been unearthed on the island of Jersey.

Two metal detector enthusiasts found the hoard, dated to the 1st century B.C. and described by experts as "extremely exciting and very significant."

The hoard weighed about three-quarters of a ton and could contain about 50,000 coins.

Each individual coin is worth between $150 and $300, Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University, told the BBC.

Metal detector hobbyists Reg Mead and Richard Miles said they had been searching for more than 30 years after hearing rumors a farmer had discovered silver coins while working on his land in the east of Jersey.

Talk about an awesome find. 50,000 Celtic and Roman coins found in a farmer's field.

UPI has a nice picture of the removed earth mound with the coins exposed.

One can only hope that they will release them for public sale after they've cleaned and cataloged them and as I'd love to add a coin from such a trove to my collection.

It should be interesting to see the types of coins that were found and the latest Roman emperor in the batch to give an idea as to the date when they were buried. I hope that they do release a report identifying the coins and how many of each type was found in the hoard.

A cool story of two hobbyists' determined search for treasure beneath the earth.

Thanks to dive buddy Rob G. for the heads up on the story.

Obama and the Heats

So President Obama in another presidential gaffe from the smartest president evah, congratulated the "Miami Heats".

Basketball is not my sport but even I know it's the Miami Heat.

But to be charitable, considering the NBA has players whose total fertility rate matches or exceeds that of Kenya, and the overall league average is 1.5 illegitimate kids per player, I can understand that he thought the players were collectively in heat and thus had to be pluralized as a team name as the Miami Heats.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Golf Course Is A Waste of A Perfectly Good Rifle Range

Last Friday I attended a golf outing.

Unfortunately, Golf and I do not get along.

Indeed, I'm perhaps the worst golfer ever. This is unfortunate because as an attorney as you're somehow supposed to be good at golf. I'm too busy working to play golf or learn to play well, and I'd rather not give up the scuba diving to go around hitting a ball with a stick.

After all, I can scuba dive at night, golf, not so much.

On the upside, it was a scramble so my ineptness didn't hamper the other three players in my group. I was more the comic relief than anything else. They carried me quite handily and they sure as heck could play. They were all very helpful with tips in terms of club selection and stance and were quite encouraging so it was more a fun social gathering than 18 holes of torture.

I had two highlights.

One was sinking a putt with the pressure on:

"The three of us are not bringing our putters to the green Aaron, you're going to sink this one."

Uh, crap, ok....and I did.

The other highlight was more one of infamy. One of the players gave me his Taylormade R11 driver to try. Now the R11 is a beast of a club and just plain awesome to hold and swing. He could do magic with it. Me, not so much.

So I'm about to tee off, focussing intently on the ball and don't see two other players from the next scramble group (just two of them so they got to do everything twice to keep it lively) who have crept up in front and off to the left of me. Note the in front part.

I swing and whamo! The ball goes off the heel and straight at them at the speed of sound, narrowly missing one of them and likely creasing his pant leg. (I felt terrible, but he was untouched, and after all they came to the nuisance knowing I suck and standing in front of a newbie with a club...)

So I at least got the award for "Ball closest to another golfer", or I would have had there been such an award.

Anyways our group finished 6 under par. Like I said, they were good.

I really need to take some lessons and get some practice in before I head out again....or get a club like this, but I doubt it's legal for scramble play...

Meanwhile, yesterday Obama played his 101st round of golf in his term as president.

That's practically a round of golf every other week during his entire presidency. I figure his vacations got in the way of some other rounds...

Before you say "But Bush played golf too!", He played only 24 rounds his entire presidency. Over eight years.

Ah, Golf.

Dives 217 And 218: Negative Viz And A Positive Attitude

Dive 217 took place last Wednesday and it was rather interesting.

Jeremy and I arrived at the boat launch to find the parking lot packed to the gills with trucks and trailers. They were even parked in the conspicuously labeled no parking zone. This led to much fun later when said trucks and trailers tried to leave the parking lot. They quickly found out they didn't have room to make a turn around in the lot due to the goofballs parking in the turning area and had to back through the lot in reverse, missing the parked trailers while doing so, and enter the quite busy Union Lake road trailer first - smooth move there guys.

Unbeknownst to us, it turns out there was a bass fishing tournament going on which accounted for the congestion.

We parked in a spot that opened up and got in the water.

The viz was terrible with an extra serving of boat prop churned suck. Think 1-2 feet of visibility max. often Jeremy could only see me by the glow of my light and vice-versa - and we were only an arms-length away!

We made it to the pontoon boat, tied off our flag and did some valve drills, basic six drills, stage bottle gas switch/deploy/stow drills and mask off line drills. We quickly noticed that if you had your mask off and eyes shut or your mask on and eyes open there wasn't much difference in what you could see.

Meanwhile boats were getting pretty darn close overhead so we were glad to be hanging out at 25 feet or so, as a prop from a boat will wreck your day in a hurry.

So we then headed back to our entry point and got out of the water.

We then learned about the bass tournament, and we also learned from one of the fisherman that we do show up on fish finders.

Luckily for us they didn't mistake us for prize-wining bass and try to catch us.

I would think the dive flag would have been a clue that we were there but you never know, most boaters seem to use it as a slalom marker.

So not a bad dive - excellent trim and buoyancy control all the way through and good practice.

Dive 218 started off yesterday on a calm Sunday morning.

Keith, Maki, Chad, Terry, Jeremy and I met up at the boat parking lot and there were few boats to be seen which was quite happy making.

After gearing up we got in and the viz was better than Wednesday night by far.

Jeremy and I did some valve drills then joined everyone else. Chad and Jeremy passed a stage bottle back and forth and I did the same with Keith and it went quite well.

Everything was going great and then Chad threw and out of air signal and was swimming right by me with no reg in his mouth.

I then did the smoothest air share long hose deployment ever - perfectly in trim and buoyancy and wham I had the regulator right out there where he needed it.

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

He then waved it off.

He was meaning to trip Terry or Maki with the out of air drill as they weren't aware of what he was doing. Damn, a perfect donation and its spurned.

So I then switched back to my longhose and momentarily threw an out of air at Jeremy as he was busy watching Chad et al do an airshare.

Heh, I'm evil that way. Jeremy did it just fine and we then cut that drill and after a bit more swimming around headed back to end a great dive.

So two great dives in one week, and life underwater is good.

Jeremy and I are considering taking the Overhead protocol class and then going on for cave certification later this year and it looks like we'll be ready. With luck Rob will join us and we'll have a very capable team assembled.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Weekend 2012 Part 2 The Airshow

After a breakfast at the hotel we headed to the Gaylord Regional Airport for the Wings over Gaylord Airshow.

We arrived nice and early, got a front row parking place and took the shuttle to the show.

The Yankee Air Force's B-25 Was there, and we made a donation and toured around inside her.

Then the show kicked off as the Canadian Forces CC-130J warmed up on the tarmac.

The props are actually spinning full blast, but the iPhone's camera is actually capturing it so quickly each of the six blades is distinctly shown but appear bent. Very cool.

The CC-130J sprang into the air after a very short takeoff run. Carrying the Canadian Forces Skyhawks parachute demonstration team. After some streamers were dropped so the ground crew could judge the lower altitude winds, as they were acting up, the performance began.

A classy way to open the show, with the narration by the Canadian Forces captain and the formation jump was done to both the Canadian and US National Anthems while carrying both nation's flags.

The jumpers landed at the ending of the anthems right on the center of the drop zone even with the shifting winds, and made it look easy.

Then to keep up the Canadian stereotypes and Canadian content, they went to the Tim Horton's tent for some coffee and doughnuts:

Both the B-25 and the C-47 did some flights around the field, as did an SNJ.

There was some amazing aerobatics by Susan Dacy in her modified Stearman "Big Red":

After a stunning aerobatic display, she parked the aircraft, got out and chatted with the crowd and signed autographs for the kids.

The kids were thrilled to actually get to talk with a real stunt pilot, and a female one at that.

Susan Dacy isn't just one helluva talented pilot, she's also a class act all the way.

And then there was formation aerobatics by Team Aerostar in their YAK-52s:

Now I want a pilot's license and a Yak-52. Oh bother.

In addition to planes, there were informational exhibits by the Air Force and National Guard and quite a number of military vehicles both historic and current to be seen.

They also demonstrated some very cool forward air controller video-interlink gear. Suffice to say, they can seriously rock the battlefield.

Sadly, they wouldn't let me take any of the toys home.

The kids got to look at the Army Firefighting vehicles and saw a demonstration on some of the Army firefighter rescue techniques:

The firefighters let them try on the helmets and other gear and climb in the trucks.

The airshow portion of the show then closed with another jump by the Skyhawks. After that there was a chance for helicopter, B-25, and C-47 rides but the kids were completely fried so it was time to go.

It was a fantastic day indeed and we headed home very happy after what was the best Father's Day.

Father's Day Weekend 2012 Part 1

Father's Day Weekend proved to be a special one indeed for me, thanks to my awesome family.

On Saturday we first went to the Library where they were kicking off their summer reading program for kids as part of the effort to prevent their brains turning into mush over the summer.

So the library had a mini-fair going on with a petting zoo, a dunk-the-librarian tank, indoor mini golf for kids and pony rides.

The line-up for the Pony ride was incredibly long, but worth it given the smiles on every kid's face that dismounted after a little ride around the parking lot.

So with the kids signed up for the summer reading program we packed and headed out upon the road, heading north.

The family had decided that for Father's Day they were taking me to the Wings Over Gaylord Airshow in Gaylord, Michigan.

This was quite the trip, a three hour there and three hour back affair zipping up I-75.

On the way up we stopped in Bay City for dinner. Father's Day calls for ribs and we used yelp! to look for a restaurant and sure enough there was a BBQ Restaurant off of I-75 in Bay City that looked promising.

From the outside it doesn't look like much, but looks are deceiving:

It's a small place, with a nice homey interior:

Tash and I ordered the Memphis-style dry rub Ribs for 2 with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted green beans and Abby the little kid pulled pork sandwich with roasted corn as a side and Leah the chicken nuggets and roasted corn.

Everything except for the chicken nuggets are made right there on the premises.

Service was friendly and excellent and then the ribs arrived:

Best. Ribs. Ever.

These ribs put the ribs I've had in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia to shame. Smoked right there on the premises, they're pretty much the definition of heaven on a plate. There was also a homemade bbq sauce on the table that was a perfect accompaniment.

It's an hour and a half each way trip to that restaurant and we're seriously thinking about driving there again for their ribs. Wow.

We talked with the owners and they were very nice down to earth folks who are just making the best darn ribs in the known universe in a low-key fashion.

We then drove on to Gaylord and pulled into the hotel and promptly fell asleep and got ready for the next day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No Playing With It In Public

Otherwise this may happen:

The Detroit Free Press: Man shoots himself in the penis in Birmingham

Ouch. It's a cringe-worthy situation, and I suspect all my male readers just shuffled uncomfortably in their chairs.

The 45-year-old heating and air-conditioning company employee was on a job in Birmingham on Tuesday when the incident took place, Birmingham Police Deputy Chief Mark Clemence said today. He was getting ready to work and was moving the .40-caliber Glock pistol in his pants when it discharged at 11:15 a.m.

"Through and through, if you can believe it," Clemence said. "The situation could have been a lot worse. You think about it -- your femoral artery runs down there. He could have shot it off. It could have been a lot worse. It’s a big bullet; you’re not talking a small bullet."

Any bets he was carrying without a holster covering the trigger guard while having it pointed at a most sensitive place? Either he touched the trigger and released a premature discharge or he moved it the wrong way and got the trigger caught on something leading to it going off.

Inquiring minds also want to know if this incident counts as a one-shot-stop?

For your own safety and comfort, don't carry guns in your pants without holsters and don't fiddle with them while carrying them.

At the very least, if you're going to tuck a Glock or similar pistol in your pants without a full coverage holster, at least use a MIC holster (or similar) so you don't blow a hole in your.....

Friday, June 15, 2012

Obama Orders Illegal Immigrant Amnesty

Findlaw: AP Sources: Immunity offered to certain immigrants

As announced in the typical Obama Administration Friday news dump:

The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.

The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military.

Nice, bypass the legislature and grant amnesty from deportation to over 800,000 illegals by executive fiat. This is an election year after all, and if it garners him some votes, so much the better, right?

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was to announce the new policy Friday, one week before President Barack Obama plans to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak to the group on Thursday.
Read the articles for the full details but essentially if an illegal who has allegedly entered the country before they turn 16 (good luck proving that) been in the country 5 years (good luck proving that) and has a GED.

Basically, Obama is implementing the bulk of the unpassed Democrat DREAM Act, and granting illegals amnesty and immunity from deportation for political purposes.

Game of Leftist Drones

Drones not as in those airborne unmanned objects giving Al Qaeda such grief, but in this case mindless leftists.

The Detroit Free Press: HBO apologizes for beheading George W. Bush on 'Game of Thrones'

On Thursday, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the guys who have adapted George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" books into HBO series "Thrones," apologized after revealing in commentary for the DVD version of the show's first season that they used a replica of President George W. Bush's head in a couple of the show's beheading scenes.

Why, what a rebellious combination of a very edgy and oh-so-secret act of speaking truth and beheading the power.

I'm sure the crew got quite the chuckle over it and felt very brave for such a courageous act.

Actually, make that beheading the former power. W. was long out of office before filming started in 2010. I guess the power of the W. lingers, especially within the liberal mind. After all, Obama is still blaming Bush for everything bad even in 2012.

Please, if you want to be really edgy with your beheading images, try using the replica head of Obama or Mohammed. Good luck with getting away with those while either keeping your own careers if you use the first or keeping your own heads in the second....

Of course, now they're trying to walk it back and claim that it was used for "budget restrictions".

Sure it was.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

X-47 Causes Quite A Stir On The Beltway

Not to worry, aliens aren't landing in Maryland. It's just the transportation of an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle.

MSNBC.com: Military clears up Beltway UFO mystery

On Wednesday night, Facebook and Twitter users went wild over sightings of a saucer-shaped vessel being towed on local highways. The buzz called to mind the frenzy in 1947 Roswell, albeit in a much more modern way.

Drivers spotted the craft on I-270 and on the Beltway as it was pulled behind a tractor trailer.

But we can take the "unidentified" out of "unidentified flying object." (And yes, we realize that it wasn't actually flying, either.) The military has confirmed to NBC News affiliate News4 that the 82-foot-long craft is an unmanned military aircraft, known as an X-47B.

Ah well, the military spokesperson lost a great opportunity to say "Sorry that's classified, I could tell you what it was but then I'd have to kill you".

Opportunities lost.

Perhaps the best comment ever to come out of the brouhaha:

"Don't worry, that's not an alien spacecraft, just a flying military robot. Totally normal sentence in 2012. I love the future," Ben Jacobs tweeted.

Nicely said.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It Takes A Lot Of Chutzpah To Be Michigan's Democrat Chairman

Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democrats submitted the following linked opinion piece to the Detroit News: If anyone is committing voter fraud in Michigan, it is Republicans

Nevermind that his op-ed is rather hard to follow, especially with the party switching part that just doesn't make any sense without some context that I and most readers lack.

But seriously now, according to Brewer the source of fraud in Michigan elections are the Republicans? That takes a fair suspension of disbelief, especially given the author of the diatribe.

After all, this is coming from the head of the Michigan Democrats, whose Operations Director of its Oakland County branch and former party chairman was convicted of creating a fake tea party. Indeed, Mr. Brewer was himself suspected by some political analysts of playing a part and being involved in the shenanigans.

I'm not sure if he was able to write his column with a straight face, but I'm betting not.

That's Not Very Comforting...

Airflow problems plague CDC bioterror lab

From USA Today / The Detroit Free Press.

A $214 million bioterror germ lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has had repeated problems with airflow systems designed to help prevent the release of infectious agents, government documents and internal e-mails show.

While the agency says no one has been infected, a biosafety expert says the problems appear to be major violations of laboratory operating standards.

The area of the building with problems involves Biosafety Level 3 labs that can be used for experiments involving anthrax, dangerous strains of influenza, the SARS coronavirus, monkeypox and other microbes that have the potential to be used as bioweapons.

Hmm, and we're now experiencing a strange outbreak of face-eating zombies.

Nothing to see here, nope nothing at all, just a coincidence I'm sure.....

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fun-Packed Weekend

Saturday afternoon we travelled to Lansing to celebrate the bat mitzvah of the daughter of one of my former coworkers. Many other co-workers were there, including Scott of the Providentia blog and his family and a darn good time was had by all. The coworker cooked all Russian foods, as her daughter is an adoptee from Russia and it was quite the feast. The dancing was fun with the kids having a blast.

I was then put in charge of the chair raising part of the festivities.

Lifting the bar mitzvah girl or boy is a traditional part of the ceremony.

So I and three others snuck up on her, got in the chair and up she went.

Much fun had by all.

Then, in a slight and unexpected break from tradition, the attendee kids also wanted a go.

It's a celebration after all, so how could we say no?

So I was quite sore the next morning and I got quite the workout that night.

Sunday morning we got up early and headed for the wilds of Ohio, The African Safari Wildlife Park to be precise. We met up there with a family we knew from the old neighborhood and spent the rest of the time together. Great people, the kids get along pretty well and are about the same age so it was a great time.

The Park is a wonderful combination of wonders of the animal world, close interactions with animals and corniness, all rolled into one.

First after paying admission we headed off to the NASPIG races. Yes, NASPIG.

We were in the cheering section for Mario Spamdretti, who beat Pig Daddy and Dale Swineheart Jr quite handily. Like I said, corny.

Then on to the animals.

First there were the static displays as in a typical zoo.

Then a free short camel ride for the kids with longer ones costing.

Then a wildlife interaction, including a close encounter with a Burmese Python:

Not only did the kids touch it, but we later took a picture of them holding it. Brave kids, especially when it looked Leah right in the face, sizing her up to be a snack. She kept her composure quite well.

Then onto the vehicular-nutritive-interactive phase, which was the highlight.

For a reasonable fee, you could buy some grain pellets and carrots and drive into the park and feed the animals from the inside of your car.

The Alpacas and Guancano were pretty soft, relaxed, and gentle, and you could give them a pet while feeding them. They would also hum in appreciation when you fed them which was kinda cute.

Then it got interesting as we entered the main animal welfare section:

The deer were pretty insistent, with one of them even taking the entire feed cup out of Abby's hands and taking off with it stuck on his upper jaw until finished off all the contents.

The Buffalo then made an appearance. He knew what he wanted and he got it:

At that moment, with a buffalo's hot breath in my face and teeth and horn just inches away, all debates of 9mm v .45 faded into irrelevance and insignificance. Where the hell was a trusty 45-70 Sharps around here anyways?

Luckily, It turns out that these Buffalo are addicted to carrots, and carrots they darn well received. Once you paid the protection carrots they happily went on to hit up the next vehicle.

A very cool experience and highly recommended.

Buy carrots and expect to need a car wash later as the buffalo tend to get slime on your car.

After spending the day there we drove to Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky and checked in and hit the water park.

Abby decided she was going to be queen of the water slides and we were off and taking the tallest and fastest slides immediately. And again, and again. I got all the stair-climbing exercise I might need carrying the double tube up multiple flights to get to the top and then repeat.

Then a filling and tasty dinner.

After dinner, I took the kids to the arcade where they kept playing games and winning tickets so they could buy the trinkets in the arcade store. Much fun had by all.

Monday we got up at Great Wolf, had a huge all-you-can eat breakfast and headed again into the water park.

After a Pizza lunch and then even more carrying the tube up the stairs on countless more slide rides, we called it a day and headed homeward.

Now we're all sorts of tired, but we sure packed a lot into the past couple days.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Detroit To Run Out Of Money -- Again

Looks like the State of Michigan isn't going to pander to Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press: State to Detroit: You'll lose $80 million or more if consent deal lawsuit isn't dropped

The state Treasurer's Office warned the City of Detroit on Thursday that it could lose $80 million or more in state revenue sharing unless Mayor Dave Bing gets a lawsuit dropped by next week that challenges the city's financial stability agreement with the state.

Deputy Treasurer Thomas Saxton told the city that the lawsuit against the consent agreement could force the state to hold back from the city $80 million in revenue sharing that was used, essentially, as collateral for interim refinancing of bonds issued in March so Detroit would not run out of cash.

In other words, the state will not bailout the City unconditionally, nor allow its funds to be used for a frivolous lawsuit against it by its Detroit opponents.

Good on the State for standing up to the Detroit Clowncil and others trying to game the system and keep the Statte's money without any need to be responsible and uphold the deal that got them the money in the first place.

Even The Freep columnists are realizing the Detroit has overstepped in its attempted gaming of the deal:

Stephen Henderson: Detroit faces a choice between acceptance of reality and suicidal defiance

Swallow your pride -- or choke on it.

That's what Detroit is down to in its operatic arc of financial tragedy: a final choice between acceptance of reality and suicidal defiance.

The city's elected officials can let their rogue corporation counsel, Krystal Crittendon, force payless paydays or worse with her quixotically loopy attempt to undo the consent agreement with the state to better manage Detroit's finances.

Or they can act like grown-ups and accept, with just a modicum of humility, that it is their responsibility to determine Detroit's fate, not Crittendon's. They can order her to stand down, so that other agreements between the city and state (including one worth an immediate $80 million to the city) can go forward.

You'd think there would be no question about the right choice.

But this is Detroit.

So will Detroit do the right thing, or instead in following their present course decide that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part?

The Detroit City Council: "And we're just the guys to do it!"

Stay tuned, and have the popcorn ready.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Your Saturday Break - A Dream Flight In A Lockheed TU-2

Amazing and awesomely beautiful video of a TU-2 Flight with passenger James May of Top Gear to 70,000 feet and the edge of space itself.

Friday, June 08, 2012

How About A Little Free Market In Your Michigan Transportation Network?

Faced with boondoggles of expensive high-speed rail to nowhere, bus drivers that go on strike, and a public transportation deep in debt and disorder living on unending tax subsidies, at least one Michigan legislator has an amazing idea:

Let's give the free market a try!

The Detroit News: Bill encourages return of jitneys

On Tuesday, state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, introduced a measure (HB 5724) that would prohibit cities from banning the establishment or use of jitneys as a means of public transportation.

It would also prohibit cities from imposing regulations on jitneys that aren't imposed on privately owned vehicles, forcing operators to buy a franchise or slapping them with a surety bond.

You'll note that Jitneys, private transportation vehicles were originally banned because they were too competitive with established interests:

Jitneys have been illegal in Detroit since back in the 1920s when they were considered competition for taxis, buses and the street car system.

Certainly a step in the right direction, and I hope Rep McMillin's bill passes so the free market can try to fix where the government-imposed solution has failed. Instead of throwing yet more taxpayer dollars at a failed public system, might as well try letting entrepreneurs give it a go.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Attempt To Recall Gov Snyder Falls Flat

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan group abandoning effort to recall Gov. Snyder

The recall attack against Republican Governor Rick Snyder just sputtered out with a whimper, not a bang:

A Michigan group is abandoning its effort to recall Republican Gov. Rick Snyder after Tuesday's failure of an effort in Wisconsin to recall Gov. Scott Walker, the group's spokesman announced this morning. Bruce Fealk of Michigan Rising said in a news release the group was well short of its goal in collecting signatures. "It has become abundantly clear that Michigan Rising was not going to accomplish its goal of recalling Gov. Snyder," Fealk said.

It looks like the Democrat tactic of recalling Republican governors over policy differences is coming to a halt. Thank you Wisconsin.

As someone wise on the Internet recently cracked (or a similar version thereof):

Why is the leftist so sad?

He can't recall.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

"Ok, Let's Go"

Terrible weather 68 years ago delayed the planned D-Day invasion by 24 hours, but then Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his decision to launch the invasion with the famous words - "OK, let's go."

And with those words, the greatest amphibious invasion of American, British and Canadian troops set sail from the shores and roared into the skies above Normandy.

Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces was General Dwight Eisenhower while overall command of ground forces (21st Army Group) was given to General Bernard Montgomery. The operation, planned by a team under Lieutenant-General Frederick Morgan, was the largest amphibious invasion in world history and was executed by land, sea, and air elements under direct British command with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944, 73,000 American troops, 61,715 British and 21,400 Canadian. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. The invasion required the transport of soldiers and material from the United Kingdom by troop-laden aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. The landings took place along a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

That fateful decision, among many over the course of the war, provides the answer to the question:

Who was the best German General of World War 2?

- Eisenhower.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

And Another Al Qaeda #2 Bites the Dust.

John Ringo on Facebook commented that with the death of Al-Qaeda #2 Abu Yahya al-Libi, in Pakistan on Monday, he is the 29th Al Qaeda #2 that has met an early demise since taking on the job.

I daresay it's the Peter Principle for Al Qaeda: You rise to the level of your own drone strike.

Michigan Supreme Court Affirms that Lying About Being Armed While Attempting To Commit A Robbery Is The Same As Attempting An Armed Robbery

An interesting opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court:

Glenn Terrance Williams tried to rob a smoke shop (a day after he robbed a gas station) by claiming he had a firearm.

The clerk didn't believe him, and he left the store empty handed and was then caught, as is typical for stupid criminals.

He ended up being pleading to and being convicted of attempted armed robbery.

But that's an impossibility you say? He wasn't armed and thus couldn't have attempted such?

Not so fast sayeth the Court, and quite rightly so:

At his plea allocution, defendant admitted that he assaulted, or otherwise used the threat of force or violence against, the clerk in “the course of committing a larceny” of the tobacco shop. Defendant admitted that it was his intent to rob the clerk of the tobacco shop’s money. It also was established at defendant’s plea hearing that at the time of the robbery defendant intimated that he had a dangerous weapon, both by verbally alluding to this fact and by placing his hand under his clothing so as to represent that he was armed with a weapon. Even though defendant was unsuccessful in obtaining money, his attempt to complete a larceny while representing that he was armed with a dangerous weapon satisfied MCL 750.529. Accordingly, the facts elicited at the plea allocution were sufficient to sustain defendant’s conviction for armed robbery, and the circuit court did not err by denying defendant’s motion to withdraw that plea.

The court also does an interesting analysis that Michigan no longer requires a completed larceny to take place in order for the crime of robbery to occur.

The decision certainly makes sense - if a criminal intimates they have a weapon, the victim should be able to rely on their claim, and act accordingly. The penalty for claiming such certainly should be as if they are in fact armed to prevent criminals from making such claims and causing dangerous situations.

As a result, William's first attempt at a release from prison will be in February 2031.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Joining The iDarkside

The firm I work at has just switched over from a mix of Droid phones and Blackberries to just one option - the iPhone 4S.

The switch is mandatory. So, it's time to learn a new phone, figure out how to get the same or similar apps installed and transfer the data to it.

Goodbye to the Droid X, and now onwards to the Dark Side.

Clarence Page Simply Shocked That Obama Isn't Living Up To Expectations

Instapundit really ought to have a category called '"Hey Rube", for all the countless entries he's made wherein he notes former and current Obama supporters disenchanted upon finding out the Obama administration isn't living up to the hype of hope'n'change.

Now eligible to join the distinguished category of those supporters who have now been disappointed that Obama didn't live up to his hype nor his promises is one Clarence Page, a major media pundit and cheerleader for Democrats and Obama in particular.

The Detroit News: Obama's pot reform goes up in smoke

I would shrug and say "So what?" to the latest details from President Barack Obama's pot-smoking past, except for one thing: He stirred so much hope as a candidate for sensible marijuana policy reforms but, as president, has delivered so little change.

Sorry Rube. You supported him, you boosted him, you voted for him, so you can now claim him.

After all, to paraphrase Instapundit: They told me if I voted for John McCain there would be a crack-down on marijuana users, and they were right!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Drysuit Repair and Dive 214

Last night after dinner I met up with Jeremy at his place so we could try and figure out why my drysuit has been leaking so much lately.

The best way to test a drysuit for leaks is to fill it up, fill it with air and apply soapy water to the outside of the suit where you believe it is leaking. The escaping air, too minute to see, will make the soapy water foam up and thus help pinpoint the leaks.

Since I've been leaking like a sieve at the sleeves after we changed my drysuit wrist seal configuration and went to a permanent ring system, that was where we started.

So with a kid's play bucket secured with electrical tape to occupy the neck seal, cuff dump sealed with electrical tape and gloves on and drysuit zipper zipped we gave it an inflationary rush of compressed air:

Zombie Drysuits will look like this when they walk among us someday. Be warned.

We found the leaks and they were very apparent, the bubbles coming fast and furious, right at the seam when the drysuit sleeve was stitched together and where the sealed seam contacted the dry glove ring - on both gloves and on both seams. No wonder I could wring out my undergarment arms after a dive.

We resealed the dry ring adhesive at those points and tested again - no leaks the second time around.

The proof of concept was of course to get in the water and subject it to a few atmospheres of pressure.

So this morning I got together with Keith and Chad and we headed off on a long dive in Union Lake. The wind was up but it was otherwise a sunny day. On the upside, the strong winds reduced the number of boats on the lake by quite a bit.

We decided to do an extensive dive to check on the lines in the lake and map out the lines. We passed the boats I normally go by and headed for less visited areas of the line and visited the boats there. Boats like the cement boat - a speedboat with some sacks of cement, in it to make sure it stayed down, hence its name. We also passed the Skippy boat, a boat the is nose down into the bottom, stern pointing straight up and looking like a monolith when you come up on it. Kinda cool.

We found a few golf balls, followed the lines around and got compass headings for each of the direction changes in the line and each line split and had a nice 60 minute dive. I was quite pleased with this dive - good control, excellent buoyancy and awareness.

Our maximum depth was 50 feet and water temp at the deepest we went was about 50 degrees, but was typically 55 degrees for most of the dive.

When I got out of the water, I was quite happy to see and feel that I was in fact dry instead of sopping wet hands and arms as usual. I had felt quite a bit warmer during the dive as when you're not wet, you stay much warmer. We still plan to Aquaseal the cuff rings around where they meet the suit as a final measure to prevent leaks.

Even without the finsihing touch of the aquaseal, it's great when a drysuit is fully acting like a drysuit again.

afterwards we went to the Library Pub for some adult beverages and lunch along with good diving-related conversation.

A great and dry dive on a beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Friday, June 01, 2012

Yes, It's The Economy Stupid

And the Economy is not looking good... The Detroit Free Press: Dismal economic news: U.S. added just 69K jobs in May

The U.S. economy suddenly looks a lot weaker.

U.S. employers created only 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate ticked up.

The dismal jobs data will fan fears that the economy is sputtering. It could also damage President Barack Obama's re-election prospects. And it could lead the Federal Reserve to take further steps to help the economy.

The Labor Department also said Friday that the economy created far fewer jobs in the previous two months than first thought. It revised those figures down to show 49,000 fewer jobs created. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April, the first increase in 11 months.

Folowing the standard Obama Administration pattern of unexpectedly revising economic numbers downward after releasing them and holding the bad news until a Friday of course.

In other words, the stats were off by a claimed 49,000 jobs that weren't really created, which is statistically pretty darn significant.

Expect a continuing pattern of the administration releasing rosy proclamations about the economy and then walking them back under "revisions" that happen on the regular Friday news dump.

President Obama sure as anything can't run on his record with this economy without lying through his teeth.