Monday, September 30, 2013

Detroit's Politicians Did Dirty Deeds For Dirt Cheap

It's often said that the definition of an honest politician is a politician that once bought stays bought.

In Detroit, the amazing part is how little it took for the politicians to be bought to further corrupt schemes that siphoned and squandered hundreds of millions for the City's coffers.

The Detroit News has an interesting article on the corruption in the pension plans that led to an insanely risky deal that saddled the city pensions funds with debt while enriching the plan schemers.

The amazing thing on reading the article is how little it took to get the Detroit politicians and officials to approve this corrupt deal:
Marty Bandemer: A former Detroit Police union president allegedly received $5,000 in cash from pension fund businessmen during a 2007 birthday party at the Atheneum Suite Hotel, according to court records. Bandemer also allegedly received $15,000 in casino chips from a pension businessman and a free trip from another to the Bahamas in 2008. Bandemer has not been charged with a crime.
Jeffrey Beasley: A former city treasurer and fraternity brother of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with taking bribes and kickbacks in a federal indictment in February 2012.
DeDan Milton: This longtime friend and executive assistant to Kilpatrick admitted taking about $16,000 in kickbacks in connection with two city land sales. He was sentenced to three years and six months in prison and released last month.
Alberta Tinsley-Talabi: She took a Caribbean trip, campaign cash and a donation from Dixon while supporting his $10 million city pension fund deal, according to prosecutors. She was later elected to the state House of Representatives and has not been charged in the ongoing corruption case.
Paul Stewart: A former vice president of the Detroit Police Officers Association. He allegedly received a $5,000 casino chip bribe; a Christmas basket stuffed with cash; $2,500 during a trip to New York City and $2,500 during a trip to Florida; and trips to the Bahamas and Naples, Fla., with his mistress — all from people doing business with the pension fund, according to the indictment.
It likely took less than $90,000 in bribes to get in one example of the corrupt deals, a $10 million deal approved.  That's quite a low expense and an excellent return on investment, and it shows you can purchase 5 Detroit officials on the cheap. That one deal is just the tip of the iceberg on a web of corruption that wasted hundreds of millions on top of a loss of billions in the risky deal.

Oh, and since this is being reported by the mainstream media, we have to play the game of "Name That Party".

All the officials hail from the same political party, and I'll even give you a hint - it starts with the same letter as Detroit.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dive 242 Union Lake Scooter Dive


Dive 242 with the guys in Union Lake meant one thing - Scooter Time!

Chad had his new DiveX Cuda 400, Keith and Fred bopth had their DiveX Sierra and I got to use the ol' DiveX Sierra Scooter as well.

 First, we kicked out from shore to the photocopier boat and tied off the flag:

Keith and the flag, note the scooter stowed clipped off on his left side.

 Then we deployed the scooters from their stowed positions and got ready to go:


Chad prepares to start stylin' with the Cuda
Then off you go.

Scooter diving is very relaxed diving.  You let the scooter do the work and you hang on behind it and just take it easy.  No heavy kicking, just flying through the water.

Unfortunately, visibility was sucky with an extra side of suck. Between the lake turning over and a lot of boats tooling around the visibility was minimal.

 At least we saw a fish. This one followed us around the lake for a while:


We scootered out to the boat that has its bow buried into the muck with its stern end facing the surface like an obelisk:

It looks more impressive in person....

 Hopefully when the viz clears we'll get out there again and I'll get some pics of the whole boat rising from the muck as it looks pretty cool looming out of the gloom.

After a while we headed back along the lines and stowed away the scooters, and did our deco stops at 20, 15 and 10 feet.


It was a very fun dive, as Keith indicated during the deco stop:




Dive Time: 66 minutes
Gas Used: 1400 psi
Water temp: 67 at the surface, 55 at the bottom.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

The AR-15. Is There Anything it Can't Be (Humorously) Blamed For?

Over at Clayton Cramer's blog, he's got a very funny post up about the AR-15.

Humor - Subject: Fun facts about the AR-15

You are now warned not to be drinking anything simultaneously with clicking and then reading the linked material.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Detroit - When A Gift of $300 Million Is Not A Bailout

Three hundred million bucks don't go as far as they used to.

The Detroit News: Feds to bear gifts, but not bailout

In what other country is $300 million in "gifts" not considered a bailout? Perhaps not when Detroit is 12 Billion in the hole in underfunded liabilities alone.

Still its not all bad, after all Obama got the Detroit vote already, doesn't have the political clout nor money to bail it out further and doesn't really need the city anymore, so instead of a bailout he's offering passion:

An Obama administration official Friday vowed the White House will bring “a lot of passion” to an aggressive effort to help Detroit recover from its economic crisis.

In other words, Obama's administration just offered to stick its tongue in Detroit's ear.

After all, it's nice to have a little passion when you're screwed.

With No Help From Detroit's City Council, Belle Isle May Be Saved After All

Belle Isle may finally get out from under its decades of neglect and underfunding due to the misrule of Detroit City Council of this "jewel" of the city.

The Detroit Free Press: Rochelle Riley: Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr committed to Belle Isle as state park

The plan seems to be just about the same plan the City Council had rejected prior to the bankruptcy and appointment of the EFM.

In other words, getting Belle Isle out from under the thumb of these idiots is long past due,

Of course, Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem Saunteel Jenkins (D-Idiot, standing in after the former President of the Council, D-Pedophile resigned in disgrace) had this to say about the deal:

“We need to make sure the rules at Belle Isle make sense for a large urban park because those that need that park and the people frequenting the park will be different than those at other state parks,” she said.

Wow. Just imagine, if you can, a white politician saying that about the people currently frequenting the park and its current use.

That Lake Sure Knows How To Party

The Detroit Free Press: Drugs, caffeine, chemicals found in Lake Michigan worry researchers

Gives a whole new meaning to getting a natural high from visiting the Great Lakes.

Mil Rifles Of The World Map

Gizmodo has an interesting map showing the main issue rifle of each of the world's countries colored by type. At their site you can click to embiggen and see what each nation has as its main issue.

The map is interesting, but by Cthulu's beard, the comments at Gizmodo range from at best downright ignorant and inane all the way to generalized America and gun-ownership bashing with a generous helping of pure ignorance about firearms found throughout.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happiness Is A Package From Amazon

Two great fiction books awaited inside as the sealing tape was sliced from the box:

John Ringo's Under a Graveyard Sky , a Zombie action book starting a new series. It's by Ringo, so you know it's going to be good with a superb scenario and some serious action.

Larry Correia and Mike Kupari's Swords of Exodus. Second in the Dead Six series, if it's as good as the first one, it'll be a keeper and Correia never dissapoints.

All I need now is Col. Tom Kratman's Come and Take Them (already on order) and I'll have the Awesome Autumn Action Reading Trifecta.

Book reviews to follow.

So, How Bad is it in Detroit? It's So Bad, Even The Employed Detroit City Workers Are Making Unemployment Claims.

They're fraudulent unemployment claims of course, but that's never stopped them before.

The Detroit Free Press: Report finds Detroit employees profited in unemployment benefit claim fraud

An Auditor General’s report on the City of Detroit’s employee benefits has found significant likelihood of fraud in the administration of unemployment benefits, including what appears to be some active city workers in human resources creating fraudulent unemployment benefit claims for themselves.

At least half of the unemployment claims made are deemed either fraudulent or highly suspicious. Does anyone still think we don't need to investigate fraud (including voter fraud) in Democrat-run cities....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So, How Bad Is It In Detroit?

It's so bad, they're seriously considering replacing the lawn maintenance crews with goats and sheep, that's how bad it is.

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit to look at goats, sheep for trimming grass

That's because nothing says you've got a thriving (yet bankrupt) Democrat-run city like having goats and sheep wandering about eating the bountiful weeds sprouting up amongst the abandoned lots and overgrown parks.

You Can Take The Kilpatricks Out Of The Corruption of Detroit , But You Can't Take The Corruption Of Detroit Out Of The Kilpatricks

Whether in the D or in Texas, the Kilpatricks just can't keep their hands out of the till.

The Detroit News: Video captures Carlita Kilpatrick being questioned over cash

A video has surfaced several months after Detroit’s former first lady was let go from her job in Duncanville, Texas, in which Carlita Kilpatrick is questioned over why she had several hundred dollars in undisclosed cash in one of her desk drawers.

A police officer and investigators are seen entering Kilpatrick’s office to discover cash kept in an office desk drawer in the video posted on YouTube on Sept. 16 titled “Show Me The Money” with text “Cash audit results in hidden cash box in the desk of Carlita Kilpatrick.”

Giving a Kilpatrick a job where they handle other people's cash is like putting an arsonist in charge of the matches and gasoline supply. Not a good idea, and one that has predictable results.

At least this time it was only hundreds of dollars versus the hundreds of thousands that Kwame bilked out of the City of Detroit.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So, How Bad Is It In Detroit? So Bad They're Even Stealing Bodies And The Money is Now In Demolishing, Not Building Homes

Two stories that illustrate how messed up Detroit has become:

The Detroit Free Press: Confessed body snatcher ordered to stay on medication, serve probation

A Detroit man accused of stealing his father’s corpse from an east side cemetery earlier this year was sentenced this morning and ordered to take medicine for mental health problems.

And:

The Detroit Free Press: About 4,000 blighted Detroit buildings being demolished with $52M in federal cash

The officials gathered on Turner Street off Puritan near Livernois to trumpet $52 million in federal funds the Obama administration is making available to Detroit to help stabilize neighborhoods. It’s estimated that the city has as many as 78,000 vacant and abandoned buildings, and neighbors say the homes become magnets for crime — from drug dealing to thievery of materials inside — pushing down property values and making neighborhoods unsafe.

Note that this grant of $52 million in taxpayer money only demolishes 4,000 homes. In other words, it costs $13,000 to demolish a house in Detroit at prevailing union wages. One would think they could do it for less, given the urgency of the crisis, but people must be paid off after all.

With 78,000 abandoned buildings, it will take at least $962,000,000 to demolish the remainder -- essentially a billion dollars -- that the bankrupt city doesn't have, nor do the Feds really have it to give it. Even if they did, it will not be enough to revive this shattered, Democrat-dominated corrupt mockery of a city.

The Extra-Weak Horse

This will do wonders for the claim that Obama is a strong, tough president and will truly enhance our standing in the world.

The Detroit Free Press: Obama says he quit smoking because he's 'scared of' Michelle.

President Obama says he quit smoking for one major reason: First lady Michelle Obama.

"I haven't had a cigarette in 6 years ... that's because I'm scared of my wife," Obama was overheard telling a United Nations official on Monday.

Well, now that's quite a presidential pronouncement.

That rumbling sound you hear is Putin, Rouhani, Assad, and Omar all doubling over with laughter and delighted that they're facing off with such a pussy.

The dead-on cartoon is from the awesome Hope n' Change Cartoons blog, and it even predates this latest announcement.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Visiting The Ontario Science Center

This weekend we were in Toronto for my Mother-In-Law's Birthday celebration.

On the way there we drove through a rainstorm so heavy that the road markings on the highway disappeared. Unfortunately, the rain and solid cloud cover continued through the next day and killed our plans for having the birthday celebration at the top of the CN Tower as there wouldn't be anything to see but clouds. As an alternative we went to a fine Teppanyaki dinner with the family to celebrate.

That left time during the day for Tash to take her mom out shopping and for me to take the kids to the Ontario Science Center.

After passing the admission booths, you enter a hall that lays out geologic time from the beginning of the earth forward with large dated rock samples along the way, and the kids learned that way back in the day, 3 billion years ago, Ontario had active volcanoes:

Moving forward in time, note the lovely large chunk of silver in this one, dating to 2.2 billion years ago:

Then it was on to the Space exhibit. Sadly, the space planetarium show was closed for renovation. However, in addition to scale models of the solar system and a model of the space shuttle, some impressive pictures from the Hubble telescope could be seen, along with very useful descriptions of what exactly you were viewing on the photo.

In this case, the Andromeda Galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor at only 2.5 million light-years away is featured:

You'll note the description states the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with our own and will crash the party in about 3 billion years. This was good as I was highly worried it was going to collide resulting in a disaster in 3 million years, so there's still time.

Moving on to the next level, we saw a presentation on King Richard III.

It turns out that in addition to being vilified by Shakespeare, and suffering the indignity of being buried under a parking lot, he also was afflicted with roundworms.

As a result, he truly was entitled to use the royal "We".

The presentation also discussed how worms and bacteria are transmitted and what kids can do to prevent getting sick, with the simplest measure being to just properly wash your hands every time before you eat or touch your mouth.

There was tons of hands-on science experiments and things for the kids to do at the OSC and they joyfully tried as many of them as they could from playing working glockenspiels made from tools:

To making and flight-testing paper airplanes in the flight exhibit:

The paper airplane test center had a scale model of the Avro Arrow close by for inspiration:

There was also a wingspan calculator that figured out how big a wingspan you'd need to fly like a bird. In Leah's case it was a 15.91 foot wingspan to get her off the ground.

Of course, No visit to the OSC is complete without attending the electricity demonstration featuring their Van De Graaf Generator:

The kids had a great time and saw and did just about everything the OSC had to offer. From a mini-rainforest to a paper-making exhibit and tons of hands-on physics experiments, the OSC is a great place to take your kids if you're visiting Toronto.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Because Bacon

Saw this at Duty Free, is there anything bacon doesn't go well with?

Back from a visit with the folks in Toronto, blogging to follow.

Friday, September 20, 2013

So Who Is That Guthball Anyways?

The latest liberal with a "look at me" and a "I peacefully advocate violence" twitter complex, Associate Professor David Guth of Kansas University tweeted:

"#NavyYardShooting The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you,"

A quick look into Guth's background reveals a rather sad little progressive, who doesn't even have a Ph.D., who teaches journalism at Kansas U, probably the only university that would deign to take him.

Oh, and he has a list of accomplishments smaller than an anthill, with only one paper that he published on his own with the very few others he;'s done co-authored. Not at all impressive for someone who has been stuck as an associate professor since 1991. That's really all you need to know about this sad sack.

Oh, and he apparently fears turtles (He a U of Maryland Terrapin Alum which explains some of the idiocy) along with firearms. His rather dismally designed blog is long on leftist histrionics but short on facts. In short, he's the very model of the modern mass media journo-lister with delusions of adequacy.

He's just not worth anyone's time getting worried about.

He has all the influence and audience of a moss-covered pet rock.

His very writings and lack of real scholarly accomplishments or other accomplishments for that matter are a vivid display of the failure of his journalistic and academic aspirations, and his tweet is but a pathetic attempt of a small man begging for attention.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bad Drivers Really Shouldn't Text 'N' Drive

So I'm minding my own business eastbound in the right lane on 14 Mile today.

All of a sudden this gold colored Chrysler sedan car in the left lane starts not only zipping up but edging into my lane and me.

I honk the horn to no avail, and this idiot keeps coming. I had to hop the curb to create space, honking the whole time.

How the collision was avoided I'm still not sure. Amazingly there's no paint from her car on the side of mine, it was that close.

Turns as we come to a stop light, and she actually stops, that the driver is a young black lady with her head down, texting away.

The front of her car, a gold Chrysler sedan, license plate CHF 4997, is quite banged up with at least two distinct impacts, and I can bet I know the reasons why.

She keeps merrily rolling along, head down in traffic, texting away, cutting off two more cars as she swerves into the left lane and back, almost causing another collision, and finally she jumps from the right lane all the way to the left turn lane and heads north.

Sheesh. Look dumbass, you may want to put the phone down and concentrate on keeping your car straight or quit driving, other people you cut off like that aren't going to be as patient with you as I was.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oh, That Democrat Vote Fraud.........

You know how Democrats keep assuring us that vote fraud is a non-existent problem, for which no remedy is needed?

The Detroit Free Press: 3 Hamtramck men charged with illegal possession of absentee ballots

Three men, including a Hamtramck city council candidate in August’s primary election, are being charged with returning absentee ballots that did not belong to them, state Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s offices announced today.

Hamtramck Deputy City Clerk August Gitschlag told authorities that three people had delivered multiple absentee ballots to City Hall in violation of state election law, which says those in possession of ballots must be the voter, a relative, mail carrier or authorized official.

Salim Ahmed, 50, of Hamtramck, is charged with 21 counts of improper possession or return of absentee ballots. Armani Asad, 33, of Hamtramck, is charged with 14 counts of improper possession or return of absentee ballots. Mohammed Russell, 32, of Hamtramck, is charged with six counts of improper possession or return of absentee ballots. The charges are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

As usual for the Freep when a person or persons get caught committing a crime involving politics while having a certain political affiliation, it's time for a game of Name That Party!

I'll give you a hint, one which you won't get from reading the article. The Party name that all three of these Arabs belong to starts with a capital "D".

Absentee ballots, without decent chains of custody are more than ripe for vote fraud, and Michigan should certainly look into making absentee ballot procedures more fraud resistant rather than continuing on the path to make such ballots even easier to obtain without any accountability.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

So Do The Media And Gun Banners Have The Navy Yard Story Straight Yet?

The media started out with an original claim of three attackers.

Then just one.

Then one who used another person's security pass and an AR-15, pistol and shotgun.

The latest is he used his own security clearance and pass to get into the Navy Yard, and that he used a Remington 870 pump shotgun, and 2 pistols that he took off dead guards that he shot and no AR-15.

In short, the media got just about everything wrong except for the location and that a firearm was involved.

Oh, and he was apparently not institutionalized after displayed lots of erratic behavior and being treated for paranoid psychosis. Nor was he criminally charged after multiple firearm offenses that reportedly coincided with psychotic episodes. In other words, the system failed yet again to stop an identified dangerous and mentally ill individual before he committed murder.

Before the lefties starts pounding the table for more assault weapons bans, and especially now that the facts have come out that no "assault weapons" were used by the nutcase who should have been institutionalized, would the lefties please shut up and address dealing with the mentally ill to actually prevent them from being free to wander onto "secure" installations and commit murder?

As an aside, the dead nutcase is tarnishing a very fine first name and shall be addressed as nothing more than dead nutcase on this blog.

Calling For A Study Of Locks After The Horse Has Already Left The Barn

You'd think the military and the politicians controlling the military, after the Ft. Hood shooting, would have realized that having insufficient security coupled with the occupants of their bases being defenseless in gun free zones was an invitation to massacre.

It seems to have taken yet another incident for the politicians running the military to call for action, or in this case, a study to determine if they should call for action.

The Detroit Free Press: Navy secretary calls for more security at bases

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on Tuesday ordered a review of security procedures at Navy and Marine bases following the shooting at the Navy Yards in Washington that killed 12 employees. It is to be completed by Oct. 1.

"Our Sailors, Marines, and civilians are familiar with the dangers of service, but our security is something we can never take for granted," Mabus said in a statement. "I ordered a review of every Navy and Marine Corps base in the United States to ensure that we live up to our responsibility of taking care of our people. "

Note that he's not even ordering security to be enhanced immediately, only calling for a review of base security.

It should be noted that should the funding and the will to implement be found, the Navy already has people called Marines.

Marines are rather good at guarding things, and ordering them to implement effective guard procedures and rapid reaction forces at each Navy base in case of armed assault would not be outside their area of expertise. That this hasn't been done already is inane.

Let's hope they wake up before another barn door is left wide open, and our military personnel and the civilian support staff in these facilities deserve much better.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Very Model Of A Modern Major British Military Comedy

There's a new and quite funny British comedy out there - Bluestone 42.

Set in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick, it features the travails and antics of a British Bomb disposal detachment.

Not yet available on DVD in the US, you can catch the whole first season on YouTube, and apparently Season 2 is being produced currently.

Friday, September 13, 2013

He Should Have Changed His Name To Gomez

Unfortunately for this guy, there's just no large lobby of Belgian voters in the US ready to swear loyalty to the Democrats in return for immigration amnesty and welfare state benefits.

The Detroit Free Press: Desperate Belgian swims to U.S. and into trouble

Swimming across the Detroit River in the middle of the night may not have been the smartest thing [name redacted by request] ever did.

But the Belgian native was desperate, said his lawyer. He was trying to get back home.

[name redacted by request], 24, who was brought to the U.S. at age 5 by his mother, is in the fight of his life, trying to persuade American authorities that he should be allowed to live here. He was deported at 18 after government officials learned his immigration documents were never filed properly, and has been fighting ever since for the right to live here.

Had he made it across without being caught, he likely would have been scot-free considering that ICE is under orders to ignore non-criminal illegals (never mind that illegal immigration is itself a crime). Then again, that order may only apply to ignoring Hispanics so he may have been SOL regardless.

Next time [name redacted by request], think "Green Card lottery", or perhaps a rebreather.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putin to Obama: How's It Feel To Be My Bitch?

Remmeber all that smart diplomacy, that presentation of the "reset" button to Russia from Hillary Clinton? You know the one where the smart people instead of having a Russian native speaker provide the Russian word for reset, instead likely looked up the word in the dictionary and thus printed the red button with the word for "overcharge" as in charge too much or the overload of an electrical system? That kind of smart?

Well, here's the latest result of that "smart diplomacy":

Russia's Putin urges U.S. caution over Syria in blistering NY Times op-ed

"The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders,'' Putin wrote.

"A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. ... It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.''

Putin even backed his Syrian client Assad by publicly contradicting Obama and claiming that it was the rebels and not the Syrain government that used gas:

"No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists,'' Putin wrote. "Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.''

Putin then deftly bitch-slapped Obama for his tough talk that wasn't backed up with more than hot air:

"We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement,'' he wrote.

So not only does Putin pull Obama's chestnuts out of bis artificial red-line fire, he then puts him in his place and reveals him to be a weak and ineffective leader on the world stage. If you don;t think our allies and enemies haven't noticed, you'd be wrong.

It's going to be a very long three more years as Obama drags our standing in the world ever lower.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vodkapundit Drunkblog Extraordinaire

The Esteemed Vodkapundit will be drunk-blogging the President's speech tonight.

Go forth and follow along with a beverage of your choice in hand.

Considering the Presidents continuing massive series of utter foreign policy failures in regards to Syria, it's going to be that kind of speech.

The drunk-blogging should be rather sobering by comparison.

Update: As expected, Vodkapundit did an excellent job.

Having watched the speech in tandem with Vodkapundit's blogging, I can state that it was quite the vapid speech indeed,and America's stature and deterrence capabilities just declined a little bit further in the world.

Jett, The Heat, And The Slipper

Jett is settling in nicely.

Accidents are down, and personality is up.

He's a mellow puppy and quite good-natured but a bit on the stubborn side.

He is, however, also developing a taste for shoes.

Oh, the shoe? The shoe was left on the floor over there. No idea how it got here. Anyways, don't blame me, 'cause if it's on the floor, then I claim it as mine!

He's just mouthing them and not damaging them, but its best to nip this in the bud I believe. So, I'm regularly taking a shoe away and giving him one of his chew toys in return.

The temperature hit 97 degrees today and he made it very clear after his first walk this afternoon that he wasn't going for another walk in that heat.

Too hot, I'm not going any farther!

Smart dog.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Even Shinier Than Light Rail - Its Bus Rapid Transit!

In the continuing effort to regionalize Detroit's expenses and wastage on the suburbs, there's a new push for a new tax on the region to support a rapid bus transit system. SWPL types love the idea of regional rapid transit, even when it costs a ton and goes nowhere either useful nor fast.

Note that rapid in this case means an estimate of 35 mph on these large buses to nowhere. Estimates of course tend to be optimistic at best compared to reality.

The Detroit News: Metro Detroit tax touted to fuel rapid bus system

Cleveland's experience shows it took 10 years to develop and $200 million to build a 6.8 mile system. At around 28.5 million per mile, its rather spendy, especially for the planned route in Detroit. Also Cleveland, as much as it pains me to say it, is a tad more vibrant and functional than the dysfunctional D.

At the cost of $200 million the system could buy and give away 7,300 Chevy Volts (likely 1 per rider of this boondoggle), and cause the SWPL types to swoon in happiness at the thought of electric car sharing, not to mention offering a lot more flexibility, but less opportunity for graft and corruption.

Of course Detroit's BRT backers, not ones to think small, want to spend $500 million on a system. The money they expect to raise will be from a handy regional tax of course.

At some point the suburbs will have enough of this regional tax approach to pay for Detroit projects and the results of Detroit squandering its resources. The suburbs are already bailing out the Detroit Zoo and DIA, and asking them to pay for Detroit's latest expensive vapid yet rapid transit dreams may prove to be a bit too much.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Remember The Joke That Canada's Navy Is 3 Canoes And 12 Kayaks?

Well, after a collision at sea, it's down to all of 2 active canoes and 12 kayaks.

The Canadian destroyer HMCS Algonquin, the only Canadian destroyer in the entire Pacific Ocean, is laid-up for repairs after a collision with HMCS Protecteur during an exercise.

HMCS Algonquin is as old as I am, having been commissioned in 1972. She's likely older than the majority of sailors that sail on board her.

With HMCS Algonquin out of service, that leaves the Canadian Navy with 2 41-year old destroyers, 12 frigates, and 4 submarines to cover three oceans.

The National Post: Matt Gurney: Canada needs a bigger fleet

Yes, Yes it does.

With 3 long coastlines, and its increasing trade and international activities and responsibilities, it truly does need a larger navy to ensure Canadian sovereignty.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Jett's First Puppy Play Date

Today one of Tash's friends brought over her two Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever / Poodle mixes) - a dog named Monty and a pup named Charlie.

While we had lunch the puppies played, and played, and played together.

Jett had a blast.

All dogs had a great time and it was a very successful first play date and its likely both puppies will sleep through the night after being so worn out.

Friday, September 06, 2013

One Less Snake on Southfield's Streets

This snake happened to walk on two legs rather than crawl on his belly and not just minding his own business like in the post below.

The Detroit Free Press: Off-duty Detroit cop kills teen in attempted carjacking

An off-duty Detroit Police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old early today during an attempted carjacking in Southfield, according to investigators.

The shooting happened as the officer was getting out of his Dodge Charger at 2 a.m. in the parking lot of the Sutton Place Apartments near West Nine Mile and Lahser, Southfield Police Lt. Nick Loussia said in a release.

Two teens armed with handguns approached the officer, who pulled out his own handgun. He shot one of the alleged carjackers, killing the 17-year-old, acording to the release. The second teen, a 16-year-old, dropped his handgun and ran.

the 16-year-old was caught later and that's two less car jackers roaming the streets

It's getting so bad in the Detroit area they have to shoot the Robocop remake in Toronto.

Either that, or it's just that Detroit is too destroyed for anyone to realistically believe people will be living in it in the future.....

Yes they are actually doing a remake of Robocop. Let me know when Hollywood comes up with something original and quits trying to mess with the hits from the 80s.

Snakes On A Park Trail - A Michigan Rattler

Yes, Michigan does indeed have one poisonous snake: The Massassauga Rattlesnake.

One kid found out this interesting fact up close and personal when she picked one up by the Stony Creek Metropark Nature Center.

The snake is indeed a part of Michigan's nature.

The Detroit Free Press: Madison Heights girl recovering from rattlesnake bite at Stony Creek Metropark

When Caylee Kapa picked up the 9-inch snake, she never imagined it could be venomous.

The 13-year-old Madison Heights girl says she didn’t even know Michigan had rattlesnakes. She was simply out for a walk with family at Stony Creek Metropark on Tuesday and picked up the snake in an effort to keep her younger brother, Anthony Kapa, 10, from stomping on it.

“My little brother was going to try to kill it, (so) I was going to try to pick it up and it bit me,” said the eighth-grader at John Page Middle School.

Luckily for her, the bite while painful, was not fatal and she should be fine.

So, if you see a snake with rectangular patches, a triangular head and a rattle on the tail, back away and leave it alone.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Yet Again, You're On Your Own In Detroit

The latest tale in the continuing saga of slow to no police response in Detroit. In two instances Police dispatchers took a jaw-dropping 75 minutes to assign police to respond to a shooting, and 90 minutes for a stabbing respectively.

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit police may charge 2 dispatchers for slow 911 reaction; commander demoted

One dispatcher is accused of taking more than an hour to send officers on calls for family trouble involving a person with a gun on Aug. 30. Police said a woman, who was shot with an AK-47, had called 911 six times.

Even though officers could have been reassigned to answer the “priority one” call — the highest priority — the dispatcher did not do so until about 75 minutes after the initial call to the 13800 block of Bringard, Craig said. The 38-year-old shooting victim was critically injured, and the suspect remains on the loose, according to police.

Craig said the dispatcher apparently delayed sending officers until after a shift change. He said a supervisor also might be investigated.

Another dispatcher is in trouble for taking about 90 minutes to send officers to the stabbing of a woman, who died in a domestic assault in May.

Oh, the Detroit Police will protect you all right, when and if they get around to it.

Apparently You Can Win When You Draw On A Drawn Gun Sometimes


David Hardy at Of Arms And The Law has an example up of how you can beat a drawn gun.

He's got the video of a store clerk who, after having a robber draws a gun on him, deflects the robber's arm and then draws and point his own gun at the robbers face.

At which point the robber hastily exits, stage right.

Robbery foiled, no shots fired.

Nicely done.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Adventures


Murphy's Law came to town for the Labor Day weekend and we decided to get a dive in.

I found a charter that had openings in Alpena, about four hours away from the house. The plan was to drive up Sunday late afternoon, get a hotel, be at the dock at 07:30 and then go dive the Nordmeer, a 470 foot long German Freighter that sank in 1966. I have the hotel booked, the charter booked, the tanks filled, the car loaded and ready to go.

So ML arrives at the house and then we load his gear and we drive on up to Alpena.

ML of course doesn't like the course the GPS selects so he changes it a fair bit and off we go. ML is then further peeved when I refuse to pass in no passing zones and to exceed the speed limit in excess of 20 mph over, so he takes over driving about half way, and its a bit like "Hey! Look! Squirrel!" every few minutes or so, and my car reached 100 mph on multiple occasions and for sustained periods. But we arrive safely regardless.

So we check in at the hotel and it meets ML's stringent standards, which you can read upon at his weekend adventure post.

We then go to The John Lau Saloon which was inexplicably out of burgers so we had some very good Fish n' Chips as an alternate. We also had some decent Michigan-made brews to go with it which were nice and refreshing after the long drive.

ML then fixates on a Moose Head mounted on the wall and wonders where the rest of it is.   He asks our waitress and she doesn't know either.


It will remain yet another unsolved Moosetery.

We head back to the hotel, watch Master and Commander on the TV for a good dose of both action and nautical content, and called it a night.



The waves in the movie were a portent of what we would face the next day.

We arrive at the dock located in Rockport, about 7 miles north of Alpena on time and there is no boat to be seen.

 I call up the Captain and I'm reasonably sure he forgot to call me to cancel the dive as he explains he cancelled it as the others who were booked on it were too new and inexperienced as divers to go out in the conditions that were being forecast.

I say we're here and willing to go and leave it up to him to decide if we should go. He's asking us, I basically say he's the captain and its up to him.

He then says to hang on until 8 and he'll be there.

He arrives in a quite small 18-foot boat and decides we will give it a try.

So we're in this real small boat, with a total of 4 seats, two of which face aft and off into the waves we go.

Now the waves are getting to be 6-8 footers and we're having an interesting time. ML and I are in the seat facing backwards so we get fun views of the stern rolling up and crashing down with the waves. It gets real interesting on some big waves where the sky simply and completely disappears for a moment and all we see is water.

Luckily, I'm already in my drysuit or I'd be soaked before I even get in the water.

We then reach the Nordmeer site, the wind and waves have picked up even more and it's beyond the margins of safety for diving, so no diving the Nordmeer for us. So we head towards Thunder Island where its supposed to be calmer, and it is, but not by much.

So we gear up to dive the wreck of the James Davidson. It's a freighter that sank in 1883. It's in about 35 feet of water. So we make it off the boat, swim over to the down-line, get to the bottom:


Murphy's Law near the Davidson
There's really not much to this wreck but the remains of the hull. Rather disappointing after a four hour trip and the anticipation of the Nordmeer.


Remains of the James Davidson

Before I can shoot a compass bearing back to the up-line however, ML is taking off.

He's zipping away not in a straight and level line, but moving like a diving ping-pong ball, or a hyperactive squirrel looking for nuts: to and fro, up and down, back and forth and forth and forth. So, I'm trying to shoot a compass bearing, photo the wreck, keep track of where the heck we're going, and keep him in sight and he's moving like a bat out of hell with malfunctioning sonar.

And then poof, he was gone.

Communication with your dive buddy is rather key, and my diving companion doesn't quite get it.

Lovable as he is, he's an ADHD diver.

So I start a circle search to find him and hey, there's no ML down here, anywhere.

I then do my best to backtrack to the up-line, after following him on his very random wandering this is not easy as there's a complete lack of reference points on the bottom and good luck holding a compass course. So I do my best guess and while I don't find the up-line, I surface close enough to the boat to be able to swim to it. I don't see ML in the water or on board which gets me worried. I signal the captain that I'm ok and then give the signal for "Where's the other diver?" The captain points and sure enough ML is hanging on to the ladder at the back of the boat.

I swim over to the boat and ML lets us know his head is hurting so I tell him to get back on the boat. We get him back on board, then I board and that's it for diving for the day. We then have to head to Alpena rather than back to Rockport as the waves are even worse that way.

Here's a clip from the voyage back:

video

That was quite mild compared to what we had going out and around Thunder Island itself, and you can see the boat's a bit small for conditions. Ah well, it was a good try.

So after getting our butts kicked by the waves, we reach Alpena, have a beer and then haul our gear into a cab for the hop back to Rockport.

We got our gear in the car, said goodbye to the captain and went on our way.

Now, as you may or may not know, ML and traffic jams really just do not mix.

Patience with traffic is not one of his virtues.  We get stuck on I-75 in a jam and then spend quite a while doing some squirrel-like navigation to avoid it on back county roads.  First west, then east, then south then east, then south then west then south again. Crazy and random navigation in action but it works.  Yes, I then acquiesce to his constant demands that I pass quite a few cars on single lane roads and speed like a demon, which was rather fun, but it would get complicated as he constantly adjusted the route as we went, with him making some very last minute turning decisions.  I even overtake a souped-up classic Ford Mustang that ML takes a few photos of and sends them to Keads as we pass.

All good though, as we arrive home safe and sound.

Then we have a nice dinner out at Taormina's Pizzeria with Proud Hillbilly's daughter and Son-in-law and their baby, and it's nice to meet them.  Then home to walk the dog, tuck the kids in a prep them for school for their first day.

Quite the adventurous weekend indeed.