Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Closer To Home Than Greece, The Rich Port Isn't

Puerto Rico has also just announced it has run out of other people's money.

Powerline: Puerto Rico Goes Broke

Puerto Rico has also just retained Judge Rhodes, the judge who took Detroit through its Chapter 9 bankrupty in the matter.

The Detroit News: Rhodes on Puerto Rico: ‘It’s exactly like Detroit’.

I'm not sure if Rhodes means that Puerto Rico did itself in by a corrupt Democrat administration that squandered its funds through waste, fraud, incompetence and by paying the ruling party's cronies for contracts for in excess of the value received and sweet heart deals with Unions in return for political support. To be charitable to Puerto Rico, perhaps he just meant Puerto Rico's government was both borrowing too much and massively overspending beyond its capacity to repay.

It's the same, except of course Puerto Rico's debt is 4 times bigger than Detroit and there is both no surrounding state to bail it out as occurred for Detroit and no Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code to provide for the bankruptcy of a United States Commonwealth.

Perhaps Spain will offer to buy the island back in exchange for paying off the debt. That is of course assuming Spain doesn't join Greece in running out of other people's money, due to its debts, as it's debt loading on a per capita basis actually matches Puerto Rico's.

May you live in interesting times was indeed a curse and not a blessing.

Beware Of Greeks Bearing Debts

Whether you are an individual or a nation, you can only go on borrowing and spending above your means for so long. - and it looks like Greece, failing a further bailout, just hit the so long point.

The Detroit News: Greece to miss IMF debt payment and bailout to expire

Heckuva Job There, Archuleta!

As blogged on Instapundit by Ed Driscoll, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, the location of the greatest data breach to occur against the US Government so far, is an Obama appointee. it turns out she was appointed for political reasons rather than competence as she had no background in the realm of stuff that OPM does but was rather qualified for being a stalwart Democrat community organizer.

It's a pity she didn't organize some Information Security at OPM.

Her reaction to an earlier breech by the Chinese in July 2014 was that there was nothing to fix, this while the OPM inspector General was pointing out serious security deficiencies as far back as 2007.

In other words, a breach of this nature wasnot on out of the blue attack but was instead predictable to occur based on past performance (or lack thereof). With her expressed "Remain calm, all is well" kind of attitude, its no wonder that cyber-security there was weak and that this breach has the incredible scope and implications that we're learning that it has.

As Borepatch blogged many a time regarding cyber-security: It wasn't an afterthought, it wasn't a thought at all.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Got A Spare Second?

Apparently the leap second that will be added to the day tomorrow has to potential to create all kinds of issues, or no serious ones, depending on who you believe.

I figure there will be some glitches and headaches form inserting an extra second, but no "The sky is falling" type events as a result.

The Detroit News: With 61 seconds in a minute this week, markets brace.

Cache of Classic Coins Alleged To Be Proceeds Of Crime

Allegedly, one of the biggest coin collections in Michigan was built from the proceeds of Medicare fraud.

The Detroit News: Detroit area doctor could forfeit coin trove worth millions in fraud case

A West Bloomfield neurologist who reaped millions by allegedly cheating Medicare spent more than $9.3 million on baseball cards, ancient coins, collectable currency and stamps — a rare collection he could soon lose to the government.

Dr. Gavin Awerbuch amassed the collection — including coins from ancient Rome — using cash generated by an alleged five-year crime wave, according to federal court records that offer rare insight into the secretive world of coin collecting. At the upper end, the world is filled with hobbyists who, due to security concerns, protect the scope and value of their prized possessions.

This doctor is a very serious collector or investor, spending millions on coins. In a five year period he spent more than $9.3 million at 16 coin and collectible dealers.

Apparently the Feds have already seized millions of dollars from him along with the coins and real estate.

It will be interesting to see how the case works out and what happens to this impressive collection.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Now Matches In A Limited Edition

I did a USPSA match today. It was thankfully much drier compared to the last match in which I partook. The sun was well and truly out and sunscreen rather than rain jackets was the order of the day.

The club holding this match ran it as a classifier match - 6 classifier stages and 3 non-classifiers with lots of targets and movement.

I decided to try limited this time.

The gun of choice: A Smith and Wesson M&P 40 Pro.

With a five inch barrel it makes for a steadier platform than the standard full size M&P, and the new grip insert texture is also a slight improvement over the original that comes with the full size and compact guns.

First time out of the box, and I take it to a competition, after doing no more than dry-firing and giving it a quick take down and lubrication. Might as well really test it for its first outing.

I had the gun around for awhile and had never shot it, waiting for another day to start limited competition. Since this was a single day to get fully classified and a buddy egged me on to give Limited a try, today was finally the day.

150 rounds later and it did very well, the trigger and reset are very nice right out of the box.

The firearm handles quite nice indeed, and the fiber optic front sight must be seen to be believed in how quick it is to pickup and get on target. A and B Zone hits were a snap.

I think I'm going to transition my M&P other firearms to Truglo TFO Sights to take advantage of the fiber optic and tritium combination.

I also tried out two Taylor Freelance magazine base extensions. Each turned their respective magazines into 20 rounders from the 15 they started with. Much fewer magazine changes than the Production class with its limit of 10 rounds and they worked very well.

I need a better holster for it, as the one I'm using now just won't do, as it's not made for the M&P Pro and doesn't quite fit it properly. I also need lots more practice with transitions and movement to get shooting faster.

The accuracy of the firearm is excellent, but I need to speed up if I'm going to do well in limited.

The match was well run, it was at a very nice range and there were a great bunch (in terms of both niceness and numbers) of people there. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Friday, June 26, 2015

End Of The Enfield Era

The last active military users of the Lee Enfield SMLE and No.4 MK1, The Canadian Rangers, are about to turn them in.

The Firearms Blog: Replacement Selected For Canadian Rangers’ Lee-Enfield Rifles

The venerable rifles are being replaced with a rifle based on the SAKO T3 CTR in .308 to be built under license by Colt Canada.

Whether this means Canada will release them on the surplus market, along with the tons of .303 surplus ammo they have in storage, has not been announced, but I hpe they will, and if they do I'd certainly not hesitate to buy one.

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's Getting Sporty In Detroit

The thugs have left their hibernation and seem to be out and about plying their trade, and it seems to be spreading into areas previously considered to be low risk.

The Detroit Free Press: Commuter carjacked, shots fired at motorist on I-96

Four armed suspects brake checking and then hitting cars and running them off the highway in broad daylight to car jack them is rather atypical, as is doing it to steal a Chevy Cobalt.

Also, multiple shootings occurred this weekend, one of which had a documented happy ending when an armed robber ran into an armed cook at a restaurant in Detroit with predictable results:

The Detroit News: 1 dead, 1 wounded in Greektown shooting. This brings the total over the weekend to 24 shot, with some of the usual suspects trying to exculpate the criminals on the grounds that they don't have jobs so they shoot people. Well, that's not OK then.

I'd also expect trouble at the fireworks show, now that they're backing away from a curfew on unaccompanied minors .

Nothing like a summer crime wave to put the brakes on Detroit's proclaimed resurgence.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A First-Class Slap On The Wrist

A mere slap on the wrist delivered, unlike all the mail this postal employee stole.

The Detroit News: Postal worker linked to stolen mail will pay $1,500

After stealing at least 2,000 pieces of mail, postal worker Sharon Berrien will have to pay a $1,500 fine (payable in $50 a month increments),do 40 hours of community service and the criminal charges will be dropped.

Less than a dollar fine per piece of mail converted including the gift cards etc that were inside them and after she admitted she kept $1,000-$1,500 of the contents like gift cards, etc.

In other words, she's not even being punished for her crime, merely told to repay what she estimated she stole and go forth and steal no more. What an effective way to deter future postal employee thefts and to punish a wrongdoer.

An outrageous first-class slap on the wrist indeed.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wayne County Runs Out Of Other People's Money

The Detroit News: Evans to state: Declare fiscal emergency in Wayne Co.

Besides its $52 million annual structural deficit, the county takes about $20 million from its general fund each year to bolster its pension system. The county pension plan for current and future retirees is underfunded by $910.5 million, according to the most recent actuarial report done for the county. Wayne County has more than 5,000 retirees. Evans has said if the county doesn't act, it will run out of money by August 2016. He wants the books balanced at the start of the new fiscal year, Oct. 1.

That which will not go on forever won't, and having a pension fund underfunded by almost a billion dollars without revenue to make it good as the expenses from years of corruption and incompetent decision making is unsustainable.

Expect a bankruptcy filing soon given how that resulted in the state bailing out Detroit, or an outright bailout request.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You May Be Cool...

But you'll never be Jerry Miculek hunting Velociraptors with a SPAS-12 cool.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Resting Place Of La Griffon Remains Unfound

The Great Lake's oldest shipwreck remains stubbornly undiscovered.

The Detroit Free Press: Experts: Shipwreck discovery not long-lost Griffin.

The search, and the hopes of many a diver and shipwreck hunter of finding the most elusive prize in the Great Lakes continue.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Through The Mud To The USPSA Match Beyond

The match scheduled for today at the range I typically go to was still being held rain or shine.

In this case rain. Lots and lots of rain.

It rained prior to 7 am, stopped and then rained some more all during my drive to the match at 8.

It then stopped raining long enough to sign up and head onto the range, whereupon it started raining again with the day warm and humid.

Throughout the match it would drizzle, stop, drizzle some more, and then it came down, and hard, and kept coming down.

Targets were covered in plastic sheets, scoring was done on a clipboard under a plastic sheet cover. I kept score for most of the match, and no matter what anyone did, the score-sheets would still start getting wet.

Even covered, pasters would get wet and fall off the targets requiring them to be re-pasted frequently.

For all of that the match was a good one, lots of challenging and interesting stages. the classifier was CM 13-03 Short Sprint Standards, which was both difficult to do quickly and a real pain to do on muddy wet ground. Quite a few procedurals were handed out during it.

As the match progressed, problems happened.

On the very first stage, which for us was the classifier, a newer shooter DQ'd himself by not just breaking the 180 but by muzzling the scorekeeper. So he was done at that point. First time I've seen that happen.

Then the shot timer got wet and died. Luckily I had brought my Timer along and we shifted to using it inside the plastic bubble wrap bag it had shipped in to keep it dry,

Three of the shooters using 1911s in our group had various failures to feed occur during the match as the wet and the mud did a number on their guns. One shooter had a Glock with extended magazines shooting limited that wouldn't lock the slide back on her empty magazines, but she apparently had experienced this problem pretty consistently before and during the match.

Happily, my M&P 9 chugged along without a single hiccup shooting all 133 rounds fired without an issue, and the latest adjustment I made to the rear sight has finally got it right, as it was dead on. This was very happy-making as I was making some very nice A-zone hits and knocking down steel without having to shift my point of aim.

By the last stage, there was truly a river of mud and we all introduced USPSA to the practice of reloads with retention. This started after the first shooter practically lost his first magazine under the flowing river of mud when he dropped it during the stage. It was a lost brass match as brass actually sank beneath the mud not to be seen again.

I finished soaked to the skin from my head down to my toes, it was quite the match.

Now to empty my range bag, dry out my range bag, strip down and clean and dry all the magazines and the pistol and everything else inside the bag, along with an coffee with a shot of the Irish in it to warm me up. A very wet but enjoyable match.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dude, Stay The Heck Off My Side

As Tam has often said, and it bears repeating, there's a difference between carrying a gun and carrying a gun at someone.

It's even worse when you're an obnoxious jerk while carrying a gun at someone. Make the someone you're being an obnoxious jerk to law enforcement officers, and you're really not helping our side. Not. At. All.

The Detroit Free Press: Video: Gun rights advocate, Oakland deputies clash

Take a moment and watch the videos. This guy isn't just going about his business and incidentally open carrying. Instead, he's going places to deliberately provoke confrontations, complete with a hostile attitude to very basic and innocent questions from law enforcement. Not exactly a good ambassador for firearms rights.

Open carriers who support this guy - what exactly is the image you're trying to convey - that 1. Law abiding people can carry firearms without the average bystander really needing to worry that they'll go loco, or 2. That open carriers are obnoxious jerks with anger issues that wander around LEO parking lots and can't even have a civil conversation with a deputy doing their job?

If you're trying to go with 1, and I really hope you are, this guy is going full-bore on option 2 and is not helping you, and he's setting carry rights, including open carry rights backwards rather than forwards.

Do you want Deputies seeing open carriers and thinking "No problem, probably just a normal law abiding citizen exercising his rights" (which the deputy likely supports), or do you want them thinking "Yeesh, another loud-mouthed wacko that could go off any minute, I better investigate the heck outta this guy?".

Do you want law enforcement officers coming forward to the firearms ignorant and media spoon-fed public that private citizens lawfully carrying firearms are not a threat, or do you want them to walk away with a mindset that will cause them to announce that civilian open carriers are whackers that can't be trusted with carrying a firearm and may be a threat to law enforcement and the public?

If you open carry, you have an opportunity to portray yourself as an upright and law-abiding citizen and act as an ambassador for firearms rights.

While you have every right to be an obnoxious jerk on your own time, don't do it while carrying a firearm. It's not only really not helping advance your own rights (and potentially may lead you into legal trouble) but it's threatening every other law abiding person's firearms rights as well.

Choose and act wisely and responsibly.

Home Invasions In The D Keep on Getting More Dangerous - For The Criminals

And That's a good thing.

The Detroit News: Woman fires at home burglars: 'I let loose on them'

In a heartwarming story, a woman was home alone when 5 men broke into her house at 2:30 in the morning, at least two of them were armed.

Instead of us the next day reading a story about a woman found dead in her home after a robbery, she instead had a Glock and fought back, hitting at least some of them and driving them from her home. This is a much better result by far.

She was shot and took a non-life-threatening wound in the leg but should be fine, and she did a darn good job defending herself.

Police are looking for the criminals and checking hospitals for reports of gunshot wounds.

Note that in this week alone, that's now two women with concealed pistol licenses that have driven off their attackers. The other incident was a carjacking attempt where the 27 year-old female was unharmed and the 16 year-old armed criminal got shot in his arm during his attempt and he's now in custody.

Chief Craig was right when he said that law abiding citizens with CPLs can reduce crime, and they're certainly doing a good job defending themselves.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Making A Real Meth Of Things In Michigan

Meth is a terrible drug not just for its effects on the user but also for those who would never ever use such a drug.

This is due to both the ease of manufacture and the very hazardous waste created in its making, which can cause a real risk to innocents of injury and property damage from living near some dimwit trying to cook his own meth causing an explosion after watching a few episodes of Breaking Bad.

The Detroit News: Meth trash piling up across Michigan

In short, you can now apparently try to make your own in a pop bottle of all things - leading to idiots leaving pop bottles full of hazardous chemicals around rivers and the great outdoors, which innocents may come across while trying to enjoy the outdoors.

Apparently Michigan ranks fifth in "meth lab incidents" in the US with Indiana taking the honor of coming in first. The state also likely gets stuck with the health care costs of the idiots that set themselves on fire while enjoying misadventures in cooking.

Taking fifth place in such a list is bad enough, as are the clean-up costs from these morons.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Administration's ITAR Baby

The latest Obama administration's assault against both the First and Second Amendments is coming out of the State Department.

As reported by the NRA-ILA, Old NFO, Sebastian, at the Michigan Gun Owners forum, and by lots of others in the blogosphere, the State Department is looking to expand and apply ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) to blog posts and other internet activity.

This is being done on the theory that posting about firearms and ammunition specifications where a foreigner could access it would constitute an export of technical information that would require the poster of the information to first get authorization from the government before posting it. You can puzzle your way through the very lengthy regulation (on the internet) at the Government Press Office.

In short this proposed regulation contains a serious prior restraint towards those that would comment about technical details regarding firearms and ammunition online with serious and severe penalties for non-compliance. Discussing how to repair or modify a firearm would count as technical data under the proposal.

Sebastian over at Shall Not Be Questioned has all the details on how you can make a public comment on this proposal, and you've got until August 3rd to do so. Keep the comments polite, keep them to the point, keep them substantive and serious, and get the comment in on time.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Obama's Spokesman's Latest Career Move.

Legal Insurrection reports that former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is taking a job as Global Chief Communications Officer for McDonald's.

Too bad it wasn't Burger King.

If Gibbs had, he would've been going from Telling Whoppers to Selling Whoppers.

Wish I'd Thought Of That Line....

Seen on Facebook:

Q. What did Socialists Use Before Candles?

A. Electric light bulbs.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Better Late Than Never

It often takes quite some time for a bureaucracy to do the right by those who served it above and beyond the call.

In this case it took 97 years.

The Detroit News: Black, Jewish WWI heroes finally getting Medal of Honor

Sgt. Shemin was featured on this blog last December when there was news that he might finally get his Medal of Honor.  Now, six months later it is finally awarded.

Private Johnson similarly has finally received official recognition for his heroism that was overdue for these many years.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

34 Years Ago, An Israeli Operatic Masterpiece

On June 7, 1981, the Israeli Air Force launched Operation Opera.

Operation Opera was the mission to destroy Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak and delaying Iraq's attempt to obtain a nuclear bomb. The operation was a complete success.

Eight F-16As with six F-15As flying air cover participated in the attack, flying a round trip of 1980 miles over enemy airspace with aircraft all returning safely.  The F-16s dropped sixteen 2,000 pound bombs on the reactor, severely damaging it and putting it out of action.

The picture below shows one of the few existing aircraft in the world with a nuclear reactor kill marker on its nose.  This aircraft, Netz 107, is one of the F-16s that took part in the raid. 

Note also the six and half Syrian MIG kill markings, making this the F-16 aircraft with the largest amount of air-to-air kills in the world so far:

"F-16netz002" by MathKnight - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 
While the world, including the United States, condemned Israel for the attack at the time,  history showed it was the right decision.

Imagine what Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 2 would have been like with an Iraq armed with nuclear weapons. Most likely, Kuwait would still be under the Iraqi flag today.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

A Very Good Range Day

In the late morning, I met up with my friend Jason at the range.

Jason is a newer shooter and a heckuva nice guy. After a safety briefing and my demonstrating how to load and shoot the guns as they came out in order we were ready to hit some paper and some poppers.

The H&K P30 continued to run perfectly, eating another 250 rounds without complaint, making it to 450 rounds with no issues and no cleaning.

Jason shot the P30 quite well and knocked down the poppers in quick succession as well as hitting the paper targets.

I did both Dot Torture and FAST drills with the P30 while Jason knocked down steel poppers and did a Dot Torture sans holster work as he's never drawn from a holster beforevso we're elaving that until he gets a lot more practice and comfort with shooting. I need more work on Dot Torture with the P30 as I did drop a few shots out of the circles.

Happily, with some dry-fire practice since last time, I've at least redeemed my FAST times - my second and third FAST runs today were 7.15 seconds and 7.10 seconds, respectively. The first run's time is lost to history. Jason was running a timer for his first time ever and he hit the start button for a second time as if it was a stop button when I was done. He said I had looked pretty fast doing it that time. Ah well. In any case, it's nice to see some focused dry-fire practice can really shave seconds off your time on a FAST.

I still need to work more to get out of intermediate to reach an advanced time, not to mention improve my shooting overall, but it's a fun work in progress and at least its going the right way now that I finally convinced my brain that the slide release on the P30 is not the magazine release button. I'm also starting to like the P30 more and more as it seems to fit my hand like it was made for it.

We also shot 50 rounds through my M&P 9 - the sight is still slightly to the right even after an adjustment since the last range outing and needs a slight nudge to the left.

We then both shot my M&P40 compact and 50 rounds went through it without the slightest issue. Jason could definitely feel the difference in recoil between the compact 40 and the full size 9mm pistols.

Then it was rifle time:

I had brought out both the Tavor and one of my AR-15s with a Trijicon ACOG mounted on it.

We fired 200 rounds through the Tavor, bringing it to a total of 940 rounds fired through it without a single malfunction.

We also put 100 rounds through the AR15, again with no issues.

Jason liked the Tavor more than the AR-15 and found its manual of arms easier than the AR15 and he shot it better. This was an interesting result considering he had no experience with either rifle before today. He now wants to buy a Tavor as his first rifle.

That was a darn good range trip.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Alert The Tin Foil Hat Brigades

While the TFHB types are all aflutter over the Jade Helm exercise in Texas, it looks like the military will be doing some intensive exercises right here in Michigan so local TFHBs can join in the fun of a good panic.

The Detroit News: Army, Air Force exercises ahead at Selfridge.

I'm kinda hoping they named the exercise up here Jade Mitten.

Detroit New (Car)Jack City

Vindicating Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's statement about not stopping for gas in Detroit, for which he drew considerable flack, comes both a warning from Detroit's Chief of police and statistics.

Chief Craig, likely the finest chief Detroit has had for a very long time, had this to say according to the Detroit News:

During the conversation with reporters Tuesday morning, Craig was asked if he would gas up overnight in the city.

"I wouldn't, but if I had to, I would," Craig said. "But I'd probably be very aware of my surroundings."

Honesty coming from a Detroit official is always welcome, and Craig has been a straight-shooter since his appointment as Detroit's top cop.

Now in the Detroit Free Press, a report shows that half of all car-jackings in the city happen between 9 pm and 3 am with at least 15% of those occurring at gas stations.

Detroit still has a massive crime problem, with 782 (or 720 depending on which article's statistics you use) carjackings occurring last year. Despite some definite achievements to date because of Craig and the Detroit Police Department, there's still a very long way to go before Detroit can become a truly viable city.

Until crime is reduced, it only makes sense to continue to heed Patterson's advice and not stop to fill up at night in Detroit. Those who criticized him for making that statement owe him an apology.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Legends Of Confederate Gold - In Lake Michigan

Rumors of gold lost in past conflicts fuels many a search for treasure, sometimes in quite unexpected places.

Two Michigan divers are diligently searching for a rumored lost railroad car full of stolen Confederate gold that allegedly sank in Lake Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press: Shipwreck discovery may lead to Great Lakes treasure

The pair began scanning Lake Michigan off the coast of Frankfort as soon as the ice melted, looking for a boxcar they claim holds more than $2 million in gold bullion.

"Forty years of waiting," said Monroe, referring to how long it's been since he first heard about the possibility of gold treasure in the lake. "I'm sure this season we'll find it."

Dykstra and Monroe believe the lost Confederate gold is somewhere at the bottom of Lake Michigan, thanks to a two-part story that has transcended generations and was last relayed to Monroe in 1972.

"I was sitting down and talking to a friend of mine, and all of the sudden he says, 'Fred, you're just the person I want to see with your diving experience,'" said Monroe. "'My grandfather told me a story that he heard from a lighthouse keeper, who originally heard it during a deathbed confession, that there's two million dollars of gold bullion inside a boxcar that fell off a ferry into Lake Michigan.'"

Two million dollars is worth searching for, but I'd say so far there is only very thin evidence as to the legendary boxcar's existence.

I wish them luck as the search goes on.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Not A Positive Economic Sign: Car Loans Getting Longer

Car loans are now getting longer with the average new car loan clocking in at a whopping 67 months - that's over five and a half years to payoff a new vehicle.

The Detroit Free Press: Car loans keep getting longer

This indicates people can't really afford new cars and are stretching out their payments to be able to afford them.

Between the rising cost of new cars and the demise of people's earning power, this isn't good.

Only the very low interest rate environment we've been in has been keeping the amounts to a possibly tolerable level - and it may be creating a car loan bubble, including a possible sub-prime bubble - just like the housing bubble before it. We all know how well that turned out.

On the upside, it's a lot harder to leverage your car than your house as the car has less to negative equity from the moment you drive a new car off the lot.

Should new car sales slump if interests rates rise or the economy worsens, expect Detroit's auto manufacturers, and the city itself to enter into yet another crisis.