Friday, June 14, 2019

Perhaps The Best Example Of Fallacious Journalism You'll See Today

Journalism used to be about getting to the facts and reporting on them. Now it's far more about political correctness and feelings, and the facts be damned.

Here's a lovely example of a journalist looking at facts and imposing her ideological world view with a whopper of a logical fallacy right off the bat, never-mind the facts, she had an agenda to push, facts be damned:

The Toronto Star: Blowback to the word genocide proves the national inquiry report was right

Basically a progressive, politically-driven report by the "National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls" was recently issued that named violence against Canadian indigenous women over the years to be an act of genocide.

Analysis of the facts indicate otherwise, and many people pointed out the facts and how these varied and separate acts of violence, while reprehensible, simply do not amount to any actual established definition of genocide.

The journo decided the existence of opposition to the report's findings proves the report's findings was correct.

It really doesn't work that way.

The argument is sort of a combination of the Fallacy of Opposition and Kafkatrapping - any denial of the assertion apparently proves the assertion.

Instead of declaring if others oppose her position that must mean its right, simply by virtue of the existence of people opposing it, she could have looked at the facts, which are pretty well known.

Instead of acts of genocide, indigenous women over the time period looked at were almost all killed or murdered in either of the following situations:

1. Killed by their domestic partner, which while reprehensible and plainly wrong, isn't genocide, it's spousal abuse that the government of Canada does in fact prosecute and punish the murderers when possible; or

2. Killed by an unknown sexual partner/opportunistic killer. Most of those who were killed were murdered while working in the sex trade, which unfortunately exposed them to potential killers by nature of the fact that they were plying an illegal trade that involved getting into vehicles with unknown persons, going to unknown places, not letting other people know where they were going or who they were with, and being in an extremely vulnerable position all the while and unfortunately being murdered. Again, reprehensible and wrong, but still not an act of genocide, nor does blaming colonialism work for either situation, but since leftists now believe Canada is a colonial nation and therefore bad, it's better to blame the nation collectively than the wrongdoers themselves, many if not most of whom are indigenous peoples.

Considering the fact that Canada's indigenous population is growing and expected to almost double by 2036, if this is genocide, Canada has done a piss-poor job of it, because well, Canada is simply not committing genocide against its indigenous population and these women's murders are not acts nor evidence of genocide no matter how much the progressives wish to believe them to be.

While its an important act to seriously prosecute those who commit crimes against indigenous peoples and devote resources towards prosecuting such crimes, to call random acts of murder and spousal abuse leading to death genocide is simply inappropriate and an attempt to mischaracterize a very real problem to get attention, and it completely devalues the word genocide and victims of actual genocides.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

This Needs To Happen

In Edmonton Alberta, the City is about to redidicate some land downtown to make a new park.

Edmontonians have come up with a petition to name it, in a rather clever, awesome, and whimsical way, after one of Edmonton's famous native sons.

The proposed name: The Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion.

CBC News: Could 'The Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion' come to fruition?

If you're a fan of Nathan Fillion, and after all, you really should be, you can sign the petition at

It's a most worthy effort, and I wish them success in this honorable endeavor. It sure as heck beats Parky McParkface as a name.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Detroiters And Car Insurance, Part Deux

Got a call from a Detroiter today who has, yes you guessed it, outstanding tickets and warrants in my jurisdiction.

First she figures since marijuana is now legal, her open warrant for failing to appear for sentencing for possession of a decent amount of the electric lettuce in 2009 should just go away.

No, it really doesn't work like that.

Next, of course, she has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear on driving without a license, no proof of insurance, and no proof of registration charges - the Detroit Driver Trifecta.

Her explanation for it is something else indeed, and I quote:

"I didn't do anything wrong - the lady who loaned me the car, she knew I didn't have a license, and she shouldn't have had expired plates on the car that caused me to get pulled over, it's not my fault."

So much was wrong with that emotionally declarative sentence that I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or ask her if she's still smoking the good stuff when I heard it.

She honestly and vehemently thinks she did nothing wrong by driving without a license or insurance, and it's all her friend's fault for giving her a car with an expired plate.

She was then surprised that she needed to pay a retainer to a lawyer up front to fix this problem and the only reason she wants to fix it is the outstanding warrants are giving her issues with her benefits and preventing her from getting even more government assistance.

So no, she won't be retaining me 'cause she don't want to pay up front. This of course means she wouldn't be paying when it's done either, I do know how this works by now and sorry, but this just doesn't qualify for a pro bono case.

There really is no need to wonder why auto insurance is so high in Detroit.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The University of Toronto Soldier's Tower

I had a nice visit this weekend with the family in Toronto.

The weather decided to be pleasant for a change, so we went for a stroll along the grounds of the University of Toronto, which is located in the heart of Toronto itself.

The University grounds were rather quiet and uncrowded in the green space set in the middle of downtown, as most of the students have departed for the summer.

Amongst the fine architecture, along the walking path, we first approached and then walked under this large bell tower.

At base if the tower was an alcove with a chain running across it. Within the alcove were inscribed the names of all those from the University of Toronto who had died in the First World War.

The first panel has In Flander's Fields inscribed upon it (click to embiggen).

Then come the lists of names.

A closing panel contains a final admonition:

628 University of Toronto students, faculty, staff, and alumni, 627 men and one woman, Nursing Sister L.D. Keys CAMC, who died in World War 1.

As I found out later, there's another archway that contains a memorial and a list of names of the 557 members from the University of Toronto who died in World War 2.

The 143-foot tall tower with its bell carillon was built in 1923-1924 with donations from the University of Toronto Alumni. The money raised back then is in an endowment and is still used for scholarships and tower maintenance expenses, and continues to stand today as a monument for those who gave their lives in the service of their country from the University of Toronto.

Friday, June 07, 2019

The Real Reason Why Detroit's Auto Insurance Is So High

One of the hot-button issues for Democrats in Michigan and Detroit is the complaint that Detroit's auto insurance rates are incredibly high, as in on average $4,000 a year for insurance high. Of course, the Democrats tend to claim this is due to racism.

There's a reason for the rates being so high, and it isn't racism.

Lets take Y for an example.

Why Y? Well, why not? Y is a female Detoriter I've come across in my legal journey in court recently who has a little issue.

You see, Y has been driving with her license suspended.

How long?

She's been driving suspended continuously for 15 years!

Y's license was suspended back in 2004 and she's been driving on it suspended ever since.

Prior to that she's had her license suspended and restored multiple times from 1999 until 2005, when it got suspended and stayed suspended as she never bothered resolving the 2005 suspension, she just tacked a series of more suspensions on top of that one.

Why? Because she doesn't pay tickets when she gets them and had been driving often without insurance. This has not however stopped her from driving all around the Metropolitan Detroit area.

She's unfortunately not a particularly good driver and tends to get pulled over. When she's and when she is pulled over, the police tend to quickly find out she's driving on a suspended license and then charge her yet again for driving suspended along with the reason why she was pulled over, she doesn't pay the tickets and it stays suspended

These episodes of her being caught speeding and improper lane changing and going through red lights mainly take place outside of Detroit and she complained that clearly, she's being ticketed and pulled over because she's being "profiled".

No, Y is bring ticketed not due to profiling, but because she's driving, and driving badly enough to warrant police attention, on a long-suspended license.

Oh, and Y's driving record goes on for 10, yes ten pages worth of charges and convictions for driving while license suspended and related charges that she keeps getting pulled over for and ticketed by the police.

Insurance costs are high in Detroit not due to racism.

Insurance costs are sky-high due to the fact that insurance companies don't like risk and due to Y and people like her driving around without insurance and with suspended licenses, and causing accidents without the slightest care, Detroit is a very high risk and high cost area.

In short, the real reason for Detroit's high insurance rates can be summed up in one word - Detroiters.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

D-Day And The Liberation Of Europe - 75 Years On

75 Years Ago, beginning 10 minutes after midnight, the invasion of Europe began when hundreds of C-47 transports and gliders headed across the English Channel began to deliver their loads of paratroopers and glidermen onto continental Europe.

This was followed by thousands of men in landing craft arriving at the five invasion beaches in the greatest amphibious invasion in history.

The greatest invasion succeeded in gaining a foothold and breaching Hitler's "impregnable" Festung Europa, and it was the beginning of the end of the Third Reich.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Something To Tok About - The Cugir TTC

The box brought by UPS requiring an adult signature contained something to Tok about.

The TTC made by Cugir of Romania is the Romanian version of the Russian Tokarev TT-33 Pistol.

A variation of the Browning design, it offers a slim grip, weighs 1.8 pounds, and carries 8 rounds of the zippy 7.62x25 Tokarev cartridge - the world's fastest production pistol cartridge at the time, eclipsed when the .357 Magnum came along.

The sights on this TTC are tall and remarkably decent sights for a handgun of the time period, especially as a Tokarev's main function at the time was to use it to gesture heroically:

Frequent alternate uses included shooting dissidents in the head at execution range, or shooting conscripts fleeing the battlefield, and the sights are more than adequate for all three tasks.

While the Tokarev originally had no external safety, as it would be carried with the hammer half-cocked which was considered sufficient, import regulations required a safety be added, and thus a small but reasonably usable safety switch was added above and to the right of the trigger:

This pistol came absolutely slathered in oil. Oil that coated the magazine, the barrel, the slide, the grip, and which quickly dripped off and migrated to the table, my hands, everywhere. Certainly there can be no complaints about the pistol being shipped dry.

This Tokarev was manufactured in 1953 and comes with a single magazine and a rather decent surplus leather holster and metal cleaning rod.

The Romanian Tokarev may very well be one of the last affordable Curio and Relic firearms to be imported in large numbers. Now being sold at AIM Surplus for $220, it's an easy and relatively cheap acquisition of a very historic and still useful firearm.

Once I get all the oil wiped off and give it a good cleaning, I'll take it out to the range to try out.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Not From The Onion: Hillary Clinton To Keynote Cyber Defense Summit

No, this is not a joke. It's apparently 100% tone-deafly, headshakingly, very, very real.

Well, she can, I suppose, relate a cautionary tale of how not to run an insecure email server and then how to run Bleachbit on the same server when you're caught to try and cover your tracks.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

UPS Is Pronounced OOPS

So I'm expecting a package to arrive today, the contents of which may merit a blog post later.

UPS sends a helpful email yesterday that notes the arrival time should arrive from 10:15 AM - 02:15 PM today and since I have to sign for the package someone better be at the home to sign for it.

So I figure I'll work from home in the morning so I can get the package and then go to the office.

They send another helpful email this morning that I can track the location of the delivery truck online.

So I do, with a window open on the computer as I get some work things done.

Viewing their site I can see the truck icon on the moving map. I watch the truck happily roll along, getting literally two streets away from me and I begin to expect seeing it pull up in my driveway.

Then its one street away to the north, so this should be good and I can get the package and head into the office and all is well.

Then it suddenly turns away and bypasses me to the south, traveling along a parallel street right past my house. WTF?

I then at that moment get a new email that the delivery time is now changed to 1:45 to 5:45. That's rather annoying.

It's now, per the icon, a mile south and heading more southerly as it goes. I have half a mind to go chase after it. Whoever came up with the route certainly messed up their delivery efficiency, and my plan for the day is now a bit askew as well.

Update: As of 2:28 the UPS truck icon on the map has quite literally and illustratively gone in a circle around my house, carefully avoiding it at all times, but happily chugging along adjacent streets, including streets that lead to my street.

Last Update: it finally arrived, after circumnavigating the neighborhood at least 3 times.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Stupid Criminals: Learn To Quit While You're Somewhat Ahead

The Detroit News: Mich. man charged with robbing same Walmart three times in one night

Yes he stole from a Walmart on three separate times in the same night.

While the headline is incorrect in that he didn't commit robbery, he instead committed larceny.

He wasn't using any force or threats of violence in his multiple thieving attempts so that's not robbery, but robbery sounds cooler than larceny to the headline writer I suppose.

However, committing three separate thefts from, and then returning to, the same location on the same night after the first and even seconds acts of theft qualifies for a special kind of stupid award. This is especially so as Walmart is pretty good about catching criminals in their stores, so of course he's on video for all three separate felonies.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Flying - Memorial Day Flight To Saginaw

I had panned to fly with Leah to Jackson today, but Leah wanted to see some water on this flight. So off to Saginaw Bay we went. The weather promised nice solid VFR and high clouds that wouldn't be in the way and only moderate winds.

A solid preflight, a good start and we were off from Runway 9L, heading north.

Soon we were 20 miles away form Saginaw's TRSA so we gave them a call, stated out intentions to tour the bay and then land at Saginaw and we got a transponder code and then could fly around the area with no problems.

We flew over Bay City airport on the way:

We soon reached Bay City itself.

Yes, that's the USS Edson below.

A fitting flyover for Memorial Day.

Then up the river to Saginaw Bay itself. You can see from above very clearly where the swollen and muddy river empties out into the blue of the bay:

Then we flew out into the Bay, and over the rather large and impressive Shelter and Channel Island.

After that we headed to Saginaw, landing on Runway 14 after being directed into a left base entry, with a bit of crosswind as the very large Runway 5/23 is out of service for maintenance until August, but the 6,000 feet of Runway 14 more than sufficed.

Then we took off and headed back to Pontiac.

On the way back I was flying so smoothly my passenger actually fell asleep for awhile.

Getting flight following all the way through Flint's Class C airspace. I was instructed to maintain 4,500 feet throughout their airspace and that's what I did. Radar services were terminated once I was 12 miles from Pontiac so I contacted them, was told to ident and setup for and report a left base entry for 9L.

Then to Pontiac, landing on 9L with a 13 knot crosswind, but no issues and it was a very sweet landing, with compliments from my passenger.

After that we taxi'd back to the hangar, refueled the plane for the next pilot who was coming at 2 for a flight and then we had a picnic lunch at the airport, watching planes land and takeoff.

These planes included N73455, the first plane I ever flew solo:

And N8428S, The plane I now fly solo and own a share in:

That's 1.8, 2 landings, and some more great memories in the books.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Things You Didn't Know You Needed, And Probably Still Don't

The Detroit Free Press: New Detroit store has psychic readings, raccoon penis bones

Ok then. Neither of those items make my shopping list, just saying.

Monday, May 20, 2019

23 And Us

23 years Ago today, Tash and I got married.

While many things change, we've remained together throughout, not remained the same mind you, but we've gotten better as life goes on and we've grown together.

This also marks the rather unbelievable milestone that I've now been married for 50% of my lifespan to date. Hard to believe, but true.

If you told me 23 years ago that I'd be where I am today, with the life I have, and the great family that has made it so, I doubt I would have believed it.

It's been quite the good life together, and I'm looking forward to the next 23 years together and beyond.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Driving By Miss Abby

The cardio health stress test continues apace, as Abby has decided she likes driving my car more than Tash's car, so I've been with her for the majority of her practices.

Today she drove to her high school, which is and will be the man reason for her getting a driver's license in the first place. We made it there no problem, not too much traffic on a Sunday aside from a bit of a jam near a church, and iut got her on some main roads and doing left turns in traffic and changing multiple lanes.

Thence we took an alternate route home so she could try merging onto a highway. Yes, my circulatory system is strong.

She did fine, traffic was light enough, and I was able to talk her through it ok. Lots of neck cranking on my part during the merge and lane changes. No permanent indentations in the armrests.

Then down to Best Buy to pickup an SD card that I had a rewards coupon for, so a 64GB SanDisk Pro card instead of costing $28 cost only $10, which is a nice bargain for a very nice and fast memory card for the camera.

She did good and parked reasonably well by the store.

Then back in the car and thence up and through a roundabout that is ranked the 2nd most dangerous intersection in the entire state, because roundabout plus traffic light - yes, really.

She did fine but did need some help on getting into the roundabout safely as it was kinda hair-raising. Again, I passed this stress test with flying colors and did not even try to curl into a ball and drop onto the floorboards, as tempting as that was.

It's interesting the things she doesn't know that she doesn't know.

For example, she was getting set in the car and I was still in the house with the keys. She got her seat adjusted, mirrors set and had the headlights full on without the car running.

I explained that wasn't a good habit to get into as it drains the battery when you leave the lights on with the car off. She didn't know that, but does now.

Other things included how far should you get over when the police have a car stopped on a road that is one lane in each direction, and traffic lights that are only flashing yellow.

I talked her through these and she did just fine. She's certainly coming along as a driver and getting smoother and more confident, which is a good thing. We spent over an hour on the road, and then to top it off, she drove herself to a friend's house in some heavy rain, which was good experience, so she definitely got her practice in today.

I figure the next driving mission will be to have her drive the gas station to teach her how to fill the car up.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Progressives on Mass Transit: Not Working? Do It More And Harder.

Yet again, the advocates while at the same time claiming that the Q-Line would be the future for mass transit are now admitting that its failing, and their solution is to double down and do it again.

The Detroit News: Opinion: Detroit can still make transit succeed

She notes that already predicted reality: Ridership is down to about 2,490 beow what is required to sustain it and its down, especially from when rides were free - who could have guessed? On top of that, the streetcars are delayed and not reliable, and the system isn't exactly up to spec maintenance-wise.

Again, who could have seen that coming?

But reality never dissuaded mass transit enthusiasts.

Her first proposed solution? Free rides during the time it would be in highest demand for people to pay for rides, to show people will ride it . . .so long as its free. Yes, really.

First, its private-sector benefactors should declare a four-month holiday from the fares, just as when the streetcar first launched operations — and just in time for baseball season, and for the streetcar to take travelers from downtown hotels to the ballpark.

If your system depends on it being free in order to work, there's something a tad wrong with your system, especially when you need rider fares to sustain the system.

Then, after bemoaning that the current payment system is difficult and often malfunctioning, for the poor people who can't afford cars, she claims it can be fixed with credit card readers on every streetcar.

Second, the QLine should install credit-card payment infrastructure onboard, with options for people who don’t have credit cards to pre-pay their fares at shops alongside the route.

Using credit card swipes for a $1.50 fare is a bit much, not to mention the time it takes to process each swipe transaction as a passenger boards and pays over the 3.3 miles that Q-Line travels. Of course, she somehow expects the payment system to be better maintained than the operating history of the system with its current broken payment systems that she has indicated it will be so far, right?

Note how these proposals still won't increase the streetcar rate from the current 20 minutes or more to the 8 minutes that was promised. Bit she does recommend losing a lane on Woodward in each direction to jam traffic in favor of a slow moving streetcar, because, mass transit.

Remember, this is all for a 3.3 mile long system that moves at best at about the speed of a normal walk.

Monday, May 13, 2019

What In The Counter-Factual F Was That Tlaib?

Rep Tlaib (D - Dearbonistan) never fails to enliven up the news.

Her latest faux pas that she's now claiming she was "misquoted" about was her feeling calm about the Holocaust and the hilarious and impressively counter-factual claim that her ancestors the "Palestinians" created a "safe haven for Jews"

The Detroit News: Tlaib says critics are 'twisting' her words as Trump attacks in tweet

Kinda hard to twist this any other way than how she said it:

"There's always a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust in the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, the human dignity," Tlaib said.

"Their existence in many ways have been wiped out and some people's passports. All of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews — post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them.

Yes that's exactly what she said and what she believes, or or at least would have you believe she believes.

Her statement is both rather shocking to those who don't know the Arab mindset about Jews and the Holocaust, and otherwise pretty hilarious as it omits the plethora of anti-Semitic massacres and attacks by Arabs of the region against Jews - so much so that the claim that her people "created a safe haven" is beyond laughable. On top of that, there never was a state of Palestine, so no passports would have existed that said Palestine on them.

The amazingly counterfactual claim that her ancestors provided Jews a safe haven is rather amazing and shows a deliberate distortion and rewriting of history on her part. With her ancestors palling it up with Adolf Hitler and planning to kill all the Jews in the Palestine mandate had the Nazis won, it sure promised quite a safe haven. Such a safe haven they gave, with features like the Hebron massacre even before World War 2, and then countless acts of violence afterwards all the way up to and beyond the founding of the state of Israel.

Of course once she's exposed she tries to claim her statements were twisted is the standard trope of "Who ya gonna believe - Tlaib or your lying eyes and ears?"

Between Ilhan Omar and Tlaib, the Democrats are sure positioning themselves heading into 2020 as the leaders in anti-Semitism and revisionist history.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Doom, Now With Subterranean Gloom

You know Australians live down under, but one Australian at least in advocating everyone lives deep down under.

Yahoo News: The only way is down: subterranean survival warning

In short, no, not just because this is the typical earth is doomed nonsense we've been hearing since The Population Bomb, but also, because Morlocks.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Get That Art In A Burqa, Stat!

The Times: Saatchi Gallery covers up SKU artworks after complaints by Muslims

The artwork itself is now covered in what very well looks like a burqa, as can be seen in the linked article.

The art, being a critical commentary on Islam and its interaction with the west, had Arabic script overlaid on some nude images. If you couldn't predict what was going to happen when you did that. . .

Well, just like the real life interaction between Islam and the West, there's been a rather fractious and vociferous uproar of blasphemy and offense from the Muslim community.

Rather provocatively, the artist included the Shahada, or Muslim declaration of faith, on the image and that's where the outrage began, including comparison to the Satanic Verses. Note the author of the Satanic Verses got a fatwa and multiple and very real death threats and attmepts on his life, so the artist in this case is likely also in a bit of trouble too.

Offensive? Most certainly.

However, clearly no more offensive than for example Piss Christ or Mary in Elephant dung, and Banksy's anti-semitic art display at Art Basel in Miami -- all of which were on prominent display in art galleries without fear, nor were they ever covered up. This is because Christians and Jews, while they may get annoyed and consider it offensive, and even write letters to the editor complaining about it, in the West they don't kill people over offensive art these days.

If you're going to display provocative art, knowing it is provocative, retreating after there's a reaction to the provocation is rather weak indeed, and it tends to reinforce and reward threatening behavior. Setting a policy that offensive art is ok, just as long as it doesn't offend Islam, has some very bad consequences.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Good Morning Guv'nor, Department Of Pre-Crime Calling

The city of London's pre-crime unit must be having to work overtime with the latest news on the results of the facial detection system installed for London's surveillance cameras:

The Independent: Facial recognition wrongly identifies public as potential criminals 96% of time, figures reveal

Facial recognition technology has misidentified members of the public as potential criminals in 96 per cent of scans so far in London, new figures reveal.

The Metropolitan Police said the controversial software could help it hunt down wanted offenders and reduce violence, but critics have accused it of wasting public money and violating human rights.

Is the 96% false positive rate a bug or a feature? After all, in the United Kingdom's new and improved Orwellian surveillance state, it's not that the system is misidentifying the public as criminals, it's just they haven't been caught in the act on camera yet.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sunday Flyday

After the rigors and drama of the forensics competition over the last two days, it was time to hit the sky.

Not having flown since February, I headed to the airport and preflighted the club's Archer. Peter had finished flying it a half hour before I arrived, so it was nice and warmed up for me.

It started up without any hesitation, and then I did the run up, and headed off of Runway 27R for some pattern work.

It was like I had never stopped flying the aircraft. Even with the PAPI lights out of service, I was doing some nice stabilized approaches and landings. Crosswinds were light to non existent with wind blowing from 310 to 270 from 8-10 knots so no problem at all.

Landings were good.

Lots of other planes were in the pattern, even the Civil Air Patrol came out to get some pattern work in.

DCT's 3EJ was in the pattern as well.

It was busy, and the tower did a great job managing traffic. On my last pattern I had to extend my downwind, following a Cessna Cardinal that also had to extend and we got a pretty good distance away before we could both turn base and head back in to really nice landings.

In short, it was a beautiful day to get legal again to take passengers and good to knock the rust off my wings.

Forensics - Missed It By That Much, But Won In Many Other Ways

Unfortunately, Abby didn't make it into finals.

She placed 7th, missing the 6th place required for finals by 3 points - out of 1,100 possible points.

At State Finals the difference in competitor's scores and performances really is measured in millimeters.

7th in oratory in the whole state is nothing to sneeze at. Quite an accomplishment for someone who only started forensics in November and had never done any public speaking before.

She took not advancing to finals well, and it will give her something to work towards next year.

She made lots of new friends, enjoyed the effort required to compete and really came out of her shell, so it was a highly positive experience.

She's sad its done for the year and already misses the friendly competition and how the competitors, while all trying to win, still support each other and almost all have really good camaraderie and sportsmanship.

Judging these competitions is hard. At the state level the talent of the performers is amazing and it does become rather subjective. Most of my assessments through the competition were typically in line with other judge's perspectives of the competitors, and sometimes not so much. You always want to be fair and its hard to always pinpoint exactly what it is about a performance that really is better than another, especially when both are outstanding.

I judged the Duo finals and to say the performances were all stunning would be an understatement. Incredibly well done, and I had to ask all the competitors at the end how the schools all happened to bring in professional actors as ringers. Not kidding, these kids could take these performances to a professional stage and the audience would be well satisfied.

Again, differences in performance came down to millimeters. I was consistent with one of the of the other two judges as to which performance came in first, and that one won the entire state competition on points throughout, so I was at least assessing the performance in line with all the other judges as to how it was really outstanding. I had swapped places for 2nd and 3rd with the other judge, and was pretty consistent on 4th, 5th and 6th place. The third judge was very different in perspective. Note that we don't discus our ranking with the other judges and it is all independently decided on, so it is interesting to see where we all agree and disagree.

After the awards ceremony, the team all went out to a restaurant together and this is a really good bunch of kids - bright, learned, well-mannered and quite a few will be going on to college next year, and the rest returning to compete in forensics again.

The coach, a teacher at the school who does this on a voluntary basis, puts in a ton of work all year to make this happen - talk about a teacher making a real difference for a lot of kids. She did a fantastic job indeed and the team did quite well with many placing in the finals.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

And She Breaks into Semis

After the first 4 rounds,the semi final match-ups have just been released.

Abby made it to the semi-finals, so she's now in the top 12 competitors in the state for oratory.

Regardless of whether she breaks into finals or not, as a freshman doing forensics for the fist time, she's come a very long way in a very short time. We'll know soon.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Fun With Forensics - Michigan State Finals

Today I get to put the mental in judgmental.

Abby made it to the state finals for forensics in the category of oratory, so that means I get drafted to judge the state final competition. Happily, its being held at Oakland University so it's close and convenient enough at around 45 minutes or so away in traffic. Luckily I was able to keep y schedule clear today so I could judge, I'm now a certified judge for forensics having passed the certification test, which is nice, I guess.

Downside, today I get two sets of two rounds back-to-back, in different buildings, with a trip to the statistics office and a prep room between each to drop off the evaluations and grab the prep sheets for the second time limited event, with not enough minutes in between the rounds to get it all done. In short, I'm getting some exercise in.

Further downside, it's from 9am to 9pm today and it runs through tomorrow all day as well.

So far I've judged Storytelling and Broadcasting, with some very talented high school kids from all over the state putting their best performance forward. Yep, these kids are all alright.

On a very high upside, the Oakland University Center that is the headquarters for the competition has a food court, and in that food court:

One of only two Chik-Fil-A restaurants in Michigan.

Very, very tasty chicken (spicy chicken sandwich, if you please) and waffle fries makes up for all the inconveniences of running around the campus from building to building. Chik-Fil-A seriously rocks.

The line up for it is super long as its a very popular item indeed, and its worth it.

So I have prose and extemporaneous coming up in a couple hours and going late tonight and then dramatic interpretation and unassigned semi-finals and finals tomorrow. Going to be a very long weekend, but kinda fun.

Ladybird Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

I'm a listed attorney for a prepaid legal service. As part of the deal, I get referrals from the service, and the customer gets 25% off my legal fees for being a member of the service. Not a bad deal, and it does bring in quite a range of referrals from absolutely insane people, to those with an incredibly strong and unearned sense of self-entitlement, to time wasters, to decent clients, to really good clients.

So, I had a referral six months ago for a potential client who wanted some ladybird deeds done.

Ladybirds are a special kind of deed that, to put it simply, if done right, lets you bypass probate with the property, name who is going to get the property when you die, and still give you complete control over the property including the right to sell it up until you die.

Basically, the deeds are good to avoid probate and can be used in some circumstances for Medicaid planning. See your attorney for details to see if it works for you or not - it is really not the right solution for everyone.

So I chat with this client and she wants 6 Ladybird deeds. Kinda unusual, typically one for the person's residence is the request as that typically works for Medicaid, and if you own more properties you may want a trust and/or LLC structure to handle that.

She insists she wants ladybird deeds and doesn't want a trust or anything else. She insistently wants ladybirds and nothing else will do. It is the first case of complete Ladybird fixation I've ever come across. Fine, I outline the advantages and disadvantages and then quote her the discounted price on doing and recording all 6.

She then hangs up and doesn't call back and I figure she was either kicking tires, or just didn't want to pay for the service.

The provider service calls me three months ago asking if I had dealt with her. I noted I had had a conversation with her 3 months before then, but she didn't retain me or pursue the matter. They then refer her to me again as she apparently wants to do it.

So she calls again, I quote her the price again, and she faxes me over the current deeds to look over. I quote her the price yet again, she doesn't retain me and actually asks for a further discount as, according to her, since I would be doing 6 deeds she should be entitled to a bulk discount. I calmly explain that she's already getting a 25% discount off the cost and if she can find it done as well for cheaper she's welcome to go do so. Then she hangs up and nothing happens for a couple more months.

She then calls last week, deciding she wants to do 4 deeds and wants to meet with me after hours, because she works. Fine, I stay later one night last week and she comes in, she asks lots of questions about the process, again asks for a bulk discount on 4 which I again explain isn't going to happen as she's already getting the 25% discount. She hems and haws, I expect her to leave after wasting my time yet again, but finally she writes a check for the 4 deeds - At this point I know to demand the full fee upfront for the deeds as I can tell exactly what will happen if I don't do so.

So, I get the deeds done, and actually correct an error in the legal description on one of the deeds that has crept into it, and they're ready to go.

She called me yesterday in the late afternoon wanting to come in immediately to get them done, after hours of course, because she be working.

Well, the first after hours day I can fit her in is next Tuesday, as I'm booked solid yesterday, and Friday and Saturday and not available due to other things going on, and even if I was, not sure I'd be inclined to make a special trip to the office and set aside Saturday time for this person after all this nonsense and attitude.

I note she can see me during normal hours on Monday or normal hours or later on Tuesday.

She states she's very concerned, because what if something happens and she dies over the weekend?

I tell her that the deeds aren't effective until they're signed and notarized. I then state to her in a rather deadpan manner that she should avoid unnecessary risks before coming in.

She's very insistent though and all wound up about doing them before Monday, because after her delaying doing anything for over 6 months, she wants them done quickly just in case, and I should drop everything to make that happen and arrange to meet her at her convenience.

I calmly point out she's waited over 6 months to do anything and odds are that she should statistically should survive until Monday to sign the deeds.

After a fair bit of carrying on, she then agrees to meet Monday during the day, we will see when she actually shows up.

She then actually asks that if she dies before she signs them, will her heir get a refund of the legal services?

Yes, seriously.

I explain that no, the heir would not get a refund as the work is done and awaiting her signature. She gets all wound up about that.

I tell her to be careful, drive safe, and I'll see her Monday.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

NRAAM - Honor Guard Pistols

Wandering around first with DaddyBear and Drang, I soon met up with some attorney friends and we then unfortunately got separated from DB and Drang.

Moving around the show floor, we met and chatted with Michael Bane by the Honor Defense booth and chatted with him and the Honor Defense rep.

Honor Defense is a US company located in Alabama making a nice compact Shield-like pistol, the Honor Guard.

Some differences from the Shield include a modular chassis approach similar to the Sig 320, so you can change grips and slides on the same firearm and customize it to your own preferences, including adding a manual safety. Honor Defense also claims the pistol is more accurate than the Shield and comparable compacts such as the Walther PPS and Glock 43.

Overall, the operation is very Shield like and it is of comparable size, while the grip feels a little thinner and fits better in the hand and the trigger felt nicer, but that's rather subjective wihtout taking ti to the range and trying it out. Seems like a nice pistol if you're looking for a compact carry 9mm.

It's at a price point comparable to the Shield and Walther PPS. You can also customize one direct from the factory for shipping to your FFL.

The Honor Defense rep noted the market in compact handguns is rather soft currently, but he expects the market is going to heat up come election time in 2020.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

NRAAM - Trijicon - The MRO And The SRO

I wanted to checkout Trijicon's MRO and the new SRO.

The MRO is a very nice, lightweight rifle red dot

Lined up for comparison with other Trijicon scopes, the MRO has the green label on top. Darn nice dot in both red and green varieties, its very easy to acquire and it has good battery life.

Next, I looked at the new SRO.

The SRO is an update to the Trijicon RMR. The Trijicon rep told me that with the gaining popularity of red dots on handguns they wanted to make one that was easier to acclimate to compared to their RMR.

Trying it out, I believe they succeeded. The dot is acquired a lot faster when you bring the pistol up to the eyes compared to the RMR.

It seems well built, and the rep noted it has a battery life of a year when left active on the "4" setting and it then varies depending on the dot brightens chosen.

The SRO would be a solid choice if you want to mount a red dot onto your pistol or SBR.

Sunday, April 28, 2019


I met up with Daddybear and met Drang for the first time (now added to my blogroll accordingly), and we headed out on the floor.

First stop: IWI.

I had to handle the Tavor X95 SBR.

To say it fits me like a glove is an understatement. It balances very well, comes up very instinctively for me and has a 13 inch barrel in a very compact package smaller than AR pistols with much smaller barrels. The trigger is very nice for a bullpup, not a match trigger by any means, but very off-the-shelf good AR like, and definitely serviceable and smooth.

I will be ordering one forthwith. Unfortunately, I expect the Form 4 processing will be long and tedious but such is the current state of affairs.

Daddybear was also successfully marketed to, and his awesome Irish Woman has granted her conditional approval for him to buy one as well. There was much rejoicing.

Meanwhile, Drang decided that 5.56 was potentially insufficient and handled the Tavor 7 in 7.62 with aplomb.

It's heavier than the standard 5.56 Tavor by a noticeable amount but again it handles very well and is well-balanced.

He also admired the IWI Galil Ace pistol with shoulder brace.

Lots of great products at IWI.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Morning At The NRAAM

Met up with the usual esteemed cast of characters.


Ambulance Driver



EMS Artifact

Check their pages for Indy NRAAM 2019 Goodness.

Off to walk till I drop on the convention floor.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Hero Seen At The Firearms Law Seminar

I had the honor to run into this gentleman at the firearms law seminar:

The gentleman in the red hat is Dick Heller.

Yes, The Dick Heller of District of Columbia v Heller fame.

It was an honor to meet and chat with him. A very nice guy indeed, and in the firearms community we all owe a lot to his stepping up as plaintiff in that vital case.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - Range Legal Issues

Ranges are often attacked on nuisance grounds, and some laws have been adapted to protect them.

Michael Jean Associate counsel at NRA gave a solid presentation o the issues ranges face.

Attacking ranges is a great way to attack the gun culture, if you have no where to shoot your shooting culture won't be lasting very long.

Many states adopted the NRA range sourcebook as a standard but that has problems as the standards are 627 pages long and is advisory and discretionary with no absolute set standards.

Environmental standards is another avenue of attack, and he gave a good overview of them and how they are used against ranges. Clean Water Act and RCRA is often used against ranges via lead entering wetlands. Lots of the statutes are poorly worded and difficult to push through with lots of different application on a circuit to circuit court basis.

EPA has a manual for ranges and record keeping is a necessity.

In short, lots of complex info was delivered in this presentation.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - On Making And Gunsmithing Firearms

If you're interested in 80% firearms, this was the presentation to watch.

Stephen Halbrook gave a great presentation.

He gave good definition of firearm, manufacture, dealer, all of which definitions interrelate to this issue.

ATF position can lead to absurd results defining far too wide a set of manufacturers,for example they held bluing a gun built by another manufacturer would make the bluer a manufacturer and required to have a manufacturer license and all requirements likely including adding a serial number, place and name of manufacture or have to get a variance to do so. On the other hand, cerakoting is not considered manufacturing. Not very clear, is it?

There's no actual legal standard and definition as to what is an 80% receiver. He hasn't seen indictments on unfinished receivers where fire control parts cannot be placed into them and it would be a decent defense to the claim, as it does not fit the definition of a receiver. No trial on that issue to date, so no law is really set on it, partly because its very easy to get a manufacturer's license to avoid the entire problem.

He notes not a single person has ever been charged with the 1984 undetectable gun law, and that law would cover 3D printed guns.

He noted you can do a Form 10 to donate unregistered Class 3 items if found in someone's estate for example, to a state museum without having to identify the transferor, which would be a good way to preserve items found that were not registered in time before the NFA registry closed for machineguns.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - Terminal Ballistics

Dr. Paul Maurer gave a great presentation on terminal ballistics - the study of interface between physics and the projectile moving in space and the impact with biologic tissue.

He noted biologic tissue is incredibly random and variable as compared to physics of how the projectile move up until it hits biological tissue.

He has quite a fun sense of humor as a surgeon, he notes forensic pathologists tend to be a day late when assessing a shooting subject. To say he had everyone's attention was an understatement.

He also knows Martin Fackler very well and worked with him in the army.

From a surgeon's perspective he noted much of what people believe about terminal ballistics is myths not science.

Goal is incapacitation in a lethal force encounter.

Incapacitation is achieved by a hit to the Central Nervous System - the brain or spinal cord hit which is a small surface area; or Exsanguination - namely blood loss.

Even a shot to the heart the person can still act for about 3 seconds.

He gave some great case studies on incapacitation.

He notes gelatin is useful to scientifically reproduce results.

He addressed the bigger hole more blood loss noted the 9mm or 45 ACP when you put a hole in the fluid container it does similar damage, and once you hit a certain threshold its all about real estate- location, location, location, and bullet design as there is no perfect answer when dealing with biologic tissue.

You do get a stretch cavity with a handgun bullet, and tissue does become dysfunctional even if later it looks ok at an autopsy. Question becomes where did the stretch cavity go if it causes any significant damage and hits tissue where it is used to stretch like a lung or intestine. Rifles on the other hand bring a lot more energy to the party.

stretch cavity is figured out by the kinetic energy calculation Ke=1/2 mass x velocity squared.

Any projectile penetrating the body 7-8 inches will get to the heart. Nipple to bottom rib on right side is a high fatality injury. When you hit 30% blood loss you're incapacitated. In short if you do your job with shot placement, the bullet will do its job.

Absolutely outstanding presentation.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar - Gun Rights And The VA

If you're adjudicated as mental defective by a federal agency it gets reported to NICS as a prohibited person.

If any PTSD or mental health issue then VA investigates and sees if there is alack of capacity, which to them includes anyone who lacks capacity to manage own affairs including disbursement of funds.

So even if only applies to inability to manage own funds or assigned a fiduciary, VA takes it as making the person a prohibited person and unable to purchase a firearm, and they tend to over-report including people who are not truly incompetent.

The VA is the biggest source of prohibited purchaser records from federal agencies to NICS for such mental capacity disabilities.

The VA does have a NICS relief program and can keep fiduciary and takes considerable evidence, or can seek to reconsider the incompetency determination and then would not have a fiduciary.

He then went through the steps to seek relief from the VA and it is very involved. Expect lots of delays in the process but firearm rights restoration can be possible.

Firearms Law Seminar - Derek DeBrosse On NICS Checks And Appeals

This presentation had lots of interesting stuff and I tend to deal with NICS appeals and firearms rights restoration so it was a good presentation.

Pleading to even simple assault can still violate Lautenberg, so you need to be careful how you plead any domestic-related misdemeanor charge.

Since 2018 NICSis getting more records and details on assault and similar convictions to see if there is a domestic violence nexus and thus the person my be classified as prohibited when they were not before.

He noted from 1994-2014 of the performed 197 million NICS checks in that time period, 1.5% were denied.

3 databases are hit in the NICS check, and states may have more stringent rule on transfer.

NICS proceed records are supposed to be destroyed the next day after the proceed is given.

If you're buying a firearm for your trust or other entity such as a on a Form 4, there is a certification you should do when completing the 4473.

2018 Act was done to encourage completing records and make sure federal agencies report disqualifiers to NICS to prevent the recurrence of cases where for example a Department of Defense conviction was not reported, letting the fellow to buy a gun and shoot up the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

He noted the Voluntary Appeal File processing time for NICS appeals is around 3 years currently but highly variable without rhyme nor reason for why some is quicker and others slower.

NRA Firearms Law Speaker - David Yamane

A sociologist, Professor Yamane gave his keynote speech on how a liberal sociologist became a member of gun culture 2.0.

His main point: Guns are normal and normal people use gun.

Growing up in a liberal bubble, he only shot a gun for the first time when he was over 40 years old.

He takes an interesting sociological approach to Gun culture 2.0 which is interesting.

His studies found that Gun Culture 2.0 is more abut protection and carry than the older approach of hunting and collection and that GC 2.0 is becoming more diverse but with an interesting look at what is being owned:
Women twice are likely as men to own only a handgun
Blacks and Hispanics also 3 times as likely to own only handguns
Liberals twice as likely as conservatives to only own handguns.

He stated we as a culture need to resist efforts to stigmatize gun owners by showing the positive face of gun ownership and we need to promote the act of shooting whenever possible to introduce people to it as it is fun and challenging.

He also noted that gun culture is inclusive, after all, he describes himself as a liberal card-carrying snowflake gun owner.

His website GunCulture2point0 is worth checking out.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar Part 3

Next, Sarah Gervase presented on the topic: Another Arrow in the Quiver: State Constitutions as Independent Guarantors of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Most litigators and others have focused on the US Supreme Court as the arbitrator of civil rights.

State Constitutions have largely been ignored as a source of firearms rights.

6 states lack any right to keep and bear arms in their state constitutions.

Left wing is already moving to use state constitutions to further their goals.

States can provide higher levels of protection than the floor of the US Constitution.

She noted under the Delaware constitution there's been good movement for the firearms rights movement.

In Vermont the state right to bear arms section of the state constitution predates the Bill of Rights, nut has been ging very blue with some new gun control laws that are currently being challenged.

She noted you will need legislative history as to the state constitutional right to keep and bear arms and show how state history is favorable to your position, and be careful about combining state and federal claims. She noted you also need to know your state supreme court as some are distinctly hostile to firearms rights claim.

NRA Firearms Law Seminar Part 2

Contrary to popular belief, lawyers do have ethics.

Good lawyers have ethics anyways.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven H. David gave a great presentation on ethics. To say he's a very accomplished justice is an understatement.

He gave a great talk on professionalism, civility and ethics. He presented with an interesting analogy of firearm safety to Legal practice with caution that use of either skill set should be used carefully, and in accordance with standards of professionalism, ethics and civility.

Certainly one of the more engaging ethics CLEs that I've heard. The Justice has good humor and engaging manner and he presented with an excellent style and quite a way to get a point across.

NRAAM Firearms Law Seminar Part 1

To start the 22nd Annual Firearms law seminar, Professor George Mocsary gave a presentation on Perceiving and Measuring Judicial Defiance of Heller

In short, Heller is being underenforced if not ignored by the lower courts.

Notes that revocation of CPLs nationwide is around 1 in 10,000 so CPL holders are extremely law abiding.

Massachusetts is particularly bad with a one year mandatory minimum for carrying an unlicensed firearm for an otherwise law abiding citizen while at the same time the courts there regularly give rapists probation and suspended sentences.

Assault weapons term created by Josh Sugarman when Americans were not interested in banning handguns and take advantage of the general publics ignorance.

Notes that there are tens of millions of AR15s in existence not being involved in crime.

A Duke Law Journal study looked at 997 opinions on 2nd Amendment challenges and found that intermediate scrutiny challenges were somewhat working, and the typical 2-part test was adopted in a minority of challenges. 2nd, 4th, and 9th Circuits saw higher success rates for challengers of gun regulations which may indicate gun laws in these areas are often so indefensible, such as in the 2nd Circuit the defining of a pump-action shotgun as a semi-automatic weapon - really. Otherwise more substantive challenges on less facially insane laws tended not to succeed.

His study statistically shows Heller is being under-enforced by the courts.

Lower court decisions in Drake and Caetano cases were outright defiance of Heller.

He noted to expect judges to start masking their defiance and dislike of the Second Amendment in their analysis with lots of pretextual arguments. Lots of cases claim to apply heightened scrutiny but then applies a rational basis test against the requirements of Heller. Courts are also improperly reversing the burden onto the Plaitniffs rather than the government which is required under heightened scrutiny.

In short, the courts are still not taking Heller and the 2nd Amendment seriously.

David Thompson went next with a presentation titled A Survey of Current Second Amendment Litigation - including the new U.S. Supreme Court Case, NYSRPA v. City of New York

He noted far too many courts have rubber-stamped bans on carry and semi-automatic firearms, taxes, bans on 18-21 year olds purchasing.

He stated Carriage is a critical issue. There are 250,000 Americans attacked every year by 4 or more individuals and carrying is the only effective defense.

Gave an example of a 71 year old female Mary Sheppard who had moved from Pennsylvania and was armed and trained there but moved to Illinois and was there attacked by a 230lb criminal in a church when she was unarmed. Illinois then lost in court and the absolute ban was finally lifted but other states still effectively completely ban carry under may-issue regimes such as California.

No other right is so predicated on having a good reason, but courts do uphold the bans by ignoring the 2ndAmendment and Heller by arguing there is a public safety exception.

Guns went from 140 million to 300 million while the homicide rate dropped 80%. So the antis claim of more guns more crime is not valid at all. 2.5 times greater risk of injury to women who are unarmed compared to those who are armed per Kleck's study.

There is no study at all that shows allowing law abiding citizens to carry increases crime and no causal link between carry laws and crime rates. There are no public safety consequences from shall issue laws per the CDC of all places.

Unfortunately most 2nd, 4th, 9th circuits have upheld may issue under intermediate scrutiny. But they're not even faithfully applying intermediate scrutiny such as should have been done such as in the VMI case, instead we get public safety is important and the courts will defer to the legislature which does not meet an actual intermediate scrutiny test. Fails as there are plenty of less restrictive requirements.

Rogers case Supreme Court will decide if they will take it up as there is a Circuit Split on carriage so it might be taen up and we'll finally get a decent answer.

On assault weapons , the courts have been unable to explain how a thumbhole stock or adjustable stock has done anything to increase an actual crime, meanwhile if they applied Heller the result would be they're in popular use with over 8 million plus in circulation, also their claim its a small percentage of 3% of all guns in circulation and thus not in common use doesn't matter - after all Honda Accords are 3% of the car stock but certainly not unusual.

He also noted that magazine bans have not reduced crime at all and as such are ineffective, does not reduce them in the hands of criminals, nor of the substitution effect where criminals obtain them anyways and are not effective. Meanwhile it harms public safety.

Antis are switching focus to mass shootings, even Everytown has stated that in 89% of all mass shootings have no evidence of any high capacity being used. They don't even believe it themselves as continue to allow manufacture of the magazines in their jurisdictions.

Courts have upheld the bans on strange reasoning, ban even if it won't doing any good it will reduce the perceived risk of crime as the public will feel safer per the 7th Circuit - without any actual evidence of such. Simply would not fly for any other right. the magazine and assault weapons bans are screaming for Supreme Court review and application of Heller or at least real intermediate scrutiny.

Ban on 18-21 year olds from having firearms is an attack on the gun culture and leads to absurd results. After all 18 year olds have always been of military age and should be able to purchase firearms. 18-21 year olds are not children under the history of the 2nd Amendment and under the Militia act they were supposed to bring their own firearms.

He stated the Supreme Court will need to deal with this sooner rather than later.

NYSRPA case: Only was a typical New Yorker can get a handgun is via a premise license to keep it in their home with exception to go hunting or to maintain proficiency to a licensed shooting range in city limits - there's only one such range in all of NYC. For example you cannot transport that same handgun to a second residence outside of NYC. Hoping is Court will apply Heller to it and strike it down and city is now trying to moot the case via a proposed regulation to avoid Supreme Court review.

In short, we need Supreme Court review to articulate the propoer standard and get the Circuit Courts to properly apply Heller.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Which Part Exactly? - The Corruption?, The Crime?, The Racial Gamesmanship?, Or Just The Whole Failed Blue State Model Overall?

DNC Chair Tom Perez:

“Detroit embodies the values and character of the Democratic Party,”

The Detroit News: Democrats set to hold second presidential primary debate in Detroit

So how does crime, corruption, constant race card playing, and a failed blue state city embody the value and character of the Democrats? Pretty much nails it I'd guess.

The Dem's leadership really lacks any self-reflection -

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes called Detroit "one of America's great cities."
"And I can’t wait to welcome our amazing Democratic candidates to Michigan as we show the American people that we are truly the party of working people.”

The party of the working people? Sure, when all your candidates just happen to be millionaires. Your socialist and enviro policies will make the price of energy sky-high and kill the economy at the same time, hurting workers the most. Your medicare-for-all will lead to rationing of healthcare for the middle and lower classes. Party of the working people, pull another one, it's got bells on.

On The Way To The NRAAM

Now heading out on the road to Indy.

Looking forward to the firearms law seminar, which I will live-blog.

I'm also looking forward to running into friends and bloggers I know while I'm there.

That's One Way To Get A Cardio Stress Test

After 7 hours of driving with an instructor, hours of observing others drive in an instructional setting and classroom learning, Abby now has her G1 license.

She got to experience the joys of the Secretary of State office to get her license - first lining up to get a number, then over an hour and a half sitting waiting to get called up to get processed.

Good people watching though - one enraged and rather entitled lady yelling that she had her license in Detroit, moved out of state and now wants to switch her license back to Michigan but she keeps failing to being documents and she's been trying to get this done 3 times. One young lady is getting her license picture taken while she's in a costume and makeup like a baby doll - complete with pink and white makeup on her face, pink streaks in the hair and a body type really not suitable for the outfit she's wearing. I wonder if someone had her do it on a dare. That license picture is going to regrettably stick with her for a long time.

So Abby gets processed, and yes I have all the required documents, and it goes very smoothly once we actually get to the counter.

The G1 only lets her drive with a parent or other licensed adult in the vehicle, and she needs 50 hours with at least 10 at night over a 6 month period and can then proceed to a G2 license.

So I took her on her first drive at night yesterday.

This is a little disconcerting and tense as I have no additional brake nor wheel on my side of the car, its not like in a plane where you can take over from the right seat. You have to trust that she knows enough but also have to be ready to give her some hints if need be.

I had her drive to her old middle school as she has now driven the route in the day a few times to give her something familiar for her nighttime driving. She did good,and we did some practice parking and driving all around and then came back drove through the neighborhood for a bit and then back home for a good first experience.

I am rather impressed with her driving instructor. She's driving quite decently if with some standard new driver hesitancy and slow speed, but I'm impressed with how far she's come already, and she'll get there. It doesn't hurt that she really pays attention to what she's doing and what is going on around her.

49 more hours to go until her G2.

Monday, April 22, 2019

That's Not How A Conflict Of Laws Works

Invoking a higher power in court rarely turns out well.

The Detroit News: U.P. deer hunter who said he didn’t need license found guilty

Ron Ehinger of Ontonagon County claimed he didn’t need a license based on the “laws of nature.” The Daily Globe in Ironwood reports that a jury needed just 10 minutes to determine that the laws of Michigan applied instead.

Not exactly a great defense to a charge of poaching.

Laws of the state beat the laws of nature in state court all year round.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Passover 2019!

A very nice time was spent with the extended family celebrating Passover.

We went to Toronto for the first Seder on Friday and had a great time meeting up with all the cousins and catching up with all the folks.

It was a good time for all as we retold the story of the departure from Egypt, with the oldest in the room in their 80s, and the youngest at 4 weeks all enjoyed the Passover story and meal.

We brought Matzah Crack to the Seder. What's Matzah Crack you may be asking? We'll its the tastiest Passover-approved dessert. Caramel and chocolate on top of Matzah along with other toppings. Varieties included chocolate with pieces candied ginger - which was a surprise hit, Chocolate mint, Chocolate Cherry, and White Chocolate almond Cranberry.

Making it is really rather simple:

Matzah Crack

4-5 pieces of matzah
2 sticks / 1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (If you're doing white chocolate cranberries, use white chocolate chips for that flavor series)
chopped pieces of candied ginger, or dried cherries or cranberries as desired as additional toppings.

1. Break Matzah into pieces and array on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil that has been sprayed with no-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Take 1 cup butter and melt in a pan with 1 cup brown sugar, mix together over medium-high heat and stir until boiling, foamy and it becomes thickened around 3 minutes after it starts bubbling.

3. Pour the mixture over the Matzah and spread around covering the top of the Matzah.

4. Place in the oven and back for 8-10 minutes to set the caramel.

5. Remove from the oven and cover the caramel with a goodly portion of chocolate chips and spread over with a spatula as it melts. Add additional toppings as desired. Chopped pieces of candied ginger are highly recommended.

6. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours until the chocolate and caramel have solidified.

7. Cut into smaller pieces with a knife, and then enjoy. Bet you can't eat just one!

Happy Passover to all, and a Happy Easter to those of you celebrating Easter.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Monorail! Now With Proposed New Expensive Connections To Toledo and Monroe!

The fever dreams of urban mass-transit planners and their love of trains is so quaint. At least it is until you realize taxpayers will be on the hook for these vanity choo-choo projects.

The Detroit Free Press: New 110-mph passenger train could connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor

A new study presented to Toledo officials looked at a rail concept — dubbed the T because of its layout — that would connect Detroit, Toledo and Ann Arbor and cities in between.

If it were built, you could leave Detroit and get to Toledo in about an hour, about the same as if you drove straight down I-75, assuming you didn't run into any construction detours, rush-hour traffic, major accidents — or make any stops to top off your tank with gas.

Toledo City Councilman Chris Delaney, who has championed the study, said Wednesday that the T would not be just for "the luxury of being able to board a train." He viewed passenger rail service as a means to longer-term economic development and prosperity.

Like we've never heard that before.

Note in the article they plan to use existing freight rail tracks, for at least some of the run. This means that their claimed 80-100 mile speed will not be so fast in reality as they're going to have to stop and wait for freight trains and no, you really won't get there as fast as you would in your own motor vehicle. Cost is estimated at $390-$524 million, and given the cost overruns we've seen on similar train projects, you can safely double those estimates to get an idea of the true cost for this project.

Of course, once you get to Toledo or Monroe, you're going to need to call an Uber or rent a car or something to get around, certainly negating the savings of taking a train, the ticket price for which will almost assuredly be higher than the mileage cost for driving that distance or will be heavily subsidized by you up front from your taxes - probably both.

These planners love the idea of train projects - nice, expensive, programs with lots of opportunity for graft, vanity naming rights, and union feather-bedding combined with their disdain of the proles for daring to drive themselves where and how they wish. Reality tends to indicate people don't actually want these trains to nowhere.

And an excellent example of the hand-waving and excuses made when these rail projects don't quite work as expected in reality is displayed in this very article when it looks at the regions latest choo-choo project that cost over $182 million:

In its first year, the QLINE was expected to deliver 3,000 to 5,000 rides a day, and it hit that goal for part of the year. But from November through March, average daily ridership dipped to 2,700, potentially because of colder weather.

Nice slight of hand there "potentially because of colder weather". Yes, because riders don't like to be in enclosed vehicles during colder weather, right? Not so much. Ridership of Qline didn't decline because of the weather, ridership actually dropped when riders had to actually pay for a train that moved as fast as a slow walk for all of 3.3 miles.

Also note that in order for QLine to break even, they need 5,000 rides per day, not 2,700 meaning guess who is going to pay the difference?

$524 million would be far better put to use repairing the multitude of potholes, bridges and infrastructure that already lies along that route. Not nearly as sexy, there's no opportunity to rename the route for favored persons or entities in that, and no guarantee of continued subsidies to operate it. But, people will actually use it to go where they want, how they want. Urban planners hate that.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Replied The Snake: “You Knew What I Was When You Picked Me Up”.

The UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies sponsored an event about Gaza and well, surprise!

Totally Unexpectedly, multiple acts of Antisemitism occurred, along with biased and counter-factual anti-Israel activism, on the taxpayer dime, no less.

ABC 11 News: Some sponsors want money back after anti-Semitic remarks made at UNC conference

What sponsor was stupid enough to be surprised this was going to happen at such a conference?

Apparently many departments at UNC and the Rotarians, of all people, failed to evaluate the conference based on the very long track record of antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda at such conferences.

They failed to heed the tale of the Girl and the Snake.

Good luck getting your donations back.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

An Engaging New Music Style - Meaningwave Lo Fi

There's an interesting new music style out there.

Called Meaningwave, created by Akira The Don, it sets lectures.speeches of some interesting people to lo-fi music, revising them into songs while making their meanings come across very easily.

In short, its a rather entertaining and easy way of listening to the highlights of the thoughts and words of some very smart people. Sort of a Coles Notes edition set to music.

He has quite a few of Jordan Peterson, including a very humorous cut of his thoughts on alcohol, or his now famous rules for life. Everyone can take some element of what Peterson's saying and apply it to make your own life better. While reading the 12 Rules Book is highly recommended, this isn't a bad way to get some listening time in when you're in the car.

Then, if you need a boost in the morning, well, if you can't get motivated by listening to his version of Jocko Willink's stuff on the way to work, you may very well have no pulse.